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Lifestyle

Survivalists who learn self-reliance skills will laugh last

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People who prepare for the worst are the ones who save themselves, and others

A lot of jokes are made about fervent survivalists, and they are sometimes the subjects of ridicule, like the character Freida, played by Dale Soules, in the Showtime series Orange is the New Black. Many fans were intrigued to learn that the actress Soules in real life was raised up in a home without running water and was a practitioner of many of the survival skills she demonstrated on screen.

 

But in the end, just like on the show, the survivalists come out on top, and often they also end up saving the skeptics around them. 

 

Sometimes it pays to be paranoid, and in all cases, it never hurts to be overprepared. None of us wants to face the possibility of a threat or disaster, natural or man-made, but there are some basics survival tips that every person should know. 

 

The recent cold snaps on the East Coast, in some areas involving heavy snow and icy roads, confined many people to their homes for several days, and others were trapped on the road or outdoors. Having the right tools, supplies and knowledge could make the difference between life and death in these situations.

 

If you are ever involved in a disaster, do not count on FEMA or other governmental groups to come to your rescue. While in an ideal world, these organizations are there to aid American citizens, the best advice is for every individual citizen to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

 

The most elemental of survival kits will include emergency survival food, water filtration supplies, power and lighting supplies, a first aid kit and medicine, cooking implements, and a means to create fire.

 

If you’re not sure where to start in putting together a survival kit, check out a specialist supply company, like My Patriot Supply. A company that features one-stop shopping for a wide array of products depending on your needs is much better than trying to put together a kit piecemeal from a variety of sources. Plus, using a supply source that is utilized by a number of hard-core survivalists will give you a great idea of the quality of the items according to online reviews. In general, consumers of this type of equipment are rather serious about it, and the reviews are likewise serious, and reliable.

 

Whether you are building a kit for yourself, as a single person, or if you are maintaining a kit for a family or a community, it is best to get professional guidance on what supplies and quantities you will need, based on likely disasters or emergencies that you might encounter. Preparedness is assuring, but a surplus is a waste. 

 

Besides going to reliable websites, like My Patriot Supply, you can also find a number of great books that will educate you on everything from growing your own organic fruits and vegetables to living in drought conditions.

 

While it’s hard to prioritize survival knowledge, first aid is probably the most critical, as a minor injury could turn into a major one if not treated properly, and preparedness for stings, sprains, burns, allergies, and fractures, which are some of the most common injuries, can help alleviate the distraction of minor injuries in a situation where all your critical faculties are needed.

 

The key to surviving a life-threatening situation is preparedness. No matter how many public service announcements are broadcast or community workshops held, most of us think we have time to do this, and we put it off. As those who have lived through harrowing experiences can attest, self-reliance will be your savior, so don’t wait to safeguard yourself, and your family.

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Dining in Los AngelesEat & DrinkLifestyleRestaurantsThe Left Coast

Il Picollo Verde offers LA diners small-town Italian with a big heart

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Il Picollo Verde is fine Italian dining that is approachable in price and atmosphere. The restaurant is relatively small, occupying a long and narrow storefront on Barrington Place in Brentwood Village. The heated patio overlooks a relatively quiet street, and is almost as large as the cozy restaurant inside. For those opting for the dining room, The ambience inside is mellow and romantic, with low lighting and tables lit by small oil lamps.

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It was the perfect atmosphere for a date night, or in our case, an intimate family dinner.

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The restaurant and staff are welcoming, and like the menu, very approachable. Chef Pablo Merida prepares the made-to-order from-scratch Italian specialties in an open kitchen, along with his able and friendly crew.

In addition to many traditional dishes, the restaurant features a Verde Naturale menu with a number of health-conscious, low-calories options made with organic, unrefined, raw and pressed oils and organic gluten-free grains and leafy greens and vegetables.

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We first tried a family favorite, the App Calamari Friti, which was lightly fried and not overly greasy, served with a tangy marinara sauce. While it was not an appetizer per se, we decided to have the Ravioli Casarecci before our entrées, because we didn’t want to miss the restaurant’s favorite famous homemade pastas, but we all had our minds set on non-pasta dishes.

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For our main courses, we had the Lemon Chicken Naturale, grilled with garlic, herbs, vegetables, lemon juice, millet Verde, which was very similar to the Petto Di Pollo Al Limone chicken breast, though the former served in a lighter sauce.
My nine-year-old was in the mood for seafood indulged in the Cioppino, a seafood stew of clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, fresh fish, and served with Crostini for dipping. We also had the Salmone, a grilled salmon fillet served with broccoli and roasted potatoes.
Though the restaurant was out of gelato the night we visited, we had two other delicious desserts from their dessert menu of a custard pie with almonds and a ricotta cheese pie.
While we didn’t have the appetite for it the night we visited, the restaurant is known for its New York style pizza, which our table neighbor had ordered and which looked tantalizing. In particular, the Bianca E Neve pizza looked appetizing, covered with mozzarella and ricotta cheese and spinach. For that, we will have to come back, which we surely will.

