Diamond Certified Blog

Savvy Consumer Tip: Top Complaints of the Past Year

Watch Chris explain the top complaints of 2014 according to the Consumer Federation of America.

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How to Get Your To Do List Done

 

 

3 How To Get Your To Do List Done

 

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” »

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The Future’s So Bright: Marin Gets Real About The County’s Economy

Marin County Chamber of Commerce Economic Forum

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” »

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Savvy Consumer Tip: Turkey Time

Do you have your Thanksgiving turkey yet? Watch this video for some helpful shopping and cooking tips.

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Realty and Reputability: The Importance of Choosing a Dependable Agent

If a real estate agent’s promises seem too good to be true, they probably are. Photo: J.R. Rouse, Broker Associate Sotheby’s Int’l Realty

If a real estate agent’s promises seem too good to be true, they probably are. Photo: J.R. Rouse, Broker Associate Sotheby’s Int’l Realty

While it’s not uncommon for real estate agents to offer client incentives or reduced commission rates, there’s a point where an overabundance of promises should be considered a red flag. Tori Atwell, broker associate with Alain Pinel Realtors, gives a true life example: “I had clients who returned after spending seven months working with a ‘discount’ agent. The agent enticed them by offering to give them most of his commission. Seven months later, they weren’t any nearer to getting a home, and they missed out on numerous opportunities. Continue reading “Realty and Reputability: The Importance of Choosing a Dependable Agent” »

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Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Attic Improvements

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.

One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to improve attic sealing and insulation. Photo: McHale’s Environmental Insulation, Inc. (2014)

One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to improve attic sealing and insulation. Photo: McHale’s Environmental Insulation, Inc. (2014)

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” »

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Turn, Turn, Turn: Commencing the Winter Wind-Down in Your Bay Area Garden

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:

Despite the cold temperatures, there are several ways for gardeners to stay productive throughout the winter. Photo: Hansen Landscape Contractor (2014)

Despite the cold temperatures, there are several ways for gardeners to stay productive throughout the winter. Photo: Hansen Landscape Contractor (2014)

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” »

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A Satisfying Shoe Shopping Experience

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.

Why great customer service matters

At Brown’s Shoe Fit Company in Durango, Colorado, Chris Bjorklund had a great experience with a salesman named John.

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.

 

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Painting the “Fifth Wall”: The Importance of Ceiling Color and Sheen

While it’s an often-overlooked aspect of the painting process, ceiling color plays a crucial role in a room’s aesthetics. Photo: Pro-Staff Painting & Faux Finishing (2014)

While it’s an often-overlooked aspect of the painting process, ceiling color plays a crucial role in a room’s aesthetics. Photo: Pro-Staff Painting & Faux Finishing (2014)

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” »

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Diamond Certified Experts: Plumbing in the New Millennium

plumbing-innovation

Thanks to industry innovation, today’s plumbing technology is able to provide sophisticated solutions for age-old problems. Photo: Savior Plumbing (2014)

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” »

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