Diamond Certified Blog

Nomad for a Day: 31 Hacks to Make Moving Easy, Straightforward and (Even) Fun

Supplies are an important ingredient in a successful move.

Moving is messy; a little extra organizing can help a lot. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)


“People wish to be settled. It is only as far as they are unsettled that there is any hope for them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There’s nothing like a change in perspective to help you see the world anew. And when that change involves getting a new view from your bedroom window, your daily routine is in for some jolts. In other words, whether you’re moving across the country or across the street, moving can be one of the best ways to get re-energized. That said, it can also be a real pain, so here are 31 ways you can minimize the stress of moving while maximizing the adventure.

One month before you move

  1. Create a binder. Keep all of your important paperwork together in a three-ring binder or a digital organization app like Evernote.


  1. Get estimates. If you don’t already have a favorite moving company, it’s a good idea to get at least three estimates.

Continue reading “Nomad for a Day: 31 Hacks to Make Moving Easy, Straightforward and (Even) Fun” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Car Care Tips


While easily overlooked, vehicle maintenance steps like monitoring tire pressure can have a considerable impact. Photo: Menlo Park Chevron (2015)

With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s not surprising that our vehicles often get taken for granted. However, considering the vital role they play in our daily routines, ongoing vehicle maintenance should be a top priority. Fortunately, most aspects of maintenance are fairly simple and, in many cases, can be performed independently. Take a minute to review some of these car care basics provided by five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors.

1. Tire maintenance: Walee Gon of Faxon Garage

When a vehicle’s tires are under-inflated, it leads to increases in fuel usage, braking distance and tread wear. For this reason, it’s important to monitor inflation levels on an ongoing basis, which can be done using a hand-held tire pressure gauge. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Car Care Tips” »

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Putting the Freeze on Fleas: A Basic Tutorial


When fleas occupy your home, you’ll need to act fast to mount a successful resistance. Photo: Killroy Pest Control (2014)

So your dog went out back to do its usual business, but this time, when it returned, it brought along some uninvited guests. That’s right: fleas have dropped in for a surprise visit, and they just might end up staying for dinner. Before you know it, you’re scratching and slapping at these nearly imperceptible pests. A barrage of questions storm through your mind: Will I have to vacate my house? Are chemical treatments my only option? Will Fido have to go to the vet? Relax: the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no.” Take a deep breath and follow these simple steps:

1. Decontaminate the host. Since your pet is the one who started this mess (albeit unwittingly), it should be the first to get treated. Start by washing your pet in warm, soapy water; as a supplementary measure, add a cup of white vinegar to the water and use a citrus-scented soap (fleas hate both). Following bath time, use a flea brush to excise the hardier fleas who survived the deluge. Continue reading “Putting the Freeze on Fleas: A Basic Tutorial” »

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Choosing Appliances for a Green Kitchen Remodel


When it comes to Green kitchen remodeling, one aspect that’s sometimes overlooked is the energy efficiency of kitchen appliances. Photo: MSK Design Build (2015)

Choosing Appliances for a Green Kitchen Remodel

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which means it’s the perfect time to get the ball rolling on that Green kitchen remodeling project you’ve been dreaming about. By improving home energy efficiency, reducing indoor pollution and making use of recycled materials, a Green kitchen remodel will provide you with not only a newly refurbished cooking and dining environment, but a consistent return on your initial investment as well. While features such as plumbing, insulation, windows and flooring are important to consider, an often overlooked aspect of Green kitchen remodeling is appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves. To maximize your kitchen’s energy efficiency, consider the following tips:

  Continue reading “Choosing Appliances for a Green Kitchen Remodel” »

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My Husband and The Butcher

Consumer news, butcher

Recommendations from the butcher made for a delicious dinner. Photo: Chris Bjorklund, 2015

When my husband Patrick goes grocery shopping, the first place he heads for is the meat counter. He likes talking to butchers (any butcher), asking questions about which cut to buy and getting tips on how to prepare a particular dish. Many of them love food and love to cook.

On one of his recent shopping trips, he needed extra assistance because he didn’t know his way around the store. Continue reading “My Husband and The Butcher” »

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Industry Overview: Optometry 101


If you’re concerned about maintaining healthy vision, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the basics of vision care.

Due to its characteristic complexity, the vision care field can be confusing for the uninitiated, so it’s a good idea to gain some familiarity prior to seeking professional services. In this article, we cover some of the basics, from key industry terms to frequently asked questions.

Optometrist, Ophthalmologist, Optician: Differentiating Designations

Optometrists are doctors of optometry who can examine eyes for diseases and vision problems, fit people with glasses and contact lenses, prescribe medications, and provide pre- and post-operative eye surgery care. Continue reading “Industry Overview: Optometry 101” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Choking Hazards for Kids

Watch this video to learn how to avoid choking hazards for your children.

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A Top-Down Approach to Home Maintenance


When prioritizing maintenance for your home, one helpful strategy is to start at the top and work your way down. Photo: Trademark Roofing (2015)

Part 1: Preventative Roof Maintenance

When it comes to maintaining your home, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking of the many systems and fixtures that require ongoing attention. One way to simplify things is to take a top-down approach, which means addressing maintenance needs in a descending, linear fashion. From this standpoint, the first item on your maintenance list would be your roof, which, considering the essential role it plays in protecting your home, is a good place to start. Read on to learn some of the vital aspects that determine a roof’s long-term health and performance. Continue reading “A Top-Down Approach to Home Maintenance” »

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Meet the Team: Chris Bjorklund


Chris Bjorklund, also known as “The Savvy Consumer,” is a consumer specialist and consultant for the Diamond Certified Program. Photo: American Ratings Corporation (2015)

Over the course of a career spanning more than four decades, Chris Bjorklund has handled consumer affairs from a number of different angles: nonprofit, as Director of Consumer Education with the Better Business Bureau; government, as an investigator for the Consumer Fraud Unit of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office; and media, working behind the scenes at KPIX-TV and as a consumer reporter for KGO Radio. Through it all, Chris says her purpose has remained the same. “My entire career has been about advocating for consumers, empowering them and educating them about their rights. And after 40 years, that’s still my mission.”

Today, as a consumer specialist and consultant for the Diamond Certified Program (where she’s known as “The Savvy Consumer”), Chris says she enjoys the positive turn her career has taken. Continue reading “Meet the Team: Chris Bjorklund” »

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Raw Honesty: What Consumers Want in Pricing

ImageForFeb newsletterBLOG.pngA few weeks ago, when I called an appliance repair service to fix a problem with my refrigerator, the technician was extremely clear about the cost of his services. The minimum for a house call was $89, and after that, he billed in 15-minute increments for his labor. He would not be charging for his travel time. However, the parts were extra, and at that point he didn’t know if any would be needed to fix a freezer with a layer of ice building up underneath the ice cube trays. I appreciated his direct approach and transparency. Upon arrival, he quickly diagnosed the problem and made the tricky repair. The total bill of $170 didn’t surprise me, and I was thrilled to have the fridge working in time for the holidays. Continue reading “Raw Honesty: What Consumers Want in Pricing” »

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