Tag Archives: Winter

Decorating With Nature in Fall and Winter

Bringing the beauty of the changing seasons inside is easy and inexpensive. Here are 16 ideas to get you started

As the days become shorter and the light fades, we naturally want to hunker down indoors with cozy throws, hot drinks and good friends. And while shopping for new goodies to reflect the season can be fun, you don’t need to spend big to bring the look and feel of the turning seasons into your home. Here are 16 project ideas (most of them quick and ridiculously easy) that make use of whatever natural elements you have on hand, from found feathers to firewood.

By:
(September 25, 2016) Houzz Contributor. I cover topics ranging from decorating ideas, product picks, Houzz tours, and interviews with designers and architects, to the monthly home maintenance checklist. My favorite pieces to write center around the emotional aspects of home and savoring life’s simple pleasures. Learn more + register for my upcoming Deep Storage Boot Camp e-course athttp://www.lauragaskill.com/ecourse

Mountain Events: April 8th – 10th, 2016

Friday, April 8th, 2016

Adult Drop-In Hockey: 8:30a Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Vail Film Festival: 11a (Various times) Vail Village, Vail.

Kevin Danzig & Faith Crawford: 6p the MotherLoaded Tavern, Breckenridge.

Open Kayaking: 7p Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge.

Nat Geo Live – Chasing Rivers: 7:30p Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

Frisco Funk Collective: 9p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

Start Your Real Estate  Career Pre-Licensing Class: 8:30a Evo3 Space, Frisco.

Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge: Arapahoe Basin.

Michael Franti & Spearhead: 3p Breckenridge Resort.

3rd Annual A Perfect Pairing: 6p Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village, Empire.

Dynamo: 9p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Sunday, April 10th, 2016

Slush Cup & Closing Day: 11a Keystone Resort.

Climbing Self Rescue: 2p Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge.

The Swing Crew: 3p The Last Lift Bar, Keystone.

Closing Dates:

April 10th – Keystone
April 10th – Beaver Creek
April 10th – Frisco Adventure Park & Nordic Center
April 17th – Vail
April 24th – Breckenridge
April 17th (closed 18th-21st) 22, 23, 24th – Copper Mountain

May 3rd (rough) – Loveland
Arapahoe Basin – undecided

Mountain Events: April 1st – 3rd

Friday, April 1st, 2016

USASA Nationals: 9a Copper Mountain.

Dave Perron & Friends: 1p Broken Arrow, Arrowhead Ski Area, Avon.

Kevin Danzig & Faith Crawford: 5p MotherLoaded Tavern, Breckenridge.

TRIVIA Night: 7p Silverthorne Pavilion, Silverthorne.

9th Annual Summit Hockey Classic: 6p Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Open Kayaking: 7p Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge.

Rocky Horror Picture Show: 7p Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

Dancing Lessons: 7:30p 246-X Rainbow Drive *Temporary location for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Silverthorne.

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016

Ballet Technique: 8a Old Masonic Hall, Breckenridge.

Met Opera Live in HD – Madama Butterfly: 10:55a Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge.

9th Annual Summit Hockey Classic: 5p Stephen C. West, Breckenridge.

Rachel & The Ruckus: 9:30p Snake River Saloon, Keystone.

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

USASA National: 9a Copper Mountain.

Breck Spring Fever Events: All Day, Breckenridge.

Breck Chili Cook off presented by Bud Light: 12p Base of Peak 7, Breckenridge.

Dancing Lessons: 6:30p 246-X Rainbow Drive *Temporary location for the Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Silverthorne.

 

Mountain Events: March 11th-13th

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Snowmobiling Tours: 8a, 10a, 12:30p, 2:30p, All Ages, Dillon.

Nostalgia/History Speaks: 11a, Arts Alive, Breckenridge.

The Swing Crew in Keystone: 3p The Last Lift Bar, Keystone.

Apres Ski Yoga: 4:00p Elevated Yoga & Holistic Health, Frisco.

