December 23, 2017

A front door that shouts "season's greetings"

In December, many homeowners focus on decking the halls, trimming the tree, and hanging stockings by the chimney with care. But not enough emphasis is put on the pathway and portal to all this indoor holiday cheer, some experts say. The solution? From the first day of Christmas onward, focus on making a great first impression via your front porch, door and entryway—with no partridge in a pear tree required.

Get more tips for outdoor holiday decorating by reading my latest story for CTW Features, published here.

December 10, 2017

Exotic furballs

There’s a reason why hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils are popular first pets for many kids: they’re harmless, gentle, spatially efficient, inexpensive and low maintenance companions who don’t need to be walked or groomed like a dog does. But these critters typically don’t live long (a hamster’s lifespan is as short as two years), and children often lose interest after a while with these ubiquitous pocket pals. As they age, kids often crave more unique animal mates that fascinate and entertain as well as impress friends. While you’ll probably be quick to quash requests for a snake, tarantula or piranha, here’s an idea that could work: consider an exotic small mammal species, including rarer breeds like a chinchilla, hedgehog, degu or sugar glider.

Discover more about these lesser-known compact companions by reading my latest article for Chicago Parent magazine, available here.

December 3, 2017

Want better Wi-Fi? Make it mesh

Whether you’re trying to stream a Netflix movie to your smart TV, upload new photos to Facebook while making dinner, or listen to a podcast as you shovel the front walk, buffering delays can quickly sour your wireless experience. Problem is you’ve got too many devices divvying up the Wi-Fi signal pie at the same time, all reliant on a router that may be too far away to be effective. Now, there’s a solution that can prevent Wi-Fi dead spots in your home and amp up the signal, allowing you and your family to be on multiple devices simultaneously without internet interruptions. It’s called mesh networking, and it comes in the form of plug-and-play “node” devices that different brands bundle into starter kits.

Learn more by reading my newest article for The Costco Connection magazine on this topic, available here.