Let’s Have a Pool Party!

pool-party-iOK, it’s party time. The most fun you could ever have around your pool is when you have guests and are entertaining.  It is the perfect time to show off your pool  from Pools by Design your Woodlands Pool Builder . The key here is preparation.  Invitations, menus, helpers, pool, and yard will all need to be taken care of in advance.  The more you do ahead of time, the more time you will have to enjoy the party.  Start about a month before the party. Make a list of who you want to come. We can’t give any advice here.  But too many people would not only be unsafe, but we want enough room for eating, swimming, and just lying around.

So, here are a few tips for the pool party, and believe me, we’ve been to hundreds.

1)   Invites. Get something fun. Hand made invitations are cool, and personal. Another quicker, cheaper option is using evite.com to send out invitations. *** Remind everyone to bring a towel and swimming suite.

2)   Recruit. Get some help. The best parties were planned with several people. Get some helpers. Johnny does the food, Karin gets the liquor, and Steve gets the ice. And be sure to get a name or two for clean up. The end of the night is always the hardest to recruit help, so ask for clean up help before the party. You don’t need to clean the whole yard, but you will need to secure the trash, leftover food and such.

3)   Food. Decisions, decisions. You could go all out, roast a pig, smoked chicken. Or, keep it simple. Finger sandwiches, fruit bowl, or just burgers and dogs. The more “self serve food” you offer, the more time you have for fun. But, remember, the first thing people usually remember about a party, is the food. Give your guests something to talk about and remember. It’s not too hard to do!

4)   Drinks. You can’t have a good pool party without good beverages. But, an open bar can mean a disaster. If everyone is allowed to mix their own beverages, there is always someone who can ruin it for the rest of the guests. If alcohol is served, serve responsible, or serve beer and wine in moderation. Remember, Alcohol use is involved in about 35% to 50% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation. And please don’t let guests who drink, drive. Call your local cab company in advance and set up an account for the evening.

5)  Safety. This one is easy. Call your local swimming pool management company, and hire a lifeguard or two for the event. It’s not expensive, and well worth it. If someone has had too much to drink, keep them away from the pool. Things we all take for granted like diving boards, slides and just jumping off the side of the pool, can pose a threat to those impaired, and everyone else trying to have a good time. Keep safety equipment handy, and ALWAYS keep a working phone dry, and near the pool.

6)   The Pool.  A week or so before the party, test everything pool related. (The lights, the heater, and the fountains) Make sure any electrical outlets that will be used are grounded. Trip hazards, excess patio and lawn furniture should be stored, or moved away from the pool deck, to allow easy access to the pool. Add a clarifier to the pool several days before the party. Small unfiltered particles are very easy to see at night with the pool light on, so take that extra step to get your pool as clear as possible. And make sure the pH and chlorine are adjusted. A chlorine residual of 3.0 is perfect.   The morning of the party, brush the pool and then vacuum an hour later. Remove your automatic pool cleaner and store it away for the party. Polaris parts are not cheap!

7)   The Party!  The moment we’ve all been waiting forParty time!  Got enough Tiki torch fuel? Ice? Soda? Make that last minute run to the store and you should be set. With proper preparation, all of the chores are done, and it’s time to party. So, fire up the grill, and ice down the punch. It’s your turn to relax.

Pool and Backyard Furniture

pool-furniture-300x225 When you think of furniture, you think of living rooms, dining rooms and family rooms. Very rarely do you associate furniture with swimming pools. But pool furniture is not only fashionable it’s practical, too. When you entertain guests, including family and friends, in your backyard and pool area, you want to have places for everyone to sit and relax. That’s where pool furniture comes in.

You can create a restful haven by the side of your pool and indulge in the ultimate comfort with poolside lounge chairs. Or you can create the perfect outdoor dining area on your deck with a glass table and cushioned table chairs. You can even put up a hammock to waste those lazy summer days away with a nap or two. It’s up to you! Your backyard is a blank canvas for you to fill with the kind pool furniture that is just right for you.

