The ROI for Switching to a Stackable or Combo Washer Dryer

Washer Dryer Combo in the Kitchen

Ever wonder if it’s worth it to exchange your ol’ side-by-side washer/dryer setup for a stackable or combo unit? Well, my family learned firsthand there was plenty to gain in our rental property when we swapped out our full-sized washer and dryer for a stackable washer/dryer — space!

In fact, we gained an entire kitchen wall. We reconfigured the space and added more kitchen cabinets and counter space to our 1,000-square-foot house. Here’s what we learned during the process.
[Read more...]

Replace or Reface: Do Your Kitchen Cabinets Need a Facelift?

If your cabinets have seen better days, updating them can give your kitchen a whole new look. To determine if you want to transform your cabinets with a facelift or replace them altogether, compare the advantages and disadvantages of refacing.

What is Refacing?

Refacing your kitchen cabinets entails keeping your existing cabinets and simply freshening them up. This is accomplished by removing the old fronts from the cabinets to expose the framework, which is then refaced with a veneer made from real wood, Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) or plastic laminate. New knobs, pulls, hinges and molding are installed on the cabinets at the time of refacing.
[Read more...]

20 Bathroom Storage Ideas Under $20

Bathroom Storage Ideas

Unless you live in a palace, your bathroom isn’t nearly as big as you need it to be. Sure, it serves its purpose, but even those of us who appreciate small-space living like to keep things organized!

Although square footage may be at a premium, you have lots of options to help you maximize your three-dimensional space. Here are 20 of our favorites that won’t bust your budget.
[Read more...]

FAQs: Undercounter Ice Makers vs. Portable Ice Makers

If you find yourself buying bags of ice or filing up pesky ice trays on a daily basis, you may benefit greatly by purchasing an ice maker. They’re perfect for RVs, boats, entertaining guests, small offices, and for personal use in your home. When beginning your search for the one that suits your needs, the first step is deciding whether you need an undercounter or a portable ice maker.

Here we’ve compared what differentiates the two to make your choice as simple as possible.
[Read more...]

A Valentine’s Day Love Story from LivingDirect.com

Yep, it’s that time of year again. As Cupid sharpens his arrows, don’t get left all alone… again. This year, give your love to somebody, or something, that will be completely devoted to you and your needs. Follow our lead, and love your beer.

February is American Heart Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but heart disease is preventable and controllable.  Here are some steps you can take to help prevent heart disease:

  • Eat a healthy diet – include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Adults should have at least 5 servings each day.  Eat foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol.  Limit salt or sodium in your diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease.  Your doctor can calculate your body mass index (BMI) to determine whether your weight is in a healthy range.
  • Exercise regularly – Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.  It is recommended that adults engage in moderate-intensity exercise for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week.
  • Monitor your blood pressure – High blood pressure often has no symptoms, so be sure to have it checked on a regular basis.  You can check your blood pressure at home, at a pharmacy, or at a doctor’s office.
  • Don’t smoke – Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.  If you don’t smoke, don’t start.  If you do smoke, quit as soon as possible.
  • Limit alcohol use – Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can increase your blood pressure.  Men should stick to no more than 2 drinks per day, and women to no more than 1.
  • Have your cholesterol checked – Your health care provider should test your cholesterol levels at least once every 5 years.
  • Manage your diabetes – If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely, and talk with your doctor about treatment options.
  • Take your medicine – If you’re taking medication to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

 

Go Red at home with these fun red products sure to brighten up any home!

american heart society heart health month

Heart Awareness Month

You can shop all of these and more at Living Direct.

Everyone should be able to find something in the list above that they can incorporate into their lives to keep their heart healthy.  When in doubt ask your doctor what they would recommend you do, as everyone is different.  We’d love to hear what steps you take to keep your heart healthy.  Please share below or on our Facebook page.

Also, check out our Pinterest board to shop these fun red products.

Top Slow Cooker Recipes

Who doesn’t love their slow cooker?  If you don’t have one, I would highly suggest you get one ASAP.  You can just throw all of your ingredients in, turn it on, and when you get home from work or just a day out having fun with friends or family, dinner is ready!  And as an added bonus, your home smells amazing.

The Nesco 6 qt Porcelain Roaster with Non-Stick Cookwell and Glass Lid is perfect for any size meal.  You can slow cook, cook, roast, bake and steam in this guy.

Non-Stick Cookwell Roaster

Nesco Porcelain Roaster

 

The Hamilton Beach Portable Slow Cooker is perfect for the holidays or anytime you are making something to take to a party or potluck.

 

Portable Slow Cooker

Portable Slow Cooker 

 

I’d like to share with you some of my favorite slow cooker recipes.

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes

1 can (10 oz) enchilada sauce

1 medium onion, chopped

1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles

1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth

1 can (15 oz) whole kernel corn

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tb dried cilantro

2 cups water

1 Tsp cumin

½ Tsp chili powder

1 Tsp salt

¼ Tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

Dump all ingredients into the crock pot and cook on high 4-5 hours.  Remove bay leaf and discard.  Lift out the chicken pieces and shred.  Put shredded chicken back into soup.  Serve with tortilla chips and grated cheese, or your own favorite toppings!

 

One Pot Bean Dinner

1 lb ground beef

12 oz package of bacon, fried and chopped

1 chopped onion

2 cans pork & beans

1 can kidney beans

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 Tb white vinegar

1 Tsp salt

Dash of pepper

 

Brown beef in skillet and drain fat.  Put in crockpot.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Stir together well.  Cover and cook on low in crockpot for 4 hours, or high for a shorter time.

