Category Archives: MCM – TOOLs For A Happy Mod Home

Security For Your Middy – ARLO, The Ring Doorbell & Other Items Reviewed

Pictured above is the Ring Doorbell.  Security should be synonymous with home. Pretty much gone are the days when folks could leave their homes and cars unlocked and feel fine about that.  Yes, it’s sad, but as things change, we must also come up with the ways and the means that make us comfortable.

Working from home, I felt a certain level of safety between being here and being here with my 115 lb Doberman. We also had bees that would come up on our porch to drink out of our fountain, by the hundreds on a hot day.  I joked that I had great security but I really truly did.  Most folks are not going to mess with a Doberman or bees and especially a combo of both.

When I began working outside the house more, security became a flag in my mind.  People had mentioned the Ring doorbell and looking into it I was very impressed.  Now that I own one, I will never ever be without it!  It’s wifi enabled and videotapes everything.  But it also acts as an intercom, whereby you can answer the ring (even if someone is loitering on your doorstep but hasn’t actually rung the bell) and talk to them as if you were home.  It creeps some folks out in a good way!  I WANT folks on my doorstep to wonder what I can see an do!  I want them to wonder am I home.  The device syncs with your smartphone so you get a door chime on your phone when someone is there.  Ring also offers video cameras and a door chime so that you don’t need to rely on always having your phone, such as when you are away but someone is still home, so they can hear the bell.

Arlo Pro by NETGEAR 

These little cameras hide anyplace and securely magnetize to the base. The batteries last a good amount of time.  We’ve had ours for 2 years now and have gone through 2 sets of batteries.  Video is retained for 30 days and you can receive alerts and view online and save or delete video as needed.

SIMPLISAFE HOME SECURITY

SimpliSafe is a wireless system with no long-term contracts. So you’ll never pay for something you’re not using.  As SimpliSafe is wireless, it’s an easy,  DIY installation, nothing hardwired, no drilling required.

The kit featured above is $399.99 and comes with  pre-programed sensors that start working instantly—right out of the box.  All packages are fully customizable, so you can start with the sensor listed in this package and add more sensors whenever you want by logging into your account.  The 24/7 security monitoring is just $14.95/mo.

The esthetics on all of these products is slick and goes well with an MCM home and vibe.   Call it groovy security!

How to Clean & Maintain Quartz Counters & Stainless

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Welcome!  Every well kept Middy home needs some great cleaners on hand to maintain and protect it.  For me, 3 things are important – 1 – It must be natural/organic so that it is non toxic, having no harmful chemicals in it that I or my kiddos will somehow ingest.
2 – Its gotta smell good.
3- It needs to work and earn its keep amongst the plethora of cleaning & polishing supplies I use and try out.

I won’t knowingly bring toxins into the home, not outside to kill bugs, not inside either.  That shite ends up on the bottoms of your feet where you absorb it, your pets lick it off their paws, it gets into our water supply (all water flows) and creates bad mojo downstream.  The companies that create this toxic stew just want to sell their product.  They are mostly not interested in the big picture.  But we should be and we vote every day with our wallets.

Cleaning is great exercise, you get moving, breathing.  I like to make cleaning sort of a SPA experience for both me and my lovely home, taking my time, not rushing it.  For the SPA experience I speak of, this means smells.  Mmmmmm!  I want something that smells exceptional, but not overpowering, and that smell is going to be derived from natural ingredients.  I am big on alternative health and eating a raw, plant based diet (see my other website blog PureTempleHolistic.com and PureTemple.org)

But back to smells.  Let me give you a bummer smell example here so you understand what I mean.  One of the products we use, that’s great, is Charlie’s Laundry Soap.  My husband is NOT a smell person and loves this soap as it has no odor.  (See my separate Shaggadelic Laundry Soap Review)  So Charlies is all natural and works great.  I bought their All Purpose Cleaner too, for the home.  Yes, indeed, that product worked, but have you ever let old air out of an inner tube and accidentally huffed that air into your lungs?  It stunk just like old stale air from an inner tube of a tire.  If you have never experienced that odor, I do not suggest adding it to your scent vocabulary.  Just know that it was a complete Debbie Downer for me.  I couldn’t use the product.  We do keep the laundry soap on hand.

Many MCM homes have laminate counters or Quartz if updated.  There is a heated debate going on about updating with Quartz but I look at it this way – following the architects intent, were the product available then, would he have chosen it?   You want to get the vibe right, while maintaining the integrity of the space and making it usable for your needs.  For us, this meant updating our kitchen to Quartz counters.  My husband is a chef and we use the kitchen a lot.  We roll out dough, and I find the quartz perfect for that, with no scratches or damaged spots that the flour would get into.

Although Quartz is a very hard and solid surface, I baby my counter tops.  I never cut directly on them, I always use a cutting board.  And I keep them wiped down too.

