Category Archives: Just For Fun

Smartest Home Improvements for 2018

Smart home improvements good for the body, mind and soul.

 

The 2018 Consumer Electronics Show was one for the books. This was my fourth year going and my biggest takeaway was that smart home tech is evolving at break neck speeds. The smart home show floor was massive and each category from security to entertainment is getting saturated with truly amazing concepts and products. Here were some of our absolute favorites in case you missed them…

In addition to all of the awesome items mentioned above, here were even more of our favorite smart home improvements…

Improving Your Smart Home’s “Brain”

What is the biggest downfall of smart home tech? To me, it is often the lack of one streamlined operating flow. With a ton of different apps and operating systems sometimes smart home tech can actually feel a little dumb.

The good news? At this year’s show it seemed like almost every single product integrated with Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home product. So the first smart home improvement you should make is picking one of these systems and finding products that sync with them. Which one is better? According to Forbes, Amazon is winning the race.

Improving Your Garage (and mental health)

Did you shut it?

Did you?

I can’t remember.

I’m pretty sure you did.

I am turning around…I have to check.

Have you had this conversation with their significant other or perhaps even yourself about your garage door? We have it at a few times a month at my house. That is why the Roost Smart Garage Door Sensor made my list. With a combination of home protection and peace of mind, this WiFi connected door sensor sends you a notification telling you if your door in open or closed. The biggest drawback though? If you did leave it open there is nothing it can do for you. Still a great product for those who get open door anxiety like me! Roost also has some other cool smart home devices you can learn about here.

This will be available sometime in the spring and will be priced at $40.

Improving The Safety In An Elderly Person’s Home

I believe there is no price you can place on the safety of a loved one. Especially when it comes to the safety of an elderly parent. If you

Improving Your Home’s Cleanliness

Over the past few year’s robo vacuum cleaners have gained popularity with products like the Roomba. If you enjoy having one (or have one on your wishlist) I have a feeling you’re also going to love the Cop Rose Window Cleaning Robot. Window cleaning is a tedious task and if you have pets or small children, it can feel like a never ending chore with little hand and nose prints everywhere you turn. This smart window cleaner will keep windows, as well as other vertical surfaces, in tip top shape with a touch of a button from your smart phone. It can also be used floors and walls.

At $150, this product is a great way to avoid one of most dreaded household chores. More information here.

Improving Your Home Gym

Peloton has already built a cult like following around their bike product and and now they’re hoping to do the same around their new treadmill called the Peloton Tread. The fancy treadmill is equipped with a 32 inch touchscreen display that allows the runner to stream classes in a studio like setting from NYC’s best instructors.

The Peloton Tread comes with a hefty price tag at $4,000 PLUS an additional $39 monthly fee for live classes. It will start shipping this fall but you can reserve one now.

 

Bonus Product: Improving Your Kitchen Gadget Collection

While this isn’t technically a smart home improvement I couldn’t help but share one of my personal favorites from the show which was the Coravin Model 11.  Have you ever wanted to drink just one glass of wine but passed because you didn’t want to ruin the bottle? The model 11 allows you to enjoy a glass without ever removing the cork or damaging the wine itself. This “first ever” fully connected automatic wine preservation opener works by placing a super thing needle through the cork. Check it out:

Like the Peloton Treadmill, this item comes with a large price tag at $1,000 but if you are serious about your wine then this is totally worth it splurge. #cbrmr

Want even more smart home goodness? Check this out.

How to Winterize Your Bedroom for Cozy Comfort

Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging.

By Michelle Lee, Houzz

Get ready to cuddle up in bed with your significant other, furry friend or a good book this month. Pile on fuzzy textures and transform your bedroom into a snowy sanctuary for naps and lounging. Stock up on these essentials for the warmest season yet.

Invest in High-Quality Bedding

Your choice of sheets and blankets will really matter in the dead of winter and can dramatically improve your quality of sleep by wrapping you in a warm embrace. Look for ones made of insulating wool, cashmere or flannel to ensure warmth all night long. If your budget allows, splurge on an electric blanket for the room too.

