Friday, January 29, 2016

Stalion® 2-Port Vehicle Charger

Each USB port is capable of 5V/2.4A. For comparison, a standard USB port on a computer only delivers 500ma. When a phone is connected to a computer's standard USB drive, it will draw a maximum of 500ma. Many electronics, an iPhone 5 and 5s for instance, are not set up to handle anything more than 1A. You could get a higher amp charger and it won't charge any faster than 1A (interesting enough, an iPhone 6 is set up for 2.1A, but shipped with a 1A USB cable). Handling of the power also depends on the cable length and the internal wire diameter. A long USB cable with small diameter wires can possibly choke on a 2A charger. Having said that most newer cables can handle 2A, and all USB 3.0 cables should be able to handle 2A (you'll your cord is USB 3.0 if there is blue inside the USB port).

The blue LED lights up to notify you that it's plugged in and ready to charge - basic stuff. If you don't want to see the blue light while driving, you can rotate it to be under your USB cord (see picture below). The charger is small enough that you don't have to be too concerned with it getting in the way. I can be using my phone and the charger still supplies more power than I am using. Keep in mind your results may differ depending on your electronic, USB cable, and the length of USB cable. In other words, the Amperage I might get may not be what you get. Please note that I have NOT left this in the car during the heat of the summer yet. I have lost a few that way, so it's worth mentioning. 

Please note that I received this product for free in exchange for my honest, personal evaluation. I hope my review was helpful. If you have questions, please feel free to comment below!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pie Face Game

This game is very simple to understand. The first step is to load the hand up with whipped cream (do I need to say it's not included?). It comes with a spinner that you use to determine how many turns or cranks you are supposed to crank the handle. After determining the number of cranks, you then put your chin in position. By the luck of the draw, you wait to see if you get pie (or whipped cream) in your face.

This game is a great gag gift. It's definitely worth some laughs. It's also nice to play this game with kids. I think my wife is a 7-year old at heart. I made the comment that it's a good game to play, but I'm not sure how many times I would want to play it. She said, "what do you mean, I'd play it every week". I suppose it depends on your situation.

It can get slightly messy, but it's not nearly as bad as I thought. Just have some dish towels/paper towels ready. I hope you found this review helpful. If I can help out in any way, please drop a comment below.

#review #game

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Majestic Pure Lavender Essential Oil

I was offered this product free. In exchange, I promised to test it out and provide my personal, honest review. I have never used lavender oil before, so I thought it might be interesting to try it out. I have an analytical mind, so I wanted to do an experiment. I wanted to try this compared to another lavender to determine if there was a difference. I compared this lavender, Majestic Pure, versus Nature's Alchemy Essential Oil French Lavender -- 2 fl oz.

Both oils are very strong and concentrated. They are also clear. The Majestic Pure came well packaged, but it had some excess lavender oil on the cap from the bottling process. I could smell it before I opened the package. When I opened the package I was blown away at how strong the smell is. I wasn't expecting that. I almost compare it to the power of an onion. My eyes were welling up. I wiped off the cap and bottle and my nose started adjusting. My first test was to compare the smell. I haven't smelled American Lavender, so I can't compare the French (Nature's Alchemy) and Bulgarian (Majestic Pure) lavender oils to that. However, both were quite similar in the concentrated form to my nose. Quite honestly, they both smelled similar to Pine Sol in the concentrated form. I was skeptical about both of these oils at this point. I was thinking it might be a throw away product. But I wanted to provide an honest evaluation before I did anything drastic.

I first put both of these products in a diffuser with the same amount of water. I added 10 drops to each. I placed one in the living room and one in the bedroom. I could immediately smell the oils in each of those locations. It's a pleasant smell. I left both for a few days for a full assessment. I do notice a difference now between the two. The French Lavender (Nature's Alchemy) still has a hint of that Pine Sol smell even after diluting with water. It's not what a pure lavender smells like to my nose. That being said, it still has a pleasant smell. The Bulgarian Lavender (Majestic Pure) smells like a sweet, floral smell. After some time, my nose kind of "gets used" to that scent and it's not as noticeable to my nose (visitors can still smell it though). I enjoy getting a whiff every now and then by smelling it up close. My wife noticed right away when she came home from work. Another use: I really like putting a drop in each garbage bag I put in the kitchen. It really overpowers the garbage smell to make a nice lingering scent.

