Category: Misc.

EvercontactI have been writing Gotta Have Gadget now since 2007!  In the past 7 years, I have received over 25,000 emails from PR firms, Marketing Agencies and manufacturers of cool gadgets!

If you are familiar with ad agencies and pr firms, you know people change jobs constantly!  Actually for my blog and magazine columns that has been great as with any job change, I get introduced to new companies!

As you can imagine, my address box is full of email addresses and contacts.  It would be virtually impossible for me to try to manage these contacts!  In fact, I knew there were so many bad e-mail addresses and contacts that I basically just let my address book go knowing there was a bunch of bad contacts.

Then I found Evercontact!  Evercontact is a plug-in for Gmail, Outlook and Salesforce.com!  I downloaded the free trial for Outlook and it immediately started to help me clean up my contacts!  As you can see in the month of October alone (and it is only 10 days into the month) Evercontact has scanned 280 e-mails, and updated my contacts!

Here’s how it works.  Evercontact constantly scans your received e-mails to check for a signature containing vital contact information.  It then captures this information and checks your contact file.  If the contact is in your address book, Evercontact verifies the information.  If anything needs to be updated based on the latest e-mail signature, the contact is updated.  The best part for me is that if the contact is not in your address book, a new contact is created based on the information in the signature!  This is far more information than I would typically put into my contact database as I would just put in the name and e-mail address.  Evercontact extracts the address, phone number, fax number and email address (if all that information is in the e-mail signature).flashback

I was so impressed with Evercontact, that I had to check out their “flashback” feature!  Flashback searched through all the e-mail folders I selected and extracted all the signatures in over 25,000 e-mails.  Yes, I know, I need to clean-up my inbox and saved folders.  I tend to save everything!  You never know when you want to go back and find that PR contact for a new product.  Flashback added 1,185 contacts and updated 68 new contacts!  It has been several years since I last updated all my contacts.  Flashback took about 48 hours to complete and now has my address book up to date!  The nice thing about flashback is my e-mail or computer wasn’t running for 48 hours straight, it took about 15 minutes to create a file from the 25,000+ e-mails.  Then walks you through the process to upload the file and alerts you when the process is done.  Simply follow the next steps and about 10 minutes later, your address book is up to date!

I would encourage you to do what I did, visit www.evercontact.com and download their free trial version!  It is easy to install and will start updating your address book in minutes!

 

 

 

hairNow if someone had approached me to use hair product a year ago I would have laughed!  I typically keep my hair very short.  However since I signed up for the Kids Cancer Buzz Off, I have not cut my hair since January 29, and won’t cut it until the event on June 8th (http://my.e2rm.com/PersonalPage.aspx?registrationID=2204964&langPref=en-CA) !

The good news for my friends at New York Streets is the picture you are seeing here is BEFORE I used their product.  As you can see by not cutting my hair it has become a mess.  This is when I turned to New York Streets “Grid Lock”.  Now the last time I used anything in my hair it was called “Gel!”  Ya I know, it probably was in the ’80s.

So looking like hell, I had to do something.  It was perfect timing when I received an e-mail from New Your Streets to try their new product.  A simple squeeze of “Grid Lock” and my hair is easily held in place and looking good.  It has been windy as hell here in Boston, and after a nice long walk around the city I still look damn good.GridlockTube

Being a Boston guy, it kills me to recommend anything with the words “New York” in the title, but “Grid Lock” by New York Streets has really saved me from looking totally ridiculous!

New York Streets makes all sorts of products to help you look your best.  Products include shampoo, conditioners, hair repair and everything you might need for the top of your head!  My only question becomes after the Kids Cancer Buzz-Off do they have anything to shine my bald head??  Check out everything New York Streets has to offer at http://www.newyork-streets.com.

Nutrisystems

Please check out and follow my new page “Nutrisystems”

    http://www.gottahavegadget.com/nutrisystems/

If you would like to join me on my journey I would love the company! I am creating this page so you can follow my journey with Nutrisystems starting on May 1st. I am participating in the NSNations blogging program.

