How the Heart of the Home is Getting Smarter

What struck me at the Consumer Electronics Show is the ability for innovators to continue making technology that has been around for decades fresher, newer and more intelligent. Check out the video below for my take on the ever evolving heart of the home: the kitchen.

To see more of the fabulous innovations featured at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, visit http://blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

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Essential Nursery Room Ideas

Designing a nursery is exciting! As you begin to plan for your new baby’s space, consider some of these nursery room ideas to give you a head start on designing and decorating.

Choosing the Right Room for Baby

Choosing a room that will become your nursery may be an obvious choice or an agonizing decision. Whether you have a few spare rooms to choose from in your DFW home or are struggling to create a space in your already cramped place, use these tips to figure out where to plan your nursery.

  • Heating, Air and Ventilation: New babies are especially susceptible to heat and cold. Evaluate spaces in your home to ensure you choose one that can be maintained at a proper temperature.
  • Easily Accessible: Accessibility is key for you now and baby later. In homes with bedrooms on different levels, accessibility can be a key decision factor — are you going to go up or down stairs every trip to the nursery? Could you choose a space on the same level as your room while your child is an infant and move them to a bedroom on another floor as they grow older?
  • Privacy: If you have additional people living with you in your home, remember that baby will need to have private, quiet space to accommodate falling (and staying) asleep and distraction-less feedings. You’ll also want a place that can keep a majority of your baby gear self-contained.
  • Lighting: Whether flooded with natural sunlight or aided by overhead or standing lamps, having a nursery with lots of lighting is important.

What’s in a Color?

Once you’ve picked a space, your next step is to choose the main color for your nursery room. This color can influence furniture picks, wall hangings, and matching accessories. Don’t feel like you have to follow conventional color schemes (e.g., pinks and blues). Instead, think about what colors you already love and what overall theme you want to create.

Try out some of these potential nursery room ideas for your color palette.

  • Deep hues: For a twist on conventional colors, consider using a deep blue, hot pink, vibrant green, or sunny and bright yellow for the walls.
  • Rich earth tones: Use a rich golden tan color, a smooth chocolate brown, or a forest green shade for an earthy palette.
  • Complementary color: If you’ve already chosen a character or theme to build your nursery around, pick a complementary colors associated with that theme to be your main wall tone.

Fill It Up

Last (but certainly not least) is filling your nursery with furniture for the baby — and for you! Here’s a list of must-haves for your new baby space.

  • Crib: When it comes to the crib, you have two major choices to make: Would you prefer a crib that will simply and only be a crib, or one that convert into a bed as your child grows older?
  • Changing table: You’ll use this item almost a dozen times a day as your little one goes through diaper after diaper. If your space is limited, …read more

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6 Cozy NYC Comfort Foods to Keep You Warm This Winter

It’s chilly outside, which means you’re probably craving comfort food. Don’t let the cold temperatures keep you locked inside when there’s so much good food to be had out there. These six NYC comfort foods will keep you warm and toasty in this winter.

Hot Chocolate at City Bakery

This Flatiron-area bakery and restaurant (whose brownie was once prominently featured on Sex and the City) is so serious about its hot chocolate that they host an annual hot chocolate festival in February, with flavors like caramel and bourbon hot chocolate. But every day of the winter, their signature thick and creamy hot chocolate topped with a homemade marshmallow is available for slurping.

New England Clam Chowder at Ed’s Chowder House

This Upper West Side spot — located directly across from Lincoln Center — offers several different types of chowder, and a sampler option (which includes three different varieties) if you simply can’t make up your mind. There’s also a “chowder bar” serving lobster rolls, steamers, and more from 11:30 a.m. till midnight. It’ll bring back memories of warm, sunny Montauk, no matter how cold it is outside.

Matzoh Ball Soup at Second Avenue Deli

Fluffy matzoh balls, noodles and carrots dress up this iconic deli’s simple soup, one of those perfect comfort foods that’s sure to warm you up. To us this is just about the best “Jewish penicillin” you can find. Dunk in the deli’s famous challah bread and you’ve got yourself a meal. (Note: There are two locations of the deli — one on the Upper East Side and one in Murray Hill. Neither is on Second Avenue.)

