‘Summer-ize’ your home to look and smell wonderful in warmer weather!

(BPT) – The three R’s aren’t just reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. In the summer, they refer to “reorganizing,” “restyling”, and “reviving” your home. It’s the perfect time to bring a summery, comfortable feeling to your home’s interior. Luckily, you don’t need to redo every room or throw out all your furniture to get a wonderful seasonal change. Spend a weekend giving your living spaces a lighter, fresher feel. At the end, you might even think you’re on a summer vacation.

Home and lifestyle expert Evette Rios has some simple suggestions that can make powerful impressions throughout your house.

Reorganize

Boost the excitement and va-va-voom in your rooms by moving just a few things around. You’ll be amazed at the new looks you can create. Something as simple as changing the angle of your couch and voila – new room! Try this scuff-proof method for moving heavy pieces: Fold two clean towels (dirty ones can scratch floors), place one under each end of the furniture piece, and then slide it across the floor. This might also be the time to incorporate a few white wicker pieces, which will add a summery touch.

Take some time to sort through your linen closet and remove unwanted items. Put old or unused linens into a “giveaway” bag. Store bed linen sets inside one of the pillowcases, and you’ll never have to hunt through piles looking for a match. All you’ll have to do is grab and go. Want a closet full of freshness? Place a few Gain dryer sheets in with your folded sheets to keep them smelling great.

Restyle

Fresh new accessories can help to brighten up each room in your home. Turn plain lampshades into fabulous ones by adding bright or printed linings that come to life when you flip the switch. You might even want to swap out the art on your walls, adding more colorful pieces that are floral or botanical. If you’re feeling really ambitious, consider painting a few walls to add a clean, fresh look to your rooms. Try bold colors you’ve never had before to really change up the look.

Want to get the kids involved? Turn some drab kitchen aprons into fun “cleaning armor.” Give each child his or her own apron to decorate with markers or stickers to wear, and send the kids on their mission to dust, clean windows, organize, etc. They’ll love wearing something they decorated themselves. Don’t forget to ask their opinions on the changes you’re making – you might be surprised at their great suggestions.

Revive

If you’re packing away heavy clothes or quilts for the season, ensure they maintain a fresh scent by using new Gain Original Fireworks In-Wash Scent Booster in the wash before you store them. It’s safe for use on all colors and fabrics and the freshness lasts up to 12 weeks in storage (just in time to take them out for the fall).

Make your laundry room a place you’re not afraid to enter. De-clutter the room by installing a tension rod to hang spray bottles, cleaning supplies and more. You can also decorate the room with your kids’ artwork to make it a fun space.

Your summer home makeover doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming. Ambitious projects might take a little longer, but you’ll be pleased at how simple it is to transform some of your rooms from drab to wonderfully fresh. Just don’t wait too long – summer doesn’t last forever! For more inspiration, visit ILoveGain.com or facebook.com/gain.

Beyond the beach: Great ideas for outdoor activities this summer


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Basking on the beach or playing in the surf are high points of summer vacation for many people. In fact, going to the beach is among the top five activities for American leisure travelers, according to the U.S. Travel Association.

While beach time will always have its place in the hearts of anyone who loves being outside in summer, there are plenty more ways to enjoy the great outdoors beyond the surf and sand. Consider these tips from the outdoor fun experts at the Myrtle Beach Area

Convention & Visitors Bureau:

* Warm up to wildlife – Look for an outdoor destination that will afford the opportunity to see native wildlife in its natural habitat. From dolphin watching to critter spotting, getting an eyeful of the local wildlife can be a fun, exciting way to enjoy the outdoors. Choose a spot that offers variety. For example, Huntington Beach State Park in the Myrtle Beach area of South Carolina is home to more than 300 species of birds, making it a favorite birding spot for both beginners and dedicated birders. Further south, the Center for Birds of Prey also offers weekly flight demonstrations of wild birds.

 
* Play on and in the water – When you want to really enjoy all the water has to offer, look for a beach destination that offers an array of water sports, from windsurfing and parasailing to kayaking or fly fishing.

