Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Air Filters - debunking the common questions and confusion!

I am a Filtrete Filters Ambassador and this is a sponsored post, however all thoughts are my own -- except the ones from Larry.  Those are his.

If you remember I have done a few posts over the last year about the importance of changing our your air filters in your home.  Not only for health reasons, but it can be a costly fix if your air filter system becomes clogged and doesn't run properly. 

I have had a handful of conversations over the year last year as I've began working with 3M Filtrete Filters as a brand ambassador.  A common "issue" I've heard from so many people is they don't understand the difference in all the styles of filters.  As with many products there's the lower cost items and then there's high cost products. What's the difference when it comes to air filters when you buy a $1 filter and the $20 filter.  Where does the compromise happen? Is it to the people living in the home and the quality of air they're getting, or the air system in the home? 
Questions kept coming up like:
Why would I buy a $20 filter if I can buy a $1 and just change it every month? -- But who actually remembers changing it every 30 days?
Will I actually see a health benefit if I buy one that's made for odors/allergens/pets or am I just buying into a marketing scheme?
I haven't changed my filters in like a year -- does it really matter?  I don't get sick so I don't see why it matters?

All these questions were similar ones I myself had when I used to rent.  I especially didn't care about the quality of the air filter when I rented because I didn't own the air system so I won't be fixing any repairs down the road anyways.

But, when I joined the Filtrete team I learned a lot more about the true science behind the filters and what I learned has been truly helpful it making the right decisions on something that does effect my family and my health.  Also the health of my home.

I wanted to do a true Q&A with 3M to get down to the nitty gritty science-techy nerdy details of air filters so I could provide my readers with the same knowledge and hopefully start to answer some of the common questions I hear!

I would like to introduce the King of the 3M Science-Techy Nerd team (and I mean that with the up-most respect and jealousy that they probably have really cool label printers):

Larry Cavalier

Let's first share a little background on Larry so you know his credentials, so go ahead Larry - share your story!

A: "I have 35 years of experience in the air filtration and non-woven web industry and currently serve as a 3M Technical Service Specialist for Filtrete Brand. In this role, I act as the primary liaison between the customers and the lab to improve our existing technologies and develop new innovations in the air filtration category based on the needs and feedback of the customers. I also do this by monitoring industry trends, testing our products against competitors and working to guarantee the accuracy of our product claims."

Q: So you know what your talking about here?
A: "Yup."

Why is it important for people to be educated on what exactly is the purpose of air filters?

A: "The filter aisle in your local store can be very confusing and even a bit overwhelming. Understanding the various types of filters available to you is important because different filters serve different purposes. Homeowners should choose their filters based on their family’s specific needs. Are you looking for a basic filter to help maintain your heating and cooling system? Or do you have pets or allergy sufferers in the home?

A few things to look for when choosing a filter are the number of pleats and the durability of the filter frames. Pleats increase the amount of surface area in the filter frame, allowing more particles to be captured and making it easier for air to pass through the filter. Strong frames help filters withstand pressure created by the air movement through the filter without bending or collapsing. Bent frames can allow unfiltered air to bypass the filter, while collapsed frames can be drawn into the furnace fan and result in damage to the system."

Q: There are SO many types of air filters out there -- it's almost harder to pick out my air filter than it is to pick out my outfits.  Can you help narrow this down for the average shopper?
Understandably there are air filter varieties for high allergens, pets, etc on the market.  However to narrow it down to the “average” user can you help us understand why there is such a wide price range and style of air filters?

A: "There are a wide variety of filters designed to help maintain the system and capture varying levels and types of airborne particles. The line of Filtrete Filters are rated by a microparticle rating (MPR). The higher the MPR, the more microscopic particles, such as smoke, smog, pet dander, and bacteria and viruses, are captured.

 If someone in your family has allergies, consider a high performance filter like the Healthy Living Filter (MPR 2200), which captures up to 40 times more microscopic particles than fiberglass filters. To help reduce pet dander and/or odors in the home, you may want to use the Odor Reduction Filter (MPR 1500). If you’re simply looking to maintain airflow, prevent stress on the system and capture particles such as dust, pollen and lint, consider a lower MPR-rated filter.

Q: Why have I been told by so many people (real estate agent, landlors, property manager etc) that there's no need to spend $ on the costly air filters and the $1 work just fine.  As someone that studies the science of these things - can you please spell it out for me finally?
 A: There is a misconception that pleated filters restrict airflow, but not all pleated filters are created equal. We frequently run tests in our lab to measure the performance of our Filtrete Filters against other pleated filters. What we’ve found is that other filters with similar ratings are tightly woven and may restrict airflow in the system, causing the system to work harder and run longer. An example of one of these airflow tests can be seen in this video:

Filtrete Filters will help capture airborne particles for up to three months, but sometimes they need to be changed sooner, especially during the hot summer months and cold winter months when you are running the system constantly. An easy way to test the filter is to hold it up to light. If the filter is completely blocking the light, it’s a good idea to change it.

