Caring for Natural Stone During the Holidays: Expert Insights from Marble Systems

Caring for Natural Stone During the Holidays: Expert Insights from Marble Systems

Article written by Marcus Monroe.

The holiday season brings joy, celebration, and often a flurry of activity in our homes. It’s also a time when the natural stone features in our homes, like marble countertops, floors, and decorations, can be especially vulnerable to damage. From the bustling preparation of festive meals to the constant foot traffic of guests, these beautiful yet delicate surfaces require extra care. I spoke with experts at Marble Systems, a renowned natural stone provider located in Fairfax, Virginia, to gather essential tips for protecting and maintaining natural stone during the holiday season.

Understanding Your Stone

The first step in caring for natural stone is understanding its nature. Each type of stone has its unique characteristics, says a Marble Systems specialist. For instance, marble is more prone to etching and staining compared to granite. Knowing your stone’s properties helps tailor the care it needs.

Regular Cleaning: The Key to Preservation

Regular cleaning is crucial, but it’s more about how you clean than how often. Experts at Marble Systems emphasize using a pH-neutral cleaner specifically designed for natural stone. Avoid acidic or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the stone’s surface. For daily spills, a soft cloth or sponge with warm water is often sufficient.

Sealing: A Shield Against Stains

Sealing is another critical aspect of natural stone care. A good quality sealant can provide a protective layer, making the stone more resistant to spills and stains – a common occurrence during holiday festivities. Check with your installer about the recommended frequency for resealing. It typically ranges from once a year to once every few years, depending on the stone type and usage.

Preventing Etches and Scratches

During the holidays, your stone surfaces might be exposed to acidic substances like wine, citrus juices, and vinegar, which can cause etching. Marble Systems advises using coasters under all glasses and bottles and placemats or trivets under dishes and cookware. Even a small measure like this can prevent unsightly marks on your precious stone surfaces.

Dealing with Spills Immediately

Accidents happen, especially during busy holiday gatherings. The key is to address spills as soon as they occur. Blot—don’t wipe—spills to prevent them from spreading or seeping deeper into the stone. For oil-based stains, Marble Systems recommends a poultice, a paste-like cleaning agent that can draw out the stain.

Professional Help for Stubborn Stains

For stubborn stains or if you’re unsure about the right approach, seeking professional help is advisable. Marble Systems in Fairfax, Virginia, not only provides natural stone products but also offers expert advice for stone care and maintenance. Their team can assist with proper deep cleaning, repair, or resealing, thus ensuring your stone stays in pristine condition.

Decorating Wisely

Decorating your home for the holidays is exciting, but caution is necessary when it comes to natural stone. Avoid adhesive tapes or anything that might leave a residue or scratch the surface. Also, be mindful of holiday plants like poinsettias, which can leave stains or water rings.

Managing Foot Traffic

Holidays mean more foot traffic, which can bring more dirt and grit that can scratch stone floors. Placing doormats at entrances and encouraging guests to remove their shoes can significantly reduce the risk of scratches.

Climate Control

Natural stone can be sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. Marble Systems suggests maintaining a consistent indoor environment to prevent any potential damage due to these fluctuations.

After the Holidays: A Thorough Inspection

Once the festivities are over, it’s a good idea to do a thorough inspection of your stone surfaces. Look for any signs of damage or wear and address them promptly. Regular inspection ensures that minor issues don’t turn into significant problems.

Final Thoughts

Caring for natural stone requires a bit of effort, especially during the busy holiday season. However, with the right practices and support from experts like those at Marble Systems in Fairfax, Virginia, your stone surfaces can continue to add beauty and elegance to your home for many holidays to come.

“Pirdie” is Teeing Off a New Era of Women’s Golf Apparel with Style and Inclusivity

“Pirdie” is Teeing Off a New Era of Women’s Golf Apparel with Style and Inclusivity

In the game of golf where tradition often trumps innovation, a new company is changing the game for women’s apparel and speaking to an entirely new generation of players. The company, Pirdie, was launched in March 2023 by three dynamic co-founders – Jaimee Newcomer, Kelley Holderman, and Kendra Nash.  Since then, their clothing is taking the women’s golf, tennis and pickleball worlds by storm.