I'm proud to be a #NSNationBlogger. Click here to start your weight loss journey!

Every once and a while you just ask yourself, “What the F$%K am I doing?”  I admit it, I bought into all the big brand marketing schemes.  My former razor has a “AA” battery to make the handle vibrate.  I paid over $20 for an 8 pack of refills.  Hell, I would try to go 2 1/2 weeks between changing blades knowing I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg again for new blades!  So like many people, I saw the above video on a facebook post.  I laughed, chuckled and shared the video.  Did I join?  Not right then.  I found myself searching for coupons to get my favorite blades cheaper.  Well, finally dawn broke over marble head!  I decided, what the heck, I’ll try out the dollar shave club.  So I visited www.dollarshaveclub.com!  They have 3 different options ($1, $6 or $9) blades.  I went with the “Executive” or the $9 version.  The package arrived quickly and came with a few bonus items (shave butter and gentleman wipes).  I am going to be honest and tell you #1 I hate shaving, #2 I have to shave in the shower because I bleed like a Zombie if I don’t.  I was a little skeptical but figured one shave wouldn’t hurt.  I tried the Shave Butter and was very nervous that it wasn’t the typical big white shaving cream I typically use.  The first shave was GREAT!  I think you are going to get a good shave with any new razor, so I waited for days 3, 4 and 5.  Well, its been several weeks and all I can say is I am still getting a GREAT shave.  With the cost of these blades, I can put a new blade on every week and not have to worry about the high cost.  Dollar Shave Club’s video claims “Our blades are F$&king Great!” and I would have to agree!  Take my advice, visit www.dollarshaveclub.com today, sign up and use the money you save to buy yourself something awesome!

tiki

Horror In Clay is a small company specializing in fine horror-themed barware and accessories, most known for their 2013 release of the Cthulhu Tiki mug.  Much like a clothing line, each Horror In Clay mug has complimentary artifacts that tell its story.  Jonathan Chaffin, the creative director, has a “bible” like you would find for a stage play that lists facts and details he wants each mug and artifact to reference or adhere to.  Their newest mug, The Innsmouth Fogcutter, is intended to be from the Gilman House hotel; a locale made famous in a Lovecraft story. This large Tiki mug also has an original backstory that is revealed through digital artifacts and other physical pieces (some of which are available as rewards through Kickstarter).

The Innsmouth Fogcutter currently has a project on Kickstarter to aid with a production run of at least 1000. The project has numerous pledge levels, which include such unspeakable oddities as The Gilman House Hand-towel, an Esoteric Order of Dagon Fez ( designed in collaboration with www.Fez-o-rama.com), a screen-printed Evolution of a Deep One shirt and more! You can contribute by visiting the Innsmouth Fogcutter Tiki Mug’s official Kickstarter page https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jchaffin/the-innsmouth-fogcutter-tiki-mug-from-horror-in-cl

Find other fine Horror In Clay products and information on Facebook at www.facebook.com/horrorinclay, on Google Plus,  at www.horrorinclay.com, or follow them at Twitter at @CthulhuMug.

tiki2

lock-fob-One thing I never leave the house with anymore is my smartphone.  I can’t tell you how many times I have left the house Smartphone-Appwithout my keys.  Now I can put my smartphone to good use with the Kwikset Kevo Bluetooth Deadbolt lock.  With the Kevo, I can lock and unlock my front door utilizing their iPhone app and bluetooth technology.  In addition to my smartphone, utilizing a supplied FOB the days of inserting a key to lock or unlock the door is over.  When I leave the house I simple touch the lock to activate the deadbolt.  I receive instant feedback with both a visual color and sound that the door is locked.  When I return, I simply touch the lock again to unlock the deadbolt.  The Kevo even knows when I am inside the house or outside.  So if I am inside and approach the door, if someone touches the lock on the outside the lock stays locked!  What is even more cool is that if I want to send an electronic key to a neighbor, friend or relative I simply e-mail them and they can download to their smartphone and unlock the door.  This is great for when I am on vacation and want to have someone check on the house.  I don’t have to leave a key under the doormat anymore and receive a message when they activate the lock.  I also want to tell you how easy this was to install!  Mine was installed with my smartphone and FOB calibrated in less than 45 minutes.  For those who know I am not a construction guy at all know this is easy to install.  Face it, if I can install this lock in under 45 minutes, someone who knows what they are doing can install it in 30 minutes or less!  To view the Kevo in action, you can see videos at http://www.kwikset.com.