To add even more warmth, shop for a goose down duvet or quilt. This fill provides thermal protection against the cold while also being breathable for ultimate comfort. For those with allergies, cotton and microfiber options are comfortable, budget-friendly alternatives.

Gather a bunch of pillows and throws on top of your bedscape. A stack of fluffy pillows provide back support for reading in bed, while layers of throws make heat control easier. Go for fleece or velvet for an irresistible look and use this opportunity to experiment with color and pattern.

Warm up Your Palette

Swap summer blues and autumn reds for creamy neutrals this winter. White is not only a foolproof choice that pairs well with every color on the spectrum, but it also helps reflect and spread the scarce daylight we have this season. Dip your toes into the timeless Scandinavian style trend by testing out a bright white palette in your bedroom. Spring to life in milky white and soft yellow hues or pair pale blue and gray together for a relaxing look.

Accent a neutral palette with warm wood around the room. As seen in this Montreal bedroom, the paneled ceiling and trim lend a cozy cabin vibe amidst the bleak winter landscape outside. You can replicate the look in smaller doses with a wooden nightstand, stool or headboard.

If you’re willing to venture past your color comfort zone, use a bold hue or two sparingly for a much-needed mood and energy booster. Welcome a bright yellow, pink or teal through accessories like decorative pillows, bedside lamps or overhead artwork.

Light it Up

Since the sun now sets hours earlier than it does on long summer nights, we have to substitute the lost hours of daylight all on our own. Invest in a layered lighting plan to illuminate every dark corner and visually enlarge your space. A great combination is having an overhead fixture, such as a statement chandelier or a cluster of pendants, and adding smaller lights where they’re needed, like lamps or wall sconces. Shop for LED bulbs for energy efficiency or incandescents to mimic the sun’s yellow tint. If you’re still in the holiday spirit, you can also hang string lights above the headboard or along a spare wall for an extra homey feel.

Stash the Nightstand

When you’re too comfy in bed to get up and venture to another cold room, look to your nightstand for one or two of your daily essentials. Choose from a humidifier to combat the dry season or an aromatherapy diffuser to set the mood; succulents or fresh flowers for a welcome burst of nature; a small tea or coffee maker for early mornings; and a journal or good book for inspiration. If your bedside table is looking a little worn out, upgrade it now to one with multiple shelves or drawers for year-round storage. #cbrmr

 

Party Perfect

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Hosting a party this holiday season? Here are a few ideas to make it a fun and memorable event not only for your guests, but for you too!

At the Top of the List: Make Lists!
It’s never too early to start getting organized, and that means making lists so you don’t forget a thing.

A written cooking and party prep schedule that includes cleaning, shopping, food prep —even time to set the table and create a playlist— can help the countdown to your party, and your stress level, stay on track.

Engage the Senses

  • Taste. You want to provide a variety of foods for your event, so why not consider a potluck for your next get-together? Don’t stress about providing every course, when friends and family would most likely be happy to contribute a salad, dessert, side dish or appetizer. When someone says, “May I bring something?” change your answer to “yes!”
  • Hearing. Create a music playlist to run throughout your event. Music can set the tone for any party; keep the volume at a reasonable level so people can comfortably maintain conversations.
  • Sight. Adjust electric lighting to ensure it’s neither glaring nor too dark, then set up candles strategically to complement the mood —just be sure they’re positioned safely where they can’t be knocked over or where they might ignite nearby flammables.
  • Smell. Choose a scented candle for the bathroom, but scent-free candles for the dining table and other areas featuring food.

Bathroom Basics

  • Clear your medicine cabinet of personal items and medications.
  • Set out soap and clean hand towels, or provide disposable hand towels.
  • Stock extra rolls of toilet paper within reach.
  • In addition to a scented candle, make available a can of air freshener.
  • Consider placing a small “emergency stain remover” basket in the bathroom, with club soda, paper towels and red wine stain remover.

