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Weight Loss Deals for 2021

Don’t miss these nutrition deals and discounts

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: Orgain

Maybe you’re looking to shed some pounds, or maybe you just want to feel better about your diet this year. Either way, check out the six diet-plan deals below for an added incentive to change up your nutritional habits.

Nutrisystem

Nutrisystem delivers nutritious meals and diet plans directly to you. It focuses on portion control and offers four different diet plans with vegetarian and diabetic-friendly options. Deliveries come every four to 10 days.

  • 50% off all meal plans + free week of shakes*
  • Meals shipped to you

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Noom

Noom is an app designed by dietitians and nutritionists to help individuals with weight loss. The app provides personalized health coaching and support from community members. Its diet plans don’t require giving up any particular foods and instead focus on your particular nutrition goals.

  • Offers trial period*
  • Customized coaching

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

bistroMD

bistroMD provides meal plans developed by dietitians. It has programs for men and women, including plans designed for heart health, gluten-free diets and those with diabetes. Its plans are flexible, and it provides a wide variety of meal options.

  • 25% off + free shipping the first week*
  • Large selection

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Aaptiv

Aaptiv provides voice-guided workouts for weight loss, strength training and relaxation. Workouts are available for beginner, intermediate or advanced users. Some of the company’s workouts include “Intro to Weight Loss” and “Walk to Run 1 Mile.”

  • Free 30-day trial*
  • Customizable

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Orgain

Orgain sells a variety of protein powders, shakes and bars designed to replace meals, lose weight and gain muscle. The products are developed by doctors, and the company has plant-based and dairy-based products.

  • 25% off best-selling protein powders for new customers*
  • Developed by doctors

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Medifast

Medifast has three different plans designed to help you lose weight at a steady, reasonable place. The company’s plans provide multiple benefits, including a free meal planner, access to a support coach and an online weight tracker.

  • $25 Off Medifast and free shipping on orders of more than $250*
  • Use promo code NEWYEAR25

Shop now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Weight Loss Deals for the New Year | ConsumerAffairs...
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Our favorite deals for December 2020

Check out some of the best deals from our partners this month

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: Nom Nom

Even if your holiday shopping is done (or mostly done), we’ve found plenty of seasonal deals you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re looking for practical home items, weight loss assistance or treats for your pets (aka work-from-home officemates), our partners have you covered.

Last-minute shopping

Still need to cross a few things off your list? As of publishing, Prime members still have some time to buy gifts on Amazon and have them arrive before Christmas. And if you’re looking for post-holiday organizing tools (or nearly anything else), check out the daily deals on Overstock.

Amazon

  • Free shipping on most orders for Prime members*
  • Regular deals on website*

Shop on Amazon

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Overstock

  • Daily deals*
  • 70% off thousands of Holiday Home Sale items*

Shop on Overstock

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Mattress deals

Planning on making a New Year’s resolution for a healthier lifestyle? Getting more sleep is a significant step in improving your health, and having a comfortable mattress is essential to sleeping well. Both Puffy and Saatva are offering hundreds of dollars in savings this month — check them out if you need to change up your bed setup.

Puffy

  • $300 off plus a free pillow on all mattress purchases*
  • Lifetime warranty

Shop on Puffy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Saatva

  • $200 off your order of $1,000 or more*
  • Free white-glove delivery

Shop on Saatva

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Fitness and weight loss deals

This year, we’ve all got health on the brain — even if we’ve spent the bulk of 2020 on the couch streaming comforting reruns and ordering pizza. Below are some deals to help you reclaim your health and your body if you’ve been feeling sluggish and in a food rut.

BistroMD

  • Get 25% off*
  • Free shipping your first week*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Noom

  • Offers trial period*
  • App provides personal coaching

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Pet food and treats

If your resolution is to treat your body better, why not extend that gift to your pets? They deserve nutritious noms too. Both Nom Nom and Chewy have deals for first-time orders so you can keep your animals happy and healthy.

Nom Nom

  • 50% off first order*
  • Fresh-food diets for dogs and cats

Shop on Nom Nom

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Chewy

  • Save 40% on your first Autoship order*
  • Food, treats, toys and more

Shop on Chewy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Our favorite deals for December 2020...
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Holiday Gift Guide: The Tech Enthusiast

8 cool gadgets and toys

We know how difficult buying presents for techies can be, so we're here with some guidance. Read on to find some gadgets that are sure to impress the cool kids on the block (or the family group chat). We hope this helps you cross a few names off your “nice” list.

1. Spectacles 3D Camera Glasses

It sounds like something from a spy movie, but these 3D camera glasses are the real deal and incredibly cool. This wearable gadget takes pictures and videos with the tap of a tiny, discreet button. You can upload content directly to Snapchat or export it later. The package includes a 3D viewer, charging case, charging cable and cleaning cloth.

  • Creates 3D prints
  • Made by Snapchat
  • $380*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

2. Bluetooth Headphone Beanie

Bluetooth beanies are functional for outdoor runs or indoor jam sessions and perfect for the person who never wants to take their headphones out. We like that the one below lasts up to 20 hours between charges.

  • Unisex
  • One size fits most
  • $25.91*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

3. Rocketbook Reusable Notebook

The Rocketbook isn't a typical journal — the pages are made of synthetic paper you write on with a stylus. Upload the notes and doodles to the cloud for storage and wipe it clean for a whole new round of journaling.

  • Available in multiple colors
  • Executive Size (6" x 8.8")
  • $23.49*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

4. Osmo Pocket Gimbal Stabilizer

A pocket gimbal stabilizer is a thoughtful holiday gift for someone who loves recording videos but doesn’t have the latest iPhone. It’s compact and can be paired with just about any smartphone. Our guess is your techie will start using the device immediately.

  • Good image quality
  • Enhanced audio
  • $349*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

5. Magnetic Levitating Globe

This gift is one we recommend purely for its cool factor. At an affordable price, you really can't go wrong with this globe that floats midair. Ideal for an office or shelf, this gadget is perfect if you have no idea what to give someone for the holidays. Be sure whoever gets it reads the setup instructions carefully, though, or the globe won't work correctly. Other than that, this MOKOQI globe is a seriously cool tech gift.

  • Perfect for a home office
  • Easy to set up
  • $43.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

6. Mavic Air 2 Drone Quadcopter

If you want to give your tech lover an awe-inspiring gift, we recommend this sleek drone quadcopter. Its features include obstacle-sensing technology that ensures safe and impressive flights.

  • Takes 48-megapixel photos
  • Easy to use
  • $799*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

7. Electric bike (for adults)

The Ancheer Electric Mountain Bike has three modes for throttle-assisted, pedal-assisted and normal biking. The mountain e-bike has a removable, rechargeable battery and an LED display. With front and rear disc brakes and 21 gear settings, the Ancheer can handle urban riding and trails.

  • Up to 15 mph
  • 1-year warranty
  • $579.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

8. Ring Video Doorbell Pro

This is a great gift for new homeowners and even those in apartments without a personal security system. The device lets you see who's at the door and features two-way voice technology. It’s ideal for anyone wanting a little extra protection at home.

  • Compatible with phones, tablets and Echo devices
  • Ring Protect Plan sold separately
  • $169.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

Shopping for holiday gifts doesn't have to be as hard as it was last year — this year, you can use our handy guides to find the perfect gifts for your family and friends. With only a click of a few buttons, you can check off the wish lists of all your loved ones. Keep up with the latest on shopping news for more.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Tech Enthusiast...
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Holiday Gift Guide: Dogs and Dog Lovers

O come, let us adore them

Those of us with dogs know the truth — they make our lives immeasurably better. Below, check out some of our favorite gifts for spoiling them, and keep reading to find presents for all the special dog people in your life this holiday season.

Special treats for dogs

Our pets helped us get through some pretty ruff patches in 2020. This year, they deserve their very own stockings. We also like these cute toys, nutritious treats and comfy beds.

1. Christmas Stocking Variety Pack

  • Comes with four toys
  • Ideal for small or medium-size dogs

$8.99 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

2. Chicken or Duck Rawhide Dog Chew

  • Made with natural chicken breast filets and cowhide
  • 2-pound container

$26.99 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

3. Chicken & Sweet Potato Fetch Fries

  • No artificial flavors, grains or fillers
  • 5-ounce bag

$9.99 on Chewy*

*As of publishing date

4. Benebone Maplestick/Bacon Chew Toy

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Designed for aggressive chewers

$17.41 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

5. Bedsure Calming Bed for Dogs

  • Microfiber, plush and synthetic fur
  • Fits up to 45 pounds

$25.99 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

6. Bully Beds Orthopedic Dog Bed

  • Made with Certipur-certified foam
  • Helps alleviate discomfort in joints

$219.99 on Chewy*

*As of publishing date

Gifts for dog people

We love buying our dogs gifts this time of year — food and toys are usually the safest bets when it comes to special holiday treats for our pups, but most dogs aren’t too picky about either. Dog people, on the other hand, can be a bit more discerning.

7. Collar and Matching Bracelet Set

  • Made with vegan leather
  • Available in 8 different sizes

$40 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

8. Smart Dog Treat Dispenser

  • Includes HD camera with two-way audio
  • Compatible with iOS 7.0 or Android 5.0 and above

$129.99 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

9. Dog Graphic Print Tunic

  • Soft fabric with high-low hem
  • Pairs well with leggings

$19.90 - $25.80 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

10. “The Dogfather” Parody T-Shirt

  • “Tagless” tag
  • Fits true to size

$19.95 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

11. “I Could Chew on This” by Francesco Marciuliano

  • Collection of satirical poetry
  • Fun coffee table book

$11.40 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

12. “E.B. White on Dogs,” edited by Martha White

  • Author of “Charlotte’s Web” and other classics
  • Includes essays, poems, letters and sketches

$14.44 on Amazon*

*As of publishing date

Some people have more fun buying presents for their fur babies than their human friends. Next up, learn how to find the best dog food and dog treats. For the latest, check out our holiday spending news.

Holiday gifts for dogs (and their owners)...
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Holiday Gift Guide: The Home Chef

Kiss the cook and buy them a present

The home chef in your life likely has a specialty cuisine they love, whether it's covered in bacon, totally vegan or somewhere in between. No matter their culinary preferences, there's sure to be a gift that suits them on our list.

1. Anova Sous Vide Nano Precision Cooker

The best part about getting a sous vide for the home chef in your life is you might get a thank-you meal out of it. A sous vide (pronounced “soo-veed”) precisely controls cooking temperatures, resulting in restaurant-quality meats, eggs and root vegetables.

This one is compact and highly rated by Target customers. It connects to your phone, letting you start, stop and monitor your cooking through its Anova Culinary app. The app also comes with more than 1,000 recipes to help with inspiration.

  • 750 watts of power
  • 2-year limited warranty
  • $129.99*

Shop on Target

*As of publishing date

2. Island Bamboo Utensil Set

Perfect for your funky friend who loves nothing more than some color in their kitchen, this four-piece pakkawood set comes with a spoon, slotted spoon, corner spoon and spatula, all featuring a peacock pattern with swirls of blue, green and yellow. The utensils’ ergonomic handles are designed for comfort.

  • Made with eco-friendly materials
  • Lightweight and scratch-resistant
  • $39.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

3. NuWave Air Fryer

Air fryers have become increasingly popular over the years as an alternative to deep-frying, sauteing, baking or grilling. You can load up this 4.5-quart air fryer with bacon, cookies, diced potatoes and more. It can bake, roast or fry your food using no unhealthy oils — the perfect gift for a more health-conscious home chef who loves alternative ways of preparing the most comforting meals.

  • Digital LED controls
  • 1-year limited warranty
  • $99.99*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

4. Stainless Steel Electric Meat Grinder

If you need a practical gift for the meat lover in your life, this electric grinder is an excellent addition to any carnivore’s kitchen. Its heavy-duty stainless steel construction looks both classy and powerful, and not only does it help you create your own sausage and grind meat — you can also use it to make noodles.

  • Easy installation
  • Four cutting plates
  • $41.39*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

5. Powell Raeford Kitchen Island

What does a cook love more than expansive open counters and plenty of cabinet space? If you're looking for a big gift for your home chef, you might want to consider counter space. It's a bit pricier than the other gifts we list here, but it’s sure to help a kitchen look more chef-worthy.

  • 3 doors and adjustable shelves
  • 56” by 29.25” by 36”
  • $1,384.99*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

6. Solid Copper Polenta Pan

A classy gift for any cook who likes to dabble in fine cuisine, this fancy copper pan is specifically designed to make polenta, which originated in Northern Italy and is made from cornmeal and other grains. It comes with a wooden handle reminiscent of old-world kitchens and wood-fired stoves.

  • Lacquered to prevent tarnishing
  • Makes up to 5 quarts
  • $89.99*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

7. Potato Cooker Pouches

This is a practical stocking stuffer for those who like to cook but don’t have much free time. The fun little pouch lets you cook a potato in only four minutes. Though some of us might be satisfied with its basic use, home chefs will likely take it a step further to prepare some more creative dishes.

  • Easy to use
  • Washable
  • $10.49*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but often this season becomes the most stressful part of the year. It can be hard to pick the perfect gifts for our friends and our family — but from proud pet parents to tech lovers, there's an outstanding gift out there for everyone.

Holiday Gift Guide: The Home Chef...
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Holiday Gift Guide: The Coffee Snob

Wake up! It’s Christmas!!

Christmas shopping for a coffee lover is hard if you don’t drink much coffee yourself. For the under-caffeinated, the sheer number of options and amount of paraphernalia can be intimidating. To help, the ConsumerAffairs research team curated a list of some of our favorite coffee-related gifts for 2020.

OXO Cold Brew Coffee Maker

There really isn’t a “season” for cold brew concentrate — rest assured your coffee lover will use this all year long. We like that the OXO has a rainmaker top so the grounds brew evenly. It yields up to 16 ounces per batch, which can then be used in cold or hot drinks.

  • Compact size
  • Automatic draining
  • $29.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

Bean Box Gourmet Coffee Subscription

The gift that keeps on giving. Each month for three months, Bean Box sends four half-pound bags of whole coffee beans sourced from top roasters in Seattle. The package also includes tasting notes, roaster profiles, brewing tips and a special “artisan treat.”

  • Supports small-batch roasters
  • Freshness guaranteed
  • $68*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

Ember Smart Mug

Do you know someone that always lets their coffee get cold? A heated mug is cool for them because it keeps that sweet bean juice steamy, even if they get distracted for a few minutes — or an hour and a half.

  • Pairs with the Ember app
  • Includes charging coaster
  • $99.95*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

Bretani Manual Coffee Grinder

A manual grinder makes a perfect gift for the coffee lover who needs control over all aspects of their life. The brushed stainless steel makes this coffee grinder easy to look at and easy to clean.

  • 18 adjustable course settings
  • Washing brush and travel bag included
  • $15.99*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

Whetstone Camera Lens Mug

The Ember mug is great for home, but this mug is better for being out and about. It looks like you're drinking from the SLR of a camera, which is sure to be a conversation starter. This is a must-buy if your coffee friend also happens to be a photographer.

  • Stainless steel with screw-on lid
  • Holds up to 12 ounces
  • $26.73*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

Flair Signature Espresso Maker

The Flair Signature is a stunning piece of craftsmanship with overall positive ratings on Amazon. Plus, it’s portable and easy to clean. (A completely manual espresso machine is a pretty serious gift — it’s best for the person who already has a quality grinder, scale and everything else you need to make better coffee a home.)

  • Custom pressure gauge
  • $239*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

A Christmas surprise for the true latte lovers. This semi-automatic espresso machine comes with the equipment that's needed to be an at-home barista, including a tamper, stainless steel milk jug, portafilters and a dose trimming tool.

  • Built-in grinder
  • One-year warranty
  • $699.98*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

"The Monk of Mokha" by Dave Eggers

If your coffee snob also loves a good read, then "The Monk of Mokha" by Dave Eggers is sure to impress. The 352-page book tells the true story of a young Yemeni-American man from San Francisco as he rises to success in the coffee industry.

  • Nonfiction
  • 352 pages
  • $10.89*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

As you can see, there are tons of coffee gadgets and accessories to delight even the most fickle coffee snobs. For more news about holiday shopping, check out the latest in holiday spending trends.

Holiday gifts for coffee lovers...
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12 (fake) trees of Christmas

Seasonable, reasonable evergreen decor

Twinkling lights and wintry festivities create an atmosphere that's hard to beat. Whether you're planning to host a small celebration this year or just want to pump up the holiday vibes, an artificial Christmas tree is the way to go.

The ConsumerAffairs research team considered hundreds of options in a range of styles and price points. When selecting our favorites, we looked for trees made from high-quality, safe and eco-friendly materials. We further narrowed it down by giving preferences to artificial evergreens with overall positive customer ratings on Amazon, Target and Overstock.

1. Pre-lit Montclair Spruce

Sure to “spruce” up any entryway or smaller room, this artificial tree comes with pre-strung white lights and a stylish gold urn base. Its crush-resistant branch tips are designed to be realistic and durable. The materials are sturdy enough to also make it suitable for outdoors.

  • Height: 5 feet
  • Diameter: 22 inches
  • Price: $75.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

2. Wondershop Pre-lit Douglas Fir

If you're going for that snow-laden look, then check out these flocked tree branches. They’re hinged, making the tree easier to set up and store. It comes pre-wired with 350 clear light bulbs and includes an iron stand. This fake tree could be the centerpiece of many real memories.

  • Height: 7 feet
  • Diameter: 48 inches
  • Price: $350*

Shop on Target

*As of publishing date

3. Woodland Ornamental Christmas Tree

Are you looking to save time and money when decorating? This Christmas tree kit comes with a classic PVC tree, a stand, two sets of 59-feet LED light strings and 172 decorations, including ribbons, snowflakes, pine cones and assorted wood hanging ornaments — all for around $200.

  • Height: 7 feet
  • Diameter: 47 inches
  • Price: $199.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

4. Artificial North Valley Spruce

If you prefer the stately spruces, this is an excellent Christmas tree pick for you. This tree has a slightly narrower profile than others to accommodate harder-to-fit spaces. Although not pre-lit, this tree offers easy assembly in three parts.

  • Height: 7 feet
  • Diameter: 47 inches
  • Price: $144.99*

Shop on Target

*As of publishing date

5. Sparkly Champagne Tinsel Tree

If you want a little glitz and glam this season, this decorative tree is sure to add a pop of sparkle to your home. The tree features 520 lush branch tips and comes with a stand. According to reviews on Amazon, it’s simple to set up and great for small spaces. We like that it doesn’t scream “Christmas,” so you could leave it up all year long.

  • Height: 6 feet
  • Diameter: 20 inches
  • Price: $45.71*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

6. Pre-lit Flocked Balsam Tree

If you're looking for a fake Christmas tree to really wow your family and friends, this could be the one for you. At 9 feet tall, this flocked balsam fir is the perfect centerpiece for holiday decorations and parties. It would look spectacular in front of a large window.

