Home for the Holidays: Six Seasonal Safety Tips

Posted on December 04, 2018 by James Florence

While it’s fun to decorate your home and get ready for festive gatherings, one thing that’s easily forgotten amid the holiday hubbub is safety. Consider these six seasonal safety tips for your home and family:

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Electrical, Home Maintenance, Seasonal, Home Tips

Expressing Gratitude All Year Long

Posted on November 29, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

During the month of November and the Thanksgiving season, most of us are more focused than usual on the gift of gratitude. But given the positive impact of gratitude on others, perhaps we should think about ways to express our gratitude throughout the year.

I started reflecting on that the other day after listening to my voicemail. A local framing store manager called to let me know that my two paintings were ready to be picked up. Then, he added something extra—he said he sincerely appreciated my continued business, which meant a lot to him. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Seasonal, Consumers, Customer Service, Savvy Tips
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After-Party Cleanup

Posted on November 27, 2018 by Suzanne Carroll

Hosting a big holiday get-together can be great. Surrounded by family members, friends and neighbors (and maybe their kids and pets, too), you can create a sense of comradery and memories that last a lifetime. But once the sofa bed is folded away and the last load of pots and pans runs through the dishwasher, reality sets in. Hosting for the holidays has turned your house completely upside-down.

Now it’s time to clean up, recover and get your home back to normal. Let’s look at some ways to restore order after hosting for the holidays.

 

Cleaning Hardwood Floors

During your holiday celebration, your hardwood floors probably endured much more foot traffic than usual. Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, House Cleaning
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Shopping Locally: Rediscovering the Value of Communal Commerce

Posted on November 19, 2018 by James Florence

There’s no wonder why most of us take a pragmatic approach to shopping. Given the fast-paced, time-constrained character of modern life, it only makes sense for consumers to seek the shortest route possible to procure what they need. Hence the prevalence of “big-box” megastores and online shopping, both of which offer unprecedented speed and convenience. After all, if you have the chance to do all of your shopping in a single trip (or no trips), why wouldn’t you? Read more

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What Should Be on Your “Do Not Pack” List

Posted on August 28, 2018 by Chris Bjorklund

A couple of summers ago, I was flying to France to stay with friends who had visited San Francisco in the past and fell in love with our foggy city. I thought I had found the perfect hospitality gift when I bought a fog globe featuring the Golden Gate Bridge. A fog globe is similar to a snow globe, but when you shake it up, instead of snow falling, the bridge disappears in gray fog. Because it was breakable, I carefully packed the globe in a carry-on bag, and that was my big mistake. It never occurred to me that airport security (TSA) would confiscate the gift because it contained too much liquid. I have since learned that fog and snow globes about the size of a tennis ball are allowed if they can fit in a clear, Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Consumers, Customer Service, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips
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Start Fresh: A New Year’s Checklist

Posted on January 02, 2018 by James Florence

In addition to implementing personal resolutions, the New Year is an ideal time to review and renew your to-do list.

It’s no wonder the custom of adopting annual resolutions coincides with the year’s beginning rather than its middle or end. A new year means a fresh start—a milestone that signals an opportunity for positive change. Like a blank canvas to a painter, the New Year invites us to entertain new possibilities, inspires us to innovate upon the past and fills us with “momentum of purpose.”

While this sense of positive propulsion is often directed toward personal development, it can also be useful for accomplishing tangible goals, which is why the New Year is an ideal time to review and renew your to-do list. Whether you need to catch up on overdue maintenance, have a project you’ve been putting off or simply want to start off on the right foot, Read more

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Posted in: Holiday Related, Consumers
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December Musings and a Family Recipe

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Chris Bjorklund

As I was thinking of potential topics for this month’s Diamond Certified Consumer Report, I decided it was time for something completely different. Rather than writing about how to be a savvy online shopper, giving wisely during the holiday season or the pros and cons of gift cards, I wanted to share something more personal.

Every year, I ask my family members to think about how we can simplify our celebrations. For example, how about drawing names for gifts instead of shopping for every person? I’ve introduced the idea of a “white elephant” gift exchange where we re-gift items we already have on hand. Rather than going out for a family restaurant meal before Christmas, Read more

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