The best gadgets to have in your car if you do a lot of miles


Long driving journeys require a lot of attention and effort to stay awake and aware. While having a good diet and full night of sleep can help with fighting fatigue, there are a few helpful objects that can keep your trip safe and fun.

 

Radar detector

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Staying out of trouble should be the number one priority of every driver out there. This means, of course, not consuming any illegal substances or alcohol, respecting traffic laws, and avoid going over the limit of speed. However, on long distances, some of these life-saving rules become blurred and we catch ourselves not paying the right attention to the speed limit sign on the roadside. Having a radar detector installed isn’t just a clever hack to avoid paying fines, but can be a means to remember that we’re in traffic and we are bound by the law to a certain behaviour.

 

GPS unit

A Garmin GPS unit, mounted on the dashboard of a Fairview Twp. EMS ambulance, helps to direct EMS personel to emergency scenes throughout the region. PAUL CHAPLIN, The Patriot-News
Having a GPS unit installed will help you find your way whenever your memory or your map fails you. The road can be dangerous in so many ways, that travelling long distances will require having all the backup you can get. Bad weather, traffic jams, traveling at night, all these can be handled with the help of a GPS system.

 

Power Inverter

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A power inverter is actually a device that turns the 12V DC delivered by your car battery into 115V AC that you can use to power your phone, laptop, coffee maker, and so on. When you’re on the road for so long, having a power source is crucial, especially if you’re going through remote areas.

 

Bluetooth headset

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If you’re a busy woman or man who has to take numerous calls a day, being behind the wheel for a long time can spoil your business. A headset connected via Bluetooth to your phone gets you to drive safely and carry on taking those important calls. However, make sure you’re not letting yourself be distracted by those conversations, because specialists have found that whether you’re using your hands or not, your driver responses will suffer a small delay when talking on the phone.

 

LED Road Flare

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Every driver should be prepared for dealing with emergencies. Having a LED road flare in your trunk might just save your life if your car stops working in the wrong place, or if you encounter a dangerous situation.



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A few hairstyling ideas you can manage with your blow dryer


Many women have the wrong idea that a blow dryer only serves for drying the hair, but those of you who paid a little attention when visiting a hair salon, probably know that many stylists use it in the styling process with great success. So if you’re out of time or short on money and can’t go to the professionals, here are some ideas for your hairstyle that only require a blow dryer and a medium circular brush.  

 

Silky straight hairstyle

 

no2In order to get a long, silky straight hairstyle, all you have to do follow a few steps. Hair is usually at its most fragile state when it’s wet. This is why any hairstyling procedure should only begin after the hair has begun to dry, and you can even use your dryer lightly if you’re in a hurry. Sectioning the hair when working with a blow dryer is crucial, because what you’re trying to do is to manipulate the shape of the hair with the air flow, and you want to focus that on just a section at a time. According to this article, it’s a good idea starting with the back of your head, take sections of hair that don’t exceed the length of your brush and follow your hair with the blowdryer from the roots towards the ends, slowly, to give the heat the chance to work. Apply all the tension you can by pulling down the hair with the brush – if you pull up, the hair will become frizzy and will lose its shiny aspect. Once you’ve gone through all your hair, use your fingers to aerate and introduce a bit of volume.

 

Curly hair

 

no3You don’t need a curler to get beautiful curly hair, you only need a blow dryer and some patience. After sectioning your hair as presented above, take your brush and envelop it in the hair section, by rolling it from the end to the roots. “Walk” your dryer back and forth on the length of the brush and then pull the brush slowly to one side until the hair that has now developed a nice curl drops. In order to preserve the curls until you’ve gone through all the sections, secure them with bobby pins. Finally, remove the bobby pins and spread the curls using your fingers.

 

Wavy hair

 

no1By applying the same procedure as  before you can get a full set of waves just by limiting to half of the length of the sections. After you’ve curled up the lower part of your hair, shut down the dryer and continue to brush the hair for a few minutes, alternating the brush and your fingers. This will result in a perfectly wavy hair full of volume and attitude. More tips on this topic here.



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How much should you spend on a good mattress


As an item that’s supposed to last for several years, a mattress requires a lot of thought and consideration before it is bought. This type of product can be found at a wide variety of prices, at immense, thousand dollars differences. As true as it is that a minimum price is not likely to guarantee any quality, not all high prices reflect impeccable manufacturing. It is only natural, with these in mind, to ask ourselves how much should we actually spend on a quality mattress without breaking the bank, or overpay what it offers.

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A good mattress is one that offers your body enough support, feels comfortable and has a long lifespan. You can find a lot of models under 500$ that are even using quality materials, but which will probably need replacing after a couple of years, because of poor workmanship.