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BusinessLifestyleMoneyThought

Choosing a winning lawyer

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The best legal advise you can get, is to get a good lawyer

There’s a joke in the legal profession that the person who represents himself or herself has a fool for a client. Indeed, the legal field is, to say the least, very complicated to navigate on one’s own. Lawyers have pretty much solidified their place in our lives, despite Shakespeare once prophesying that in order to achieve societal harmony, first we must, “Kill all the lawyers.” Once we have accepted this reality, of the necessity of having doctors of jurisprudence argue our disputes, there is the matter of finding a good lawyer to fight your fight.

Referrals 

For starters, heed this wisdom from experienced litigants, who concur that how you choose your lawyer is often a reliable predictor of your case’s success. The best referral is from a personal or professional acquaintance who has had a winning experience with a lawyer. In order to get a referral, it may be embarrassing to confide in others that you need legal help, but chances are they have been there themselves, and if you’re lucky, they may have someone good to recommend.

Ratings

If no one you know can refer you to an attorney, utilize some of the online sites to locate and check ratings on lawyers, similar to Yelp – which can be a source in itself, though a low-credibility one due to their pay-to-play business model. One of the more popular rating sites is Avvo. While all review sites contain fraudulent reviews, generally they still can provide some insight if read with a discriminating eye. Usually you can spot a fake review by either its effusively enthusiastic narrative with no critical comments, or its overly nasty and negative invective that might have been written by a sore-loser litigant who was actually beaten by the lawyer they are reviewing; so check out the middle-of-the road reviews as well as the top and bottom reviews to get the fairest assessment of the lawyer.

Trust

When it comes to the in-person or phone interview part of the hiring process, it’s important that you have a positive rapport with your would-be attorney. Many attorney’s will offer a free consultation, so take advantage of this meeting to feel out the attorney’s manner and tone.

Trust will be a crucial part of your relationship with your attorney, so you must feel that this is a person you can trust on both a personal and professional level. If an attorney suggests ethically or legally questionable strategies, such as hiding money in a bankruptcy proceeding, then run don’t walk away from that attorney. If a lawyer has a shady modus operandi, you can bet he or she will be shady in business practices, including in client-attorney dealings.

Communication 

One of the biggest complaints clients express regarding attorneys is that attorneys do not return calls in a timely manner and are unresponsive to their emails; so ask an attorney candidate what his or her response time will be when you call or email, i.e. , calls are returned within 24 hours. Make sure your attorney has the bandwidth to give your case proper attention. If it was hard to get an appointment because their office was too busy, chances are they will be too busy to return calls and to give due attention to your matter.

Experience matters

Just as you would with a doctor how many times he or she has performed a procedure you must undergo, ask your attorney what his or her experience is in the pertinent area of law and how many cases they have handled like yours. You would not want a doctor to be doing his first surgery on you, just as you do not want to be an attorney’s first case in a particular area of law.

Make sure they have ample experience and a favorable win record in the proper field. While a family law attorney may have an excellent record in custody matters, they may never have tried a personal injury case, defended an DUI, or filed a bankruptcy, so search for a specialist, such as personal injury attorney tampa, for the best results.

Just because you have a trusted friend or acquaintance who is a lawyer, this does not mean he or she can handle your case.  Even if a lawyer friend offers you services pro bono, if that lawyer is a wrong fit, it is not worth any savings you might realize, if you lose your case because they did not give qualified advice.

Fees 

Often the deciding factor in hiring an attorney is price. Fees will vary widely depending on the experience of the attorney. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250 an hour to $650 an hour, depending on the expertise your case requires. Make sure in your retainer agreement with the attorney that there is an understanding of how they bill, such as in 10- or 20-minute increments. Many attorneys will require an upfront retainer that can be a couple thousand dollars or $20,000, depending on your type of case. If you are not able to reach a settlement, and as trial approaches, an attorney may require a retainer of over $100,000 if they expect your trial to last for several days or longer. Attorneys know that after trial is over, it is very difficult to collect fees – especially if they do not win the case – so that is why they collect payment upfront.

It is hardly ever the case that the hiring a lawyer is not an expensive endeavor. If worse comes to worse, and you have to use legal intervention to settle a dispute, the least you can do is choose your attorney wisely so that you have the best chances at a favorable outcome.

