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Omar Shahine

Madison Park • Seattle, WA
I love reviewing products on my blog https://OmarKnows.com
Joined over 2 years ago

Omar Recommends

Products

2021 Ilee Letterpress and Silkscreen Calendar
Calendar
I always need to look at a calendar and a few years ago I discovered an artist in Seattle that makes a Letterpress calendar. Each month has a beautiful illustration. All the calendars have a small little Easter egg for you to find (like Where’s Waldo). Every year I purchase these as gifts for some colleagues at work. This product sparks joy.
Anker Nano iPhone PowerPort USB-C Charger
Charger
This charger is so small and light it won’t fall out of the seat outlet, and it charges your phone or iPad fast.
Belkin Braided USB-C to Lightning Cable
Cable
This braided cable is great for travel.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Headphones
Bose has been making Noise Cancelling Headphones longer than anyone else, and the NC 700s have an excellent sound quality and noise cancellation, plus 20 hours of battery life. I have found the controls of the Bose headphones very intuitive and easy to use. Bose also has an app for the headphones, which is pretty good. It will update the software and also let you connect and disconnect from different devices. They are very light and easy to pack. Why Bose over AirPods Pros? Two reasons really. 1) For long flights over 4 hours, you need better battery life. 2). Better noise cancellation - the AirPods are excellent at providing noise cancellation in places you would not usually carry large headphones, but the Bose crush them on a long haul flight.
Coway Air Purifier
Air Purifier
Great, easy to use, cheap replacement filters and just works. You see the fires this summer? You need one of these for each bedroom
Dyson Lightcycle
Desk Lamp
Dyson products command a high price and this lamp is no exception. This is a remarkable product though and it’s filled with numerous bells and whistles such as a light that changes color throughout the day, auto on-off, auto-brightness, and a cantilever design that is a joy to adjust. You can find a perfectly suitable desk lamp for much less but if you are looking for something that is a fantastic light and looks like art, this is it.
Elgato Key Light
Key Light
The Elgato Key Light is a high quality light that has adjustable brightness and color temperature. I believe that the number one thing you can do to improve your online meetings is to have great lighting on your face. The Key Light is attached to my desk with a mount that is adjustable. There is an iOS app and Mac and Windows app allowing you to control it.
Elgato Wave 3
Microphone
The Elgato Wave 3 is a brand new microphone from Elgato. As such it’s not well known yet. I like it that it’s USB-C, and has a mute touch button on top that has a status indicator - this allows me to quickly mute and know that my microphone is turned off. It also has a line-in found on most mics for feedback when recording a podcast.
Grovemade Pen
Pen
I have used many pens in my life - and nothing compares to the feel of using this pen. It sits in a beautiful walnut and metal stand (that is very heavy and sturdy) and has a satisfying feel when using it. I use this pen a few times a day to just down notes on my sticky notes. Nothing is smoother than writing on the Schmidt P8126 rollerball.
Grovemade Wood Desk Shelf
Desk
I started off with the Monitor Stand when I had a single monitor, but recently I upgraded to the Desk Shelf. Grovemade is a really remarkable company. When I think of craftsmanship - they hit all the notes. There products are hand made in Oregon and you really sense that artisans poured their hearts and souls into these products. I love looking at them and using them. They bring me joy.
Grovemade Wood MagSafe Stand
Charger
If you have an iPhone 12 this stand can’t be beaten. It holds your phone in a floating configuration allowing you to rotate it and use it as another screen. It weighs a lot and won't move and exudes quality.
Hario Cold Brew Bottle
Cold Brew
Last summer, I drank a lot of cold brew. As I traveled around Europe, it became clear to me that cold brew was trendy and available in many different cities we visited. One of the hotels we visited had a fantastic coffee boutique (to call it a coffee shop would be insulting). These guys were making cold brew by using the slow drip method, and it was delicious. I found that the simplest way to get a great cold brew at home is to purchase the Hario Cold Brew bottle from Blue Bottle coffee. Making a batch is drop-dead easy. 1. Open bag of ground coffee 2. Place into the mesh basket 3. Close bottle 4. Fill water up to fill line 5. Shake 6. Place in the fridge till the morning I then take the filter out in the morning and put the bottle back in the refrigerator and drink it throughout the day. I also like that the Hario is made of glass. Many of the contraptions I investigated were plastic.
