Indianapolis Community and Life

Bulging at the Seams? Make the Most Out of Your Closet Space

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 23, 2014 10:30:00 AM

As people are looking for a new home, they often have a wish list in hand of things that they're wanting. Near the top of their list is usually ample closet space. And we get it - it's the perfect place to store everything from clothes to vacuums to bedding to keepsakes you want to hold onto for years to come.

In the event that you're not upgrading your home but still need more storage space (Who doesn't?), we've put together some ideas for helping you make the most out of your closets.

closet

Behind the closet door

Mounting peg boards on the inside of your closet doors can give you instant extra hanging space. Add some 'S' hooks to attach belts, scarves, necklaces, or a mirror in your bedroom closet. It's an instant vanity station. An over-the-door rack (with shoes or shelves) also utilizes unused space behind a closet door.

Shoe options

Purchase slim, see-through plastic shoe holders (which stack compactly) to put on shelves in your closet. It offers  an inexpensive alternative to built-ins. If you don't want to spend the money on the shoe holders, you can use the boxes that your shoes come in. Print out pictures of the shoes and tape it to the front of the box so that you can easily locate what pair of shoes you might be looking for.

Another idea would be to put a slanted plywood platform at the bottom of your closet so that you can take in your entire shoe collection at a glance. (This takes a bit more space, but it's a beautiful option if you have the room.)

Plastic drawers

Clear plastic drawers make perfect storage quarters for neatly-rolled scarves, underwear, socks or belts. They come in various sizes to fit under (or beside) your hanging clothes in the closet or under your bed if you really lack closet space.

Hanging shelves

One smart solution to a storage crunch is to add a customizable unit of wire (or mesh) shelves to hang inside the closet. These spaces are great storage for folding jeans, t-shirts or sweaters (which take up less hanging room for your other clothes).

Hanger size

If you're really tight on space, one way to save every inch you can is to purchase the slimmest hangers you can find. Although the really nice wood ones are great for taking care of your garmets, they're not great when it comes to space. When every inch counts in closets, thinner hangers = better.

Categorize

Group clothing by category―dress pants, jeans, casual shirts, work tops―to make putting together outfits easier. Or - if you prefer - organize your closet by color, such as light to dark. It may not save you space necessarily, but it will make it more organized. 

Think outside the closet

An armoire provides extra storage space in the bedroom; use baskets in open spaces to collect odds and ends. Or you might consider putting extra cabinets near the top of other rooms - like in the bathroom. Sliding library ladders can help you access whatever you store there.

Donate unused items

To streamline your space, constantly eliminate clutter: Every three to four months donate unused items to charity. Not only will it keep your closet space more clean, you get to write off the donations on your taxes.

Even if you don't have a ton of closet space, there are ways of making the most out of what space you do have.

What ideas do you have for making the most out of your closet space? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: Home Interiors, Organizing

4 Fun Things to Do in Indianapolis You Might Not Know About

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 20, 2014 10:30:00 AM

We love Indianapolis for so many reasons: We have great sports teams, wonderful parks, delicious local restaurants, and wonderful attractions. But there's so much more to this amazing city than you might be aware of. 

For example, did you know that you can go underground and tour some catacombs? Or get behind-the-scene tours of our sports stadiums? Or swing through the air in an interactive treetop adventure? Read on to discover some of our favorite local activities you might not know about.

indianapolis

City Market Catacombs Tours

Indianapolis City Market and Indiana Landmarks stage tours of an unusual site usually hidden from public view. Their guided tour of the Catacombs shows you a Roman-looking expanse of brick arches beneath the outdoor Whistler Plaza of City Market. The Catacombs qualify as both a ruin and a redevelopment opportunity. They are made of the remains of Tomlinson Hall, an imposing building whose main hall seated 3,500 people. (Tomlinson burned in January 1958, turning Market Street into an icy lake as firefighters battled the blaze. The city took down the remains later that year, but left the vast basement of brick arches intact.)

Tours last approximately 25 minutes and depart from the west plaza of City Market, 222 E. Market Street, Indianapolis. On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month, May through October, tours begin on the hour and half-hour between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at City Market. Cost is $12 per adult (ages 12 and up); $10 per member of Indiana Landmarks; $6 per child (ages 6-12). 

