Dear Holly: Our New Fireplace Warms You Up… Even When It’s Not On?

6 years, 6 months.

Dear Holly,

This past weekend, our new electric fireplace arrived in the mail. To my surprise, it really added a whole lot to the ambience of our living room.

It simply plugs into the electrical outlet- and has an option to use the heater option, the fireplace display, or both at the same time.

Shortly after we got it set up, we had just the fireplace display on.

You ran up to it, bending towards it so you could heat up your buns.

Within seconds, you announced, “Ah, that heat feels good!”

I decided not to reveal to you that there was actually no heat coming from it. You were already convinced!



Dear Holly: Friday and Saturday Movie Night!

4 years, 9 months.

Dear Holly,

One of the many new additions to our home, in the midst of our home recent makeover, has been the new folding cushion beds.

While you do enjoy setting them up downstairs in the living room to “make a house”, their main purpose is to be used as beds/couches for our bonus room upstairs.

We now have a new tradition everyday Friday and Saturday night of letting you and your brother pick out a movie and fall asleep up there afterwards.

It’s more fun to sleep there because it’s somewhere other than your own bedroom.

And Mommy and I like it because it makes the bedtime routine much easier for us! The two of you basically just put yourselves to bed on those nights.



Repair or Replace: Finding a Sweet Spot in Savings and Frustrations 

So your electronic device went kaput. Now you’re wondering, “Should I repair or replace it?”. Find balance in that question in this guide.

Your old dependable laptop is starting to hit the fritz. When you open your computer the fans sound like a small airplane about to take off. The battery barely holds a charge and the applications take several minutes to a lifetime to load.

The question every electronics owner asks themselves when their electronics start to die is “should I repair or replace?” The answer is a little more complicated than you might think.

Many consumers feel electronics companies build their gadgets and gizmos with planned obsolescence. Which makes many consumers feel frustrated.

Most consumers want to save money and get the most out of their electronics. When your computer, phone, or appliance breaks, you need to decide if it’s worth fixing or replacing.

Are you trying to determine if you repairing or replacing your gadget is most economical? Here’s what you need to know before you decide to fix or replace your electronics.

What It Means to Repair or Replace

In both cases, repairing or replacing results in your getting an electronic or appliance that functions like new. Depending on the gadget and level of damage with it, both repairing or replacing can be a great way to save money.

The difference between repairing or replacing an item is straightforward.

Repairing an electronic means you take it to a professional to diagnose the problem and fix it. The advantage of repairing is you get to keep your same electronic. Many people find repairing to be more cost-effective.

Replacing means your toss out your old electronic and buy a new one. For many, this is an exciting option because you get the chance to upgrade to a newer model. Others have found this option to be stressful and expensive.

But how do you determine which option is best?

The Age of the Electronic

At some point, you will need to replace electronics in your home. Most computers, for example, have a lifespan of 3-5 years before needing replacing. Refrigerators can last for around 15 years and smartphones for roughly 2 years.

Electronics and appliances of all kinds devalue as they age. What was once a $1,000 computer can devalue to under $400 after a few short years. As you can see, the age of your electronics plays an important role when you’re deciding whether to repair electronics or replace them.

A computer that’s about 1-2 years old can function well for a few more years after repair. In this case, it’s more cost-efficient to repair than buying new. Your local computer repair professionals can also provide you with advice on repairing as they diagnose the problem.

If your computer is going on 4 or 5 years, an expensive repair isn’t cost-efficient. When a computer hits that age other problems will occur shortly down the road costing you more money. In this case, it will be more economic to replace it.

Besides costing more to repair, older appliances can take a toll on your utility bill. Old appliances, like refrigerators or washers and dryers, can waste electricity, even when they’re not in use. Replacing your old appliance will be more economic over time than continuing to repair it.

Determine the Cost of Repairing Versus Replacing

Considering the costs of a repair or a replacement is another way to help you decide on the best option. Repairs for electronics can get incredibly expensive. Even if the repairing costs are under the original cost of your electronics, that doesn’t mean it’s the most affordable option.

If the costs to repair an item are 50% or greater than the current cost of your electronics, you should replace it. To do this, you’ll need to determine how much your gadget costs when it’s running well by factoring in its age, use, brand, and model. Here’s a closer look at the costs of repairing and replacing popular electronics.


The average cost for a new smartphone is around $528 with high-end phones costing closer to $1,000. The average cost to fix it varies between $50 and $150 with more expensive repairs costing over $300.

Common repairs include debugging systems, fixing screens, water damage, and replacing charging ports. In most cases, repairing your smartphone is the better option.

Computers & Laptops

Computers and laptops range from $300 to over $3,000 for powerful high-speed models. The repair costs have an average of $300. Again, some repairs may cost much less depending on the damage.

