Clean This One Overlooked Area to "Make Your Home and Mind Feel Lighter"
Clean your house and your mind.
Take 1: If you're in full-blown fall-cleaning mode…
Apartment Therapy suggests cleaning your art supply or crafts area in order to "make your home and mind feel lighter." These areas of your home tend to accumulate the most clutter, and they are often strewn with unfinished projects (which are a feng shui no-no).
Take 2: If you're sick of finding your news through Facebook…
We hear you, and we've found a solution in Flipboard. The site basically aggregates the best articles on the internet and turns them into a "personal magazine" of all your interests. Create your own account, and enjoy web browsing sans political commentary from your high school graduating class.
Take 3: If you're looking to refresh your home for fall…
We're loving Paddywax's newest line of earth-inspired, matte-speckled ceramic candles. Dubbed the "Mesa" collection, each votive and dust cover doubles as a stackable cream and sugar pottery set once the candle is finished burning. Snag a set for $32.
Take 4: If Amber Lewis is one of your favorite interior designers…
Then you'll be pleased to hear that she's curated a limited-edition collection with Saatchi Art. Brimming with bohemian-inspired prints that you'd find in any one of Amber's stunning projects, you can decorate like the acclaimed designer at a fraction of the price.
Take 5: If you're more than ready for the turn of the season…
We assume you're beyond excited for the stunning fall foliage that's about to sweep our nation. To plan the ultimate fall foliage excursion, check out Apartment Therapy's interactive map to see when the colors will peak in your city.
Your afternoon pick-me-up:
Following Starbucks's and Le Pain Quotidien's lead, Pret a Manger is now on the turmeric latte train. The chain's brand-new drink is described as "a warm and earthy balance of organic almond milk, turmeric, and spices." Happy sipping!
How to stay toasty this winter: Expert reveals 10 simple hacks to keep your house warm (and save you money)
Heat your home and save money this winter.
Heating homes accounts for over 70 per cent of household energy consumption.
So reducing this figure – while keeping homes warm enough – not only cuts energy bills, but helps meet the carbon reduction commitments that governments strive to achieve.
So here are 10 simple tips for keeping your home warm for little or no extra cost – just in time for that severe weather warning.
1. USE YOUR CURTAINS
Heat from the sun is free so make the most of it.
Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day to make use of this free heat.
When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms.
You should also make sure you don't have any leaks or gaps so that the warm air can stay in and the cold air stays out – this also helps to reduce condensation.
2. USE TIMERS ON YOUR CENTRAL HEATING
The Centre for Sustainable Energy advises that programming your boiler to turn the heating on a little earlier – such as 30 minutes before you get up in the morning – but at a lower temperature is cheaper than turning it on just as you need it at a higher temperature.
This is because a boiler heats up at a constant speed whether you set your thermostat to 20°C (68°F) or 30°C (86°F).
But don't make the mistake of leaving your heating on low all day – because then you're just paying for heat when you don't need it.
3. MOVE YOUR SOFA
It might feel great to have your favourite seat in front of the radiator, but it's absorbing heat that could be warming your home.
By moving it away from the radiator, hot air can circulate freely.
The same goes for your curtains or drying clothes – keep them away from the radiator so that you can get the most out of your heat source.
4. MAXIMISE YOUR INSULATION
When it comes to heat, around 25 per cent is lost through the roof.
This can be easily reduced by installing 25cm of insulation throughout your loft.
It's also worth seeing what's going on in your walls, as around a third of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost this way.
Although it's not as cheap to install as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation could save up to £160 ($198) a year in heating bills.
It's also worth checking with your energy supplier to see if they have any insulation schemes running – which can sometimes mean cheap or free installation.
5. WRAP UP WARM
If you have a hot water tank, make sure it is properly lagged – or insulated.
This will keep the water warmer for longer, and reduce heating costs.
The Energy Community reckons that insulating an uninsulated water tank could save up to £150 ($185) a year – but even just upgrading your tank's 'old jacket' will help to save money.
6. TURN DOWN THE DIAL
This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but bear with me.
The World Health Organisation previously recommended a minimum temperature of 21°C (70°F) in the living room, but Public Health England revised this to 18°C (61°F) in 2014.
And research shows that turning your thermostat down by 1°C (34°F) could cut your heating bill by up to 10 per cent.
So keep the dial at 18°C (61°F), save money and avoid the negative impacts of a cold home.