Armorz

How many do you see with a cracked screen?  Small pieces of plastic may keep your screen clean, however they will not protect them from shattering!  Armorz Stealth Extreme screen protection is among the best I have seen!  I have actually cracked my screen when I tossed my tennis racket into my gym bag.  It hit it just right and bam, there goes the screen.  Armorz will protect your screen from scratches, cracking and everything else.  With the cost of replacing a screen or smartphone, Armorz Stealth Extreme is worth the investment!  They have different levels of thickness depending on your use and environment.  For example someone in the construction field will need more protection than someone in sales!  To find the right fit for your smartphone, visit www.armorz.com.

MybunnyX2_largeI can proudly say I have been married for 23 years!  My wife and I were dating for 5 years prior to our wedding, so that is a bunnyjuice1combined total of 28 Valentine’s Day.  Like many guys I am always struggling to find ways to surprise my love with new and exciting gifts.  I’ve given countless roses, chocolates, jewelry and every other traditional gift, but this year I decided to spice it up a bit.  The one secret to a long, healthy marriage is a good sex life!  Bunnyjuice.com offers “love kits” for both him and her.  They offer discreet ways to spice up that love life with personal massager, lubricants and other adult gifts.  I’m not telling you to forget about the roses and chocolate, but if you want to add to the excitement, give her a Valentine’s gift that will keep on giving!  Visit www.bunnyjuice.com today, go ahead, don’t be shy!

before and afterBuzz Off One Mission 2012 with Rob Gronkowski-Buzz Off Final 2-0067

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYONE WHO MADE THIS DAY A SUCCESS!  TOGETHER WITH YOUR HELP, I RAISED OVER $5,100 AND MY TEAM RAISED OVER $13,000!!!

 

I’ll be making a BALD statement against pediatric cancer by shaving my head at The Kid’s Cancer Buzz-Off at Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, MA. Would you consider donating to my cause? I’ll be raising money to fund vital programs and services that are helping to ease the physical, emotional and financial toll of pediatric cancer on patients and their families.

 

 

 

Did you know?

-Every 3 minutes a child is diagnosed with cancer worldwide.

-In the U.S., cancer is the #1 disease-related cause of death of children infant to 19

-It’s estimated 50% of families with a child battling cancer will be forced to file bankruptcy

-Each year, less than 5% of the Federal Government’s cancer research funding is dedicated to childhood cancers.

Please consider sponsoring my participation.  Together, we can make a difference in the lives of children with cancer. You can make a secure online donation by clicking on the link below.  Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law!

http://my.e2rm.com/PersonalPage.aspx?registrationID=2204964&langPref=en-CA

Many thanks for your support and please forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too! 

Thanks for your support!
Mike Conrad

HHR_IshOpen_HiResIt’s 5 o’clock somewhere!  Well, if you have a Happy Hour Timepiece you’ll know exactly when it’s 5 o’clock and be ready toHH-040 relax.  Whether I am playing golf or tennis, I like to unwind afterwards with a cold beer.  My beverage of choice always needs a bottle opener.  I search around my bags trying to find one only to realize I didn’t pack one!  Happy Hour Timepieces announces their new bottle opener series.  This is a stylish watch with a built in bottle opener on the strap.  Most people never realize the bottle opener is there until I crack open a cold one using just my wrist.  The watch is lightweight and doesn’t affect my play at all!  To see all of the Happy Hour Timepieces, check out their website at www.happyhourtimepieces.com.

