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Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
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Work your way up
Top grade caviar is usually lighter in color. petrossian
Petrossian advises novices to “come with a learning attitude” and “to educate” their palates, which he compares to the journey of becoming a wine connoisseur. “Don’t buy too high a grade at first, it’s not necessary,” he says. “Start with the lower grade and work your way up.”
Though Caspian Sea beluga is a name usually associated with caviar, overfishing endangered wild sturgeon so importing it became illegal in 2005.
Luckily, farm-raised tranmontanus is somewhat affordable, “easy to enjoy and you’ll have the total experience of delicious caviar,” says Petrossian.
After trying this “Mercedes of caviar,” you can proceed to “the Rolls-Royce and the Maybach.”
Hong Kong’s best dim sum “Try the caviar you’re going to buy, that is key,” as taste can vary from tin to tin, he says.
And a buyer should always be wary, Petrossian cautions, as sometimes caviar is a “fishy business — I mean that without being funny.”
A few shady distributors purposely mislabel tins, akin to putting a Chanel tag on a knock-off purse.
Petrossian suggests always examining the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) number that’s on better tins.
This international organization, which regulates wild game, names the actual fish the caviar came from.
The latest console from Sony is the PSPro and it will be a must-have for those loyal to the brand, although the PSSlim is also an option.
The PSPro can output not only 4K, but also HDR video, both possible thanks to the upgraded GPU featured in the high-end console. And the 4K resolution isn’t limited to video playback like the Xbox One S, although Sony many games are upscaled.
The lack of a 4K Blu-ray drive is a little strange, but the PSPro does feature a larger 1TB hard drive. Right now it’s the most powerful console on the market, but its specs don’t quite match up to the upcoming Xbox One X.
Read more about the console in our PSPro review.
Nintendo’s latest console is predictably unusual. The Switch is a sort of handheld/home console hybrid – you can connect it to your TV to play on the big screen, or take it with you on the go as a high-powered handheld, with various different control configurations for each setup.
As the most recent major console release, the Switch understandably has the slimmest game lineup of the bunch, so it’s not the best bet if you want immediate access to a huge array of titles.
Still, it’s the only console where you can play the latest Zelda and Mario titles, and the best bet if you want versions of huge games like Skyrim that you can take with you on the go.
Read our Nintendo Switch review, and check out the best games for the Switch.
The new PSSlim is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin, a smaller version of the original PSin a smaller (more rounded) design.
Exisiting PSowners won’t need to upgrade as the internals are almost identical. Although the new slim PShas HDR support, that isn’t a exclusive as it’s also been introduced to the launch PS4 with a software update.
Read more about the PSSlim and check out the best PSdeals and bundles right now.
New Nintendo 2DS XL
Nintendo’s best 3DS yet doesn’t even support 3D, which says a lot about how well fans have taken to the stereoscopic 3D effect.
The New 2DS XL takes the clamshell design of the New 3DS XL and takes away the stereoscopic screens to bring the price point a bit closer to the budget-friendly 2DS, while adding a few tweaks and refinements along the way.
New Nintendo 3DS XL
If you like the look of the 2DS XL but you’re a sucker for that 3D effect, you’ll want to look at the New Nintendo 3DS XL.
Don’t worry about the ‘New’ and ‘XL’ bits – this is actually the only 3DS on the market right now, though you can of course find older models second-hand.
You’ll be paying a bit of a premium for the 3D, but that’ll definitely be worth it for some, and Nintendo continues to release top games for the platform on a regular basis which makes it a continued attraction in the console market.
Nvidia Shield TV
The Nvidia Shield TV costs £149.9for the 16GB variation, which may seem expensive for a media streamer, but the games on the system are fairly cheap. Android games available on the device start at £0.79, while the more advanced games may set you back up to £10.
While the Shield offers all the same features that a standard media streamer would (on-demand TV, etc) it also offers a number of Shield-exclusive games that are pretty power-intensive.
It also has a game streaming service that costs £7.4a month, but provides you with a vast library of games to play, which is good value for money. You also have the option to buy the latest console games to play directly on the Shield too.
Travel at the cheapest times
The price of flights varies considerably depending on the month, day and even time of travel. Skyscanner lets you compare flight prices across a whole month meaning you’ll be able to see the cheapest days to fly, saving you a potential packet. Avoiding the weekends can make a huge impact on the price of flights. Why not compare travel from a Wednesday to Wednesday rather than a Friday to Friday. Using Skyscanner’s handy search tool, you’ll be able to see a graph view of the cheapest days of the week to fly. Sign up for Skyscanner’s free Price Alerts emails to monitor the price of a flight you’re interested in.
Use Skyscanner’s ‘Everywhere’ tool to find the cheapest flights from any airport
Don’t mind where you go as long as you can get there cheaply? Then use Skyscanner’s ‘search everywhere’ option which lists the cheapest flights from your local airport in price order. Get the full guide on Skyscanner’s ‘everywhere search’ feature right here, and make your life a whole lot easier when it comes to travel planning and holiday budgeting.
