August can be one of the hottest months of the year, and many people cool off by going to beaches, pools, and lakes. While this can be a nice break from the heat, it’s important to remember to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. Here are some helpful pointers on how to enjoy the outdoors while keeping your skin happy.
Use sunscreen – apply sunscreen before heading outside. Use sunscreen that has an SPF level of at least 15. For more protection, choose a higher number. Make sure to reapply anytime you swim or sweat or if you’ve been in the sun for more than two hours. If you’ve had the same sunscreen for a while, check the expiration date and replace it if it is expired.
Wear a hat and protective clothing – clothing provides some degree of protection from the sun. There are even clothes available that are certified as having UV protection. Try to wear hats that have a brim all the way around. This helps shade the back of your neck, as well as your face and ears. If you’re wearing a baseball cap, remember to use sunscreen on the areas not covered by your hat.
Find some shade – staying in the shade is the easiest way to avoid being overexposed. By staying under a tree or umbrella, you can reduce the amount of sun you’re exposed to. It’s also a good idea to stay out of the sun during peak hours (generally from 10am to 2pm).
A step above traditional cucumber water, the Cucumber Lime Fizz is a light and refreshing departure from the usual summer drinks. This beverage is a breeze to put together and is perfect for a summer party or a quiet night at home.
1 small peeled cucumber (sliced)
6 sprigs fresh mint
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup lime juice (fresh or premade)
4 cups club soda or seltzer
Put the cucumber, mint and sugar in a bowl and muddle. Add the lime juice. Put the combined cucumber, mint, sugar and lime juice in a pitcher. Add the club soda and ice and stir gently. Pour into glasses and garnish (if desired).
Yield: 8 servings
Over the winter, you may have thought about ways you can spruce up your home this spring. Or maybe you wanted to make some improvements, but weren’t sure where to start. Here are a few examples of ways you can take to make your home look its best!
- Update your hardware. By replacing old door handles and locks, you can make your front door look like new!
- Repaint your outside trim and doors. Sometimes just a little bit of paint can go a long way! Changing trim color is an easy way to update your exterior without having to paint the whole house.
- Clean your windows. This may sound like a silly one, but making sure your windows shine can make a big difference. Cleaning them inside and out can bring the sparkle back to your home.
- Add planters. If you have a porch or front steps, you can put together planters with different annuals and greens so they have color throughout the season.
- Power wash your deck, patio, and walk ways. Over the years, dirt and moss can accumulate on the walkways around your home. You can rent (or buy) a power washer to make quick work of removing these spots.
- Replace or repaint your mailbox. A mailbox may not seem important, but over time they can rust and start to become unappealing. Check to see what shape it’s in and see if it needs a makeover.
- Install solar powered lamps. These easy to install lights are a good way to improve your outdoor lighting without breaking the bank. They are great for illuminating sideways, driveways and other areas of your yard that need a little extra light.
Shake off the winter blues with a colorful, sweet treat! Lemon bars are the perfect snack to liven up your day and kick off a bright & cheerful spring. They’re sure to be a hit with mom (or any other important women in your life) this Mother’s Day, May 8th!
2 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar
1 cup salted butter, cubed
Lemon Filling Ingredients:
6 eggs, room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon
2 tbsp grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x13 inch pan with foil or parchment paper & spray with non-stick baking spray.
To make the crust: Whisk together the flour and powdered sugar. Mix in butter with a fork until crumbly. You can also use a food processor to combine crust ingredients. Press dough in pan & bake for 20 minutes. Let crust cool completely after baking.
To make the lemon filling: Whisk together all filling ingredients & poor over cooled crust. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until filling is set. Cut & dust finished lemon bars with powdered sugar after they have cooled.
FHA 203k Renovation Loan Step-By-Step
You just signed a contract to buy a home, but it needs a few alterations. Or did you decide to renovate your existing home? No problem. Here’s everything you need to know about renovation financing.
STEP ONE ~ Contractor Selection
- Do your research and select a reputable residential contractor(s)
- Ensure your contractor is licensed (per local/state regulations), insured and has references
- Obtain written contractor estimates to complete your project
- Contact your local municipality and determine what permits are required for your project
- If applicable, a plan review must be obtained by an approved HUD Consultant
STEP TWO ~ Loan Application
- Loan Originator discusses financing options and documentation needed with you
- Loan Originator provides you with your Good Faith Estimate
- Loan Originator sends application to processing
- Appraisal is ordered on your behalf
STEP THREE ~ Loan Processing
- Loan Processor prepares file for underwriting
- Loan Processor contacts you when file goes to credit review with expected decision time
- You receive the Federal Truth-in-Lending (TIL) disclosure
STEP FOUR ~ Loan Credit Review
- Loan Underwriter reviews the project and the contractor(s) for acceptance
- Loan Underwriter reviews the complete loan file and makes a credit decision
- Loan Underwriter returns loan to Loan Processor who will contact you regarding a credit decision
STEP FIVE ~ Loan Processing
- Upon approval, Loan Processor will contact you to review the commitment letter and final conditions for closing
- All conditions must be provided and cleared prior to scheduling loan closing
Now, you are ready to close your loan and begin the actual project.
STEP SIX ~ Loan Closing
- Attorney/Settlement Agent reviews the loan file
- Attorney/Settlement Agent schedules closing date with you and reviews funds needed to close as well as any items needed at closing
- On closing date, you will sign your paperwork to complete the loan closing
STEP SEVEN ~ Renovation Begins
- You will receive a welcome kit and a call from your Draw Administrator within 5 days of closing
- Within 30 days of closing, the project must start according to the approved plan
- As per the rehabilitation loan agreement, the project must be completed within 6 months
STEP EIGHT ~ Making Payments
- Your 1st monthly payment will be due on the 1st day of the 2nd full month after closing, and then every month thereafter
- The fully-amortizing payments are based on the total loan amount including rehab monies
STEP NINE ~ Obtaining a Draw
- Any required building permits must be in place prior to the first draw
- When a stage of the plan is complete, call to request a draw
- Your Draw Administrator will require an inspection to be performed
- Upon satisfactory receipt of the above, a check will be written jointly to you and your contractor and sent to you.
STEP TEN ~ Project Completion
- The draw process is repeated for each stage until the loan is fully disbursed and the project is complete
- A final inspection and title update is obtained by the Draw Administrator
- If applicable, a Certificate of Occupancy/final municipal inspection is required for any permits previously issued
For more information on FHA 203k renovation loans click here.