I haven't been able to use the oils in any other ways yet, but here are some ideas I'd like to try:
- additive for a massage oil - my wife is pregnant so this is her suggestion :)
- mosquito repellent (I've read it works but have to wait until summer to try)
- for baths
- foot massage
- for headaches
- for tension, sores, aches, and pains
- It can be used for ingestion, but I'm not sure I can get over that hurdle of consuming it

Available at Amazon: Majestic Pure Lavender Essential Oil


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Summit Treestands 180 Max SD Climbing Treestand

I have had this stand for approximately 4 years. I have taken several deer from it. I feel like I have a good grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of this stand:

-Very comfortable stand - spacious, and comfortable
-Climb as high as the tree allows
-Switch the direction of the seat (i.e. the direction you face) - allows you to hide behind a tree
-Seat height is adjustable which makes using a bow or gun easier

-If you want to climb to a certain height, you have to guess the angle to tilt the stand before climbing the tree
-I personally can't use the rail to sit on while I climb (I'm 5'10")
-The rubber on the cables quickly splits (functionally not a problem, but makes the exposed metal clanking sound when locking in cable)
-The stand is a little large to carry for me. I sometimes kick the stand as I walk (when stepping over logs for instance).

This stand is great for those that are bigger (taller or heavier) or if you are choosing comfort over weight and "packability" like myself. If you have predominately small, crooked, or well branched trees, a climbing stand may not suit your needs best. However, if you have straight trees with fewer branches, you should be happy with a climber. This stand is very comfortable. I wouldn't say it's light, but it's not extremely heavy either. Put it this way, if you ride in on an ATV or have short to medium walks, this should be a great stand for you. If you are walking a mile or more to your stand, you might want to look for a lighter stand. I don't often use the 180 degree seating option often, but it can come in handy shielding you from deer if you can't climb high and/or canopy cover is scarce. I don't recommend bow hunting facing the tree though.

All in all this is a great stand. I just wish Summit would make a couple changes: 1.) I wish the rubber on the cables was better or lasted longer (mine started splitting during the first season of use) The rubber splitting just increases noise a bit when locking the cable. 2.) I wish the cables were adjustable after reaching desired height. Too often I get to the height I want just to find that the stand is titled up or tilted down. You have to guess the right angle from the ground or climb to whatever height the stand straightens at (I think Ol' Man Stands might have a climber that is somewhat adjustable from the tree).

1.) Either prepare your trees in advance or take a folding saw with you. 2.) Please do not climb hickory trees (or similar very hard bark trees). The shaggy bark breaks off and the stand can't grip into the bark. I've tried this a couple times with one scary but harmless 5 foot slide down the tree (a reminder to wear your safety harness too).

P.S. I did not receive this product at any sort of discount. 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Qualities Best Universal Dashboard & Wind-shield Cell Phone Holder

DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free. In exchange, I promised that I would give my own personal, honest review.

  • Sticky gel suction cup provides great suction for locking onto window, dash, desk, etc.
  • Small profile (doesn't take up much space)
  • Allows for use in a wide variety of angles
  • Clamp's arms clip your device very securely with no wiggle and no falling out
  • Can be used with a GPS, or a cell phone with a case, up to approximately 3.5" wide
  • The first time you stick this to a window, it will be very hard to get off. I might suggest to first do so on a desk or windshield rather than a dash.
  • I'm unsure at this point in how the sticky gel on the suction cup will clean up over the course of time
  • Does not come with a dashboard pad as some others do (a dashboard pad is a circular disk like rubber mat which has adhesive on one side and a flat surface on the other side). I personally wouldn't use it anyways, but its worth noting
  • I have not had the opportunity to test the grip of this mount during hot weather.
I want to see how the sticky suction cup holds up over time. I also want to evaluate how it operates in a very hot car. I don't anticipate problems though. Please check out the video for a closer look and a demonstration. Also, please remember to like this review if it was helpful. If you have questions or comments, please don't hesitate to ask!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug, 16-Ounce

  • Patented AUTOSEAL lid automatically seals between sips to eliminate spills and leaks
  • Lid underside flips open completely for easy cleaning
  • Double-wall vacuum-insulated stainless steel keeps beverages hot for 5 hours or cold for 12 hours
  • Top-rack dishwasher safe lid; 100% BPA free
  • Fits most single-serve brewers and car cup holders

I bought a couple of Stainless Steel Contigo Mugs. I thought the stainless steel color would be better at hiding spots, scratches, etc. After a year and a half of use, I would say they have held up quite well. It's difficult to see any scratches without inspecting close up. They keep my coffee warm for longer than traditional coffee mugs. I'd say coffee stays warm closer to 3 hours than 5 hours claimed, but still not too bad. It's easy to drink from. The bottom of the mug says not to place the stainless steel bottom in the dishwasher. Many reviewers had problems with the colored mugs.  Maybe putting them in the dishwasher is why some are having problems with peeling. I've been putting my stainless steel mugs in the dishwasher since I've had them though. I haven't had any problems. I don't recommend doing so with the colored mugs though.

