Dec 5, 2017

The Most Affordable and Comfortable Mattress for Kids?

By | 2017-12-05T07:28:22+00:00 December 5th, 2017|Information|Comments Off on The Most Affordable and Comfortable Mattress for Kids?

I have two kids who both share a bunk bed and they needed new mattresses, yes they were using the ones that came with the bunk bed when we purchased it and this was your generic spring mattress that was low quality but did the job.  We did purchase a mattress topper to help but when both kids started having back pain and complaints over the bed not being comfortable of an extended period of time I was looking for a way to kill 2 birds with one stone by finding the cheapest high quality mattresses I could find.  I normally would buy ones from Ikea but those flat rolled mattresses with the additional topper never really worked well and were thick and unwieldy with my kids sleeping on them in Arizona before we moved to California.

Now most people would think that kids could sleep on anything and this would be true, but considering how important sleep is to kids and they get 8 hours a night plus have bad posture while sitting all day long I consider a comfortable mattress really important.  You spend 8-9 hours on a mattress you don’t want to have one that will cause you to be uncomfortable in your sleep or worse cause some back or neck problems later due to it not providing proper support. This is more true for older kids as they get heavier, the younger kids probably have lighter bodies and aren’t as affected by lower quality mattresses (just guessing don’t really know here).

So how do I test?  Well I use my own adult mattresses that I paid in upwards of a thousand dollars for as a frame of reference and I took some time to sleep on my kids bed and mattress to make sure if it is good enough for me, it is good enough for them.  Believe me I have slept in a lot of mattresses over the years and I can say for the price these are surprisingly good unless you are looking for frills.  I mean this would be the ideal mattress for kids, teenagers and for a high school dorm.  I was never a fan of the super thin and hard IKEA mattresses, but I do buy the frames and then going forward would just pick up one of these.

So the mattress that we bought from Amazon was the LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress which costs $99 and when you compare what you get in this mattress you will see that it is a fantastic deal.  The mattress has a combo foam/inner spring and I will show you a diagram from their website on how the mattress is designed.

When the mattresses arrive they are rolled and compressed in a vacuum sealed bag, I am really surprised ad just how crushed down and compact these mattresses are when they arrive and I initially had my doubts on how much they could expand.  It is best if you get them close to the bed and pop the seal on the plastic, then spread them out quickly and they will start expanding rapidly.

I would say it takes about a full hour to expand 100% and get the full 8″ thickness, but once it does, you can see the memory foam layer on top of the spring layer clearly.

 

Again, I bought 2 of these for a bunk bed and I can tell you they are far better than you would expect for the $99 and blew away any of the cheap mattress at Ikea plus were better than buying a cheap mattress and a topper separately.  I found them to have a quality nearly as good as my own $1200 mattress when I tested them by taking a few naps in my sons bed to test it in comparison to the old mattress.

This is a product where the Amazon reviews are spot on for averages and has an incredibly high star rating, with statements like the following:

For a product to have a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with over 2090 reviews you know it is going to more likely end up being a worthwhile buy.  So if you need a budget mattress that combines a memory foam and spring then this LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress is going to be excellent.  I actually preferred not having 100% memory foam and some spring support.

 

Aug 22, 2017

Is the My Pillow a Good Pillow?

By | 2017-09-08T09:36:33+00:00 August 22nd, 2017|Information|Comments Off on Is the My Pillow a Good Pillow?

This is my thoughts on the My Pillow after comparing it to about a dozen total pillows including feather pillows, stuffing pillows and foam pillows.  I have used many pillows over the years and wanted to let you know if I though the My Pillow is worth buying or whether it is a dud like so many other As Seen On TV Products.  So of course I have been someone who has bought those random pillows from Walmart and Target over the years and I have tried expensive Mattress Store pillows that cost $200 per pillow like the memory foam ones we have now on the bed that my wife loves but I can’t stand to sleep on them because they never get flat enough when I sleep on my side.

I have tried the Sobakawa pillow and many other bean/filling pillows that felt like little soft rice grains that help the pillow conform to your head and neck as well as feather pillows as well which I do get the poking in my neck or scratching from the down occasionally.  All in all, finally after my wife needed to use one of my pillows to prop her foot after an injury I was left having to find another pillow.  So like most people I have seen the commercials for My Pillow and thought another cheesy as seen on TV product like most people.

I went to legit reviews from Amazon purchasers who are verified and saw a mixed bag, but still I have picked products that were so-so and I decided to spend the money and buy it from Amazon.  I do this because the return policy is far superior than going to the source if there is a problem with a product.  The pillow arrived and I was eager to get to sleeping.

