Small Home Updates that Make Big Changes

Many people want to add a little pizzazz to their homes but don’t know where to start. Whether it be to prepare to sell or for the owners personal appeal, these small updates can turn around an entire vibe to make a house a home.


MB_0061_17JulyB9-1paint

Never underestimate the power of a can of paint. One can completely revitalize a room. If you still have that pea green wall color that your friends complimented you on in the 1970’s then it may be time to change up your style. Fashions change and our tastes change with them. If you are selling then choose a neutral color even if they all look the same to you and are only slight variations of “baguette” or “camel.” If you just want to spice up your life then choose a hue that shows your personality.


MB_0061_17JulyB9_2hardware

Replace old hardware on cabinets and drawers. I remember when my mother inherited our grandparents’ house. I had never really thought much of the handles to cabinets. My mother changed them because I am pretty sure they were the originals from 1955 when my grandparents bought the house. I immediately noticed the change even though I had never given them thought before. All her family members commented on them as well. It was such a little thing that made a large impression. Along with hardware, light fixtures and faucets are the next items that can really date a room. Replacing these with a more sleek look will instantly modernize the space.


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Give the outside love. The inside of a home is important, but the outside can be just as inviting or uninviting. Simple ways to add curb appeal is to add a small flowerbed around that tree in your front yard. You can paint your rusty mailbox to a nice warm tone. Of course, don’t forget to mow and edge the lawn. It is an easy and cheap fix to spruce up the yard. Placing flower pots around the porch and a few decorations can really increase the visual appeal and make you want to come home after a long day to sit on your relaxing porch.

 

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OKC’s Most Chill Treats

It is a typical summer day in Oklahoma. Over 90 degrees and the sun feels like it’s specifically hovering over you alone. Your air conditioner is acting like it has an upper respiratory issue by the way it’s wheezing and you may have a sun burn just by even thinking about stepping on your porch. It’s so hot out that your taste buds are sweating. Well sweat no more because we have a set of the coolest treats that melt in your mouth and chill your core.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-1-rasapados hawaiian

Raspado’s Hawaiian is a snow cone that will satisfy the sweet and sour side of you. These treats are all natural fruit flavors with over 40 options. This cup of heaven comes complete with actual chunks of fruit, chamoy syrup, and a tamarind candy covered straw, which are scientifically considered all the flavors of a flawless summer. If milkshakes are more of your taste style then order an obispos, which is shaved ice in choices of mango, strawberry, pineapple, and banana topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a creamy dream.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-2-Trailer Trash Treatz

This one is a little off the beaten path, but if you’re a snow cone connoisseur then this will be just another glorious adventure that you can add to your Yelp review collection. Trailer Trash Treatz will surpass its name and your expectations.

Pick from almost 50 flavors of snow and order it “trashy” for an extra sweet surprise. Dig to the center of the cone to discover ice cream and a slice of cheesecake. Three, yes three, of America’s favorite desserts in one cup. With two locations in Yukon and Choctaw, this small chain is changing the way people think about cones of snow.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-3 Organic Squeeze

Now you’re staring at your kids in envy with their trashy feasts and candied fruit cups. A dreaded four letter word is holding you back from tearing into one like a rabid polar bear…diet. Organic Squeeze has got your back. You can indulge without the guilt. They have made from scratch Squeeze Pops crafted with the finest organic ingredients. Enjoy unique flavors such as Orange Ginger Pineapple or Berry Cream made with Himalayan salt. Kids can also enjoy a healthy snack because when they complete the “no soda challenge” for one week they get a free Squeeze Pop. Double the yum for the price of one.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-4-revolucion

It’s been a rough sweltering day, right? A little time out is in order. Sneak away to Revolución for an adult snow day that will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland for a minute. This boozy beverage is named a Cannonball and for good reason. It will blow away all your problems. A frozen margarita topped with a sangria snowball. Those red and greens are like Christmas in July.

Now go treat yourself.

