Weekend Guide to Scottsdale, AZ

The desert towns can seem dreadful to some. Sure, you can fry an egg or two on the asphalt in the summer (which you really should not eat if you ever try), and yes, you need sunscreen often through the year, but most people get quite shocked once they give desert towns a shot. Even the look of the buildings has a different, vintage and nostalgic look that you can’t find anywhere else. Everything down to the plant life can show people that different worlds are out there. Scottsdale, Arizona is one of those amazing towns that embodies and exceeds the example of a fantastic desert city. Located on the eastside of Arizona, there are so many fun things to do in Scottsdale that will capture your attention and have you coming back for more! Here is just a tiny list of the commodities Scottsdale can offer.

McCormick and Stillman Railroad Park

The nostalgia of the town will hit you right away when you visit the McCormick and Stillman Railroad park. Prepare to have your interest in trains re-invoked from when you were a kid. Operated by the city of Scottsdale Parks & Recreation department, this 30-acre park will offer more train joy than one can handle. Try out their centerpiece of the park: the Paradise & Pacific Railroad. It is built and operated as an exact 5:12 reproduction of a Colorado narrow gauge railroad! You can also take it slow with the Scottsdale Charros Carousel.  If you are looking for a real awesome experience, on Saturdays and Sundays from October to May, they will allow guests to ride the Arboretum Train. This will run right through their desert arboretum to make for an incredible experience.

Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain might just be the perfect getaway if you are looking for an outdoors seclusion from the world. Be warned, the trails can get steep. I’m sure you are wondering why they call it Camelback Mountain. It’s as simple as you can guess. The mountain resembles a kneeling camel with its hump and head protruding up. It really is quite the sight when you look at it, but nothing is more beautiful than the view it offers. If you decide to take its 1.2-mile summit trail, you will find yourself reaching an elevation of 2,707 feet. This is known as one of the most scenic hiking spots in the city! As rewarding as it is, make sure to be prepared. The hike can be quite steep.

Big Surf

Say you hit the hike in the morning, you might be a little worn out from the heat. You might want to cool off. What better way than with a gorgeous water park? Located about 6 miles from Scottsdale is Big Surf Waterpark. Big Surf is known for being the first water park in the United States to have a wave pool. All you need to do is gather up the family and hop in your weekend rental car or family-owned vehicle and drive about 15 min south. Obviously, they have done something right because know it is widely adapted everywhere! Find yourself zipping through their abundant choices of water slides or relaxing on the grassy areas getting some sun. No matter, you will find it refreshing to soak in the sun and take a dip in the water.

OdySea Aquarium

Okay, maybe jumping into the water gets old after a while, but one thing that never gets old is observing sea life. In Scottsdale, there is the OdySea Aquarium. It just happens to be the largest aquarium on the Southwest of the United States, holding in more than 2 million US gallons of water! You can see all types of marine life and explore their Aqua lobby. It is incredible to see nine massive 1,000 pound globe-shaped aquariums hanging overhead. It really is something that will drop your jaw to the floor. IF you are over the age of 21, you can even check out their Nightlife after hours adventure under the sea event. Bring your friends, or a special date, and enjoy live music, a five-course dinner, cocktails, behind the scenes tours and much more during this amazing nighttime event.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Come explore your interpretation of art by yourself or with friends at the Scottsdale Museum of contemporary art. With more than 40 years of experience, the museum is completely dedicated to exhibiting modern art, design, and architecture. Sounds like a perfect place to wind down after an eventful weekend. If you really want to dive in, the museum offers a great selection of educational classes that can teach anyone from young and old about art and creativity. It really is a good way to get out there and make some friends that share the same interest in you. You might take it more seriously when you find out there are more than 50,000 children and adults that the museum engages with.

Scottsdale, Arizona is a magnificent desert city filled with very creative and explorative things to do. Whether you live there or are just visiting for the weekend, you will find yourself falling in love with the desert more and more as you traverse the weekend and it’s desert glory. Have fun!


By: Jeremy Alderman, ZOG Digital


5 Budget-Friendly Ways to Remodel a Bathroom

Is your bathroom looking a little outdated? Although we all love to drool over images of gorgeous designer bathrooms, we may not have the budget to go all-out when the time comes to spruce up our own washrooms. Fortunately, giving your bathroom a new look doesn’t require a complete overhaul. Take a look at some ideas for remodeling that will help revive your bathroom without breaking the bank.

