Smart House Technology for Saving Energy

Electricity is not cheap. In fact, the average cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the United States in May 2018 was 13.15 cents. Unsure of what that means? A kWh is a measurement for the amount of electricity you’re using. One kWh equals the amount of electricity needed to run a 1,000-watt appliance for one hour. With that in mind, something like a 100-watt light bulb would require 10 hours of being on to consume 1 kWh of energy.

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Paying only 13.15 cents for 10 hours of light doesn’t sound too bad. However, when you consider all the other electronics in your home, it can really start to add up. For example, taking a six-minute shower in a 10,000-watt shower uses 1 kWh. Watching the TV for three hours burns 1 kWh. And cooking in a 2,000-watt oven for a half hour will utilize 1 kWh. Throughout the course of a single day, nearly everything you do collectively piles on to your monthly energy bill.

Want to find ways to lower your monthly energy bill? That’s where smart home technology comes into play. Smart technology allows you to cut back on your energy usage by turning your heat or air conditioning off when you’re not at home, remotely controlling electronics, and automatically closing your window shades to keep your temperature-controlled air from leaking out. Of course, these are just a few of the ways these energy-saving systems work. To learn more about how smart technology can help in your home, check out the infographic below.

smart house technology

KT Tape for Total Knee Support

I have been having issues with my knees for YEARS. About 10 years ago, I dislocated my kneecap (read how here…it’s a really funny/embarrassing story). Ever since then, I have had issue after issue with my knee. A month ago, I stepped into the garage and my leg gave out and I literally felt my lower part of my leg go one way and the upper part of my leg go the other way. It was as gross as it sounds. I now needed to figure something out.

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What Have I Done for my Knee So Far?

Last summer I met with my knee doctor and we went over options for my knee. My MRI wasn’t terrible in that I needed surgery immediately, but it wasn’t great either. One part of my issue is that I have a lot of damage to the cartilage. The doctor recommended that I looking into gel injections. Basically, they inject gel in and that acts as the “cartilage”. They typically last 6-8 months before you need to redo the gel injection.

In addition to the gel injections, the doctor also recommended I met with the surgeon to get his take on things. That meeting was really good. My surgeon and I decided that I will exhaust every possibility before resorting to surgery. So I met with a physical therapist to get a program that I can do at home and the gym and I did the gel injections. I religiously did my exercises over the course of the year. Things were going well, until they weren’t. When I started getting a lot of pain again, I made an appointment with the doctor and we set up another round of gel injections. Just after the third injection was when I had the incidence in my garage. Back to the doctor and surgeon I went.

Meeting with the Surgeon

After talking things over with the surgeon and having him evaluate my knee and compare those results with the evaluation from last year, it was apparent that things have gotten a lot worse. He recommended two surgeries. The first surgery, called the MACI Procedure is a scope procedure where he will go in, look around, clean up the backside of my kneecap and take a biopsy of my cartilage. That biopsy will be sent to a lab and more of my cartilage will be grown in that lab so it can be implanted back into my knee.

The second surgery will be where he takes my cartilage and replaces it back in my knee. In addition to that, he will also perform a MPFL reconstruction to reconstruct the ligaments and give me better patellar stability. After reading up on both surgeries, I feel it is a good plan of action. I can’t continue on with the pain and instability. Getting the surgery scheduled will happen this coming Tuesday, as the scheduler is out of town.

Best Way to Stabilize the Knee for Support

So, as you can imagine, I have had my fair share of braces over the years. My favorite brace is the DonJoy Reaction WEB Knee Support Bracekt tape. If you are looking for good knee support, this is your brace. It’s well worth the money and right now it’s on sale for $40 off!! While I like the support of the knee brace, and have been wearing religiously every day for the last month or more, it’s sometimes hot or it doesn’t fit well under my clothes if I’m wearing long pants. Someone mentioned that I should try KT Tape. I know a lot of people swear by KT Tape, but I was always skeptical. However, after watching a bunch of videos on YouTube,  decided to give the KT Tape a chance.

kt tape
Does the KT Tape Offer Support?

