Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Product review: BelleSha Moisturizing Gel Heel Socks for cracked heels

video

I get cracks in my heels if I don't moisturize them, and those cracks can be quite painful and difficult to heal. The idea behind the heel socks is to provide cracked heels an intense moisturizing. The inside of the heel sock is covered with a silicone skin (see attached video) and it keeps moisturizer from evaporating.

I have a small foot (I wear size 6.5 to 7 shoes) and I found these socks very comfortable. They are snug without being tight. They stretch very well as I demonstrate in the video. Snug fit is helpful for keeping the keep the heat and moisture inside the socks.

The cleaning instructions say machine wash or hand wash. I have been hand washing them with gentle soap and air drying. I think hand washing will prolong the life of the silicone lining.

I have been treating my heels right after a hot bath while the feet are still warm. This is a more effective treatment than just putting a cream on my feet without the gel socks. If your heels have a tendency to crack these socks are worth a try. Even if you don't have a problem but enjoy soft and smooth heel these socks give you the "spa" treatment at home.

You can find these socks on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Monday, April 28, 2014

Product review: BelleSha Round Facial Sponge pack of 12 Cosmetics

video

I have been using BellaSha sponges for over two weeks and I love them - the thickness is perfect, the texture is nice, I found more uses for them than I expected.

This package has 12 sponges. Each sponge is approximately 3 inches in diameter. As you see in attached video which shows all sponges on 1 inch grid mat they are slightly different in size. They feel stiff when they are dry and become sift when you wet them. Neither the packaging nor Amazon description states the material that they made out. I contacted the manufacturer and learned that they are made out of natural cellulose (wood fibers).

They feel great on my skin, and I now use them not only in my skin but in the shower as well. They are not harsh but remove dead skin very effectively. For cosmetics use I particularly like using them remove the facial facial mask.

The sponges are durable and can be re-used many times. The easiest way to keep a sponge bacteria free is to let it air dry between uses. Once a week I wet the sponge and throw it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Note: wetting the sponge is important so the sponge does not catch on fire.

I like these sponges, they have a nice texture and just the right size.


You can find these sponges on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Product review: Pyle PSTM60 Pure Clean Steam Floor Mop and Sweeper

video

After using this steam mop for close to 2 months once or twice a week I am very pleased with it. It is easy to work with (under 9 pounds in weight) and it does a nice job cleaning.

This floor mop combines a sweeper and steam mop. The bottom of the mop has two parts: the front is a roller brush which picks up particles and the back part has a pad which cleans. With a new England winter we drag in a lot of stand that used to cover up ice spots. The brush did a very effective job collecting this sand in to a container so the pad was not as dirty as I expected after the cleaning was done. The dust container just lifts up when you need to empty it. I found that it is easier to empty not right after you clean, but before you clean the next time. The dust compartment gets some steam coming up from the floor, this makes some of the sand and dust absorb wetness and stick to the sides of the pan, so it is easier to empty the dust pan completely when it dries out.

This map is designed for sealed hard wood floors, tile, and vinyl floors. It also comes with a glider that can be attached to the bottom to use on carpets. The cleaning pads attach to the mop by Velcro. The bottom of the mop has heavy duty built in Velcro strips that grab on to the Velcro on the bottom of the mop. I suppose with time they will pick up dirt and will not hold as well, but so far the hold is very secure, the pad did not come off during cleaning and took a strong pull to remove it. The mop came with two micro fiber pads.

The mop came disassembled and was very easy to put together. The instruction were very clear (words and pictures), and the pieces fit together easily without any fussing.

From the floor to the tip of the handle is 47". The handle is not adjustable. I am 5'2" and found that height just right for me. It comes with a nice long cord which is 95".

I thought the mop did a fine job cleaning. The steam is released by a button on the handle. Pushing the mop on the tiles floor were easy. The mop head is fairly large (10.5" inches across) and there were some places where I wanted to clean but could not fit in in.

