Thursday, February 28 2019
As we prepare for more cold and rainy weather in California, you may be dreaming of warmer, sunnier days and eagerly waiting for spring and summer to arrive! You might feel like the cold just isn’t subsiding and like you can’t break the chill in your home. Constantly running your heater can lead to expensive utility bills, and it might be a waste if your doors and windows are not energy efficient!
If you notice it takes a long time for your home to heat up, or your home loses warmth quickly, you might want to consider investing in energy efficient patio doors and windows. Energy Solutions Bi-Fold Patio Doors and French Swing Doors have excellent energy ratings and can prevent heat from escaping your home during these chilly, rainy months of winter. With energy efficient patio doors, your home can stay warmer and you can save money on your utility bills!
Energy efficient patio doors aren’t just good at keeping the heat inside during the winter—they can also resist unwanted heat gain during the hot days of summer. Less heat gain in your home means less cooling time needed, which means lower electric bills! Energy efficient patio doors can reduce your utility bills and increase your home value, making them an excellent investment in your home. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to meet with a sash and door expert to learn more about your energy efficient patio door options! AG Millworks lead times are the best in the industry, so if you start your project now, you can plan to have your energy efficient patio doors installed in as little as four weeks!
Investing in energy efficient patio doors is a great step in living a greener life and reducing your carbon footprint, but there are other things you can do to ensure your home is environmentally friendly. Make sure you turn lights and TV off when leaving a room—large glass energy efficient patio doors allow plenty of natural light in to illuminate the space, limiting your need for artificial lighting during daylight hours! To learn more about reducing your carbon footprint, click here.
To learn more about energy efficient patio doors, please visit the Energy Solutions Product Page. To find a sash and door expert in your area who can help you through the ordering process, please fill out our contact form, or contact customer service at: 800-559-9995 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, February 26 2019
As the weather warms up and we head into springtime, cold and flu season will come to a close (thank goodness!). The reason colds and flus are so rampant in the winter months is because these viruses thrive in cold weather. In fact, according to researchers of a 2008 study published in Nature Chemical Biology, the flu virus’s outer coating hardens in the cold, which helps it remain viable while passing from person to person. There are ways you can keep your immune system up and avoid getting sick as this cold and flu season disappears!
Wash Your Hands
Though this may be obvious, and you probably hear it often, always wash your hands! Wash your hands before you eat, before you touch your face, nose, or mouth, after you pump gas, after you interact with people, etc. Cold and flu germs can survive on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours, so it is important to keep your hands clean and free of bacteria, especially if you are going to touch your face—touching your face with dirty hands is how you catch the virus. Using soap and water to scrub your hands for 30 seconds is enough, you don’t need to go overboard with hand sanitizer, which could actually do more harm than good.
A less obvious tip to staying cold-free and maintaining a strong and healthy immune system is by getting plenty of vitamin D! The best way to get enough vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight, or by taking supplements. This is the perfect excuse to open your Bi-Fold Patio Doors and read a good book while you relax in the sunshine and get your daily dose of vitamin D. Just 20 or 30 minutes of sun exposure each day will provide your body with the vitamin D it needs to give your immune system that extra boost!
The food you eat is a great way to bring in the natural vitamins and minerals your body needs to maintain a strong immune system and function at it’s best. Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of nutritious foods to keep your immune system up and ready to fight off any germs you may encounter. Some foods to keep in mind when you want an extra immune boost are citrus foods, red bell peppers, broccoli, garlic, and spinach.
Sleep & Relax
Your body and immune system rely on sleep to recharge and recover. While you sleep, your body repairs damage caused by stress, ultraviolet rays, and other harmful exposure. Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system, so it is important to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night (the more the better). When you are feeling stressed, it is important to try to relax and let go of the stress you are feeling—stress can also have a negative affect on your overall health and immune response. Getting your daily dose of vitamin D will boost your immune system and help you de-stress, so don’t hesitate to spend some time with your folding patio doors open and enjoying the fresh air and warm sunshine.
Getting regular exercise can be difficult, especially during the colder months, when all you want to do is be warm and cozy, but it is important in maintaining a strong immune system and preventing a cold. Just 30 minutes of power walking each day can give you the activity you need to boost your immune system and maintain a healthy weight. Additional benefits of daily walking are weight loss, better metabolism, reduced stress, better sleep, and an overall better quality of life! You can even kill two birds with one stone by getting your daily vitamin D intake and exercise at the same time!
To learn more about increasing the natural light in your home using Bi-Fold Patio Doors, click here.
Thursday, February 21 2019
California has been experiencing a lot of stormy weather lately. Our days have been filled with rain, wind, and even snow for those of us in the mountains! As the end of winter grows near, we are catching glimpses of the sunny days that come with Spring and Summer. Because the storm season will be ending soon, it is the perfect time to meet with your sash and door expert to plan your door and window replacement! Planning a small remodel with door and window replacement takes time—you must choose your patio door design, have plans and engineering done for the patio door and window openings, and place your order with an AG Millworks certified dealer.
