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Author Archive for Janet Cloninger

Never trip over your tent’s guy lines at night again


These tent stakes are made of 6000 series aluminum, so they are built to last.  The UCO StakeLights also have an LED light that marks the perimeter of your tent with light and makes the location of the guy lines clearly visible.  The LED is encased in a highly water-resistant TPE housing (IPX 6), and it uses one AAA battery.  You can use them in “area mode” (on constantly) to provide 17 lumens of light for up to 10 hours, or you can strobe them for up to 24 hours.  The 9″ UCO StakeLight is $5.99 each or $19.99 for a pack of four.  Check the Industrial Revolution website to find a retailer near you.

ChiqueFabrique makes beautiful leather cases for iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and other smart phones


I’m in love with the embossed red leather iPhone pouch and cross-body phone pouch from ChiqueFabrique.  This Etsy shop, which ships worldwide from Gilbert, Arizona, makes beautiful, simple phone cases and bags.  The cross-body phone pouch (top and bottom left) measures 8″ X 5″, so it should fit even the biggest phones, including the iPhone 6 Plus that I’m waiting for now.  It has a tassel zipper pull and a 50″ strap.  It’s $36.00.  The red embossed leather Sleeve (top, right) is available in sizes to fit the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini, and the iPad.  Prices range from $22 to $46 for the iPad pouch.  The iPhone 6 Black Leather Case is available with tan or black stitching for $24.00.  ChiqueFabric also offers a variety of other leather goods – coin purses, guitar pick cases, wallets, card cases, backpacks, and bags.

The Nokero bulb is the “world’s only solar light bulb”


I don’t know if this is the world’s only solar light bulb, but the Nokero Solar Light Bulb certainly looks useful for off-grid situations.  It charges its AA-sized NiMH batteries with a high-efficiency solar panel, and it can provide 6+ hours of 13.5 lumens of light from its four LEDs.  The bulb has a shatter-resistant polycarbonate globe, and it’s rain resistant.  After charging, it works great in your tent or in your home in lieu of candles during a power outage.  It’s also small and light enough to store in your emergency preparedness kit.  You get a set of three Nokero Solar Light Bulbs for $49.99 from Amazon.

You need a custom-made wood dock for your new iPhone 6 Plus


WedgeDock, an Etsy shop, is offering a custom-made wood dock for the new iPhone 6 Plus.  Each dock is individually handmade in their small workshop in the USA.  It’s cut from a solid block of mahogany, and it has a no-tip design.  It works with the bulkiest cases, and it tips the iPhone slightly forward to channel the sound from the bottom speaker toward you.  The iPhone 6 Plus dock is $45 in the WedgeDock store.  It will ship in September.

Waterfield announces new cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus


The iPhone 6 is possibly too big for your pockets, and the iPhone 6 Plus is sure to be too big for any pockets not found on cargo pants.  Waterfield has new cases can solve the problem of how you’re going to carry your bigger iPhones with their new Spinn holster cases.  The cases are made of full grain leather in black, chocolate, or grizzly; there’s an Ultrasuede lining on the interior screen side to prevent scratches.  The holsters have a patent-pending leather wheel to keep earbuds from tangling.  For holster use, you can order the Spinn with a leather strap that clips over your belt; order it without the clip if you’ll be carrying the Spinn in a gear bag.  The Spinn is available in sizes to fit the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, or the iPhone 5/5s, and sized to fit the phone naked or with an Apple case.  The iPhone 6 Spinn Case is $59 without the belt clip or $69 with the clip.  You can order them now at Waterfield; they’ll ship by October 10.

Gear bags and accessories for the college student


This post is brought to you by eBay. All opinions are 100% mine.