Now I never give the first night any weight for anything but I can tell you that this pillow has little soft balls inside of it, not quite as small and hard as Sobakawa pillows but smaller balls than some foam pillows.  They do conform around your head and neck well and it is very comfortable, where this pillow really shined for me is that it shapes easily and on my side it is extremely comfortable to keep just enough bunched under my neck to keep it in a good alignment.  On my back is even better, where I can give just enough support to arch my neck and the pillow does seem to not cause as much heat generation when sleeping on it because my head was not as sweaty as it is on some pillows, especially the foam ones.

I haven’t washed the pillow yet so I can’t speak for it’s survivability after a machine washing but I can tell that for the price this was far better than most pillows I have used and I like it better than the $200 memory foam pillow I had purchased previously.  So in my first 3 weeks of using the My Pillow I can tell you that I really like it and it may not be the best pillow but it so far is my favorite pillow out of the dozen or so pillows I have used over the past decade.  I want a 2nd one that I can use as a body pillow.

 

Jul 15, 2017

Review of the Potato Chip Maker from Vat19

By | 2017-07-15T07:28:00+00:00 July 15th, 2017|Information|Comments Off on Review of the Potato Chip Maker from Vat19

So my son wanted to spend his earnings on a potato chip maker from Vat19, he loves Vat19 and previously bought a slushy maker and was very impressed with it.  Oliver loves potato chips and this was a way to somewhat get healthier versions that could be made at home in 4-5 minutes from a fresh potato without having to turn on the oven or use a dehydrator.

The Healthy Potato Chip maker is a simple premise, it has a mandolin slicer to slice out thin potato slices which you place on a circular rack and then microwave the slices until they turn into crunchy chips.  They say 4 minutes in the instructions but for me some of the chips were hard and some were still a little chewy after 4 minutes so you may have to play with the time a little bit to find the amount of time that gives you that crunchy chip.  Just remember to let them set for about 3 minutes after the microwave turns off so they can coast cook and cool down before you start eating them.

The first thing I will let you know is everything that comes with the kit, this is a clear plastic bowl with a red lid that has a mandolin style slicer.  A white potato slice holding tray and a plastic holder which is supposed to grab one end of the potato so you don’t risk your fingers.  I will tell you that the lid gets knocked off of the container too easily, the mandolin slicer isn’t stable and the plastic piece to hold the potato is not stable for large russet potatoes.  I think this product is way to risky for a kid under 13 to use and I would be the only one slicing the potato for my son Oliver.  I will say that while slicing a thick russet potato on the slicer it takes some force to slice it straight through and because the plastic lid is very light weight and the bowl is also light weight, there doesn’t appear to be enough of a sturdy structure to properly slice a heavy potato easily.

This means I wound up having to make sure I held the lid tightly while slicing quickly and I was always worried the lid would come off of the container bowl even though it fits and slots in place, it isn’t very sturdy.  It should have had some sort of clamp mechanism to hold it firmly in place in my opinion.  I personally think all mandolin slicers are risky though, so just know what you are getting with the slicer.  It does work and you get thin potato slices as you can see in the below picture.

Now after filling the entire chip holder with potato slices you place it on a paper plate or napkin and microwave it for 4 minutes to start according to the instruction and let it sit for 3 minutes to cool down after.  I found I had to microwave it a little longer and you do have to play with times to make sure it cooks the potato slices into chips.  Even Vat19 says you may have to adjust the times because microwaves don’t always all cook at the same wattage.

Before you microwave the chips you can add your flavoring, while the chips are wet from being freshly sliced you can add a little salt, black pepper, paprika or any seasonings or spices that you like.  They will stick to the wet potato chip and it is easier and better to add them before you microwave them into chips than after when they become dry and the spices would just fall off.

Jul 6, 2017

Tips for Starting Out as a Tech Reviewer

By | 2017-09-08T09:41:37+00:00 July 6th, 2017|Entertainment|Comments Off on Tips for Starting Out as a Tech Reviewer

I had someone reach out to me on YouTube asking how they can get started with being a tech product reviewer and I thought about it and turned out the following suggestions.  This is just a high level overview of suggestions for those who seriously want to get into reviewing products in exchange for receiving them.  You won’t make a lot of money or any money at first unless you are lucky and get a lot of Amazon affiliate or other affiliate commissions, but this is more about the thrill of getting new stuff to review and providing valuable feedback for readers and brands as well as building your own reputation.
Here are some suggestions, the Amazon tips only apply if you are in the US location.