Kitchens & Cocktails
The kitchen tends to be where everybody congregates, and subsequently gets under your heels! Either take advantage of the extra pairs of hands to expedite your food prep, or help nudge them out of your way by placing groupings of appetizers outside the kitchen, and also setting up a DIY cocktail bar or beverage cart away from your main work area. Consider the following for your cocktail station:

    • Along with bottles of liquor, soda, various mixes, and garnishes like olives, lemons and limes, make sure you have plenty of ice available in an insulated bucket. Also consider keeping drinks cold without watering them down by replacing ice cubes with frozen grapes, berries, lemon or lime wedges. And don’t forget to include cocktail napkins, measuring glasses, stir sticks and a martini shaker on your cocktail station.
    • Consider printing out drink recipes on cards for a fun way for people to mix and shake. Don’t forget to include non-alcoholic cocktail options too!
    • Help guests keep track of their glasses (and cut down on the dish washing) by creating a system to identify to whom each glass belongs. A casual event using disposable plastic glasses allows you to mark guests’ names right on the glasses with a permanent marker or stickers, while glass markers, wine glass charms or beer bands allow for easy idenification of reusable glasses.
    • Keep people hydrated easily and conveniently by placing buckets containing bottled water on ice throughout your entertainment area.

Remember that a relaxed host/hostess makes for a more relaxed, festive atmosphere. Once the party starts, focus on your number one priority —to enjoy your company and make wonderful memories!

Air Quality in the Great Indoors

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The winter season typically draws people indoors for long periods of time, often resulting in an increased incidence of airborne health concerns. Read on for some tips on how to maintain better indoor air quality, and subsequently better health!

While homeowners recognize the need to seal leaks around windows and doorframes to prevent expensive heat and air conditioning from escaping, the resulting airtight indoor air quality comes with its own issues, especially for those who suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory diseases.

Ideally, homes should include some air-circulating devices to ensure a level of air quality that’s free from harmful pollutants, toxicants and contaminants. In addition to changing furnace filters, consider the following ideas to improve the indoor air quality in your own home this winter:

Air Purifiers. An air purifier helps to clean the air and subsequently eliminate dust, pollen and bacteria. Use a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter to noticeably improve air quality.

Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers. Balanced indoor humidity levels are essential to healthy indoor air. If you’re suffering from dry, itchy eyes and skin, or a dry throat and dried out, irritated nasal passages (making you more vulnerable to colds, sinus infections and the flu), a humidifier may be the solution, as it adds moisture to dry air. Conversely, a dehumidifier removes overly moist air that can harbor mold and bacteria.

If you’ve been feeling under the weather lately, you may want to check if your indoor air quality is to blame. Today’s appliances and technology allows homeowners to control their indoor environmental air quality —there are even smart thermostats these days that detect outdoor allergens and adjust your indoor air accordingly!

Holiday Fire Safety

There is nothing like decorating your home for the holidays with fragrant candles, colorful lights, and festive bows and ribbons. But take steps to protect your family this season with these fire prevention tips.

 

There is nothing like decorating your home for the holidays with fragrant candles, colorful lights, and festive bows and ribbons. But take steps to protect your family with some holiday fire safety.

This holiday season, when you are gathered around the fireplace with family and friends enjoying the smell of pine needles from your freshly cut tree, a little holiday fire safety can give you peace of mind.

Holiday Candles and Fire Prevention

Fragrant candles can add a festive flare to a room, but take precautions to avert a fire by making sure that your candle is placed on a heat resistant base and never leave your candle burning when you are not in the room. Keep your candles high up where children cannot reach, and do not under any circumstances leave your home without extinguishing your candles. One unattended candle can cause terrible damage and at the very least, ruin your holidays.

Lighting and Holiday Fire Safety

Holiday lights and lighted trees add a celebratory cheer to your home, but use these fire prevention tips to keep your family and you’re home safe. Check all electric plug-ins and extension cords. Make certain the plug-in has a place for a ground wire. Check the extension cord for splits in the wire.

  1. Never run extension cords under a rug.
  2. Do not overload extension cords.
  3. Equip your home with a fire extinguisher.
  4. If you plan on using your lights outdoors, make sure the lights you are using are rated for outdoors.

Fireplace Safety

Gathering with friends and family around the fireplace can keep you cozy and warm your heart. Be sure to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected every year to avoid disasters and keep your family safe. Do not dispose of Christmas wrapping by burning it in your fireplace.