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Automobiles

Living large in a Lincoln Navigator, and loving it

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Family Size Matters

By golly, bigger is better, at least when it comes to the Lincoln navigator. I’ve been driving an SUV for the past 11 years, but driving the Navigator was a first-time experience, and a great one — a great, great big one.

I was recently given the opportunity to drive around in a Lincoln Navigator for five days in Los Angeles, and riding in such a large vehicle was at first outside my comfort zone, and then I realized, I actually stepped into a new, enormously comfortable zone.
Getting behind the wheel and looking over the hood from a perspective of what seemed like 10 feet up, I felt powerful.

I know it’s cliché, but I understood instantly why the Paul Bunyan-esque big country boys from my home state of Virginia were so enamored of luxe-size vehicles. The front compartment resembles first-class accommodations in a 747. The large and roomy seats are like lazy boy loungers, complete with a side table with cup holders. Of course, all the wood trim and finishes of lacquer and chrome are of high quality and bespoke materials.

The backseat, or I should say backseats, are equally spacious, and the first row even features its own controls for the stereo system.

The interior of this car hollers comfort, and taken as a whole, the undeniably loud statement this car makes is “power.” Not that this luxury SUV is made for a monster truck rally or racing, but it puts forth through it’s prodigious presence an aura of superiority and strength. This is, I am sure, the allure for many drivers, though in my case, I also was endowed with the feeling of safety.

Driving a car this size made me feel protected on the road. Driving around Los Angeles, occasionally through questionable neighborhood and sidestreets, I felt like no one could touch me, and they wouldn’t dare. I also thought that, heaven for bid, if I got into an accident, I would not be the one who had to worry about being crunched.

This car gave me a feeling of confidence and calm, which is a great feeling for a mom carting around her kids. It may not be totally PC to say, but it was a secure feeling to know that I was the biggest, baddest most intimidating vehicle sitting at the traffic light, and my vehicle was saying to others, “Don’t mess with us.”

Other features that gave me peace of mind about safety including the driving aids like a back up beeper, warning alerts when you drive too close to the curb or the car in front or back when parking, and I appreciated the projection onto the front windshield of navigation directional signs, my current speed, the speed limit, and the time of day, so that I never had to take my eyes off the road.

It’s also a gratifying feeling to drive into a place and get instant respect and attention, like when I pulled into the valet at the H Hotel near LAX, and the valets were tussling over who would get to take my vehicle.

Besides the psychological benefits of driving this vehicle, the amenities are nothing to overlook. You name it, it’s got it. Full-size screen navigation, check. Kick-butt sound system, check. Reclining and fold-down seats that are like a bed, check. The design of this car is all about luxury, comfort and making it easy for the driver to relax and enjoy the ride. The details are also all about providing a VIP experience for everyone, driving or riding, down to the sideboards that automatically slide out from under the car when a door is opened, as soft purple lights illuminate the step and the ground. Is the feeling of someone taking your hand and guiding you as you step down out of the car.

I would be remiss not to mention the actual mechanics and the driver of the car. It should go out without saying, that this car has an engine to match it’s muscular exterior. Though it is a sizable vehicle, the acceleration is quick, so if the mere size of the vehicle alone doesn’t make other drivers let you in when you try to pass, then the speed of it will get you out front, or wherever you need to be.

Needless to say, kids love this car. It is an indoor playground. Kids of all ages, i.e., those in their 20s, 30s and beyond, love this car, because it is a party on wheels. It is easy to see in my mind’s eye a bachelor party, or a bridal shower, or a weekender with the girls or the guys, on-the-go in this vehicle. It’s not just a pleasure to drive, it is a treat to ride in, from any vantage, including the rear third row, which has space behind it for shopping bags, sports gear or a couple carry-ons.

For sure, this is the ultimate road-trip vehicle, loaded with luxury features and prestige to make the ride incredible, with the caveat that you might not want to get out once you reach your destination.

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DecorShopping

Home goods that make the holidays happy

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Holiday gifts that will make a home warm and welcoming, safe and sound

Ess-scential candles

Even if the weather outside is frightening, you can enjoy nature indoors with the warm, soft light of a candle flame and nature-inspired fragrances from the Heritage Collection by Chesapeake Bay Candle ($15-25). These stylish, modern designed candles can make a home feel cozy, homey and romantic with an array of soothing, energizing and refreshing scents naturally crafted with essential oils Available in small and large jars, two- and three-wick coffee table jars and diffuser styles in 12 scents. Available at chesapeakebaycandle.com, Target, Amazon and major home good stores nationwide.