The mop is not perfect, some of the minor nits I have are

1) The water container is difficult to remove. It is large, smooth, and fits tightly into the base. There is nothing to grab on to pull it out.
2) After the cleaning some water drains onto the floor, so don't leave it on wood leave it on a surface that does not mind being wet. I found a plastic container cover which is almost the exact size as the mop head and when I store it I put the mop on top of this cover so any small amount of drainage stay on the plastic and evaporates.

Overall, I thought the mop did a nice job. It was easy to use, it did a nice job cleaning, and I liked how it swept up the sand before mopping so the pad remained fairly clean. The Velcro pads are still sticking well.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Product review: computer mouse pad by Lovedonna

video

Lovedonna mouse pads come in great variety of designs. You can even send in your own photo to be made into a mouse pad. I selected the Boundless Universe and the Earth and Space designs. I like dark mouse pads but they both look attractive while being dark overall. I tried both pads with both optical and laser mice and both mice tracked well.

The mouse pad is 9.5" and 7.75", it is fairly thin 0.10". The design goes edge to edge. The backing is made out of non slip neoprene. The design is sealed and it is machine washable. I tested the colorfastness of the mouse pad by washing one of the two mouse pads and the water remained clear (see video).

Both mouse pads had a bit of a chemical scent. I left one mouse to air out and I washed the second mouse to test how well it washes as well as to see if this would remove the scent. Washing removed most of the scent right away, the mouse that I left airing out also lost the scent but it took about a week.

Overall, these are very nice mouse pads - they look good and the mice track well on them.


You can find Lovedonna Customizations on Amazon by following this link.

Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Product review: Bestlight Ultra High Power 160 LED Video Light Panel with Shoe Adapter

video

I have been using this light for the last two weeks for every photo and video I include in my reviews.  I am very pleased with it.  What I found most useful is the ability to change the amount of light it generates with a simple turn of the knob.  The light coves with two filters and one diffuser. I like the color I get with the yellow filter as it matches my other light very well.  This light is always on, it does not communicate with the camera.  You can mount it on the camera shoe, but I use it mounted on tripod so I have more control of where the lighting goes.

The photo light is 4.5" by 3" and has 160 LED lights.  This light is not as bright as my 800W studio lights, but it works very well for table top photography, fill in light, or a light that you might put behind a model to put highlights in the hair.  In my video you see how I use this light on a small tripod for the table top photography.

The light can run using several different types of batteries. The light has connections for several different battery types (it comes without batteries).  I am using it with six AA batteries. It can also run from Panasonic lithium batteries and Sony lithium batteries.  The pack cover has an open design, meaning that the battery door is a frame keeping the batteries exposed.

Color temperature of the lights: 3200-5600K
The light weighs 9.8 oz, its size is 5.25" * 3.75" * 1.75", the area with lights is 4.5" x 3"

Overall, I like this light very much. It is easy to set up and easy to change the amount of light I get to fit any situation.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Product review: Cotton Hypoallergenic Pillow Encasement by Deneve® - White, 27" x 21" Standard Size

video

This is very nice pillow protector. In my video I pour several tablespoons of water and you can see how the water pools and does not go through the material.

The pillow cover finish feels like terry cloth material on top, and has water proof liner on the reverse side. Waterproof liner does not crinkle and feels soft.

The pillow cover is 27" x 21", standard pillow size is 26" x 20" so it is a little loose. It has a zipper closure. The fact that it is a little larger than standard size is the only thing that reduced the score from perfect to good.

Cleaning recommendation is to wash it in cold or warm water and either air dry it or dry it on low heat to prolong the life of the liner. I have washed and dried the cover and repeated my "tablespoon of water" test and the cover remained waterproof.