Peligroso Tequila Party: 5p Dillon Dam Brewery, Dillon.

Murder Mystery Dinner Theater: 6:30p Father Dyer Church, Breckenridge.

Dancing Lessons: 7:30p The Lake Dillon Theatre Co., ** New (Temporary) Location: 246-X Rainbow Drive
Silverthorne.

 

Disco Ball Public Skate: 7:30p Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Meniskus: 9:30p Snake River Saloon, Keystone.

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Snowpitch Softball Tournament: 9a Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge.

Historic Dredge Boat Snowshoe: 10a B&B Trailhead, Breckenridge.

Alpenglow Ascents Rando Challenge: 11a Arapahoe Basin, Arapahoe Basin.

Half Moon Snowshoe Party: 5p Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge.

Canvas Painting Party: 7p Ready Paint Fire, Breckenridge.

Keller Williams: 8:30p Vilar Performing Center, Beaver Creek.

One Ton Pig: 8:30p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Sunday, March 14th, 2016

All You Can Eat – Fundraiser for the Arts: 9a Elks Club, Silverthorne.

Summit Foundation Cup Series: 10a Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Free One Run Lesson: 1:30p Arapahoe Basin.

Summit Community Orchestra Spring Concert: 6p Dillon Community Church, Dillon.

Dancing Lessons: 6:30p The Lake Dillon Theatre Co., ** New (Temporary) Location: 246-X Rainbow Drive
Silverthorne.

Karaoke With Sandman: 9p The Mine Breck, Breckenridge.

 

Mountain Events: February 26th-28th

Friday, February 26th, 2016

BMC No School Mini Camp: 8:00a Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge.

Dave Perron and Friends: 1:00p Broken Arrow and Arrowhead Ski Area, Avon.

Flower Bowls for Kids with Jeni: 3:00p Ceramic Studio, Breckenridge.

Apres Ski Yoga: 4:00p Elevated Yoga & Holistic Health, Frisco.

Kevin LaCarrubba: 7:00p Fireside Bar at the Vail Cascade Resort, Vail.

Late Night, Date Night, Create Night: 7:00p Ready Paint Fire, Breckenridge.

Dead Floyd: 9:00p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

Snowmobiling Tour: 8a, 10a, 12:30p, 2:30p Daily, Dillon.

2016 Vertical Express for MS: All day Vail Mountain.

Stencil Screen Printing with Jennifer Ghormley: 9:00a Randall Barn, Breckenridge.

Public Skating Session: 9:00a Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Skijor Dog Training: 10:00a Frisco Adventure Park, Frisco.

The Swing Crew: 3:00p The Last Lift Bar, Keystone.

Dos Equis Apres Ski: 3:30p Storm King Lounge, Center Village, Copper Mountain.

Canvas Painting Party: 7:00p Ready Paint Fire, Breckenridge.

Stereo Clone: 9:30p The Snake River Saloon, Keystone.

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Special Olympics: 9:00a Copper Mountain.

Beaver Creek Running Series: Snowshoe Edition: 11:00a Beaver Creek Village, Avon.

Hollywood & Wine: A Night on the Red Carpet Fundraiser: 5:30p The Speakeasy Movie Theater, Breckenridge.

 

 

Mountain Events: February 12th-14th

Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Presidents’ Day Weekend! Be sure to get out an explore the great resorts Summit County has to offer in this beautiful spring-like weather. Don’t forget to keep an eye on traffic by checking COTrip.org for all of your I-70 information. 


 

Friday, February 12th

Snowmobiling Tour: 8a, 10a, 12:30p, & 2:30p Dillon.

Adult Drop-In Hockey: 8:30a Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

“Red” Exhibit: 11:30a ART of the VALLEY GALLERY, Avon.

Apres Ski Yoga: 4:00p Elevated Yoga & Holistic Health, Frisco.

Brian Parton: 5:00p the MotherLoaded Tavern, Breckenridge.