Choosing pool furniture is a lot like choosing furniture for any other room in your house. You want to select comfortable and eye-appealing pieces as well as pieces that reflect your style and taste. Outdoor décor is becoming more popular as the amount of pool owners continues to increase. Many notable department stores and furniture outlets are carrying patio and pool furniture lines for you to choose from.

The fact is that pool furniture has come quite a long way. The days of plastic tables and big umbrellas are over. Now you can accent your pool, deck and patio with pool furniture in teak, cedar, wrought iron, aluminum, wicker and rattan in a variety of combinations of wood and metal.

The thing to look for in quality pool furniture is durability, weather resistance and resistance to sun damage. You can purchase preassembled sets or sets that require minimum set up. Mixing and matching pieces can also be fun. You can choose from a variety of pool furniture pieces including dining chairs, hammocks, tea carts, Adirondack chairs, dining tables, folding chairs, foot stool and more.

Outdoor dining sets can come in numerous styles such as aluminum, wrought iron, wick and rattan. Many dining sets come with matching umbrellas to help shield the sun from food and drinks. Some have circular vinyl umbrellas and other are Eastern-inspired with woven fabric and wood frames. You can choose from glass tabletops or metal tabletops, and pick table chairs with mesh fabric or removable cushioned seats.

The idea behind pool furniture is to accent your pool and construct a comfortable area to sit and enjoy everything a pool offers. Plastic pool furniture is no longer considered fashionable or even practical. Your backyard and patio should look and feel as great as your indoor rooms do. Whether it’s relaxed and casual or elegant and refined, you can find the right pool furniture to fit you and your style. A backyard and pool area should be considered and outdoor oasis for you and your family. And the right kind of pool furniture can help you achieve it.

Swimming Facts!

Screenshot_4One thing that I think all homeowners can agree on is that when there is a swimming pool involved, a good time is definitely in order. With this post, we want to venture outside the box a little bit. Sure we all have fun swimming in the pool, playing games, cooking out or relaxing and lounging, but tune into this post to learn about some entertaining facts that you may have never known about.

1. Elephants can swim as many as 20 miles a day — they use their trunks as natural snorkels!
2. Swimming works out all of the body’s major muscles and reduces stress.
3. The bikini swimsuit was named after a U.S. nuclear testing site in the South Pacific called Bikini Atoll.
4. The fastest and most efficient swim stroke is the crawl/ freestyle. This is always the most popular freestyle stroke.
5. As with any other type of exercise you need to stay hydrated while swimming and you need to drink water. Your core body temperature can rise as the activity increases. Your body also produces sweat as it does with other physical activity, but it is not as apparent since you are already wet.
6. An Olympic size pool depending on its size (50 meters X 25 yards or meters) can hold from 700,000 to 850,000 gallons of water.
7. An hour of vigorous swimming will burn up to 650 calories. It burns off more calories than walking or biking.
8. The first recorded swimming races were held in Japan in 36 B.C.
9. The Titanic was the first ocean liner to have a swimming pool and a gym.
10. Swim fins were invented by Benjamin Franklin.

Take note and use these interesting facts to start up a trivia game at your next pool outing or be the first one to impress your friends and family with your newly accumulated swimming pool knowledge.

Contact us when you’re ready to build a new pool or remodel your current pool. And we wish everyone, happy swimming!

Is Your Pool Leaking?

There are some ways you can narrow down the reasons behind your leaky swimming pool. There are typically one of three swim pool issues with water loss.

Excessive Splash Out or Evaporation

If the pool is not being used frequently (then obviously), it is unlikely that the problem is splash out. On the other hand, if it is the middle of the summer, with high temperatures and lots of kids getting in and out (dripping wet) this could, in fact, be a real cause.

To eliminate evaporation or splash out pool water loss as a causes, here is a quick test that can be run on your swimming pool: Be sure to secure all pets BEFORE the test.

clip_image003 Place a 5 gallon bucket on the second step or bench seat and fill it with water so that it is exactly the same level as the swim pool. If evaporation is the cause of your loss, both levels should drop at the same rate If you have a pool leak, then the pool will drop faster than the water level in the bucket.

