Category: home and product tips

The Best Flashlights to Have On an Outdoor Adventure

best flashlightsSummertime is here! And you know what that means – plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures.

Whether you’ve been looking forward to a camping trip all year or you’re planning a last-minute vacation, it’s essential to have the right gear.

You probably already have items like backpacks, tents, and sleeping bags on your list of outdoor gear. But what about flashlights?

Flashlights are an often overlooked but essential item for any outdoor adventure. How do you know which type of flashlight you need?

Here’s a list of the best flashlights for your upcoming excursion.

Handheld Flashlights

For a camping trip or day hike, a standard handheld flashlight should be sufficient.

Here are a few of the best flashlights:

  • 511 Tactical Light For Life. Used by ETMs and police officers, this flashlight charges in just 90 seconds and lasts up to four hours.
  • Lumens Pelican 3310PL LED Flashlight. Perfect for overnight trips, this flashlight features a glow-in-the-dark shell and a run time of up to 190 hours.
  • PeakPlus Flashlight Kit. This versatile flashlight can zoom in or light an area up to 100 yards. It also has an SOS mode in case you run into trouble.
  • LE Adjustable Focus Mini LED Flashlight Torch. This lightweight but dependable flashlight is small enough to fit in your pocket.
  • Fenix E Series. Bright, compact, and economical, these flashlights are some of the most popular LED devices on the market. Use this link for more information on Fenix flashlights.

Headlamps For Camping and Night Hiking

For hands-free illumination, a headlamp may be the most practical choice.

Some of the best headlamps on the market include:

  • Fenix HL10 Series. Easy to use and incredibly bright, these headlamps are perfect for any nighttime activity. They’re waterproof for up to 30 minutes underwater.
  • Shining Buddy LED Headlamp. With four settings and a lamp that swivels down 45 degrees, these headlamps comfortably fit any head or hat.
  • Luxolite LED Headlamp Flashlight. This headlamp features two buttons – one for a white light and one for a red light. It also has a long battery life of 30 hours.

Camping Lights and Lanterns

For anything you need to do around the campsite after the sun sets, a lantern is a practical choice.

Here are a few of the best camping lanterns:

  • Etekcity 2 Pack Portable Outdoor Camping Lanterns. These lanterns feature 30 low-powered LED bulbs to illuminate your campsite or the path to the restroom. Because they’re water resistant and battery operated, they can be safely used inside a tent, a camper, or outside.
  • SUBOOS Gen 2 ULTIMATE Rechargeable Camping Tent Lantern. Perfect for backpacking, this small, lightweight lantern features three light settings and a hanging clip.
  • Suaoki LED Camping Lantern. For those who love to go green, this compact lantern features a solar panel for daytime charging.

Final Thoughts on the Best Flashlights

With so many flashlights on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one for your needs. Now that you know the best flashlights, you’re ready for your outdoor adventure!

Need ideas for your upcoming trip or other family-friendly activities? Be sure to check out my family life section for fresh inspiration.

Home Staging Designed to Sell (Without Spending a Fortune)

designed to sellYou don’t need a designer to stage your home for a quick sale. Sure, you could hire an interior designer, but expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour.

If you’re selling your home, it’s in your best interest to spend as little as possible so you can make a handsome profit in the end.

In this article, we’ll give you a few designed to sell tips so you can skip the professionals altogether.

Home Staging Without Going Broke

“Can I really sell my house fast without spending a fortune?”

Yes! Here’s how…

Spruce Up Your Yard

Your first task is to get buyers out of their car and in the front door. The best way to do that is with a little curb appeal. And a little can go a long way.

Give your home a fresh look by picking up debris in the yard like twigs and leaves or giving your outdoor furniture a quick wipe down. Don’t forget to power wash your driveway!

Keep it minimal by removing any unnecessary items, but set the mood with some cheap string lights.

Remove (or Hide) Personal Items

Have you ever noticed in professionally staged homes all personal items are missing? Toys in the kid’s rooms are minimal if there are any at all. Pictures on the walls are generic

Toys in the kid’s rooms are minimal if there are any at all. Pictures on the walls are generic and closets are empty.

This is a good tactic if you can manage it. This allows buyers to imagine their stuff in those spaces, instead of their vision being cluttered by someone else’s stuff.

You can rent a storage container or use spaces like a shed or garage to temporarily store your personal items. After all, you plan to move everything, so boxing up your non-essentials now will help ease the transition later.

Neutralize Your Home with Paint

A home that’s designed to sell will allow buyers to envision themselves living there. To accomplish this, design your home like a Realtor would stage a house.

A good way to appeal to many different styles is to use neutral colors like white and beige.

You can also try touring a few model homes and open houses to see how the Realtor chose to stage it.