 
* Romp under the water – Splashing in the surf is great fun, but don’t overlook the cool things that wait beneath the surface. Snorkeling for brightly colored fish and coral is great for the whole family or, if you’re more adventurous, shipwrecks serve as homes to underwater sea creatures and make interesting viewing for explorers. Look for outfitters like Coastal Scuba in Murrells Inlet, S.C., that offer scuba adventures for divers of varying experience levels. 

 

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* Get the lay of the land – When you want to wander away from the water, look for a destination that offers interesting landscape beyond the beach. The best destinations will offer a variety of interesting hiking and biking trails, appropriate for people of varying skill levels.

 
* Go guided and organized – You can work up a sweat and enjoy the great outdoors with more sophisticated fun, too. Golf is the ultimate refined sport and a healthy way to savor time outside. It can even be an opportunity for family time. In Myrtle Beach, 46 courses offer free play for children during the summer months, including Arrowhead Country Club, which is renowned for its scenic Intracoastal Waterway views and all-day tee times. Another unique Myrtle Beach opportunity is “paddle board yoga.” Surf the Earth, a gear shop in Myrtle Beach, leads a paddle to a secluded beach where participants enjoy core-focused yoga.

 
When it comes to outdoor fun in the summer sun, no one wants to miss the beach. But when you’re ready to get off the beach towel, keep in mind the plethora of other activities and opportunities the great outdoors offer.

Courtesy of BPT

College graduates: Six financial survival tips for the working world


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If you are a recent college graduate, there is much to be optimistic about as you leave campus and head out into the real world. No one ever says life on your own will be easy, but post-graduate financial bliss can be a reality. These six tips from Thrivent Financial offer a starting point for recent graduates who are ready to put their education to work for a secure financial future.

Get real about your paycheck

 

Compared to the minimum wage jobs you survived on through college, the annual earnings at your first post-graduate job may give you dollar-sign eyes. Don’t be fooled though; after taxes, benefits, living expenses and student loan payments, your remaining monthly spending money could amount to less than half of your gross income. Being realistic about your paycheck doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun, though. That new car may have to wait a while, but with smart budgeting you can still enjoy the finer things in life with a clear conscience.   

 
Your credit score matters

 
Thought you were done worrying about test scores? Think again. Whether you want to get an apartment, mortgage, car or a new job, your credit score says a lot about you and can make or break these important investments. Free credit reports are available at www.annualcreditreport.com, and for a small fee you can also obtain your credit score. Examine your report regularly for accuracy, and pay off any existing credit card debt as soon as possible. Credit card interest is wasted money, and outstanding debt can hurt your credit score. 

 
Take care of yourself first

 
After expenses and taxes, your paycheck may look too slim for comfort, but protecting your assets, health and income is worth the additional cost. If you have an apartment, renter’s insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to protect your possessions. Health insurance is also a must, whether you get it through your employer or stay on your parents’ plan. Your paycheck is worth protecting, too. Disability income insurance is not just for those with physically demanding jobs, as most beneficiaries are on disability from illness, not injury. Preparation for the unexpected comes at a small price considering the costs associated with the alternative.

 
Save for the fun stuff

 
Again, being responsible with your finances doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. You have worked hard to start your career, and deserve to reward yourself. The best way to spend smartly is simply to spend less than you have. Diligent saving allows for the occasional splurge without having to feel guilty or anxious about your decision to spend. Consider directly depositing a certain amount from your paycheck into a savings account for a “fun fund." 
Save for the grown-up stuff, too.

 
Your parents’ nagging may start to quiet now that you’ve graduated, but their retirement planning advice is worth listening to. Start investing now, you won’t regret it. As you barely scratch the surface of your career, retirement seems a long way off, but successful investors understand that the longer your assets remain invested, the greater their potential for growth. The cash you forfeit now will pale in comparison to the amount you’ll end up getting back at the end of your career if you start as early as possible. 

