Converting a basement corner into a pandemic podcast studio


The coronavirus pandemic brought about changes in people’s habits and their habitats as they adapted to a new normal. Not only did we work and school from home, but we also sought new pastimes, ways to connect with each other and new sources of information and entertainment.

During the pandemic, the number of podcasters and listeners grew to an all-time high. As of November 2021, says there are more than 2,000,000 podcasts with more than 104 million monthly podcast listeners in the US. With this boom came the trend of the home podcast studio.

Build it, and they will listen

A home-based recording room can be simple – say a few sound-proofing foam tiles glued onto walls. It can also be an inspiring, creative, multi-purpose place that makes you feel excited about being shut into a confined, windowless room to conversate with an audience in the ether, and that’s what I built in my basement.

The unfinished basement of my home had become a catch-all storage area for junk. After several runs to Salvation Army, I cleared out the area. With the help of my neighbor, friend and hobbyist carpenter extraordinaire, Craig Smith, and my son, Stephen, I began framing out the studio.

Sounding boards

Across the largest, longest wall, we installed sound-absorbing Vant wall panels. These stylish upholstered panels are easy to install on a track that we measured and cut for a custom fit of five panels in height and four panels across. The panels not only significantly reduced echo in the room but served as an aesthetic backdrop for videotaping. We lit the room with small spotlights, cleverly shaped like min-Fresnel lamps, from Lowes.

Color me chic

We painted the walls with a plum shade of Sherwin-Williams top-of-the-line Emerald Interior Acrylic Latex paint, appropriately called Soulmate (SW 6270), for a chic and modern look. Because the room was small, measuring approximately 10’ x 13’, we used ProMAr Ceiling Bright White (SW 7007) above, to create the effect of higher overhead space, except for the boxes we built to cover the air ducts, which we painted to match the walls. To seal out moisture from the unfinished concrete floor, we applied Sher-Crete Flexible Waterproofer.

Next step: get floored

While I loved the look of polished concrete, it is not ideal for sound dampening, so we covered the floor with FLOR rug tiles, cut to fit like wall-to-wall carpeting. The handy thing about these tiles is that they can be applied to any surface, and when – not if – someone spills coffee, you can replace just the stained tiles. We chose a contemporary dark grey and white pattern that complemented the wall color and Vant panels.

Budget décor  

Most furnishings and décor came from HomeGoods and its sister store TJ Maxx, such as the faux leather mid-century modern stools, artificial plants, salt lamp, end-table (with a built-in USB charging port), decorative pillows, knick-knacks for the bookshelf, which was from Amazon.  The round table, custom cut to counter height was from Wayfair, as was the sofa, ottoman and artwork.

Essential AV

Now, for the most crucial part of the studio: the electronics. A host mic is the most important item, so I researched the best option for my needs, which was a Blue Yeti X ($139) multi-pattern USB mic that came with Blue Voice software.  I envisioned my initial podcasts as call-in interviews, but post-pandemic I planned on having in-studio guests, so I added an Audio-Technical streaming/podcasting kit (AT2005USBPK, $129), which includes a USB AT2005USB cardioid mic – with both USB and XLR connections, ATHM20x headphones and boom arm.

Because the most successful podcasts are not just heard but seen, I wanted a changeable backdrop in the form of a digital image for videotaping. To accomplish this, we mounted a TCL – 55” Class 5 Series 4K UHD Smart Roku TV – controlled remotely by voice using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and featuring private listening through the Roku app. As we intended the studio to be a multi-use space, the TV transformed the room into an intimate viewing lounge.

Stand-up studio

Finally, all put together, the new studio was a quiet, visually appealing and imaginative space. All elements, selected for form and function, created an inviting environment that was suitable for podcasting from both an audio and visual perspective, ideal for ideating in a feng shui space surrounded by calming colors and textures, and ready for recreation and unwinding.

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Home for the quarantine


Make the best of being stuck at home with these five cabin-fever killers

Maybe you once dreamed of how great it would be to cut your commute and work from home full time. Perhaps you imagined the domestic bliss of home-schooling your kids and having more quality time with the family. Now, that’s your reality be default, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and living-working-schooling at home is not all you expected. Well, here’s a few ideas to make your home life more liveable and comfortable while we all ride out this current crisis and look forward to the day when we can leave the house without worry of COVID-19.