For more information visit their website

Crown Hill Tours

Crown Hill is the 3rd largest cemetery in the nation, spanning over 555 beautiful acres. They hold public tours from June through early October on the second, third, and forth weekends of the month. During our Saturday evening tours, visitors can admire the sunset from the Crown, Marion County’s highest hill, which offers a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view of the city’s skyline. Tours include 90 minutes of walking, but driving tours can be arranged for those who struggle being on their feet.

Private tours are available yearround (preferrably with a 2-week advance notice). Private Group Rates are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors (55+), and $3 for students 18 and under, with a $50 minimum per tour.

Crown Hill also offers different types of tours during which you can focus on a particular area of interest: Actors, Artists, Architects & Musicians, Civil War Personalities, African Americans, Authors, Dillinger & Other Notables, Heroes of Crown Hill, Photographer’s Tour, Skeletons in the Closet, and Veterans Women of Crown Hill.

For more information, visit their website.

Lucas Oil Stadium Tours

There’s no better way to add a dose of adrenaline to your next Indianapolis visit than a behind-the-scenes tour of this state-of-the-art sports mecca. Lucas Oil Stadium offers public tours every week that give participants an up-close and personal look at all the stadium has to offer.

Tours last approximately one hour and include visits to the playing field, an NFL locker room, Lucas Oil Plaza, the press box, and numerous other areas (depending on availability) that are generally inaccessible to the public.

Public Tour Information: Tours are conducted at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. Cost is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors (age 65+), children ages 4-12, and Military (Retired or Active ID). Children ages 3 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets are available on the day of the tour and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more information, visit their website.

Go Ape

Go Ape is a unique and highl- interactive treetop adventure. Upon arriving at the Go Ape cabin, participants are equipped with harnesses, pulleys and carabiners and given training before being let loose into the forest canopy, free to swing through the trees 40-50 feet above the ground! The course is made up of five individual sections, each taking you higher into the forest canopy and finishing with a zip line more exciting than the previous one!

There are 38 crossings and obstacles which include rope ladders, net bridges, trapezes, Tarzan swings and five zip lines (including views of Eagle Creek reservoir). The entire experience takes two-three hours to complete and caters to all skill levels. Instructors are always patrolling the forest, ready to provide assistance should you need it.

Reservations are strongly encouraged as space on the course is limited. Minimum height is 4 feet, 7 inches and maximum weight is 285 lbs. Price is $35 for 10-17 year olds and $55 for adults.

For more information, visit their website.

What fun things do you love to do in Indy? Let us know in the comments below! 

 

Topics: Family Activities, Just for Fun

I Scream, You Scream: Indy's Best Ice Cream

Posted by Mandy Padgett on Nov 18, 2014 10:30:00 AM

icecream

Even as the weather gets cooler, I'm all too eager to indulge in one of my favorite frozen treats: ice cream! Whether it’s a trip for the entire family or just rewarding yourself by indulging your sweet tooth, there’s certainly nothing like a cold dip to improve your mood.

So, whether you’re into soft-serve, gourmet, yogurt, chunky, smooth or maybe you’re craving a good old banana split, here are the places in Indy which will leave you with smile on your face.

Alexander’s on the Square

If you’re looking for good, old-fashioned, local ice cream that is full of flavor, there’s no better place in Indianapolis than Alexander’s on the Square in Noblesville. Alexander’s maintains its ambiance with an authentic soda fountain, 36 different flavors and, of course, some great food, as well.

Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream and Yogurt

If you ask around for a good ice cream shop in Indianapolis, chances are that the locals will point you towards Handel’s. With over 50 years of ice cream making experience, there is no questioning as to why Handel’s was Indiana’s best ice cream shop for 6 consecutive years (2006-2012). Offering over 100 different flavors of their homemade ice cream, Handel’s never skimps on their ingredients, with fistfuls of nuts, sprinkles, and marshmallows as well as fresh fruits and syrups all blended to create an exciting mixture.

