Guest Post sponsored & provided by Empire Movers & Storage
The function of the home environment is more crucial than ever in this period of uncertainty. Our homes have become so much more than just houses. Since the pandemic started, our homes have pretty much become our own little universe, incorporating everything from an office, a full-time restaurant, an entertainment venue, and a place of calm. It can be a challenge, but can also be very achievable to have one home act in all these seemingly contradictory positions.
The past year has influenced every aspect of our lives and has most definitely changed our habits and everything we’ve known, probably forever. It’s only natural that it influences the way we decorate our houses and even their architecture from now on. It’s very probable that some of the trends are here to stay for a while and that more and more households will start adopting them. So let’s check it out and see exactly how the pandemic has influenced home designs!
The home office
The majority of people are now working from their homes as conventional offices remain closed. Until the pandemic hit, a home office was seen as a much more informal venue for payment of bills, emails or conducting the occasional calls. But since home offices are now more permanent offices, they need to be comfortable, fitted with spacious working areas, comfortable chairs and increased storage to accommodate significantly more heavy uses.
Going forward, the real concern is how to handle two adults working from home and two children studying from home at the same time. A home office with a door is a must. A smart solution is flexible spaces and nooks in the entire home that can be used as an office if necessary. But a spare bedroom, or loft space, would be ideal for this. Create an in-home working area that is free from distractions, comfortable and that can feel separate from the home environment. If you don’t have a spare room available and you are short on space, even a partition can do the trick!
Kids learning and playing spaces
With school moving to zoom, it is necessary to try and minimize distraction for the little ones as well, as much as possible. Now, many recognize the need to have a dedicated room equipped with everything needed to be able to function to full capacity. The kids learning space may not, however, be a large, traditional room. These spaces can be made more like objects or pods, floating in the yard or attached to a garage with new furniture.
If the family stays home, having a special place to play for your kids can be very useful. The separation of the playground from the bedrooms would help arrange things and keep the children occupied. If you happen to have a room under your stairs, that can be an excellent way to use it - turning it into a kid’s play area. The Narnia wardrobe to a secret playroom can be a perfect way to make the room exciting for children.
Multiple use spaces
The more we sit at home, the more we feel the need for versatility in our homes. The living room is no longer just a living room or just a dining room. These multifunctional areas take account of this new reality and integrate innovative ways to turn an appropriate area quickly into a home office, a classroom, lounge, fitness center or a playroom. A lot of light, efficient artificial lighting, storage and Internet access are key to make living spaces work for a variety of purposes.
The open plan was a movement that resisted the time test, whether it is the first building of a house or a renovation. But the open plan doesn't always succeed when it comes to privacy – and efficiency drops without privacy for work or schools. The open plan has to be rethought as families continue to work and school from home.
The modern home must be multifunctional, both before and after the pandemic. By redefining these wide open spaces, we are better equipped to live, learn, operate and play in one place: our homes. For instance, a family may replace an extensive dining table with an optional drop-out to create room for a nook or an office, if a house contains an eatery as well as a formal dining area.
New colors and quality furniture
New decorative design patterns have already started in COVID-19. People want to build a peaceful place at home in calm colors. Softer fabrics, brighter colors, and more natural light become common in the middle of the confusion and turmoil outside to create a relaxed environment. On the other hand, bold colors encourage homeowners to celebrate new ideas and cultures from the comfort of their homes instead of traveling or spending time on events. They can stimulate imagination that helps people in the same routine.
With people spending more time at home, they want to invest in quality furniture that will be able to endure heavy usage and last for years. This applies in particular to home offices, where cheap desks were once very popular. But remote employees are investing in quality desks, chairs and storage because they expect to operate from home in foresight.
It might not have been seen so before the pandemic (well, at least not for those not passionate about cooking) but a big kitchen makes a huge difference. Especially when you have a bigger family for which you are cooking every meal. It can be difficult to prepare every meal at home in a small kitchen. Not to mention that if you have repurposed your dining room, your kitchen might need to double as that as well. A walk-in cupboard and a large island will make an enormous difference. Any other things to search for are double islands, kitchen wine rooms, hot drills, double ovens, pans and personalized cabinets with personal storage when designing larger kitchens.
Our homes and backyards become cultural centers for those who engage in social distance, as restaurants, pubs, and other places become difficult to navigate—if not completely shut down. Home outdoor areas fill a void of missed outdoor opportunities and create a safer space for meetings with friends or neighbors.