Your first step in planning a window and door upgrade is finding the perfect patio door for your home! You can visit an AG Millworks certified dealer near you to test our Bi-Fold Patio Door and Multi-Slide Patio Door displays to help you decide on a door type. Deciding between Bi-Folds and Multi-Slides is tough because each system is so unique, but your sash and door expert will help you review the different features and options that each door type offers so you will be confident with your final decision. If you are replacing multiple patio doors, you may consider pairing both Bi-Fold and Multi-Slide Patio Systems for the ultimate patio door package! To learn more about our patio door features, please visit the Bi-Fold Patio Door Product Page or the Multi-Slide Patio Door Product Page.
Once you decide on what type of patio door system will be best for your space, you will need to meet with a contractor or architect to determine door size and if any special engineering will be required before door installation. With dimensions determined, you can then focus on door configurations, colors, divided lites, hardware, retractable accordion screens, and every other customizable feature that makes each AG Millworks patio door so beautiful and unique! All AG Millworks products are made to order—there is no upcharge for custom sizes! To learn more about what makes AG Millworks patio doors so unique, please review the AG Advantage. Our AG Millworks certified dealers are reliable door experts who will make the ordering process smooth and easy for you and your contractor! To get matched with an AG Millworks certified dealer near you, please fill out our contact form, or call or email customer service: 800-559-9995 or email@example.com.
You should start the planning now because once your patio door is ordered through your dealer, we custom-build your door system! Although AG Millworks has some of the fastest lead times for Bi-Fold Patio Doors in the industry, quality and beauty take time! We hand-make your patio doors with the utmost skill and care to provide you a high-quality product with a dependable lead time. If you place your order soon, your patio doors will be ready for install just in time for spring! To save you time and money, we deliver your patio door frames built-up to expedite the install process.
Begin the process now, and by late spring you will be relaxing on your patio with your new Bi-Fold or Multi-Slide Doors open, enjoying your new indoor-outdoor living space! To find inspiration on creating indoor-outdoor living spaces with AG Millworks patio doors, please visit our Photo Gallery.
Tuesday, February 19 2019
Spring is quickly approaching which means sunnier days, warmer weather, lush mountains, and thriving wildflower blooms in Southern California! Southern California has been blessed with plenty of much-needed rain this winter, so the wildflower blooms to follow are bound to be more abundant and beautiful than ever! Keep reading to find out where you can see these incredible fields full of blooming flowers.
Photo by Sue Pollock (via The Nature Conservancy)
Carrizo Plain is a National Monument located in San Luis Obispo County. According to The Nature Conservancy, it is the largest single native grassland remaining in California, spanning for 250,000 acres along the base of the Temblor Mountains. The best time to visit is during March or April, when the fields will be in full bloom—it is a wonderous sight to see filled with yellow, orange, and purple wildflowers covering the hills and plains. You may even consider camping for a few days to hike, explore, and take in the sights and wildlife!
Photo by Sumiko Photo (via Shutterstock)
Anza-Borrego Desert is located south of Palm Springs and is the largest state park in California, covering more than 600,000 acres. The Anza-Borrego Desert is one of the best places in California to catch a wildflower super bloom and features a variety of different plant species! Flowers begin to bloom in early spring, and their longevity relies on the amount of rainfall. Each canyon in Anza-Borrego has its own wildflower bloom (Borrego Palm Canyon, Henderson Canyon Road, and Coyote canyon) and you can refer to the California Parks & Recreation website for “wildflower updates” and directions!
Photo via Trip Advisor
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is located just 90 miles from Los Angeles and can begin to see blooms as early as mid-February through mid-May. Keep an eye out for the other wildflowers that bloom within the reserve: owl’s clover, lupine, goldfield, cream cups, and coreopsis. Because too little rain or too much rain will influence the blooms, they can sometimes be unpredictable. It is best to check the status of the wildflower blooms on the state park website before making plans to visit. Be sure you stick to the designated paths in the reserve and don’t trample the flowers, which could result in a citation and cause long-lasting damage to the plants and their future growth. VisitCalifornia.com shares an inside tip for optimal flower viewing from a park interpreter, Jean Rhyne: “Midmorning is usually best because it has warmed up enough for poppies to open, but the afternoon winds haven’t kicked in yet. If it’s too cold or windy, the poppies close up.”
Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park is located just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles and features multiple trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and many streams for fishing. The hiking trails take you along Malibu Creek and through Malibu Canyon where you can see the endless blooms of field mustard during springtime! Part of the Malibu Creek State Park was burned in the Woolsey Fire, however after plenty of rain the nature is recovering and turning green again! For more information on hiking trails and campsite rentals, visit the Malibu Creek State Park website.
