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Travel Safety Tips

Traveling is my favorite thing to do. Eating ice cream is a close second :). I love to explore new places and meet new people. I also love that travel can help you grow and learn about the world and about yourself. Traveling can, however, present a few risks that require some extra preparation.

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Making Neighborhood Friends

National Friendship Day is coming up, which means you have a nation-wide excuse to make more friends! No more lonely lunches for you (unless you enjoy eating alone…that’s cool with me…no judgment here). But on the off chance that you woke up this morning and thought, “Hey you know what? I could use another friend in my life!” then this is the perfect article for you! Neighborhoods are a great place to start, but it can be a little intimidating to spark up a friendship. Here is a list of 5 things you can do to make more neighbor friends. In fact I guarantee (not really, but just maybe) that implementing these tips will get you a neighbor friend!

  1. Go on a walk.

I can never go more than 5 minutes outside my house without seeing another person. Sometimes we do that awkward glance look-at-feet glance-again half-smile pretend-someone-is-calling-me thing. But in honor of friendship day I will say “hi” to the people I see on a walk and we will be friends I just know it.

  1. Bake cookies.

A dozen cookies never hurt a relationship. That is, unless they were poison cookies. Okay this tip is now: Bake non-poisonous cookies. And then take those cookies to a neighbor. This is by far the most important tip I can offer because cookies are delicious to the soul.

  1. Follow a drone camera back to its owner.

Now this is a true story. We have a neighbor who has the coolest gadgets and one night we saw a camera drone flying around the neighborhood. We were certain it was his so we followed it to his house and started chatting. Two hours later we were convinced of buying our own drone and hopefully some nice neighbors will follow it to our house.

  1. Watch The Bachelor.

I’m not saying you really have to watch The Bachelor to have friends. That would just be insane (almost as insane as one guy dating 25 intoxicated women at the same time). But what I am saying is that you can have something really silly in common (like watching The Bachelor) and it provides a great excuse to get together once a week with neighbor friends! Every Monday a group of women in my neighborhood get together and jaw-drop for 2 hours over The Bachelor and we really enjoy each other’s company.

  1. Plan a neighborhood BBQ

Okay this one is a little more involved but I put it at the end of my list for all you overachievers. I knew you would be the ones to make it to the end of my list anyways! I’ve hosted and attended several neighborhood BBQs and can say that it has led to numerous neighbor friendships.

Need more friendship? Check out these articles!

Neighborhood etiquette!

How to meet your new neighbors

Connecting to the neighborhood

Home of the Future


Can you imagine a home that manages itself while taking care of your everyday needs?

Would this home of the future automatically open your front door when your hands are full or suggest preheating the oven as you drive home from the office?

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How to Make Homemade Sunscreen

While shopping for sunscreen on a recent vacation, it surprised me that there were hardly any nice quality bottles available for less than ten dollars. Since when did sunscreen get so expensive? It seemed that the lower the price, the lesser the benefits and the longer the ingredient list.

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Vacation Packing Checklist

This summer my family has been constantly on the go. Going here. Staying there. It’s been amazing, but it’s also been a little overwhelming in the packing and prepping department. Getting my family of six out the door, in the car and on the road can be a major undertaking. Without fail we’ve gotten to our destination and discovered we’ve forgotten something.

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Homemade Baby Food Safety Tips

I’ve always admired new moms and dads who prepare homemade baby food for their little ones. When my older son was ready for solids,

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Keeping Your Children Safe on the Internet

The Internet has completely changed the way my children interact with the world. With a few clicks on a keyboard they have access to endless amounts of information, in-depth knowledge, tools to express their creativity and programs allowing them to interact with people from all over the world. To them the internet is a magic thing capable of answering all their obscure questions, connecting them face-to-face with grandparents hundreds of miles away and endlessly-repeatable cat videos and loom band tutorials.

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Tips For Taking Great Vacation Photos

One of my greatest joys in life is taking photos. There’s something so wonderful about having a memory recorded digitally or on film, especially when the photo looks the way that you remember the moment.

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Conserving Water In and Out of the Home

I love my home state of California – it’s one of the best places in the world in my book. But being a California resident these days is a little nerve wracking, as we’re finding ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest droughts in history.

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Vacationing At Home

Often, the best way to unwind is by taking the perfect getaway vacation. But after all the time spent on preparing, planning, and traveling, your vacation can quickly feel more stressful than it should. If you are already feeling overwhelmed with all of the costs and frustrations that come with traveling, maybe your ideal vacation is a stay-cation.

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Securing your Home Network

When I think of home security, I really only think about things that provide physical security, such as door locks and alarm systems. I never really think about the security of our home in the virtual world, yet the reality is that protecting our home network is just as important as protecting our physical home.

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Wearable Fitness

Wearable technology is the latest frontier that gadget makers are battling to dominate. The trick has been finding products that consumers find not only novel and cool but also useful enough to buy. Already, the field is littered with products that didn’t quite make that cut (see: Google Glass) either because they were ahead of their time or just didn’t provide enough benefit to be worth shelling out for.