My daughter started college this year, and we’ve discovered the type of backpack she used in high school isn’t working for her new environment.  In high school, she needed a giant bag to carry a ton of books.  She also had a tiny 11″ MacBook Air in a neoprene sleeve that she took in the backpack most days.  The backpack needed only minimal water resistance, because most of her travel between classes was indoors or on covered walkways.  Now that she’s spent a couple of weeks on campus, she’s found that style of backpack isn’t working.  Read More →

It’s easy to keep up with your glasses when you have a Lens Friend


The Lens Friend is a strip of silicone with magnets embedded in each end; when it’s folded in the middle, the ends grip together.  You can fold them over your shirt pocket, a collar, or your bag.  It has three 0.5″ loops on one end for you to slip one of the temples of your eyeglasses or sunglasses through.  You can hang other things, like your earbuds through the Lens Friend’s loops, too, or you can even use the Lens Friend as a bookmarked by closing it over your page.  The soft silicone won’t scratch your expensive glasses, and they’ll stay in easy reach for when you need them.  The Lens Friends are available in black, ivory, light blue, red, or royal blue for $12.99 from the Lens Friend website.

The Seven Year Flashlight will be ready whenever you need it


The Seven Year Flashlight from Hammacher Schlemmer is a rechargeable flashlight that can hold a charge for seven years.  It has “specially-designed nickel metal hydride batteries that minimize power loss, ensuring reliable, full-power light for seven years on a single charge.”   It produces 200 lumens of light for 6 hours on a full charge, and you can even use three AAA batteries as a backup to provide another 10 hours of light.  You recharge the internal battery with the included AC or DC adapters, and the solar panel built in to the body can recharge the battery in natural or artificial light.  The body is made of impact-resistant ABS; it’s 100% waterproof and floats if dropped into water.   The adjustable handle can be used as a stand for hands-free use.  The flashlight measures 10″ X  7.75″  X 7.75″ and weighs 1.5 pounds.  The Seven Year Flashlight is $39.95 at Hammacher Schlemmer.

Get lost in the Maze of time with this new Tokyoflash Japan watch


The newest offering from Tokyoflash Japan is the Kisai Maze Wood LCD watch.  These watches have a wood case and leather straps with stainless steel buckles.  The faces can display time in a maze mode (03:39 on the left watch, 05:17 on the right) or in numeric time; they can also show date.  The Maze Wood LCD  is available in dark sandalwood with a chocolate brown leather strap and a mirror or green display, or in maple wood with a pure white leather strap and a red display.  The Kisai Maze Wood LCD watches are available from Tokyoflash Japan at a special release price of $99 until Friday, September 12th at 11am Japan time.

CalypsoCase announces luxury iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases


CalypsoCase makes luxurious hand-crafted cases from the “best natural Italian leathers.”  The make 500 pieces of each design, and each is numbered with a serial number.  You’d think this would make these iPhone cases out of reach for the average buyer, but they are surprisingly affordable.  They have announced three new designs for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus: (top to bottom) CalypsoCase Book, CalypsoCase Cabrio back cover, and CalypsoCase Wallet with a card slot.  All three designs are available in Zurich Night, Paris Glory (brick red), Sydney Morning, and Atlanta Mist (pink beige).  The cases are $149 for any style, any color, in either the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus size.  You can order now at CalypsoCase; expect the shipment in 3-4 weeks.

If you own a pickup truck, you’ll have a dry, covered place to sleep in case of emergency with this Rightline Gear tent


Well, the title says it all.  This Rightline Gear tent is bottomless, so you can set it up without emptying the bed of the truck.  It’s made of gray and orange water-resistant polyester fabric with tape-sealed seams (PU 2000mm), and it has fiberglass poles.  It has two gear pockets, a lantern hanging hook, glow-in-the-dark zipper pulls, and a sky view vent.  You don’t have to worry that the protective heavy duty straps and nylon buckles willdamage truck’s finish.  The tent comes with a rain fly, stuff sack, and a sewn-in set up guide.  It’s available in sizes to fit a variety of pickup truck bed sizes.  No matter the size you choose, the Rightline Gear Truck Tents are $179.95.  It’s a perfect addition to your emergency preparedness kit, or it’s great for campers who like to rough it without having to sleep on the wet ground.  It’s available at

The iPhone 6 was just released, and Brando already has a battery case for it!