Again, I will say, I was SUPER skeptical, but I picked up some KT Tape and tried it out all day yesterday. Within minutes of having it on, I was amazed at how stable my knee felt. The true test came when I had to walk down some stairs. I felt just as stable walking down the stairs as I do when I am wearing my brace. As the day went on, I really felt this was a good option for those times that I either couldn’t fit my brace under my clothes (or didn’t want a super bulky look) and when it decides to be triple digits outside! Things were going great until my leg (hours and hours after putting it on…it’s meant to stay on for multiple days) started itching really bad. It became unbearable. I took the tape off and I had a rash where the tape was. Unfortunately, it looks like I am allergic to the adhesive.

While I had a reaction to the adhesive, many people do not and they swear by this product. I will need to do some research to see if there is another product I can use that may use a different adhesive. Hopefully after surgery (whenever that will be) I won’t need a knee brace or the tape! Fingers crossed!


Emergencies to Plan for Before an International Trip

Many people have international travel on their bucket lists. I know I do! Whether it’s a week in Paris or a month in Costa Rica, traveling internationally is as educational as it is exciting. But what happens if you experience an emergency on your trip? Do you have a game plan for that situation? Here are three emergencies to plan for before an international trip.

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international trip

Natural Disasters

international travel

Image via Flickr by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Before traveling to your destination country, be sure to educate yourself on what type of natural disasters could happen. Are tornadoes common in the area? What about hurricanes? Although experiencing a natural disaster while you travel may be rare, it’s still important to take precautions in your planning.

Designate a location where your family or friends could meet in case of separation. Pack a first aid kit, a flashlight, and some food. Check in with the State Department for natural disaster information. Also, make sure you have copies of your passports, visas, and travel information so you can leave quickly if needed.

If a natural disaster does strike, seek out evacuation routes. Follow any instructions given by emergency personnel, including the Red Cross. Find a safe place to wait for help. Only eat food and drink water that you know is safe. Avoid downed power lines and flooded areas. Pay attention to television or social media alerts. And, after the natural disaster passes, be sure to check in with your family and friends; they’ll want to know you’re safe.

Terrorist Activities and Violence

Terrorist activities and violence, whether criminal or political, can happen without any notice. The State Department recommends that travelers stay aware while traveling abroad. It’s also a good idea to register your trip with the State Department to receive security messages and travel advisories.

Keep in mind that terrorists look for “soft targets,” such as airports, public transportation, sporting events, and hotels. Be aware of suspicious activity when you are in or around these locations while traveling. Pay attention to the local news. Also, make sure you know the location of your home country’s closest embassy or consulate. Finally, you and your travel companions should stick together. Don’t wander off alone.

Medical Emergencies

If you get sick or injured while you are traveling, having the right protection is important. For example, a membership with MedjetAssist can provide additional assistance to you in case of an emergency. MedjetAssist can arrange air medical transport from the hospital in your destination country to a hospital of your choice in your home country.

By upgrading your membership to MedjetHorizon, you will receive additional protective services in the event of a natural disaster, terrorism, kidnapping, or violent crime. Additionally, you will receive crisis response services including evacuation, legal assistance, and communication with your family members back home.

Although you hope to not deal with a crisis during your international trip to Paris or Costa Rica, being prepared for an emergency abroad will give you comfort. To enjoy your international trip and stay safe while traveling, education and preparation should be on your to-do list.

Today I Joined Weight Watchers

This weekend, my husband and I decided to change things up and start a new diet plan. After a super long conversation with members of my husbands family that are doing Weight Watchers (and scanning random foods in the fridge and looking up how many points vodka and tequila are), we decided to give this new Freestyle Plan a try. The new plan seems really interesting. Not to mention, if I am being completely honest, I am looking forward to eating a little fruit for awhile.

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weight watchers

What Happened to Keto?

If you’ve been reading this site long or follow me on social media, you would know that, up until today, was following the Keto diet. I still love Keto. How could I not. Initially, I lost close to 90 lbs with the Keto diet. However, due to getting my gallbladder removed and dislocating my knee and not being able to go to the gym much at all, and eating things I shouldn’t eat, I gained a little weight back. For months, I have been at a stall. I think, in some areas, I was still losing a few inches here and there, but the scale was not moving. I’d love to say that didn’t bother me, but it does.

