Moment of Kindness: Best Commute Ever

If you live in Tacoma and commute to places like Seattle or Olympia, the word commute might already be sending you into a panic attack. But, it’s not just the long haul drivers that get anxiety from driving to work. Even a short 5 minute drive can get your blood pumping, depending on what you run into (or what almost runs into you) on the road. Maybe you feel like the coffee mug is taunting you. But I like to see it as a reminder that, with the right planning, we can all reach commuting nirvana together.

The Right Amount of Time. Being in a rush is stressful enough, but when you add hundreds of cars into the mix, it’s a wonder that any of us make it to work. If you are constantly feeling rushed, an adjustment of 5 or 10 minutes might be all that you need to feel more relaxed in the morning.

Decompress Before You Drive. This is where that extra 5 or 10 minutes might come in really handy. Get in your car, put the keys in the ignition, and then just sit for a minute or two. Calm yourself and feel at peace with the drive ahead. Tell yourself that you’re going to have a great drive and arrive at work with time to spare. It might sound corny, but you’ll have a much better attitude while driving.

Get Comfortable. Nobody’s going to see you high-heels or dress shoes while you’re driving. Why not chuck those shiny shoes in the back seat and pull out the old trusty slippers? Just make sure they have some sort of sole and a structure that holds the entire foot. If you’re trying to have a better commute, you certainly don’t want a flip flop style slipper jammed under the break pedal.

No Eating, Make Up, Cell Phone, Etc. I know mornings are crammed full of things you need to do, but doing them in the car is just dangerous. If you’ve made it a habit of getting ready for work while driving, I hate to say it, but you need to start getting ready a little earlier. Nothing is more stressful to you (and others) than someone not paying attention to the road.

Put on Some Tunes. Listening to music that puts you in a good mood is great for creating a more enjoyable commute. Sing and dance to your heart’s content. You might just make  someone else smile, when they see your happy free spirit drive on by. Just keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes open :)

Follow the Right Lane Rule. The lane farthest to the right on the freeway is supposed to be for people entering or leaving the highway. Nothing can back up traffic and irritate people more than complicated merging. Try to stay out of the right hand lane as much a possible and you’ll have less things to worry about coming your way.

Let People In. I know you diligently waited your turn in a long winding row of cars to finally reach this spot, but just let the guy that cut everyone off go first. Yeah, people can be jerks. Yeah, the standards for having a driver’s license are (apparently) not very high. But, don’t let these people ruin your mood or your day.

Do You Really Have to Drive? Studies have shown that people who do not drive to work have less general stress than those that drive. Factors like scenery and interaction with the surrounding environment, coupled with avoiding the stresses of driving actually make you mentally healthier. If you work close to home, you may be able to ride  a bike or walk to work. If you work so far away that your own horsepower just won’t cut it, consider taking the bus or train. You can finally catch up on that book you haven’t had time to read, update your to do list, or just close your eyes and relax. You don’t have to do it everyday, just once or twice a week can really improve your mood and reduce stress.

So how does this all fit in with kindness? Just ask the hundreds of people you pass on your way to work every day, your coworkers, and your family if you’re nicer to be around.    When people are kind to themselves, we all get to share in their improved attitudes and extra smiles.

Come back every Monday for The Tacoma Community Connector’s: Moment of Kindness

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Dream House Project: Sticks, Leaves, Twigs… Oh my!

For the next couple of weeks, The Tacoma Community Connector would like to focus on the most simple and inexpensive things that can boost your curb appeal quickly. When we think about curb appeal, our thoughts quickly turn to things like: painting the entire house, installing a new rock wall, or ripping out the entire lawn and starting anew. We’ll get to all of that, eventually, but for these first few weeks I thought we’d start out easy.

Last week, we went out into the world and looked for inspiration. Maybe you found an interesting entryway or a really neat water feature. Maybe you thought about installing a new porch or creating an outside living space. With your creative juices flowing you now have a better vision of what you want. I hope with your new discoveries, you kept the house that you have in mind. In case you didn’t or you just need a little refresher, these projects will give you a great idea of where you’re starting (and where you’ll be headed). Plus, your house will look a whole lot better when you’re done.

Gutter Cleaning Service in Staten Island, New York

 Cleaning Gutters/ Inspecting Roof

Items Needed:
Ladder
A bucket with a sturdy handle
Leaf scoop
A plumbing snake (maybe)
A garden hose
An S hook
Large Tarp
Lawn Rake

Now, I know that gutters aren’t super exciting, but they do perform a very important job. The functionality and overall look of your home can be greatly impacted by faulty or overflown gutters. Symptoms of gutter problems include: dirty streaks or mineral stains on your siding, flooding basement, crumbling foundation, minor to extensive wood rot found in walls and roofing, and of course fallen or hanging gutters. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to prevent the aforemetioned problems. A quick scoop and rinse twice a year can keep your gutters working well for years to come.