 
Don’t pass up free money

 
Many employers offer pretax savings through their retirement accounts. Because your retirement contributions come out before taxes, your taxable income is decreased, saving you money. For example, a $100 contribution from your earnings to a pretax retirement account would reduce your paycheck by only $75 if you’re in the 25 percent tax bracket. If your employer matches a percentage of your retirement contributions, it is wise to contribute the maximum amount of their match so as not to pass up on "free money.”

 
Money is just one of many aspects of adulthood that college graduates must meet head-on to start living independently. Personal finance may seem daunting, but don’t be discouraged. The above-mentioned tips boil down to common sense: spend less than you earn, stay protected through proper insurance, maintain good credit and save for the short and long-term, and you will be off to a great financial start in the next chapter of your life.

Courtesy of BPT

Five tips for creating a stadium-style lawn in your own backyard

Five%20tips%20for%20creating%20a%20stadium-style%20lawn%20in%20your%20own%20backyardWith summer on the horizon, families will be heading to backyards across the country for picnics, sports games and to simply soak up the sun. A lush green lawn is the perfect setting for these activities and will be the envy of the neighborhood. How does one achieve that well-manicured, stadium-style lawn?

Many homeowners think a professional-looking lawn requires a stringent water and fertilizer regimen. While both water and fertilizer play their part, neither is the stand-alone key to a perfect lawn. The following five tips offer homeowners simple solutions to achieving a great yard.

* Know your region. Grass seed is not one size fits all. Select the right grass seed or sod based on where you live. It’s also important to consider how you plan to use your lawn. Do you have children and pets that will be playing on it regularly, or will the purpose be primarily curb appeal? To determine the right grass, talk to your local garden center or contact the turf grass specialist at your state agriculture school.

* Only feed as needed. According to Grass Seed, a coalition of grass seed farmers, many homeowners over water their lawns, which does more harm than good. A simple trick to determine whether your lawn needs watering is to stick a screwdriver into the grass. If it enters the dirt easily, your lawn has plenty of water already. If you have trouble getting the screwdriver into the ground, it is time to give the grass a drink. It is also recommended to fertilize your lawn at least once a year. However, putting your lawn on a quarterly schedule will help achieve optimal health.

* Break out the ruler. The maintenance crews for professional sports fields are meticulous about the height of their grass because it ensures a uniform look. Grass Seed recommends maintaining a lawn height of about 2 inches. It’s important not to cut more than one-third of the grass height at a time to minimize damage, so aim to mow when your lawn is about 3 inches in height.

* Arm yourself with the right tools. The proper equipment can take a lawn from looking well-manicured to professional. When selecting a mower, don’t jump straight to those that pick up the grass clippings. Allowing the clippings to decompose in the lawn will add to the overall health of your yard, and when you mow often, the shavings are small and less noticeable. Adding an edger to your arsenal is another great trick for cleaning up the lines and defining your yard.

* Replenish as necessary. Grass is a natural carpet that cleans and repairs itself. It’s equipped to withstand a number of elements yet is impacted over time. If you’ve noticed that your lawn is sparse in areas, or not as full and lush as you’d like, it may be time to add more seed. The best time to plant new seed is in the fall when the temperatures are more temperate. But reseeding may be done throughout the year. The important thing is to avoid drastic temperature changes and water regularly, yet moderately, to give the seed time to absorb moisture and build roots.

Growing and maintaining a lush green lawn doesn’t have to come with a backache. Basic planning and these five quick tips will have you well on your way to a backyard prime for the summer season.

Courtesy of BPT

Moving? Make sure your possessions are protected


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The average American makes 11.7 moves during a lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about one in six people pulling up stakes each year.
With so many on the move to new homes, new cities and new opportunities, it’s important to protect household items while in transit or in storage before arrival at the new location, according to Charles Valinotti, head of product and underwriting with insurer QBE.

 
Your homeowner’s insurance policy will protect your personal possessions, whether they’re located in your home or in a moving truck. However, Valinotti cautions that there may be a time limit attached to the coverage, such as a 30-day period, and your policy may only cover up to certain dollar limits on property being moved or stored.

 
“Ask your agent to explain the level of coverage, what exactly is covered and confirm that your items are insured if you have to store them,” he says.

