Cómo Mejorar La Fachada de Tu Casa (¡con poco dinero!)

mejorar-la-fachada

Como miembro del programa Lowe’s Ideas Creativas recibí tarjetas de regalo de Lowe’s para comprar los materiales que necesitaba para completar los proyectos. Todas las opiniones son mías.

En inglés hay algo que se llama “curb appeal” que refiere a la vista de la fachada de tu casa desde la calle. “Curb appeal” es la primera impresión que la gente tienen de tu casa, y por eso es muy importante. Cuando uno tiene poco dinero a veces es muy difícil mantener la casa, pero quiero enseñarte cómo puedes mejorar la fachada y aumentar “curb appeal” con un presupuesto limitado.

Cómo Mejorar La Fachada de Tu Casa (¡con poco dinero!)

El diseño de los jardines en frente de tu casa es una de las cosas más importantes, y puede ser la cosa más cara, pero a veces no tienes que comprar nada. En vez de comprar plantas, es posible que tienes que eliminar or mover plantas, arbustos o árboles que no quedan bien en su lugar.

Te doy este ejemplo. Mira el árbol en la esquina de nuestra casa. Este árbol ha sido una pesadilla desde que nos mudamos aquí. No importaba cuánto lo recortabamos, fue creciendo más y más grande. Como puedes ver, bloqueaba la vista de nuestra casa y empujó el camino de piedra que finalmente terminó torcido.

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sidewalk-pushed

La solución consistió en cortar el árbol con una motosierra, eliminando tanto del muñón como sea posible por debajo del nivel del suelo. Después arreglamos el camino de piedra, extrayéndolas con una palanca y re-alineandolas.

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Si quitas un árbol tan grande, asegúrate de que tienes una camioneta pick-up, (o un amigo que te ayude.) También pregunta a tu vertedero de basura o reciclaje local si aceptan maleza grande. El costo para dejar nuestra maleza en el centro de reciclaje era alrededor de $20.

Arbustos y árboles que quieres conservar sólo necesitan un ajuste con un cortasetos. Puedes encontrar un cortasetos accesible para pequeños trabajos por menos de $40. Es importante recortar los arbustos no sólo por hacerlos ver bonitos; cuando permites que las plantas toquen la casa pueden causar la formación de moho y cuando dejas que las plantas tocan el terreno, creas un área de bienvenida para las pequeñas criaturas como ratones.

Otras formas económicas para añadir “curb appeal”:

• Actualizar la luz del porche (Compramos una nueva por $20)

• Actualizar los numeros de la casa. Esto no sólo mejora la apariencia de tu casa, ayuda a los socorristas en busca de tu casa durante una emergencia.

• Añadir mantillo fresco alrededor del landscaping (El precio medio es $3 por bolsa en mi tienda Lowe’s)

mulching

• Utilizar una lavadora a presión o una manguera para limpiar la casa.

• Si tus contraventanas pierden su color, retiralas con cuidado, ponerlas en periódico sobre el césped, y darles una nueva capa de pintura. (Nuestras contraventanas son de plástico así que utilizamos una pintura en aerosol de marca Valspar específicamente para el plástico.)

• Añadir una planta de temporada cerca de la puerta. Me encantan los crisantemos anaranjados en esta época del año.

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Puedes ver más ideas creativas de Lowe’s si subscribes a su Revista Creative Ideas, o sigues a ellos en Pinterest.

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[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

In English “curb appeal” refers to the view of your house from the street. “Curb appeal” is the first impression people have of your home, and that’s why it’s really important. When one doesn’t have a lot of money it’s difficult to maintain a house, but I want to show you how you can improve the look of your home and add curb appeal with a limited budget.

How to Add Curb Appeal (with just a little money!)

The landscaping in front of your home is one of the most important aspects of curb appeal and it can also be the most expensive, but sometimes you don’t have to buy anything. Instead of buying plants, it’s possible that you actually need to eliminate or move plants, bushes or trees that aren’t right for the place they’re planted.