A DIY Pillow

The first thing many of us think of about homebody life is sleeping in and nestling in our beds — sleeping in, taking a mid-day nap, or hitting the hay early when you’ve binged watched every great series on Netflix and there’s no place to go out.  Make your snooze time especially cozy with a Coop pillow. This stuff-it-yourself pillow comes with a plushy quilted case that you can fill to your heart’s (or your head and neck’s) desire.  In fact, it came with so much shredded foam filling that I made a smaller travel pillow out of the remainder after I fluffed my pillow to the perfect size.

Good Scents

After being cooped up in the same house day after day can make you miss going places,  and if you’re quarantined with a houseful of people, the air quality can get a bit stuffy. That’s when Moodo can be a mood saver. The electronic air freshener features unique pods that can be dropped into a diffuser to spread a variety of aromas around your indoors environment.   A smart version of the Moodo dispenser can accommodate up to four pods in which you can mix-and-match scents and control with an app on your phone. A smaller, more portable Moodo one-pod diffuser fits discreetly wherever you want, even a car cup holder, to fill the air with exciting fresh fragrances like beach party, lawnscape or classic vanilla.

Smart Switch

Now that you have time at home to do all those chores and fix-ups, finally you can smarten up your living space with Treatlife smart switches. With these sleek switches you can control lights remotely with the Smart Life app on your smartphone, IFTTT, Alexa or Google home devices, so you don’t even have to get out of bed to turn on or off the overhead. You can even schedule lights to come on and welcome you home, or turn them off if you forgot and left them on, when you make a rare venture out of the house, to social distance with friends.

Soft Walls

Designers often advise painting walls a new color to refresh a space, but Vant panels are a way better way to make your space go from blah to brilliant in an afternoon. These cushion-like panels snap into place on a aluminum bracket that can be installed on a wall in minutes. The assortment of colors and textures can accommodate the decor in any room, from the bedroom to a wet bar. At my home we used them for a special ambiance in a home podcast studio, where the panels provided excellent sound-proofing in addition to looking fabulous.

New Old Photos 

Those boxes of old photos and slides have been gathering dust for years, so use your lock-down leisure time to digitize them and make them look like new with Vivid-Pix, a software program that restores photos with artificial intelligence that can improve scanned photos in seconds.  Suddenly sepia-tones and muted colors appear bright and crisp. Our family historian, my cousin, used Vivid-Pix on more than 1,000 photos that he uploaded to a family Facebook page in a single day, to the delight of family and friends who joyfully pursued these once-lost and forgotten photos — keeping precious memories from literally fading away.

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Holiday gifts for everyone on your list


These terrific Christmas gifts under your tree are sure to bring joy to all ages

It ain’t heavy, it’s my blanket

Give the sleepyhead on your list a sound night of slumber with the latest trend in sleep – a weighted  Tranquility blanket. This affordable weighted blanket, available at retailers such as Walmart, uses deep touch pressure to help promote calm and comfortable slumber. Available in weights from 12lbs to 20lbs, $49.98 to $64.97.

Brush up

Giving a personal care item for a gift can be tricky, especially if the recipient didn’t specifically ask for that cellulite eliminator, but you can’t go wrong with the BESTEK M-Care Electric Toothbrush ($49.99). This FDA-certified high-tech dental cleaning instrument features wireless charging and vibrates up to 31000 times per minute to remove gum plaque from teeth gently and fast, and it comes with a two-in-one travel case and charger.

That’s the rub

There’s only one thing better than a massage; a massage in your own home.  Soothe, the Uber of traveling massage therapists, will send a pair of strong hands with a mobile massage table, sheets, lotions, oils and music to your doorstep in 60 minutes with the tap of an app. Indulge someone special on your gift list with a Soothe gift card, and throw in some Soothe bath salts (3-pack, $30) to make the experience complete. Fees vary based on level of therapist experience and service. Not available in all areas.

Do you hear what I hear?

Audiophiles will tune in and turn on with the Mixcder E7 active noise cancelling Bluetooth 5.0 headphones ($39.99-$59.99), featuring deep bass and a built-in microphone. Normally costing hundreds of dollars, these technologically advanced headphones charge up in minutes for three hours of playtime, delivering premium HD sound for a price that will be music to your ears. Available in Sunset Orange, Mint Green and Black.