 
Other points to keep in mind as you hit the road:

 
* If you’re using a professional moving company or shipper, verify that they’re insured and bonded to cover damage they may be responsible for. Valinotti says to keep in mind most movers limit their responsibility to basic damage amounts. “You may want to check into buying additional insurance to make sure you’re adequately covered during your move.”

 
* If you’re packing and moving yourself with a rented truck, take a look at your auto insurance policy. Many policies will cover rental trucks, but only up to a certain weight. “Don’t assume your policy covers you when you’re behind the wheel of a 26-foot, 13,000-pound moving truck,” he says.

 
* In a self-move, careful packing is critical, as well as keeping your property locked up and secured along the way.

 
* Note the condition of your items being relocated. Then if you have a claim, the condition of your possessions will be documented.

 
* Know the value of high-dollar items that will be making the move. “Make a complete list of everything,” Valinotti suggests. “Take photos and, if necessary, get appraisals of these items before the move.”

 
Valinotti says before a move is a good time to review your overall insurance coverage to make sure you’re adequately covered and whether you need to increase your limits. “A good look at insurance coverage every couple of years is something everyone should do,” he says. “And you don’t have to wait until you’re ready to pack up and relocate.”

Courtesy of BPT

Summer saving tips


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Summer time is one of the happiest seasons of the year. This is the perfect time to get a week of vacation from work, go to the beach and enjoy time with friends and family. As summer could mean happy times, it could also mean more expenses as you spend for family getaways and as electric bills go up due to more people staying in the house and using electric appliances. To help you save money during summer time, here are some helpful tips:

1. Turn off unnecessary household appliances

Be cautious on what appliances kids use. Turn of unnecessary appliances that might just add up to your bill. Turning off the air conditioning during a cold night is one of the helpful things to practice.

2. Let the kids try a summer business

Instead of allowing your kids to just spend more of their money during summer, you can even teach them how to be thrifty and run a summer business. They can try setting up a Lemonade stand or have a garage sale of their old clothes and toys. This way, the kids learn to value money and spend little or just enough for their needs.

3. Save on groceries

Grocery shopping, combined with the money we spend “eating out,” makes up a huge portion of our monthly expenses. In order to save more money during summer, you must learn how to save money on your groceries. Choosing less expensive drinks, avoiding single-serving snacks and being realistic about the amount of food you need are some helpful ways to save you some bucks on your groceries.

4. Avoid credit cards

Using your credit card means borrowing money from the bank that issued the card. And since credit cards often have high spending limits, it encourages cardholders to spend more and more money based on their credit limit. This therefore leads to uncontrollable spending. It is more helpful then to use a prepaid debit card or a prepaid money card when making purchases as these types of cards have credit limits based on the amount of money that the cardholder has from their own bank account. This helps the cardholder think twice before spending as he knows the money will be deducted from his own savings account.

Saving money during the summer season does not mean though that you have to spoil your happy times with your family. With careful planning, budgeting and following these simple tips from reassessing your groceries to choosing prepaid debit cards over credit cards will surely help you save more money that you can use for your family"™s future needs.

Courtesy of BPT

Three Green Trends for Home Remodeling

For some homeowners, remodeling projects are regular occurrences to keep their homes looking fresh. Sometimes, that means smaller changes like a new coat of paint or changing a light fixture. Other times, more substantial changes are needed. Determining those changes can be a challenge, but looking at the potential return on investment is a great way to prioritize.

Bathroom remodeling offers a 68.7 percent return on investment, according to a National Association of Realtors survey. One way to add value to a bathroom remodel is to pick bathroom fixtures that are more efficient than what you currently have installed. People are going green in many areas of life, whether with more energy-efficient light bulbs, hybrid cars or by recycling more regularly. Bathroom fixtures are no different.

