10 Clever Kitchen Gadgets You Don’t Even Know Exist

Traditional kitchen gadgets are useful, but boring. Cooking and being in the kitchen doesn’t have to be a serious business. With a little creativity, kitchen gadgets can be fun. Even if you don’t like cooking, you’d love to have one of these (or all of these) in your kitchen.

Lifehack has handpicked 10 clever kitchen gadgets that go beyond your imagination.

1. MasterPan Non-Stick 3 Section Meal Skillet

This genius pan is designed to allow you to cook everything you need in one spot. Whether you’re trying to cook in a small dorm, or you just don’t have a lot of kitchen counter space, this pan will be your best friend. With its Riveted Steel handle featuring a silicone grip, you won’t risk burning your hand while cooking.

It even features a XYLAN PLUS double layer non-stick coating which is PFOA free. Plus it ensures your food doesn’t wind up stuck to the pan instead of in your stomach. Along with being oven-safe, this brilliant pan is dishwasher safe, too!

MasterPan Non-Stick 3 Section Meal Skillet, $33.24

2. The “Bolo” Rolling Knife

This innovative knife set comes with the Handle, Precision Steel Blade (420J2 steel), Tenderizing Blade (420J2 steel) Pastry Blade (ABS) and 2 Blade Covers.

This rolling knife has a sharp blade, it dices, cuts, slices and minces a variety of ingredients such as vegetables, spices, herbs, meats, pizza, sandwiches, desserts, fruit and so on. This tool saves you room because you have all the blades you need in one handle!

The “Bolo” Rolling Knife, $29.95

3. The Salad Cutter Bowl

With this, you can make a salad in under a minute.

It’s the perfect size for a personal salad, but it does so much more than allow for easy cutting. It also acts as a strainer and salad spinner. If you want a quick and easy way to slice veggies for your salad, you can toss them in here and cut away.

And for those of us who wind up with nicks and cuts when preparing a meal, this gadget allows for worry-free cutting. Plus it’s easy to clean and saves a ton of space.

The Salad Cutter Bowl, $9.99

4. Magisso Cake Server

Cutting and plating a slice of cake is always a mess, plus it usually requires someone touching a side of the cake with their fingers, and that’s gross. This cake server makes cake cutting clean and easy.

Once you get the cake plated, you always have the few that request a smaller piece. This utensil ensures everyone gets the exact same size and shape cut.

Perhaps best of all, it’s easy to use. Just press the cake server through your dessert, squeeze it gently for lifting the piece onto the place, release slightly once you’ve set it on the plate and your done!

Magisso Cake Server, $9.17

5. Culina Designs Small ABS Bag Sealing Device

Now you can throw out all those twist ties you’ve been hoarding! Sealabag is a compact gadget that can be used to seal a variety of kitchen staples.

Its design allows it to be used on your counter, or even mounted inside of a cupboard so no one has to know how you keep all of your breads so fresh.

Culina Designs Small ABS Bag Sealing Device, $7.95

6. Dreamfarm Savel – Flexible Food Saver for Wedges, Halves and Wedge-Outs

This flexible gadget covers cut foods, such as fruits and veggies, and keeps them fresh. You don’t have to waste any more plastic bags or try any silly hacks to keep your items fresher longer.

The silicone strap stretches to ensure the perfect fit while keeping the item secure. The base is food-safe and prevents any air exposure.

Dreamfarm Savel – Flexible Food Saver for Wedges, Halves and Wedge-Outs, $8.72

7. Dreamfarm Spadle – Silicone Sit Up Scraping Spoon That Turns Into a Serving Ladle

When used as a spoon, this spoon-ladle crossover features a flat squeegee tip to scrape pans without scratching, a deep ½ cup scooping head and useful measuring lines.

To transform it into a ladle, just twist the handle. It doesn’t even require a spoon rest; a clever bend in the handle to sit up off your counter to keep it clean.

It’s non-stick and heat resistant up to 200°C/392°F. And it’s dishwasher safe!

Dreamfarm Spadle – Silicone Sit Up Scraping Spoon That Turns Into a Serving Ladle, $19.99

8. Ankomn Savior Non-Electric Vacuum Food Storage Container Marinator

With a simple push of a button, this non-electric vacuum storage container will keep everything fresh, from cereal to dried fruits and nuts.

It doesn’t require any complicated wires or batteries, plus it’s easy to clean and BPA free. You can even store it in the fridge and toss it in the dishwasher when it needs to be cleaned.

Ankomn Savior Non-Electric Vacuum Food Storage Container Marinator, $64.99

9. KEFIRKO – Kefir Fermenter Kit

This easy kefir-making system includes a unique 20 oz concave glass jar, strainer lid, secure cover lid, citrus juicer attachment, swizzle stick, user guide and recipe booklet. You can make kefir milk or kefir water by simply adding kefir grains and liquid. The Kefiko can even be used as a sprouter!

A measuring cup for the kefir grains is integrated in the top cover, and the included juicer allows you to squeeze juice into your water kefir for extra flavor.

KEFIRKO – Kefir Fermenter Kit, $39.95

10. Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder

This magnetic knife holder is an aesthetically pleasing way to store and display your knifes. It’s super simple to install and includes mounting screws and hardware.

