Kick Summer to the Curb

The end of summer marks the beginning of a new season, which means a whole new look for our homes. It is time to break out the pumpkins and haystacks. The outside of our houses is an important presentation to our visitors and passersby. It is a welcoming entry way into our personal lives. Today we will find ways to shout out our seasonal pride by sprucing up our street curb credit.

 


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New Heights. The key to a successful porch makeover is to create different heights with your décor. Create a layering effect with chairs, planters, stacked pumpkins and wheat stalks. Place planters on chairs to reach greater heights or strategically place candle holders along your porch. This will visually make leading lines toward your door as the focus point of your home


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No Bore Door. Doors should make a statement. They are the first objects people will see and notice when approaching the home. Change up your look by choosing a bold color to paint or stain it. A beautiful blue, red or yellow can renew the vibe of your porch experience while staying in budget if decorating on the cheap side.


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Thick and Theme. Just because it’s Fall doesn’t mean you have to stick to boring oranges and reds. Choose a fun color theme that combines fall and fun such as pale blues or greens. There are various colors of gourds and squashes that aren’t orange at all. Cool tones can be used instead of warm tones with just as much charm.


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Pumpkin Patch. These are a given staple in an Autumn curb display. Paint plastic pumpkins cool colors like gold or white for a modern touch. Show your home pride by stenciling the outline of your state on your real or faux pumpkin or the number of your address for visitors to spot from the road. You can even wrap your gourds in ribbon for a fancy addition to plain pieces.


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Mums the word. There is no Autumn without mums. This beautiful flower is the cornerstone of the season. My mother is a traditionalist when it comes to decorating with mums. She buys orange and red only. The other colors are greatly underrated. There are deep fuchsias, goldenrod yellows, lavender purples and bright whites. Don’t limit your color scheme by tradition. Go wild and crazy with purple and white mums.

The curb appeal of your home will now be the talk of the neighborhood. Your modern spin on old Autumn sights will inspire others to think outside the corn stalks.

 

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Cooler Weather Makes Cooler Chores

The temperature is dropping and so is the need to stay indoors from the heat. Now is the time to get up and be as productive as the attention span allows. In preparation for the cooler times ahead there are a few items on the to-do list for the apartment or home that can be easily crossed off in a matter of minutes.


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Air out your mattress. Our mattresses collect bacteria and skin cells over the years. Every so often it is good to give it a sunbath for its protection and ours. Setting it out in the sun for a few hours will kill potential bacteria and mold. This can make your mattress firmer and less liable to sink in the center. It will also give it some fresh air so that it will smell like new…maybe. Now that it’s not blazing warm out, it will be easier to maneuver your bulky bed to the outdoors and inside with ease.


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Waterproof your shoes. Just because shoes are canvas doesn’t mean they have to hide in the back of the closet for colder seasons. Make your canvas shoes waterproof by using Neverwet for fabric. This is an easy and cost efficient way to use your favorite shoes all year round. Don’t want to drive to Target (Let’s face it, the only place to shop)? Then you can take an unscented candle from home to rub over the canvas of the shoes, heat with a hair dryer and you can then wear your tennis another season.


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Optimize the nice weather. Open windows and doors and throw open the sashes. Now that the heat is beat you can now enjoy the afternoon breeze before it turns again. This will keep energy costs down if you turn off your AC or heat as well as refresh your space.


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Make a cool tunes playlist. Nothing prepares the soul for a season change like a heart felt playlist that will set the right tone. Use it for the commute to work, while cleaning house and for a background for relaxing book reading. You know in the movies when a person is driving through the color changing trees with the car windows down and the perfect melodic yet inspiring song comes on? Be that person.


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Outdoor home maintenance. There is not a more perfect time than to do all the outer housework that you have been meaning to get to. No more excuses. It is no longer “too hot” or “too rainy” or “It’s such a nice day out how could I possibly waste it on house chores.” Now everyday is a nice day at least for a few months. So get out there and clean gutters, freshen paint, put perennials in those terra cotta pots. You’ll be proud of yourself after.


These aren’t all the items you need to accomplish this season but it will give a running start. Make your minutes count in the lovely weather because you don’t know how long it will last in Oklahoma.