7. BLOCK OUT THE DRAUGHTS
Even a simple solution such as a making your own sausage dog draught excluder will help keep the warmth in your home.
The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save £25 ($31) per year.
You can do this yourself for very little cost.
Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install.
So it's worth getting those doors and windows sealed before winter properly kicks in.
8. INSTALL THERMOSTATIC RADIATOR VALVES
Research at the University of Salford has shown that installing heating controls and theromostatic radiator valves results in energy savings of 40 per cent compared to a house with no controls.
These work by allowing you to programme your heating to come on at predefined times – so you only use energy when you need it.
New smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely via your mobile so you can turn on your heating on the way home, ensuring it's nice and toasty when you arrive.
9. UPGRADE YOUR BOILER
If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a new, more efficient model.
Depending on your old boiler type and house, you could save up to £350 ($433) with a new A-rated condensing boiler – which uses less energy to produce the same amount of heat.
Plus, if it's new, you're less likely to have any issues going into the winter season.
10. REFLECT THE HEAT
Radiator panels are relatively cheap, easy to install, and ensure that heat from your radiators warms up your room and not your walls.
They work by reflecting the heat back into the room.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3920256/How-stay-toasty-winter-Expert-reveals-10-simple-hacks-house-warm-save-money.html#ixzz4uNbpj6Zi
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The Most Common Causes of House Fires
Winter house fire
A house can easily catch fire from the misuse of appliances and heating equipment to smoking in bedrooms. In Australia’s hot summer months, temperatures can soar past 40°C and teamed with a dry climate, conditions are ideal for fires to break out.
However you can take measures to avoid fire in home and ensure the safety of your family. Below are some of the most common causes of house fires, and some tips to take precautions.
1. Cooking Equipment
Pots and pans can overheat and cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and leaves cooking unattended. Always stay in the room, or ask someone to watch your food, when cooking on hotplates.
Keep portable heaters at least one metre away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even yourself. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.
3. Smoking in bedrooms
Bedrooms are best to be kept off limits for smoking. A cigarette that is not put out properly can cause a flame, as the butt may stay alit for a few hours. It could burst into flames if it came into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture. Did you know that fires started in the bedroom or lounge make up 73% of all house fire fatalities?¹
4. Electrical Equipment
An electrical appliance, such as a toaster can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. A power point extension cord can also be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Double check the appliances and power points in your home.
Candles look and smell pretty, but if left unattended they can cause a room to easily burst into flames. Keep candles away from any obviously flammable items such as books and tissue boxes. Always blow a candle out before leaving a room. Did you know that in Perth last year 34 house fires started as a result of candles?²
6. Curious Children
Kids can cause a fire out of curiosity, to see what would happen if they set fire to an object. Keep any matches or lighters out of reach of children, to avoid any curiosity turned disaster. Install a smoke alarm in your child’s room and practice a home escape plan with your children and family in case there was a fire. Teach kids understand the “stop, drop, cover and roll” drill as well as knowing their address if they needed to call 000.
7. Faulty Wiring
Homes with inadequate wiring can cause fires from electrical hazards. Some signs to see if you’ve bad wiring are: 1) Lights dim if you use another appliance; 2) For an appliance to work, you have to disconnect another; 3) Fuses blow or trip the circuit frequently. Have a licenced electrician come and inspect you house, or contact your landlord if you have any of the above occurrences.
Barbeques are great for an outdoor meal, but should always be used away from the home, tablecloths or any plants and tree branches. Keep BBQs regularly maintained and cleaned with soapy water and clean any removable parts. Check the gas bottle for any leaks before you use it each time.
9. Flammable Liquids
If you have any flammable liquids in the home or garage such as petrol, kerosene or methylated spirits, keep them away from heat sources and check the label before storing. Be careful when pouring these liquids.
Lamp shades and light fittings can build up heat if they are very close to light globes. Check around the house to make sure. Lamp bases can become a hazard if they are able to be knocked over easily, and so should be removed if they are. Check that down lights are insulated from wood panelling or ceiling timbers.
The above tips are a good guide to avoiding a fire in your home. However it’s a good idea to protect yourself with adequate home and content insurance, cover to ensure you are covered in the unlikely event a fire were to happen.
7 Steps to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter
Tips to prepare your pipes for winter.
Simple Steps to Prepare Your Plumbing for Winter
Have you prepared your plumbing for winter? Damage caused from burst pipes can cost you thousands, of dollars. Not all damage is covered by homeowner’s insurance. We want to make sure you know some simple steps to get you prepared. Follow these 7 simple steps to get off to a great start. Find yourself in a bind? Brogdon Plumbing is here to help! Give us a call.