Brando is already offering an iPhone 6 case with a built-in backup battery.  If you order now, you can have it ready to go on your new iPhone 6 the second you take it out of the box.  The 3000mAh Power Jacket for iPhone 6 is for the new 4.7″ version.  The protective case snaps on the back of the phone, so your backup battery is always attached to your iPhone 6, ready to charge your phone when you need it.  The case incorporates a kickstand into the back to support the phone in landscape orientation.  The 3000mAh Power Jacket for iPhone 6 is available in black or white for $33.00 from Brando.

Martian Watches Notifier smart watch review



Last year, I reviewed the Martian Watches G2G smart watch, and I loved it.  Not only did that watch display information about incoming calls, emails, text messages, and other notifications, it had a Bluetooth speakerphone built in.  I loved the vintage styling of the G2G, and I loved that I could replace the watch bands to change the way it looked.   This year, Martian Watches introduced their Notifier, which does everything the G2G did (plus some things it didn’t do) except act as a speakerphone.  The Notifier looks more modern than the earlier Martian Watches, and it costs about half what the cheapest of the earlier models costs.  We’ll give the Notifier a look to see if it performs as well as my G2G does.

By the way, I found that the glossy black watch bezel and shiny crystal are fingerprint magnets, and the black silicone band is a dust and hair magnet.  Try as I might, I couldn’t get a perfect photo of my actual watch, so I thought I’d start with one of the stock photos from Martian’s website.  All the following images are mine. Read More →

Make sure you look perfect before snapping that selfie with this brush


Just when you think you’ve seen it all, somebody comes along with something like this…  The Selfie Brush for iPhone 5/5s holds your phone while you snap a selfie, after first brushing your hair to look your best, of course.  This paddle-style brush works as a protective phone case, too, so you can make calls, text, and surf with the iPhone right in the brush.  It’s big enough, and bristly enough, that you’ll have no problems finding the iPhone in the bottom of your purse.  The Selfie Brush is available in black, pink, or purple for $19.99 from Amazon.

Source: Coolest Gadgets

Sit comfortably in front of your computer, even if you don’t have a desk


Sitting at a desk while working on a laptop or desktop computer can be very tiring.  If your desk height and chair height aren’t right for you, you can get back and neck pain, and you can even develop carpal tunnel problems with your wrists.  You can take the desk out of the equation with Mobo’s Computer Station.  Their “Five Star Ergonomic Keyboard Tray” (voted five stars by users) clamps onto your office chair’s arms.  It promotes healthy, natural body posture, which in turn reduces stress and strain on your muscles.  You’ll be more comfortable whether you’re working, surfing, or gaming.  It works perfectly as the only desk you’ll need for a laptop, or you’ll find it works equally well with the wireless keyboard and mouse for your desktop computer.  The Mobo Computer Station is available for $79.95 at Mobo, or you can get it for $75.24 from Amazon.

Your dog can play fetch by himself with the iFetch


iFetch is an interactive toy that pitches a ball for your dog, or cat, to fetch.  You can even train your pet to retrieve the ball and put it in the iFetch himself for never-ending fun, though you should monitor play time.  iFetch ball launcher is made of plastic and metal, and it comes with three miniature tennis balls (1.5″ diameter).  You can set a maximum distance of 10, 20, or 30 feet, and the launcher will throw the ball a random distance each time to keep it interesting for your pet.  It operates on AC or battery power (batteries not included), and the folks at iFetch say the launcher will work up to 30 hours on a set of fresh batteries.  This model is designed for small or medium-sized dogs; a model for larger dogs is in the works.  It sells for $99.95.  The iFetch is backordered at the manufacturer’s website, but The Grommet says they will be able to ship iFetch on September 12, 2014.  You can get extra miniature tennis balls from the iFetch website;  they are $10 for five balls.

