Solar Electric Bonsai Tree for the Home

Here’s an update to an old article about a tree-shaped charger powered by solar energy. Vivien Muller’s Electree+ is on Kickstarter seeking to raise $200,000 to mass-produce these little home/office gadgets here in the USA. The new prototype will be made with an 14,000 mAh internal battery, 27 amorphous silicon solar cells (each about 3.7 inches), and an easy-to-assemble tree structure that can be customized. In case you’re interested, the early bird gets in at the ground level for ~$199.00.

[+] More about the solar bonsai tree called electree+.

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Contemporary INFILL is The New Prefab

John Dwyer was involved in the design of the first LEED Platinum home in Minnesota — 5ive — and now aims to change the way homeowners purchase homes.  He recently unveiled INFILL, “the new prefab,” with a plan to provide complete delivery, high performance, and full adaptability from three basic prefab designs.

The homes will be “super insulated and durably finished for near zero utility and maintenance costs,” according to Dwyer’s new site for INFILL.

INFILL homes are priced from $198,000 for a 1,248 square-foot home, which is about $160 per square foot, including all hard and soft costs, design, engineering, and construction.

To keep prices reasonable, Dwyer will use integrated project delivery and contract structure based on IPD.  With IPD, the critical players come together early in the design process to facilitate sharing, solve potential problems, eliminate waste, and maximize value for the homeowner.

All of the INFILL designs are smaller than 2,500 square feet and available from less than $400,000.  As this new prefab endeavor takes off, I’ll make sure to keep you posted with more detail.

Credits: John Dwyer Architect.

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In Bloom: the Best California B&Bs for Early Sights of Spring

Sacramento, CA (PRWEB) February 21, 2011

Winter-weary travelers desperate for sights of spring can pack their bags for California’s deserts and coastal regions, where they’ll find sunshine and some of the earliest spring blooms in the country. The past season’s heavy rains are expected to yield abundant blooms. Members of the California Association of Bed & Breakfast Inns (CABBI) can guide guests with maps and trail suggestions for blooming desert landscapes and lush hills dappled with native wildflowers.

The luxurious El Morocco Inn & Spa in Desert Hot Springs serves as an ideal base for discovering the magic of Southern California’s springtime desert wonderland. The inn is conveniently located within a short drive to Joshua Tree National Park, Morongo Valley Preserve, and the famous Palm Springs Indian Canyons, including Tahquitz Canyons with its spectacular waterfalls. Cacti and wildflowers generally begin blooming in the lower elevations of the desert basin in late February and at higher elevations in March and April. The innkeepers provide guests with hiking maps and insider information on the best places to walk, run, bike and hike, including favorite hidden waterfalls and blooming oases. Afterwards, slip into the inn’s natural hot springs swimming pool for a relaxing soak or raise a glass at the inn’s nightly happy hour featuring their signature cocktail, “The Morocco-tini.”

Other desert-area bed and breakfast inns include Las Fuentes Inn and Gardens, Andreas Hotel & Spa, Lake LaQuinta Inn, Rendezvous Bed & Breakfast, Roughly Manor Bed & Breakfast, and Villa Royale Inn.

California’s winter rains have transformed Catalina Island, off the coast of Southern California, into a verdant island paradise. The island’s typically arid hills are now lush with greenery and the native wildflowers are soon to bloom, painting the hills with blue, yellow, orange and white. Tidy tips and blue dicks, shooting stars and milk maids, island poppies and wild hyacinths will bloom alongside California poppies, Mariposa lilies and prickly pear cactus, creating dazzling swaths of color. There are two fabulous bed and breakfast inns in Avalon to choose from. The sleek and modern Aurora Hotel features a roof-top deck with sweeping views and ocean-view or city-view guest rooms with plush bedding and flat-screen televisions. The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island creates an enchanting environment with luxurious bedding, unique artwork and classic Craftsman style. Expeditions to the interior of Catalina Island, including Jeep tours and hiking trips, can be arranged through both inns.