- Prepare your outdoor faucets. Remove and drain your water hoses and store them indoors before the first freeze.
- Fix leaks now. Inspect your pipes and have any/all leaks repaired.
- Wrap any pipes in unheated areas of the home. This is crucial, for mobile homes. Visit the hardware store and grab some heat tape and/or pipe insulation. There are also easy to install kits, that include a thermostat. These kits can help you in the event of frigid temps for long periods. Don’t hesitate to ask an employee for recommendations. Protecting the pipes in your home, from low temperatures is THE single most important thing that you can do.
- Tune up your water heater. You will want to drain and maintain your water heater at this time every year. It’s a little harder to do yourself but we are glad to help! Just give us a call.
- Service your furnace. Make sure you have clean filters and call a professional to help with major repairs. Heat means pipes could freeze. If they do, call us!
- Selling your home or heading south for winter? Shut off the water, in your home, completely and consider contacting us to drain your pipes. Any water left in your pipes is at risk of freezing and causing pipes to bust. If nobody is home, the damage can be widespread and severe. Don’t take chances.
- Call Brogdon plumbing! If you have questions or concerns, contact us for help. We will gladly help with your winter pipe preparations!
What else can you do to prepare your plumbing for winter? Share your personal tips/tricks with us.
4 Reasons to Keep Your Ductwork Clean
Keep Your Ductwork Clean
The air quality in your home is important. Keeping dust, pollen, pet dander, and other irritants out of the air you breathe involves more than changing the air filter. What about the air ducts? Contaminants collect in the duct system too, and regular cleaning of the air channel is important.
Dirty HVAC systems consume more energy than clean ones. Older ductwork starts leaking and not only do irritants enter through cracks, but air escapes too. Dirty ductwork also impedes airflow that drives up energy bills as much as 20 percent. Plus, dirt stresses your system causing frequent breakdowns. Clean ductwork helps lower your utility bill and helps your HVAC unit last longer.
If someone in your home smokes that cigarette or cigar order hangs not only in the air but in the ductwork. Likewise, if you burned something on the stove, the smoke must go somewhere. These smells and other household odors collect in the ductwork and get circulated five to seven times per day, on average. Odors continue to plague your home long after you remove the offensive item.
Mold and mildew grow in your duct system especially if your home suffered recent water damage from flooding or foundation cracks. Home renovations and repair often lead to contaminants settling in your air system, and newly built homes need the air ducts cleaned before occupancy.
Call the Professional
Air duct cleaning is not an easy job. It needs special vacuum hoses and tools to reach throughout the system. This is not a do-it-yourself task. Contact your local HVAC company and schedule a professional cleaning. Have your system cleaned every three to five years and more often if your family suffers from severe allergies or asthma, includes a smoker, or you have pets that shed a lot.
Make sure you contact a certified HVAC technician for ductwork cleaning. Another helpful idea is to buy a high-quality air filter like the ones sold at home improvement stores. Look for pleated filters costing around $15. Not only do these last a little longer, these filters also catch more debris, including bacteria and viruses, before you breathe it in.
25 Housecleaning Tips to Keep Your Home in Tip-Top Shape Year Round
Spring cleaning isn't just for the spring.
If you lead a busy lifestyle, you know the drill. You start off the week with a mostly clean and tidy house (depending on how many chores you achieved over the weekend). By midweek, though, you realize that you haven’t put away your dry-cleaning and haven’t folded your laundry. There’s a growing stack of mail in the hallway, a used gym bag by the door, a pile of fresh laundry on the bed, dirty dishes in the sink (and clean ones in the dishwasher that didn’t just finish its cycle). To top it off, your vanity looks as if a bomb went off in the beauty aisle at Saks. By Friday, the house is a full-blown disaster zone—that is, until you rest from your week, and tackle the massive (and much-needed) tidying up job. Then, the cycle starts all over again. Do yourself a favor, and adopt these clever daily housecleaning tips so you never have to spend precious weekend hours tidying up. We promise it’s quicker than you think.
Keep scrolling to study up on the housecleaning tips that will transform the state of your home.
In the morning:
- Make the bed as soon as you get up. Making the bed first thing in the morning will kick-start your productivity levels and make it that much harder to crawl back into bed.
- Wipe your bedside table each morning. Keep wipes near your bedside table, and give your bedside table a quick wipe when picking up your phone in the morning. That’s one less chore to tackle on the weekend.