Helmet head

Those who cycle together stick together, and now they can hear each other, with Sena’s R1 Smart Cycling helmet ($129). This technologically advanced yet easy-to-use protective headgear features built-in speakers and a microphone, allowing bikers to listen and communicate on the road, up to four riders, using group intercom. Whether riding for fun or training for the big race, this helmet offers comfort and security that will put a rider at ease, and maybe even in the lead. Available in Electric Tangerine, Ice Blue and Black Onyx.

Warm home, warm heart

Make the homebody on your list feel cozier and smarter this season, with a Honeywell T9 Thermostat ($199). This sleek connected device uses Smart Room Sensors to save energy by detecting motion and adjusting HVAC settings to avoid heating and cooling vacant rooms. It can be controlled using a customizable touch screen or the Honeywell Home app, which can be programmed to learn schedules and establish geofencing, so that the temperature is just right by the time you arrive home.  

Like oil and water

If au naturel is a look and feel the lady on your list favors, she will love ODE Skincare collection. With a philosophy that Olive Oil Does Everything, ODE products are infused with the green gold goodness of certified organic olive oil, full of polyphenol antioxidants and naturally-occurring squalene, blended with plant-based essential oils, fruit oils, fruit seed oils, and plant extracts, in formulas designed to cleanse, hydrate, and moisturize the face or dewy, glowing skin. The line is comprised of the Olive Water Face & Eye Cleanser ($36); Oasis Hydrating Tonic ($38); Olive & Citrus Daily Moisturizer ($54); Olive Creambalm Intensive Moisturizer ($60); and Orchard Alchemy Antioxidant Face Oil ($65).

Sock it to me

If anyone on your gift list has a fetish for performance socks with cool designs and styles, they’ll love Runderwear ($15-$20) the front runner in this hot new category of sports gear. The line features a range of unisex double layer anti-blister socks that will give even the hardest core runner comfort for miles and knock their you-know-whats-off.

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12 Great Gifts for the 12 days of Christmas


In the classic folk Christmas carol, The 12 Days of Christmas, the festivities of Twelvetide kick off on Christmas day and are celebrated with a gift given by a lover to his beloved, one each day for a dozen days. For those who want to follow tradition, here are some grand gifts worth singing about for the woman in your life.

Forever Flowers

She loves flowers, but she wishes they would stay fresh and beautiful forever. Venus et Fleur eternity roses are her bouquet dreams come true.  These preserved and perfectly formed roses last a year or longer, displayed elegantly in their special vase containers, such as crystal clear acrylic or luxurious leather boxes. Also available in custom collections, these exquisite and fragrant blooms can be exhibited like a museum treasure. From single minis ($39) to abundance bouquets of dozens ($499 and up).

Down Matters

With a uber warm cost by Helley Hansen, like the stylish Svalbard 2 Parka, ($325), your favorite outdoorsy gal can get down and get warm, literally. The difference in this jacket is the quality of its ALLIED Feather & Down insulation. This legendary fill is the industry gold standard, with superior loft, proprietary multi-wash cleaning and drying process for freshness allergen-free comfort and certified as sourced ethically and responsibly.

The clog she’ll love

When she’ stepping out, for a fast jaunt to the mailbox, to walk the dog, pick up a few groceries, or joining her buds for après ski, her tootsies will be toasty in Stegmann wool clogs ($125). These comfy clogs wear like winter flip flops. They slip on quickly and are easier than pulling on her boots, perfect for around the house, or out running errands. These quality crafted sustainably manufactured classic clogs have earned their workhorse reputation as the timeless slip-on show that has been keeping feet luxuriously warm and comfy for decades.

Luxurious linens

Give her sweet dreams, pampered in stylish luxury bedding from Loomstead. The lavish and unique designs of these fine yet affordable bed linens complement the high-quality sustainably sourced Belgian flax and Egyptian cotton fabrics, offering a soft, crisp and comfortable experience. The simple and modern Cotton Coverlet ($200) will freshen up her bedroom and the natural linen materials will keep her warm in winter and cool in summer.

Smooth operator

Make her feel good all over, free of stubble on her legs, underarms and bikini area, with the Luminess Silk and Smooth Body, a gentle shaver that removes unwanted hair anywhere, by lifting hair off skin and cutting if at the root – with zero cuts, shaving bumps, or skin irritations. This compact, battery powered girls’ best friend uses sonic technology to sheer unwanted hair wither wet or dry, and its gentle enough for daily use.  $49 at

Smart stuff

She will never again have that unfulfilling feeling when she goes to get her favorite snack, and the box is empty with Weplenish ($39.99, Amazon) . This amazing smart endless snack dispenser takes count of your snacks and automatically re-orders them when the container is running low. Weplenish Also holds her favorite k-cup brands like Starbucks, Green Mountain, Nespresso, Dunkin Donut etc., and is compatible with a variety of snacks like KIND Bars, RXBARs, GoMacro Bars, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, and Keebler’s Cookie Variety Pack.


