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Longer days call for some light reading

The sun is higher and days are longer. It’s the perfect time to grab a book and head outdoors. Take some “me” time to dive into an interesting and fun read while soaking up some vitamin D:

• “One Italian Summer” (Rebecca Serle): Not your typical love story and not to be overlooked. 

• “Disorientation (Elaine Hsieh Chou): A satire you’ll laugh and learn with. 

• “You Made A Fool of Death With Your Beauty” (Awkwaeke Emezi): To be released in May, for anyone who’s looking for new beginnings.

• “It Ends With Us” (Colleen Hoover): The kind of story you can’t put down. 

MaryGrace Williams, The Atlanta 100

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Tips for saving money on heating and cooling your home

If you’re like most people, you like to keep your home at a comfortable temperature throughout the year. However, running your heater or air conditioner constantly uses a lot of energy, and your electric and gas bills can seriously add up over time.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your energy costs, saving money without having to sacrifice comfort. Try these helpful tips, and watch the savings roll in:

• Check window and door seals.

• Upgrade your insulation.

• Use a programmable thermostat.

It’s all about striking a balance between comfort and affordability to find what works best for you.


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How to evaluate and choose energy-efficient appliances

Considering new energy-efficient appliances for your home? Follow these steps to balance your needs and budget:

• Choose the right size – With HVAC units, it’s crucial to select the appropriate size for your home so check how many square feet it can accommodate.

• Look for energy-efficient settings – Dishwashers and washing machines have settings that regulate water levels for heavier or lighter loads.

• Consider both upfront and ongoing costs – Labels show annual operating costs, so compare the upgrade price to its savings over time.

• Think about the environment – By using less non-renewable energy, everyone can help preserve the environment for future generations.

– Jeff Arnold, President, RightSure

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3 easy gifts to make at home this season

Whether your holiday budget is tight this year, or you’re unsure of what to get friends and family, there are tons of ways to make great gifts with items you probably have at home. Besides, nothing beats creating something special for a loved one.

Here are three DIY gifts to try: 

1. Cinnamon sugar hand scrub: You only need four ingredients – brown sugar, cinnamon, coconut oil and vanilla extract. 

2. Photo ornaments: Share your favorite memories through photos and customize them with ribbons or other decorative items. 

3. Stovetop potpourri: Combine classic holiday herbs and spices for a nice-smelling home accessory.

Maggie Medoff, The Pittsburgh 100

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Water you doing this summer?

What started out during pandemic restrictions last summer, demand for owning a pool is stronger than ever. This continues to fuel an unprecedented boom in pool construction.

Drive through any neighborhood and you’ll find pool company signs around every turn. Pool-builders continue to have waitlists from six to 12 months, minimum. Even as some of our favorite community, neighborhood and hotel pools have reopened, the demand is still there.

If you’re thinking about building a pool, or just enjoy checking out some of the most beautiful pools in the area, we’ve got you covered — with tips and inspiration.

Marty Brantley, The New Orleans 100

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Time to get gardens ready for spring

Spring is in the air and nothing proves that more than the very full parking lots at Lowe’s and Home Depot lately. From flowers to vegetables, the sunny days have everyone wanting to improve their garden. But where to start?

To set yourself up for success with plants that survive and thrive, first consider the environment. How much rain does your yard get? What areas get more sun or shade?

Next, consider what is in season. Currently, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and peppers are ready for planting. If you want to add some florals, now’s the time for daffodils and hydrangeas.

Taylor Thompson, The Atlanta 100

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The Holidays, Holiday Shopping and COVID-19

holiday shopping COVID-19

According to a national survey by WalletHub, an estimated 45% of people in the United States will start shopping for the holidays earlier this year due to COVID-19. The survey also found:

• Almost 60% of people say they’ll pay for their holiday purchases in full by the due date.

• Almost 41 million Americans still have credit card debt from last holiday season.

• Nearly 102 million consumers will spend less on holidays this year than last year.

• 101 million people would pay extra for a COVID-19 vaccine.

• 31% more young adults than baby boomers plan to be more charitable this year.

The Arizona 100 reports

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Maintain Sanity With a Daily Schedule For the Kids

Maintain Sanity With a Daily Schedule For the Kids

It’s week 8,984. You’ve memorized Moana and are getting every penny out of the Disney+ subscription but still feel like you’re on the edge of losing your grip on this whole work-and-parent-from-home thing.

You are not alone. Parents everywhere are running out of creative ideas to occupy the day but making a schedule can help get you, your workday and your kids back on track.

Here are some great resources to get started. Making the schedule can be its own fun activity to do together. Stay strong!

• Realistic Daily Schedule During COVID-19
• CDC: Creating Structure & Rules
• Kids Schedule During COVID-19

– McKinley Lewis, The OJT 100

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Is Now the Time to Expand Professionally?

Is Now the Time to Expand Professionally

Got your attention, didn’t I? This post isn’t encouraging you to grow your business during a pandemic. Rather, I pose the question: Should we use this time to expand ourselves professionally?

Should we learn a new skill or language, or read the books on our trade that we always wished we had time to? Should the work lunches we aren’t able to have right now be replaced with personal learning and professional growth time?

A 60-minute language session while eating at your desk or home office, or listening to an informative podcast are examples of an easy place to start.

Chad Tucker, The OJT 100

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Summer Monsoons Bring Dust Storms

Summer Monsoons Bring Dust Storms

If you cannot avoid being caught in an Arizona monsoon dust storm while driving on one of our state’s highways, there are a number of life-saving things you should do.

First, pull off the road. Do not stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane. Look for a safe place to pull completely off the paved portion of the roadway. Turn your lights off and keep your foot off the brake to prevent your brake lights from coming on. Put your vehicle in “park” and stay inside with your seat belts buckled. Then, just wait the storm out.

– Bart Graves, Arizona Department of Public Safety