 

Freestyle 2018: The Essential Guide to Sustained Weight Loss (Over 100+ Point Recipes)Freestyle 2018: The Essential Guide to Sustained Weight Loss (Over 100+ Point Recipes)Freestyle 2018: The Essential Guide to Sustained Weight Loss (Over 100+ Point Recipes)Weight Watchers Popped Crisps, BBQ, 5 bags per boxWeight Watchers Popped Crisps, BBQ, 5 bags per boxWeight Watchers Popped Crisps, BBQ, 5 bags per boxWeight Watchers French Vanilla Smoothie, (7 x 0.77oz) slim packs net wt. 5.4ozWeight Watchers French Vanilla Smoothie, (7 x 0.77oz) slim packs net wt. 5.4ozWeight Watchers French Vanilla Smoothie, (7 x 0.77oz) slim packs net wt. 5.4oz

Why Weight Watchers?

This past weekend, we spend all day with my husbands family. Some people are doing Weight Watchers and we were talking about the new Freestyle Program (and we scanned way more things from the fridge than I care to admit) and it seemed really interesting to me. I like that you can eat fruits and veggies and it not count. While I will most likely still stay away from the starchy veggies, the idea of eating a nectarine or a few strawberries is fantastic!

Will You Ever Go Back to Keto?

Maybe. Right now, the goal is to stick with Weight Watchers for the next three months. If I like it, I will stick with longer. My hope is that my body gets out of it’s rut and starts losing weight again. I read that our metabolism can get used to a way of eating and just stall out. Chances are, that’s what has happened with me (along with not being as strict). One thing I am sure of, everything I have learned with Keto will probably help me be successful with Weight Watchers. For instance, I will not be adding sugar back to my diet at all. Sugar makes me feel horrible. Not to mention, I’ve seen first hand this weekend what it’s like when you do allow yourself sugar…your crazy sugar addiction comes back hardcore. No thank you!

Stay tuned for yummy Weight Watchers friendly recipes! I plan to journal this experience in the same way I did my journey with Keto. If you have any recipes I must try, please leave me a comment letting me know!!


What to Wear with These 5 Popular Boot Styles

Boots are a style staple for winter and fall. Pulling this footwear out of the closet is one the most-anticipated rituals of the season. Though there are a few important considerations when you’re adapting your outfits for boots, you’ll find that you can incorporate this footwear stylishly into almost any look.

boots

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Below- or Over-the-Knee Boots

boots

Image via Flickr by nigeljohnwade

Boots that either fall just below the knee or extend over it are ideal for leggings and skinny jeans. These distinctive styles don’t want to be hidden, so you’re looking for an outfit that will show them off. If you opt for a skirt or dress, it should be short enough to show the top of the boot. While over-the-knee styles tend to carry high fashion appeal, you can soften the look with super-cozy pieces like sweater dresses.

Work Bootsboots

Image via Flickr by Jeremy Jenum

Made for functionality, work boots are often an essential choice when you’re headed to a job or going off on a rugged adventure. In these cases, it’s important to keep the rest of your outfit as functional as your footwear. Choose durable jeans or work pants that either have a wide ankle to comfortably accommodate the boots, or a close fit so you can tuck them in.

If you want to transition stylishly from work to play, cute looks like Chippewa work boots from Russell’s Western Wear can do the job. Paired with a cute embellished tank under an open flannel shirt, this look offers the perfect blend of flirty and functional.

Western Boots

boots

Image via A Cowboy’s Wife by Lori Falcon

Western boots, or cowboy boots, have a distinct look all their own. Western boots have a long history gracing feet of major celebrities who have proven that you can rock this look in many ways. Most Western boots are highly embellished, so it’s best to choose an outfit that will show them off. Tuck skinny jeans or leggings into the boot for a casual outfit, or pair Western boots with Daisy Dukes, a mini-skirt, or a bohemian dress if you want to show off some leg with this footwear.

Ankle Boots

boots

Image via Pexels

To wear ankle boots well, you need close-fitting pants. Ideally, they’ll be cropped just above the top of the boot. If you don’t have anything that fits that bill on it’s own, roll up the bottoms of your skinny jeans. Ankle boots look best when you can see just a bit of skin between the pants and the boots. Wear short socks that aren’t visible with this look.

Rain Boots

boots

Image via Flickr by Amy Ross

Today’s rain boots come in a rainbow of colors and patters that have made this functional feature into a fashion item. Brave wet weather in style with rain boots paired with either tall socks or boot cuffs that give the illusion of socks peeking out from the top. This offers a cozy touch to your rubber footwear that looks good with both skinny pants and skirts.

Wearing boots well is the key to keeping up with cold-weather fashion. Stock your closet with a few staples, and you can enhance any outfit with the right boot for your mood.