All posts in “Gear”

The 15 Best Products We Saw at CES 2019

The 2019 edition of the world’s biggest technology trade show — the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — has come and gone. As we look back, there were a few themes that stood out. Televisions were a big hit this year; specifically, both Samsung and LG revealed their visions of the future. Apple also had a huge presence at this year’s show without actually being there; it announced partnerships with Samsung, LG, Sony and Vizio – smart TVs from those brands will support HomeKit and AirPlay 2 (and they even trolled Google with a huge billboard about privacy). And, as expected, Google Assistant and Alexa smart assistants were everywhere and integrated into everything.

Still, CES 2019 was all about its vast array of products in all different categories. From headphones to the home theater, smartwatches to hi-fi, cameras to gym accessories, it was all there. These are the 15 best products worthy of a Gear Patrol Award, which we awarded to the best products at the show. Some you can buy right now; some offer a glimpse into the future.

We were at CES 2019 and covered the show extensively. To see all our product coverage, not just our award winners, you can check that out: here.

Portable Power: Anker PowerCore+ 19000 PD Hybrid

The PowerCore+ 19000 PD is a high-capacity portable power bank that can charge a smartphone or laptop (or both at the same time). The neat thing, however, is that it also doubles as a USB-C hub that supports high-speed data transfer, so you can connect all your other devices — USB-C or otherwise — to your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

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Wireless Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-ANC900BT

In a trade show that seemed sparse on the headphone front, Audio-Technica noise-canceling headphones, which are designed to give Sony’s and Bose’s models a run for their money, definitely stood out. The ATH-ANC900BT’s support Bluetooth 5.0 and have an estimated 35-hour battery life with ANC turned on — which is huge. The other factor: at $300, they are also slightly cheaper than the competition.

Best In Show: LG Signature OLED TV R

There’s no denying it: LG’s beautiful new rollable OLED TV stole the show this year. Not only is it a great space saver, and not only does it deliver LG’s industry-leading picture quality in a form factor that we’ve never seen before, but it will be available to purchase this year.

Hi-Fi: Cambridge Audio Alva TT Turntable

Cambridge Audio’s newest turntable, the Alva TT, is a modern audiophile’s dream. It’s the world’s first vinyl player that can stream Bluetooth aptX HD, meaning it can stream 24-bit/48kHz audio to amps, speakers and headphones.

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Home Theater: Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar

The Ambeo Soundbar was announced as a prototype last year, but Sennheiser has polished the look, fuction and sound of it — and named a price. It’ll be available this spring. Essentially, it’s the coolest soundbar we’ve ever seen: a all-in-one 5.1.4 sound system that’s able to create its own virtual height channels and deliver a completely immersive experience.

Smart Home: Lenovo Smart Clock

Google and Lenovo teamed up at CES to announce a smart alarm clock — the Lenovo Smart Clock — that looks and feels like the Google Home Hub, only smaller and way more affordable. It’s designed to do neat smart clock-y things, like set alarms and help you wake up – the screen gradually brightens up before your alarm goes off (the Pixel 3 and its wireless charging dock can do pretty much the same thing). It’s a simple, practical device that many people inside Google’s smart home ecosystem will use.

Camera Peripheral: Ring Door View Camera

Smart home devices were everywhere at CES 2019, but the Ring Door View Camera is unique. It’s a smart doorbell similar to others of its ilk — able to alert you when someone is, or has been, at your door — but it distinguishes itself with a smart peephole. I can’t remember ever seeing a smart doorbell that’s as apartment-, dorm- and condo-friendly as this one.

Televisions (Budget): Vizio 2019 M-Series

Vizio announced its 2019 lineup of 4K HDR smart TVs at CES and, like last year, they’re poised to be some of the best non-OLED 4K TVs you’ll be able to buy. The entire lineup will support AirPlay 2 and HomeKit, which is new. And while the company’s high-end P-Series Quantum and P-Series Quantum X were headliners, as a budget-conscious shopper I was equally if not more impressed with its new mid-range M-Series. It remians the same price as last year’s M-Series, but adopts the Quantum Color technology — meaning it will deliver much more vivid colors — that was previously only available in Vizio’s really high-end TVs.

Wearables: Withings Move ECG

The Withings Move ECG is the first smartwatch (other than the Apple Watch Series 4) we’ve seen that has an ECG sensor. It offers a bunch of health and fitness features that you’d expect in a premium smartwatch, but the ECG makes this the Series 4’s new main competition on the health front.

Home and Office: Samsung Space Monitor

The Samsung Space Monitor is designed to save you desk space and, ultimately, help you stay more organized and generally more productive. The base is more of a clamp that grabs hold of the side of the desk. It has a moveable arm that can rest the monitor flush up against the wall; this way you can even move the monitor out of the way and do non-desktop work in the same area.

Laptops: Huawei MateBook 13

In terms of lightweight laptops, the real eye-catcher was Huawei’s MateBook 13. It’s thinner than the new MacBook Air and combines many of the features from the company’s high-end MateBook X Pro, such as performance and battery life, in a more portable, cheaper package. It can also be upgraded with a Nvidia graphics card, which should grab the attention of those who also want to play video games on this machine.

Televisions (Future Technology): Samsung 75-inch MicroLED TV

MicroLED is Samsung’s TV technology that’s meant to produce colors, brightness and contrast just as well as (or even better than) OLED TVs. MicroLEDs are based on a modular design, so theoretically they can be made as big or small as you’d like, as the company showed off last year with 146-inch The Wall TV. Now they’re bringing the tech into a more consumer-friendly 75-inch TV. If anything, it offers another glimpse into what TVs of the future can and will look like.

Tablets: Lenovo Smart Tab

The Lenovo Smart Tab is basically a reimagining of Amazon’s Echo Show. It’s designed to be a tablet first, but when it’s not being used, it sits upright on the speaker stand and can be used as an Alexa-enabled smart display. If you’re watching a show or movie in tablet mode, you can put it back into the base station and it’ll continue playing without missing a beat – only with better sound, thanks to the base’s Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers.

Fitness: JAXJOX Kettlebell Connect

The Kettlebell Connect is a smart kettlebell that can do the work of six kettlebells. Within its companion app, you can select the weight of the kettlebell in a matter of seconds. The app controls internal weights, from 12 to 42 pounds, that are added and removed appropriately in a matter of seconds. The app also keeps tracks of reps and your movement. For anybody with a home gym, this is a great space saver.

Televisions (Home Entertainment): Panasonic GZ2000 OLED

There’s no denying that TVs were one of the star attractions at this year’s show – the Panasonic GZ2000 definitely stands out. Even in a crowded field, this beautiful OLED TV just feels different. That’s because GZ2000 is the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers, meaning it’s able to deliver a way more immersive experience. It’s an especially intriguing value proposition for those who don’t feel like spending another chunk of change on a soundbar.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 By RK Motors

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was a blast for automotive fans as several big announcements and unveilings graced the venue. We’ve seen the first production model of the 2020 Toyota Supra sell for $2.1 million at the auction block. Another big surprise was the announcement from Subaru regarding the STI S209’s release in the USA, albeit in very limited numbers. Meanwhile, muscle car enthusiasts were in awe when the 2020 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 Coupe took center stage. Now, another pony car project is ready to knock their socks off with the 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 from RK Motors.

Back in the day, you can soup up your 1970 Mustang to get up to 335 horsepower through a 7.0-liter V8 upgrade. What makes this special modification so special is the insane number of horses the shop fits into the ride. We’re talking about a vintage machine that can output up to 912 horsepower as tested on a dyno.

This is possible through a Jon Kasse 9.8-liter racing engine and 4-speed Hughes Performance automatic transmission. To keep all that power in check, Wilwood disc brakes sit on the wheels. Upgraded suspension systems likewise offer superior handling. Moreover, unlike other mods, the air conditioning unit does not get the chopping block treatment.

