Dec 31

Reflections of a Year

Why not try to do the hindsight is 20/20 thing and look at 2014 and all that it held, the good, the bad and the things I could have and should have done better.  This is a good time as any to pick what was good, and discard the mistakes as lessons to be learned.

2015 is going to be a year of new beginnings as my family is preparing to relocate to California from Arizona where I have lived the past 19 years and my wife has lived the past 33 years.  It comes with us having to make an adjustment and live in a place that is 1/2 the size of our AZ home since we chose to have a paradise of a location instead of size of residence.  Location and being close to the beach has always been something that I have missed, and my wife has always wanted since she was little.

2015 also comes with a new focus on adapting to this new life as well as adjusting to the financial differences of living in a state and region that is far more expensive than Arizona, but this is somewhat softened a bit by other factors.  It also comes as a change for my kids who have to change schools and go to a completely new and foreign scenario, most of their friends only interact with them on Skype and over the Internet so the change in location doesn’t cause a loss of friends in this day and age the same way as it does when I was young.

I leave a year behind of pain and suffering, with my wife having some devastating health problems and multiple hospitalizations as well as the loss of her father who died just before Christmas but not before she had to accommodate finding him a nursing facility and moving her mother in with us.  This was a year of tolerance and patience as we adapted to various events around us.  Ironically this tested me on multiple fronts, as a provider and as a husband and as a father and left me realizing that in times of great stress I can lose patience too quickly, become frustrated when I am the last thread the family has to hang onto sometimes.

Farewell 2014, and welcome 2015 and for certain this family could use some better times ahead.

 

Dec 24

First Site Guide is a Wealth of Information for Bloggers

Recently I contributed some information for First Site Guide when I was asked my main 3 recommended WordPress plugins and I was invited to see the results and take a look at the site as a whole and was very impressed with the amount of material and depth to the site.

First Site Guide is all about how to start a blog and has many chapters all of which are online and immediately available to read and access without having to buy or pay for anything you simply click on the Show Me How and you get to their How to Start a Blog introduction.

Honestly the site is not overly pushy and isn’t trying to sell you an affiliate e-Book or some make money online scam, it does have some affiliate links to hosting providers but that is perfectly acceptable for the wealth of information that is being provided and they list several hosting providers not specifically pushing any single product or service leaving the reader with plenty of pick and choose options.

The How to Promote Your Content is invaluable to new bloggers who many not have done research yet into the various social media networks or content syndication services and I am surprised they left out Blog Engage which is a fantastic way to syndicate content and video.

Honestly, this site is an inspiration and I wish I had the time and patience to put together such a comprehensive step by step guide to starting up a blog, if you want to start a blog or even have a block I still suggest you check out First Site Guide as you can get ideas, particularly around research and the various tools in the appendices that may help further expand, improve or enhance what you already have setup.

Of course they list Bluehost which I can second as a recommended web hosting provider as all of my smaller sites run on Bluehost.

 

Dec 23

Two Excellent Bluetooth Headphones

So recently for DragonBlogger I have reviewed two excellent Bluetooth headphones, and while my full review is done for the Arctic P614 I am just about to finish up my review of the Creative Soundblaster EVO ZxR.  These headphones cover two price spectrums, the Arctic P614BT being much more in the medium to low end price range (when on sale) and the Soundblaster EVO ZxR being on the high end of the price spectrum easily competing with the most premium noise cancellation headphones you see by other competitors.

Arctic P614 BT

First, the Arctic P614 BT is an excellent headphone choice and is the best Bluetooth headphone pair I have reviewed that is under $60.

What I like about the Arctic P614 BT is the way they fit and the comfort of the ear cups, they rest on your ears not completely enclose your ears and just sound excellent.  They pair perfectly with anything and I have tested them on a Kindle Fire HDX, iPhone 5S and paired them with my Windows 8.1 PC but the mic quality of these headphones is much better on mobile devices than with Windows for some reason.

Creative Soundblaster EVO ZxR

The Creative SoundBlaster EVO ZxR are however the best headphones I have ever reviewed, they have an incredible comfort with the ear cups that completely surround your ear. The sound quality is beyond amazing and the active noise cancellation works very well completely dampening out background sounds and works better if the sounds are a deep and low rumbling such as plane noise or driving noise.

Of course the Soundblaster EVO ZxR are not budget friendly but if you need a premium pair of headphones that you can wear for hours (seriously I wore this over 5+ hours straight listening to an audiobook, or music) and they never cause discomfort on the ears.

Dec 22

The Holiday Week

Christmas week finally has come and it is a busy week, with me having to get a lot done in the first 3 days of the week as I took the day after Christmas off.  I am excited as my wife decided to treat the family to doing Christmas at Disneyland this week after having such a tough year and especially with the last few months with my father in law passing away last week she wanted to do something the kids would enjoy and help offset the terrible loss in the family this year.