Travel in low season
If you can avoid it, don’t head to Australia for Christmas or to Spain just as school summer holidays begin. Travel off-season and you’re sure to find better bargains. Much of Europe still has beautiful weather come September, but with kids back at school, flights will be cheaper and your destination a lot less crowded.
Decide where to go in 201with our Holiday Destination Guide
If money is more important than time, then consider a flight with a stop-over. Skyscanner allows you to search for indirect routes (as well as direct) which are often a far cheaper option. The Skyscanner multi-city flight search allows you to search for multiple destinations at once.
Fly from an alternative airport
Even though there may be an airport on your doorstep, don’t rule out the possibility that it may be cheaper to fly from one slightly further away. It may work out cheaper, even with the cost of a train or bus ticket to reach the alternative airport. Use Skyscanner’s ‘nearby airports’ search feature to see how much it costs to fly from various airports.
Try a private room instead of a hotel
Over the last few years there’s been an explosion in websites that allow locals to rent out their sofas, spare rooms, whole apartments and even gardens! Sites like AirBnB have transformed accommodation options, and for travellers, the experience can be far more rewarding than a stay in a chain hotel, as well as being cheaper. Where else could you stay in central London for £a night? Well, you might just find a bargain in our list of London’s best cheap sleeps
Microphone isn’t great
Capable of exuding first-pumping bass that’s powerful without muddying the mix, the Corsair Void RGB is a near-perfect blend of style and function, letting you configure its lighting colors using Corsair’s intuitive software and even make it dance in tandem with the company’s K6or K70 mechanical keyboards. Plus, the Corsair Void RGB bears a wireless range of up to 40 meters, making it a solid and affordable option for surround sound gaming.
The basic home bar
Our favorite essential home barware. Back row, from left to right: Umami Mart’s Seamless Plain Mixing Glass, OXO Steel Cocktail Strainer, Usagi Cobbler Shaker, Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins, Fletcher’s Mill’s 11-inch Muddler, and Cocktail Kingdom’s Teardrop Barspoon. Front row, left to right, Chef’n’s FreshForce Citrus Juicer and OXO Good Grips ¼-cup Mini Angled Measuring Cup. Photo: Kate Milford
You don’t need a lot of equipment to make great drinks at home. If you’re just getting into cocktails, you might start with a shaker, a jigger, and a strainer. More advanced mixologists should consider investing in a good mixing glass, spoon, muddler, and citrus press. Here’s a rundown of what you’ll need, depending on the types of drinks you like.
Shaker: Perhaps the most basic bar tool, this is used to shake cocktails that include mixers (such as juice, dairy, or egg) to blend flavors from the various spirits and ingredients and to chill, aerate, and dilute the drink. Although shakers can be subdivided further, the Boston and cobbler styles are the two main setups you’ll see. Most professionals use Boston shakers, which are comprised of large and small cups that fit together. Both cups are usually metal, but sometimes bartenders use a pint glass for the smaller one. A Boston shaker requires a little more finesse to connect and shake, and needs a separate strainer. Cobbler-style shakers, on the other hand, are more popular with home bartenders. Generally, they separate into three pieces: a canister, a lid with a strainer, and a cap to cover up the holes. These have a tendency to leak, but they don’t require a separate strainer.
Mixing glass: Cocktails made entirely of alcohol (or perhaps very light mixers), such as a martini or Manhattan, should be stirred. Although you can stir in something like a pint glass, a mixing glass with straight sides, a heavy base, and a pour spout works far better (and looks nicer). Mixing glasses are traditionally made of glass rather than metal; glass is a better insulator and allows the guest to watch the cocktail being made.
Bar spoon: Used for preparing stirred cocktails, a bar spoon has a long handle for reaching the bottom of a mixing glass. A good spoon can also scoop up garnishes.
Muddler: This tool smashes herbs, fruit, or sugar cubes for making cocktails like a mojito. All manner of muddlers exist, from heavy plastic cylinders to artisan-made wooden objets d’art to the disk-shaped end of a bar spoon.
Citrus press: Most of the bartenders we spoke with recommended a hand press for citrus-based cocktails. Hand-held citrus reamers tend to be difficult to use; electric and manual presses produce more juice than the average home bartender needs. A hand press, which has a cup for the cut half of citrus and levered handles, will more easily produce the right amount of juice for a couple of drinks.
Our favorite Boston shaker, the Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins, has better balance and a more easily breakable seal than other shakers we tried. Photo: Kate Milford
If you want a cobbler shaker
This all-in-one shaker and strainer will be easier to use for novice mixologists. It has less of a tendency to leak than other cobbler-style shakers, and it feels more solidly built.
Although pro bartenders generally prefer and recommend two-piece Boston shakers, the style does take a separate strainer (and a little more finesse) to work with. If you want an all-in-one solution, we like the Usagi Cobbler Shaker. Chris Tunstall recommends a cobbler shaker for beginners because you don’t need a separate strainer, but these shakers also have a terrible reputation for leaking. Several of our experts criticized them for lids that get stuck and poor built-in strainers with holes that are inefficient, too big, or that drip. The Usagi is the only cobbler shaker we’ve found that doesn’t leak while shaking and that came apart easily.
