Hack your pantry with these 26 space-saving storage ideas. These products will turn your kitchen into a thoroughly organized, well-oiled machine. . .
Hack your pantry with these 26 space-saving storage ideas. These products will turn your kitchen into a thoroughly organized, well-oiled machine. . .
Here are some ideas you can implement to alleviate cabin fever
Meditation and mental health app Calm released a number of quick, easy-to-do meditations and relaxing playlists. Six meditations with titles such as “A Heart Less Heavy” and “Softening Fear” will help you and your family work through anxiety and panic caused by the coronavirus.
Calm’s Sleep Stories will lull your children to sleep for naptime, with narrations by Matthew McConaughey and David Walliams. Lastly, Calm offers a number of playlists with spa-like music that soothes the mind and soul.
In light of Covid-19 school closures, Scholastic is offering a free learning program, Learn At Home. The program provides four weeks of lessons timed at three hours per day for all grade levels.
Kindergarteners can learn about how plants grow, while first and second graders are introduced to weather patterns and the environment. Older elementary school students can take a virtual field trip to the Museum of the American Revolution, and middle and high schoolers can learn about chemistry through a fun lesson called “Extreme Candy.”
“We designed Scholastic Learn At Home knowing that administrators and teachers need to create extensive virtual learning plans, quickly, and that students need uplifting and engaging experiences,” Scholastic Classroom Magazines Editor-in-Chief Lauren Tarshis told The Hill. “Our hope is that even though daily routines are being disrupted and students may not have valuable time in school with their educators, together we can support meaningful learning at home while it is necessary.”
Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that enables Netflix users to gather virtually and watch a show or movie. To get started, choose a movie, and click the “NP” logo. Once you do, the Netflix Party extension will generate a URL invite code that you can share with partygoers.
The extension also has a chat function, so everyone can share their reactions in real-time. If you’re concerned about what might happen in the chat (looking at you, tweens and teens), you can ask a parent to act as a monitor or shut the chat function off.
For small children, PJ Masks, Shaun the Sheep, Thomas and Friends and Octonauts are currently Netflix’s top picks. For older children, Stranger Things, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, One Day at a Time and Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse are good options.
Perfect for high schoolers, The New York Times‘ Learning Network offers free, thought-provoking articles, quizzes, lessons and writing prompts. The Times covers current events, with a quiz dispelling Covid-19 myths, and basic subjects, including language arts, science, mathematics, social studies and arts.
Children (and adults) may be tempted to procrastinate on important tasks while working from home. In this installment of Smarter Living, opinion columnist Adam Grant shares that procrastination isn’t a matter of laziness, but a matter of “avoiding negative emotions.”
Gleaning information from the world’s top psychologists, Grant encourages us to stop worrying about perfection, to adjust our schedules to fit when we’re naturally most energized and to consider working near someone (which in this situation, could be a spouse or loved one you live with).
For parents, this could mean allowing your night owls to tackle take-home assignments in the evening, allowing children to work in pairs, and taking time to talk about anxiety and fears they have about missing school or the virus.
As reported by Inman’s Veronika Bondarenko, celebrities are bringing stories to life by hosting daily storytimes on social media. Keep an eye on Josh Gad, Jennifer Gardner, Amy Adams and Reese Witherspoon’s social media feeds for new reads. If you’re not a social media lover, then download Libby on iOS and Android to access children’s audiobooks at your local library.
Although YouTube is primarily known as an entertainment platform, the site has plenty of channels that offer educational content perfect for children and adults.
SciShow Kids offers short videos for young children on topics such as “How are raisins made?” and “Why is fire hot?” Crash Course Kids offers more fun, partially animated science videos fit for older elementary and middle school students, and the main Crash Course channel covers everything from philosophy to media literacy.
If you’re not living in an area with a shelter-in-place mandate, consider allowing your children to play outside in a fenced-in backyard, or take them for an afternoon stroll in your neighborhood (remember, to stay at least 6 feet away from others). Use this opportunity to get some fresh air, or teach them schoolyard games that you used to play. Freeze tag, anyone?!