This backpack holds an already assembled emergency preparedness kit


The Catastrophe Backpack from Herrington is equipped to help you withstand a disaster or to help you assist in recovery efforts.  It has 14 pockets and sleeves that come loaded with a lot of gear:  poncho; thermal blanket; respirator mask; personal hygiene and medical first aid kits; signal mirror and whistle; compass and magnifying glass; leather work gloves; writing tablet and pen; waterproof cash and document bag; and rugged multi tool.  An inner partition holds a three-day supply of food and water (included).  The backpack has padded shoulder straps and a ventilated back to make carrying your supplies comfortable.  The Catastrophe Backpack is $99.95 at Herrington.  You can also pick up extra food kits for $24.95.

Matt Ferguson’s Star Wars Trilogy on sale for a very limited time


These Star Wars art prints by Matt Ferguson allow you to pay homage to your favorite movies and add some artwork to your home or office.  These prints are very limited edition.  If you want one, you’ll need to place an order before Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 11:59PM ET.  The actual number of prints will be determined by the number ordered during the limited sale period.  The prints represent A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi (left to right).  Each is printed on French Paper Pop-Tone in shades of Orange Fizz, Sno Cone, or Spearmint (left to right).  Each measures 12″ X 24″.  They’ll be numbered and come with a COA signed by Matt Ferguson.

These prints may be ordered separately for $35 each, or order all three for $100.  If you’d prefer, you can order the complete set printed on wood for $350.00; there are less than 10 of these left for purchase.  Expect delivery of your order in 4-5 weeks.

How can your SO complain about you displaying these prints even in the living room?  They’re limited editions and come with a signed certificate of authenticity.  That makes them art, not Star Wars collectibles!  Quickly go to the Bottleneck Art Gallery website to place your order, before it’s too late.

September is National Preparedness Month – let Champ Preparedness help you get prepared


Were you aware that it is National Preparedness Month?  Are you part of the sixty percent of Americans determined by the American Red Cross that are wholly unprepared for a disaster?  Emergencies don’t have to be huge things, like hurricanes, tornados, or floods; they can be smaller things like car accidents or smaller damages to your home.  The Champ Prepared company offers a line of preparedness tools that can get you ready for large or small emergencies.

Their Survival Sidekick 10-in-1 Multi-Tool looks like a flashlight, and it has a 3-LED flashlight, but it also has a AM/FM/NOAA weather radio, an emergency phone charger, a glass breaker tool and a seatbelt cutter, distress light, siren, and a compass.  The magnetic base sticks to your car, and it has a hand-crank for charging.  It can charge Android and iOS devices, and it comes with a microUSB cable.  It’s available in black or white for $44.99.

If your basement is prone to flooding in rainy weather, the Water Sensor Alarm lets you know when water is getting in.  Or you could put it near a water heater, clothes washer, or dishwasher, if you fear leaks.  The sensor is battery operated, so you can use it anywhere.  Its loud alarm will alert you to  water before damage is done.  It’s $13.49.

The Survival LightStick Weather Radio is an AM/FM/NOAA weather radio, a reading light, and a flashlight.  It has an internal battery that’s charged via USB or with the hand crank or built-in solar panel.  Keep it on your nightstand to be sure you are aware of dangerous weather conditions, and you’ll also always know where a flashlight is when the power goes out.  It’s $62.99.

Go to the Champ Prepared website to see their emergency checklist and check out the other preparedness gear they offer.  Then head over to their Facebook page to enter their contest to win a Champ Prepared kit.


This phone armband is a wallet, too


If you like to take along your phone or media player while you exercise outdoors, you probably have considered an armband at some point.  These Armpockets from Herrington are more than just a phone holder.  They have three internal pockets with room for IDs, cash, even keys in addition to your phone.  The Armpocket is available in three strap sizes to fit male or female arms, and they are available in Standard or Large size to fit even big phones.  The Standard fits “phones up to 5.5″, including Galaxy S4/SIII with thin cases, or iPhone 5/5s with large or battery cases (Otterbox, Lifeproof)”.  The Large Armpocket fits “devices up to 6″, including Galaxy S5 with thin case, S4/SIII with case, Galaxy Note 3 (no case), or Amazon Fire.”  The cases come in a variety of colors, but not all strap sizes are available in all colors.  The Standard is $39.95 and the Large is $44.95.  They may be ordered at the Herrington website.

