6 Houseplants Anyone Can Keep Alive

watering houseplants

You have probably noticed that houseplants are making a major comeback right now. Through this pandemic, we have all endured some stressful times. As people have been spending more time at home, a lot of us have turned to houseplants to bring some calming nature inside. If you have been tempted to pick up some plants but aren’t sure if you have the time or know-how to keep them alive, we have some suggestions for some of our favorite plants that anyone can keep alive. If you have small children or curious pets, be aware that most houseplants are toxic if consumed—artificial plants may be better for your household in that case.

SNAKE PLANT

The snake plant, or sansevieria, is one of the most tolerant plants in existence. Known for its air-purifying capabilities, there are over 70 varieties and they can adapt to many different atmospheres. Even if your home has low-light and you constantly forget to water your snake plants, it will forgive you and keep growing on. If you have bright light in your home, you can expect your snake plant to grow much more rapidly.

POTHOS

One of the many varieties of pothos will be a great beginner plant. It tolerates low-light but will thrive in medium or high light situations. The pothos will look beautiful in a hanging basket or even as a trailing centerpiece on your dining table.

IVY

Like the snake plant, the varieties of ivy are known for their air-purifying effects and can even help with mold spore issues in the home. While ivy will be content in low-light situations for a while, they prefer medium to high light to thrive. The ivy will forgive you for forgetting to water it now and again but be careful to not overwater it or it will turn brown and crispy on the leaves.

ZZ PLANT

The ZZ plant, or Zamioculcas zamiifolia, is a highly tolerant plant that is perfect for practically any situation. You can even grow a ZZ plant in your office under fluorescent lights. With beautiful waxy leaves, the ZZ plant is prepared to survive drought and low light situations. You can’t go wrong with this hardy plant.

SPIDER PLANT

These plants will grow best in bright light but will tolerate any low or medium-light areas in the home. This plant has long cascading leaves that will look beautiful in a hanging basket while offering you air purification capabilities.

PEACE LILY

You have probably seen the peace lily featured in interior decorating magazines or television shows. The big, green leaves and gorgeous flowers are known for their beauty and tolerance. A talkative plant that will let you know when it needs water with some drooping. But as soon as you give it water, it will perk right back up. They tolerate many light situations and is another great option for the office under fluorescent lights.

We hope these suggestions help you delve into the houseplant world. We’d love for you to stop by our Facebook page and share with us your favorite, low-maintenance houseplants.

If you have a move coming up, be sure to give Zippy Shell a call for a free, no-obligation estimate.

7 Fun Tips for a Long-Distance Road Trip

road trip

As 2020 vacation plans were canceled across the country, many have turned to the good old-fashioned road trip to get away even if just for a few days. Whether you are traveling for a quick overnight trip or for a longer period of time, it’s important to make the drive part of the experience!. Keep reading for tips to make your long-distance road trip fun for everyone involved.

  1. Take lots of photos. Road trips can be filled with the wackiest of memories. Either with your phone or your fancy camera, document everything. From each state line sign, you pass to the wacky roadside taco stand you find, to the beautiful pull-off view that you stumbled upon by accident, taking photos will help you to remember it all.
  2. Listen to a podcast or an audiobook. This is the perfect way for everyone in the car to stay entertained together in a group activity, even the driver! If it is an especially long trip, have everyone in the car download a podcast or audiobook that they want to share prior to sendoff. It will be fun and eye-opening to listen to what your family members or friends pick out. Don’t forget to have a group discussion about the content after you finish, that’s the best part!
  3. Along the same lines, it can be fun to learn a new language as a family. There are plenty of apps or even CDs that you can play for the entire car to learn something new.
  4. Bring a frisbee, football, or soccer ball to burn off some energy when you make your pit stops. You can also get your blood pumping with stretches, jumping jacks, or burpees. Use an app like iExit or Playground Buddy to make the most out of your stops.
  5. Be flexible. Of course, you will want to plan your final destination, overnight stops, and must-see attractions along the way. But you should also leave time for spontaneity. If a weird sign or billboard piques your interest, why not see where it leads? Stopping at random places along the way will add to the memories.
  6. Have a road trip picnic. The temptation to grab a snack or a bag of candy at every gas station, as well as to eat out at restaurants or pick up fast food, can really add to the cost of your trip. It can also add to your waistline! So load up on snacks, drinks, and even premade portable meals before you leave. Find a rest stop or scenic pull off to stop at and eat along the way. The Roadtrippers app can help you find the perfect spot.
  7. Bring car activities like art supplies, decks of cards, or magnetic games for the kids. Or make up a scavenger hunt with items on the list they can cross off when spotted.

Road trips can be unpredictable, so don’t forget to laugh at even the messy moments along the way! Take a break from “real life” and enjoy each moment on your road trip to the fullest with those you love. And if you find your road trip destination becomes a new moving destination, keep Zippy Shell in mind! 