Inman design guru Ted Irvine suggests keeping a tablet or gaming device charged up to quickly calm anxious children. “Audiobooks and Nintendo Switch are really good things for parents to have around when the kids meltdown,” he said.
Although you don’t want to let them play it all day, have a few go-to games uploaded when you need a quick fix in the midst of a work rush. Animal Crossing, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and Super Mario Party are bestsellers.
Although most of us are living in near or complete isolation these days, Bruch said it doesn’t mean that we can’t connect. “I’m happy to offer resources and help to anyone who needs it,” she said while mentioning there are thousands of teachers and parents who are quickly connecting via social media to conduct virtual lessons, storytimes and babysitting sessions.
Taking care of your mind and body should always be a top priority when it comes to ensuring that you’re living your best life, but in these trying times, it’s more important than ever. If you’re beginning to feel trapped and stagnant as you adjust to working from home, here are 5 tips to help keep your mind sharp and your body healthy from your home office.
Whether or not you currently attend a yoga class or have tried from home, I’m sure you’re familiar with the practice. A blend of stretching for the body and meditation for the mind, yoga can boost your mental and physical fitness by improving sleep, busting stress, strengthening your heart, and more. What’s more, yoga studios like Sky Ting bring professional instruction directly to you with both live streaming classes, and on demand options; Namaste.
Practicing social distancing doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t connect with loved ones. Using FaceTime or apps like Houseparty give us the chance to catch up virtually – face to face. Maintaining these relationships keeps you truly connected with the world that matters.
Between completing your job-related tasks, trying to absorb (or avoid) the non-stop news cycle, and potentially keeping your child (or children) busy, working from home can be stressful; give your mind a rest with a nap, listening to some of your favorite music, reading from a magazine or book, or even taking a relaxing shower or bath. Studies show that even just a minute of deep breathing can relieve stress.
Making fewer trips to the grocery store means that you’ve likely stocked your pantry up – and being in close proximity to that stockpile might make you more inclined to snack more frequently. Resist the urge to snack by creating a schedule and prepare for meals in advance. Staying at home doesn’t mean you can’t eat well either; there are many, many tips on how to make hearty (and healthy) comforting meals.
If you have to leave your house for essentials, staying healthy means sticking to a cleanliness regimen. Any time you return home, wash your hands properly – it’s also a good idea to daily disinfect high-trafficked surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, bathroom utilities, light switches, phones, gaming controllers, and remotes.
Remember that we are all in this together; sharing what works for you on social media or through conversation may help others struggling to adjust. Your network of clients and colleagues may benefit from your successes – and you from theirs.
Let’s show the Flathead Valley some support!
With recent dine-in options changing, many local establishments have added take out, carry out, meal kits and delivery services. We encourage you to participate in a “Take Out Blitz” to inject some business and dollars into these businesses that are impacted. If you don’t want to order take-out or delivery – go online and buy some gift cards to use at a later date when they reopen all services.
There’s a difference between a house and a home. It can take time to personalize the interior of a new house with your own sense of style and décor, making it a welcoming place that becomes a family’s central hub. To help give any new house a head start, or refresh during an extended stay at home, we’ve compiled a few simple tips to make your new property feel distinctly yours.
The best way to start off in a new home? Make sure you’re organized from the get-go. To make unpacking a breeze, ensure boxes are clearly labeled and organized by room, and that any furniture is placed in its proper spot from the very beginning. You’ll receive an instant sense of familiarity when you walk into your new house and see all of your belongings close to—if not perfectly—where they’re supposed to be. If you’re having renovations done, like painting or decorating, schedule them in advance to avoid chaos as much as possible.
Riverside, Connecticut | Steve Archino, Sotheby’s International Realty – Greenwich Brokerage
Bringing a touch of the outdoors inside is a sure way to make a new space feel fresh and welcoming—and plants have the added benefit of purifying the air. To spruce up your new home, try large potted plants like palms and ferns to brighten entranceways and living rooms. And if you’re looking to instantly achieve that at-home feeling before you’ve settled on more permanent plants, add some fresh bouquets of flowers to the kitchen on your first day in your new abode.