photo 1If you are married, engaged or have a serious girlfriend, go to the App Exchange and download the Husband Helper right now!  This is an app that will keep photo 2you out of the dog house!  I was lucky enough to marry a woman with the same birthday as me, so I will never forget her birthday.  This app helps reminds you of important dates, as well as all your wife’s sizes!  I used to keep a small piece of paper in my wallet to try to keep track of all her sizes.  Now I just click on the app, select sizes and I have everything at my fingertips!  You can customize and add any size of something she loves to wear.  It also offers great date suggestions (see #15 and thank me later).  You or your wife can add onto the “Honey Do” list so you won’t forget.  There is also a Gift Idea section where you or her can add gifts you have seen or heard about when you were together.  This is a great app for guys!  Heck, who wouldn’t want to get a reminder a week before your anniversary so you don’t forget?  Want to see more, check them out on-line at http://husbandhelperapp.wordpress.com/.  Download it today, thank me later!!

2013-10-29_RedSox_WS_Champs_1

I am posting this blog LIVE FROM TITLE TOWN!!!  For those of you who follow me or have read my column in various magazines, you know I am a HUGE Boston sports fan!  Needless to say I am ecstatic that my Boston Red Sox are World Champions once again!

Here is some really good news for Red Sox Fans!  My friends at Louisville Slugger will bring the World Series Bat Hunt to the Greater Boston Area on Sunday, Nov. 2 in order to help Red Sox fans celebrate their victory.

These are not just your typical souvenir!  Louisville Slugger, the Official Bat of Major League Baseball®, has been making baseball bats for 129 years and has made bats for players in every World Series® since the very first fall classic in 1903!!  2013-10-29_RedSox_WS_Champs_8

Louisvill Slugger will  hide 31 Red Sox World Series Champions 2013 Commemorative Bats around the city, and fans should follow Slugger on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to get clues to find the bats.  Like Louisville Slugger on Facebook and follow @SluggerNation on Twitter and Instagram for clues to find your very own Red Sox World Series Champions 2013 Commemorative Louisville Slugger Bat.  You can also follow on Twitter by searching and tagging #wsbathunt.

With 8 Championships from Boston Sports teams this decade, this is one of the most exciting promotions I have seen (other than the Championship Ring raffle).  This should be a great day in Boston and 31 lucky fans will have these bats courtesy of Louisville Slugger!

If you are not one of the lucky 31 who find a Championship Bat in Boston, they can be purchased at www.sluggergifts.com!  Good Luck Boston!!

Want a chance to win one of these bats from Gotta Have Gadget?  Visit my contest page!  http://www.gottahavegadget.com/contest-page/

 

 

 

 

s470 photo PRInfosonics introduces the verykool® s470 Black Pearl. This is a pretty fast phone for only a 1.2 GHZ Quad Core Processor. With the latest Android OS 4.2 operating system it was able to handle all the apps I downloaded and ran. One of the key factors when buying a phone for me is battery life and I was able to run the phone pretty much all day with moderate usage. It has the ability to accept Dual Sim cards which is great for international travel and is priced under $250 unlocked! Being unlocked, this GSM phone can work with AT&T, T-Mobile and TracFone which gives you the opportunity to have a no contract smartphone. For all this phone has to offer head over to http://www.verykool.net/Products/s470!

critcareWhen my family travels, we end up packing a medical case that would give any visiting doctor a run for their money!  Finally we found products that work fast and don’t take up a lot of space in your luggage and are convenient enough that you can keep plenty in your glove box or golf bag.  UrgentRx offers power packs for over the counter medications.  Upset stomach, Aspirin, aches & pains, allergy, heart burn and even headache packs are available via their powder pack.  As soon as you have any of the above symptoms, just rip open the pack and pour the fast-dissolving flavored powder pack into your mouth.  Raspberry, cherry, lemon-lime are just a few of the flavors available.  Keep a few packs with you where ever you go.  Visit them at www.urgentrx.com to see all their products.  Another Gotta Have Gadget for travel is SmartMouth Mouthwash (www.smartmouth.com).  sm-onthegoI’ll be honest; when I am on vacation I eat and drink far too much crap. What I really like about SmartMouth Mouthwash is it lasts for 12 hours!  That means I use it once in the morning and once before bedtime and I know I will have fresh breath for the entire trip.  It’s nice not waking up with morning breath and having to run into the bathroom to brush your teeth.  With their on-the-go packs they are perfect for travel as they don’t take up a lot of space and you don’t have to worry about them spilling in your luggage.  Not only did this find the way into my luggage it is now a staple in my bathroom.