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Benefits of Buying

Renting is overrated. The money is being thrown into the wind while your landlord is rolling in your hard earned cash and paying off their mortgage while telling you they’ll get to that leak under the sink “soon.” I remember renting one year when I didn’t even see the landlord. I couldn’t tell you what they looked like. My dishwasher was broken and the maintenance man told us to not use our health hazard heater because it was outdated. Needless to say it was a cold winter and we moved out of there quickly as possible. Does this sound like a familiar situation? Then you may be ready to sail into the sea of ownership where you are the Captain and that ship is under your control.

Buying a home comes with certain freedoms. One of those freedoms is not having a landlord. You are able to paint, hang wall art, and landscape as you please without the risk of not getting a deposit back. There are no noise restrictions, pet deposits, or remodeling. Butters, the hound, can run and be free in his house without his human worrying about what the landlord will say about his accident on the carpet. Renting stifles this ability to truly make a space your own. A home is yours to customize into a beautiful space that mirrors your personality with no guilt.


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Taxes are a big stressor. Who doesn’t want a little relief when April comes around? Homeowners are offered several tax breaks. Some of those include Mortgage Interest, Tax and Penalty Free IRA, Home Improvements, Energy Credits, Home Equity Loans, and Real Estate Taxes. There is even a Home Office credit if you work from home. So many deductions, so little stress.

A homeowner’s net worth is 45 times that of an average renter. While rent is never recovered, mortgage payments build equity. It is an investment in the future by increasing an individual’s net worth. Not to mention it is cheaper to buy than rent. The average mortgage is lower than a rental payment and over time the interest portion of the mortgage payment decreases therefore the interest that you pay will be lower than a rental cost.


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Having a home in a neighborhood provides a sense of community. You know your neighbors. You know where your children will grow up and go to school. You know that you can walk your dog every night with a peace of mind. One doesn’t always get that when renting because you never know when the rent may be raised depending on your lease. You may not even be able to renew your lease when the time comes. Community is a sense of stability and security.

Free yourself of the waves of rent, buy your dream boat.

 


Come to our First Time Home Buyers Workshop if you would like to learn more on August 26th:

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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.


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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.


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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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Keep your Cool

You love blasting your AC. I know it. We all do. But then you get your paperless billing statement and want to hide it from your spouse because they might cry. You don’t want to see them cry. When they do you are not sure if you should comfort them or put on armor because war is coming. That’s why we have a few helpful pointers on how you and your significant other to keep your cool mentally and physically.


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A more inexpensive investment would be to purchase some blackout curtains. Most heat throughout the day comes in through windows creating a greenhouse effect in the home. Simple changes like having heavy curtains, shutters, and keeping blinds closed can lower your average home temperature by up to 20 degrees. If you are home during the day and need some natural light then just keep the westward and eastward windows covered which is where the sun hits hardest.


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The AC unit is the most abused, blamed and neglected appliance in our possession. To save from wanting go out and kick it, try cleaning it instead. Once upon a time, my family was miserable. We blamed the AC for not being big enough for the square footage in our house. My savvy uncle goes out to look at the unit. It was COVERED in thick pollen. I mean one would think we painted it yellow. No air was able to enter the unit thus unable to enter our home. We shop vacuumed the entire thing and, like magic, we had AC again. Dirty air filters just like two inches of pollen also prevent efficient air flow throughout the house. Changing the AC filters regularly and maintaining a debris free unit can be cost effective ways to ensure your family doesn’t have a meltdown.


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Maybe you’re doing all these things already and need a stronger tactic. Maybe your home is older and you haven’t made repairs on it since you bought it. A good start is to check the insulation. Insulation is the best defense to protecting a home’s temperature. Experts say if there are visible floor joints in the attic then it is time to replace the insulation. To begin you can get an energy audit. A professional will come out to inspect your home for air leaks, check your furnace and water heater to make sure it is working properly, and look for any insulation issues. From there you will have a better understanding of what you should address.

These are just a few of the numerous things you can start to prevent a heat stroke or mild heart attack at the sight of your energy costs. We are just looking out for your health and hospital bills.

 

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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.


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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.


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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.


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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…


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

 


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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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