Smell is a powerful vehicle for nostalgia. Just a hint of a certain scent can transport us to a memory of a vacation or a moment with friends. Whether through a candle, incense, diffused essential oils, or your go-to soap, adding fragrance to your new space makes it even more welcoming. If you’re looking for new scents to christen your new home, try light florals in the living room, something fresh and herbal in the kitchen, and relaxing lavender in the bedroom to aid sleep.
It’s hard to resist a thrill when a favorite song comes on the radio. Bring that magic mood into your new home by listening to curated music as you settle in. Make a playlist, press play, and let the music of your life fill your new space as you decorate and adjust to your new environs. Creating new memories through sound can smooth the adjustment process.
Beverly Hills, California | Eric Lavey, Sotheby’s International Realty – Beverly Hills Brokerage
Unless you’re planning for a minimalist design in your new house, blank walls can be a deterrent in making your space feel homey. That’s not to say you should rush to add permanent artwork: while you decide on your chosen pieces, adding family photos and favorite decorative items from another home can quickly make your new space feel comfortable in the meantime.
Beverly Hills, California | Almila Gozen, Sotheby’s International Realty – Brentwood Brokerage
Lighting is crucial for setting ambiance in a new home. Consider if you need to make any updates to the placement and types of lighting in your house before you move in, so that rooms are cozy and welcoming when you arrive. Lighting candles can also set the tone for those first special evenings in a new space.
The kitchen is the soul of the house, so your new address might not feel like much of a home while it remains empty. Fill your fridge upon arrival, whether you pre-order for delivery or pick up fresh produce on the way. Cooking a meal in your new kitchen is also a great way to feel settled. Invite some family and friends over for a casual meal in the early days of your residence: a celebration with company can make any house a home almost instantly.
Moving into a new space, whether as a permanent residence or a seasonal getaway, is always an exciting time. You may be looking forward to a change of scenery or the chance to create more memories with familiar faces. Regardless of the type of property or how much time you’ll be spending there, these simple ideas go a long way towards making your new home feel like you’ve lived there for years.
The move by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac came days after President Trump announced that delayed mortgage payments may be an option for borrowers amidst the coronavirus pandemic
Homeowners who are now struggling financially as a result of the coronavirus outbreak may be able to postpone their mortgage payments for up to 12 months, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced last week.
The move by the federal loan servicers came days after President Trump announced that delayed mortgage payments may be an option for borrowers amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cover about half of all home loans in the U.S.
Individuals who have experienced a loss of income due to the outbreak may qualify to make reduced payments or be allowed a pause in payments altogether. Under the new plan, borrowers will not incur penalties or late fees, and delayed payments will not be reported to credit agencies.
“Our thoughts are with everyone who may be impacted by COVID-19 and we urge you to stay safe and well during these unprecedented times,” Malloy Evans, senior vice president and single-family chief credit officer for Fannie Mae, said in a press release. “Fannie Mae, along with our lending and servicing partners, is committed to ensuring assistance is available to homeowners in need. We encourage residents whose employment or income are impacted by COVID-19 to seek available assistance as soon as possible.”
To get the delayed payment process started, borrowers will initially only need to testify over the phone to their lender that they’re experiencing financial hardship; documentation will come later. However, borrowers are responsible for reaching out to their loan servicer themselves. Payment relief can also apply to any type of property, whether it’s a primary home, secondary home, or investment property.
Throughout the loan forbearance period, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may reassess the borrower’s ability to pay the loan to ensure the plan is still necessary for that borrower. After this period is up, servicers will develop a feasible repayment plan with the borrower, including potentially extending the life of the loan.
Some banks are also offering mortgage forbearance periods for customers during this time, although, as of now, they are much shorter than 12 months. Fifth Third Bank, for instance, is offering borrowers a 90 day forbearance period on mortgages, and Ally is offering a 120 day forbearance period for mortgage customers. Bank of America also stated it will defer mortgage payments for borrowers who request it, although it did not specify a length of time.
