Category: Gear

How to Choose the Best Refrigerator

Posted on Sep 2, 2015 by No Comments

It’s getting close to time to replace my 12-year-old refrigerator. Until now, I’ve always had a refrigerator with the freezer on top, but I’m considering a change.

As I’ve started my search, it seems finding the right refrigerator is more of a challenge than I thought with so many things to consider. I turned to Consumer Reports for some guidance since they offer unbiased ratings.

Of course, one of the first things they point out is the importance of energy efficiency, since our refrigerators run 24-7. Really, for me, anything that can help the budget out is important. But my reasons for considering a change to a bottom freezer is that I’d have to bend less when looking for something in the refrigerator.

However, Consumer Reports says that top freezers “offer the most storage for their size and they are the least expensive.” Plus the top scoring models they tested typically delivered consistent temperatures. Those are all important factors for me.

And to be up front, I’ve never been a fan of side-by-side refrigerator models because they seem like they have less room. As long as I was checking out facts and ratings I figured I’d take a look and see if my perception was correct or not.

It was! They are “the least space-efficient inside.” So I looked no further. I already feel like I’m playing a game of Tetris as I move items around in my fridge. I definitely, don’t need less room.

The benefit of bottom-freezer refrigerators is that it keeps things in the refrigerator within easy reach. This is the main reason I was considering a bottom-freezer model.

Most of the models tested chilled and froze items adequately. The only real downside is that the freezer holds less than a similar top-freezer model.

So for me, energy efficiency is important, but beyond that, I’m looking for practicality. I’ve boiled my decision down to two things. Do I want more freezer space or to have my refrigerator within easier reach? Hard choice but I’ll probably stick with a freezer-on-top model!

Photo credits: wikimedia

Selfie Sticks Not Allowed on Rides at Disney

Posted on Jun 4, 2015 by No Comments

The popularity of selfie sticks has exploded. They make taking vacation pictures possible without finding someone to actually take the photo for you.

But some people have thrown common sense out the window and have used selfie sticks to get photos while on theme park rides and attractions. For this reason Disney has recently cracked down on the use of selfie stick on their theme park rides and have even added signs in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney Workd in Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim.

Disney Selfie
This isn’t really a new restriction. If you’ve ever visited these parks you’ve experienced the announcement dealing with stowing personal items safely while on a ride. This includes everything from cameras to canes and really the selfie stick falls into this same category.

Social media is full of pictures from people using selfie sticks and along with that are a slew of complaints from fellow riders. But the real reason Disney is cracking down on the use of selfie sticks is that they are a safety issue as riders stick them outside the rides.

Greeters in front of attractions now instruct guest with a visible selfie stick to stow them while on the ride or attraction and if the stick is seen being used while onboard the ride, the guest will be asked to stow the selfie stick over the PA system. If they don’t comply, according to park policy the ride will be stopped.

Disney cast members have been trained for how to handle selfie sticks in order to stay in compliance with policy. Selfie sticks are not banned at Disney, they just aren’t allowed while on a ride or attraction due to safety concerns.

However visitors to Disney theme parks are free to use their selfie sticks as much as they’d like outside of rides and attractions. For now, signs have been posted outside some of the parks popular attractions including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Space Mountain at Disneyland.

It turns out that Disney isn’t the only park dealing with the selfie stick safety issue. Universal Studios Orlando has actually installed metal detectors at three of their thrill rides to be sure there are not lose objects including selfie sticks. Some museums have even banned the selfie stick all together.

Photo credits: TTCdirector

Link Round-up: Small but Effective Home Makeovers, a Patriotic Wreath, DIY Jewelry, and More

Posted on May 21, 2015 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has DIY home makeovers that are easy but powerful, a patriotic wreath, DIY cracked marble nail polish jewelry, and more.

A Beautiful Mess showed us 10 easy makeovers for your home that have a powerful effect.

Kleinworth & Co. shared a recipe for a blackberry fauxjito.

Craft Klatch showed us how to make cracked marble nail polish jewelry.

link ru patriotic wreath

Kenarry showed us how to make a burlap red, white, and blue wreath.

