Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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15 Ways to Make Home Life Better

Photo Credit: LenovoPhoto Credit: Lenovo

With summer in the rearview mirror, the consumer home goods and DIY marketplace is a-buzz with brands eager to ease and enhance your fall season experience—and the holiday shopping cycle just beyond.  With so much to choose from amid an influx of innovation, what’s truly worth “falling” for? Here are a few notable solutions that exemplify ingenuity.

Lenovo Smart Display (www.Lenovo.com) – $199.99 – $249.99
Here’s a cool way to make every day easier—and your home smarter: the Lenovo Smart Display. Stylish and easy to use, this device will be there to help, inform, or entertain—anytime. Use it to streamline your tasks so you can spend more time on what matters most, like catching up with friends or having some quality “me time.” The Lenovo Smart Display does more than typical smart speakers thanks to a brilliant touchscreen, that’s available in 8” or 10” options. You can also do it all hands-free, using only your voice to ask your assistant questions and command it. Just utter the phrase “Hey Google” to get started. You can check your morning commute or the weather, and  to stream music, radio, and YouTube videos. Use it to browse your Google Photos video call friends and family, bring up a recipe and so much more. You can also customize your routines for any scenario and set up voice match for a more personalized experience.

PhotoSpring Digital Photo Frame (www.PhotoSpring.com) – $159.95
A great way to effortlessly view your summer memories with your loved one, family and friends (and those yet to come) is with PhotoSpring, which is no ordinary digital photo frame. This one displays photos and videos as a frame, while also letting you browse through them like an album. No time to organize your visual content? PhotoSpring’s leading-edge technology automates the overwhelming task of bringing your memories into view. The device automatically collects and displays your photos from different devices. Since PhotoSpring is always on, you can enjoy your images effortlessly, all throughout the day. You can also view memories as they happen, as photos and videos taken from your smartphone can be instantly displayed on your PhotoSpring, or shared to other PhotoSpring frames wherever they may be. Also portable, you can enjoy photos anywhere you go—simply pick up the frame from its stand and take it with you to share with family and friends. PhotoSpring even works with photo sites like Google Photos and Flickr.

VocoPro Drifter System (www.VocoPro.com) – $399.00
If you’re an at-home karaoke entertaining enthusiast, then the Drifter solution from audio leader VocoPro is a great choice! Its groundbreaking convertible design compresses line array speakers into a rechargeable, 120-watt, all-in-one karaoke and PA system. Tower-style, line array PA systems offer better coverage of sound, but have traditionally been very expensive and out of the reach of many singers and bands, until now. VocoPro’s new Drifter brings the portability and power of this type of system at a lower price than previously available in the market. It features a four-to-six hour rechargeable battery, so the unit can be placed anywhere either with or without electrical outlet. It also has a multi-color LED light with on/off switch that dances to the beat of music. Users can enjoy hours of music entertainment from the unit’s built-in USB MP3 player, FM and line inputs, while Bluetooth allows users to access thousands of karaoke songs on YouTube via any smartphone or tablet. Drifting away from the norm, this stellar piece of audio equipment will soon drift its way into your favorite place of entertainment.

Jelly Cylinder Nano Jellyfish Tank (www.JellyfishArt.com) – $369.00
Summer is a great time to take in the beauty of marine life, so for ocean-lovers (and those who just like amazing, awe-inducing décor enhancements), JellyfishArt.com has created one of the coolest interior adornments. Envision something with the nostalgia and intrigue of a lava lamp, combined with the thrill of “living” art. This company has made the concepts of jellyfish tanks a simple reality for any home or office décor. These are interior-design-friendly, modern, cutting-edge aquariums that are easy to set up and maintain. As an all-inclusive kit, the Jellyfish Cylinder kits include three sustainably aqua-cultured, live Moon Jellyfish and everything you need to set up the aquarium. The Jellyfish are express shipped directly to your door and are backed by a 10-day “Arrive Alive Guarantee.” These JellyfishArt.com kits are a truly unique gift for the holiday season, especially for that person who seemingly has it all.

EZVIZ Home Security Cameras (https://us.ezvizlife.com) $79.99 – $129.99
We all know the summer months represent an ideal time for family getaways and vacations. This fact is not lost on criminals as, according to the FBI, July and August have the highest rates of burglaries compared to other months of the year. As a result, summer is also the perfect time for homeowners to evaluate the strength and stability of their home security system. And, a great way to secure your home while you’re away on vacation is with security cameras from EZVIZ. For one, the EZVIZ Husky 1080P Outdoor Home Security Camera offers wide-angle video recording that allows you to see every detail. Designed for all seasons, The Husky has an IP66 rating, which means it is dustproof, waterproof and can handle a wide range of temperatures. With a built-in IR sensor, the camera can see objects in the dark up to 100 feet away. You can easily set up the Husky using your Wi-Fi network. Keep an eye on your pets and tell them to get off the couch while you’re away from home with the EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus—another effective model the company offers. This pan-and-tilt indoor home security camera features a 92-degree field of view and 360-degree capability that lets homeowners view the entire room. The camera offers night vision range of up to 33 feet when it’s dark, and it also includes two-way audio. Another option is the EZVIZ Mini Plus, which is a compact indoor camera that can be set up almost anywhere with its optional magnet base. The Mini Plus has amazing detail for its small size. It records in 1080p and sends all the video to your phone or computer. The camera offers a 135-degree viewing angle and two-way audio. No matter where you are, EZVIZ cloud services and smart home video technology can help you feel like you’re home—right from the palm of your hand.