We tested the quality of the built-in strainer of the cobbler shakers by checking how easy it was to remove the cap and by filling the shaker with small shards of ice and pieces of herbs. Photo: Emily Han
Our experts cautioned against buying expensive shakers at fancy kitchen stores (they are designed more for looks than functionality), as well as cheaply-made shakers often sold at liquor stores.
The Usagi feels heavier and more solid than Oggi’s Marilyn Tall and Slim Cocktail Shaker, our top cobbler pick from 201(which, according to some of our readers, also has some leaking problems). All three parts of the Usagi shaker remained snug while shaking, yet the parts weren’t so tight that it was tough to break the seal. We also appreciated that the Usagi shaker has a little ergonomic indentation in the cap where you can put your index finger while shaking. For those who care, this shaker also looks nice and classic.
Our experts cautioned against buying expensive shakers at fancy kitchen stores (they are designed more for looks than functionality), as well as cheaply-made shakers often sold at liquor stores.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler praises the Koriko Weighted Shaking Tins, while Robert Hess recommends both the Koriko tins and Usagi Cobbler Shaker models (with preference given to the Boston style).
Our mixing glass pick
This glass has a more stable base and better pour spout than others we looked at. Its understated lines will also complement a variety of styles better than etched versions.
All of the glasses we tried were comparable in size and durability, but the Umami Mart’s wide, heavy base gives it more stability; it does not tip or move around, making it one of the easiest glasses we tried for stirring liquid and ice with a bar spoon. Cocktail Kingdom’s Seamless Yarai Mixing Glass, by comparison, didn’t sit flat on the counter and wobbled with stirring, as did the lightweight French press carafes we tried.
An OXO Hawthorne strainer snugly fit the mouths of most of the mixing glasses we tested. But the spout on the Umami Mart glass is smaller and more precise than those on Cocktail Kingdom’s Yarai Mixing Glass and the W&P Mixing Glass, making straining the drink into a cocktail glass a more foolproof affair. Cocktail Kingdom’s Seamless Yarai Mixing Glass has a similar pour spout and is few dollars cheaper, but its tendency to wobble knocked it out of the running.
Spout size and shape can affect how easy it is to strain and pour from a mixing glass. We preferred the more narrow spout of the Umami Mart glass, far right. Photo: Emily Han
Though it looks delicate, the Umami Mart is made of weighty glass that’s less likely to break than something like a French press beaker. Durability is important “because you’re definitely going to break your mixing glass at some point,” says Jeffrey Morgenthaler. “It’s just a matter of when, and a heavier glass is going to live longer than a lighter one.”
At 550 mL (or 18.5ounces), enough for two drinks, we think the Umami Mart is just right for most home cocktail making. Mixing glasses generally range from 1ounces (480 mL) to 3ounces (one L), but we only tested those of comparable size to the Umami Mart glass. Morgenthaler notes that “a good mixing glass has to be large enough to hold the drink, and a good amount of ice. Smaller is definitely not better here.”
Also great for a budget mixing glass
This glass will tip more easily when mixing, and doesn’t look nearly as elegant as our top pick. But at less than a sixth of the price, it does the trick (and can also work as half of a Boston shaker setup).
A tempered pint glass such as the Anchor Hocking Pint Mixing Glass does not meet the recommendations for a wide base and straight sides. However, it is inexpensive, thick, heavy, durable, fits a Hawthorne strainer snugly, and is multipurpose if you also use it as a shaker and/or drinking glass.
The angle of the glass makes it more difficult to get a smooth and fast stir, and pouring can be less precise than a true mixing glass with a good spout. But the glass does the job and it even makes a good vessel for muddling herbs or citrus.
Mixing glass competition
The mixing glasses we tested, including two French press beakers. Photo: Emily Han
Cocktail Kingdom’s Seamless Yarai Mixing Glass is slightly bigger than the aforementioned mixing glass (550 mL versus 500 mL). It, too, has a wide base, but here the glass is lighter and it does not sit completely flat, making it wobble slightly while mixing. A Hawthorne strainer fits more snugly than the other glass, and the spout is smaller and more precise for pouring.
A couple of our experts recommended Williams-Sonoma’s version of the Yarai glass, but it is no longer available. Instead, we tested the W&P Mixing Glass now available at Williams-Sonoma (and elsewhere). Although it is sturdy, durable, and fits a Hawthorne strainer snugly, the taller height of the glass makes stirring and pouring feel a bit awkward. The glass also has a wide spout that makes pouring less precise than glasses with narrower spouts.
We considered French press carafes, such as the BonJour French Press Replacement Glass Carafe and the Bodum Spare Glass Carafe, but realized these would not work as they typically come in sizes that are too small (1ounces) or too large (3ounces) for a Hawthorne strainer. Furthermore, these inexpensive carafes are made of thin, light glass that moves and wobbles while stirring.
While functional and potentially attractive to some, we omitted scientific beakers from our review because we believe the prominent measurement marks on these glasses detract from the art of using a mixing glass to make cocktails.
Although your favorite bartender may free pour liquor right from the bottle into the shaker tin or mixing glass, measuring into a jigger offers much more accuracy (especially if you’re new to making cocktails). After retesting our original pick along with seven additional models in 201year, we continue to stand by our original recommendation of the OXO Good Grips ¼-cup Mini Angled Measuring Cup.
