Real Estate News

  • 4 Home Features That Blend Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

    14 May 2021

    It’s quite common for luxury homebuyers to look for a property that has just the right balance between luxury and natural beauty. Perhaps that’s why homes that thoughtfully blend indoor and outdoor living spaces are often in high demand. If you’re looking for a property that offers exactly this, here are a few features that can deliver the best of both worlds.  

    Retractable Glass Walls
    You can remove the barrier (literally) between the interior and exterior of your home with a retractable glass wall. This sleek, modern feature is ideal for anyone who wants to open up their living space to a fresh breeze and create a seamless connection to the terrace or backyard, while also enjoying an abundance of natural light and unobstructed views even when the glass wall is closed.

    Outdoor Kitchens
    Who said you have to spend hours inside to prepare a wholesome family dinner? Outdoor kitchens have fast become a favorite amenity for homeowners who want all of the high-end appliances found in traditional cooking space but in an al fresco setting. After all, no one wants to go inside to cook when the sun is shining and the kids are playing in the pool.

    A solarium, also known as a conservatory, is a room that’s entirely enclosed by glass walls and ceilings. It’s just about as close as you can get to going outside without actually leaving the house and, on a bluebird winter day, the sun can naturally heat a solarium right up to a comfortable temperature. This feature is particularly desirable for those who want to grow houseplants and trees that require ample sunshine year-round.

    Covered Outdoor Space
    Whether it’s a loggia, veranda or a screened-in porch, a covered outdoor area offers plenty of unique advantages. For starters, you can decorate with luxurious furniture without having to worry about damage from rain or sunshine. Additionally, it offers just the right amount of shelter from the elements, so you can enjoy being outside regardless of the weather.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • What to Know When Choosing a Hospital

    14 May 2021

    (Family Features) When Judie Burrows, an adventurous, retired teacher, broke her hip during a bicycle accident, her family trusted the doctors and the hospital. They were not worried about a routine hip surgery.

    “I didn’t realize at the time that we should have worried, even though this was a routine procedure,” said her son, Steve Burrows. “We thought all hospitals were basically the same.”

    Burrows, who produced the award-winning HBO documentary “Bleed Out” recounting his mother’s story, points to an option like the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade as how his family might have compared hospital safety.

    Five months later, with her first hip surgery failing, Judie Burrows fell and broke her hip again and spent eight days in the hospital in excruciating pain with no plan of care. She had a second hip surgery, despite the doctor knowing she was still on three different prescription blood thinners, and lost half the blood in her body.
    After surgery, Judie Burrows slipped into a coma. For a day and a half, no one noticed.

    “When my mother emerged from her coma after two weeks, her cognitive abilities were equal to that of an 8-year-old,” Steve Burrows said. “She survived, but lost her fierce independence, her home and all her life savings, which were used to pay for the injuries she suffered.”

    One easy way to judge local hospitals 
    “At first, I thought my family was just unlucky,” Steve Burrows said. “However, after the release of our HBO documentary, ‘Bleed Out,’ I received thousands of messages from people across the country who recounted their own stories of loss and suffering related to medical errors.”

    Research confirms the problem is significant. A study in “The BMJ” found upward of 250,000 people in the United States die of preventable medical errors each year, equal to more than 600 people per day.
    To assist people like the Burrows family, nonprofit watchdog organization The Leapfrog Group grades hospitals with an A, B, C, D or F based on measures that protect patients from preventable errors, injuries and infections.
    The grades look at up to 27 measures of hospital safety, like infection rates, surgical errors and standards for intensive care unit (ICU) physician staffing.

    ‘Shopping’ for care is crucial
    “Health care is too important not to shop for it,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group.
    Binder suggests a safety-first research strategy that begins with the Hospital Safety Grade, the only resource entirely devoted to errors, injuries and infections, followed by research from other sources into the quality of the surgery or treatment a patient needs.

    The hospital grades are free to the public, updated twice a year, independently assessed, peer-reviewed and fully transparent. People can search for hospitals in any region of the United States.

    Judie Burrows passed away last year after enduring more than a decade of health struggles following her first hip surgery. The hospital and doctors never claimed any responsibility for the emotional and financial costs.
    “Do not be afraid to shop like your life depends on it,” Steve Burrows said. “It does depend on it. My family found out the hard way.”

    Look up grades for your local hospitals at

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • 4 Kitchen Trends That Are on the Rise

    14 May 2021

    With more people cooking at home than ever before, the kitchen has taken on added importance in our daily routine. As a result, many homeowners have experienced a shift in style and design preferences when it comes to the heart of their home. Here are several emerging kitchen trends that ensure your cooking space meets all of your needs.

    Truly Professional Grade
    The term “professional grade” is often overused, but these days it’s perhaps the best way to describe the cutting-edge appliances that homeowners are bringing into their kitchens. High-end ranges boasting sous vide mode and combi-steam ovens, for instance, bring meal possibilities that were once only available to professional chefs right into your home.

    Stylish Appliances
    The functionality isn’t the only thing that’s getting an upgrade these days. Appliances are also taking on an exciting new look, as evidenced by Samsung’s chic BESPOKE Refrigerator collection that can be customized with various color schemes. And for an equally stylish range, check out the endless possibilities offered at Bluestar By Design to add a whole new layer of exciting patterns to your appliances.

