Monday, January 27, 2014

Best Part of Any Bed Might be the Pillow - 2014 Might be the Year of the Pillow

Cool Pillow from Comfort Revolution

Ten Ways To Inexpensively Change Your Life for the Better

My wife takes her pillow wherever she goes.  She isn't the only one.  We just discussed how a blanket can be a big deal in how you sleep, and certainly the bed (next post) can be a make-it-or-break-it part of whether you sleep, and how you feel on awaking.  Personally I can sleep anywhere (almost) with any kind of cover, bed, or pillow, but I do have clear pillow preferences:  firm and king size.

Up until recently, we had three or so main choices on pillows.  Feather, foam, or memory foam.  Sure, the late night TV shows all have those 19.95 pillows that will change your life.  And if you call right now, you'll get two by just paying for the freight and handling.

But 2014 might be revolutionary in the pillow biz.  Since 2007 or so, pillows that stay cool have been coming to market with varying degrees of success.  My son got two new pillows for Christmas, and they both offered the same basic thing.  They stay cool!!  No more flipping them over.  No more worries if the cat was laying on your pillow just before you came to bed.  The pillow is going to be cool to the touch and stay that way.

Well, a quick bit of research reveals that there are many ways to do the cool trick on a pillow and so far, none of the methods is without issues.  Water based can leak.  Foam approaches have had issues with not being very good pillows.  You'd think that making a "good" pillow would be at the forefront before adding on a nice additional benefit.

So for this item, we did the personal story version.  Two family members got the Comfort Revolution CERULEAN BUBBLES Hydraluxe pillow for Christmas.  Both were so pleased that they immediately suggested that upcoming gifting opportunities for other family members should go the bubble's way.  At $80, this pillow is already getting great reviews, but has not been on the market long enough to have generated hundreds of reviews.  Other similar products seem to be doing quite well for even less money. 

The point of this entire series has been that you don't need to spend $100,000 to add some serious comfort to your life.  We at Unique Home Construction still believe you'll have good reasons to update your kitchen, add a room or a bathroom, or build a home spa.  But while you are getting around to those adventures, we hope you've enjoyed our research into smaller purchases that can add benefits to your day. 

Some who have been following this series are wondering about our promise to review beds.  After a great deal of thought, we are going to at least postpone that one.  Really great beds can be well over $1000.  And the range of personal preference and special needs make this a much harder item to seriously evaluate.  Maybe later. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

11 Tips for Living Better with Inexpensive Purchases for Your Home

How Are You Sleeping at Night?  Could a New Cover Make a Difference?

If you've been reading all of the ideas for how to live better for a few bucks expense, you'll note a trend.  Most of the ideas from your shower head to how you light a room start with this premise - Where do you spend your time, and what furniture, accessories, fixtures, or other products might make your time in that spot better.

The last three will all have to do with the other third of your day.  Getting a good night's sleep and waking up refreshed and with no body aches is a very, very big deal.  People spend thousands of dollars on doctors, pills, chiropractors, and shrinks trying to achieve this simple combination.

Is it possible that that perfect night's sleep might be achieved by spending a few dollars on a new blanket?  Maybe the pillow?  Many would claim amazing results from these two.  You'll spend a lot more on the final idea of our 11 tips, a new bed.  But you need to buy a new mattress and box springs every 15 years or so, anyway.  Why not use that chance to go for a big increase in comfort.

One at at time.  The blanket.  Did you buy your blanket  for looks or for comfort?  Whose comfort?  Is this the right choice for both you and your spouse?  Have you considered some of the new materials?  Maybe your best choice is as traditional as a down comforter.  Have you tried heated blankets?  Are you using a flat sheet between you and the blanket?  Do you use the same approach for cold nights and warm?

A great method for finding out what the population is buying and saying about any given product is to check out  You can list the products by most popular.  Then, I look at the items that have the most reviews.  In the case of blankets, the most reviews are for a micro fleece (I really like), low voltage electric (I don't prefer, but many do) blanket that has come up with a method for making the heating elements really thin (super good idea).  The have way more 5 star reviews than any other, but this company could profit from fixing the issues they apparently have with quality and customer service.  In any case, I leave it to you to decide if it might be worth a try at only $199.

The link is

Soft Heat Luxury Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Heated Queen Size Blanket, Natural


Full disclosure.  We are not paid by the companies or by Amazon for any of our recommendations.  We do not ask for or accept samples or any type of compensation for considering a product.  We do this to help you make great decisions for better living in your home.  If we can be of any help in building you a new home or doing a kitchen remodel in the Dallas area, give us a call and we'll sit down with you to help lay out your plans.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Number 8 - 11 Tips for Making Your Life Better for Little Money

Besides Your Cell Phone, What Do You Need 16 Hours A Day?

There are lots of things you need 24 hours a day, like air, your own space, clothing.  But there is one critical need you have that pretty much surrounds you 16 hours a day - light!  We take it for granted much of the time.  It is supplied by God or by our employer, or by the business we are visiting.  But no matter what the source of the light, it can make our day more useful, carefree, and even delightful, or it can ruin or eyes, our mood, or our efficiency. 

Lighting has been much in the news the last few years as we move on from incandescent and maybe even fluorescent lighting to LED’s and other new approaches.  The transition hasn’t been pretty, with many truly hating the brightness, hue, or the slow response times of the compact fluorescent lamp.

How did lighting make it into my top 11 list of ways to improve your life a lot for a small amount of dollars?  Go through your day.  Where do you normally sit to read, watch TV, work, play, eat, or have a conversation.  Do the same for your spouse, kids, or others living or working in your home.  (You can do this for your business, too, if you are responsible for lighting.)  Do you have great lighting in each of those places???

The easiest thing to fix is "mood."  There may be times when dim or low light is right for the mood.  But most often people respond the best to bright, well lit rooms or spaces.  In some cases, you could now dramatically increase the amount of light you are getting from a fixture by changing the bulb to LED.  The fixture may only allow for 40, 60 or 100 watts.  A 40 watt LED bulb can be really, really bright.  In fact, you may be able to replace a 100 w incandescent bulb with a 25 watt LED which will provide more light and save big on your electric bill.

Your second option is to change the type of fixture.  My experience with inexpensive floor lamps has been horrible.  But for the short term, you can add some light to any room for well under $100.  The goal of low cost fixtures will generally be to give your work or living space more light where you need it so you are straining to accomplish your task.

This particular post is only an introduction to this idea.  Lighting choices are almost without limit in today's market.  Some you can easily install yourself.  Others are better left to the professionals.  Do a little research on line and you may be amazed at the potential opportunities you have for improving your mood, your efficiency, and the overall look of your home for a very few dollars through better lighting.