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B to ZZZs

Give a good night’s sleep to someone you love with bedding from B Your Bed. This affordable line of luxury bedding includes extra-long bedding to accommodate thicker mattresses and bed toppers. Not only are the fabrics ultra-comfortable, all B Your Bed products carry a seal that ensures consumers that the bedding is made with verified high-quality materials, and the company guarantees the dimensions, thread counts, fill rates and materials meet specifications. The beautiful styling and patterns of these comforter sets and accessories make you never want to get out of bed, hence the company name, that promises those who sleep engulfed in this comfort being will be one with the bed. Available at www.byourbed.com.

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Smarter Home

No smartly decorated home these days can be without a smart voice-activated speaker, not just to play music but to operate all the smart devices in the home, like light bulbs, switches, window blinds, thermostats, and TVs. The 808 Audio XL-V premium smart speaker ($129) is a new entrant to the Alexa-responsive speaker systems, that works in concert with Amazon’s Alexa app, enabling the 808 XL-V to access music and book libraries on Amazon, as well as other streaming services – and it has the ability to stream the same music from another 808 XL-V simultaneously, in other rooms. It can also connect via Bluetooth to stream audio from other Bluetooth-enabled devices or serve speaker for non-Bluetooth and non-smart devices using an aux in jack.

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Watch me ne-ne

Give the gift of peace of mind to yourself or love ones with the Honeywell Lyric C2 Wi-Fi Security Camera ($169.99), an easy-to-install and use security system that keeps on eye on your home while you’re away, or inside. Using the Lyric app on a phone or tablet, the C2 streams live video and records using free secure cloud storage (up to 1 GB) and 8GB SD-card storage for back-up, so that you can download surveillance clips from the past 24 hours. The system features voice control capability using the Alexa app, sound detection, night vision, and an HD 145-degree wide-angle view that captures video in sharp 1080p high definition.

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Think in a vacuum

A freshly vacuumed carpet gives the impression of a clean and well-groomed home, and with iRobot’s Roomba, a home can have that just-vacuumed look all the time. The original and most tech-forward of the automatic vacuum brands, Roomba has developed an army of round robots designed for a variety of carpet and floor surfaces, with its most advanced units, like the w-fi connected Roomba 980 ($899), featuring smart technology that allows Roomba to be operated and programmed using an app or with voice- command devices like Echo or Google Home. While Roomba doesn’t do windows, it’s a great helper around the house that won’t complain about chores, and with its endearing Jetson-esque robotic voice, Roomba may just become your next pet, that picks up fur instead of shedding it.

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Knead a break

“I don’ like massages,” said nobody, ever. It’s true, everyone likes to get massages, so make everyone feel good right at home with HoMedics Fold-Away Massaging Shiatsu Lounge Chair ($399). Sit back and relax while this comfy no-assembly-required lounge chair kneads the neck, shoulder, back and legs in an immersive deep-kneading shiatsu massage experience, with an option to apply soothing heat, all controlled with a programmed remote. The seat adjusts for different height levels and features three massage zones that concentrate on different areas, so every family member can enjoy a massage to their liking. When not in use, the chair folds compactly for easy storage. Available online at Bed Bath & Beyond or at store locations.

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Raising the towel bar

Refine and refresh the look of any bathroom with the modern style and rich colors of bath towels from the Lacoste Court Bath Towel Collection ($17.99). These thick and absorbent towels are crafted of high quality and durable soft 100-percent Supima cotton, with luxurious fibers that offer a beautiful luster and a design that features Lacoste’s signature croc patch. The colors from the towel collection complement the full collection from Lacoste Home, in case you want to wrap up on a matching bath robe.

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AdventureLifestyleOutdoorsShoppingWomen's Interest

Girl’s guide to glamping

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Must-have gear for women who love the outdoors but also love creature comforts

Hitting the back woods and camping out does not mean you have to completely rough it.  Whether heading for the hills for a weekender with the family or a girls getaway, take along the right gear that will make your next outdoor adventure a pleasure.

Trailing ahead

Trail blazers can hit the hills running in INOV-8 PARKCLAW 275 GTX ($150) trail running shoes, built to handle versatile terrain, from road running to trails. This durable yet comfortable footwear is engineered with a membrane that bonds directly to the shoe’s upper to create a protective casing that keeps feet dry and performs in harsh running conditions yet has the fit and feel of a regular running shoe. INOV8 features a full line of women‘s and men’s running shoes and runner apparel and accessories available at INOV-8 at www.INOV-8.com or running specialty retailers nationwide.

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Shirts and skin

Whatever the weather, the Showers Pass Bamboo Merino Henley shirt ($60-76) for women and is perfect for it.  This ultimate outdoor all-season performance shirt features down-to-earth high-tech UPF 50+ protection fabric consisting of bamboo and merino fibers woven together are designed to create a soft cool touch on one side and a warm layer on the other side. The side mesh panels of the shirt are body mapped to vent off excess heat, and the flat stitching and continuous underarm panels reduce chaffing.

