Consumer Real Estate News

    • 5 Ways to Connect With Your Heritage

      26 September 2018

      (Family Features)--Every family, regardless of origin, has a story. Learning about that history can lead to finding your own story and the powerful meaning of heritage.

      From discovering your ethnicity to connecting with distant relatives, a resource like Ancestry can help people find their story in their DNA, inspiring new passions and fueling their journeys to discovery.

      If you're looking for more ways to bring your family's story to life, consider these ideas.

      Talk with relatives. Undoubtedly, one of the easiest ways to learn more about your ancestors and family heritage is by simply talking with your relatives. Grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles and others who originally hail from other parts of the world can offer a wealth of information about their native country and send you down the right path toward learning more about your family's history. Ask questions about your native country, the types of food, traditions, games, music and holidays celebrated, for example.

      Create a custom playlist. The diverse range of music from around the world is as eclectic as each person's DNA - anywhere from Nigerian Afrobeat to French chanson. Rooted in discovery, a first-of-its-kind partnership between Ancestry and Spotify allows users to diversify their listening habits by creating custom playlists based on their DNA results at If you don't have your DNA results yet, you can still connect to the music streaming service to explore the diversity in your listening history and discover new music from around the world.

      Learn a native language. Learning a new language can allow you to communicate easier with family and provide you a deeper connection to your cultural heritage. Take advantage of any relatives who speak the language to complement your solo linguistic endeavor.

      Cook cultural cuisine. One way to connect generations past and present is through food, typically by passing down traditional cuisines or specific recipes. Whether celebrating a cultural holiday or brushing up your cooking skills, use family recipes - or a cookbook dedicated to the cuisine of your ancestors - as a learning experience that also allows you to reconnect with your roots.

      Visit your native land. There are few better ways to connect with your family's heritage than by exploring places that were once inhabited by your ancestors. Start by researching the basics, such as where the country is located, what the flag looks like, what the native language is, and then plan your trip. Try to schedule your visit during an event that can help you learn even more about your heritage. Of course, a trip may be out of the budget but there are often festivals dedicated to specific countries or regions that can provide educational opportunities closer to home.

      While these are just a few ways to connect with your family's cultural roots, the journey of discovering who you are and where you come from can be nearly never-ending, giving you the opportunity to dig as deep into your family history as you desire.

      Source: Ancestry

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Safety How-to: Severe Storms and Flash Floods

      26 September 2018

      Because severe weather and natural disasters can occur at any time with devastating effects, The National Safety Council (NSC) encourages Americans to develop emergency plans and kits in the event of unpredictable and severe weather. In 2017, 59,985 weather events resulted in 592 deaths and 4,270 injuries, many of which were the result of flash floods and severe storms.

      NSC advises families to keep an emergency kit at home and in the car. Kits should contain basic needs to sustain a family for at least 72 hours. When putting together an emergency plan, families should practice various methods of evacuation or identify places to seek shelter, make emergency contact lists in case family members become separated and learn how their community alerts residents when severe weather or a natural disaster are imminent. Sample emergency kits and plans can be found at

      Use these checklists from the NSC to help develop your plans for staying safe in storms and flash floods:

      Severe Storms:

      - Board up windows and secure loose items like patio furniture;

      - Establish an assembly point for family members to meet if separated, and choose one person everyone can contact with their whereabouts and status;

      - Take shelter in a sturdy building; avoid isolated sheds or other small structures, open areas, hilltops, the beach or boats;

      - If you are driving in heavy rain, try to safely exit the road, stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency flashers;

      - Never drive into flooded areas; if flood waters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground;

      - Avoid contact with electrical equipment, cords, metal and water;

      - Listen for warning sirens, stay away from windows and exterior doors, and seek shelter in a bathroom or basement;

      - Stay indoors until authorities tell you it's safe to go outside.

      Flash floods:

      - Know your proximity to rivers, streams and dams;

      - During heavy rain, avoid underpasses, underground parking garages and basements;

      - Don't walk in water above your ankles; you can be swept off your feet in as little as 6 inches of rushing water;

      - Turn off the electricity and other utilities.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Dos and Don'ts of Drain Maintenance

      26 September 2018

      Does one of your drains always seem to clog? Can't figure out the best way to keep your pipes clear? Four Seasons Plumbing offers the following guidelines for proper drain maintenance.

      "A lot of our clients are worried about what they can and cannot put down their drains," says Max Rose, owner of Four Seasons Plumbing. "The truth is—excluding grease, oils and chemicals—a properly designed and installed system will take just about anything you can fit down the drain. If you are experiencing issues with normal use, I recommend having a plumbing professional do an inspection, but in the meantime here are some dos and don'ts you can follow."  