Just recently, another vehicle from the blue oval also got a similar treatment. It’s a 2005 Ford GT that got a 2,000-horsepower upgrade from Heffner Performance. These are certainly impressive upgrades that sure to make even the most powerful hypercars shake in their boots. This 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 by RK Motors is the second ride we’ve seen that received a big boost. If you have a spare $139,900 just lying around, you can make it your own now.

Images courtesy of RK Motors

Only From RK Motors

H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black

It’s easy to mistake the new H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black for a smartwatch. From afar, it looks like an Apple Watch. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll immediately notice that it has a rather odd design. We are talking about the absence of a dial along with the minute and hour hands. We’ve seen avant-garde models from various watchmakers, but this one certainly caught our attention. A minimalistic approach with remarkable elegance is the company’s signature, but maybe it needs to dial it back a little.

As you can observe, there is no means to tell the time visually. There is no secret window or special tech that hides the dial and hands. Basically, the only thing visible up front is the intricate one-minute flying tourbillon at the 6 o’clock position. We know that this seems like a big step in the wrong direction, but there’s a nifty little gimmick. In order to find out the time, you need to rely on your hearing.

This seems like an entirely new approach, but the technology was widely used back then. We’re talking about minute repeaters, which was an essential timekeeping feature in the past. When the use of electricity was still limited and it was too dark to see, the practical solution was sound.

This makes the H. Moser & Cie Swiss Alp Watch Concept Black a one-of-a-kind timepiece. It runs on a manual HMC 901 movement. Adjustments can be made using the crown that only shows the graduations when it’s pulled out. The transparent window on its case back gives you a glimpse of its finely-crafted complications.

Images courtesy of H. Moser & Cie

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First Ever 2020 Toyota Supra Sells For $2.1 Million During Auction

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the perfect venue for carmakers to showcase their latest catalog. The annual expo even witnessed several surprise announcements. Awesome rides such as the 202 Ford Mustang Shelby Shelby GT500 Coupe and the limited edition Subaru STI S209 made a splash. However, we think that after a lengthy absence from the scene, the debut of the 2020 Toyota Supra was outstanding.

Its been a long time since the Japanese automaker’s fourth-generation Supra, which makes it a perfect time for a new one. Therefore, its return is a welcome sight for enthusiasts who are ready to mess around with the new machine. What made its official unveiling even more remarkable was the auction of its first-ever production model. The base configuration reportedly starts at around $50,000. Nevertheless, this one was sold for a jaw-dropping $2.1 million courtesy of the Barrett-Jackson auction house.

All proceeds from the sale will apparently go to charity, namely the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the American Heart Association. This means that the first-ever 2020 Toyota Supra with VIN 20201 is now making its way to its anonymous buyer. Equally important, this version sports a unique look, which includes red side mirrors, matte black wheels, and a matte gray exterior coat. Meanwhile, the interior will a black and red color scheme, while the signature of Akio Toyoda, the company CEO, is visible on the engine cover.

The 2020 Toyota Supra produces 335 horsepower and 365 pound-feet of torque through a 3.0-liter straight-six engine. An eight-speed automatic transmission directs all of that power to its rear wheels. Dealerships should have it in their showrooms later this summer.

2020 Toyota Supra

Can CBD Improve Your Athletic Performance?

Every decade has its drug. They are just as distinct as the music, fashion and cinema that we associate with different eras; often, they even come from the same roots. The 80s gave us Reaganomics, Izod shirts with the collars popped, and U2. It’s hard to imagine much of this wasn’t fueled by untold quantities of cocaine. The 90s gave us house and acid music, shiny neon tracksuits, and a concoction of acronyms such as MDMA, which made that all seem somehow acceptable. Today, it seems very few of us are raving. Given the rise of the gig economy, the decline of political discourse, and the unabashed embrace of flannel and check shirts, it’s no surprise that the signature drug of this decade is one that promises a good night’s sleep, an end to lower back pain and a little help controlling the existential angst that rises up for most of us every time we read the news.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the hip drug right now with sales poised to hit $1 billion by 2020. Chances are you’re either using it already, or you’ve heard of it online or from your friend at the gym who won’t shut up about the amazing healing powers of hemp. Sure, CBD is a cannabis-derived compound, but unlike the joints you sneaked into college dorms, it won’t get you high. What it claims to do is just about everything else. From anxiety to arthritis via insomnia and indigestion, CBD has become a go-to for athletes, aging people and just about anyone who finds themselves frustrated with chronic conditions. Cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive compound that is found in the hemp plant as well as the marijuana plant. When you consume marijuana as a whole plant, the CBD is accompanied by other cannabinoids and terpenes including its psychotropic cousin ?9-tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC — that’s the one that gets you high. When you use CBD alone, you don’t feel high. But if you believe what you read on the internet, you might feel and perform better.

For decades, people have been using weed as a way to treat conditions ranging from headaches to epilepsy. For many people, cannabis was a safer alternative to opiate pain relief or the only way to cope with a painful and distressing condition. It turns out that, in many cases, it was the CBD that was helping and the THC — and its associated high — wasn’t necessary. Ironically, it wasn’t really until recreational cannabis made leaps towards legalization in many states that the medicinal use of CBD really caught on.

Understandably, there is a lot of caution and confusion around what CBD is, how it can be used medically and if it can be used legally. Research is rushing to catch up with the way people use CBD as, for decades, studies on cannabis and its derivatives was virtually impossible due to the fact that the federal government considers it a schedule one drug — the same category as heroin and, bizarrely, one degree more illegal than meth. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines schedule one drugs as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” So CBD is illegal? Not exactly. The FDA approved Epidiolex, a CBD medication for epilepsy, in June. The DEA classified that product as schedule 5, meaning it had the lowest potential for abuse. Confused yet?

Things are about to get better. A farm bill passed by the Senate in December 2018 makes hemp and its derivatives legal federally, which means that CBD from hemp plants can be purchased, shipped and used anywhere in the US. CBD derived from the cannabis plant, or anything with above 0.3% THC, remains technically illegal federally but might be legal on a state level. With hemp freely available and more and more states moving towards legalization of recreational cannabis, CBD is poised to become the aspirin of the new millennium. Given how much hype there is around CBD, it seems about time to work out if it belongs in the gym bag, medicine cabinet or in that little box you keep hidden in your dresser drawer as if your mum is going to bust you for smoking weed — even though you don’t live with her anymore.

Photo: Flora Folium

What’s it for?

Joshua Kaplan, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at Western Washington University and specializes in neurophysiology and neuropharmacology. He’s not the sort of guy many people would associate with weed, but CBD is fast moving away from the stoner stereotype. Kaplan told us that, while some of the claims being made about CBD lack rigorous testing, there is plenty of hard science to show that CBD can help with pain and inflammation. We know that CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates everything from mood to memory, but research on how we can use that interaction is just beginning. “Perhaps the most well-studied medicinal use of CBD is in treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy,” Kaplan told us. Studies have also shown benefits in patients with generalized anxiety and psychosis and evidence suggests it might even help in treating opioid addiction and breast cancer. The World Health Organization lists transplant acceptance and schizophrenia as other research-proven uses. CBD interacts with the brain’s serotonin and vanilloid receptors, the same receptors that are involved in the action of anti-depressants and pepper spray respectively. Beyond this, there is a lot of work to be done on the way CBD interacts with the body and how that can be used to treat a variety of conditions. There are at least 20 clinical trials underway in the US right now to determine CBD’s utility in treating everything from brain trauma to back pain.

Much of the use of CBD is not yet backed up by research. As with all crazes, some of this will melt away and some will stick around. Despite its rapid surge in popularity, it’s fair to say that CBD isn’t likely to be the Pokémon Go of medications. For one thing, its impact has been felt across a much broader range of society. Missy Bradley, co-founder and brand director of Stillwater Foods, a company making cannabis products in Colorado, told us that CBD products are used by representative samples of the population across age and gender. The AARP website confirms that aging baby-boomers aren’t as averse as previous generations to using the more natural approach to treating arthritis (there is promising evidence to support that CBD can treat arthritis in rats).