Replacing your computer is often the better option. Some laptops, however, have an average cost of $1,000 while the costs of repairing are around $300. In this case, repairing is the better option.


Electronic appliances, like washing machines, dryers, and refrigerators are big investments. The average cost for these appliances ranges from $350 to $8,000. The cost to repair most appliances is around $170.

The most cost-efficient option is to service your appliance.


The type of printer you have will determine whether you should fix or replace it.

Large multifunction printers (MFPs) have an average cost of $1,000-$6,000 new. The cost to repair an MFP is much lower meaning it’s more affordable to repair your printer.

Desktop printers cost much less, around $100-$200 with a repair cost averaging $80. If your desktop printer isn’t working, replacing it is a better option.

Check the Warranty 

Most new electronics come with a manufacturer’s warranty to protect you from defects or problems. These can last anywhere from 30 days to a year (sometimes more) that covers all repairs at no cost. Some allow you to add a limited warranty for an additional cost.

The advantage of a warranty is it can save you money when something serious goes wrong. When your electronic or appliance goes kaput, check if it’s still under warranty and what the warranty covers. Some warranties will cover almost anything while others cover a very limited number of issues.

Does the warranty cover most of the costs to repair your gadget? If yes, then repairing will save you money.

Repair or Replace Your Electronics with Confidence

Deciding whether to repair or replace your electronics can be stressful. By following this helpful guide, you can make a smart choice that will save your money later on.

Want to learn more helpful life hacks? Check out our latest articles to make your life easier.


My Wife and I Have Been Performing and Publishing Original Songs I’ve Written… Largely Due to Cancelling Netflix and as a Way to Overcome My Existential Crisis

Earlier this week I revealed the top 5 highlights of my 2019 in review: one of those is that my wife and I have been releasing songs that I have written. While I have published them on YouTube and shared them on Facebook, I have yet to really talk about the how and the why of it.

So here’s the story…

My wife and I both moved to Nashville to pursue music careers; she arrived in 2004 and I showed up in 2005. We met in 2006, starting dating in 2007, and got married in 2008.

Since then, my wife earned her Master’s Degree (2009), we had a son (2010), we become debt-free other than our mortgage (2013), we moved into a brand-new houses in the suburbs (2015), and we had a daughter (2016).

And then, my employer of 12 years shut down my branch, releasing about 40 people at the same time; giving us a 2 weeks’ severance pay and a hand shake.

For the next 6 months, while being a stay-at-home dad, I spent any free time I had on writing songs, and eventually releasing my newest song on YouTube, in 2018.

“Maybe It’s a Dream” is an autobiographical song exploring the concept of how “removed” from the human experience I felt after I started living my life with the knowledge that being offended or disrespected is always my own choice. It was me realizing how much of my time, energy, and emotions had been wasted on letting the free world affect my emotions, when it was my decision every single time.

Shortly after releasing that song, my 6 month stint as a stay-at-home dad/blogger/YouTuber ended when I gained employment at a Fortune 500 company; where I have been employed for more than a year and a half now.

That led to new inspiration for writing songs, as it ushered in my “existential crisis of 2019”.

My salary nearly doubled, putting my wife and me in a situation where we could finally start building our retirement. We are very grateful for all the help with investments, thanks to Charles Schwab.

This caused me to have to re-evaluate my identity, as I found myself at the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Pyramid; no longer triggered by the fear or anxiety of money, or even my own emotions.

Therefore, I started coming to terms with my existential crisis (some would call it a midlife crisis); as I had basically reached all of my life goals before the age of 40.

My next song, written just a couple of months ago, would be called “Tripping on Existence”; which was my way of sorting out my experience. I found that going through an existential crisis at a younger age put me in a situation where few people I knew could relate; which only intensified my feeling of floating in the universe like Tony Stark in the trailer for Avengers Endgame.

There had been other songs I had written during my 6 months of unemployment, but that didn’t get released due to me getting a job.

One was called “Fort Payne, Alabama”; another autobiographical song addressing the paradox of how my hometown undeniably helped form my identity, yet ultimately prepared me to move away after college and live my own life in the next state over in Tennessee.

So after releasing that year-and-half year old song, I decided I wanted to include my wife on my final leftover song from 2018: “We’re Gonna Leave in the Morning”.

It was a song I written, fantasizing about being able to just “up and go” on a road trip to anywhere; just she and I.

This is a fantasy because we haven’t gone on a fun road trip without the kids, since… we had kids.

I finally got to show off my wife’s singing in one of my songs. I was so proud to share her with the world.