  • Height: 9 feet
  • Diameter: 61 inches
  • Price: $427.97*

Shop on Overstock

*As of publishing date

7. Pink Faux Pine Tree

This eye-catching pink artificial tree has nearly 2,000 fluffy branches. The package also includes a firm brace. The tree is foldable, which makes it easy to assemble, disassemble and store. Some shoppers get these not just around Christmas but also for weddings.

  • Height: 7.5 feet
  • Diameter: 53 inches
  • Price: $109.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

8. Cactus Christmas Tree

Another unusual Christmas tree pick, this cactus tree is just too fun. It's pre-lit with LED lights, and assembly takes only a few minutes. We like that it’s made from eco-friendly materials and comes with plenty of ball ornaments and a metal stand. The Christmas cactus is sure to be a conversation starter at any holiday party.

  • Height: 6 feet
  • Diameter: 31 inches
  • Price: $79.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

9. Pre-lit Poinsettia Pull-up Tree

Poinsettias are a beautiful Christmas tradition. The red and white flowers have been associated with Christmas since the 17th century when Franciscan friars in Mexico planted them to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem. This tree comes with twinkling white lights, red and gold ornaments, snowflakes and — of course — faux poinsettias.

  • Height: 4 feet
  • Diameter: 20 inches
  • Price: $116.77*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

10. Hairui Pre-Lit Birch Tree

A simple, elegant alternative to the traditional Christmas installment, the Hairui birth tree is pre-lit with hundred of warm-light LEDs. You can plug it in outdoors or inside and set the lights to on, twinkle or off. The bulbs have an estimated life of 30,000 hours.

  • Height: 8 feet
  • Diameter: 19 inches
  • Price: $149.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

11. Wrought Iron Ornament Display Tree

If you like to think outside the box when it comes to holiday decor, this could be just the tree for you. This wrought iron Christmas tree features elegant branches that will keep your ornaments safe. Priced under $100, this is an attractive and affordable option to display a collection of ornaments.

  • Height: 6 feet
  • Diameter: 35 inches
  • Price: $79.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

12. Upside-down Christmas Tree

An upside-down tree for an upside-down year. Packaging includes a stand and a box of ornaments. According to reviews on Amazon, the tree is a good value and simple to set up. It also has hinges to make disassembly and storage easier.

  • Height: 5.5 feet
  • Diameter: 15.7 inches
  • Price: $39.99*

Shop on Amazon

*As of publishing date

Benefits of a fake Christmas tree

Christmas might be the most magical season of all, but it can also be the most stressful. Along with all the extra planning and shopping, taking care of a real tree can feel like an unnecessary burden. That's one of the reasons artificial trees might be the perfect option for your Christmas decor. Plus, there’s a huge selection of styles and prices.

Here are some more pros for getting a reusable tree over a real one this year:

  • Easy to buy
  • Doesn't require watering
  • No daily needle cleanup
  • Saves money year over year
  • No hassle for disposal
  • Won’t trigger allergies

Bottom line

Life isn’t a Hallmark movie. Do fake Christmas trees smell like fresh pine? No, but that's why we have candles. With so many options available, from faux firs to pre-lit spruces, in a variety of colors, style and prices, there’s bound to be an organic fit for every home.

Now, all you need are the presents. Savvy shoppers will want to keep an eye on the latest holiday spending trends. For more “evergreen” content, check out how to find the best credit card for you.

12 (fake) trees of Christmas...
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What’s the deal on Cyber Monday?

Compare top discounts for tech, gifts and more

Even if you bought a few discounted big-ticket items last Friday, today is the day to save on electronics and gifts. Check out these deals on new tech devices, toys, jewelry and more.

We also like that the Small Business Gift Guide makes it easy to support independent makers and crafters. For the most up-to-date information, check the Amazon app or ask Alexa, “What are my deals?” All Amazon Cyber Monday deals below are valid from November 28 through November 30.

Cyber Monday deals on Amazon

This year, millions of items are available with free shipping and delivery, even if you don’t have an Amazon Prime account. If you do have a Prime membership, you can get a free $100 gift card by applying for an Amazon Rewards Visa Card.

Deals for new homeowners

If you or someone you know is settling into a new space this holiday season, there’s no place like the internet — you’ll find plenty of gift ideas for making new digs feel like home among these online deals.

Compare inexpensive rugs in a range of colors, shapes and sizes. With a robot vacuum cleaner, tidying up can be as easy as “Hey Alexa, clean my house!” Plus, sweet deals on video doorbells can help you keep an eye on things no matter where you are. For more, check out our resources on easy ways to renovate, decorate and protect a home.

35% off iRobot 675 Roomba Vacuum

  • Ideal for hard floor and carpets
  • Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity

Shop on Amazon

30% off Safavieh, nuLOOM and Unique Loom rugs

  • Prices start around $12
  • Stain-resistant area rugs available

Shop on Amazon

$60 off Ring Video Doorbell 3

  • Enhanced Wi-Fi and motion detection
  • Easy to install

Shop on Amazon

Electronics and tech gifts

Every year, new tech tempts even the staunchest Luddites. This year, we’re eyeing deals on these fancy Jabra headphones and the Toshiba Smart Fire TV. Plus, the new fourth-generation Amazon Echo is on sale — Alexa, can you say upgrade?

$30 off the new Echo

  • Available in multiple colors
  • Simple to set up

Shop on Amazon

32-inch Toshiba Smart HD Fire TV for $119.99

  • Stream 500,000+ movies and shows
  • 720p resolution

Shop on Amazon

40% off Jabra Headphones

  • Wireless connectivity technology
  • Engineered with SmartSound

Shop on Amazon

Gifts for kids

Whether the little ones in your life are adventurers, bookworms or artists, Cyber Monday has you covered. Don’t worry if you overdo it with too many toys — there are always storage options.

30% off select Magic: the Gathering decks

  • Decks come with 71 cards
  • Recommended for ages 13+

Shop on Amazon

40% off L.O.L. Surprise! O.M.G. 4-in-1 Glamper

  • Regularly priced around $99
  • Recommended for ages 6+

Shop on Amazon

30% off Mynt Printing Pens and Accessories

  • Turns drawings into 3D works of art
  • Includes one-year limited warranty

Shop on Amazon

20% off kids bikes and helmets

  • Wide selection of colors and styles
  • Regular bike prices start around $60

Shop on Amazon

Gifts for moms and dads

Now’s a good time to repay Mom and Dad for all the times they’ve lifted you up. Roald Dahl said it best: “It's a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”

50% off 23andMe DNA Tests

  • Regularly priced around $200
  • Includes Personal Genetic Service kit

Shop on Amazon

40% off Samsung AirDresser cabinet steamer

  • Deodorizes, sanitizes and relaxes wrinkles
  • Easy installation and built-in Wi-Fi

Shop on Amazon

35% off Nixplay Digital Frames

  • Share pictures via email or an app
  • Multiple sizes available

Shop on Amazon

40% off select handbags and accessories

  • Variety of styles available
  • Select brands include Baggu, Shashi and Gorjana

Shop on Amazon

30% off select Greenworks power tools

  • Wide selection of battery-powered outdoor tools
  • 4-year limited warranty

Shop on Amazon

Health, beauty and self-improvement

Do we really have to wait for the new year to start on our resolutions? We say no. It’s 2020, and there are no rules. Consider the deals below if you’re looking to get a jump-start on your weight loss goals or improve your smile (because we won’t be wearing masks forever).

Up to 47% on teeth whitening kits

  • Discounts on Oral-B, Crest and more
  • Some see improvements after one use

Shop on Amazon

60% off Haus Laboratories by Lady Gaga Collection

  • Quality products for eyes, lips, brows and more
  • Variety of color options

Shop on Amazon

Treat yourself

This winter, find solace in stories with these digital and print book deals. Go ahead and stock up on succulents while you’re at it — they improve air quality and look pretty. After all, you have everything you need if you have a garden and a library, according to Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero.

20% off succulents plants

  • Adaptable and easy to maintain
  • Naturally converts respiratory waste into oxygen

Shop on Amazon

50% off select books and Kindle Unlimited for $0.99

  • Paper and digital reading options
  • Get up to 2 months of Kindle Unlimited for 99 cents

Shop on Amazon

Holiday shopping should be a breeze this year — we’ve all got plenty to worry about otherwise. Next, read about where buyers admitted to suffering from the worst holiday-spending hangovers last year.

What’s the deal on Cyber Monday?...
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More Black Friday deals we love

Compare top holiday sales this year

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: The Bouqs, Byte and Identity Guard

We already told you about some of our favorite Black Friday sales earlier in the week, but we couldn’t help sharing a few more. More stores are running sales earlier in the week before Thanksgiving, and many will continue to offer discounts next week. Keep reading to find out which retailers we’re keeping an eye on.

Gifts for friends and family

Looking for a gift to show someone you’re thinking of them? Save big on fishing and hunting gear, outdoor clothing, camping supplies and more from Bass Pro Shops or take advantage of The Bouqs post-Thanksgiving discounts to make a special statement.

Bass Pro Shops

  • Save up to 65% + free shipping*
  • Offer valid 11/23 - 11/29

Shop on Bass Pro Shops

*Partner terms and conditions apply

The Bouqs

  • 25% off with code BLACKFRIDAY*
  • Offer valid 11/23 - 11/27

Shop on The Bouqs

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Health and self-improvement

Health is the greatest gift of all. Starting today, you can save $100 and get a free rod upgrade bundle on the Bowflex X2SE model. You can also take advantage of the Byte’s cyber sale — by this time next year, your smile could be straighter, brighter and ready to dazzle the world.

Bowflex

  • Save $100 + get free shipping*
  • Offer valid 11/25 - 12/2

Shop on Bowflex

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Byte

  • Up to off $400 impression kits*
  • Offer valid 11/24 - 11/30

Shop on Byte

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Pet treats and gifts

This year, Petco is where it’s at for special seasonal treats and toys, and Chewy is a great place to find discounts on the supplies you need anyway. Plus, you can get an extra treat for your puppy or kitty, like a personalized collar, new toy or a cozy bed.

Petco

  • 50% off Holiday Tails Collection*
  • Buy one, get one on select treats*

Shop on Petco

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Chewy

  • Save up to 30% or more*
  • Free shipping on orders over $49*

Shop on Chewy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Mattress deals

If you’ve been dreaming of a better bed, we highly suggest you take advantage of the sales below. Get $300 off plus a free pillow when you buy a new Puffy mattress through the end of November. For a limited time, you can also save up to 35% on a new Cocoon by Sealy mattress. Your back, shoulders and hips will thank you.

Puffy

  • $300 off all mattresses + a free pillow*
  • Offer valid through 11/30

Shop on Puffy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Cocoon by Sealy

  • Save 35% (up to $400 off)*
  • Offer valid through 11/30

Shop on Cocoon by Sealy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Identity theft protection

If cybersecurity threats have been keeping you up at night (and a new mattress doesn’t help), consider a professional monitoring plan. Get more than half off annual terms when you sign up with Identity Guard.

Identity Guard

  • 60% off all annual terms*
  • Offer valid 11/23 - 12/1

Shop on Identity Guard

*Partner terms and conditions apply

The new year will be over before you know it. If you’re already thinking about 2021 resolutions, check out our guides on home improvements, weight loss programs or learn how to fix your credit.

More Black Friday deals we love...
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Our favorite Black Friday sales so far

‘Tis the season for discounts

It’s that time of year again. Cue the holiday music playlists and get your credit card out. Check out our favorite Black Friday shopping deals below — most retailers have sales available all week. All deals are current as of time of publication.

Overstock

Overstock is known for its expansive inventory, but we’re eyeing the rug and furniture deals in particular. If you need a little help getting into the festive spirit this year, we also suggest taking advantage of Overstock’s seasonal home decor discounts. Plus, get extra savings through the Spin To Win pop-up offer.

  • Extra 20% off select rugs and furniture*
  • Up to 55% off seasonal decor*
  • Free shipping on everything*

Shop on Overstock

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Chewy

Chewy is giving us all lots of excuses to spoil our fur babies and stock up for the winter with lots of food, treats and supplies. For instance, you can mix and match a variety of eligible items for the “Buy 3 Get 1 Free” deal.

  • Discounted toys for dogs and cats*
  • Spend $50, get $10 off in December*
  • Free shipping on orders over $49*

Shop on Chewy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Academy

Find discounted sports equipment, backyard accessories, sweatshirts, sunglasses and more. Featured brands include Nike, Adidas, Under Armour, Magellan, Columbia and The North Face.

  • Up to 50% off clothing and shoes*
  • Up to 50% off hunting and fishing gear*
  • Free shipping on orders over $25*

Shop on Academy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Samsung

If you’ve been putting off a larger purchase — a new phone, television, refrigerator, washer, etc. — check out what Samsung has to offer this week. New Galaxy phones, tablets and smartwatches start at $139.99 with an eligible trade-in.

  • Galaxy S20 5G from $389.99*
  • Galaxy Note 20 5G from $249.99*
  • Up to $1,800 off 4K QLED TVs*

Shop on Samsung

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Amazon

Sometimes shopping on Amazon is overwhelming. There are so many options, and it can be hard to know where to start. This year, we suggest seeking out the discounts on books, kids’ toys, home office products and electronics.

  • Discounts up to 50% and more*
  • Books starting at 99 cents*
  • New deals through Nov. 27*

Shop on Amazon

*Partner terms and conditions apply

It’s normal to feel anxious about holiday shopping this year. Luckily, most of us can clear our lists without leaving the house. For more, read about Cyber Monday deals.

Our favorite Black Friday sales so far...
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Our favorite deals for November 2020

Compare deals in several categories

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: Nom Nom, LifeLock, Identity Guard and Pure Talk

November is an excellent month for shopping. Retailers are putting out some of their best deals for holiday shoppers right now. Keep reading for details about some of our favorite discounts and offers.

Pet food and treats

Holiday shopping lists can get long pretty quick. As you’re buying gifts for friends and family, don’t forget a special treat for furry companions.

Nom Nom

Get half off your first order from Nom Nom plus free shipping. In addition to the savings, we like that the recipes are formulated by board-certified veterinary nutritionists and made without fillers, artificial preservatives or by-products.

  • 50% off first order*
  • Free shipping

Shop on Nom Nom

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Chewy

Save 30% on your order just by signing up for autoship. With autoship, Chewy sends regularly scheduled deliveries of food, treats and supplies for dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, horses and other pets.

  • 30% off first order with autoship*
  • Order personalized holiday gifts

Shop on Chewy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Mattress deals

A new mattress is one of the best gifts to give to yourself, and it’s doubly worth it if you sleep with a partner. Compare our favorite holiday mattress deals below.

Puffy

Now through the end of November, you can get $300 off and a free pillow when you buy a new Puffy mattress. Plus, save an extra 15% on all accessories. As of publishing, Puffy mattress prices start around $500.

  • $300 off all mattresses + free pillow*
  • 15% off accessories*

Shop on Puffy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Saatva

Save $200 when you spend $1,000 or more on a Saatva mattress this month. Select from memory foam, gel-infused foam, latex and coil-on-coil innerspring. As of publishing, mattress prices start around $800.

  • $200 off when you spend $1,000+*
  • Free white-glove delivery

Shop on Saatva

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Cocoon by Sealy

Save 35% for up to $400 in savings on a new Cocoon by Sealy mattress. Features include premium memory foams and a proprietary phase-change material that helps keep you cool while you sleep. As of publishing, Cocoon Chill prices start under $500.

  • 35% off*
  • Free shipping

Shop on Cocoon by Sealy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nectar Sleep

Get a free sheet set, cooling pillow and mattress protector with each mattress purchase. The combined value of these free gifts is estimated at $399. As of publishing, Nectar Sleep mattresses start at less than $800.

  • $399 of free accessories
  • Free shipping and returns

Shop on Nectar Sleep

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Fitness and weight loss deals

Why not finish out the year on a productive note by doing something good for yourself? There’s no reason to wait until January to start working toward your diet goals. Depending on your plan, one of the meal replacement plans or diet apps might be right for you.

Nutrisystem

You can save 50% on Nutrisystem meal plans and get a week’s supply of free shakes through the end of the month. If you aren’t satisfied, return the remaining meals for a full refund within two weeks.

  • 50% off all meal plans*
  • 1 free week of shakes*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

BistroMD

People at the beginning of their weight loss journey can save 25% when they sign up for BistroMD, a meal delivery service designed to help dieters lose weight. The company also offers free shipping for the first week.

  • 25% discount*
  • Free shipping on first week

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Aaptiv

We like that the Aaptiv app doesn’t require you to look at a screen while working out. You can try the audio-guided training program for free for a month.

  • 30-day free trial*
  • Access to 30+ classes each week

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Noom

Noom is a personal weight loss app that gives you personalized guidance, coaching and support. The app was designed by psychologists and nutritionists to reinforce positive behavioral changes. Try it for free through the month of November.

  • Free trial*
  • App to get fit or lose weight

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Identity theft protection

We’re all vulnerable to fraudsters. Identity theft protection services can help you safeguard your personal identifying information from cybercriminals.

LifeLock

Save up to 25% off the first year of your new LifeLock plan. The company makes it easy to enroll and provides a user-friendly app for monitoring your account.

  • Save up to 25% off first year*
  • Up to $1 million stolen funds reimbursement policy

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Identity Guard

Save up to 33% when you enroll in an individual or family plan with Identity Guard. The company specializes in artificial intelligence technology that alerts you when your personal information might be vulnerable.

  • Up to 33% off*
  • Up to $1 million identity theft insurance

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Cellphones

Virtual communications were perhaps more important this year than ever before. A cellphone plan makes a practical gift for those loved ones who are hard to get a hold of.

Pure Talk

Save 10% each month for two years when you sign up for a single-line plan with Pure Talk. Find low-cost cell phones without a contract and select from pay-as-you-go or unlimited prepaid plans.

  • 10% off single-line plans for the first 24 months*
  • Available across the U.S.

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

The holidays will be here before you know it. If you’re shopping for young children, check out what the toy experts are saying this year. Once the shopping is taken care of, learn these simple cocktails recipes you can make at home.

Our favorite deals for November 2020...
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Our Top 2020 Holiday Mattress Deals

Savings and discounts to help you sleep at night

It’s fair to say we all spent more time inside than we would have liked this year. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to feel comfortable in your own home. Keep reading to find out about our top 10 favorite mattress deals this holiday season.

Puffy

Puffy is offering a $300 discount and a free pillow with all mattress purchases. Through the end of November, you can also get 15% off all accessories. As of publishing, Puffy mattresses start around $500. Puffy mattress features include body-adapting foam for support plus cooling beads to minimize heat absorption.

  • $300 off all mattresses + free pillow*
  • 15% off accessories*

Buy on Puffy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Saatva

Save $200 when you spend $1,000 or more. Saatva has a wide selection of mattresses made with memory foam, gel-infused foam, latex and coil-on-coil innerspring. As of publishing, mattresses start around $800.