1. Paint

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a bathroom in need of an upgrade.  By choosing a completely different color palette, you can even make your old space feel like new. Whether you decide to play it safe or go bold, be sure that you use mold-proof paint. Because of the humidity, mold is the most common issue in every bathroom. You can also use new paint to refresh your dated bathroom cabinets. In addition to painting the bathroom, re-caulk the lines around the tub and sink and clean the grout between your tiles. This will make look your bathroom extra “fresh”!

2. Tile

Remodeling a bathroom often means replacing old tile with expensive new tile that looks gorgeous. But if you want to cut your budget, cutting the expensive tile is your first step.  Consider limiting the amount of tile in your bathroom by focusing on high-impact areas such as the floor and use a larger tile size and simple patterns first. Another alternative is to save by designing a “rug” with just a few square feet of something fancy and eye catching, and using large-format field tiles in a coordinating stone around it.

3. Countertops

If you have a limited amount of counter space, you won’t break the bank by installing granite or other solid-surface counters.  To save even more, consider looking at various color choices and slabs with imperfections. Consider alternative colors that will still look nice, but that you hadn’t previously considered.

4. Fixture Updates 

If you don’t have the funds to spend on a custom vanity, don’t fret. A simple model can look one-of-a-kind with some pretty hardware. While these changes may seem small or insignificant, they can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your bathroom. Try a vintage or specialty store to find hardware that is unique.

5. Bathtub 

Once a bathtub is installed in a bathroom, getting it out is usually expensive. Although a new tub doesn’t have to be pricey the process of removing the old one, hiring a plumber to reattach the pipes and installing the new bathtub can add up to $3,000. If your bathtub is in good shape but its beauty has faded, consider refinishing. You can reglaze a bathtub to a like-new finish for $200 to $300 or hire a professional for $500-700 to get it looking as good as new.

5 Great Entertaining Features in a Home

Having a home that supports your activities makes all the difference in hosting an event which you can enjoy along with your family, friends, and guests. No matter the size of your home, introducing just a few easy elements can transform it into an entertaining haven.

Here are five key features that make a home ideal for entertaining:

  1. An Inviting Entryway

The entryway is the first impression your guests have of your home, so make it inviting and functional. No need to be over-the-top, but make sure it’s sizable enough to allow guests to enter comfortably and to remove their coats and shoes. If you have room add a lovely bench and have a coat rack readily available for guest.

  1. An Open Floor Plan

Over the past decade, an increasingly popular home trend has been an “open floor plan.” Essentially, this means an open space in the heart of your home, which creates a sense of togetherness throughout homes and make it easier to communicate. This open space gives plenty of room for guests to mingle, while not feeling closed off from any part of the party. If your house doesn’t have an open floorplan, don’t worry. Just clear out larger pieces of furniture, such as side tables, to make room for your guests.

  1. Multiple Seating areas

Entertaining is all about creating a comfortable space for guests to mingle and converse. The best entertainment environments maximize seating, creating large group and intimate seating arrangements for all types of conversations.Some guests may prefer to be in the center of all the action, while others may prefer a quieter area to catch up with friends. Having more than one space to entertain creates an atmosphere of easy interaction with a variety of choices. A living room with a grouping of couches and comfortable chairs is a perfect fit. A versatile dining area with neutral furnishings work well with all types of decorations, while extendable tables accomodate parties of all sizes.

  1. A Powder Room

While you may not notice this feature on a daily basis, a bathroom becomes noticeably important when entertaining! You can transform any half bath into a powder room by adding a small basket that holds lotion, hairspray or anything else someone may find themselves needing during a visit to your home. Powder rooms not only provide guests their own comfortable space, they’re wonderful opportunities to play around with decor by adding candles and special occasion hand towels or by using a bold wall color or artwork.

  1. Mood Lighting

Good lighting is everything when it comes to making a home feel inviting and cozy. Proper mood lighting is about making your guests feel comfortable while still being able to see each other. Play around with different types of lighting for adaptable levels of light and don’t forget to add candles for that extra coziness factor.



7 Ways to Make Your Home Brighter

The winter may bring darker and cloudier days ahead, but with the seven tips below you can make your home look brighter, more cheerful and inviting:

1 Take the Screens Off Your Windows

You’ll get 30% more sunlight shining indoors without screens on your windows.

Here’s the best part: Sunlight warms your room and saves you money on your heating bill. It’s solar power — for you!