Philips now offers a warm-white LED bulb for their Hue WiFi-connected lighting system


My mission is to automate the lighting in my house.  I don’t have to have every light connected to the internet, but I would like to have WiFi-connected and controllable bulbs in certain rooms in my house.  I got the Hue Starter Kit for Christmas last winter, and I use them in my living room in some vintage Mid-century Moderne spaghetti lamps.  I love how the various color schemes look in those special lamps, but I don’t need or want to have such “fancy”, expensive bulbs in all my rooms.  I have some table lamps connected using Belkin WeMo Switches, which works great with regular CFL bulbs.  I’d like just some white bulbs for my foyer, long hallway, and the bathrooms.  I don’t want to use more color-changing Hue bulbs because they cost $60 each.  Adding the Belkin WeMo LED Lighting system would mean I’d need another WiFi-connected hub.  Using Hue bulbs would be very convenient and cheaper, though, because I already have the Hue bridge hooked up and connected in my house.  Luckily, Philips now offers the Lux bulbs, which are compatible with the color-changing bulbs system but aren’t color-changing themselves.

Lux bulbs are 9W LED bulbs that produce 750-lumens of “high quality, dimmable warm white light” (2700K color temperature).   (They use 0.5W of standby power and are only dimmable using the Hue app.)  If you don’t already have Hue lights and a bridge, you’ll need to buy the Starter Kit.  It contains two Lux bulbs and the bridge for $99.99.  If you already have a Hue system set up in your home, you can add Lux bulbs for $29.99 each – still not cheap, but better than $60 each.  Best Buy has the Hue Lux starter kit and the individual Lux bulbs ready to ship within 1 day.  Learn more about the Hux Lux and the other components of the Hue Personal Wireless system at Philips’ Meet Hue website.  You’ll need the Hue app for your mobile device to control the lights.  The app is available for devices running iOS 6.0 or later, or Android 2.3 or later.

Survival Pucks Compact Emergency Kits


Each of these little 3.25″ diameter X 1.1″ thick canisters contain emergency supplies.  The containers are made of 5000-series aluminum and have knurled screw-on lids; they are waterproof and have waterproof labels.  When you pull the label off, the the lid is a serviceable signal mirror.  What’s inside these little canisters are the kits that can stand between you and disaster.  There are six different survival kits that are small enough, light enough (under 4 ounces),  and inexpensive enough that you can stash them wherever you might need one – the car, at home, in your hiking kit, in your purse.  Each kit addresses one emergency situation:

  • Light: 2 mini flashlights, 1 mini Bic lighter, 4 5-hour candles, and a sheet of aluminum foil. $12.70
  • Water: 50 water purification tablets (for 6.25 gallons of drinkable water), 2 water pre-filters, water pouch, drinking tube, and a sheet of aluminum foil. $17.75
  • Fire: 2 Bic mini lighters, 12 solid fuel tablets, 1 steel bar grate to hold the canister (100ml capacity) while you heat water in it over a fuel tablet, 2 sheets of aluminum foil (to keep the fire off the wet ground as you try to light it or to act as a wind break or a heat reflector).  $15.25
  • Medicine: packets of extra-strength pain reliever, aspirin, ibuprofen, menstrual relief, anti-gas/antacid, antihistamine, electrolyte replenishment, antibacterial ointment, first aid and burn cream, anti-itch cream, and a pill bottle for your own medicines.  $14.75
  • First Aid:  waterproof bandages, butterfly bandages, alcohol wipes, cotton swabs, sterile gauze pads, latex exam gloves, safety pins, adhesive tape, moleskin, antibiotic, burn, first aid, and anti-itch creams, metal tweezers, and a utility knife blade.  $15.25
  • Essentials:  serrated 440 stainless steel lock-blade folding knife, mini LED flashlight, mini Bic lighter, signal whistle, magnetic compass, duct tape, aluminum wire, paracord, pencil, paper, safety pin, and a sheet of aluminum foil.  $15.75

Learn more and purchase these kits at the Survival Pucks website.

