December 26, 2015

Fresh from the counter-culture

Do the unwanted sugars and preservatives in store-bought yogurt make your stomach curdle? Suspicious of the active culture potency in that cup you just opened? Wish you could get more bang for your probiotic buck? Maybe it’s time to sack that packaged dairy snack and become a do-it-yourself yogurt convert.

In my latest story for The Costco Connection, I write about the perks and pleasures of homemade yogurt and how to make it from the comforts of your kitchen. Click here for a taste.

December 11, 2015

Welcome to flavor country

Rest in peace, vanilla. You’ve served the hungry consumer admirably for eons. But menus and palates have evolved, and “plain” doesn’t have much of a shelf life among snack lovers these days. Taste buds are waking up to new cravings and curiosities seemingly faster than chefs and flavor experts can invent them—from tangy, burnt and smoky to bitter, pickled and oaky.

The latest snack flavors is the topic du jour I explored recently for CSP Magazine; check out the article here.

November 29, 2015

No disc required

Face facts: Those DVDs you painstakingly alphabetized are gathering dust and hogging shelf space. Thankfully, there’s an easier way to collect and watch your favorite films and TV episodes, without worrying about scratched or lost discs, immobile players that inevitably break down, or leaving your library behind when you’re away. Simply switch to digital copies – stored and streaming video files that can be instantly accessed on smartphones, tablets, computers, streaming players, and smart TVs.

Learn more about digital copies and UltraViolet by clicking here and reading my latest article on the topic for the Costco Connection magazine.

November 15, 2015

Designing the ideal doctors office

There's a lot more that goes into building a new medical clinic than steel, wood, drywall, tile and paint. Today's physician offices need to be patient centered but also ensure staff safety. The answer is a carefully considered architectural design that caters to both patients and workers while also reducing the risks of transmissible disease.

That's the latest topic I tackle for The Joint Commission's Environment of Care newsletter. Click here to read the article.

November 2, 2015

Thinking of pimping your ride? Consider the car insurance ramifications

Custom wheels, tinted windows and a primo sound system all sound like nice enhancements to your automobile. But adding these extras can affect your car insurance coverage and what you might have to pay in premiums. Click here to read my take on this topic, as published by

October 12, 2015

In the words of the people

If you're a digital publisher, it can often be challenging to post enough interesting content to keep users engaged. But what if you turned the pulpit over to the people and relied more on user-generated posts, photos, videos, and other original content from everyday folks?

That's the question I explore in my newest piece for EContent Magazine, which can be accessed here.

September 28, 2015

'Tis the season for terror

With Halloween only a few short weeks away, haunted house showmen are preparing to their bring their frightfully fun attractions back from the dead for another season and thrill horror-seeking crowds eager to be mortified. One of the most anticipated commercial haunted attraction openings in the southwest suburbs occurs this week with the return of Midnight Terror Haunted House, which has doubled in size since its debut last year.

Read about how its creator, Justin Cerniuk, achieved his dream of delivering the gruesome goods in his neck of the woods by clicking here to access an article on the topic I recently wrote, published in the Chicago Tribune.

September 14, 2015

Condensing the nest

Thinking about downsizing to a smaller home? There's a lot to consider before moving down and trading in your residence for a more spatially efficient model that meets your empty nester lifestyle.

Click here to read my latest real estate-related article on this topic for CTW Features.

September 6, 2015

Auto coverage for that classic car

Thinking about owning a vintage muscle car, old time Corvette, collectible sports car, or other set of rare wheels? Cut-rate insurance won't cut it for these classic vehicles.

Learn about the auto insurance issues you need to consider carefully when it comes to classic cars by reading my latest article for, accessible by clicking here.

August 31, 2015

Not your average Joe's

The life of a journalist is hard. Sometimes we're asked to write thousands of words on a tight deadline. Other times we're expected to phone dozens of sources in the hopes of a story scoop. And once in a while, we get assigned to go undercover. That's what I recently did for CSP Magazine, which sweetened the deal by sending me on a shopping spree for snacks at a Trader Joe's store – all on the publisher's dime. The results were, to put it bluntly, delicious.