Be sure to store your screens in your garage or basement where they won’t get damaged. In the spring you’ll want to put them back on so you can keep that 30% of the sun out and run your cooling system less.

2 Hang Outdoor String Lights Indoors

They don’t give off a lot of light, but they’re cheerful as heck.

Drape them around a window or a mantel, or hang a string of LED glimmer lights in a tall potted plant. They’ll add a layer of soft light to your room and remind you of fireflies, flip-flops, and patio parties.

3 Change Your Bulbs

Replace those incandescent bulbs and their yellowy light with LEDs, which produce a brighter, whiter light.

But get your bright right:

  • The higher the K rating on the bulb, the cooler and whiter its light.

  • For cool, white light, opt for a bulb rated 3,500K to 4,100K.

  • For blue-white light that’s closest to natural daylight, use a bulb between 5,000K and 6,500K.

4 Hang Mirrors

Make the most of that weak winter light by bouncing it around the room with mirrors.

If you don’t want the distraction of seeing your reflection all the time, use a large, convex one — also known as a fish-eye mirror. It will amplify light better than a flat one. Another option: Hang a gallery wall of small mirrors.

5 Replace Heavy Curtains With Blinds or Roman Shades

Fabric curtains, while quite insulating, block light and make a room feel smaller and more cramped, especially if they’re a dark color or have a large print.

Try Roman shades or a simple valance paired with blinds to let in the maximum amount of natural light.

6 Swap Your Solid Front Door for One With Glass Inserts

A solid front door can make your house look and feel as dark as a dungeon.

Get rid of it and install a half-light or full-light door that lets the natural light stream in. For even more natural light, add glass sidelights and a glass transom.

The median cost of a new door is $2,000 for steel and $2,500 for fiberglass, before any extras, but a new door will add curb appeal.

Curb appeal equals higher resale value. And coming home in the evening to the warm glow of light radiating out the glass panels in your front door is an instant mood lifter.

7 Add Plants

Putting pots of plants around your room will remind you that spring and green will return.

Match plants to the amount of light you have, because dead and dying plants are depressing. Tropicals that thrive in indirect light are usually the best choice. If you have a sunny window you’ve got more plant options.

Bonus points for adding a plant that blooms in the winter, like a kaffir lily or anthurium.


Source: “HouseLogic.com, https://www.houselogic.com/remodel/remodeling-tips-advice/natural-light-indoors/

What to Do When Your Home Isn’t Selling

Have you tried to sell your house before and it just wouldn’t sell? Or maybe you are thinking of selling your home and this is your worst fear? Having a house that has seen minimal movement on the market is especially frustrating. If your home doesn’t sell it is time to take a step back, asses the situation and think about what the problem is. Ask yourself: why would  a buyer choose your home over all the other homes for sale?

Here are 6 things you can do:

1. Understand the Market

It’s important to have a good understanding about the real estate market. Consult with an experienced real estate agent that knows your area to determine the sales price. Don’t rely on your emotions and sweet memories to come up with a price. Instead price by comparing your house with other homes that are selling, sold or just went under contract. A key factor to selling a house is to know if the current market favor buyers or sellers. Perhaps things just aren’t moving quickly in the current market. If the market is hot, your agent should discuss with you the next options.

2. Price Your Home to Sell

Beyond the temperature of the market and your marketing efforts, the most likely factor when it comes to a lack of offers on a home is price. Properties sell when they are priced correctly. If the price is too high, you won’t get any offers and your home will sit on the market. Obviously you don’t just want to give away your house, but the value of your home is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

3. Pump up the Marketing and Advertising

If you have had a lot of showings with no offers, it is most likely a pricing issue. However if you are having very little activity,  it can be a pricing or marketing issue. Check if your house is being marketed on all the major websites and a combination of different marketing efforts are used. Four-color postcards to surrounding homes in the neighborhood, Open Houses on the weekends, virtual tours and and lots of photos are the bare minimum! You want to let everyone know that your house is on the market and what gem it is, so spread the message in person with your neighbors and online through websites and social media.

4. Take Many and Quality Photos

Speaking of marketing: a major factor in buyers’ decision to go look at a house is quality pictures. Too often there are photos out there with too much clutter, reflections of people in the mirror, open toilet lids and dark rooms. Unless you are a pro, don’t take pictures yourself. Hire a professional photographer instead who can shoot wide angles pictures with plenty of light showcasing your home’s best features.

