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Archive for the ‘San Diego’ Category

Photo courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net

Courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

A long time common thread in science fiction novels and movies, Home Automation has become a part of our 21st century reality and it is here to stay. Not only is Home Automation really really cool, but it can actually save us money, increase safety and security plus save us valuable time.  Feeling like the future is here and knowing that we are a part of it is well and good, but the challenge that many of us Camden residents face is how to automate our homes without installing a costly system that requires ripping open walls, rewiring or setting up bulky equipment.

Fret no more! Apartment residents seeking home automation need look no further than our smart phones and tablets! With the increased connectivity of smart phones and tablets, simple and affordable home automation products are available and becoming increasingly popular. I did some research and found my 10 favorite Smart Home products that can easily be installed in your Camden Apartment home today and simply make your life easier.

1) The Rise App

Courtesy of theriseapp.com

Courtesy of theriseapp.com

The Rise is an extremely simple device that could make all the difference in your electric bill. The Rise attaches to your regular window shades, turning them into automatic and programmable smart shades that you can control from your smart phone or tablet. Excited? Wait until you read next on the list.

 

2) August Smart Lock

Photo courtesy of gearpatrol.com

Courtesy of august.com

Home security just got simple and quick with the easy to install August Smart Lock. Using Bluetooth to communicate with your smart phone, the August Smart Lock is installed with your existing deadbolt and key set. The August Smart Lock App acts similar to the key fob you use to get around your Camden Community: it automatically unlocks when you approach with your phone and then automatically locks when you are 100 yards away. It also allows you to hand out unlimited digital keys, making house-sitting and entertaining a breeze!

3) Nest Learning Thermostat

Photo courtesy of nest.com

Courtesy of nest.com

One of the top rated smart thermostats, the Nest Learning Thermostat could lower your heating and cooling bills by up to 20%! It does this by learning your temperature likes and schedule then programs itself to adjust automatically while you’re home and away. You can also access Nest from your smart phone when you’re miles away to manually adjust the temperature in your home!

 

Haiku Fan

Courtesy of gearpatrol.com

4) Haiku Fan

This revolutionary ceiling fan could improve your energy efficiency by 80%. Not only does it have a sleek design and virtually silent motor, but this smart fan uses an infrared motion sensor to detect movement and heat so that it turns itself on or off based on when you enter and leave the room or the temperature heats up! Genius right?

5) Logitech Harmony Ultimate Smart Home

Courtesy of gearpatrol.com

Courtesy of gearpatrol.com

Most of the products on this list are controlled by your smart phone each using their own app, their own system and virtually speaking their own language. Makes you wish you had one remote that would control all of them at once right? That’s where the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Smart Home remote comes in. It is programmable with your smart phone and it controls every switch, light and robot that you bring in for your own Home Automation. It even works with your TV!

 

 

6) Belkin WeMo Home Automation Products

Courtesy of belkin.com

Courtesy of belkin.com

I was so intrigued by the WeMo family of home automation products that I couldn’t pick just one! Belkin has smart wall plugs, light switches, light bulbs, netcams and more that you can control with your smart phone to increase energy efficiency. There’s even a WeMo crockpot that you can control remotely from your smart phone or tablet to make sure that dinner is ready when you are. Yum!

7) SkyBell Video Doorbell with Motion Sensor

Courtesy of skybell.com

Courtesy of skybell.com

Install your own personal door man with the camera and voice capable Skybell! I love the features of this simple device; it’s motion sensor will alert you if someone comes to your door but doesn’t ring the button, you can keep an eye on your front door at all times from your smart phone and you can even see visitors after dark with night vision! Who doesn’t love night vision?

 

 

Courtesy of chamberlain.com

Courtesy of chamberlain.com

8) Chamberlain MyQ Garage

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had that nagging feeling that you forgot to close the garage door! Now, say goodbye to that feeling with the Chamberlain MyQ Garage. This smart garage door control is an easy install that runs off your home’s wifi and has a corresponding app that allows you to control your garage door from anywhere!

9) iRobot Roomba 650

Courtesy of irobot.com

Courtesy of irobot.com

The Roomba has been the butt of jokes for years, but it continues to be the leading vacuum cleaning robot. This little guy can get where upright vacuums can’t to pull up dirt, pet hair, you name it, from your home carpet or flooring. This latest model features increased battery life and programmable features! The Roomba is perfect for small apartment spaces.

