Which baby Monitor Should you Get? Lorex and D-Link Compared

Which baby Monitor Should you Get? Lorex and D-Link Compared

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Baby monitors used to use 2-way radio technology to allow you to listen for cries at the other end of the house.  Today; it’s all about video.  While you can still find the old audio-only monitors for about $30-40 if you look hard, most monitor manufacturers offer easy to set up and use video feeds; and those are by far the most popular sellers today.  The main difference; do you want to watch Junior on one of their supplied handheld screens, or on your smartphone.  I tried one of each; the LorexBaby Care ‘N Share 3.5” Video Baby Monitor, and the D-Link Wi-Fi Baby Camera.

Both had most of the same major features, but one did emerge a clear winner for me.  Here’s why….



Why Do Some TV Stations NOT Show the Olympics, or use Only Photos?

You’ve probably been watching your local news station, and depending who they are, you’ll either be seeing full Olympic highlights (on NBC or Canada’s CBC), or… not much at all.

There’s a very good and simple reason for this: money.

Some stations, just one in each country, pay DEARLY for the rights to exclusively broadcast Olympic events and content.  With that, they also get the rights to use the words “Olympics”, “Sochi 2014”, and to show the rings.  When TV stations purchase those broadcast rights, part of the deal that’s inked includes provisions that say no other broadcaster gets that content, unless, until, and only with very specific criteria laid out.

In The USA, NBC has the Olympic rights.  In Canada it’s CBC.  Each broadcaster writes a lengthy and iron-clad contract that outlines (basically) that no one else can use footage or video of the games.  Sometimes the rights-owners will allow use of video 24 hours after an event has occurred, i.e. when no one is interested any longer.  Frequently, only still photos are allowed to be used, and those can be used within minutes of an event taking place. The words “Olympics”, “Olympic games”, “Sochi 2014” etc are all also trademarked terms.  And you gain their use exclusively when you pony up.  So that’s also why you see the terms “2014 Games” or “Winter Games” or similarly generic terminology in non-rights-holders graphics.   You’ll also NEVER see them use the sacred rings.  Trademarks and hyper vigilance of olympic committee members is also why many news outlets not directly affiliated with the games will largely ignore it, or at least minimize their coverage.  After all, who wants to watch TV when it’s like reading the photo captions in the newspaper? More about the trademarking and those who watch over it?  Read this.

“The Game”; playing with words when you can’t borrow the branding.

Interestingly, even after paying millions (NBC reportedly paid $775 million for Sochi  Global News tried to find out what public broadcaster CBC paid, but.. well.. they didn’t find out much from the uber-secretive taxpayer funded network.  You can read their saga here.), the rights for use of previous Olympics footage usually expires after a year or two.  That’s because the Olympics itself retains the rights to the footage and each games.  Meaning if you want to use more video, you can –anyone can, really– but you’ll need to pay. Big time.


Got more questions about Olympic news coverage, or the media in general?  Ask away in comments below.

CRAZY: Olympic Venues are Ghost Towns Post-Games

CRAZY: Olympic Venues are Ghost Towns Post-Games

The Olympic Games are always proceded by a furious amount of building as host cities construct arenas, pools, ski jumps, Olympic villages, and anything else the games demand. While some of the buildings are repurposed after the athletes depart, others are left to rot. Click the link to see more.

1952, Helsinki Ahvenisto Swimming Pool
1952, Helsinki
Ahvenisto Swimming Pool

The Dishwasher that self-diagnoses its problems

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The Dishwasher that self-diagnoses its problems

Our old dishwasher is on its last legs, and I’m excited! I’ve been educating myself about what’s new in dishwasher technology, and I’m pleased to find: LOTS.  So when my current “box-with-sprinker-head-inside” dishwasher finally gives up the ghost, I’m ready to swoop in with a new choice right away.  At the top of my list; LG’s dishwashers.  Here’s why…


Product Face-Off: Testing out Medium Coverage Foundations

I need a light foundation, and mineral powders have been my go-to for years.  I break out madly at the first sign of a heavy or liquid foundation, so mineral powders have been my savior. But sometimes, you want a bit of a glow, or a bit more coverage for a special night out, a photo day, or just when you’re having a bad skin day, am I right?

So I hit up Sephora and asked what’s new in foundation technology.  I was pleasantly surprised to find: LOTS.  I asked to  test out  4 new products that–at my request– would give me either great layering ability with my existing powder foundation, or medium coverage on their own.  I spent about three weeks testing out each of the choices below, giving each sample a minimum of 4 days use.  Here’s the results.

