Cynergy Fitness Resistance Bands Review

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I am fortunate to have a gym in my home. I have a full set of free weights and a couple of machines. But even when you have access to a gym (or have one of your own), I believe there is an important place for resistance bands.

They are portable, they offer variety, and they are safer for children and older people to use. Plus, you can use them for pull up assistance and group them together to increase your resistance without having to have huge heavy weights lying around.

I recently had the opportunity to review Cynergy Fitness Resistance Bands. These bands come in a set of 2-4 lbs (yellow), 4-6 lbs (green), 10-12 lbs (red), and 20-30 lbs (black). Each band can be used alone or stacked together to get resistance from 2 to 75lbs.

They are lightweight and portable. I can easily fit these in carry-on luggage, in my car, or even in my purse.

They are easy to use and because they are not heavy, they are safer to use for children. I am currently teaching my children weight training and they have not been safe while working with free weights. They just seem to think you can throw weights around and everything has to be done fast. I am obviously working with them on proper technique, but have decided to go ahead with the bands instead. They can still learn proper form and technique but the process will be safer while I'm "not looking" or they decide to show off to friends.

I can also use these to assist their weight while they learn to do pull ups.

This is a great set, and if my kids get rough with one of them or if they eventually wear out, they are inexpensive and easy to replace.

I would highly recommend them to experienced and novice exercisers.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

There are spaces in my lawn that never get watered. They are just too far away from the faucet and my hoses can't reach them. Adding two hoses together would work, but then what do I do with all that hose (and all that weight!) once the watering is done?

This is where the Expandable Hose comes in handy. It's 100 feet of light weight, expandable hose. I can carry it around when I need it and store it away when I'm finished. It starts out as 33feet and expands to 100 feet, then goes back to 33 when you turn off the water.

You could use this as your main hose (it's strong enough with 100 PSI of working pressure and 300PSI burst pressure) or if you already have hoses set up, use it as an extension (like I do.)

I have to say that the weight and storage capabilities are the best attributes - but the fact that it doesn't kink up or get into knots make it all the more usable. My unwatered shrubs and garden plants are thankful!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

ZP1-20 8" Green Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri Review

Nonstick pans make cooking a breeze, but not all "nonstick" is created equal. Last year, I started using ceramic pans and they quickly became my favorite. But, like everything, not all ceramic pans are created equal. Some, like the Green Earth frying pan are make using GREBLON, an ultra-safe ceramic coating that is 100% PTFE and PFOA free.

I had the opportunity to review the Green Earth frying pan (the smaller one - just the right size for omelets and small serving meals!) I absolutely loved it!

It was truly nonstick and I felt good knowing it was made from the safer ceramic materials. Plus, it's actually scratch resistant (some of my other ceramics turned out not to be scratch resistant!) and super easy to clean.

If I had a complaint...I wish it came in other colors than green. I have no other green items in my kitchen so it looks a little odd among my other pans. Then again, it's easy to ask my kids to "grab the green pan" when I want to use it.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Caffeinated Club Soda Review

Monday, November 24, 2014

The sixth meeting of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recently drawn to a close, and I have a hunch that their new recommendations will address soda pop. The people of our nation drink a lot of soda, and that equals a lot of sugar. Switching to diet isn't something that many people want to do. In fact, in our home, we do not have any diet soda and when we drink soda, it's always the "full sugar" type. So how do you transition from drinking sugar drinks to a healthier alternative? Especially if you are still looking for the boost from caffeine?

This is where the new product Caffeinated Club may play a role. We recently had the opportunity to review Caffeinated Club soda in all four flavors. 

What is it? 
Flavored, Caffeinated, Zero-Calorie Club Soda containing NO sugar and no artificial colors or sweeteners.

How does it taste?
It tastes good, like a sparkling flavored water. I was expecting that icky taste from caffeinated energy drinks, but did not taste it at all. It was refreshing and the bottle held about the right size for how much you would want to drink at any time. My husband (how is generally picky about food/drinks) thought it was delicious. My personal favorite was the lemon flavor (it was very Sprite-like). I think this would make a great replacement for wine spritzers, energy drinks, coffee, tea, and full sugar soda pop (diet too because of all the artificial sweeteners.)