According to the founders, Pirdie is more than just a brand; it’s a movement aiming to reshape the landscape of women’s golf.

“Our diverse backgrounds bring a unique perspective to Pirdie,” shares Kelley, the pragmatic force behind the trio. Jaimee brings a deep understanding of consumer psychology and Kendra, a seasoned interior designer with a keen eye for fashion, completes the founding team. 

Their combined strengths have positioned Pirdie not only as a brand of choice but as a beacon for inclusivity and empowerment in a historically male-dominated sport.

Pirdie’s success lies in its vibrant, comfortable, and functional athletic apparel that seamlessly transitions from the golf course or tennis courts to casual social gatherings. “Our clothes are about feeling good and playing better,” explains Jaimee. “We want to challenge the norms while respecting the rich history of golf.”

Pirdie’s business model is a blend of B2C and B2B, focusing on tactile consumer experiences through pop-ups and trunk shows, alongside a growing e-commerce presence. “We believe in the power of community,” adds Kelley, underscoring the importance of Pirdie’s grassroots connections in expanding their brand. “Yes, we have free returns and exchanges to help mitigate the hesitancy of trying a new brand, but that will never be a substitute for getting out and showing the community our clothing in person.”

What sets Pirdie apart is not just their innovative designs and business acumen but their commitment to creating apparel that resonates with a broad range of women. “We design with every woman in mind, offering clothing that is as flattering as it is functional,” states Kelley. The average cost of their California-made apparel is $120, which strikes a balance between quality and affordability for many.

Pirdie’s innovation shines in the small details. Features such as secure yet unobtrusive pockets, adjustable waistbands, and moisture-wicking liners are carefully integrated into the designs. For pickleball enthusiasts, there are special features like reinforced areas that withstand the unique wear and tear of the sport. In golf apparel, Pirdie introduces sleek, subtle integrations like hidden tee pockets and glove-compatible designs.

Historically, women have faced numerous obstacles in sports, ranging from lack of access and representation to unsuitable apparel. For many women, finding sports apparel that is both functional and feminine has been a struggle. Pirdie’s focus on fashionable, yet athletic designs offer women the confidence to step onto the court or the course, knowing they are well-equipped both in performance and style. This empowerment plays a crucial role in encouraging more women to participate in the game.

The “Pirdie girl,” as the founders call their target customer, is a spirited blend of millennial and Gen X women who value active lifestyles, friendship, and a dash of rebellion against the conventional preppy aesthetics of golf.

“Our brand is designed to help grow the game of golf for women, and cultivating our Pirdie community is a huge part of that,” Jaimee emphasizes. “If our clothing plays a small role in drawing women to try golf for the first time and become what we have coined the ‘casual golfer,’ that is a win for the game as much as it is for our brand. On the flip side, we will always honor and support our female pros and have designed our clothing to marry their performance needs with their aesthetic wishes. Women’s golf is an insane force right now and we will always cheer for these athletes that have trailblazed for female golfers of all levels.”

Looking to the future, Pirdie is poised to maintain its momentum with several strategic moves on the horizon. There is palpable excitement about the upcoming launch of a new collection that will blend state-of-the-art material technology with sustainable practices and set a new benchmark for performance wear.

The company’s trajectory has been one of striking growth, underpinned by an ethos that extends beyond profit to encapsulate the spirit of sport and community. As the brand eyes the future, its plans are not merely a pledge for continued expansion but a continued commitment to redefining the ethos of women’s sports apparel.

While Pirdie is still a nascent brand, its future looks bright as it drives towards making women’s golf apparel synonymous with style, comfort, and inclusivity. As Jaimee puts it, “Golf is now for the girls, and Pirdie is here to dress them for every tee time and sporting occasion.”

Why Your Spring Refresh Should Include A New Hardwood Table

Why Your Spring Refresh Should Include A New Hardwood Table, a leading online retailer of premium-quality teak hardwood furniture, has been making waves in the furniture industry. With a commitment to excellence, sustainability, and customer satisfaction, the company has quickly become a go-to destination for discerning buyers seeking long-lasting and environmentally responsible furniture solutions.