  • $200 off when you spend $1,000+*
  • Free white glove delivery

Buy on Saatva

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Cocoon by Sealy

For a limited time, customers can save 35% on purchases for up to $400 in savings. As of publishing, Cocoon Chill mattress models start at under $500. Features include premium memory foam and a proprietary phase change material that absorbs and dissipates body heat. Select from medium-soft and extra-firm comfort levels.

  • 35% off*
  • Free shipping

Buy on Cocoon by Sealy

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nectar Sleep

Get $399 of free accessories with each mattress purchase. Free gifts include a sheet set ($150 value), a cooling pillow ($150 value) and a mattress protector ($99 value). As of publishing, Nectar Sleep mattress prices start at under $800. Features include high-density and gel-coated memory foam to align the spine and relieve pressure around the shoulders and hips.

  • $399 of free accessories*
  • Free shipping and returns

Buy on Nectar Sleep

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Leesa

Save up to $500 on all mattresses and get two free down pillows. Leesa mattresses are designed to provide core support for most body types and sleeping positions. As of publishing, prices start at under $700. The company also provides free no-contact delivery.

  • Save up to $500*
  • Get 2 free pillows*

Buy on Leesa

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Level Sleep

You can save 10% on a new Level Sleep mattress just for signing up for the company’s newsletter. Standout mattress features include Enduroplush HR Foam for pressure relief and an extra-firm mattress base. As of publishing, prices start around $800, and financing is available.

  • Save 10% when you sign up for a newsletter*
  • 365-night risk-free trial

Buy on Level Sleep

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nolah Sleep

Nolah Sleep announced its Black Friday deal early this year — get up $300 off select models plus two free pillows. The two pillows have an estimated value of $198. As of publishing, Noah Sleep mattress prices start at around $500.

  • Up to $200 off*
  • 2 free pillows*

Buy on Nolah Sleep

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Eight Sleep

Save 20% off accessories plus up to $350 on Pod and Pod Pro covers when you use the code “HOLIDAYS” at checkout. Discounted accessories include Carbon Air pillows, Air Lite comforters and gravity blankets.

  • 20% off accessories*
  • Up to $350 off Pod and Pod Pro covers*

Buy on Eight Sleep

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Plushbeds

For most of November, you can save up to $1,100 on mattresses and get a free Plush Luxury sheet set. Select from models made with certified organic latex, cotton and wool. As of publishing, mattress prices start under $2,000.

  • Up to $1,100 off mattresses*
  • Free Plush Luxury sheet set*

Buy on Plushbeds

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Casper

Now through November 25, customers can save up to 30% when they use the code “BLACKFRIDAY” at checkout. Casper is offering 10% off sitewide plus 15% of all mattresses and 30% off bundles as part of the promotion. As of publishing, mattress prices start around $500. Select from all-foam and hybrid models.

  • 10% off sitewide*
  • 15% off mattresses and 30% off bundles*

Buy on Casper

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Even during good times, most people spend about a third of their lives in bed. Why not do what you can now to make your bed cozier than ever? Next, check out our tips to make your home cozier or learn how to find the best home security system.

Our Top 2020 Holiday Mattress Deals...
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Be wary of dog health risks

Common health problems for popular dog breeds

The following company participates in our Authorized Partner Program: Embrace Pet Insurance

Being a dog owner is incredibly fun and rewarding. They run with us, cuddle with us and don't mind much when we say something stupid. Not surprisingly, dog adoptions and sales surged earlier this year as many people started to deal with isolation while sheltering in place.

According to the American Kennel Club, the most popular breeds this year are Labrador and golden retrievers, German shepherds, bulldogs, poodles, beagles, Rottweilers, pointers and corgis.

For many new puppy parents, breed-associated issues are something to keep in mind. All dog breeds and mixes have individual medical needs. Let's take a look at what health problems your pooch might be at a higher risk for developing.

Labrador retrievers

We love Labrador retrievers for their playful and loyal personalities, and it’s no wonder they are the most popular dog breed in America. Labs aren't high-maintenance dogs when it comes to health, but they are prone to weight gain and joint problems, particularly dysplasia, as they age. Dysplasia most commonly causes joints to stiffen the hips, shoulders or elbows.

Many Labs struggle with obesity, especially as they get older. If your Lab or Lab mix is losing their hourglass figure, consider looking into dog food for weight loss. It’s smart to check with your vet before making any significant changes to your dog’s diet.

This breed can also suffer from patellar luxation (out-of-place kneecaps). Distichiasis, which is when the eyelashes grow from the eyelid margin rather than the eyelid skin, and entropion, which is when the eyelid rolls inward, occasionally afflicts Labs, too.

The average Labrador retriever lives 10 to 12 years. Some more general conditions that can afflict this breed as they age include:

  • Diabetes
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Retinal dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cataract

German shepherds

You probably already know that police often use German shepherds as patrol dogs because of the breed’s high intelligence and a knack for obedience.

What you might not know, however, is that they sometimes struggle with a disorder called perianal fistula. This disorder describes an abnormal connection between the perianal skin and the anal canal. It’s mostly due to their low-hanging tails, and the condition can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. It's best to catch this issue early on.

German shepherds are also prone to gastric dilatation-volvulus, which is a technical way to describe bloat or torsion. It occurs when food, water or air build up in a dog’s digestive tract and causes their stomachs to twist and eventually rupture.

To prevent bloating, try to control your dog's portions and not let them eat too quickly. It also helps to avoid challenging exercise for an hour or two before and after meals. GDV can be life-threatening, and the onset is very sudden.

According to the Mid-Atlantic German Shepherd Rescue Foundation, the breed is also prone to degenerative myelopathy (DM), a degenerative disease that affects the spinal cord and leads to eventual paralysis. An early symptom of DM is ataxia, or loss of coordination, in the hind limbs. If you have a German shepherd, additional conditions to be aware of include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Pancreatic enzyme insufficiency
  • Corneal inflammation
  • Lupus
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia

German Shepherd Multivitamin Soft Chew

  • Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
  • Suitable for large dogs of all ages

$17.19 on Chewy*

*As of time of publishing

Golden retrievers

Goldens are one of the most loved breeds for families because they are adventurous and typically great with kids. Like Labs, golden retrievers often struggle with hip dysplasia, which stiffens the hips and makes it painful for your pup to walk or jump.

This breed can also get bad skin diseases. Their long overcoat and dense undercoat make an attractive home for all kinds of bacteria, fungus and parasites. According to the Animal Health Center of New Hampshire, Goldens are extra susceptible to bacterial and viral infections.

Sometimes, switching to food for dogs with allergies helps, but other times the irritation is caused by mold, fleas, mites, ticks or something else.

Sadly, goldens also have a much higher chance of developing cancer than many other breeds. They’re also prone to problems related to the heart, lungs or circulatory system and other health issues that include:

  • Ear infections
  • Dental disease
  • Obesity
  • Epilepsy
  • Diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cataracts

Enzymatic Dog Dental Care Kit

  • Gel toothpaste with natural ingredients
  • Includes triple-headed toothbrush

$7.29 on Chewy*

*As of time of publishing

French bulldogs

It’s no wonder that French bulldogs are one of the most popular small dog breeds. They are friendly, adorable and relatively low maintenance.

Unfortunately, those flat faces and short snouts make Frenchies susceptible to respiratory problems. During the summer, it’s especially important to look out for signs of heatstroke, which include excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea and bright red gums.

Frenchies are better known for their flatulence than their barking. Luckily, their gassiness doesn’t always indicate a larger health problem. This breed just has a really sensitive digestive system.

Frenchies also have small ear canals that make them vulnerable to ear infections. Upset stomachs, diarrhea and conjunctivitis are also common for French bulldogs. Be extra aware of any skin problems your Frenchie could have — their folded-over skin often causes dermatitis. Nasal hyperkeratosis can cause their nose tissue to thicken and become hard.

French Bulldog Nose Butter

  • Helps combat nasal hyperkeratosis
  • Natural and organic ingredients

$13.71 on Chewy*

*As of time of publishing

Bulldogs

Similar to their French cousins, bulldogs are prone to respiratory distress syndrome. Because of their pressed noses, English bulldogs are susceptible to brachycephalic airway syndrome, which causes breathing problems, panting, discomfort and an aversion to exercise. Older bullies can eventually develop laryngeal paralysis, further complicating breathing issues.

Bulldogs are known for their loyalty and dependability. Like other sturdy breeds, they have a tendency to develop hip dysplasia. Bulldogs are also prone to cherry eye, which is when a tear gland around an eye becomes red, swollen and inflamed. Additional health risks for all bulldogs include:

  • Overheating
  • Eczema and hot spots
  • Interdigital cysts
  • Arthritis
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Heart disease

Poodles

Poodles are beautiful, playful and easy to train, but they’re predisposed by quite a few ailments. Unfortunately, Addison's disease is more commonly found in standard poodles than other breeds. Also known as hypoadrenocorticism, this disease causes the adrenal glands to reduce cortisol production, which leads to digestive problems, lethargy and depression. According to Embrace, the cost of diagnosing and treating Addison’s disease ranges from $1,000 to $5,000.

Poodles are at a higher risk for Cushing's syndrome, which is the opposite of Addison’s disease. Cushing’s syndrome is a condition that causes the adrenal glands to become overactive, leading to a weaker immune system, weight gain and hair loss.

Generally, poodles are also considered higher risk for hip dysplasia, epilepsy, thyroid disorders and hypoglycemia. Standard breeds are more prone to some types of cancers, including insulinoma (pancreatic tumor) and hemangiosarcoma (splenic tumor). Toy and miniature breeds sometimes develop dental problems or tracheal collapse.

Sebaceous adenitis is a rare hereditary skin disease that causes progressing alopecia, or hair loss, in poodles. The condition isn’t painful, but the loss of hair makes dogs more vulnerable to bacteria, inflammation and infection.

Healthy poodles live a long time. Some miniature and toys live up to 15 years or more. Many of the common health conditions can be managed with medication when detected early. If you have a poodle, talk to you veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Limping
  • Dragging rear end
  • Excessive drooling
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Stiff limbs
  • Nose bleeds
  • Bloody urine or stool
  • Pale or bleeding gums

Beagles

Beagles are the adorable breed known for long, floppy ears and curious eyes. Generally, the top health concerns associated with beagles include hypothyroidism and epilepsy.

It’s unclear why beagles seem to be diagnosed with epilepsy more than other breeds. Most of the time, epileptic beagles start having seizures when they are puppies, but sometimes the condition is diagnosed later. The condition can be managed with medication. Healthy beagles can live a long time — up to 15 years or more.

Beagles are sometimes more prone to different dental diseases due to the build-up of tartar. Dental disease can seriously hurt your pup, so you'll want to chat with your vet about your beagle's gum health. Like bulldogs, beagles tend to gain weight as they get older.

Rottweilers

Like other large breeds, Rottweilers are at high risk for bone and joint problems, particularly hip dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans. They can also have problems with their eyes, namely cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy, that cause vision loss and eventual blindness. The American Kennel Club and the National Breed Club recommend testing Rottweilers for hip dysplasia, eye diseases and heart conditions.

Sadly, osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, is a common cause of early death in Rottweilers. Compared to other breeds, they are also more prone to aortic stenosis, a heart disorder that narrows the aorta. This disorder can cause heart murmurs initially but will grow into a threatening health condition if not treated.

Healthy Breeds Rottweiler Multivitamin Soft Chews

  • Made for Rottweilers and large dogs
  • Suitable for pregnant females

$13.71 on Chewy*

*As of time of publishing

Pointers

A dignified pup, pointers are known for their hunting abilities. They are excellent watchdogs and playful companions to their humans.

Luckily, pointers are generally considered to be a healthy breed of canine. They sometimes have problems with hip dysplasia, but so do most large deep-chested breeds.

The AKC notes that pointers can experience bloat, also known as gastric torsion. When a dog is bloated, it's much more severe than when humans have to unbutton their pants and pop an antacid. This can be a potentially fatal condition for your dog, so it's something you want to keep in mind when you have a pointer.

Corgis

Queen Elizabeth made the corgi royally famous, and for a good reason. Known for their big ears, long bodies, tiny legs and prominent personalities, corgis are a naturally playful and amiable breed.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that they are prone to health conditions related to their bones and joints, including intervertebral disc disease and canine hip dysplasia (CHD). Epilepsy and eye problems occasionally afflict corgis as well.

Like many other dogs, they have a chance of developing Von Willebrand's disease, a hereditary condition that decreases blood clotting. It’s similar to hemophilia in humans and can be dangerous if your pup is ever wounded. It can also cause anemia in corgis, another reason you should monitor your dog's health and communicate with your vet.

Should I get pet insurance?

The conditions and disorders mentioned above are just a few reasons why some people get pet insurance. It can be a smart investment to ensure you won't have to spend tons of money on a hip replacement for your poodle, for example. Coverage is often worth it when it helps dog owners save money and worry in the long run — most pet insurance won't cover preexisting conditions, but many cover breed-specific issues as long as you purchase coverage before problems develop.

Pet insurance works a little bit like human health insurance. You usually pay a copay at the vet and have a yearly deductible. Pet insurance copays vary by provider, and deductibles can be anywhere from $0 to $1,000.

Plans start around $15 a month but could cost more or less depending on your dog’s age, breed and your desired level of coverage. Top pet insurance providers offer straightforward options for coverage. You can select coverage for "accident-only" incidents, such as an attack by another dog or other unpredictable injury. Some plans also include wellness coverage, which will take care of most preventative treatments.

Your monthly doggy budget goes up a little with pet insurance, but you don't have to worry so much about paying for emergency veterinarian bills and unplanned treatments. Even if you don't file a claim, the peace of mind might be worth it.

Not all dogs of a particular breed have health problems, but some conditions appear more often than others in specific breeds and breed mixes. Even though breed-based risk is documented, it can be difficult to understand all the factors that influence the risk for any particular disease or condition.

Our dogs really do become part of our families. However, taking care of our dogs can end up being more costly and time-consuming than we imagined. It can be overwhelming, especially for first-time dog owners.

Between checkups, grooming, food and treats, our furry friends are quite the investments. Still, they're the best kind of investment, and pet insurance is a good way to ensure you won’t have to make tough financial decisions when deciding on how to care for your pet.

As your dog gets older, some health problems may become more apparent. Keeping your pup healthy while they are still young could mitigate some of the effects. For more, learn how to find the best dog food and the best dog treats or check out our picks for the top “cones of shame.”

Be wary of dog health risks...
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Our favorite October deals and discounts

Stay in this Halloween and do some shopping instead

The following company participates in our Authorized Partner Program: Candid, IdentityForce, Identity Guard and Orgain

Fall is in full swing now, the temperatures are dropping and many companies are starting to offer sales. Whether you’re buying something for yourself or getting a head start on holiday shopping, it’s worth looking at what discounts companies are offering this month. Here are some of our favorite deals for October. All deals are current as of time of publication.

Mattress deals

Cozy mornings could be the best part of having cooler temperatures. If you’ve been dreaming of a bedroom upgrade this season, don’t miss these deals for discounted memory foam, innerspring and hybrid mattresses. For a limited time, some companies are throwing in free accessories.

Tuft & Needle

  • Memory foam and hybrid options
  • 10% off site-wide during the October Sweet Dreams Sale*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Saatva

  • Luxury-firm innerspring mattresses
  • $200 off orders of $1,000*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nectar

  • Free shipping and returns
  • $399 worth of free accessories with every mattress*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Idle Sleep

  • Gel foam, hybrid and latex mattresses
  • 25% off store-wide; free sheets and two free pillows with every mattress purchase with coupon code FALL25*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Leesa

  • Three mattresses to choose from
  • Save up to $500*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Shopping

Whether you’re treating yourself or getting a jump-start on holiday shopping, these deals are worth checking out. Find comfy clothes at a bargain, home decor, modern light fixtures, cool tech gifts and more.

Hurley

  • Sells hats, hoodies and pullovers
  • Get 15% off your first order when you sign up for Hurley’s email list*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Brookstone

  • Select from home, personal care and tech products
  • Up to 50% off home goods*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Fabletics

  • Monthly subscription clothing service
  • New VIP members get two leggings for $24*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Lights.com

  • Wide selection of home lighting products
  • Save up to 70%*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Identity theft protection

Everyone is vulnerable to cybercrime. Identity theft protection helps you safeguard your personal identifying information from fraudsters and thieves. Find discounted plans for individuals, families and businesses.

Identity Guard

  • Personal, family and business plans
  • Save 33% on standard and premium plans*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

IdentityForce

  • Offers two plan levels
  • Two months free on all annual plans*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Personal health & wellness

Take advantage of diet apps and meal plans to get in your best shape before all the holiday parties.

Noom

  • Personal weight loss app with access to coaching
  • Offers a trial period*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Orgain

  • Sells protein shakes, powders and bars plus other nutrition supplements
  • New customers get 25% off best-selling protein powders*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nutrisystem

  • Delivers healthy meals to your door
  • 50% off all meal plans and a free week of shakes*

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

October deals and discounts...
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Our Favorite Amazon Prime Day Deals

Browse our favorite Prime Day savings

Scouting Prime Day deals can be overwhelming, so we put together a list of our favorite Prime Day products ranging from kitchen items to smart home innovations. To keep up with all of Amazon’s deals, check out the Prime Day deals page. All deals are current as of the time of publication.

Amazon devices

Some of Amazon’s best sales are on its own products. Whether you’re looking for a tablet, an e-reader or a home security system, Amazon has a product available.

Amazon Kindle

Amazon’s line of e-readers are perfect if you’re planning to spend time with your favorite authors this winter. Prices at the time of publication range from $59.99 for the basic model (which includes a built-in front light) to $174.99 for the luxury Kindle Oasis, but the mid-tier Kindle Paperwhite is a good deal that has enough features for most readers.

  • Available in four colors
  • Waterproof

$84.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Fire HD 10 tablet

More interested in watching movies than reading? The Fire HD 10 tablet has a 10.1-inch, 1080p screen and is perfect for multimedia on the go.

  • 1080p HD display
  • Up to 12 hours of battery life

$79.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Ring video doorbell

Amazon’s Ring video doorbell is convenient and provides an extra layer of home security this holiday season. The new 2020 video doorbell lets you see visitors from your phone, tablet or computer before opening the door.

  • Pairs with select Alexa-enabled devices
  • Built-in rechargeable battery

$69.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

TVs

With winter approaching, there are fewer opportunities to go outside and more chances to chill on the couch and watch a new show. If you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel on Netflix or want a better screen to rewatch your favorite series on, check out the deals below.

Roku devices

Roku has many of its devices on sale this Prime Day, with prices at the time of publication ranging from $21 for its Express HD Media Player to $79.99 for a Roku Ultra. Visit Roku’s Amazon store for a full list of deals.

