4 Items that make your home SMARTER and your life EASIER

4 Items that make your home SMARTER and your life EASIER

This morning I stopped by News 3 This Morning to chat with Kevin Hunsperger about the latest in Smart Home technology. In the past couple of years, creating a connected home that uses technology to save you time, energy, and money has become all the rage. I decided to try out several of the newest innovations and report back!

The Reinvention of Made in America

I stopped by News-3 This Morning recently to talk about products "Made in America." I've been noticing that the internet is once again acting as the great equalizer when it comes to American-made products. Instead of factories churning out mass-produced products stateside, American companies are creating well-made, high-quality products that thanks to the internet are available to a worldwide audience.

American Giant Hoodie

I'm just going to be honest. When my husband told me he wanted a $89.00 hoodie, I laughed at him. He had read a Slate article declaring This is the Greatest Hoodie Ever Made and decided he needed one. I was semi-convinced reading all the praise but it wasn't until I held an actual American Giant hoodie in my hands (and had one on my body) that I really got it. Y'all, this hoodie is SO. NICE. So nice my husband and I are constantly debating whether an event is American Giant worthy. Will there be fire? No go, don't want our amazing hoodie smelling like smoke. Will it be warm and require us to remove our hoodie? Nope, our hoodie might get stolen. 

Have you ever picked up a vintage piece of clothing and thought, "Why don't they make clothes like this anymore?" Turns out, they do. American Giant does and they do that by spending less on distribution, retail real estate, and marketing, and by spending more on quality materials and American manufacturing.

Critical Cycles

Critical Cycles is another company cutting out the middle man and using the internet to offer a superior product - made in America - to a wide audience. I first learned about the company from a friend, who is also a dedicated cyclist. I had told her I was looking for a bike and she quickly recommended Critical.

Critical designs, manufactures, and sell top-notch bicycles at an affordable price. They do all the research and development in-house and handpick all the components themselves. They sell a finished hand-built product shipped directly to you - no middleman so better products!

Critical Cycles is offering my readers 10% off orders over $100 with the coupon code BluegrassRedheadsSaveGreen!

Founded in 2013, FOUNT began with the creative husband and wife team of Phillip and Jackie Wachter pursuing their passion for leather bags and accessories. Based out of Cleveland, Ohio, FOUNT is using the highest quality leather and materials that are not only special because they are handcrafted in America but because they are destined to become heirlooms.

These bags not only look beautiful but smell and feel amazing. Holding a FOUNT bag is similar to holding an American Giant sweatshirt. You feel what you feel when you encounter an amazingly vintage product that has the heft of something well-made. 

Sonnet James

I've already written about all the reasons I love my Sonnet James play dress, but I wore the dress during the segment because it another company reinventing the Made In America label! 

All Sonnet James dresses are made here in San Francisco, CA, with fabric made in New York. Again, by thinking beyond the traditional manufacturing model, Sonnet James is offering a superior American-made product!

My 5 Favorite Podcasts

Are you on the podcast bandwagon yet? If not, get on board! 

Don't listen to the radio you can't control or music you don't enjoy! Listen to some of the smartest, funniest, most insightful people out there sharing content that makes your life BETTER!

I listen to podcasts while I walk in the morning, in my van, even while I knit at night. In fact, I have a weekly podcast schedule. (I know! I'm a dork!) I listen to work-themed podcasts on Mondays, creative podcasts on Tuesdays, fun podcasts on Wednesday, and parenting podcasts on Thursdays. I am constantly amazed by all the great tips and stories and advice I get from these programs. 

Here are my favorites.

I'm a BIG Gretchen Rubin fan so it's no surprise I love her podcast, which she cohosts with her sister Elizabeth Craft. They talk "about how to build happier habits into everyday life, as we draw from cutting-edge science, ancient wisdom, lessons from pop culture—and our own experiences (and mistakes)"

Just discovered The Lively Show and I absolutely love it. From Jess herself, "Each Tuesday on my podcast, The Lively Show, I share ways we can apply this Values-based approach to our possessions, personal habits, relationships, and career. And Thursday episodes feature a guest interview designed to uplift, inspire, or help you add a little extra intention to your everyday."

Conversations revolving around creativity with Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and my personal hero. What more do you need to know?!?

In full disclosure, Sarah and Meagan are my good friends, but I'd swear I'd listen even if they weren't. I mean they have EIGHT kids between them. Trust me. They're experts.

I first heard of Rob Bell through Oprah.... which really is enough. Then, I sort of rediscovered him through his podcast, which I find so inspiring and insightful. 

What are your favorite podcasts?

Sonnet James: Play Dresses for Playful Moms

When I first read about Sonnet James on Cup of Jo, I was immediately obsessed. Basically, they had me at "play dress." I LOVE to wear dresses, but I am the mother of three boys and these dresses need to be realistic. No short hems. No flimsy fabric. Something with sleeves!

So, if a company was describing their dresses as play dresses - as in I could wear these dresses and still play with my boys, I was all in.

5 Lessons from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Several months ago, my dear friend Annie texted me pictures of her neatly organized drawers and told me to stop what I was doing and read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.

When Annie says, “Read this book. Do it now.” I do it.

I have been battling with my stuff for a long time. A few years back I announced a massive project in which I was going to declutter and inventory my entire house. Never happened. I tried going room by room and intensely declutter. Never happened. 

I would walk around my house and feel like the piles of stuff were mocking me. I would spend weekends purging and organizing but never feeling like I got anywhere.

I was exactly what I didn’t want to be. I was a stuff manager

The problem was I thought I already knew everything there was to know about organizing. What could Marie Kondo possibly teach me?

Turns out. A LOT.