Kaplan counsels that not all of these benefits come from the same dosage or application of CBD. Does as high as 600mg are being used in trials with epilepsy while most over the counter doses range from 10-50mg. There’s also what Kaplan called a “u shaped curve” in some conditions, such as anxiety where some CBD helps the condition, but more might make it worse. There are also worries about the interaction of CBD with other medications, especially if users take it without informing their doctors. One Reddit user noted his hands shook when he combined Zoloft with CBD. This is where research comes in. For now, most users will be financially limited in the doses they can take as a 50mg dose of high-quality hemp CBD costs about $2.67, making that 600mg dose about $31. However, as supply increases, we can expect this price to drop.

How do I get it?

CBD is as popular now as Bitcoin was a year ago. It’s in everything from bath bombs to body rubs to (obviously) bongs. Indeed, the perceived medical benefits of CBD might soon outweigh the psychoactive effects of THC and claim the majority of the cannabis product market. This is a problem for growers as, up until the late 1990s, cannabis was grown more or less exclusively to get people high and thus the plant was selectively bred to obtain as much THC as possible. The difficulty of getting CBD in large quantities from marijuana plants, along with the new farm bill, means much of the current crop of CBD products are derived from hemp, making them legal in all 50 states. You can go online and order yourself a bottle right now.

But, unless that’s your only option, it might not be the best choice. The issue with hemp-derived CBD products is that there may be some benefit to consuming CBD in combination with THC and other terpenes. Kaplan called this the “entourage effect” and noted that there is a lot of theoretical evidence for it, but the complexity of regulation around cannabis studies involving THC has made it hard for clinical trials to take place. Although this is still an area that needs research, Kaplan notes that there may be other benefits to picking cannabis-derived CBD products where they are sold. “In states with legal cannabis, any product derived from the cannabis, such as cannabis-derived CBD, must be tested for content accuracy and pesticides. Since proper dosing is a critical element of effective CBD use, it’s important to know that you’re consuming how much you think you’re consuming.” Hemp-derived products are not regulated in this way. In fact, research in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 69 percent of CBD products tested didn’t have the same amount of the active ingredient as stated on the label. There are also concerns about pesticide toxicity, as pesticide use is regulated in cannabis, not hemp. However, if you are not in a cannabis-legal state, don’t despair. Kaplan still believes that “the overwhelming therapeutic benefits stem from CBD itself” and there are several companies selling organic hemp-derived CBD which should alleviate pesticide concerns.

Most CBD products use CO2 extraction to produce pure CBD from hemp or cannabis. This CBD is then packaged for delivery as a tincture, vaporizer, capsule or salve. A few are growing high-CBD strains and making them into lower-THC joints, edibles, or whole-plant balms. Each of these products has benefits and, depending on the end use, each of them might be part of your medicine stash.

Topical applications, such as creams and salves, might lack a whole-body impact, but they allow users to target specific pain and benefit from the entourage effect of combining CBD and THC without the psychoactivity. Oral products such as tinctures and capsules take longer to work, but allow for a more precise dosing than creams, with capsules allowing for the highest degree of precision. The fastest acting method of delivery is vaping, which acts almost instantly and allows users to take CBD until they get the desired effect, but it can be less precise and it’s not something everyone wants to do, especially if they are taking CBD to boost their athletic performance.

Whatever you take, you’ll need to experiment a little with dosage to find what works for you. CBD isn’t a miracle cure, and it needs to concentrate over time, so lower dosages might seem to be doing nothing at first but over time could lead to a reduction in chronic symptoms.

Will it improve my fitness?

In 2018, the World Anti-Doping Association stopped considering CBD a prohibited substance, meaning that athletes could begin experimenting with its performance-enhancing potential. For athletes, the benefits of CBD are more subtle than in people living with a condition like epilepsy and there is a lot of research to be done before we can work out how, and how much, CBD can help. This doesn’t mean that many athletes have not embraced the trendy supplement in an attempt to get the edge on their competition before CBD becomes as common as caffeine in the athletes’ arsenal of ergogenic plant-derived substances. CBD seems to be the most effective cannabinoid in treating pain and inflammation, and it doesn’t take a Ph.D. neuroscientist to work out that those are both things athletes would like to get rid of.

Whether CBD actually will boost your performance is up for debate. Certainly, it’s not something that everyone should swallow a handful of before exercise, but if inflammation, pain or anxiety are limiting performance, then CBD can likely help in overcoming that bottleneck. CBD seems to be most promising as a supplement for athletes recovering from injury. What it won’t do is help you if you’re not inflamed or injured; the World Anti-Doping Association stated that “there is no direct evidence of performance-enhancing benefits.” Bradley, an athlete herself, sees CBD as a sort of natural alternative to over-the-counter pain and inflammation medications today, saying, “We really see the budding interest in CBD slotting in with the larger trend in consumer preferences toward natural, plant-based ingredients that help us feel better.” But she also notes that, as she is free of injury or chronic pain, she hasn’t used CBD that much herself.

Kaplan also told us that there’s also a suggestion that the same anti-inflammatory properties of CBD could help in reducing the severity of traumatic brain injuries, the kind that you’ve read about in NFL players. Just having the CBD on board at the time of injury might help reduce the severity of the injury. This idea is supported by a recent article in the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine which suggested that whole-plant cannabis use was common in high-risk sports, and that it might have some benefit in pain and concussion treatment. Studies into this are ongoing, but it’s possible that in a few years athletes might be dosing up on CBD tinctures before a game or maybe following Nate Diaz’s lead and vaping after UFC fights.

In an informal Twitter poll, I found half a dozen professional and amateur athletes who are habitual CBD users. These weren’t your stereotypical stoner snowboard types who seem to be identified in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine article — they were mostly athletes in their 30s or older that tried CBD as a way to boost recovery. Only one of them used weed recreationally. All the athletes in my (admittedly biased) sample felt that CBD had helped with recovery from injury and training, and most used topical applications on problem areas. Several mentioned that it had helped them avoid opiate pain medications or that they had stopped using NSAIDs chronically after beginning with CBD. About 1/3 of people use NSAIDs and athletes tend to self-administer them in the belief that they enhance performance (they don’t). NSAIDs have side effects that include an increased risk of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular disease and so replacing these with CBD, which doesn’t seem to have the undesirable side effects, is a health benefit in itself.

Much like the athletes mistakenly throwing back the ibuprofen pills at the start of their events, people taking CBD under the impression that it is some kind of wonder drug that prevents pain entirely are going to be disappointed. CBD is not going to stop it hurting when you push your body, and you wouldn’t want it to anyway. Studies show that you need to feel pain to pace your efforts. I spoke to one CBD brand who had sent samples to a pro athlete (whom they asked me not to name) who said he had felt no difference when using the product. When they asked him what he took it for, he didn’t know.

Photo: Floyd’s of Leadville

Some brands, like Floyd’s of Leadville — owned by former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis — tout the benefits of CBD consumption during exercise, but there’s no research to support this yet. Kaplan suggested that there might be a benefit from anti-inflammatory properties in CBD during prolonged exercise, but the major benefits will come in treating injury and enhancing rest and recovery. This might sound minor, but recovering better means training more, and training more means getting faster, stronger, leaner and more skillful. Everything from protein shakes to HGH is, in short, a way to recover better. I’m not saying vaping is going to have the same effect as doping, or that you’ll be switching your protein shake with a CBD gummy, but as part of a recovery regimen, CBD could help achieve your exercise goals.

