The sun has many benefits, some of which you are probably looking forward to enjoying this coming summer, but it also has its damaging effects. Since we cannot switch off the sun or reduce its temperature, the only way is to protect ourselves and our property from its harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Damage from the Sun
Summertime brings with it long exposures of your outdoor furniture to the sun’s rays which can cause aesthetic blemishes and photobleaching (fading) on fabrics. It can also weaken the structures, whether they are made of wood, plastic or wicker.
As you look forward to your summer fun and relaxing moments outside your house, do not forget to apply sunscreen on your skin. Your outdoor furniture needs some kind of protection because even these get damaged over time. Your intervention can slow down this process.
Heat and ultraviolet rays can cause wood to warp and become brittle. Leather and plastic will warp, fade, crack and even melt under the sun’s heat. Wicker will fade and crack when exposed to too much sun. You want your furniture to maintain its look and serve you for as long as possible. Here are seven methods for protecting your outdoor furniture against sun damage.
Strategic Layouts
Plan and arrange your outdoor furniture and outdoor furniture seating in such a way that most of it is shielded from direct sunlight for the better part of the day. This can be done by positioning them near your house or other buildings, or near some trees so that they can benefit from the shade that they cast at different times of the day.
Regular Cleaning
It is important to keep your furniture clean as dirt will help to accelerate sun damage. Regularly remove dirt and spills from your furniture, and polish where appropriate. Do not use harsh or abrasive treatments when cleaning wicker furniture. Use water and mild soap instead, which you apply sparingly after which you rinse and wipe dry.
Wicker should not be soaked in water. Wood is cleaned by lightly scrubbing it using oxygen bleach after that it is rinsed and dried. Mild soap and water solutions work for metals. Fine grit sandpaper is first used to get rid of any rust or mold. For outdoor upholstery, the best method to use is spot cleaning. Dilute mild detergent in cold water and then use a sponge to attack the stains. Do not soak any of your cushions. Make sure that everything dries completely.
Store It When the Season Is Out
Bring your furniture out in the summer and when the season is over, take it back indoors for storage. Clean and cover it before storing it. Store it in dark and covered spaces like your basement, shed or garage. Cushions can be stored in outdoor storage bins. Try to avoid storing your cushions in plastic bags. Wrap them instead in old bedsheets or something close to that so that the cushion fabric is allowed to breathe.
Cover Your Furniture
Cover your outdoor furniture when it is not in use. Invest in furniture covers that are easy to fit and remove and that are also thick enough to protect from the sun. The covers should ideally be made from fabric that is resistant to ultraviolet rays.
Use UV Protection Treatments
Treatments vary depending on the material that your outdoor furniture is made of. These protection treatments are like sunscreen for furniture. Some are applied by spraying while others are applied using brushes. You should make sure that you apply them thoroughly and as you do, ensure that you have donned all the safety equipment like goggles, gloves, and dust masks or respirators to protect yourself.
Work the application in a well-ventilated space. Paint can be used to protect the wood. Make sure you buy the UV-resistant paints. You can also apply a coat of sealant to protect the wood. You begin by gently scrubbing the wood with sandpaper and then coating it with varnish or UltraViolet protective wax. You finish off by applying a sealant like spar varnish, for example.
For wicker surfaces, clear varnish or paint, or a combination of the two will work. For metals, you can powder coat them. Powder coating helps it to resist fading and rust and works better than wet paint. To protect your upholstery, spray or paint them with fabric guards or fabric protectors to keep them from fading or getting discolored.
Use Protective Accessories
Accessories such as expandable fabric umbrellas and tarpaulins can be used as sunshades. You can also invest in opaque patio covers or awnings. Transparent or translucent ones will still allow the sun in. Retractable awnings are preferable so that you can cover your furniture when you are indoors and open them up for the sun to reach you when you are outdoors. There are retractable awnings that are electronically or remotely controlled which makes adjusting them easier.
Regular Maintenance
Finally, you should inspect and treat your furniture regularly. Read through the manufacturer’s instructions on how to care for the furniture. They usually specify the solutions and treatments that you should use and the ones you should avoid. If you use the wrong treatments and methods, you will not need the sun to damage the furniture for you. You will have done a pretty good job all by yourself. Follow instructions. The manufacturer knows best.
Regularly inspect the legs, arms, and back of the furniture frame for softened areas and cracks. Check all the connections and joints and ensure that they are tight and sturdy. For metal furniture, lubricate all stiff or creaky moving parts using a silicone spray. For wooden frames, use the oil recommended by the manufacturer to keep them from cracking. When the paint on your wooden furniture begins to peel off, use sandpaper to gently remove the peels and then touch up the paint. After that, oil or stain the wood and this should be done regularly. Oil, sealants, and stains should be reapplied every one to three years of outdoor use. For metal frames that may have lost their luster, use lint-free cloth buffed with auto wax to wipe them. Regularly inspect fabrics for rips or tears on the corners or seams, and for holes, wear or thin spots on areas under direct sunlight. Apply products that act as UltraViolet barriers on the fabrics.