Leaks in Plumbing or the Pool Shell

Inspect around the filter pad for obvious leaks. Look for damp spots or drips. A steady drip can result in a lot of water loss over time. Does your pool leak more with the filtration system running vs. not running? If it does not seem to matter if the pool pump and filter system is on or off, then it is time to start doing checks in the pool: Start “plugging” holes – places like water returns, pool skimmers, and the pool main drains, one at a time. You might want to buy enough winterizing plugs for the returns and the auto cleaner. Try to plug up just the returns first and see if the leak rate slows down.You can screw a plug into the skimmers and see if you notice a water loss change.

 

If none of those seem to slow down the rate of water loss, you need to call in a leak specialist. These pool professionals specialize in finding and repairing leaking plumbing, etc. Contact your pool service professional.

 

Above Ground Pools

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 A swimming pool may not add value to your home and property, but if  you’re wanting that backyard cooling-off spot, an above-ground  swimming pool costs far less than an in-ground pool. You’ll spend 80% less, and you avoid the disruption of heavy equipment  digging up your backyard. Of course, if you select upgrades like patterned or textured liners, fancy  stairs, and custom decking At that point, it makes sense to consider an  in-ground investment, which you may be able to list as a selling amenity  someday.

Ring pools: Above-ground pools come in two basic types: ring and frame. Ring pools, also known as “float to fill,” are commonly around 12 feet in diameter and 3 feet high. Made of heavy-duty vinyl, they get their name from an inflatable ring at the top of the pool, which rises as the pool fills with water and lifts the sidewalls into place. The filled pool is flask-shaped, wider at the bottom than the top for greater stability. A 12-foot ring pool holds approximately 1,400 gallons of water, enough to require chlorine tablets for chemical balance and a filtration pump. Many families see this as an inexpensive way to test the waters on pool ownership and maintenance. Frame pools: A frame pool has a sturdy metal frame and an interior pool liner. One of these can stay up year-round, although it can be disassembled in a matter of hours. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes; the most popular size is a 24-foot round, which gives plenty of room for laps or a rowdy game of water polo. Most frame pools come with a lifetime warranty that translates into 25 to 30 years of practical use, even with kids pushing off the sides and jumping off the deck area. The typical frame pool has walls that are 48 inches to 54 inches high, which means you’ll need a ladder to get in and out. Depending on the size and shape of your yard, installers may be able to bury one end of the steel framework deeper in the ground to create different water levels, but even with this trick, 6.5 feet is the depth limit. Once the pool is set up, you can add decking or landscaping to make it look like a more permanent feature of the yard. Maintenance and safety issues Above-ground frame pools need many of the same working parts as in ground versions, such as filters and automatic pool cleaners. They can definitely support a heater, although to keep costs proportionate, many people just spread a solarblanket over the pool when not in use. It’s also possible to hook up automatic cleaners on the circulation line to avoid manually cleaning the sides.

Chemicals are required, but in smaller quantities.

Plan on spending an average of $400 a season on chlorine, compared with $600 for an in ground pool. Homeowners also need to be aware of local safety ordinances and erect the appropriate fencing. In many jurisdictions, fencing can be attached to the top of the pool itself instead of around the perimeter of the yard.

Because it isn’t permanent, an above-ground pool doesn’t require a permit, and it won’t impact the resale value of your home. Note that some homeowners associations or developers don’t allow them, and they’re not suited for diving. It’s always a good idea to notify your insurance agent that you’ve added an above-ground pool, as coverage policies vary.

3 must-do’s to get the right Woodlands pool builder.

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Nolan Hearn here.I felt strongly about this subject and wanted to write it myself. I am not a writer. Sorry in advance for grammatical errors and typos.