As more research is published, we’ll know more about how and when to use CBD. But, thanks to the incredibly convoluted legal issues around cannabis, the combination of CBD with THC and the promising potential of other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), it is unlikely to be something we see much research on in the US for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, CBD isn’t that expensive or dangerous, so you’ll likely be hearing a lot more from your chatty friend at the gym.

Buying Guide

In the spirit of n=1 experimentation, I tried a whole-leaf cannabis balm for my back (which has been making me pretty miserable the last few months). I figured the balm would let me target the back pain and combining CBD and THC with other terpenes would let me benefit from the entourage effect without getting baked. The balm I used, from Flora Folium in California, was derived from whole leaf cannabis and I certainly felt a little less after long bike rides once I had been using it for a few days. Despite using generous doses of the balm before bed and in the morning before workouts, I never felt high — I didn’t really feel much at all other than a slight tingle and, on reflection, several weeks without any flare-ups in my back pain.

I also tried a CBD tincture and a CBD-THC vape pen before bed. I used these as part of a general attempt to improve sleep hygiene and certainly felt more rested. It’s not the most scientific of trials, but during the 6 weeks that I was using CBD as a tincture, vape or balm I didn’t take a single Advil or have any trouble sleeping. It might be coincidental, but given the lack of side effects, it seems like there is little downside to trying your own CBD experiment with some of the products I found useful.

Dosist Calm

Kaplan recommended these pens as they contain a very precise dose of CBD in combination with a little THC and some accessory cannabinoids. The pen looks discreet and dispenses a lab-tested 2.25mg dose with each three-second hit. I used it before bed and did notice I slept well, but the first few hits from the pen were pretty acrid. Using the pen before bed helped me sleep, but I can’t see myself bringing one along on bike rides or hikes any time soon.

Dosist producets are currently only available in California and Florida.

Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Isolate Softgel

Former Pro cyclists Floyd Landis and Dave Zabriskie know a thing or two about pain. Landis was using cannabis to treat pain from a hip resurfacing in 2006 until he discovered CBD. These days, he The softgels are part of a product line that is hemp-derived and organic — this means it is 50-state legal and doesn’t have some of the pesticide concerns associated with non-organic hemp. At 50mg per pill, they pack a much more significant dose than many of the CBD products on the market. The isolate gels contain no THC, which means that even if your employer or WADA might drug test you, you’ll be safe. There’s also a full-spectrum line with trace amounts of THC for those of us who don’t have to worry about such things.

Flora Folium Balm

Made from whole-leaf CBD-rich cannabis that is grown and processed on an organic farm in California, this product sounds like something you might pick up from your local food co-op. But, thanks to rigorous testing demanded by the state of California and the combination of CBD, THC and other terpenes as well as herbal ingredients, there’s plenty of research-backed evidence for this topical rub. I used it every day for a month, and of all the products I tested, it was this one that I would turn to again to treat back pain and injury.

Wallor 2.0 Smart Wallet

When you lose your wallet, you also lose its valuable contents such as credit cards, IDs, keys, and even your passport.  It’s situations like this that we need a wallet that offers more than just storage space, just like the Wallor 2.0 Smart Wallet.

This EDC is an upgraded version of the original Wallor wallet. It has a global GPS tracking system that helps you keep tabs of your wallet no matter where in the world it is. The GPS comes in the form of a durable tag that’s thin enough to slip through your wallet.  It connects to your phone using Bluetooth 5.0 and provides real-time alerts and directions through a companion app whenever your wallet moves away from you. It offers AR technology to help you find misplaced or lost items easily. Simply scan the area for a quick search.

This smart wallet also serves as a phone finder. A touch on the tag helps you find your phone in seconds. Best of all, the tag works with any items of value that you don’t want to lose including luggage, bag, and more.

Moreover, this innovative product functions as a portable power supply. It provides fast charging for any Qi-enabled devices and the wallet’s battery life itself lasts up to 30 days.

As for organization, the Wallor 2.0 comes in four types: the bifold vertical and horizontal, the travel wallet, and cardholder split wallet. The number of card slots varies depending on the type but each wallet is equipped with an RFID blocking technology to protect your information from data swiping.

Grab Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of Wallor Wearables

How to Get Outside More When You Live In a City

You did it! You moved to a mountain town and, dismal odds be damned, you not only found yourself a home with a reasonable monthly rent but also a job that doesn’t start and end with the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. The only delays in your commute are those caused by deer in the road, the only sound waking you up at night is the scurrying of mice between the walls. You do not have to move your car from one side of the street to the other every night because you have a driveway. You do not have to wait in line at the grocery store because the farmer’s market (year-round!) takes place in the local park. Succeeding in a mountain town would be hard, they warned, but you made it; life is good.

I did not make it. My relatively short time living in a mountain paradise that might’ve been Eden, Avalon or Shangri-La was defined by too many roommates and not enough rooms (four of us, two bedrooms), and too many jobs but not enough consistency (zero to four, depending on the time of year).

In the beginning, this was all part of the plan. I was there to ski, to hike, to explore; work was just a means to an end, a necessary arm of a full-bodied lifestyle. But after two years that feeling of temporality began to wear off, and was replaced by a rooted and budding notion that “this was life” and that, unless I became one of its active participants, the seasons would be the only thing to change from year to year. My attempts at leveraging minimal experience to land full-time work in a place where job relocation is actually desirable were met with a failure shadowed over by an empty email inbox — “we cannot respond to all applicants.”

So I retreated: thirty-four hours from one side of the country to the other. When I revealed to those close to me that I would be relocating to New York City, I was met with incredulous laughter. “Well that’ll never work!” they said. But I was determined to see through this experiment in city life — I had once spent 77 consecutive nights sleeping in a tent, I would be able to survive at least that many in a tiny apartment.

And I have. My tenure in the city recently surpassed the time I spent living in the mountains of Wyoming. Nobody believed that I would do this or that I could do this. The change was undoubtedly jarring but not entirely uncomfortable, particularly once I realized that, with a slight adjustment in approach and an imaginative outlook, I could preserve many of the aspects of my bucolic lifestyle. Here are four guidances to help you, if you’ve recently found yourself in a similar situation, to do the same.

GoPro HERO7 Black

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Cameras don’t come much more powerful, compact and rugged than the ones GoPro has pioneered. The latest model, the HERO7 Black, is GoPro’s most advanced camera yet. The development of HyperSmooth technology is a pivotal evolution of stabilization for these robust cameras — mimicking a gimbal grip, it essentially means the end of shaky video footage. Add in the signature waterproofness and durability and it’s easy to see why the HERO7 Black is the optimal camera for any on-the-go activity. Learn more here.

Embrace parks. Parks, however small or manicured, are still wild spaces. I once witnessed a red-tailed hawk kill and eat a pigeon in a park only the size of three city blocks located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan. Bigger parks might offer trail running or bouldering, and at the very least they’ll be an easy, midweek-friendly respite from the pace of the grid around them. Practice Shirin-yoku, the Japanese healing method of forest bathing — it works.

Take trips. In Wyoming, I often traveled hours to reach camping or hiking destinations, but for whatever reason, undertaking such a journey that originates in the city often seems like a more arduous adventure. Taking a trip doesn’t require that you venture too far — in New York there are trailheads that can be accessed directly by trains that depart from Grand Central Station while subways and buses will bring you to beaches. Many cities offer similar access.

Better yet, city airports will get you to far more destinations than the small town version, which will likely require awkward connections and will certainly be more expensive. (It was easier for me to get to Mt. Rainier from New York City than it would’ve been from Wyoming.)

Get a car. As an alternative to the public transport method above, you can always get yourself a vehicle. It will make planning trips near and far a more flexible process. Parking in cities will always be a hassle, and being able to escape a world of concrete at your whim will always be worth it. Or make friends with someone who has one and let them deal with that part.