What sets it apart?
Caffeinated Club is flavored soda with a boost of caffeine. It does not contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. How much caffeine? The same amount as an equivalent sized can of cola.

What Flavors are there?
Caffeinated Club® Clear Club Soda
Caffeinated Club® Lemon Club Soda
Caffeinated Club® Orange Grapefruit Club Soda
Caffeinated Club® Raspberry Club Soda

Where can you buy it? 
When you order online, shipping is FREE anywhere in the continental US. Also, be on the lookout in your regular grocer or even request your grocer to carry it.

Since Caffeinated Club contains caffeine, it can be a replacement (a non teeth staining replacement!) for coffee and tea. Athletes can use it to enhance their performance without adding sugar or sweeteners to their body, and people that rely on the caffeine from soda pop or energy drinks can have a sugar-free alternative. The bottle is a portable, right-sized container that makes it easy to stash in your purse, car, or gym bag.

Disclosure: I received complimentary product and compensation in return for my opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.

Portable Solar Charger Ultra-Efficient by SunLabz (13W) Review

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pictures can not do justice to the Sunlabz Solar Charger. This portable charger is so compact and sleek. It would easily fit into a backpack for hiking or in the trunk of your car as an emergency item. It is just really well put together.

The charger is pretty much made for small electronics and transfers power directly to a 5V USB output. There are no batteries to store or cords to finagle. The panel is 13W  and the solar cells have a 22% transfer rate.

This also means you must have the charger in the sun while powering your devices, there is no banking. Plus, you can ONLY charge devices that use a USB port. No kettles, toasters, flashlights, etc.

That is the only downside I see with the product, but understand that those items also draw more power and would probably require a much larger set up. This set is so compact and tight, you will appreciate it's ability to charge your devices and take up such minimal space.

I would highly recommend this for backpackers/hikers/campers/emergency situations. may also be able to plug this in near a sunny window and charge your devices with the sun on a regular basis. I have argon windows so we do not get much sun penetration indoors, but if you have regular windows it's worth trying.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Gaffer Power Tape Review

Ever heard of Gaffer tape? Me neither...until I had a chance to review it. It's actually a pretty cool product. I would describe it as removable duct tape.

It's strong, solid tape. You can even tear it into sections like this:

So where I would use Gaffer tape? I would use it anywhere I needed a strong tape. I often tape my plants when they get injured, and I am busy building all sorts of solar equipment that can definitely benefit from a tape like this (remember: strong and removable!)

But the most common use is for AV equipment. If you see it laid out like this then you will most likely recognize having seen it in your life:
This makes me think it would be a great tape for sectioning off portions of a gym or putting down tape to define borders in a game.

It's a great product that I would definitely use again, and that I had never really knew existed. A useful product and learning something new, a win-win.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Silicone Ice Cube Tray - Makes 8 Large Ice Cubes - Set of 2 Review

If you preserve food using your freezer, then you will want to look into a Silicone Ice Cube Tray. Sure they can make ice, but they are so much more useful than that!

I use mine for freezing fresh herbs (just pack them down tight and cover with olive oil), homemade bone broths, and smoothie cubes.

Of course, if you have a baby in your house, these would be fantastic for freezing baby food cubes. I used "regular" ice trays when my kids were babies. The cubes were so convenient but it was excessively difficult to get the cubes out of the trays. You have none of these issues with silicone trays. You can bend the trays to remove the frozen foods and they come out without sticking.

This particular tray has 8 large squares. You can fill them half full if you want smaller cubes. They work so well, that I am considering getting them for all of my sisters and friends for the holidays.

They are also small enough to fit in a standard freezer so you won't have to worry ab out having enough freezer space. They are also BPA free.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

DIY Self Watering Water Bottle Seed Starters

Friday, November 21, 2014

When you start seeds, the soil needs to remain moist at all times. But you shouldn't water from the top because it increases the risk of "damping off" and also displaces the little seedlings that are not firmly rooted.