Ramen at Ippudo

Ramen is practically a religion in NYC, and the warm bowls at the East Village’s Ippudo NY won’t disappoint. This one’s an American version of a Japanese chain, and you can actually watch the housemade noodles being made downstairs. If meat, veggies, and noodles are your thing, look no further.

Hot Apple Cider at Union Square or Tompkins Square markets

GrowNYC’s outdoor markets — which include Union Square Greenmarket, Tompkins Square Greenmarket, and more across the boroughs — offer hot cider from ruit and farm vendors that can help keep you warm during the fall and winter seasons. Grab a steaming hot cup of cider while running errands or enjoying the colder weather.

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup at Bouchon Bakery

This sandwich and soup combination is the stuff (foodie) dreams are made of. Located at this Thomas Keller-owned bakery in and cafe in the Time Warner Center, the sandwich — made with gooey fontina and Gruyère cheeses on crusty bread — finds the perfect complement in the optional bowl of tomato soup. Go ahead and dunk.

Image Source: Flickr

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The 1 Thing I Want in My Home from CES 2015

I’m a simple man with simple needs. Yes, I need this and you would feel the same way too if you saw it in person.

It’s a Sony Bravia 85 inch 4K TV that I came across while at CES 2015, and it’s gorgeous. Take a look and behold it’s beauty in my video below.

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10 Texas Sayings That Are Quintessentially Texan

There are some Texas sayings that every Texan knows by heart. Texans simply have their own way of talkin’. If you’re lucky enough to be a Texan, you no doubt have these iconic Texas sayings down pat. And if you’re new to the Lone Star State, here’s a rundown of the words and axioms you should immediately work into your vocabulary.

1. Y’all

“Y’all” is a contraction for “you all,” and it’s the very heart of Texan speak. If you want to address more than one person, it’s never “you guys,” it’s “y’all.” (“All y’all” will also work.)

2. Howdy

In place of hello, say “howdy.” It’s a greeting as Texan as cowboy boots and the Alamo. It’s friendly and casual, and it works quite well with a “y’all” at the end — howdy, y’all!

3. Don’t mess with Texas

You’ve no doubt seen this phrase on everything from T-shirts to belt buckles. It’s been the unofficial slogan of the Lone Star State since 1985. While the rest of the country thinks it’s just a catchphrase, true Texans know it’s part of an anti-littering campaign.

4. Everything’s bigger in Texas

It’s true. Everything is bigger in Texas, from people’s hair to their pickup trucks. Dallas leaves no doubt that it’s a big, bold city — it installed giant letters B and G throughout the city. Tourists can stand in between the letters for one big (and cool) photo opp. Which leads to the next famous Texas saying …

5. Bigger’n Dallas

You’d use this expression when you want to say something is immediately noticeable. “Look at him up there bigger’n Dallas!”

6. Fixin’ to

This is basically the state verb of Texas. There’s really nothing to fix, though — this Texas saying means that you’re about to do something. Example: “I’m fixin’ to leave.”

7. All git-out

This means to a great degree, exceedingly, or as much as possible. As in: “She was happier’n all git-out!”

8. This ain’t my first rodeo

When you’ve been there and done that, this is the Texas saying you’d use. It means you’re no fool. You know exactly what you’re doing.

9. Hissy fit

You don’t want to mess with a Texan who’s throwing a hissy fit. This is an all-out tantrum with hollerin’, feet stompin’ — the works.

10. Coke

Texans never ask for a soda, soft drink, or pop. It’s Coke — no matter what kind of carbonated refreshment they want.

What It Means To “Talk Texan”

What goes into talking Texan? A lot of things: syntax, cadence, pronunciation, and vocabulary. Most important to remember is that the “g” in the suffix “ing” is silent — therefore, “fixing to” becomes “fixin’ to.”

That traditional Texas twang — think Matthew McConaughey’s slow, Southern drawl — is evolving, though. Researchers at UT Austin found that about 80 percent of Texans had a classic Texas accent in the 1980s. Only about a third of Texans do today.