I’ll give you this example. Look at this tree at the corner of our house. This tree has been a complete nightmare since we moved here. It didn’t matter how much we trimmed it, it kept growing bigger and bigger. As you can see, it blocked the view of our home and it pushed the walkway so much that it ended up crooked.

The solution was to cut the tree down with a chainsaw. We eliminated as much of the trunk as possible below ground so it could be covered over with mulch as if nothing were ever there. We then fixed the walkway by pulling the pavers up with a crowbar and realigning them.

If you take down a tree this big, make sure you have a pick-up truck, (or a friend who’s willing to help.) Also ask your local garbage dump or recycling center if they accept large brush. The cost for us to leave our brush at the recycling center was about $20.

Bushes and trees that you want to keep just need a trim with a hedge trimmer. You can find an affordable hedge trimmer for small jobs for less than $40. It’s important to trim bushes not just to make them look nice; when you permit plants to touch your house, it can cause the formation of mold and when you allow the branches of bushes to grow low to the ground, you create a welcome area for small creatures like mice.

Other economical ways to add curb appeal:

• Update the porch light (We bought a new one for $20)

• Update your house numbers. This doesn’t just improve the look of your home, it helps first responders searching for your house during an emergency.

• Add fresh mulch around the landscaping (The average price is $3 per bag at our Lowe’s)

• Use a pressure washer or hose to clean the exterior of your house.

• If your shutters have faded, remove them carefully, put them atop newspaper on your lawn, and give them a new coat of paint. (Our shutters are plastic so we used a Valspar brand spray paint especially for plastic.)

• Add seasonal plants near the door. I love orange chrysanthemums this time of year.

Want more creative ideas?

Check out more from Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network by subscribing to their Creative Ideas Magazine and E-Newsletter, following them on Pinterest and by seeing what the other Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network members are up to.

Elena Ruz Sandwich

Elena Ruz Sandwich

Quite a few years ago I went to Miami and had my first Cuban Sandwich which I fell in love with. Upon arriving home eventually a craving hit but Cuban Sandwiches are hard to come by this far north. I researched recipes and while doing so, I stumbled upon a different kind of Cuban sandwich called the “Elena Ruz” and an interesting story about how it came to be.

According to Wikipedia, Elena Ruz was a young society debutante in 1930’s Cuba who would stop at a popular Havana restaurant called El Carmelo. Each time Elena visited the restaurant she requested they make her something that they didn’t have on the menu – a sandwich to her specifications prepared on medianoche bread with cream cheese, strawberry jam, and thin slices of turkey breast. Eventually El Carmelo put the sandwich on the menu, calling it, por supuesto, the Elena Ruz.

For some reason the odd combination seemed appealing to me, so I tried the sandwich, using King’s Hawaiian Rolls as a substitute for medianoche bread, (which I’ve never seen sold around here.) This Cuban sandwich also became a favorite of mine. If you want to give it a try, here’s how I make it.

Elena Ruz Sandwich

You need:

sliced turkey
cream cheese
strawberry jelly
King’s Hawaiian Rolls
butter

Directions:

1. Slice Hawaiian rolls open. Spread cream cheese on the bottom half and strawberry jelly on the top half.
2. Put a few slices of turkey on top of the cream cheese and close the sandwich.
3. Grease a non-stick skillet or griddle with a little butter over medium heat. Toast the sandwich on one side, applying gentle pressure with a spatula. Flip and do the same to the other side.
4. Serve warm!

Free Phone Calls to Latin America!

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Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Just wanted to let you all know, Cricket Wireless is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by inviting you to their stores to make a free phone call to amigos or familia in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru, Spain and Venezuela from October 1st to October 3rd. Check with your local Cricket location to see if they’re participating!