There are two main methods of cleaning gutters “The Bucket Method” or “The Drop Method”. I find the drop method a little messier, but easier and faster. The bucket method involves putting everything you pull out of the gutter into a bucket. You’ll need to secure your bucket to the gutter by hooking one side of the S hook to the gutter and hang your bucket from the other. Unfortunately, once the bucket fills up you have to climb back down the ladder, and repeat until the job is done. With the drop method, you drop everything you pull out of the gutter onto a large tarp. Then when everything is emptied out, climb down the ladder, rake up any stray debris, and move on to the next section.

1) You’ve got the collection method all set up. Now it’s time to clean those gutters out! Use your leaf scoop to get everything out of the gutter. Try to leave as little as you can behind.

2) Once the gutter is free of sticks, leaves, and needles; you’ll need to check the downspouts for clogs. Make sure the downspouts are clear BEFORE you rinse out the gutters. Rinsing the gutter when  the downspouts are clogged up will only make the problem worse. First, take a hose and insert it into the downspout. Have a helper turn on the water and make sure a good stream of water is coming out of the other side. If nothing comes out or if only a small amount of water is slowly draining out, you’ll have to unclog the downspout. Use your plumbing snake to clear out the clog, and check with the hose again to see if it’s all clear

3) Now that the hard parts are over, all you have to do is give everything a good rinse. Starting at the farthest point from the downspout opening, spray any remaining gunk off of the bottom and sides of the gutter. Continue along the entire gutter until you reach the opening of the downspout and check the downspout again for any new clogs.

4) After cleaning and rinsing everything down, inspect the tiles on your roof. Are any of them loose, or pulling up at the corners? Do you see any moss or mold growing in the cracks? If so you may need to call up a professional and see if there’s any roof damage. Trust me, it’s better to get an expert when the problem is small. The bigger the problem, the bigger the bill.

Yay! Now you have one super clean and functional gutter. Repeat this process with each gutter on the house and you’ll have a happy house for years to come. Not to mention, your wallet will thank you when you don’t have to pay those expensive repair bills that come along with neglected gutters. Try it out and let us know how it goes!

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Moment of Kindness: Workin’ Hard

Most of us spend 5 days per week, or 260 days per year, at work. We help people find things, buy things, learn new ideas, learn how to use the things they buy, give them advice, inspire them, and care for them. Some of us went to school for the work that we do, while others learned by seeing and doing. There are those of us that earn a large salary, and there are those of us that earn a small hourly wage. Whatever it is that we have chosen for our profession, we can all agree that we work really hard.

I’m sure throughout your career you’ve helped dozens, maybe even hundreds, of people. There have probably been quite  few instances in which you went above and beyond to get someone what they need. On the opposite end, I’m sure there have been a couple of times that someone has left your workplace a little less than satisfied… maybe even a bit grumpy. But hey, that happens to everyone! We can’t all be perfect all the time.

Then your boss gets that phone call. Yep, someone on the other end of the line is complaining about something you did. I’m not saying you didn’t deserve it, but what about all the other people you helped last week. What about the lady that said, “Oh you wonderful girl! I can’t thank you enough?” It seems like those people never call. It seems like your work record is saying, “Yep, you’re just plugging along. And occasionally, maybe even rarely, you don’t do as well as you normally would.” Wouldn’t it be great if you were recognized for all the good you do on a daily basis?

Well you can make that a reality for someone else. Don’t think about whether it will ever happen to you or not, just put the good vibes out there and see what happens. Many people deserve recognition for trying hard every day. You’ll help someone have a great day, and who knows, maybe a better life.

This weeks Moment of Kindness: Write a note to the boss of someone who has helped you, thanking him or her for having such a great employee. While they’re helping you, try to get their name and remember what time of day it is. When you write your letter, try to be as specific as possible. Sure it takes a little extra effort, but you’ll feel amazing when you know the postman is carrying a little package of happiness from you.

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What a Wonderful Surprise

Today, the Tacoma Community Connector received its first award! The “One Lovely Blog Award” was recently given to us by a wonderfully kind fellow blogger, Daniela from Lantern Post. We can’t thank her enough, and hope that all of our future posts will make her proud.

Daniela is a beautiful writer that pulls you into each post, helping you see ordinary and obscure subject matter from a new perspective. We would encourage anyone to read some of her thoughtful and invigorating posts!

We are so grateful for our amazing followers and for the amazing community we’ve found worldwide. It’s so exciting to have such wonderful people to connect with and to feel that this little blog may turn into something truly positive for Tacoma. We humbly accept this award, and in turn, will nominate other bloggers that we feel deserve it.

