Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Kenmore Plus Amazon and Everyone Wins

We moved a week ago and are finally starting to see our way out of the piles of boxes. Long days moving and cleaning, have left mounds of stinky clothes, towels, and sheets, in our new laundry room. But, we finally tackled this problem with the help of Amazon and their new partnership with Kenmore. 

We’ve admired the Kenmore brand for years, and found their appliances to be innovative and useful, and once we heard they would be available on Amazon we jumped at the chance to check them out. As a busy family with a 6 year old, we have found Amazon to be indispensable for keeping our household running smoothly. From reordering water filters to buying tools for around the house, we shop for nearly everything on Amazon, including a washer and dryer.

Kenmore has previously only been available through Sears sales channels, but now you can shop for Kenmore on Amazon. Yay! Because we’ve invested years of purchasing through Amazon, we’re familiar with their store and appreciate their return policy. When it comes to Kenmore appliances, Amazon not only makes the buying process easy, they also offer white-glove delivery and installation. Our installers arrived on time and took about two hours to remove the old units and setup and install a new Kenmore washer and dryer.

The Amazon/Kenmore relationship goes beyond the retailer/manufacturer partnership. The latest Kenmore Smart appliances are also Amazon Alexa enabled, which means users can control their appliances using voice activated technology. We’re living in the future!

We were in dire need of new appliances after moving in, and by ordering on Amazon we had a new Kenmore washer and dryer in our house two days later.

Kenmore Elite Washer and Dryer

The previous owner of our home left their 20 year old top loading washer and dryer. They were barely functional and used a lot of water and energy, compared to the energy-efficient models of today. It was time to upgrade.

We went with the latest Kenmore Smart 41982 5.2 cu.ft. Front Load Washer and Kenmore Smart 81982 9.0 cu. ft. Electric Dryer. We also added a pedestal for the dryer and the pedestal washer. Both of these units offer the latest in Accela wash and drying technology from Kenmore. In the washer the AccelaWash Technology cleans a full size load in just 29 minutes and the steam treat option virtually eliminates the need to pre-treat stains. In the dryer, the Accela Steam technology enhances steam cycle performance and helps reduce wrinkles, odors and cling, while Wrinkle Guard further prevents wrinkles by tumbling intermittently for up to 150 minutes after the dry cycle. All of this technology adds up to a more efficient clothes washing experience and saves time and money.

We’re just learning how to maximize the functionality of our new washer and dryers as their are a number of preset modes that have been built-in to streamline washing and drying based on the garments to be cleaned. We’re digging on the kids wear and comforter mode in the washer.

The pedestals have been a revelation. We’ve used front loading units before and stooping over to load and unload can get tiring after a days worth of laundry. The pedestal puts the dryer at a more ergonomic angle and makes it much easier to reach in comparison to a top loading or traditional front loading unit. Kenmore has made use of the the pedestal space by providing handy drawers for under the dryer, and a mini pedestal washer for under the main washing machine. Essentially we can wash delicates and small items at the same time we wash towels and sheets. Which again saves more time!

Our house might be in shambles but we’ve got no excuse for not having clean clothes and sheets. We can’t wait to makeover our laundry room to match the beautiful design of the Kenmore appliances. With the washer and dryer serving as the centerpiece of our laundry room makeover, there is no doubt we’ll have a space to be proud of.

Note: Kenmore washers and dryers are only available for installation and delivery in select cities. We will update this article as availability spreads.

Kenmore provided the appliances for this review, but all opinions are 100% those of Timothy Dahl of Charles & Hudson.



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10 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

DIY Corbel Curtain Rod Holders

DIY Corbel Curtain Rod Holders

Hello Pretty Handy Girl readers! You know what costs too much? Curtain rods. Personally, I have a curtain addiction that is matched only by my addiction to accent pillows, but let’s face it, people notice the curtains, not the curtain rod and holders. Amiright?! It doesn’t have to be. Rachel at Maison de Pax came […]

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5 Must-Haves for Your Fall Home (And The Cozy Fall Shop)

BHG Are you hosting a fall, Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering in your home this year? PSA …. if you’re in the States, we have just 37 days before Thanksgiving (ahhh!). I am actually SO excited about hosting Thanksgiving this year! Last year things were pretty chaotic and we didn’t even have a kitchen, so you […]

This article 5 Must-Haves for Your Fall Home (And The Cozy Fall Shop) is from The Inspired Room Republishing this article in full or in part is a violation of copyright law. © 2009-2013, all rights reserved.