She’s with the band

Active gals who work and play hard may love their betrothed but hate their uncomfortable wedding band, which is why Fixate created a variety of quality silicone rings ($8.95 – $24.95), ideal for the gym, outdoors, construction site, watersports, and just about everything she does on a daily basis. Made with premium medical-grade silicone in a variety of ring sizes, colors, shapes and designs, she can wear this band wherever.

Eyewear for life

When she wants to make a fashion statement and a statement about sustainability at the same time, she can frame her face in stylish Sunski sunglasses, the recycled plastic eyewear that supports the environment with every pair sold. Whether she’s at the beach or on the mountain, Sunski’s polarized lenses protect her eyes from harmful rays, and they stay put thanks to a fit for active lifestyles. Designed by San Francisco surfer dudes and tree huggers, Sunski frames, are quality crafted from industrial scraps and guaranteed forever.  Available at $55-$68, kids frames ($38) also available.

Second skin

Whether she’s out in the wilderness, on the slopes or out for run, she will feel comfortable and warm wearing a Kora ($160) base layer. This snug-fitting sweater, made of 100 percent pure Himalayan yak wool fabric, conforms to the body with an ergonomic 3D fit and insulates for an effect of 40 percent more warmth than comparable merino fabrics. Styled for maximum body coverage with and extra-long length and zip-up neck collar, the Kora can be worn in comfort all day.

Live by the knife

She can chop, dice and slice up a meal like a pro with Michelin-Star-Chef-approved Edge of Belgravia’s Galatine cutlery ($167 for the 7-piece set).The bold, sleek jet black knife collection gets its name from the magical sword that the Lady of the Lake gave to Sir Gawain. The blades can be stowed in their own unique holder, the Black Diamond Knife Block ($99), a half-utility, half-piece-of-art, in which the knives appear to magically float. Available online and in retailers nationwide including Bed Bath and Beyond.

Cable keeper

She loves to be plugged in, but her OCD makes her hate the tangle of cables on her desk or nightstand, she will love the Cable Wrangler ($19.99). Created by Austin-cool Silk, makers of a variety of unique smartphone cases, wallets and accessories, this upholstered magnetic mound will hold her cables with a satisfying “click.” For non-metal cables, the holder features tiny metal collars to place around the necks of those pesky errant cables.

Puff mommy

She can snuggle up by the campfire or on the sofa with the Rumpl Original Puffy Blanket ($159). Made with the same technical materials found in premium sleeping bags, this go-anywhere throw blanket will keep her cozy and warm in any environment. The latest design, a collaboration between artist and outdoor adventurer Stickfort and camping gear companies Rumpl and Yakima, is a beautifully printed blanket inspired by the Pacific Northwest sunset. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the environmental preservation non-profit group Friends of the Columbia River Gorge.

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Cool summer stuff you will be glad you’ve got when it’s hot outside


Essentials for fun in the sun, entertaining and vacationing all summer long

Got Game

Hitting the road with kids for a long drive to your summer vacay spot can mean hours of, “Are we there yet?” Or, with the coolest of old-school electronics, Mini Arcade Games ($19.99, Walmart), like Rampage, the kids will be toppling buildings with George, Lizzie and Ralph and dodging helicopters, all from the backseat, without you having to say, “Let’s play I spy” once. Other games include Pac-Man, Space Invades, Q*Bert, Centipede, and Frogger, with all the sounds and retro-styling you remember, just smaller.

Bunch ‘o fun

All kids love to throw water balloons, but most kids hate to fill them up and tie them, as do their parents. Bunch O Balloons solved this age-old hassle with their ingenious design that allows you to fill up 100 balloons and seal them off at once, in 60 seconds. New to the Bunch O Balloons family is the Marvel Avengers branded balloons ($9.99), featuring character symbols printed on the balloons, such as Iron Man, Captain America and the Hulk, for a water balloon battle of superhero proportions. Add some zing to the water warfare with the Bunch O Balloons slingshot (SRP $19.99) that can launch balloons over one hundred feet! Available at toy retailers nationwide.

