Weight Loss Tips for New Dieters

You’ve never had to watch your weight before, but it seems like all of those years of eating whatever you want are suddenly catching up with you. If you’re about to embark on your first diet, use these simple tips to stay on track and maximize results.

  1. Think about it in the long-term. Instead of thinking of your diet as something that will eventually end, consider it a lifestyle change. That way, you’ll be able to maintain your results and even indulge in the occasional treat.
  2. Aim for realistic goals. Instead of starting an extreme diet to lose a very large amount of weight each week, set realistic goals that you can safely and healthily meet. For example, aiming to lose 2 pounds per week is a healthy and attainable weight loss goal that will still yield major results.
  3. Skip the fad diets. Instead of falling for a fad diet that cuts out a major food group or involves complicated meal plans, opt for a healthy diet that includes whole foods and balanced meals.
  4. Keep it simple. Fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and the occasional healthy whole grains and you’ll have no problem shedding those extra pounds.

Healthy Weight Loss and Dieting Tips [HelpGuide.org]
The 25 Best Diet Tricks of All Time [Health]
Jillian Michaels: Weight-Loss Tips That Work [Health]

How to Host a Swap Party

While you may have heard of the clothing swap and the book swap, who says that you can’t swap everything that you frequently use? Swap parties are great ways to de-clutter your home while also recycling your unused items, and they’re mutually beneficial for everyone who attends. Now, how about a snack swap?

  1. Decide what to swap. Consider things that you and your friends all use, such as clothing, shoes, books, kids' toys, and music.
  2. Let your guests know what to make. If you don’t want to swap pre-used goods, host a food swap with items like soup or cookies. Just make sure to let your guests know well in advance so that they can get to cooking or baking.
  3. Pick the right amount of people. Depending on the size of your home, you might want to narrow your invite list down to only a few people (just make sure that you invite at least five, or it won’t be much of a swap!).
  4. Send an e-vite. In order to detail the instructions clearly, send all of your guests an email at least two weeks in advance.
  5. Set up a swapping area. Clear out the swap room so that you have ample space to browse, and then make displays for the swappable items, such as tables or clothing racks.
  6. Swap! Go around the room taking turns, or let your guests loose in a free-for-all swapping excursion.

How to Host a Swap Party [Real Simple]
How to Host a Clothing Swap Party – Rules & Ideas [Money Crashers]
Soup Swap Party [Soup Swap Party]

Hosting Guests on a Budget at Windsor at Mariners? Serve Everything from Appetizers to Entrees With These Household Items

If you’re hosting your first dinner party or holiday gathering at Windsor at Mariners, you may find it difficult to round up enough serving trays and platters to serve everyone. Luckily, with a bit of creativity, you can find unique and affordable ways to serve your guests with household items that you already own. Here are a few smart ideas for serving a group.

  1. Present utensils in baskets. Even if you have to use disposable utensils to accommodate everyone, make them look festive by displaying them in decorative baskets.
  2. Display appetizers right on the cutting board. Once you’re done cutting cheeses and other appetizers, leave them right on the cutting board! Attractive cutting boards create a rustic look that’s still really chic.
  3. Make your own cake stand. Create a makeshift cake stand by simply turning a glass bowl upside down and placing a matching glass plate on top. If you want to add more stability, glue the two together.
  4. Reuse martini glasses. If your party doesn’t involve martinis, use the decorative martini glasses to serve mixed nuts, candies, and other finger foods.
  5. Use disposable cookware. If worse comes to worse and you just don’t have enough serving dishes, skip over to a dollar store and purchase some disposable aluminum cooking trays. Once the food is done, you can serve it right from the tray.

Big List of Inexpensive Ways to Serve Holiday Meals [The Frugal Girls]
Creative and Fun Ways to Serve Food [Pinterest]
Fall Party Food: Cute Serving Ideas [Better Homes and Gardens]

How to Hang Curtains the Right Way

Something as small as adjusting your curtain rods can quickly change the look of your home. Follow these tips to create a better look for your window and the rest of your space!