SubZero Ice Cream and Yogurt

You may also like to try a scientific approach to your ice cream. Rather than simply freezing their ice cream, SubZero uses liquid nitrogen to flash freeze it. This, according to them, is the reason why their ice cream is so flavorful. The process of flash freezing keeps the milk molecules small, so water doesn’t have time to turn into ice which leaves you with the creamiest and smoothest ice cream that can be made. Mix this food experiment with different flavors, nuts, fruits, and cookies and you get an exciting blend of science and food. SubZero also allows you to choose the consistency of your ice cream. It doesn’t matter whether you like soft serve or if you like your ice cream as hard as a rock.

So, call you friends or gather the family, and get a scoop (or more) of these frozen treats. Enjoy!

Topics: Food

Wallpaper vs Painting: The Pros and The Cons

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 16, 2014 10:30:00 AM

The walls of your home have the power to transform your space with the help of paint or wallpaper. A dramatic room can instantly be made soft and airy with the application of light pale paint color. While a room that feels too big can instantly feel cozy with darker wallpaper with a striking pattern.

So which is better? There are pros and cons of using both. Factors to consider are ease of application, cost, and versatility to your space. Whichever you choose, your walls will benefit from the beauty they add!

wallpaper

Ease of Application

WALLPAPER - Con: Removing existing wallpaper can be a tedious task that requires patience and the right tools to be effective. Stripping wallpaper can be done with chemicals or stripping tools, but care must be taken or damage can result to the wall. Consult a home improvement store for specific instructions for your application.

PAINTING - Pros: If you are painting over a damaged wall, prepare imperfections with spackle and let dry 24 hours in advance. Applying primer paint in advance to painting over darker color paint will make your painting preparation easier. Painting requires considerably less preparation time than wallpaper.

Cost

Wallpaper and paint can range in price from the low end to the high end of the cost spectrum. Wallpaper on average is more expensive to purchase the rolls, supplies and to have it installed. Paint on average is cheaper and requires very few supplies, and an amateur can apply it. It should be noted that inexpensive wallpaper can be purchased and if you do it yourself can cut down on installation costs. Similarly with paint, higher end faux paint finishes, and textured paint can be expensive especially if it needs to be professionally applied.

A combination of both: Many people want the versatility of adding a texture to their wall with customizable paint colors. Paintable wallpaper is a product that comes in rolls or adhesive squares. After the textured wallpaper is applied, it can be left bare or it can be painted. Paintable wallpaper is the best of both worlds!

Selection and Durability

Both paint and wallpaper comes in unlimited varieties and colors. Paints come in various glosses and sheens, while wallpaper comes in paper and vinyl surfaces for durability and finish variation. The lifestyle of your family can make a considerable difference in which finish you select.

WALLPAPER - PROS: Wallpaper is very durable and will hold up to wear and tear of children, high traffic areas and many varieties are scrubbable. CONS: Since wallpaper is applied with an adhesive, high moisture bathrooms and kitchens may cause wallpaper to peel away from the wall.

PAINTING - PROS: Depending on the sheen/finish paint is a good option for areas that need to have an inexpensive and easy application. Semi-gloss to high gloss paints are durable and are usually reserved for trim and exterior doors. Satin, Eggshell and occasionally Flat sheens are used on interior walls. CONS: When walls are damaged, scraped or hit, paint can chip and repairing and repainting will be necessary.

Whatever you choose, we hope that you love the end result! Which do you prefer: wallpaper or paint? Let us know in the comments below!

Topics: Home Interiors

How to Make Homemade Cleaning Products

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 13, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Cleanliness is next to godliness, or so they say. 

Chances are, if you've moved into a new home - or if your house is on the market to sell - you're going to need some good cleaning products beyond good 'ol elbow grease. Why spend money on name brands when you can make some at home that are just as effective? Check out some great recipes below!

cleaning-products

Liquid Dish Soap

This gentle cleaner takes about 2 minutes to make and makes 16.5 ounces.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup liquid castile soap
  • 3 tsp. vegetable glycerin
  • 5 drops tea-tree essential oil
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1 1/3 cups water

Combine ingredients in a 24 ounce squirt bottle (or empty liquid dish soap bottle) and shake well to emulsify. It's works great on countertops, too!

