Nov 242014
 

Gift Guide Man Blog Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Man

Coming up with meaningful gifts for the men in your life can be a challenge. Whether it’s my husband, my older brothers, my dad or my sons, I typically get one of two reactions to the question “What do you want for Christmas this year?”: A) A shrug with, “Ah, don’t get me anything” -or- B) His eyes light up, because he’s been waiting for this moment, and before I can even finish the sentence, he’s pulling out his iPhone with conveniently saved pictures of a custom Harley.

A Gift of Compromise

I revel in gift-giving, so the No-Gift idea doesn’t work for me. However, since I haven’t won the lottery yet, the over-the-top expensive gift isn’t realistic either. So how do you give a reasonably priced and unique gift that he will appreciate? The solution lies in finding a happy-medium that’s both affordable and gives him something practical that he’ll actually use and enjoy. Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 

Gift Guide student blog Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Student

Whether mastering your ABC’s or getting your Master’s Degree, learning is hard work at any age. This holiday season, treat your favorite student to slick gifts that are both pleasing and practical.

The Younger Years (ages 2-12)

To the blossoming young student, everything is exciting and new. Encourage their growing minds with these smart gift ideas:

younger kids collage Holiday Gifts for Your Favorite Student Continue reading »

Jul 182014
 

New Room 5 Questions To Ask Before Choosing Ceiling Lights

If you’re thinking about a home remodel or new home project, then you have some serious decision making to do regarding your ceiling lights. Some people don’t realize this, but few things make as big an impact on how your space looks and feels than lighting, especially ceiling lights. And there are many different types of ceiling lights. You might start out wanting recessed ceiling lights, and, despite other choices like flush mount, semi flush mount, or track lighting, etc, you might end up STILL wanting recessed lights. But have you given thought to what size pot lights? Low voltage or line voltage? Square trim, round trim, or no trim at all? What about finish? Plain old white, or maybe brushed nickel? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, asking five questions will make the process much simpler. So before you swipe that debit card, check out what’s below.

Continue reading »

May 162014
 

led step lights 5 5 Things You Should Know Before Choosing Step Lights

Step lights are both attractive and functional, as they illuminate stairs, paths, and hallways, in indoor and outdoor applications. Step lights are universally brilliant, but there are so many kinds of step lights, we figured we would help clarify your options in order to help you make an informed decision for your home, garden, or other space.

Continue reading »

Apr 212014
 

2 dogs wearing sunglasses Know These 6 Myths Before Choosing Your Next Pair of SunglassesSpring has sprung. The weather is getting nicer. Time for a new pair of sunglasses?  It was time for me. Even though sunglasses are not a regular topic of our lighting blog, I felt that my recent experience picking out new sunglasses warranted this post. I was disappointed at the number of myths about sunglasses that were told to me by multiple, yes, multiple, supposedly knowledgeable sales people. So, I figured that it might prove useful to others if I shared my experience and busted these myths with this sunglasses buying guide. 

Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 21, 2014 at 1:58 pm
Nov 042013
 

It’s that time of year again! The dust has settled from Halloween and we’re gearing up for one of the busiest seasons in the lighting industry.

holiday lighting guide1 Holiday Lighting Guide

You might think it’s a little early to start worrying about the holiday season – and don’t worry, we’re not trying to be your weird neighbors with icicle lights on their porch in July. But when it comes to holiday lighting, there’s a lot to plan for if you want to get the most out of your efforts, so in the spirit of preparation, it’s never too early!

Everybody celebrates the holidays a little differently, so here are some tips for how to make your holiday lighting as special as you are.

1. Plan ahead. 

Most people’s holiday decorating tradition involves a month of putting it off and suddenly realizing you can (or have to) do it today. But even minimal planning can make all the difference in your decorating. Decide ahead of time – as in, right now – approximately when the deadline for getting your decorations up is, and then make plans to get it done. Make decorating a priority, and you’ll actually be able to really enjoy them for the whole season.

Planning is also super helpful when it’s time to start hanging lights, because there’s not much worse than getting to the end of your last string of lights while on top of a 20-foot ladder – and you only made it across half the house. Do some simple calculations and a bit of research to decide what type of light you need and how much of it. Continue reading »

Sep 272013
 

victorian solar led lamp and post 7 foot height 17 300x199 How To Choose Solar Lights For Your YardWhen given the choice between spending money or getting something for free, which would you pick?

While this dilemma seems a little too good to be true, in the outdoor lighting industry, it’s an increasingly valid question. Conventional outdoor lights run on the electricity you pay for, but solar lamps are powered by the always-free sunlight. Once you invest in your favorite solar lights, the costs stop. No money spent on difficult installation, upkeep, or energy.

Who doesn’t love that?

However, because solar powered lights are still a fairly new technology, you need to make sure that the lights you buy aren’t going to let you down. Until just recently, most solar powered lights only produced a dim amount of light, and weren’t very reliable.

To choose good solar lights for your yard, you need to be informed. Here’s what you need to look for when you’re shopping:

LED lights: We recommend you always use solar powered lights with durable LEDs. They last longer than other light sources, and can hold up under harsher elements. LEDs require less energy to produce light, so they are much more dependable.

Efficient Photovoltaic Cells: You should stay away from older models, making sure your lights have durable solar cells and the most efficient batteries.