 

10)  Towl Hub

Courtesy of towlhub.com

Courtesy of towlhub.com

You may have seen the last, but certainly not least product on the list in the latest edition of Sky Mall. The Tower of Power USB Charging Paper Towel Holder, capable of charging up to four devices at once is the simplest and yet, in my opinion, most useful product for Home Automation. How are you going to keep your smart phones and tablets charged so that you can continue controlling your smart home? With your Towl Hub paper towel holder, of course! Bonus: the knob of the paper towel holder is a removable wine stopper.

So what now? All of these products are available on Amazon.com and with an Amazon Prime membership you can still receive them before Christmas. For further reading about the advantages of home automation, read this article.

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Image Credit: planetchristmas.com

Image Credit: planetchristmas.com

It is December, which means that all over the internet, including our page, there are blog posts about Christmas, Hanukah, and other holiday related things. I thought to myself, I am not going to post about any of those things. I don’t proclaim myself as being a Scrooge, but I just like to be different. Being different is what makes the world interesting.

What else happens in the month of December?

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As you clearly know by now, winter is rapidly approaching, or already here depending on where you live. When the temperature drops, all too often our energy bills spike due to heating and energy costs. As it gets colder outside, we spend more time inside which, in turn, only drives up our utility bills more. Luckily, there are some easy ways to gear up your apartment for winter while also saving some money.

Breakers (27)

Make the Switch to LED

With the shortest day of the year around the corner (December 21st) natural light is a hard commodity to come by. Each day gets darker earlier and when there is light outside, it’s often blocked by the murky gray clouds that seem to be omnipresent this time of year. Changing your regular light bulbs for LED lights is smart not only because they give off more light than their regular counterparts, but also since they use much less electricity and last longer. According to Earth Easy, when compared to incandescent bulbs you’ll only need 1 LED bulb to last as long as 42 incandescent bulbs and you’ll save over $250 for 50 kilowatt hours by switching to LED. If those figures don’t convince you, I’m not sure what will!

 

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

You may be thinking “who uses ceiling fans in the winter?” but these fixtures can actually do a lot to help evenly distribute both hot and cool air in your home. Most models have a switch on them, usually located above the light and blades, that allows you to change the direction the blades turn. In the cool months, the blades should be running clockwise to send the warm air that rises to the ceiling back down and through the room. This one act alone can reduce your heating costs by about 10% according to Good Housekeeping.

 

Swap Your Drapes

A major culprit for letting hot air escape and cool air enter your home is the windows. While there isn’t much you can do to the window itself as a renter, you are left with the option of swapping your lighter curtains and drapes for thicker ones. There are plenty of home goods stores that sell ultra thick curtains, drapes, and other window treatments specially designed to keep the heat in for relatively low costs, especially when factored into what you’ll potentially save on gas or electricity. Just remember to swap them out for your thinner curtains in the spring!

 

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Trade Baths for Showers

As tempting as a long soak in the tub is this time of year, you’re doing yourself and your water bill a disservice. Depending on the flow of your shower head, taking a 10 minute shower generally uses less water than drawing a bath. If you use a low-flow shower head for your ten minute shower you’ll use 5 gallons less than a bath. If you don’t have a low-flow showerhead, switching to one will save you up to $145 a year on electricity alone, according to Energy Star. If you’re worried about sticking to under ten minutes, remember that soaking in steaming hot water for an extended period of time will only dry out your already parched winter skin further.

 

Get a Power Strip for your Appliances

Since almost all of us travel at one point or the other during the holidays it’s a smart idea to turn off and unplug all your appliances and electronics prior to leaving in order to prevent not only a potential fire, but to also save you some unnecessary charges on your electricity bill. It’s estimated that 15 percent of your energy consumption comes from unused electronics and devices so turn all of them off when you leave for work or go to bed, too!

 

While none of these tips are going to cure that bitter cold that comes with winter, they’re sure to make your apartment a lot more efficient and cost effective, a face that might just warm your spirits.