This iPhone charger is so clever, MacGyver would be impressed!


There is a world full of backup batteries and charging accessories for your smartphone, especially for iPhones.  There are cases with built-in backup batteries – but they add a lot of bulk to the iPhone.  There are backup batteries – but they are big, and you’ll need a cable, too.  And if your backup battery of either type is dead, you’re out of luck.  The Oivo – The Smallest Charger On-the-go for iPhone, an active Kickstarter project, is a tiny charger that fits on your keyring until you need it.  Pull it apart, add four AA batteries, plug your iPhone onto Ovio’s Lightning connector, and you’re ready to charge your iPhone or to use the iPhone as it charges.  The Oivo is said to recharge your phone as quickly as a 1A AC charger.  Some batteries will only provide enough power for a partial charge; other batteries have more than enough power for a full recharge of the iPhone.  (See the Oivo Kickstarter page for a list of commonly-available batteries and their charging capabilities.)  When the backup batteries are drained, just replace them with four fresh AA batteries.  The Oivo is so small, you could keep it on your keychain as a backup for your backup battery, because AA batteries are easy to find most places you find yourself.

The Oivo is still seeking funding until .  There are still a few early-bird pledges of $34 for one Oivo, but when they are claimed, the pledge will be $39.  The designer says the plans for Oivo – The Smallest Charger On-the-go for iPhone are Apple-approved and says the Oivo will work for the iPhone 6.  And by the way, if you’re interested in an Oivo with a microUSB connector for Android and Windows phones, you can pledge $2 to get yourself on a mailing list to be notified when it’s available.

This bathtub grows with your baby


Any new parent is aware of how much stuff a baby requires, and they’re also aware of how much room all of that stuff requires.  While you don’t have to have a special tub to bathe the baby, those infant tubs do help make bath time feel a bit safer.  We had a nice baby tub when our daughter was born, but it was huge and impossible to store.  The Naked 2-Position Collapsible Baby Bathtub from Boon folds flat to make it easier to find a place to store it.  If your child is too young to sit on her own, partially open the tub to recline the baby and keep her head out of the water.  For older kids who can sit, completely open the tub.  It even has a drain in the bottom to make cleaning up after bath time less of a chore.  The Naked 2-Position Collapsible Baby Bathtub is available in green, blue, or pink for $69.99 from Boon.  You can also find it at other retailers, such as Amazon (also has red and orange tubs) or BabiesRUs (only has blue).

Reduce germs and sanitize while you vacuum with this Verilux vacuum


When my daughter recently moved into her dorm room, the first thing I did was put a mattress encasement on that mattress that had been used for years by people doing who knows what.  shudder!  I wish I had had this Verilux vacuum with me, too.  The CleanWave Sanitizing Portable Vacuum is a hand-held model that is not only convenient for vacuuming mattresses, sofas, and other upholstered furniture, but it also has a UV-C light in the head.  This UV light is the “same UV sanitizing technology  that’s been used for over 30 years in hospitals, food processing facilities and water treatment plants, CleanWave’s germ reducing  light can penetrate a micro-organism’s cell membrane damaging the DNA, preventing growth and killing the organism.”  Verilux says it has been proven in the laboratory to kill 99.9% of of H1N1 and MRSA in 1 second.  It can combat certain molds and allergens without harsh chemicals or liquids, and it can even reduce pest eggs like bed bug, flea and dust mite eggs.  The vacuum has a 400 watt motor and cyclonic action for effective cleaning, and a bag-less collection cup and 2-stage micro-allergy filtration.

You can order the CleanWave Sanitizing Portable Vacuum directly from Verilux for $129.99.