Here are three reasons why you should consider going green with your bathroom modeling project:

* Products may be outdated. Toilets made before 1994 use anywhere from 3.5 gallons to 8 gallons per flush (gpf), while new EPA WaterSense labeled high-efficiency toilets can work beautifully on a modest 1.28 gpf. Not sure of your toilet’s vintage? Look at the underside of the tank lid – the date of manufacture is often stamped into the porcelain. In the shower, the typical showerhead installed in California homes built after 1994 uses as much as 2.5 gallons per minute. At that rate, your eight-minute shower consumes a whopping 20 gallons of water.

* Savings to be had. Compared to 3.5 gpf toilets, TOTO’s Aquia One-Piece Dual Flush High-Efficiency Toilet has a flushing system that enables homeowners to select the level of water used each time the toilet is flushed – 1.6 gallons for bulk waste or .9 for liquid. The approach provides exceptional water savings paired with outstanding performance. A family of four can save more than $90 annually on their water bill, and $2,000 over the lifetime of the toilet.

If you replace a typical 2.5 gpm showerhead with a TOTO high-efficiency Trilogy Showerhead, you will experience the same luxurious shower, yet consume a responsible 14 gallons, saving 20 percent of the water used by older models.

Even something like a faucet can contribute to water savings. TOTO’s Silas Widespread Lavatory Faucet is a WaterSense labeled lavatory faucet that consumes a responsible 1.5 gallons per minute without sacrificing an ounce of performance. Its design has a classic contemporary elegance with a graceful, curved spout.  

* Be a trendy homeowner. A whopping 68 percent of builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders say that energy-saving technologies and features including low-E windows, energy-efficient appliances, and LED lighting will be common along with other green features like engineered wood products, and water-saving plumbing fixtures such as dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets by 2015. Start now and you’ll be ahead of the curve.

Five Tips for Kitchen Redos

(BPT) – Feel the need to renovate? If so, you’re not alone. Fifty-three percent of homeowners believe that now is a good time to remodel, according to a recent survey by Houzz.com. When deciding on where the makeover begins, look no farther than the kitchen. Kitchens are a major selling point for homebuyers, so a kitchen remodel is good for the home-selling price. Even if you have no plans to move, the kitchen gets more traffic than any other area of a home and serves as the family hub, so it deserves the attention. To ensure a successful project, keep in mind these kitchen-remodeling tips:

* Add color and light. Splashes of color and artwork can transform a kitchen from a workspace to a fun, vibrant family-gathering spot. To show off those dazzling colors, choose window treatments that let the sunshine in. And take a look at the windows themselves. High-efficiency replacement windows and patio doors can not only save you money over their less-efficient predecessors from the second they are installed, but they often retain most of their value should the home be sold, according to industry statistics. Simonton Windows offers a variety of types, sizes and styles across a number of collections, and can help you find the right windows for your remodeling needs. For detailed window options, visit www.simonton.com.

* Add appeal and ease. Stainless steel continues to be the most popular finish for kitchen appliances, sinks and fixtures. Besides its modern, sleek appearance, stainless steel cleans easily and resists wear and tear. That is especially true for kitchen sinks, which receive the brunt of abuse. New lines of stainless-steel sinks, in a variety of styles, configurations and sizes, are available from Moen. To ease renovation, the new styles feature an updated drop-in deck design. These drop-in sinks include Moen’s refreshed sink-deck design, a minimal, transitional style that coordinates with a variety of decor and faucet designs. The new recessed deck allows sponges or other wet items placed on the deck’s inner ledge to drain back into the sink, and not onto the countertop. The sinks’ wear-resistant, uniform, brushed finish offers durability and resistance to chipping, cracking, staining or peeling.

* Go bold with fixtures. For topping off a kitchen-remodeling project, nothing beats bold and functional fixtures. The new STo collection of stylish, modern faucets from Moen encompass a slim, sleek design, including the innovative, integrated pulldown wand which neatly docks inside of the spout. The rounded, high-arc spout of the STo faucet features a tubular design that unites with a cube-shaped base. Adding the finishing touch is a rectangular lever handle. Available in both single-handle pulldown kitchen and bar/prep pulldown models, STo faucets also feature Moen’s Reflex system, which offers self-retraction of the wand, as well as an exceptional range of motion, generous reach and secure docking retraction. Choose the Spot Resist Stainless finish, with Chrome and Matte Black as other finish options. For more information about Moen products, visit www.moen.com.