 

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 (16.5 oz) can crushed pineapple

1 (16.5 oz) bottle archer farms Hawaiian style barbeque sauce (found at Target)

 

Place breasts in crock pot, pour pineapple on top of chicken and then pour sauce over all.  Cook on low for 6 hours.

 

Mexican Crock Pot Tacos

2 frozen chicken breasts

2 cans black beans, rinsed

2 bottles salsa

 

Throw above ingredients in a crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours.  Shred chicken and stir together.  Serve in hard or soft shells with taco toppings (lettuce, sour cream, etc).

 

Chicken with Black Beans and Cream Cheese

4-5 boneless chicken breasts

1 (15.5 oz) can black beans

1 (15 oz) can corn

1 (15 oz) jar salsa, any kind

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese

 

Well, writing this made me hungry.  Good thing it’s almost lunchtime.

I hope you’ll give these recipes a try.  And if you do, please let me know what you think!  I’d also love it if you’d share your favorite crock pot recipes.  Just leave a comment below!

 

 

Introducing SMEG Retro Refrigerators

blue smeg retro refrigerator red smeg retro refrigerator pink smeg retro refrigerator

A recent addition to our line of kitchen appliances is SMEG, an Italian manufacturer that has been in the household appliance business since 1948. The brand is best known for their line of retro style refrigerators which we currently have available in ten eye popping colors (pictured are:  pastel blue, red, and pink).  Here at Living Direct, we are always looking for products that offer the maximum functionality for smaller spaces. SMEG retro refrigerators fit the ticket offering adjustable shelving, a wire bottle rack, a smaller energy footprint than regular sized refrigerators, and a clean minimalist design that works great in smaller apartments or homes.  Truly a statement piece, SMEG refrigerators are sure to liven up your kitchen by adding some retro pizazz with a burst of color.

Summer Cool Down Giveaway

Summer Cool Down Giveaway

This summer we are excited to be giving away a prize package of items to help fight off the summer heat. Unlike our other giveaways though, this one isn’t as simple as just entering your name to win. We’re asking entrants to write a blog post about why they want the products and how they will use them. The winner will be voted upon by the readers leaving comments on their favorite posts.

Here’s how the giveaway works:

June 27, 2012 – July 11, 2012 – Entry Period

During this time, entries are being accepted! Write your blog post and send it in to us. Don’t just write a single word or sentence. A blog post needs to be at least a few paragraphs and the more detailed you are, the more likely you will probably be picked as a finalist.

July 11, 2012 – July 17, 2012 – Choosing the Finalists

The entry form is going to disappear on July 11 and we’re going to start going through all of the entries to narrow them down to our favorites. Out of our favorites, no more than10 entries will be chose as our Finalists. All Finalists will be notified of their qualifying by July 17.

July 18, 2012 – July 31, 2012 – Voting Period

The Finalists will have their blog posts posted to our site along with a Facebook comment box for people to use to vote for their favorite post. Finalists are encouraged to share their post wherever they can to try to get as many votes as possible! Whichever post has the most comments by midnight on July 31, will be the official Grand Prize Winner! The post with the second most comments will be the First Runner Up.

The First Runner Up will win their very own Koldfront PAC701W portable air conditioner. The Grand Prize Winner will also get a Koldfront portable air conditioner (but the AP12000S model), a Koldfront portable ice maker, a Wagan travel cooler and a Little Snowie snow cone maker!

So hurry on over to our Summer Cool Down Giveaway and send us your blog post entry. Only one week left to enter!

Great Products for Outdoor Summer Fun

This time of year here in Austin, and I’m sure across the country, most people want to be outside – in the evening anyways. The heat can get pretty unbearable during the day in many places, but it’s the perfect time to throw an evening cook out. Families and friends can gather outside for barbeques and other outdoor fun. That’s why I’ve put together a list of products to help your outdoor get-together go off without a hitch!

1. Patio Sets

Royal Teak 5 Piece Patio Set

Everyone will enjoy hanging out and chatting with each other in your beautiful patio set. The Royal Teak Collection 5 piece patio set encourages your guests to take a seat and stay for a while.

2. Grills

Bayou Classic Grill

Your hungry friends and family will love you for cooking them up a tasty meal in this Bayou Classic smoker grill.

3. Frozen Drink Maker

Margaritaville Frozen Concoction Maker

Long, hot summer days will have you looking for relief. Cool off with a fun and delicious frozen drink! With this Margaritaville frozen concoction maker you can make an assortment of refreshing, cold drinks.

 4. Outdoor Lighting

Real Flame Fire Column

Your party can go late into the night with the right lighting.  Lighting can create such a welcoming and beautiful environment.  This Real Flame Modesto fire column is sure to give your backyard a touch of flare!

5. Outdoor Electronics

Sunbrite Outdoor TV

What better way to entertain your guests than with an outdoor television!  You can enjoy being outdoors while still watching your favorite sports or TV shows.  This SunBrite 32″ all-weather outdoor LCD TV is a durable high definition television with aluminum casing designed for outside use.

 

Whether you’re hanging out with your family or entertaining friends, these items are sure to be winners.  Make your outdoor space into the welcoming oasis you’ve always wanted it to be.  And be sure to invite me over once you do!