5. Improve Your Home

It might not be what you want to hear, but maybe people aren’t buying because they don’t like what you are selling. It doesn’t have to be a total make-over and huge repairs, but often just a little touch up can improve the whole vibe of the house. Fresh paint (neutral colors) and a clean, decluttered home would be your best bet. If your house is vacant and you can afford staging, go for it!

6. Interview Other Real Estate Agents

If your agent isn’t responsive or doesn’t have a good explanation for why your property isn’t selling, then you might want to consider a new real estate agent. Search for experience in an agent not only by who has been in the business for many years, but also who has sold a lot of homes. Ask your family and friends with whom they have worked with and had good experience before and they might be able to give you referrals.


By: Patricia Madigan

5 Tips to Reduce Your Energy Bill During Holiday Season

It’s Christmas time and that means decorations and lights everywhere all over America. While it is fun to make your house light up, higher energy costs are not. If you want to have a cheaper and greener holiday season, try the following:

  1. Decorate with LED lights for the holidays

To keep your energy consumption in check this season, try LED or energy-efficient bulbs for the holidays. New LED holiday lights use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than older, incandescent lighting. Instead of using lights everywhere, go with wreaths, bows and lawn ornaments that don’t use energy instead. Make sure to always unplug your holiday lights before going to bed or leaving the house. Consider investing in a smart plug. Smart plugs monitor your energy usage and break it down into an easy report each month so that you know exactly how much energy your holiday decorations consume. Some smart plugs can also be programmed to run on a timer or manually from an app on your smart device.

  1. Use your Fireplace

If you have a fireplace, make use of it. Not only is it a great way to cut down on electricity, but it can also be an eco-friendly way to heat your home and it’s the perfect festive holiday accessory on top of that! Make sure to reduce heat loss, by keeping the fireplace damper closed when the fire isn’t burning and close doors that are leading into the room.  In order to use your fireplace efficiently, consider installing tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warmed air back into the room and purchase grates made of C-shaped metal tubes to draw cool room air into the fireplace and circulate warm air back into the room.

  1. Adjust the temperature

Adjust the thermostat at night. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save about 10 percent per year on your heating bills by turning your thermostat down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours. When you are home and awake, set your thermostat as low as is comfortable. When you are asleep or out of the house, keep your thermostat 7-10 degrees cooler than normal for eight hours and save around 10% a year on your utility bills. A programmable thermostat can make it easy to change your temperature as needed.

  1. Wear Warm clothes

One of the easiest ways to save on your heating bill is to bundle up with warm accessories. It’s sweater weather after all, so put on a cozy winter sweater and warm socks. Keep throw blankets on your couch, and add an area rug to insulate the floor. Use a warm comforter for your bed and buy flannel sheets.

  1. Use the sun for free heat

Don’t forget to take advantage of heat from the sun! Open the curtains on your south-facing windows during winter days to bring free heat into your home and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.



How to Clean Your Home in 5 Days

Every day we are getting closer and closer to Christmas and many of us plan to host a holiday gathering. While this should be a pleasant time to spend with family or friends, it also can lead to slight panic attacks especially when gifts aren’t bought yet and the house could need a makeover. Event though now is not the time for the “remodel you were planning to do beginning of the year”, giving the house a little pampering by decluttering and cleaning it goes a long way.

Follow the plan below which provides you with a clear schedule when to tackle which room and tasks that you can attack in 5 days prior to the festive event to make your house shine:

Plan Before You Clean

Before you even start cleaning anything you need to have a plan and a date! Pick a date for the event, put it in your calendar and notify the guests in advance. Once you have a plan you know when to start the cleaning process, because cleaning is like the San Francisco bridge: once you are finished with painting the whole bridge, you have to start all over again. So don’t start cleaning too early (unless you love doing it all over again, then feel free to do so!).

Stock up on supplies: for the before and after cleaning, the actual party and possible overnight guests: garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, basic toiletries.

Don’t forget to ask for help before or during the event: this could be your partner, kids or a good friend. They can help organize, clean, greet the guests, create a playlist with some good tunes or make sure that everyone always has something to drink. Depending on the size of the event you might consider hiring a bartender for the party.

Let the countdown to a clean home begin!

Clean 5 Areas in 5 Days

There’s no sense in start cleaning too early. Wait until the actual week of the event, assign tasks to family members and get going with day one:

Day 1: Start with the porch, foyer, entryway and central closets.

