BlazeVideo Wireless WiFi 720P IP/Cloud Camera


Normally, I do long, detailed reviews. I’m in the midst of a small personal issue, so this and other reviews for the immediate future will be brief.

This is a well-made camera. The image sensor is good and the images it produces are sharp and crisp. There is minimal lag in response times for the pan/tilt/zoom features. The app is functional and intuitive, and even if it tends to log you out from time to time. The app will also hang with prolonged viewing and display a static image. This will require a close and restart of the app. One other slight annoyance, that I have not had the time to look if I can correct, is the inversion of the PTZ controls. Up is down, left is right, etc. Counter-intuitive and very annoying. The night vision is very good, and the IR lights give better zero-light illumination than my Amcrest 720p PTZ IP camera, but this comes at a cost, because glare through a window is considerably increased, to the point of obscuring the image if it’s shining straight at the window or door. This is much more than my previously used Amcrest camera.

This is a much better built camera that others I have tested, and I would say the fit and finish surpasses the Amcrest and Foscam cameras I’ve used in the past. The antennae on the back for the wireless is a bit old-fashioned, as most of the wireless IP cameras in this price range have an integrated antennae, but it does increase the wireless range so it’s wash. The signal still drops intermittently though. You can (and I have, successfully on my Lorex IP system) connect this camera to an existing IP security camera setup via CAT5 or CAT6 cables. So if you have an open channel on your home security camera setup, this will plug and play. There is a cloud feature as well as microSD card slot for onboard storage. I feel the price is too high even if the camera is quality, for a 720p camera. if you knock $25-$30 off this, you have a solid contender here with good features and a great build.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Blaze Video. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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AqtivAqua POLARIZED “Poseidon” Swim Goggles

Hubby’s been through more than a few swim goggles from various suppliers, and rarely have a pair been good for more than a couple of uses before they start to leak, or the anti-fog lenses fog, or some plastic piece breaks. These are the first, however, to claim to be polarized.

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Polarized lenses not only reduce glare, they increase contrast and reduce eye strain. Unlike a traditionally tinted lens, they don’t just darken the field of view with various tints or shading in the lens, but block the horizontally polarized beams of sunlight. Generally this makes anything with polarized lenses more expensive than non, but the benefits for some greatly outweigh the costs.  So putting a polarized lens on a set of swim goggles seems like a no-brainer, since there’s rarely more sunlight bouncing around than when you’re in the pool in the summer, right? So far, these AqtivAqua® POLARIZED “Poseidon” Swim Goggles are the sharpest, clearest goggles I’ve ever used. Whether the lenses are truly polarized or just tinted perfectly, I can’t tell. But the sharpness and clarity both in and out of the water was stunning. They fit well around even Hubby’s giant pumpkin head, and there’s no leaks or fogging. They’ve only been used twice in chlorinated water, but both times on both of us they were comfortable, there was no pinching or binding, and they were easily adjusted on the fly to fit either of us. They are a touch on the bulky side and there’s not as much peripheral vision as we’re used to with our swim goggles. But other than that, we have no complaints. The zippered, molded storage case is a nice touch too, a real “value added” bonus. 

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I will revisit this review after a few more uses, because testing and reviewing swim goggles has shown me that the first few uses are always perfect, and with exposure to chlorinated water over a season, the cheaper, poorly made ones tend to start fogging and leaking after about 5 or 6 uses. But as of now, these are Hubby’s go-to for lap swimming. Whether they stay that way, only time will tell, but AqtivAqua states on the Amazon listing: ” If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your AqtivAqua® Swimming Goggles, contact us and we will provide a no-hassle full refund”. Alrighty, then. I say give them a try!

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Connect with ActivAqua:

  • On Amazon

I received the above product(s) free of charge from ActivAqua. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Oak Leaf’s Double Edge Safety Razor

Hubby has been shaving for almost 30 years now, being as he was an early bloomer and started before high school. He’s been through the entire gamut of shaving devices, from manual to electric, and found out what works well for him and what doesn’t. And while he’s been curious to try an single-blade safety razor for while, this one for him kind of missed the mark.