  • Always hang your curtains up high to the ceiling. It makes your ceilings look higher and your space look larger and will enhance the overall atmosphere of your room.
  • If your curtains aren’t wide enough it will block light and make the window look smaller, therefore making your whole room appear smaller. When the curtains are pushed open, you want to see almost all of the window.
  • The most common mistake in hanging curtains is hanging them too short making it look awkward. Make sure the bottom of the curtains just kiss the floor.
  • You can also make the curtains puddle on the floor to give your room a romantic, feminine, and European vibe.

Quick & Affordable Home Makeover Task: Adjust Your Curtain Rods [Apartment Therapy]
Hanging Curtains All Wrong [Emily Henderson]
It’s Curtains, Hang Em High [Home Goods]

How to Clean Your Microwave Without Harsh Chemicals

From reheating leftovers to warming up bowls of canned soup, your microwave sees a whole lot of messes from its various daily tasks. You may think that you need to use a store-bought cleanser to get out those tough, caked-on stains, but if you want to avoid those harsh chemicals, you can actually make your own cleanser at home. Follow these steps for cleaning your microwave in an all-natural way.

  1. Pour one cup of vinegar into a microwave-safe bowl, and then add one cup of hot water and stir the two together.
  2. Place the bowl with its vinegar solution in the center of the microwave and turn it on. Let it run on average power for 10 minutes.
  3. Keep an eye on the bowl and remove it from the microwave when you notice it starting to boil (likely somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes). Note: Be sure to use an oven mitt, as the bowl will be very hot.
  4. Wet a rag with lukewarm water and give the inside a good wipe-down to remove the now-loosened debris inside.
  5. Once all of the debris is steam cleaned away, create a simple solution of lemon juice and water. Dip another rag into the homemade cleanser and give the microwave another wipe-down to freshen things up.

How to Clean Your Microwave Naturally With Just a Lemon [The Kitchn]
How to Clean and Shine Your Microwave Without Cleaner [One Good Thing]
Use a Lemon to Make Cleaning the Microwave Easy [Lifehacker]

How to Start Selling on eBay

Do you have a few unused yet still valuable things lying around your home? Whether it’s an old cell phone or collectible comic books, eBay is a good place to sell almost any of your unwanted items. Here are a few tips to help you get started on the online auction site.

  1. Choose worthwhile items. Functional electronics, name-brand clothing, and collectibles are all good items to sell on eBay. Things that are poor quality, broken, or very outdated, however, are not.
  2. Take high quality photos. While eBay offers a feature that includes stock photos for certain items, it’s usually better to upload your own photo so that the buyer can see exactly what they're buying. Use a high quality cell phone or digital camera, and be sure to include photos of every part of the item, including any possible defects.
  3. Create a detailed description. The more detailed your description, the better. Answer all of the questions that eBay asks about your item, and then add anything else that an interested party should know in the description.
  4. Check out other prices. To better your chances of selling your item, check out how much similar items sold for and list your item for about the same.
  5. Ship quickly. Once your item sells, be sure to ship it quickly so that the buyer will give you a good rating — and hopefully improve your chances of selling again.

How to Sell Online With eBay [eBay]
Top Ten Mistakes by Beginning eBay Sellers [About Money]
Sell on eBay [For Dummies]

Tackle Spring Cleaning With These Helpful Tips

The change from winter to spring is typically accompanied by a desire to have a bright, clean home. You're tired of the dingy, cold effects of winter snow and ice, and everything just feels a bit less than fresh. If you’re planning a spring cleaning routine but don’t know where to begin, these seven tips will help you get started.

  • Set all clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Change the batteries in things like smoke detectors, remote controls, and alarm clocks.
  • Flip or rotate your mattress to ensure that it lasts for years to come.
  • Protect hardwood floors against scratches by adding padded, adhesive discs to the legs of chairs and tables.
  • Clean the refrigerator using a few teaspoons of baking soda diluted in hot water. Also be sure to toss out expired or unused food items.
  • Wash pillows to prevent seasonal allergens common in the springtime from accumulating inside.
  • Re-stock cleaning supplies to prepare yourself for any number of household messes and spills that come with the spring season.

