Home flipping experts reveal the story of their first renovation

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Like a first kiss, first car or first day of school, entrepreneurs and home renovation experts Ashley and Andy Williams will never forget completing their first home renovation project.

“That day began as all our days do — with organized chaos,” Ashley said. “We got our two kids ready for school amid a mad dash of ensuring book bags were packed, homework was done and items for after-school activities were all in their proper places. We also made sure that our own go-bag for the day was filled with almonds, water and fruit in case a hot property hit the market. As busy parents and entrepreneurs, we need the energy that almonds provide so we can stay on our A-game from school drop-offs, house hunting and everything in between.”

They took the scenic route around town looking for a project to take on. That’s when they saw it: a home that had been sitting on the market for 236 days, looked like a time capsule from 1976 (complete with wallpaper and original kitchen appliances) — but had incredible potential to be transformed into a place that any family would want to call home. Just like the feeling of falling in love, they said they knew it was the right project for them. They immediately called the listing agent to arrange a meeting with the sellers and sketched out their proposed vision. The sellers felt their passion for the property, and the deal was sealed.

Then, the work began. It turned out that the 1970s charm they loved about the house was the same thing that threw them curveballs at every turn. From the outdated plumbing and HVAC systems to the decades-old wiring to the foundation and flooring — the house needed a huge overhaul to conform with modern building codes. Those first few weeks of the renovation were long and tiring, but productive.

Once the bones of the house were up to code, they turned to the interior. From choosing family-friendly, durable kitchen appliances to finding the perfect color laminate that would run from room to room, they poured their hearts into this renovation — just as they had with their own home years prior.

Then finally, after five months of hard work, it was time to put what had become their second home on the market.

“We brought our kiddos over to put the finishing touches on the staging and by the end of the week, we sold the home to a young family who appreciated the charm and design of the home as much as we did,” Ashley said.

Passion. Hard work. Positivity. Family. That’s what “owning their everyday” means to the Williams family. How will you turn your everydays into memorable moments?

See below for a recipe created by Ashley and Andy to help you fuel your everyday. For additional tips and recipes visit the Almond Board of California website.

Power Packed Almond Maple Granola

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons honey

2 cups oats

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup roasted and salted sunflower kernels

1/4 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine butter, maple syrup and honey in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter is melted, but not boiling. Remove from heat. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour in the butter mixture, and stir to combine. Spread onto the prepared cookie sheet, bake for 12 to 15 minutes, stirring after 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. Enjoy as a snack or with yogurt and fresh fruit. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition trends and fads explained

Culture, Editor's Journal, Featured

Dr. Nicole Avena, assistant professor of neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton University, explains six popular nutrition trends including sustainable snacks, new plant-based milks, prebiotics and probiotics and the latest on gummy supplements vs. traditional vitamins:

1. Matcha vs. coffee? A premium green tea powder from Japan, matcha is used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While coffee and matcha have about the same amount of caffeine, matcha packs lots of great antioxidants. Check the label to make sure it has been tested for heavy metals, as some matcha can contain lead from the soil where it was grown.

2. Shelf-stable probiotics vs. refrigerated? Only two strains of probiotics are shelf-stable, whereas different and diverse strains can be present in refrigerated probiotics. But, shelf-stable probiotics have the advantage that they can be used in other food products, like granolas, butter, soups, etc. Just don’t mess with the packaging or open blister packs until you want to use them, as they are packed for preservation. Dead probiotics won’t harm you, but they don’t have any health benefits either. Remember there are different probiotic strains for different issues: i.e., you don’t want to take a digestive or immunity probiotic for vaginal health issues. Instead, try Pro-B as it contains two strains of lactobacilli, which are optimal to promote vaginal health.

3. Algae oil, fish or olive oil? Algae oil is vegetarian and a source of omega-3s and DHA (good fats to support brain health). Algae oil is safe to use in pregnancy (when eating too much fish can be harmful because of mercury) and is heart healthy (studies show it lowers cholesterol and triglycerides). It also has more monounsaturated fat than olive oil.

4. Cow’s milk vs. almond milk? Despite its popularity, almond milk often has less than 2 percent actual almonds in it, has a lot of added sugar, and is not necessarily better for the environment because it takes five liters of water to grow one almond.

5. Make sure to start taking a prenatal dietary supplement like OB Complete that contains 1,000 mg of Folate, 40-50 mg of iron and 1,000-1,200 IU’s vitamin D when you’re trying to conceive right through breastfeeding.

6. Gummy vitamins are just as effective as pills and chewables. The best way to get needed nutrients is through food, but, people don’t always have eating habits that provide them with all the nutrition they need. Others have deficiencies that diet alone can’t resolve. Supplements can fill the gap, but people are more likely to take their supplements regularly if they taste good and they’re convenient. Gummies can be a good option, and clinical tests show that their absorption is equivalent to traditional vitamin pills. vitafusion offers more than 30 types of gummy vitamins, with no artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, gluten or dairy.

Nicole Avena, Ph.D., is a research neuroscientist and pioneer in the field of food and nutrition. She is also the author of What to Eat When You’re Pregnant.