General Maintenance – Zum Clean Sea Salt Granite and Counter Top Cleaner has a light and lovely oceanic scent.  This is one of my favorite products.

Im also a big fan of Method Daily Granite.  In fact, click the green for an incredible deal of a pack of 6!  The smell is Apple Orchard, nice and fresh and doesn’t linger.  After using this product for years, I switched off to the Zum Sea Salt for a change, but the product does work and smell terrific.

Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner – Particularly great on Stainless Steel and Glass.  This has a nice Green-Tea Lime scent that I love.  I generally use it on glass and all the stainless appliances and work with the grain, using a paper towel or soft cloth.  It takes seconds to have all finger smudges etc removed and have a clean pretty fridge and dishwasher!

How To Counter-Tops – I first go over my counters with a damp wash rag.  Using a soft cleaning cloth or paper towel, I then spritz my cleaner onto the counters and wipe them down.  En voila!  I have a great smelling, clean counter I could eat directly from and not get toxins.

Stain Removal – For stains, I use Clorox Cleaner and Bleach.  And I know I just said earlier that I don’t bring toxins into the home.  This one sits on the fence, depending upon how you look at it, since it is ‘natural’ but I consider this a dangerous product.  Leading with that respect, however, this is a product you can spot spray and let sit a sec, then wipe off.  I feel relatively good about my choice to use it because its use is very minimal.

We are wine drinkers and I also use some beets and fresh ground turmeric a lot in raw juices I drink daily.  Stains occasionally happen. This stuff knocks them right out in seconds.  It also works well behind the sink where the grout line can get dark and dirty.  For that, I spritz on carefully and allow it to sit several minutes before wiping down.

The end result is a sparkling clean and smooth counter-top!

Happy cleaning!

Roomba Review And Why I hate the iClebo

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I’ll admit, I am a bit vacuum obsessed.  I have  8 vacuums; a Bosch canister that works very well, a 60’s Rainbow (my little R2D2) I adore, a Miele canister I love, a quickie sweeper vac, two robotic vacuums and  a Dirt Devil and some other one, both inherited.  I need to garage sale, I do.  The two robotic vacs are my groovy and talented 880 Roomba and my red headed step child iClebo.

I suffer the iClebo, a misspent purchase to replace my old Roomba when a puppy we were babysitting looked up at me sweetly then proceeded to drop his head down and toss his cookies all over the Roomba while the vac was going about its daily business.  It begun just spinning in circles, it could no longer cope.  After desperate attempts to clean it, add new this and thats, I had to throw it away.  Roombas are not cheap , and the iClebo had just come out and was about $100.00 less at the time.  While the iClebo can suck up a quarter, the programming is not the same as with a Roomba.  You have either programmed it to come on every day or you haven’t.  With the Roomba, you can choose your days and your times for each day.  And with the red headed step child,  you MUST carry around the remote to unstick it from perhaps a rug fringe or sometimes something invisible.  This becomes a pain if, like me, you deliberately place your remotes where you know that you will find them again, you know, where they belong, but you are, say, at work in the back office of your house when the iClebo freaks out again.  There are no stop/start/don’t wig out buttons on the iClebo.  No, rather illogically, you must control everything the bloody thing does with a remote….a remote you may not now know the location of  because you have for the nth time reset the iclebo because it keeps stopping for no apparent reason and singing its little help me tune.

The Roomba is more than i think anything else out there is, but this is a classic example of getting what you pay for.  Any version of the Roomba is great.  So if you want to save money, go without the remote or even get an older model.  The older models have brushes.  The plus on those is that they sort of polish your floor as they pick up stuff.  The downside to the brushes is that they pull and retain a lot more hair.  This means cleaning more regularly.  The newer versions of the Roomba and the one I have had now for a couple of years, is that rather than brushes, there are these rubberized rollers that attract and pick up dirt and hair without holding onto them so much.  Instead, they go into the waste bin better.  It is amazing what this little guy picks up on a daily basis, even when I believe my floor to be clean.

If your low slung furniture is a bit high enough, it even gets under things like your bed or sofa where few of us (being honest) take the time to maintain on a regular basis.  So while it isn’t perfect it is damn good!  So good that I won’t be without one and when the iClebo folks refused to grant me a refund, I promptly went out and purchased another Roomba anyway!  I was getting the shakes without it.

Whenever the iClebo finally terminates itself, I will go out and purchase another Roomba because two are better than one.  I can have one working the bedroom wing while the other tends to the kitchen and living quarters.  People ask well, how often does it get stuck etc.  and isn’t that a way pain?  The iClebo gets stuck on its own shadow.  I hate, no, despise the iClebo.  It was a sorry waste of hard earned cash.  The only upshot it does have is that it is now perhaps 2 years old and still works.  I am sure this is just by design so that I cannot rationalize another Roomba purchase.