It can be stressful deciding which of the many companies you are going to trust with your large investment. With all the horror stories going around about pool builders and poor quality pools, I felt it may be helpful to give some tips on what to look for. This has really been weighing on both my self and Roy Burden. (owner of Pools by Design)

There are good, trustworthy pool builders in The Woodlands. How to find them…

1. Check History- In the booming area that is The Woodlands, Spring, and Conroe there will be some “Fly-by-Night” companies. They swoop in looking to make a quick buck. Giving no thought to keeping a good reputation,  they will be gone on to the next city in no time. Not to long ago this nice lady was complaining about bad service and an unfinished pool. I asked her how long has the company been around, are they local, and what did the reviews say about this company? And to no surprise I got back plenty of “Well I do not know”.  Sure enough it was a company that had changed names several times, going from bad reputation to bad reputation. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Look up/ask how long have they been in business (under that name), do they have a BBB rating or any other review sites, are they a local company. Roy always says “I live here, I can not afford to have unhappy customers. When I pass by a past client in the store I don’t want to have to duck and hide.” I call them “past clients” but they are more like friends that know they can call us anytime for questions or concerns. Pools by Design’s business plan includes customer service that extends long after the completion of the project.

2.Talk to past clients- Once you decide to invite a sales man over to your home you have put a certain amount of trust in them. However, their one and only goal is to get the job. Unfortunately, that sometimes means they will tell you everything you want to hear, regardless of truthfulness. You have to assume that you will like what they say. But how do you know if its just all talk and no walk? They should bring a customer list. If not, request one (and then wonder why you had to ask for one). It is very important to talk with past clients who have been through the whole process. Here are a few important questions to ask. It should only take a couple minutes, but you will have solid information on the company.

  • Overall Experience?
  • Are you happy with the final product?
  • Was the total amount paid equal to proposal/contract amount? If not,Why? (beware of bait and switch)
  • Would you use them again?

3. Do not pay down payment or large % to early. Where a lot of homeowners get in trouble is paying to much to early. If a company insist on a down payment it should be relatively TINY to amount of project. We at Pools by Design do not take a down payment and would not recommend it. Make sure the amount you paid in is in line with the timeline of project. In other words, do not have over 60% of contract amount paid and all to show for it is a hole in the ground. No wonder we hear all the stories about pool builders leaving unfinished pools. In this scenario they already made their money. We at Pools by Design have a draw payment system. In other words, the project is broken down to 5 stages. We finish a stage we get paid. The home owner never pays for something they do not already have.

Save your self a lot of trouble and follow these tips. Whether it is with Pools by Design or someone else make this an enjoyable experience.

Nolan Hearn

 

Winter Is Pool Planning Season

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Great article. Brought to you by your Woodlands Pool Builder-Pools by design

Written by Anne Reagan of http://porch.com/

Even though it is the dead of winter, this is the best time to plan for a pool installation. Who would have thought the winter months would be the best time to think about pools? Here are a few reasons you should start researching and contacting pool contractors today.

1. It’s Off- Season

Everyone wants a pool as soon as the summer heat rolls around, and that is when pool contractors get extremely busy. If you wait to plan for your pool until summer, you run the risk of scheduling issues. However, if you start planning and scheduling a pool installation now, you will get the first pick of dates you want your pool installed, and it will ensure that your pool will be ready to use before the first heat wave of summer.

2. Better Prices

Because the winter months are slower for pool professionals, you may be able to get a better price. Some professionals offer discounted rates for fall/winter months, so be sure to start planning at the latest in February to make sure you get discounted rates.

3. Easier to get permits

There are typically less construction projects in the winter, making permits easier to obtain. Even if there are delays in permit process, if you begin the process now you will have plenty of cushion time to make sure you will have your pool completed by the summer.

4. Landscaping

Most people like to have landscaping planned around a pool installation. If you complete a pool installation in winter or early spring, you can plan to do some spring landscaping around your newly finished pool. That way during the summer you can enjoy your pool and landscaped yard without having to do a landscaping project in the summer heat.

Great article. Brought to you by your local Pool Builder-Pools by design

Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

This blog is straight from http://www.swimuniversity.com/  brought to you by Pools by Design

How to Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

Mustard or yellow algae is a rare form of pool algae that is more common in warmer southern areas, but that doesn’t mean your pool won’t be infected. It’s important, that if you spot signs of mustard algae, to act quickly and get rid of it.

What is Mustard Algae?

Mustard algae is rare and often mistaken for sand, dirt, or a stain in your pool.It’s not slimy like regular green algae, but it likes to attach itself to pool walls and other items.