The magnetic strip is a quality stainless steel, and all the materials are non-toxic, food safe and easy to clean.

Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder, $16.97

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How to Make Money Fast: 10 Easy Ways to Make Money in the next Hour

The average savings rate for an American under 35 right now is -1.8 percent. (Yes, negative.)[1] Coupled with declining salaries from large companies[3] and the rise of the “gig economy” (where payments don’t always occur at stable times), there are often situations now where (especially young) people need to know how to make money fast.

Of course, thousands of sites — maybe even millions — claim to offer ways to make money fast, or to teach you some hack about how to make money fast, but the sites are scattered and have varying degrees of validity. Many of us don’t know where to start, or if the site we found is reputable.

Our goal here is to fix that and to show 10 possibilities for how to make money fast.

1. Do One-off Selling on LetGo

LetGo is a great site for one-off selling to people in your neighborhood or general region. Anything with value, from clothes to old books and magazines, is going to be fair game.

You need quality images, some ideas of a valid price point, and the ability to upload. You can also cross-share on Facebook and Instagram to drive more traffic to the sale. People have sold everything from old pens to collections of Blue Apron recipes on LetGo and made money quickly.

2. Sell Overseas for a Better Price

Two good sites for this are Alibaba and Taobao. When you sell items that are local to you but to overseas customers, you can get better deals —  because things are often considered more valuable if they’re rare or imported from elsewhere.

While it is possible to also sell services on sites like these, offering services from the U.S. to China might require consistent use of a private jet, and if that’s your situation, you probably don’t need this article in the first place.

3. Rent out a Room on AirBnB

AirBnB is an excellent way to make some additional cash. Many are now renting out their apartment and, using the funds from that rental, traveling the same weekend.

Most AirBnB hosts are still doing it for side/quick money, although there are six-figure AirBnB earners.[2] In 2016, about 75 people worldwide earned more than $1 million hosting AirBnB,[4] although admittedly earnings for hosts are higher in 15 cities globally.[5] (In general, a “good” AirBnB city can yield a host up to 81% of their rent.)

Signing up for AirBNB is safe and easy, here’re some handy tips to get started.

4. Rent out Parking Space with JustPark

You can rent out driveways, car parks, empty hotel spaces, etc. — and do so within the time windows that work for you with JustPark. There are a few limitations you need to be aware of, such as whether you’re the legal owner of the space (not a deal-breaker!) or whether the space requires FOB access. Check out the detailed requirements on JustPark here.

JustPark is a good revenue-generator for some, although the monthly earnings are likely to be less than AirBnB. One “hack” to know, though: JustPark listings that include Minimum Retail Prices actually — and counterintuitively! — make 4x the revenue of other listings on the service.[6]

5. Writer Reviews as a Product Tester

This is a fairly easy one: visit a website/app, complete a series of tasks, and earn $10 per test on UserTesting. There are some necessary requirements, including:

  • A PC or Mac, an internet connection, and a microphone. You’ll need an iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet If you’d like to take Mobile tests.
  • Ability to download testing software.
  • You must be at least 18 years old.
  • Ability to speak your thoughts aloud in English.

6. Teach on iTalki

In short, you’ll get paid to help others learn a language. There are a number of benefits, including a flexible schedule and international payments. Close to 20 languages are currently available to teach in, with demand consistently growing.

iTalki takes about 15% of your earnings, and is best thought of as an extra income source — not a primary one. It’s a good example of how to make money fast though you won’t make a huge amount.[7]

Sign up and become a teacher on iTalki.

7. Do Pet Sitting

There’s an extensive database of pet sitting jobs available on PetSitter, which is a huge bonus for pet lovers looking for ideas on how to make money fast.

In addition to pet-sitting, there are a range of other pet-related activities (mostly dog-walking and feeding). The ceiling on pet-sitting earnings from this or other sites (such as Rover) is about $3,000-$4,000 per month, with most users making less than $1,000.[8]

It depends on time available, market you’re operating in, and context. By “context,” one thing to note is that finding people who vacation a lot (empty nesters, retirees, etc.) will increase your recurring income from pet sitting. Once they trust you with their pets, they might hand you the contract for every vacation.

8. Get a Child Care or Home Care Job

You can find typically child care or home care jobs designed to fit your schedule on Care.com. The jobs will vary from babysitting to nanny work to after-school pickup to housekeeping, shopping, errands, and more. They do offer rate calculators for various services, such as babysitting, with larger cities starting around $20/hour relative to experience.

One advantage of making money on Care.com is the volume of jobs available is very high. If you have flexibility to combine different commitments, you can generate $1,500+/month from this site.

9. Become a Uber Driver

There have been lots of discussions about driving for Uber vs. Lyft and which is better for drivers (the argument varies), but Uber’s driver requirements aren’t hard to pass. Check out the requirements to become a Uber driver here.

Ride share driving is easy in terms of GPS navigation helping guide you, and the schedule is flexible. The actual hourly rate varies by city, but it’s usually $20/hour or under.[9]

It’s oftentimes hard for Uber to classify because they don’t designate their drivers as employees. When they advertise $40/hour (as has happened), that’s probably on the very high end.

Now you can even get a guaranteed $275 for your first 40 rides with the invite code here.

