All About Houzz

Whozz on Houzz?

So, you Tweet on Twitter, Hangout on Google+ Hangouts, and Pin on Pinterest. I won't even ask about Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, or Blab. But are you on Houzz? If not, why not? For those engaged in the design community, with over 35 million unique views per month, Houzz could become your #1 source of new business!

Houzz

Here's how Houzz describes its business:

Houzz has built a marketplace for home products and professional services. By integrating content, community and commerce, and by bringing all industry players together (service providers, homeowners, manufacturers, brands, etc.), Houzz has created an ecosystem for home renovation and design.

If you're business is related to architecture, home building, home renovation, improvement, or design, then Houzz could easily become your best social media tool. Houzz has a very holistic approach to the industry and to running a social platform. Here are the fundamental elements of the Houzz business model:

  • Photo Database
  • IdeaBooks
  • Editorial Content
  • Professional Directory

Though Houzz started as a mobile app, and still gets extraordinary wide use in the mobile environment, Houzz has become the overall largest website and online community in the home design, decorating, and improvement industry regardless of platform.

If you're already using Houzz, please leave us a note in the comments section describing your Houzz experience. How long have you been on Houzz? How are you using Houzz? Are you making new connections, getting views, engaging with contemporaries in your field? Share your experiences with us. We'd love to hear from you.


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4 Lovely Ideas for Winter Wedding Engagement Photos

Winter weddings occur more rarely than spring, summer, and fall, but they are beautiful to behold. Set the tone right away with winter themed engagement photos. Here are four romantic ways to capture memorable engagement photos and have a lot of fun in the process.

  1. Wear coordinating outfits in red and white. Bring along two red and white candy canes. Pose facing each other, extend your arms (right or left respectively) toward the camera, and hold the candy canes with the hooks facing each other. This creates the shape of a heart. Kiss and take the photo!
  2.  Dress in coordinating cold weather outfits. Wear things such as fleece jackets, knit hats, scarves, mittens, etc. Visit and outdoor ice skating rink, put on some ice skates, and let the photographer direct you from there.
  3. Build a snowman and snowwoman together. Ahead of time, collect the basics for a kit (gloves, carrots, coal, etc,) and include a bridal veil and top hat. Find a lovely outdoor winter setting. A little ways into the mountains works well to provide a rustic feel, or you can do this in your front yard to increase the sense of family and home. Build the basic form of the snow people ahead of time so that you don’t lose too much time during your photo shoot. Once the initial form is done ask the photographer to capture you and your fiancée finishing the project. Take natural photos during the process, and then posed photo. Be sure to get a few of just the snow couple, because they will work really well as invitation or thank you cards.
  4. Find a very snowy location at which there is a considerable amount of snow. The idea is for it to create a nearly all white background. Bring along a few beautiful winter blankets, a tarp, two mugs, and a large thermos of coffee or hot chocolate. Wear cozy, warm, attractive clothes that coordinate with each other. Lay the tarp on the snow to create a barrier. Cover it with one of the blankets and sit together. Wrap yourselves in the other blankets and each of you hold a mug. Let the photographer capture your moment while cuddling, rubbing noses, talking, and enjoying a warm cup of joe in the pre-wedding snow. 

Upcycling – How To Use and Repurpose Sundry Household Items

It usually fills slowly, over time, but you’re steadily adding to it every month. It’s that box – the one that is the catch-all for the miscellaneous items around the house that don’t get used anymore. There’s a good chance that you even still like some of them, but after a couple of years of no use, it seems silly to keep them around. Your goal is to drop off the box at the local donation center once it is full, but that’s an errand that too easily put off. Perhaps that a good thing, because we’ve got some suggestions for how to put those things to good use by giving them a new purpose!

Dessert and cakes stands: Set on your vanity, bathroom counter, or craft table. Desert stands make for a beautiful display of jewelry, accessories, perfume. Cakes stands are a nifty way toassemble a collection of bottled art supplies, such as acrylic paints.

Shot glasses: The tall skinny ones are super for organizing and displaying those expensive makeup brushes you invested in. They are also ideal for specialty pens and markers that you don’t want to get lost in the shuffle of the common stuff. Short shot glasses work well for painting too, but in this case you can dispense various paint colors in them and not run the risk of accidently mixing the colors as might happen on a palette or tray.

Old metal funnels: Flip them over and insert taper candles. The wide base will ensure that the candle doesn’t fall over, and if the wax drips on them it’s highly likely that they’ll look even better.

Silver, gold, or brass candle sticks: If you’re a modern gal you may have switched over to battery run faux flames to add ambience. But it’s a shame to let go of something solid and traditional, like heirloom candle sticks that might even have sentimental value. So, use them to hold and display bracelets and watches!

Hard sided sunglass cases: Avoid the ‘cord drama’ caused when you toss chargers and earphones in your handbag. Simply wind them up and store them in a sunglass case, and they’ll emerge from your bag without tangles.