Peligroso Tequila Party: 5:00p Dillon Dam Brewery, Dillon.

Wine At The Mine 2016: 5:30p National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum, Leadville.

6th Alley Supper Club – Fish Fry: 6:30p 6th Alley Bar & Grill, Arapahoe Basin. * Call for reservation

Funkiphino: 9:30p Snake River Saloon, Keystone.

Saturday, February 13th

Skiloveland.com

Loveland’s 25th Annual Mountaintop Matrimony: 8am Loveland Ski Area.

Wearable Art Vest: 10:00a Part 2 with Rocket Nelson, Randall Barn, Breckenridge.

Kids in the Kitchen: 10:30a Vail Recreation District Community Programming Room, Lionshead Parking Structure, Vail.

Public Skate Session: 1:30p Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

New Beginnings – Scenes of Summit County: 4:00p Arts Alive Gallery, Breckenridge.

Copper’s Moonlight Dine & Ski: 5:30p Solitude Station, Copper Mountain.

Art Show & Reception for Jerry Georgeff: 6:30p Blue River Fine Art Gallery, Breckenridge.

Glass Fusing Workshop: 7:00p Ready Paint Fire, Breckenridge.

Frisco Funk Collective: 8:30p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

Sunday, February 14th

Subaru WinterFest: 9:00a Center Village, Copper Mountain.

Beyond V1 Nordic Skate Clinic: 10:00a Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge.

Frisco Cup Challenge Nordic Race: 10:00a Frisco Nordic Center, Frisco.

Love is…A Work of Art: 3:00p Violinist Jerilyn Jorgensen and Pianist Cullan Bryant, Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge.

Artist In-Residence Bradley Chance Hays: 3:00p The Sebastian Hotel, Vail.

 

Mountain Events: January 15th-18th

Friday, January 15th

Snowmobiling Tours: 8a, 10a, 12:30p All levels, Dillon.

Family Gym Time: 10a Breckenridge Recreation Center, Breckenridge.

Paint Your Own Pottery: 10a Lionshead Welcome Center, Vail.

Ullr Ice Plunge: 2p-4p Maggie Pond, Breckenridge. **New Event

Comedy Night: 7:00p Doors Open, Show at 8:00p Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

ULLR BIKE, presented by Borealis Bikes: 5p Race Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge.

Vail Triumph Winterfest Ice Theatre: 5p Vail Village, vail.

Takács Quartet: 6:30p Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.

6th Alley Supper Club- Italian Night: 6:30p 6th Alley Bar & Grill, Arapahoe Basin.

Breckenridge Bucks Hockey Game: 7:50p (Pre Party at the Rio in Frisco) Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Atomga: 9p Barkley Ballroom, Frisco.

25th Anniversary Gallery Exhibition – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!: All Day, Exclusive Collections Gallery, Breckenridge.

Saturday, January 16th

Snowmobiling Tours: 8a, 10a, 12:30p All levels, Dillon.

Copper Mountain Safety Fest: 9a Center Village, Copper Mountain.

NSAA Skier Safety Village: All day “Do you know the code?” Arapahoe Basin.

Women’s Demo Day Lionshead: 9a Eagle Bahn Gondola, Vail.

NEW Classic Film Series: 10a South Branch-Summit County Library, Breckenridge.

Met Opera Live In HD: Les Pecheurs De Perles, Bizet: 10:55a Colorado Mountain College, Breckenridge Campus.

Ullr Ice Skating Party: 1p-3p Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Ullympics: 3p-5p Carter Park, Breckenridge. **Community Favorite 

Wild & Scenic Film Festival: Doors 6p, Films start at 7p Riverwalk Center, Breckenridge.

Breckenridge Bucks Hockey Game: 7:50p (Pre Party at the Rio in Frisco) Stephen C. West Ice Arena, Breckenridge.

Birch Street: 9:30p Snake River Saloon, Keystone.

Sunday, January 17th

Snowmobiling Tours: 8a, 10a, 12:30p All levels, Dillon.