  1. Organize clutter and clean up. Keep entry points of your home clear and easy to navigate for guests if they need storage.

  2. Wipe down the door, windows, light fixtures and doorknobs.

  3. Vacuum or sweep, mop if needed.

Day 2: Next clean up bedrooms, hallways and staircases.

  1. Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents and all the spots that usually get ignored.

  2. Wipe down doorways and furniture

  3. Vacuum the floor (always vacuum after dusting)

  4. Lay out fresh linens and towels in the guest room.

Day 3: It’s time to clean the bathrooms guests will be using.

  1. Pull out all the towels and mats, run a load of laundry.

  2. Dust the light fixtures and vents.

  3. Clean the toilet, tub, shower and other hard bathroom surfaces.

  4. Wipe down doorways and cabinets.

  5. Clean the mirror.

  6. Vacuum or mop.

  7. Return freshly laundered towels and mats.

Day 4: Turn your attention to the living room and dining room.

  1. Declutter the space so that there’s plenty of room for guests

  2. Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures and vents.

  3. Wipe down doorways, the mantel, furniture, and cabinet exteriors.

  4. Vacuum the floor, furniture, and under the furniture.

Day 5: On the last day it’s time to focus on the kitchen.

  1. Dust the ceiling fan, light fixtures and vents.

  2. Clean stove, fridge and microwave.

  3. Wipe down the countertop, sink and cabinets.

  4. Clean the garbage can.

  5. Vacuum and/or mop the floor.

DONE! Congratulations! You finished all the prep-work, now it’s time to host your family and friends and remember: not every gathering goes perfectly. As long as your guests feel welcomed, your party will be great!

By: Patricia Madigan

5 Buying and Selling Tips Before You Relocate

Does your current job require you to move? There are many factors that influence a decision to relocate or not. The secret to a successful relocation is timing. Good timing takes some advanced planning to put you in control. Here are 5 more relocation tips to make your move a little less stressful.

1. Know The Market

Before you start seriously searching for a new home – or put your current home on the market – make sure you have a solid understanding of the housing market in your area. Is the market weighted toward buyers or sellers? Find multiple suitable options. You are less likely to find yourself in trouble if your purchase falls through when you price your old home fairly. Two extra months on the market because you did not want to lower the price means two months you’ll be paying double mortgages.

2. Plan and Strategize

Should you buy first, then sell – or vice versa? Both have their risks and rewards. Selling first makes getting a mortgage easier, but it also means you’ll need to find a temporary place to live. Buying first means moving will be easier, but it also skews your debt-to-income ratio,not to mention the difficulty of juggling two monthly house payments. When determining whether you should sell or buy first, think beyond “How can I make the move as easy as possible?” Instead ask: “Can I handle two mortgages? What if my home sells for less than its listing?” Whichever option you choose, make sure you are prepared to accept the consequences: having to store your stuff and rent temporarily, or undergoing the financial burdens of dual mortgages.

3. Shop For a Loan Before Looking at Houses

Before you even go out to look at houses, get pre-approved for financing first! That way you know exactly how much you are able to spend and won’t be disappointed later if you can’t afford the house you ended up loving.

4. Work Closely With Your Agent

Make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed on time for both closings. Work with an agent who has the knowledge and experience and will guide you through each process. Your agent will save you time and money and can refer you to the right lender, title and inspection company in order for you to have a smooth transition.

5. Contact The Aladin Group

Do you plan to relocate? Get in touch with us! The Aladin Group wants to help you, so don’t hesitate to call us under 480-359-6789 !

Damage-Free Decor Ideas For Your Home

You just moved into a new apartment and aren’t sure how to decorate your new space without damaging the walls and risking to lose the security deposit? Or maybe you are a homeowner and want to preserve the integrity of your space and reverting a space back to its original might be to costly or time-consuming for you? Luckily there are plenty of damage-free decorating options that will allow you to leave your (temporary) mark on your home. Here’s a list that will help you turn your house or apartment into a home, without causing damage:

Temporary Wallpaper

If you have dreams of an accent wall with popping color or patterns but don’t want to make a permanent change, consider purchasing temporary wallpaper.  This type of wallpaper peels off just as easily as it goes on. It’s an easy way to show off your personal style.