Spring Cleaning [Martha Stewart]
28 Spring Cleaning Tips [Country Living]

Facts About Flax Seeds You Might Not Already Know

If you’re trying to improve your health and maintain a healthy diet, you may want to start incorporating flax seeds into your meals. These tiny seeds are said to be great for digestion and vascular health, and they may even help to prevent certain types of cancers. Here are just a few fun facts about flax seeds that you might not know.

  1. Flaxseeds have more omega-3 fatty acids than any other foods in the world. These acids remain stable for up to three hours in the oven, which means that you can bake flaxseeds into breads and muffins without losing the omega-3s.
  2. Flaxseeds have the highest amount of lignans of any other food. Lignans are fiber-related polyphenols that offer benefits similar to antioxidants and fibers, and they are beneficial to all humans.
  3. Flaxseeds provide support to the intestinal tract through their mucilage, or “gum” content. This water-soluble gel improves nutrient absorption into the small intestine.
  4. Flaxseeds are proven to reduce metabolic syndrome. Studies show that people who eat 30 grams of flaxseeds each day had a 20% decrease in metabolic syndrome over a 12-week period.
  5. By eating more flaxseeds, you can improve your cardiovascular system. These powerful seeds help prevent excessive inflammation in the blood vessels, keeping your blood pumping and keeping the body safe from diseases.

Flaxseeds [Vegetarian]
What's New and Beneficial About Flaxseeds [The World’s Healthiest Foods]
Flax for Consumers [Ameriflax]

How to Use Color to Brighten Your Home at Windsor at Mariners

It’s not uncommon for renters to have restrictions when it comes to making changes to the look of the unit; however, there are a number of other ways to brighten up your space without the use of paint. Here are just a few!

  1. Add a pop of color in the kitchen by mixing and matching brightly hued chairs with a neutral table. Paint your existing set in a bright yellow, rich navy blue, or trendy turquoise.
  2. Set out vases of fresh flowers throughout your home for an all-natural burst of color. Think daisies, hydrangeas, and tulips in equally colorful vases.
  3. Top your bed and sofa with a variety of mismatched throw pillows in complementary hues. While they don’t all have to match completely, choosing one color scheme will help you to keep things looking stylish.
  4. Add artwork from local thrift stores and home decor shops housed in painted frames. You can also try a “dipped” look by painting the entire bottom half of the painting and frame in one bright shade.
  5. Add removable wallpaper that you can easily peel off when your lease is up. Use a floral or striped style on one accent wall for a magazine-worthy look.

20 Ways to Add Color to Your Home Without Painting [Brit + Co]
Top 10 Tips for Adding Color to Your Space [HGTV]
7 Ways to Add Color to Your Dining Room [Dwell]

How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea

Even if you drink tea every day, you may not be brewing it properly. Don’t sweat it, however; simply read up on these simple tips for brewing the perfect cuppa.

  • For hot teas, such as black tea, you’ll want to first bring cold, filtered water to a boil to ensure the best possible taste. Add the tea bag to the cup first, and then gently pour the now-boiling water on top of it, using wide circular motions. Let the tea brew for three to five minutes, no more, and then serve with milk, sugar or by itself.
  • For large batches of iced teas, bring one quart of cold water to a rolling boil in a pot or kettle. Remove it from the stove and add eight to ten tea bags, depending on how dark you like your tea. Let it brew for three to five minutes, and then immediately pour it over a large quantity of ice cubes. You’ll also want to pop the whole thing in the refrigerator to get it completely cold.
  • For green tea, there is an entirely unique process. Because this tea is much more delicate, it can easily burn. Once the water starts boiling, you’ll want to let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool off. Then, pour it over the tea bag and let it brew for just one minute before serving.

How to Steep Hot Tea [The Republic of Tea]
Tea 101 [Teavana]
Brewing Tea [Tea Association]
Make a Perfect Brew [UK Tea & Infusions]

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