I understand that the rules of this award are:

  • Post seven interesting things about myself
  • Nominate other bloggers who I feel deserve the award
  • Let them know about their nomination

About me (ha, ha, ha… )

  • I way too much, about way too many things
  • I’m not married and have no children
  • I cannot eat gluten, or plants in the nightshade family (with the exclusion of potatoes)
  • I really truly believe in myself
  • I’ve had a cat named Cow
  • I do not drink any iced beverages
  • I will tell you the truth if you ask, whether you like the answer or not

I am happy to nominate the following blogs:

Chic en Chocolat

My Home Life – Decor, Design and DIY

Magaleigh

Bucket List Publications

Pumps & Iron

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The Dream House

We’ve all noticed those homes. The ones that draw your eye as you’re driving down the street. The ones that stand out from all the rest and you say to yourself, “Oh, I wish my house looked like that.” Certain homes just come alive.

Definate curb appeal!

Here

You too can have the home of your dreams! I’m not talking about keeping up with the Jones’ (who cares what they think), but taking pride in your home is so important. Try to remember the last time you went somewhere you felt was truly beautiful. How did it make you feel? Perhaps you felt more relaxed, peaceful, captivated, upbeat, energized, and maybe even hopefully. That’s what curb appeal is all about. Being able to walk up to your own home and feeling like you’re where you belong. It can be something stylish and sassy, but it also needs to be personal and unique. The best part is, with the right resources, it doesn’t have to be expensive or over the top. Some small, inexpensive projects done over time will keep you happy in your amazingly beautiful home for years to come.

Beautiful curb appeal.

here

The first step to creating your dream home is to go out and find some inspiration. Get your camera and try walking around different neighborhoods. Take pictures of everything that stands out, and make a special note of any home that resembles yours in style and structure. Try surfing the web. Sites like Pintrest, HGTV.com, and DIY.com have a wealth of inspiring photos and project ideas. You can even ask friends, family members, or neighbors what they think of your facade. It might hurt a little to hear other people’s opinions of your home, but it will help you identify problem areas that you might not see.

Come visit us every Thursday, for our 8:00 am post- Your Dream Home, where you’ll find new projects and ideas to help you along your way to greatness. And don’t worry… apartment dwellers will be able to get in on the fun too! We’ll be putting up some posts to liven up your rental living, while keeping your pocketbook full.

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The Power of Kindness

About a year ago, I came across a book at the Tacoma Public Library book sale called “Random Acts of Kindness.”  At first I didn’t think much about it. It was one of those titles that seems interesting enough to spend $1.50 on, but then you just never get around to actually opening it. Ignored and neglected, it sat in a random pile of other discount books I had been collecting for months. Then, one day, when I was feeling particularly bored and a little depressed I decided to give “Random Acts of Kindness” a try. What happened next changed my life forever.

Page after page was filled with the most inspiring stories I have ever read. They weren’t tales of heroics or massively unobtainable gestures. They were real stories about the small and unexpected things that can happen anywhere at any time. People looking at the world just enough to see something other than themselves. Quick passing moments that will surely last a life time. Some of the stories made me laugh, some made me cry, but the ones that stuck with me were the ones that made me think. I sat and thought about why kindness was so important, and what separated kindness from obligations.

I’m not saying that obligations and responsibilities are bad. Obligations and responsibilities usually come from a place of kindness and love. Picking up the kids from school, being at a friends soccer game when you promised that you would go, or taking out the trash are all nice things that we do for people we care about. Unfortunately, we wrap ourselves up so tightly in obligation that we forget to look out at the rest of the world. Sometimes, our obligations become stifling to the point that we’re not even nice to the people that we love anymore. So, what happens when we talk to the banker, pass a stranger walking down the street, or stand in a lonely elevator with one other person?

I wanted to put the messages in this book to the test. I wanted to see how I could make other people feel, just by noticing the world and responding to it with more kindness. I wanted to see more people smile in this world and I wanted to know that their smiles were because of me, even if they didn’t know it. So, I went out into the world and put my best foot forward. I tried to notice more of what was happening around me. I tried to understand how other people were feeling. Mostly, I tried to make everyone’s day a little bit brighter.

I won’t go into detail about how being kind made me feel. I don’t think I would be able to do my feelings any justice. It’s one of those things you have to do for yourself to truly understand. Like skydiving, it’s a personal experience that feels different to everyone. What I would like to do is propose that you try it. You can do as little or as much as you like. You can try it with close friends, family members, co-workers, or strangers. Just give it a try and see how much brighter your world can be.

Join us every Monday, for our 8:00 am post- Monday’s Moment of Kindness, where you can get new ideas for making each and every day a happier one.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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So, You’re Not From Tacoma…

That’s okay!

Though there will be many posts that are area specific (restaurants, events, and happenings throughout the city), there will also be just as many posts that can be applied to any community. No matter where you’re from, you’ll be able to get inspiration for: building a better you, a better network of friends, and a better place to live.

The Tacoma Community Connector encourages everyone to love the place they call home. You may never end up in the City of Destiny, but that doesn’t mean your home isn’t destined to be great! Stop by for great stories and reports and you might be surprised by what you go back home with.

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