Q: What's the difference between using air filters and getting an air purifier?  Do I need both?

A: While air purifiers can be effective for air cleaning, they are limited to only the room you are running the system in. If you want to help reduce airborne particles and improve air quality throughout the entire home, the best way to do so is to regularly change the filter in your forced air heating and cooling system. And, what many homeowners don’t realize is that you should be changing your heating and cooling system filter regularly anyway as part of maintaining the system—at least every three months. An easy way to remember to change it is to do it at the start of every season when you’re checking your smoke alarm batteries.

Q: If you could share one important tip and little known fact about air filters – what would it be?
Since your readers are often conducting home improvement projects at home, it’s good for them to know that work indoors can contribute to poor indoor air quality and add more particles, such as sheet rock or soot, into the air their families are breathing. During home improvement projects, homeowners should consider upgrading their filter to one with a higher MPR rating to help capture more of those airborne particles. Additionally, because the air is dirtier, they should also change the filter more frequently, especially during long-term projects.

Dirty filters are the most common cause of heating and cooling system problems, and when not changed regularly, can cause the system to shut down. Before calling in repairmen and paying costly fees, often times all it takes is checking and changing the filter.


He spells it out pretty easily actually!!!
There were a few key points he mentioned that really stood out to me so I wanted to share those again and hopefully can help you remember certain things about your air filters.

Be sure to check out for more information and available products!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Peek a boo -- here I am!

Hey strangers! Remember me?  Geez where have I been?

Oh limbo - that's right.

Nah.. it's been good!  We finally made it through the big move from VA to MN.  We're currently living with my in-laws while we're doing a big home search.
We're lucky enough to have both families nearby and are helping us through this big transition from military Navy life to settling down up here.

We're living in my in-laws basement and lucky enough to each have our own rooms.  As I was frantic about getting our house in VA ready for renting, everyone here was getting a new room ready just special for Jackson.  They took an unfinished part of their basement and transformed it into one of the cutest rooms anyone ever did see.
Still need to take pictures and post that for everyone to see!  They managed to pull of a very cute sports/teenage ninja turtles theme!  He' LOVED it and loved his big boy bed upgrade to bunk beds.

My husband has been enjoying his new job still, not sure if he REALLY REALLY loves it, or just LOVES not being in the military anymore.  We're still finding a routine for the mornings as we're not used to both being awake - but the extra help with the kids is amazing.
So this is what normal family life is like ;)

Well I wanted to pop in and say HI! and share some lately's from Instagram as I haven't had time yet to jump into DIY's here.  Hopefully soon though!!

One of the nicer things about the military --- being able to use them for the move! They bring in packers who pack up all our things, then the next day they come move and bring it up to MN for us!
Though, all our stuff is in storage until we do find ourselves a home.

Saying goodbye of our home -- last picture :)

You would NOT believe the day we had flying back to MN!  I was SO mad at the time I didn't even post anything about it on any of my social media's because I couldn't handle even going into discussions about it.  Now that I'm cooled down (three weeks later hehe) want to hear a story?

I choose a flight that was perfect for our schedule, not too early in the morning, nice easy layover for connecting flights, and got to MN late afternoon so not rushed for dinner/bedtime.
Security had a LONG line which was unexpected so was in line for 20 minutes (long for Norfolk airport) when I finally get up.  I'm a great flyer with kids - I have getting through security down to every detail. Per usual, I get everything on the belt (which if you don't know if you have a stroller you have to fold that down and put that up on the belt - sucks).  So manage to get all that done, walk through security they do the typical hand swipe because carrying an infant. They tell me they have to do a full pat down now... but continue just standing around not doing anything. 10 minutes went by of me just standing there holding my 1 year old, 5 year old next to me and our stuff just in a massive traffic jam on the belt.  By now I'm peeved and it's cutting close to missing my flight. I start getting upset asking what's taking so long why aren't they doing a pat down on me.
They tell me they need to wait for a second person and a private room.  YUP - they weren't just doing a pat down on me.  They had to take all 3 of us into a private room and take out EVERY single item out of my laptop bag, diaper bag, my son's back pack.  They had to swipe every single item and do a full detail pat down on me (like including checking down my pants). By now it had been 45 minutes and I missed my flight.  I was LIVID. It was the most unorganized slow process EVER.  No one communicated with me at all why or what they were doing.
The entire time during the search Makenzie was crying and they told me I couldn't touch her or give her anything so she just sat there crying and Jackson had to stand against a wall in this tight cramped room.
Once they finished all they said was "okay you can go now". I grabbed my stuff and held my tears in SO HARD I was so angry.  TSA was not a friend of mine that day.
I ended up having to completely reschedule my flights and ended up having to wait 2 hours for a new flight and then had a 3 hour layover so we didn't get in until about 930 at night.   Kids were over tired and exhausted and it was just a MESS of a day.

But after all that --- we landed in MN and I was greeted with both our families and Jackson got to be ruined with his best friend, his cousin Yaya. All was forgotten of our terrible day.