Dishwasher Detergent

This recipe makes enough for 32 loads of laundry. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups washing soda
  • 2 cups borax
  • 25 drops grapefruit essential oil

Stir ingredients in a bowl until clumps are eliminated. Transfer powder to a plastic storage container. Use 2 Tablespoons per wash.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

This recipe harnesses baking soda's gentle abrasiveness, vinegar's acidity and the stain-lifting power of the fizz created by mixing the two, plus tea-tree oil's antibacterial capabilities.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup baking soda
  • 10 drops tea-tree essential oil½ cup
  • distilled white vinegar

Pour baking soda directly into the toilet bowl, add oil, then vinegar—in that order. Let water effervesce for several minutes, then scrub bowl with brush. Flush.

Glass Cleaner

Use rubbing alcohol and white vinegar to clean windows, mirrors and car windshields.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp. rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil (optional, for scent)
  • ½ Tbsp. liquid castile soap

Put the first 4 ingredients into a bottle and shake. Add the soap and shake well. Spray windows; wipe with newspaper.

With these easy recipes, your house will be spotless in no time! (Whether or not this actually makes you godly is still to be determined.) Happy cleaning!

Topics: Cleaning

Hello, Chickens: A Guide to the Basics

Posted by Mandy Padgett on Nov 11, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Indychicken

Once upon a time, farming was, at some level, the source of food and livelihood for each family. That’s not the case now, of course, but somewhere between growing some herbs and tomatoes on your back porch, and “Honey, it’s time to milk the cows and plow the fields!” is a growing contingent of people who are discovering the joy of keeping chickens.

Fresh eggs are delicious, and so is the sweetness of these birds. Don’t believe me? I think this video speaks for itself.

See? I told you.

Low maintenance + high reward

Chicken-keeping is low maintenance and high reward. With just a little bit of space you can house and care for your little flock and in return you get eggs, fertilizer, natural tick, flea and other pest control and ultimately, if you’re ready to part with them, they also give you meat. What’s not to love, right?

And the low-down on low maintenance? Here are your daily tasks when you have chickens:

  • Feed your hens.
  • Give them fresh water.
  • Collect the eggs.
  • Clean the poop.
That’s it!

Before you go buy some...

But hold your horses...or your hens, in this case. While keeping chickens in Indianapolis both in urban and suburban areas is legal according to city code, you do need to check with your HOA. Their code might be a whole other story. Be aware also that if you’re going to keep roosters, there are almost always noise ordinances to be followed. It’s still quite doable, you’ll just have to make sure your roosters stay in a dark roost until a reasonable hour of the day.

This begs the question; do you need a rooster for eggs? No! Hens start laying eggs at six months old, and they’ll keep this up throughout their youth, as long as they’re happy and have plenty of light. The more hours of daylight a hen has, the more eggs they produce. A trick for the winter is to put lights in their coop in the early morning and early evening, to increase the number of daylight hours.

Chickens are clean birds, although their idea of bathing is tossing dust over themselves, and they don’t stink if you clean up after them.

Cleaning

Reserve a portion of your yard for composting the poop. Bury it under a layer of soil. By next summer, you can use this as fertilizer. On that note, you can’t use fresh chicken manure on your plants. It’s too rich in nitrogen and it will burn your plants. The manure needs to ‘mature’ before you can use it, but once it does, its nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous will turn your flowerbeds into an explosion of blooms.

Happy hens are chickens that are funny and sweet. They’re hilarious and friendly. They know who feeds them, and they’re so social they would even boss the dog or your husband. Speaking of being social, it’s not the best idea to try to have only one chicken. You should have at least three chickens—the ideal minimum number is four, and they need a coop to sleep in, and a ‘run’ to scratch around in. This is what makes them happy. Chickens have an innate sense about the time of day and will put themselves to bed promptly at sunset. It will be up to you to make sure their coop is closed up for the evening so no predators can get in.

