Wouldn’t it be nice if your house smelled great all the time? Of course it would, but that is not realistic. We all have times when there is something “rotten in Denmark”! The question then becomes how to neutralize bad odors.

multicolored socks drying on rope with clothespins in open air
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There are many ways to cover up bad smells with sprays and deodorizing products, but to truly freshen your home it’s best to neutralize the bad odor.

I have come across a great product that I wish I had access to when my daughters were living at home. They were both active in dance and sports, so let’s just say there were a lot of smelly bags, shoes and clothes. Even the ride home was sometimes a challenge for the nose!! LOL

In addition, the refrigerator, bathroom, laundry room and pet areas can also be a source of bad odors. We all want our house or car to smell fresh and I have found an easy and affordable way to neutralize those bad odors.

The Solution

The product I have discovered is Basic Concepts Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags. These bags offer an effective all-natural way to absorb and neutralize bad odors in your home or car.

A Few Facts
  • The bags are versatile and can be used in your home or car.
  • All-natural way to absorb bad odors and freshen the air.
  • The activated charcoal takes in foul odor like a sponge and neutralizes it.
  • The product contains no additives and is pet safe and scent free.
  • The bamboo charcoal bags are high quality and porous which allows for the greatest effectiveness.
  • The bags are reusable for up to 2 years. Simply rejuvenate the bags one time each month by putting them in the sun for about two hours.
Ways to Use
  1. Place a bamboo charcoal bag in gym bags or back packs and they will absorb moisture and neutralize bad odors.
  2. Place a bag in your bathroom to help absorb humidity from the shower.
  3. You can even place a bag in your refrigerator to help neutralize odors and keep food fresher.
  4. These bags can even help remove cooking odors in the kitchen.
  5. Put one in your car and you and your passengers will always breathe fresher air.
  6. If you have pets, then you likely have some pet odors. Since this product is pet safe, place one near a litter box or in the area where your pets spend the most time.
  7. Finally, don’t forget the closet. Putting a bamboo charcoal bag in your closet will help absorb any moisture and neutralize musty smells .

I love that the bamboo charcoal bags are reusable and also come with a 30 day full refund if you are not satisfied.

Don’t hesitate to give them a try. Click here and you can buy them now!


Even though the weather is still warm, Fall is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about decorating inside and out. Fall is my favorite season and I love to decorate inside my house as well as my porch. However, finding cute and affordable fall decorations can be a challenge.

Over the years I have collected a variety of fall decor from pumpkins, harvest signs, scarecrows, and candles. I usually place fake pumpkins and small hay bales on my porch. The reason I use fake pumpkins is because the weather is still quite warm through October and real pumpkins will rot and become a “hot mess”!

I noticed that some of my fall decor was looking a little worn and needed to be replaced. The fake pumpkins that I have seen in many local stores are just too pricey. When I received The Lakeside Collections latest catalog, I was thrilled to find some great looking and very cute and affordable fall decorations.

The Lakeside Collection

The Lakeside Collection has a great lineup of fall decorations that give you the look you desire without breaking the “bank”! Check out the link below to see for yourself.

Welcome Fall’s Warmth – Shop our harvest collection!

I loved the stacked porch pumpkins and ordered them for my porch. This will be a great addition to my hay bales, lanterns and confetti corn. I will post a pic when I get my porch decorated.

In addition, I ordered the wooden plaid porch pumpkins in black and white. I plan to use these at my cabin which has a running theme with black buffalo check in the family room.

Lakeside’s harvest collection offers a variety of products to meet different styles and budgets.

My personal experience in ordering from Lakeside has been excellent. My orders are accurate, always arrive on time and I have never had to return anything.

Looking Ahead to the Holidays

If you want to get a jump start on Holiday Season shopping, then sign-up for Lakeside’s early bird information. Just click the link below and you will be ahead of everyone else.


Once again, Robby and I were able to make a trip to “my happy place” – our cabin in the woods. We were both ready for a little rest and refreshment for our bodies and soul. The bonus was that the weather was much cooler than home in SC.

Unlike our previous visit (where we completely replaced the furniture in the master), we didn’t have any real agenda. We did bring a gas fueled fire pit for our lower deck, but that required no assembly, so Robby was HAPPY!!

Saturday Arrival

We arrived in Maggie Valley about lunchtime on Saturday afternoon. The weather was a cool 72 and it was so refreshing. When we left Florence, the humidity was about 100% which means instant sweating – UGH!