10. Sell Your Talent at Fiverr

Fiverr is one of the more popular gig sites, with new projects requested every five seconds and about 25 million projects completed to date. There are about 100 categories to choose from including writing, animation, design, making products go viral, Facebook cover photos, voice-over, etc.

As a seller, you can charge anywhere from $5 to $995 for your package. They also have a “Pro” option now once you either prove expertise in a given area or work with a wide variety of clients.

People do make six figures on Fiverr,[10] although that’s admittedly rare — most people make about $300 to $500/month depending on their level of commitment to the platform.[11]

Start selling your skill at Fiverr.

The Bottom Line

There are many practical ways to make money fast online, typically through the emergence of new platforms. It’s important to remember the trade-off between flexibility and stability.

These approaches of how to make money fast will usually give you some degree of flexibility in when you work and how you earn, but they may not give you stability. If you have certain bills that are due at a given time each month (i.e. rent on the 1st), you will need approaches to how you save or periods of time you ramp up working.

Reference

[1] The Wall Street Journal: Younger Generation Faces a Savings Deficit
[2] Fast Company: Secrets Of Running A Six-Figure Airbnb Business
[3] Wharton: Why It No Longer Pays to Work for a Larger Firm
[4] Forbes: The 75 People Who Make $1M A Year From Airbnb
[5] Smart Asset: Where Do Airbnb Hosts Make the Most Money?
[6] Just Park: 7 Easy Ways To Increase Your JustPark Earnings
[7] glassdoor: iTalki
[8] New York Post: Meet the people making $3,300 a month pet-sitting for strangers
[9] The Washington Post: How much Uber drivers actually make per hour
[10] Forbes: How These 3 People Make 6 Figures A Year On Fiverr
[11] Joseph Feliciano: 22 Days On Fiverr + Income Report

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10 Best Water Bottles That Are Stylish and Multifunctional

Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you know how important it is to stay hydrated. Whenever you participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, or camping, you need to carry water with you.

As people recognize how difficult it can be to drink enough water every day, we’ve even started carrying water bottles to work. We used to be satisfied with any old reusable sports bottle, but now we are interested in things that look stylish and provide a host of other benefits.

We know how tough it can be to determine which water bottle is the best for you. Lifehack has chosen the 10 best water bottles on the market today.

1. Lunatec Aquabot Sport Water Bottle

The Lunatec Aquabot will serve you well in any setting, but it really shines during long days outdoors. The pressurized cap can be used for showering, cleaning gear, or misting yourself to stay cool. The pranksters in the crowd will love having the ability to blast water up to 25-feet for water fights.

This BPA-free bottle makes drinking enough water fun and easy. You can choose from three spray patterns, including shower, stream, and mist. You can even drink from this bottle upside down, and it never needs batteries.

Best water bottle for: camping, staying cool, outdoor events, water fights

Lunatec Aquabot sport water bottle, $30.00

2. Ozmo Watertight Rechargeable Bluetooth Smart Cup Hydration Tracker

If you’re having trouble meeting your daily water intake goals, this bottle will keep you accountable. The Ozmo has an LED indicator to help you see your water-intake progress throughout the day, and it vibrates to remind you to take a drink.

It seems like there’s an app for everything, and this bottle is no exception. The Ozmo syncs your water intake data to your smartphone, which it then uses to give you personalized suggestions and a plan to consume the recommended amount of water.

At 16 oz., this holds about two glasses of water per filling. The LED is rechargeable, so you never have to worry about batteries.

Best water bottle for: the office, students, people who need help remembering to drink water

Ozmo Watertight Rechargeable Bluetooth Smart Cup Hydration Tracker, $69.99

3. Pokito: Pocket Sized Reusable Cup

One of the most frustrating things about finding the perfect on-the-go bottle is that they take up so much space. They either don’t fit into your bag, or you waste time trying to keep them from falling out of your cupboard. Pokito solves these problems.

This bottle is eco-friendly, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe. It adjusts to three different sizes. You can collapse it to its smallest size (about 4.5 cm) for easy storage or to transport it in your bag. When you arrive at work or your favorite coffee shop, you can expand the cup to take advantage of its full size.

Best water bottle for: environmentally conscious people, space-conscious people, on-the-go beverages, tossing into your bag

Pokito: Pocket Sized Reusable Cup (Back this on Kickstarter)

4. MWB Minimal Water Bottle

Here’s another one for the space-conscious. The Minimalistic Water Bottle (MWB) is made of flexible material that you can roll up when you aren’t using it. This makes it perfect for back-packing or traveling, when you might want a water bottle, but you don’t want to sacrifice space in your bag.

The look of this bottle is simple and stylish. It would be a great addition to your exercise gear, but the paracord handle also makes it easy to attach to whatever bag you choose. This bottle has a piece of flint near the paracord attachment so that you can start a fire in a pinch.

Best water bottle for: backpacking, travel, the gym, camping

MWB Minimal Water Bottle, $35

5. Pressa Bottle

Infusers are in right now, and if you’re looking for a good one, this is it. It’s dishwasher safe and BPA free. You can refill the bottle all day and use the built-in juice press to get the health benefits of juice without all the sugar and mess.

This bottle is slim enough to fit into your car’s cup holder, and it’s easy to carry or store. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, this might be a healthy solution to your problem.