The OXO also helps prevent spilling and messes—a common problem with traditional two-sided jiggers—because it features a useful pour spout and has extra space in the cup above the highest measurement.
The OXO mini measuring cup’s top-down visibility, pour spout, and space above the top fill line separates it from traditional jiggers. Photo: Emily Han
Brian Van Flandern says, “while I am not normally a fan of plastic, this one is dishwasher safe and allows the user to accurately measure in both ounces, tablespoons, milliliters, and even cups. It is easy to see the measurements even in low light as the inside is marked with clear red lines…the high quality of the plastic does not emit any odors that can alter the flavor of your drink.”
Eagle Creek Pack-it Specter Full Cube 3pc Set
The specter range of Packing Cubes from Eagle Creek take their original pack-it range and make them ultralight and ideal for times when you need to pack even lighter like hiking or carry-on luggage.
Made using a 30D Silnylon Ripstop fabric these cubes are durable, light weight and also water repellent and compress the contents of your travel bag or suitcase when zipped. Specter Compression set is also available which adds even more compression by using a secondary zip system.
The Specter starter set offers a Specter cube, half cube and medium garment folder which is a perfect entry into the world of packing cubes and available in a range of colors. Each of these offer a Quick-grip handle making it easy to remove the cube from your bag.
This garment folder is 1x 1inches (4 x 30 cm) and includes a folding instruction board which is used to help folder your t shirts or shirts prior to packing. After you have folded all your shirts the edges of the folder join together to compress your luggage further. This is a great idea and very useful.
Also included in the Specter starter set are x Specter Cube which is 1x x inch (3x 25.x cm) and great for bigger items as well as the Specter Half Cube x x inches (24.x 1x 8cm) which is ideal for socks and smaller garments.
Eagle Creek packing cubes have become the household name and was was the first brand we looked at when researching the best pacing cubes and organizers. They offer some of the most popular cubes including their Pack-it and lightweight Specter models. They are a little more expensive than some of the competing models but are well made and a great choice.
The online store eBags have been selling all types of luggage online since 199and offer a great range of packing organizers including cubes and compression bags.
Sea to Summit
Sea to Summit also sell a great range of travel gear and various options when you are looking for packing cubes and organizers.
Pro Packing Cubes Pro Packing Cubes are slightly different to the other brands listed as they specialize in Packing Cubes only and offer a wide range of styles and designs. back to menu ↑ back to menu ↑
Another compression option to consider are actual compression bags similar to the
Travel Space Saver Bags. These bags work by using a one-way valve at the end of the bag, to use you just zip the bags and roll. The rolling of the bag causes the excess air to escape out of the valve and shrinks the volume of the contents by anywhere from 50- to 80%. These are incredibly useful for jackets or for storing clothing in an attic or basement over along period of time. back to menu ↑ back to menu ↑
Hey, proper storage is no laughing matter. I have had my fair share of spilled foods, leaky lids, microwave meltdowns, and other food-related tragedies that I’d now rather avoid, and you probably have too. You might be tempted to use any ol’ container—maybe even reuse an old cottage-cheese container—but a proper food-storage container helps reduce spoilage by keeping air out and preventing fridge smells from permeating your goods.
There are a few ways to test your lids
A winning lid and accompanying container should survive at least two of those tests without a problem. Even if you’re unlikely to bring liquid meals with you on the go, having a firm-fitting lid will save your bags from accidents.
It’s a cold world out there.
Freezing your food can ensure its longevity, but this also subjects it to the harshness of sub-zero temperatures, resulting in freezer burn—you know, those nasty white splotches on food that make it taste like something you’d find at a wax museum. Worse, improperly frozen foods can absorb other smells and flavors.
Here’s where freezer-friendly containers can protect the flavor, texture, and color of the food. They help reduce the food’s exposure to air, which is responsible for many of the unwanted side effects of freezing. Proper freezer-friendly containers should be sealable and rigid; some glass ones, like Mason jars, can work, but make sure to give your food some room to crystallize and expand. Plastic freezer Ziploc bags can be awesome alternatives as well.
Freezer-friendly containers won’t prevent freezer burn entirely, but they do go a long way in helping to preserve your food.
Reminder: The amount of time individual foods can be stored before their flavors and texture deteriorate can vary. Uncooked meat, for example, tends to store longer than cooked meat. Just make sure you label and rotate through your frozen foods in a timely manner.
Containers that don’t break the bank.
With most of us preparing meals 1-weeks in advance and sometimes eating 3-times a day, it takes a truckload of storage containers to accommodate all of that food. The cost can add up!
Buy one set to get started. Beware that some sets will advertise having a certain number of pieces, but often this number includes the lids, meaning you’re probably getting fewer actual containers. If you’re willing to splurge, glass sets are really worth the purchase.
THE LOW DOWN ON FIRST-AID KITS
The biggest advantage to building your own first-aid kit is knowing the contents of your kit and where it is inside. The hard part is buying everything you need in small enough sizes to keep your first-aid kit light and compact.
But buying a prepackaged first-aid kit often costs less, requires no set up time and usually comes in a specially designed storage bag with handy pockets and compartments.