Since outdoor furniture is not cheap, instead of buying, replacing and repairing, why not maintain and protect it instead? The methods outlined above should help you. Get ready to have lots of fun in the sun!

7 Common Shopping Mistakes Men Can Easily Avoid

Shopping doesn’t come easy to everyone. Men, in particular, are not known to spend a great deal of time in the stores looking for that perfect outfit or accessory. With the advent of online shopping, it’s become even easier for male shoppers to avoid going out to buy stuff when they can get everything delivered at their doorstep.
Whether you’re an online shopper or someone who prefers to buy personal items at brick-and-mortar shops, here are seven mistakes you should avoid when shopping for clothing, shoes or any other accessory for yourself.
Going shopping without a list
Whether you decide to shop online or go to the stores, it’s important to spend some time thinking about and then writing down what you want to buy. Consider what it is that you urgently need or really want to buy. Making a list, however small, will help you focus your time and efforts on finding those items.
If you need many things but haven’t had the time to purchase them, plan your shopping trip in a manner so that you’ll buy the most urgently needed items in the first half, before you get exhausted or lose interest in any more shopping.
Going crazy over brands
It’s good to have good taste, but just chasing brands and not focusing on quality or style is a mistake many men make while shopping for clothes. Instead of blindly following popular labels, pick and choose clothing and accessory brands that you identify with, that you can afford and that offer styles and designs you’d love to flaunt.
Shopping excessively or only at sales
This is really not a great idea if you want to develop a distinct style and own trendy quality pieces that will last you a couple of seasons. More often than not, discount offers and end-of-season sales offer last-season styles, items with minor defects or last pieces with limited choice. When you tend to shop more at the sales, you may end up collecting stuff that you may not really enjoy wearing later.
Compromising on quality for the sake of quantity
Why buy two t-shirts at a low price when you know they would lose their shape or color after a couple of washes. Why not, instead, invest the same amount of money in a single high-quality t-shirt that will last longer, feel good on your skin and suit your individual style. For instance, try to find t-shirts with a tight neck that are worthy of your money and deserving of your choice.
When it comes to spending your hard-earned money on clothing and accessories, develop the habit of valuing quality over quantity—it will save you hundreds of dollars every year and help you create a classy and stylish wardrobe.
Buying only a certain type of outfits
Always wearing casual outfits or always dressing formally can get boring and predictable. Trying different styles and experimenting with your outfits will keep things fresh and leave you feeling good about the way you look. It’s important to keep evolving your style and be open to wearing different types of clothing on different occasions.
Not trying an item before buying
Most men shop fast and in doing so they skip an essential element of shopping—trying an outfit to ensure it fits well and looks good. If you want to avoid the chaos of changing rooms, there are other ways to do it—shop online (you can try an item in the comfort of your home and exchange or return it if it doesn’t fit), visit the stores on weekdays instead of weekends, and avoid the rush hours of late afternoon and early evening.
Try on everything you purchase, from neckties to shirts to shoes and even belts. It doesn’t take all that long but it helps to make the right buying choices.
Buying something that someone else wants you to wear
Whether it’s an item of clothing or an accessory, you should spend your money on something because you want to own it and wear it, and not to please someone or gain their approval.

There will always be times when a loved one or a close friend insists that you try out something new or buy something that they thought was just right for you. Indulge friends and family by all means, but make sure to try on the item before paying for it. If it makes you feel good, go for it and thank the person who suggested it.

Boating 101: 8 Top Tips for First Time Boat Owning Families

Did your family just purchase your first boat?

If so, congratulations!

While owning a boat is certainly a luxury, it also comes with a large degree of responsibility. So, before you set sail on the open sea, you're going to want to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of boat ownership.

If you're new to boat ownership, you're going to want to read this. We've created a boating 101 guide that is perfect for beginners. Here, we're sharing eight tips that all first-time boat-owning families should know.

1. Get a Boat License

First and foremost, anyone that is going to be operating the boat needs to have a valid boating license.

You're also going to want to ensure that you always have your license handy on your boat. If you get pulled over and you don't have your license handy, you're going to have to face the repercussions, and it's likely you'll be fined. This is similar to operating a motor vehicle without your license.

Remember, this license has an expiration date. This means that you'll have to ensure that you are renewing your license accordingly.