- Edit your closet as you go. Keep a hamper or bag in your closet where you can throw items of clothing that don’t work anymore as you’re getting ready in the morning. Sort through it once a month, and toss, donate, or sell.
- Immediately rehang items you wore. Don’t just throw clothes on a chair if they can be worn once more before laundry day—hang them. Keep dry clean–ready items in a separate section of your closet.
- Have a dedicated hamper for every person in your home. One hamper is not enough. Have a laundry basket for each person in your house, plus an extra one for linens. If you’re feeling extra organized, use hampers that have two baskets in each so you can separate whites in advance.
- Start a wash cycle as soon as you get home. If you have enough laundry, start a wash cycle first thing in the evening so you have time to dry and fold. Don’t ever let unfolded laundry make it into your bedroom. Keep a folding area near your washer/dryer, and be ruthless about folding/ironing as soon as the drying cycle is done.
In the morning:
- Spray your shower with cleaner after each shower. Give your shower a quick clean daily by spraying it with cleaner, quickly wiping surfaces, and letting it rinse out.
- Hang towels on bars and robes on hooks. Your towels need to properly air-dry in order to be able to reuse them two to three times. Make sure they are properly hung to dry. If you’re a bathrobe person, a dedicated hook for it in the bathroom will make your space feel a little more like a hotel room.
- Keep a laundry hamper in your bathroom for towels. Your bathroom is not a hotel; don’t leave towels on the floor or in the tub. If they’ve gone past their three-day use, quickly throw them in the hamper.
- Clear your countertops of clutter. We get it, mornings get busy. Make a point at night to clear out and put away every product that was used to get ready in the morning.
- Clean your toilet during your nighttime routine. The time you need to brush your teeth and wash your face is probably the exact time you need to let an average toilet cleaner product work before giving it a quick scrub. Use a wipe to quickly clean the seat. Doing this every other day will keep your toilet neat in between deep cleans.
- Wipe down countertop after getting ready for bedtime. Once yournighttime beauty routine is done, give your bathroom countertops a quick wipe. Keep a stash of cleaning products in your vanity to make this process seamless.
In the morning:
- Empty the dishwasher while you brew your coffee. It should be ready for your breakfast dishes so they don’t pile up in the sink and sit there all day.
- When you notice a spill, clean it right away. It’s easier to notice tiny spills in broad daylight, so inspect your countertops and floors in the morning. While it’s easy to tell yourself oh, I’ll just take care of that when I clean this weekend, getting it done will get you into the habit of cleaning as you go.
- Swap out your dish towel. It turns out that dish towels should be changed more often than we think, so get into the habit of swapping them out in the morning and tossing the old ones into the laundry basket.
- Clean as you cook. There are two types of cooks in this world: Those who clean as they cook and those who don’t. Learn to be the former by starting with your prep work and cleaning that before you start cooking. Once your meal is ready, quickly rinse utensils before sitting down to eat. It will make it much easier to clean up after a meal.
- Fill and start the dishwasher at night. Don’t leave it until the morning, no matter how tempting it is to go lie down in front of Game of Thrones.Do it during commercials if you must, but get it done.
- Wipe countertops and cooking surfaces. Wipe down your counters and stove each night before you go to bed. Get into the habit of wiping the microwave after each use. You’ll love waking up to a spotless kitchen.
In the morning:
- Keep baskets in every room. Once a day, do a quick walk-through of each space. Fill up your basket with accumulated clutter, and leave it by the door. Put each item back in its place first thing when you get home.
- Wipe down your coffee table and side tables during commercial breaks. While watching your favorite show, there’s bound to be a moment when you have to endure the inevitable commercial break. Take the time to quickly wipe down your living room tables.
- Fluff your pillows after each use. Get into the habit of fluffing your pillows when you turn the TV off. You wouldn’t leave your TV on all night, so why would you leave your pillows deflated?
In the morning:
- Keep your bag, keys, and coat in the same spot. Make it easy to get out the door in the morning by having everything you need to organize in the same spot.
- Take out the trash and recycling when you leave the house. You can alternate days between the two, but getting into this habit will prevent from having garbage pile up at home.
- Keep a mail sorter in the entryway. Drop your mail in when you get in your house, and empty your tray once a week when paying bills. Unless you’re waiting for something urgent, most mail can wait a few days. That way you’ll keep everything in one spot and address it in bulk. Store paperwork immediately—or even better: Go paperless, and scan everything.