Author Bio:  Elizabeth Eckhart is a home improvement and energy efficiency blogger. She enjoys spreading her knowledge about keeping a green home, and can be followed on Twitter at @elizeckhart.

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The holidays are upon us and it’s time to start buying those gifts. If you are as cash strapped as I am, than you must be looking at how to get the best bang for your buck in the present department. What’s cheaper and easier than making homemade gifts for your friends and family?

 

 

Photo courtesy of Origins.com

Photo courtesy of Origins.com

 

Body Scrub – What’s more luxurious than a body scrub? In the winter skin needs some extra care, treat your loved ones to a homemade body scrub and give them a spa treatment in the comfort of their own home!

 

 

Photo courtesy of dabbled.org

Photo courtesy of dabbled.org

 

 

 

Limoncello Liquor – Warm your loved ones during the winter months with a homemade blend of Limoncello. This lemon flavored Italian liqueur hits the spot with 100 proof vodka and the perfect blend of sweet and tart.

 

 

Photo courtesy of The Cottage Mama

Photo courtesy of The Cottage Mama

Coasters – No one wants cup rings on their coffee tables! Gift your family and friends with a personalized coaster to save their furniture and brighten their home.

 

 

 

Homemade gifts are a great way to show your family and friends that you care. What are some of your favorite homemade holiday gifts?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Sarah White, Michael Brooks, Gary Davis, and Lauren Perkins are all members of Camden’s Strategic Services Department. They represent Camden’s Information Technology, and Marketing groups.

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Halloween 2014 window at UB Image Credit: Undeniable Boutique

Walking down Grand Commons Avenue in Fairfax, Virginia you will see a variety of stores. And at the end of the street, you see the Giant “Camden” sign in the distance. Also above the shops, there are huge balconies looking out into the shopping of Fairfax Corner. At night the street is full of lights from the signs and strings of small lights cross back and forth to make you feel like you are in SoHo rather than in Northern Virginia. The store fronts all have amazing window displays, but none compare to the windows at Undeniable Boutique.

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The Holiday Season is fast approaching and we are more than ready! We at Camden look forward to indulging in delicious pies, but we don’t enjoy those tight fitting clothes and extra pounds that result. Fortunately, we live in a time of technology with easy access to apps to help us stay on track or even ahead of those extra calories while on the go. Here is our list of must haves when looking for a healthy lifestyle app!

A great lifestyle app has these 5 features:

  • Making goals
  • Tracking progress
  • Motivate others
  • Get recipes
  • User friendly

Now that we know what to look for in a healthy lifestyle app, let’s talk about our top 5 favorite apps.

Photo courtesy of Fitbit

Photo courtesy of Fitbit

Fit Bit – Fit Bit is considered an activity tracker that achieves all of our features. It is a wireless wearable device to measure personal metrics for healthy living. In our opinion the thing that stands out most about fit bit is its wearability, step tracker and competition with friends.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Pinterest – Pinterest is a personal virtual magazine that makes finding healthy recipes and exercise routines easy. Although Pinterest does not have a tracking feature, we love it because of the social interaction.

Photo courtesy of Fooducate

Photo courtesy of Fooducate

Fooducate – The thing we love about Fooducate is the vast store of reviews for products that we use every day!

Photo Courtesy of LoseIt

Photo Courtesy of LoseIt

Lose It! – We love Lose It because it includes a bar code scanner that you can use at the grocery store to track calories of food you eat. It tracks your weight loss, meals, exercise and nutrition!

Photo courtesy of LiveStrong

Photo courtesy of LiveStrong

MyPlate – This app is fantastic because it is highly educational. There are online success stories to motivate you and easy how to’s to keep your healthy lifestyle fresh.

For further reading check out this other healthy blog post from Camden!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Katie Andries, Meagan Brzovskis, Jesus Roque, Angelia Hicks, and Jessie Marmurowski are all members of Camden’s Strategic Services Department. They represent Camden’s Information Technology, Marketing, and Contact Center groups.

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Isn't this the picture ot turkey perfection?

Isn’t this the picture of turkey perfection?

I want you to close your eyes and picture the most beautiful Thanksgiving turkey you have ever seen. I can promise you that the turkey my hubby cooked was just about perfect: 22 pounds of crisp golden-brown skin and juicy meat. He spent two days in the kitchen (more…)

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