The cabin was in good shape, so I walked the dogs, ate a small bit of lunch, watched some TV and then we headed to the grocery store. We only needed a few things and we got our dinner from their cafe which kept things super simple. It was a good day.

Sunday Funday

I cooked breakfast Sunday morning and we enjoyed some time to just relax and refresh. Robby had a few tasks to do outside and I went about getting dressed and doing a little cleaning. The weather was about 78 with low humidity and a nice breeze. Being outside was delightful for me and the pups loved it too.

For lunch we went to our favorite brewery, Bear Waters, and enjoyed dining by the creek (socially distanced of course). The sound of the water rushing by is so soothing to my soul. We both could probably sit there for hours, but we did eventually make it back to the cabin. We were super full, so no need for dinner! YEAH!

Since the weather was so nice, around 8:30p.m. Robby started me a fire in the fire pit. We sat by the fire, looked at the stars and thought about nothing. It was so lovely.

Loving the new fire pit!
Monday Departure

Monday morning I cooked breakfast and we began cleaning and preparing to leave in the afternoon. We both had time for lunch on the deck, reading and a nap before we left. The ride home was uneventful and we always talk about when we can return.

Some may think that such a short weekend trip just isn’t enough to really feel rested and refreshed. For us, the change of scenery and routine always gives us a fresh perspective for when we return home.

The mountains are always calling and I must go!!!


Pet ownership is a huge responsibility and finding the right dog care products are a major part of that responsibility. For the past ten years, I have been mommy to two Chihuahua mixes. Charlie is a Chihuahua/Jack Russell and Chiclet is a Chihuahua/Minni Pinn. They are my little babies and are often a handful. My husband says I spoil them rotten, but what does he know.

I didn’t know much about caring for dogs in the beginning but I have learned a few things over the years that work for me. There are a lot of dog care products available and it can be very difficult to choose what is right for your pet. I thought I would share a few of my favorite dog care products that I believe every dog owner will want to have.

Dog Food

One of the most important decisions you mill make is what to feed your dog. Puppies and adult dogs have different nutritional needs. In addition, so do different breeds. First be sure you consider the age or your dog and do a little research on the breed to determine what their nutritional needs will be.

I was given some wise advice when we adopted our first dog, Charlie, which was to go ahead and decide on a quality brand of food. He will be more satisfied and healthier in the long run and that’s what every dog owner wants.

I chose the Blue Buffalo brand of dog food. Since my dogs are small breed, I feed them Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula for Small Breed Adult dogs. Click here for a link to the exact product.

Dog Treats

In addition to dog food, the next most important dog care product is treats. Every dog owner dreams of having a well trained and super smart dog. This doesn’t happen by accident and treats are a great way to potty train and teach your dog the basic commands.

I use Pet Botanics Mini Training Reward in the 500 count bag. They come in a variety of flavors. They are small, my dogs love them, and they continue to be a must have in my house. I have tried a few other varieties and always come back to Pet Botanics. Here is a link to the exact product I use.

Dog Training & Puppy Pads

One of the most difficult aspects of pet ownership is potty training. Regardless of whether your dog will be an inside or an outside dog, they must be trained on where to use the bathroom.

Since my dogs are indoor dogs, I began training by using potty pads. Both of my dogs were fairly easy to train to use them. I also take my dogs outside. They actually prefer to go outside, but if that is not an option, they use the potty pads.

I will be very honest and tell you that potty pads are not a cheap dog care product. Since I have two dogs, I use a lot of them!!! I have tried several brands from pet stores, and big box stores, but have found them all to either leak, my dogs didn’t like them or they were just too expensive.

The dog care product I will absolutely not be without is AmazonBasics Dog and Puppy Leak Proof Training Pads. I purchase them in regular size 100 count packages. My dogs love them and they don’t leak. Here is a link to the exact pads I use.

Pet Hair Removal

If you have dogs, you are going to have pet hair! I love my fur babies but they shed a lot of fur!!!! Fortunately, I have hardwood floors which is easier to clean than carpet. Staying on top of the fur is quite the challenge. I realized quickly that running the full size vacuum every day wasn’t practical so I began looking for a cordless brand.

I settled on a Dyson V8 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum. It’s a little pricey but so worth the cost. It is light weight and I can easily use it daily to pick up the dog fur. Here is a link to the exact model I purchased. I have had it for several years with no problems.

If you are looking for something a little less pricey, I would recommend the Evriholder FURemover Pet Hair Removal Broom and Lint Brush. I do not personally own this product but it seems very effective for fur removal at a reasonable price. Here is a link.