  • Supports 4K streaming
  • Includes JBL earbuds

$79.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Insignia TVs

Looking for a more significant upgrade? Amazon has deals on Insignia televisions with Amazon’s Fire TV installed. Visit Insignia’s Amazon store to see all the options.

  • Voice remote with Alexa
  • HDR compatible

$199.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Tech

Whether you’re buying for yourself or doing early Christmas shopping, Prime Day is a perfect time to upgrade your phone or tablet or grab some tech accessories.

Apple Airpods

Even if you have a pair of your own, Apple Airpods are always a popular gift for the holiday season, especially among athletes and music gurus.

  • Wireless connectivity
  • Active noise cancellation

$114.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Fitbit Versa 2

You don’t have to wait for January to start making headway on your fitness goals. Much of Fitbit’s collection is on sale on its Amazon store for Prime Day, and there are options for every budget. Our favorite is the middle-of-the-road Fitbit Versa 2, which has a six-day battery life and is water resistant.

  • Tracks exercise and analyzes sleep patterns
  • Pairs with many Android and iOS devices

$127.95 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Samsung Galaxy tablet

Looking for a convenient hub for your smart home devices or a way to watch movies no matter where you are? This Samsung Galaxy Tablet is an affordable alternative to more expensive options and has a 10.1-inch HD display.

  • Dolby Atmos surround sound speakers
  • 64 GB storage with option to upgrade

$179.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Smart home

Smart home devices cover a lot of different categories, but they’re all created with one purpose: to make your life easier.

Echo Dot

If you haven’t gotten into the smart home craze, the Echo Dot is an affordable way to see what smart devices offer. The smart speaker comes in four colors to match nearly any home decor.

  • Voice-controlled smart speaker
  • Includes Alexa

$18.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

iRobot Roomba 981

The iRobot Roomba takes the hassle out of vacuuming by doing it for you. iRobot’s Amazon store has three different deals as of the time of publishing, but we like this mid-tier model for its price and functions.

  • Perfect for homes with pets
  • Works with Google Assistant and Alexa

$399.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Rulart fingerprint door lock

The holidays are a popular time for break-ins and robberies. Adding a home security system helps protect your home and family, but a smart door handle adds an extra layer of defense. Rulart’s fingerprint door lock eliminates the need for keys and lets you program certain operations using voice control.

  • Easy to install
  • Voice instruction programming

$84.23 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Kitchen

Whether it’s out of necessity or boredom, we’ve all found ourselves in the kitchen more often over the past year. With the holidays around the corner, up your cooking game by adding some new products to your kitchen lineup.

Instant pot

Doing a lot of cooking this holiday season? This Instant Pot is a 10-in-one pressure cooker that makes preparing large — or small — meals a breeze. Check out Instant Pot’s Amazon store for more deals.

  • Make anything from yogurt to rice
  • 16 program options and custom settings

$49.99 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

HENCKELS knives

These HENCKELS knives are another item worth having around for the holidays, especially if you’re in charge of carving the turkey. The knife set includes 20 knives that meet your everyday needs and will come in handy on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • Stainless steel, single-piece blades
  • Includes a sharpening steel

$139.95 on Amazon*

*At the time of publishing

Our Favorite Amazon Prime Day Deals...
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Here’s what to expect for Prime Day 2020

Alexa, tell me about the top Prime Day deals!

Prime Day is upon us, bringing with it savings that rival Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Find out everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Day, including the deals you won’t want to miss. All information on deals is current as of time of publishing.

What exactly is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day event dedicated to celebrating Amazon’s Prime members. During Prime Day, you can find deals on products from small businesses and top brands at discounted prices. These deals are only available for Amazon Prime members. If you’re not a Prime member already and want access to Amazon’s sitewide deals, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial on Amazon.

This year’s Prime Day starts at 12 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, Oct. 13, and runs until 12 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Final thoughts

Once you’ve signed up for Amazon Prime (or if you already have a membership), you can bookmark Prime Day deals and receive personalized deal suggestions from Alexa. Just say “Alexa, what are my deals?” and you’ll receive product recommendations based on customer favorites and relevance to your interests. Happy shopping, Prime members!

Gary Guthrie contributed to this report

Here’s what to expect for Prime Day 2020...
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6 ways to celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day

Support Native entrepreneurs, artists and activism

Indigenous Peoples Day recognizes and celebrates that Native populations were the first inhabitants of the Americas. South Dakota was the first state to officially rename Columbus Day in 1990, according to the Smithsonian. Since then, Indigenous Peoples Day has been celebrated on the second Monday of October in dozens of states and smaller jurisdictions.

Regardless of your heritage, this is a time to honor the cultures, contributions and resiliency of American Indian peoples. Below, we suggest both products to buy from Native-owned businesses and art to enjoy that amplifies Indigenous voices.

1. Shop at Native retailers

Clothing companies like Beyond Buckskin work with Indigenous artists to offer garments, jewelry and accessories meant to be enjoyed by everyone. The designers know how to draw from their Native American backgrounds without including any sacred aspects that shouldn’t be sold.

“We definitely want non-Native people to purchase from Native American artists as opposed to places like Urban Outfitters or Forever 21, since these companies make a lot of money off of a caricature of our cultures,” Beyond Buckskin’s website states.

  • Apparel, beadwork, accessories, blankets, decor and more
  • Most orders arrive in one to two weeks

Shop Beyond Buckskin

The NTVS is another good retailer for anyone who supports American Indian culture. Some of the designs are light-hearted or funny (one T-shirt proclaims, “I WAS TOLD THERE WOULD BE FRYBREAD”), while others address serious issues like colonization, representation and harmful stereotypes. Most of the designs have some kind of story behind them. The art and streetwear brand’s mission is to teach Native kids the importance of embracing their culture and history.

  • Wholesale options for apparel and prints
  • Most orders arrive in three to six business days

Shop The NTVS

You should also check out the Indigenous-owned She and Turquoise for jewelry, Trickstar Company for apparel and home goods, Ginew for denim and N8V Movement for bags and accessories. Keep an eye out for Santa Fe’s 2020 Virtual Winter Market — more details should come later in the year.

2. Watch Indigenous films

In addition to the feature-length films listed below, we suggest “First Contact,” a short directed by artist Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa-Choctaw) and Ryan Redcorn (Osage), who also performs with the 1491s and co-founded Buffalo Nickel Creative.

Blood Quantum

“Blood Quantum” is a Canadian horror zombie flick directed by Jeff Barnaby (Mi'kmaq), who grew up on the Listuguj Reserve in Quebec.

“Blood Quantum” has a 90% score on Rotten Tomatoes and favorable reviews in The New York Times and The Guardian.

Be aware: this film includes severe violence and gore, moderate profanity and mild nudity, according to IMDb. Fans of George A. Romero will probably love this movie, but we wouldn’t suggest it for young children.

  • Runner-up for People's Choice Award
  • Not rated

Buy or rent on Amazon

The Inconvenient Indian

Michelle Latimer’s genre-bending documentary premiered last month. It combines archival footage and interviews with dance, visual arts and traditional customs, such as tattooing and hunting.

Previously, Latimer (Métis/Algonquin) directed the Viceland series “RISE,” which explored the cultures of Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas, including Standing Rock, Winnipeg and Brazil.

The film is adapted from Thomas King’s award-winning book, “The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.” You can also buy the book the film is based on from Amazon.

  • People's Choice Award for documentaries
  • Not rated

Watch trailer on YouTube

Love and Fury

Seminole-Muscogee director Sterlin Harjo’s newest film explores the complexities facing Native artists in a post-colonial world. Watch the "Love and Fury" trailer, edited by Blackhorse Lowe, and keep an eye out for its release. In the meantime, you can watch Harjo’s “Mekko” and other films on Amazon. You can also find Lowe’s “Chasing the Light” on Amazon (about a depressed writer and a drug deal gone wrong — watch the trailer on  YouTube).

  • Starring Joy Harjo, Yatika Fields, Laura Ortman, Micah P. Hinson and more
  • Produced by Crazy Eagle Media

Watch it at imagineNATIVE Festival

3. Donate to Indigenous charities

IllumiNative is a collective of Native storytellers, artists, youth, organizers, tribal and grassroots leaders and non-Native allies. Its mission is to amplify authentic and accurate portrayals of Native peoples in culture, media and education. When you donate to IllumiNative, you receive an immediate online confirmation, followed by a personal acknowledgment from the organization.

  • Advocates for justice, equity and self-determination
  • 100% of your gift is tax deductible

Donate to IllumiNative

NDN Collective is based in Rapid City, South Dakota. Its mission is to defend, develop and decolonize. Its campaign focus areas include climate justice and racial and education equity. The organization also offers grants and fellowships to invest in Indigenous changemakers and provides financing for regenerative community and national development projects through the NDN Fund.

  • One-time or recurring donation options
  • Sign up for volunteer opportunities

Donate to NDN Collective

Contribute to the Indian Law Resource Center to support legal defense for Native peoples’ human rights throughout the Americas. You can also donate to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, whose mission is to end violence against Native women through training, technical assistance, educational resources and policy development.

4. Read books by Indigenous authors

We’ve included Amazon links below, but you can also find some of these books at independent and Indigenous-owned bookstores. For example, Birchbark Books in Minneapolis and Red Planet Books and Comics in Albuquerque are currently open for online sales.

“There There” by Tommy Orange

“There There,” a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist, is a novel about the complexities of Native life in urban spaces. It follows 12 American Indian characters as they make their way to the Big Oakland Powwow in California. Tommy Orange, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts.

  • Fiction
  • Available in paperback or on Kindle

Buy on Amazon

“When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through,” A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry

This Norton anthology includes work by more than 160 poets representing nearly 100 tribal nations. U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo served as editor alongside contributing editors LeAnne Howe and Jennifer Elise Foerster. The opening includes a blessing from former Oklahoma Poet Laureate N. Scott Momaday.

  • Poetry anthology
  • Available in paperback or hardcover

Buy on Amazon

“Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” by David Treuer

Through memoir, reportage and historical research, David Treuer (Ojibwe) reexamines the American Indian narrative, starting with the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota and moving to the present day. “Heartbeat of Wounded Knee” was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and shortlisted for the 2020 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence.

Treuer’s book is, in part, a response to “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” by Dee Brown, which was published in the 1970s and declared that the culture of the American Indian had been destroyed. “This book,” Treuer writes, “is adamantly, unashamedly, about Indian life rather than Indian death.”

  • Historical nonfiction
  • Available in hardcover or on Kindle

Buy on Amazon

“Cheyenne Madonna” by Eddie Chuculate

“Cheyenne Madonna” is a collection of loosely linked short stories about Old Bull, a 19th-century Cheyenne Indian, and Jordan Coolwater, his distant relative living on his grandparents’ Creek Indian land in the 1970s. Alcohol and poverty are recurring themes, but so is family bond.

“Chuculate presents a profound disconnect between the mythology of Indian art and the present-day reality of Indian artists, who rarely get to be artists without the cultural qualifier,” according to a review in the Santa Fe New Mexican. “He also lays bare the effects of wide-spread multi-generational addiction without making excuses for the way his characters treat each other. There are no saints in here, and no demons, either. Cheyenne Madonna is a fantastic debut.”

  • Collection of short stories
  • Available in paperback or on Kindle

Buy on Amazon

“An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

In the spirit of Howard Zinn, this is a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples. Veronica E. Velarde Tiller (Jicarilla Apache), author, historian and publisher of Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country, called this book “a must-read for anyone interested in the truth behind this nation’s founding.”

Dunbar-Ortiz has been an activist in the international Indigenous movement for more than 40 years. She has authored several other books, including “Roots of Resistance: A History of Land Tenure in New Mexico.”

  • Nonfiction
  • Available in paperback or on Kindle

Buy on Amazon

5. Listen to Indigenous voices

The podcast All My Relations challenges stereotypes and explores topics facing modern Native people. In the first season, hosts Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) interview guests to deconstruct ideas around sovereignty, cultural appropriation, sex and more. Wilbur is also a photographer and creator of Project 562, and Keene is the mastermind behind the blog Native Appropriations.

Listen to All My Relations on Apple Podcast, Spotify and Google Play.

IlumiNative, one of the charities mentioned earlier, also created a podcast to increase the visibility and ensure accurate portrayals of American Indian peoples in pop culture.

For music, check out RPM Radio to hear modern tunes or Drumhop to find an online archive of old recordings.

If you like dreamy songs with a little edge, listen to Samantha Crain (Choctaw), whose new album, “A Small Death,” came out earlier this year. We also highly suggest Black Belt Eagle Scout. Micah P. Hinson, a singer-songwriter of Chickasaw ancestry, is influenced by bands like The Cure, Nirvana and Ministry.

Keep an eye out for releases from Canyon Records, a label based in Phoenix, Arizona, that supports traditional and contemporary Native American artists.

6. Appreciate Indigenous art

You can buy prints from Steven Paul Judd from The NTVS (Kiowa-Choctaw), check out the NDN World Virtual Reality Experience and watch this Indigenous fashion documentary.

Yatika Starr Fields, a painter and member of the Cherokee, Creek and Osage tribes, is just one artist we’ve been obsessed with lately. His murals are known for their kaleidoscopic imagery and references to both historical themes and current affairs.

Fields’ work is represented by galleries in New York City and the U.K., as well as Joseph Gierek Fine Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Gierek held a “Cultural Crossroads” exhibit in 2017 that also featured work by legendary Chiricahua Apache sculptor Allan Houser and the late multimedia artist Shan Goshorn.

Also in Oklahoma, you can find one of the most comprehensive collections of American Western art the Gilcrease Museum. Fortunately, anyone can see the Native American artist collections online.

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9 things you need to get for your new dog

Celebrate Adopt-A-Dog month in style

The following company participates in our Authorized Partner Program: BarkBox and Nom Nom

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, and if you’re eyeing a pup at the local shelter, now is a great time to act. An estimated 3 million to 4 million animals wait in shelters to be adopted each year, and we wish we could give them all the loving homes they deserve.

If you’re lucky enough to be bringing home a new fluffy friend this month, there are a few things you’ll need to have on hand before they arrive. We’ve compiled a list of the must-haves and a few of the nice-to-haves for you to welcome your dog to their new forever home.

1. Dog food

Be sure to have food ready for your new dog when they arrive. It sometimes takes trying out a few different brands and formulas before landing on the perfect dog food for your pup, but there is no shortage of options on the market. Keep in mind that you might need to purchase a specialty food if you’re adopting a puppy, a senior dog or a dog with allergies.

  • Meal delivery service
  • Fresh food diet

Shop now

2. Dog dishes for food and water

You’ll need to keep your new dog well-fed and hydrated, meaning bowls or dishes for food and water are essential to have on hand. While you may be able to put a set of makeshift dishes together from Tupperware or other items you already have in your home, dog bowls generally aren't too expensive and can come in a variety of designs to match whatever your home's style may be.

  • Stainless steel
  • Includes two dishes

Buy on Chewy

3. A collar

You’ll need a collar to take your dog on walks around the neighborhood or anywhere else public. A collar also lets people identify your dog if they ever run off.

  • Martingale design
  • Available in five colors

Buy on Chewy

4. An ID tag to keep them safe

Along with your new collar, you’ll want to get an ID tag with their name and your contact information. If your pup runs off, this gives the person who finds them an easy way to get in touch with you so you and your dog can reunite quickly.

  • Add up to four lines of text on each side
  • Available in six colors

Buy on Chewy

5. A leash for walks and trips

Most trails and public areas that allow dogs require them to be leashed, so having one on hand is important. We recommend grabbing a 6-foot leash, which is also the ideal length for training if you plan to take your new pal to puppy classes or train them on your own.

  • 6 feet long
  • Varying widths available to support dogs of all sizes

Buy on Chewy

6. A quality crate, if you plan to crate train

Many dogs feel comforted by their crate — it’s their home within your home that gives them a safe space to hide away when they want to. Crate training has also been shown to help with potty training because a dog is less likely to go to the bathroom in an area they consider their sleeping quarters. Having your dog crate-trained makes it easier for you to leave the house each morning, have guests over or command your dog into their crate if there’s ever an emergency.

  • Fold-and-carry style
  • Size options range from 18” to 48” in length

Buy on Chewy

7. A comfortable bed to sleep in

If you don’t plan on letting your dog in your bed or on your couch, investing in a quality bed that’s just for them will help them stay comfortable — and close to you — without destroying your furniture.

  • Available in small, medium and large sizes
  • 4 color options available

Buy on Chewy

8. Training pads to catch indoor accidents

Ah, the joys of housebreaking! If you’re adopting a puppy or an older dog that hasn't been housetrained, grabbing a pack of training pads is something you won't regret. These pads give dogs a place to go inside your home that keeps your floors protected. They’re especially good for young dogs who may be unable to hold their small bladders while you’re away from home.

  • 21” by 23” in size
  • Scented and unscented options

Buy on Chewy

9. A toy (or two)

Every dog deserves a bone and a stuffed animal and a frisbee — and ok, the whole toy aisle! We recommend having at least a toy or two on hand for your new friend. BarkBox makes it easy on you by sending you two toys, two backs of treats and one chew each month, which gives your pet a variety of new toys to play with.

  • Two toys, two bags of treats and one chew monthly
  • Custom boxes available

Shop now

Final thoughts

As you welcome your new dog home, you’ll have a few decisions to make — from simple ones like “what color collar should I get?” to more complex ones like “what veterinarian do I want to trust my dog’s health and care to?”

While it’s true that dogs aren’t always cheap, we think they more than make up for it with the love they give in return. If you’re looking to help offset the cost of owning a dog, pet insurance may be able to help you save on vet bills.

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Top 10 dog cones and recovery collars

Check out our tips to make your dog cone more comfortable for your pet

Most of the time, a vet recommends a cone to keep dogs from licking and scratching a wound or surgical incision. Also known as Elizabethan collars, or E-collars, these help your furry friend recover a little quicker. Keep reading for ways to make the collar more comfortable.

1. ZenPet ZenCone Soft Recovery Collar

ZenCone is made of durable canvas and features built-in windows. Its design makes it easier for dogs to eat, drink and sleep. As of publishing, these are priced between $12.54 and $19.99, depending on size.

  • Adjustable fuzzy fastener strap
  • Easy to wash

Buy on Chewy

2. Well & Good Inflatable Collar

We like that Well & Good Inflatable Collars feature a hook and loop enclosure to achieve a snug fit. As of publishing, collars are priced between $14.99 and $32.24, depending on size.

  • Includes canvas jacket
  • Ships next business day

Buy on Petco

3. Calm Paws Dog Caring Collar

Calm Paws Caring Collar combines a soft, fuzzy inner layer with a more durable outer layer. Velcro straps let you adjust the fit so that it’s snug and secure. As of publishing, these E-collars are priced between $20.64 and $23.96, depending on size.

  • No-fuss, fixed elastic loops
  • Patented “Easy Feed” feature

Buy on Petco

4. GoodBoy Inflatable Donut Collar

This alternative to a traditional dog cone is made with cozy fleece material. As of publishing, GoodBoy inflatable donut collars are priced between $15.49 and $16.99, depending on size.