Stila Stay All Day 10-in-1 Illuminator:

stilaThis was the one I was most excited to try, as it came with the promise of an illuminated Hollywood complexion, according to the Sephora associate who helped me.  It’s tinted, so it provides a bit more coverage, and as Stila’s website promises, “Uses the smallest particle size of coated pigments for seamless, smooth coverage, and  Illuminates and primes the skin for a lit-from-within glow”.  I don’t know how “glowy” I felt, but it did seem to provide a nice smooth, evenly coloured base.  I didn’t end up feeling greasy later in the day. While it gave me a nice base, it wasn’t particularly good at helping to colour redness or blotchiness, so a concealer was definitely required.  I also tried this layered with my regular daytime foundation PurePressed Mineral Foundation by Jane Iredale.  That definitely added to the coverage, and it layered well together. Trouble with this one is that by the end of the day my skin felt greasy, and my fingers came away greasy when i touched my skin.  While I did like the subtle sheen from this product, I didn’t care for the oilyness.




Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer:

tarte bb1068Made with Amazonian clay, Tarte says this is “a light-to-medium coverage, oil-free tinted moisturizer that delivers a natural, sheer finish to revitalize all skin types. ”  Tarte says their products are made without “parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate and gluten.” This moisturizer seemed to have the most tint to it and it was quite thick.  It went on easily and covered well.  But like many other of these lighter options, it did absolutely nothing to tone down any redness. Compared to the other foundations in this test, it had the most natural looking colour against my skin. It lasted through the day quite well and didn’t leave me feeling or looking greasy.  I also see Tarte makes an Illumicating version of this cream, so I definitely plan to try it too.







Josie Maran Argan Matchmaker:

matchmakerThis foundation is the magician of the bunch.  It is pure white in the bottle, and looks like your basic moisturizer.  It goes on white, but as you rub it in, it changes colour to exactly match your skin tone.  It was actually pretty amazing.  It appeared to match my skin quite well, and went on easily.  I found it a bit gritty, oddly.  But a very fine grit.  I don’t know if this is because I’m using a sample and it may be drying out faster, or if that’s part of the formula.   I found it game me good coverage, and stayed put well all day, without giving me a case of the late afternoon ‘greasies’.   I also tested this one layered with my regular day foundation and it does help build coverage nicely.  Concealer was still necessary for the red areas however. I tried this one on another couple of days, and found if I used a bit more product, it covered better, and it left my skin with a nice matte finish, and no greasy-face. The cream does seem to be grainy, especially as my sample dried out, but it rubs in quickly enough, and goes on smooth and left the most natural looking finish.




Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream:

smashboxThe thickest product of the bunch, this one stayed put in the sample tube because it was so thick.  It glides on nicely, and provides good coverage, perhaps even a bit better coverage than average over red spots.  An end of the day swipe with blotting papers, revealed only the barest of traces of oil/greasiness.  The coverage and colour stayed put quite well, and seem fairly matte.  This product seemed to provide the most coverage when layered, and made me feel like I had a good solid foundation base when it and the Jane were on together.

I really liked this one straight from the tube.    The cream feels thicker than some other tinted moisturizers I tried (ie Jane Iredale) and went on feeling thick but silky smooth.  It gave decent, if light, coverage, but didn’t cover up any redness.  What I DID like about it though was it worked as a lovely base, so when I layered my powder foundation over top, it gave a nice even finish.  It definitely stayed put all day, but when I used a blotting paper at the end of the day my face was quite oily. However it didn’t LOOK oily; my face was as matte and finished as when I applied the cream.  That I really liked.  The formula is very thick, and gives good coverage especially over the red areas.  I tried it over a few days and it definitely lasts all day without getting oily-feeling, though my key complaint about this one is the colour seems a bit off for my skintone.
I like the formula but it’s not quite the right shade for me particularly.

The Verdict:

I’d definitely purchase the Josie Maran Matchmaker; its the smoothest, best blending, best match and gives me the best coverage.  But at $50/bottle, I’d be worried how long it might last me.  My second runner up is the Tarte BB.  At $47 it’s not much cheaper, so I guess it’s kind of a toss-up. Both gave me the coverage and smooth pretty finish I’m looking for.  Smashbox for me is third place, and the Stila came in last.

Do you have anything to add to this discussion, or have a favourite of these products?  Please add your thoughts in Comments below.