Scotts Gro 7-Zone Controller (www.MyGro.com) – $149.99
The smart home has made its way outdoors! Now you can monitor your sprinkler system and easily control water flow to seven different zones right from your phone or other portable devices, reducing the problem of over–or under-watering your lawn. The new Gro 7-Zone Controller from Scotts simplifies your life by using real-time local weather data to automatically tailor irrigation schedules to your specific lawn and plant watering needs. Just replace your old controller with this device to monitor, schedule changes and manage your sprinklers through the company’s Gro Connect app. With the Gro 7-Zone Controller, which is easy to self-install with no contractor needed, you can stay on top of things whenever, from wherever and keep your lawn alive and well all year through.

Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Kit (www.Amazon.com) – $99.95
Energy-saving smart lighting has never been more affordable or convenient thanks to the Caseta Wireless Smart Lighting Kit by Lutron. With it, you can control lights and shades from anywhere, whether you forgot to shut them before leaving for work or on vacation, or turn them on for a pet at home while you’re still out and about…or just to turn them on to make it “look” like someone’s home for security reasons. You can control the entire system with a smartphone, tablet or even voice control systems like Siri and Alexa. It also works seamlessly with other smart home products like Sonos speakers and Nest thermostats to create a whole-connected-home experience. Use the Lutron app to create custom “scenes” for your lighting, shades and other smart home products, like for dinner parties, family game night, romance…whatever you want. The system works with the newest energy-saving bulbs, including dimmable LEDs and CFLs, halogens and incandescents. Lutron’s patented radio frequency also ensures any smart dimmers won’t be affected. The system can also be controlled from around corners or through walls, making it very reliable. Easily mount the provided Pico remote control anywhere, like on car visors and table pedestals and enjoy smart lighting like never before.

cloudten Amora Sateen Bedding Bundle (www.CloudTen.us) – $320
Sleep tighter and wake more refreshed this fall with the Amora Sateen Bedding Bundle from cloudten—a direct-to-consumer lifestyle brand based in NYC that designs luxurious, all-natural bedding. The Amora Sateen Bedding Bundle features soft, smooth and weighted luxury sheets, cool pillowcases, and a fluffy, buttery duvet cover that are all combed with ultra-fine, long-staple cotton. These sheets are absurdly comfortable, seemingly with no detail overlooked. And get this: even after production, only 20 percent of the lot is deemed perfect-enough for cloudten customers, while the rest are donated to good causes. Those that make the cut will stand the test of time, as these sheets are built for longevity, only getting more comfortable with each wash. Also socially-conscious, each cloudten purchase directly helps fund Project Linus, a national non-profit organization that provides security, warmth and comfort through the gifts of new, handmade blankets to children who are seriously ill or traumatized.

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress (www.NectarSleep.com) – Starting at $500
Sleep tighter and wake more refreshed this spring with the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress. It is a premium memory foam mattress at an affordable price that gives firm support with the comfort of a soft pillow top. It’s the result of three years of development for premier hypoallergenic materials that, according to the company, are “certified healthier through 10,000 customer tests.” The mattress features a Tencel Cooling Cover which makes it more breathable, softer and better at absorbing moisture than any premium cotton. It also contains two layers of Gel Memory Foam to help the mattress circulate air, distribute weight and contour to your specific body type. The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress is also Certipur-U.S. certified, so you’re guaranteed that it has no ozone depleters, PBDE’s, TDCPP, mercury or lead. It will arrive directly to your home completely free of charge, and comes with a full 365-night home trial. Nectar also guarantees the mattress for as long as you own it—for the “forever” life of the product.

Reliable Ovo 150GT Portable Steam Iron & Garment Steamer (www.ReliableCorporation.com) – $49.00
Here’s a super handy mini multi-tasker. It’s an iron. It’s a steamer. It’s both! But don’t be fooled by its charm. This portable powerhouse travels light and takes out wrinkles without taking up space. The Ovo 150GT Portable Steam Iron & Garment Steamer makes the ideal travel companion for you this summer and beyond. With a patent-pending heating system, you’ll get impressive steam volume in the palm of your hand, without the worry of spitting or leaking. Other features include a unique 2-in-1 case that works both as an iron rest and as a travel pouch and an ample water tank that provides continuous steam for up to 10 minutes. The iron rest features heat-resistant silicone so you can put it down without worry. Whether you’re on-the-go or at home, the Ovo 150GT will help ensure you’re wardrobe ready.