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Vivint Features that Make Our Lives Simple

It’s no secret that life is complicated. We’re often running from here to there and trying to catch my breath. Since getting our Vivint home automation system, I’ve noticed unexpected ways that help minimize the stress in our day. Sometimes the little things like remembering to lock the door and checking on our dog, help the day run much more smoothly.

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Vacation With Vivint

Heading out of town this summer? We are! One of the many things on my to do list before we head out of town is to get our home ready for our absence. The good thing is that our home automation system makes this so easy to do that I have more time to decide which swimsuit to pack.

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4th of july roundup

Happy 4th of July! We hope you have a wonderful and safe Independence Day. Here is a roundup list of every 4th of July article you would ever need to make this year the best yet.

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How to Keep Your Kids Learning Over the Summer

Students across the country are counting down the days until school’s out for summer. I totally remember being in their shoes, ready to swap classrooms and cafeterias for camp and community swimming pools – and to think about anything but book reports, science projects, and math homework.

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How Technology is Making Package Delivery Easier

Isn’t it funny to think that people aren’t sending as many letters anymore, yet package delivery is exploding? We don’t just want our packages to travel across the country in a couple weeks, we now want them in two days! (I’m totally guilty of this. Thank you, Amazon Prime.)

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Stay Online While Out-of-Doors

Usually, a trip to the great outdoors is the perfect opportunity to unplug and get away from it all. But, for some serious Internet addicts, it is very important to stay wired while out camping.  Luckily, there are plenty of gadgets to help you stay connected.

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Summer Solstice

One of my favorite things about our home automation system is the light controls. We’ve seriously gotten used to the convenience of being able to turn lights on and off from our iPhones and iPads. We no longer have to fight it out via rock, paper and scissors over who is going to get out of bed to turn off the last lamp in the house.

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Easy Chair Command Center

When I was a kid, I read about homes that could be controlled from your bedroom and dreamed of a future when I could actually do all that stuff. As I use my phone to do a quick check on the status of my house while I’m sitting (and writing this article) from an RV in the redwood forest, I realize that I’m living that future today.

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Plan a Perfect Picnic at Home

When the weather warms up and summer starts getting into full swing, one of my favorite things to do is have a meal outside! And there’s no need to look any further than your own backyard

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Why Every Dad Needs Vivint

Speaking as a Dad, I can tell you first hand that once you’ve had a Vivint system, you’ll never go back. There’s just too much great stuff that I’ve already started taking for granted.

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Wave The Flag

Flag Day is here, and that means lots of celebrating the stars and stripes! I love the season of honoring and celebrating the American flag – there’s such a rich history to it, and the symbolism of what it means to our country is fascinating. If you’re getting ready for Flag Day or Independence Day and want to hang up Old Glory on your home, we’ve got some tips for installing and properly flying your own flag!

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Epic RV Adventure

I am in the process of packing my family of six for a 16-day motorhome vacation. We’ve rented the RV and will be traveling through six different states and doing tons of amazing things

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More Trees Please

If your power bills are too high, consider adding more trees to your yard. 

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Preparing for Outdoor Sporting Events

Whether you are a die-hard Seattle Mariners baseball fan, or the mother of a little league athlete, the chances are you will be spending lots of hours at outdoor sporting events this summer. It is also likely that you want to survive that scorching summer and make it to fall! For all you fans looking forward to a fun and toasty season of outdoor sports, here are a few tips on how to prepare:

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Never Miss a Visitor

Anyone getting excited about summer? I know I am! For me, summer can often be as busy as it can be relaxing. Between vacations, parties and work, summer can be a little hectic. If your home is like mine, that means lots of friends will be stopping by throughout the season. Between backyard barbecues, doggie playdates and neighbor visits, our home—and more particularly, our front porch— will be seeing a lot of visitors this season.

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Camping Essentials

June is National Camping Month! Which means it is the perfect excuse to sleep outside and pray that wildlife doesn’t eat you in your sleep. Okay I am being dramatic, I know. As a person who thoroughly enjoys the outdoors during daylight hours, I am strangely less warm to the idea of sleeping where bears may also be sleeping. It’s statistically illogical, as my nature-loving husband points out, to worry about such silly things. But when it comes to the outdoors and camping, I like to come prepared. That way I can feel more at ease when we sleep under the stars.

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Neighbor Day – Smart Door Locks

There’s something to be said about having great neighbors. They are people you can count on, grow with, and do life together with. They keep an eye on your home when you’re away, they water your garden, walk your dog, and bring over homemade sweets. Why not celebrate them today and let them know how much you appreciate neighboring with them! Bake them a batch of homemade cookies or even post a kind note to their door.

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11 Tips for Living in an HOA

Do you live in a place with a Homeowners Association? Just those two little words are enough to send some folks running for the hills. After all, many HOAs have gotten a bad rap for being notoriously tough to deal with. But conversely, HOAs are a reality and a necessity to keep things running smoothly. If you’re living in an HOA, read on for our top tips on creating a healthy, happy environment for everyone.

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