4 Fun Apps to Explore the Outdoors

Two people hiking

Love the outdoors? Want to be outside, but moving to a new area of the country and you aren’t sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with a few apps that will help you find amazing outdoor adventures no matter where you are! Please note that, as with all apps, some are free, some have upgrades and some have “in-app” purchases.

AllTrails: If you love hiking, then check out this app, which taps into the location services on your phone to serve up trails near you. There are several great features about AllTrails, including both curated and user-generated information about the difficulty, length, and quality of trails. The app also provides nifty tidbits such as if dogs are allowed on the trail or if the trail is well-marked. It also can log your distance so you can share with the community.

Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder: If you are looking for parks in your new city or maybe for park stopovers while driving across the country, Oh, Ranger is a great place to start. With your location services enabled, you can search for both parks and things to do near you while you are traveling. The app serves up a map with nearby parks listed and offers information like what amenities the park has, whether pets are accepted if there is camping and more. Several filters are available for the search results, too, to ensure you only see the types of parks and activities right for you.

Recreation.gov: Interested in camping near your new location? The Recreation.gov app searches all the federal lands near where you are and allows you to make reservations directly from your phone.

AllStays Camp and Tent: Yet another convenient app for locating camping spots is AllStays. AllStays shows you a variety of spots near where you are, links you to the sites and provides user-generated reviews, as well. The app includes very detailed maps, as well, so if you are interested in boondocking or going off the beaten path, you’ll likely find your spot.

Whether you are looking for city and county greenspaces or off-the-beaten-path parks and camping, your new area has a lot to offer – you just need to find it! Load up your phone with some apps and start exploring your new home.

7 Activities to Do When the Summer Heat Is Too Hot

As Summer is coming to a close, you may have had enough of the heat. Have fun while staying indoors with some of these activities!

See a movie

Avoid the spoilers by being one of the first to watch a new film! Watching a movie at a movie theater can be a fun activity for date night, a family activity, or an outing with friends. Sitting on your couch watching a movie doesn’t compare to the movie theater experience, not to mention the movie theater popcorn!

Do crafts

There are plenty of locations that offer crafting classes for your kids and you as well! Attend a local kid-friendly crafting class where you can create art with your child. You can also go purchase art supplies and create something from home as well. Often times, you won’t even need to buy supplies; the materials you have at home can be pieced together into a fun craft. For an evening craft activity, check out a wine and painting class closest to you.

Go ice skating

Many people may forget that ice skating rinks are open in the summer! This makes it the perfect opportunity to go because you will not have to worry about dealing with a crowd!

Go bowling

Bowling is the perfect, inexpensive activity to do for some fun out of the house. People of all ages can have fun bowling so make the most of it!

Go to the aquarium

The aquarium is the perfect balance of fun and education for your kids. They get to learn about various sea creatures, all while having fun doing it! Plus, you get to have some quality bonding time with your children while you all have fun.

Play board games

Don’t spend a dime by staying in for game night. Play any of your favorite games for a whole night of fun. Turn it into family bonding time or invite a few friends over for some food and fun.

Tidy up your home

If you are really this bored, use some of your free time to clean your house. Although it may not be one of the most fun activities, you will feel very productive and clear of mind afterward. Start with easy locations such as your closet or kitchen with these simple tips!

Easter Brunch Tips

Easter can be a stressful day to prepare for, so use these tips to enjoy the holiday brunch as best as possible!

Drinks

Start off brunch with some yummy cocktails for the adults.  A couple Easter favorites include:

  • 1-part Jack Honey and 1-part grapefruit juice
  • Wine spritzer filled with 1-part chilled wine, and 1-part club soda then top it with any fruit of your choice
  • Classic mimosa with 2 parts orange juice, 2 parts champagne, and 1-part triple sec (use a different fruit juice if you want to mix up the flavor from an original mimosa)
  • Kid-friendly peachy juice: 2 grapefruits, one slice of melon, and one peach all blended until smooth

Brunch

Easter brunch naturally must include eggs in the meal!

  • Eggs in a basket: Cut out a hole in a piece of bread and fry an egg in the middle of it on a pan.  Sprinkle it with salt, pepper, and or cheese.
  • Breakfast potatoes: Dice your potatoes and cook them in a tablespoon of olive oil on an iron skillet.  Once they are nice and golden brown, add finely chopped bacon.  After this cooks as well, top it off with a clove of garlic and parsley.
  • Ham muffins: Insert individual slices of ham into a muffin tray.  Fill the ham with a single egg, topped with salt, pepper, and chives.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Winter Activities for the Whole Family

Whether you are trying to stay warm inside or enjoy the snow outdoors, here are just a few activities your family can partake in this winter.

Go snow tubing
Visit your local ski resort to go snow tubing. The whole family can enjoy this thrilling snow activity without the risk or skill required for snowboarding or skiing.

Play board games
If it is too cold and windy outdoors, have a family game night indoors with your favorite board games!

Go bowling
Enjoy a day or evening at the bowling alley as a fun way to enjoy a cold winter day.