If you have a live tree, water it often to preserve the pine needles — this is especially important if your tree is located close to the fireplace or wood stove. As beautiful as your tree may be, remember pine needles are very flammable. Many deadly fires have been caused by family Christmas trees with lights that are plugged into defective wiring or trees that are dried out.

Oven Fire Safety

Christmas cookies and other holiday treats are great this time of year, but watch out for burns and keep all plastic away from the oven heat — burning plastic is toxic.

Count Your Blessings

By taking these precautions, you can enjoy the holidays and celebrate with family and friends worry free, and concentrate on what this time of year is all about, counting your blessings.

How to Achieve Modern Minimalism

Modern minimalism is evolving to incorporate color and evoke a calm, homey feel. Here are six minimalist techniques to try at home.

Guest post by  Michelle Lee

When we think of minimalist style, blank white interiors similar to hospital rooms are often what first come to mind. However, this style is evolving to incorporate color and evoke a calm, homey feel. It doesn’t require throwing away all of your possessions or taking a bucket of white paint to everything in sight, but rather choosing things with meaning and honing in on nature’s beauty. Here are six minimalist techniques to try at home.

Selectively Cut Clutter

Decluttering is always a hard process and you’ll often find sentimental reasons to keep everything, but press further. Ask yourself what you really need and love. Keep things that have practical use value, then tackle the rest by digitizing old photos and oversized mementos, donating unwanted hand-me-downs and engaging the entire family in a whole-house decluttering effort.

Choose a Neutral Color Palette

Black and white are some of the most popular colors seen in minimalist spaces, but you don’t have to limit yourself to the two ends of the spectrum. Welcome muted shades, such as cream, beige, brown and gray, into your palette and layer them for depth. If you can’t paint your walls, incorporate these colors with decorative accents and furnishings, like the rug and pillows seen here.

Embrace Mother Nature

A key element of minimalist style is to connect with the outdoors as much as possible. Expansive floor-to-ceiling windows are common in minimalist rooms and capitalizing on any and all natural light sources are crucial to getting the light and airy look.

Bring nature indoors too with fresh flowers or indoor plants to add a pop of color and life. Also consider organic and natural materials for your decor, like handmade wooden tables or linen bedding.

Go for Sharp, Straight Lines

Straight lines have the power to capture one’s eye immediately. Minimalism usually maximizes on this idea. From windows and doors to bed frames and even sofas, you should be able to easily spot crisp edges everywhere. The idea of straight lines is not limited to rectangles and squares, but can be angled to create cool geometric shapes and patterns.

Make a Statement With a Few, High-Quality, Large-Scale Pieces

The famous saying “quality over quantity” really comes into play here. You’ll often see only a few furnishings in minimalist spaces, such as one ornate chandelier in the center of a room or one big painting on a wall, rather than several smaller ones. These pieces are chosen with intention and speak volumes by themselves. Put a lot of thought into every purchase to achieve this modern look.

Structure Rooms With the Right Layout

An essential rule of minimalist style is to create a sense of openness with the least amount of furniture and decor. After you’ve bought your key pieces, browse different layouts before placing them in a room. A good practice to follow is to group pieces in a corner or against a long wall, rather in the center. Leaving big, open spaces in common areas and hallways helps achieve the ideal sense of spaciousness.

Green Cleaning Tip: A Greener Cleaner!

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Why spend money on commercial cleaning products when equally effective, more natural cleaning supplies are probably already in your kitchen cupboard?

1. For a multi-purpose, everyday spray cleaner that’s effective, economical and safe around kids and pets, simply mix one part white vinegar with nine parts water in a spray bottle or bucket.

2. Create a streak-free shine with your own window cleaner. Pour one cup rubbing alcohol plus one tablespoon white vinegar into a spray bottle, spray on windows and wipe away with paper towels or yesterday’s newspaper.

3. A box of baking soda goes far in the cleaning world. Some suggestions: Use it on a damp sponge to clean sinks and scrub BBQ grates, freshen upholstered furniture and carpets by sprinkling it all over before vacuuming, and add a cup to your laundry to brighten clothes.

 and to make your home healthier try these tips. Contact me for the recipes. 