Soft Ball-ish

The irresistible Koosh ball is back. Easy to pick up, but hard to put down, this squishy rubber-haired ball is the original fidget toy that’s almost as fun to hold as it is to throw. Toss them indoors or outdoors, use them for games, stress relief or even grip therapy. These fist-quenching balls come in an assortment of bright color combinations, including new neon and black combinations. Ages 3+ SRP $3.99 each. Available at toy retailers nationwide.

Bubble Up

Talk about a win-win situation – when your opponent scores at Bubble Pong (SRP $19.99), you get blasted with bubbles! This fun-for-all-ages game (3 and up) is played with singles or teams who bounce ping-pong balls onto an opponent’s side to score points. When the game is over, turn on bubble machine mode for a nonstop bubble party! Ages 3+.

Sipp it

There’s nothing like a refreshing bubbly, fruity drink to satisfy your thirst on a hot summer day. Sipp organic sparkling beverages, infused with culinary extracts and lightly sweetened with agave, can be enjoyed straight up or mixed in a drink to craft a natural, fresh cocktail, with fun flavors including Zesty Orange, Ginger Blossom, Mojo Berry, Lemon Flower, Ruby Rose and Summer Pear.  Available in 12oz bottles and 10.5oz cans. Sold on Amazon and select retailers.

New hair day

When school’s out for summer, keep the kids busy and keep them out of trouble, or you can do both with a little Splat. Your little juvies can look like bad-apples, but in a fun way, with this comb-in, low-mess temporary hair color, in vibrant hues like Piercing Pink, Red Pop, Bolder Blue, Vivid Velvet, Mango Mash, and Eclectic Green. It’s out in one shampoo, and your little angels are back to their old selves, just in time for grandma’s visit. Splat kits are $6.99 at Walmart or

Hot shot

Get the hottest blaster for backyard battles on the block, the Thermal Hunter ($29.99), featuring a heat-seeking scope that detects a heat source up to 60 feet away. When a warm-blooded target is in the cross hairs, the scope will turn red to let you know when to pull the trigger, with blasting power of up to 100 feet. The 10-count dart clip allows you to hit multiple targets without having to stop and reload. Available at Target.

Drink up

Forget those sugary sodas and serve up some naturally and deliciously sweet drinks at your summer soiree with Zevia, the top-selling sparkling beverage brand that has zero calories, no sugar, no dyes, and just the right amount of sweet. Now with a multitude of flavors and drinks in a variety of categories, from sparkling waters to mixers and energy drinks, Zevia’s clear and clean formulas are a favorite at parties for all ages. Sold at Amazon, Whole Foods and other grocers nationwide.

Scent of summer

Luxuriate in the scents of summer, with the sweet aromas of a 100-percent soy wax Jaded Candles. This line of handmade, clean, refreshing candles contain no additives, chemicals or colors and are made from pure soy. Soothing scents for the season include Island Hibiscus, Green Tea Lemongrass, and White Tea Berries Candle.  $15 to $35.

Summer cleaning

Washing the car will be a chore you won’t mind doing, armed with the Brush Hero, as showcased on Shark Tank. This handy hose adapter turns an ordinary garden hose into a powerful weapon of cleaning, using water pressure to power its turbine and bust grime from cars, motorcycles, bikes, BBQs, lawn furniture or whatever else needs cleaning.  It does the spinning and scouring while you just adjust the water flow as needed to release its scrubbing power. Available on Amazon for $34.99.

After the sunning

Enjoy spending time outdoors in the summer sun, even if you suffer from dry skin or eczema, with dermatologist-awarded Theraplex ClearLotion ($18.50), a light, fast-penetrating emollient oil spray that seals in moisture when applied to just-showered skin. The formula of a special petrolatum fraction and natural jojoba oil helps to provide added protection against moisture loss and prevent dryness without irritation and leaves skin soft and smooth. For extra moisturizing day or night, Theraplex Eczema Therapy ($18) relieves dry skin with superior soothing that lasts for hours.

Walking and talking

Even if the kids are too young for their own smartphones, they will feel like the smartest kids at the pool, theme park, campground, or wherever they are using their Cobra ACXT360 Walkie Talkie Radios ($69.99). This three-pack of simple-to-use, two-way radios has a 23-mile range and loads of handy features, including hands-free operation, automatic severe weather alerts, 22 channels, and the ability to program up 221 privacy codes. They also have a keylock, to prevent accidental button pushing, a Roger beep after you finish talking, a battery level indicator, and a backlit LCD display for low-light conditions. If recharging them using the micro USB charging isn’t handy, they can be powered by regular AA alkaline batteries.