My go-to Jane Iredale mineral foundation.
My go-to Jane Iredale mineral foundation.









From Left to Right: Stila, Tarte, Josie (not rubbed in), Smashbox

Disaster DIY: I got wax on my Stella McCartney Falabella bag!

My Falabella bag.
My Falabella bag.

New Year’s Eve…I took my beautiful royal purple Stella McCartney Falabella bag out for a night on the town, or at a house party. I had kept it tucked safely out of sight all evening, while glasses clinked and candles flickered.  When I got up the next morning, the full light of day, there it was.  What looked like a candle exploded all over one side of the bag. Dried wax shrapnel clung to its soft vegan sides, and blazed white across its faux snake or stingray skin. Those of you who’ve saved up for a bit of arm candy art will understand, there’s no feeling like seeing your hard-earned “investment Bag” ruined. I imagine it might also feel like smashing up your brand new car, breaking an heirloom dish, or otherwise ruining something you can’t (or can’t afford to) replace. I have no idea how it happened, and can only guess someone knocked over a candle and my bag caught it. And then the tipper slipped quietly away.

Splotchy, gummy white wax on my bag.
Splotchy, gummy white wax on my bag.

I called Stella’s flagship store to ask for assistance; what does one do with a vegan, very expensive bag that’s covered with wax?  I was disappointed to find the store no help whatsoever in making recommendations about how the bag should be cleaned.  The person on the phone couldn’t even tell me what fabric the bag is made from. (Polyurethane, I was finally able to find) They did recommend a dry cleaner in New York who told me I was welcome to ship the bag, at my cost, of course, to them for a look-see, but they could make no promises.  I passed.

Then I popped in on a local dry cleaner, who looked at my bag, and pronounced he could “try” to clean it, but he may just ruin it,  and that, “would be your own fault, your own liability. I would take no responsibility”. Hardly the vote of confidence.

I then made a few calls, most notably to a very kind and helpful woman at Valiant Cleaners in Calgary.  LeeAnn using e a paper towel and a warm iron or a hair dryer  to try heat up and blot the wax out of the fabric.  She warned me to be careful of burning the fabric.


Another friend suggested a trick she uses to get candle wax out of tablecloths: freeze the cloth in the freezer, then scrape off all the excess wax.  She too then uses the old paper towel and warm iron trick.

Ironing the wax out of the delicate fabric
Ironing the wax out of the delicate fabric

So I took the plunge; figuring it could spot test these tricks and stop at any point if it got too messy or started to wreck things.

  1. Freeze the fabric for several hours.  Use your fingernails to scrape off the excess wax.  Your bag is going to be bright scratch white where the wax was.  Don’t be alarmed. If necessary, refreeze and re-scrape. It’s important to get off as much wax as you can first.
  2.  Slide a book inside the bag to give you a firm and steady work surface for the iron to work.
  3. Put the iron on its lowest setting (you can always increase the heat if you need to), and apply a clean folded paper towel to the fabric over the wax remnants. Wiggle the iron over the towel until you start to see the wax wicking up through the paper towel. Increase the heat in small increments if you need to.  Reposition the paper towel and get a clean spot.  Continue until the wax stops seeping into the paper towel.
  4. Let the bag cool and sit and then give it a good look.  Re-do above as needed.

This worked for me, and although in certain lights, the sheen of the fabric does show tiny hints of stain, by and large no one but me would ever know what the bag’s been through.

Good as new.
Good as new.

Got tips on how you removed wax from fabric, or how you saved a pricey bag?  Share with us all in Comments, below.

I Love Fitness Trackers, but the Ibitz Unity Misses the Mark. Here’s Why…

I Love Fitness Trackers, but the Ibitz Unity Misses the Mark. Here’s Why…

For the price, the Ibitz is a decent, and very basic step counter. But to me it’s missing some of those key elements I mentioned above, that make monitoring your fitness fun and entertaining — and that keep you wearing it. There’s no display whatsoever, so there’s no way to know how close or far you are from your step goal; you need to log on to the phone and sync the tracker to get that info.

The Mystery of the Lost Balloon Expedition to the North Pole

The Mystery of the Lost Balloon Expedition to the North Pole

A really fascinating post via atlasobscura.com:

polar2imageFew images are more strange and haunting than those discovered on some frozen film in 1930. They reveal the mysterious fate of the S. A. Andrée Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897, where a hot air balloon meant to sail over the North Pole instead crashed into the ice.