Mar 16

7 things you should do when moving into a new home to improve energy efficiency

A blog article I wrote as a guest blogger representing RenovationFind, published on the Liv Real Estate Blog.

7 things you should do when moving into a new home to improve energy efficiency

Energy, Light Bulb, Efficiency.

Congratulations on your new home! Now that you’re all moved in, there are some things you can do to improve your home’s efficiency, save energy and save money on your monthly bills.

1. Inspect your windows and doors for leaks.

Your windows are the main culprit for energy loss in your home. Check all the seals on your windows and doors and install new weather stripping and caulking if needed. If your window frames are noticeably damaged or warped or if they are older windows, you should consider installing new energy efficient windows. Edmonton’s best window companies provide high quality products that will improve your home’s efficiency.

2. Check for dripping faucets and running toilets.

Do a walk-through and check out all of your plumbing looking for leaks. Even though something like a leaky faucet might only seem like a few drops of water, it can accumulate to a lot of water waste and a big utility bill over a short period of time. In fact, if there is a drip every two seconds; it is calculated that there are 30 drips per minute and 43,200 drips per day. That’s about 2 gallons of water wasted each day! Learn how to fix a leaky faucet or contact  the best plumbers in Edmonton to assist with needed repairs.

3. Swap out incandescent bulbs for LED light bulbs.

Though the initial cost of LED lightbulbs is more than regular bulbs, they will save you money in the long run. They run much longer, burn on way less energy and provide the same amount of light as incandescent light bulbs. Find LED lights and other energy saving products in Edmonton.

4. Inspect the attic insulation.

If you’ve purchased an older home, chances are you’ve inherited a few inches of newspaper-like or woodchip insulation in your attic. These materials have an R value of 4 to 8 and your R value should be at least R50. If you find Vermiculite or Zonolite insulation in your attic you will have to have it removed as it contains asbestos, which is hazardous to your health. If you’re not sure, have a professional insulation contractor inspect it for you.

If you have the harmless and virtually useless woodchip or newspaper-type insulation, Edmonton’s best insulation contractors can blow new, environmentally friendly, highly-efficient insulation right over top of it. Improving your R-value from 4 to 50 is well worth the investment.

5. Turn down your hot water heater.

Most homeowners leave their hot water heater blasting on high without even realizing it. That means it’s constantly running to keep stored water at temperatures higher than you need them to be. Turn it down to 55 degrees Celsius. You’ll barely notice that it’s been lowered and you’ll notice savings on your energy bill.

6. Purchase energy efficient appliances.

In most cases, homes are sold with appliances. If appliances were not included in the purchase of the home or the ones you got desperately need to be replaced, consider investing in high efficiency appliances. Appliance retail stores in Edmonton will carry the latest in energy efficient products and you’ll find that the cost has come down over the years. Plus, it will last for decades and your energy savings will really add up!

7. Program your thermostat.

Installing a programmable thermostat allows you to change the temperature in your home automatically. You can set the temperature lower when you leave the house for work or at night when you are sleeping, then have the thermostat turn up the heat for times when you are actively using your home. Set it, forget it and start saving energy.

Getting started on your energy efficiency projects

Some of these suggestions require minimal work or cost and can really extend your energy savings. If you’re not sure where to start, browse the free online directory on The home renovation companies on this website have been put through a stringent screening process and have received accreditation. This ensures the company you hire for your home improvement projects are trustworthy, credible and will provide quality workmanship, products and service. Visit

Feb 02

Blog Articles for Riverbend Cleaners

I have written two blog articles for Riverbend Cleaners in Edmonton, Alberta.  You can learn more about Riverbend Cleaners at

Restoring, Cleaning & Caring for Vintage Clothing & Bridal Wear

Vintage clothing and bridal wear can be treasures.  Whether it is something you found in the corner of a vintage shop or a family heirloom that has passed on for generations, both are unique and require equally unique care, quality cleaning and sometimes repair to ensure they last for years to come.  Here are some tips for restoring or caring for your vintage garments.  Read more…

Beautiful Vintage Bride. Wedding. Just Married

Caring for your High End Garments

Acquiring a wardrobe of high end clothing is not an inexpensive endeavor.  You’ve invested in quality and you want to make sure your items last for years to come…and they can!  Properly cleaning and caring for your high end garments is essential to keeping them looking like new and extending their life span.  Read more…

Jan 04

Landmark Edmonton Hotel on Social Media


Located in the heart of downtown Edmonton, the Chateau Lacombe Hotel is an iconic landmark hotel offering spectacular panoramic views of the North Saskatchewan River valley. A preferred choice for business travellers and a favourite destination for visitors from around the world.

I have had the privilege of managing their social media for the Chateau Lacombe Hotel and the iconic La Ronde Revolving Restaurant on all platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Join the fun and the conversation here:


Jan 04

Web Development & Content

I recently helped an Edmonton psychologist by developing her website, including writing and editing all content, using the WordPress content management system.

You can view the completed website here.