The Gracious Wife shared the 10 best marriage books.

Makeup and Beauty Blog reviewed The Body Shop’s matte kajals in white and black.

Scary Mommy talked about parenting from the couch.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Kenarry

Glad OdorShield – The Multi-tasking Trash Bag

Posted on May 11, 2015 by No Comments

With family members with seasonal allergies, I don’t open the windows to let pollen in with the fresh air. Because of that, I’ve tried a variety of items to keep my home smelling fresh. I don’t go for heavy pine scents but prefer light scents that offer a hint of something fresh that makes you breathe deeply. Now, I’ve found something that helps keep my kitchen fresh without my even thinking about it. It’s the new Glad Kitchen OdorShield trash bags. I came across them in the laundry aisle at Walmart, and if you haven’t tried them yet, I suggest you do. They are designed with that fresh smell you get when you use Gain laundry detergent.

I’m one of those practical homemakers who looks for ways to multitask and these Glad scented trash bags do it for me. Usually, I hesitate to clean out the refrigerator until I know the trash is almost full and will be taken out because the odors smell up the entire kitchen. Let’s face it; it doesn’t take much uneaten broccoli to stink things up. The problem is remembering to clean those items out of the refrigerator before taking out the garbage. Now, I don’t have to worry about it because the OdorShield eliminates smells no matter how full or empty the trash is which means I can clean things out of the fridge as I see it needs to be done.

The other thing I like about these scented trash bags is that they have “reinforcing bands” which makes them stronger than the Glad trash bags I’ve used for years. Plus the drawstring closing makes them easy to tie up and carry out to the trash. My favorite is the Island Fresh scent but the original is nice, too.

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Link Round-up: Creative Denim Ideas, Easter Bunny Cones, Gym Bag Essentials, and More

Posted on Mar 26, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up offers up creative denim ideas, Easter bunny cones, fitness bag gym essentials, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for single serving chocolate cheesecake brownie baked oatmeal.

A Pumpkin and a Princess shared 40 creative denim ideas.

Almost Supermom showed us how to make Easter bunny cones.

link ru minion cupcakes

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make Despicable Me minion cupcakes.

Muslin and Merlot showed us how to turn a dress into a skirt, no sewing necessary.

Pink Heels Pink Truck shared her gym bag essentials.

Mommypotamus shared the secret to strong, shiny hair: gelatin hair masks.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Link Round-up: Drink Ideas, St. Patrick’s Day, Calligraphy Tips, a Rubber Band Car, and More

Posted on Mar 10, 2015 by 3 Comments

Today’s link round-up has drink ideas, corned beef and cabbage rolls, calligraphy tips, and more.

Crafts by Amanda showed us how to make a rubber band car.

Frog Prince Paperie showed us how to address invitations with calligraphy and shared some tips for getting it perfect.

Homemade Interest shared a recipe for corned beef cabbage rolls.

link ru lavender latte shake

A Beautiful Mess shared a recipe for a lavender latte milkshake.

Tried and Tasty showed us how to make minty lime water (aka a virgin, no-sugar-added mojito).

Cupcakes and Cashmere reflected on the things she’s learned about defining her style since turning 30.

Pink Heels Pink Truck shared a girls’ night out makeup tutorial.

Photo credit: Crafts by Amanda and A Beautiful Mess

Snackeez Cup and Other Product of the Year Winners

Posted on Feb 18, 2015 by 1 Comment

The 2015 Product of the Year awards were presented on Feb. 10, and while I don’t pay attention to every award that rolls out, the Product of the Year awards are worth noting because they are decided on by people like you and me.

This year, more than 40,000 consumers voted, and among the winners are a number of items for moms and babies.

Making the list isn’t easy. Times are competitive with almost 50,000 new packaged goods introduced each year.

Winning products have the distinction of taking home the largest consumer-voted award in the world. To make it into the competition products have to be proven innovative.

A couple of products caught my eye this morning as a news anchor demonstrated their value and usefulness. The first was the Snackeez cup designed for eating on the run. It’s a spill-proof cup that holds a 16 ounce drink and a snack.