Thursday, February 14 2019
The shortest month of the year is halfway over, which means National Random Acts of Kindness Day is a few days away. Did you know every year on February 17th groups, organizations, and individuals across the nation celebrate Random Acts of Kindness Day? This holiday is the perfect day to shower your friends, family, and community with kindness and give back to those around you! Keep reading for ideas on how you can carry out some random acts of kindness throughout your day.
One way to get involved in the holiday is by spreading the word! Share with your family, friends, and Facebook community that February 17th is Random Acts of Kindness Day and get people excited about it! Many people are unaware of this holiday, but the more people who know about this special day, the more kindness that can be spread. You could even challenge your friends and family to a kindness competition to encourage others to participate in the fun.
One way to show kindness is by showing appreciation. Show those in your community that you care about them and appreciate them! Stop by your local fire station and drop off some snacks or treats and thank the firemen for their service. If you visit any restaurants or coffee shops, leave an extra good tip and let the server or barista know you appreciate everything they do to make sure you’re a happy customer. Surprise a local doctor’s office or health clinic with fresh coffee and donuts to thank them for keeping your community healthy and strong. It’s easy to forget how much our public health and service providers do for us and we may sometimes take it for granted—think outside the box and surprise some of the people in your community you are most thankful for!
You can show kindness to both the Earth and your community by cleaning up parks or beaches and picking up trash—be sure to separate the recyclables so they don’t go to landfills. You can also plant trees and flowers to make Earth and your community a more beautiful and better place to live. Be aware of your carbon footprint and educate yourself on sustainable living—consider being extra kind to the Earth and adopting a new sustainable practice or routine to carry out daily and live a greener life.
Use National Random Acts of Kindness Day as an excuse to pay for the next in line’s coffee or tea, or surprise a young couple dining out by paying for their meal! Help those in need around you whether it’s taking soup to your sick neighbor, helping another shopper carry their groceries, or helping your coworker move into a new apartment. If you open your eyes and look around, you’ll notice that there are plenty of people who could use your help! After carrying out a few acts of kindness, you will be glad you lent a helping hand and feel better knowing you contributed to bettering the community!
Tuesday, February 12 2019
House plants and greenery have a way of softening a space and creating a peaceful, calming environment. Aside from the aesthetic benefits, incorporating nature into your living spaces can help purify the air, sharpen focus, and reduce stress! Whatever the style, design, and scheme of your home is, there is a house plant or leafy motif that will work perfectly for your space. And if you feel like you have less than a green thumb, you can always opt for low maintenance plans or artificial greenery.
To add a touch of greenery to your boho space, you might consider a hanging macramé plant holder. Macramé plant holders have been a growing trend in interior design, and you can find them in many shapes, sizes, and styles. This is a simple way to create a fun, fresh look in your living space! You can hang succulents or other small house plants but be sure to hang them near a window or Bi-Fold Patio Door where they will be able to absorb sunlight (not too much sunlight though, as some succulents and house plants could dry out with too much direct light). Amazon has some beautiful and unique macramé plant hangers available on Prime.
You can use an oversized, large-leaf plant to fill an empty corner. Find a decorative pot or basket that will match your interior design and pick an empty corner of your home to incorporate some greenery. A large plant like this will create a focal point and make the space feel open and refreshing—place the plant near your Bi-Fold Patio Doors so it will get plenty of natural light. When deciding on a plant, be sure to consider the maintenance required so you are prepared. You can even find large, artificial plants similar to this at your local home goods stores—or get this adorable faux banana tree online at Urban Outfitters!
If you have free wall space, consider hanging some wall-mounted planters to add some greenery and fill in the emptiness! Wall-mounted planters come in many designs and colors, so finding one to match your space should be easy. When deciding whether to go with real or artificial plants, remember to consider the wall height of the plants and how far you will have to reach when watering/pruning. The ceramic wall planters pictured above are from West Elm and come in two different sizes, in white or black.
Another way to bring greenery into your home is by hanging a wreath above the fire place or on an empty wall! A wreath is a classic way to soften a space and bring nature into your home. This beautiful handmade wreath from Magnolia by Joanna Gaines can fit in perfectly with many interior design schemes and be that extra element of greenery that you’re looking for!
Draping artificial garland or vines above or around headboards, mantles, or on walls is a unique way to add a touch of greenery to your living space. It is a soft, delicate touch that will make any room feel peaceful and relaxing. There are many different styles to choose from, however pictured above is a simple yet beautiful eucalyptus leaf garland that brings just enough greenery without overwhelming the room or taking away from other unique décor. You can find a similar eucalyptus leaf garland at Hobby Lobby.