Tapped out

Nothing is worse than warm, flat beer when you are out in the hot summer sun, fishing, camping or hanging at a backyard party with friends. Keep the brew fresh and cold with a TrailKeg growler, a vacuum-insulated pressurized container that keeps beverages cold for 24 hours and perfectly carbonated until opened. TrailKeg’s gallon stainless steel bottle ($89.99) is suitable for any beverage and is the perfect vat to cart along to your favorite locally crafted beer brewery, to fill up with cold nitro brew to keep it satisfyingly chilled and fresh when you take it home.

Take it outside

There’s a million backpacks on the market, but if you’re looking for a tough one, then the Lizardskin brand name says it all. The rugged Cache Lifestyle Backpack by Lizardskin ($109.99) is one fine bag, where urban style meets durability. The roll top opening and magnetic clip provide an adjustable storage space to protect all your necessities, and a side zip pocket gives quick access to your electronic devices. It also features webbing for carabiners, an adjustable magnetic sternum strap, and lots of pocket and pouches for organizing all the stuff you carry along on a summer adventure.

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The ultimate Mother’s Day gift guide for every kind of mom


Moms who love adventure, tech, fashion or beauty will love these awesome Mother’s Day gifts

Full Steam a-dress

Whether it’s a big day at work, date night with Dad, or off for a vacay, Mom always wants to look her dapper best. The lightweight JOY 900-Watt Supreme Steam Go Mini Steamer ($19.95 at makes it easy to remove wrinkles from her shirts, slacks and dresses, at home or wherever she goes. The included zippered bag is perfect for storing it in a closet, car or suitcase.

Foot forward

Start off Mom’s day with positive vibes, from head to toe, starting with her feet.  Notes To Self socks are emblazed with affirming messages like, “I am a Great Mom,” and, “I am Amazing,” and the special Mom gift set ($32.98 for 2 pairs) comes in a pink heart-shaped gift box tied with a satin ribbon.  The ankle-height athletic socks are high-quality cotton-blend with a reinforced soft cuff, breathable mesh top and extra cushioning arch support.

She’s in charge

Mom’s smartphone is her lifeline for work, coordinating kids’ activities, shopping, staying in touch on social media, and everything else she does, so help her keep it charged and ready with the MagicMount Pro Home/Office ($69.99, This stylish stand and wireless magnetic charger mounts at home or the office on a desk or other surface with a stickGRIP suction base and uses Qi wireless charging technology, ideal for the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X, so Mom never has to search for and fumble with charger cables. It also features a Optional Apple Watch® Charging Mount that works with lightning charging cable.

A bed for all seasons

Let Mom sleep in on her special day, snuggled in a luxurious Bedgear ensemble. Bedgear Performance Pillows ($99.99 – $199.99) are dreamy clouds of comfort that can be individually personalized for different sleeping positions and body types using a Pillow ID app. Close to her skin, Mom will relish the cool, silky sensation of Ver-Tex Performance Sheets (starting at $299.99), made of a hi-tech quick-dry fabric blend that regulates temperature on the sleeping surface. 


To complete Mom’s performance sleeping ensemble,  top it off with a Ver-Tex Medium Warmth Climacore Blanket ($299.99), a cool-to-the-touch, all-season top layer that promotes air flow and dissipates body heat, keeping mom cozy and cool all night long.

See Jane run

Mom works hard, and works out hard, so get her performance exercise apparel that can keep up with her. Endeavor Athletic’s premier women’s Run Short ($58) feature a handy pocket, four-way-stretch fabric panels, moisture wicking technology, and built-in micro-mesh briefs that eliminate the need for an under layer and allow for free movement. Whether she’s training for a quick 5k or an ultra-marathon, these women’s running shorts will help her perform her best.

Get dressed

One dress cannot be everything for everyone, or can it? In the Nuu-Muu ($78-$88), Mom will be suited up for just about anything she’s game for. This flattering and functional slip-on dress comes in an assortment of styles that fit a variety of body types, and its comfortable stretch fabric will keep Mom comfortable no matter what’s she’s doing, from shopping and lunching, to exercise or a walk on the beach. With so many patterns, Mom could have a closet full of these versatile jumpers and wear a different one every day of the month; and if the weather is too chilly for going sleeveless, she can always pull over a Nuu-Muu layering Tee ($62) for warmth that exudes coolness.