It’s also chlorine-resistant and very stubborn. It can even live outside of your swimming pool. That means pool equipment, toys, floats, and even bathing suits. If you have mustard algae, you’ll want to disinfect these items right away.

How To Kill Mustard Algae in 10 Steps

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to getting rid of the algae.

1. Machine Wash Your Suits

Wash all your bathing suits in the washing machine and dry in a dryer.This should kill the algae if it has infected these items.

2. Clean Your Toys and Floats

Disinfect all toys and floats with a chlorine based solution. Clorox cleaner(not bleach) should work just fine in this case. You don’t want to bleach your toys and floats.

3. Move Equipment to Shallow End

Place all maintenance equipment, including hoses and poles, in your pool (the shallow end, if you have one). When you treat the pool with shock, this will sanitize all your equipment. You can also throw anything you think might be infected with mustard algae in the pool.

4. Vacuum The Algae OUT

Fill up your pool with fresh water to the very top. Hook up your manual vacuum cleaner (do not use an automatic vacuum for this) and turn your filter to waste, not backwash.

Mustard algae can live in your filter, so you don’t want to vacuum the algae through your system. Since you are vacuuming the water directly out of your pool, you are going to lose some water. That’s why recommend filling your pool up to the top, before you vacuum, to compensate for water loss.

Vacuum Pool Manually

How to Vacuum a Pool Manually

If you don’t own an automatic cleaner, or having water issues, you need to learn how to vacuum a pool manually with this easy-to-follow VIDEO tutorial.

Click here to learn more »

5. Get Your Water Tested

Make sure your pool water is properly balanced using test strips. Your pH levels should be between 7.4 and 7.6 and your alkalinity should be between 120 and 150 ppm (parts per million). This will allow the shock treatment to be more effective.

How to Get Rid of Mustard Algae in a Pool

Got mustard algae? Here’s a very simple tutorial that will walk you through how to remove stubborn mustard algae from your swimming pool.

Click here to learn more »

6. Brush Your Pool

Brush the algae off your pool walls and floor using a pool brush. Also, brush the entire pool. You want to break up the algae and get it in suspension so that the chlorine from the shock can attack and destroy it.

7. Triple Shock Your Pool

Just like a regular algae-killing treatment, you want to shock the heck out of it! Three pounds per 10,000 gallons of water. Make sure you shock at dusk or nighttime, and leave your filter and pump running 24 hours a day until the algae is gone.

Shocking a Swimming Pool

How to Shock a Swimming Pool

Want to learn how to shock a pool? Watch this video and follow along with these easy steps to successfully shock your swimming pool.

Click here to learn more »

8. Keep Brushing

Keep brushing your pool for the next couple of days. It’s a good idea to keep your pool properly sanitized during this time.

Keep checking your pH and alkalinity levels to make sure they stay in range. You want to keep that algae from attaching itself to anything, like the walls and floor of your pool. If the algae is in suspension, you will have an easier time killing it.

9. Make Sure It’s Safe

After a couple of days, if the algae seems to be gone, it’s safe to take any toys, floats, equipment, and bathing suits out of the pool.

I would suggest shocking your pool one more time for good measure. It doesn’t have to be a triple shock, you can just use one pound of shock per 10,000 gallons. Just make sure your filter is still running and you shock at night or dusk.

10. Check and Repeat

After you’ve done your final shock treatment, it’s time to test your water and repeat if needed.

If the water chemistry is good and the water looks clear, then you should be fine for now. If, however, the pool water isn’t chemically correct, be sure to get it back where it needs to be.

How To Prevent Yellow or Mustard Algae from Growing

Keeping your pool properly balanced and sanitized is the key to keeping all forms of algae from growing. Make sure you:

  • Keep your pH, alkalinity and sanitizer levels in the correct range at all times.
  • Run your pump and filter for 8 to 12 hours a day all season long.
  • Keep your pool clean by regularly vacuuming and brushing.
  • Shock your pool every week. One pound per 10,000 gallons.
  • Keep your additional pool equipment clean including pool toys, floats, ladders, steps, diving boards, slides, solar blankets and covers.

Happy Swimming!