It is truly a song about us; written from my perspective. It is my version of a love song. A love song when you’ve been married for over a decade, have 2 kids, and live in the suburbs.

During the time we were rehearsing that song, I casually wrote a song called “The Meaning of Life”. We decided to record that as well; the song was barely a week old when we published it.

The song was me exploring the irony in that none of us asked to be born, yet it is up to us to determine individually what the meaning of life is, though we have no idea how long our lives will be.

My next couple of songs, which I determined I wanted us to record on that same night; were complete opposites in mood:

The loud and upbeat “(Subtitles) I Dare You Not to Fall in Love with Me” would serve as our very first true duet together; as the autobiographical song explores what was really going through our minds on the night we met: October 5th, 2006.

Meanwhile, the somber and reflective “You Won’t Remember My Name” was written to remind the listener how the default is often to arbitrarily make perceived enemies of the people on the other side of the political fence.

The last song of 2019 that my wife and I recorded is a cover of Patty Griffin’s “Long Ride Home”; imagining the regrets of a man at his wife’s funeral, after they had been married for 40 years.

This one was special because it served as my wife’s first solo of all the songs we performed together. I simply played guitar on this one, as I wanted to only showcase her amazing ability to sing.

I currently have 3 more originals that I have been practicing; likely to be released in January 2020.

There is the somewhat novelty Country tune, “Jeep Wrangler Theme Song”, explaining the micro-culture of Jeep Wrangler owners, along with our Jeep wave.

Another loud and fun song is “I Feel Like You Want Me to Care”, which points out the power (and humor) of refusing to give emotional control to others when they are eager to take it from you.

And lastly, I have an alternative rock power ballad (?) called “Shotgun”, addressing the ridiculously dangerous risk and gamble that two young people make when they choose to marry each other, for better or worse.

My wife and I both moved to Nashville a long time ago to pursue music. Could we have been doing this all along? Maybe.

But I don’t think it could have been this genuine, this mature, or this good.

We had to live more of our lives together first. We needed more life experience first. We needed to get to the point where we were financially set so we psychologically free to create and perform in the way we can now.

Ultimately, the gate opened as a side-effect of us choosing to cancel our Netflix subscription back in May of this year. That was what created the time and space for us to focus on these songs.

Our music is what happens when Netflix is out of the picture. That’s pretty interesting, actually.

Types of Home Windows You Must Know About 

When constructing a home, windows are a significant thought. An unusual atmosphere requests specific regard for window determination. Truth be told, construction regulation requires all new development to have sway windows introduced when working inside one mile of the coast.

All windows let in light and most give ventilation, yet while choosing windows, property holders have a wide range of sorts of windows to choose from.

A few windows are simpler to open, others offer perfect wind stream, still, others are perfect for taking in beautiful perspectives. Various windows additionally have various hopes to coordinate distinctive building styles or stylistic theme. These windows require window Panes to complete their look. Here are a couple of various kinds of windows and what makes them unique.

Double-Hung windows

These types of windows can open from either the top or bottom, yet they stay inside the edge without projecting in or out. Double-hung windows are the most well-known style of windows accessible today for two basic reasons: they offer preferable ventilation over single-hung windows and are simpler to clean. Be that as it may, they are more inclined to spilling than single-hung windows in light of the fact that the band just opens one way.

Single-Hung windows

Like a double-hung window, a solitary hung window is a tall aluminum window with two separate outlines; in any case, dissimilar to double-hung windows, just the base window opens. Single-hung and double-hung windows are the most widely recognized window types. They are a famous effect window decision in light of the fact that their aluminum outlines won’t twist in the tropical atmosphere.

They have an exemplary enhancing glance and fit in well with most stylistic layout styles. Single-hung windows are a well-known decision in home redesigns in light of the fact that they will, in general, be increasingly reasonable. In any case, they generally offer less open region than casement or slider windows and can be increasingly inclined to air spillage.

Cottage Window

The Cottage sort of window is a variety of the double-hung window where the upper reserve is shorter than the lower one. Besides the littler upper reserve, the highlights and qualities of the bungalow window are fundamentally the same as the previously mentioned double-hung window. It is additionally regularly called the “front window type”.

Transom Windows

This thin window can be either working or stationary and is frequently mounted over a window or entryway to let in progressively light. They are customarily fan-molded and regularly carefully enhancing. Nonetheless, in present-day design, ventilating transoms are frequently rectangular.

Picture Windows

Picture windows also called stationary or fixed windows, picture windows are best in regions where ventilation isn’t required on the grounds that they don’t open. Fixed windows are perfect in the focal point of enormous dividers since they give adequate lighting and expansive perspectives. Picture windows are less inclined to air spillage since they don’t open, however, they are regularly less vitality productive because of their size.