This is a nice pillow cover. I like it! If you have a drooler in your family a waterproof pillow cover is a must. It will be the pillow clean and fluffy for a long time.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, April 18, 2014

Product review: Waterproof Mattress Protector by Deneve® - Queen Size, White, 60"W x 80"L x 18"D

video

I own a Luna mattress protector which is very similar to this mattress at twice the price ($23 vs $40 at the time I write this review).  The SleepGuard mattress cover finish feels like a terry cloth material on top, and has water proof liner on the reverse side. Waterproof liner does not crinkle and feels soft. In my video I pour several tablespoons of water on the cover and you can see how the water pools and does not go through the material.

The sides of the mattress cover are thin almost sheer material and are 16" long. My mattress is 10" long thus 6" of the cover need to be folded under the mattress to get a tight fit on top.  The mattress cover is rated to fit any mattress from 6" to 18".  It size is 60"W x 80"L x 18"D (where  60"W x 80"L is a standard Queen size mattress).

One of the things I was worried about is that a waterproof liner might be reflecting the heat of the bodies back up rather than absorbing the heat into the mattress and it might make me too warm but this has not been the case.  The mattress cover did not make feel warmer than normal.

Cleaning recommendation is to dry it on low heat to prolong the life of the liner.  I have washed and dried the cover and repeated my "tablespoon of water" test and the cover remained waterproof.

This is a nice mattress cover at a good price.  I like it!
You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Product review: Satechi ReadMate LED Desktop Magnifier

video

It has been a while since my vision has been 20/20. I can still read well lit things without my reading glasses, but the lack of bright light and small font are my biggest enemies when it comes to reading. Satechi ReadMate LED magnifier makes it easy to read tiny font labels and fine small details of any object. In attached video I show some examples, the difference is amazing.

The magnifier is 3.5" in diameter, with a magnifying glass diameter 2.75". Magnification is 5X. Inside the lens there are three bright LED lights which run on two CR2016 battries (3V lithium). When you insert the batteries they need to place with the writing facing outside. Inside the lens there is a switch that allows you to turn on the light. When the switch is in "ON" position pressing down on the silver ring turns on the lights.

IMPORTANT: When you are not using the magnifier change the switch to "OFF" position. I left the switch ON but even when the lights timed out they continued draining the battery and 24 hours later the LED light were very dim. A new pair of batteries made them very bright again.

The magnifier comes with a very nice hard case, which protects the glass and micro fiber cloth for cleaning the lens.

Excellent! Makes my eyes feel young again!


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Monday, April 14, 2014

Product review: amzdeal Pixel Cube Portable Compact Bluetooth Speaker Mini Wireless Speaker

video

This speaker looks pretty cool - it looks like it is made out of small black cubes. It has a mat black finish. It works both with Bluetooth devices and comes with a 3.5mm audio jack cable for those devices that are not bluetooth enabled. The speaker weights 13.6 oz and is sized 3.5" x 3.5" x 3.5". It is not large, but not what I would consider to be travel size.

I am attaching a video which has a short snippet of music to demonstrate the speaker's sound. I like using Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor to test various speakers, because I noticed that some speakers cannot handle the deep base sections of this music, they begin to crackle or hiss. This gives me an easy way to compare different speakers - can they handle it or not.

Pixel Cube handled Bach's Toccata well, it sounded good through out. In the video you can see me switching between the Magic Cube and built-in speakers of the tablet. You can hear that the speaker produce the sound that is noticeably richer and louder than the sound the the built-in speaker. You cannot make it super loud to fill the room, but at this price range you would not expect that type of performance.

If you use the audio jack, the buttons on the front of the cube are disabled. If you want to control the volume of the speaker, you need to adjust the sound using the audio device it self. Note that if audio jack is connected you cannot enable or use bluetooth.

Pairing the bluetooth required holding down the multi-function power button for a few seconds, until female voice said "ready". If you let go of the button after the beep before the "ready" the connection is not established. The device appeared as "Pixel Cube" on my iPad Mini. The bluetooth connection is remembered when the speaker is powered off and does not need to be re-enabled. In the bluetooth mode the buttons on the front of the cube are operational.