“We don’t want people who have been responsible in making their mortgage payments to suddenly be declared delinquent and to lose their access to credit,” Chris Mayer, a real estate economist at Columbia University’s business school, told NPR. “Let’s fight the virus, and let’s hold people harmless for something that they didn’t control.”
books: the original social distancing tool
Here’s a roundup of 15 books to read during these shutdown days — a combination of thrillers, relationship dramas, action-packed page-turners, and everything in between. Only two picks are nonfiction, chosen because they celebrate the best that humanity is capable of; the rest are fiction, because let’s face it — these days we could all use a bit of an escape from reality. Happy reading.
“Last Couple Standing”
by Matthew Norman (fiction, Ballantine)
Four couples have been friends since college, getting married and having kids around the same time, as well. Now the divorces have started: Jessica and Mitch are the last ones standing. To ensure that their marriage lasts, they decide to embark on an experiment that involves seeing other people. Spoiler alert: The experiment doesn’t go well.
by Chad Dundas (fiction, GP Putnam’s Sons)
Army veteran Matthew Rose has been called back home to settle his father’s affairs after his death. He doesn’t remember much about his past; a traumatic brain injury sustained in Iraq wiped out much of his memory. On his first night back in town, he witnesses a house fire, and it turns out a young man was inside. The incident brings back memories of a different fire — and an important part of his past.
“The Glass Hotel”
by Emily St. John Mandel (fiction, Knopf)
At the remote Hotel Caiette, a 5-star hotel on the coast of Vancouver, a barmaid named Vincent meets a man named Jonathan the same night someone has scrawled “Why don’t you swallow broken glass” on the lobby wall. Vincent will embark on a relationship with Jonathan, though she doesn’t yet know he’s running an international Ponzi scheme. Gorgeous and haunting. The author’s previous book, “Station Eleven,” is also incredible, but as it deals with the aftermath of a global pandemic, it’s perhaps best shelved for happier, healthier times.
“After Me Comes the Flood”
by Sarah Perry (fiction, Custom House)
This is the haunting debut novel by the bestselling author of “The Essex Serpent” and “Melmoth,” written before she became well known. A London bookseller breaks down in his car en route to seeing his brother, and when he goes to a nearby house for help, a woman — and everyone else in the strange house — knows who he is, and has been expecting him.
“A Long Petal of the Sea”
by Isabel Allende (fiction, Ballantine)
An epic novel that follows two people — a young pregnant widow and her brother-in-law — over decades and crossing continents, as they flee the Spanish Civil War to a new life in Chile. To survive, the pair must get married, a union neither desires.
by Jussi Adler-Olsen (fiction, Dutton)
In this newest installment from the bestselling Q series, the death of “Victim 2117” — the 2,117th refugee to die in the Mediterranean Sea — sets off a chain of events in Copenhagen’s cold-cases division.
“The Red Lotus”
by Chris Bohjalian (fiction, Doubleday)
A couple goes on a bike tour in Vietnam, but only one comes home: The man, Austin, vanishes one night on the road, leaving only a pack of yellow energy gel in his wake. As his girlfriend Alexis struggles to put together the pieces back home, she uncovers a trail of lies — and realizes she may not have known Austin very well at all. Pretty much everything Bohjalian writes is addictive, so when you’re done with this, check out “The Flight Attendant,” among others.
by Graham Moore (fiction, Random House)
It was the most famous trial of the decade: A billionaire’s daughter vanished on the way to school, her teacher named a suspect in her murder. One juror, Maya Seale, was convinced of the teacher’s innocence, and succeeded in getting her peers to return a not-guilty verdict. Ten years later, a TV show reassembles the jury for a reunion, but one of the jurors is found dead — in Maya’s hotel room.
“My Dark Vanessa”
by Kate Elizabeth Russell (fiction, William Morrow)
Jacob Strane, a high-school English teacher, has just been accused of sexual abuse by a former student. It isn’t the first time. The student reaches out to Vanessa Wye, a young woman with a similar experience with Strane when she was 15. When she gets the message, Vanessa has to make a choice: Stay silent — she believes their relationship was consensual — or take a painful look at her past. One of the biggest releases of the season.