Another option for damage-free wall decoration are wall decals. The difference to wallpaper is that they won’t cover an entire surface area corner to corner, they are basically pieces. Wall decals come in a variety of designs from silhouettes, quotes, trees and much more. Kids’ rooms are great spaces to use decals because as children grow, their room decor will change with them. Decals are great because they give you flexibility and once you are moving to another apartment or are ready to sell your house – just peel that  lime green decal of the wall.


If you are looking to add more storage or having more space to add pictures, books and plants, stand-alone shelving units are a great option to add charm and utility to your home. Free-standing, affordable shelves or bookcases can be found in thrift stores, garage sales or any other furniture store.

String Lights

String lights are a wonderful tool to decorate. When you think of the word ambience, this is what they mean, so don’t feel like these are limited to use during Christmas or in college dorms. When added to an existing piece, these lights can soften the most utilitarian space into a glowing place to rest. If possible, opt for battery-operated lights as they allow for more freedom in the placement.

Washi Tape

If you are stationery geek you already know what I’m talking about. If not, it’s basically glamorous masking tape and it comes in so many designs that you’ll lose your mind. Washi tape is inexpensive and available at most craft stores or online.  Most importantly Washi tape is damage free and easily removable. But besides not damaging your walls, it also won’t damage what you are hanging. A quick Google Image search reveals all the creative ways people have used washi tape for decorating.

Command strips

No matter if you plan to hang up pictures or lights or tapestries: command strips are your best friend! They can do everything from hang curtain rods to organizing an entryway with hooks and shelves to hold keys, bags, coats and mail. All this without holes in your drywall!

Use the space you have, add colorful pillows or rugs, stack books vertically to use them under a lamp or as a side table and add flowers or small plants in your home.

By: Patricia Madigan

Allergies During The Holiday Season?

There’s plenty to love about having a live Christmas tree in your home. They’re better for the environment than artificial trees and they give your home that pine-fresh scent. Unfortunately you aren’t the only one who loves the scent of freshly-cut balsam for the holidays. Christmas trees often harbor hazardous allergens that can greatly reduce the quality of air in your home and cause allergic reactions for you and your loved ones.

If you and your family have been coughing and sneezing nonstop since putting up your tree, you might be experiencing Christmas tree syndrome — an actual allergic reaction to mold spores that piggyback on live trees. The reaction is upper respiratory in nature, and sometimes quite severe. It’s hard to believe a beautifully trimmed tree that fills could make your family sick, but it’s not a totally uncommon occurrence.

Although Christmas trees do not produce pollen in the winter, mold, dust, pollen and other allergen spores that have collected on the tree while in the field or on the sales lot can cause allergic reactions. A 2011 study performed by staff at the SUNY Upstate Medical University and published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that a small sample of Christmas trees carried about 50 types of mold which can multiply rapidly in the cozy warmth of your living room, two-thirds of which could cause hay fever-like symptoms.

Here are a few tips to help you cut the Christmas mold level in your home, without giving up the tree:

1. Have your real tree, but don’t bring it inside right away. Wash your tree first with the garden hose. Set the nozzle for a hard spray to get into all those little nooks and crannies on the trunk. Wipe the trunk thoroughly with a solution of warm water and bleach (1 part bleach to 20 parts water) and let it dry in the sun before bringing it in your house.

2. The longer the tree is in your home, the higher the mold level. If those in your household are prone to mold allergy reaction, but don’t want to give up the Christmas tree, put the tree up Christmas Eve and take it down on New Year’s Day. Try to only keep a live tree in your home 4-7 days max.

3. Store all of your Christmas ornaments and decorations in plastic containers (instead of cardboard ones) to keep the dust off them.

4. Run an air purifier in the same room as the live tree. Cleaner air is key during the holidays and in order to reduce your mold exposure and lessen the effects of your tree allergies.

5. Buy an artificial tree: unless you store it in a sealed plastic bag, it will still need a good shaking outside when it’s brought out of storage each year to relieve it of dust.

Other indoor air toxins are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Especially during holiday season candles create a festive atmosphere. However, candles that are made out of paraffin are most likely to emit carcinogenic soot and particulate matter and can aggravate asthma symptoms. If you still want that ‘pumpkin pie’ scent in your home, buy natural candle alternatives that are made with vegetable/based wax and cotton wicks. Trip wicks to one-eighth of an inch and avoid burning candles in drafty areas.

For more information about indoor air quality and allergies click here and here .