Your front door makes a statement. It gives your guests and neighbors their first impression of your space. Front doors also have a tremendous impact on the value of a home, which is extremely important if you’re looking to buy or sell anytime soon. By selecting a front door that matches the exterior of your home and fits into your budget, you can ensure a smooth selling process—or maybe even decide to stay in your space once you’ve updated it! Here are three things to know before purchasing a new front door. 1. Consider the Cost Installing a new front door can be a costly expenditure. However, the price of your installation depends greatly on the materials you choose, the amount of labor you use and the decorative elements of the front door being installed. We recommend speaking with several construction professionals or contractors to get a better understanding of the buying and installation process before deciding on a set budget. It’s important to remember that an updated front door is an investment that will greatly increase the value of your home.
It’s not unusual to see automatic gates in the driveways of mansions, large estates or ranches. You may be surprised to find out, however, that this amenity extends to your average house too. Automatic gates are now being installed in homes of all sizes and price ranges. One reason for this growing trend is that attractive, affordable driveway gates and automatic openers are available at most home improvement stores and from online retailers. The gates come fully assembled and ready for professional or DIY installation. Electric openers and optional accessories can be matched with the gate to ensure smooth operation and lifelong reliability. In this guide, we’ll give you a rundown of everything you need to know about adding a driveway gate to your home.
To those who shop at Trader Joe’s – either instead of or in addition to regular big chain supermarkets – the store has become somewhat of an obsession. With over 450+ stores now open across the U.S., plus an emphasis on unique and creative private label groceries and specialty foods and reasonably priced everyday basics, Trader Joe’s has acquired a cult following. But while some people adore the store for its gourmet treats – including frozen ethnic entrees and fried foods, seasonal ice cream treats, an excellent frozen cheesecake and all manner of chips, cookies and candies – Trader Joe’s also offers a comprehensive, ever-evolving array of fresh organic meats, seafood and produce and a unique selection of health-conscious groceries. The company’s written “product information” policy states that their private-label products (anything labeled with the various “Trader” monikers) use no artificial flavors, artificial preservatives or synthetic colors, MSG or trans fats, and are non-GMO. In addition, all Tetra-Pak® cartons and plastic bottles, tubs and containers used in their items are BPA-Free. So what are the best products available right now at Trader Joe’s for the health-conscious consumer?
Numerous options exist when you’re purchasing home furniture at a major retailer, consignment or thrift store, trendy boutique or online. But, no matter where you buy, you want the best quality for the cost. So, how do you make the best selections? Depending on what you’re buying for what purpose, it comes down to a few key characteristics and types of furniture. But, the best way to buy indoor furniture is to employ the strategies of interior designers and custom furniture makers. So, we asked one of each and here’s what they told us. Don’t Buy On Price Alone Interior designer, Elissa Grayer of Elissa Grayer Designs, says be careful when buying home furniture based on price. “Low price often means low quality. That can mean low-quality and toxic materials were used to make the pieces,” she explains.
The best part of waking up ... is having any coffee in your cup. Sure, this may be a variation of the iconic Folgers tagline, but these days, we have access to all sorts of delicious, robust coffee. Whether you get your beans at your grocery store or at a favorite local coffee shop that roasts its own, your choices are fairly endless. You can get beans from small-batch roasters, flavored beans from Dunkin' Donuts or your favorite roast from Starbucks. That said, whatever you choose to brew also depends on how you choose to brew. With the rise of the coffee shop culture, people have become more discerning about how they brew their coffee. Sure, call them coffee snobs, but people like their coffee made a particular way. You can get an automatic drip brewer, an espresso machine, a pour-over system like a Chemex (an hourglass-shaped unit with proprietary paper filters), a French press, a single-serve pod machine like Nespresso or Keurig and more. Whatever you choose really comes down to your lifestyle. "The at-home consumer needs to prioritize what their morning or day structure looks like," said Eden-Marie Abramowicz, the retail buyer for Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea roasting company. "If you're always rushed, they should go automatic. If they have time, a pour over is good, but it also depends on how many people you are serving." And whatever method you use, there are also some core basic rules to follow, according to Brad Kleparek, senior buyer on the electronics team at Williams-Sonoma:
Gentlemen, start your…grills! I’ve been grilling a long time, so I can’t tell you how many grills I’ve gone through in my lifetime. I’ve decided to lay all my experience on the table right here, with The Ultimate Guide on How to Choose a Grill. Let me start off by saying that I’m not trying to sell you any specific grill. This article focuses on knowing how to choose a grill. There’s no sales pitch here, just information. Why should you read this? Because knowing how to choose a grill is more important than you might think. Why? In my opinion, grilling is about making memories more than about cooking. I don’t know about you, but some of my favorite lifetime memories involve grilling outdoors with family and friends. In my family, it’s always the men who grill. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met quite a few women who can throw down an amazing steak on the grill, but in my home it was always us guys who labor over the flames. I write from my personal experience, I mean no offense, ladies! As a kid, I was taught that grilling is an American tradition. Heck, it’s even a rite of passage. The first time I ever handed my eldest son the tongs and stepped away from the grill, he beamed as his younger brothers looked on in awe and pride. In order to make these kinds of memories, you want to have the best equipment you can get. The goal is not only to hand your boy the tongs, but also to tell him why you chose the grill in front of him. We’re talking about a legacy that will be passed on for generations. When your son leaves the nest and needs to choose his own grill, you’ll have equipped him to make the right choice and pass on the same knowledge to his own children. In this Ultimate Guide on How to Choose a Grill, I’m attempting to address all the questions you might have before making your purchasing decision. Feel free to scroll down to whatever section you need, but I’ve listed the considerations in an order I hope will best serve the majority. Now in a perfect world, every man would own both a charcoal grill and a gas grill. There are reasons to have each. Maybe I’ll talk about charcoal grills in another article. For now, we’ll focus on what most folks are looking for: the perfect gas grill.