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The shave a was decent enough once he got the hang of the angle of the safety razor. And it seems the refills will be dirt cheap, which for us is another major, major plus. What he didn’t care for was what felt to him like a miniature handle that he found difficult to hold properly, or at least how he’s held his razors for years and years. The handle is so short that he can only hold it with 2 fingers and his thumb. He found the control with that reduced grip lacking and felt the handle needed a couple of inches more for him to feel like he had the control of the blade he’s accustomed to. Another mark in the minus column was that the shave with the provided Dorco blades was not as close as he would like, leading to longer,  very coarse stubble by the evening (I liken his stubble to 40 grit sandpaper, so the shave lasting less than a day no bueno). Lastly, and this may be unique to the handle I was sent, the “butterfly” mechanism didn’t seem to want to “lock” or stay closed, working itself open or loose a couple of times mid-shave.

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On the plus side, the chome-coated handle and head seem to resist water-spotting and rust after a few uses, and again, replacement blades should be a pittance compared to whatever grossly over-priced 5, 6 or 7 blade monstrosity Gillette and Schick are pumping out nowadays. The shave is adequate for a daily shaver that didn’t cause Hubby and noticeable razor burn, and almost no ingrown hairs either, which with his extra-thick rhino-skin is no small feat. In the end I feel the $9.99 price point is a good introduction to safety razors, but you’ll be wanting something a little bigger or better if this is going to be your daily driver.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Oak Leaf. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

B&C Home Goods Foldable Fabric Cube Containers

This week we looked at a set of 6 fabric storage cubes from Safari Foldables. I liked them, a lot. They were solid, strong, and made to last. And I thought I’d hit the jackpot when B&C Home Goods approved me to try their versions. I’m sad to report that while they’re decent, they just don’t fly as high as the Safari Foldables versions. They’re still very decent, but they didn’t blow my skirt up the way the last set did, and I’ll explain why.

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On the surface, everything is practically the same. Same size, dimensions, similar construction, similar materials. But the little details are where the wheels come off the little red wagon.The sides aren’t as strong. The handles aren’t as strong. The bottom isn’t as strong. The fabric isn’t as thick. The sewing is not as neat. They almost feel, I don’t know…flimsy. If I hadn’t already tried the Safari Foldables, I’d think these were decent but I’d use them as supplements to something more solid-feeling, and not have fallen in love with them like I did with the Safari Foldables versions. Even the gray coloring is not as pleasing, more industrial looking. They do the job adeqhately, but they also lack the label window from the Safari Foldables versions. Taken together I think the B&C Home Goods 6 pack of foldable fabric storage cubes would warrant 3 & 1/2 stars, but since Amazon only likes whole stars, I’ll be generous and round it up to 4, but at $21.97 for the B&C Home Goods storage cubes, for my money I’ll spend the couple of extra dollars for the far superior Safari Foldable cubes instead.

Connect with B&C Home Goods:

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from B&C Home Goods. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Amaze Creation’s Safari Foldables Foldable Fabric Storage Containers

 

There are a few axioms we live by around here, and one of them is that you can never have enough storage solutions. And there’s many choices out there for collapsible cloth storage “boxes”, but my new favorite is, hands down, Amaze Creations’ Safari Foldables 6-pack of fabric storage bins.

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I’ve had, tested and reviewed storage boxes like these before, and more than a few failed to pass muster. They were flimsy, small, poorly designed or made, looked or smelled funky. Safari Foldables is none of those things, and at $24.44 for a six pack, you will not find a cheaper, better made set of fabric foldable storage bins. There’s strong, sewn-on fabric handles, with a firm, strong bottom that doesn’t bow or crease even under a heavy load of 4 5lb bags of flour, 2 large bags of brown sugar, and a canister of baking powder. That’s no joke, but the Safari Foldables Fabric storage bin just took it all and laughed. And as if these weren’t too cool already, there’s a small pocket in front for a label, with a label included!! (Pro-tip: Don’t write on them, use a P-Touch so that you can reuse the label if/when the contents change) These storage bins are a generous 10.5 x 10.5 x 11 inches, so storing extra dry goods, seasonal clothes, small kitchen appliances…it’s entirely up to you, but rest assured these Safari Foldables storage bins are up to the task.