Thursday, February 07 2019
Did you know that Valentine’s Day greetings were popular as far back as the middle ages? In addition to the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, France, and Australia all celebrate the holiday! Another Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and this year you might consider switching up your usual V-Day plans! If you normally go out to a fancy restaurant for dinner and catch a movie, it could be fun and refreshing to spend the holiday at home with the one you love. Valentine’s Day falls during the work week this year, but there will still be plenty of time to enjoy the day after your nine to five. There are many benefits to spending time at home with your loved one on Valentine’s Day.
If you’re like most people, your days are busy and hectic, and maybe you don’t always get to spend as much quality time with your partner as you want to. Using this day to spend an evening at home and enjoy each others company is a great way to get in that extra quality time—you will have the house to yourselves, and won’t be surrounded by dozens of other couples, creating a more quiet, intimate setting.
Most eateries and theaters are very busy and crowded on Valentine’s Day and going out into the hustle and bustle can be noisy, stressful and even claustrophobic—especially if you haven’t made any reservations. Staying in to celebrate will allow you to have a relaxing night in and enjoy a slower pace. Light some candles, adjust the lighting, and create a romantic space at home. You can still dress up and look nice for the occasion even though you’ll be staying in.
If you and your partner choose to stay in on Valentine’s Day, make sure you schedule a baby sitter in advance. Spend the evening cooking a nice meal together, sipping on wine, and enjoying every peaceful moment. You may choose to forgo your usual dining space and open your folding patio doors and dine outside on the patio. Light a fire in your fire pit to stay warm and gaze at the stars and enjoy the fresh air!
Do a quick cleanup of the kitchen, but don’t waste time doing dishes on this special evening—that can wait until tomorrow. When dinner is done and you’re ready to move inside, close your folding patio doors and cozy up on the couch. Pick out a movie together, put on your pajamas, and break out the dessert! Sometimes a relaxing evening like this is the perfect way to sneak in quality time with your significant other. You shouldn’t wait for Valentine’s day to get some alone time—prioritizing each other will build a stronger relationship!
There’s nothing wrong with going out on Valentine’s Day and staying in on the occasion may seem more appealing to homebodies, but if you choose to skip your usual elaborate plans and stay home, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much you enjoy and appreciate a quiet date night at home! Valentine’s Day is about spending quality time with and spoiling the one you love, the flowers, chocolates, and gifts are just a bonus!
To learn more about using folding patio doors to create an intimate living space that connects to the outdoors, click here.
Tuesday, February 05 2019
The hunt for your first-time home can be an overwhelming process. As you begin this journey, you should seek guidance from your family, friends, and professionals to learn more about the process and responsibilities of homebuying and homeowning. You may already have a picture in your head of your dream home, but you should consider investing in a fixer upper for your first home! There are many benefits to purchasing a fixer upper, and it may be a more affordable way to get exactly want you want.
Look for a fixer upper in your desired location—sometimes finding the type of home you want in the area you wish to live can be difficult. If you can find a home that needs a little work, but is located in your favorite neighborhood, don’t hesitate to request a showing. Location really is half the battle.
Finding a home with everything on your wish list is unlikely but investing in a fixer upper as your starter home means you can turn the space into whatever you want it to be. Fixer uppers are generally cheaper, which means you’ll have room in the budget for renovations—like updating the kitchen and flooring or creating an indoor-outdoor living space with folding patio doors!
When touring less than move-in ready homes it is important to keep an open mind and visualize what the space could be after you remodel. Keep in mind that larger projects like changing the layout, knocking down walls, and moving plumbing are more expensive, so finding a fixer upper with a functional layout will save you time and money. Always consult a professional to do an inspection of the home and provide project estimates—you’ll want to know what you’re getting yourself into. Some home inspections you may want to consider prior to making an offer are: roof inspections, pest inspections, sewer line inspections and engineering reports.
One of the best things about buying a fixer upper is the equity you will have in the home as soon as the renovation is complete. Upgrading the home will add value, and should you outgrow the space later in life, you can sell the property and get back more money than you put into it. If you don’t think this will be your forever home, remember to stick to timeless designs that will sustain a high resale value!
Remember, fixer uppers are a lot of work, so you should be prepared to get your hands dirty. Doing what you can yourself, like painting walls and laying flooring is a great way to save money on labor. If you’re not ready to take on such a project, a fixer upper may not be the right choice for you. And don’t forget, once the remodel is complete, the projects don’t stop there—owning and maintaining a home is a lot of work so it is important to stay positive when it seems like everything is going wrong.
Make sure you evaluate your finances so you know how much home you can afford and what your reno budget will be. Always get advice from others and never make a rash decision. Really educate yourself on how much time and money a project will require so you can be sure you have the resources to complete it! Good luck and happy house hunting!
To learn more about expanding your living space with folding patio doors, click here.