NELA Living Blog by Emilie Broughton

6 Ways To Make Your House A Home After Moving In

Finding the perfect house is a dream come true in itself but once the sale is completed, the movers have left and you have finished unpacking all of your belongings, it is important to turn your dream house into a home. Because, after all, home is where the heart is.

Here are 6 ways to turn your house into a home after moving:

1. Create Calm in the Bedroom
Having one serene, put-together space where you can retreat at the end of the day is essential, especially during those first chaotic weeks in a new home. Roll out the rug, make the bed, set up the nightstands and lamps, hang a mirror and put up some artwork. It may be tempting to jump from one task to another when there’s so much to do, but resist — it’s worth the effort to enjoy a restful bedroom.

2. Take the Time to Get Organized From the Start
Whether you opt to do it yourself or hire a professional closet organizer to help you, taking the time to get a few key areas neat and tidy from the get-go will make life in your new home much more pleasant. Instead of putting things away in your new space as quickly as possible, slow down and think about how you would like your home to be organized, paying special attention to the closets, drawers and garage or storage shed.

3. Fill Your Shelves With Books
Shelves full of books make a house feel cozy and inviting — and if you’re a book lover, there’s nothing better than being able to sit down with a cup of tea and pull a favorite book off the shelf. As you’re unpacking your books, think about how you’d like them to be organized. Perhaps you’d like to sort your books into sections by topic, genre, mood or alphabetically? Whichever method you choose, don’t put off shelving those books: The sooner they’re on the shelves, the quicker you can sit down and read.

4. Invite Family and Friends Over For A Dinner Party
It’s easy to put off cooking a real meal at home in a new space: Getting takeout is so much easier when you don’t know where anything is! But once you’re settled in a bit, getting in the kitchen to cook dinner is actually a great way to feel more at home in your new house. And if you invite a few close friends over to chat while you cook, all the better. Let it be simple and imperfect — and if it’s not all homemade, no big deal. The important thing is to get started. After all, you’re not just cooking, you’re laying down the first memories of good times in your new house.

5. Display Family Photos
It’s hard to put the first holes into pristine walls — but putting up photos is one of the best ways to personalize your new space and make it feel like your own. If you’re feeling unsure about where you ultimately want your family photo wall to go, consider using removable picture hanging hooks or strips instead of a hammer and nails. No one will be able to tell the difference, and you won’t have to fill holes if you decide to move things around in a couple of months.

6. Bring in Houseplants and Flowers
Houseplants quite literally bring a breath of fresh air into the home. And if you’ve moved a long distance, chances are you had to give up your old houseplants before the move. Take note of light conditions in each room, and bring these notes along when you go plant shopping. Be sure to get pots, watering cans, and any other supplies needed to keep your new plant babies healthy and happy. If you own pets, be sure to keep in mind that some types of flowers and plants can be poisonous.

Category: Blog |

Are You and Your Home Prepared For Earthquakes

Living in California, earthquakes are just a part of life. After the major earthquake hit Northridge in 1994, many people began to seriously plan ahead in case of another one, but, still, many people are not truly prepared. Last week, there were two earthquakes based in the Ridgecrest area that trickled down to Ventura, Los Angeles, and even Orange Counties at a magnitude of 6.4 and 7.1 within a 24 hour time period so it is becoming more and more transparent that being ready on the chance that another one occurs even closer to home. Are you prepared? Do you have a plan in place? Do you have an earthquake kit? There is a lot to consider when safeguarding your home and having the basic necessities just in case. Here is some information from FEMA that may be useful if you are not sure where to start.






Make your home safer to be in during earthquakes and more resistant to earthquake damage by assessing its structure and contents. Depending on when and how it was designed and built, the structure you live in may have weaknesses that make it more vulnerable to earthquakes. Common examples include structures not anchored to their foundations or having weak crawl space walls, unbraced pier-and-post foundations, or unreinforced masonry walls or foundations.

If you own your home, find and correct any such weaknesses, yourself or with professional help. If you are a renter, ask what has been done to strengthen the property against earthquakes, and consider this information in deciding where to rent. If you are building or buying a home, make sure that it complies with the seismic provisions of your local building code.