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Safari Foldables also offers a 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee, but I guarantee you, you’re going to love them. They’re a neutral beige, so they’ll go with any decor as well. They look stylish and keep my storage shelves neat and organized, because clutter and mess is just no bueno. You should pick up one or two, I know I need to get another set!

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Connect with Amaze Creations/Safari Foldables:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Amaze Creations & Safari Foldables. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Gonex Tactical Backpack 900D 45L Backpack

 

One thing we’ve learned is that you can never have enough storage or carrying solutions in this house. We’ve been using backpacks for various uses for years, more than we ever did in school! Trips to Disneyland, the County Fair, Knott’s Scary Farm, you name it. We took a backpack and were always thankful to have it. Even our trips back and forth from Arizona, we had a backpack for everyday gear. We were intrigued when Gonex offered us their Tactical Backpack to try out, and I’m very glad we did, because man, have backpacks come a looong way!

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One of the big problems we always had with our packs was ergonomics. It would cause so much strain and fatigue just carrying it the way it was designed to be carried. Gonex (and all the better “tactical” pack makers) recognized this and designed their packs to reduce strain and pressure on the low back and upper shoulders, Packs are designed now to evenly distribute weight and pad the areas most likely to be injured from a “flapping” backpack with a breathable mesh padding. You know what I mean, when all the heaviest stuff has migrated to the bottom, and walking will cause the pack to “flap” against the small of your back. That can be damaging enough to cause permanent disc damage and chronic pain! But since this Gonex pack secures around the waist and at the chest, the pack stays securely put. In fact, the entire back is semi-rigid due to the density of the padding at the back, so even delicate electronics like a laptop are going to be safe in there. There’s storage solutions galore both in and out of the pack. Some of the interior pockets might not be the greatest, but there’s enough of them in there that the good outnumber the bad easily. Water beads up on the exterior, and the interior is lined as well. The 900d oxford construction is tear resistant, and is MOLLE compatible. You can configure this pack for just about any task, and it stores small when not in use. The braided nylon straps are strong and 95% hold and lock tight. A couple would slip a bit, but overall since this isn’t a “duty pack” for me, I’m not complaining. Some of the plastic clips feel a little on the flimsy side, which stand out because the rest of the pack is so sturdy, strong and well-built. The zippers all have pull straps as well, and a single carry strap on top should you want to carry it free handed.

There’s just so many possibilities with this Gonex Tactical Backpack. Camping, hiking, a range bag, a bug-out bag for the prepper in your life. I computer bag, a book bag. Hubby has loaded a package of water bottles for exercise and it took that abuse, laughed at him and asked for more. This is a rock solid, excellently built pack. The stitching held up to Hubby’s abuse, where other, lesser packs have completely failed in the past. And Gonex knows they’ve made a quality pack, because they stand behind it 100% with their “full love it or return it guarantee”. Don’t worry, Gonex, I love it. Sometimes, even when you expect something will be good, you’re still blown away by how good it actually is. This is one of those times where “5 stars” is till too low a rating. I defy you to find a better made pack at this price point. Because I don’t think you can.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from GoNex. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Classic Safari’s 6-Piece Outdoor Kit

We like being out of doors, and we like exploring, so when the opportunity arose to try out some “outdoorsy” type stuff, I was very happy to give some of them a go. And while we’re not experienced, or even regular, outdoors folks, we found Classic Safari’s 6-Piece Outdoor Kit perfectly adequate for the occasional adventurer!

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When one is out on their own, one usually has to make due with whatever you happen to pack in your pockets or backpack. Rarely do we think about what could happen should venture too far astray or make a left at that fork instead of a right. With most of the gear packed into this kit, you could make due for a bit of time while you find your way back to where you meant to go. You get:

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-A small set of binoculars with a 8×21 magnification that fold up very compactly for easy carry, and are pretty clear. They have a rubberized no-slip grip, lanyard and rubberized eye relief as well, and they even thought to include a small cleaning cloth!

