My Instant Rice Almost Burned My Apartment

Having a job near my apartment is wonderful. I reside in Huntington Beach, California, and work in Santa Ana. I used to make the dreadful commute to Los Angeles, and it would take me over an hour each way. I now only have a 20 minute commute! Luckily, I’m from the Los Angeles area and had my parents’ place to stay at, so I didn’t have to drive every day. My high school friends also live in that area, and we still remain very close. They always come to visit me at the beach, and I figure I can at least visit them every once in a while too. The drive there is even more dreadful than I remember now. I honestly don’t know how I put up with the slow-moving traffic in LA and not to mention the low pay.

It was a Friday night, and one of my friends was having a party with beer pong and other drinking games. Honestly, I was hesitant on going because I was getting low on gas and worried I didn’t have enough money to fill my tank, but for some reason, I decided to go riceanyway. I had a great time owning the beer pong table, and ended up spending the night at my parent’s house because I was too tired to make the long drive back to Huntington. When I woke up, I immediately left to get back to my apartment even though I was super hungry. I had a few groceries in my pantry, and the easiest thing to cook was my instant brown rice. I placed it in a pot of water, turned on the stove, and walked away as it started to boil.

I had an appointment at the salon within the next two hours, and I needed to go to the bank to withdraw some cash for a tip. When I looked inside my purse, I realized I left my debit card in my friend’s clutch the night before. I figured I had enough time to go back to LA and then come back before my appointment. So without thinking, I got into my car and left. I was feeling a lot of emotions at once. I was frustrated, tired, annoyed, and hungry. I cancelled my haircut and just went back to my parent’s house after picking up my debit card. The smarter thing to do was to cancel my card, and go to the bank to get a new one instead of wasting even more of my gas. I instantly fell asleep and did not wake up for another four hours. When I looked at my phone to check the time, I had 10 missed calls and five text messages. I’m pretty popular, but I know I’m not that popular, so who on earth could this be? One of my text messages was from my roommate and it read, “Where are you?!?! Did you leave the stove on? I’m freaking out! There’s smoke everywhere!!!” I assumed our apartment had gone up in flames like Miley Cyrus’ tour bus.

I immediately called her. I can’t believe I almost started a fire with my rice. I have to admit that this was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me. When my roommate came home, she could hear the fire alarm. Our apartment was filled with smoke and probably would have caught on fire if she had not gotten there on time. After I got off the phone with her, I immediately drove back to my apartment AGAIN. When I walked in, I found my roommate on the couch and smelled the scent of an extremely burnt pot. My pot of rice was completely black, crusted in ash. All the windows and doors were wide open to let the stench out, but I knew a solution to make the process quicker – an air purifier.

fire extinguisher and smoke alarmIncidents like these can happen anytime, which is why it’s very important to own an air purifier to get rid of the harmful pollutants that may be trapped in your home. Inhaling smoke is the leading cause of death in fires. It is a mixture of particles and chemicals produced by incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials, specifically creating carbon-monoxide. Carbon monoxide decreases the body’s oxygen supply which can cause respiratory irritation, shortness of breath, and heart and lung disease. Being exposed to low or high levels of smoke, even for a small amount of time, can cause other numerous health problems including burning eyes, runny nose, and an irritation to the throat. The finer smoke particles can change the function of your lungs, making it difficult to breathe.

With a Luma Comfort air purifier, health risks can be avoided by removing such harmful pollutants, even ones that are undetectable to the naked eye. A HEPA filter will be able to get rid of the smoke and odor in my apartment, so I can have peace of mind and feel comfortable living there again. Even without the smoke in my apartment, our bodies are exposed to toxins every day that can lead to serious diseases. Cleaning the air of your home will permit easier breathing and healthier living, and an air purifier is a great investment to benefit our future lives.

Design Milk is the Heaven of Home Décor

When checking out a new home, you try to imagine what it will look like once you’ve finally moved in. You try to picture yourself living there. You want it safe if you have kids, you want a backyard if you have a pet, or you want a huge kitchen if you cook. You also look at how your beautiful furniture and decor will fit in. But first, you must finish the essentials before settling into a new home.