Customizing a first-aid kit
The type of first-aid kit and supplies you bring will be dependent on your group size, trip duration and remoteness. For remote locations you’ll need to rely on your group’s resources, and your first-aid kit should be stocked with supplies to treat a much wider range of injuries or illnesses than for a day hike in the woods.
Make a list of the types of activities you do most often and the sort of places you most often go and how long you’ll be gone, then build or buy a first-aid kit to fit.
Keep your first-aid kit current
Make a contents list so you can keep an inventory of items in your first-aid kit. Get into the habit of checking your first-aid kit before every outing. If any medicines and ointments have expired or have been used up, replace them. And make sure nothing is wet or spoiled.
Wood RV Structure
Wood framing offers insulation and the ability to flex as needed and return to its original configuration continually over time.
Pros: Affordable, durable, easier to repair, and flexible.
Cons: Heavier, potential need for repairs due to water damage, and difficult to clean.
Who should avoid it: RV shopper with light weight towing needs.
Continue reading the main story
Mrs. Bertazzoni, along with her husband, Peter, 36, who also works in finance, visited nearly 40 apartments and lost two bidding wars during their intensive four-month search. “We learned quickly that there really are a lot of all-cash offers out there, and it made it important that we, as buyers who needed to finance, have our financials in order and be ready to move quickly,” she said. Continue reading the main story
CO-OP VS. CONDO
Apartments come mainly in two forms in New York City — co-op and condo. In a co-op, short for cooperative housing, you are buying shares in a corporation that will give you a proprietary lease in the building.
When you a buy a condo, you own the unit outright. In both cases, buyers will be asked to submit financial information including net worth, liquid assets, annual income and other financial documents. Co-ops tend to subject potential shareholders to more rigorous scrutiny, often requiring reams of personal as well as financial information. “They’re going to undress you and you have to really reveal yourself,” is how Robert Dankner, the president of Prime Manhattan Residential, explains the excruciating process to first-time buyers. “It’s the price of entry and a rite of passage to buying in a co-op in Manhattan.” A co-op can turn down a sale for any reason it pleases as long as it does not discriminate illegally.
Co-op financial requirements can prove difficult for first-time buyers. Some co-ops don’t allow financing; others require buyers to show they have a year’s worth of mortgage and maintenance fees in the bank. “Who can do that, really, as a normal person, while paying rent?” said George Sholley, a 29-year-old executive producer at a New York advertising agency. In the end, he opted for a condo.
HIT THE STREETS
It’s helpful to visit a range of open houses in order to narrow your preferences, including how far you really want to be from the subway when it snows, how out of breath you are on the third flight of a sixth-floor walk-up, and what is meant by loft, railroad flat, Junior Four and so forth. Neighbors may have information on individual buildings and neighborhood goings-on.
And open houses can also be a good way to meet real estate agents with whom you might consider working. If you like a particular building, a broker who does a lot of business there might be able to alert you to an apartment coming on the market. The doorman may be able to guide you to an agent in the know or to the soon-to-be-available apartment. Continue reading the main story
George Sholley, who hunted for three years, ultimately bought a studio on West 52nd Street.
ASSEMBLE YOUR TEAM
Look for an agent and a real estate lawyer who have established track records working with buyers in your situation, and who will get back to you promptly. “There’s not much of a barrier to entry to becoming a real estate agent,” said Jessica Cohen, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman who frequently works with entry-level buyers. “You want to feel like you’re working with someone who has done this countless times and isn’t learning the process on you while you’re on this emotional roller coaster.”
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If you are gravitating toward co-ops, for instance, you want a broker who has put together many a co-op board package, and a lawyer who understands the accounting methods used by co-ops and can mine the minutes of its board meetings for red flags.
Ultimately you want an agent who can help you come up with a sound offer based on market analysis and who will put together a well-rounded application package on your behalf. “Your broker is there to market you,” Ms. Cohen said. “You have to sell yourself as a candidate to get the apartment. It’s almost ironic.”
Prospective buyers can research the history of a property, including construction projects, violations and complaints with the New York City Department of Buildings website by plugging in the address. PropertyShark offers one free property report that pulls similar data and more from public records, including information on assessments, flood maps, crime statistics and the names of neighbors.
It’s also important to scrutinize the building’s finances.
Shawn Cassidy, an area sales manager with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in New York, points out that few banks are willing to lend if the management company still owns a majority of the apartments, as there is a risk that the sponsor could default. And it’s a good idea to hire a home inspector, especially if you are buying in a small building, where building maintenance and repair is the responsibility of a handful of owners. “Let’s say there are three apartments in a townhouse. Each co-op shareholder would bear a third of the cost of addressing any issues,” said Aaron Shmulewitz, a real estate lawyer. “The potential economic risk is larger.” “It was on the same street we lived on and had an awesome backyard,” said Mr. Bartolomeo, 34, a television editor. “We were like, ‘We love this place.’ ”
It turned out that poor drainage was causing problems when it rained, and an incorrectly installed sewage pump seemed like a disaster waiting to happen, Mr. Bartolomeo said. “If we hadn’t used him, we wouldn’t have known.”