Best water bottle for: the office, commuting, students, people who need to add flavor to their water

Pressa Bottle, $24.99

6. Gululu The Interactive Water Bottle & Health Tracker For Kids

For the gadget-loving parents in the audience, the Gululu will blow you away. This interactive water bottle not only helps you keep track of how much your little ones are drinking, but it also helps them build positive habits.

This bottle connects to an app that helps kids learn to take on healthy habits through fun educational games, digital pets, and rewards. Kids can even connect with friends through the Gululu.

The Gululu is wireless and safe to use. With a durable and easy-to-clean design, this will help your kids have fun without burdening you with lots of maintenance.

Best water bottle for: kids, health-conscious parents

Gululu The Interactive Water Bottle & Health Tracker For Kids, $129.00

7. Pao2GO Bottle

Tea-drinkers and people who love fruit infusions will enjoy this bottle. It is made of a specially designed borosilicate glass that is safe for hot and cold beverages. It brews and filters tea, and it has a compartment for filtering fruit out of an infusion.

This bottle is safe, leak-proof, BPA-free, easy to clean, and durable. If you love tea or just need to add flavor to your water before you drink it, the Pao2GO is a great option.

Best bottle for: brewing tea, hot and cold beverages, fruit infusions, people who need to add flavor to their water

Pao2GO Bottle, $24.93

8. que Bottle

This bottle not only looks cool, but it is also versatile. The spiral-design allows you to collapse the bottle to fit in your bag or pocket. It’s leakproof, light-weight, and made of BPA-free food-grade silicone. The que Bottle is dishwasher safe, and you can use if for hot and cold beverages.

If you are the person who often drops and shatters your water bottle, this would be a good choice for you. The silicone material is not prone to fracturing, which means that it will serve you well for as long as you care to use it.

Best water bottle for: the office, students, hot and cold beverage, space-conscious consumers

que Bottle, $24.95

9. The Oomph | Portable Coffee Maker

Take the power of the French press on the go with you. This pressure brewer is perfect for making your gourmet coffee on the road. Since it serves as both a brewer and a travel mug, there’s no need to make a mess or wait for your coffee to brew when you head out the door.

The Oomph only takes 18 seconds to clean, and its insulated design keeps your drink warmer for longer.

Best bottle for: making coffee on the go

The Oomph | Portable Coffee Maker, $50.77

10. KOR ONE BPA Free 750ml Water Bottle

The beautiful cobalt-blue colored bottle has more than just style. It’s available in four colors, all of which relate to an initiative which protects water. It’s BPA-free, durable, and has a “No-Worry Cap” that you can open with a button or by twisting it.

One appealing feature of the 25.3 oz bottle is the hygienic spout cap, which keeps unwanted things off the spout when not in use. It has an ergonomically-sound grip so that it’s nice to hang on to, and it comes with two KOR stones, which you can use for writing inspirational messages to yourself.

This is not only a stylish choice, but the company seems truly grounded in their mission to be eco-friendly and make the world a cleaner and healthier place.

Best water bottle for: environmentally conscious consumers, the gym, the office

KOR ONE BPA Free 750ml Water Bottle, $25.00

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8 Common Words You Don’t Know Are Making You Sound Unreliable

Communication becomes more casual every day. Ten years ago, we never would have felt comfortable including a smiley face in an email to our boss, but now in 2017, that seems less unprofessional.

While speaking and writing tend to have different guidelines, we still tend to have more fillers when speaking vs. typing a social media post or a quick message to a coworker. When we speak, we tend to allow ourselves more fillers; I’ll never forget the time one of my professors in college asked us to count the number of times we said, “like” in one day. Maybe I was hyper-aware, but the number was astronomical.

While it may seem like a small thing at first, the amount of times we use filler words like “um” or “like” in a conversation can make us appeal unreliable, no matter how educated or dependable we may be.

Your Word Choice Reflects Your Personality

It’s no surprise that word choice and expression says a lot about someone’s personality, but even the regularity in which words or word categories are used can speak volumes about a person.

Psychologist James W. Pennebaker of the University of Texas at Austin is one of many experts who assert that the way a person expresses thought reveals character. Any time a person speaks, they make choices – choices regarding appropriate nouns and verbs. Those small aspects are part of a bigger context which can provide clues into an individual’s large-scale behaviors [1]. Some researchers are so fascinated by this that they have created software to monitor a person’s word choice in order to predict the way they will act in the future.

8 Toxic Words to Avoid

Here is a list of words to limit in daily conversation. I promise you all it takes is a once-over and you’ll suddenly realize how often you’re saying every single one of them!

Al Verbs: Might, Should, Maybe and Would

While these are some of the most common verbs in the english language, all they do is make the speaker sound unsure of himself. Modal Verbs include, “Might,” “should,” “maybe,” and “would.” While these verbs are easy to include in casual conversation, think about how insincere it makes a friend sound when you invite them to hang out and they reply with something like, “Yeah, maybe. I might have something going on, but I’ll let you know…” The next time you find yourself wanting to use this kind of verb, allow yourself a short pause and mentally delete the words when uttering the sentence. It’ll feel unnatural at first, but before long you’ll be a pro.