* Store in style. Kitchen storage can be practical and stylish. After determining what you don’t like about your current cabinetry – consider location, storage capacity, storage flexibility, material and finish – find out what options you have. MasterBrand offers a spectrum of cabinetry products ranging from standard to custom, with solutions for every budget and lifestyle. For more on cabinetry products from MasterBrand, visit www.masterbrand.com.

* Freshen the flooring. While design, color and surface appeal are important considerations, you’ll also want kitchen flooring that can live up to your lifestyle and provide the comfort and durability you need, according to bobvila.com. Natural stone and ceramic tile are high-end products that ooze taste and elegance. If selecting these hard surfaces, also invest in mats for areas where you’ll be standing for longer periods of time. Linoleum and vinyl offer the look of tile or wood in a more economical, easy-to-clean package. Hardwood has made great strides as a flooring option for kitchens, due to improved product quality and sealing technology.

Courtesy of BPT

8 Traits of Successful Real Estate Investors

SuccessTake a few minutes to think about the successful people around you, not only financially, but also those who embody personal success. Consider the characteristics each of them possess and how these characteristics have fueled their achievements in their given field. Over the past several years I have come in contact with quite a few real estate investors, both directly and indirectly, and have recognized many I consider to be very successful. These people have not only started successful real estate businesses, they also seem to have mastered balance in their life, a very difficult goal to achieve. I have identified 8 key traits that these investors display, (not surprisingly, this same list can be applied to the leaders in any field):

The 8 Traits that Successful Real Estate Investors Embody

1) Passion for investing: The time and personal equity that is required to become a successful investor is overwhelming for many people, which is why most people who plan on becoming real estate investors fail. Passion fuels drive and drive fuels action; without action the chance of becoming successful is zilch. Passion provides the boost needed for difficult days and enthusiasm on routine days. In short, without passion, real estate investing is just another job.

2) Discipline in decision-making: I have yet to meet someone I would consider both undisciplined and successful, and doubt I ever will. While discipline may be a difficult trait to define, I find it is often fairly easy to pick out, as disciplined people plan for the future, work diligently in the present, and learn from the past.

3) Understanding core principles: Failure is almost certain if you do not understand the foundational principles of business, real estate, and the specific niche you are engaging in. Long term success requires not only an understanding of buying and selling real estate, or how to be a landlord, but also basic economic principles. Understanding market fluctuations, economic cycles, monetary policy and other facets of economics will ensure you can react intelligently when changes do occur. Learning the basics is not always fun or exciting, but it is critical in achieving long-term success.

4) Integrity in business dealings: Real estate is notorious for attracting people looking for a quick buck at all costs, but if you look at successful investors, their success spans years and is attained through incredibly hard work. While it may seem easier to look for a short cut (and rip someone off in the process), a long real estate career must be built on a solid reputation.

5) Flexibility: Murphy’s Law is alive and well in real estate, and to survive inevitable surprises, market fluctuations and bad deals, you must be flexible enough to adapt your plan as you go. Planning is absolutely critical, but equally so is the ability to quickly decide when it is necessary to deviate from the plan. Successful real estate investors know when they need to re-evaluate their current blueprint and make adjustments to preserve the long-term success of their investments and business.

6) Money management skills: Most small businesses fail due to poor money management. Forecasting, budgeting, and financial planning is becoming a lost art among small business owners, and it can be lethal to your business. This is why understanding the basics of accounting, tax law, cash flow management, debt management, and other financial principles is so important, even if you have a great accountant and book-keeper.

7) A Team of Successful People: You can only take your business so far, and at some point you will be forced to rely on other people. Real estate is a people business and every real estate transaction requires a team of people to close. Once a transaction is complete, even more people are involved so it is important to form and maintain relationships with lenders, attorneys, contractors, agents, accountants and other people who can contribute to the growth of your business.