Credit Cards 101
Quick quiz: What’s the difference between a credit card and a debit card? Why is it important to carry credit? How do credit cards work? Don’t panic if you don’t…
1Things You Should Know Before You Get Your First Credit Card
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Where to Stay
While Shunde is home to thousands of furniture retailers it does not have lots of hotel and restaurant options. There are a few Western-style hotels in Foshan, which is a half hour drive from Shunde. Swissotel, Crown Plaza and Sheraton are in Foshan, but expect a lower standard of service in these places.
The Louvre Furniture Mall
While there are over 200 buildings selling furniture in Shunde, the most notable ones are:
Lecong International Furniture Exhibition Center, also known as the Louvre/LFC. This is the biggest and most famous furniture mall in Shunde. It has a total area of over 300,000 square meters housing hundreds of furniture wholesalers and retailers in its massive seven-story building. There is an information counter located in the middle of the main hall where you can get information about a specific shop from English-speaking staff. They also provide free wifi and a meeting area. The top floor of the building has a restaurant that serves Chinese and Western dishes.
The maps of shops are easy to follow and they are arranged by style of furniture, including modern, classic, Art Deco style, neo-classic, and traditional Chinese. The fourth, fifth, and sixth floors have office furniture and home decor items while the other floors are devoted to home furniture for bedrooms, sofas, and dining sets.
Sun-link Furniture Wholesale Market Tel: 0757-2883388is located next to Lecong International Furniture Exhibition Center and has many shops scattered around in warehouse shades. The prices are cheaper than LCF, but the quality isn’t as high. It is a good choice for those looking to buy furniture on a low budget.
Tuanyi International Furniture City is opposite the Louvre furniture mall/LFC and has a good selection.
Louvre Furniture Exhibition Center
22.946617, 113.08364- Lecong Avenue South, Shunde, Foshan, Guangdong, China, 52831get directions
Locong Louvre Furniture Exhibition Center is a popular choice for those who wants to import furniture from China.
Foshan International Furniture Expo Mall – 18Foshan Middle Avenue, Chancheng, Foshan, Guangdong, China, 52804get directions
Foshan IFEM, opened in 201is the newest furniture wholesale shopping mall with built over an area of 800000 sq. mtrs representing 3000+ shops/brands
Everything that you bring into your country is subjected to import duties. The good news is that anyone importing into the USA or EU will pay a 0% to 5% rate of duty for most products. You can clear goods from customs by yourself, but it is advisable to hire a customs broker to do the paperwork for you. Here is the rate of duty applicable for most common products:
Customs duty applicable for most common furniture items
With a little bit of information, much plastic can be recycled. Plastic recycling faces one huge problem: plastic types must not be mixed for recycling, yet it is impossible to tell one type from another by sight or touch. Even a small amount of the wrong type of plastic can ruin the process. The plastic industry has responded to this problem by developing a series of markers, commonly seen on the bottom of plastic containers:
These markers do not mean the plastic can be recycled OR that the container uses recycled plastic. Despite the confusing use of chasing arrow symbol, these markers only identify the plastictype.
Virtually everything made of plastic should be marked with a code. Not all types can be recycled. Types and (see above) are widely accepted in container form, and type is sometimes accepted in bag form. Code is mixed or layered plastic with little recycling potential. You should place in your bin only those types of plastic listed by your local recycling agency!
How to Handle Lightbulbs
Did you know that Americans use over 100 million steel cans and over 200 million aluminum beverage cans every day? That’s enough to rebuild the entire U.S. commercial airliner fleet every three months! Almost all aluminum and steel products can be recycled over again without compromising its content. Here are some of the main recyclable products:
But I Want to Use Cloth Diapers!
Shopping For The Perfect Diaper Pail: What to Keep an Eye Out For
Diaper pails come with many different features. Here is what I think you should look for when deciding upon the best diaper pail for your home.
Easy to use: This is by far the most important aspect to look for in your new diaper pail! You don’t want a diaper pail that you have to fumble around with, especially when you have a dirty diaper (and possibly a baby!) in your hands. There are two different ways diaper pails function:
Foot pedal: This goes along with the above point: the diaper pail being easy to use. When dealing with messy diapers, being able to open the diaper pail with your foot is priceless and makes the job much easier. I would recommend spending a little extra money if it makes the difference between having a foot pedal or not. I can’t even tell you how much of a lifesaver this feature is if you’re trying to juggle your baby and a dirty diaper at AM in the morning.
Liners/bags that are inexpensive & easy to change: Some diaper pail liners can come at a premium, especially those that are scented. Some diaper pails allow you to use regular trash bags while others will require specialized bags or liners. While this might seem like a great money-saving option at first, you’ll find that diaper pails that allow this are usually not user-friendly.
Large storage capacity: This is a must if you’re a parent that doesn’t want to empty the diaper pail every day. Changing the bag in the diaper pail is never going to be a pleasant experience, and opting for a diaper pail with a large storage capacity means that it will be able to handle quite a few diapers, and a quality diaper pail will make sure that it doesn’t smell at all! Very convenient.