Ok

I think we can all agree this is one of the most annoying responses to get when texting someone. Second only to “k,” “Ok” is such a blah response. It makes you sound indifferent and unsure. Plus it’s not even a descriptive term! It basically means “satisfactory.” Who wants that? In text form, it can read like the end of a conversation or even a passive aggressive way to try to be agreeable. These two letters serve as a self-protecting mechanism to avoid giving concrete statements that could be hurtful. If someone asks for your opinion and you regularly offer “Yeah, it’s ok” to avoid hurting them, then you need to understand why it’s not ok to say ok !

Awesome

This word is tricky. If someone tells you about an incredible trip they just took and you respond with, “Wow! That sounds awesome!” you’re probably being sincere. But if you tend to offer up this word regularly, you probably sound a little dense. Sorry! Saying “Awesome!” all the time makes people feel like you don’t have any of your own opinions. I know, I know, it’s just a word. But think about it for a second: When was the last time you were having a conversation and your friend seemed to say “awesome,” “oh wow. Awesome,” and “cool” after every other sentence? I’ve been in that situation before and it was really frustrating! I didn’t doubt that my friend actually felt that everything I was saying was “awesome,” but the overuse of the word became insincere quickly and made me want to stop sharing my story. It’s a vague word and usually over-exaggerated. I’d rather someone use multiple words to show enthusiasm or give me a compliment than just recycle one word over and over.

Um

Perhaps the most common filler word, “um” is, um, super, um, annoying! I hate to tell you this, but you probably say it so much more often than you realize. For one full day, try to keep a mental tally of how, um, often you, um say, “um.” It’s going to shock you. Even if you’re an intelligent person, overuse of the word makes you seem a bit delayed when it comes to processing thoughts. It’s simple enough to replace it. Instead of saying, “um,” try: “Let me think for a while.” You’re accomplishing the same goal, but the longer sentence gives you a proactive appearance and proves you want to take control the situation.

Like

Stop. Using. This. Filler. Word. If you have ever tried to sit through an hour of reality TV, then you know the word, “like” is the most common word (like) ever. If you’re oblivious enough to have never noticed it, you’re lucky. Once you start noticing, you can’t stop. The filler word makes you sound childish and it usually isn’t a necessary filler. While you could replace it with “such as” or something similar, if you really analyze a sentence before you speak it, you’ll find you don’t need it at all.

Actually

This word actually isn’t necessary in a majority of situations. The word itself tends to give the impression that whatever was uttered before was not true. If you take the time to look at sentences with this word, you’ll find that nearly all of them can be deleted without changing the meaning/message, while it makes the tone stronger and more direct. For example: The word choices you make can go a long way in showing the kind of person you are. Actually, word choices can predict the kind of person you can be in a conversation. The statement is redundant.

Sorry

This apology can make you seem weak and insecure if used in the wrong context. While you should always want to apologize if a situation warrants it, using “sorry” too often or even habitually can lead to you seeming embarrassed and afraid. If you’re actually wanting to apologize for something, feel free to use the word. But if you’re embarrassed or nervous, explain those emotions in different terms.

Hopefully

While the word itself seems like it should be optimistic, it actually has the opposite effect: using this word implies you aren’t determined or confident enough! For example, if you were my boss and you asked that I have something done and on your desk in two hours, which response would you rather hear from me:

No problem. I’ll take care of that now and get it back to you shortly.

Ok, sure. Hopefully it takes me a little less than two hours. I’ll bring it by when I’m done.

The second response doesn’t say outright that I won’t have the task completed, but it sure doesn’t seem confident. Hopefully means you don’t feel in control of something or confident enough you can create a change. In life, it will sometimes be necessary to be hopeful rather than overly confident, but when it comes to work situations, try to avoid the word as best you can.

The great thing about the list above is that it doesn’t take much effort to implement. In fact, all that’s required to stop using these unreliable-sounding words is self-awareness. Today is a new day. Be present in all conversations and realize how often you’re using the words listed. Then take the steps to replace them and ultimately delete them from casual chats and messages. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.

Reference

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These 10 Travel Gadgets Will Revolutionize Your Vacation

Traveling and vacationing can be one of life’s greatest pleasures. It is a time to relax, a time to explore new cultures and new exotic places. A great vacation takes you away from all the stresses and concerns of your life.

But, at the same time, travel can be a massively stressful activity.
Even packing can be difficult. I remember the last time I went on vacation, in the hotel I realized I had forgotten to pack many important items, items that would have saved me a lot of trouble. Another time I packed too much and had to carry needlessly heavy bags everywhere. Who hasn’t experienced similar situations?

Luckily these issues might become things of the past thanks to these ten great products. With these items you’ll be able to travel smarter, with less stress.

1. The Ohderii Portable Footrest

Spending hours in an airplane is a necessity of modern travel. Some of us like it, some of us hate it. Whatever our opinion, after a long flight we all get that uncomfortable cramped feeling in our legs. Now thanks to this footrest, you’ll never need to feel like this again and instead, you’ll be able to relax and unwind on the plane without discomfort.

The footrest is extremely lightweight and easy to pack, and although it is designed for in-flight use, it can be used in many different settings, such as at home, or at work.
The footrest is essentially a small hammock for your feet, as such it is extremely easy to set up, giving you more time to relax.