If your child’s room is painted bright pink, consider grabbing a paint brush and giving it a neutral color. Same goes for any room in your home.

Fresh paint can go a long way when you need to sell your home fast.

Designed to Sell

Investing in the services of an interior designer can help sell your home fast, but not everyone has the means to afford it.

You can accomplish your needs without going broke. It’s as simple as cleaning up the house and yard, packing away non-essential items, and adding a little fresh paint here and there.

You’ll be receiving offers in no time! What are some of your favorite design tips? Were you able to sell your house without going broke on curb appeal and interior work? Please share your story in the comment below.

5 Tips for Maintaining a Wood Burning Stove

wood burning stoveA wood burning stove supplements a home’s heating system during those chilly winter months. Proper maintenance is crucial to a top-performing, long lasting stove.

Without it, the stove will not function as intended. A poorly functioning wood stove can lead to smoke damage or cause a fire.

Below are 5 tips for maintaining wood burning stoves.

1. Sweep the Chimney

A blocked chimney creates a risk for carbon monoxide poison or fire so a qualified chimney sweep should be called in once a year. The best time to sweep the chimney is before the weather starts getting colder. In very cold climates, where the stove gets heavy use, more frequent cleanings are recommended.

Be sure your chimney sweep is approved. In the US, the Chimney Safety Institute of America certifies chimney sweeps. The National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS) is a UK certification body.

2. Arrange an Annual Stove Inspection

When calling in a chimney sweep for annual cleaning, it’s also a great idea to have a complete stove inspection done. The chimney sweep will check for cracks, warps and leaks. In addition, they’ll check for corrosion in the stove pipe.

Any issues found should be fixed immediately to make certain the stove and chimney are in perfect working order.

3. Keep the Glass Clean

Nothing makes a wood stove look better than clean glass, inside and out. This is especially important for a double side wood burner. Leaving the glass uncleaned makes tar deposits thicker and harder to remove.

Luckily, there’s something inside the stove that helps with cleaning the glass.

Ash.

A word of warning – never, ever clean a hot wood stove. Let it cool completely before cleaning. Put a moist rag or newspaper into the white ash inside the cool stove.

Rub the damp ash on the glass insert of the stove. This works because of the calcium carbonate in the ash. Calcium carbonate is a liming agent with a high pH. This, along with its abrasiveness, cleans the glass easily.

Wipe the glass clean with the same moist towel then grab a clean, soft towel and polish.

4. Keep the Air Intake Vents Clear

A great way to make sure the stove operates efficiently is to keep the air intake vents clear of excess ashes. This lowers the amount of oxygen needed for an efficient fire. Note the amount of smoke coming from the chimney. Less smoke means a cleaner burn.

5. Burn the Right Type of Wood

While some wood burning stoves use coal or wood, the vast majority are wood only. Not just any type of wood can be used either.

Avoid burning trash, driftwood, treated wood, plywood, MDF, chipboard or artificial logs. Also, avoid unseasoned wood because of the high amount of water it contains. Burning unseasoned wood can create problems with smoke, odor, and creosote build-up.

Seasoned wood that’s been drying outside for several months is recommended for wood stoves. Seasoned wood is identified by its darker color, cracked ends and hollow sound. Softwoods like spruce and pine are good but hardwoods like maple and oak burn longer and smoke less.

Time to Fire up Your Wood Burning Stove

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than coming inside to a toasty warm home heated by a wood stove.

These maintenance tips, along with advances in wood stove technology, will keep your wood burning stove in perfect working order. This means more time spent enjoying the warmth and less time fixing problems.

Stoke the fire, grab a drink and curl up in your favorite easy chair.

 

How the Best Menstrual Cup Saves the Environment (and Your Wallet!)

menstrual cupMenstrual cups are gaining in popularity every day.

It’s no surprise. The best menstrual cup is environmentally friendly and it doesn’t drain your wallet.

The constant waste produced by using the usual tampons or pads is staggering. On average, a woman will use around 11,000 tampons during her lifetime. That’s a lot of waste to dump into a landfill.

Especially when taken into account that those tampons will need decades before they will completely degrade.

The idea of creating a vast amount of expensive waste like that is not at all comforting if you’re the type of person who wants to live a green and frugal lifestyle.

Luckily, menstrual cups are an easy and cheap solution to all of these problems.

Why Choose Menstrual Cups?

They Last A Long Time

Menstrual cups are made of soft silicone or latex that can be rinsed and reused many times, rather than the single-time use of other products.

With proper care, they can be reused between 5 to 10 years. Whereas with the more conventional tampons or pads, a big package of these products will only last you a couple months at most.

With these two numbers side by side, it’s easy to see what difference this would make on both the environment and your wallet.

