Rachel

Posts by this author:

Oh hey, Friday! This week totally flew by, but despite being incredibly busy, I’m glad I was able to squeeze a much-needed happy hour outing in! I hope your first full week back to reality in the new year went well!

This weekend I’m looking forward to some major productivity at home. As in continuing my decluttering, organizing + cleaning (kind of feels like a neverending process but when you get in the mood to do it you have to embrace it) and getting ahead on blog content (lots of awesome travel stuff coming soon)! I also have some quality time on the books with my sisters, which is always the best!

ZocDoc

This first one is one I’ve actually been sitting on for a while. I totally thought I shared it when I first discovered it last year! ZocDoc is one of the most handy sites I’ve ever come across! For the longest time, I’ve been saying there needs to be an online scheduler or easy way to schedule doctor/dentist appointments other than playing phone tag with the scheduler over the phone.

Well that day has come my friends! Unfortunately not every doctor uses the site, but a lot of them do and it’s great! Simply put what type of doc you’re looking for, your insurance plan info + zip code in, and BOOM. A ton of options and you can pick the date/time that works best for you online!

Amazon Prime Video App + Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

It’s no secret I (and you guys too!) love binge watching shows. Netflix has been my go-to because let’s be real, their content is awesome, and with Apple TV, it’s just easy. Well part one of this fun find is that Amazon Prime Video now officially has an app on Apple TV, which makes watching Amazon things MUCH easier!

And on that note, (it’s a quick binge with 8 episodes), I highly recommend watching Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! The show is brought to you by the creator of Gilmore Girls, so you know it’s good (not to mention it’s winning all the awards this year)! It has all the great elements of a show – drama, comedy, and good music! Plus, it’s set in the 1950s, which is so much fun to watch!

Ed Sheeran + Andrea Bocelli Perform “Perfect”

If you haven’t seen/listened to Ed Sheeran’s collab with Italian singer Andrea Bocelli on “Perfect,” drop everything you’re doing right now. It’s absolutely incredible! And if you liked the original Ed Sheeran one, you’re going to love this one even more!

One of the most exciting parts of buying a house last year was knowing that I could finally start building the “smart home” I’ve dreamt about for quite some time! For some reason, I haven’t talked about tech too much on the blog, but in real life, it’s something I talk about quite a bit! This year I’m going to start sharing more of my passion for tech and all the fun gadgets – especially as I continue to build my collection of smart home things.

In Friday’s Fun Findings post, I mentioned the Nest Learning Thermostat as one of my faves. I wanted to talk about it a little more in depth today since it’s a product I’ve been using daily since I got it for my birthday in June (thanks mom and dad)!

What is the Nest Learning Thermostat?

If you haven’t heard of the Nest Learning Thermostat, here’s a quick overview. It’s a “smart” thermostat, which hooks up to your home’s AC/heat unit, and helps you save energy, which means saving money! Some of the big features (a.k.a. what sold me on it):

  • Home/Away Assist: Nest automatically turns itself down to “eco” (energy saving temp) when nobody’s home
  • Remote Control: Thermostat is connected to Wi-Fi, enabling you to control the temperature from your phone, wherever you are
  • Farsight: When you walk by, Nest detects your presence and lights up (great for nighttime), displaying the temperature, time, or weather
  • Auto-Schedule: Nest learns your temperature preferences (e.g. cooler at night) and programs itself
  • Energy History: View your energy usage/temp history in the app
  • Works with Amazon Alexa*: You can check your thermostat temp or change it via voice control with Amazon Alexa (new cool feature for me since I just got an Amazon Echo!)

Nest Thermostat

Installation

In true “tech geek” fashion, I wanted to tear the box open and install it right away. But since installation involves wires and dealing with electric stuff, it seemed kind of intimidating. I looked into getting someone to come out and install it but the $125ish price tag wasn’t something I was wanting to shell out. So after reading up on the install process and watching a couple YouTube videos, I felt confident that it was a task we could handle on our own.

The installation process took about 20 minutes and we only had one hiccup (more on that in the next section)! I’m really glad we decided to install ourselves too because we were able to put that $125 toward other home improvement projects! I promise it’s not as intimidating as it looks!

Here’s how the install process works:

  1. Watch Nest’s “how to” video to make sure you’re comfortable with the process, which is actually super easy!
  2. Remove the face of the old (existing) thermostat from the wall
  3. CRITICAL STEP: Take a photo of the placement of the wires in your existing thermostat 
  4. Turn the power to your system off (or in my paranoid self’s case, the entire house)
  5. Remove the wires from the old thermostat and label them with the stickers in the Nest instruction manual. Then remove the old thermostat entirely.
  6. Mark the wall position of the Nest thermostat and install the trim plate/Nest base
  7. Connect the wires to the Nest
  8. Pop the Nest display (thermostat) in
  9. Turn your power back on and go through the device setup

Any Issues? Call Customer Support

After we finished installing the thermostat, we couldn’t wait to switch the power back on to get the AC going (setting this up in the middle of the day in the FL summer heat is rough), only when we did, we found heat blowing out of the air vent! We immediately put a call into the Nest support line and I think it’s safe to say, received the BEST customer service from a brand, EVER.

To diagnose the problem, the support agent sent me an email and asked that I reply to it with the before and after pictures of the wire configuration and was immediately able to diagnose the problem, which just required us moving a single wire from one spot to another. As a follow-up, the agent also sent over some additional reading material in case we were interested in learning a little more about the interworkings of the AC system since the details were totally new to us!