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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

16 Stunningly Beautiful Green Doors

16 Stunning Green Doors - Social Media imag16e

Stunning Green Doors: I admit it, I’m crushing on green doors lately. If you know me well, you know that I painstakingly stripped my front doors a few years ago and repainted them bright green. Now I’ve been thinking more and more about front door colors for Saving Etta. I hope you’ll help me decide by […]

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How to Throw a Fall Garden Party

Take advantage of cool fall weather by bringing the party outdoors. Even though this season isn’t known for blooming blossoms or lush fields, you can still gather your friends and family outdoors for a charming garden tea party. With just a few preparations, you’ll throw a party that your friends will be talking about for weeks. Here’s how:

Arrange a seasonal floral centerpiece

When it comes to arranging a centerpiece, think warm colors. Yellows, reds and oranges simply scream “autumn.”

a tea pot and ashley vase with fall flowers inside them.

Placing flowers in a kettle pot is a shabby-chic spin. We chose a copper kettle, but a distressed container that’s more “shabby” than “chic” would look just as fabulous.

Try taking some inspiration from your surroundings.  Leaves, twigs and pine cones can make a stunning floral arrangement.

Bake yummy pastries

Fall calls for something spicy and not overly sweet. If you dread the idea of “slaving over an oven”, you’ll be happy to discover our 3 favorite quick bread recipes. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen to make impressive goodies.

A loaf of banana bread sliced on a plate with decorative pumpkins along side the loaf.

This one-pan pumpkin bread is simply scrumptious and takes just under an hour to make, with only 10 minutes of prep time.

This decadent Orange-Zesty Cranberry Bread only takes 20 minutes of prep time. How can you say no to orange glaze?

Cranberry bread sliced with decorative cranberries next to it.

Make whimsical tea cup place cards

Why settle for ordinary? By making these simple tea cup planters, you’ve completed table place cards and party favors all at once.

All you need are:

  • Cups and saucers
  • Succulent plants
  • Fresh moss
  • Soil
  • Name tags

Simply fill any cup of your choice halfway with soil, place the succulent in the cup and put moss around the edges of the plant. Placing them on top of a saucer with a name tag is an extra special touch that’s sure to be loved by all your guests.

Set a comfy, cozy scene

Laying out picnic blankets is charming, but not everyone is comfortable sitting on the ground. Go ahead and lay out the blankets, but add some outdoor furniture into the mix for guests who prefer a solid seat.

If you prefer casual gatherings with large groups, you might enjoy sectional seating. Adding an outdoor rug livens up concrete flooring. The only disappointing news about this sectional is that it doesn’t come with the labradoodle.

If you prefer personal seating, cozy patio chairs with outdoor accent pillows may be a better option. Adding potted or hanging plants can create the allure of a secret, enchanted garden. Given the season, a pumpkin or two would be a perfect choice to set the mood.

Light it up in style

Cast a delicate, sophisticated glow outdoors with scattered candles. The Kamari candle holder set has a unique twig-style base. It’s the perfect representation on how beautiful bare fall landscapes can look. And the Christelle candle holder set radiates the coziest of glows with its rustic, distressed finish.

3 bamboo inspired candle holders with candles on top.

Two earthy candle holders with mesh brown and yellows with candles lit inside them.

If the weather is fast becoming chilly, then it’s all the more reason to get an outdoor fire pit. It will definitely add an inviting layer to all of your outdoor parties and celebrations. The Hatchlands fire pit table pulls double-duty with a cover that provides surface space when flames aren’t ablaze.

an outdoor sectional with a fire pit in the center.

We know what’s next on our to-do list now. Is it on yours? We’d love to hear!

 

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Monday, October 16, 2017

How Historic Racial Injustices Still Impact Housing Today

For the majority of Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity, owning a home is a major goal. According to the first Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, 63 percent of whites, 63 percent of blacks and 73 percent of Hispanics believe owning a home is necessary to live the American Dream. But although they share the same dreams as whites, for blacks and Hispanics getting into a home remains as challenging as ever-in part due to financial challenges and decades of discrimination.

Historically Denied

Historically, the homeownership rate among people of color has lagged behind the homeownership rate among white Americans, in part because of institutional barriers to entry. Until the late 1960s, federal government-backed subsidies-many of them funded through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-were off limits to people of color. The FHA, which was established to help people remain in their homes during the Great Depression, began to promote homeownership during the years after World War II.

And the lagging homeownership rate wasn’t just the result of one program. There were others created to boost homeownership that resulted in similar outcomes for people of color. Black military veterans, for example, weren’t able to borrow money through the GI Bill to purchase homes.

Middle- and lower-income whites benefited most from federal government programs, including low-cost mortgages and subsidies for home builders to construct affordable homes in racially-segregated communities.