  • Adjustable neck size
  • Warranty covers chew damage

Buy on Amazon

5. ARRR Dog Comfy Cone

The UFO-inspired design is made with soft and flexible fabrics. There’s foam on the inside, so it doesn’t require inflating. It’s a good pick for dogs who are sensitive to noises. As of publishing, Comfy Cones are priced between $22.99 and $26.98, depending on size.

  • Soft recovery collar
  • Waterproof

Buy on Amazon

6. Depets Recovery Collar

Depets adjustable collar is affordable and multifunctional. We like that it’s designed with breathable, lightweight PVC plus flannel material. As of publishing, Depets cones are priced between $4.99 and $7.99, depending on size.

  • Secured by velcro
  • Use for beauty or medical care

Buy on Amazon

7. All Four Paws Comfy Cone

This E-collar combines All Four’s patented nylon fabric with a half-inch of foam. It’s designed to allow dogs to comfortably eat and drink while wearing it. As of publishing, Comfy Cone E-collars are priced between $11.15 and $23.99, depending on size.

  • Adjustable fit
  • Includes reflective binding

Buy on Petco

8. Alfie Pet Zumi Soft Edge

This dog cone is lightweight, comfortable and cute. We like that the padded edges are trimmed with gingham-print fabric. As of publishing, this Alfie recovery cone is priced between $10.99 and $15.99, depending on size.

  • Sturdy yet flexible PVC material
  • Available in blue and red

Buy on Chewy

9. Vivifying Pet Cone, Adjustable Lightweight Elizabethan Collar

For an affordable alternative to hard plastic cones, the Vivifying Elizabethan collar combines lightweight PVD material with soft flannel rims. As of publishing, this collar comes in one size and costs $8.89.

  • Suitable for small dogs and puppies
  • Available in pink and blue

Buy on Amazon

10. Bencmate Inflatable Recovery Collar

We like that this Bencmate collar is lightweight and designed for comfort. However, this collar may not prevent large dogs from chewing or scratching their tails. As of publishing, this inflatable collar is priced between $11.03 and $25.98, depending on size.

  • Does not block dog’s vision
  • Available in blue and gray

Buy on Amazon

How to make dog cone more comfortable

It’s never fun watching your pup recover from surgery or a wound. It’s even worse if they just hate their cone. The most important thing is making sure the cone fits properly. Your dog will be uncomfortable if it's too tight, but the cone won't do its job if it's too loose.

To reduce stress after a surgery or injury, you might consider a calming patch. The one below combines essential oils and can help minimize anxiety after surgery. As of publishing, it costs $12.99.

  • Lasts up to 14 days
  • Made with French lavender oil

Buy on Chewy

A cone extender is designed to ensure that your pet’s snout can’t reach their wounds or hot spots. If you have a larger breed, this might be necessary to keep them from aggravating a wound on their tail. The extender below can be used with extra-large and medium-extra long Comfy Cone collars. As of publishing, it costs $12.

  • Soft, durable design
  • Water-resistant

Buy on Chewy

Nobody likes putting the “cone of shame” on their pup, but it’s important to do in order to help your dog recover after a surgery or injury. If you’re worried about paying for future vet bills, read about how to find the best pet insurance companies next.

Top 10 dog cones and recovery collars...
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12 camping essentials for fall

Here are the things you need for an easy weekend vacation

Now is the time to take full advantage of the cool weather to get out and explore. Even if you've never camped before, you can have a fantastic experience with just a little bit of gear and some preparation. Below are some of our favorite camping essentials to get ready for a few nights away from it all.

1. Quality tent

Let’s start with the obvious — the tent is important, especially if you’re camping in the fall. We like that the Marmot Limelight has good wind protection and steep walls. Depending on where you use it, it could be suitable through the winter.

  • Waterproof floor
  • Built-in mesh to keep bugs out

Buy on Backcountry

2. Camping chairs and table

A good table makes for more convenient cooking, card games and happy hours. In addition to camping, you can use it for tailgating, cookouts or any other occasion that calls for a convenient outdoor setup.

  • Chairs have built-in cup holders
  • Includes adjustable-height bamboo table

Buy on Backcountry

3. Cozy sleeping bag

There’s nothing better than snuggling into your sleeping bag after a full day of outdoor adventures. We like that this Rogue bag has a durable cotton-canvas shell on the outside and a soft cotton-flannel lining on the inside.

  • Suitable for year-round camping
  • Attached straps and buckles

Buy on Bass Pro

4. Pocket knife

A reliable blade comes in handy dozens of times over a day of camping. If you can, bring a good multitool with at least a knife and scissors. We like that this Leatherman comes with those and more, including bottle and can openers, a screwdriver and wire cutters.

  • Stainless steel with nylon sheath
  • 25-year warranty

Buy on Amazon

5. Compass or map

Even if you bring your smartphone, it’s a good idea to have a compass or map on you. You can find a quality compass for around $20 or less, but we like how the pocket compass below has a little more style. You could get it as a gift if you’re camping with a sweetheart. That way, they have a sentimental reminder of your trip together.

  • Swivel-style lid and mirror
  • Classic turn-of-the-century design

Buy on Backcountry

6. Firestarter

If there’s not a fire, are you even really camping? We like that Western Red Hot Fire Starters are made with food-grade wax and dried hardwood sawdust. They’re suitable to use for campfires and wood stoves for cooking. Whatever you do, just don’t forget the campfire safety rules.

  • Includes 4 starters per pack
  • Safe, convenient and nontoxic

Buy on Bass Pro

7. Versatile light source

A lantern or flashlight is handy to have to light up your campsite at night and during early mornings before sunrise. Just remember to stock up on fuel or batteries.

We like that the Goal Zero Lighthouse battery can be charged by USB, hand crank or solar panels (not included). You can also use the USB port to charge small electronics.

  • Provides up to 400 lumens
  • Collapsible legs and built-in handle

Buy on Bass Pro

8. Water bottle and extra water

Even as the temperature gets cooler, it’s important to stay hydrated. Bring at least 1 gallon per person for each day you plan to camp.

We like that this Hydro Flask is made with a slip-free design that’s easy to hold while hiking. You can also use it to carry coffee and other beverages. It keeps liquids cold for up to 24 hours or hot up to 12 hours.

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Available in a variety of colors

Buy on Backcountry

9. Toiletries and meds

Nature can get dirty, sweaty and sticky. That’s part of the fun, but you don’t want to be totally uncomfortable over your weekend getaway. Be sure to bring toilet paper, a toothbrush, toothpaste and any over-the-counter or prescription medications you’ll need while you’re gone. Combat Wipes are an excellent multipurpose cleansing cloth that you can use on your face and body.

  • Eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable
  • Made with natural aloe and vitamin E

Buy on Amazon

10. Insect repellent

Don’t underestimate what a nuisance mosquitoes can be into the late summer and early fall; those pesky buggers are enough to ruin your weekend. A good insect repellent can help keep your campsite free of pests.

  • Odorless spray for clothes, tents and bags
  • Repels mosquitoes, ticks and more

Buy on Bass Pro

11. Camp cookware

Even a simple camp cookware set can make your meals a lot more interesting with soups, steaks and coffee. The GSI cookware set below comes with a pot, frypan, strainer lid, two mugs, two bowls, two tops and a folding pot gripper. The welded stuff sack can also double as a sink.

  • Durable, scratch-resistant aluminum
  • Lightweight plastic is dishwasher safe

Buy on Backcountry

12. First-aid kit

Sure, this one might seem like a no-brainer -- but don’t forget to pack a first-aid kit for the scratches, falls and other minor scrapes that will inevitably come with a weekend camping trip.

  • Good for 1 to 2 people
  • Lightweight and waterproof

Buy on Bass Pro

Getting out of the house might seem like a lot of work, but a weekend camping trip might be exactly what you need to recharge. Whether you want to do some hiking, go fishing or just hang out, now is the time to take full advantage of the new season.

Check out our tips for glamping if you like the idea of nature but want to spice it up with a few more amenities.

12 camping essentials for fall...
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Save big with these September deals and discounts

These are the offers you don’t want to miss

Between Labor Day, back-to-school deals and end-of-season sales, September is one of the best months for shopping. Keep reading to see the deals we love this month — all deals are accurate as of the time of publication.

Mattress deals

If you’ve been dreaming about a new mattress all summer, now might be the time to finally upgrade. Check out some of the limited-time offers from a few of our favorite mattress brands.

Purple

To show appreciation to health care professionals, Purple is offering a 10% discount to doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists and people working in other fields related to public health.

  • Health care professionals get 10% off any Purple order*
  • Must verify eligibility

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nectar Sleep

You can get a free cooling pillow, sheet set and mattress protector when you purchase the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress for a limited time. Nectar values the free accessories at $399. You also get free shipping and a 365-night trial.

  • Free accessories with mattress purchase
  • Expires 9/20

Shop Now

Cocoon by Sealy

This product is perfect for those who get hot when they sleep. Cocoon by Sealy is made with premium memory foam, and the cover is infused with a proprietary material that dissipates heat to help keep you cool all night. Cocoon is available in medium-soft and extra-firm comfort levels.

  • 35% off any Chill mattress*
  • Expires 9/28

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Weight loss programs

With the holidays just around the corner, you might be putting off weight loss goals until next year. However, a flexible weight loss program can help with portion control — even if you have a few cheat days.

Nutrisystem

Order a Nutrisystem four-week meal plan now and get a 45% off in savings. New sign-ups get a week of protein and probiotic shakes, plus free shipping. If you don’t love it, you can return the remaining food for a full refund within 14 days.

  • Free week of shakes*
  • Free FedEx shipping

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

BistroMD

BistroMD is a meal delivery service that helps you lose weight. It offers a special deal for new dieters — when you sign up, you get 25% off your order and free shipping for the first week.

  • 25% discount*
  • Free shipping

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Medifast

Medifast meal replacements and healthy snacks are designed to support weight loss. For a limited time, new dieters can use the code KEEP35 for $35 an order.

  • Use KEEP35 for $35 off Medifast
  • Expires 12/30

Shop Now

Pet food deals

Keeping our pets healthy is a huge priority for many of us. Luckily, there are plenty of options for healthy food at a reasonable price. For more information, research how to find the best food for dogs or cats.

Chewy

Chewy offers a 30% discount when you sign up for autoship for the first time. With autoship, you can get regularly scheduled deliveries of pet food, treats and supplies. Select from products for dogs, cats, fish, birds, reptiles, horses and other pets.

  • Save 30% on your first autoship
  • Free one- to three-day shipping on orders over $49

Shop Now

Petco

Petco customers can save 10% when they buy online and pick up their order either in-store or curbside. Select from food, treats, supplies and accessories for dogs, cats, fish, small pets, reptiles and birds.

  • Save 10% when you buy online
  • Pick up in-store or curbside

Shop Now

Health product deals

Vitamins and supplements help some people feel better and think clearer. See below for discount codes and free shipping deals.

Vitacost

Vitacost has different discounts every day, plus free shipping on orders over $49. Select from vitamins, probiotics, supplements, herbs, botanicals, feed and beverages, diet products and more.

  • Multiple discounts on website*
  • Valid within the contiguous U.S

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Lucky Vitamin

For a limited time, you can get an extra 5% off Lucky Vitamin brands with the code LUCKY5. Select from vitamins and supplements, beauty care products, groceries and more. The company also offers free shipping on orders over $49.

  • 5% off with code LUCKY5
  • Expires 9/30

Shop Now

Online shopping deals

Not only is online shopping safer than crowded malls, but it’s also easy to find the items you’re looking for at reasonable prices.

Honey

Honey is a Chrome app extension that automatically searches for promo codes whenever you’re shopping online. You can find coupons and discounts for more than 30,000 websites.

  • Free
  • Easy to install

Shop Now

Academy Sports + Outdoor

For a limited time, you can get free shipping if you sign in and spend at least $25 on your order. If you don't sign in, you can still get free shipping if you spend $35 or more on your order. Select from clothing, shoes, sports and exercise equipment, camping gear and more. 

  • Free shipping on orders over $25 when you sign in
  • Excludes California, Alaska and Hawaii

Shop Now

September deals and discounts...
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Fall Pest Control Advice for 2020

5 things we learned from a board-certified entomologist

The following company participates in our Authorized Partner Program: TruGreen

It’s spooky season, and you know what that means — spiders, rats, bats and creatures with exoskeletons are scoping out your house for the winter.

We asked John Bell, a board-certified entomologist (BCE) with 32 years of experience, for some advice on how to prevent pests in the colder months. Bell is currently the regional technical manager at TruGreen, a national pest control and lawn care maintenance company.

1. At this point, murder hornets are the least of your problems

According to Bell, we don’t need to be very worried about murder hornets. As temperatures turn brisker, Bell suggests keeping an eye out for the following creepy crawlies:

  • Roaches: Cockroaches that live in mulched areas during the spring and summer are pushed closer to the house. They can make their way in through small openings in your structure.
  • Ants: Insects that live on or beneath the ground, such as ants, move to higher ground during the rainy season — and that higher ground is typically where your house is.
  • Beetles: Asian lady beetles seek warmer areas to live during the winter months. These pests may enter your attic or main living areas to wait out the winter months. Lady beetles can stain curtains and furniture if crushed.
  • Stink bugs: The brown marmorated stink bug is an invasive pest that threatens crops across the middle Atlantic region. They also present a seasonal nuisance to homeowners in that part of the U.S. during the warmer days of fall when they search for protective overwintering sites. The good news is, stink bugs don’t bite or spread disease.
  • Kudzu bugs: Kudzu bugs are related to stink bugs and also release an unpleasant odor if squashed. If you live in Southeastern states, particularly Georgia and the Carolinas, watch for Kudzu bugs and their eggs in the fall.
  • Cluster flies: Cluster flies like to hibernate en masse. As summer comes to a close, they look for cozy spots in attics and crawl spaces to spend the winter.

Bell mentioned that murder hornets are actually called Asian giant hornets (they get the more homicidal name thanks to their annihilation of honey bee colonies).

“This pest was introduced to Washington state from Canada and has not moved outside of the state at this point,” Bell said. Many people confuse the Asian giant hornet with its European counterpart, which is common throughout the United States.

  • Accurate fly-killing machine (up to 3 feet)
  • No batteries required

Buy on Bass Pro

2. Watch out for bloodsuckers

Depending on the problem pests of your state, you might be better off worrying about ticks and mosquitoes. They may not be as trendy as vampires, but they still vant to suck your blood!

“Summer rains produce more mosquito breeding areas and thus more of these biting pests,” Bell said. “Female mosquitoes, for instance, will find an area to stay through the winter, such as tree cavities or other protected spots, then lay her eggs as temperatures rise in the spring.

Luckily, many ticks aren’t active during the fall and winter. However, a few species “can remain active in their adult stage from fall to spring as long as the temperature is above freezing,” according to the TickEncounter Resource Center at the University of Rhode Island.

  • Comes with 12 hours of repellent
  • Up to 110 square feet of protection

Buy on Bass Pro

3. Secure all entry points

According to Bell, eliminating entry points is the best way to keep pests out of your home. He emphasized how different a bug’s exoskeleton is from the one we have: It lets them “compress their bodies and get into cracks and crevices that are much smaller than they are."

So, if you looked at a small crack and thought there’s no way a pest could enter there — think again. We suggest the following exclusion techniques:

  • Caulk small entry holes
  • Seal cracks, gaps, holes and crevices with caulk and steel wool
  • Screen attic vents
  • Replace and repair loose mortar around foundation and windows
  • Install door sweeps and repair damaged screens
  • Spray indoor/outdoor pesticides around the perimeter of your home

4. Set traps (just in case)

Most common pest control products keep these bugs out of your home, but they must be applied properly or in the right areas. It’s not a bad idea to set up glue boards in your basement and garage to trap rats, centipedes, silverfish and other critters that might sneak in. It’s better to find them in the glue trap than your bedroom.

  • Works for rats, mice and snakes
  • Nontoxic and safe to use around pets

Buy on Amazon

5. Hire a pro

Even with chemical and physical barriers, pests will continue to probe for a way in. It may be wise to get advice from a pest control professional.

Pest control professionals have experience spotting signs of pest invasions and locating likely entry points. Many companies also have monthly plans that help keep insects and rodents out of your home.

Remember that winter pests are only a problem if you allow them into your home during the fall months. Luckily, winter temperatures in many areas cause most pests to go dormant or die. Still, pest prevention now will keep them from overwintering in your home and decrease initial spring populations. For more information, research how to find the best pest control companies.

Fall Pest Control Advice for 2020...
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Top tools and equipment to take your garage to the next level

Having the right tool on hand can help you conquer any DIY or home improvement project

Having the right tool can make all the difference when it comes to tackling whatever job is at hand. Sure, you might have some of the essentials like hammers, saws, and ladders -- but which pieces of equipment could really take your handyman skills above and beyond where they are now? Below are our top choices for the tools that can beef up your garage and prepare you for any project you set your mind to.

1. Table saw

A table saw is essential if you’re cutting lengths of wood for a fence, deck or a treehouse. Make sure you have a secure, level area to place it. You can also purchase a separate stand for mounting.

  • 24.5” rip capacity
  • 15-amp motor

Buy on Amazon

2. Miter saw

For closer cuts that need an exact angle, a miter saw is the right tool. They’re great for things like framework, crown molding and even homemade furniture. A miter saw is a must-have tool for many DIY projects.

  • 21.8 pounds
  • 3-year limited warranty

Buy on Amazon

3. Nail gun

With a nail gun, you can take care of all your fastening needs quickly and efficiently. You can adjust nail depth, choose the nail size and save strain on your knees and back when you nail down a new deck.

  • Cordless
  • 3-year limited warranty

Buy on Amazon

4. Tool storage

An organized garage makes life easier, and a tool organizer helps get all your random tools in order. Another great thing about a quality tool organizer is that they lock, which helps keep your tools secure.

  • 28" x 18" x 34.5"
  • Key-lock security

Buy on Amazon

5. Wet/dry vacuum

When it’s time to call it a day and clean up your shop, a wet/dry vac can be your best friend. The awesome power of this vacuum can suck up most work messes, including sawdust and nails.

  • 6-gallon container
  • 4-peak-horsepower motor

Buy on Amazon

6. Air compressor

From filling up tires to giant pool floaties, an air compressor is a must-have garage tool. You can buy several tools that work with an air compressor, including narrow-crown staplers, orbital sanders or automatic ratchet wrenches.

  • Variety of accessories included
  • 1-year limited warranty

Buy on Amazon

7. Power sander

A power sander can help you with several projects, from cleaning up a Bondo job to smoothing out older wooden furniture. A power sander may not be on the top of your list, but you shouldn't overlook its many uses.

  • Dust-sealed switch
  • 5” orbital pad

Buy on Amazon

With these valuable additions, there won't be any need to borrow your friends' tools. With a little bit of work, your garage can be a handyman’s dream workspace.