This blog is straight from http://www.swimuniversity.com/  brought to you by Pools by Design

The Supreme Sales Advantage of a Family Business Is the Family Story

should i build a poolBy Daphne Mallory

Selling your products or services is the lifeblood of any business. The biggest mistake I made in the startup phase of my family business was not making the investment to get trained to sell. I hid in my home office following an online marketing plan. After failing hard, I got the message. I love selling now. I like making money. Sales is my opportunity to share solutions that will make a difference in peoples’ lives. When I solve problems, I get paid.

family business has an opportunity to employ sales strategies in a way that’s different from other entrepreneurs. The talents and skills of everyone working together as well as your family story can be your competitive advantage. Here how to sell together:

Paint a family portrait

Jane Grote Abell, chairwoman of Donato’s Pizza, started her story on an episode of Undercover Boss episode: “I think the main difference between Donato’s and other pizza companies is that we’re a family.”

She went on to tell the story of how her dad, at age 18 bought, a pizza place with $1,300.  She shared how her dad chose the name Donato’s because it means “to give a good thing.” Her grandfather wanted him to choose the name Grody. Abell explained that her dad went with his gut, and now the name Donato’s translates into how she operates all areas of the family business today.

That story has stayed with me. If I am ever in a city with Donato’s, I will buy pizza there and not from another chain.

Tell people how did you family business started. Describe for them a time when you worked alongside your family through difficult personal or business circumstances. The power of a well-told story will take you from obscurity to preeminence in your area. Prospects will remember you and forget your competition.

Sell like a politician

You routinely see the spouses of politicians at fundraisers, even though the “other half” is not running for office. Why? Many voters believe they can know and trust a candidate by getting to know their spouse. The same is true in family business, if you’re married. Your partner can make or break you.

I asked a successful family business owner about this. His business involves selling contracts internationally, so he makes trips overseas at least four months out of the year. He does not make a trip without his wife. He is convinced that she is the closer. Clients believe that he is honest because she comes across as sincere. Her official role in the family business is human resources, but she transforms into a salesperson when meeting with prospects.

Make sure that every family member who interacts with the public on behalf of your business knows how to sell through words and actions. Like any political family, you risk destroying your credibility because all eyes are watching.

Sell through service

It takes less effort and money to sell to an existing customer than it does to find new customers. Many entrepreneurs don’t land repeat business because they don’t deliver quality services. Someone drops the ball and the customer walks away with a negative experience. Your family business can stand out of from the crowd in this one area alone.

Work together as a well oiled machine and make it your mission to handle each customer as though they are a member of your family. Divide the work load among each member who is competent and willing to deliver services.

I recently experienced this at a family auto run dealership in Twin Falls, Idaho. The dad dealt with my paperwork, his son took me for a test and, when I returned, another family member parked the car. I watched him go on to clean and prep another car. The experience was endearing to me, a mom of four. It made an impact on my purchase decision. I did not go to a larger dealership located less than a mile because of it.

Doubling your sales can be simple but it does take hard work. Hone your family story, share it with everyone you come in contact with and deliver quality services together. There is strength in numbers. Don’t hide your family, leverage it in the sales process.

By Daphne Mallory

8 Ways to Embrace the Wonder of Fall

There is something about the change in the weather, the calm before the holiday chaos and the clear night skies that makes fall the perfect time to take stock of where you’ve been and what the coming months may bring. This season take pleasure in the small, simple things, like collecting acorns, pressing oak leaves and wrapping up in warm blankets to count the stars overhead. These suggestions will help you feather and enjoy your nest.
by Apartment 46 for the Home
1. Press leaves. Sitting under a big September moon in the crisp evening air, I found myself thinking about the past nine months and how thankful I was to be right there in that moment. Fall feels like a desperately needed time-out to me, and in those moments before Halloween hits my neighborhood, it’s an opportunity to celebrate the natural world and the little gifts it leaves, literally, on my doorstep.If you have kids, it’s a wonderful time of year to get them involved in decorating the house for the change of season. Have them gather up fallen leaves of different colors, shapes and sizes. Press the leaves between two sheets of paper for a few nights, and when they’re dried, attach them to card stock with double-sided tape. You can display them garland-style on a mirror or mantel by clipping them with clothespins to a length of twine, or you can get a little fancy and arrange them gallery-style in a well-used space.