Spring Cleaning Ideas – How To Get Rid Of Stuff Part 6

Part 6: Artwork


How exciting! If you are now ready to tackle the final segment of overhauling your child’s room, that means the project is nearly complete and you can see just how awesome it’s going to be. Let’s wrap it up!

Of all the things we’ve discussed in this series, artwork is perhaps the most difficult to let go of. However, if you’ve been a parent for any length of time, you know that children produce a LOT of artwork! From a sentimental perspective it’s tempting to keep every single doodle and scribble your little artist creates. Take it from experienced mothers though – you won’t actually want all of it down the road. There’s no need to waste effort and space just to keep something that won’t be meaningful in the long term. To determine how to get rid of anything that isn’t particularly compelling, ask yourself these questions:

  • Would I frame it? Then do! Don’t put it back in a drawer for later. If you’re going to display it, then get on with it.
  • Does it represent a milestone? Such as the first time she was able to write her full name? If yes, strongly consider keeping it.
  • Is the child particularly proud of it? If so, don’t just keep it. Hang it on the wall in a frame with good light. Just to show him that you are proud of it too!
  • Is it funny or anecdotal? Keep it because these are the things that help us remember wonderful stories years from now.

If the artwork doesn’t fall somewhere within these reasons for keeping it, take a picture of the artwork and then get rid of it! Just snap a photo, close your eyes, wish it well, and let it flutter into the recycle bin. We promise you won’t miss anything inconsequential.

Before we sign off on this series we have a final suggestion to round out your project to perfection: Once you’ve decided on everything you’re going to keep, store it in clear containers at the sight level of your child. Floor level for small children, standing level for young children, desk or higher for teens. If you’re going to hang on to all that stuff and go to the trouble to organize it, then make sure it’s as readily apparent as possible so they USE it! Happy spring cleaning!

Spring Cleaning Ideas – How To Get Rid Of Stuff Part 5

Part 5 – How to organize and get rid of your kid’s books and magazines 


We hope you’re enjoying this series about how to get rid of your kid’s stuff! We are almost done. Toys are now under control, and the clothes are back in sane formation. Let’s move on to books and magazines. These sure stack up fast and kids’ aren’t particularly inclined to get rid of them. Here’s how to go about it.

 First, toss anything that’s no longer age appropriate. If your child is eight years old and still has books from when he was four, then it’s time to give them away. They may be cute but they aren’t really serving a purpose. Unless they are collectable or keepsakes, in which case you can keep them.

Next, sort more thoroughly through the books you’re considering keeping and let your kiddo help you decide which ones to keep. Yes, let them decide! Even if you love a particular book, don’t be afraid to let it go if you can’t convince your child to enjoy it. They will be much more likely to return to their bookshelf consistently if they know it only holds books they like and are thus easy to find.

To clean up any stacks of magazines, simply limit the number of issues per subscription that they’re allowed to keep. Let them pick their top 5 favorite issues and toss the rest. With the exception of periodicals that make reference to important historical events. They will likely enjoy these when they are adults. To ensure your child actually gets around to enjoying the magazines make them easily accessible on an open shelf.  Stacked in a drawer won’t do much. You can also place them next to the desk to teach the idea of reference material, or next to the bed encourage nightly reading.

Next read Part 6 – How to organize and get rid of your kids artwork

Spring Cleaning Ideas – How To Get Rid Of Stuff Part 3

Part 3: How to organize and/or get rid of toys


This next suggestion is going to sound a bit crazy, but stick with us. You are now going to empty the containers in which you placed the toys. Put the small toys in a pile on the floor next to the pile of large toys you already created. You will need a few to several clear containers for this part of the reorganization so set up empty ones near you.

Now, start filling the containers with toys by type. So, outdoor toys go together, dolls go together, trucks and cars go together, etc. This also applies to toys that are parts of a collection. For instance, ponies or dolls. If you’re child has a large enough collection of these, they should also go in their own separate container.

By organizing the toys this way you accomplish several things. One, it’s easier for playtime to be fun, which ensures that all of the toys get used because they are together. After all, what good is a pretend frying pan if you can’t find the stove it goes with? Two, as you work to separate and organize you’ll likely find duplicates and can get rid of them. It’s doubtful your kiddo needs two of the same toy car. Three, it’s your opportunity to bring your child into the decision of what to keep and what to get rid of. Often times, kids are more willing to let go of stuff if it feels like their idea. When they see a lot of their toys piled together, they are more likely to let go of things that are not very entertaining.

Don’t be afraid to also get rid of entire collections if you’re child has clearly outgrown them. Rather than asking about them piece by piece, first ask “Do you still like playing with cars?” If the answer is no, then you can skip the rest of the work and just get rid of the whole set. Make sure as well that you aren’t hanging on to stuff that your child no longer needs because you think it’s cute. If you want a clutter free home, you have to accept that our babies grow up and we have to get rid of stuff along the way!

Next read Part 4 – How to organize and/or get rid of your kids clothes