Find your community. If you’re living in a city and longing for the mountains, you’re not alone. Outdoor enclaves exist in all places, and I’ve found that the passion for wild places is often inflamed by minimized access to them. Go to a gear store and find its events board, attend talks and film premiers. Join a run club or a climbing club or a hiking club. Use apps like Meetup or resources like Mappy Hour. You’ll be sure to connect with others that share your interests (and maybe one of them will have a car).

10 Outdoor Products All City Dwellers Should Own

By design, outdoor products are meant to bring the comforts of home into the wilderness in lightweight, durable and waterproof packages. But these qualities also make them perfect for daily urban life. Here are 10 items that translate easily between the mountains and the city. Read the Story

Volkswagen X Arctic Trucks Amarok AT35 Concept

When it comes to certain types of vehicles, each carmaker normally establishes a name via certain models. For example, when it comes to trucks, marques such as Ford and Chevrolet come to mind. However, these days, we can see the popularity of brands like Toyota and Nissan rival that of the American models. It’s not common to see European badges, but the Volkswagen X Arctic Trucks Amarok AT35 Concept is a welcome exception.

The Amarok, in its stock configuration, is already a very capable truck. It’s apparently built to go up against the Colorado, Tacoma, and Ranger. However, with upgrades from the folks at Arctic Trucks, it becomes an even bigger threat to the competition. Taking advantage of its expansive experience when it comes to rugged customization, owners can expect only the best. The shop specializes in taking existing 4WD vehicles and tweaking these machines for extreme exploration.

For this project, what you get are larger wheels, tires, and an additional ride height adjustment of 25mm. Additionally, in order to accommodate its bigger shoes, custom fender flares line each side of the truck. The bed also features a camper shell to protect your cargo and other equipment for your off-road trip. This specific model that we are talking about is designed for Iceland’s challenging climate. Therefore, it’s not a big surprise to learn that a cappuccino machine is on board to deliver your dose of caffeine.

For extra precaution, the Volkswagen X Arctic Trucks Amarok At35 Concept comes with a fire extinguisher and a portable power generator. This is just one of the many configurations you can request to make your all-wheel-drive machine even better.

Check Out Arctic Trucks For Details

Everything You Need to Meal Prep a Week’s Worth of Food

#MealPrep. #MealPrepSundays. #MealPrepping. These are all hashtags with millions of uses in the last month alone. What was once a niche chore for the frugal-minded has become a money-saving movement, complete with Instagram influencers, lifestyle bloggers and t-shirts made exclusively for meal preppers. That’s beacuse the simple task of pre-making lunch for the week ahead is a noble and purposeful use of two hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Luckily, you don’t need much to join the tribe. Here are eight things every meal prepper should have.

Silicone Muffin Pan

Behold, the muffin mold is your key to pre-making breakfast. From low-sugar bran muffins to miniature baked omelletes, the muffin mold is invaluable. This silicone one is perfect for popping out more delicate muffins that stick to metal trays.

Fridgely App

Becoming a meal prepper means knowing how to shop. You become something of a grocery hoarder, one completely unable to resist a good deal on boneless, skinless chicken breasts. That’s what the Fridgely app comes in. Scan your receipt and it logs what groceries you bought (and how much) into a list. From there, you can build recipes you make frequently and it automatically tells you what you’re missing. It even alerts you when your food is about to expire.

Moleskine Weekly Planner

The weekly planner is for folks who aren’t satisfied with the same recipes week after week. Scribble ideas for coming weeks, nutrition info and whatever motivational quotes needed to remain diligent.

Nordic Ware Aluminum Sheet Pans

What’s the least taxing way to cook a lot of food at once? Throw it on a sheet pan and into the oven. Nordic Ware’s aluminum sheet pans are heavier and twice as thick as your typical pans. This means they don’t warp and bend at the whims of your hot oven. They also have much higher walls, so oils and juices don’t spill over and burn into the base of your oven.

Escali Kitchen Scale

Second only to building a healthier budget, diet control is a huge plus of jumping on the meal-prep bandwagon. Whether you’re bulking or trying to drop a waist size, a kitchen scale is of paramount importance to portioning and a consistent diet. This one is accurate to 0.05 ounces.

Anchor Hocking Jars

One of the limits of making meals to eat days later is the inability to keep the sauce, dressing or gravy in the same container as the food (it’ll get very soggy), which is precisely why you need these tiny jars. Whatever sauce or salad dressing you would’ve soaked your lunch with can go in one of these, then shaken back to life when it’s time to eat. It’s also the perfect carrier for overnight oats, another meal prep favorite.

OXO Good Grips Smart Seal Food Storage

OXO’s glass food storage is pricier than your usual plastic stuff, but it’s worth a little extra if you’re bringing lunch to work every day. The four-point seal is a hell of a lot tighter than the flimsy stuff you’re used to, and the glass body won’t bend, brake or melt when warmed up in the microwave (or oven).

Material Kitchen Angled Cutting Board

A final but essential piece of gear: a cutting board that’s up for anything. This one features an angled edge to more easily swipe chopped veggies from board to pan. Flip it over and you’ve got a carving board with extra-deep grooves to catch juices from roasts and the like. It doesn’t hurt that it looks great in a kitchen.

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

VDG Fitness Bike

Whether you frequent the gym or workout at home, a few minutes of daily exercise does wonders to the body and mind regardless of the type of exercise. It’s common though to hit the bike or treadmill for a cardio boost and the VDG Fitness Bike is one equipment you would want to try your hands on.

This high-end home or gym exercise equipment boasts a futuristic appeal. It has a split frame design inspired by outdoor bikes and crafted for durability and stability. Its high-strength frame is of carbon steel, which makes this bike weigh a whopping 340 pounds.

Regardless, the VDG Fitness Bike boasts features not found in any of its kind. It has built-in sensors that collect a wide range of fitness metrics, which are easily customizable using a companion iOS application. This equipment uses a precisely calibrated and powerful innovative magnetic resistance system for comfort and freedom of movement. It gives the rider ultra-responsive and intuitive control over the bike.

Moreover, its frame can be fitted with a chain. It has an integrated accessory holder that can accommodate a water bottle of any size and weight.  This exercise bike also produces minimal noise thanks to its belt drive and its color, seat, pedals, and handlebars are customizable according to the user’s preference.

Get Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of Villency

Dango DO1 Dapper Wallet

An important factor to consider when choosing a quality wallet apart from its design is its versatility and functionality. Most men’s wallets excel in function but rarely in beauty  The Dango DO1 Dapper Wallet, on the other hand, excels in both areas.

This everyday carry uses clean lines and contrasting materials to achieve its sophisticated appearance. It has a rugged yet stylish appeal thanks to the mil-spec bolts that secure the top grain leather to the chassis.

Likewise, the Dango DO1 Dapper wallet has a slim profile yet it boasts a high-capacity three-pocket bifold leather for multiple card storage. It can hold up to 12 cards, 4 in each pocket. It has a built-in RFID blocking technology to prevent wireless data swiping.

This robust EDC also has a built-in bottle opener and a silicon strap that holds the wallet together. The strap doubles as a cash strap. Meanwhile, its compatibility with the MT02 Multi-tool easily converts this bifold into a  tactical wallet, which is handy for those unexpected fixes.

The DO1 Dapper Wallet is made from 6061 aerospace grade CNC’d aluminum. It’s light on the hands and in the pocket. It weighs just over 2 ounces and comes in a variety of colors. This Dango wallet is also TSA-compliant so you can take it with you on your travels.

Get Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of Dango

BiSaddle ShapeShifter 2019

One of the important factors to consider when choosing a good quality bicycle is a comfortable seat. After all, you have to sit on it the entire time. The problem though with bike seats is that they are rarely customizable to your desired comfort because it only occupies a few inches of space on the bike.

Luckily, there’s a bike saddle that caters to everybody, regardless of shape and riding style. The patented BiSaddle Shapeshifter 2019 fits perfectly with any bike. As its name suggests, this seat shapeshifts to provide you with a comfortable riding experience.