Herman Miller Sayl
Office Chair
I sat in the iconic Herman Miller Aeron for many years. Great chair but doesn’t look good in my home (it’s got an office aesthetic) and it’s also a bit of a beast. When researching chairs I landed on the Herman Miller Sayl chair. I think the price point is right, it comes in fun colors and it has a great return policy. Herman Miller products go on sale twice a year (15% off) and that is a great time to get them. My chair was delivered by FedEx in a HUGE box in just a few days. The box is so big my son played with it for days.
Instant Vortex 4-In-1 Air Fryer
Air Fryer
I purchased an Instant Pot Vortex 4-in-1 Air Fryer for no other reason that I like Instant Pot as a company and brand and the size and form factor was appealing. I plan to keep this on the counter at all times. Since purchasing the Air Fryer we have used it about 3 days a week. I’m really impressed with how fast and how good everything has been. Unlike a deep fryer and air fryer its basically just a small convection oven with a basket. This enables it to cook most dishes in under 20 minutes and make things delicious.
LeakSmart
Water Detectors
For water shut-off use LeakSmart. I’m paranoid about water leaks and water damage when I’m away from home. I’ve always been in the habit of shutting off the main water supply to my house whenever we are gone for more than a day but I was looking for something more automated that I could do from anywhere. That is when I discovered the LeakSMART. You need to get a version that matches the size of your water supply. In my case I have 1 1/4 inch water supply and LeakSMART did not have a solution till recently. Once it came out I purchased it and scheduled a plumber to install. Well that happened a few weeks ago and so far this has perfectly met my expectations.
Logitech Brio 4k
Webcam
Logitech makes really great peripherals. I have their mouse and keyboard (Logitech MX) and their best webcam. This is a true 4K camera and is a USB-C camera as well. Apple re-sells this camera for their XDR Pro Display which says a lot about the camera. It’s easy to set up and comes with a small privacy screen.
Logitech Circle View Wired Doorbell
Security
I have owned the following cameras over the years: Ring Doorbell - original Ring Doorbell - HD Ring Doorbell - Pro Google Nest Doorbell Unifi Protect G4 doorbell - currently on our back door This is BY FAR my favorite doorbell. I feel well qualified to proclaim this THE BEST doorbell (if you have iOS devices). Most of these doorbells install in the same manner. Over the years, I've grown uncomfortable over all of this being routed through public clouds. When it comes to privacy, I trust Apple a bit more as they make this a part of their mission, and their posture on privacy is strong. I now look for camera products that record local videos, such as the Unifi Protect system or privacy-minded HomeKit products. HomeKit is Apple's home automation system. It's very mature now, and their camera support is probably the newest. Here are some of the advantages: Door chimes work on all HomePod minis in my house - making the mechanical chime relatively unimportant. I now hear doorbell rings in my bathroom and home office! Notifications of packages, deliveries, doorbell rings are delivered to everyone's iOS and Mac device. The Apple TV supports HomeKit cameras, and doorbell rings put video upright on your screen. Handy for late-night delivers and previewing who is at the door. Lots of flexibilities for when to record, who can view recordings in the family, and activity sounds AI support for detecting People, Animals, Cars, and noises. Read more about my install experience at https://omar.shahine.com/blog/2021/1/24/logitech-circle-view-wired-doorbell
Privacy.Com
Password Manager