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NEVER LEAVE YOUR BACKYARD AGAIN

When your barbecue just isn’t bringing the guests to your shindig, you need to up your entertainment game. Some good old fashion competition should rile up your audience. Here is some backyard business that everyone can get on board with. Now let’s get the ball rolling…


MB_0045_17JulyB5-1yardzee

Yard-zee is an oversized version of the classic dice game your grandparents used to make you play when you were young and they’d beat you every time. You’ll have a blast wrestling a large bucket to “shake” your dice in and chasing your steroidal cubes all over the lawn. When tired of all that winning, you can switch to Farkle, another household favorite with a questionable name. Now that you’re an adult, you can beat your children, nieces, and nephews. Maybe let them win just once to show good sportsmanship…Nahhhh.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-2cornhole

Corn Hole is a personal favorite at my house. There is nothing like getting a group of family together for a tournament. The rules are fairly simple; just toss your corn bag across the yard in attempt to make it into the hole. Don’t judge. It’s harder than it sounds. Make sure everyone is playing by the same set of rules with a unbiased score keeper in order to prevent major family rifts that end with not talking to Aunt Sally for months. Then when all is said and done the winner is named Corn King or Queen. Okay, so its not a fetching title but your family won’t forget who won the year of 2017. Boo-yah.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-3race

To put a twist on the traditional “Potato Sack Race” and “Three-legged Race,” go to a local thrift store and buy four to six of the largest sets of jeans or pants you can find. Each person will slip inside a pant leg in teams to work together to hop across the finish line. Kids and adults alike will not be able to stop laughing by how silly this game is. Goofy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. The videos will go viral on YouTube.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-4bowling

The sun is going down, but no one is ready to end the fun. After all, now that it’s evening it is the perfect summer temperature. That’s when you break out the Glow in the Dark Bowling. Take small bottles for children or two-liter bottles for adults then fill with water and place glow sticks in them. Grab your favorite basketball or soccer ball and you have a rager of an evening. A great way to end the night and you’ll gain brownie points with your Grandpa who’s in a professional bowler’s league. The summer fun has just begun.

 

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Incredible Scenic Hikes in Your State

Summer is finally here and you are ready to get out of the house and into the sun. These great hikes will exercise­ the mind and body in the midst of a gorgeous view right in your own state. Then after you have conquered the trail, you can brag to all your friends about how sore you are from hiking. How cool does that sound? They will be jealous of your tan line and all those artful Instagram posts.


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Photo by Mark Doiron

Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge: Located in Lawton, this refuge has over thirty miles of trail for you to explore. From flat lands to gently rolling mountains, you can dare to climb Mt. Scott (or drive up it if you’re feeling rebellious) or climb Mt. Baldy where the top looks similar to your great uncle’s head. Charon’s Gardens is an adventurous undertaking but the hidden waterfall is worth the hike. Don’t expect to cover it all in one day. There is plenty to discover from boulders and caves to gardens and wildlife. At the end of the day you can set up at Camp Doris for a cowboy campfire and then wake up to do it all over again. Just hope that a bison doesn’t block your trail. No, really.

 


MB_0033_17JuneB3-Ouachita_National_ForestOuachita National Forest: This forest is located on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas covering 1.8 million acres. Its lush evergreens will make you pine for the simple life of cabins and dewy mornings. There is wonderful hiking in these forests or you can hit the trails with some horseback riding when your feet hurt. Drive down the Talimena Scenic Byway for breathtaking views and historical sites to feed the curious critter in you. It is also legend that Jesse James stashed his stolen treasure in the Winding Stair Mountains but was ambushed before he could return for it. This might be your luckiest hike yet.


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Roman Nose State Park: Named after a Cheyenne chief, this park was established in 1937 when Franklin Roosevelt created The New Deal. It was one of the originals out of seven parks founded in Oklahoma. The park contains moderate to easy trails, two lakes, mountain biking and canoeing that’s set inside the beautiful background of a canyon. You can hike along trickling streams, over wooden bridges and across a daunting dam. Not to mention there are teepees for rent. TEEPEES. You can bet none of your friends have slept in a teepee.


MB_0033_17JuneB3-Gloss-Mtn

Gloss Mountain State Park: Feel like you’re a lone survivalist in the desert at Gloss Mountain. Though not actual mountains, these buttes and mesas will captivate your imagination as you forget your responsibilities at home. Their glossy look comes from the abundance of selenite gypsum crystals in the earth. From a short hike to the top of Cathedral Mountain you’ll get an eyeful of the Cimmaron River. Since there is no camping, it makes for a perfect family day trip complete with a picnic and scenic inspiration.