Eggs

In terms of production, if you keep them happy, chickens can give you an egg daily. They average at five eggs a week, with hens taking only one day-off or two. How long do they lay eggs? Depending on the breed anywhere between two and four years, although as they age the eggs can become fewer and fewer, by which time they become pets, or your dinner.

Care

Chickens need:

  • Good food. Keep the food in sealed containers so you don’t attract vermin. Mice and rats are attracted to the feed, and the mice and rats can attract feral cats. Don’t overfeed so that you end up with leftovers. If you give your birds table scraps, make sure they get them all and clean up what remains.
  • A good coop. Well-ventilated without being breezy; always clean to protect your hens’ feet; has a dark cozy place for laying; has a perch for each hen, around two feet off the floor; secure and sturdy against predators. There are about a million variations to how you can house your chickens - a bit of googling will get you every creative solution you could want.
  • Air, soil and sunlight. A bit of yard to roam in. You’re sacrificing turf to free-range eggs! Your run should be fenced in to keep the rest of your backyard or garden undamaged. These birds ransack everything grass and plants looking for snacks, you know.
Give chickens a chance, they really are amazing pets and food producers. I highly recommend them!

 

Topics: Pets, Food

Furnace Filters: How Often Should I Change Mine?

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 9, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Temperatures are quickly dipping, which means it’s time for many of us to rely on our furnaces for comfortable home temperatures in the coming cold winter months. Winter is when your HVAC system is working its hardest to move air through your home’s duct work. And since most of us spend more time indoors in the winter, you will likely be working your furnace even harder than your air conditioner during the summer months.

Because Indiana winters can be so brutal, it's important to make sure your furnace is taken care of. Perhaps the easiest way to do that is to change your furnace filters regularly, and it will keep the air in your home clean and safe. But how often should we switch them out? Well, it depends on what kind of filters you use and various lifestyle factors.

furnace-filter

In general, most filters need to be changed every three months (maybe less depending on some factors we'll discuss below). Regardless of frequency, everyone should check their filters once a month to see what condition they are in.

Factors To Consider

Do you have pets? Pet dander will accelerate how often you need to change your filters. Are you a smoker, or do you live with one? If so, that’s another reason you will need to change filters more often. 

What kind of filters do you use? Standard fiberglass filters need to be changed monthly (maybe a little less depending on how contaminated your home air gets). If you use permanent washable filters, they need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried once a month.

Why do you need to change furnace filters so often?

Why is it so important to stay on top of your filter changing? Because that thin filter is the only thing between you and toxic air. It’s a big factor in your indoor air quality and how well your furnace operates.

As the filter collects various bits of airborne debris, it starts to clog up. After a while, that build up makes it very difficult for air to pass through. That means the blower is working harder, increasing your energy bills, taking longer to heat your home, and risking burning out the blower motor.

How to change a furnace filter

At the bottom of the furnace, you’ll find access to the filter housing. Note the arrow on the filter frame that shows the correct air flow direction. Remove the old filter and insert the new one. It’s that simple. Tip: Make sure you purchase the right size of filter. 

The best way to know how often you need to change your air filter is by simply checking it on a regular basis. Every furnace heats a different home, with different factors that affect a filter’s life span. After a while, you will develop a good idea of how quickly contaminants build up on your filter and how often you will need to install a replacement.

Topics: Home Maintenance

Is a Home Warranty Worth It?

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 6, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Here at Home to Indy, we love working with our clients! We consider it a privilege to walk with people through the home buying process, and we understand that you might have lots of questions associated with it, especially if you've never purchased a home before.

One of the common questions we receive is, "Is a home warranty worth it?" We know that you want to protect your new home at all costs, but a home warranty may not be the best way to do that. Before we decide that, let's take a step back and look at what a home warranty is.

home-warranty

What is a home warranty?

A home warranty is not the same thing as homeowners insurance, nor is it a replacement for homeowners insurance. Homeowners insurance covers major perils such as fires, hail, property crimes and certain types of water damage that could affect the entire structure and/or the homeowner's personal possessions. A home warranty does not cover these perils. Rather, it covers specific components of the home.

A home warranty is a contract between a homeowner and a home warranty company that provides for discounted repair and replacement service on a home's major components, such as the furnace, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical system. 

