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Create Beautiful, Inviting Outdoor Spaces

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(Family Features) With all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer, a few pops of color or other simple embellishments can help make your yard look superb from the curb.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your front yard, backyard, porch or patio space, consider these easy and affordable ways to spruce up your outdoor oasis:

Add Mirrors
Just as they do indoors, mirrors can open up small patio spaces and make areas feel larger. Use mirrors made with resin or other waterproof materials so they won’t be compromised when exposed to the elements.

Make Bold Statements
Plant your favorite flowers in a giant, bright red or yellow pot or hang a bright colored swing from a tree. Just a little dab of color can make a statement and brighten the whole space.

Hang It Up
Place hanging baskets around the porch to bring punches of color to your outdoor sanctuary. With the freedom to pick and choose your favorite plants and flowers, these baskets have the added benefit of easy maintenance.

Consider Time When Planting
If you wish to add color to your landscape, consider the time of day you normally spend in your outdoor space. Early risers may appreciate vibrantly colored foliage that perks with the morning sun. Those who spend time outdoors in the evening hours can incorporate white or lightly colored plants that take on a silvery sheen in the moonlight.

Tie Up a Hammock
Make a relaxing retreat in the comfort of your own yard by hanging a hammock from trees or between posts on your deck.

Add a Birdbath
These garden favorites come in a variety of styles and colors to fit your unique tastes and budget. Birds of all kinds can find an oasis in their new bath and provide you with a beautiful view.

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Throw Some Pillows
Outdoor pillows are often available in the same fun designs of their indoor counterparts. Add some throw pillows to your outdoor furniture for a chic yet comfortable update.

These subtle changes can help beautify your outdoor spaces and cause onlookers to do a double-take – for the right reasons. Find more ideas at eLivingtoday.com.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash


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Family Features

Entertainment

Toy Association Unveils Holiday Shopping Insights & Trends

Discover the latest holiday shopping insights and trends unveiled by the Toy Association, shaping the toy industry this season.

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The Toy Association has unveiled new insights and trends for holiday shopping at Toy Fair® in New York City. According to their research, parents are not only buying toys for their kids but also for themselves and other adults, with 89% of parents planning to purchase toys for grown-ups. The trend of “Kidults” is on the rise, with adults of all ages embracing toys and play. Sustainability, diversity, and representation are key themes influencing toy purchasing decisions, and parents are increasingly interested in toys that promote education and skill development. Additionally, toys inspired by movies and nostalgic toys from the past are gaining popularity.

The Toy Association  https://www.toyassociation.org//

To stay updated on the latest news regarding The Toy Association: https://www.toyassociation.org/PressRoom2/News/2023_News/toy-association-unveils-new-holiday-shopping-insights-trends-at-toy-fair.aspx

DISCOVER. CONNECT. GROW.

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Health

6 Tips to Prepare for a Cold, Stormy Winter

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(Family Features) Weather fluctuations are the norm these days, and cold winter weather is on the horizon.

This winter, don’t get caught out in the cold when it comes to heating costs. There are things you can do now to help save money by reducing your energy consumption. Consider these tips from the experts at Carrier to help you reduce usage and home heating costs this season.

1. One of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill is turning the heat down to the lowest setting you are comfortable with. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, turning the temperature down an additional 10-15 F while you are sleeping or away can help save about 10% a year on energy costs.

2. Installing a programmable thermostat can make turning down the heat automatic. Depending on the model, you can set different temperatures for when you are home, away or asleep. Better yet, a WiFi-connected smart thermostat can make automatic adjustments and is controllable remotely using a smartphone.

3. Keep up with regular maintenance of your home heating system so it runs efficiently. Change your filter as recommended by the manufacturer and have a professional conduct an inspection and tune-up before the weather gets cold and appointments become harder to get. A dirty or clogged furnace filter can cause your furnace to work harder than needed and waste energy in the process. According to the experts at Carrier, regular, routine maintenance and cleaning can help your furnace run more efficiently and potentially extend its life. 

4. The average life of a furnace is 15-20 years, so be prepared when it comes time to replace. Oftentimes, people wait to buy a new furnace until their current system breaks down and have to resort to buying what’s in stock. Planning ahead lets you shop for a system that’s right for your home and preferences. Right now may be a good time to consider replacing your aging furnace with available manufacturer promotions, energy company incentives and tax credits associated with the Inflation Reduction Act.