Go ice skating
Enjoy a fun winter activity that doesn’t require the weather to be a nice winter day at the ice rink!

Sledding
Once the snow falls, go enjoy a day of sledding outside. Make sure to stay safe and have fun!

Bake cookies
In order to stay warm from the cold outdoors, bake your favorite treats during this holiday season. Cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and more! You can even try making some homemade hot chocolate.

Arts and crafts
Enjoy some time inside by making snowflakes, snowmen, and other winter characters out of paper or cardboard.

Happy Holidays!

Fall Activities

Try out one of these activities with the whole family on a nice fall day!

Apple picking

Go apple picking to get some of the freshest apples of the season.  Once you have all your apples at home, use them in a classic fall recipe, such as candy apples or apple pie.

Have a bonfire

Build a bonfire in your very own backyard using a fire pit or a safely dug out hole surrounded by stones or bricks.  Roast marshmallows or cook hot dogs and enjoy a cool night.

Hiking

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from getting outside and exercising.  Enjoy the crisp fall air with a nice hike at your local hiking trail.

Hayride

Hayrides can be a fun fall activity for anyone to enjoy.  Take your kids out for a fun day or have a date night with your significant other.

Make a holiday decoration

Using fallen leaves from your backyard you can create your very own holiday decoration.  Attach them to a circular ring to create a festive fall wreath to hang on your front door!

Go to a football game

Tailgate at your favorite football team’s game with friends then enjoy cheering them on at the game!

Make sangria

Spice up your typical sangria with cinnamon, apple slices, and/or caramel to turn your normal sangria into a festive drink!

Drive through fall leaves

As the leaves are changing color, go get a sight of them before they fall.  Take a drive down any local road that is full of large trees to get to see the beautiful fall leaves.

Activities to do in Atlanta

Moving into the Atlanta area?  You need to try out some of these activities to get to know your city a little better!
Atlanta Braves Game
Everyone can enjoy a baseball game with friends or family.  Go watch a game to support your new home team!
Fernbank Museum of Natural History
Learn about all the different aspects of history including dinosaurs, cultures, hands-on science adventures and more!
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
Learn all about the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. and his leadership in the civil rights movement.
Piedmont Park
Enjoy a nice walk through a forest while staying within your city.  Sightsee, get some exercise, take your dog to the dog park, get local produce at the farmer’s market and more!
Six Flags Over Georgia
Channel your inner adventurer with dozens of rides including roller coasters, water rides, and rides for the kids too!
The Shops Buckhead Atlanta
Shop at over 60 designer stores and boutiques for all the latest new trends.
Zoo Atlanta
Visit for activities such as learning about the animals and their conservation efforts, zoo yoga, treetop climbing trails, and more!
Atlanta Nightlife
Check out all the fun festivities Atlanta has to offer at night.  This includes restaurants, bars, concerts, and so much more.

Fun Activities for a Rainy Day

With all this rain we have been getting this summer, try out one of these activities with the whole family on a rainy day.

Build a blanket fort

Use sofa cushions, pillows, chairs, and blankets to make a big fort for everyone to play in.

Visit the library

Get a few good books to read to learn about something new or read an interesting story.

Game night

Play cards games, board games and more to pass the time.

Make a mini movie theater

Grab some popcorn, a lot of blankets, and pick out some of your favorite movies to watch together.

Bake

Baking is a fun activity to do with everyone, plus you get to enjoy a sweet treat at the end!

Perform a play

Odds are that your kids would love to create and perform a skit for you.  Don’t forget to take pictures!

Make art

Whether it is coloring or painting, set up an art station for your kids to create masterpieces.

Indoor scavenger hunt

Make a list of items that can be found throughout the house and have your kids see who can find the most!

Photo albums

Whether you are making a photo album of current times, or looking through old ones, both will be enjoyable.

7 Essential Grilling Tips You Need to Know

1. Clean your grill

Before even starting to grill anything, you must make sure your grill is clean. Scrub the grill grates with a grill brush to remove any leftover debris. Make sure to clean out the grease tray too.

2. Marinate

Marinate what you are cooking. This simple step doesn’t require much time and will bring out the flavors in your food.

3. Keep it closed

It is very tempting to check on your food while it is cooking but try to avoid doing so. Opening the lid lets the heat escape which will make it take longer to cook as well as possibly dry out the meats.

4. Perfect burgers

When grilling burgers, make an indentation in the middle of the burgers with the back of a spoon. The center will rise as it cooks, allowing the burger to puff up perfectly.

5. Soak your skewers

If you’re making kabobs, soak your wooden skewers in water for an hour prior to grilling to prevent them from burning on the grill.

6. Tin foil

Wrap your food in tin foil when using a saucy marinade that you do not want dripping down into the grill. This will keep the flavors centered around the food and will allow the taste to be at its full potential. This also makes for an easy cleanup.

7. Remove from heat

The food will continue to cook briefly after removing it from the grill. Take your food off the grill slightly before it is cooked to perfection.