If you can't figure out which tool is the right one, check out our list of the top tools every garage should have....
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Our 4 favorite NFL kickoff party tips

Check out these entertaining and safe ways to enjoy the first game of the season

The NFL is back this week, and we’re ready to celebrate. While the pandemic may limit your usual tailgating plans, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy football season while staying safe. Keep these tips in mind:

1. Social distancing is key

Remember, practicing social distancing is crucial, especially if you’re indoors. Here are two ways you can do this:

  • Explore video communication apps: There are many great video chat apps, and several of them are free to try. Although the person-to-person experience may be different, it’s safer than a crowded living room and still lets your friends shout at their rivals in one place.
  • Porch game parties: The concept is similar to a block party, only you and your neighbors enjoy the games on your porches or shaded driveways. You can shout and cheer with everyone while staying appropriately distanced. If you're looking for a way to show the game to more people outside your living room, check out this cool mini projector.
  • 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Screen size from 32” - 170”

Buy on Amazon

2. Plan your snacks ahead of time

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is best to use delivery or curbside pickup when grocery shopping. If you must go to the store, remember that COVID-19 safety recommendations are still in effect. Here are some helpful pointers to help you make your trip as safe and effective as possible:

  • Decide what you need to buy early
  • Create a shopping list to ensure you don’t forget anything
  • Shop during off-peak hours
  • Make sure to use personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Over 95% filtration efficiency
  • FDA- and CE-registered

Buy on Honest PPE Supply

3. Get in the spirit

Just because your kickoff party is more low-key than usual, that doesn’t mean your walls should be bare. Decorate your house with your team’s colors, wear your favorite player’s jersey and ring in every touchdown with a noisemaker. Now is the best time to show your NFL spirit with some cool decor!

  • 100% guarantee
  • Eco-friendly materials

Buy on Amazon

4. Pre-game movie marathon

A fantastic idea to ramp your football spirit up for the game is to have a football movie marathon and stream it in a watch party. Several streaming services — including Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime — have "watch party" modes where you and other streaming members can watch great films and chat simultaneously. You can also explore specific watch party apps if your streaming service doesn't support group viewing.

  • 75 hours of HD storage
  • Record 2 shows at once

Buy on Amazon

Our kickoff parties may be a little different this year as everyone takes the proper precautions. It’s important to do everything you can to stay safe. To help clean up after the game wraps up, check out our list of favorite cleaning service apps.

Here are some great tips for your kickoff celebration during the pandemic....
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6 easy Labor Day activities for the family

Parades and parties are more complicated this year, but you can still plan a great holiday

Labor Day is dedicated to American workers. If you’re ready for a long weekend to relax after months of stress, here are some ideas for fun, family-friendly and socially distanced activities.

1. Family grill out

Take an extra day to have some fun with your family without leaving the backyard — grilling is a Labor Day tradition, after all. Grab some burgers or hot dogs, condiments, buns and fries to have yourself a Labor Day party.

We suggest setting a speaker outside to encourage impromptu dance parties while someone cooks the food in this cool leather apron.

  • Genuine leather
  • Hand-stitched quality

Buy on Amazon

2. Mini road trip

Travel plans are limited this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a short day trip this Labor Day. Most people don’t realize how many state or national parks are just a few hours away from their homes, so find out what beautiful places are near you. Use this thermos to pack hot chocolate, soup or other warm snacks for the adventure.

  • Vacuum insulated
  • Lifetime warranty

Buy on Amazon

3. Backyard singalong

Make a playlist with classic American labor songs (think Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger). Or better yet, show off your guitar skills to the kids. You can sit around a fire pit with s’mores and hot or iced apple cider. If you don’t already have a fire pit, check out this outdoor wood-burning one with a durable steel mesh frame.

  • Satisfaction guarantee
  • Durable steel frame

Buy on Amazon

4. Outdoor movie night

Movie theaters may be opening up, but you may still be hesitant to go this Labor Day. Instead, host your own at-home theatre experience for your family. You can screen movies about workers’ struggles, like “9 to 5” and “Office Space” (or maybe “Newsies” and “Antz” if you have younger kids). Make it even more fun with an at-home popcorn machine so you can skip the unhealthy oils that theaters sometimes put on their popcorn.

  • 120 volts
  • Nonstick plate

Buy on Amazon

5. Game night

If you want to stay away from screens during Labor Day, host a family game night! It’s a great opportunity to spend quality time together for part of the long weekend. This Amazon-exclusive Monopoly game is designed to take even longer to play — the game doesn’t end until someone owns each property.

  • 2 - 4 players
  • Ages 8+

Buy on Amazon

6. Stargazing

You might already have Labor Day plans, but don’t forget to look up for a spectacular ending. Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn are visible at dusk and nightfall through the end of September. Plus, seeing all the stars helps remind you that we’re all in this together. These binoculars are made specifically for stargazing.

  • Multicoated optics for sharp, clear views
  • Ideal for eyeglass wearers

Buy on Amazon

You might not be able to take your usual weekend getaway this year for Labor Day, but you can still have an ultra-relaxing weekend at home with your family. Don’t let the weekend pass by without having some fun and enjoying yourself.

6 easy Labor Day activities for the family...
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Labor Day offers and more

These are the Labor Day 2020 deals you just can’t miss

The following company participates in our Authorized Partner Program: Nom Nom

Labor Day brings around some of the year’s best sales, especially on big-ticket items like mattresses and weight loss programs. Keep reading to find out what deals we’ll be shopping over the long weekend.

Mattresses

Between firmness, materials and costs, finding the right mattress can be a stressful process. If you’re searching for a new mattress during the pandemic and feel uncomfortable visiting a store, don’t fear! Online mattress shopping has come a long way, and many companies offer long trial periods, warranties and safe delivery options that rival an in-store experience. Labor Day offers some great sales opportunities on mattresses from companies like Purple, Nectar, Tuft & Needle and more.

Purple Mattresses

  • Up to $350 off Mattress + Sleep bundle
  • 100-night trial

Cocoon by Sealy

  • Save 35% or more on any Chill Mattress purchase*
  • 100-night trial

Shop Now

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Nectar Sleep

  • Get $399 worth of free accessories with every mattress
  • 365-night trial

Tuft & Needle

  • Get 10% off sitewide for Labor Day
  • 100-night trial

PlushBeds

  • Get $1,200 off all organic mattresses and 25% off toppers, bedding and furniture with code LABOR2020.
  • 100-night trial

Shop Now

Casper

  • Get 15% mattresses and 10% off your entire order through 9/7/20*
  • 100-night trial

*Partner terms and conditions apply

Saatva

  • Get $200 off your purchase of $1,000 or more
  • 180-night trial

Awara

  • Save $300 on your mattress, plus 300 fruit trees are planted on your behalf
  • 365-night trial

Avocado

  • Get $200 off Green, Vegan and Luxe Crib mattresses with code LABORDAY200
  • 100-night trial

Weight loss programs

If gym closures threw a wrench in your health goals, you can look forward to Labor Day sales from Noom, Medifast and BistroMD. All three companies offer different types of health or weight loss assistance, ranging from meal replacements to maintenance techniques. Check out the deals below!

BistroMD

  • Get 25% off and free shipping for your first week
  • Meal delivery program

Medifast

  • Use code KEEP35 for $35 off
  • Meal replacement options

Noom

  • Two-week trial Noom for free
  • Focuses on weight loss and maintenance

Retail & more

The miscellaneous category may be the one we love the most because it’s full of surprises. Browse this section for deals on everything from online learning programs to premier pet food brands.

Overstock.com

  • Get discounts at its Labor Day Blowout Sale
  • Free standard shipping on everything

Academy Sports + Outdoors

  • Free shipping on orders over $25
  • Check website for latest deals

Ace Hardware

  • Get deals on Weber Genesis grills
  • Check website for latest deals

Coursera

  • Give someone 50% off, get 50% off yourself
  • Earn online certification in multiple categories

123inkjets

  • 15% off compatible ink & toner plus free shipping on orders of $55 or more
  • Check website for latest deals

Chewy

  • Save 30% on your first autoship order
  • Get an extra 5% off all future autoship deliveries

Nom Nom Now

  • Get 50% off your first order
  • Developed by a veterinary nutritionist
Labor Day offers and more...
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5 essential tools for apartment dwellers

Toss out the power drill — here's what you need in an apartment toolkit

There are plenty of household jobs renters can’t call their landlord for, such as assembling furniture, hanging photos and fixing minor nuisances. DIY can be fun and easy, but many toolkits and products for homeowners are overkill for an apartment dweller’s needs. Below are the five tools you need to get things done in your rental property.

Screwdriver

A screwdriver is one of the most useful tools in any toolkit. Whether you’re putting together a nightstand or fixing a broken table, a screwdriver is often essential to getting the job done. Models with interchangeable bits, like this one, are incredibly versatile because they work on many drive styles.

  • Comes with 20 bits
  • Unique spinner drive

Electric screwdriver

Yes, another screwdriver. Electric screwdrivers are much easier to use than traditional models, making them especially helpful with bigger jobs. While a full-size cordless drill or impact driver offers far more power, a small battery-powered unit like this is all you need for most apartment jobs. However, they’re reliant on their battery’s charge and sometimes awkward in tight spaces, so you need a manual screwdriver as well.

  • Rechargeable battery
  • Built-in LED work light

Buy on Amazon

Wrench

If you want to work on your bicycle or handle a bolt that keeps coming loose on your office chair, you’re probably going to need a wrench. Simply put, wrenches are like screwdrivers for nuts and bolts. They help torque down a bolt and are almost always required when undoing one. You’re not likely to encounter many large bolts in your apartment, so a model like this is all you should need.

  • Box-end, wingnut and spoke wrenches
  • Built-in bottle opener

Level

There’s a special kind of misery that comes from hanging a picture on your wall only to step back and realize it’s crooked. Using a level ensures you get it right the first time. A laser level is particularly helpful when hanging multiple items or aligning your artwork with nearby furniture.

  • 3 beams
  • Self-leveling

Buy on Amazon

Rubber mallet

Sometimes, you just need to whack something. While a traditional claw hammer is better for driving nails, a rubber mallet is often more useful around an apartment. Rubber mallets don’t do as much damage to the objects they hit, making them useful for both assembling and disassembling stubborn items.

  • Fiberglass handle core
  • 32-ounce head

Buy on Amazon

With the right tools, you can tackle anything apartment living throws at you. However, once you buy a home, you might need to upgrade your toolkit and purchase a home warranty to let professionals do the hard work for you.

Here are a few perfect tools for your new apartment....
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6 household improvements for Baby Safety Month

These items can help you keep your little one safe

September isn't just the start of pumpkin spice season — it's also Baby Safety Month. Childproofing your home is essential if you have or expect a little bundle of joy (or maybe several!). It isn't easy to think of everything when making your home safe for babies and toddlers, so here is a selection of items to help.

1. Safety straps for furniture

You might be surprised by the number of accidents that kids can have because of furniture — TVs and dressers tipping are just a few of the most common mishaps. Make sure your furniture is secured with a product like these easy-to-use safety straps.

  • 10 pack
  • Earthquake resistant

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2. Cord safety wraps

Window blinds are also dangerous to babies and toddlers — the blind cord is an extreme choking hazard. Use a cord wrap to keep them neatly organized and tucked out of reach of your child.

  • Contains 12 cord cleats and 24 screws
  • Mounts to window frame

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3. Toilet lock

Another place that tiny hands love to explore is the toilet, which is not an ideal situation. Secure your toilet lid to prevent mishaps, injuries and drowning risks.

  • 30-day hassle-free guarantee
  • Eco-friendly

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4. Corner guards

Sharp corners are everywhere! Protect your children’s heads and bodies by making sure your furniture's edges aren't risks and using corner guards to make your furniture safer.

  • 24-pack
  • 30-day guarantee

Buy on Amazon

5. Stove knob covers

Toddlers love exploring the kitchen! Small children might see their parents switching a burner on or off and want to try it. Keep your stovetop safe by putting a baby-safe cover over the knobs to prevent little hands from turning on hot surfaces.

  • No tools need for installation
  • Temperature resistance up to 248 degrees

Buy on Amazon

6. A safe spot to play

Letting a baby crawl around on the floor while adults are cooking or chatting can be dangerous. There may be small choking hazards on the floor, or they could wander into harm. Instead, let your baby bounce and play on this Jumperoo, which keeps your baby entertained and off the floor.

  • Seat spins 360 degrees
  • Removable, machine-washable seat pad

Buy on Amazon

Don't be intimidated by all of the potential hazards around the house for toddlers and babies. Get lower to the ground and analyze your home. Are there small accessories that are easy to grab? Or sharp corners that you wouldn't usually notice? Our list of baby safety products can help you find the products you need to babyproof your home. And if you're looking to take your baby out for some fresh air, check out our baby carrier and sling guide.

Here are some great baby safety products you may not have crossed your mind....
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5 items to help make your home office more comfortable

Check out our list of items that can help ease aches and pains caused by your home office setup

Working from home has many advantages, including wearing pajama bottoms and staying close to your pets; but a less-than-ideal space can make it difficult to work comfortably. A poorly positioned monitor or chair that doesn’t provide proper support can lead to aches, pains and injuries. To help, we have a list of our favorite work-from-home items to turn your home office into your new favorite place.

1. Laptop stand

If you have a low desk or work from your kitchen bar, invest in a laptop stand to reduce the risk of neck strain caused by continuously looking down. These stands also help your posture — something many of us need after months of working from home.

  • Detachable and simple installation
  • Can be disassembled for storage

Buy on Amazon

2. Standing desk

Not moving around enough has a negative effect on your health. Don’t sit around all day when working from home — invest in a standing or adjustable desk that lets you get up and move. This adjustable desk is a classic white and enables you to stand or sit.

  • Adjustable height from 28" - 47.6"
  • 5-year warranty for the frame, motor and mechanisms

Buy on Amazon

3. Ergonomic desk chair

If you’re not interested in a standing desk, it’s worth investing in an office chair that supports your back and arms. An ergonomic desk chair helps prevent lumbar and arm pains that often come with using a poorly constructed chair.

  • 12-month guarantee
  • Simple instructions; no extra tools needed

Buy on Amazon

4. Ergonomic footrest

A well-made chair and properly aligned desk are great starting points, but less common accessories can also help. An ergonomic footrest helps improve your posture, decrease back issues, increase circulation and take the pressure off your legs.

  • Massage surface
  • No assembly needed

Buy on Amazon

5. Ergonomic keyboard

Ergonomic keyboards are designed to keep your hands at a natural angle and help prevent the wrist pain standard keyboards can cause. These keyboards relax your shoulders and let you hold your wrists in a better position.

  • Natural arc layout
  • Cushioned palm rest

Buy on Amazon

With a few additions, you can make your home office far more comfortable and prevent normal desk work aches and pains. If you need extra help with your home office — such as telephone and receptionist services — check out our virtual office company guide.

We have some great items to limit injury from your home office....
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5 things you need for the NFL season

Are you ready for Week 1? Not unless your playbook includes these must-haves for football season

After what has seemed like an eternity without it, the NFL is returning! The regular season for America's favorite sport starts on Sept. 10, with the Chiefs hosting the Texans at Arrowhead Stadium. To help get your space ready, here are some things you need before kickoff if you'll be watching the NFL at home this year.

1. OLED TV

If you're a fan of a team that's not allowing people in the stands this season or don't want to risk exposure to the COVID-19 virus by attending a game in person, you need a TV that provides a great viewing experience. Watching football on an OLED TV is the closest thing to being at the stadium, so consider upgrading from an LCD model.

  • Pixel contrast booster for enhanced color and contrast
  • Super-slim, one-slate design

Buy on Amazon

2. Soundbar

With fewer or even no fans in the stands this season, there has never been a better opportunity to hear the sounds of the game. To take full advantage, you need something more than just your TV’s speakers. A soundbar is easy to set up, has a low profile and is nearly as good as a more expensive surround sound system.

  • Universal remote
  • Built-in voice assistants

Buy on Amazon

3. Official NFL football

Throwing a football back and forth before or after the game or during halftime is fun and still allows for social distancing. What better football to throw around than an official NFL football you see on the field? "The Duke" has been used by the NFL since 1941. Even if you're watching the game solo, an official ball is always great to have around the house.

  • Closest to what the pros use
  • Handcrafted in the U.S.

Buy on Amazon

4. Madden NFL 21

Whether you have a PlayStation 4, Xbox One or PC, Madden is the only NFL game to play. Choose the Deluxe or MVP editions for extra features. According to EA Sports, this year's game has new moves for ball carriers and new, user-friendly pass rush mechanics. Lamar Jackson gets the cover spot this year after Patrick Mahomes broke the Madden curse last year. Madden NFL 21 releases on Aug. 28.

  • Standard, Deluxe and MVP Editions
  • Available on PS4, Xbox One and PC

Buy on Amazon

5. “NFL 100”

This book celebrates 100 years of the NFL by honoring key moments and figures in the sport’s history. It includes a foreword from Peyton Manning, text, action and portrait photography, statistics, charts and more. “NFL 100: A Century of Pro Football” will look good on your coffee table and provide fun reading material during commercials.

  • Hardcover
  • 300 color photos

Buy on Amazon

With NFL training camp underway, players and teams are preparing for 16 games on the gridiron and the chance to play beyond early January. You, too, can get ready for a new season with these recommendations. And if you're looking at an upgraded television for the big game, we have more information on our TV brands guide.

Ready for the NFL season? Here’s our playbook of must-have items....
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Our favorite items to better your bath time experience

5 ways to make your soaks extra special

Remodeling your bathroom is one of the most expensive home renovation projects. If you want to make your bathroom feel luxurious on a budget, check out these products to give your bathroom a fresh, more modern vibe.

1. New towels

You might not think your towels make a big difference in your bathing experience, but they do! There's nothing quite like finishing your bath and wrapping up inside a thick, plush towel.

Don't forget to choose towels in a color that matches the bathroom's overall theme to add a pop of newness. You’ll enjoy drying time more and add extra design elements to the room.

  • 100% soft cotton construction
  • Machine washable

Buy on Amazon

2. Absorbent rugs

Another great way to bring extra pizzaz to your bathroom and add some comfort for your footsies after a bath is by updating your rugs! Like updating your towels, updating (or adding) soft, absorbant rugs in your bathroom increase comfort and are a quick way to update your bathroom aesthetics.

  • Choose from 7 colors
  • Machine wash/dry

Buy on Amazon

3. Pretty shower curtains

You may think that a shower curtain is just a shower curtain, but it makes a huge design impact! If your curtain is tattered, moldy or just too plain, it's time to think about an upgrade. Choose a curtain that matches the look you're going for to make one of the most straightforward and least expensive bathroom improvements.