How to Become a Technology Product Reviewer

TIP #1 Become An Affiliate ASAP

If you aren’t an Amazon affiliate and Gearbest affiliate, become one immediately. Sign up and if you haven’t ordered a product from Amazon, order one (anything) you have to have bought a product to leave Amazon reviews which many brands want.  You may also want to sign up to become an affiliate on cj.com and ShareASale.com right away as well, CJ.com has NewEgg store and you can become an affiliate there. Building affiliated sales links to every product you review will help generate you income, but also give you analytics and detailed reports you can use to show brands how you provide an ROI (return on investment) to them for sending you a product to review.  I would also take the time to become an International Amazon affiliate (amazon.co.uk, amazon.ca, amazon.de, amazon.it…etc.) and use Prourls.net or Geni.us to start global affiliate linking for maximizing revenue.  Better to get established now instead of having to proactively fix your links later which means you could lose income.
Build out a full reviewer profile on Amazon and other stores where brands may ask you to leave a review, or you can leave reviews there to also help with attracting brand attention.  Make sure all your contact details to contact you are listed on all your store profiles.

TIP #2 Review Everything You Have

Start reviewing everything you own that you can, even stuff that is 6+ months old, past stuff still sells constantly. Link everything in your vids to the product pages (hopefully where you can affiliate too and earn.)  You can review tech and non-tech products, vacuums, kitchen appliances, just start looking at what you have and use and best of all create how to videos to help people figure out how to use it or solve a problem, these do well and leverage Quora and Yahoo Answers to find questions that people ask and do videos and responses to solve those problems, use Google Search to find out what people are asking/searching for and answer those questions with videos you publish as well.

Tip #3 Create an Introduction and Featured Video

Make an intro vid that showcases what you offer and set it as featured vid for your channel, this is mine for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0x6ZpF1vDTY

Tip #4 Collect Analytics and Show Value to Brands

Start building analytics for your views/sales so you can show brands and encourage them, this will be very low, but start doing monthly collection of how many clicks, visits, impressions and sales and start adding to it to show brands later.

Tip #5  Start Contacting Brands

Start reaching out to brands, use an intro letter (contact them via Amazon or direct brand press page) let them know you are a new tech blogger, show what you have so far and that you want to review their product and showcase. Start with smaller known brands and < $50 products, there will be a lot of bluetooth earbuds, headsets, budget mice at first until you can show ROI to brands.  If you would like a sample reach out to contactme@dragonblogger.com and I will send you a sample.

Tip #6  Create Videos About Products and Featuring Stuff

Create videos featuring products/software/brands even if it isn’t a review. Showcase a screencast of a website, or video yourself talking about a product/brand that you want and what features you want to see. Make 2-3 vids per product you get, unboxing, review and a how-to do something with that product for maximum effect.

Tip #7  Freelance as a Product Reviewer for DragonBlogger.com

You can temporarily work for my site as a freelance, where you do vid reviews/written reviews for my site and then you can do a separate one of the same product for your site. I have helped many tech bloggers get products and use my site for their review, then they get to review same product for their site after, it helps add content to my site and get them products to flush out their channels too. Reach out to me contactme@dragonblogger.com if you are interested.
Apr 27, 2017

Kingdom-Com 2017 in San Diego

By | 2017-04-27T13:58:55+00:00 April 27th, 2017|Entertainment|Comments Off on Kingdom-Com 2017 in San Diego

Fans of tabletop and RPG games will know that Kingdom-Con has come to San Diego and this is the place to be to get your role playing on as well as pick up some miniatures, games and more.  This is a hands on event where you get to try and RP the latest games, or join in on the wargames.  Kingdom-Con 2017 (April 27th – April 30th) is located at the Crowne Plaza San Diego in Mission Valley.

Kingdom-Con 2017 Vendor Hall

Here are a list of all vendors that will be there and the vendor hall hours.

The Vendor Hall is open each day of the convention.

Vendor Hall Hours:

  • Thursday – 3pm – 8pm
  • Friday – 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday – 10am – 6pm
  • Sunday  – 10am – 6pm

Below are links to the various scheduled events

 

 

Apr 26, 2017

Does Butter Beer from Flying Cauldron Taste Like Potter World Butter Beer?

By | 2017-04-26T17:30:16+00:00 April 26th, 2017|Entertainment|Comments Off on Does Butter Beer from Flying Cauldron Taste Like Potter World Butter Beer?