Charging the speaker takes relatively short time, it took me 1.5 hours to fully charge the speaker. A full charged battery lasts 4 to 6 hours playing music. In the stand-by mode the battery lasts 100 hours according to documentation.

I received this speaker for testing and an honest review (whether positive or negative) from the manufacturer. I thought this speaker sounds good and has a unique look. It is a reasonable choice for a speaker in the $30 price range.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Product review: Pyle PLDM22 Handheld Laser Distance Meter with Backlit LCD

video

This laser meter is very accurate. It is rated to be accurate with 1/16 of an inch. The key to getting a good reading is to position the back of the unit (i.e. the side opposite to where the laser is emitted) where you want the measuring to begin. The meter is 5 inches long so if you think you are measuring from the front of the unit it would look like the measurement is 5 inches off.

I started by measuring the accuracy on the gridded mat which is 18 inches long. As you in attached video I placed the laser meter one inch into the grid and got a reading of 17" inches. In all experiments with different distances and different background colors the measurements were accurate.

I also liked that the I could turn on back lighting on the meter, so I could see the numbers very clearly. The meter comes with study canvas pouch, which has a loop on the back so you can carry it on a belt or hang on something when you need free hands.

The laser meter runs on two AAA batteries (which are included). It auto-shut offs after 3 minute of inactivity.

The unit is 5.1" x 2.16" x 1.1" and is splash proof.

Pyle laser meter has quite a few functions: it can measure as a single measure, do continuous measuring, perform additions and subtractions of the measurements, it can calculate areas, volumes, Pythagoras (given 2 sides of a triangle calculate the length of the third side) and so forth. I found the manual explained the functions clearly.

The only negative I can say is that the laser meter has no memory of my settings. For example, when I switch units to inches the next time I turn it back on the units go back to meters, so I have to reset it every time.

Overall, I am impressed. Very accurate measurements and it is easy to use.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Product review: Quality Bath Brush with Long Handle, Shower or Bath Brush long handled

video


I have a couple of bath brushes and this one shot up right to the favorite status.

Here is why:

✅ The feel of the bristles: a nice balance between soft and stiff. It stiffer than many brushes, but not as stiff as a natural loofah brush I have.
✅ Stiff curved handle: stiff handle does not flex, goes exactly where I want it to go. Curved shape makes it easy for me to reach the back.
✅ A loop on the handle allows me to hang it on the bathroom caddy so it drips right into the tub while it dries

Total length of the brush is 14". The length of the handle is 10". The size of the head is 3.5" x 2.5". The height of the bristles is 7/8".

In attached video I show several close-ups of the brush. I also run my fingers through the brisles to give you a better idea of their stiffness. I really like this brush! My favorite feature of this brush is a stiff curved handle which makes it easy to wash the back.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Product review: LED2020 LED Vintage Filament Bulb,A19 Edison Style,4W to Replace 40W Incandescent Bulb,Soft White (2700K)

video

This bulb is shaped just like an incandescent bulb, but it has a 4W LED filament. The rating says that it replaces a 40 watt incandescent. I did not have a 40 watt incandescent to compare it with, so in attached video you side by side photos of the same lamp with a 60 watt frosted incandescent and the lighting is very similar. The major difference in how the light looks comes from clear glass vs frosted glass of the bulb.

This bulb comes on instantly. The length of the bulb is 4.25" and the width is 2.5". One of the photos in the video has it next to an incandescent light on a 1" grid mat so you can easily compare the sizes. The color of the light soft white (2700K) quite similar to incandescent 60 watt bulb that I was using in my test.