My daughter and her family just purchased their first home in Los Angeles, California. It’s in part of the city that allows for an easy drive into downtown, where they work and shop. The house itself isn’t easy on the eyes as its older, but with a little love and care it will be her most prized possession. They have a few months before they officially move-in, and that’s plenty of time to get the home ready to comfortably live in. Of course, my husband and I helped them out for a weekend, and we spent time cleaning, painting, and unpacking the essentials at their new home. I encouraged her to create a “To-Do List” and she found it really helpful to make sure everything gets done before the big move. It’s important to only start working on the interior rather than exterior because that can always wait. Move-in day is quite tiring and you’ll be unpacking for days, but here is a list of important “to-do” items for every new homeowner. Please feel free to add on any others that come to mind:

Residential Home

1. Change the Locks

The realtor or the previous owners may still have the keys. You’ll sleep like a baby knowing that no one is able to get into your home except for you. Setting up an alarm system isn’t a bad idea either however at the beginning you will have so many other expenses, so this is definitely something to consider once you have settled in.

2. Exterminate Pests

You can never be too careful. When you move into your new home, you spend several hours on your hands and knees cleaning floors, so why not do a proper job and get rid of those pests once and for all.

3. Check Plumbing

Even if the realtor stated the plumbing is fine, get it checked anyway. Hopefully you won’t have to pay an excruciating amount of money for fixes.

4. Clean, Clean, Clean

The house may have been cleaned before the keys are handed to you, but it’s better to do it yourself. To save time, hire a service that can deep scrub EVERYTHING…specifically the bathtub.

5. Install a New Toilet

I’m a germ freak. Install a new toilet because who knows how much bacteria is on that thing when you move in.

6. Find the Circuit Breaker

Label it, so you don’t kill yourself or someone else.

7. Install New Switch Plates

It will make the home feel newer with clean outlets or cover plates

8. Check the Smoking Detectors

Make sure they work. Test it by placing a lit candle near it.

9. Paint the Walls and Ceilings

Hopefully you have time to give the color of your walls a deep thought. If not, you can always paint them a neutral color like white or beige.

10. Get Rid of Peeping Toms

Cover windows with blinds, curtain, drapes, or shutters. Prevent nosy neighbors from looking in, so you can have some privacy.

11. Hook up the Internet

You’ll be making new memories at your new place, and letting your friends and family in on your new journey will be comforting. Once you have your internet installed, post some pictures! Remember to put a password on your wireless internet. It’s bad enough having nosy neighbors without them stealing your internet also.

12. Clean the Air

Clean your heating and cooling systems. Purchase an air purifier and humidifier for a healthier living lifestyle. Jaime Derringer, Founder and Executive Editor of Design Milk, says, “I think that it’s a challenge to work around any free-standing appliance or small tabletop appliance. It’s much easier when the appliance is hidden, good-looking or well-integrated.” Luckily for all you new homeowners, Luma Comfort is a handsome hunk. Say goodbye to ugly products! Our air purifiers and humidifiers will fit into your home décor without a hitch.

Jaime currently owns a humidifier that she consistently uses during the winter in her Southern California home. Without that moisture in the air, she would be drying up like a raisin. She recommends placing a humidifier in your bedroom and an air purifier in family rooms.

13. Furnish

imgresFurnishing your space can be expensive, so it’s important to have the basics – a table, sofa, bed, and chair. Moving around furniture can always make a huge difference on how you feel about your place. Even placing things on the wall, like art and photographs, is a quick way to make you feel at home. As you save more money for furniture, you can keep in mind how you want the personality of your home to show. That’s when Jaime and Design Milk come in to save the day again!

Design Milk is the definition of eye candy. It’s an online magazine dedicated to bringing you the best in modern art, architecture, interior design, furniture, décor, fashion, and technology. You’ll find designs from the around the world to bring into your own home. Before creating the site, Jaime was a frequent wanderer in furniture stores as she has always had a creative mind for design. Her inspiration comes from nature, as well as the contributions of artists and designers to her site. She has thus become an expert in home décor, design, furniture, technology, and architecture. Her signature brand and style have become recognizable among the most popular design channels to date! They’ve been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Time Out New York, The San Francisco Chronicle, was one of the Google Reader Engineers’ Staff Picks and has been noted on Twitter’s “Who to Follow” list of influencers in Art and Design. Great stuff!