“Oona Out of Order”
by Margarita Montimore (fiction, Flatiron)
On New Year’s Eve 1982, Oona is just about to turn 19, her whole life ahead of her. But then she wakes up and she’s . . . 51 and wondering what the hell just happened. As she grapples with this strange new world, she discovers it’s going to happen every New Year’s Eve: She’ll be transported to a different year in her life (which sounds pretty appealing right now, doesn’t it?)
“One Minute Out” (Gray Man Book 9)
by Mark Greaney (fiction, Berkley)
A high-stakes thriller about a human-trafficking ring that stretches from the Balkans all the way to Hollywood. When Court Gentry tries to shut it down, his CIA handlers have other plans: The criminal ringleader has information about a terrorist attack on American soil, and nothing will happen until the CIA has that intel.
“Long Bright River”
by Liz Moore (fiction, Riverhead Books)
Kacey and Mickey are once-inseparable sisters living in a Philadelphia neighborhood ravaged by the opioid crisis. Kacey is an addict who lives on the streets; Mickey is a beat cop. When Kacey disappears at the same time that a string of murders terrorizes the area, Mickey becomes desperate to find her sister — and the culprit.
by Ann Napolitano (fiction, The Dial Press)
Twelve-year-old Edward is the sole survivor of a plane crash that killed his parents, his older brother and 183 other passengers. As he struggles to adjust to life with his aunt and uncle as the public face of a shocking national tragedy, he tries to navigate a world in which nothing feels certain. Trust me on this one: While it deals with a plane crash, it’s really a celebration of life and feeling connected to other people.
“The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz”
by Erik Larson (nonfiction, Crown)
If ever there was a time to be inspired by the fortitude of the human spirit, it’s now. Author of “The Devil in the White City” and “In the Garden of the Beasts,” Erik Larson weaves a fascinating yarn out of every topic he turns his attention to, and his latest book — a terribly moving tale of Blitz London and Churchill’s campaign to persuade the United States to enter the war — is no exception. Exquisitely researched and described, this tome brings that difficult time period and its players to life.
“Voyage of Mercy: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America’s First Humanitarian Mission”
by Stephen Puleo (nonfiction, St. Martin’s Press)
Thousands of ships left Ireland during the Potato Famine in the 1840s, packed with poor and starving crowds fleeing their homeland for the promise of the United States. One ship, the USS Jamestown, headed from Boston in the other direction, loaded with food for the Irish. It was the first humanitarian mission by the United States — prior to it, the idea of nations helping each other was not considered — and it set the precedent for many more such efforts to come. A moving historic tribute.
Mortgage rates reached the lowest point in 50 years last week, and one economist predicted they could plummet even more this week
Mortgage rates reached the lowest point in 50 years last week.
The Treasury yield began this week by hitting a record low.
And one economist predicted they could plummet even more this week.
So should consumers consider locking in a mortgage rate now or, instead, play the waiting game?
“I would go ahead and lock in a rate,” Kapfidze said. “We don’t know how this is going to play out. Lending Tree Chief Economist Tendayi Kapfidze said it’s hard to anticipate what rates are going to do, but if you’re a consumer and there are already savings on the table, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
Mortgage rates and treasuries are connected, yes, but rates won’t move downward as fast as treasuries.
“It’s possible that Treasury rates could go lower, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that mortgage rates will go lower,” Kapfidze said. “Lenders are hitting capacity and we’ve already seen that the spread between Treasuries and mortgages have widened since the financial crisis.”
“If you have savings, go ahead and lock in those savings.”
“We saw a drop in the last 48 hours in the 10-year Treasury yield, but we did not see an equal drop in mortgage rates,” Gardner said. “What’s going on here is that banks have got so much in terms of oversupply or over request of mortgages that they have not lowered rate because they don’t have to.”Matthew Gardner, the chief economist at Windermere Real Estate, doesn’t believe that we’ll see mortgage rates drop much further because banks are getting so many requests for mortgages right now.
Gardner believes the 10-year Treasury will hang around the 0.5-0.6 percent range, which means mortgage rates won’t be driven down any further by the Treasury yield.
“It’s unlikely we’re going to see a further drop,” Gardner said. “Goldman Sachs put their forecast of the [10-year Treasury yield] at about 0.5 percent. That suggests we, at least for the time being, are not going to see mortgage rates drop much further.”
A rate lock, according to real estate tech giant Zillow, is “a guarantee from a mortgage lender that they will give a mortgage loan applicant a certain interest rate, at a certain price, for a specific time period.”
Essentially, if the rates go up in that time period, you keep the lower rate that you locked in. But if they go down, unless you’ve agreed to a “float down,” — in which the consumer pays a fee to allow the mortgage rate to come down, if the market moves that way — you’re also stuck.
Loan officers can help consumers shop for the lowest rate, then ask the lender if a rate lock is available, according to Zillow. But there are a few things consumers should look out for.
“First, you don’t want to lock in the rate too early on, as rate locks are usually only good for between a few weeks to 60 days, so if your loan doesn’t process within that period, your rate lock offer will no longer be good,” the company’s information guide reads.
“Therefore, you need to make sure that the duration of your lock-in will give the lender enough time to process the loan. To do that, ask the lender to share the average loan processing time and try to get the lender to lock-in your rate for as long as possible to protect yourself.”
There are also fees often associated with a rate lock, but if the rate is so low — and expected to rise — the actual cost could be negligible. Short-term rate locks — those of less than 60 days — range from free to roughly 0.25-0.5 percent of the total loan, according to Zillow. If you need a longer period, the rate goes up.
We are celebrating International Women’s Day in good company. Meet the six female designers everyone needs to be following right now.
Hamptons-based interior designer Tamara Magel feels that inner harmony is found when a body recognizes its surroundings. Thus, she combines organic elements, fine finishes, client preferences, scrupulous attention to detail and a dash of whimsy in her designs for both aesthetic appeal and an intangible something that is not seen but felt.
Atlanta-based interior designer Erika Ward’s approach incorporates her previous experience as an accountant managing commercial real estate projects, and her keen design sensibility. Not one to be afraid of sharing, she brings personal flair to her Instagram account, where chronicles of projects and life with five kids seem to balance in unison.
Tulsa-based interior designer Mel Bean has assembled a talented team of women that strive to incorporate comfort, glamour and pragmatic usability into each project they take on. Architecture, existing light, timeline and financial considerations all come into play from the very beginning. The firm works closely with each client to ensure one hundred percent satisfaction.
Los Angeles-based interior designer Georgia Tapert Howe believes that good design shouldn’t be restricted by rules or boundaries. Her overarching philosophy is to meld classic elegance, contemporary vibes and 21st-century practicality. This approach allows her to work with countless styles and periods, and create interiors that are both stunning and functional.
Aussie Tali Roth, who now lives and works in New York City, loves to layer textures, shapes and colors in her creative and contemporary approach. She likes to include vintage furniture in her designs, and she enjoys the challenge of working on projects with multiple spaces, needs and requirements.
Sweden native Beata Heuman believes that every room should sing, so her designs are a blend of poetic lyricism and common-sense practicality. Her intuitive approach is always informed by the client’s preferences, inspirations and experiences. She draws on both past and present when working on all aspects of a project, from loose furnishings to the interior architecture itself.
WSJ’s Seller’s Guide includes exclusive analysis of the top buyer’s and seller’s markets in the U.S., plus expert advice from real-estate agents and home sellers
Eagles Nest Lane, Whitefish, MT
Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty
Ready, set, sell. While all real estate is local, as the saying goes, the one constant is that February is the month when the spring market looms and sellers nationwide begin prettying their properties and readying them to list.
To help aspiring sellers prepare, The Wall Street Journal, with an analysis by Realtor.com, identified the top 10 luxury markets that currently favor either buyers or sellers. ( News Corp, owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates Realtor.com under license from the National Association of Realtors.) We then looked at the mavericks who eschew hiring a real-estate agent—with their attendant 5% to 6% commissions—and market their properties themselves. The result is the first Seller’s Guide, a deep dive into today’s market conditions, with insight, strategy and advice from sellers, agents and experts who have recently closed deals in every market condition.