Its split-saddle design offers front and rear width adjustment of up to 200 mm from 40mm. It fits sit-bones from 100-165mm wide when measured center-to-center.  The saddle also allows angle and profile change so it can fit any body shape, riding position, and riding style. The left and right BiSaddle can even be adjusted separately for custom comfort.

The BiSaddle ShapeShifter 2019 eliminates the pain, numbness, genital injury, body sores, and general discomfort that usually come with a seat that is not fitted correctly to each unique body type. Best of all, this bike seat adjusts without hassle so you can easily custom fit it if your bike has different riders. 

Get Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of BiSaddle

Why These Ugly, Non-Waterproof Pants are the Pinnacle of Outdoor Gear

When I was eighteen years old, I convinced my father that instead of going to college after graduating high school I should go to New Zealand to trek, climb mountains and whitewater canoe with the National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS. “I can earn an entire semester’s worth of college credit, like studying abroad!” I told him. My ploy succeeded, and that autumn while my friends moved into ivory tower dorm rooms I relocated to a red Hilleberg tent in the land of the long white cloud.

NOLS was founded in Wyoming in 1965. It is to wilderness living what Harvard is to academia. It teaches students about leadership through activities like mountaineering, sea kayaking, rock climbing and more. Its campus is the rivers, mountains, and deserts of the world. The curriculum is broad and all-encompassing — on my trip, I learned how to self-rescue out of a crevasse and how to make homemade cinnamon rolls from scratch.

Every NOLS trip comes with an exhaustive gear list that the school has fine-tuned over its fifty-plus years of operation. On that list are items you’d expect — an expedition pack, a sleeping bag, hiking socks — and one item even backcountry veterans might not anticipate: wind pants.

Wind pants aren’t entirely common among outdoor brands, but students need not worry because NOLS makes its own. The wind pants go back to the school’s founding in the 1960s, and they haven’t changed much since then. “At the time that the school started, there wasn’t much outdoor gear available,” says Rich Brame, an instructor and Director of Alumni Relations at NOLS. “It was primarily military surplus gear, so everything was canvas, leather and wool.” Outdoor companies didn’t exist yet, so the school’s founder, Paul Petzoldt, and his team were left to sew and experiment to provide for their students. “NOLS really helped create some of the first outdoor gear,” says Brame, and it was doing so at the same time that Yvon Chouinard was just starting to produce the climbing hardware and clothing that lead to the empire of Patagonia. One of Petzoldt and company’s biggest contributions to the outdoor industry in terms of gear was an early version of the lightweight insulated jacket, built using a lofty material made by DuPont called Dacron that’s now been phased out of outdoor equipment. And of course, there were the wind pants.

“NOLS really helped create some of the first outdoor gear.”

Not to be confused with rain pants, which are waterproof, wind pants are a lightweight, breathable outer layer that provides protection from wind and debris along with a bit of warmth. “On most hiking trips all you need for your lower body are a pair of nylon shorts, a pair of polyester long underwear bottoms or tights, and a pair of wind pants,” writes Mark Harvey in The National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness Guide. Packing wind pants might seem superfluous — I certainly thought so — especially when they won’t protect the wearer from getting wet, but NOLS insists on adding them to the gear list for almost every course it operates. They are straightforward and functional. They have a cinching drawcord waist. There are elastic cuffs at the ankles and zippers running up the legs past the knee so that they can be put on easily over a pair of hiking boots. As far as features go, that’s pretty much the story. But this simplicity is one of the pants’ most potent elements.

Photo: Thomas Conor Kensok

Stylistically speaking, NOLS’ wind pants are the antithesis of sexy. They’re dark green, overlarge and baggy with big blocky patches on the knees and seat, and an XL cargo pocket on the left leg. In fact, they’re downright ugly. And yet, they’ve become iconic. There are Facebook groups dedicated to the wind pants; one pair was even brought into space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. They’re wonderfully basic, and yet they’re the ultimate in expedition gear.

“They just function so incredibly well,” says Brame. “They’re light, they’re cheap, they’re rugged, they’re bugproof, sunproof, windproof — it just checks off all the boxes.” They’re also very repairable, and since sleek looks are already out of the equation, patches can be worn as badges of honor and proof of past adventures.

Photo: Ella Bruijn

In a way, the wind pants reflect the NOLS ethos toward gear — function over form, longevity over waste. They also serve as an enduring icon of outdoor gear history — their history proves that new doesn’t always mean better. “We knew we needed our students, in these extreme environments, to be comfortable and safe,” says Brame. “We needed gear that could help them do that, and when we couldn’t find it, we made it. It’s been an enduring item ever since.”

Addict Clothes Sheepskin Highwayman Jacket

The urban jungle turns into a runway for the fashionable come Winter time, but it is also necessary to find a wearable that keeps us warm and dry. Japan’s Addict Clothes only has the comfort of people in mind in the coming cold days so the company is releasing the Sheepskin Highwayman Jacket, a new version of its vintage double-breasted jacket.

This classic American-inspired wearable brings back the iconic James Dean look and is a flashback to John Travolta’s staple wear in Greece. The epaulets on both shoulders and the well-defined, polished zippers give it a stylishly roguish appeal. The belt loops on the front and the buckled waist belt likewise add to the 1950s look.

What makes this motorcycle jacket perfect to wear in freezing temperatures is its construction. It is made out of soft sheepskin leather with a Moulton collar that warms and protects the neck from the biting cold.  The Moulton collar is also removable so the jacket can be worn without it on days when it is not so cold.

The Addict Clothes Sheepskin Highwayman Jacket comes with a dark black finish. However, over time the color fades to reveal its brown core. The use of authentic leather means the jacket eventually produces its own sheen and color depending on usage and weather exposure.

Get Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of Addict Clothes

Western Rise Airloft Quilted Jacket

The Western Rise Airloft Quilted Jacket features a classic look but outfitted with features that make it ideal to wear on days when you want to stay warm and comfortable. It is optimized for cool-weather activity so you stay dry and insulated.

This sleek wearable uses Toray 60g 3DeFX+® hollow-core, 4-way stretch insulation that’s not only loftier and warmer than synthetic insulation. It also moves with you. This fiber technology allows freedom of movement and breathability. This makes the Airloft ideal to wear alone or as an insulation layer. Likewise, the 75 degree-articulated sleeves add mobility and range of motion.

This jacket is designed to keep you dry with its exterior fabric that’s coated with stain, weather, and water resistant C6 DWR. Its quick-dry feature keeps you comfortable in any weather condition.  

As with traditional jackets, the Airloft Quilted Jacket also features pockets to hold items while on the go. It has double chest pockets, a hidden interior pocket for your smartphone, and double pockets to keep your hands warm 

This wearable offers portability and convenience in storage. You can fold it down into its own pocket. The hand pockets double as a packable stuff sack. The Western Rise Airloft Quilted Jacket comes in two colors: black and olive. 

Get Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of Western Rise

The 25 Best Things to Buy from IKEA

Most people probably don’t want to think about how many hours they’re spent trying (and failing) to navigate the fluorescent maze that calls itself “IKEA.” The Swedish superstore is filled to the brim with amazingly affordable home decor, storage solutions and meatballs. To make the shopping experience less overwhelming for the everyday shopper, we combed through the retailer’s entire online inventory to curate some of its best products.

BILLY Bookcase

One of IKEA’s most popular pieces, the BILLY bookcase can be used for so much more than books — think shoe storage, tchotchke display, temporary TV stand. To boot, it promises one of the easiest assemblies in the entire catalog.

IKEA 365+ Carafe

This carafe owes its brilliance to the cork stopper. Use it to store leftover coffee or homemade juice, and tack a piece of paper to the top with the date on it. Hosting a party? Use thumbtacks and labels to identify the contents.