Wrapping It All Up
Welcome to My Vintage Travel Trailer
Vintage travel trailers are an iconic piece of modern history and their popularity continues among travelers and collectors today. They not only provide the freedom to travel in comfort, but do so with their own unique style that has endeared themselves to people the world over.
Vintage Airstream travel trailer
Airstream trailers can be identified by their rounded aluminum tops and bodies. The seemless rounded top offers better aerodynamics and protection from the rain, preventing water damage that affects many of the flat-top trailers.
Forget images of 1970s bright orange VWs unless you want to relive the flower-power era, with all that will entail in terms of maintenance and restoration. No, today’s campervans have a lot more sophistication, with power of up to 177bhp from a turbo diesel and even optional four-wheel drive.
Tiny isn’t always tinny
Go for the smallest of campers and almost all will be based on OEM steel-bodied base vehicles. But even here, there’s a little bit of choice as some small Romahomes and Nu Ventures are coachbuilts and proceed on the highway thanks to base vehicles such as the car-like Citroën Berlingo.
Right at the tiny and tinny end of the market there’s the hatchback-sized Romahome Rand Wheelhome Skurry, which are based on the smallest of vans – Citroën Nemo and Fiat Doblò, respectively. All of which brings us to an important sector of the market – the rising roof campervan. These are small enough to use as everyday, or even sole vehicles, and usually have rear belted seats, so can be the family car too. Choose dimensions carefully and you can find examples that can sneak under those pesky car park height barriers. After the up, the down: rising roofs make for chilly insides, so they’re best seen as three-season machines. Facilities, too, will be lacking, with a basic kitchen and no separate washroom, although you might get a little loo that slides out of a locker, or sometimes even a fixed unit mounted in the rear.
Brevio started the trend with a width as slim as a campervan and a very similar fixed double bed layout inside.
The clever bit is that the Brevio features a huge tailgate, making it every bit as versatile as its tin-top cousin – especially when it comes to loading kit. Since then, the concept has been developed, with rear lounge layouts (again, matching some offered by campervans) and drop-down double beds. the Rio 340 and the Rio 325
Bigger is better
Comparisons with bigger coachbuilts can carry on up to just below seven metres and, aside from layout choices, one main difference is width. A Ducato campervan is just over two metres wide, whereas ‘standard’ coachbuilt width is around 300mm (1inches) wider, with some porkers’ girths reaching over 2.40 metres.
Designed for Women
With their distinctively narrow bodies and short scale lengths, parlor guitars are the smallest of all six-string flattop acoustics—as much as three inches shorter than the modern standard of 25.inches. Often seen as a bridge between the traditional Spanish nylon-string guitar and the modern steel-string, parlor guitars served a specific function when they appeared in the United States in the late 1800s. They were originally built for women’s more compact frames, and they were named for their use as instruments intended to entertain guests in homes rich enough to include parlors.
In the mid-19th century, design distinctions between European and American guitars were minimal—both were compact by today’s standards, and built delicately to accommodate the comparatively weak gut strings. Near the end of the century, as European guitars became increasingly larger, some American companies, including Martin, continued building small guitar bodies while experimenting with structural elements—for example, X-bracing in place of the traditional Spanish fan—that would give them a heartier sound.
Popularity of parlor guitars waned by the early part of the 20th century when guitar makers began designing larger-body sizes structurally reinforced to handle the tension of steel strings. After Martin introduced the bigger dreadnought in 1931, to compete with other bluegrass instruments, parlor guitar sales began to wane. Today, thanks to modern sound reinforcement and recording technology, getting volume from a small instrument is no longer a big concern. And in the past decade, as guitarists have become more drawn to old music and vintage instruments, fascination with parlor guitars is on the rise. Guitar companies have rolled out new models across the spectrum of affordability—from high-end Martins to budget Washburns—for contemporary players drawn to the look and feel of the little instruments.
Grace Teague, of Grace Harbor Guitars, agrees that one reason there’s an increase in interest in parlor guitars today is that the small bodies are friendlier to women than jumbos and dreadnoughts. “Anything we can do to encourage women to play guitars is a good thing,” she says, adding that a parlor model was a natural for the new line just launched by distributor Dana B. Goods.
A Brief History of the Ukulele
Based on several small members of the guitar family, the ukulele was first developed in Hawaii during the 1880s when Portuguese immigrant cabinet makers fashioned instruments similar to those popular in their homelands. The ukulele quickly gained popularity in the islands thanks to the enthusiastic support of King Kalakaua whose court often featured ukulele performances. Incidentally, the ukulele’s name is derived from “jumping flea” in Hawaiian, and is based on the islanders’ impression of the quick movements of players’ hands on the fretboard. (By the way, our British cousins spell it ukelele.)
The ukulele’s popularity spread to the U.S. when American songwriters began composing music with Hawaiian themes and sounds during the 1920s. Ukulele players proved popular on vaudeville stages, and the little instrument became strongly associated with the Jazz Age. The image of a raccoon-coat clad college student strumming on a uke became an icon of pop culture, and publishers began issuing songbooks for the ukulele. Taking notice of the fad, U.S. instrument makers such as Martin and Harmony began producing ukuleles. String bands of the era also brought the ukulele into their instrument lineups.