freshballs-newOK, I’ll admit it!  When I first watched this video I thought it was a Saturday Night Live Spoof! All I could think of was the famous Schweddy Balls video with Alec Baldwin.  Once I realized this was a real product, I thought, “You know what, that makes sense!”  Let’s face it, a long car ride or sitting all day, no guy wants sweaty balls.  I’ve given Fresh Balls to several of my friend for their 50th birthday and of course everyone laughs.  Then a day or two later, I get an e-mail asking where I got this because it really does work.  I will spare you the pictures…lol!  Fresh balls goes on as a cream but quickly dries as a powder without the mess.  Let’s face it; there is no delicate way to talk about fresh balls except to say that it works!  For women, Fresh Body makes Fresh Breast!  Hey, I kid you not!  I’ll be happy to help to see if Fresh Breast really works!  Its taboo, its fresh and it works!  Check them out for yourself at www.freshbody.com!

Dockem iProp blackA cool little gadget I found is called the iprop™.  The iprop is a universal tablet stand.  It is soft and infinitely adjustable because it reminds me of a small beanbag chair for my iPad.  The flexibility allows this to be used on flat or uneven surfaces.  It works with your iPad, iPhone, Motorola, Sharp, BlackBerry and every other manufacture of a tablet or phone.  It is perfect to use on the airplane tray, or on your lap in the backseat!  The design is so simple but effective and even held my iPad without removing the hard-shell case.  Check out the iprop™ for yourself at www.dockem.com!

I truly wish Oral-B made a toothbrush like this when I was younger. As I get older in life, one of my regrets is that I didn’t take better care of my teeth when I was growing up. I have been a fan of Oral-B using their round Professional Care Smart Series toothbrush.  So when I received the Oral-B Deep Sweep toothbrush to test I was excited to try it out.  I will have to say after my first use I was a big fan.  Oral-B is currently running a “Wow” campaign and I will have to say I am honestly wowed!

What makes this toothbrush different than others is it has three unique cleaning zones.  I know what you are saying, “Does this really make a difference?”  I can tell you first hand, “YES!”  My mouth feels cleaner and when I rinse I can actually see a difference as well.  It actually seems easier to get to my back teeth and tough areas in my mouth.  I have asked myself if it is time to upgrade from time to time and I can honestly say, “yes it is”.

Like most items technology continues to get better and better, this is also true for tooth care.  If we go back to the days when I was younger there was one toothbrush and that was it.  Oral-B has always been a leader in this field and I would recommend the Deep Sweep Triaction as a Gotta Have Gadget.

Check it out today at www.wowexperiment.com!  You will see videos from others who have said, “WOW”!

There are apps for everything!  For me, I have over 5 Disney apps on my iPhone, one for wait times, one for hours and one to let me know where I am LOL.  That means when I am at a Disney park my phone is on constantly!  I do chuckle around 5 or 6:00pm when I hear people talking about turning their phones off, or when I see people battling for a power outlet to get a quick charge on their phones.

Around 5 or 6:00pm I still have 100% battery life thanks to two great products.  PowerSkin and Odoyo manufacture cell phone cases with a built in spare battery giving you the power you need throughout the entire day and extra magic hours!

PowerShell-EX-Black-2Odoyo (www.ODOYOusa.com) gives you options for the extra battery life based on your usage.  For heavy iPhone users like myself, I use the Power+Shell EX- Saturn which features a built-in 2200mAh high capacity rechargeable battery!  That is far more powerful than the standard 1440mAh battery in the iPhone 5.  In addition to the extended battery life, the Power+Shell EX-Saturn also protects your iPhone.  A cool little feature is it’s “kickstand” that allows you to watch videos or movies hands free.