  • 100% polyester
  • Includes 12 C-shaped hooks

Buy on Amazon

4. Bathtub and shower organizers

Bathtub organization is another game-changer. By introducing some organizational tools inside your bathtub, you can decrease that endless amount of clutter lying around every morning. With a shower caddy, basket or even a new shelf, you bring order to the accessory chaos, especially if you share a bathroom with your family.

  • 4 removable trays
  • No tools needed for installation

Buy on Amazon

5. Fancy tub tables

A stylish tub tray adds a fresh look to your bathtub and is helpful for reading, watching videos or enjoying a glass of wine. They look adorable on your tub when sporting an air plant, and they are a treat for you when you take a bath. It's a win-win!

  • Bamboo wood with waterproof lacquer
  • 100% money-back guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Updating your bathroom can seem like a daunting task, but you can freshen up your space in no time with these tips! If you’re gunning for a bigger job — such as a remodel or tub replacement — may want to explore hiring a bathroom remodeling contractor.

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9 great products to help your aging dog

Check out these great items for your aging pup

Our furry pals are our best friends, and, as they age, they might need a little more support than they did as young pups. Here are some of our favorite items to help your pet stay comfortable as they grow older.

1. Support harness

This device can help your dog stand up, get out of cars and make other movements that become more difficult as they age. The handy and portable dog sling can be quickly wrapped around your dog to support their progress. It’s soft and cozy on the inside, so that your furry friend will feel safe and secure.

  • Heavy-duty nylon band
  • Portable gift bag included

Buy on Amazon

2. Dog stroller

If you have a small dog that needs more support than a sling harness provides, try using a dog stroller. This stroller lets your pet go on their well-loved walks without the discomfort your dog might feel when walking long distances.

  • Supports dogs up to 15 pounds
  • Foldable

Buy on Amazon

3. Stairs for pets

If your dog is a couch or bed sleeper, be sure to get them some little stairs so they won’t strain their muscles by making a too-big leap! Jumping off something tall — like a bed — may be rough on older pets’ spines and ligaments. These sturdy foam stairs give them a boost.

  • Foldable
  • 2 sizes and 8 colors available

Buy on Amazon

4. Ramp for dogs

If you are worried about your dog jumping out of the car or taking the stairs outside, consider using a pet ramp. This portable ramp is durable and has plenty of traction to support your pet as they get down from SUVs or other high entrances. Like some of the other tips listed, this may help your pet’s aging hips and spines stay healthy.

  • Supports up to 150 pounds
  • 62” x 16” x 4”

Buy on Amazon

5. Heated blanket

Some older pets might get colder than they used to, especially in the winter. They don’t move or produce quite as much heat as they did as little pups, so invest in a self-warming pet bed for your dog that retains some body heat. This blanket keeps your pet snug and warm during the colder months without needing a heated blanket with electrical cords.

  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • Machine washable

Buy on Amazon

6. Orthopedic dog bed

Maybe your older dog doesn’t need help with warmth but does have a hard time getting out of his pet bed. Older pets often need extra support on their neck, hips and joints when they rest. Try using an orthopedic foam bed for your dog, which helps cushion pressure points, distribute body weight and improve air circulation.

  • Multiple sizes and colors available
  • 90-day limited coverage against material defects

Buy on Amazon

7. In-between baths spray

You might notice that it’s harder to go through the struggle of bathing as your dog ages. Getting them into a tub is harder than when they were young, and getting warm post-bath might be a struggle. If you find yourself giving your pet fewer baths due to their age, pick up this waterless shampoo to use between washings.

  • No water needed
  • pH-balanced, alcohol-free, paraben-free, PEG-80-free

Buy on Amazon

8. Stimulating dog toy

Keep your pet mentally engaged with their toys! Puzzle toys challenge your dog mentally and focus their energy on playful fun. This interactive toy features plush squirrels hiding in their little tree home, ready to be found by your furry friend.

  • Teeth- and gum-friendly
  • Both chew and fetch toy

Buy on Amazon

9. Pill pocket chews

Your pet may have more prescription pills from the vet than they used to. Those pills help keep your dog in the best shape, but it can be hard to get them to take all the medications they need. Pop those tablets into these pill buddies to transform your dog’s pills into treats.

  • No corn, wheat, soy or artificial ingredients
  • Made with real peanut butter and honey

Buy on Amazon

Your pet may be getting older, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do most of the same things they did when they were a puppy. With some extra work and a few additional products, you can help your furry best friend live an active and full life. To help cover additional expenses that might spring up as your pet ages, be sure to research pet insurance.

Explore our fantastic list of items you can purchase for your aging dog....
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6 ways to help maintain your immune system

A balanced immune system is important to stave off illness

This article is for informational purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for health advice.

With current concerns about COVID-19 and flu season around the corner, many people are worried about getting sick. You need a healthy immune system to defend against germs and pathogens that manage to slip past hand sanitizer. We have some practical tips to keep your immune system balanced.

1. Exercise often

Regular exercise promotes healthy circulation, which lets your blood cells work more efficiently. According to an article in the Journal of British Sports Medicine, “[p]erceived physical fitness and frequency of aerobic exercise are important correlates of reduced days with URT (upper respiratory tract infection) and severity of symptoms during the winter and fall common cold seasons.”

2. Get enough sleep

Sleep is essential to keeping our bodies healthy. Adults should get seven or more hours per night, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Researchers found that “sleep and the circadian system are strong regulators of immunological processes” in a recent study by the University of Tübingen and the University of Lübeck, Germany. Basically, by prioritizing a full sleep cycle, you can help your immune system.

3. Quit smoking

As if there aren’t enough reasons to quit smoking, here’s another one: it’s terrible for your immune system. As stated by the CDC, smoking hurts your overall health, including inflammation and decreased immune function. So if you're a smoker, it’s best for your immune system if you quit. Visit your local pharmacy to explore options that can help you kick this habit.

4. Cut back on stress

Look for ways to reduce or relieve stress in your life, such as meditation and exercise. American Psychological Association research has found links between the mind and body. This could mean that managing your psychological health — including stress — may be beneficial to your immune system response. Gandhi said it best: “There is more to life than increasing its speed.”

5. Manage a proper diet

Most of us know that eating sugary cereal for breakfast is, well, less than healthy. Dr. Vijaya Surampudi, an assistant professor of medicine at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, states that nutrition plays a crucial role in your overall immune system health. Some of Dr. Surampudi’s suggestions include:

  • Limit red meat consumption
  • Introduce more vegetables in your diet
  • Eat whole grains
  • Eliminate sugary drinks
  • Drink more water

Drinking 10 full glasses of water each day helps keep you hydrated, stimulates your metabolism and helps your immune system. Try to cut out added sugars in sweets or other carbohydrates and stick with fruit as dessert. It might sound difficult, but you can feel so much better!

6. Avoid germs

One of the most effective ways to maintain a healthy immune system is to avoid germs altogether. Cases of the flu are often spread from person to person. Or, you might unknowingly touch something that a sick person coughed on. Some practical ways to protect your immune system from viruses and bacteria include:

  • Wash your hands as much as possible
  • Try not to touch your face before you’ve washed your hands
  • Socially distance around groups of people
  • Wear a mask or other personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Adhere to COVID-19 quarantine protocols per the CDC
  • 5 strong layers of protection
  • 95%+ filtration efficiency

Shop on Honest PPE Supply

The flu season can vary because there are different strains throughout the year, but it usually starts to pick up around fall and winter. You can help keep your immune system strong with regular exercise, rest, plenty of water and nutritious food. Your immune system health is a daily journey of doing what's best for your body and mind!

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Reasons to consider opening a gold IRA

Gold may help diversify investments and hedge against inflation

Gold and other precious metal IRAs are an investment and carry risk. Consumers should be alert to claims that customers can make a lot of money in these or any investment with little risk. As with any investment, you can lose money and past performance is not a guarantee of future performance results. Consumers should also obtain a clear understanding of the fees associated with any investment before agreeing to invest.

Many people back their retirement savings with gold or other precious metals to diversify their investments in case the economy falters. A gold IRA could be a smart option for several reasons, but we recommend that you thoroughly analyze and discuss any investment decision with a trusted financial advisor. Here are our top reasons you may want to explore a gold IRA account.

1. Gold often goes the opposite way of the market

Investors like gold because it typically does well when the U.S. dollar weakens. Even as the economy faltered during lockdown earlier this year, gold went up in value. Gold was selling for $1,519 an ounce at the end of 2019, but it increased to $1,732 an ounce in May 2020. As of mid-August, the price of gold is hovering around $2,000.

Additionally, the price of gold roughly doubled between 2008 and 2012 during the Great Recession. Although the difference between gold and the money market fluctuates depending on several factors — such as when the Federal Reserve changes interest rates — it may be a good idea to diversify up to 10% of your retirement portfolio with gold.

2. There are traditional and Roth IRA options

Just like regular retirement accounts, there are traditional and Roth gold IRAs.

  • Traditional IRA contributions are tax-deductible at the time of contribution. When you withdraw funds from this type of IRA, they are taxed.
  • Roth IRAs are taxed when the contribution is made, but not at the time of withdrawal.

Many investment professionals disagree on which is better, and individuals have different reasons for choosing one over the other.

3. You can roll over existing funds to a gold IRA

With a rollover, you can convert a portion of your existing 401(k) or traditional retirement account into a gold IRA. There aren’t any penalties or fines since a custodian handles the process.

It may be advantageous to roll over those funds into an account backed by gold. However, it can be confusing because there are many IRS rules for transfers and rollovers. Be sure to discuss the process with your financial advisor.

If you’re interested in learning more about gold IRAs, an excellent next step is to research gold IRA companies.

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Great tips to help back-to-schoolers

Help your kids get back into the swing of things

This summer has been a historic one for us all, but our kids still need to learn. The threat of COVID-19 makes it difficult for children to fully devote their attention to school — especially if they take classes remotely. Fortunately, we have a few tips you can use to help them focus, learn and enjoy their new school year.

No more late nights

Late nights are a staple of summer vacation, but the transition to a healthy sleep cycle for the school year is vital for your child. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends nine - 12 hours of sleep per day for kids ages six - 12 and eight - 10 hours for teenagers.

Start getting them into a proper sleep cycle now to limit the amount of slow, cranky mornings. Your kid (and your sanity!) will thank you. This also means working with your child on reasonable bedtimes and sticking to that schedule.

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Get rid of distractions

Children these days have more outlets for entertainment than we could have ever imagined. Unfortunately, streaming services, online video games and social media quickly become time-wasters, which is detrimental to your child’s educational development. Set a limit on their access to screen time and stick with that rule. Some ways of doing this are:

  • Lock the Wi-Fi network with a new password
  • Temporarily hide devices in a secure spot
  • Use a monitoring app to track social media usage

Help them get organized

Sit with your child and discuss their daily routine from the moment they wake up until bedtime. Be sure to include the appropriate amount of time for homework, playtime, chores and other regular activities.

This sets expectations and helps your child compartmentalize their days into segments. With a reasonable schedule, your child can get into the proper mindset for learning, and you can live a more predictable life.

  • Free trial offer
  • For children 2 - 8

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Get them excited

Most kids dread a new school year, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Start talking about the classroom subjects they enjoy when you have the chance. Also, remind your child about their favorite part of the previous year.

We also recommend telling your kids about some of the fun things you remember from when you were in their grade. You can even throw a small back-to-school celebration to help them get excited.

Have all their supplies ready

Whether your child is attending class in a classroom or learning from home, they need to have all the necessary school supplies to do their best. Your child’s teacher will most likely have a checklist of things required for class, but some general must-haves include:

  • Ballpoint pens
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Notebooks
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Binders
  • Folders
  • Index cards
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Ruler
  • Book socks (to protect textbooks)

Be sure to check the list of supplies you receive from your kid’s teacher. For instance, a grade-schooler may need a simple calculator, but a high school student could need a scientific graphing calculator.

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Set achievable goals

Think about realistic goals you can set for your kids and have a discussion with them. For example, you can set their sights on a certain GPA or perfect attendance. Teaching your children about positive goals can motivate them to reach further in life. Open a dialogue now about what they want to accomplish and understand that success comes with hard work.

Remember your own self-care

With the craziness of school preparations, you may feel your stress levels hit a peak. Try to allocate some time to yourself for a bit of rest and relaxation. By finding your own moments of peace, you can keep a calm, positive attitude and project it to others — especially your kids.

You may be nervous as your children return to school this year. Remember that with care, preparation and attention, you can make this transition more comfortable for the whole family. If your child needs additional help with classes, take a look at our tutoring company guide.

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5 tips for starting a small business

Check out these tips if you’re interested in creating a company

COVID-19 has turned the business world upside down, and many people have been looking at alternative ways to make a living. For some, that may be exploring the small business idea they’ve been contemplating. However, starting a small business is a daunting task, so here are some tips that may help.

1. Keep it simple

Leonardo Da Vinci once said that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and he knew quite a bit about inventing! Even if your concept is complex, try to focus on the product itself. All too often, entrepreneurs start with one item, but their business quickly becomes a mess of additional ideas. Don’t turn your thought balloon into an anchor. For instance, if you want to design a quality steering wheel cover, stick to perfecting your first product before making covers for other things. You can always revisit other ideas later on!

2. Count every penny

Starting a business is usually very expensive and every penny counts, so you need to focus on your cash — where it’s coming, where it’s going and where to put it. When planning, be mindful of all your expenses, including product costs, overhead, distribution, marketing and employee payroll.

Among these expenses, you need to pay yourself a manageable and fair salary. Consider your rent, food and other costs of living. Even if you have an accountant or partner that handles the business’s finances, you need to stay vigilant regarding the company’s money.

3. Get to know your customers and competitors

Customer research is an essential part of building a small business, so do the legwork. You should analyze your market carefully and monitor trends that work and ones that don’t. Understand what your target customer base is looking for and how you can deliver — preferably better than your competition.

Excellent research usually starts on the internet, but don’t be afraid to visit other successful stores or examine popular competitor products. You can never know too much about what your customers want and how your competition works.

4. Have a trusted partner

Going into business with a partner makes it easier to delegate tasks and brainstorm new ideas. You can share work that may be overwhelming for one person — especially the duties that aren’t your strong suit. For example, if you’re a fantastic inventor but a less-than-perfect public speaker, find a trusted partner who can handle sales.

Another great thing about working with someone is having a soundboard to discuss plans and thoughts regarding your business. When you work in a vacuum, you may not see problems that another person can point out. You may find your ideas come through stronger in the early stages of development if you partner with someone reliable.

5. Play by the rules

Make sure you understand the legalities of your industry, including employment laws, intellectual property laws, contractual obligations and business taxes. This critical tip may seem vague, but it can be absolutely detrimental to your business if not taken seriously.

You should be aware of all legal matters and know when it’s the right time to consider hiring a corporate lawyer. Even a successful business that overlooks this step could end up paying a substantial cost in the future.

Starting a small business can be stressful, but it might change your life if you take the right approach. Whether you’re selling baked goods, making jewelry or tackling a larger idea, a small business lets you command your economic destiny. However, all businesses need capital and a business loan may help. To learn about our favorite picks for lenders, check out our helpful guide on business loans.

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Overlooked home security mistakes

Are you guilty of these 5 security slipups?

Your home is your castle, and you want to keep it as safe as possible. You probably already know that security locks, latches and alarms are essential, but you should also be aware of risky security mistakes that you may make every day. Here are some of the most common miscues you can avoid if you want to keep your residence safe.

1. Not checking IDs

No, you don't have to check your friends’ IDs — this only applies to service people and technicians. If you have strangers knocking at your door, be sure to check their identification and compare that name with the name of the person sent by your service provider. Remember, burglars sometimes pose as maintenance workers to get inside your house.

2. Visible interiors

When burglars are looking for places to rob, the easiest way to take stock of valuables is by looking into windows. Remember to close your blinds and curtains so no one can see your expensive smart TV or surround sound system from the street. Make sure drapes completely cover anyone’s line of vision from the outside.

  • Heavy-duty aluminum build
  • Easy installation

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3. Doggie doors

Some of us feel safer with a large dog running around the home. However, that big doggie door can be an entry point for opportunistic thieves. Always lock the dog door with its security flap when not in use, especially while you're asleep or away on vacation. You can also add more security by ensuring the door needs a key inside and outside with a double-cylinder deadbolt.

4. Unattended tools

You may be surprised at how often valuable items are snatched up off a lawn. An intruder can also use power tools and more cumbersome gardening accessories to break into your house. Either put your tools inside your garage or store them in a locked gardening shed.

  • Double doors for easy access
  • Zinc-treated metal for longevity

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5. Broken or unused security system

Perhaps you purchased a house with an old system or haven't checked the functionality of your installed system in a while. If you have an alarm system, make sure it is functioning correctly. A faulty alarm system doesn’t provide the protection you need.

Your home should be a sanctuary, so be sure to avoid these commonly overlooked mistakes that make your house more vulnerable to intruders. It's easy to overlook security measures if you haven't had any problems, but don't wait to put these simple security steps into action. To learn more ways to secure your home, read at our helpful guide.

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Tips when buying a newly constructed home

Here are is our favorite advice for those looking to buy a newly constructed home

There are many options when searching for a home, from size to location. However, for those that want a more customized residence, purchasing a newly constructed residence is often a good decision. Newly built houses have options you may not find with an existing one, but they also come with different considerations. Here are some tips when shopping for a newly constructed home.

1. Ask if warranties are included

Like a brand-new car off the lot, your newly constructed home hasn’t been tested by time — any number of issues may arise. Newly built homes generally come with warranties — such as a structural warranty — that you can utilize if something goes wrong. Speak with your realtor and make sure you know what’s covered and for how long. You may want to look into a home warranty for further protection.

2. Be mindful of the finishes

Remember that the model home you visited is an example of the builder’s best, top-of-the-line finishes. In the model, the builder will use high-end countertop and flooring options, so be sure to discuss what’s standard and what upgrades are available. Get a cost estimate on both and decide what works for you and your budget.

3. Think about purchasing materials

Sometimes builders are flexible with materials and appliances. For instance, if you want a type of lighting that isn’t in the build, you may be able to purchase it and have the builders install it. Although this is an extra expense, some homebuilders may credit the purchase against the cost of the materials they would use — for example, if you get a lighting feature that costs $500, the builder may deduct $500 from the cost of the home.

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4. Find out the building time

As the song goes, “waiting is the hardest part.” Try to plan ahead by getting an estimated time of completion for the different stages of the build. Although many things can happen between breaking ground and moving in, you can plan your current living situation better and budget appropriately if you know how long the building process takes. Also, most builders won’t let you tour the site during construction for liability reasons, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for access at approved times to see your future house’s progress.

5. How much is the lot?

Each lot on which a home is built has a different cost. For instance, it may be cheaper to build on a lot closer to the entrance of a housing addition. The views and size of the lot are also factors. Ask the representative if the lot cost is included in the base price — it may be — and ask to see a map of the available lots with prices. If the lot cost isn’t included in the base price, you must factor this into your overall budget.