2. Ensure Proper Maintenance

Similar to a car, your boat is going to require continuous maintenance throughout its lifespan.
If you ensure proper maintenance, you can look forward to a healthy lifespan for your boat. This may include but is not limited to:

  • Wiping down the seats with a conditioner
  • Rinse off the boat with a hose
  • Flush the boat's motor
  • Open the hatches to dry the interior
  • Clean the hull of the boat with a scrub brush.
  • Getting into the habit of performing these duties after each use will surely help to extend the life of your boat.

3. Get Boat Insurance

While not all states legally require boat insurance, most owners will choose to opt for boat insurance.

It's important to note that most banks providing a loan will require for the boat to have adequate insurance. Some marinas will also require that boats being stored both temporary or long-term have insurance.

While some homeowner policies will cover boats, this isn't always the case. Therefore, many boat owners will need to get separate insurance for their boat.

While there's no denying that boating can be an expensive hobby, this isn't always the case. For example, some companies such as Bonsai Finance make it possible for those who have experience financial bumps in the road to finance a boat. This may help to improve your chances of boat ownership and make your dream a reality!

4. Take a Boating Course

When it comes to boating, you can never be too safe or carry too much experience.
Do yourself a favor and take a boating course. Here, you will not only learn about how to operate your boat but also about boat safety.

Remember, the conditions on the water and weather patterns can change incredibly quickly. It's best to be prepared for these unforeseen circumstances and know precisely how to handle them.

5. Pre-Plan Storage Options

Now that you have your dream boat, it's time to consider where you're going to store your boat during the off-season.

This is often one aspect of boat ownership that beginners forget about. It's best to have your storage pre-planned and to consider the costs associated with storage.

Is there a marina close by that can store your boat for you? While this does prove to be handy, it's also important to remember just how costly this type of storage can be.
Some boat owners will choose to store their boat in their backyard or on their driveway. While this is undoubtedly the more wallet-friendly option, this option isn't always available to boat owners.

Depending on where you live, you may also have to winter-proof your boat before storing it.

6. Calculate the Weather Forecast

Out on the open water, weather patterns can change at the blink of an eye. 
This is especially the case for summertime in which storms can strike incredibly quickly. The last thing you want is to find yourself far from home when lightning strikes.

This is why it's so important to calculate the upcoming weather patterns and plan accordingly. If you're planning to spend the day on the water, be sure to have a firm understanding of the latest forecast. You're also going to want to take into consideration the topography of the area and how that may impact the weather.

If you see dark skies and clouds beginning to form, it's best to head toward shore or back home. Many boat owners will choose to have a marine radio on board that provides weather updates.

7. Do Not Drink and Drive

When it comes to boating, there are several rules that must be followed when on the waterways.

To ensure that you're abiding by these rules, it's essential to understand what these rules are in the first place. While boating rules vary from state-to-state, there are some standard rules that apply in general.

For example, there are strict rules with drinking and boating just as there are with drinking and driving. If you're operating a boat, it's always in your best interest to do so without the influence of alcohol.

Operating a boat with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or above is against the law and perpetrators will be fined and face the repercussions necessary. This is considered to be a federal offense and must be taken seriously.

8. Always Carry the Necessary Equipment

When on board, you must ensure that you have all of the necessary equipment handy. If even one of the items from the checklist is missing, you can expect to face a fine.
The safety equipment that is necessary for your boat depends on the type and length of your boat. This equipment may also vary from state-to-state. To provide an example, the necessary equipment may include but not be limited to:
  • A Personal floatation device -enough for each passenger onboard
  • A Noise producing devices such as a whistle or a horn
  • Proper lighting and flashlights
  • A Fire extinguisher
  • Rope
This safety equipment must be in good and working order and easily accessible for the case of emergencies.

Boating 101

Today, over 87 million American adults participate in recreational boating.
At first, the thought of owning a boat may seem like all fun and games. While there's no denying just how fabulous life at sea may be, it's safe to say that boating also comes with significant responsibility.
In knowing the above tips and tricks for boating 101, you can ensure that you are setting yourself and your family up for a positive boating experience. These tips are sure to make you feel more comfortable and confident when out on the open water.

If you enjoyed reading this article, be sure to browse our home improvement blog to learn more tips and tricks!