The unique Texas dialect may be evolving, but these 10 iconic Texas sayings endure. And if you’re moving to the DFW area, get ready …read more

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Moving Across Country? Here’s Your To-Do List

Whether you have three months or three days to prepare for moving across country, you’re facing a monumental task. Spending a few hours devising a step-by-step plan limits your stress during the actual move. Here are a few items to help you get started.

Start Packing

You can never finish packing too early. Collect and save empty boxes as soon as you know that you’re moving. Don’t skimp on packing materials like bubble wrap and sturdy boxes or you’ll risk damage to your items during transport. Also, take into consideration things you don’t need to pack. If you’re moving to a warmer climate, you can probably shed some of your winter-weather gear. Host a garage sale, sell unwanted items online, or drop off donations for a local charity.

Set a Date of Departure and a Date of Arrival

If you’re relocating for work, discuss with your move dates with your employer. Ask if any moving assistance is provided as part of your relocation package. Determine your date of arrival and make sure to call the utility companies and turn on the power and water. No one likes pulling up to a cold, dark house after a 20-hour drive.

Select Method of Transportation

You and your belongings may or may not be moving across country together. If you’re driving a personal vehicle or rented truck, keep your most valuable and personal items with you. Create a folder with all important documents as well: directions, contact phone numbers, personal identification, and financial data. Allow moving vans to carry furniture and boxed items. If you have time you might want to type up an inventory of everything traveling without you. Deciding the best way to move pets is another important step in the process. Consider how they’ll handle a cross country drive or if they need to be transported separately via an airplane.

Plan Your Rest Stops

To avoid reaching a point where you’re too tired to continue driving and then not being able to find a highway hotel that looks comfortable and clean, try to plan out how far you’ll travel each day. If you’re bringing pets along for the ride, you may be limited as to where you can stay, so search for pet-friendly hotels and make reservations.

Add a Few Cushion Days

Many people choose to move over a holiday or long weekend to take advantage of the extra day or two to facilitate their move. Starting a new job the day after a big move is difficult. Chances are, you won’t even know where your work clothes are the day after move-in. Give yourself some cushion by building a few extra days into your trip if at all possible. Your van may break down, some of your belongings may get lost, or you may get lost. Once you arrive, take a deep breath and enjoy your new home.

And, finally, if you’re planning on moving to Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love welcomes you!

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Our Top 10 CES 2015 Innovations For Your Home

As we walked around the Consumer Electronics Show, many people asked “what is a real estate company doing here?” We were so glad they asked, as our content team was certainly on a mission. We set out to discover the latest and greatest in smart home technology and home entertainment. From improving life at home, to increasing the value of your property with these innovative products, the future of home is certainly bright.

Over the course of the week, we experienced a plethora of innovative technology. From a television screen made completely out of Swarovski crystals, to robots so life-like it was almost hard to believe they weren’t human, 2015 felt more like 2025. Out of everything we saw at CES, here’s our ten favorite products that could make their way into your home soon.

1. Sengled
The innovative minds at Sengled believe a lightbulb has way more potential than only providing us with light. A lightbulb can be a speaker, a wifi booster, or even a security camera. Installation is easy, and the price point makes these affordable for almost anyone.

2. 4K TVs
Nothing quite compares to the image quality of the 4K televisions we saw at CES – not even the fanciest of 1080p HDTVs. In 2015, 4K content on subscription services such as Hulu and Netflix will be readily available, so now is probably the time to jump on the 4K train.

3. LG Styler
Any working professional knows how expensive dry cleaning bills can be. The LG Styler steams and refreshes your clothes, reducing the amount of visits to the dry cleaner per month. We have a feeling these will be popping up in ritzy hotels in the near future, and possibly even make their way into people’s home laundry rooms over time.

4. Iris app
Having the power to control anything in your home with a touch of a button sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi film. The Iris app by Lowe’s connects to various security, lighting, and devices which allows you to conserve energy and plan ahead. about Iris here.

5. Tagg Tracker
Anyone with a pet knows a house is not a home without our furry friends. The Tagg Tracker is a GPS system attached to your dog’s collar so owners can keep a close eye on their pet – even from afar. It alerts you immediately if your pet leaves the “safe zone” at any time. Aside from keeping your dog safe, it also monitors health and physical activity to keep pet parents well informed.