Doris Ryan Web screen

I believe that each of us can achieve emotional healing and wellness as well as have an amazing life by changing our minds about our blocks to health and love.   As your Psychologist, I am committed to guiding you through this process through active listening, positive affirmation, setting realistic goals and finding positive solutions.  I work with teens, adults, families, couples and seniors using a variety of methodologies tailored to meet your specific needs.

Oct 16

Web Content for Alberta Family Podiatry

Alberta Family Podiatry offers foot care and treatment solutions including foot surgery, diabetic foot care, foot clinic procedures and custom orthotics in Calgary, Alberta.  I created web content for their website including a very education-focused section on common foot problems and treatment options.

Web content was written for search engine optimization, including headers, titles, meta tags, meta description with proper images and linking.

Here are some samples from that website:


Alberta Family Podiatry is dedicated to creating a welcoming atmosphere, comfortable experience and providing quality services for patients seeking a foot and ankle care in Calgary.  Our podiatrist Dr. Fitzner and support staff know that every foot is unique and are focused on individual patient care.  We will educate you on your foot condition, proper foot care and your options for treatment and podiatry services… more.

Custom Orthotics

Orthotics are devices placed in your shoes to help improve foot and leg alignment, and/or cushion pressure areas of the feet.  Foot alignment is very important for healthy foot function and the natural balance of your body… more.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is caused from a variety of problems that affect the way the Plantar Fascia functions.

Several factors can trigger Plantar Fasciitis which including:

– High impact activities
– Moderate to severe weight gain
– Improper footwear

The thing to remember is that these are potential triggers, not typically causes on their own.  It is the way that our feet respond to these stresses that cause Plantar Fasciitis. When we walk and stand, the Plantar Fascia tightens to help hold up our arch and pulls on our great toe joint to prepare it to bend as we roll forward on our toes….read more.


Oct 16

Web Content for Canterbury Foundation

It was my pleasure to work with Canterbury Foundation by developing and editing web content for their new website:  My Grandad lived the last 8 years of his life at Canterbury and I have personally seen how they improve the quality of life for seniors in Edmonton.

Here is a sampling from the website: 

Welcome to Canterbury!

Canterbury Foundation has given the “Promise of Home” to Edmonton seniors for over 40 years.  We offer three retirement living options, a variety of healthcare services, recreational programs and a wide range of amenities.   All of these things contribute to providing a home where Edmonton seniors can experience a high quality of life, feel comfortable, safe and part of a vibrant community.

Our three seniors’ accommodation options allow a seamless continuum of care, so residents can stay in a familiar environment and age-in-place as their needs for support and assistance change.  We are proud to be a preferred choice for seniors’ housing and care and are strengthening our position to offer enhanced facilities, services and amenities to meet the increasing demands of a growing senior’s population.

Residents of Canterbury will benefit from meal services, housekeeping, laundry services, around-the-clock Registered Nurse availability as well as a wide range of recreational programs and activities to meet their social, mental and physical needs.  In addition to the high-quality independent living, assisted living and supportive living options, plus services and care; the staff team at Canterbury is passionate about their work, the residents they serve and enhancing the quality of life for seniors in their community.

Welcome to Canterbury.  We look forward to sharing with you the “Promise of Home”.

Canterbury Newsletters

I also assist with developing copy and content for the Canterbury Newsletter and editing their Year-in-Review documents.  You can find samples of those here:

Year in Review


Canterbury Social Media

I manage social media marketing for Canterbury Foundation.  Currently they have an active Facebook and Google+ page.  Here I am able to interact with family members of Canterbury residents, supporters, community members, staff and organizations that serve seniors in Edmonton and Canada.

I have developed and will be implementing a 5-week Facebook campaign leading up to Giving Tuesday on December 1st.  This campaign will share success stories of how donations of time and money have improved the life of residents, give recognition to Canterbury’s supporters and recruit future volunteers and donors.

Aug 10

Royal Oaks Video

Welcome to Royal Oaks!

This is a promotional video for the Royal Oaks development and their new showhome in Leduc County, Alberta.

Writer/Director:  Amy Hancock

Camera Operator/Producer:  James Cadden

“Discover a natural retreat, luxury living and a welcoming community at Royal Oaks, just 5 minutes south of Edmonton, Alberta! Watch to view the neighbourhood and our latest executive lifestyle show home.”

Jun 02

Website for South Cariboo Counselling

I recently worked on a website for South Cariboo Counselling, located in 100 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch, BC.  This project included administering web hosting and domain registration, choose and editing a WordPress template, creating all menus, pages and content.

Have a look here:

Website for South Cariboo Counselling

Jun 02

Sunset at Laurel Point

Blog article written for The Admiral Inn

The Admiral Inn is located in downtown Victoria, on the Inner Harbour just a few blocks away from Victoria’s key attractions. Walk along the harbour towards the Fairmont Empress Hotel and you’ll pass by the BC Parliament building and grounds, the Royal BC Museum, and all the activities happening in the harbour. That path will also take you to Thunderbird Park and the wonderful shopping and dining areas that make downtown Victoria such a vibrant place to be.