So I was at Universal Studios for Potter World in California over the past Holiday break and my whole family enjoyed the Butter Beer of course which was fantastic and a nice treat.  My kids wanted to occasionally have some (as did I) and I decided to take a chance on the Flying Cauldron Butterscotch beer on Amazon which they say closely replicates the butter beer from Harry Potter world.  The price is a bit high but cheaper than actually butter beer per bottle in Universal Studios, and a 12 pack will cost $32.90 but you get (3) 4 packs when it is delivered.

How Does Butterscotch Beer Taste?

Well, my kids and I both believe they replicated the flavor so well that it is passable and fills the purpose of giving you that sweet unique butterscotch soda taste.  The difference is it doesn’t have the little cream they put on top in Harry Potter World and it is slightly different but for my own tasting purposes even 2 months later I can’t tell you that it tastes any different, maybe if I did a taste test side by side I could say there is a difference but my taste buds don’t remember one.  I enjoyed the butter beer from Flying Cauldron tremendously and shared a bottle with my kids about one per week until we ran out.

Something else my son came up with the idea for is how to create butter beer slurpee’s and we decided to test Oliver’s Slurpee Maker he got from Vat19 with the Butter Beer from Flying Cauldron and man does this make a great cold butter beer flavored treat that works out well.  Now some people in the Amazon reviews didn’t think the flavor tasted the same, or thought it was too sweet but I didn’t think it was any sweeter than the frosted butter beer at Harry Potter world, the hot butter beer there wasn’t as sweet but the frosted was very sweet and about on par.  This is a very sweet treat and probably not something that you would drink frequently due to the calories, but it is a nice treat to have and if you are throwing a Harry Potter themed party for kids or adults then this is a great little treat to break out with your Harry Potter Bertie Botts Beans and enjoy. By the way they are packaged and shipped in a styrofoam container and everything is kept safe and secure.

Apr 1, 2017

Aicok Knife Set and Magnetic Knife Holder Review

By | 2017-04-01T19:02:17+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Information|Comments Off on Aicok Knife Set and Magnetic Knife Holder Review

Sometimes you just need a new set of kitchen knives and I have bought and reviewed ceramic knives before but was ultimately disappointed that they did lose sharpness rather quickly and in fact the tips were able to break off easier than steel knives at least in my case and my previous set.  So Aicok reached out to me and told me to give their kitchen knives a review and particularly what made the set unique was the granite block magnetic holder that way after your knife was dry you could just set it and let it be held magnetically to the stand.

The box is fairly heavy and most of the weight is the heavy stone block that the knives magnetically attach to.  Aicok includes plastic tips that you can place on each knife which is a great touch and I say is highly recommended that you use them when you are done and the knife is washed and dried.   

You get a variety of knives for just about any purpose in your kitchen, though it doesn’t include a thin filleting knife for fish.

The bread knife I found worked particularly well for baguettes and other hard breads.

The block itself is heavy and has a stand, it does take up a large amount of counter space and you cannot mount this block to a wall.  Something to note is that when you hang the knives magnetically onto the magnetic block stand you need to make sure the handles are above and slightly resting on the block top. These knives are not seated very well magnetically and I found they were too easy to knock off accidentally by bumping the counter or bumping the block with something.  This would very easily cause scoring or damage to the countertop from the sharp knife tips if you don’t use the knife tip covers that are included, so I would say make them mandatory.  Overall I would have preferred the used a stronger magnetism and made the resting sturdier for the knives and have the ability for them to be more vertical so you can wall mount the block, or simply not have it consume so much countertop space as it does have to rest at an angle and the stand behind it takes up quite a bit of countertop space.  The fact you don’t have the block where you slide knives in and when wet can cause bacteria build up in the wood is good, but it comes with a risk of countertop damage and possibly risk to children in the home if you don’t put tips on the knives you have kids prone to climb on counters.

So with that I would say, it is nice in appearance, the knives themselves work great but the magnetic stand and block was a bit of a let down. Still if you need a good set of knives the Aicok knive set works well and these knives are made with 420 German stainless steel.

Apr 1, 2017

Funny Retirement Home Names Part 2

By | 2017-03-29T20:33:08+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Entertainment|Comments Off on Funny Retirement Home Names Part 2

One of the most popular posts here on this site is actually a funny little post I wrote after reading a funny retirement home names and thinking that there are probably a dozen or so I can come up with as a poet and player of words. This silly little post wound up being visited tens of thousands of times and all the article did was summarize and present a bunch of funny made up retirement home names and this got me thinking why not work on a sequel post with some new and fresh funny retirement home names and then invite others to share the names of retirement homes that they can come up with.

The key is to be a bit clever without being cruel, mean or so awkward it isn’t plausible for a facility or recreational center to have that name in the title. So you wouldn’t put something that would offend someone as a potential title for the home, but something that can capture time period, era, age, with some sort of dignity and grace and pair it with something that sounds enticing. Some of the names poke a little too close to being offensive I admit, playing to tropes or stereotypes a bit.