I don't give this mug a perfect review, because there are areas for improvement (see pictures and captions). In short, this mug is difficult to clean and dry the lid. There are springs in the lid as well as nooks and crannies that you can't get to by hand. If you hit the button (as if to take a drink), the blue "lid seal" drops away allowing you to drink. Well, when you do that, you'll be able to see that it gets dirty. The only way you can clean it is with a brush while you hold the button (even a dishwasher can't clean that area). Again, I mention this because it's a huge deal for me, but it could be a deciding factor for some. Another problem is you must air dry the underside of the lid, because a towel can't dry it.

I hope my review was helpful in your decision. If so, please hit the like button. Feel free to leave a comment or question too!

Star Shower Laser Light

You can turn the light on green-only or a combination of green and red. There is no red-only color option. The light comes with a plastic stake for inserting into the ground. It does not come with a flat base. You can order that separately or $9.99 per a slip of paper that came with the light. The light telescopes up and down by loosening a plastic nut and turning the head up or down. The position is locked by tightening the nut. The power cord is very short at about a foot long. The light operates in temperatures between -30 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit per instructions, thought it may take up to 10 minutes to warm up in temperatures at or below freezing. The following is the reported distance to surface (feet) and corresponding coverage (square feet) per instructions: 10/206, 20/824, 25/1288, 30/1854, 35/2524, 40/3296. I have not tested this claim.

-Simple, convenient, and safe (no ladders) to set up
-Saves a lot of time if used to replace string lights
-Unique (or at least new) way of lighting up your home
-Covers a large area
-Uses less power than traditional Christmas lights

-Viewable from no further than about approximately 150 ft away
-Not as bright when used in conjunction with landscape lighting or nearby street lights (see note below)
-Questionable longevity/durability with plastic housing and stake (they've been out 1.5 months with no issues at time of review)
-Unfortunately, these lights are more likely to be stolen than a $3 string of lights

I had some mixed results when using Star Shower Laser Lights. The front left side of my house is a bit more lit up with low voltage landscape lights than the front right side. The Star Shower lit the right (i.e. darker) side of the house up well despite one 35-watt spot light. However, the effect of the Star Shower was just "OK" on the left (well-lit) side of the house with 3 20-watt spot lights and a porch light. If you have landscape lighting or a lot of light from nearby street lights, I'm not sure you will be very happy with this type of lighting.

Personally, I think these lights would fit the bill for a number of people, so long as those people don't expect the laser lights to be as bright as traditional Christmas lights. Two of these cover the front of my house. They are a very unique way of lighting a home at this point in time (although I've noticed an increasing number of homes using laser lights). I think these are probably the future of Christmas lighting for some because of their ease of use and wide coverage. Please note that these lights are viewable from 100-150 ft away or so. In other words, if you live in a neighborhood, you won't see these lights from the other end of the street. As you get closer to your house, though, you will see them.

Personally, I was very happy with them at first. As time went on, I grew somewhat bored of the "projection" of laser lights. They are bright enough to see, but not nearly as bright as traditional lighting. It just doesn't give that "Christmas" feeling to me.  I hope I covered any questions you might have and my review was helpful in your decision!

P.S. I was not compensated in any way or provided a product in return for a review. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Pro-Charge Technology Lightning Cable For Apple Certified

  • Pro-Charge Technology Certified Apple Lightning Cable, Same 3.3 FT Length As [APPLE MFI CERTIFIED] Cables
  • Tested With ALL iOS Devices To Ensure No Error Messages - iOS 7, iOS 8, iOS 9 & iOS 9.1 Compatible
  • Connect To iTunes & iCloud! Durability Tested & Built To Last!
  • Compatible with iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPod Nano 7, iPod Touch 5, iPad 4, iPad5, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 3, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini Retina, Beats Pill+, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Track Pad 2
  • Pro-Charge Technology's * LIFETIME WARRANTY * ensures you will NEVER be left with a broken cable. Please be aware of Counterfeit products from NON-Pro-Charge Technology sellers ! Please make sure the item is branded with our logo and Sold by Pro-Charge Technology to receive GENUINE Product.

