Archives for June 2013

Traveling In Style: SwisRoomBox

swissRoomBoxYou don’t need a winnagabgo to go on a road trip. Check out swissRoomBox, the world’s smallest motor home set up fitting most cars.

from their website:

The world’s smallest motorhome setup, that can be installed in most cars!

Swiss creativity: over 100 years ago, the invention of the Swiss Knife was transforming a basic knife into a multi-functional tool.

Today, another Swiss company has created the swissRoomBox® that will transform your car into a multi-functional home on board.

Thanks to an ingenious modular system installed in the boot of your car, you can cook, eat, take a shower and sleep during your outdoor adventures!

The Impact of Immigration on the Housing Market: INTERACTIVE

multiculturalism-thumbCollectively, immigrants have added $3.7 trillion to U.S. housing wealth, helping stabilize communities across the United States. The map below, the result of research by AS/COA and Partnership for a New American Economy, shows the net change in a county’s immigrant population from 2000–2010 and the corresponding effect on median home value. Learn more about how immigrants boost U.S. economic vitality through the housing market and view methodology.

Click on the map, you’ll be able to scroll over a county or type in a zip code in the bottom right to see the impact of immigration on average home values.

immigration mapsource:

Behind The Song with Amy Grant – “Deep As It Is Wide”

amy grant deepThis is one of the songs from Amy’s latest, “How Mercy Looks From Here” that impacted me the most. Here’s a little snippet of behind the song.

Here’s live version of the song.

We Some Don’t Think There Is A Housing Bubble [INFOGRAPHIC]

Housing Bubble

source: KCM

5 To-Dos for Your Home Before Going Away on Vacation

Home-Security-SystemMany of us look forward to the summer season and creating memories of summer trips with the  family. However, while it may seem like all fun and play—“the highest percentage of burglaries occur during the summer months,” mainly because most families are out of town. ( So before you leave home to go on that much needed vacation, here are four tips that may help to protect your home and family from falling victim of robbery this summer.

Keep the Details Private
Many of us get so excited about our plans to get out of town that we eagerly go on various social media platforms to make posts and even post pictures about the occasion, which (believe it or not) makes our chances of being robbed exponentially higher. “Every 13 seconds a home intrusion is committed;” to help lower your chances of being a part of that statistic, limit how much you share about specific details. Only share information with close friends and family, to be on the safe side. Once your vacation is over and you are back home you can go crazy with Facebooking, Tweeting and Instagraming as much as you please.

Up Your Security
Homes without security systems are up to 300% more likely to be broken into.” If you do not have one already, it’s a smart to invest in installing a home security system. A home security system is an aid that helps to alert authorities of foul play in the event that you are absent from your home. Home security systems help to give personal security and peace of mind so that you can continue to enjoy your vacation.

Establish a Neighborhood Watch
Robberies are less likely to happen in strong knit communities. Try getting together with your trusted neighbors and agree to look out for each other’s home if a fellow family will be gone for an extended time period. Ask a neighbor to collect your mail, and even to park your car in their driveway or infront of their house, if you do not have a car garage. Doing these things can help to prevent potential wrong doing as it takes away tell-tale signs of vacancy.

Lock it Up 
It is common for homes to have multiple entry points. Aside from checking your doors, it is important to secure entry into a home by way of garage. Make sure each entry is tightly locked and secured. A trick to ensure sliding glass doors are closed is putting a custom cut block of wood in the door track. This ensures that the door can’t move. Another tip to help prevent against burglary is to skip hiding keys around the outside of the home, i.e. under welcome mats and in flower pots. Oh and you can forget that fake plastic rock trick. If someone will be house sitting for you, give them the keys directly rather than try in hide them in obvious places.

Window Security
It is common to leave windows open during warmers months to enjoy the nice summer breeze. Be sure to shut all windows prior to leaving. After you lock all windows it is also helpful to draw all curtains or blinds to deter peeping toms from looking inside. Another small trick is to leave a few lights on in the house. Robbers often look for homes that appear vacant, and one way to decide that is to see if a house is completely dark.

Try these tips and tricks for a stress and safe summer!

Statistics provided by Safe Guard the World

How To Save Energy By Unplugging


Do you ever look at your energy bill and think, “This just does not make any sense”? If so, you may be the latest victim of “Phantom Energy.” Increasingly, our households are becoming more technological than ever, meaning almost everything needs to be charged and plugged into an electrical socket. And although we unplug our various gadgets from their chargers, how often do we disconnect the actual plugs from the wall?

Anything connected to an electrical socket  uses energy, even though it may be off or not in use, and thus creates a running tab. Consequently, over time, “Phantom Energy” can have a significant impact on households financially. The Huffington Post has reported that Phantom Energy can amount to about 10% of the average household’s electrical bill, yikes! Most of the common, energy stealing, culprits are cell phones, tablets, light fixtures, and kitchen appliances. Another alternative to combating “Phantom Energy” is to connect your devices and appliances to a power strip that features an “On” and “Off” switch. By switching the strip to “Off” at the beginning or end of the day you take what can be a hassle, of unplugging every single plug, out of the equation.