I hope you find this list of my favorite dog care products helpful. If you want to read more about the benefits of pet ownership, check out my previous post The Power of Pets.

I have provided links to all of my favorite products below! Just click and you are on your way to happy pets.


Summer is upon us and everything is heating up including our homes. That is not the only thing that’s going up, so is the power bill!! Here are 5 home decor changes that you can make to keep your home cooler this summer.

While there are may be many options available, the price tag is often high and just not practical for the everyday family. Such things as solar panels, new more efficient windows and doors, and replacing entire HVAC systems may be quite effective, they are also very expensive.

But don’t get discouraged, there are some simple and easy changes you can do yourself that will immediately yield results and you won’t need to touch your thermostat.

1. Window Treatments

Regardless of whether you have new or older windows, adding black out curtains can have a huge impact on the amount of heat coming in. The tightly woven backing of the fabric keeps light out and helps maintain a consistent temperature in the room. Not only are they effective in keeping the sun out in summer, but in winter they act as an insulator and help keep the room warm.

woman holding fan
Photo by murat esibatir on
2. Change Sheets and Blankets

What you sleep on and under matters. Changing out your sheets to a brand of cooling sheets will help you sleep better. There are several types of cooling sheets. Some are “breathable” which means they prevent sweat build up. Others are absorbent, meaning they will absorb sweat while sleeping. And lastly, there are moisture wicking brands which literally pull sweat to the outside of the sheet. Decide what your sleep needs are and purchase a brand that is best for you.

In addition, change out all of your heavy blankets for ones that are of a light weight variety. Blankets made from natural fibers like cotton and linen are perfect for the couch or bed.

3. No Heat Light Bulbs

I personally love the lighting that comes from lamps. However, lamps and overhead lighting can be a source of extra heat in your house. By simply changing the bulbs to energy efficient low heat LED bulbs, you can reduce the amount of heat emitted and keep your home cooler. These bulbs have lower wattage but produce the same amount of light.

4. Use Fans

With most homes having central HVAC systems, you don’t often think of adding fans to keep your home cooler. Using fans to circulate air in a room or help create cross ventilation is an excellent way to lower the temperature. Fan strength, design and footprint have changed greatly over the years. It is very easy to find a fan that is powerful without being large.

5. Consider a Portable AC Unit

There are so many options today for portable AC units. If you have a room that is just too hot, this is a perfect solution. These units can be easily moved if you have more than one space to cool. They range in price depending on how much square footage they can cover. The only restriction is that a window is necessary for venting the unit.

I personally have one of these units in the upstairs master bedroom of my cabin. We have a central HVAC system, but the cabin design does not allow for proper cooling of this bedroom. The portable unit we purchased was super easy to install and is very effective. We sleep cool and it has had very little impact on our power bill.

I hope you found some helpful ideas that you can easily implement to keep your home cooler this summer!


We all have men in our lives that we love.  Have you ever stopped to think about the care of their skin?  Most of the skin care advertising is directed toward women and I love that there are so many products available for us.

However, men’s skin care is just as important and most likely, they will need a little help from the ladies in their lives to upgrade their routine.  My own husband has embraced the need to take better care of his skin and I have encouraged him to use products made just for him.  Here’s a link to some of his favorite products.  

soaps with shaving brush near vase on wooden table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

The first step is to determine skin type … normal, oily, dry or combination.  This is key in finding the right products to purchase.

1.  Cleansing

Cleansing the skin is essential to both sanitize and eliminate dead skin cells.  Men tend to be lazy in this area but it is crucial to maintain clear and smoother skin.  Just like the ladies, men should wash their face before going to bed.  Keep in mind that too much of a good thing can be a problem, so limit face washing to twice daily.

2.  Sunscreen

This is another area that men tend to avoid.  If your man wants to avoid that leathery look, then he must apply sunscreen.  The best option would be a moisturizer for men that contains an SPF protection of 15 or 30. Here’s a great option by Cardon.

3.  Wrinkles Around Eyes

If your favorite guy is concerned about wrinkles, especially around the eyes, then an eye cream for men is appropriate. Viking Revolution offers a nice option.

4.  Lip Care

Your lips age fast and chap easily from sun exposure and the elements.  Use of a quality lip balm will keep those “smackers” in prime condition.

5.  Shaving

This is one area where men should be very careful with their skin.  Always use a clean, sharp razor and a quality shaving cream or gel.  Also be sure to move the razor with the grain of the hair to avoid razor burn and bumps. Below are some affordable options.

