The best dishwashing gloves

Mamison Korean kitchen gloves

I never knew that the best dishwashing gloves are made in South Korea.

Somehow, I discovered that fact and bought a pair through Amazon Prime.

And they are amazing.

My skin is naturally dry, so if I wash dishes by hand, my hands quickly dry out. So I enjoy protecting them with a second skin of latex.

These gloves fit well and are not impossible to get off when finished using. The outer rubber-ish material is grippy enough that dishes won’t slip out of my hands very easily. (And I have broken a dish or two over the years!) They are much longer than typical gloves, so you can wash pots and pans in a deep sink.

I can’t give an endurance report yet, but they definitely seem to be stronger than the U.S. supermarket varieties that I’ve used in the past.

Shortly after I bought them, some friends visited whose grandparents are from South Korea. They confirmed the superior quality of Korean dishwashing gloves and mentioned that the extra protection provided by these amazing gloves is valuable when preparing spicy kimchi. (The powerful spices in some varieties of kimchi can eat away at skin but are relatively harmless to the stomach.)

A win for South Korea!

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A great computer

If you read my Tesla review, you might think that I desire newer, faster, better everything.

That’s not always true.

The 2011 Macbook ProMy early 2011 Macbook Pro is still humming along gracefully. Five years is a long time in computer years. (According to this website, my computer is 92 human years old.)

But it still works great. I’ve changed its battery once, added more memory (wish I could do that for me!) and swapped out the spinning hard drive for a smaller-capacity flash drive.

It’s running the latest operating system — Apple keeps supporting this old machine.

The strangest thing is that I have no burning desire for a newer Mac. Yes, I do like the newer Macbook Pros (and think the new Macbook is a thing of beauty). But the functionality of a newer Mac isn’t different enough that I’d go through the hassle and expense of upgrading. Plus, my old Mac has a CD/DVD drive — I can add music from that old fossil media source without an external drive. (However, I wouldn’t really miss that capability if mine ever died.)

Also interesting — Apple still sells my same basic computer brand-new (though it has a newer brain).

Finally, if you’re ever in the market for a Mac, I’d recommend buying a factory refurb direct from Apple. Those computers have the same warranty as all-new versions. And often, you can get the latest models as refurbs.

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Review: Better by Nature Coffee

Better by Nature coffeeIf you like smooth, non-bitter coffee, I have found your java nirvana. Better by Nature produces coffee through a unique process that results in a very smooth cup of coffee.

In non-scientific terms, the process uses mushrooms to remove the bitter agents and impurities, while leaving behind what coffee-lovers thrive on — great taste.

The variety I tried was created from Costa Rican beans. I am not a wine-snobbery-terminology kind of person, so I can’t describe the floral notes with undertones of oak. Suffice it to say that if normal coffee is too bitter for you unless you load it down with lots of milk and sugar, check this one out.

If you are interested in giving it a try, visit the Better by Nature website.

Disclosure: I was given this coffee as a free trial. I am thankful.

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Great coffee

cafe-buesteloCafe Bustelo is not great coffee. But it is when you brew it the right way. Read on…

1. Use 1/3 very finely ground espresso coffee, such as Cafe Bustelo. Lavazza makes some better ground espresso coffee, but it costs twice as much.

2. Use 2/3 of your regular coffee.

3. If you like to save money, use 1/3 of your regular coffee and mix it with 1/3 of some ultra-cheap stuff. (I definitely avoid brands like Folgers, but if you go to Big Lots, you can pick up some decent coffee for very little cash.)

4. Mix your dry coffees and put the blend in an air-tight container that you’ll store in your freezer.

5. Use a coffee press. Put one tablespoon of coffee per cup of finished coffee. Pour boiling water over the fresh grounds. This step is important — use a big plastic spoon to stir the coffee and hot water mix. Then let it steep for five minutes before you push the press down.

6. Pour whatever coffee you aren’t going to drink right away into a thermos.

7. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I am lazy. I do not grind my beans unless someone gives them to me that way.

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Review: Lay’s Sriracha

Lay's Sriracha potato chipsIf you like potato chips, live in the USA, appreciate spicy food, and enjoy snacking — go to your local supermarket NOW. These new Lay’s Sriracha flavor potato chips are amazing!