Walk in the opposite direction and you’ll be standing on Laurel Point. The Laurel Point path leads directly from our doorstep and goes around the historic point towards Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a short but very beautiful walk. You will see luxury yachts, tour boats and even float planes as they come and go from the Victoria Inner Harbour. It’s also one of the best places walking distance from the Admiral Inn to watch the sunset.


Laurel Point has an interesting history as well. Located right at the entrance of Victoria’s Inner Harbur, the peninsula has always been a welcoming point for watercraft and passersby. In fact, the First Nations of the area used this very site for potlatch ceremonies hundreds of years ago. It was once called Dead Man’s Point and it was a gravesite where many Songhees chiefs were buried.

The photo below is from shows wooden figures in protective shelters surrounded by arbutus trees.  Unfortunately, like all First Nations gravesites in central Victoria, this one was vandalized and looted by settlers and quickly disappeared.

Enjoy this special area and take the time to sit on one of the many benches along the Laurel Point path and watch the sun sink beneath the land on the other side of the channel. A variety of bird life will add to the show of nature as yellow, orange and pink shoot across the sky and reflect on the calm evening water. It’s a relaxing and beautiful way to end your busy day in Victoria. The view is just as pretty on your walk back to the Admiral Inn!


If you want to check it out during the day you can walk along the If you walk along the Laurel point path all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf in about 15 minutes from the Admiral Inn. This place is a very unique marine destination and unique to Victoria, BC. Come during the day when all the excitement is happening and you’ll find yummy restaurants, food kiosks, unique shops, eco-tour adventures and some curious harbour seals too! Wander down the docks with an ice cream cone and check out the cool float homes. Walk further and buy fresh fish right off the dock from a commercial fishing vessel.


Apr 08

Why Consumer Reviews Can’t be Trusted

Blog post written for

Word of mouth has always been the most effective marketing tool. We are more likely to purchase a product or service if it has come highly recommended by someone we know and trust. The online world has taken hold of that word of mouth strategy and businesses are leveraging online reviews from consumers to increase their bottom line. It’s reassuring when we read multiple positive reviews about a company we’re about to invest in, but how many of these reviews are legitimate? Which online reviews can we really trust?

Reality of Fake Online Reviews

A search engine company called BrightLocal conducted a Local Consumer Review Study and concluded that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. The study showed that 9 out of 10 consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of local business and 39% of those do so regularly. This proves the importance of online reviews in purchasing decisions.

Businesses see online reviews as a gold mine. It’s obvious that increased online ratings equal increased sales for any business. Businesses know this…even the bad businesses. The truth is that businesses generate fake reviews. In fact, we have seen job postings for freelance writers to write positive reviews for a business and even negative reviews for their competitors. Freelancer posting sites like is full of advertisements offering to write online reviews. Ad postings on Craigslist show businesses offering to pay $10 a review for willing applicants.

Study finds 50% of consumer reviews are fake on home reno review site

TrustedPros, a home renovation directory and review site, has discovered and published the fact that in some Canadian cities nearly 50% of renovation companies on their site were posting fake reviews. The culprits at the top of the list were moving companies with 63% posting fake reviews. Close behind are floor refinishers, duct cleaning companies, locksmiths and commercial contractors.  Read more about their findings.

TrustedPros stated that they reject 30% of all reviews that come in because they didn’t pass their validation method and were deemed as deceptive or fake. They have a checklist of suspicions that is gone through with each review and technologies exists that run reviews through an algorithm that checks IP addresses and certain key words believed to be used in fake reviews.

If the manual procedures and technology exists to FIND fake reviews, don’t you think those fraudsters are using the same technology to get their review passed the system?

Some businesses are not so bold as to hire someone to post fake reviews. Some use little manipulation tools to encourage consumers to rave about them online. A common practice would be to offer incentives like gift cards or free products if customers will write positive reviews for them. Most people would write a positive review in exchange for a free tablet or dinner for two at a fancy restaurant.

It works in reverse as well. A company that gets a terrible review will suffer major consequences. Some businesses plant fake bad reviews against their competitors. Whether they’re paying someone to do it or doing it themselves, it happens and it happens often. Read this story where a business found out that the same negative reviews were copied and pasted on Google Reviews for his competitors as well! So can you trust that the negative reviews are truthful either?

There is a clever website called  Developed by Cornell University, this site allows you to put in the review and it will be able to tell you whether it is fake or real.

Finding Companies you can Trust on is NOT a review site. We do accept consumer reviews on the companies listed in our directory but we do not share them. Consumer complaints are monitored. We investigate and validate the legitimacy of the complaint. If companies on our site do not maintain a high-level of customer satisfaction and do not uphold our other stringent accreditation standards then they are removed.

The companies on our directory have all been through a background check. We use a third party organization to complete legal and financial background checks and we continue to monitor their legal situation and credit to ensure they are still meeting our standards.

We also check their business license, insurance, provincial worker’s compensation coverage and whether they are a member of the Better Business Bureau. All of these efforts ensure that the businesses listed on are trustworthy, good companies that offer high-quality products, services and exceptional customer service.

When you find a renovation company on you can consider it a personal, unbiased and truthful personal recommendation from us to you


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