While everyone is away at work, school, and even for the summer coming up make sure everything is completely off and disconnected. Then, take another look at your new electrical statements and prepare to be amazed! Enjoy saving money and the environment.

For more details on “Phantom Energy” and the complete article check out the link.

Home Prices Soar: Case-Shiller Index

This basically needs no explanation. Home prices are soaring.

On a year-over-year basis, Case-Shiller home prices surged by over 12.05%.

More impressive, the single-month gain of 1.7% was the strongest one-month gain in the history of the entire index.

S&P home prices JUNE 2013
Read more:

10 Gadgets for Your High-Tech Home

high tech homeThere’s a reason we flip through Skymall every time we board a flight, dog-earing catalogue pages with giant floating trampolines and vibrating bath mats — we love novelty, and now we expect it from our gadgets, too.

We carry around a ton of digital capability in our smartphones, so now we demand the same intelligence from our homes. These 10 gadgets will optimize, simplify and beautify your home — that is, if you can afford the price tags. Yeesh.

What was your favorite tech purchase for the home? Share your go-to products in the comments below.

1. Kohler Numi Toilet


Kohler’s eco-friendly Numi toilet is stylishly efficient for the modern bathroom. It features a motion-activated seat and lid, multi-option bidet wand and air dryer, deodorizing charcoal filter, illuminated panels and foot warmer. And whoever said bathroom appliances were boring hasn’t experiences Numi’s music feature — built-in speakers play your tunes via a (remote) docking station.

Price: $4,990

2. Netatmo Weather Station


Monitor your environment with this personal weather station by Netatmo. The sleek device will take readings such as air quality, humidity, carbon dioxide, indoor/outdoor temperature and even noise pollution. Receive notifications in real time via your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, and follow data fluctuation to assess and optimize your home over time.

Price: $179

3. Airocide Air Purifier


Designed by NASA scientists, the Airocide purifies toxins in the air that can worsen symptoms of asthma or allergies. Instead of filters, the device uses nanotechnology to oxidize pathogens at a molecular level, via two catalytic reaction chambers. It’s a bonus that Airocide looks like a piece of modern art, complete with discreet touch controls.

Price: $799

4. CalypsoKey and Case


These days, you’re more likely to forget your house keys than your smartphone. Eliminate the worry by combining the two into one — CalypsoKey lives inside its own special iPhone case. Tapping the case to its corresponding access point will activate near-field communication technology and a dual-band RFID antenna — and unlock the door.

Price: 99 EUR, approx. $128. Third-party lock sold separately.

5. Digital Habit(s) iOS Dock/Mirror


Either buy the kit or create your own Digital Habit(s) docking mirror — it’s all open-source. The basic product slides open to dock your iPhone or iPod and play music. Simply wave your hand under the mirror, where the motion-activated sensors live, to switch tracks or adjust volume.

Price: 399 EUR, approx. $518

6. Husqvarna Automower Solar Hybrid


Mowing the lawn no longer requires killer triceps. The robot Husqvarna Automower does all the work for you, much like a Roomba for your grass. Plus, in the right light conditions, its solar panel can maintain a battery charge for lawns of up to 6,890 square feet.

Price: Approx. $3,000

7. Zeta Fireplace


This chic fireplace looks like something you would bring to work. Encased in leather and molded from a titanium interior, the fireplace is portable, so you can enjoy its looks and warmth in every room.

Price: $10,900

8. Oras Eterna Smart Shower


Primarily designed for efficiency and water conservation, this shower incorporates impressive technology, too. A green light indicates you beat the recommended two-minute shower. Need more time with the suds? A red light indicates you’ve showered beyond your share. A simple touch interface switches flow from showerhead to spout wash, and precise temperature adjustments ensure your family won’t scald or freeze.

Price: Upon request.

9. Solar-Powered Sun Table


Place the weather-resistant Sun Table in direct sunlight for four hours to reach a full charge. Then move it anywhere you need power — its inverter will juice your laptops, cellphones, lights, etc.

Price: $2,200

10. Winbot Robot Window Cleaner


Simply fill the Winbot with cleaning solution,  attach to a window and press power. The little gadget will determine the size of glass and map a cleaning path. It cleans your windows in three stages: spray, squeegee and wipe, all while you cool your heels nearby.

Price: $400

Keep Your Fridge Running Optimally

running fridgeAmerican Home Shield, the nation’s leading provider of home protection plans and founder of the home warranty industry, knows that the home matters. In a series of videos, American Home Shield has provided some sound tips to help you maintain your home in every way. In this installment, AHS offers simple steps on how to ensure the longevity of your home’s refrigerator.

We all know that there are certain breakdowns that can happen in the home that everyone would love to learn  to prevent. A refrigerator meltdown, pun intended, is one. To keep from wasting lots of food and money, about every three months a refrigerator should receive a thorough cleaning. That includes cleaning not only internal components like shelves and draws, but external ones such as gaskets, back coils, grids and vents as well. By simply taking the time to preform simple preventative maintenance on your appliances, like a good ol’ scrub down, you can avoid hassle and help ensure that they will continue to run smoothly.