    Extra Storage
    Those who are getting more use out of their kitchen are likely in need of more storage. For this reason, it’s become increasingly popular to have not one, but two islands to ensure there’s ample room for all of your appliances, tools and tableware. The walk-in pantry, of course, is another solution, which has also become an in-demand feature. 

    Added Warmth
    When it comes to aesthetics, the all-white, marble-clad kitchen was all the rage for the past few years. While this classic look will likely remain a continued favorite for years to come, many homeowners are looking for ways to add a sense of warmth, richness and texture to their cooking space. Materials like wood, copper and brass are being juxtaposed with soothing earth tones to create an ambience that exudes low-key luxury in today’s kitchens.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • How to Include More Healthy Fats in Your Diet and Cut Down on Unhealthy Fats

    13 May 2021

    A high-fat diet has been linked to a host of health problems, including high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity. Not all fats are the same. It’s important to understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats so you can find the right balance.

    What Are Healthy Fats?
    Unsaturated fats can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and contribute to healthy levels of “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils, some nuts, seeds, fatty fish and avocados. 

    Polyunsaturated fats include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3s help the body absorb some vitamins. They can protect mental health and memory and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. 

    What Are Unhealthy Fats?
    A diet high in unhealthy saturated fat can contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease. Saturated fat is found in fatty meat, sausage and other meat products, cheese, butter, cream, sour cream and other foods. 

    Trans fats made from partially hydrogenated oil have been widely used in a variety of processed foods. They can raise levels of “bad” cholesterol and reduce levels of “good” cholesterol. 

    How to Eat Foods With the Right Fats
    When you go grocery shopping, read nutrition labels. Many common foods have high levels of unhealthy fats. Compare products from different brands to find healthy versions.

    Be careful when looking at products labeled “low-fat” or “fat-free.” While trans fats have been eliminated from many products, they are still used in some cases, even in foods that are labeled “zero trans fat.” Also, some foods that are relatively low in unhealthy fats are high in carbohydrates that can contribute to weight gain and diabetes.

    Look for lean cuts of meat. Trim fat and remove skin before cooking meat. Instead of frying meat, use cooking methods that require little or no oil, such as baking, grilling and broiling. Cut down on the amounts of butter and oil you use when preparing food.

    Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. They can help you reduce your fat intake and provide you with valuable vitamins and minerals.

    Make Healthy Choices
    If you’re concerned about your health, speak with your doctor. Discuss your current diet and changes you should make. You shouldn’t try to completely eliminate fat from your diet since some fats provide important benefits, but you should work on creating a balance that will support your overall health. 

    Look for ways to cut back on unhealthy fats and eat more healthy ones. Try new products and experiment with new recipes.

    Published with permission from RISMedia.

  • Swimming Safety Tips for Summer

    13 May 2021

    (Family Features) Playing in or around water is one of the joys of summer, but this treasured seasonal pastime comes with some serious risks. Drowning is the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under the age of 14 in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    As COVID-19 restrictions ease, many families will have informal gatherings and take trips to the beach, increasing the potential for children to have unsupervised access to water. Because of this, it’s important for children to take swimming lessons to learn water safety skills and create safer habits in and around water. As swimming lessons begin across the country, many are being conducted safely with COVID-19 precautions in place.

    Protect your family’s safety around water this summer with these tips from the Make a Splash Tour, presented by Phillips 66 and the USA Swimming Foundation.

    Designate a Water Watcher and Closely Monitor Children. Designate a water watcher when you are in, on or around water. Watch all children and adolescents swimming or playing in or around water, even if they know how to swim. Keeping young children or inexperienced swimmers within arm’s length at all times can help ensure you’re able to provide assistance if and when it’s needed.

    Wear a Life Jacket. Anyone participating in any boating, paddling or towed water sports, regardless of swimming ability in pool or open water situations, should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Preschool-aged children (5 years old and younger), who are not protected by touch supervision, in particular, should always wear a life jacket. Swimming aids and water toys – such as water wings, inflatable water wings and rings – are not intended to be life-saving devices.

    Learn to Swim. Research has shown formal swimming lessons reduce the risk of childhood drowning by 88%. Through the annual Make a Splash Tour, the USA Swimming Foundation, with the support of Phillips 66, encourages children’s swim lessons. By equipping your child with the skill of swimming, you’ll open doors to a lifetime of safety, fun, fitness and even employment opportunities.

    While lessons progressively teach a variety of swimming strokes, some of the most important things swimmers learn – even in beginner classes – are breath control and how to float. These basic skills are essential for staying above water should someone find himself or herself unable to touch or too tired to swim to safety. Children can participate in swimming lessons before they can walk, and parent-child swim lessons provide bonding opportunities along with water safety education.

    Swim in Designated Areas and Obey Posted Signs and Flags. Ropes, buoys and flags in larger bodies of water like lakes or oceans are commonly used to mark off safe swimming areas and provide visual cues about changes in depth, underwater surfaces and currents. Teach children what these signs and markers mean and that they’re in place as safety tools, not toys to play with or float on.

    Learn CPR. If the unthinkable does happen, knowing how to perform CPR allows you to take immediate action, which has been shown to significantly better the outcome for children with submersion injuries. In the time it takes for paramedics to arrive, you could save someone’s life. Seconds count; the quicker CPR is started, the better the chances of recovery. There are many places that offer CPR training, including community organizations and nonprofit groups. Remember to keep your certification current once you have completed the initial requirements.

    Make safety a priority for your summer water fun. For more information, including swim lesson providers in your area, visit

    Published with permission from RISMedia.