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Sock it to me

Suit up head to toe for any weather and step into Showers Pass Crosspoint Waterproof Socks ($27.20-$31.20), featuring three layers, including a knit exterior that feels like a regular sock, a breathable waterproof membrane and a moisture-wicking antibacterial lining so that it feels like a sock but protects like a rain booty.

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Get lit

Brighten up a camper’s holiday with the Dark Star 1000L Flashlight ($49.99) from Bass Pro Shops. This powerful beacon will illuminate any night with four light settings – low, medium, high and strobe, and the handle features a push-pull control that can adjust the beam from a spotlight to a flood light. The aluminum housing with anodized finish protects against rough wear, with a casing so solid that it could serve to wack a bear in a pinch. Requires nine AA alkaline batteries.

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Cooking with sass

Outdoor cooks will love to stir up gourmet eats in the Bass Pro Shops’ 5-Piece Cook Set ($49). This light (42-ounce) and compact set, made of sturdy aluminum, comes with a 4.7-quart pot, a 3.2-quart pot, 1.6-quart frying pan, two lids, and a handy nylon carry bag. All the cookware features silicone-coated, folding handles and abrasion- and a stick-resistant coating for easy cleanup. When it’s time to pack up, the nesting design keeps everything compact.

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Bag it

Sleeping under the stars is a dreamy experience, if you have the right sleeping bag, like the warm and cozy Slumberjack Big Timber Pro 20 ($89.95). Built for comfort, this bag features a larger footbox than tapered bags, allowing you to sleep on your back with your feet up in a natural and comfortable position, similar to a bed like experience. Equipped with a soft flannel liner, durable canvas outer shell and robust zippers – which can be joined with a second bag for two sleepers, the Big Timber Pro comes in 20 degree, 0 degree and -20 degree ratings.

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Ground up

Whether camping out in the deep wood or the backyard, avoid the hazards and discomfort of sleeping on the ground by bunking up on a Slumberjack Tough Cot ($89.95). This highly durable cot can hold up to 350 pounds and has a no-squeak steel construction to help you get a sound sleep. It features a spacious sleep surface and sits up high to give plenty of room underneath to store gear. It sets up easily (watch this video to see how easy: https://youtu.be/kbxnvpwkd8o) and comes with a carry bag for transporting and storage.

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Outdoor gourmet

Franks and beans are easy eats when you are cooking outdoors, but for those who prefer more elaborate camp cuisine, the GCI Outdoors SLIM-FOLD Cook Station ($80) has all you need for preparing meals the way you like ‘em. The station sets up and breaks down quickly with a hassle-free one-piece design. It has an aluminum counter top, a lower rack for storage and four plastic fold-out side tables. The side tables feature beverage holders, stem glass holders and hooks that can be used as a garbage bag holder or to hang cooking utensils.

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Pump it up

Why give up a good night’s sleep just because you’re camping? With a Coleman Quickbed Plus High Airbed (Queen size $59.99) , you can have a restful night’s sleep wherever you are. The antimicrobial treated sleep surface resists odor, mold, mildew and fungus that you might encounter in a camping environment, and it comes with the convenience of an included pump, so you’ll always be ready to inflate your bed, indoors or outdoors. Once you find the desired firmness, the airbed’s air-tight closure prevents leaks, and the soft top offers cushioning for added comfort. When you’re ready to pack up, the bed fits into an included carry bag for easy storage until your next adventure.

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Give three shelter

Three can be a crowd, but not on a three-dog night when you are huddled together in the Slumberjack Nightfall 3 ($169).  This lightweight, versatile and very compact three-person tent raises the bar for mountain tents. With only three poles, it’s quick and easy to set up, and the external pitch pole architecture keeps the inner tent dry even while pitching in the rain. The near vertical side walls provide plenty of interior space, and the no-see-um mesh keeps out even the littlest gnats and skeeters, to make your camp experience pleasant and pest-free.

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Blow up your kayak

If you’ve always wanted a kayak but didn’t think you had the space to store one, Innova Kayaks has a solution that blows traditional kayaks out of the water. These inflatable kayaks are lightweight and constructed of heavy duty natural and synthetic rubber that will last for years, even decades.  They blow up in minutes with a high-capacity foot pump, and after the adventuring they fold up compactly and can be carries away in an oversized backpack and loaded into even a compact car. One-person and three-seater models available, with capacity up to 900 pounds. Available at dealers nationwide $399 to $1,299.