There’s nothing like catching live TV sports on the go. In the past year, I’ve watched the Mets while lounging on a beach in Malibu, the NBA playoffs while speeding in a taxi down 5th Avenue in New York, and kept up with Fantasy Football atop a volcano in Maui. (OK, the volcano didn’t happen – but it could have, if there was a decent Wi-Fi connection). And it’s all thanks to sports-minded apps that can stream content to devices - laptops, smart phones, and tablets –that are mobile and connected. Of course, it’s still possible to follow golf, tennis, basketball and the like the old-school way, propped up in an armchair in your living room watching an HDTV the size of Cleveland. But like millennials who no longer have any use for landline phones, a new generation of sports fans prefer to be freed from the constraints (and high costs) of cable and satellite TV. They want the freedom to follow their favorite teams all over the globe on devices that fit in their hands or backpacks. Here’s a superguide to some forward-thinking apps: MLB.Com TV Available on: MLB web site, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android This all-in-one Major League Baseball app delivers live online streaming and audio of all out-of-market major league games. (Local teams are blacked out within a 50-mile radius). It’s the exclusive home for MLB content. Unless you want to spend hours online trying to find pirate websites and illegal downloads (which are out there, if you’re resourceful enough), this is your one-stop shop for all things baseball. In addition to your mobile devices, it’s also available on your computer, and works best when opened with Google Chrome (Safari doesn’t include the newest update of the HD Media Player).
When the Apple iPad was released in April 2010, it was dubbed the future of mobile computing. Sure, critics called it an overly large iPod, but sales were evidence of consumer demand. Today, there are many alternatives to Apple’s continued tablet legacy, with products from Google, Microsoft, and even Amazon. That said, there are some key differences among the products and brands. Some tablets innovate in one area while others focus on different components to make their product stand out. In this guide, you will find information to help you choose the tablet that fits your needs. Versatility and Power Microsoft Surface Pro 3 A lot of people see the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as much more than a tablet, and in many ways, that isn't a strange notion. When the Surface first launched, it was one of the first products to blend what we know as a laptop with the idea of a tablet, but still retain the value of both. Want a laptop? Clip on the keyboard and plug in a mouse. Want a tablet? Take off the keyboard and utilize its great touch sensitivity and accurate stylus. Initially, the Surface line was dismissed as gimmicky. Tons of tablets out there can have keyboards hooked up to them via Bluetooth and appear to perform similarly. Confusion about the product led to poor sales, and there was even a rumor that Microsoft was discontinuing the line because it wasn’t meeting their sales expectations. In truth, a lot of the older versions of the Surface had problems, but the Pro 3 stands alone among tablets as a true spec-pushing powerhouse, worthy of its price. It's a valuable addition, not only as a tablet, but also as a laptop for business or personal use. Given the chance, many people would choose this tablet over any other.
Around midsummer we all start thinking about upgrading the “yard beast.” You know, that thing sitting in the garage that we get tired of pushing around or wrestling on when it breaks down. Or maybe we want to upgrade lawnmowers just because we want one. We guys tend to behave like that from time to time (or so my wife tells me, at least). When you are in the market for an upgrade, where do you start? I turned to celebrity landscaper Ahmed Hassan. You might remember him from the HGTV channel DIY show, “Yardcrashers” Since hosting the first five seasons of the show, he has stayed quite busy running Ahmad Hassan Landscape Services, operating two nurseries in the Sacramento area, and speaking at home and garden shows across the United States. He freed up a few minutes this past weekend to speak with me about lawnmowers. Specifically, we chatted about choosing the right type of lawnmower for yard maintenance. Hassan says there is a bit more involved than simply choosing the one that looks the most impressive.