For more information: Link

2. The Trtl Pillow: Much Lighter than traditional U shaped travel pillows

One of the most popular travel products are travel pillows. More and more of us buy these small, lightweight pillows to make our traveling more comfortable. However, what’s annoying about most of them is that, due to their size and shape, packing them can be a pain.

This is made much easier thanks to the Trtl pillow, its clever design makes it much lighter and easier to pack than traditional U shaped travel pillows. Not only is it lighter, it’s actually better for you. The Trtl’s design and internal support structure means your head will be comfortably held in a much more natural position than other travel pillows.

This, combined with the above footrest will make your uncomfortable airplane or train seat almost like a bed.

For more information: Link

3. Q-Shirts by Utzu: Four Different Designs in One Shirt

If you’re fashion conscious, choosing the right shirts to pack can be a challenge in itself. Unless you buy more shirts on vacation, the handful you pack will have to last you for the whole vacation.

Normally, if you want 4 different shirt designs, you will have to pack 4 shirts.  Not so much with the Q-shirt, thanks to their revolutionary design.  Each Q-shirt has 4 different designs. Allowing you to pack a potentially huge variety of shirt designs.  With it you can diversify your look 4 times in one day.

These shirts aren’t just revolutionary in appearance either, the fabric used has anti-bacterial properties which help to lessen smells and eliminate odor from sweat. Also, the fabric is designed to allow your skin to breath easier, so you will feel fresher for longer. You will be able to wear it more than other shirts without worrying about hygiene or appearance.

For more information: Link

4. Steamfast Home-and-Away Mini Steam Iron

Have you ever noticed, that no matter how carefully you pack your clothes, they always seem to come out creased? You have visions of yourself looking great while on vacation, and when you’re finally there you find yourself searching the hostel or hotel for an Iron to use. With this travel size steam iron, you never need to worry about creased clothes when traveling again.

For more information: Link

5. Tic. Smart Bottles: One Small Bottle to Fill with Your Shower Gel, or Soap, or Creams

Almost every time I pack, my backpack or suitcase always seems to end up being full of plastic bottles. Whether they are bottles of shower gel, skin creams, soap, or hand lotion. I end up taking so many bottles that I risk running out of space.

The tic smart bottle solves this bottle by condensing the problem. Each smart bottle is composed of a number of different sections for you to fill with your shower gel, or soap, or creams. So instead of packing many bottles, you only need to pack one.

Now you’re probably thinking these bottles must be massive right? Far from it actually, each travel bottle is about the size of a smartphone and can be easily carried in the palm of your hand. Just one of these can radically change the number of items you need to pack.

For more information: Link

6. Bluesmart One, a Suitcase That Connects to Your Phone

This suitcase is pretty incredible and redefines what a suitcase can be.  When you travel there is always a risk of your phone running out of power.  If this happens, it can be far more disastrous than if your phone ran out of power outside of your vacation. The Bluesmart One is a suitcase that has outlets allowing you to charge your phone on the move.

What’s more, you’ll never lose this suitcase as it has a built in SIM card, enabling it to appear on GPS through its app. Also through its app, you can remotely check the bag’s weight and lock or unlock it, giving your items a great level of protection.

Though it is pricier than most suitcases you might find, the sheer number of extra features it has makes it well worth the extra cost.

For more information: Link

7. Scrubba Portable Laundry Wash System

I’ve often found that its difficult to rely on all hotels or hostels to have decent laundry systems. In more than one occasion I’ve had to wash my clothes in the shower with me as there seemed to be no other way (I don’t recommend it!).

The Scrubba wash system allows your clothes to get a machine-quality wash no matter where you are.  It is extremely light weight and can be easily packed (in a way its the smallest and lightest washing machine in the world).  It’s made from an extremely durable bag lined with hundreds of small ridges which scrub your clothes as you squeeze and press it.  As such it is far more effective than hand washing, and keeps you dry.

For more information: Link

8. Spectacles by Snap Inc.

Warning: These will make you feel like James Bond.

Vacations are full of moments you want to preserve. These days, this is pretty easy, almost all phones have built in video recorders.  However filming with your phone can often drain the battery, or use up much needed memory, or you might want to keep your hands free while filming.

These glasses have video cameras built into them, allowing you to film whatever you’re seeing with the push of a button. With these you can shoot up to 30 seconds at a time in full HD.
You upload your videos directly to Snapchat if you want or even upload them to your phone’s camera roll.

So they’re a great gadget to buy if you want to keep a video record of your vacation.

For more information: Link

9. Lunatec Self Cleaning Wash Cloth

If you expect to be on the move for most of your vacation. You can’t really afford to wait around for things to dry. The Lunatec wash cloth can dry completely within minutes. You can dry yourself off with it, and before you know it, it will be bone dry itself.  Also, unlike traditional towels or microfiber towels, it never needs to be cleaned. You can cover it in dirt, and after a quick rinse all the dirt just washes away.  As such, it’s perfect for any RV Vacation or hiking trip.

For more information: Link

10. CGear Sand-free Mat

We all love relaxing on the beach, to feel the sun on our face and listen to the waves softly lapping the shoreline. It’s pretty much the classic vacation activity. But what always is a let down is spending ten minutes shaking out the sand from your beach towel or mat (and even then grains of sand show up weeks later). This can be worse if the sand on it spreads to you.