I ALWAYS find gorgeous products every time I visit Design Milk. It is the heaven of home décor. Jaime also loves using Pinterest and recommends it for your own inspiration because you can find amazing items and ideas there too (Want to be a trendsetter? She’s predicting patterns will be “in” very soon!). The best advice she has ever received is, “Go with your gut. Buy and do what you love.” We are happy to pass this advice along to our readers as they purchase products from contributors of Design Milk. We hope that you live comfortably and in style at your new home.

Dehumidifying the Bathroom Because of Our Dog

My really good friend, Alanna, recently broke up with her boyfriend. It was one of those relationships where they spent way too much time together and every little thing became an argument. However, it was still tough for her to get over their breakup. They were dating for three years, so for her to become totally independent wasn’t easy. You know the ancient saying “To get over a boy, you need a new one”? Well in her case, to get over her boyfriend, she bought a puppy. Alanna found him on Craigslist for a mere price of $300 and brought him home from the mall. He is a mutt with a mix of a Maltese and a Shih Tzu. At least, that’s what we think he is. His coat is black with a white spot on his chin and stomach, in a way he’s quite similar to a penguin. Alanna named him Taco, and thus began a loving, loyal friendship.

dog

During Taco’s first few weeks of living with us, Alanna trained him to sit, lay, and learn the meaning of the word “no”. The word “no” was regularly being used by Alanna and myself, and it became irritating. Taco misbehaved constantly by biting our skin, jumping on our faces while we were laying down, chewing on shoes, and biting pant-legs. He specifically loved the pant-legs and shoes while we were walking. He’s lucky we never accidently stepped on him. Even though he had just eaten, he would bother Alanna and me as we ate. He also had a horrible habit of stealing our socks from our bedroom floor to add to his collection of toys. He barked loudly and continuously, especially when Alanna left the apartment. Taco had some sort of separation anxiety that reminded me quite a lot of Alanna’s old boyfriend. I remember thinking Taco would never make it out on the streets alone nor be domestically independent. But now he is about six months old, and it amazes me how smart he has become. He was really stupid two months ago. The barking has stopped, he’s a lot calmer, and bites less. He just nibbles these days. The only dreadful thing he still does though is go through the bathroom trash can. He knocks it down, picks out his favorite items, and brings them, along with their germs, into the living room. Gross, I know.

We made the decision to have the bathroom door closed at all times to prevent Taco from going through the trash. Every time we had to use the bathroom or take a shower, we made sure to close the door behind us. However, this led to a different problem. Bathrooms collect a ton of moisture from tubs, showers, and lack of ventilation. Alanna and I take very warm and hot showers, so the room fills up with steam quickly. The walls and ceiling are wet, dripping with water to the floor, and the mirror is foggy. With so much moisture being trapped inside the bathroom after our showers, the bathroom ceiling, wall cracks, and shower curtain started to grow an ample amount of mold.

shower

My first thought to reduce the amount of mold was to buy a shelf. It would be high enough to place our trash can on, and Taco wouldn’t be able to get to it. We would then be able to leave the bathroom door open. I knew it would somewhat help, but it would not be enough. I started researching ways to get rid of bathroom mold, and one of the options was using a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers reduce the amount of moisture in the air that can lead to mold and mildew. Not only is it bad for your health, but also for your home structure. Floors will creak, furnishings will damage, and musty odors will come arise. After one of our showers, the bathroom has excessive moisture. A dehumidifier sucks in moisture from the air, moves it over cold ice tubes to drip into a bucket, and pushes dry air out. The dry air will mix with the moist air making it drier and drier. We live in Southern California, so the general air in our apartment is already dry. However, homes suffering with high humidity levels can find relief in dehumidifiers instead of living uncomfortably.

I found that there are five items to consider when purchasing a dehumidifier:

  • Why do I need one? Because my bathroom smells and the ceiling is starting to grow moldy friends.
  • What size is the space I need to dehumidify? 50-100 sq ft.
  • What is the humidity level? Humidity of 50%+
  • How will I have to maintain it? Does it include a washable and removable tank? How will I have to drain the water?
  • Do I require any special features? Portability, automatic shut-off, size of water storage tank, price, and brand.

Our bathroom is very small so a mini, portable dehumidifier would work best. Other dehumidifiers would simply not fit into our bathroom. Small dehumidifiers are less expensive to purchase, but still get the job done of pushing out the growth of pests. Dehumidifiers can also be wireless so they don’t need run on power, which is great in case we accidentally leave it running. We hope to be mold free by the summer!