Woodward Winter Camp: 9a Woodward Copper Barn, Copper Mountain. 

NSAA Skier Safety Village: All day “Do you know the code?” Arapahoe Basin.

Beyond V1 Nordic Skate Clinic: 10a Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge.

Meet the Artist: 11a Emily Galvin @ Art Gallery at Keystone Lake, Keystone.

Vail Triumph Winterfest Ice Theater: 5p Vail Village, Vail.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go! 25th Anniversary Gallery Exhibition: All Day Exclusive Collections Gallery, Breckenridge.

6 Ways to Supersize Your Small Kitchen for the Holidays

There comes a time in your life when eventually you have to host your family or friends for the holidays. Realtor.com explains some useful ways to make your small kitchen seem a lot larger. 


 

6 Ways to Supersize Your Small Kitchen for the Holidays

By: Deborah Kearns

With Thanksgiving around the corner, odds are you’ll soon be spending plenty of time in your kitchen. (Maybe even way more then you want!) Adding to the holiday stress levels: if your culinary workspace is tight, turning out meals for a crowd may be a real challenge, especially with more helpers (aka family members) around. Don’t panic! You still have time for some kitchen-organizing hacks that can bring some order to the chaos. Plus, you can get inspiration for how to maximize your small space for next year.

1. Plan where everything will go

Before you head to Williams-Sonoma and start swooning over gravy boats shaped like roasted turkeys, take stock of what you already own and plan out how you’ll organize everything, says Susie Kurkowski, owner of Items of Interest, a home decor boutique in Brooklyn, NY.

You may have to do a holiday-specific reorg—as usual, the items you’ll use most (such as dishes, cups, and mixing bowls) should be within arm’s reach, but you’ll also need to get out your heirloom casserole dishes and other items for serving. After the big meal, those special-occasion dishes can go back into storage where they’ll be safe but won’t get in the way of your daily routine.

You’ll also want to limit the number of small appliances (just stick them in a closet, if there’s nowhere else) on your countertops, to free up prep space. And again, when the festivities are over, you may want to rethink what you put back out. The Keurig you use daily? Yes, that can remain. The dusty waffle maker you got as a wedding present and haven’t used since 2009? Say adios!

2. Pimp out your cabinets with custom inserts

Whether you inherited an antique kitchen with equally outdated shelving or you’re starting from scratch, it’s smart to buy custom inserts to organize each nook and cranny, Kurkowski says. You’ll be able to put away more things—without putting them out of reach. She recommends Rev-A-Shelf’s products, which include pullout inserts, Lazy Susan spinners, tray dividers, and door storage.

“Sometimes store-bought cabinets come with weak shelving and inserts that don’t last, so it’s best to buy those items separately,” Kurkowski recommends. “Position like items such as dishes, bowls, and cups close together to make them easy to access, and use the inserts to store all of your small appliances, spices, and other necessities to keep them out of sight and off your counters.”

3. Invest in new appliances

Switching out appliances is one of the easiest ways to bring style, increased efficiency, and a higher resale value to your petite kitchen, Kurkowski says. Although stainless steel has been the preferred choice for the past decade, white appliances are coming into vogue. Certain sizes are considered the standard, but you can opt for smaller appliances to gain more storage inches in your cabinets. Just pay attention to the height, width, and depth. Most modern appliances are deeper than what you probably have now, and you don’t want new appliances to stick out past your countertops.

4. Go easy on color

If you want to add a touch of style, just know that small kitchens are not the place to let loose with dramatic hues. Choose a more subtle color, says Allison Petty, an interior designer with Homepolish. Just like with other small spaces, keep darker colors at the bottom of your kitchen and use lighter shades higher up. More and more homeowners are opting to paint lower cabinets a darker shade, like gray, and the uppers with a creamy white for contrast, Kurkowski says. The effect is dramatic: It brings the eye up and makes your kitchen appear more spacious.