Overall Thoughts on the Nest Learning Thermostat

So after 6+ months with the Nest Learning Thermostat what do I think? Totally loving it, guys! As with every tech gadget, the price isn’t “cheap,” by any means, but I think it’s well worth investing in one! This model runs about $250 (Amazon’s currently running a special on the white one for $200), but in my opinion is a must-have for any homeowner!

What do you think of the Nest Learning Thermostat? Are you a fan of smart home products?

TGIF! Hard to believe we’ve already made it to the first Friday of the new year! And Mother Nature’s coming into the year pretty hard. I know it doesn’t hold a candle to the temps up north, but we’ve been dealing with some pretty chilly temps in Florida this week (lows of 30s)! But I must say, I’m ready for the Heat Miser to roll back into town and get us back into temps in the 70s!

This weekend will be a low-key one for me! I definitely need to be on a spending freeze after all the vacation + Christmas spend last month and sadly, I guess it’s time to start taking the Christmas decorations down. On a positive note, I’m ready to get the house back in good shape and get my declutter on! What’s on your agenda for the weekend?

Discover Disney Tickets

This week’s first fun find is for my fellow Floridians! Disney’s offering a rare discount on tickets for residents. You can purchase a 3-day ticket for $159 or 4-day for $179 (plus tax), which comes out to about $45 or $54 per ticket – which is like half the normal cost! The only downside is that the tickets have to be used by June 24 of this year, but hey, still not a bad deal if you’re wanting to visit Disney and save some moolah!

Nest Thermostat

I got the Nest Thermostat (currently $50 off on Amazon!) for my birthday back in June and have seriously been loving it! It’s been especially great this week since it’s been tough to get out of bed in the morning (chilly temps, drafty house). Being able to pump the heat up from my phone before I get up has been the greatest thing ever! This was at the top of my homeowner wish list and hasn’t disappointed! I love being able to control the temp from anywhere, save energy, and see an at-a-glance view of my usage.

Nest Thermostat

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again Trailer

2018 is already shaping up to be a pretty great year, considering a new movie trailer drop for the sequel to 2007’s Mama Mia! I absolutely LOVED the first one, have seen the broadway in NYC twice, and have even more of a love for ABBA’s tunes since visiting their museum and hometown in Stockholm in 2016! The sequel has the same all-star cast as the original and focuses on what really happened that summer, decades ago before Sophie was born! Who else can’t wait for this one?!

Happy New Year! I hope your 2018 is off to a fantastic start! I love the feeling of a fresh start/clean slate with a new year. And one of my favorite ways to start the year? Decluttering!

I definitely need to do some decluttering/purging more often, but I always seem to bring my A-game to it every January. For some reason, that’s when the anxiety of clutter starts to rise up, and with the Christmas decorations starting to come down, it’s a great time to tidy things up around the house. Are you feeling the same way but not quite sure where to begin? Here are 5 tips to help declutter your home!

Start Easy

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the clutter, you’ll definitely want to start easy. By this I mean the LEAST stressful area/one that’ll be the easiest to tackle. Things like going through/tossing mail on the kitchen table, putting laundry away, and washing the dishes in the sink. You’ll get that feeling of accomplishment and knock several things out quickly!

Use the 3-Pile Method

Piles always help when you’re decluttering! Making one for things to keep, things to donate, and things to toss really help put things into perspective. Not only can you visibly see how many things you have in each (are you keeping more than you’re getting rid of?) but you also know what you’ve actually looked through and evaluated. If you’re on the fence about keeping things, you can also add a fourth pile for the “maybes.” Put these things in a box and set a time limit. If you don’t use/look at the items at all during that time, you have your answer!

Ask the Tough Questions

If you’re having trouble getting rid of things, it’s time to ask the tough questions. For me, the problem area is ALWAYS clothes. I’ve heard the “if you haven’t worn it in 6 months, it’s time to let it go,” rule, but I still sometimes get hung up on it. If you do too, extend it to 1 year. Have you used/worn it? Or is it just collecting dust? If it’s the latter, it’s time to let it go!

Use the “Don’t Bring Anything New In” Rule

This is my favorite new rule I’ve been *trying* to live by. Don’t bring anything new into the house UNLESS you’re getting rid of something. So if you pick up 5 new pieces of clothing, that means you need to get rid of 5. It definitely helps you keep yourself in check and avoid the clutter piling up all over again!

Give Away (or Toss) One Item Each Day

This one’s the big challenge for the year, and one I actually haven’t done yet but am challenging myself (and you) to do this year. Give away or toss one item each day. It sounds kind of intimidating, but I’m confident we can do it!

 

What tips do you have to add to help with decluttering your home?

Happy Friday, friends! Can you believe it’s the last one of 2017?! Totally insane! It feels like just yesterday we were ringing in 2017! I do love this time of year though. It’s a great one to reflect back on the year and even though technically the days keep rolling on, I’m a big fan of the feeling of a new year and a fresh start!

But before we kick 2018 off, let’s take a look back at some of the top moments in life + blog in 2017.

 

Top 5 Moments Of 2017

  • Bought a house!!
  • Was a guest on an episode of a podcast- Travel Planning Made Easy with Rachel Gault!
  • Pulled off TWO surprise parties for my dad’s “big birthday”
  • Crossed off 2 new countries on my travel bucket list (Ireland + Scotland!)
  • Saw Hamilton AND Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on broadway

Top 5 Travel Posts of 2017

Top 5 Lifestyle Posts of 2017

 

Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year, and I’ll see you back here in 2018!