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Beauty productsGiftsShopping

A beautiful new you for the New Year

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Look your best for the holiday season and year-round with these beauty boosters

Lash out

LashControl Squeeze mascara ($18) is the only mascara with squeeze control, featuring a patented tube that dispenses precisely as much mascara as you need on your brush every time you use it. You simply pinch the tube as you pull the brush out, and access formula stays in the cylinder. LashControl mascaras are formulated with botanicals and a beeswax base to keep lashes hydrated and conditioned, with formulas to promote lengthening and volumizing, and a clearcoat that can be used as a topcoat or a brow fix for a perfect finish. Available at www.lashcontrol.com.

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Smart blonde

Look your blondest best for the holidays and year-round with Tony Odisho Ostia Collection Beautiful Blonde Shampoo and Conditioner. This deep purple formula deposits violet color on locks to highlight natural and colored blonde sheen and knocks out dullness.  Also great for grey hair. $24 for two 8 oz. bottles.

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Raise the dry bar

The Dryonizer 5500 Pink ($109) from HSI Professional is a salon quality hairdryer to-dry-for. This powerhouse of a beauty appliance has an adjustable thermostat and three heat levels to prevent hair damage from excess heat. It also features speed settings for quick drying or a lower speed for styling, for salon looks you can achieve at home.

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Exotic beauty

Keprea skincare line, developed from rare botanicals harvested in North Africa, features patented anti-inflammatory and antiaging ingredients that nourish and transform skin and protect against environmental stresses. The Keprea Multi-Active Crème Day ($69.95) is a lightweight intensely nursing moisturizer that protects and repairs skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines to give skin a smooth and healthy appearance. Keprea Multi-Active Creme Night ($89.95) it is a rich and luxuriously hydrating night treatment that renews, restores and repairs skin by infusing hydration and nourishment overnight to improve skin clarity and texture.

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Note-able looks

When you want make-up that will transform you from drab to dazzle, but you don’t want to break the bank, take Note. The wallet-friendly Note Cosmetics collection features rich-pigment shades in ultra-fine milled powders that are blendable, smooth and long wearing. Developed by leading European chemists, the formulas are infused with globally sourced botanical ingredients enriched with essential oils and vitamins, Paraben-free and never tested on animals. The holiday Shimmer and Shine gift set ($25) includes three Note best sellers: Terracotta Powder in Stardust, Eyeshadow Pencil in Pearl Beige and Long Wearing Lipgloss in Honeylove.

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Wrinkles away

The trusted name in anti-aging, StriVectin, can help you fend off Old Man Time with its high-performance skincare and haircare solutions powered by science. At the center of every formula is patented, proprietary NIA-114 technology that supercharges StriVectin products, all invented by skin scientists using a body of knowledge gathered in 35 years of research. SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate ($79, 4.7 ounce) is one of the line’s toughest wrinkle fighters, promising to reduce the look of wrinkles in just 15 days, getting you looking good just in time for party season.

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GiftsInternet of ThingsLifestyleShoppingTech

Tech the halls 2018 gift guide

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Eight smart gifts of gadgets, toys and accessories for electronics lovers

Plug into fun this holiday season with these awesome devices and tech toys that will make the holidays  electric.

We will, we will Roku

Binge watchers will love the ultimate top-of-the-line streaming device, Roku Ultra, that streams high-quality HD and even 4K video with a slim design that neatly tucks into TV cabinets or looks sleek on a shelf. For those who want to lie in bed and turn up the volume on their favorite action series and not wake up their partner with every explosion or gun battle, Roku offers private listening, which allows an individual to listen with headphones connected to a jack on the Roku remote or on a smart phone using the latest Roku app. Another great feature on the Roku remote is the ability to control volume and power up and turn off a connect TV. Like other models in Roku‘s lineup, the Ultra also offers dedicated buttons to popular networks, like Netflix and Hulu. New this year to Roku is the brand’s own free channel, chock full of premium movies and shows. Roku Ultra is available for $99 at retailers nationwide.

Thinking in a vacuum

Neat freaks can take a break from constant cleaning with iRobot’s Roomba, a vaccum robot that will do the work for them so their home can have that just-vacuumed look all the time. The original and most tech-forward of the automatic vacuum brands, Roomba has developed an army of round robots designed for a variety of carpet and floor surfaces, with its most advanced units, like the wi-fi connected Roomba 980 ($899), featuring smart technology that allows Roomba to be operated and programmed using an app or with voice- command devices like Echo or Google Home. While Roomba doesn’t do windows, it’s a great helper around the house that won’t complain about chores, and with its endearing Jetson-esque robotic voice, Roomba may just become your next pet, that picks up fur instead of shedding it.