Hanging out with Papa and our 4 feet of Minnesota Snow!
"Going on a bear hunt"

Baby girl hanging out with my parents dog.  I swear she's trying to ask me if we can get one.


Baby girl is super active - 13 months old and already able to go down the flight of stairs by herself.

A moment that only happens in MN -- it was 15 degrees out and my mom asks me to stop at DQ for ice cream?!

Baby girl's first swim in a pool!

For more updates be sure you follow me on Facebook and Instagram
But I swear I do have some posts coming up soon and should be back on a regular schedule soon!


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Smash that Cake Baby Girl | Family Post

baby girl cake smash
How in the world did 12 months go by?  I wish someone would have warned me that a second child isn’t like the first.  You don’t get to soak in every second, you get like every other hour if that.  I mean come on people!

So. Her cake smash.  It was PERFECT.  But, it didn’t go perfectly as planned.  As you may have recalled if you follow me on Facebook I asked a few different d├ęcor settings for her cake smash.  I thought about this for a while… I wanted something perfect for her, unique to bring attention, but easy going to allow for the unexpected.  I had LOTS of ideas.. but my final idea was this..
white backdrop.  white distressed wood floor. BIG fluffy “vintage” purple tutu, a soft pink rosette cake with white inside,  and a cluster of clear balloons with confetti inside.  Confetti the color of mauve, blush, teal, silver, glitter.  I searched online and in stores for DAYSSSSSSSSSSSSSS for confetti that fit what I wanted.  I planned to have my balloons filled and ready for pick up the morning of the shoot by Party City.  So a week before the shoot I went and spoke with them double checking that if I brought in clear balloons and confetti they’d just fill them and be ready for pick up, and they said yes absolutely.  So I searched for two weeks for my perfect color scheme.  Couldn’t find it in the turn around time I wanted.  So then two nights before her shoot I go back to Party City to choose the best colors I can of their confetti and schedule the balloon pick up. I was in there for about a half hour while my husband and two kids waiting in the car and pushing dinner time…aka…”stress time”.  I finally bring everything up to the counter to pay and schedule… NOPE. “Sorry Mam, we can’t use anything put tissue paper confetti inside balloons”. 
:::Enter internal mental and emotional breakdown::How was this not brought to my attention earlier, like a week ago when I talked details with them that they could do this for me.  Needless to say, my entireeeeeeeeeeeee plan that was centered around the clear balloons with confetti inside was SQUASHED, 36 hours before her photo shoot. I cried.  a lot. Poor husband did not know how to comfort me since usually I’m all “I can handle anything and a big DIYer who tackles everything” yet here I was crying over cake smash decorations. oh wait…did I mention I’m SUPER stressed about this whole moving to Minnesota side note that effected this situation.

Well I felt like I had this pressure of perfection.  I mean we kinda nailed our baby announcement, and then we nailed our gender announcement. I felt like her 1st birthday had to be EPIC. And I was worried that this the fact I centered this entire photo session around a cluster of balloons with confetti in it was going to ruin everything.

Here’s where reality sinks in.  Fast forward to the time of the photo session: SHE HATED THE CAKE. Refused to take a bite, threw up when she finally got a bit of frosting in her mouth.  She wanted NOTHING to do with it.  Wait… where are those balloons I cried over? Oh right. Who cares. This photo shoot is capturing my baby girl in her essence… not capturing her mom’s perfect decorating planning.
Luckily though I was able to show up at  Teal Tree Studio where we got our session done and she had the PERFECT pendant banner to add to the background as a subtle detail.  No, there’s nothing truly “unique” or “trend worthy” about her session…. but I love it none the less, actually I love it more!

Photo time:

Do you feel that? Your heart skip a beat? That’s because you just fell in love with chunky baby thighs and so much happiness exploding from her face.   soak it in

Now… the question is… which ones do I develop??

And quick shout out to those that DID make this happen:
Teal Tree Studios: Can’t say enough about her… she is so calm and easy going she made the whole thing effortless.  Not to mention she offers an all in one deal for cake smashes.  If I wanted I literally could have shown up w/ a naked baby and she would have dressed her, set the stage, provided the cake and taken pictures ALL IN HER BUNDLE PRICE.  I of course, tried to make it harder.s
Kutie’s Tutus: There’s a million and one tutu shops on Etsy, billions more in the world. But, Kimberly from KutieTutu’s is the best. I mean… do you SEE THE FLUFFINESS OF HER TUTU. Yeah. She worked with me so much to be sure the color scheme I wanted was what I was getting.  We messaged back and forth A LOT and she’s a busy gal, but she was always willing to help deal with my little details and perfection points.  Needless to say… when her tutu arrived I was SO HAPPY.  Incredible value for an incredible price. If you’re looking to buy a baby girl tutu, seriously. Visit her etsy shop, they’re amazing.

no these were not sponsored they’re just awesome sports of my crazy baby perfectionist antics so they deserve big shout outs.

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