https://omar.shahine.com/blog/2021/1/3/privacycom-create-single-merchant-credit-cards A few months ago, I learned about a service called Privacy.com from my trusty password manager, 1Password (review). For the past few years, I've become increasingly annoyed with companies' shoddy practices to secure personal information such as credit card data. It's become far too often that I would find fraud on my main card, and then I would have to change and update many merchants where I have automatic billing established. The credit card companies could make this all more manageable, but they do not. There was a period of time where it felt like every four months, I would find fraud on my card - always due to my card being used without the security code or chip defeating the whole purpose of these security measures. I decided that if possible, I would swap my recurring bills to use PayPal. PayPal offers a handy way to manage all your subscriptions in one interface. You can then determine which credit card pays for these, and most importantly, you can change that card when you want. This is wonderful as it protects me from the hassle of changing things when my card number changes for any reason (such as expired). However, there was still a category of charges where PayPal does not work that I found myself still using my main credit card. Enter Privacy.com. With Privacy, you can create a single-use card or a single merchant card. This creates a unique credit card number for that merchant. It's locked to that merchant and cannot be used anywhere else. You can set a spending limit on that merchant as well. The card number is backed by your bank debit card, similar to Venmo. The best part is that it's built right into 1Password. All I have to do to create a new card is click, and it's automatically created. Later on, I can delete that card or track spending on it. Without this integration, I’m not sure I would use it as much! I've found Privacy to be helpful for other reasons. Every so often, I have to give my credit card number to someone to charge me for something, and I don't particularly appreciate handing out my card details - so instead, I create a one-time use Privacy card, set a limit, and give it to them. I love this service. It's given me peace of mind.
Project Dyneema Micro Pouch
Luggage
This pouch goes on every trip with me. It has ibuprofen, melatonin, chap stick, ear plugs.
Ravpower Power Bank
Power Storage
I’m preparing for the wire free world. How about you? I have this wireless charger at home that I love - the stand is really nice as it simplifies aligning the phone to the charger.
Tesla Powerwall
Power Storage
I recently had two Tesla Powerwalls installed to serve as backup for our home. My Powerwalls are powered by my solar panels which I also expanded since installing in 2015. You can see neat charts such as energy usage, solar production, and battery state. I’ve had energy monitoring for years since I have solar but if this is new to you it’s a bit addicting at first to stare at your power consumption and wonder what is consuming all that power! I assumed I might go months or years before the Powerwall went into action, but I didn’t have to wait long. The day after my Powerwall was certified, we lost power. A tree fell in our neighborhood and took out power for an estimated 4-6 hours. We had light, we had coffee, our fridge was working and no one in the house really noticed. PowerWalls make the most sense if you have Solar and live in a state that doesn’t have net metering or charges different rates during the day and at night. In these cases you want energy storage as you can use that stored energy at night or when power rates are more expensive. It’s much easier to justify the cost. I’d invest the money in an electric car first, then solar then a PowerWall if you can afford all that and want all that. PowerWall without Solar is a bad idea as you get no federal tax credit. Tesla continues to impress.
Topo Anti-Fatigue Mat
Standing Mat
I like the mini version of this mat. It’s really important that you are not standing on a hard surface or even carpet and have a cushion as this helps minimize fatigue and also encourages movement and body shifting while standing. The original Topo is nice, but was too large for my space.
Toto Washlet
Toilet
Toto toilets are some of the best engineered toilets in the world. I have never had one clog. Our house had 3 toto toilets and 2 Duravit toilets. We owned exactly 2 plungers and kept them near each Duravit as we frequently needed them. The Totos have never clogged once.
Uplift Desk
Desk
UpLift has a fantastic selection of stand up desks. They also have a number of really great accessories so that you can totally dial in your desk including power strips, cable management. Uplift was rated the best standing desk by Wirecutter. I love mine so much I got one for my daughter and will be getting one for my son soon.