The PowerSkin (www.power-skin.com) has a thinner design and features a 1500 mAh battery.  I have been using the PowerSkin for years with my iPhone 4 (http://gottahavegadget.com/powerskin/) and was extremely happy to see some upgrades for the iPhone 5.  The 1500mAh battery gives you up to 70% more talk time and standby Time.power-skin

So if you are a heavy cell phone user or even a casual cell phone user these cases will cut down your search for power for that late afternoon charge!  Both units have a micro-usb charger that charges both the case and phone at the same time.  In addition to the iPhone cases, each manufacturer offers a variety of cases for other manufacturers.  Both the Odoyo and PowerSkin live up to the name of a Gotta Have Gadget

****I know this is far off topics that I cover, but thought it was important enough to give some coverage.  Thank you all who have served and continue to serve****

HONOR AMERICA’S KOREAN WAR VETERANS

IF NOT NOW, WHEN?

60thThe majority of veterans who served in the Korean War are now in their 80s. The opportunity is fleeting to thank these remaining heroes and their families who served and sacrificed 60 years ago in the “Forgotten War.” If not now, when?

Thirty-three thousand Americans lost their lives in the Korean War, another 100,000 were wounded and 7,000 remain missing in action. Surveys indicate that many school age American youth have never heard of the Korean War. This year, on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice signing that ended the conflict, it is time to educate this young generation. If not now, when?

Last year, Congress named 2013 the “Year of the Korean Veteran,” and the Department of Defense 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Committee has planned “Heroes Remembered” on Saturday July 27, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. EST.

National leaders, veterans and patriotic citizens will attend the ceremony (broadcast live) at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C. with a simultaneous ceremony taking place in Seoul. Both events will feature a special salute to Korean War Veterans, recognition of UN Allies, a ceremonial wreath laying and a symbolic silencing of the guns both in D.C. and Seoul.

The Korean War 60th Anniversary Commemoration Committee encourages everyone to attend the event or watch the televised ceremonies for “Heroes Remembered” on July 27, 2013. For more information on the event and broadcast schedule, please visit www.koreanwar60.com/27july.

PLEASE HELP VETERANS BY SPREADING THE WORD!

–The Committee is asking Korean War veterans to share their stories by visiting http://koreanwar60.com/webform/share-your-story You can see other stories at: http://koreanwar60.com/korean-war-veteran-oral-histories (Please note: the share-your-story page is a fill out page where veterans can write out their story but you can also paste or upload stories as a word doc, txt file, etc)

–Request a DOD certificate of appreciation for a veteran or a family of a veteran http://koreanwar60.com/webform/official-dod-certificate-appreciation-form-0

–Please check out and like https://www.facebook.com/KoreanWar60

F1 Flashlight by LED Lenser

F1 Flashlight by LED Lenser

I often comment every time I am watching a movie or TV show about how bright the flashlights are that are being used.  I have said to my wife, “Wow where can I get a flashlight like that?”  There was one point that I have a million candle light rechargeable flash light that was not only bulky, it only lasted a few minutes before it needed to be recharged.  You have all seen these small LED flashlights that put out a pretty good beam so I was a little skeptical when the F1 Flashlight by LED Lenser showed up at my door.   However, once I put in the Lithium 3-volt battery, I couldn’t believe the power of this light!  I was actually excited to take it outside that night to test it in the complete dark.  I was amazed how it lit up the woods behind my house!  I could not believe there was that much power in such a small flashlight!  This is about the size of one of my fingers, its waterproof and puts out a beam of 400 Lumens.  This is the perfect flashlight to keep in your car, next to your bed, in your boat, wherever you might need a flashlight you won’t go wrong having the F1 ready to go.  I will challenge anyone out there to find a smaller, more powerful flashlight!  Check them out at www.ledlenser.com.

Samsung 13 Watt ImageThe futures so bright, I have to wear shades!  If you haven’t jumped on the LED light bulb bandwagon, the time is now!  46 percent of the US Commercial lamp market will be made up of LED lights by the year 2020.