Here's a quick and easy solution (albeit an ugly least in the following example.)
I have cilantro growing in these water bottles.  They are easy to make - just cut a bottle in half, cut a hole in the cap or cut holes into the top if the top will make contact with the water.

Put an absorbent wicking material into the soil and extend it into the water (I used yard. Hot pink works best *kidding*) Then add moist soil to the top half of the bottle and water in the bottom.

The soil will drain into the bottom if it is too damp and will wick up water from the bottom if is to dry.

The soil will stay wet enough on it's own. When you need to add water to the system, just lift up the top portion and add water to the bottom. Easy.

Mine are "dirty" because I had way too much water in the soil at the onset and as the water drained through the soil into the water below. No biggie. Just a little ugly.

You can also use bigger bottles and/or cut them better than I did. Mine look horrible, but these are my first attempt. I was practicing with used water bottles but will save bigger bottles (preferably ones that are large enough that more of the top can fit into the water) for my main seed starts this spring.

I am growing cilantro in these containers because cilantro is a great test of the system. It takes forever to germinate (more than a week!) so it's the ultimate test of keeping soil moist.

I am happy to say that the cilantro finally germinated and the soil stayed damp. I only had to refill the bottom of the bottles once per week.

My windows provide almost no UV light, so I am anxious to see if they will survive and be able to transplant into larger pots. Either way, the system seems to work as it should and I will be using these for some of my larger seedlings this spring.

How to keep seedlings from getting leggy and reaching toward the sun without using grow lights or electricity

When you plant seeds without adequate light, they inevitably become leggy and stretch themselves toward the light source. The solution is of course to use artificial lighting, but that is not self-sustainable (or cost effective!)

I may have come up with an easy solution.

Tin foil! It works as a reflector to bounce the light back onto the plants. I popped off the top of my solar oven to use as a reflector for my plants. My houseplants always look pretty sorry because we have argon filled windows and that blocks up to 99% of the sun's UV rays.

With only 1% of the suns UV getting through, it's a miracle anything grows at all. Since I need to start seeds in the house and want to do it without using electricity, I am relying on the reflector to enhance the small UV exposure we do receive. I'll also be using a mini greenhouse outside and winter sowing a few plants, so between all 3 options, I am hoping we can effectively grow plants.

If you have non-argon windows, then the reflector should help by leaps and bounds and allow you to effectively window garden.  Let me know how it works.

Are Siberian Cats Hypoallergenic? Results after 4 years living with a Siberian Cat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Four and a half years ago, we adopted a Siberian kitten. We bought her from an area breeder (you can read about the experience here.) My husband and son were severely allergic to cats (and dogs.)

We were most concerned about my son because he had basically lived on steroids and nebulizers since the age of 1 1/2. He had severe asthma, a peanut allergy, and allergies to pets.

But we were determined to make it work. Here is the plan we came up with: Living with a cat when you have allergies. The first few weeks were challenging. My husband and son both had reactions. They took antihistamines for a few days.

Then we tapered off the antihistamines and eventually things changed. Sort of. Today, my husband is still allergic to our cat, but he can live in our home and has no issues unless he spends a long time petting or holding her. If he visits homes that have non-siberian cats, he immediately gets red eyes and sneezy.

My son is no longer allergic to her at all. He has no symptoms and actually outgrew his asthma and peanut allergy. He is also less sensitive to other animals (though he does get red eyes and a "closed throat" when we visit grandparents that have 3 little dogs.)

When we have guests over, even allergic ones, they have no issues with our cat. Most allergic visitors avoid her, but she lives in every room of the house and her fur and dander is....everywhere. I have also eased up on the vacuuming. It may have helped in the beginning, but it's no longer necessary.

If I could pin point what helped the most in ridding my son of his allergy, I would guess the following:

1. Omega 3 vitamins
2. A decrease in processed foods consumed
3. Age - growing larger lungs etc
4. Desensitization through exposure (through the cat and through repeated peanut exposure with the intent to desensitize)
5. Siberian breed having a lower FelD1 levels
6. Luck

In the end, I would say that Siberian cats are LESS allergenic but probably not NON allergenic. Keep that in mind if you are considering bringing a cat home.