Can be purchased at Amazon

I was looking for a few charger cords. My wife has an iPhone 5. I have an iPod and we share an iPad. Needless to say, we would put these cords to use. I didn't just want any cord though. I wanted to make sure it was actually certified by Apple. I went to the Apple website. The website said to look for the "compatible with" logo (bottom right corner in the above picture). If it's not compatible, it can lead to some issues. It doesn't make sense to risk it! Here are my observations:

-The cables are just over 3 feet long (~3'2").
-They are a tad bit thicker than OEM, so they ought to last longer
-The cables have reinforced rubber at the connections (i.e. where the cable is most vulnerable to stretching, bending, breaking)
-No compatibility issues with iPad, iPhone, or iPod
-I haven't tested the transfer speed capability, but I haven't noticed any slow downs from OEM cords

I can't comment on durability at this point, but I don't see any issues or potential issues with the cables. If these cables have any glitches in the future, I will certainly update this post. However, at this time, I would put my stamp of approval on these if you are looking for a set of Apple certified cables. Please drop a comment and I will respond. 

I received this product for free for the purpose of testing and providing an honest review. Thank you!


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Delta Children 'Madrid' 4-in-1 Crib Review & Installation Guide

After unboxing the crib, I was a little disappointed in the "feel" of the wood. It is made with pine wood I believe, so it's a lighter crib than those made with something like cherry, oak, etc. (i.e. more expensive crib). This crib was about $200. I was unable to find any convertible crib in that price range made from a more expensive wood. Your typically talking about $400. I compare the "feeling" of a crib to that of a front door. Your standard or basic steel front door will do the job well, but a wood or cast iron door just feels stout, or secure.

Having said all that, the crib feels rock solid after installing. There is no wiggling. When assembled it feels very sturdy and sufficient weight to have a solid footing. One thing I noticed was that if you want to raise or lower the crib, or do it often, you will have to unbolt, move and then tighten again 4 bolts. I don't think you will do it more than a couple times over the life of this crib, but it's a consideration nonetheless. Finally, the wrench to tighten the bolts is a special tool. It's similar to an allen's wrench, but it's a custom fit. You will need the included tool to tighten or loosen bolts, so keep the tool in a safe place (I put mine in the product guide attached to the frame).

Time of Completion: 1 - 1.5 hours
Tools Needed: Allen wrench (supplied) and a flat head screwdriver
Level of difficulty: Easy (for a person with some patience and willing to read directions)

Section 1: Crib Assembly, Step 1

Basically, you are attaching the 2 posts (on the right) to the left (pictured) and right side of the bedframe with 2 bolts on each side. The only confusing part of the instructions is which direction the post should face. If you look at the picture in the instructions very closely, it should be evident. I put one side on correctly and the second incorrectly. If I would have paid closer attention to the picture, I wouldn't have had to gone back to redo it (not a big time consumer to do though).

Section 1: Crib Assembly, Step 2

I connected the bottom stabilizer bar to the front rail with just pins. The stabilizer bar is secured after connecting the left and right sides of the crib (completed in Step 1) using 2 bolts on each side.

Section 1 Crib Assembly, Step 3

Very simply, I attached the front top bar to the front rail of the crib with 2 pins and then after with 4 bolts to secure:

Section 1 Crib Assembly, Step 4

Very simple again. Just connect the bed frame to the sides with 4 bolts (make sure the side with the 'Warning' is facing up). For an infant, you will want the frame at the top setting. For a toddler you will want it at the bottom setting.

Section 1 Crib Assembly, Step 5
Another simple step. Connect the bottom back rail with 2 bolts

Section 1 Crib Assembly, Step 6 (Final Step)

Slide the back rail into the grooves on the side rails. Secure with 2 bolts and your finished!

Notes: In order to convert this bed to a toddler bed or day bed, you will need the Toddler Guardrails (sold separately). If you want to make this into a full-size bed, you will need a Bed Frame (sold separately).
Sold at Walmart

I am in no way, shape or form affiliated with Delta Children. I have not been paid nor have I received a discount for this product.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pyrex Storage Containers: No-Leak vs Simply Store

To put it bluntly: I prefer the Simply Store Pyrex containers and lids. The round containers themselves are structurally the same (sizes might vary), but the lids differ. The Simply Store are basic lids. You put them on, you take them off. They wash up and dry very easy. Both lids are airtight and holds liquids with no problem. Both sets are freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher safe. The advantage of the No-Leak lids is supposed to be microwave use, but I have used both lids in the microwave with no problems.