Yale Assure Lock
Deadbolt
An essential aspect of my smart home is door locks. The Yale Assure locks are mostly a full replacement scenario. You replace your entire deadbolt with this new one. Yale is now the parent company of August, and there is a little electronic module that the lock comes with that integrates the Yale hardware with the August brains. These locks are much more reliable than the previous locks. The keypad is built into the lock and as such, shares power with the locking mechanism. I've had these locks installed for a few weeks, and their reliability has been 100%. Everyone in the family has a key code and have not reported any problems.

Home

Aarden Air King
HVAC
Great to work with and troubleshoot issues.
Albert Lee Major Appliances
Appliances
Fantastic appliance company.
All Covered Painting
Painter
I guess many painting companies double as holiday light companies. We are happy with them for holiday lights.
Andonian Rug Services
Carpet Cleaner
They appraised 6 rugs and cleaned them. Super knowledgeable owner and professional service.
Bartlett Tree Experts
Tree Service
Wonderful company to handle all tree issues such as annual pruning and fertilizer for trees
Bert's Red Apple Market
Grocery
Really dammed convenient. We go here for in between needs as we mainly use Amazon Fresh. Friendly staff.
Best Plumbing Seattle
Plumber
We call them in every emergency and they come quickly - they have also done some installation for us.
Broadway Locksmith
Locksmith
have used them a few times now to re-key our home or key a lock.
Cardinal Heating & Air
HVAC
Really easy to work with, they have provided some HVAC advise for us and also maintained our system.
Cascade Window and Glass
Glass
Installed mirror and shower door.
City Rain
Irrigation
They do our winter and spring turn on / off service.
College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving
Junk Removal
These guys are great. We had a bunch of furniture we just wanted out of our house. College Hunks came by and carefully removed all the items and hauled away to Goodwill. They were very reasonably priced. 329.00 for 1/8 of a truck.
D.A. Burns & Sons
Carpet Cleaner
They clean our carpets every year and do a good job.
Dream Turf
Landscaper
Installed the turf in our front lawn - which we are in love with and has held up nicely
Driscoll Robbins Fine Carpets
Carpet
Wonderful gallery to go if you are on the market for a rug. No pushy tactics - they are just interested in satisfied clients.
Drygoods Design
Sewing Classes
They offer awesome sewing classes for a total beginner or advanced sewer. Very nice space and approachable.
Environix
Damage Restoration
If you have moisture issues in your attic I'd call them.
Evergreen Window Cleaning
Window Washing
These guys are amazing. They do the best job cleaning windows, will also clean the sill and screens as well as your roof and power wash. High quality and also expensive.
Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Appliances
I visited the showroom to pick out some plumbing fixtures. Made an appointment and was met by a very knowledgeable and friendly sales associate. She not only showed me what I was hoping to see but also explained some differences in materials and quality between different products.
Four Seasons Roof
Roofer
They did a fantastic job installing a ridge vent in our home which we needed due to not enough adequate ventilation in our attic.
Gallery Frames
Framing
Gallery Frames has done some great work for us. For many years they also did all the framing for the Microsoft Fine Art collection. This is where I found out about them.
Garden Harmony
Landscaper
Garden Harmony does a fantastic job keeping the yard tidy and will also handle a variety of landscaping tasks for you such as gravel, mulch, tree pruning.
Hazel Point Company
Contractor
Hazel Point did some work in our attic to make it usable for storage. They added a plywood floor and installed an attic ladder which allows us to store a fair amount of stuff in our attic.
Infinity Tile & Grout
Tile
We hired Dan to repair and clean the grout in two showers, and around two sinks. He also repaired a loose tile by applying epoxy grout around the tile to lock it in. Dan arrived on time and explained clearly what he was planning to do and when he was finished he did a walkthrough. His work was fantastic and the 10 years of mold and cracked grout look brand new. Fantastic work. Thank you Dan!
Integrity Energy Systems
HVAC
Professional plumbing company - they replaced our water heater
Integrity Gutters
Gutters
Removed the crappy gutter guards from our gutters (don't bother in Seattle) and all new downspouts.