-Next you have a plastic liquid-filled lensatic compass. It held north pretty well, as evidenced by Hubby’s Casio Pro-Trek watch that was significantly more expensive than this set.

-You get a multi-tool also, with 11 tools (straight blade, file, awl, sawblade, can opener, scissors, flat and phillips screwdrivers, corkscrew and one that for the life of me I could not get to open!), with common tools one might need on a day-to-day basis.

-There’s also a 9-bulb LED flashlight that runs on 3 AAA  batteries and has a rubberized tailcap on/off switch. Sadly the batteries are not included, and the light from this flashlight is pretty anemic, even in total darkness, but it beats being stuck n pitch-black, right?

-Lastly there’s a magnesium flint firestarter that, while appreciated, gave us a heck of a time generating a spark. I wouldn’t want to depend on this in an emergency, but it’s better than nothing.

All in all, the kit is pretty basic and would be a superb gift for a Boy Scout, young child or tween, or even the occasional nature walker that might not think to grab more than a water bottle before leaving. And they are better than being stuck out there with nothing, and in a pinch might even save your life. The canvas pack and webbed-nylon belt hold everything well, except the side pouches that things can slip out if one were to move around jarringly. I think the pricing is fair for the quality you get, and while none of these tools are close to professional grade, they do let you know which ones you’d use and certainly want to upgrade. And I can’t say enough about Skivu, the company that sells this kit. My first kit came missing the 11-tool “Swiss Army” type knife, and they expedited a whole new kit to me. That’s a company that stands behind their products. There’s a lot to like in this kit and think if you give them a try you’ll find a lot you like too!

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Connect with SKIVU:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from SKIVU. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Tryazon: Sterno S’mores Maker for Indoors and Outdoors Use #SmoresMaker

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I’m all for DIY cooking ways and what not better way to bring some fun, by being able to create S’mores at home. The weather is bad? No problem, as this Sterno S’mores Maker has no limitations. You can make S’mores it indoors, outdoors and at any hour. Yup, party any time and this is not just limited to giving kids smiles, you can even make “Gourmet S’mores” that are easy and even make it less messy. No longer do you have to try to hold the candy bar piece, you can literally make a chocolate bark topping that stays……yes, stays put on top of your graham piece.

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The S’mores Maker is brought to you by Sterno Products, the company that has been bringing heat to campers and the like for decades. They have created a nice line of products and kits, which make not only Summer funner, but you are not limited by the seasons when entertaining.

The kit includes:

  • 2 Roasting Forks
  • 1 Roasting Safety Screen for even roasting and protection from flame
  • 2 integrated S’mores Making Stations for an easy and clean way to make s’mores
  • Includes 1 can of Sterno S’mores Heat™ (also available for purchase separately)

I decided to make chocolate barks and all you do is make a ganache and/or melt chocolate and add toppings. Ganaches, use Heavy Cream and produce a more velvety texture and by using a 75% ratio of chocolate to 25% cream, the product firms up enough to not fall off the graham or cookie of your choice. You can also melt chocolate on low heat and then simply smear the chocolate on one part of the cookie, add your toppings and you are now pre-making S’mores!  When guests arrive, half the work is completed. I also find this controls messes. Nuts, coconut shavings and so forth can get sloppy when you are building the Ultimate S’mores sandwich. This way of building S’mores makes sure the tables and floors do not suffer from runaway toppings!

The toppings are endless and you can satisfy any picky eater by using these easy tricks:

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Now, this is how the set up looks and it took me an hour to pre-make all the cookies.  I had guests coming as I made them and my chocolate chip mini cookies were eaten up, but you can use more than just graham.  Even Shortbread minis!

 

The Sterno S’mores Maker heats evenly no matter the size of marshmallow.  Hey, I was worried the Giant ones (found at Aldi’s) would not heat up and melt in the center, they did and with ease.  The normal size ones that look like miniatures compared to the gigantic ones, those I purchased at Trader Joe’s.

