Watch Chris explain the top complaints of 2014 according to the Consumer Federation of America.
Posted on December 16, 2014 by Chris Bjorklund
Posted on December 1, 2014 by Jennifer Chan
John Maynard Keynes got it wrong, at least according to Elizabeth Kolbert. Back in the 1930s, the sometimes clairvoyant economist predicted that his descendants (us) would have an abundance of free time thanks to the wonders of automation. Well, I’m here to affirm: Kolbert is right; Keynes dead wrong. Despite my iPhone, laptop and garage door opener, I’m busier then ever…and I know I’m not alone.
Author Brigid Schulte has the residents of the 21st century in mind when she says, “…this is how it feels to live my life: scattered, fragmented and exhausting.” I read this and can only nod vigorously while reaching for another cup of coffee. Only I realize that my labor-saving Keurig machine has to be cleaned and I actually don’t have any milk left so I’ll have to run to the store…you see the problem. Continue reading “How to Get Your To Do List Done” »
Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips, Personal Stories, Savvy Tips | Tags: automation, brigid schulte, busy life, cleaning house, concierge, consumer advice, consumer tips, home cleaner, Home Tips, house cleaning, house cleaning service, house cleaning services, how to, john maynard keynes, laundry, outsource, outsourcing, overwhelmed, professional house cleaning, task list, time management, to do list, too busy, wash n' fold
Posted on November 25, 2014 by Jennifer Chan
The San Rafael Chamber of Commerce held their Forecasting the Future Economic Conference a few weeks ago, and from where I was sitting, the future looks bright. The annual conference features expert speakers discussing local, regional and global issues impacting businesses in Marin County. This year, the conference had an explicit focus on the region’s push to attract Life Science businesses to Marin.
The morning began with a sunrise breakfast at Embassy Suites San Rafael. Marin County corporate stalwarts such as Bank of Marin, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota Marin (a Diamond Certified company) rubbed elbows with government officials and hardworking Marin-based nonprofits. Continue reading “The Future’s So Bright: Marin Gets Real About The County’s Economy” »
Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Diamond Certified News | Tags: Chamber of Commerce, Forecasting the Future, Marin, Marin consumers, Marin county, Marin Economic Forum, Marin economy, Mary Jane Burke, North Bay Life Science Alliance, Novato, Robert Eyler, San Rafael
Posted on November 24, 2014 by Chris Bjorklund
Posted on November 11, 2014 by James Florence
If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency, the best place to look is up. While steps like upgrading interior lighting or installing a “smart” thermostat can lower energy usage, an even more beneficial measure is to make improvements to your attic space. By augmenting attic insulation, air sealing and other related aspects, you can make a substantial impact on comfort and energy savings in your home.
1. Maximize attic insulation. One of the most basic yet effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to bring your attic insulation up to current standards. Over the years, building code changes have called for higher grades of insulation, which means if yours hasn’t been upgraded for a few decades, it’s probably under-performing. Continue reading “Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Attic Improvements” »
Posted on November 5, 2014 by James Florence
Most Bay Area residents enjoy the year-round temperate climate, but it’s gardening enthusiasts who reap some of the greatest benefits. In addition to having an exceptionally broad horticultural palette from which to draw, local gardeners have the advantage of an extended timeline in which to grow and harvest. Even when midwinter temperatures eventually put the freeze on the bulk of gardening activities, there are numerous ways for gardeners to stay productive. Here are some helpful tips for maintaining your garden during the winter season:
Keep harvesting winter-friendly crops. While most crops go into dormancy once the cold weather settles in, there are several that continue to produce. This includes root vegetables like carrots, radishes, beets and onions; cole crops like broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts; and leafy greens like lettuces, spinach and chard. Continue reading “Turn, Turn, Turn: Commencing the Winter Wind-Down in Your Bay Area Garden” »
Posted in Landscaping Tips | Tags: Bay Area garden, consumer advice, consumer tips, gardening, Landscaping, planting, winter garden, winter gardening, winter landscaping, winter plants, yard maintenance
Posted on November 4, 2014 by Chris Bjorklund
Two things I dislike are shopping for shoes and pushy salespeople. However, on my last shoe shopping trip, I found the right kind of salesperson who transformed the entire experience.
While I was looking at the shoes on sale in a store in Durango, Colorado, a salesman asked me if he could help. After I said I didn’t need any assistance, he started chatting about the beautiful day and asked me where I was from. When I told him I was from Northern California, he asked about the recent earthquake in Napa County. He was genuinely curious and engaged with me in a sincere way. When other customers came in, he found ways to connect with them, too.
When I finally started trying on shoes, he was patient and knowledgeable. If a shoe didn’t fit right and wasn’t comfortable, he would say, “You don’t want to buy a pair of shoes you don’t absolutely love.” I must have been in that store for nearly an hour (and tried on at least 10 pairs of shoes) before deciding on a pair of low-cut brown leather boots. In the meantime, I learned that John, the 23-year-old salesman, loved most outdoor sports and was majoring in social work with the hope of eventually working in prisons.
The most surprising thing of all, however, occurred at the cash register when I stepped up to pay. John was hand-polishing my new boots before sending me home with them! Has that ever happened to you in a shoe store?
As a direct result of my positive customer service experience at this particular store, my husband and I returned a week later and he bought two more pairs of shoes! Outstanding service attracts repeat customers.
Posted in Consumers, Customer Service | Tags: "customer service" "why the customer is right" "shoe sales" "sales", "shoe shopping" "shopping experience", chris bjorklund, consumer advice, consumer tips, customer service, savvy consumer
Posted on October 29, 2014 by James Florence
When planning to repaint a room, it’s easy to get preoccupied with choosing wall and trim colors. However, there’s one wall that many people neglect to address altogether: the ceiling (also known as the “fifth wall”). Even though its role in a room’s aesthetics is somewhat subtle, a ceiling’s function is nonetheless crucial; in some cases, it may constitute the difference between a good-looking room and a great-looking one. Continue reading “Painting the “Fifth Wall”: The Importance of Ceiling Color and Sheen” »
Posted on October 22, 2014 by James Florence
Plumbing has been part of human civilization for a long time—even ancient Rome had sophisticated systems to facilitate water delivery and waste disposal. And while plumbing technology has continuously advanced over the years, development has never occurred more rapidly than in recent decades. Modern innovations have brought improvements in terms of energy efficiency and water usage, which in turn have created solutions to age-old problems. We asked four Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to talk about some of these plumbing innovations and how they can benefit today’s consumers.
Sewer line backup prevention devices: Myles O’Dwyer of Pipe Spy Marin, Inc.
Due to the concealed nature of a sewer system, problems often go unnoticed until a catastrophic situation occurs, such as a line backup in the home. While backups have been an issue as long as modern sewer systems have existed, there are now devices that prevent this unwanted occurrence. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Plumbing in the New Millennium” »
Posted in Diamond Certified Experts | Tags: contra costa valve, Diamond Certified Experts, hot water recirculator, magnetic water softeners, pipes, Plumbing, plumbing tips, save water, sewer backup prevention, tankless water heater, Water Conservation