6.  Hands

Let’s don’t forget  his hands.  Men’s hands are very prone to becoming dry, cracked and looking aged from work and exposure to the elements.  Every hard working man deserves a good hand lotion to hydrate their skin without being greasy. Marlowe offers a reasonably priced product.

Whether it’s your husband, partner, son or son-in-law, we want our favorite men to take care of their skin and look and feel their best.

Helping them find quality products and a skin care routine that works will keep them looking always handsome!


Have you ever thought about what you would do if you had more money in your pocket? I know that I have. While you may not be in a position to increase your income, it is possible to give yourself a raise by reducing expenses.

You might be thinking “Well that sounds great, but I don’t want to give up the things I enjoy, just to save a few dollars.” Here are some ways you can minimize your expenses and still enjoy your life.

7 Ways to reduce personal expenses

  1. Practice “NO SPEND DAYS/WEEK” – Whether it’s a day or you get bold and choose a whole week, decide for that time period, to limit spending to only groceries and gas. You will be amazed at how much you can save and as a bonus you practice financial discipline.
  2. Cancel memberships/subscriptions that you don’t use. We all do it. Sign up for memberships or trial offers and then never use them or cancel them. $20 here and there adds up quickly. Check your bank and credit card statements to make sure that you are not paying for things you no longer use.
  3. This is a big one ….. CANCEL CABLE! With Smart TVs and so many live streaming options, you can certainly find a cheaper option for home entertainment. I personally love the Amazon Fire Stick. The Fire Stick, which costs around $40, allows you to enjoy watching your favorites from Netflix, YouTube, Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO, and more. It’s also easy to set up and use and Amazon Prime members get unlimited access to thousands of movies and TV shows.
  4. Buy generic! Yes, it is true! Many generic products are exactly the same as the name brand version. I regularly use generic brands and it definitely makes a difference in my grocery/cleaning budget.
  5. Save gas by streamlining your errands. I never realized how much gas and $$$ I wasted by running all over town on different days to complete errands. When gas prices went up to around $4/gallon back in 2011, I was forced to get organized and rethink how I was using my car. I quickly began to plan how to use one to two days a week to accomplish multiple errands all in one outing. Not only did it save me money, but time as well. I personally use a planner to help organize my life. If you are looking to get better organized and need a planner, click here for a great product suggestion.
  6. COLLECT YOUR CHANGE! It really does ad up. When you collect enough coins, cash them in and deposit it in your savings account. Nothing better than watching your money grow! Click here for a digital coin collection bank. This bank will let you know just how much you have collected.
  7. My final suggestion is to go paperless with your regular bills. Many utility companies offer discounts for going paperless and if you use your bank’s online bill pay, you won’t spend money on stamps to mail payments.

I hope you found some ideas that you can put into practice and watch your expenses go down and your savings go up!!


hanukkah meal on table
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Do you ever just stand in your kitchen wondering what to cook and secretly hoping fairy chefs will appear and create a dinner masterpiece?

Well……I do! I love to eat, but I have never enjoyed cooking and since the nest is empty, my motivation is almost zero. I have also discovered that it can be a challenge to cook for just two people.

Don’t get me wrong, I love leftover night, but scaling down my “go-to” recipes is not so easy and I hate to waste food that we simply get tired of reheating. Cooking dinner for two shouldn’t be so difficult.

There is a solution. America’s Test Kitchen has published a terrific new cookbook devoted to recipes for two. The name is “The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make“.

Here’s what the publisher has to say:

If you even occasionally cook for two people, then you know how challenging it can be to find smaller-scale recipes, let alone a complete apps-to-desserts collection. It took America’s one of the most trusted test kitchen to develop an all-purpose for-two cookbook that’s equal parts guaranteed-to-work recipes, innovative cooking strategies, and time-honored cooking expertise.

650 foolproof recipes for everything you’ll ever want to make.

500+ color recipe photos show you finished dishes.

‘Fast’ and ‘light’ recipes are flagged for easy reference.

Notes from the Test Kitchen offers expertise on everything from various types of flour to the best steaks for two to freezing cheese.

250+ color step photos illustrate techniques

Definitely sounds like a kitchen must have for every empty nester or couple who’s looking to enjoy great meals and avoid the waste of cooking large dishes.

  • You’ll have plenty of recipe ideas.
  • Pictures!!!!
  • Cooking Strategies
  • Expand your expertise
  • And perhaps …. enjoy the kitchen again!

Don’t hesitate! Get one for yourself or even as a gift for someone you love. The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook just might be the answer to your “What to prepare for dinner” question.

Get yours by clicking here!