That said, be careful with the backsplash, which is already in shadow. A white subway or hexagon tile goes flawlessly with most kitchen designs instead of dark granite or mosaic tile, Kurkowski says. Adding a backsplash is an inexpensive and dramatic way to add some visual pop, as long as you keep colors neutral.

5. Open up your space with light

Your kitchen is no place to skimp on lighting. Use bright lights over workspaces, Kurkowski says. If you’re blessed enough to have an island, invest in a showstopper light fixture. Hudson Valley Lighting has plenty of beautiful options. Recessed lighting for the rest of the kitchen works fine, but Kurkowski thinks track lighting is even better.

“If you put a track in a suspended rectangle junction box in your kitchen, you can have up to 12 lights on one track and point them at different areas in the kitchen,” Kurkowski notes. “It is less expensive than installing several fixtures that each require their own junction box.”

6. Give old cabinets and countertops new life

Don’t have the funds for a complete gut and reno? No worries: You can transform your outdated cabinets with paint, Petty says. A popular option with avid DIYers is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Another low-cost, eye-popping transformation is to change out or add new knobs and pulls, which can update the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

There’s no beating around the bush: Countertops are expensive to replace—even in small spaces. You’ll spend at least $4,000 for engineered quartz (a hot option right now). If you don’t have the money for a complete upgrade, consider painting laminate surfaces with Giani Countertop Paint (available at your local home improvement store for under $100).


 

Should You Buy a Home While Carrying Student Debt?

 on the Zillow.com blog examines what it means and how you can buy a house with student loan debt. There is some great advice from financial experts on how to move forward with buying a home financially. “The single most effective way to get rid of student loans while saving and building wealth is to live below your means. When you start significantly upgrading your lifestyle, you lose flexibility with your budget. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning” 


Should You Buy a Home While Carrying Student Debt?

Financial experts give their two cents on managing both student debt and a mortgage.

It’s challenging for first-time buyers to break into the housing market as rents keep rising and the inventory of low-value homes remains scarce in most areas. Add thousands of dollars of student debt to the equation and potential buyers may assume they simply cannot afford to buy. Recent data showed that home buyers who completed at least a bachelor’s degree are minimally affected by their student debt when shopping for homes.

Check out some tips from personal finance experts about acquiring mortgages while carrying significant student loan debt.

If you had student loan debt, what was your payment strategy to get rid of it?

I used the debt snowball method to pay off my student loan debt. In 2005, I still owed $13,000. Since my loans were serviced through Sallie Mae, I took advantage of the 1-year forbearance to pause my loan payments so I could aggressively pay off smaller loans that we owed. While the interest still accrues during the forbearance period, I was able to focus on clearing up other debt faster. After the year passed, I was able to start paying off my student loan with more traction. It only took another year and a half to retire the remaining student loan balance. — Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas

Personally, I was lucky enough to make it through undergraduate and graduate school without accumulating any student debt. My wife, however, accumulated between $10,000 and $20,000 in student debt from going to a small private college for her undergraduate degree. Once we got married, I “married” her student debt as well. Currently, she still has around $11,000 in student loan debt. To manage the payoff, the first thing we did was to call the loan administrator and request a lower interest rate, which they did to our surprise without any problems. Currently, the interest rate is only 3 percent annually, which equates to $124 per month. At this level, I do not feel that much of a hurry to pay it off. Instead, it is more along the lines of a low-interest home mortgage, which we are paying off at the required rate, but no more. — Jacob Irwin of My Personal Finance Journey

If you’re still carrying student loan debt, what is your financial plan to eliminate it?

Slow and steady! — Heather Jarvis of Ask Heather Jarvis

I currently hold quite a bit of student loan debt — over $85,000 — but I like to think that my resolve is tantamount to the balance. When I first graduated, I had nearly double that amount to pay off. But by making the pay-off my first financial priority and sending over $1,700 to pay it down every month, I was able to make a sizeable dent in that number quickly. I also cut out spending elsewhere to have more to send toward my loans whenever possible. This meant limiting meals out, having multiple roommates rather than living alone, and forgoing cabs in favor of public transportation. — Mario Bonifacio of Debt Blog

If you’re a homeowner, did you have student loan debt at the time you bought? How did that impact your purchase?