At the heart of the company’s success is its founder, Ken Phillips. With decades of business experience, Phillips has a deep understanding of what it takes to create truly exceptional company and a truly exceptional product. He is dedicated to sourcing the finest materials and working with skilled artisans to craft timeless pieces that are built to last.

Phillips’ passion for teak hardwood is evident in every aspect of’s operations. Teak is an incredibly durable and weather-resistant wood that has been prized for centuries for its beauty and versatility. It is one of the few woods that can withstand exposure to extreme weather conditions, making it an ideal choice for outdoor furniture.

But what truly sets teak apart is its natural oils, which give the wood a unique luster and protect it from decay and insects. This means that teak furniture can last for decades, even in harsh outdoor environments. As Phillips notes, “Teak is the best investment you can make when it comes to furniture. It may cost a little more up front, but you’ll save money in the long run by not having to replace your furniture every few years.”’s commitment to sustainability is also a key factor in its success. Phillips has made it a priority to source teak and other wood from sustainable plantations. This ensures that the wood is harvested in an environmentally responsible manner, with minimal impact on the surrounding ecosystem. It gives jobs to those in the community and enables the company to produce the caliber of table it does in a reasonable amount of time and for an even more reasonable cost. In addition,’s furniture is crafted using traditional techniques that minimize waste and maximize efficiency.

The artisans making the tables for the company are trained in old-school, sustainable practices.  Special care is placed on joints, connections, and the longevity of each table.  This is generational furniture at its finest.

But it’s not just the quality of the furniture that sets apart from its competitors. The company’s commitment to customer satisfaction is second to none. Phillips and his team provide personalized service and ensuring that every customer is completely satisfied with their purchase. From the initial consultation for a custom piece to the final delivery and installation, is there to guide customers through every step of the process.

Looking to the future, Phillips and his team are focused on continuing to provide exceptional products and service to their customers. They are constantly exploring new designs and techniques to push the boundaries of what is possible with teak and other hardwoods. And with an ever-growing demand for high-quality, sustainable furniture, it seems that is poised for even greater success in the years to come.

The Probable Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling

The Probable Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling

We’re currently in the middle of one of the most sustained periods of economic growth this country has experienced over the last century. Stocks are up, interest rates are low, unemployment is close to zero, wages are increasing, and houses are selling like hot cakes.

So if your house is listed for sale, but nobody is making any reasonable offers, you have to wonder what the problem is.

The 6 Most Common Reasons Why Houses Don’t Sell

If your house has been on the market for a few weeks or months without any serious traction, there’s almost certainly a justifiable reason. Here are some common culprits:

1. It’s Overpriced

There’s nothing wrong with pricing your home at a premium. However, if it’s too far above the real price, you’ll turn people away. Buyers simply won’t make an offer, even if they like the house. The obvious solution is to lower the price.

“When lowering the price, the key is to only do it once,” Green Residential advises. “Avoid creeping down and down over many months – taking off $500 here or $2,000 there. Bite the bullet and make a significant enough price change to pique the interest of buyers. This might look like lowering the price from $548,000 to $529,000 (even if it’s worth at least $535,000). Significant drops like this mean your property now fits the criteria of people who previously weren’t looking at your listing.”

2. It’s an Oddball

Quite frankly, your house might be a little weird.

There’s nothing wrong with having a quirky house with a unique style. (Obviously you liked it enough to build or buy the house.) However, it does limit your pool of potential buyers.

If your house has strange architecture or style, you can still find a buyer. You’ll simply have to be patient, or you’ll need to lower your asking price.

3. No Curb Appeal

Beautiful curb appeal can make a powerful first impression – even before buyers see the property for the first time. Likewise, unattractive curb appeal can intimidate prospective buyers and convince them to move on before scheduling a showing.

While you’re somewhat restricted by your home, the property, and the neighborhood, there are always little improvements you can make to beautify what’s already there. Professional landscaping, for example, goes a long way.