What a nice bulb! It is brighter than I expected and looks just like good ol' incandescent.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Product review: LED Filament Candle light 2W to Replace 25W Incandescent Bulb Soft White (2700K)

video

This bulb has the look and shape of an incandescent decorative bulb, but it has a 2W LED filament. The rating says that it replaces a 25 watt incandescent. I did not have a 25 watt incandescent to compare it with, so in attached video you side by side photos of the same light fixture with a 60 watt incandescent candle light and even though the lighting with LED light was dimmer the difference was not as big as I expected between 25W equivalent and 60W incandescent light.

This bulb comes on instantly. The length of the bulb is 4.5" and the width is 1.5" (when measured at the widest part). One of the photos in the video has it next to an incandescent light on a 1" grid mat so you can easily compare the sizes. It is slightly longer than 60W incandescent candle light, but it fit my fixture and looked good. The color of the light soft white (2700K) quite similar to incandescent 60 watt bulb that I was using in my test.

This light produced more light than I expected and looks just like good ol' incandescent.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Friday, April 4, 2014

Product review: Pyle PSTM40 Pure Clean Steam Floor Mop

video

After using this steam mop for two weeks I am very pleased with it. It is easy to work with (under 9 pounds in weight) and it does a nice job cleaning.

This floor mop combines a sweeper and steam mop. The bottom of the mop has two parts: the front is a roller brush which picks up particles and the back part has a pad which cleans. With a new England winter we drag in a lot of stand that used to cover up ice spots. The brush did a very effective job collecting this sand in to a container so the pad was not as dirty as I expected after the cleaning was done. The dust container just lifts up when you need to empty it. I found that it is easier to empty not right after you clean, but before you clean the next time. The dust compartment gets some steam coming up from the floor, this makes some of the sand and dust absorb wetness and stick to the sides of the pan, so it is easier to empty the dust pan completely when it dries out.

This map is designed for sealed hard wood floors, tile, and vinyl floors. It also comes with a glider that can be attached to the bottom to use on carpets. The cleaning pads attach to the mop by Velcro. The bottom of the mop has heavy duty built in Velcro strips that grab on to the Velcro on the bottom of the mop. I suppose with time they will pick up dirt and will not hold as well, but so far the hold is very secure, the pad did not come off during cleaning and took a strong pull to remove it. The mop came with two micro fiber pads.

The mop came disassembled and was very easy to put together. The instruction were very clear (words and pictures), and the pieces fit together easily without any fussing.

From the floor to the tip of the handle is 47". The handle is not adjustable. I am 5'2" and found that height just right for me. It comes with a nice long cord which is 95".

I thought the mop did a fine job cleaning. The steam is released by a button on the handle. Pushing the mop on the tiles floor were easy. The mop head is fairly large (10.5" inches across) and there were some places where I wanted to clean but could not fit in in.

The mop is not perfect, some of the minor nits I have are

1) The water container is difficult to remove. It is large, smooth, and fits tightly into the base. There is nothing to grab on to pull it out.
2) After the cleaning some water drains onto the floor, so don't leave it on wood leave it on a surface that does not mind being wet. I found a plastic container cover which is almost the exact size as the mop head and when I store it I put the mop on top of this cover so any small amount of drainage stay on the plastic and evaporates.

Overall, I thought the mop did a nice job. It was easy to use, it did a nice job cleaning, and I liked how it swept up the sand before mopping so the pad remained fairly clean.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.


Ali Julia review ★★★★★

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Product review: Pawtec Dual 2-Port USB Wall Charger 5V 4.2A

video

Pawtec wall charger is a compact 2 port charger with retractable prongs. Due to its nice size it takes up just one slot on a power strip. It is 2"L x 2"W x 1"H and weighs 2.8 oz. The package includes a travel pouch.

I tested Pawtec charger with Samsung Nexus phone and iPad Mini tablet.

I run the same set on tests on each battery pack I own, so I can compare them to each other using "apples to apples" comparison. This set of tests allows me to compare different chargers as well as see how performance changes with each upgrade of the operating system. I am including the details of the tests below for those who want to see the nitty gritty.