If you’re running late and your child has to eat in the car, you can pack up their juice and crackers (or whatever snack) in this spill-proof cup. It’s also useful to eliminate snack related spills around the house.

Beech-Nut Naturals was the winner in the “Baby” category. I’m not surprised. Moms want real food for their babies and this food is made without artificial preservatives.

Tide Ultra

Tide’s new Ultra Stain Release product made the list. I hadn’t seen this before. Just pour some of the detergent on your stain and then work it in with the detergent cap which is equipped with little “fingers” for scrubbing.

The last product I want to mention is one I’ve seen commercials for. It’s the Crest Sensi-Stop Strips, which provide targeted sensitivity and pain relief.

They are thin, flexible strips that contain an active ingredient used by dental professionals. Along with targeting the problem spot, the relief lasts for up to a month.

A variety of products made the list. You’ll find everything from gluten-free products to pet products, skin care products, and even Tru-fit Underwear.

You can view the entire list of Product of the Year winners online, knowing that they earned their way to the top on public opinion.

Photo credits: Amazon, Amazon

Link Round-up: DIY Linen Spray, Bird Feeders, Recipes, and More

Posted on Feb 5, 2015 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has DIY grapefruit-vanilla linen spray, takes a look at bird feeder myths, shows you how to turn a garment bag into a wrapping station, and more.

A Beautiful Mess shared a recipe for sweet chili garlic salmon.

Crafts by Amanda took a look at the myths and facts about peanut butter bird feeders.

Mind Body Green shared six essential questions to ask yourself.

link ru garment bag wrapping station

Muslin and Merlot showed us how to turn an old garment bag into a wrapping station.

Bitz n Giggles showed us how to make love potion punch.

Creative Green Living taught us how to make our own grapefruit-vanilla linen spray.

Happy Hooligans shared a recipe for French vanilla brownie cupcakes.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Muslin and Merlot

Smart Belt Will Tighten, Loosen, and Track Data

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 by 1 Comment

I think we are living in a world where technology is getting smarter and people who use it learn to think less. Let’s face it, we don’t need to know phone numbers anymore because our phones remember them for us.

This week, I also saw new technology for smart insoles equipped with GPS so you can know where your loved ones are. This is marketed for use with people who have Alzheimer’s and autistic children.

And the latest contraption is a belt that self adjusts. If you eat too much it loosens, and it tracks how active you are. This one is called “Belty,” and it adjusts as you stand or sit.

The company that makes it is based in Paris, France. It’s already won awards for innovation in the wearable category, but the prototype isn’t very attractive. However, the company has already paired up with a top leather manufacturer and now that they’ve made the belt smart, they are working its style.

The Belty “collects data with a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, then syncs wirelessly with a mobile app. This means it can track your waistline over time, keep tabs on your exercise, or check how much you sit and suggest you take a walk if you get too sedentary.”

Manufacturers are already calling the smart belt a luxury product. Personally, I think people who can afford luxury products might want to invest in a personal trainer rather than to rely on a belt to tell them to go take a walk.

But before you take my advice, I confess that I tend to be reluctant to embrace new technology that can snoop on my personal life. This smart belt gives me flashbacks of the computer HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey.

HAL became self-aware and decided what was best for the humans, and they couldn’t deactivate HAL because it knew everything they were doing. If you never saw the movie, let’s just say it didn’t bode well for the humans.

Maybe a better example is the movie Jaws. Remember how people wouldn’t go swimming after that movie came out? Well, that’s kind of how I feel about wearable technology that can track my waist size and how sedentary I am.

What if the technology malfunctions? That could be a whole story in itself, in the horror genre probably, where the government requires us to wear something like this. They could use it like a shock collar (only around our waist) to make sure we’re active enough and not gaining weight.

For now, I think I can handle loosening and tightening my belt. I don’t need a belt to tell me I’m gaining weight, because actually my jeans tell me that. At least for the moment, I choose to be smarter than a belt.

For those who like the idea of a smart belt, the Belty will be available by the end of 2015.

Photo credits: NewsyTech