 

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The OKC Bucket List: Outdoor Escapades and Eats

 

Having trouble beating the summer bummers? These entertaining activities will keep you from losing your mind and your tan line. Oklahoma is a thriving community in the summer season so relax and let the fun divert all your cares.

 


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Wheeler-Park-OKC

1. Reach Great Heights. On the Wheeler District’s Ferris Wheel you can get an amazing view of the river and downtown. The Wheel was bought on Ebay and originally stood on California’s Santa Monica Pier. The district often has food trucks and festivals for your dining pleasure. Only $6 per ride makes for an affordable memory. We recommend going at night for a romantic evening gaze of a sparkling skyline, still flowing waters and an Oklahoma sunset. Ahhhh.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Insomnia-Cookies

2. Get Insomnia. The one time it may benefit you to get insomnia is to go to Insomnia Cookies. They have a variety of desserts including cookies, brownies and ice cream. If your blood sugar is especially low then you’ll want to indulge in a Deluxe Cookiewich to satisfy the craving. The best part about this fine establishment is that they are open until 3am, not to mention that they deliver. So you can feel good about not being able to sleep.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Spokies

3. Embark on a Ride. Spokies is Oklahoma City’s only bike sharing system. You can glide through traffic without having to worry about pesky parking. On your ride, you’ll be able to tour Downtown, Midtown and historic neighborhoods from its eight locations around town. For a small fee, you can ride for 30 minutes or get a pass that allows hourly use. Embark wanted to provide eco-friendly and affordable transit to those in need of fun and fast transportation.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Riversport-OKC

4. Sport About. The Boathouse District contains an exciting day for the family. Riversport Adventures is hours of thrills with water rafting, zip lines, rope courses, tubing, kayaking and slides. This will not disappoint the adventure seekers in your group. You can choose from a day or season pass or even a single experience for the more serene adventurer.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Martin_Park_Nature_Center

5. Reconnect with Nature. Do you miss the forests but are stuck in the city? Martin Nature Center is where you should be. Tucked away in Oklahoma City is this amazing reserve. Several trails will take you over a river, past prairie dogs, and up to a bird observation center. It is the perfect place to trick yourself into thinking that you’re hiking a National State Park. Looking is free. Try not to take home a prairie dog though.


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Five practical pointers for building an outdoor space!

1. Evaluate the backyard. Do an assessment to see what the space has to offer, taking into account the topography, sun exposure, drainage, and even the pros and cons assessing the view into the neighbor’s yard,  says lead designer and partner at Rainbow Valley Design and Construction, and landscape designer Lytton Reid in Eugene, Ore. Try to work with the existing elements, such as an old cedar fence might be dressed up with new planter boxes or an old concrete patio may be salvaged into stepping stones for a path.

2. Create public and private spaces. “There are three basic types of spaces: the private, the semi-private, and the public,” says Reid. “I think all three should be represented in a good outdoor room design.” A public space may include the main entertaining area where people can gather comfortably. A semi-private and private space would provide more shelter from the neighbors and offer plenty of privacy. Use of outdoor structures can help define these spaces, such as an open pergola to define a group dining space. A roof overhang and privacy screen can produce a nook against the house for privacy.

3. Consider drainage and utilities. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t create a problem by having water seeping toward your house and its foundation. “Big mistakes are made when people don’t consider drainage,” says Reid. The designers also take note of the location of utilities, such as plumbing for outdoor sinks, gas for a fireplace, and electricity for lighting.

4. Design for the senses. “What are the views and the sounds and possibly even the smells that come into the space from neighboring spaces?” Reid says. “Sometimes there are smells that you really want to enjoy. And sometimes you can mitigate the bad smells with good smells.” For example, fragrant shrubs or perennials may help alleviate bad odors from, say, the neighbor’s nearby trash cans. Or, the use of a water feature may help mitigate the sound from a nearby roadway.

5. Compliment the home’s style. Take into account the home’s existing architecture when planning the outdoor spaces style. For example, don’t take on ornate colonial-style if the home is a low-slung, mid-century modern home. “I think most people think of the backyard as something separate,” says Dakers. “But I think good design requires that you consider it as an extension of the house.”