8) Superior communication skills: You have probably heard it a million times but that is because it is true, being able to effectively communicate with other is vital. How else will you be able to negotiate prices, interview contractors, screen potential tenants, partner with others, and so many other daily tasks? Communication goes beyond face to face discussions too, email and text messaging are ever-growing in the life of most business people, and the occasional written note will never go away, so make sure you hone your writing skills as well as your verbal skills.

All investors can say they are involved in real estate, but very few can say they are among the best. Find those whom you consider to be the best and study their habits and practices. Try to understand where they have been and how their skills helped prop them up during difficult times and propelled them during good times. Figure out which areas you have mastered and which you can improve upon; self-realization will lead to positive changes and others will begin looking to learn from you.

Author: James W. Vermillion III

James W.’s Website: http://www.kandvinvesting.com

Feeling sluggish? Follow these three rules for maintaining energy throughout the day.

As days become shorter and the weather cools, you may feel more sluggish than usual throughout the day. However, the busy nature of modern life leaves no time for hibernation. If you want to keep your health and energy levels up, some simple tricks can help keep you feeling your best no matter what life, or the weather, throws at you.

Kathy Kaehler, celebrity trainer, fitness expert, author and mother of three, has devoted her life to helping people live happy, productive and healthy lives. Working with celebrities like Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian, Kaehler knows how simple tricks can help keep you fit and energized. She suggests incorporating these three rules into your daily routine to begin feeling better every day:

Rule 1:  Exercise anytime
Exercise isn’t just for the gym. The day is filled with moments where you can work your muscles and help energize your body. For example, almost everyone’s day includes time at the office and time in the car.

At the office: A great way to grab some energy and get through the afternoon lull is to do a simple, yet effective exercise. Using a sturdy, non-rolling desk chair, practice standing up and then sitting back down.  Focusing on your legs and keeping your arms to your side, this easy exercise is fast, effective and great for the lower body. Not only will it elevate your heart rate and increase your breathing, but you are sure to feel its overall energizing effects throughout the day. Complete two sets of 15 repetitions to provide the burn you need to feel good.

In the car: All the minutes wasted stuck in traffic or waiting in the carpool line at school are perfect opportunities to flex some muscle power. While seated, squeeze your glutes (buttock muscles) as hard as you can. This will cause your body to rise and fall a few inches. After a set of eight to 10 reps, repeat the exercise, but this time focus on one side at a time.  

No matter where your day takes you, always remember to keep some fresh water or 100 percent fruit juice and healthy snacks with you in the car.  It will keep you fueled and hydrated and prevent you from loading up on carbs and fat at the nearest fast food restaurant.

Rule 2: Snack healthy
It’s important to keep your body fueled, but with the right kinds of foods, so skip the soda and chips. Instead, look for healthy foods that will keep you energized throughout the day. You can find a great low-fat, low-calorie snack packed full of flavor and crunch, leaving you satisfied and ready to move on with your day. Try to find something with no trans fats, saturated fat or cholesterol, it will be the perfect snack for at work or at home.

You can even add some pizzazz to your snacks and increase the nutritional value by pairing it with some healthy toppings and low-fat dips. Combine your favorite flavor with fresh-sliced cucumbers, rich hummus, zesty salsa, crisp apples or sliced cheese. Don’t be afraid to challenge your taste buds and get creative with your pairings.  The sky’s the limit when it comes to this satisfying, better-for-you snack. For additional pairing ideas and dip recipes, visit www.pretzelcrisps.com.

Rule 3: Prioritize sleep
Sixty-three percent of people say their sleep needs are not being met during the week. For many people, sleep is the first thing to get cut when their day gets too busy.

Getting enough sleep is crucial to losing weight, reducing stress levels and being more alert. Make time for at least seven hours of sleep each night. Don’t delay sleep by watching TV or playing on the computer.  Turn everything off an hour before your bedtime. Practice deep breathing, meditation or do some light reading. Skip food and any drinks that contain caffeine. Water is your best bet, but the majority of your liquid intake should be kept to during the day.

These healthy, better-for-you snack ideas and other tips will help you maintain your energy throughout the day, allowing you to feel your best and live each day to the fullest.