The original ukulele was the soprano. The smallest instrument in the family, it typically has a scale length of about 13” and is about 21” in overall length making it ideal for smaller kids. The soprano’s bright sound is the one we usually associate with ukes, and some manufacturers refer to their soprano models as”standard” ukuleles.
Despite its very low price, the Rogue Hawaiian Soprano Ukulele has excellent playability and makes a great introduction to the fun of playing a uke.
Next biggest is the concert ukulele with a scale of about 15” and a 23” overall length. It produces somewhat deeper and louder output than the soprano, but still offers a sound similar to that of the soprano.
The Martin C1K Concert Ukulele is crafted in beautifully grained koa wood and typifies the superb build quality the company is renowned for.
The tenor ukulele has a deeper, more resonant sound resulting from its scale of about 17” and length of about 26”. Its roomier fingerboard can accommodate larger hands more easily.
The Nohea Tenor Uke from Fender plays as beautifully as it looks, and gets great reviews from Musician’s Friend’s customers.
With its 19” scale length and an overall length of about 30”, the baritone ukulele is capable of much deeper bass notes than its smaller brethren. It’s tuned like the four highest strings on a guitar, making it a great second instrument and easy transition for guitarists. We’ll discuss ukulele tuning in more depth below.
With its spruce top and rosewood body plus abalone binding and rosette, the bold tone of the Oscar Schmidt OU53S Baritone Ukulele is matched by its attractive cosmetics.
Most ukuleles fall into one of three basic shapes
Guitar/figure-8: This is by far the most common shape among ukuleles. Resembling a guitar, the curved portion of the upper body, referred to as the upper bout or shoulder, is usually somewhat smaller than the lower bout. The narrow area between to the two bouts is called the waist. Some modern designs have cutaways in the upper bout that permit easier access to the upper frets.
The Martin OXKUKE Soprano Ukulele has the traditional ukulele figure-shape.
Pineapple: As you might guess, the pineapple body profile with its rounded back was a Hawaiian innovation first used on instruments made by the Kamaka Ukulele Company.
An all-mahogany body gives the Luna Pineapple Soprano Ukulele warmth that’s enhanced by cool Hawaiian tattoo graphics.
Boat Paddle: The name says it all; this profile is the least common shape among ukuleles.
Ukulele Construction Methods and Woods
Ukuleles are made using a variety of woods and construction techniques. There are a few made of synthetic materials and metal. We’ll cover the most commonly used wood varieties here, but as you’ll see when you browse Musician’s Friend’s large ukulele selection, there are numerous variations and combinations of woods. Because a ukulele’s sound is the result of many factors including its body shape and size, soundhole size, tuning, and type of strings, there is no one perfect ukulele wood any more than there is one perfect guitar wood.
Hybrid Ukulele-like Instruments
Some manufacturers have begun building instruments that blur the lines between a traditional ukulele and other instruments such as banjos. “Banjoleles” incorporate a banjo-type head, rim, brackets, and resonator. Some are tuned the same way as a ukelele, making them instantly familiar to a uke player.
The Recording King U2Banjolele combines the size and playing simplicity of a ukulele with the sound of a banjo for an altogether different musical experience.
Another hybrid is the resonator ukulele that borrows elements from traditional metal resonator guitars. Instead of traditional wood, the body may made partly or entirely of metal. A spun aluminum cone produces a distinctive, loud sound that can cut through in dense mixes of acoustic instruments.
Luna Guitars Tiki Resonator Concert Uke offers steel-guitar looks and a sound all its own.
Use of alternate string types and arrangements can also produce interesting musical variations.
Keep in mind that new nylon strings tend to stretch, so retuning more frequently after buying a new uke, or putting on a new set of strings is normal.
The quality of the tuning pegs or tuning machines on your ukulele can impact the ease with which you get in tune, and how well your uke stays in tune. Most metal tuning machines have set screws on the buttons used to rotate the tuner. Tightening these periodically can help stabilize tuning.
As mentioned above, an electronic tuner makes tuning your ukulele a much easier process.
Also consider buying a case or gig bag to transport your uke. It’ll help keep your ukulele safe from the perils of the road and protect your investment.
Some uke players prefer using a felt pick or standard guitar pick as opposed to using their fingers, and you may want to experiment with the different sounds picks can produce.
Strings can have a significant impact on the sound and playability of your ukulele. We offer a wide assortment of replacement nylon ukulele strings as well as titanium, aluminum, and fluorocarbon sets to meet just about anybody’s needs.
In the end, choosing the right ukulele is about finding the one that works for you; a ukulele that’s fun to play and to hear. So though you now know more about how ukuleles are built and what materials go into them, let your fingers and ears guide you to the right uke.
We want you to be pleased with your ukulele purchase, and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and generous return policy so you can order your new ukulele with confidence.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your Travel Tins wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of Travel Tins
- №1 — Votivo Travel Tin Candle Clean Crisp White
- №2 — Paddywax Library Collection William Shakespeare 2-Wick Scented Travel Tin Candle, 3.5-Ounce, Paprus, Palm & Eucalyptus
- №3 — Votivo Aromatic Candle Travel Tin – Black Ginger