They Are A Healthier Option

There are certain risks that come with using tampons and pads. Because they are so absorbent, they can create uncomfortable dryness or mess with the delicate balance of the vagina.

With a menstrual cup being made out of silicone or latex rather than an absorbent material, all of these potential health risks are effectively gone.

They Are Leak-Proof

The menstrual cup creates a kind of seal within the vagina and because of this, leaks are incredibly rare. Unlike with tampons or pads where one bad movement might make them leak and stain your clothes.

They Come In Many Types To Suit Your Needs

Menstrual cups come in many different shapes and sizes with varying firmness and handles. This means that, with a little experimentation, you’ll be able to find the one that suits you best.

And once you find the best menstrual cup for you, you won’t have to replace it for a long, long time.

The Best Menstrual Cup

With so many options available, it can be a little daunting trying to sift through all of the information.

menstrual cup comparison chart is the perfect way to figure out all the little details at an easy glance.

You’ll be able to see the capacity of the cup, the overall size, where they are made, the diameter of the cup, the material it is made out of, and more. This chart even gives you a recommendation for who the cup would be best suited for.

Take a good look at the different brands and see how they compare with one another. With all of this information collected in a chart like this, you’ll have no trouble at all figuring out which menstrual cup you should use.

Keep in mind that, even with all of this information, it might take a couple of tries with different styles of menstrual cups before you’ll find the one that feels the best to you.

And Finally…

Menstrual cups can seem a little scary at first, especially if you’ve never even heard of it before. However, don’t let this stop you from giving them a try.

With their cost-effective allure and their environmentally friendly appeal, what have you got to lose?

A Guide To Understanding The Different Types Of Whiskey Glasses

whiskey glassMuch like the different types of wine glasses that are specially designed to enhance one’s enjoyment of that drink, there are several varieties of whiskey glasses. Each has its merits, and the one you choose depends on what type of whiskey you enjoy, and how you like to drink it.

The Five Most Common Whiskey Glasses

Tumbler

Unless you’re already acquainted with the more specialized types, the tumbler is the one you probably associate with drinking whiskey. This is the short, squat glass that Don Draper reached for whenever times got tough on Madison Avenue.

The tumbler is a perfect all-purpose whiskey glass. Its heft and the way it fits solidly in your hand make it a versatile addition to your cabinet. Also known as a rocks glass, the tumbler has plenty of room for a few ice cubes and/or mixers, if you enjoy a whiskey-based cocktail like an Old Fashioned or Sidecar.

Tumblers also make for great personalized whiskey glasses.

Snifter

Sure, snifters are for brandy (and for men wearing smoking jackets in leather-filled libraries), but they’re also useful for tasting whiskey. They fulfill the same purpose with either alcohol: concentrating the aromas in order to allow for better “nosing” (that’s the whiskey aficionado’s term for, well, “smelling” — and evaluating the aromas).

Snifters often lack the satisfying weight of a tumbler, but you can find ones with heavier bases.

Glencairn

The Glencairn glass combines the best qualities of the snifter and the tumbler. Developed in 2001, this short, tulip-shaped glass does for whiskey lovers what the pilsener glass does for beer drinkers. It allows them to fully appreciate all the nuances of their drink.

In the case of the Glencairn glass, the rounded shape of the bowl serves as a lens through which to evaluate the Scotch’s texture and color. It also reveals any impurities. The narrowed opening helps collect aromas and prevent contact with the skin, for a purer tasting experience. Lastly, the heft of the Glencairn lends gravitas, much as a heavy crystal tumbler does — but no one would ever mistake it for a rocks or lowball glass.

Copita

Hardcore whiskey fans may know this as a “dock glass,” since the copita’s history dates back to days when merchants would nose samples from a spirits shipment right upon their arrival to a port.

The copita differs from other whiskey glasses in that it has a stem — the better to keep one’s hands (and their odors) away from one’s nose. In other respects it resembles a Glencairn or a very narrow snifter. Perfect for appreciating a fine single malt, the copita is still used by distillers in Scotland to test and taste their product.

Rocking

Rocking glasses are stemless tumblers with a rounded or curved bottom. They don’t sit flush on the table, but instead rock (or roll) gently side to side. It can be a slightly disconcerting experience to place one of these on a flat surface for the first time!

Some aficionados find these glasses gimmicky, while others like the comfortable way they fit in one’s hand — and the fact that they’re conversation starters.

Cheers!

We hope that this has been a helpful entry into the world of whiskey glasses. If you’re serious about tasting and enjoying Scotch and other whiskeys, collecting the perfect glassware can be an interesting hobby. Whatever you drink, and whatever you drink it out of, however, we hope you enjoy!