November 2018: Get Smart

With the hectic holiday season upon us, everyone’s looking for ways to make life a little calmer and easier. Read on to discover smart shortcuts in cooking, home automation and even how to Kondo your day. Enjoy!

The Story: A Smarter Home

The Jump Off

My life has changed for the better since I got smarter — or rather, since my home became a smart home. From Apple TV (which my kids have mastered, of course) to Alexa, Roomba to Nest, certain daily annoyances have been solved. Smart home technology is growing daily, but if you find yourself intimidated by the anticipated cost or effort of converting your home, don’t be.

The Process

One common misconception is that smart homes are an all or nothing deal — some people think you need to choose and purchase a holistic system that will do everything from lock your door to preheat your oven. Not so. The beauty of smart technology and home automation is that you can introduce the systems that work for you on a case by case basis. The devices are mostly mix and match so no master plan is needed. This means that converting your home is much cheaper, easier and less time consuming than you might think.

The Wrap Up

Although you can go whole hog and convert your entire home at once, there is always the option to smart small. Focus on the issue that bothers you the most and get smart about it. Kids not as energy conscious as you would like them to be? Install Wemo controlled lights. Your faithful furry companion shedding his coat for the season? Roomba to the rescue. And if the cold weather is throwing you for a loop, get yourself a Nest thermostat to make sure your home is always set to the perfect cozy temperature.

The Conversation Cheat Sheet

Speaking of smart homes, who is smarter about homes than Marie Kondo? If you’ve ever wondered how she does it, read this interview.

As the holidays are upon us, there are plenty of smart gadgets to help you with your seasonal to-do list. Make sure to be smart about house guests too — here’s a great way to create the perfect guest room on a budget and a list of some of the best brunch spots in the city for easy entertaining. And if your Thanksgiving table is bursting this year, take the guess work out of cooking with sous vide, the best kept secret of chefs around the world.

The Gabriele Moment: I don’t cook — or do I?

I’ve often said that I am not much use inside a kitchen but that I’m excellent at selling one. In all seriousness, in the past I considered boiling water a culinary skill! Now, even I seem to manage cooking a decent meal thanks to some smart shortcuts. With meal-kit delivery systems like Hello Fresh and Home Chef, I no longer have the hassle of schlepping groceries home and stocking the fridge, only to be faced with wilting left overs a few days later. Instead, our dinner choices arrive neatly bagged and labelled, everything pre-measured with simple cooking instructions that are easy to follow. The kids select our dinner options on the app ahead of time and even join in on the cooking, so there are no frantic searches for a good recipe or complaints about our food choices at the dinner table. Although I’ve been blessed with a husband that loves to cook, now I’m happy to say I can hold a mixing spoon with the rest of them!

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