5. If you replace your furnace, consider switching to a high efficiency model. They offer a higher level of comfort and energy cost savings. Many homeowners are opting for higher efficiency heat pumps, units that handle both heating and cooling. They are powered by electricity and a growing choice for consumers who want to use less fossil fuels. For example, Carrier’s award-winning Infinity line is among the most energy efficient on the market and operates down to -15 F.

6. Check for drafts around doors, windows and other openings. Seal with caulk or weatherstripping. Also ensure your home is insulated properly. Some utility companies offer to check your home’s insulation for free. Having less cold air to heat can yield considerable cost savings.

Being prepared for cold weather can help save money in the long run. Find more tips at Carrier.com/Residential.

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Carrier

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Automotive

Nissan Reveals Retro-Inspired Hardbody Edition to Their 2024 Frontier Truck Lineup

Nissan unveils 2024 Frontier with retro-inspired Hardbody Edition, combining nostalgia and modernity in a rugged truck lineup.

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Nissan has always been known for its rugged and reliable trucks, and the 2024 Nissan Frontier continues that tradition. This fall, Nissan is set to release their highly anticipated new Frontier, showcasing a blend of modern technology and retro-inspired design. One particular edition that stands out is the Hardbody Edition, paying homage to the iconic Nissan Hardbody pickup trucks of the 1980s. This limited-edition package is sure to capture the hearts of truck enthusiasts across generations. Let’s dive into the exciting features and details of the 2024 Nissan Frontier lineup.

The Frontier Hardbody Edition:
The 2024 Frontier Hardbody Edition embodies the spirit of Nissan’s 1980s truck heritage. Available exclusively on the Frontier SV Crew Cab 4×4, this edition features a range of design elements that harken back to the original Hardbody pickup. The retro-inspired decals, heritage-styled 17-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, sport bar, and black exterior trim create a distinctive and eye-catching appearance. Priced at $3,890, the Hardbody Edition adds a touch of nostalgia to the Frontier’s lineup.

Enhanced Features and Grades:
In addition to the Hardbody Edition, the 2024 Frontier offers an array of features and grades to cater to various customer preferences. The new SL grade on Crew Cab models combines luxurious elements such as LED lighting, leather-appointed seating, and a Fender® 10-speaker audio system. This highly equipped midsize truck reflects Nissan’s commitment to meeting the demands and desires of its customers.

Upgraded NissanConnect® Services:
Nissan has also enhanced the connectivity and convenience features of the 2024 Frontier. The available NissanConnect® Services now come with a three-year trial, providing an extended period for customers to experience the benefits. This telematics feature integrates with the MyNISSAN smartphone app and offers functions like remote door lock/unlock, remote engine start/stop, vehicle health reports, emergency calling, and Nissan Skill for Amazon Alexa®. These advanced features further enhance the Frontier’s appeal in the modern era.

Versatility and Customization:
The 2024 Nissan Frontier offers a wide range of options to suit individual needs. With various bed lengths, drivetrain configurations, and grades, shoppers can customize their Frontier according to their requirements. Whether it’s the PRO-X and PRO-4X models designed for off-road adventures or the King Cab and Crew Cab variants with different bed lengths, the Frontier provides versatility and flexibility for every kind of truck enthusiast.

Pricing and Availability:
Nissan has announced the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) for the 2024 Frontier, starting at $29,770 for the base Frontier S King Cab 4×2. The pricing varies depending on the model, trim, and drivetrain configuration. Interested buyers can visit the Nissan website or local dealerships for detailed pricing information.

With the introduction of the 2024 Nissan Frontier and the special Hardbody Edition, Nissan pays tribute to its rich truck heritage while incorporating modern features and design elements. The Frontier’s combination of ruggedness, technology, and customization options make it an appealing choice for truck enthusiasts. Whether you’re nostalgic for the 1980s Hardbody trucks or seeking a well-equipped midsize truck for your adventures, the 2024 Nissan Frontier is worth considering. Stay tuned for the release of this exciting lineup and experience the perfect blend of retro charm and contemporary innovation.

Source: Nissan

A Nostalgic Footnote:

When I was a young man fresh out of my teenage years and eager to explore the world, I remember seeing the new Nissan Hardbody truck being introduced. It was during a late winter day in 1986 in Southern California when my Dad, who owned a Datsun truck himself, took his vehicle for servicing at Gardena Nissan. It was there that I stumbled upon a stack of brochures and picked one up to read while we waited for Dad’s truck to be serviced. I remember telling my Dad that I would soon own one of these trucks, and by May of the following year, 1987, I indeed purchased a sleek, black E model.

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Have you had a chance to read the article in Road & Track?: https://www.roadandtrack.com/news/a45140451/2024-nissan-frontier-hardbody-edition/

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