 

When it comes to the construction of the mattress, you will find two main types available on the market today, and they are innerspring and memory foam. While memory foam mattresses have gained a lot of fans because of the softness and the way the body is muffled into the mattress, innerspring models still have their advantages, one of them being their lower price in the same quality range.

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Another type of distinction between different price ranges is caused by the presence and quantity of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, mohair, cashmere in the composition of the mattress. The high cost of these materials will make the mattress rise up to thousands of dollars, and the question you have to ask yourself is if you wouldn’t be better off with a quality material topper and a cheaper mattress.

 

If you’re considering a memory foam mattress, the average price for this type is around 1500$, and if you want to enjoy the support of an innerspring and the coziness of the memory foam altogether, prepare to spend about 2000$ for the average mattress. However, when I say average, I am talking about the price range and studies measuring users satisfaction level. But what’s good for others might not be good for you, so I encourage you to go through user reviews and discussion forums to assess what type of mattress would work for you and how much others had to pay.



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How to use a flat iron without burning your hair


 

Heat inducing hair tools such as curling irons, flat irons and blow dryers have a bad reputation of slowly destroying your hair if used at home, but many stylists have made their secrets available so that those of you who lack the time to go to the hair salon can have their styling session without burning or damaging your hair. Flat irons seem to bear most of the fault, since they apply both tension and heat at the same time, and they require for these two to stay longer on the same segment of hair. Here are a few pieces of advice on how to avoid getting your hair burnt with the flat iron.

Don’t boil your hair

 

Hair should be completely dry when pressing the flat iron on it, otherwise the water will reach boiling temperature before your hair even starts to heat, and no one can imagine a scenario when that is a good thing.

 

Keep your temperature where your hair is

 

While thick hair may require high temperatures such as a 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit, thin hair can’t withstand such heat and will end up fried, no matter what quantity of thermal protectant you are using. For thin and frizzy hair, or hair that has been dyed, 350 degrees should be considered a maximum limit.

 

Don’t be overzealous

 

If you’ve gotten the temperature wrong and you feel you need to go over that strand another time, refrain and give it enough time to cool. Temperature builds up inside the hair, and while the cuticle may give you the impression it’s all back to normal, the core will preserve the heat and a subsequent stroke might cause irreparable damage.
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Chose your flat iron with consideration

 

We’ve already mentioned that thick, coarse hair is more resistant to high heat and rougher treatment. But if your metal-plated flat iron has problems in dispersing the heat evenly, this will create frying points when used at a maximum capacity. Titanium, ceramic, and tourmaline are great heat conductors and will keep your hair as safe as possible while you’re using the highest temperature level.
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Find your pace

 

Finally, the surest method of burning your hair is to keep the flat iron clamped on the same portion of hair long enough. To avoid such a mistake, find the right pace of going down on the hair section without having to repeat, but without seeing smoke and hearing sizzles.



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Buying a crib for a little girl – things you should look for


If you’re planning to buy a crib for your newborn baby girl, here are a few tips to help you look for the essential features. While every parent wants to offer their child the best and the most beautiful things, keeping your eyes open for the crucial won’t be but an advantage in the long run.

 

Certification is one of the most important aspects, not enough mentioned by the various buying guides available online. Be sure to check if the crib you set your eyes on is certified by the CPSC or the JPMA, so that you can be sure it meets the legal safety standards.

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A second thing to remember is to decide upon the type of crib you want. A standard one will bed your princess until she’s a toddler, but not any further. You can choose a convertible crib that will turn into a toddler bed when the time comes and even to a full-size bed later on.

 

We all like the way a carved wood crib looks, and baby accessories are a real eye-catcher, but simplicity is the safest way to go when you’re dealing with newborns. Clothing can get hooked in such adornments and objects can easily land over your baby’s face.

 

A new crib is always better than an old one for more than one reason. First of all, safety standards are continuously improved and increased. You may end up buying a model that’s been recalled, or that fails to meet these standards, and all for a few dollars. Also, old cribs might suffer from usage damage, such a chipped paint or loose binding, that could cause health problems to your newborn.

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A mattress that will ensure the right amount of support and sheets that match the size of the crib are also things to be considered, and while we’re at it, the mattress support would be more resistant if it were metal-made instead of the common wood.

 

Although newborns don’t require gender-specific furniture or linen, feel free to personalize the crib by giving it a beautiful color that your infant daughter inspires you. Bows or crochet pieces attached to the out-of-reach parts of the crib could add to the whole look of it and could make the room atmosphere more dreamy and calm.



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Why I like Dyson vacuum cleaners?