Our love of nature and of the outside seems to have improved considerably after the start of the pandemic. As a result, there is a growing demand for home designers to provide private exterior spaces for all kinds of homes. The architects will be responsible for developing ways in which the outside can be integrated into even the compact houses, testing roof gardens, micro-backyards, porches and balconies.
About the Author
Michaela Smith is the marketing director of Empire Movers, a well known commercial moving company based in New York, with over 15 years of experience on the market.
Disclaimer: Sponsored by Sutera but all thoughts and opinions are my own, honest and unbiased! Affiliate links included below, you don't pay more but we receive a small commission made from purchases made after clicking.
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As a side and back sleeper, I'm loving this pillow and its versatility! It's incredibly comfortable and I'm sleeping great!! Not like a baby though, because they wake every 1-2 hours do you not remember?! Where did that phrase even come from LOL!! Anyway, I'm sleeping BETTER than a baby!
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Disclaimer: We received this product for review but all thoughts and opinions are honest and unbiased. Affiliate links included below - you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
What to do when your kids have outgrown their toddler basketball hoop but aren't quite ready for a full height hoop? You get this amazing Yaheetech portable and adjustable basketball hoop! Watch me unbox and assemble it and the kids shooting their first hoops in this video, then read on for more details and a 15% OFF DISCOUNT CODE!
I was surprised how lightweight the box was, and came with very few parts! The manual recommends 2 people to put it together, and I agree with this for the backboard assembly which was really tough even with my husband (it's a lot to juggle at once with the screws, washers, backboard, pipe, and hoop all connecting!), but the rest was pretty easy to assemble by myself, which says a lot!
**IMPORTANT ASSEMBLY NOTE: Turns out we installed our backboard/hoop backwards!! The base should be facing the opposite direction as the hoop. It totally works this way and actually keeps the kids from trying to jump and reach the net, but when I get a chance to have my husband help me take apart the top and reassemble in the opposite direction I will. Supposedly assembled this way the ball may drop and hit the base and fly off in random directions LOL! So, take care when assembling!!
ADJUSTABLE BASKETBALL HOOP!!
This is probably my favorite feature and why we chose this particular hoop: the height is easily adjustable, without tools, with the hoop adjusting from about 5.6' high (perfect for our kids, ages 5, 5, 8) to 7.5' high (great for teens and adults!). You simply unscrew the pin, move the metal pipe up or down to the next pin hole, and screw back in to secure - easy peasy!
PORTABLE BASKETBALL HOOP!
It's super lightweight, with two 4" plastic wheels, making it easily portable! Because the height is adjustable, you can quickly shrink it down to store in the shed or garage for the winter, before a big storm hits, or even nightly! The base is 32.5" x 20" and you can fill it with 8.7 gallons of water (to a weight of 73 pounds) or sand to make it more sturdy.
This hoop is suitable for size 3 - 7 basketball, we're using this Franklin Grip-Rite 250 mini basketball which I think is the perfect size "starter" basketball for little kids.
Buy this Yaheetech Portable Basketball Hoop on yaheetech.com (use code "YT-15" to get 15% off!), and read more about them and their products on their blog!
Sponsored by The Rabbit Hole Children's Theater
Looking to provide your child with an amazing and engaging summer camp experience, that will nurture their imaginary play and creative confidence through theatrical play, from the safety of your own home!? Then you are going to want to check out In-Home Summer Camp with The Rabbit Hole Children's Theater, one of the best virtual summer camps around, geared toward children ages 4 - 8 years old!! (And they're giving away 1 week of camp in our huge $1,000 value jackpot Spring into Summer Giveaway, enter to win at the bottom of this post!)
Learn more about the program in The Rabbit Hole's video (below left) and mine (below right), then read on for more details and enter to win a week!)
Each week will have students visiting a different land in Rabbit Hole Queendom, and a corresponding Theater-in-a-Box kit is mailed to each camper with everything needed to bring a magical show to life at home! Students will attend live classes virtually from home with Rabbit Hole teachers and enjoy character meet and greets, theatrical play, puppet shows, art activities, and audio tales!
This LIVE theater camp is scheduled during two different time zones: from 9AM - 3PM in both EST and PST. For just $350 per week, students receive the Theater in a Box kit, live classes, puppet shows and one of a kind character meet and greets!
Here's an example daily schedule:
Weekly Themes, with students visiting a different land in Rabbit Hole Queendom each week:
Students who need a more flexible schedule can opt out of the live elements but receive all the rest, including the theater in a box kit and pre-recorded classes. This "Theater Camp To-Go" option is just $200 per week and you can select any theme you want!
