Home & Lifestyle Innovation Reviews

By Melanie Carden

First things first, I love my dog. She’s my queen, and I’m sure many of you hold a similar deeply felt love for your furry friends. Having said that, the shedding was shredding my sanity. Of course, I’ve seen robot vacuums, but I’m a skeptic, and I’m not a gadget gal. But the tumbleweeds of fur scuttling across the hardwood floors finally broke my stubborn streak, and here we are.

I’m the first to admit when I’m wrong, and this is one of those (rare) moments. I put the Roborock Q5 through the “Mission Impossible” of robotic vacuum tests; the tasks at hand require Tom Cruise-level capabilities. Our outdoorsy dog drags in measurable-levels of dirt from the yard, and that, combined with shedding, yields one full dust-pan per room. Full disclosure, I would have been delighted and relieved with just Roborock’s basic functionality, but the darn thing wooed me with its next-level offerings. It was surprisingly easy to set up the units mapping system—which, include no-go zones, and connectivity to in-home smart devices such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri. But I think what I love the most is the volume of pet-chaos the unit can store, before needing to be emptied. Depending on your vacuum needs, there’s a good chance you can go up to seven weeks without a firsthand emptying since the robot unit self-empties into a larger bin held within the docking station. Overall, this little robot won me over—big time.

Perfect for: Those looking for a cost-effective vacuum robot solution, anyone with pets and children whom they adore, but wish were less messy. Info:

As the name suggests, The Jacket Maker is a resource for custom jackets. But this is a far cry from the run-of-the-mill customization that has become a cheap replacement for craftsmanship. The staff can create a variety of fully customized jackets, but their expertise in leather work is in a league of its own. You’ll collaborate with the designer directly and hand select every detail of your coat—from the type of leather, zipper color, accent placement, lining, and more. You saw your dream coat in a movie; find an image of it and start from there. Or, as an alternative, you can use one of the brand’s ready-to-wear coats as the starting point and make modifications. Either way, it’s not only acceptable to let your imagination run wild, but also encouraged. Case in point, the team took my vision for “expandable width” sleeves and made it a reality. I explained my design idea for hidden accordion-fold panels along the inner arm sleeve and I had a digital mockup in just a few days. The zipper itself is covered by a leather flap, and blends into the design seamlessly. So, my coat will easily make the transition from thin fall sweaters to bulkier winter knits, while still having a tailored look. Depending on the intricacies of the design, the typical turnaround time is twelve weeks. So, now’s the perfect time to get ahead on holiday shopping!

Perfect for: Those who have an eye for design, someone looking for a unique gift, anyone who appreciates clothing that truly expresses a sense of self. Info: