Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone Review

It may be the gadget that readers and viewers are the most excited about this year, based on how many hits I’ve been getting on this content. Google Pixel 2 has launched, and it’s got Android users and, yes, even Apple die-hards buzzing. Continue reading “Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone Review”

Inside The Vault – hidden storage for the world’s coolest cars

The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYCWith an electronic click a biometric scanner grants us access to a giant underground compound. The door thunks closed, and the silence is palpable.

Surfaces gleam, everything shines, and it’s possible for a moment to think you’re the first person ever to be ushered inside.

An invitation to The Vault

It’s not every day you get invited to take a look inside a vault. But this is no ordinary bank lockup, and it’s about 10 times the size of the average one. This Vault is located under the sand of the Mojave in Palm Desert California, hidden behind the gates of one of America’s most exclusive clubs.

Approaching from the west, down a curved driveway, The Vault is an impressive sight. With two massive circular doors reminiscent of something from Fort Knox, and human-size lettering across the front, there’s no mistaking that you’ve arrived at a very special place.

Bighorn’s ‘club within a club’The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYC

The Vault is essentially an ultra exclusive club within an ultra exclusive club.

Located at the very private Bighorn Golf Club where some of America’s richest and most powerful families own property, The Vault is a facility with a very special and specific purpose; it’s a giant, meticulously appointed showroom-garage for elite collectors and automobile enthusiasts.

The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYC

The Vault is for elite car collectors

The Vault was constructed as a pristine and secure storage facility for specialty collector automobiles and fine expensive cars.

It was conceived when one of the members of Bighorn noticed some other members spending tens of thousands of dollars adding garage space to homes at the club to store their luxury automobiles.

A large centralized facility was proposed that members could essentially buy storage space in, for less than the cost of a home reno. Dozens of members lined up to back the plan.

Redline Lounge is a haven for collectors

Once through security, and up a few steps, there’s a beautiful lounge area with a bar, cushy leather seating reminiscent of fine automobiles, TVs, tables and auto-inspired decor. Known as the Redline Lounge, the area is accessible only to members who store cars here.

One wall of the lounge is floor-to-ceiling windows, and it overlooks the garage and the precious collection within. The floor is polished concrete so shiny it reflects both the overhead lights and the neon colours of some of the orderly rows of vehicles resting on the surface.

Vintage cars & new automobile technology in The Vault

The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYCCars from last century are parked beside some of the newest and most technologically advanced vehicles of today. Every vehicle is absolutely spotless, dustless and there’s not a speck of dirt to indicate these cars have ever seen the open road. They have, of course; members are free to take their cars out any time they please, but the care that goes into their use and storage is obvious. Engines gleam under the canopy of hoods, tires shine and grilles glint.The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYC

Bathrooms too pretty to use

Even that bathrooms inside the Vault are a sight to behold, and its obvious no expense has been spared. Polished steel toilets, and glowing LEDs under glinting lucite surfaces inside the bathroom lend it an otherworldly feel.The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYC

The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYCThe Vault at Bighorn Golf Club inspires

As an outsider, getting a private tour of this incredible space for this blog was fascinating. It’s hard to imagine being so rich you can buy storage space in a millionaire’s private vault, but it was definitely inspiring to see what success can get you.

The Vault door whooshes closed behind us, and we step back into the dry desert air, heading back to the main area (a mini downtown?) of the property. Bighorn offers more than just a fancy garage. There’s several restaurants, a spa and even a Starbucks, all reserved exclusive for members of this community.

Bighorn’s motto is “No limits, nothing ordinary” and the property definitely lives up to that. If you’re inspired to inquire about membership, you’ll first need to own property at Bighorn. Current real estate prices range from $1.7 to $11 million USD. Your yearly membership fees are on top of that. But hey, it gives us all something to aspire to, right?

 

The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYC

The Vault Bighorn golf Palm Desert ErinLYYC

 

Mpowerd inflatable lamp is fun & versatile

img_2756When we’re spending more time outdoors, decorating our outside space can be fun.

img_2755Whether you’re chilling in your backyard, or camping in the wilderness, you can spice up your space with a solar powered space saving lantern, like this one from Mpowerd.
The Luci light comes flat-packed; you blow it up with lung power, then let it get juiced in the sun.  Once it’s ready, you can select any number of colours, and the sparkly skin of the lamp makes for a subtle and interesting glow. I’ve been using it outside on the deck, but it also looks chic inside on a side table or as part of a centrepiece for your next dinner party.  When you need to store it, deflate the lamp and pack it away.

I found the lamp took quite some time to charge up in the sun (Mpowerd’s website says 7-8 hours, or 2 full days if it’s cloudy, which for me is way too long), and it was necessary to keep it anchored to something so it wouldn’t blow away or turn over.  The light is said to last for 12 hours, but I found it was more like 8.luci-color.gif

I wanted to leave this outside, turned on, so that it would come on at night, then recharge in the day, but it doesn’t really work like that.  It really needs to fully charged while turned off, so it’s not so much a dusk-to-dawn option as I might have liked. Nonetheless it’s a fun party light, and it’s waterproof and it floats so it’s also a fun option for the pool, hot tub or koi pond. They retail for $24 USD.

I’ve tried out some more fun garden gadgets too this season. Read about them here.

 

Cool New Camping Gear!

IMG_3278
Stanley French Press Coffee Kit

You can usually find me testing out the latest gadgets and high tech gear.  But this time, some of the new gear I got that I’m most excited about isn’t as high-tech as I’m used to.  I love it nonetheless and want to share.

First up, this awesome Stanley French Press Coffee Kit I got at Campers Village. This versatile set up allows you to boil water in the compact narrow kettle pot, add your coffee (grounds are conveniently stored in the lid!)  then use the French press plunger grid to press fresh quality coffee, and transfer it to the thermos where it’ll stay hot for 24 hours. It also keeps drinks cold or iced if that’s your thing. I also thought it was really clever that the lid unscrews into two coffee mugs.

I also got a lot of use out of this kit by pairing it with a Biolite CampStove. Check out my video of how it all worked together!

black diamond ember power lightNext, I tested out a handy flashlight charger. The Black Diamond Ember Power light gives you light when you need it, which you always do when you’re camping, plus its USB port will also charge any gadget you have with a USB plug.  Dead camera?  No problem.  Phone out of juice? Easy to fix. I kept this gadget in my purse and also found it really versatile when we were short-cutting home through a park after visiting a neighbour after dark. My husband’s also been stealing it for everything from finding some papers in his truck after sunset, to recharging his phone on the golf course.

IMG_4025
LED Tent Peg

Speaking of light, I also love these new 10″ LED Light Tent Pegs from Coghlans.  They secure your tent, tarp or lines, and have a simple twist on/off bright LED light which will keep you from tripping in the dark. I found myself using these to mark hazards around the campsite too, like big rocks and roots. Now, if only we could build LED lighting fibers into the tent strings….

I also picked up a couple other low tech options that I find I’m using constantly while camping and on the road.

The Nemo Helio Pressure Shower is super handy if you like to camp away from crowds and off the beaten path.  It comes in a tiny zip pack about the size of a mixing bowl.  The 11L capacity means plenty of water, and because it rests on the ground, you don’t need to worry about hefting it overhead, or trying to fill it while it’s dangling from a tree. So how does it work then?  You pressurize the “tank” with a foot pump then use the sprayer to enjoy 5-7 minutes of shower time.

Curious how it works?  Watch the short video!

Lastly, I snagged one of these versatile hooks, thinking it would come in handy and it did. The Nite Ize Gear Line is a handy line with rigid twist-tie-like tabs on each end.  It’s got several different carabiner-type S-clips along its length, meaning you can string up whatever you want and keep it there with ease.  You can use it on a tree like I did to keep a garbage bag within easy reach, or use it in a tent to keep gear, towels, water bottles, or keys off the floor and within grabbing distance.

nite ize gear line

That’s just some of the new gear I’m loving this season.  You can find everything I mentioned at Campers Village in Calgary and Edmonton, or online at Campers-Village.com

I’ll also be showing off these gadgets and some other cool camping gear later in July on CTV’s Tech Talk!

Banish those Milk Crates! Set up a Functional, Fun Home Office

Banish those Milk Crates! Set up a Functional, Fun Home Office

Click to read the full article .

fs pink deskTake and old table and paint it a girlie colour.  I love pink or Tiffany Blue, and my husband doesn’t.  But in my office, it’s just me.  So I got the brightest fuschia I could find from the home improvement store and rolled it all over the cruddy wood cast-off desk I had.  Voila! I love the way it livens up the room.

A friend of mine colour coordinated all her office accessories; she got bright cobalt blue everything, and has a white desk and office space.  The blast of colour is really inspiring.

fs office pillow.jpg