Amazing camp, am I right?! Don't forget, you can win a week of virtual camp in our giveaway here, running through April 7!!
ENTER TO WIN HERE!!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by DiscountGlasses.com but all thoughts and opinions are my own, honest and unbiased! Affiliate links are contained below - you don't pay more but we receive a small commission from purchases made after clicking.
Sunglasses are most certainly not a summer-only thing - kids and adults alike need to be sure to shade-up and protect their eyes year round! But with spring and warmer sunnier weather on the horizon, who couldn't use some new sunnies to liven things up, am I right?
Thankfully, DiscountGlasses.com lets you do so guilt-free because they're budget-friendly and allow you to shop and order online without leaving the comfort and safety of your home! AND they have a $100 credit in my $1,000 value jackpot giveaway - link at bottom of this post!!
I just got the below Westend Lewis Center for my husband and Picklez Ziggy for my son cuz I thought they'd be so cute daddy-and-me in their silver frames with blue mirror lenses!! And they are! In fact so cute I have to occasionally to "borrow" them to enjoy some mommy-and-me fashion LOL! So, you tell me, who is wearing them best??? The Westend fits us both really well, I love how gender neutral they are!! Both of these sunglasses have some different color options too, for the frame and lenses! You can visit Shade Station to get your desired original Versace sunglasses.
This is my second year as an Ambassador for DiscountGlasses.com. I honestly love them, I actually started out as a regular customer and couldn't be more proud to be working with them to promote their amazing products! Such a fabulous selection of sunglasses (prescriptive and non) and prescription glasses and for toddlers, kids, teens, and adults - and they've adapted through the pandemic to even offer a free online vision test so you can update your prescription from home!!
They also have free shipping, 365 day free returns, virtual try on for most frames, and great lens upgrade options for how thin and lightweight they are, blue light reflective, transitions, progressive, anti-reflective, and sun tint! I mean, awesome right!?
Check out this crazy collection of kids and adults sunlgasses we have collected from them over the years - basically one for every day of the week LOL! And of course I have a collection of regular prescription glasses that are just as fun!!
The key is finding a great provider like DIscountGlasses.com where you can find tons of great glasses for a super affordable price, so there's no guilt in having several (or half a dozen??) frames, am I right!?
enter to win $100 credit from DiscountGlasses
in my $1,000 value jackpot giveaway running through April 7, 2021!!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by mifold but all thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not a certified car seat expert, pediatrician, or any sort of professional - I'm just a mom, making the best choices I can for my own family and sharing things I love with others! Please do your own research and use your best judgement about the best car seat or booster for your own children :)
You can usually find an Uber with a single carseat, but for families with more children, sorry, you're out of luck. But... you're not out of luck if you have mifold booster seats!! They're so compact, you can throw a few in your suitcase during a flight, stow some in your backpack while traveling, keep them in your stroller's undercarriage, have your child keep one in their backpack so they're ready to be picked up by your sitter or grandparent after school, and keep a spare in your trunk for when you have carpool duty!
Watch my video below for a full demo, notes about the differences between their Original and Comfort designs, and some safety notes. Then read on for more details, and enter to WIN one in my $1,000 value jackpot Spring into Summer Giveaway (ending April 7, 2021) at the bottom of this post!!
10 times smaller than traditional booster seats, mifold is our family's LITTLE secret to traveling with kids, and I'm sure they will also come in handy next year when our kids are back to school and carpooling to activities! Below you can see the original mifold (in yellow) and the new mifold comfort design (in purple). Let me go over a few key features and what sets them apart!
Below you can see the visual guide that is on the new mifold comfort seats - this is probably my favorite change to the design!! On the bottom right, you can see the little slides used to adjust the width of the seat - super easy to use before or after the child is sitting on it!
Below you can see our kids in their regular car seats on the left (high back booster for our 8 year old, and our 5 year old twins still in their 5-point harness convertible car seats) compared to sitting 3 across in their mifold boosters on the right. mifold allows you to fit 3 across more easily into more types of vehicles (see safety note below).
While we love mifold for being so compact, lightweight, portable, and budget-friendly there are a few safety points you need to keep in mind:
If used carefully and properly, mifold can be an amazing option for many families - for travel, carpool, or even regular use. Don't forget, you can enter to win a mifold booster seat in our $1,000 value jackpot giveaway running through April 7, 2021!!