Click tap, my phone was taking a bath

For the tech enthusiastic who has everything, give them the peace of mind of a bacteria-free cell phone with phone soap ($59.95). This sanitizing unit that looks like a mini sunbed, uses UV lights to kill germs on your phone in 10 minutes. The unit features an opening to thread through a phone cable, so the phone can charge while it’s in use. Available at www.phonesoap.com.

Tic Talk

The Mobvoi TicHome Mini ($99) is a great new entrant into the works-with-Google-Assistant family. This speaker has rich audio quality, especially for its size, and this portable, compact unit comes in a variety of attractive colors to spruce up your countertop, desk, bathroom vanity (it’s splash resistant) or wherever it sits, ready to respond to your commands. Using the Google Assistant app, it can access the massive knowledge base of Google search, and can play music from a number of streaming services like Pandora. Also, the TicHome Mini can untether from its USB charging cable and run on its internal battery, either operating as truly wireless Wi-Fi streaming speaker or a Bluetooth speaker.

Own your stuff

While you cozy up in front of the TV this holiday season, save some money for your family with a TP-Link Archer CR700 Wireless Dual Band DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router ($159), a modem-router combination that can replace the unit that the cable service provider makes you pay to lease each month. Owning your own equipment is not only more convenient and less expensive in the long run, you will own the most advanced technology that often can perform better and faster than the no-frills devices the cable companies buy in bulk and rent to subscribers. The Archer CR7000 also features Parental and Access Control using a web management page that allows you to safeguard your network, restricting who can join and what content users may access while on it. Check compatibly with your cable service provider.

Strong arm

Spark the engineering spirit in young builders with the Hearthsong Hydraulic Arm Edge ($49.98, ages 10 and up), a working arm that kids assemble and then learn to maneuver using sequences that move its six water-powered levers to make the arm turn, lift, lower, and move blocks and other items to create structures using the arm’s grippers and its super-strong suction cup. As a feel-good bonus, when consumers purchase a STEM toy from HearthSong before December 11, 2017, and Bayer will donate the full value of that toy to Toys for Tots to buy STEM toys from HearthSong at a discount and donate up to $250,000.

 

Fast and curious

Kids can ramp up on the latest augmented reality technology with Osmo’s latest fun, mind-challenging game, Hot Wheels MindRacer ($59.99 on Amazon, ages 5 and up). This interactive game expands the boundaries of play with the classic play experience of Hotwheels cars with the power of mobile computing. Using tokens for a boost and real Hot Wheels cars – each with their own unique skills and personality quirks, players rev up and launch the toys into a fantastical computer-generated racetrack where winning takes both speed and smarts. A special note: this game is the first-ever Hot Wheels product marketed on the package, “For boys and girls!” (iPad sold separately)

Just watch

Give the gift of peace of mind to yourself or love ones with the Honeywell Lyric C2 Wi-Fi Security Camera ($169.99), an easy-to-install and use security system that keeps on eye on your home while you’re away, or inside. Using the Lyric app on a phone or tablet, the C2 streams live video and records using free secure cloud storage (up to 1 GB) and 8GB SD-card storage for back-up, so that you can download surveillance clips from the past 24 hours. The system features voice control capability using the Alexa app, sound detection, night vision, and an HD 145-degree wide-angle view that captures video in sharp 1080p high definition.

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FashionGiftsLifestyleShoppingWomen's Interest

Seven stylish gifts for the fashionista on your list

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Dress up the trend setter on your shopping list in these styles that will keep her happy all season

These boots were made for power walking

Shout “I’m here” without having to say a word in Miss Garcia Hedera boots ($479.16), a bold red skin boot that makes the statement, “unstoppable” with every step.  The eye-catching color and design is partnered with a soft texture that makes this high-fashion footwear are rare combination of a boot with knock-out style that is a pleasure to wear.

Sisters of the partying jumpsuit

Stand out at your holiday party in a Joseph Ribkoff Jumpsuit ($279) that is the best of both worlds.  Both playful and elegant, this one-piece silky knit outfit flows and moves, so you can dazzle the room and dance the night away. The sequined appliques highlight the décolleté and shoulder area to form a rounded neckline, complemented by a tailored zippered back and slender waist-tie belt that flatter the figure.

Fit for a queen

A perfect holiday shirt is one that inspires the spirt of season and makes you feel like yourself, like the CINO’s beautiful Buckingham Mixed Print ($130), designed by Cinthia Menaloscino. You can roll up your sleeves up for a casual and comfy look or button up for work or a holiday party in this 100% cotton and rayon mixed-print and plaid crinkle button-down shirt with a contrast print trim. Like its name, this shirt is a royal classic.