The biggest difference between the two is ease of cleaning. While the Simply Storage lids are 1 piece, the No-Leak lids are two basic components: the hard plastic lid (with a tab at top that opens for use in the microwave) and a silicone rim to secure to the container. The silicone rim of the No-Leak lids needs to be removed each time the lid is cleaned and allowed to dry full. If it's not allowed to dry fully, I can easily see mold growing under the silicone. The lid is difficult to dry with a towel, because there are ridges that the silicone rim sits in. It's hard to dry between the ridges. It's a relatively minor quibble, but it's annoying to me.

I like how diverse these Pyrex storage containers are. There is no need to worry about BPA or other contaminants. The different sizes nestle well inside each other (same size containers fit together but not as well - see video). The Simply Store lids are simple and easy. The No-Leak lids are a bit more work. I recommend the Simply Store set above the No-Leak set. I hope my video and written review are helpful to you!

Pyrex No-Leak Lids 10-Piece Glass Food Storage Set
Pyrex 20-pc. Storage Set with Color Lids

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Akro Mils 44-Drawer Hardware & Craft Cabinet

I like the organized storage this provides me for a reasonable price. There is a total of 12 larger compartments and 32 smaller compartments. The large compartments are 4.5" wide, 5.5" long and 2" deep. The small compartments are 2" wide, 5.5" long, and 1.5" deep.

-Value priced
-Organizes all those little hardware, parts, and pieces that I've accumulated
-Wall mounting option
-Bins are removable
-Sturdy plastic drawers

-I hate that when you tilt it forward, all the drawers come sliding forward. I wish there was more resistance to hold those in place or a latch (not an issue if wall-mounted however)
-Drawer spaces not included (I don't need them but you might depending on what you are storing)
-No wall-mounting hardware included
-The unit is 16" high and 20" wide. The pre-drilled mounting holes are 18.5" on-center, not matching the standard stud spacing of 16" on-center. You need to drill an additional two holes 16" apart for mounting to standard studs.
-I'm afraid the plastic shell of the cabinet might break if dropped

Available at Amazon

Scent-Lok Activator On The Go

This is a difficult product to review being that scent is something you can't see. However, since this particular product is relatively new I wanted to give my initial impressions. This unit is a fairly small size: about the size of my palm. It comes with a couple suction cups for mounting to a windshield. It comes with a charger. You can choose to use it with batteries or with the charger as a power source. There are no directions that disclose how long you should operate this. I suppose it depends on the size of the bin, bag, or location you place it.

This unit "utilizes ionic breeze technology by producing negative ions and activated oxygen reducing human odors, smoke, airborne pollutants and allergens". It is not a motor or fan-operated unit. I personally bought this as an alternative to Ozonics, which is crazy expensive. I don't plan to use this while hunting (nor is it recommended to). I just hoped to reduce the number of washings or time between washing hunting clothes. Certain levels of ozone are harmful, so I didn't want to sit in a stand or blind with an ozone factory about me. I don't think that will be a problem using this in a clothing bin or bag.

As I mentioned, I use this to remove scent from my hunting clothes. After using this product, you can detect a slight scent, like that after a summer thunderstorm, on the clothes from the unit. I'm not going to say it's a miracle worker, because I did get busted by deer noses during the season. However, I didn't expect miracles. I just want something that might help beat their noses on occasion. I will have to test it more long-term to make that determination.

I might try to use it around the house for maybe cleaning something like a bed comforter since they are difficult to wash and dry. I might also use it to remove any smells that might be in my vehicle. Those are just a couple ideas.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stalion Stable USB Data Sync & Power Cord

I've purchased numerous expensive sync/charging cords in the past and the micro connector pins always lose their ability to charge/transmit data no matter how "good" they claim to be. After using these types of sync/charger cords for a period of time, they always fail or won't establish a reliable connection for charging. I love that these have a lifetime warranty. Also, by getting a set, I can put some in travel bags, at my desk, and any other locations I charge my phone. I travel a lot so it's nice to be able to keep one here and there.

These are USB 2.0. They transfer files at about 480 Mbit/s as opposed to the 12 Mbit/s for USB 1. USB 2.0 allows devices to temporarily draw 100 mA current after they have been attached. If a USB device is connected to a dedicated charger, maximum current drawn by the device may be as high as 1.8 A. Please note that USB 3.0, usually colored blue in the USB port, can reasonable be expected to achieve around 3.2 Gbit/s. If you transfer files a lot, it might be beneficial to find a USB 3.0 connector. If you are just charging your phone with this, it won't matter.

All-in-all, I think this is a great value. I think the lifetime warranty is a refreshing change with a product like this. I was offered this product free. In return, I promised that I would provide an unbiased review. I hope my review was helpful. If I can add anything further or if you have questions, please feel free to comment below.