TRADLOS Honey Dipper & Tea Measure

If you’re in need of a hostess gift or a small token of appreciation, this $3 set makes a super classy present — especially wrapped up with some loose-leaf tea.

KLIPSK Bed Tray

Like breakfast in bed? Make it less messy with this simple tray — there’s a lip around the edge to catch any crumbs and spills, as well as a groove to prop up a book or tablet. The legs also fold up for easy storage.

KRISPIG cake carrier

We chose this cake carrier because of its clever, versatile design: one side of the base tray is smooth, ideal for cakes or pies, while the other has ridges, so you can arrange cupcakes, muffins, etc. It’s also quite tall, so don’t worry about adding another layer to that birthday cake.

RENS Sheepskin

Add instant style to any space with one of these sheepskin rugs. Drape one over a chair for a furry effect, or place one on either side of your bed during colder months.

TEKLA Dish Towel

Do you avoid laundry as much as the rest of us? Grab a few of these towels next time you visit your local IKEA. They’re amazingly inexpensive and they work great as napkins, too.

NORDLI Bed Frame with Storage

If you live in a small apartment, it’s hard to choose between comfort and storage, which is why this bed is a gamechanger. Whether you’re storing clothes, shoes, books or blankets, you’ll be pleased with how much the NORDLI holds.

NYSKOLJD Dish Drying Mat

This is perfect whether your dish rack is constantly overflowing, or if you need somewhere to air dry those bulky pots and pans.

ALLEHANDA Mixing Bowl

Everyone who loves to bake needs one of these bowls. The lid has an opening for a whisk, so your batter won’t splatter everywhere and a spout streamlines pouring. If you need to chill dough overnight or transport a fruit salad, just pop the lid back on.

RANARP Pendant Lamp

The classic, slightly old-fashioned design of this lamp makes it look a lot more expensive than forty bucks.

KANELSTANG Plant Stand

Rattan furniture is on-trend and this plant stand is a bargain. Your call on whether the plant you put on top is real or artificial.

STRANDMON Wing Chair

Over 200 5-star ratings on IKEA’s website sealed this chair’s spot on our list. Harkening back to IKEA’s original 1950s design, it comes in eight great colors and patterns, from understated gray to a vibrant palm print. The removable seat cover is machine-washable, meaning this chair will look brand new for years to come.

LOVBACKEN Side Table

Everyone and their mother will think this distinctive table is a one-in-a-million mid-century modern piece, not an easy-to-assemble find from IKEA. The black and brown combo ensures this table will work with any kind of furniture.

MULIG Clothes Rack

No closet, no problem. This sleek, simple clothing rack comes together quickly and looks great in bedrooms of all sizes.

TROLLBERGET Desk Chair

Not ready to commit to a standing desk? This sleek stool promises to help you “sit actively,” strengthen your spine and give you a healthy posture. Plus it comes with a 10-year warranty.

BRIMNES Wardrobe

This narrow wardrobe is perfect for small spaces beacuse it’s tall, not wide, and holds a lot. Use it in lieu of a coat closet or store everything that won’t fit in your bureau.

PLASTIS Dish Brush

Your hands will never smell spongey again thanks to this handy dish brush. The handle has a built-in suction cup, so you can prop it up by your sink when you’re done scrubbing dishes.

SYLT LINGON Lingonberry Preserves

It’s (almost) impossible to leave IKEA without picking up a jar of this stuff. It feels way more exotic than strawberry jam, even if you eat yours on toast instead of with traditional Swedish meatballs.

BLAVAND Doormat

Whether or not you live with a furry friend, this paw print-patterned doormat will keep mud and dirt outside.

BERNHARD Bar Stool

Reviewers praise the comfort and durability of these sleek bar stools. They’re clean, easy to assemble and, thanks to their minimalist design, look great in just about any setting.

SORTERA Recycling Bin

Stack two of these to separate paper and plastic — or use them to sort laundry, dog food or toys.

APPLARO Outdoor Loveseat

Make the most of your outdoor space with this loveseat, crafted from sustainably sourced acacia wood.

FICUS LYRATA Potted Plant

A fiddle-leaf fig plant for less than $20? That’s right. IKEA’s plant section is underrated and overlooked, but their greenery is as good as on par with the best of them.

LURVIG Pet Bed

Pamper your pet with a comfy new bed — the minimalistic design won’t take away from your decor. Plus, the cushion has a removable cover for easy cleanup.

5 Warning Signs That Your Hair Products Are All Wrong

There is a possibility of getting al buzzed up by new hair products in the market being advertised by celebrities and models. Back in our minds, we all look forward to having beautiful skin as the advertisements imply. However, reality hits hard when you realize that setbacks are more than results.

We may never know when to call it quits with the hair products since there is an inner voice telling you to be more patient.

Signs on your outside shows that your internal body is suffering more thus the more need to seek medical attention or quit using the product as well. Stopping the products should happen immediately you notice these signs.

1.) Increased dandruff and flakes

Man with Dandruff
[Image via beautyhealthtips.in]

Dandruff is familiar to people. In a group of people, you will get half of them experiencing dandruff or flakes. For some, they may attribute this to the hot sun. This is because standing in the sun for long can cause skin dryness thus loosening the skin.

Nevertheless, using the wrong products on your hair can bring these annoying flakes.

Dandruff occurs when the renewing process of cells shortens more than usual. This causes the skin to shed off faster. In the end, these skin cells stick together to form something visible that can be scraped off by a single scratch. The type of dandruff depends on an individual.

You can experience either the dry or greasy dandruff.  

To treat this dandruff, you require the right shampoo to clean it. Dandruff is caused by using the wrong shampoos leading to bacteria infestation. However, you should note that excess bacteria can be a sign of serious diseases such as Pityriasis Amiantacea thus need immediate medical attention.

2.) Red, painful scalp

Painful Scalp
[Image via lifespa.com]

We have all seen someone suffering from allergies and sun. Their faces look extraordinarily red and may experience some pains. This is a common sign to people who use the wrong hair products such as bleach, hair color, or any other hair products.

These products cause irritations to your scalp leading to the redness. The only way to handle such an issue is cutting out all the harsh hair products. Move to organic products to avoid harmful chemicals.

Additionally, use sunscreens or serums that protect your scalp from these products and more so the continuing effects of the chemicals in the body.

3.) Hair loss

Male Hair Loss
[Image via The Treatment Rooms London]

Once your scalp gets to another level of deterioration, nothing much can be done to salvage your hair. Neglecting your oily scalp for many years leads to blockage of hair follicles. This means that no more hair can grow. Taking action at this stage may not give results since the process may take longer to reverse.

Once you notice the first signs, it is always recommendable that you take action.

The other cause of hair loss is the genes, hormones or any form of infection. Certain hair products cause a change in hormones. For a start, have the hair products examined by your dermatologist to check how awful or good the results could be.

Make sure you use the best hair loss shampoo to treat your hair.

4.) Oily scalp

Oil Field
[Image via Family Office Databases]

Having oils on your skin is not a bad sign. After all, we either have oily, dry or normal skins. Oils protect our skins from drying up so faster. Additionally, our skins appear moisturized when our sebum gives these oils. However, excess oils are harmful to your skin.

This is because excess oils provide bacteria and fungi with good habitat for growth. These bacteria result in dandruff we see. At first glance, we may not look at these oils.

It is advisable to go for a diagnosis to have an analysis carried out.

5.) Dry and itchy scalp

Man Scratching his Head
[Image via Hair Loss Talk]

We have all seen people, or have been victims of scratching our heads to ease the itchiness. This is because of insufficient sebum produced by glands.

Failure to protect the skin from the changes in temperatures and sensual perceptions leads to may cause dry and itchy skin.

There are many reasons for having itchy skin. One of them is using the wrong shampoos. The problem may appear familiar but caution ought to be taken to protect the scalp from other effects such as thinning of hairs or hair loss.