 

Chic sleep

The whole family can cuddle up in matching Bedhead PJs sleepwear that will bring warm feelings all season long. These premium pajama sets are finely tailored and adorned with trendy and fun patterns, like Dignified, Dogs, Wildlife, Ski Village, Champagne and Strawberries, in styles from stretchy knits to cozy flannel to luxury silk, all locally cut and sewn in Los Angeles, California. Available in infants and kids and grown-up sizes, $48 up to $289.

 

Wear it out

When you want to relax but still look fashion-forward, the Royal Robbins collection of stylish causal clothes are functionally fashionable, made to wear on your off-hours, wherever you go. The Long Distance ¼ Zip for Women ($75) is a form-fitting second-skin base layer that keeps you warm under layers or looks sleek worn by itself, in a delicious deep Raspberry Crush color and made with an ultra-soft brushed-back midweight spandex-blend fabric with flatlocked seams for smoothness and thermoregulation technology to wick moisture and keep you dry and comfortable. When temps dip, raise your mountain fashion up into the altitude with a Cable Mountain Hybrid Full-Zip ($99) sweater, a two-tone mix of soft-blend front panels with form-fitting rib knit sleeves and back for a sleek yet comfortable sweater to wear anywhere.

Girl’s Choice

The little fashionista on your list will love apparel, accessories and shoes that stand out by MyChooze.com. This adorable line of apparel and footwear for young girls features fashions that are perfect for school, play and parties. There’s even shoes and fashions for mom to “twin” with her daughter. Fitting with the brand’s name, with each purchase Chooze allows you to choose from five family charity causes to which a portion of every sale is donated.

Best dress

The woman-on-the go on your list will feel free in a Nuu Muu dress ($65-$88) that wears well from the yoga studio to the grocery store and even the office.  This exercise and everything-else dress is made of a comfy and silky polyester-spandex blend that moves with movement and won’t bunch when layered. Perfect for travel, the stain and tear resistant fabric is SPF 50+ and dries quickly without wrinkling. For moms and daughters, there’s also matching kids prints ($48).

 

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GiftsShopping

Six stocking stuffers that will knock their socks off

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Surprise your secret Santa with one of these great gifts that come in small packages

Stocking up on socks

Stuff stockings with stockings, er, well, socks, that will give the recipient good feelings head to toe. Balega Limited Edition Grit and Grace socks ($14) from Enduro are made from US yarn and spun in South Africa, and for every pair sold, the company donates one dollar to Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. These stylish and colorful socks feature high heel tabs that line the inside of the shoe your shoe for added comfort, along with ventilated panels and a proprietary Drynamix moisture management yarn.

Grab this

GrabbitSTICK ($24.99) equipped with MagnetPAL ($12.99) a cross between a telescopic selfie stick and a mini fishing rod, this gadget dangles a powerful magnet that an pick up metal stuff in hard-to-reach places, like that thumbtack you dropped down the garbage disposal.

The measure of a man (or woman)

A great addition to any tool box, the etape16 digital tape measure ($29.95 plus shipping and handling) is a handy device for hobbyists, woodworkers, seamstresses, DIYers, decorators, and anyone who needs an accurate and easy way to measure things. The large battery-powered digital display and button wheel functions make readability and usability easy, to save time and frustration and reduce errors in measuring tasks. An auto-shut-off features ensures long battery life of up to 64 hours of continuous usage.

In box

Phonephiles value their smartphones more than anything, so give them an Otterbox ($34.95 and up) to keep it safe from drops and scratches. The best-known brand in cases for mobile phones and tablets offers a style for every taste and levels of protection that suit the user, from slim pocket-ready styles to heavy-duty styles that can take a beating. The Build Your Own Case series features a variety of shell and slip cover colors to choose from to create a distinctive case, or for a clean and crystal-clear look, the Symmetry Series offers a see-through Clear Case or a variety of designer patterns, limited edition styles and even holiday-themed designs.

Do you hear what I hear?

Audiophiles will hear holiday carols, and their favorite tunes, crystal clear with Audio-Tecnica’s ATH-CKR55BT ($99) in-ear headphones. Featuring newly designed 10.7 mm drivers and Bluetooth wireless technology, these tiny powerhouses deliver full-range audio with a built-in amplifier to enhance the audio’s depth and resolution. Designed for on-the-go listening, the stylish headphones, available in black or blue, feature a neckband with a conveniently located in-line mic and easy-access controls for answering calls, volume and music and video playback on compatible devices, plus a handy clip to attach to a shirt collar for secure, tension-free use.

All absorbing

Clean freaks will love to scrub with stylish and squeaky clean Skura Style sponges.  These cellulose wonders offer patented foam technology, an antimicrobial coating and a print-to-fade logo and subscription service that help take the guesswork out of sponge replacement. A four-pack of sponges is $12 per month.

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