Even today, minorities still face more hurdles, similar to the ones they experienced in the past. When blacks and Hispanics try to secure FHA loans, they’re denied about twice as often than their white peers-denials which can sometimes be linked to injustices endured outside of housing. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that fewer blacks and Hispanics apply for these programs.

But for those who do, “far fewer actually get accepted, and the groups that are highly at a loss are black potential homeowners and Hispanic potential homeowners,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell.

The Consequences

“Housing segregation has not been something that has been quickly changed due to personal prejudice,” said Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at Prosperity Now.

Yesterday’s outright discriminatory policies helped keep minority homeownership low and largely limited to less-advantaged areas. And today, those disparities persist. The Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trend Report 2017 revealed that although they each account for 13 percent of all U.S. households, blacks and Hispanics only account for 8 percent and 9 percent of U.S. homeowners.

Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, director of the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative at Prosperity Now, said low homeownership rates is connected to other disparities.

“African-Americans, in particular, still faced the income wealth disparity, legal segregation, legal job discrimination,” he said. “That continued on through the creation of the American middle class, which limited African-American participation as it pertains to homeownership.”

“Housing segregation has not been something that has been quickly changed due to personal prejudice,” he said. That’s especially true when it comes to those same FHA loans-it’s not just a problem of the past.

Discrimination Still Exists

While Asante-Muhammad says outright legal discrimination has since been outlawed, we’re still seeing the repercussions of the country’s historic discriminatory practices.

“In the 21st century, I think we’re looking more at the issue of the results of housing discrimination and discrimination as a whole,” he said. That discrimination, he added, leads to strong racial economic inequality, which, in turn, makes it harder for people of color to move into more expensive neighborhoods.

Part of the problem, he said, is there’s still market discrimination against homes in black communities.

“A home in a predominantly black neighborhood and the exact same home in a predominantly white neighborhood will have less value because it has less market appeal because people don’t want to live in neighborhoods with black populations somewhere above 20 percent,” he said.

Asante-Muhammad argues some of the discrepancies can be attributed to racial and personal animosity keeping people of color out of higher-valued neighborhoods. But the gap could also be due in part to high negative equity rates-the share of homeowners who owe more on their home than it’s worth-in largely minority communities. When a homeowner is in negative equity, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to sell their home at all, let alone for a profit they can then use to help buy a different home in another neighborhood.

In black and Hispanic communities, home values fell farther than in white communities, and haven’t been able to fully bounce back from the recession.

Less Money, More Problems

“In terms of closing the gap of white and black homeownership, we’re not moving,” Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell said.

While minority buyers are trying to enter the housing market, it’s made increasingly difficult due to their lack of wealth.

Gudell said wealth-building in predominantly black communities is hard because of yesterday’s inequalities. It’s actually impossible to point to one single event that led to gaps in wealth for minorities since there have been decades of inequality. Gudell says it’s a compounding effect and something that we “haven’t been able to figure out how to fix it yet.”

“In terms of closing the gap of white and black homeownership, we’re not moving,” Gudell said. “If you look at white homeownership, it’s increasing, while black homeownership is falling.”

Asante-Muhammad echoed those concerns.

“Wealth inequality … reinforces what had been maintained by law and by personal prejudice in the past,” he said. And that lack of wealth is only exacerbated when it comes to home buying.

“So, let’s say you’re getting a $200,000 house and want to put a 10 percent down payment, that’s $20,000. That’s much higher than the median wealth of blacks and Latinos,” he said. A 10 percent down payment is already outside the traditional norm. Typically, a down payment is 20 percent of the home’s value, so $40,000 for that same $200,000 home.

But even if these would-be buyers took advantage of some of the systems in place to help address some of these issues-including utilizing an FHA-backed loan which allows borrowers to make a down payment as low as 3.5 percent-it’s often still not enough.

Asante-Muhammad said even if these buyers got an FHA loan on a $200,000 home-the median-valued home nationwide-the down payment would still be beyond the wealth of most blacks and Latinos. For that $200,000 home, a 3.5 percent down payment would equate to $7,000-or roughly 68.5 times the wealth of African-Americans and 58.5 times Hispanic wealth.

And their wealth today is much less than it was even 10 years ago, when black and Hispanic wealth was $10,400 and $10,200, respectively.

“If things keep going the way they’ve been going, in 2053, the African-American median wealth will be zero,” Asante-Muhammad said.

And that lack of wealth has big repercussions for the future.

“I hope things will get better, but I don’t think the gap will close anytime soon,” Gudell said. “These are such big problems that you can’t just have a quick fix for them but my hope is that we would have equality and balance in the future.”

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