Home warranty companies have agreements with approved service providers. When something that is covered by a home warranty breaks down, the homeowner calls the home warranty company, and the home warranty company sends one of its service providers to examine the problem. If the provider determines that the needed repair or replacement is covered by the warranty, the work is completed. The homeowner only pays a small service fee, plus the money she has already spent to purchase the warranty.

How much does a home warranty cost?

A home warranty costs a few hundred dollars a year, paid up front (or in installments, if the warranty company offers a payment plan). The plan's cost varies depending on the property type (single-family detached, condo, townhome, duplex) and whether the homeowner purchases a basic or extended plan. The cost usually does not vary with the property's age, unless the home is brand new, which increases the cost of coverage. The home's square footage also does not affect the price in most cases, unless the property is over 5,000 square feet. 

In addition to an annual premium, home warranties charge a service call fee of around $60 every time the warranty holder requests that a service provider come out to the house to examine a problem. If the problem requires more than one type of contractor to visit (e.g., a plumber and an electrician), the homeowner may have to pay the service fee for each contractor.

Having a home warranty doesn't mean the homeowner will never have to spend a penny on home repairs. Some problems won't be covered by the warranty, either because the homeowner didn't purchase coverage for that item or because the warranty company doesn't offer coverage for that item. Also, home warranties usually don't cover components that haven't been properly maintained. If the warranty company denies a claim, the homeowner will still have to pay the service fee and will also be responsible for repair costs.

The bottom line

A home warranty is not a perfect solution to the risks homeowners face. Before purchasing one, homeowners should read the fine print in the home warranty contract and carefully consider whether the warranty is likely to pay off. Home sellers who want to offer a warranty to buyers and homeowners/buyers who would feel more comfortable having a home warranty should also do careful research to find a reputable home warranty company that will actually pay for legitimate repairs when they are needed.

Topics: Buying a Home, Home Warranty

Pogue's Run Grocer: A Local Gem

Posted by Mandy Padgett on Nov 4, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Pogues_Run

In past posts, I’ve referenced my love of all things local, from local business to local art, but among the things I am most enthusiastic about is the idea of local food. This makes such good sense - if you can eat food that hasn’t been trucked long distances, which hasn’t been steadily losing nutrients through a long process of transportation, the more certain we can be of its honest benefit to us. This idea has lead me to take an avid interest in discovering those places in our city where you can get great local food. Restaurants, for one thing and local retailers as well. Let's look at some market type places to shop for local foods.

Before I did a little digging, I had no idea what my options were for good, local foods. Farmers markets are available, but which were the best? For a long time I drove a long way to get to a Whole Foods or a Fresh Market. And as much as I find shopping in places like The Fresh Market to be a utopian experience with their good smells and classical music, they can be something of an over-priced misnomer in my opinion. If you look at the labels on most what is sold there, almost none of it comes from anywhere near by, which makes me pretty skeptical about how “fresh” it can actually be. And, the fact of the matter at least for my family, is that the grocery bill has to fall within a certain number every month, or I can’t sustain the habit and those luxury stores were pushing my limits every week.

There is, however, the evil other side of grocery store utopia; grocery store hell. I have belly-deep dread for wading through the cold fluorescent maze of a “ regular” store, already crowded with distracted, tired people. And surely, if the food at Fresh Market isn’t really the gold standard of good and fresh, I don’t even want to know where most of this food comes in. This paradox is why it became so important for me to figure out where I can go and buy good, healthy food that is as good for the environment as it is for my family.

I’d like to start with one of my all-around favorites for local and fresh and that is Pogue’s Run Grocer on the near East side of Indianapolis. Why do I love Pogue’s Run?