4. Use woolen Balls in your dryer instead of dryer sheets.

5. Make your own Non-Toxic Powder Laundry Detergent. All you need is baking soda, washing soda, Borax, Epsom Salts, Sunlight Bar Soap, Oxi-Clean and essential oils such as lavender or lemon.

6. Make your own deodorant.

7. Make your own face cream.

8. Make Your Own Lip Balm.

 

 

Old Fashion Living…

Welcome to 531 Simcoe St N. Oshawa

$600,000

Open House Sunday May 14 2-4 pm

Old Fashion Neighborhood, In One Of Oshawa Most Desirable Areas. Walking Distance To Dr. SJ Phillips And O’Neill High School. This Jewel Of A Home Features 3 Bedrooms, 1.5 Baths, A Formal Dining Room, And Family Room That Is Full Of Charm And Character. W/O From Garden Doors In Kitchen To Large Deck. Huge Back Yard With Laneway At The Back, Flagstone Walk-Way. Finished Top To Bottom. A Real Stunner.
Many Upgrades include: Main Bath: Double Sinks, Glass Shower, Claw Tub & Electric Fireplace On Wall. Renovated Kitchen with Corian & Butcher Block Countertops, Professionally Finished Basement, Newer Exterior Doors, Windows, Shingles, & Awning Over Front Door.

Welcome Home…

531 Simcoe St North, Oshawa

Only $625,000

A home with a lot of heart, in one of Oshawa’s most desirable areas. Walking Distance to Dr. SJ Phillips and O’Neill High School. This jewel of a home features 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a formal dining room with built-in shelving, and main floor family room that is full of Charm and Character. Beautifully Renovated from top to bottom including newer kitchen, baths, doors, decking, flooring, windows, furnace, CAC, shingles and flagstone walk-way.  Special Features: 2 staircases’s to upper level.  Main bath features 2 sinks, Glass shower, claw tub and electric fireplace on wall. Three good sized bedrooms.  A real stunner. Unbelievably priced at $625,000.

The Sweetest Way to Kick Off Valentine’s Day at Home

We found the best recipes for breakfast on Valentine’s Day

In case you haven’t noticed yet, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Yuck, a Tuesday. If you are anything like me then going out for a nice dinner (or worse cooking one) after a long day at work sounds anything but romantic. That’s why this year I am flipping the script and focusing on kicking the day off with something sweet and what better way to do than with breakfast at my favorite place in the world…my home.

Last year, 11 Sweet Breakfast in Bed Ideas was one of our most popular posts in February so I decided to write a version 2.0. This year’s theme is all about Red Velvet and these recipes are sure to make breakfast on Valentine’s Day, or any other day for that matter, extra sweet. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Waffles | Go Eat & Repeat | Recipe Here

3 Words… Cream Cheese Glaze (mmmm)

Red Velvet French Toast | Cafe Delites | Recipe Here

What I love most about this picture is the fact that Karina added a few raspberries to the plate. In humble my opinion the fruit on this dish basically cancels out the rest of the calories.

red velvet pancakes valentines day breakfast

Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls | No. 2 Pencil | Recipe Here

Dessert for breakfast…yes please!
red velvet breakfast cinnamon rolls

Red Velvet Crepes | Six Sister’s Stuff | Recipe Here

Close your eyes, take a bite and imagine yourself vacationing in Paris.

Red velvet crepe

Red Velvet Pancakes | DAN 330 | Recipe Here

Short stack or full…whichever you choose will  be a delight!

red velvet pancakes

Red Velvet Donuts | Homemade Hooplah | Recipe Here

While most donuts are fried these are actually baked, so don’t feel bad when you reach for seconds.

red velvet donuts

Red Velvet Nutella Hearts | I Love to Cook | Recipe Here

N U T E L L A!!! Need I say more?!

Red Velvet “Skinny” Shake | Mom on Time Out | Recipe Here

You and your honey can satisfy your sweet tooth with this recipe for 2!