 

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Verdict:

I was super excited and started purchasing ingredients before the maker even arrived.  Then it arrived!! It was beautiful and easy to assemble, meaning none was needed.  The red portion (holder) is dishwasher safe and because you can by the cans again and again, this means having a S’mores party is endless.  We will be trying more creations in the future and I can’t wait.  This is a must buy and at $35.16 currently at Amazon, it’s perfect for 4th of July or really anytime.  Make your own fun and creations.  The refill fuel cans retail for $6.99 and that is for two cans!  Each can lasts for about 45 minutes.  It’s a cinch to clean up and everyone had a blast.

 

Connect with Sterno and checkout the S’mores Maker at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sterno and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Starling’s Heavy-Duty Trunk Organizer (With Bonus Sun Shade!)

 

If you’re like me you need to make more than a few stops to get groceries. Like, sometime 5 or 6 stops. All in different cities. And the one thing that gets Hubby’s goat more than anything are the “nickle-and-dime tactics” of markets that want you to pay for a bag. So thankfully, Starling’s offered us a car trunk organizer that has made our shopping trips a little less frustrating.

 

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See, we both get when a city has decided to ban plastic grocery bags. The reasoning is specious at best and the results are marginal, but hey, it’s pure profit for everyone involved (except the consumer). And charging for paper bags? When they’re made from the cardboard boxes they get their products delivered in? Give me a break! So I’m sure I’m not the only person who had things rolling around in the trunk or back seat because you’ve gotten tired of everyone having their hand in your pocket. And Starling’s is a lifesaver, because their organizer is big, spacious, sturdy and oh-so-helpful getting stuff from the truck to the house. It’s well-built and strong enough that we stuffed all our Costco purchases in it, and could easily carry everything in with no fear of dropping anything or the organizer being strained. It’s covered in water resistant nylon fabric, which means cold things sweating, or light spills, are not a problem.The bottom is rubberized to minimize sliding around, and the carry handles on the sides are strong and sturdy. You can customize the divider inside, or only open up half to minimize the space it takes up. I’m in love. And the dividers have done a fantastic job of keeping cold, warm, and non-food items all away from one another. There’s room in the pockets for more stuff, on all sides, and should one feel the need, you could store everything you’d need for any roadside emergency in Starling’s organizer, with room to spare. and when you’re done with it, it folds right back up, nice and flat and takes up practically no space at all. Starling’s even included a sun visor for the front windshield at no extra charge.

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We’ve bought cheap-o organizers for the car and truck before. They always fell apart, broke down, or weren’t made to last and got tossed. But for only $27.99, you get a rock-solid trunk organizer that holds way more than you’d think, and does more than you can imagine, and a 100% lifetime warranty? Uh, yes please! This product is a steal and when we get our new car, I know what the very first accessory we’re buying for it is: A Starling’s Trunk Organizer!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Starling’s. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Burei Men’s “Big Face” Quartz Watch with Black Leather Dial

 

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We’re no stranger to Burei watches in this house, and this one here is another winner, but more sleek and uncomplicated than the watches Hubby is used to. Suitable for dressing up or down, I think this Burei watch is fantastic.

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Made from 316L stainless steel and sporting a brushed black electroplate, this almost 43mm watch also has a scratch-resistant mineral crystal and a genuine calfskin 18mm band. The leather is soft and pliable and made from a single piece of leather. The push in knurled crown allows you to easily adjust the time and date, and the indices are coated with a bright, powerful lume, with traditional hourmarkers as well as minute markers and a ticking second hand. There’s a bright copper threading on the band that is much more copper-colored than the image on Amazon would lead you to believe. And while the watch is water resistant to 50 meters, the calfskin band won’t fare too well being submerged, but the occasional splash is just fine. The precision Japanese quartz keeps excellent time with no noticeable loss after a couple of weeks of regular wear.

The quality you get from Burei is second to none for the price, and is backed bu Burei’s stellar warranty of 30 days money back guarantee for any reason, 12 months replacement or full refund for quality issues and 24 months maintenance for any quality issues. I don’t know of a single watchmaker in this price range that even comes close to a warranty like this. Burei even includes a ready-made gift package with bag, box, and pillow presentation with warranty card.

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There are many choices out there for value-priced watches, but none that, for my money, match the quality of Burei.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Burei. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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