      Do use a drain guard. Whether it's in the kitchen sink or the bathtub, a drain guard can catch the bigger pieces of debris that tend to cause clogs.

      Do flush with hot water. Periodically fill the tub and/or kitchen sink about halfway with hot water and pull the plug. This will move the hot water down the plumbing and help clear lingering debris.

      Don’t pour grease, oil or fat down drains. It may go down the drain as a liquid, but once it cools off, these fats solidify, causing blockages in pipes. It's best to wait until the grease or oil has cooled into a solid and then dispose of it in the trash.

      Don’t flush everything. Body waste and toilet paper are the only things that should be flushed. Paper towels, cotton balls and even "flushable" wipes should not be disposed of in the toilet.

      Don’t use commercial drain cleaners. Store-bought drain cleaners contain caustic chemicals that can be harmful to both your health and your plumbing. These cleaners may help remedy a clogged or slow-draining sink or tub, but it can erode pipes in the process.

      Do use a bacteria waste eliminator for preventative maintenance. Bacteria and enzyme drain additives are safe, effective and great for septic systems.

      Source: Four Seasons Plumbing

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Color Trends for 2019 Are Singing the Blues

      25 September 2018

      If you’ve got a painting project on deck and want to be on point in the color trend department, consider Behr Paint’s 2019 Color of the Year: Blueprint S470-5. Created to reflect its namesake, the calming but rich, mid-tone blue is warmer than denim but softer than navy.

      "Much like the sketches builders rely on to bring an architectural design to life, Blueprint S470-5 lays a foundation for consumers to make their unique vision a reality," said Erika Woelfel, vice president of Color and Creative Services at Behr. "This universally appealing hue provides a steady stream of positivity and is poised to be an instant classic for years to come."

      While on its own, the color makes a subdued statement, it can take on a variety of roles when paired with other colors, from adding depth and variety or acting as a neutral to anchor bolder palettes. For example, Behr suggests using Blueprint as the starting point with the following four 2019 colorways:

      Color Binge
      Embrace a full range of blue, teal and gray by layering light and dark blues on walls, cabinets, furniture and décor for bold results.

      Inspired Curation
      Use Blueprint with earthy jewel hues such as mauve, dark green and warm gold to engage the senses.

      Down to Earth
      Gray continues on as a key neutral, while warmer tones in taupe and terracotta will rise. Use Blueprint as earthy blue and brown combinations become more popular.

      Soft Focus
      Blueprint serves as a great backdrop against new neutrals like powder blue, blush peach and tinted lilac. Matte finishes will emphasize softness, while metal accents add glamour.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Filing for Fafsa? These Tips Can Help!

      25 September 2018

      Financing college for yourself or your teenager can be a stressful endeavor; however,  billions in federal financial aid is available for students if you know where to look, and the Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) is offering helpful tips to help them navigate the process.

      "Selecting a college is one of the largest financial commitments a person will make in their lifetime," says Paula Craw, vice president of Student Success and Outreach at ECMC.

      The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens Oct. 1 for the 2019-2020 school year. The FAFSA serves as the gateway to all federal financial aid including grants, loans and work-study.

      To help, ECMC developed the following timeline for students and families delving into the FAFSA filing process to ensure they have the best opportunity to secure federal financial aid.

      Before you file the FAFSA:

      Create an FSA ID. At least one parent and the student are required to create an FSA ID (if the student is dependent).

      If you are a dependent student, you will need at least one parent's financial information (tax records, W2 forms, bank statements) to file the FAFSA.

      Include a list of your top school choices and their federal school codes. This will allow the FAFSA to send your results directly to your preferred institutions.

      Make sure you file your FAFSA in time to meet each of your desired schools' financial aid deadlines and their priority filing dates.

      Pay attention to your state's deadlines. Many states with limited amounts of funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you file your FAFSA, the better.

      Filling out the FAFSA:

      Set aside about 30 minutes to complete the form. File online or via the new mobile app.

      Remember to print a copy of your completed FAFSA for your records.

      Early filers may have access to more aid so don't wait.

      After you file:

      Expect to receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) about a week after you file your FAFSA. The SAR summarizes the information you provided on the FAFSA and provides your estimated eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.

      Also, expect to receive an award letter from the schools where you have been accepted.

      Compare the financial aid packages and the overall fit and choose a school.


      Published with permission from RISMedia.