On the far northern coast of California in Westport at Howard Creek Ranch, spring begins in February and just keeps going. A working farm and a designated historic site, Howard Creek Ranch is nestled on sixty acres of wilderness with an adjoining beach and trails into the redwoods-covered mountains. Hiking through fern-covered canyons, guests will find an array native wildflowers, including California Lady Slipper, Wild Iris, Wake Robins (Trillium ovatum), Wild Hyacinths, Coast Lily, Redwood Lily, Larkspur, Columbine, Buttercup (Ranunculus californicus), Indian pinks (a form of Silene), Morning Glory (otherwise known as bindweed) and wild violets. The guest accommodations include rustic cabins and suites with views, fireplaces, skylights, antiques and handmade quilts. The inn also features a hot tub, sauna, massage, a piano, flower gardens and a 75-foot swinging foot bridge over Howard Creek.

To find more information and to search for other desert and coastal region bed and breakfast inns in California, visit


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Belize’s Chaa Creek Opens their Christmas Package Early

(PRWEB) October 06, 2011

More and more people are opting to celebrate traditional holidays in exotic locales, and in response to this trend, Chaa Creek is taking bookings for this year?s Christmas vacation packages early.

Marketing administrator Larry Waight said the decision was based on increased demand, and in the interest of preserving the intimate ambience of Chaa Creek?s Christmas tradition.

?Chaa Creek is still very much a family affair, and Christmas means a lot to everyone here – the owners, and our many staff members and their families. We all celebrate together with our guests, which is part of the magic, and this is why we like to organise everything early.

?It?s sort of like planning a celebration with your own family ? you want to get the guest list settled, plan the menu and begin ordering things.

Mr Waight pointed out that Christmas is a very important celebration in Belize, which, in addition to Maya and African roots, has a strong Spanish and English heritage.

?This is what makes Christmas in Belize so unique and colourful,? Mr Waight said, ?The Spanish and the English brought Christmas with them, and being so far from home, the early settlers, including the buccaneers, went out of their way to celebrate it. The Maya and African people enthusiastically embraced the Yuletide spirit, and added their own vibrant elements, resulting in this great mix of the familiar and the exotic. And our guests, some of whom return every year, just love it,? he said.

Mr Waight said that exceptional climate, a friendly, bilingual population, stunning, varied landscape and ease and affordability are all reasons for the growing popularity of Christmas in Belize.

?Imagine a tropical Christmas vacation where you can snorkel in sparkling Caribbean waters in the morning, explore incredible Maya temple s that same afternoon, and enjoy an exquisite turkey dinner under a traditional Christmas tree in a pristine rainforest that evening. Only in Belize??

The Lodge at Chaa Creek is Belize?s oldest and most highly awarded eco resort, featuring 23 thatched roof cottage accommodations, luxury suites, renowned restaurant and Jungle Lounge, Natural History Centre, Butterfly Farm and Hilltop Spa, pool and other amenities within a 365 acre private nature reserve containing over 70 Maya temples and archaeology sites, crisscrossed with miles of jungle trails perfect for horseback, mountain bike and hiking expeditions and river canoeing.

Mr Waight said that Chaa Creek Christmas vacation always caters to a varied group, with families, friends, couples sharing a romantic exotic holiday and ?just about anyone seeking an alternative to a commercial Christmas. It really is like a family get-together, with people exchanging presents in their rooms, verandas or even under the huge tree in the restaurant, which has made for some memorable photo opportunities in the past. To tell the truth, we?re all already looking forward to it.?

Chaa Creek?s a ll inclusive Christmas vacations are available from 17 December to 3 January.

For more information about the Christmas Vacation Package, please contact the property at 1-877-709-8708, email – reservations (at) or visit the website at


Are Bats Driving You Batty? Cowleys Termite & Pest Services Advises Homeowners that August and Early Fall is the Ideal Window of Opportunity to Safely Remove and Exclude Bats From Your Home

Neptune City, NJ (PRWEB) August 20, 2011

Afraid of bats? You are hardly alone. Perhaps no creature is misunderstood and shrouded in mystery as bats. With their bulging eyes, pushed-in snouts, vampire-like incisors, vein-covered translucent wings, and alien-like ears, bats have always been burdened with centuries of misinformation. Many believe that bats thrive on human blood. In fact, there are only three species of bats that live off the blood of cattle and they all reside in Latin America. Compound all this with the myth of Dracula and it?s hardly surprising that, along with ghosts, goblins, and spiders, bats have become a staple of spooky Halloween d

Kaplan Early Learning Company, Frog Street Press and Nemours BrightStart! to Sponsor Free Concert for Kids

(PRWEB) September 16, 2011

Kaplan Early Learning Company is proud to sponsor Celebration of Children, a free concert for children in the Orlando, Florida area this coming November.