The room/house does need to be ‘Roomba proofed’ which means picking up any towels, cat toys, dog toys, string, dead bodies (just checking you are still with me on this) or major impediments on the floor such as a dog bed you might want to vac under, etc.   The Roomba climbs a bit so it will easily do multi-surface areas, going from hardwoods or stone to carpet or even a rug with fringe.  Did I mention it goes under your sofa and chairs and bed etc? And you will need to set up your little satellite blocks to alert your Roomba not to go places you don’t want it to go.  It will sense stairs and avoid but if you have a patio home with sliders out to the patio and they are open?  Your grass is getting vacuumed.  My Roomba has actually been out the front door and down to my nextdoor neighbors before i caught up with it and carried it back home to finish its work.  This was entirely my bad for not having the blocks set up and on.

The machine lasts years and the Roomba folks are pretty good at helping you trouble shoot.  This is where I went first when my old one got vomited upon.   Although the Roomba does not totally replace all vacuuming,  I believe Roomba to be one of those household items that you will ask yourself why you waited so long to get one and what did you ever do without it.

Hardwood Floors – How to Clean and Maintain Them

 

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Everyone has their theory on maintenance but I grew up with hardwood floors then rented places with them and finally purchased a home with them.  I LOVE hardwood floors!  But I am not a big fan of scratching them all up and doing polyurethane repeatedly as many floor experts have told me to do.  No, I use wax.  Begin with a nice floor and if that means having them lightly sanded first, so be it.  Whether you do a linseed finish or poly or whatever, once they are ‘done’ you will really want to maintain them so that you don’t ever again need to shave years and inches off your hardwoods because there really is no need for that drama.  Just maintain your floors.  How?  Once a week, sweep or vacuum them thoroughly.  For any high traffic areas, you may need to sweep those areas a bit more often.  Next, I use Ecover Natural Floor Soap because it is non toxic and it has linseed oil in it which feeds the wood.   This stuff is also great for stone and Terrazzo.  Once my floor is nice and tidy clean, I apply Weimans Floor Polish for a lovely,  non toxic and not super slippery floor.  Over time it builds up a bit to provide extra protection on your hardwoods.  Maintaining my floors this way has meant I have never had to redo a floor.  They remain beautifully protected.  Enjoy!

Terrazzo – How to Clean and Maintain It

Yummy Terrazzo floors!

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Many Mid-Century homes have Terrazzo which is this amazing amalgamation of materials, marble, quartz, glass, granite, etc, typically poured in place with a cement binder.  You can also buy terrazzo tiles now, which is very exciting, to remodel with!  Many call it and MCM cold, but I think the architecture is inviting and find terrazzo to be one of the most beautiful floors, sturdy and easy to clean while lasting a lifetime.  While hardy, it is porous, which can lead to dirt and staining especially for the older MCM floor.  To clean my floors, I typically vacuum or sweep thoroughly to remove any surface detritus and then I whip out my steamer.  I use the Eureka EnviroSteamer.  It calls for 12 oz of water but I typically do 11 oz and the last oz either vinegar or I add more water and a teaspoon of Miessence BioPure Probiotic (http://puretempleholistic.com for purchase) Household Cleaning Concentrate which has an amazing vanilla smell and does a fabulous job!   The Probiotics eat away dirt and grime, and continue working after application as well.  Of course, I probably kill a lot of the bacteria off with the steamer, but that smell is still amazing!  The end result is smooth floors that feel upscale hotel clean.  I walk barefoot at home, shoes are not welcome in my home, they traffic in bad mojo.  One of my peeves is anything, any schmutz that comes between my feet and the floor that shouldn’t be there.  This combo cleans so well.

Now that your floor is sparkly clean, how about preserving that with a glowy seal?  There is another post on maintaining hardwood floors, which I lived with and loved most of my life until I met terrazzo.  When we moved, I had a couple of cases still of Weiman Hardwood Floor Polish, so I began trying that out here, on the terrazzo.  What I love about the product is that, unlike many others I have tried, it leaves a soft glow without the slip.  I used to have to warn folks…careful, I j-u-s-t waxed.  The dog would look like a cartoon trying to go from one end of the room to the other.  So while the floor looked gorgeous, it was a bit dangerous.  But also, I did not realize that most floor waxes contain lead and other toxic ingredients!  As I try hard to be environmentally friendly and toxin free in what goes in the home, in or on my body etc, it was important to me to find products that work while not adding to pollution our our body burden.  To apply the Weiman Polish,  I pour it directly on the floor and then use a flat mop to work it against and then with the grain.  Now let it dry about a half hour and you’re done.  You can alternate steam cleaning your terrazzo or stone floors with Ecover Floor Soap (see my hardwood floor maintenance post). For the daily maintenance,  I also have a Roomba, ( See my Roomba review) that vacuums the floor for me every other day.  Enjoy your clean terrazzo floor!  🙂