What is in your home can be as or more dangerous and damage-prone than the structure itself. Any unsecured objects that can move, break, or fall as an earthquake shakes your home are potential safety hazards and potential property losses. Walk through each room of your home and make note of these items, paying particular attention to tall, heavy, or expensive objects such as bookcases, home electronics, appliances (including water heaters), and items hanging from walls or ceilings. Secure these items with flexible fasteners, such as nylon straps, or with closed hooks, or by relocating them away from beds and seating, to lower shelves, or to cabinets with latched doors. Ensure that plumbers have installed flexible connectors on all gas appliances.

Prepare Yourself and Your Family to

  • React Safely
    Learn what to do during an earthquake. Hold periodic family drills to practice what you have learned. Through practice, you can condition yourselves to react spontaneously and safely when the first jolt or shaking is felt.
  • Take Cover
    In each room of your home, identify the safest places to “drop, cover, and hold on” during an earthquake. Practice going to these safe spots during family drills to ensure that everyone learns where they are.
  • Survive on Your Own
    Assemble and maintain a household emergency supply kit, and be sure that all family members know where it is stored. The kit should consist of one or two portable containers (e.g., plastic tubs, backpacks, duffel bags) holding the supplies that your family would need to survive without outside assistance for at least 3 days following an earthquake or other disasters. Make additional, smaller kits to keep in your car(s) and at your place(s) of work.
  • Stay in Contact
    List addresses, telephone numbers, and evacuation sites for all places frequented by family members (e.g., home, workplaces, schools). Include the phone number of an out-of-state contact. Ensure that family members carry a copy of this list, and include copies in your emergency supply kits.
  • Care for People, Pets, and Property
    Get training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) through your local chapter of the American Red Cross. Find out where you could shelter your pet should it become necessary to evacuate your home. Ensure that family members know how and when to call 9-1-1, how to use your home fire extinguisher, and how, where, and when to shut off your home’s utilities (water, natural gas, and electricity). Ask your state insurance commissioner about the availability of earthquake insurance in your state.

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Category: Blog |

DIY Landscaping Ideas

Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features.

Whether it’s as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!

Create a pathway
To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.

Add a wall or border
Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.

Install a water feature
Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.

Light your way
An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.

Plant upwards
Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!

Category: Blog |

Fourth of July Safety Tips & List of Professional Fireworks Shows in LA County

Remember, Fireworks can hurt so safety first!!

Severe burns, amputations, blinding, and even deaths are often the result of 4th of July celebrations. As the holiday nears, many fires will be caused when unsupervised children use fireworks. Parents are liable for any damage or injuries caused by their children using fireworks. The Fire Department recommends the following tips for Safe and Sane Fireworks use.

All legal fireworks in California are called Safe and Sane Fireworks.

  • All Safe and Sane Fireworks must bear the State Fire Marshal’s seal.
  • Have an adult present when Safe and Sane fireworks are to be used by children.
  • Always have a bucket of water to dispose of fireworks.
  • Always have a hose connected to water available in case of fire.
  • It is illegal to sell, give, or deliver dangerous fireworks to anyone under 18 years of age.
  • It is illegal to point or throw a dangerous firework into a crowd or at people.
  • The sale or transfer of Safe and Sane Fireworks may only occur at a fixed place of business which is licensed and permitted to sell Safe and Sane Fireworks.
  • If fireworks explode or leave the ground, it is illegal in California.
  • Do not use fireworks near dry grass or other flammable materials.
  • Do not use fireworks while under a canopy, covered balcony, covered patio or under a tree or bushes.
  • Never attempt to re-light or “fix” fireworks.
  • In many communities, the sale and use of Safe and Sane Fireworks may be prohibited. Be aware of your local laws. Failure to comply may result in confiscation, citation, and prosecution.

Please visit the Los Angeles Department page on fireworks safety here for more information:

For a list of locations with professional fireworks shows in Los Angeles County on the 4th of July, please visit:

Category: Blog |