Alongside co-sponsors Frog Street Press and Nemours BrightStart!, Kaplan will play host to a free concert event featuring renowned children?s performers, Ella Jenkins, Hap Palmer, Greg & Steve and The Learning Station. Steve Spangler of Steve Spangler Science will emcee the event.

The concert will be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on Wednesday, November 2, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

The Celebration of Children free concert will be held in cooperation with the NAEYC Annual Conference and Exhibition as well as the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children.

Free tickets are available to area preschools, lower elementary schools, and everyone attending the NAEYC conference.

There is a limited number of seating available, so to reserve your tickets please call 1.800.789.9990 or email TheLearningStation(at)cfl(dot)rr(dot)com as soon as possible. If you are a teacher or care provider, make sure to include the exact number of students or children in your care that you intend to bring to this event.


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Book Early and Save 20% with Loews Hotels Advance Purchase

New York (Vocus) February 3, 2010

Now through December 31, 2010 Loews Hotels is rewarding travelers who book 45 days or more in advance with an Advance Purchase discount of 20 percent. The discount applies to business or leisure stays in all room categories at Loews 18 properties in the U.S. and Canada, including web exclusive rates on Advance Purchase reservations must be paid at time of booking, are non-refundable and cannot be changed.

The Advance Purchase discount is available online at and by calling 1-800-23-LOEWS. The discount cannot be combined with any other promotional offers or rates and is not available at the Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando. Traditional reservations can still be made at rack rates with normal cancellation policies.

“This is an unbeatable opportunity for travelers to lock-in a great rate, simply by planning ahead. It is similar to buying airfare, people who book ahead get the best deals, and now they can get the same benefit at Loews Hotels,” said Anthony Del Gaudio, VP of Global Distribution for Loews Hotels. “Whether they opt for the bayside luxury of Loews Coronado Bay in San Diego or the classic New York City experience of the Loews Regency Hotel, travelers who book early will enjoy Loews’ signature Four Diamond and More experience at an unprecedented value.”

Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels owns and/or operates 18 hotels and resorts in the U.S. and Canada. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews portfolio features one-of-a-kind properties that go beyond Four Diamond standards to delight guests with a supremely comfortable, uniquely local and vibrant travel experience. Loews boasts some of the industry’s most innovative and successful travel programs, including Loews Loves Kids for families and Loews Loves Pets for discerning animals on the road. For reservations or more information on Loews Hotels, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or check

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Emily Goldfischer

Loews Hotels


Michelle Colligan

Redpoint Marketing PR, Inc.



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Book Early and Save at Lake Buena Vista Marriott Village Hotels

Orlando, Fla (PRWEB) August 28, 2006

The Marriott Village hotels located in Lake Buena Vista are offering the best rates of the season with a Summer Never Ends in Orlando hotel special. The Marriott Village hotels invite you to book early and save 15 percent off of the best available rates with a 14-day advance purchase.

“We are eager to announce the opportunity to invite families and business travelers alike to keep enjoying the season and the sunshine with these great rates,” said Lisa Moore, Manager of Marketing and eCommerce for the Marriott Village. “We are committed to offering the best service at the best price for the duration of the season and beyond.”

Marriott Village is made up of three spectacular Orlando, Florida hotels including: Courtyard Orlando (, Fairfield Inn Orlando (, and SpringHill Suites Orlando ( Rates are based upon availability and 14-day advance purchase, and range from $ 63 per night (Fairfield Inn) to $ 76 per night (SpringHill and Courtyard).

Located just one mile from Walt Disney World