For more from Cricket Wireless ambassadors, follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

Back When Clair Huxtable Was Dominican

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Played by Phylicia Rashād, Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show has always been one of my favorite T.V. characters for a multitude of reasons, but one of those reasons is the dash of Spanish she brought to the series. If you didn’t know, Rashād is bilingual English/Spanish. Born in Houston, Texas, her family moved to Mexico when she was a child to escape racism in the United States – and that’s how she learned the language.

While Clair’s character remained bilingual throughout the series, Bill Cosby had originally wanted the character to be Dominican. The character of Clair was inspired by I Love Lucy’s Ricky Ricardo, and like Ricky Ricardo, she would speak Spanish when angry. If you listen closely in the pilot episode of The Cosby Show, you can hear Clair speaking Spanish to the kids as she’s coming down the stairs, saying ¡No me digas que no, ey, porque de todas maneras tú lo tienes que hacer!

In another early episode, Clair is portrayed as a mother raising the children to be bilingual. In this scene Clair answers the phone and speaks Spanish. After the phone call, Rudy speaks to her mother in Spanish, with Cliff in the middle looking confused. (Clair speaks Spanish throughout this episode. Watch from 1:41 to 2:42, then 4:34 to 4:41, 14:22 to 15:00, and 16:18 to 17:10.)

I can’t really say that I wish they had kept Clair as Dominican and made the kids bilingual as the series went on – as amazing as that would have been – because I loved the show exactly as it was and it was a historically very important show, not just in the United States, but around the world. That being said, I’m still wondering where the Latino Cosby Show is and hoping it will happen sooner rather than later.

Better Together (Mejor Juntos)

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This post is sponsored by Nescafé. Product for review has been received as well as compensation for my time. As always, all opinions are my own.

Some things are just better together – pupusas and curtido, churros and chocolate, arroz con pollo – and Carlos feels the same way about creamer and coffee.

Carlos wakes up before the sun rises to go to work each morning and he doesn’t always have time to make his coffee the way he likes it, with plenty of vanilla creamer and a few spoons of sugar. Problem solved with Nescafé’s new 2-in-1 product which combines their instant coffee with Nestlé Coffee-mate!

You just mix 2 tablespoons of the powder with hot water and ¡Ya está! – Carlos’s perfect cup of coffee.

I used to drink my coffee like Carlos but over a year or two ago I made the transition to black coffee. Nevertheless I gave the Nescafé with Coffee-mate a try and it was really creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness. The French Vanilla is the favorite at our house – Carlos, our teenage boys and I all unanimously agreed it’s the best, but the Hazelnut is a close second. If you prefer unflavored creamer there’s a third option called “Original.”

Want to give it a try? Check out the giveaway below!

—-Giveaway closed. Congratulations, Angela.—-

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a two week supply of the new Nescafé & Coffee-mate products.

How to enter: Just head over to Twitter and tweet about other foods that go “better together” (peanut butter and jelly, for example!) using the #NescaféCoffeemate hashtag. Once you have tweeted, come back here and leave the direct URL link to your tweet in comments below. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between September 29th, 2014 through October 1st, 2014. Entries received after October 1st, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Silbar La Vieja

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Mirando “Domingo Para Todos” Carlos empezó a reír cuando gente en la audiencia estaban silbando. El silbido fue muy distino y de tres latidos – dos cortos y uno un poco más largo. Como “¡Fi-Fi Ffuuu!”

“¿Qué significa este silbido?” pregunté yo.

Carlos me explicó que este silbido se llama “la vieja” y en El Salvador es igual a decir “tu madre.” (O sea, es un insulto.) El silbido es muy utilizado en los estadios por insultar al árbitro cuando él hace una mala decisión, o si tienes la necesidad de insultar a alguien que está lejos. Si uno está manejando un carro y quiere utilizar el silbido con otro conductor, también se puede hacer “la vieja” con la bocina.

Carlos aceptó gentilmente a dar una demostración.