Sriracha is about the hippest hot sauce on the market today. It’s from Thailand, though Lay’s take on the flavor is distinctly American.

This product is available for a limited-time, so unless a lot of people like it, you won’t have long to taste this delight.

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Review: Special K Cracker Chips

Special K Cracker ChipsI love new snack products — particularly when they are made by Pepperidge Farm. This time, I ventured into new territory. Kellogg’s created Special K Cracker Chips to compete with styrofoam cakes, alias rice cakes. They are much better, when that is the comparison. But when compared to Pepperidge Farm’s Baked Naturals, they are a faint shadow of snack goodness.

They are nicely crunchy, but the flavor is a bit weird. I only tried cheddar, but I’m not willing to buy the other flavors. The texture was not outstanding. I thought the price was a bit high: $3.79, which is a lot for just 4 ounces of snacks. Thus my my decision to not explore further flavors.

My wife likes these two aspects — they are low calorie and are pretty much gluten-free.

Verdict? Pass.

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Review: InkJoy Pens

InkJoy penI love writing. As in, taking a pen out and dragging it across a piece of paper. It’s a dying art.

Papermate recently released their InkJoy series of pens. I bought a 6-pack (well, 4) and love the writing pleasure this pen provides. It glides across the page unlike anything else I’ve tried.

It’s a ballpoint, so the ink is maybe more permanent than a gel pen’s. And it just glides more smoothly than a gel pen ever could.

The only problem is a bit of blobbing. The ink is so juicy that it does leave a few blobs, but regular pen-tip cleaning solves that problem. At the end of a few lines of writing, I wipe the tip on a scrap of paper. Problem solved.

Oh — my color of choice is blue. People are more prone to believe your writing is real. (This goes back to the xerox days, when black always meant a copy.)

Disclosure: I bought these with my own money. Office Depot advertized them, and the ad convinced me to give them a try. I’m glad I did.

Disclosure two: If you would like to buy these pens via Amazon, you’ll give my friend Jon a few cents by buying them through this link. Thanks.

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Review: Rise Bar

Are you running out of energy at about 10 am? Does that lull hit around 3 pm?

I found a good, healthy solution — the Rise Bar.

I’ll start with my disclosure — Rise Bar was a sponsor of PodCamp Denver, the event I led last weekend. So I had the opportunity to try several flavors. Every kind I tried was tasty. (I wasn’t able to try all 12 different flavors.)

Rise BarRise Bar has a unique twist on giving you healthy energy — different bars are designed for different times of the day.

My favorite part about Rise Bars is that the ingredients are all healthy. And they’re proud enough about what’s in each bar to make the type very visible! (See the photo.)

My wife has a gluten intolerance. All of them are gluten-free.

All the ingredients are organic. I used to be skeptical about the value of organic food, but when I eat it instead of regular food, I can actually tell the difference in how I feel. (I’m not saying that I have converted completely to eating organic food; but I eat it when I can.)

My friend Tim can enjoy them with a clean conscience — the Energy+ Bars are vegan friendly.

Lest you think I am totally ravingly positive about them, I have to admit that I got a few for my kids, and they didn’t like them very much. (I think their taste buds are pretty slanted toward over sweetness. I can’t stand the breakfast cereals they like.)

So visit Rise Bar’s site. You can order online or they have a store locator. And if there’s not a store near you, they have a letter you can print out to take to your grocery store. Then they can easily stock Rise Bars!

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Quick Review: The Help Movie

The Help was great.

The movie certainly was not perfect. White ladies were all made out to be demons, except for Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan and the hurting character, Celia Foote. The African American ladies were painted as almost angels.

True, the situation was appalling. People like Skeeter, Aibileen Clark, Minny Jackson — and Martin Luther King — put their lives on the line to stand up for what was right, and helped culture and society change. Highlighting that courage and strength of character was worth the price of admission alone.

The visual texture was excellent. Pacing was fine. I thought not reading the book was an advantage; the experience of enjoying the story stood on its own. My wife had read the book and still fully enjoyed the film. But she had comparisons of how the film was different than the book, such as how the film was softer in its treatment of characters.

The film challenged my way of thinking about injustice in the world today. Similar conditions of virtual (and real) slavery still abound. What am I doing to change things?

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