Choosing the right cutlery for your kitchen (or as a gift for someone else’s) can be a daunting task when you want to make the right choice for both your needs and budget. Whether you go online or walk into a retailer, there is a dizzying array of options. You can select knife blocks with multiple tools or individual pieces of cutlery of different sizes, shapes, types, brands and purposes. So how do you choose? Well, who better to ask than professional chefs and knife makers? We asked bladesmith (custom knife maker) Adam Marr of Marr Knives; Organic Personal Chef Terry Ryan of Cosmopolitan Delights in Tampa, FL; and former-butcher-turned-chef Nick Miller of the Bachelor Farmer in Minneapolis for their expertise. They all agreed that there are four different categories of knives to choose from: entry level, mid-range, high-end and custom. What follows is an overview of each. But first, here’s one piece of advice all three gave us.
No company in the tech world can match Apple when it comes to marketing new products, and its success in selling innovative mobile devices is unparalleled as well. So it makes sense that the Apple Watch has captured the imagination of app developers and tech-loving consumers alike. More than 3,000 apps had been developed before the Watch branch of the App Store had even opened, and Apple said recently that demand for the gadget was outpacing supply, forcing it to delay some pre-order deliveries by weeks. But consumers who don’t need the latest and greatest piece of new technology right away may want to think carefully before they plunk down $350 or more for the Apple Watch. Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about becoming one of the early-adopting cool kids. • It’s for iPhone users only. The Apple Watch is clearly a sophisticated gadget with its own sensors and processor. But the key to its usefulness is the Bluetooth connection to the iPhone, where many Watch apps are stored. The Watch uses the phone’s GPS to determine location, for instance, and the Camera Remote app serves as a viewfinder for the Watch’s camera. And the Watch works only with the iPhone 5 or later generations.
The research firm RootMetrics recently completed its latest performance study of the nation’s wireless service providers, and the results probably won’t astound you: Verizon and AT&T consistently outperformed their smaller counterparts Sprint and T-Mobile, with Verizon taking top honors nationwide, statewide and even in metro areas. Verizon also topped its competitors in network reliability, network speed, data performance and call performance, with AT&T placing second in each of those categories as well. RootMetrics’ tests are widely regarded as among the most comprehensive in the U.S. mobile industry. For the latest recent review, company staffers drove 288,888 miles to perform 5.7 million tests in 125 markets across all 50 states. And while the latest figures reinforce the widely held belief that the nation’s two largest carriers offer the best coverage and highest quality connections, they also indicate Sprint and T-Mobile have made impressive strides in upgrading their networks in the era of LTE.
Who doesn't want a great night's sleep? If your bed is too hard, you might not be able to sleep. And if it's too soft? Same problem! Sure, a good mattress can be expensive, and finding the right one can take some time, but investing in the best mattress for your body will pay off for years. Think about it: If you get the suggested eight hours of sleep a night (though let's be honest, we're lucky if we get six), you're spending a third of your day in bed, which translates to about 3,000 hours a year. Don't you want that place to be a cozy sanctuary instead of a lumpy version of hell? Thought so. So why are you sleeping on an old mattress that slumps in the middle, has bumps in all the wrong places and gives you a kink in the neck and back? It's high time you got a new mattress. So where do you start?
My 76-year-old mother-in-law came to me about a year ago asking for advice about buying a new mobile phone. Her contract with Verizon had expired long ago, she said, and she was interested in buying a new phone but cutting her monthly spending on service. She was intrigued by the iPhone 5s, which had been released a few months earlier, and wasn’t keen on switching service providers – which, admittedly, can be a headache. I’ve spent more than a few years covering the mobile industry. So I told her I’d do some legwork for her that would save her a bundle – she could get the coverage and service she needed at a much better price, and all on a new smartphone that would enable her to use the cool apps she’d never been able to access on her aging “feature” (or “dumb”) phone. And she could get all that without succumbing to a ridiculous two-year contract that would, in effect, inflate the price she pays for a phone.
The world of technology creates a constant barrage of outrageous claims made by companies hoping to draw attention to themselves. That phenomenon was illustrated once again last week when an online coupon company announced that the average age of a first-time mobile phone owner in the U.S. is six years old. The claim – which is so ridiculous I won’t link to it – was laughably false on the face of it. And it was undermined by its own sub-headline, which reported “53% of American children (own) a cell phone by the time their seventh birthday arrives.” But the announcement reminded me of the long discussions my wife and I had last summer about getting a phone for our 11-year-old daughter. Every family’s circumstances are different, of course, and I’m not presumptuous enough to suggest what “the right age” is for children to begin carrying their first phone. As someone with a little experience, though, I think there are several important factors parents should consider:
Whether we live in a city or a suburban area, we all need a home that suits our needs. But looking for the right apartment can be arduous. You have to consider many things — neighborhood, budget, size, kids — before you really can hone in on where you want to put down roots. Today's housing market is competitive. Sometimes you have to come with an application and check in-hand so someone else doesn't snatch the apartment before you. But even then you may still lose out on what you think is your dream home. Don't fret: Your perfect apartment awaits you. You just need to have the right tools.