  • It is Indianapolis' only non-profit, community-owned grocery store. Yes, it’s a co-op, one you can become a member of. You don’t have to in order to shop there, but doing so has its perks, such as that it allows you extra discounts on select items and classes. If you’re really excited about being involved, the potential to be elected to the board if you're a member. Not to mention, membership helps this little endeavor to grow and thrive, which I believe is entirely worth while.
  • I can do all of my grocery shopping there. Its rare that I find a one-stop shop for groceries, and the nice thing about Pogue’s is that they carry all of the essentials. Now, the only disclaimer I will make to this is that they really only carry the “good for humans and the world” stuff, so usually I still buy things like trash bags, zip-lock bags and fabric softener from some of the regular grocery stores. Also, fruit and vegetables are in stock according to what is in season, so once in a while I have a recipe that demands I look elsewhere, but in general not, since they usually have frozen even what they might not have fresh.
  • Price. For the most part, I think Pogue’s Run has the best prices on local and organic. There are a few things that I pay more for at Pogue’s Run, but in general I think it’s worth it. And, if you do partake in membership, the prices on many things are even better.
  • The meats. First of all, I’m only about three years old in the world of fresh, local and organic. I’m not the person who was raised in Birkenstocks and hemp clothes. So for many, many long years, I ate the regular Kroger beef and I thought that was fine. And...theoretically, it was. So, I couldn’t conceive that there would be a substantial different between the stuff at a big chain and the stuff from a local farm. At least...not enough to have a real wow factor. But I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Cooking and eating meat is a completely different experience for me, since I started using fresh and local. I’m not sure I can adequately praise how much better it is, so I would just encourage you to try it, if you don’t already.
  • I also love the giant wall of bulk items at Pogues. It allows me to buy everything from rice and pasta to flour to granola and beans plus everything in-between in the quantities that are right for me every week. I ended up buying some glass storage containers for my regular staples for a few bucks each, and it’s a great system for me. (And I like knowing my food isn’t sitting in plastic, while it’s on my shelf waiting to be eaten. I know. One too many documentaries, for me!)
In conclusion, if you want honest, real food, shop somewhere that has a great relationship with the farmer that the food comes from...somewhere like Pogue’s Run Grocer.

 

Topics: Local Business, Food

How to Choose Your Kitchen Appliances

Posted by Paula Henry on Nov 2, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Appliances are the workhorses of your kitchen. Together, they will add up to about nine percent of your kitchen budget. This figure is surprisingly low, considering the technological advances and energy efficiencies today's appliances offer. While features and performance are obviously the most important considerations in choosing appliances, how they'll look in your kitchen probably matters to you, too.

But how do you go about deciding when there are so many options? While we obviously can't make the decision for you, we'll give you some criteria you'll need to consider for some of your kitchen appliances.

appliances

Range

A classic oven-cooktop combination suits most kitchens in both style and function. Determine your budget, available space and style ahead of time to help you decide between a standard slide-in freestanding range, a stainless steel commercial-style range, a vintage cast iron range and more.

Oven

If you've opted out of the standard range arrangement, you'll need to find a separate oven and cooktop for your kitchen. This can be a great thing for wannabe chefs, since it opens up a world of possibilities: Double ovens, wall ovens, warming drawers and steam ovens can all potentially find a spot in your kitchen.

Cooktop

Having a separate cooktop allows for more flexibility in design and cooking. If you love wall ovens or just want to keep your baking and cooking space separate, you'll want to find an individual electric or gas range.

Refrigerator

Refrigerators can take up a lot of visual space. Think carefully about how much room you'll actually need for storing food before you start shopping. You'll want to consider counter-depth, full-depth and built-in refrigerator models.

Microwave

Once you finally have the kitchen of your dreams, you want to make sure that every little thing looks right — including the microwave. While it's not the most glamorous appliance, it's a necessity for most. Some like to up the ante with built-in models, while others are content with countertop versions. 

Universally Designed

Even if your kitchen isn't in your "forever home," it's important to take different mobility needs into account. Elderly visitors, young children or others with limited mobility should feel comfortable in your kitchen. Part of that means choosing appliances that everyone can use and be safe around.

Eco-Friendly

So many kitchen appliances today come with some sort of ecofriendly or sustainability guarantee slapped to the front of the box. But what actually makes a difference to the environment and your energy bill? Paying close attention to the size and energy output before buying a new appliance can help you save money in the long run.

Whatever appliances you purchase, make sure they are ones that you love since you'll likely be using them regularly.

Topics: Home Interiors, kitchen