Back in 2001, when it first arrived on the market, the Dyson DC07 was a miracle in my life, as it was the first bag-free vacuum I ever had, and I fell in love right away with the concept and the ease-of-use it offered, not to mention the tremendous suction power that made it perfect for all the surfaces in my house. While it was kind of heavy for an upright vacuum cleaner, the specialized accessories that came along with made it more practical than I had hoped. But my favorite thing about the DC07 was the revolutionary Root Cyclone technology that made this vacuum clear out even the smallest dust particles that usually clog other vacuums.

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After a couple of years, my husband tried to expiate some faults by gifting me with a brand new Dyson V6 Trigger, a cordless, stick vacuum cleaner he knew I was fascinated with at that time. The V6 had made quite an impression on me with its maneuverability, as the head would move easily around the furniture, it could fit under it, and I could use it for the tougher spots for almost 20 minutes. This vacuum too had the cyclonic technology that’s such a big help. I’ve read reviews from users that complained about the small dirt canister, but in my opinion, this is more of an aid tool for the difficult to reach corners and for more sticky pet hair and debris, and not a vacuum cleaner in the proper sense, so it’s not supposed to clean an entire apartment in one session.

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Now finally, at the beginning of this year, I got my third Dyson, and it’s a beauty. I’m talking about the Cinetic Big Ball Animal, which is featured as one of the top vacuums for 2017; while I know you’ll be rolling your eyes because it does cost a lot of money, for me it was worth every penny. Its ball-like design makes it highly portable, so much that in case of an overturn, it will redress itself. The handle of the wand is articulated so that it rotates and turns based on your movements, which makes it very easy to control, and I could go on forever. But by far, my favorite feature is the lack of filters on this model, so no clogging, no washing and no dust, which is my favorite combination on  vacuum cleaner.

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I will finish by saying that I love Dyson because they have continuously raised the bar for their products and each new vacuum I tried was a surprise and a delight.



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Reliving memories from last year’s summer vacation


If you’ve spent three years of your life saving money for your no4once-in-a-lifetime trip to Thailand, you’d better be able to save the memories as well. That’s why me and my friends armed ourselves with cameras, memory cards, portable routers, and pretty much anything that will help us save all we were about to see and hear and bring it back with us. As for myself, I got this great old camcorder that I found at a yard sale, and even though it was a bargain thingy, I had the most amazing time filming my mates with it.

 

While I’ve enjoyed taking long shots of the vegetation-covered breathtaking limestone cliffs piercing through the crystal clear waters, my favorite videos are now those that surprise my friends laughing and dancing on the beautiful beaches. We’ve spent time resting in the bungalows of Khao Sok an enjoying the local food in Koh Lanta.

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Thanks to my camcorder I can now relive all those moments, and revive the emotions of riding an elephant through the jungle, or of hiding from the giant moths under the protection of the veils above the bed.

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As beautiful as it is, Thailand has got some secret weapons that are ready to catch you unfocused, such as falling coconuts, that can hit you almost anytime, or venomous snakes. As much as we wandered around through the jungle, we were fortunate enough not to encounter any of the later category, but did manage to see flying snakes and all sorts of majestuous lizards, and I even got to film a couple of monkeys enjoying the sunlight.

 

no3Of course, not everything was perfect, so I do have some footage of Carol cursing and throwing stuff around right after she discovered someone lifted her phone right from her back pocket. Maybe it’s because I really want to hold on to every bit of memories, but I couldn’t erase that video. On the other hand, it was a video of us walking through the open street market, surrounded by food, fruits, colors and smiling people.

 

Altogether, it was just the perfect vacation and all of us left Thailand with the greatest regret and with the promise that we would come back in a couple of years. Meanwhile, I’m watching my videos every couple of months, when I’ve got some time on my hands, and I plan to get an upgraded camcorder, with an image stabilizer like the Canon Vixia here , so I won’t have to sit down every time I want to film something.



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I prefer my point and shoot camera over any smartphone


 

Last year I bought a Canon compact camera to take with me on my vacations, because my old one had broken beyond repair. I wasn’t necessarily in a period of budget flourishment, so I ended up borrowing some money from one of my friends, Susan, who only later found how how I’d used it and became truly scandalized. It’s come to my attention in this last period that many people believe cameras, even more if they are not DSLR, are obsolete, and that once you’ve got a working smartphone, there’s no excuse for spending money on such a tool, unless, maybe, you’re taking pictures for a living. I reject this philosophy with all my heart, and here are the main reasons why.
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There’s just no way a good smartphone photo is better that a good compact camera one, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. On newer models, the sensor surface size beats most smartphones, and with a wide aperture lens, you’re going to take in a lot more light. The depth of field on compact cameras give you the advantage of being able to blurr out the background and focus the image on your subject: I really like it when I can focus the entire energy of the shoot on the bird or flower that I’m photographing. The optical zoom is yet another thing about point and shoot camera that will always appeal to me, while the flash power remains incomparable even today. They are speaking about this feature in many useful articles.
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What’s more convenient than taking the phone out of your pocket and click two buttons? Having enough battery to call for help is the wild raccoon suddenly decides to attack. All jokes aside, I guess some people find it easier to have an all-in-one, but I believe photographs are supposed to be more that a fast recording of something that you just witness. Having a compact camera lets you carry your tool with little effort and instead delivers an image that reflects both your subject and yourself.