The CGear Sand-Free mat gets rid of this issue entirely. Sand just doesn’t stick to it at all, nor does dirt or dust. Also, like the above wash cloth, it is amazingly fast drying. Making it the perfect thing to relax on and enjoy a picnic on the beach.

For more information: Link

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Think Like Steve Jobs: How Design Thinking Leads to Creativity

Outstanding companies such as Apple, Nike and Tesla are all design-driven companies. These companies adopt design thinking when they are creating new products and solving business problems. Companies that utilized design thinking experienced a 41% higher market share, a 46% competitive advantage, and customers who were 50% more loyal. They outperformed the average American stock market by 219%.[1]

Take Apple as an example, it wasn’t always the mega-success that it is today. In 1997, Steve Jobs conducted a major company overhaul.[2] He cut several product lines and pushed the company toward developing a distinctly Apple experience. To this day, all of the “i” products’ look, feel, and user-friendliness set Apple apart from its competitors.

Design thinking showed us that Apple was a company with a soul and vision, and the message continues to resonate with customers. Jobs not only conveyed to people what he was selling, but he also showed them why they needed it.

Everything that any profession does—from research and development, to strategy, to content creation—can be improved through design thinking.

Design Thinking Is for Everyone to Solve Problems Creatively

Problem-solving myopia leads companies through periods of stagnation and frustration. Things are usually more complicated than they appear on the surface, and focusing solely on problems robs companies of their abilities to take what is working and use it in creative ways.

“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.” – Tim Brown CEO, IDEO

Design thinking can solve complex problems across systems, procedures, protocols, and customer experiences. This creative mindset requires you to focus on solutions instead of problems. Instead of staying stuck in the problem-rut, design thinkers always have an eye on the ideal future.

Problem solving in this manner involves looking at peoples’ needs and finding creative solutions. Design thinking forces individuals to use every tool at their disposal, from their intuition and imagination to their innate sense of logic and reasoning, to unravel complex issues and explore possibilities.[3]

When a solution is discovered, it is subject to change according to the needs of the company and its customers. Design thinking, as a rule, is never stagnant. It is an iterative and reflexive commitment to innovation.

Core Stages of Design Thinking

Although this is a vastly creative process, design thinking has several identifiable stages, including:[4]

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test & Evaluate

We’ll take a closer look at these steps using a case study from the oral health aisle of Watsons, a pharmacy chain.[5]

1. Empathize

This stage involves by collecting as much information about a field as possible. You may process raw data, consult with experts, and get as much background as possible to envision a better future.

By collecting data, Watsons realized that many shoppers visited the oral hygiene section of their pharmacies, but they often walked away empty-handed. Watsons developed a collaborative relationship with two other companies so that they could figure out why people weren’t making purchases.

2. Define

After you have enough background information, define what customers need. Conducting formal and informal surveys to gather customers’ feedback. Watch how people interact with the products and listen to how they describe the products.These observations allow businesses to figure out what people need and what is holding them back from getting what they want.[6]

The Watsons team interviewed shoppers and listened to anecdotes about their shopping experiences. Customers gave the company a variety of reasons why it was difficult to find the oral health products that they wanted. People said things like, “The shelf looks different every time I shop here,” or “I can’t find the product I’m looking for.”

3. Ideate

After you understand your customers’ pain points, work to reconcile the difference between what they expect and what you produce. Look for patterns from customer feedback and brainstorm solutions based on the information that you’ve been given. Staying focused on solutions allows people to come up with alternatives that hadn’t existed before.

The team at the pharmacy reviewed all the data from customers and determined that most of them were plagued by the same problem. Many people claimed that they were not able to find the best product to fit their needs. In response to this, the collaborators decided that they needed to devise a system to make it easier for people to track down the toothpaste that was best for them.

4. Prototype

Design thinking requires novel solutions. The ideas may start as quick drawings or outlines, but they eventually become full-scale models. Along the way, incorporate feedback to remix and refine the solution until it is the best that it can be.

To make it easier for customers to find the perfect tube of toothpaste, Watsons and its collaborators decided that customers needed a “Quick Finder” system. They started out with rudimentary drawings, and consulted with customers and workers throughout the design phase. Eventually, they devised a prototype machine in which customers could input information about the product that they wanted. Whenever the system narrowed down the best products, it lit up a box around those products.

5. Evaluate

No solution is complete without testing to make sure that it effectively addresses the problem. In the evaluation phase, you run tests and obtain as much feedback as you can get. End-user input continues to be an important factor in this phase, but look at quantitative data also to ascertain if the prototype really worked.

To ensure that the prototype for the “Quick Finder” addressed customer needs, the team consulted with customers and store workers to see what they had to say about the new tool. They also had to compare oral care sales before and after the implementation of the new design in order to measure its impact.

Design Thinking Isn’t Just for Designers

Anyone who needs to solve problems could benefit from adopting design thinking. It enables businesses to solve problems and come up with creative solutions by looking at issues holistically and addressing the needs of the end user.

When you put design thinking into practice, you have more space to innovate and you improve your audience’s experience with your company.

Reference

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The Science behind Relentless Breakthroughs

Life isn’t supposed to be comfortable all the time. While most of us crave a degree of stability, a life without challenges robs you of your fighting spirit and motivation.