I have to finish a ton of work at my day job in just 3 days, but I am usually good for it when the time crunch comes and have to work extra hours each day to get what I need finished to close out the year.  Meanwhile on my spare time I have been alternating between watching movies, playing with the kids and prepping for the holidays.

Hope everyone has a happy holidays and Merry Christmas.

Dec 19

10 Coffee K-Cup Flavors that Make a Great Gift for Keurig Lovers

I love having a Keurig and have been drinking K-Cups for years since it came out, I have actually gone through 2 different Keurig machine since they first came out and one of the things I enjoy most is when I stumble upon a new brand or flavor of K-Cups in my grocery aisle or on Amazon and I am quick to snap up and try new flavors and see how they rank in my previous favorite flavors.

Chocolate Glazed Donut Coffee

 

Absolutely one of my favorite dessert coffee flavors that I like iced even more than hot, this is a coffee that is perfect if you want a dessert drink after a meal or as a night sweet beverage that gives you that chocolate flavor without actually eating chocolate.  By far this is the flavored coffee K-Cup that I drink most frequently and buy most often.  Highly recommended and you can buy it here!

Starbucks Vanilla Coffee

There are a lot of vanilla flavored K-Cup combinations some with hazelnet, some with cream, and just about every brand makes a Vanilla flavored Coffee K-Cup but for me Starbucks Vanilla K-Cup is the best testing Vanilla coffee K-cup and has the least artificial vanilla flavor which is so common in other Vanilla flavored K-cups.

Dunkin Donuts French Vanilla K-Cup

I can’t tell you why but French Vanilla is different than Vanilla and for me few Dunkin Donuts makes the best French Vanilla, absolutely better than every other brand I have tried.  It isn’t as strong vanilla flavored as the Starbucks Vanilla but this is a better morning coffee hot, and the Starbucks one I like a bit better iced.  You can get the Dunkin Donus French Vanilla K-Cup here.

Krispy Kreme Coffee K-Cup

 

Krispy Kreme makes a really great light coffee blend that I just love in the morning and drink in colder weather.  It is very light and has a sweet flavor that isn’t bitter or too bold.  It is one of the better light coffee K-cup and one that I drink at least every few months.  You can pick up the Krispy Kreme Coffee K-Cup here.

 

 

Van Houtte Costa Rica Coffee K-Cup

Another light roast blend that I really love that is very inexpensive is the Van Houtte Costa Rica blend, which again for me goes great with a donut or bagel in the morning.  I tend to like lighter roasts in the morning and brew darker roasts in the early afternoon or lunch time.  You can get the Van Houtte Costa Rica Blend for less than $13 here.

Starbucks 2014 Holiday Christmas Blend

I tend to really like the Starbucks holiday blends, but the 2014 blend was better than previous years, I found it to be strong, dark and sweet and honestly was fantastic to have as an afternoon pick me up or a wake me up in the morning.  The Starbucks Christmas Blend is a limited edition so you had better pick one up before they run out of them and start working on next years blend.

Newman’s Own Organic Coffee Blend

This says it is a medium roast coffee but it has the kick and strength of any dark roast I have tried, this coffee is strong, bold and will definitely awaken your senses.  I tend to like it with a heavier meal because it is strong for me to have on an empty stomach but it is delicious and strong.  You can find it pretty much anywhere, but you can order some Newman’s Own Special Blend Coffee Here too.

Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee K-Cup

I didn’t believe the hype around Blue Mountain coffee when someone told me about it, but I had it and must say it is different and wonderful.  The flavor is strong and if you haven’t tasted Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica and you are a coffee fan you owe it to yourself to try some Blue Mountain coffee.  Out of all the K-Cup brands, the Coffee Roasters Jamaica Blue Mountain is the only one I tried in a K-Cup but is fantastic and worth a try.

Martinson Cayman Coconut Coffee

I have tried only a few Coconut K-Cups before and honestly I hated all of them except the Martinson Cayman Coconut, all others had a very chemically and artificial coconut flavor which made them putrid to me.  If you feel like an unusual blend the Cayman Coconut Coffee is something different and this is the only Coconut flavored blend that I like.

Cinnabon Coffee K-Cups

I used to drink a ton of cinnamon flavored coffee, and the Cinnamon Roll coffee is so sweet and perfect but it doesn’t pair with a Cinnamon bun ironically, you want something savory that offsets the sweetness of the coffee.  This is an amazing dessert coffee that also works so well iced.  If you haven’t tried cinnamon roll flavored coffee, start with the Cinnabon Coffee K-Cups.

 

 

 

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