 

For me, every photograph that I take requires a creative process, and while a smartphone may offer you the choice between a few modes like landscape or portrait, a flash and a small zoom, a camera will let you experiment and combine its features to get the perfect shot. I wouldn’t trade the great macros for any of the features on the smartphone.

 



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My trip across the US was amazing


This summer, my husband and I decided to forget about our annual Mt. Hood camping trip and visit the far-far-away Big Apple, which neither of us had ever seen. It was a long trip filled with adventure and fun, but also with a terrible weather throughout some days.

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The morning we left Portland, we thought we were going to move like Speedy Gonzales and we’ll only be 3 or 4 days tops on the road, visit some landmarks and then go home quickly. Of course, by the second week, when we finally managed to arrive, we felt like we already had our vacation, and seeing New York was gonna be just the cherry on top of the cake.

 

no6The fun began while still in Oregon, when we made a short detour to climb a little on the Blue Mountains, but instead ended up reaching the Rock Creek Butte. Since we were so tired when we climbed down, the love of my life managed to lose the map and bring me to total desperation in just a few seconds. I could already see us begging strangers for directions at every fork in the road, but I was quickly brought to silence once Stan announced me he read some reviews and purchased a GPS unit especially for the trip. Since that moment we had no trouble finding our way and identifying all the fun places we could visit along our path.

 

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We stayed in Salt Lake City for two whole days and traveled on the banks of the Great Lake, we took two hitchhikers from Rock Springs to Elk Mountain and sang all the hits of the 80’s while eating drive-in food and stopping to take pictures every 10 miles.

 

By the time we reached Cheyenne, I had developed a very strong feeling about visiting Denver, where I have a distant cousin. After some failed coin flipping, we decided to change our route, and went to Denver, where we had the best cheese souffle ever, and crashed at my cousin’s which lead to a full night of memories and laughter.
no5Since we had already prolonged the trip, we decided to stop only for the bare necessities, and we managed to finish our journey in only one more day. New York was so amazing, I can’t even begin to describe the wonderful places we’ve seen, the food we ate and all the imposing buildings that dressed the sky view. Overall, it was the best vacation we’ve had in years and we are both very excited to repeat the experience.



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Three things you should consider before buying a car seat for your child


Buying a new car seat for your child can be a daunting task if you’ve never gone through this experience, and it requires some research beforehand. However, if you lack the patience to read all those long articles and studies, here are the three most important things you should keep in mind when you’re shopping for a children’s car seat.

 

Specific weight and height limits determine the right type of car seat

There are three main types of car seats and each of them can be used during a certain interval of the child’s growth, defined by weight and height limits. An infant car seat is meant for children that weigh under 40 pounds and can only be installed rear-facing. A convertible car seat is one that makes the transition from rear-facing to a booster seat, and can be theoretically used both for infants and for toddlers under around 80 pounds and 57 inches – accordingly to this article. While it has a versatile construction, some experts advise to use an infant car seat for newborns, as they can ensure the right amount of body support. A booster seat is the last category, and is meant for forward-facing only, and is meant for children that exceed the limits of a convertible.

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The LATCH system is mandatory

The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children refers to a top tether and two anchor points at the base of the vehicle’s seats, that allow a car seat to be fixed to the car’s frame without the need to secure it with the seat belt. Ever since 2002, all cars in the USA have been made compatible with this system, so a proper car seat should have the top tether strap and two anchor connectors in the the lower back that need to be tethered to the compatible pieces of the car. However, there is a weight limit of the seat past which the seat must be secured using the seat belt. This is also available for booster seats.

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The 5-point harness is the best protection

Any respectable car seat manufacturer need to make sure its seats have a 5-point harness meant to keep the child comfortably fixed into the chair. It is a system that consists of five straps, four for each shoulder and hip, and a fifth one that goes between the legs, all coming together in a front buckle. The 5-point harness is common to all types of car seats, from infant car seats to boosters.  

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All being said, we ask that you take all my advice into consideration and take your time to assess the different models you come across.



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Amazing Norway!


 

If you have doubts about visiting Norway, watch this video.