Enter to win here!!
Guest post, sponsored & provided by Oz Moving & Storage
As the East Coast’s crown jewel, New York City attracts millions of tourists and permanent residents a year. Those who’ve visited or moved there say that its pull is almost irresistible. Once you experience the fast-paced life, the art scene, and the diversity of NYC, you can never go back. New York always stays there, at the back of your mind.
Has The Big Apple enchanted you as well? In that case, you’re probably already thinking of trying your luck in the most exciting city in the world. Before you do that, though, it might be wise to learn what this move would entail. We’ve asked Oz Moving to give us some insight, and here is what they said:
1. You’ll Probably Need a Roommate
New York City isn’t cheap — in fact, it’s one of the ten most expensive cities in the world. Even if we just count groceries, utility bills, and rent, you’d still need over $2,000 a month to cover it all. Add to that entertainment, hobbies, and nightlife expenses, and that number grows to at least $3,000!
Of course, these estimates are only true for more affordable areas of NYC. If you want to live in Manhattan, for instance, you’ll need a far bigger budget. So make sure to choose your location wisely!
And even if you do settle for a more affordable neighborhood (like my personal favorite, Bay Ridge), singles and couples without kids will do well to find a roommate. Even families with a legal basement or bedroom to spare will find it worthwhile considering renting out their extra space! Splitting the rent cost with someone will bring a huge relief to your budget and open up many opportunities. You’ll no longer need to sit holed up at home, trying to save money. Finally, you’ll have enough to explore the many things the city has to offer!
And do you know what the best part is? It’s incredibly easy to find a roommate in NYC. Everyone’s in the same boat, so all you need to do is look up some roommate offers and choose the one you like. Alternatively, you can post that you’re looking for a roommate on one of these sites, and you’re sure to start receiving calls in no time.
2. You May Have to Pay a Broker’s Fee
Finding a good place to rent is extremely difficult in NYC. After all, you’re competing with thousands of other people, and the best apartments find tenants in a matter of hours. Even once you do come across something you like and within your budget, you might discover that you have to pay a broker’s fee. That usually comes as a surprise, as it’s not nearly as common in other cities.
So, what exactly is a broker’s fee? Well, landlords often hire brokers to post their listings online and connect them with potential tenants. Naturally, brokers don’t do that for free — they always charge a certain fee for their services. This fee usually amounts to around 12–15 percent of a year’s rent. And instead of paying themselves, landlords often put that responsibility on the new tenants.
Now, the broker’s fee is quite controversial, and we’re sure you can see why. That’s why it was almost banned last year — at least for brokers that you haven’t hired. However, this ban was temporarily blocked, so many landlords still ask their tenants to pay the fee. All that might change in a few months, but for now, don’t be surprised if you encounter it.
Of course, you can also find no-fee apartments and avoid this issue altogether. But the competition for those is fierce, so you have to be really quick.
3. Be Ready to Leave Some Belongings Behind
Although expensive, apartments in NYC are typically quite small. You won’t have the same kind of space as you did in your house in the suburbs or countryside. That may be unpleasant at first, but you’ll quickly get used to it. However, you might not have such an easy time leaving your belongings behind.
Whether you like it or not, though, you’ll have to get rid of some things. Give some to your family and friends, donate or sell others, and throw out those that can’t find a new home. Keep only the essentials and items that hold the most value to you. And don’t worry — you’ll quickly acquire new belongings as you live your new life in NYC.
4. Having a Car Might Be a Hassle
Normally, it’s better to have your own car in a big city — how else would you explore all it has to offer? But driving in NYC often turns into quite a hassle, so up to 56% of New Yorkers don’t own a car. Instead, they use the highly efficient bus and subway system to get around. There's also walking, several ferries, Citi Bike, and of course taxi / Uber / Lyft etc!
So, why are cars such an issue in New York? The main reason is, of course, the lack of parking space. When you go somewhere by car, keep in mind that you’ll need at least 30 minutes to find a parking spot. And once you do, it’s likely to be expensive. Street parking when you return home can take half an hour to find as well, or if you rent a spot, it can cost hundreds of dollars a month. Simply put, public transport is a much better investment!
Moving to a big city like New York can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never lived in a place like that. Still, we can confidently say that it’s worth the initial struggle. In New York, you’ll encounter possibilities and opportunities that you would never have found anywhere else. So take a leap of faith and move to NYC as soon as you can! For those moving here with a family, I think you'll find this page helpful!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!