- Immediately launder and store workout gear. Don’t leave your gym bag to linger. Sort the dirty clothes, and store away the rest.
Put A Freeze on Winter Fires
Put a freeze on winter fires.
Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months.
NFPA and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) are teaming up to help reduce your risk to winter fires and other hazards, including carbon monoxide and electrical fires. Learn more about these specific elements of winter fire safety to help keep you safe this winter.
Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%).
Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon Monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties.
Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.
Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards.
According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools.
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top four days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2009 and 2013, an average of 25 home candle fires were reported each day.
Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.
Christmas tree disposal
Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasing flammable as they continue to dry out in your home. Nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they’re much more likely to be serious.
MOLD: Do vs. Don't
If you see visible mold, do not disturb it. You can inadvertently spread the mold infestation throughout your home. When mold is disturbed, the mold can release microscopic mold spores which become airborne and can circulate inside your home.
What to Do:
- DO stay out of affected areas.
- DO turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- DO contact SERVPRO of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Do NOT touch or disturb the mold.
- Do NOT blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Do NOT attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Do NOT spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
We are prepared to help you face this issue when it arises. Our team is prepared to deal with microbial growth and will help you take care of this issue quickly. If you have any questions about microbial growth or have any concerns about your home or business, let SERVPRO of McMinn, Monroe, and Polk Counties put your mind at ease. Call us today at (423) 745-4165 for any mold or mildew issues you are dealing with in your home or business!
Source: SERVPRO of Jackson
National Preparedness Month
American Red Cross
Create a Family Game Plan
In an emergency, every second counts- that’s why it’s crucial to have a game plan, and why this year’s National Preparedness Month theme is “Don’t Wait Communicate.”
This September, as part of National Preparedness Month, the Red Cross encourages all Americans to develop a family game plan. Get started using the steps below!
Check with your local chapter for trainings and events in your community.
Steps to Create a Family Game Plan
Make a Plan
Get a Kit
How Red Cross Supports National Preparedness Month
Different types of disasters and emergencies happen in communities across the country, but there are key steps that every household can take to be better prepared for them. If you do nothing else this month, take time to create a disaster plan including a home fire escape plan.
All Red Cross regions are celebrating National Preparedness Month by implementing programs in communities throughout the county. Some examples of our work include:
- Conducting in-home visits to test and install smoke alarms and provide fire safety and disaster education
- Presenting The Pillowcase Project, a youth preparedness program sponsored by Disney, to thousands of 3rd-5th grade children across the country.
- Participating in America’s PrepareAthon! by working collaboratively with local government entities to support community-specific initiatives, like registrations for emergency notification systems
- Encouraging households with children to download the free Monster Guard app, which teaches youth about preparedness through a fun game
- Serving as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation AmbassadorTM
- Collaborating with United States Fire Administration on the Fire Is Everyone’s FightTMcampaign, and planning smoke alarm installation events during Fire Prevention Week
Source: American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/national-preparedness-month
Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
Happy Labor Day
For a lot of people, Labor Day means two things: a day off and the end of summer. But why is it called Labor Day? Labor Day is a day set aside to pay tribute to working men and women. It has been celebrated as a national holiday in the United States and Canada since 1894.
Labor unions themselves celebrated the first labor days in the United States, although there's some speculation as to exactly who came up with the idea. Most historians credit Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, with the original idea of a day for workers to show their solidarity. Others credit Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J.
The first Labor Day parade occurred Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. The workers' unions chose the first Monday in September because it was halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The idea spread across the country, and some states designated Labor Day as a holiday before the federal holiday was created.
President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as Labor Day nationwide. This is interesting because Cleveland was not a labor union supporter. In fact, he was trying to repair some political damage that he suffered earlier that year when he sent federal troops to put down a strike by the American Railway Union at the Pullman Co. in Chicago, IL. That action resulted in the deaths of 34 workers.
In European countries, China and other parts of the world, May Day, the first day in May, is a holiday to celebrate workers and labor unions. Before it became an international workers holiday, May Day was a celebration of spring and the promise of summer.
Membership in labor unions in the United States reached an all-time high in the 1950s when about 40 percent of the work force belonged to unions. Today, union membership is about 14 percent of the working population. Labor Day now carries less significance as a celebration of working people and more as the end of summer. Schools, government offices and businesses are closed on Labor Day so people can get in one last trip to the beach or have one last cookout before the weather starts to turn colder.