Function and Decoration: Make sure your lights will be able to perform the functions you require. When lighting an outdoor area, we recommend you use 3 kinds of solar landscape lights – accent lights, path lights, and task lights. Here are some examples:

  • Solar accent lights: Accent lights are used to mark areas or highlight features in your yard, but not illuminate a large object or area. They aren’t as bright as other kinds of lights, meaning they last longer. Their purpose is mostly to add visual interest.

hanging basket with solar led accent light 7 How To Choose Solar Lights For Your Yard

  • Solar path lights: Path lights are brighter than accent lights, and used to guide you around an area in the dark. They come in a variety of sizes, and operate in a range of different ways – timers, motion sensors, or dusk-to-dawn photocells. Continue reading »
 Posted by on September 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Sep 252013
 

LED Light Bars Showcase 300x219 How To Buy LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Fluorescent)Fluorescent light bulbs are all the rage. Today, the majority of households in the U.S. have begun to adapt their lighting, exchanging inefficient incandescent light bulbs for energy-saving compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). These familiar spiral-shaped light bulbs hide under our lamp shades, within our ceiling lights, behind our wall sconces, and are quite pleasant to use. Often, you can’t even tell the difference between a classic incandescent and a CFL.

As incandescent lights become a thing of the past, and energy efficient lighting becomes more of a priority, the fluorescent lights have gained popularity.

Fluorescent lights use much less energy to produce the same light output as any incandescent lamp, and they last many times longer. Plus, improvements in fluorescent lighting technology have turned these lamps into a pleasant source to have around your home or work space. The cost upfront isn’t terribly more than an incandescent, either.

Presently, cost and technology make fluorescent lights and LEDs (light emitting diodes) rivals in the energy efficient lighting market. But it won’t stay that way for long. Lighting experts say that while fluorescent lighting technology has reached its peak, LEDs are still evolving and improving. Even now, manufacturers are coming out with new LED lights that surpass fluorescent technology in many different ways.

Let’s examine how fluorescent light bulbs compare with today’s LED light bulbs:

  • Efficiency: While both light sources are considered efficient, LED lights have pulled ahead. A CFL produces 30-50 lumens or light per watt, while an LED on the market today can produce 60-100+ lumens per watt.
  • Rated Life: LEDs and fluorescent lights also both have long rated lives, but again, LEDs win. A CFL can last between 6,000 and 15,000 hours. An LED can last between 25,000 and 60,000 hours.
  • Mercury: Fluorescent lights contain mercury, and LEDs don’t. While operating fluorescent lights on a daily basis won’t put you in danger, a broken light bulb will expose you to a small amount of this toxic substance.
  • Infrared and UV: LED light bulbs don’t emit infrared or UV radiation in the same direction they emit light, but fluorescent lights do. Thus, LEDs will not damage sensitive material, and they won’t attract bugs. Continue reading »
 Posted by on September 25, 2013 at 3:32 pm
Sep 232013
 

LEd Bedroom Lighting 300x300 Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Xenon)In this post, we’re going to cover how LEDs can replace xenon lights.

Xenon light bulbs are a kind of incandescent lights. If you’re not a dedicated lighting nerd (like yours truly), you’ve probably heard of xenon in reference to car headlights – but they’re also great to use around your living space. They’re great as under cabinet lighting, puck lights, light strips, night lights, and more.

What makes a xenon light bulb different from a regular filament lamp is the small amount of xenon gas inside the glass envelope. The gas helps prolong the life of the light bulb, and makes it more efficient – producing more light with less energy.

Xenon lights also have the upper hand on halogen lights (another type of gas-filled incandescent) in a few different ways. They produce much less heat than halogens, and aren’t as sensitive. You don’t have to worry about touching them with your bare hands – the oils from your skin won’t cause them to fail prematurely.

So overall, xenon lights are pretty great. But they could be better.

While xenon lights are more efficient, longer lasting, more durable, and cooler than halogen and regular incandescent light bulbs, they still don’t beat LEDs. If you want to use lights with the longest rated life, that use the least energy, that are the most durable, and the least hot, it’s time to transition.

You’re probably thinking – what about looks? Sure, an LED looks better on paper, but what if it’s illuminating your counter tops? Xenon lights are notoriously good looking, so you need an LED that can measure up. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm
Sep 202013
 

LED Picture light 300x300 Buying LED Light Bulbs (When Youre Used To Halogen)With LEDs, you have so many possibilities. Earlier this week, we published a post about replacing old incandescent light bulbs with LEDs. But, LED light bulbs are much more versatile than that. Their innovative construction makes them great replacements for almost any kind of light bulb.

In this post, we’ll cover how LEDs can replace halogen light bulbs. 

A halogen light bulb is an incandescent light bulb filled with a halogen gas. This gas within the light bulb’s envelope helps the light last longer and use less energy to produce light. There are certainly good reasons to use halogen light bulbs, but these lights also have their shortcomings.

Before we get into how to replace halogen light bulbs with LEDs, we need to understand the pros and cons of using halogen lights:

Halogen Pros:

  • Color Temperature: Halogen lamps emit crisp, flattering light, only slightly cooler than a regular incandescent’s color temperature. The added blue and green tones make a halogen light bulb appear whiter and brighter than the average incandescent.
  • Rated Life: These lights last longer than incandescent light bulbs. A halogen light’s rated life can range from 8,000-20,000 hours, while an incandescent usually lasts around 1,000-2,000 hours.
  • Efficiency: They’re more efficient than regular incandescent light bulbs, generating about 10-35 lumens per watt, compared to about 8-24 lumens per watt.
  • Color Rendering: Halogen lights have a CRI of 100, which means they render colors perfectly. This makes them great for display lighting, accent lighting, and more.
  • Dimming: These lamps still generate light with a filament, so you can use them with standard dimmer switches.

Halogen Cons: Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 20, 2013 at 11:30 am

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