Here is my 2nd list of Funny Retirement Home Names

  1. Furlough Estates
  2. Senescent Villa
  3. Greystone Hearth
  4. Ancient Establishment
  5. Venerable Villa
  6. Rusty Abode
  7. Rustic Heights
  8. El diablo oxidado
  9. La villa de los ancianos
  10. Near Zombie Village
  11. Sunset Lillies Retirement Community
  12. Last Living Lifestyle
  13. Sunset Maple Village
  14. Antiquated Hearth
  15. Overaged Headquarters
  16. Not Ready to Rest Home
  17. Gray Domestic Dwelling
  18. Supremely Senior Villa
  19. Auld Nursing Home
  20. Shelter of the Time Worn
  21. Lazy not Crazy Retirement Community
  22. Old Gold Apartments
  23. Retire and Admire Headquarters
  24. White Squire Center
  25. Gray Lobe Estates
  26. Last Sunset Heights
  27. Villa of the Worn
  28. Veteran Sanctuary
  29. Wilted Rose Hospice
  30. Never Darkened Dwelling
  31. Silver Angels Retirement Community
  32. Visiting Sunsets Villa
  33. Sheltered Gold Heights

Here was the original post of funny retirement home names.

 

Mar 29, 2017

Amazon to Crack Down on List Sale Price Scams

By | 2017-03-29T15:37:33+00:00 March 29th, 2017|Information|Comments Off on Amazon to Crack Down on List Sale Price Scams

I am no stranger to Amazon as not only I am an affiliate but I buy dozens of products from Amazon per month and I can tell you one of the most false and misleading things about the Amazon marketplace is the way 3rd party brands give the appearance that things are on sale or you are getting a huge discount on items from them when in fact they are offering the product for the same price as everyone else, they are just fixing the “list” price so that it would appear they are giving a huge discount or sale.

A prime example would be if you did a search for the Play Station VR Starter Bundle (or launch bundle) and you can see one product lists it as “Save $1,380” because it is only $619.99 but had a list of $1,999.99 and the other is simply $608 without listing any sale or discount.

Articles like the one from the LA Times recently are shedding light how consumers are being duped by the allure of “discount” or sale, when in fact they are paying normal retail premiums.  Now Amazon from what I know doesn’t specifically set the List Price for products, this is something the individual store can set and Amazon will compare the list price with other list prices for the same product and remove the list price if it finds the list price isn’t a fair match or appears to be defaulted.  But when a store is clever like changing the “Launch Bundle” to “Starter Bundle” which is not the proper and official term for the PSVR Launch Bundle they likely didn’t find another “list price” because no other store sells it by that name, so therefore the list price gets set and shown indicating a discount that really does not exist.

This is more stores that game Amazon’s system than a direct Amazon fault in my opinion, but Amazon should have been more aware of it and kill it as soon as possible.  It should have AI or algorithms that can spot keyword changes and such when a product is in fact the same thing by scanning more details in the product information to appropriate a listing match.  But this is far more rampant than you would believe, just do a search for any product term like “Bluetooth” for example.

Are we really to believe that so many stores are having sales and discounts on products greater than 35% off all the time?  No this is simply setting a list price high and then putting the actual price so that the buyer perceives that they are getting a discount and saving a lot of money on a product that would normally retail for 35% or more than the current price they are seeing.  It is misleading, it is like putting a $10 item in a store that you know you are selling for $10, then putting a big sign on it listing it for $99.99 and crossing off the $99.99 and then putting $10.00 in red to catch someone’s eye.  You never were going to list it for $99.99 and if a store front did this and was caught there likely would be penalties for doing such a thing.

List prices for Amazon products however are on their way out and will be phased out of existence very soon, between the consumer lawsuits, investigations and marketing strategy shift of Amazon I look forward to where list price is non-existent and you can simply shop on product alone and compare the different sellers + shipping costs for a final total cost of purchase.  Here are some other sources for more information related to the Amazon List price.

 

 

Mar 21, 2017

Haiku: Bestial

By | 2017-03-21T20:56:45+00:00 March 21st, 2017|Poetry|Comments Off on Haiku: Bestial

Ever known someone who has gotten into an angry scuffle or argument where they seem to border on being something primal in a fit of rage or aggression? This haiku bestial encapsulates someone almost crossing that line.

Bestial

With wild feral eyes

A mighty growl of anger

His actions bestial

 

-Haiku by Justin Germino