Rindle Waves (www.RindleWaves.com) – Prices Vary
Rindle Waves is the embodiment of “Modern Art with Meaning.”  Where special audible moments are captured allowing you to keep them forever as contemporary art! This company combines sound plus superb materials to make a personalized piece of art like none other. Their Sound Wave Art is made from taking any sound and converting it into a visual display of the volume and sound. The audio you provide, be it your own voice, a baby’s heartbeat, your favorite song, or anything audible is converted to a visual representation of the entire sound, song or other to make your custom piece.  Every sound wave is completely unique, making it a perfect personalized gift for any occasion such as a wedding, anniversary, new baby, graduation, holiday…the list goes on. Available in a variety of print types, including paper, canvas, wood, and metal, other options include color scheme choice, the inclusion of multiple lines of text, to integrate a photograph and for professional framing. All you have to do is choose the print type, provide the audio info (Artist and Song) or upload your personal audio with or without a photo and accompanying text! You will receive proofs via email for your review and approval. Once they get your seal of approval, the custom piece of art is made and shipped to your door. Rindle Waves is much more than a sound art maker.  They are a moment maker. An art experience, that will touch the heart.

iRobot Braava Jet 240 (www.iRobot.com) – $199
Who wouldn’t love a robot, especially one that cleans the floors while you get to relax on the couch? This smart device is great for mopping and sweeping in particularly dirty spaces, like kitchens and bathrooms. It has three cleaning modes: wet mopping, damp sweeping and dry sweeping. Plus, its square shape and compact size allows it to get into hard-to-reach places, including under and around toilets, into corners, and below cabinets. What’s also pretty cool is that the iRobot Braava Jet remembers obstacles in its path and slows down to gently clean along furniture, walls, and fixtures before returning to its starting point after completing a cleaning run. And, if it encounters a problem it’ll automatically shut off. All you have to do is fill the water reservoir, select the right cleaning pad for the job, press clean and the robot will do the rest! This device is also compatible with the iRobot HOME App via Bluetooth.

iRobot Roomba 980 (www.iRobot.com) – $899
Another great iRobot product that lets you relax while stepping up the cleaning of your home is the Roomba 980 model. This Wi-Fi Connected Robot Vacuum is capable of cleaning and navigating an entire level of a home (up to 2,000 sq. ft.), seamlessly recharging and resuming as needed until the job is done. With the companion iRobot HOME App, users can view new Clean Map Reports on their phone, which show the dirtiest areas of the home leveraging iRobot’s patented Dirt Detect technology. The Roomba 980 also features Carpet Boost mode, in which the motor will automatically boost its suction power when on carpet and rug, where dirt is harder to reach. At just 3.6 inches tall, the Roomba 980 is designed to clean under beds, sofas, toe kicks, and other hard-to-reach areas. Cliff Detect sensors prevent the robot from falling down stairs or tumbling over drop-offs. The iRobot Roomba 980 vacuum gives you cleaner floors, throughout your entire home, all at the push of a button.

GigiBees Eco Food Wraps & Reusable Metal Straws (www.GigiBees.com) – $3.00-$20.00
And finally, with all of the fall and holiday entertaining ahead, let’s not forget that creating an eco-friendly kitchen is easier than ever these days thanks to innovations that make living green efficient and economical. That’s certainly the case with items from GigiBees—an online store specializing in eco-friendly, reusable products to help create a zero waste home. This includes GigiBees Eco Food Wraps that provide an effective alternative to plastic wrap and other single-use disposable products in your home or office. Made with sustainable ingredients like high-quality, natural beeswax and jojoba or coconut oil, which is applied to 100 percent organic cotton, these unique and reusable wrappers mold around your food so you can store it and keep it fresh. GigiBees Eco Food Wraps are practical, naturally anti-bacterial, compostable and they look great. So say “goodbye” to single-use cling wrap, plastic and aluminum foil, and ditch the disposables forever. Each Eco Food Wraps order is hand-made and packed personally, ensuring you get a quality product every time. Also check out GigiBees Reusable Metal Straws—perhaps the last straw you will ever need. These reusable 10-inch, stainless steel straws bend and twist to your liking and are easy to clean using just soap and hot water (and with a straw brush if necessary). Just shake out excess water to dry. Your straw can be repeatedly boiled, sterilized, oven baked, and is also dishwasher safe.

Hartz Home Protection Quilted Plus (www.QuiltedPlus.com) – Starting at $4.99
When it comes to spring cleaning, pet owners often do double duty. And those bathroom accidents don’t make the effort any easier. So, pet-lovers would do well to check out the Quilted Plus solution from Hartz Home Protection, America’s leading dog pad brand. These Quilted Plus dog pads use highly absorbent quilted pockets with unique printed dot embossing, which traps and locks in wetness to prevent spreading and leaking. A water-proof plastic backing and borders also ensure pads won’t leak. And, only Hartz dog pads are made with “Flash-Dry” technology that instantly turns liquid into a gel, preventing harmful leaks that can damage floors or carpets. This also creates smaller wet spots, allowing for multiple uses per pad. They also feature a special odor eliminating capability that neutralizes odors left behind rather than masking them, while releasing a fresh clean powder scent. Quilted Plus dog pads are also ideal for lining crates and carriers, drying wet paws or fur, elderly or sick dogs, or for use while traveling.


As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at www.TheLuxeList.com, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor, on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList and on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews.

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***