I first made the switch to my outdoor driveway lights as I was tired of replacing them in a few months because they were on so much.  I don’t think I have touched those in years.

Samsung has introduced their line of LED lights which includes the new Candle LED bulb.  I installed this bulb in my ceiling fan as it is a 5.2 watt 300 Lumen bulb (equivalent to 40 watt bulb) that gives off more light and saves more energy than a standard bulb.

The Omnidirectional A19 LED light bulb (pictured here) is an equivalent to a 60 watt bulb.  HOWEVER, the Samsung LED light has a lifetime of 25,000 hours or approximate 22.8 YEARS!  That is 25 times longer than incandescent models!

Stop climbing up on ladders changing light bulbs every few months.  The Samsung LED light bulbs look great, gives off more light and out perform anything that is in your house today!  Find out what LED bulb is right for you by visiting http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/led-lighting just have your shades ready!

Snow Joe Ultra 2 - high resThis time of year, I can’t get rid of the snow fast enough!  In New England we always have at least one snow storm in April to push SnowJoe1off the golf season a few more weeks.  I was never a big fan of electric powered anything until now.  For years I have been dragging my big heavy snow blower up 10 stairs to clear my deck.  I recently found the Snow Joe Ultra 18-IN 13 AMP Electric Snow Thrower.
This baby has the power I need to clear my deck and throw the snow far so one pass does the trick.  So much easier than dragging a 100lbs gas snow blower up the stairs!  I’ve tried other “electric shovels” and for the price, the Snow Joe FAR outweighs and out performs anything else I have tested.  I also LOVE the Snow Joe broom with ice scraper.  The other day I glance over and watched as my son tried to “shovel” off the snow on my car.  As I slipped and slid toward the car to stop him, he finally figured out this wasn’t a good idea.  I gave him the Snow Joe broom and the snow was off the car in an instant.   This “broom” pushes the snow off your car without damaging the paint!  It is strong, extends to 49 inches and makes cleaning your car a breeze.  Check out the some great products at www.snowjoe.com.
*****UPDATE MARCH 9, 2013****

snowjoeFrom what you might have seen, New Hampshire had another HUGE snow storm.  Let me tell you, I have a BIG ASS…….Deck!  The Snow Joe SJ620 just cleared off 18 inches of heavy wet snow!  I know it says 10 inch snow depth, but taking it slow and attacking the snow, the Snow Joe SJ620 just saved my back, a whole lot of time and may have just help cut a few inches of my big ass!  If you have a deck, go to www.snowjoe.com and save yourself a lot of time and back breaking work!

 

 

Briggs and Riley - BRX Explore 25 Upright - BU125XThis first Gotta Have Gadget is not just for a cruise but for any trip.  The Briggs & Riley BU125X is a 25” expandable piece of luggage.  My father-in-law learned the hard way of purchasing less expensive luggage.  As soon as we picked the bags up at Tampa International Airport, his wheels were broken meaning I had to carry his bag.  I packed the BU125X to the brim which weighed in at 48.6 pounds.  Being just less than 50 pounds, my luggage was tagged as “heavy” but I didn’t need to pay any additional fees.  I thought being that heavy, I would have trouble with the wheels, but even at just under 50 lbs the Briggs & Riley BU125X stood up to the test.  Internal and external pockets and compartments made it easy to pack my flip flops, and Vans to keep them away from my clothes.  Not only did this luggage exceed my expectations, the “lava” color had me walking with style!  To see all the features of the Briggs & Riley BU125X visit them on-line at www.briggs-riley.com.