Sleeping in luxury

For the traveling mom, give her a luxury sleep experience on the road, with a Brave Era Travel Sheet. This compact and light-weight, machine-washable 100-percent mulberry silk bed liner folds as compact as an iPhone to fit into a small suitcase or even a purse. Mom can carry it along on her adventures and sleep comfortably, whether she is in a hotel room or on a cot at the airport, knowing that the layer of fabric between her and her sleeping surface is clean and fresh. Moms’ Day sale priced at $79.99.

Good hair day

When Mom hits the road, she can bring her own salon with her, with the HSI Professional Travel Styling Kit ($79.99). It includes a Glider Mini flat iron, Groover Mini curling iron, and Dryonizer Mini blowdryer and two airflow nozzles and a hairstyling clip. With all these accoutrements, mom can have straight hair during the day and fun curls that night and rock any look for her vacation photos.



Glam ma’am

One mom who has been rockin’ it for four decades as a professional model, and making it look easy, Christie Brinkley, graciously has made her own collection of cosmetics available to make women of all ages look great, without a lot of fuss. As an encore to her line of skincare products, Christie Brinkley Authentic Beauty provides high-quality yet affordable beauty basics in wearable shades that streamline every beauty routine. Perfect for Mother’s Day, the packaging is a feminine and elegant reflective rose gold that will even make mom’s vanity counter look lovely. From $14 to $49.

She wears the pants

Outdoorsy moms can ditch their fancy pants and slip on some comfortable yet rugged Mountain Khakis Teton Crest pants ($79.95). Made for a life lived untucked, these durable pants for adventurers are guaranteed to fit. With styling for fit and function, mom will be ready for whatever the great outdoors can throw at her, and she will look good doing it.

Wonder water

mom likes to stay hydrated for good health, but sometimes water can just be boring, unless she has Cirkul. This cool new concept in flavored water includes a special dispenser bottle with a lid featuring a flavor cartridge. Mom can dial up the intensity of flavor she wants, or she can drink the water straight up, to suit her taste. The cartridges come delivered each month to her doorstep through a subscription program, with a pack of new flavors each month. Because the bottle is reusable, mom can be proud to do her part to save the planet and eschewing disposable plastic bottles. $27 for 8 cartridges per month.

Accessory to style

If mom loves to decorate and surround herself with beautiful things, accessories her with fashionable and functional décor items like a Mermaid Blue Chenille Throw Blanket ($20.99) that she can cuddle up with on the couch watching her favorite show, or a Eucalyptus Leaves Cobblestone Candle ($9.99) she can light up to relax with some mood lighting and aromatherapy. Dress up her dresser with a 2-Tier Jewelry Stand ($14.99) that displays her bobbles and adds a little bling to her décor. All from Kirkland’s

Pretty in pink

She loves her hair to look fabulous, even in high humidity, and with hot-pink-packaged Color Correct Frizz Control system, Mom can smooth her locks and look lovely and smoldering all summer long. CrazySmooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo ($39.00) features a 100-percent vegan proprietary blend of exclusive oils including Camellia Oil from Japan and Abyssinian Oil from Africa, with seaweed and shea butter, to instantly smooth unruly frizz. CrazySmooth Anti-Frizz Condition ($39.00) leaves hair vibrant, glossy, and smooth-as-silk while nourishing, detangling and defending hair with color and heat protection. CrazySmooth Anti-Frizz Treatment Masque ($48.00) mends and deeply moisturizes hair with a blend including soybean lipids, seaweed and shea butter, making hair instantly looks up to 10 years younger. RadicallySmooth Anti-Frizz Serum ($28.00) instantly smoothes for long-lasting, frizz-free style with full spectrum UVA/UVB color and heat protection. Available at

Well rounded

Give Mom the tools for success, starting with her hair brush. The Ostia Collection’s Round Copper Brush ($24-28) is has a pure copper core that retains and distributes heat evenly for a smoother and healthier finish to Mom’s style. The extra-long Tourmaline bristles and boar strip work together to create the perfect tension for styling. For a static-free styling, she can spray on Ostia Collection 3-in-1 Mist ($18) that smooths and adds shine while hydrating heat-styled hair.