6. Powerbot Vacuum Robot
Is this the future of cleaning services? The vacuum robot spins, cleans, and sucks up dust in your home all on its own – now if only we could find something similar to scrub the toilets for us!

7. iFit home gym
If working out with a bunch of sweaty strangers and paying a pricey monthly gym membership isn’t your thing, the iFit home gym might be the perfect solution. The app tracks your physical activity …read more

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Real Estate Headlines with a CES Twist

The Coldwell Banker Blue Matter team has returned from the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show and there’s one thing we know for certain: the home of the future is here today. From home automation to robots to smart appliances, science fiction is a reality for those who want their homes to be. So for your weekly dose of real estate headlines we wanted to highlight some of the top posts we published during our time at CES.

Everyone’s heard about the smart home, but what about a smart garden?

The Smart Watch just might be the control center for your home.

Vintage vinyl with a modern style and sound is the perfect addition to the audiophile’s home.

Will the future laundry room take some of the dirty work out of cleaning clothes?

These LG vacuums are like having your own cleaning service.

Lowe’s Iris app might be the best smart home system out there.

Your driveway is now your personal basketball trainer thanks to 94Fifty.

Forget about Rosie from The Jetsons. Your home will soon need Jarvis from Iron Man.

Soon you’ll be able to ask your bedroom vanity “Which outfit or makeup style makes me the fairest of them all?

You can cancel your gym membership because iFIT is turning your home into the ultimate gym.

Go get a 4K TV. Like right now. Go.

And finally, be sure to watch our Day 1 recap video. And you might as well watch the Day 2 recap video as well.

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Ditch the Treadmill Desk and Chair-ser-cise!

TAO-Chair-BW-CES-2015-Arm-Display

Working out is hard. Sitting down is easy. How about we combine the two? Yes, please.

That’s the mindset behind the creation of the Tao Chair from Tao Wellness. The Tao Chair exercises are a series of pushing and pulling on the arms of the chair to help work your muscles through a variety of exercises. The tension on the arms of the chair is pretty tight and having sat in the chair myself I can attest that the idea of “chair-ser-cising” is not easy.

The Tao Chair has embedded sensors that also track how many calories you’ve burned based on the type of exercises you’re doing. According to the people I spoke with at CES, the Tao Chair works out different muscle groups all over the body using the Variobics system which was specially designed for all Tao products.

So the next time you’re ready to binge watch House of Cards on Netflix you could make the excuse that you’re “working out” if you had a Tao Chair in your family room.

Check out all the amazing home tech we’ve uncovered at this year’s CES by visiting blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

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LG’s Innovative Vacuum Technology Puts A New Spin on Cleaning

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While coming home to a lint and crumb-free living space is ideal, I fully admit that I dread vacuum days. Tripping over the cord, or having to unplug and re-plug so my vacuum can reach every corner of my home can make the cleaning experience somewhat frustrating. Thankfully, LG is working hard to make vacuuming much easier, and your life much more convenient. Here are two of their innovative designs:

LG Bedding Cleaner

While your bed is probably one of your most-loved spaces in your home, it’s also a place which collects dust mites, lint, and stray hairs. The LG Bedding Cleaner is the perfect solution for sanitizing your mattress. It’s compact in size, and conveniently docks into its charging station for easy storage in any corner of your bedroom. DualPunch technology means the bristles of the vacuum vibrate 8,000 times per minute, so any dust that happened to be on your mattress or sheets doesn’t stand a chance at sticking around. The Bedding Cleaner also has built-in UV sterilization system inside which kills any harmful germs or bacteria, so you can rest assured you are sleeping on a hygienic bed every night.

2in1 Hand Stick

The LG 2in1 Hand Stick is giving you the freedom to clean each room in your home without worrying about tripping over the cord. Its Dual Power Pack ensure longer run-time, and you can pop out the motor and use it as a hand-held vacuum if you only need to clean one small area of your home. We were able to test out this vacuum at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, and it worked exceptionally well at handling tough messes.

Would you purchase either of these vacuums? Tweet us using the hashtag #CBCES and let us know which vacuum you’d love to have in your home and continue to follow our CES adventures at www.blog.coldwellbanker.com/ces.

Header image via LG.com

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