Apartment 46 for the Home
2. Collect seedpods. One of the simplest and yet most gratifying things to do is to stop and marvel about what nature has to offer at this time of year. Fallen leaves start to blanket the landscape, empty nests provide a window into a bird’s world, and long, sinewy branches rattle in the breeze.Whether you live in a small studio in a big city or a rambling ranch home far away from prying eyes, small things of beauty are everywhere. Take time to collect a bowlful of unexpected seedpods or other fallen curios and display them in a place that invites others to pick them up, check them out and admire the treasures of the natural world.

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3. Find your happy place. Wind down and calm your mind by savoring the last few rays of the day. Try soaking up that sunlight splashed across your favorite chair or stand outside on the balcony to take a few deep breaths. If you haven’t yet set aside a place where you can be still for a few minutes, now’s the time. Put a chair in the bedroom corner and keep it free of clutter so you can sink in and give yourself a break before jumping into the next set of chores. Put a bench on the back porch or throw a blanket on the grass and make a point of sitting on it as day turns to dusk. I often sit on my back steps to catch the evening breeze, because when space is limited, you’ve got to make the most of what you have.
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4. Upgrade your bedding. During hot and humid times, a good night’s rest is often found under a single top sheet, but when the weather changes and the nighttime temperatures drop, adding to your bedding can significantly improve the quality and maybe even the amount of your sleep.Summer is a time for coverlets; fall calls for adding a more substantial blanket. It’s not yet time to break out the heavy comforter, but blankets are perfect for layering when the nights get a little colder. Choose a material that feels good against your skin and envelops you in comfort. If you’re soothed by scents, spritz your blankets with organic rose, geranium or lavender water (as opposed to oils, which stain fabric), before you put them in the dryer, and they’ll come out with a subtle hint of your favorite relaxing floral.

5. Turn a few pages. In every room of my house there are books, magazines and catalogs in various stages of being looked at or read, and all have at least one dog-eared page. No matter how voracious a reader you are, carving out time to read a few pages or interesting articles every couple of days can do a great deal to refocus your mind, put complex things into perspective and allow you to unplug from the world for a minute.
6. Take a long soak. One of the most basic human comforts is warmth, and a hot bath is the perfect way to make everything feel a little less overwhelming. I’ve long dreamed of having a soaking tub with a view of the night sky, but right now I have a shower-tub combo with a view of my neighbor’s two-story. If you’re in a similar situation, dim the lights or turn them off altogether in favor of candlelight to create a more Zen-like atmosphere. Put a small stool within reach so you can bring in a cup of tea or glass of wine. Add a few drops of essential oil to your soak and let go of everything on your mind, or just spend uninterrupted time thinking about what’s most important to you.
7. Create a special table setting. You don’t need to be a party planner to host a memorable evening. You probably have everything you need in your cupboards and drawers to set a warm and welcoming table.Mismatched plates with a hodgepodge of flatwaredon’t matter nearly as much as the people surrounding the table and adding their lives and laughter to the mix. Drape a table with an uncommon cover — think vintage Mexican serapes or Turkish towels. Candleholders are easy to come by, and tea lights are sold by the extra-huge bag at most discount stores. In a pinch use small juice glasses for votives and vary the height and selection for a more relaxed feeling.
Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

8. Start a fire. Fire pits come in all shapes and sizes, from built-ins to small, movable models and even non-wood designs, so there’s really something for everyone, assuming you have a safe space to have one. Keep them well away from anything flammable, and monitor them at all times. Movable fire pits can be surrounded by lounge chairs to set a campout sort of mood. Be sure to think about your neighbors and consider a smokeless variety when air quality is a concern.Roast a few marshmallows and pop them in mugs of pumpkin-spiced cocoa to underscore that fall feeling. A big basket full of throw blankets lets you stay cozy while the fire winds down. Write down some wishes on slips of paper and toss them into the embers. Let the ashes keep your hopes secure while you ponder the months to come.

Brought to you by your lake conroe pool builder, Pools By Design