Conclusion

In our lifetime, we have all experienced a problem with our hair or hair scalps. Although this might have been caused by aging, emotional or physical changes, most of these effects can be attributed to wrong hair products. You should always check products before applying them on your hair.

Life is more precious than anything. Rushing blindly for these overrated products may bring more harm to you. Always stay alert.

Rapha RCC Weeklong Bag

The Rapha RCC Weeklong Bag is the perfect carrier for a long vacation. Whether you are heading out on a cycling trip, on a weeklong getaway, to a training camp. It has spacious compartments that can hold all your travel essentials and keep them safe and dry.

This backpack has a 60L capacity, spacious enough to accommodate not just your cycling gear but other belongings too.  It has a small quick-access pocket with Aquaguard zippers on the side for items needed at close hand. The inside of the pack is protected with a hardwearing water-resistant coating to keep items dry in a downpour, while a couple of compression straps on each side allow for bag adjustment and keep contents in place when on the go.

Despite its large capacity, the RCC Weeklong bag is lightweight and designed to feel comfortable on the shoulders with its ergonomically shaped and leather-bonded shoulder straps. Meanwhile, fine herringbone webbing on contours provides back support.

It also offers versatility in carrying. The three side handles offer convenience when maneuvering the bag, while the two center handles with magnetic fastener easily convert the pack into a duffel bag. When worn as a backpack, the fully reflective rear panel and front shoulder straps keep you visible in the dark.

Buy Yours Here

Photos Courtesy of Rapha

HyperChiller V2 Iced Coffee Maker

The HyperChiller V2 is an ice pack for coffee lovers. This nifty tumbler turns hot coffee into iced cold coffee in a minute.

This device follows the same concept as to how coolers keep drinks and food cold. The only difference is this cooler doesn’t use electricity and looks more like a mini-keg with a plastic outer shell. It also does not require ice cubes. Instead, it stores ice in nested stainless steel chambers.

The HyperChiller V2 features three chambers. The large outer and small inner chambers are filled with an exact amount of water before they are screwed together. Then the entire unit is placed in the freezer until such time you need a cold refreshing drink on the go, although it already does its magic after 12 hours of being in the freezer.

The third chamber holds the hot coffee you want chilled. Just pour into the angled area of the lid, give the drink a little swirl, and in 60 seconds you have iced coffee. This device cools the temperature of your drink to as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit and gives you undiluted iced coffee taste.

The HyperChiller V2 has a volume capacity of 12.5 ounces and all of its components are dishwasher-safe. Its function is not limited to coffee, but also works wonders with tea, whiskey, and wine. The only downside with this product is that it can only cool a few drinks before it needs to return to the freezer.

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Photos Courtesy of HyperChiller

Pindrop Security Can Tell If Your Caller Is A Fraud

Google and Amazon are two giants at the forefront of voice-based technology, a crucial position to have especially in an industry where voice-based interfaces are slowly creeping in.

It’s difficult to imagine voice commands fully replacing touch-based navigation in the near future, though. While both aforementioned companies have done extravagantly well in ensuring their Assistants respond to queries quickly; actually understand those queries; and perform them with very few, if any hiccups, people tend to pass them off as a novelty. They’re things that seem cool but aren’t significantly necessary in most use-cases. In other words, auxiliary.

Then there’s the security factor. Google is toiling in its laboratories to make Assistant even better, and one such area it’s currently trying to improve on is the ability to recognize only a specific voice and not anyone else’s.

The implementation, unfortunately, is far from perfect. Right now, relying on voice commands to, say, unlock a phone, is out of the question. Neither Assistant nor Alexa are robust enough to stay immune from hacks, breaches, and simple cases of trolling. They’re simply not as secure as fingerprints or facial recognition. At least not yet.

That’s where Pindrop Security comes in. It’s a company trying to perfect a technology able to determine whether a phone call is fraudulent. Its CEO, Vijay Balasubramaniyan, believes voice commands will eventually rise to the level of fingerprint security and make voice-based transactions and failsafes commonplace.

In his vision of the future, shoppers are able to wire money across an Amazon Echo device or a Google Home smart speaker merely by giving voice command. That is currently not possible. They can also book cross-country flights hands-free during their commute — no pin needed. It’s a vision Balasubramaniyan and his colleagues have been chasing for years.

How Pindrop Security Detects Phone Call Fraud

Everything starts small. If Pindrop wants to steer us into a future where voice commands are invulnerable to hacks, it must first prove it has technology that works. Luckily, Pindrop isn’t kidding around.

One of the company’s core components is an artificial intelligence-based software that can not only identify who’s talking, but can also check their voice against a list of tagged fraudsters.

Pindrop boasts the world’s largest collection of fraud profiles, which including details like phoneprints, voiceprints, and recorded behavior of fraudsters. It should come as no surprise that the company’s most popular product is its fraud detection service, and it’s only getting better at its job.

Pindrop’s anti-fraud software uses phoneprinting technology, which involves analyzing over 1,300 factors of a call’s full audio to determine its true device type, geo-location, and carrier. Through this, call centers are able to identify malicious behavior and verify legitimate callers. Phoneprinting is at the heart of Pindrop’s anti-fraud and authentication solutions.

The software does a lot of things, all of which can be grouped into three main features: spoof detection, social engineering protection, and device print building.

Through spoof detection, Pindrop compares caller ID information to true device and location to find anomalies that indicate spoofing. Then Pindrop adds a layer of security that relies on the audio information the caller can’t control, done through social engineering protection. Finally, the software creates unique prints of calling devices that can be used to identify repeat callers.

Pindrop is working nonstop to ensure its artificial intelligence continuously improves. This past September, it announced that its phone fraud detection software became 20 percent more accurate. It also unveiled a new Network capability that can provide real-time predictions about how likely a call is to be fraudulent.

Are Voice Commands The Future?

Phone call fraud is a huge problem around the world. These days, scammers call from anywhere and try to get sensitive data. They also execute financial transactions and God know what else.

These attacks usually prey on people who usually want to help but don’t know any better. Thankfully, Pindrop protects companies from falling into scammers’ hijinks — even if a fraudulent caller is correctly mimicking a caller ID. Pindrop can identify their true location thanks to machine learning. With Pindrop, it’s possible to identify where someone is located based on various call characteristics.

“We live in a brave new world where everything you thought you knew about security needs to be challenged,” Balasubramaniyan said back in December after the company successfully raised $90 million in a funding round.

He hopes to take Pindrop to more international markets, starting with Europe then Asia. He also hopes — and this is where it gets exciting — to expand from customer service scenarios into any applications that integrate voice interfaces, like connected car platforms, home security devices, smart offices, and smart home speakers.

That transition shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, the core of Pindrop’s platform is a voice “fingerprint” that identifies not just the tone, but other more dynamic characteristics as well, like how you speak, where you are calling from, and the ambient sounds of that location. Balasubramaniyan explains that matching all these factors against what is determined to be your “normal” circumstances helps toward building verification.

As it happens, the biggest chunk of Pindrop’s business is attributed to helping enterprise avoid fraudulent calls, and it’s on the path to profitability by the first quarter of 2019, according to Balasubramaniyan.

Pindrop In The Mainstream

Needless to say that it needs to strike while the iron is still hot. It can leverage its technology to develop straightforward implementations in the context of everyday use-cases.

For example, Pindrop can help prevent unintended purchases through voiceprinting so that a little girl doesn’t accidentally order an expensive dollhouse while playing with Alexa. Or Pindrop can prevent unauthorized entry by refusing to open smart locks if it doesn’t recognize the right voice.

The are so many areas where Pindrop’s technology could shine, especially as more people adapt to smart home ecosystems. As voice commands become more mainstream, there will definitely be more people trying to hack them. Pindrop’s promise is for this never to happen.

When it comes to gadgets, security is one detail consumers have long indirectly shrugged off as being negligible. Hopefully Pindrop ensures that we never overlook that.

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