For those who are interested in the bottom line this battery pack worked consistently with both devices and charged the devices charging them at slightly below average rate.

★ To prolong battery life
==================================

Li-ion batteries do not need to be fully charged nor is it desirable to do so. In fact, it is better not to fully charge, because high voltages stresses the battery. Li-ion should never be discharged too low. This is why battery manufacturers typically ship batteries with a 40 percent charge. The low charge state reduces aging-related stress while allowing some self-discharge during storage. If you plan to store the battery without using it apply a partial charge before a long storage period.

★ How I tested this battery pack
==================================

I use a USB current monitor and a charging test to test each port. The current monitor shows the voltage and the current flowing between the battery and the device.

I started running these tests when my Android devices had HoneyComb operating system so I was able to observe the improvements in charging with different version of the Android OS. Before 4.21 I could only get fast charging on 1A port, and would get bad performance on 2.1A port on my Android devices. After upgrade to Jelly Bean 4.21 I see the same performance on 2A and 1A ports as it is controlled by the device negotiating the protocol with the charger. Google reverse engineered the Apple protocol and now my Android devices typically charge similar in speed on both ports of a good charger. This is not true for Apple devices. They do better on ports designed for Apple (2.1A ports).

An addition variable for Android devices is whether a data cable or charging cable is used to charge the device. The charging cables short the two data connections together (rendering them useless for data transfer), but this fools devices to see the cable as an AC power connection, and thus accept the higher current of the charging source.

The 10 minutes test consists of charging each mobile device on each port of the battery pack for 10 minutes and measure how much each unit was charge in that 10 minute period. Since the charging speed is non-linear I start charging each device from approximately the same charge level. I use Battery App by Elvison to determine how each device recognized the charging source. 'AC' status means the charging is at full charging rate. 'USB' status indicates charging at a lower charging rate. 'Discharging' status means that the charging rate is below the power that the device is consuming so it slows down the discharge rate but does not re-charge.

★ Test Results:
======================

✔ Samsung Galaxy Nexus Phone
--------------------------
Port 1: AC charging rate ----- 4% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.95A and 5.12V

Port 2: AC charging rate ----- 4% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 0.96A and 5.12V

✔ iPad Mini Tablet
--------------------------
Port 1: AC charging rate ----- 1% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 1: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.46A and 5.10V

Port 2: AC charging rate ----- 3% change in charge in 10 minutes
Port 2: current monitor: ~~~~~ 1.53A and 5.12V

★ Summary
------------------
This is a small 2 port charger. It takes up just one slot on the old fashioned power strip, and since I am always running out of space on my power strips this is a big plus for this charger.


You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★☆

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Product review: Pyle PSTMH10 Pure Clean Handheld Steamer Birdie

video

This is my second handheld steamer and it has two big pluses compared to the old one. First, it has a very long 200 inch cord. This means I can clean a large area without needing to move the plug. Second, it has nozzle with a very long neck. When you clean with a handheld steam cleaner you cannot tip the unit itself too much for safety. A long nozzle is helpful when I wash the tub because I am working with something that is very low and long neck allows me to bring steam below the unit. My old handheld steamer has a long nozzle which is about half the length of this one and it was cumbersome to use to clean objects that were low.

Pure clean handheld steam cleaner comes with several nozzle heads: the short nozzle, the long nozzle (my favorite), an angled nozzle, and a squeegee head. There are two cloth covers and two brushes. Also included a measuring cup with a long beak which makes it easy to fill the water compartment.

In attached video I included cleaning of bathroom sink with 1 week worth of mess in it, including dried up toothpaste. Everything came off with the steam only, no cleaning solution was needed.

The steam cleaner worked well, it was easy to assemble, the very long cord made it easy to use without needing to move the plug. I was able to clean the entire bathroom on one tank of water with about 1/2 left over.

You can find it on Amazon by following this link.



Ali Julia review ★★★★★