We didn’t let the student loan debt hold us back from buying a home, but we also purchased a home that easily fit into our budget instead of purchasing a home that stretched our budget. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning

We purchased a condo while I had an outstanding student loan balance. The pre-approval process takes into account your debt-to-income ratio when determining the amount you’re able to borrow. Those purchasing a home without outstanding student debt should ensure that their monthly payment does not exceed 25 to 30 percent of your monthly income. We started with a small condo with very affordable monthly payments and assessments that allowed us to have breathing room in our budget to address our outstanding debt — including my student loans. — Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas

The student loan debt did not impact our purchase much at all, since the home we wanted to buy was very affordable based on our income. For us, I do not believe it would have been better to pay off the student loan prior to buying a house, since our debt was fairly low, carried a reasonable interest rate, and does not tie up a large portion of our monthly income. — Jacob Irwin of My Personal Finance Journey

In hindsight, would it have been better to pay off your student loan debt before or after your home purchase?

One thing I would do differently would be to focus on repaying my students loans aggressively as soon as I graduated from undergrad. Instead of taking on car loans and living in high-priced apartments, I could have been much more aggressive as a single person with no children. Instead, I was comfortable with the idea of paying the minimum amount for the full loan term because that was the normal approach to dealing with debt. — Toni Husbands of Debt Free Divas

If you’re not a homeowner, is your student loan debt prohibiting you from buying?

I don’t believe that my student loan is prohibiting me from purchasing a house, though I may have been able to contribute a down payment fund by this point if it weren’t for my student loans. I still feel like both my personal and professional life are in limbo, and at this stage I feel like renting is the smart choice for my situation. I’m currently contributing extra money toward both my 401(k) and my personal IRA account each year and I could instead allocate some of that money towards a down payment if purchasing a home was one of my priorities. My student loans have definitely put the thought of even saving for a home on the backburner, but it was also not a priority of mine to begin with. — Debt Hater of From Debt to Dreams

What are your tips for folks carrying substantial student loan debt?

The single most effective way to get rid of student loans while saving and building wealth is to live below your means. When you start significantly upgrading your lifestyle, you lose flexibility with your budget. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning

Maintain a positive attitude. The best plans and the most sophisticated math in the world don’t mean a thing if you make yourself miserable and give up. Second, make a budget. Knowing where you spend will help you make meaningful cuts and not beat yourself up over meaningless cuts (like single-ply toilet paper or bad Q-tips). Lastly, put together a sensible timeline of how quickly you might be able to pay off all your debt. Having a timeline can change the way you look at your debt; whereas hundreds of thousands of dollars might seem insurmountable, you know that December 2019 will definitely arrive and can therefore plan the months leading up to it. — Mario Bonifacio of Debt Blag

First, use the federal government to your advantage. It offers programs to consolidate and, in some cases, even forgive student loans. Sadly, not everyone knows about them. For instance, a relatively new program is called Pay As You Earn, or PAYE for short. It actually caps the monthly federal student loan payment at 10 percent of your discretionary income. Second, don’t stop paying. The same government that offers helpful programs can also garnish your wages, take a portion of your Social Security benefits, and confiscate tax refunds. Call your loan servicer and ask about your options. But be careful of student loan repayment scams. Only deal with reputable organizations that have excellent reviews and a Better Business Bureau rating. Third, get creative. For instance: volunteer with organizations like AmeriCorp. They offer loan forbearance (which means you don’t have to pay on the principal or interest while working). After your service, you receive a monetary award you can put toward your loan. — Howard Dvorkin of Debt.com

What advice do you have for prospective home buyers limited by their student loan debt?