Parece una habilidad útil. Tal vez debería empezar a usar el silbido con gente que me enojan si no son salvadoreños. Silbar “la vieja” me ofrece la oportunidad de expresar lo que estoy pensando y la otra persona sólo pensará que estoy loca. Ningún daño hecho!

(Image source: Steven Depolo)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

While watching “Domingo Para Todos” Carlos started to laugh when people in the audience were whistling. The whistle was very distinctive and had three beats – two short beats, followed by one a little bit longer. Like, “Sss-Sss Srrr!”

“What does that whistle mean?” I asked.

Carlos explained to me that the whistle is called “la vieja” [the old lady] and in El Salvador it’s the same as saying “tu madre” [your mother/yo mama]… In other words, it’s an insult. The whistle is very useful in soccer stadiums to insult the referee when he makes a bad call, or if you need to insult someone from a distance. If you’re driving in a car and want to make use of the whistle when angry with another driver, you can even imitate the sound with your car horn.

Carlos graciously agreed to give a demonstration.

Seems like a useful skill. Maybe I should start using the whistle with non-Salvadorans who make me angry. Whistling “la vieja” offers me the opportunity to express what I’m thinking and the other person will only think that I’m crazy. No harm done!

(Image source: Steven Depolo)

Bilingual Brain Freeze

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Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Anteayer mi hijo menor me dijo que hay una nueva estudiante en su escuela que sólo habla español y está en un programa especial para los niños que no hablan inglés. En el pasillo entre clases una compañera bilingüe le presentó mi hijo a la nueva chica y le dijo a la chica, “Si necesitas ayuda, también puedes hablar con él porque habla español.” Bueno, mi hijo estaba feliz de ayudar pero me dijo que desafortunadamente su cerebro se congeló y le costaba recordar palabras que quiso decir, aunque entendió todo lo que estaban diciendo. La nueva chica estaba buscando la clase de un maestro que se llama Mr. Cooper.

En vez de decir, “La clase del Sr. Cooper no está en la planta baja. Tienes que ir arriba” – mi hijo tuvo que decir, “La clase de Mr. Cooper no aquí. Mr. Cooper allá,” y señaló con el dedo.

Cuando mi hijo me contó lo que pasó, me sentí como un fracaso. Hablamos demasiado inglés en casa. Es mi culpa su español no es mejor, y es culpa de Carlos también.

Por otra parte, estoy orgullosa de él porque encontró una manera de comunicarse aunque no era perfecta, y más orgullosa porque me dijo que “Fue un poco vergonzoso pero yo quería ayudar.” Cuando uno no habla un idioma con fluidez, es mucho más fácil sucumbir al miedo y no decir nada que buscar el coraje de hablar.

Lo que le falta en la fluidez, lo compensa con una buena actitud y corazón.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

The day before yesterday my younger son told me that there was a new student in his school who only speaks Spanish and is in a special program at school for kids who don’t speak English. In the hallway a bilingual classmate introduced my son to the new girl and said to the girl, “If you need help, you can also talk to him because he speaks Spanish.” Well, my son was happy to help but he told me unfortunately his brain froze up and it was really difficult for him to remember the words he wanted to say, even though he understood everything they were saying. The new girl was looking for the classroom of a teacher named Mr. Cooper.

Instead of saying, “Mr. Cooper’s class isn’t on the ground floor. You have to go upstairs” – my son had to say, “Mr. Cooper’s class no here. Mr. Cooper there,” and pointed his finger.

When my son told me what happened, I felt like a failure. We speak too much English at home. It’s my fault his Spanish isn’t better, and it’s Carlos’s fault too.

On the other hand, I’m proud of him because he found a way to communicate even though it wasn’t perfect, and I’m even prouder because he told me “It was a little embarrassing but I wanted to help.” When one doesn’t speak a language fluently, it’s much easier to succumb to fear and say nothing rather than find the courage to speak.

What he lacks in fluency, he more than makes up for in a good attitude and heart.