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Invest in a Happier Tomorrow

Invest in Your Lifestyle

Each week, we’ll teach you how to make improvements to your home, in your work life, or for your family as you reimagine happiness and a balanced life.

Lifestyle articles

taking a family portrait at home

How to Take a Great Family Portrait at Home

Getting that perfect holiday family portrait can be tricky even at the best of times. We’ve compiled a simple guide so that you can learn how to take a great family portrait without the fuss.
Family Meals

Meals for Under $10

In our new normal, your home is no longer just a home. It’s probably a restaurant now, too—serving every meal, every day. Hungry family members have taken the place of impatient customers, and they don’t tip nearly as well, either. So with your budget tightening and meal prep becoming more crucial than ever, how can you keep the whole family fed and happy without breaking the bank? We’ve prepared a menu of meal ideas that you can prepare for less than $10 for a family of four.

How To Cool Your Home Without AC

A 90 degree day can be great until it's time for bed. Sleeping in a hot home with no air conditioning can be taxing for even the heat-lovers among us. Try these 7 tips for cooling your home without a/c.
Person pouring grain from a jar into a bowl

Sweet treats without the sugar

Love it or hate, sugar can factor heavily in our diets through processed foods, sauces, fruits and even some veggies! Trying to cut down can be hard, especially if you have a sweet tooth. That midday craving for candy can play havoc on your health and leave you feeling slow and sluggish once the sugar high is over.
A lady in a grocery store

Get your grocery budget on track.

Do you feel like you spend too much on food? It’s easy to fall into familiar patterns when we’re meal planning and snacking, without taking into account what we’re spending to fill ourselves up—and how we could save. You don’t need to become a careful coupon clipper to find savings in the grocery store aisles.
woman in a living room reducing clutter on the coffee table

5-minute Decluttering Projects

Organize your home in small steps with our collection of simple, achievable decluttering projects. By carving out just 5 minutes a day you can tackle some of the smaller tasks that are often overlooked, leaving you feeling a little more organized at home!
building a terrarium

How to Make Your Own Terrarium

Terrariums are a great, low- cost way to add greenery to your home. And if you choose the right  plants, you can get away with forgetting to water them once in a while, making this the perfect greenery for those without a green thumb! 

In this article you’ll learn how to make your own terrarium, how to choose the right soil and plants for your terrarium and how to maintain your terrarium for years to come.
woman smelling flowers

Gardening in California

Depending on the time of year, your property’s micro-climate, and where you live in California, planting and tending a garden can be both enjoyable and rewarding. It’s also a chance to play in the dirt. Here are some tips for planning your garden in the Golden state. 
mom with child gardening

Gardening in the Pacific Northwest

Depending on the time of year, you’re property’s micro-climate, and where you live in the Pacific Northwest, planting and tending a garden can be both enjoyable and rewarding. It’s also a chance to play in the dirt. Here are some tips for planning your garden in Oregon and Washington. 
vegetable gardening

Vegetable and Herb Gardening 101

It seems easy enough. You plant some seeds into decent soil, give it some water and sunlight, and it grows. But, there’s a bit more to it than that if you want good results. We’ve put together some introductory tips to help start a vegetable and herb garden at your home.

A woman sleeping

Start getting a better night’s sleep 

For a few minutes, let’s forget about all of the external factors that keep you from getting a restful night of sleep. There is no shortage of outside influences—from fussy pets to stress at work—that can encroach on our down time and impede our sleep. There is no silver bullet solution that can deliver lasting and consistent results, but by focusing on a few key strategies that are under your control, you can start seeing fast improvement in your quality of sleep.
Smiling woman near waterfall

Friluftsliv - Outdoor Living

We all know that getting outside is great for the body and soul. That’s why in Norway, where the days can be short and the nights can be long, they have adopted a way of life that fully embraces the great outdoors.
outdoor movie watching

Build your backyard movie theater

You don’t have to venture out to enjoy the drive-in experience. You can do it at home. All you need is a backyard, an inexpensive projector, a Bluetooth speaker, snacks and friends. Here’s how to throw the perfect backyard movie night. 
woman shopping for wine

How to Pick the Right Bottle of Wine

Being an adult means you can buy a bottle of wine, pour yourself a glass and enjoy the fruits of a winemaker’s labor. But how do you choose the right wine at the grocery store or when you’re eating out? We have some quick and easy advice to help uncork this age-old mystery.

Smiling woman with headphones looking at a laptop computer

Protecting Your Eyes From Digital Screens

Technology plays a significant role in our daily lives. It has revolutionized the way we work, learn and communicate. We live in an era where advancements in technology are common and while it’s undeniable that these advancements have yielded many benefits for society, the impact has not been entirely positive.
Woman working at kitchen table with children

Tips for Working from Home With Kids

Thousands of parents and caregivers have found themselves working from home this year. And with many families without childcare, this has thrown up a whole host of logistical issues. 

Adults have had to learn to juggle hours of Zoom call meetings with colleagues and emails, at the same time as entertaining, teaching and caring for their children on a daily basis - this is no small feat! Here we share 5 tips for working from home with kids.
woman at laptop

Entering the Workforce During COVID

Navigating the path to your first job is intimidating under the best of circumstances, and with a job market affected by coronavirus limitations, entering the workforce in 2020 might feel like an especially daunting task.

Don’t worry, make an action plan instead. Companies large and small are still constantly in search of new talent entering the job market, and you can stand out from the crowd without the normal outlets of job searching and networking available. Here’s how.
guy riding bike

What is an Enneagream?

You may have heard of the Enneagram, but what exactly is it and how can you benefit from knowing your Enneagram number?

The Enneagram is an ancient personality typing system that defines nine basic personality types in the world. Each of us displays behavior from all nine types in the Enneagram, but we naturally gravitate more towards one, which we learn during childhood, and which helps us navigate the complex world of relationships.
woman on laptop

Tips for Better Video Conferences

Working from home has become a common reality, and it's likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Enter the video conference—the virtual meeting room where we can still have live, face-to-face collaboration. Now is a great time to take your video conferencing skills from 0 to 11. At First Tech, we've got some tips on how to makeover your video calls and be the envy of every meeting.

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Camping Kit Must Haves

Planning your next outdoor adventure? We've got you covered with a few tips and tricks to make your camping trip a success.

Grill The Perfect Ribs

Up your grilling game this summer and learn how to grill ribs on a barbeque with simple seasoning and glaze to create tender, melt in the mouth pork ribs.

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

As many of us go back to the office we are beginning to spend more time out of the house. Leaving your four-legged friend alone can be stressful - for both of you! Try these top tips for keeping your dog calm when you’re not home.

Make The Perfect Paper Airplane

Looking for a simple, inexpensive craft to do with your kids this weekend? Learn how to make a paper airplane with our resident young artists Rosa and Rue.

Mindfulness For Kids

Mindfulness means being aware of your feelings, your body and what’s around you in the moment. Portland Family Therapist Lisa Wittorff shares some simple ways kids can use mindfulness to help change the way they are feeling.

Mother's Day

Give Mom something from the heart this Mother’s Day. Learn how to make a flower bouquet from egg cartons and card stock with our resident artist twins Rosa and Rue. Happy Mother’s Day!