8 Furniture Finishing Hacks to Make Your Home Look and Feel Its Best

It is easy for a homeowner to accept the way his or her home looks after a while, but that doesn't have to be the case.
Your home doesn't have to look dated if you take certain steps. For example, you can pressure wash the exterior to make your home's paint shine again. You can also take all sorts of steps inside your house, like addressing aging furnishings that are showing their age.
The following are eight furniture finishing hacks you can consider to try to spruce up your home.
1. Add a Stain
It is not strange to see furniture develop defects at some point. These defects are quite noticeable at times, and they continue to appear, making the idea of fixing these defects a little more inconceivable.
The reality is you can address some surface details in all sorts of ways. For example, tears can be patched up, and defects on wood can be stained. One way to stain wooden furniture is to use red wine.
All you have to do is coat your wood with a few layers of wine and let it dry. Try your best to stain it in a random way so that your furniture takes on an interesting but artistic look.
2. Revive Furnishings a Bit
Discoloration affects all sorts of things inside a house. You can try to protect your belongings as much as possible, but the reality is that discoloration is going to affect your stuff sooner or later.
There are a number of steps you can take to try to revive items that have been discolored by time or overexposure of the sun.
A good hack to consider is a mixture of one cup of hot water and four tablespoons of coffee, which gives the wood a pretty finish.
Yes, the look is quite dark, but it actually gives your wood a naturally beautiful look. The look is going to be drastically different from what you have now that it might feel like you have a new set of furniture by the time you are done dyeing your furniture with this coffee blend.
3. A Turn Back in Time
Furnishings sometimes look a little old, and there is nothing you can do but accept that, but this doesn't mean you can't beautify that look.
One interesting hack that can make the antique wood look seem intentional involves a bit of coffee, vinegar, and a little steel wool. What you are going to have to do is put a tablespoon of coffee grounds and steel wool in a container with a cap. Fill this container with vinegar, seal it up, and let it sit for 24 hours.
Pick up the wool out of the container, and rub the wool over your wood furnishings to give them a more uniformed antique look that you are going to love.
4. Splash of True Color
The overall look of your furniture may not be bothering you. You may just be tired of how your furniture looks, but that doesn't mean you need to throw everything out when you can simply modify your furniture.
One way to give the items a new look without purchasing anything is by simply giving items a fresh coat of paint.
Now, it is important that whatever color you choose works with the overall color scheme in your home unless you are thinking of applying similar changes to the rest of your home.
Those who are really thinking of updating their home's overall look will definitely need to consider help, like if you are going to rework your cabinets. You can learn more about cabinet refinishing here. Try to stick to an overall color scheme as you make these types of changes.
5. Sealing the Change
You applied a finish, but you are noticing that the effects continue to fade away. This is a problem, especially if the issue happens numerous times.
The problem is you are not sealing the work. What you want to do when you are done is add an additional layer of hemp oil.
This particular type of oil helps seal in the finish, and it helps your wood pieces keep that shine a little longer.
6. A Touch of Artistry
There are times when all you have to do is add a little personality to your wood pieces. Those with enough talent can go ahead and add artistic touches to some of your wood furnishings if you believe it is going to work.
You can add artistic touches to your furniture in a number of ways; for example, you can just paint interesting patterns on some of your pieces to give them a new life. You can also paint small designs if you think they will be a good addition.
It may also be a good idea to consider carving a few simple patterns into your wood pieces as long you use sandpaper when you are done to make sure the design is smooth to the touch.
7. Clean Everything Up
The reason your furniture looks a little worn or unappealing could mean your pieces need a little cleaning. Furniture is not always cleaned regularly, meaning that your pieces can easily develop all sorts of stains or grime.
Perhaps the only thing you really need to do is give your furniture a good cleaning to revitalize the overall look of your home.
There are a number of ways to clean wood, depending on the issue. For example, if the problem is a buildup of polish, all you need to do is seep two tea bags in boiling water. Strain the tea bags, and clean the wood with those damp bags.
8. Try a Little Padding
It may be time to consider not only adding an interesting finish to your furniture but also a little fabric to make it a little softer to the touch. You can do this on your own or have a professional do it for you.
You are going to have to deal with any imperfections that your wood furniture may have. Most of the time this can be done by sanding areas where there are imperfections. Be sure to add your finish before you begin to apply fabric to your furniture.
The most effective way to apply a little fabric surface to your wood pieces is to use a docoupage medium with a foam brush. The fabric is going to have to be handy because decoupage dries quickly.

Hopefully, you can bring life back to your home by applying some of these solutions to your furniture. You can also get tips from a professional if you feel you need a little more help.
All families should vacation with their kids to Disney World at some point or another. It’s an experience the kids are sure to never forget. Families can save on a Disney vacation by buying or renting a Disney timeshare resale (AKA Disney Vacation Club) for their accommodation. These are spacious condo-like units within Disney’s resorts. If you choose to purchase a Disney timeshare and later want to sell it, get a timeshare worth estimate online first and then look for a broker sell Disney timeshare for you.