Read my profile on Trader Joe's by clicking here.

August 23, 2015

How hospitals prepare for disaster

Hospitals are thought of as a safe haven for patients, staff and visitors alike. But health care facilities and medical centers are not impervious to violent acts of Mother Nature. In my newest article for The Joint Commission's Environment of Care News newsletter, I explore the topic of emergency readiness and disaster preparedness at hospitals.

Click here to read the full story.

July 14, 2015

Foolproof passwords

Encryption technology, firewalls and secure socket layers can only protect you so far when using websites and apps.  For a safer level of security, you need a hacker-resistant password or passphrase.

For tips on how to create one, read my newest article for USAA Magazine, by clicking here.

June 1, 2015

What publishers can learn from the demise of tech media players

In the world of digital publishing, the law of the jungle still applies, as it does in any industry: Only the fittest shall survive. But while e-content providers initiate and expire with regularity these days, recent news of the shakeout of three notable names in tech media—Gigaom, Joystiq, and The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)—has caused some players in this space to sit up, take notice, and ask nervous questions.

Explore more on this topic by reading my related article, recently published at, available by clicking here.

May 21, 2015

Pet-friendly insurance policies

Owning a pet can be doggone expensive - especially if you have a canine breed that homeowners insurance companies deem as risky.

Read my latest article for on homeowners insurance-related issues that pet owners should be aware of by clicking here.

April 29, 2015

From tennis to telescopes

Readers of the newest issue of The Costco Connection magazine will get a double dose of Martinspiration this month. The May installment includes two separate articles I crafted: one on taking up the game of tennis and the other on stargazing and choosing a telescope, two outdoor pastimes that can now be more widely enjoyed, thanks to Old Man Winter going into hibernation.

Click here to access my tennis story, and click here to scour my stargazing feature.

April 13, 2015

Insurance rules for renting out your home

Interested in renting out your home year round or as an occasional vacation spot? You'll want to have the right landlord insurance in place.

Check out my newest article for ValuePenguin .com, which tackles this topic. You can read the full article by clicking here.

March 24, 2015

Homeowner write-offs

Homeownership already provides ample perks, including the ability to build equity on your investment and enjoy extra privacy and space that renters envy. But many owners aren’t aware of all the potential tax benefits also available to them. These can add up to substantial write-offs that can either lower your tax amount owed or generate a refund.

April 15 is quickly approaching, but there's still time to max out on all the tax breaks and deductions available to you as a homeowner. Click here to read how in my newest article for CTW Features.

March 9, 2015

Pocket pets aplenty

Compact furry friends are all the rage lately among pet owners, as evidenced by the popularity of tiny companions like sugar gliders, degus, hedgehogs and prairie dogs, which smart pet supply retailers need to consider catering to with ample merchandise.

That's the topic of my latest column for Pet Age Magazine, which can be read here.

February 22, 2015

Voluminous video

Of all the routine activities that have become ingrained in our daily rituals—from getting dressed in the morning to eating dinner at night—one is climbing the ranks faster than nearly any other: pressing “play” online. Indeed, watching Internet videos has arguably become the nation’s favorite new pastime, as indicated by the latest data.

Learn just how pervasive watching footage online has become by reading my newest story for EContent Magazine by clicking here.

February 17, 2015

Taking the axe to your property tax

Seeking to lower those high property tax bills? It takes a little effort, but the payoff can be worth it, say the experts.

That's the topic I explore in my newest story for AARP The Magazine, which you can read by clicking here.

February 6, 2015

The cost of a Super Bowl ad could buy a lot of digital marketing...

With a 30-second Super Bowl spot now commanding $4.5 million, brands have to wonder if those dollars could be better spent elsewhere--for instance, invested in digital channels like Twitter, YouTube, and search.

I investigate these and other possibilities in my latest piece for EContent Magazine, which can be read here.

January 24, 2015

What's the best option for borrowers seeking extra cash?

In a battle between a cash-out refinance vs. a home equity loan vs. a home equity line of credit, which do you think is the best choice for borrowers? That's the question I examine in my newest article, this time for

Learn about the financial pros and cons of each of these three vehicles by clicking here to read the story.