Build a strong credit history by making your payments on time. Improve your debt-to-income ratio by paying down credit cards and other consumer debt. Balance your competing goals of paying down debt and saving for a down payment. — Heather Jarvis of Ask Heather Jarvis

Don’t let student loan debt hold you back from buying a home. It is important to make sure that you don’t take on more than you can handle, but it’s also important to balance student loan debt with other important financial goals. Make sure you purchase a home that allows you some room in your budget to focus on other goals. — Katie Brewer of Your Richest Life Planning

For anyone looking to buy a home and carrying loan debt, I would say that it is all about balance as with most things in life. You need to set your goals and figure out what is important to you. Are you OK with stretching your student loans out a few more years in order to save for that down payment? Or does the student loan payment need to be eliminated so that you have breathing room in your budget for a mortgage? It may be best to pay off your student loans as quickly as possible (especially if they are high-interest loans), and then switch your focus toward purchasing a home. If you do have any outstanding credit card debt, I would advise you to pay that off before even starting to save for a down payment. If you have sufficient income to pay off your student loans a little slower and buying a home is a priority for you, start shifting some of that money toward your down payment instead. If you come up with a sound financial plan and make sure that you can afford the monthly payments, I don’t feel that there’s any reason that a student loan will prevent you from owning a home. — Debt Hater of From Debt to Dreams


 

 

 

9 Ways to Stay Warm This Winter Without Turning Up the Heat

Realtor.com is at it again. Maureen Dempsey explores 9 ways to stay warm this winter without relying simply on the heat. One of my personal favorites is the heated towel rack.


 

9 Ways to Stay Warm This Winter Without Turning Up the Heat

D Trocio Photography/Getty Images

By: Maureen Dempsey

The chill will be here before you know it—or, depending on where you’re reading this, it’s already arrived with a scary vengeance. Now you have three options: Crank up the thermostat, up your layering game (and risk looking like the Michelin man), or search for other types of home heating products to keep you and the family toasty.

Here’s the good news: There’s a slew of products that can warm your home in an array of astonishing ways, from heated rugs to countertops to driveways (no more shoveling snow!). Here’s a sampling of the innovative options.

Heating panels

Radiators and vented systems work perfectly well throughout the house, but add a few radiant heating panels to your room of choice to fire up the cozy factor. Starting at $600; warmlyyours.com.

Heated driveway

You might love a fresh snowfall a little more (instead of cursing it) if you don’t have to shovel it. You can increase safety and eliminate snow and ice by installing a heated driveway. Around $2,500 plus installation; heatizon.com.

Heated rug pads

A heated rug sounds pretty appealing, no? The plug-in pad slips under a standard area rug. We have a feeling the kids (and pets) will be flocking to this one. Starting at $150;cozywinters.com.

Heated countertops

The cool touch of granite is fabulous in the summer, but it’s not so great when you’re trying to make coffee on a chilly winter morning. The solution: heated countertops. Installable and stick-on are available. Starting at $750; feelswarm.com.

Heated towel rack

You can banish après-shower cold shocks with this toasty towel rack, one of the products that helped kick off the whole heated gear trend a few years back. $160;wayfair.com.

Heated mattress cover

Ten heat settings and dual control means everyone will be snug on this sherpa mattress cover. Starting at $65; target.com.

Boot heater

Can’t bear the thought of slipping your little piggies into wet, cold boots for another schlep outside? Avoid the torture with a space-saving boot dryer. $35; cozywinters.com.

Heated slippers

http://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/ways-to-stay-warm-this-winter/?iid=rdc_news_hp_carousel_theLatest

These heated indoor-outdoor slippers work as shoes, too, depending on your definition of footwear and, um, style. $125; brookstone.com.

Heated toilet seat

Let’s be honest: This heated toilet seat (with night light!) is quietly appealing. We’ll leave it at that. $122; homedepot.com.


 

Let’s be honest though, all of these sound amazing. Here in Summit County these little improvements could help make the long winter a little bit warmer.