4. Too Many Problems

Does your house have a long to-do list of repairs and issues that need to be fixed? The average buyer wants something turnkey. Your lack of traction could be due to its condition. If your property has a long history of needing plumbing and heating service repairs, then that can majorly play a huge factor as to why you can’t seem to sell it easily.

“Not everyone wants to take on a project, so if your home is in poor condition and in obvious need of some repairs or a good cleaning, it’s not going to be attractive to buyers, even if the bones are good,” explains. “The same goes for if your home is decorated boldly, in a style that says “niche” more than widespread appeal.”

5. Your Listing is Terrible

Very few buyers drive around looking for for-sale signs these days. Most showings are scheduled after a buyer or agent sees a property online. This is why your online listing is so critically important.

If you aren’t getting showings, consider switching up your listing to include more effective descriptions, better photography, and all pertinent details. This is basically an ad for your house – go all out!

6. No Promotional Strategy

Even if you have a great listing, it’s possible that nobody is seeing it. In order to schedule showings that eventually yield offers, you need a promotional strategy that pushes your listing out to as many people as possible. This includes online and via word of mouth.

On a related note, a poor or non-existent promotional strategy is likely a sign of a poor agent. If you don’t like the service you’re getting, you have every right to fire your agent and hire another one.

Set Yourself Up for Success

When selling a house, there are dozens of uncontrollable external factors in play. But there are also plenty of factors that you can control. The key is to understand your situation so that you can make educated choices that positively influence your ability to sell your home at maximum value.

Looking Ahead: 2020’s Home Tech Trends

Looking Ahead: 2020’s Home Tech Trends

CES 2020 is around the corner, which means all the tech specialists are launching their predictions, while companies are teasing their wares, and home tech brands are no different. Reports suggest that these 5 trends will dominate the smart home sector in 2020, reshaping how we all live and bringing upgrades to already popular devices.

Cameras Everywhere

Connected cameras have gained substantial market share over recent years, primarily as part of wireless home security systems, but that’s hardly the only place we’ll see cameras next year. No, in addition to more conventional surveillance, Digital Trends reports that we’re likely to see video-equipped robotic vacuums next year. The idea is that they may act as an extension of the home security system, but at a more practical level, camera-equipped vacuums will be better able to deal with obstacles in the home environment, such as wires, pets, and furniture.

Energy Enhancements

Today’s consumers are deeply concerned about reducing energy consumption and moving toward more sustainable practices, and smart home technology plays an important role in this shift. Advances are also making it easier to combine discrete appliances and devices in new ways. For example, homeowners can opt for an energy efficient gas fireplace and then pair them with smart thermostats and voice assistant technology, controlling when the heat runs. As long as the home is wired properly, it’s fairly easy to connect any appliance to the larger home network.

Outdoor Upgrades

As with energy waste, modern homeowners also want to cut back on water waste – and in some parts of the country, like California where droughts are common, reducing water waste is actually a legal mandate. Next year, expect to see a shift from the old standard automatic sprinklers that run on a baseline schedule to more sensitive smart sprinklers. These sprinklers will use weather analysis and moisture sensing to recalibrate the watering schedule so that the sprinklers don’t run just after that big storm.

Health Comes Home

Most of the major health tech innovations in recent years have centered on wearables or professional applications, but in 2020, connected health will come home. In particular, Humana plans to demonstrate some of its Studio H projects, its in-house technology and design arm, alongside connected devices that will help seniors live independently in their own homes. Looking even further ahead, Studio H hopes machine learning technology will transform health for all Humana’s members, linking the individual, home, and clinician.

A Smart Sous Chef

Kitchen appliances have been slowly moving online, but most of what we’ve seen so far are things like networked ovens users can preheat from their phones or refrigerators with touch screens in the doors. In the next few years, expect the emergence of fully connected kitchens, allowing home chefs to plan out meals, remotely operate smaller appliances, and generally prepare multi-course meals with minimal labor.

We’re not quite living like the Jetsons, but today’s smart homes are starting to reflect our visions of the future and the underlying technology is only getting better. As sensors continue to improve and basic networked devices start coming standard on new construction, we’ll start to understand just how much these devices can do.