Jerry the Bee Guy
Exterminator
If you have flying insects to get rid of, Jerry is the best. He even involved our children in safely removing the wasps or whatever they were.
Marshall's Cleaners
Dry Cleaner
Wonderful family business. They do a great job.
Miele Experience Center
Appliances
Great place to test-drive all the Miele products. Friendly staff and they will answer any questions!
Mirsky Electric
Electrician
They have done a bunch of electrical work for us and have worked out really well.
Nancy Ralston Interior Design
Interior Designer
We have worked with Nancy for years - she doesn't come in with ideas to overwhelm you but works to match good ideas to your expression of what you want. She has arranged for custom wood work, drapes, cushions, paint consultation etc.
NW Premium Hardwood Floors
Flooring
They installed a hardwood floor in our basement replacing all our carpet. This was a pretty big job - removed all the carpet, installed water proof barrier, glued down flooring + stairs and then sealed it to match the rest of the floor in our house.
Organized Spaces
Contractor
We hired Organized spaces to install two custom closets in our home. The process was very simple and easy and we are really happy with the results.
Park Avenue Construction
Cabinetry
They did all the work in our kitchen and then a lot of follow-up work.
Precision Door Service
Garage
Our garage spring broke, they came out and replaced it and made some suggestions on other things we could do - which we did.
Puget Sound Solar
Contractor
Puget Sound Solar installed our 4KW system in 2015. Since then they have performed a complementary checkup each year to ensure the system is operating well. They have been great about telling us when things need attention and otherwise we are super happy with our Solar system.
Queen Anne Painting
Painter
These guys are simply fantastic. They are also very expensive but worth every $. Their attention to detail, follow-up and desire to get it right are amazing. When anything is a miss they correct it in the moment. They provide daily written reports of their work and a final check through. Fantastic employees.
Regis Carpet Repair
Carpet
Yesterday I called John to take care of some carpet stretching needs in 2 of our rooms. John was able to come by same day and in about 2.5 hours he was able to set the carpet perfectly. We are so happy to finally take care of this annoyance. If you need to repair or stretch out a carpet call John!
Ridwell
Recycling Services
Recently signed up and have already had two pickups. The plastic and threads bag is always full and Iove the rotating categories like back to school supplies, non perishable food etc.
Seahurst Electric
Electrician
They installed our NEMA outlet for our Tesla. Issued a quote over email and did it quickly.
Seattle Home Windows
Glass
Our door panes fogged up. We had them replace all 12 of them. Was fast and easy.
Shearer Painting
Painter
They painted the outside of our house. Big project and they did a good job.
Squeegee Pros Window and Gutter
Window Washing
They specialize in solar panel cleaning. R hired them to clean our panels and I arranged the whole thing online. Cost was very reasonable.
Stefanados Tile & Stone
Tile
Did some very tricky tile repair work in our kitchen due to poor installation of our porcelain tile.
The Flood Guys
Damage Restoration
Unfortunately, we had to hire the Flood Guys after our son's bathtub flooded his bathroom. We called them Saturday night and Ivann was at our place within 90 minutes. He took some measurements with a moisture sensor and infra-red camera and then sent us an estimate. The crew arrived Monday morning for mitigation. First, they put some heaters over the tile in my son's bathroom and a de-humidifier in the kitchen. The next day they came in and removed the sheetrock from the ceiling and insulation and then dried out the area for 2 more days. I was incredibly impressed with the professionalism and cleanliness. Everything was immaculate every day. They placed an air right barrier around the mitigation space in the kitchen. I hope you don't need to call them but if you do, they will do a great job.
Wall Tek
Drywall
We had some major electrical work done in our garage for Solar and Tesla Batteries. Our Solar company contracted with Wall Tek to repair all the drywall. They did a fantastic job.
Western Exterminator
Exterminator
We had a massive ant problem a few years ago. Every summer they would come out in the thousands in our front yard, and eventually find ways into our house. We hired Western and have never seen them since. They come by every other month.

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