She brings home the bacon, and fries it up in …

The kitchen is Mom’s domain, so give her cookware worthy of her Highness, with the Swiss Diamond XD Nonstick Cookware collection, dubbed the Rolls Royce of cookware.  The XD-double-coated Swiss Diamond Fry Pan Duo ($189.95) features a 9.5-inch and 11-inch frying pans that make the perfect pair for everyday cooking, from a succulent steak to a simple cheese omelet. The extra-thick, cast aluminum body and PFOA-free XD coating, reinforced with real diamonds and a rivet-free cooking surface, offer years of trouble-free cooking, maximum protection against bacteria build up and easy clean-up. The ergonomic handles are designed to fit comfortably in Mom’s hands and are engineered to stay cool on the stovetop. Additionally, both pans are oven safe up to 500°F (260°C).

Out in style

Active Moms need performance clothes that can keep up with them. Whether she’s out shopping or relaxing round the campfire, Craghoppers has an outfit for that, like Insect Shield Luna Tights ($48), the agile travel and adventure leggings that freedom of movement, while providing UPF 50+ sun protection and InsectShield insect-repellent fabric coverage from waist to ankle; or the all-purpose classic Kiwi Long-Sleeve Shirt ($36), a easy wash-and-wear quick-dry poly-cotton shirt with UPF 40+, and NosiDefence insect bite-proof construction to keep off the skeeters and other bugs on the trail.

Wired for sound

Tech savvy audiophile moms love themselves some wireless earbuds, but tangled lines or low- or dead-batteries are a bummer.  With myCharge’s PowerGear Sound ($24.99) Mom will always be charged up and ready to listen to her favorite music or podcast for her daily workout, traveling and anytime she needs to turn on and tune out. This portable protective charging earbud case supplies up to 14x extra battery life and is compatible with Powerbeats 2, Powerbeats 3 and most other Bluetooth earbuds.

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Your maid just might clean out your house

HouseCleaningBocaRatonFlorida (140)

One in three home contractors flunk background checks

I found out the hard way that not finishing on time or making a mess is not the only crime you have to worry about with a home contractor. I had the unfortunately experience of hiring a handyman who came back a few days after he finished a painting job to burglarize my house, making off with about $40,000 worth of jewelry and other valuables.

So I was not surprised when I read that when home services app SERVIZ put applicants through a pre-employment background check, they discovered that as many as a third of home contractors had prior criminal records.

Concerned at these numbers, SERVIZ then researched and assembled its groundbreaking new Home Safety Rankings (HSR) Index for over 100 metropolitan areas across the U.S. It’s a comprehensive look at statistics and findings on home safety across the U.S., with participation from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and other national organizations.

The list ranked cities according to highly specific home safety and crime statistics, and the results included more than a few surprises, with cities in the Los Angeles, Dallas and San Diego metro areas appearing in the top 10 safest, and with multiple cities in the Phoenix, Los Angeles, Denver and other metro areas also falling in the bottom 10 as the least safe.

In addition to the nationwide rankings on 108 cities, the HSR examined the home safety habits and concerns of residents through city page infographics. The study shows homeowners vital facts about their city’s potential safety and offers important statistics and tips, with insights on such cities including Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, New York, Washington D.C., Denver, and Austin.

The study found that Los Angeles’s Home Safety Score was C+, San Diego scored a B-, New York scored a B, and Washington D.C. scored an F. New York ranked 27 (100 is safest) on the Crime Index, with 40,599 annual crimes, while Los Angeles ranked 19, with 121,241 annual crimes. Washington ranked 3 on the Crime Index, with 39,966 annual crimes.

Shockingly, a person’s chance of becoming a victim of a crime is 1 in 33 in L.A., 1 in 41 in New York, 1 in 17 in Washington D.C., 1 in 39 in San Diego, and 1 in 35 across the U.S. (Average). What is even more concerning is that people nationwide are actually unsuspectingly letting criminals into their homes.

SERVIZ found that home service pros failed SERVIZ background checks a rates as high as one in nine in Los Angeles, with as many as 1 in 6 carpet cleaners failing checks. One in six handymen in New York and San Diego failed criminal background checks, and one in four home repair pros failed background checks in Washington D.C.

The statistics may be frightening, but much less terrifying than coming home to a broken window screen and all your jewelry gone and your home ransacked, like mine was, so be smart, and only hire through a verified service that does a thorough criminal background check.

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