As you may have read in my trip report (http://www.thewdwdads.com/carnival/) I went snorkeling in the Grand Caymans.  Although snorkeling241145 gear is provided, I like to bring my own set.  There is just something about using a mask and snorkel that was used by someone else.  I turned to U.S. Divers after some research and tested the Regal LX Mask, Tuscan Snorkel and Tuluam Fin Set.  I was amazed at how many people brought their own gear and how many of those were U.S. Diver kits.  The two key features here were the Mask with a hypoallergenic Silicone face skirt which was extremely comfortable and the Snorkel that could go under water and with a quick exhale would clear any water from the valve.  This was ideal as we had good 3-5 foot waves that from time to time would crash over my snorkel.  As I saw others taking in water, I blew out the water and continued to swim.  All three pieces of snorkel gear fit perfectly in the supplied travel bag which made it easy to pack and easy to carry off the cruise.  U.S. Divers has gear for beginners and expert snorkeling with custom sizes to fit your needs.  Check them out at www.usdivers.com to find the right set for you.

Whether you are swimming, fishing, parasailing or snorkeling, I recommend a good pair of water shoes.  The AdA11130-080_Black_xl3am™ by Altra is my choice.  I wore them through a season of fishing in various ponds; I take them for swimming in public pools like at Disney and on the cruise, and wear them generally anytime I am around water.  What I love about the Adam™ is they are extremely comfortable and the soles provide a grip on any underwater surface.  Believe me when I say I have tested these on every surface at various boat launches.  The Velcro straps make it easy to put them on or take them off and provide a tight fit.  These were easy to pack and extreme comfort makes Altra’s The Adam™ a must have for any trip involving water.  You can see all the benefits on-line at www.altrazerodrop.com

bag-front OK I will admit it, I suck at starting fires!  This is coming from a guy that has a great fire pit and has between 10-15 bonfires a year.  I have fires in the summer, winter and all sorts of weather.  On a few occasions, I have had to call my neighbor the engineer to get the fire going!  When I am able to get a small fire going, I dance around like Tom Hanks in “Castaway” and shout, “I have created FIRE!”

Well this all changed during my last bonfire!  I simply opened a bag of StumpChunks poured them into my fire pit, then built up some firewood on top.  With a few strategically placed matches, I had a beautiful base fire going in a matter of minutes!product-largebag-200

I couldn’t believe how fast the fire started and what a great base it gave me to pile on the wood!  StumpChunks are all natural made from New England hardwood and softwood.  The creators of StumpChunks say this creates a “blast-furnace effect” which I have no idea what it means, I just now it started my fire faster than ever before!

Available at select stores and on-line the cost is roughly that of a pre-packaged fire log that never seemed to work for me.  Those “fire logs” always took too long to start as they are designed for a slow burn.  For now on, StumpChunks will be a permanent fixture at a Conrad bonfire.  Check them out on-line at www.stumpchunks.com!

 

I have been a big fan of the Dyson Vacuum (going way back to before I had my blog http://voices.yahoo.com/dyson-vacuum-gotta-gadget-really-sucks-476996.html and Dyson Handheld Vacuums (http://gottahavegadget.com/dyson-dc31-handheld-vac/).  Just when I think they can’t get any better, Dyson comes out with something new and creative.  I very rarely write about accessories, but this is one that I have too.  Not only is it a great gadget, but my wife LOVES when I have to test vacuum products.  I honestly believe Dyson read my mind not only with this gadget, but they also have a new vacuum that sensors what surface you are trying to clean.  When I was testing this, I actually said, “with technology the way it is, I shouldn’t have to push a button to when I go from a rug to my hardwood floors.”  Then “BAM” I see a commercial for their new product.  With the Tangle-free Turbine, this accessory makes it extremely easy to pick up pet fur, clean area rugs without getting all clogged up!  In addition, with the design you will not ruin an area rug when a single string of the rug gets caught up in the vacuum head!  This actually happened to me in an area rug where a string became tangled and I watched as it tore up the rug.  What I really like about this accessory is that it fits on all the Dyson products.  So not only do I use it on my Dyson Ball Vacuum, but the DC31 handheld too.  I love that I can do a quick vacuum of the dog fur on the couch with the handheld before guests arrive.  So if you have a Dyson product, check out http://www.dyson.com/tools/t/tangle-free-turbine-tool/tangle-free-turbine-tool.aspx as the Tangle-free Turbine is definitely a Gotta Have Gadget!