Without discomfort, there can be no growth. In a rapidly-changing world, stagnation is the first step toward to obscurity and mediocrity. There’s science behind experiencing the right amount of struggle to spur growth.

The best state: optimal anxiety

Your comfort zone exists so that you have a safe space from which to operate most of the time. In your comfort zone, you know what to do and how to behave, and there are routines and patterns that you follow to reduce stress. People in their comfort zone are generally happier than those who live in a state of heightened anxiety most of the time.

Clearly, stability is something to aspire to, but if things are too comfortable, people tend to become complacent. They may not work as hard to achieve their goals, and they may even lose their ambition altogether.

If you can reach a state of optimal anxiety, then you can enjoy some time in your comfort zone while still feeling pressure to succeed. Optimal anxiety allows you to experience the burst of energy and heightened state of awareness that you need to take on a challenge.

The Harvard experiment on stress levels

We’ve known this for over a century. In 1908, two Harvard psychologists, Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson, sought to explain different levels of performance. People in a state of comfort could often maintain a steady performance level, but those with high-stress levels experienced decreased productivity. People who wanted to experience growth had to endure some anxiety.[1]

When our stress levels elevate slightly, we enter into a state of optimal anxiety. This sweet spot, just outside of our comfort zone, is the place where we can improve our performance and make greater gains in our work.

How to reach a state of optimal anxiety

Choose things that are 50% familiar to you

Things that are too commonplace, and things that are way beyond your current understanding won’t keep your attention. Without a doubt, your eyes have glazed over as you listened to someone give a technical lecture on a subject with which you are unfamiliar. You’d be equally disinterested listening to someone repeat the same story over and over. When something is 50% familiar and 50% new, it is more likely to keep you interested.

Educators think about striking this balance between familiar and novel all the time. Developmental psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, calls this area in which we are challenged to learn but not overwhelmed as the “Zone of Proximal Development.”[2] In the Zone of Proximal Development, you have enough context to understand the basics, but you also have room to grow.

Think about when you had to learn math in elementary school. If your teachers tried to teach you trigonometry in pre-school, you would not have been successful. Trigonometry is too difficult to complete without understanding basic math concepts first. It is more likely that they taught you the words and symbols associated with numbers and left the discussion of trig for your high school years.

Break things into baby steps

You might wonder how you’ll ever learn anything if you are stuck choosing things that are about 50% familiar to you because there are a lot of things that you don’t know. True, when you are trying to learn things, there are more unknowns than knowns, but narrowing the scope of your question can help.

Writers encounter this overwhelm all the time. Imagine that you want to write a book, but you’ve never written before. The concept of writing a book is so foreign that you may not even know where to begin. There’s a lot that you don’t know, and it’s going to obstruct your ability to see what you do know.

If you’ve hardly written more than a few paragraphs since high school, it is unreasonable to think that you can accomplish the Herculean task of writing a book without some steps in between. Break it down by focusing on writing one paragraph, a chapter, or a page. The more you practice, the more you can expect from yourself each day.

Make it a continuous process: Scare yourself every day

Learning must be gradual and continuous. Choose something that exists just outside of your comfort zone every day, and work to understand it. Whatever that unfamiliar thing is, keep breaking it down until you find something you are 50% familiar with. At that point, you can work to tackle the project.

Perhaps you want to be able to host a group of friends at your home for dinner, but you are afraid you’ll ruin their evening. Instead of embarassing yourself or causing too much stress by inviting over ten of your best friends, break the task down into smaller steps.

Start by trying out the recipes you want to make for your friends. Chances are, you already have some idea about how to cook, and you just need to build confidence and experiment with cooking times and menus. Then, practice by having one or two of your closest friends over. When you feel good about this step, you could invite others over for a dinner party.

People have to tackle big goals all the time. Learning to drive a car, understanding a complex concept in school, and giving speeches can all be accomplished by breaking the goal into smaller steps.

Mark down your worries during the process and review them later

When you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, your brain is going to try to protect you by giving you lots of things to worry about. The torrent of “what ifs” can hold you back from making real progress.

Instead of letting those thoughts own you, write them down. After you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone for the day, review what you wrote. You’ll find that most of the things you worried about didn’t happen. In the future, you’ll be able to recognize that most of your fears are unfounded.

Keep track of your tiny achievements every day

Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to achieve the end result that we forget to recognize the small accomplishments we make every day. Any accomplishment–regardless of how great or small it is–activates the reward centers in our brains.

If your goal is to exercise five days per week, keep track of your work outs every day. When you see how much you’re doing, it can motivate you to do more. When work seems so overwhelming that you are prone to procrastination, try taking note of each time you begin a project early instead of waiting until the deadline.

Every time you catalog a success, your brain releases a neurotransmitter called dopamine.[3] Dopamine triggers that feeling of achievement and pride and energizes us to keep moving forward with our goals. Since your brain loves to be rewarded with a hit of dopamine, it will motivate you to replicate your actions.

Make room to grow every day

Busting out of your comfort zone is more than just a means to achieve your dreams. Finding your optimal level of anxiety affects everything from the amount of motivation that you feel to the neurotransmitters in your brain. A fear of the unknown is just an opportunity to break what you need to learn into accessible steps.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” –Neale Donald Walsch

Reference

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