6. Learn about the HOA

Most new neighborhoods have a homeowners association (HOA) to ensure the lots are maintained and private parks or pools are taken care of. These associations have a mandatory fee and set rules you must follow concerning your house’s appearance and landscaping. If you don’t have time to maintain your home to the HOA’s standards, many handyman services can help.

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7. Is the landscaping included?

Don’t forget that some newly built houses do not provide landscaping in the base cost. This may make a dent in your budget or leave you with a large, dirt yard. Speak with the builders about any costs associated with the landscaping — including grass, sprinkler systems and lighting. If you find the price too high for your budget, you may decide to scale down your lot size and save yourself thousands of dollars.

8. Ask for a list of any premium additions

Do you or your family have heavy allergies and need an air filtration system? Are you looking to update your Wi-Fi for better access throughout the home? Do you want a pool or jacuzzi? These are just a few extras that your builder may be able to provide. If you want to add extras not offered by the builder, be sure to work them into your budget.

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Purchasing a newly constructed home offers many opportunities for customization and is an excellent way to build your dream house. Be sure to check out all your options, and don’t be afraid to take your time on the decision — you may end up saving thousands! It’s also worth looking into home warranty coverage that may mitigate the costs of inevitable repairs to your new home’s systems and components.

When looking to buy a newly constructed home, here are some things you should know....
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Summer home fixes for the fall season

From landscaping to rainspout checks, here is our list of home repair you can do to prep for fall

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: HomeAdvisor

With the longer days and the better weather, summer is a great time to get a head start on all your home fixes. Prepping your home with repairs done in the summer sunshine may save you serious cash and time during fall. Check out our list of things you can do now that will help your home run smoother in the autumn.

Check your rainspouts and gutters

Because most of the country deals with less rain and storms now than later in the season, you should definitely check your rain gutters' efficiency. Get topside with your usual cleaning equipment and make sure the pathways are clean. Then, with a controlled flow of water, safely check to see if you have any leaks or pooling — both can be detrimental to your property.

If you feel safer on the ground but still want to approach a home improvement project, check out our partners at HomeAdvisor. They can match you with prescreened, local service professionals.

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Check for pest entrances and exits

During the fall season, pests like mice and rats are desperately looking for spaces to nest during the inclement weather. You should be diligent while the sun is out and check for small entrances into your residence that can be used by these animals. Look around the outside of your property for even the most minor holes, then properly fill or cover them with mesh. If you suspect an infestation, make sure to check out or pest control guide for a company that can help.

Test all safety devices

Events happen at the most inconvenient times, so make sure to check things are in working order, like fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. As the weather gets colder, windows stay shut more often, which leaves a greater necessity for these devices. While you’re doing that, resupply your fire safety equipment, make sure your first-aid kit is restocked and confirm any other emergency kit — such as an earthquake kit — is ready for use.

Get your heating system serviced

With the colder weather comes our dependency on a home heating system. Whether you have an HVAC or simply stay toasty with your chimney, it’s time to make sure those heating systems are suitable for use. Have your chimney, boiler and furnace cleaned. You should also have all gas lines checked, and make sure your ducts and filters are clear. If you’re looking to upgrade your current HVAC system, check out our helpful guide on heating and cooling system companies.

Get your yard ready

We may have enjoyed the fruits of our yardwork over spring and summer, but the weather will be changing, and we need to get ready. As soon as your leaves start turning color, make sure to hedge your plants back for the healthy leaves. You may also want to scan the yard for any dangerous tree limbs that could fall in heavy wind, rain or snow. If plants have completely taken over during the growing months, make sure to check out our guide on landscaping equipment to help tame that yard.

Your property is a valuable asset, so take the time to protect that investment from the upcoming winter months. Another way you can protect your home is through the right homeowners insurance coverage. Check out our guide on home insurance companies for a breakdown of what they can do for you and how they work.

We’ve got great home fixes you should do to prepare for fall....
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Top 5 Hulu shows to binge at the end of summer

Beat the heat with these great Hulu shows

As we enter the hot months that will round out our summer, staying indoors and cooling down is a must. But what can we do to pass the time? One answer, of course, is marathoning your favorite series! If you’ve found yourself scanning channels and menus for far too long, here is our list of great streaming shows featured on Hulu you should check out.

1. Little Fires Everywhere

"Little Fires Everywhere" is a Hulu original drama packed with all-stars giving electric performances. Based on the award-winning book series of the same name, "Little Fires Everywhere" features Reese Witherspoon (Elena Richardson), Kerry Washington (Mia Warren) and a great supporting cast. If you are looking for an excellently crafted show with emotional drama and surprises you won't see coming, "Little Fires Everywhere" is something you should check out.

  • Rated: TV-MA
  • Available: Hulu

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2. The Handmaid’s Tale

"The Handmaid's Tale" is a dark, dystopian series set in a near-future where women struggle to survive under a militarized patriarchal government. This Emmy-award winning series beautifully adapts Margaret Atwood's novel, and performances by Elisabeth Moss (June Osborne/Offred/Ofjoseph) and Joseph Fiennes (Commander Fred Waterford) drive a plot filled with danger, emotion and intrigue.

  • Rated: TV-MA
  • Available: Hulu

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3. Love, Victor

"Love, Victor" is a fantastic coming-of-age series that premiered this year. The series follows the trials and tribulations of Victor (Michael Cimino), a new kid in a new town, and how he navigates popularity, romance and home life with the help of Simon (Nick Robinson). It's a spin-off of the popular film "Love, Simon," and this series doesn't lose a step from the original content. If you are looking for a modern take on young love, "Love, Victor" is a great place to start.

  • Rated: TV-14
  • Available: Hulu

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4. Letterkenny

"Letterkenny" is a hilarious half-hour comedy from Canada that recently made its way to the US. Set around the small town of Letterkenny, this show follows its ridiculously funny and risqué citizens as they live their daily lives. Although relatively new to the U.S., this series has been running for over eight seasons, so there's plenty to watch. You'll find the circumstances side-splitting, yet you'll start to fall in love with each goofy resident!

  • Rated: TV-MA
  • Available: Hulu

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5. What We Do in the Shadows

"What We Do in the Shadows" is a comedic/horror series about a reality tv program following real-life vampires. Based on Jemaine Clement’s and Taika Waititi's fantastic film of the same name, this hilarious series will leave you guessing what these entertaining vampires will do next.

  • Rated: TV-MA
  • Available: Hulu

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If you want to marathon a huge list of amazing entertainment — from your favorite classic TV shows to top films — Hulu has you covered. Try a free one-month trial today!

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Our 5 favorite Hulu shows to binge at the end of the summer....
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Avoid these 9 huge mistakes people make when moving

We have some great advice that will help your moving experience

Moving can be a nightmare! Carefully packing your entire life into boxes and bags is complicated and time-consuming. However, you can avoid a worst-case scenario with focus and a bit of planning. Here’s how you can dodge some common moving mistakes.

1. Never wait until the last minute

Some of us procrastinate far too long, but every day you don’t pack for a move is one less day you can use to spread out the hard work! Avoid the pitfall of waiting too long to pack by starting to organize your possessions at least a week before your move-out day. Start with things you use the least — like seasonal items — and work your way down to your everyday products.

2. Don’t overpack big boxes

For your back’s sake, don’t pack all your books in one giant box. Instead, use smaller boxes to pack heavier things and larger boxes to pack light things, such as blankets, pillows and wall art. This makes it much easier once you start to move your boxes.

3. Avoid impulse hiring

Don't feel pressured to hire the first moving company you find during your search. When choosing a mover, pay attention to your budget, read trusted reviews and check all the companies’ credentials and certifications. Professional movers know the best way to handle a move and have the right tools to ensure your items stay safe during transit.

4. No sloppy or incorrect labeling

Don't go through all the trouble of packing only to forget to label your boxes! Carefully mark the box with its respective room placement, so you know where to put it once you reach your new home. For extra clarity, list what the box contains.

5. Get the right insurance

Don’t forget to make sure all your carefully packed items are covered by moving insurance. Ask if your home insurance covers moving your items to a new home. If not, check to see if your mover offers insurance as part of its package.

6. Change your mailing address

Don't forget to change your address! The U.S. Postal Service has a simple online form you can complete to change your address and forward or hold your mail. However, check that you have updated your info on all of your bank accounts, credit cards and anything else, so you don't miss an important bill or letter.

7. Keep a separate suitcase for necessities

Rather than packing your shampoo, toothpaste and phone chargers in boxes, keep a suitcase out for your essential items and some outfits. The last thing you want to do is search through dozens of boxes when all you need are your socks! Unpacking might also take longer than expected, so pack everything you need for a few days.

8. Buy more supplies than you think you need

Better you have too much bubble wrap then need it and have none left. Be sure to gather enough packing materials, especially newspapers, used boxes and bubble wrap. You will use more of these items than you might think, so always get extra for those last few items you forgot to pack.

9. Don’t forget to say goodbye

Moving somewhere new is a huge step. You’ll be leaving behind memories and a community. Take the time to say goodbye to your old home and the people in your neighborhood. Throw a Zoom dinner party, send out some goodbye cards to friends or have one last coffee by the window.

Moving is a hassle, but it can be a stress-free process with some preparation and organization. Don’t be afraid to throw things away as you move. Our moving company guide gives more information and company recommendations for your next big relocation.

Look out for these common mistakes people make before moving....
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5 tips to help with your hearing loss

These great tips may be able to help you with your hearing loss

Roughly 48 million Americans experience some degree of hearing loss, so you aren’t alone if you’re facing this issue. If you feel like your hearing has gotten worse recently, there are several steps you can take to help improve your situation. Below are our favorite tips that may help you with your hearing loss.

1. Get your hearing tested

Our first tip is to go to your doctor if you feel like you are experiencing hearing loss. You may be experiencing hearing loss for several reasons, including earwax buildup or your age. It may even be caused by the medications you’re taking. A doctor can tell you the next steps and refer you to specialists, such as audiologists, to find solutions for your hearing loss.

2. Look into hearing devices

There are several devices available that may help your hearing, including multiple multiple hearing aid types. Modern hearing aids include invisible devices and hearing aids with rechargeable batteries and Bluetooth connectivity. There are also alert systems for people with hearing loss, such as systems that provide loud notifications when someone is at your door. Finally, there are assistive hearing devices, such as FM systems, for classrooms and group settings.

3. Communicate with others

If you are suffering from hearing loss, you don’t need to handle everything on your own. Let your friends and loved ones know you may need some assistance or need them to speak a little louder. It’s OK to communicate your needs, and your friends will be happy to comply so that you can best hear your favorite people.

4. Repeat what you hear

This may be a simple tip, but repeating what you hear can be effective. To avoid mishearing information, repeat what someone tells you. For instance, if someone is giving you an address, be sure to repeat it back. Feel free to do this whenever vital information is being conveyed to you, including addresses, appointments or times. Doing this helps avoid any confusion.

5. Find a support group

If you’re dealing with hearing loss, it’s always good to talk to people who are in similar situations. Ask your doctor or search for hearing loss support groups near you. Going to a support group may help you feel less alone when dealing with this issue, and it might give you even more ideas for managing your hearing loss.

Hearing loss can be frustrating for some, but with good community and tools, your life can be more satisfying! There are many modern solutions that help you live your best life. If you’re looking for a professional to have your hearing tested, check out our list of hearing aid companies near you.

Check out 5 great tips that may help with your hearing loss....
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Why now is a great time for an extended auto warranty

Extended auto warranties can save you plenty of cash if your car runs into trouble

Essentially, an extended auto warranty is a contract between you and an auto warranty company or auto manufacturer that covers specific repairs past your initial manufacturer’s warranty. There are several types of extended warranties to choose, from basic drivetrain coverage to comprehensive bumper-to-bumper coverage, and they’re available for various lengths of time or miles driven.

You should take some time to conduct research when purchasing an extended car warranty. However, here are some of our top reasons for buying one.

1. You’re keeping your car past its manufacturer’s warranty

Most cars come with a three-year, 36,000-mile warranty, but an extended auto warranty helps if you plan on keeping your vehicle well past that point. This may be especially useful in a household with multiple drivers. If you plan on handing down a car to your new driver, an extended auto warranty helps cover the cost of expensive repairs in the long run.

2. It may help cover the cost of new technology

We love all the great new gadgets in today’s cars, but fixing or replacing them can be surprisingly expensive. For instance, that bumper-mounted rearview camera that malfunctions could cost hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of dollars to fix. If you want to avoid these costly repairs for your new or used car, an extended auto warranty that covers your vehicle’s tech can help.

3. You don’t want to think about putting cash aside

You could put money into a savings account to pay for the cost of car fixes without entering into an extended warranty plan. However, these accounts need attention and may not necessarily cover the entire cost of the repairs — a transmission assembly replacement alone may average between $4,000 and $5,000. With the right extended auto warranty, you can be confident that vehicle repairs and replacements are covered.

4. Some provide roadside assistance

If you worry about your vehicle needing repairs at the most inopportune moment — such as when you’re actually on the road — some extended warranties have fantastic roadside assistance programs. These assistance programs may cover a battery jump, flat tire fixes and towing service. If the warranty company you choose offers these perks, you get valuable peace of mind in a worst-case scenario.

In the same way auto insurance covers accidents on the road, extended auto warranties protect your car from costly malfunctions that can leave you in a desperate situation. Make sure to research and discuss all coverage options with a representative. For more information, check out our detailed guide on extended auto warranties.

An extended auto warranty can be a great idea, and here’s why....
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4 reasons you may want to bank your child’s cord blood

There are many reasons to look into cord blood banking — here are our top 4

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: Miraclecord and Americord

Although cord blood banking has been around for more than 20 years, many parents-to-be don’t know about this process. In simple terms, cord blood banks store your child’s hematopoietic stem cells that are left from their umbilical cords and placenta after birth. These stem cells can be used to treat several types of diseases — chief among them leukemia and lymphoma. Here is our list of great reasons to explore cord blood banking.

1. It may be a better option than bone marrow

The hematopoietic stem cells found in cord blood are less likely to be rejected than bone marrow cells. A University of Colorado study found patients being monitored who received cord blood were less likely to suffer graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) than those who received marrow.

MiracleCord’s lab has been processing and storing cord blood for more than 20 years. The company is headquartered in Chicago, and it offers high-quality cord blood and cord tissue stem cell banking to families in the U.S.

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2. Cord blood can be stored safely for years

Your child’s cord blood can safely be stored for decades; in fact, there is a case of a patient receiving cord blood stored for more than 20 years. In comparison, bone marrow cells must be used within two to four days of extraction and have a loss of about 60% of cells within about three days.

3. It is easier to collect than bone marrow

Cord blood is collected after the umbilical cord has been cut, so it is entirely safe and does not harm the mother or child. Collecting bone marrow is a much more complicated process that poses risks and can be very painful.

4. It can help treat more than 70 diseases

As of today, cord blood can help treat almost 80 different conditions. Cord blood contains blood-forming stem cells called hematopoietic stem cells; this means it can medicate several blood cancers, including types of leukemia and lymphoma. It also helps treat blood and immune system disorders, such as sickle cell disease.

Americord is a pioneer in the development of umbilical cord blood, cord tissue and placenta tissue banking. The company is registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and does not charge annual storage fees.

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If you’re expecting a child, you may want to look into cord blood banking as a possible safety net to protect your child in case of a worst-case scenario. If you would like to know more about cord blood banking, make sure to read our guide on finding the best cord blood banks.

Here are some great reasons you should bank your baby’s cord blood....
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Chill summertime treats for 2020

Make these 6 delicious snacks and drinks at home

We like to take advantage of the longer days by spending time outdoors with family. But after a day of running around outside, nothing tastes better than a fruity snack or bubbly beverage. Find some of our top recipes for easy summertime treats below.

1. Homemade popsicles

Homemade popsicles are a great frozen treat for pool days! Pour your favorite juice or soda into a BPA-free mold and freeze it overnight — the next day, you’re ready to go.

  • Makes 6 3.3-oz popsicles
  • Premium food-grade silicone

Buy on Amazon

2. Lavender basil soda

The summer heat makes some of us want to sit around and sip all day. This lavender-basil mocktail (alcohol-free!) is easy to make in batches for the whole family. First, muddle a few sprigs of basil from your garden or the grocery store in a pitcher. Then, stir in lavender syrup and chilled club soda or seltzer and pour over ice. You can garnish with basil as the final touch.

  • 750 ml
  • Allergen-free, dairy-free, gluten-free

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3. Acai bowls

Acai bowls are simple and full of antioxidants. Blend raw acai powder with frozen bananas and apple juice, then top it with honey, granola and other fruits. This healthy treat is a favorite with both children and adults.

  • 8-oz bag
  • Low in simple sugar

Buy on Amazon

4. Grilled peaches and ice cream

Easily pit and slice ripe peaches with this handy tool. Then, coat the peaches with oil, throw them on the grill for a few minutes until golden brown — about four to five minutes — and top with a dollop of ice cream. Pro tip: You can be sure a peach is ripe if the stem is white or golden.

  • Cuts 12 slices
  • Dishwasher safe

Buy on Amazon

5. Avocado toast

The hype is real and it’s easy — simply smoosh avocado slices onto your choice of toasted bread and top with salt. With this little avocado cutter, you can easily slice each half into perfect pieces. Try adding a smidge of lemon juice for some zest!

  • 3-in-1 slicer
  • Nonslip grip

Buy on Amazon

6. Homemade ice cream

Homemade ice cream is another treat that the family can make together during hot summer afternoons! This ice cream maker comes with an instruction book and recipes. It makes up to two quarts of frozen yogurt, sorbet and other yummy frozen desserts.

  • 8.25” x 8.00” x 11.25”
  • Double-insulated 2-quart bowl

Buy on Amazon

These super simple recipes should make it easy to beat the heat! For upgraded kitchen appliances that help you bring even more to the table, check out our guide to appliance brands.

Chill summertime treats for 2020...
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9 items to help your teenager drive safely

Tools to help kids get home safely

There's nothing quite as terrifying as the first time your teenager hops into the driver's seat without you. To help alleviate some of that worry, we've put together some top products that help make your teen a safer driver on and off the road.

1. Blind-spot mirrors

These mirrors help your teen quickly check their blind spots without constantly looking over their shoulder. These are fantastic for any driver, but they are especially reassuring for those new behind the wheel.

  • Adjustable side mirrors
  • Comes with adhesive

Buy on Amazon

2. Jumper cables with battery packs

Jumper cables are an essential item for any driver. Unlike other cables, these are battery-powered so that your teen can get a jump without another car nearby. No stranger danger!

  • Mistake-proof design
  • 1-year warranty

Buy on Amazon

3. Flat tire repair kit

Flat tires happen everywhere, from highways to backroads. Make sure your teen is prepared to fix a flat in a pinch with a repair kit that comes in handy if they forget (or never listened to) your tire-changing lesson.

  • 3-month money-back guarantee
  • 62-piece repair kit

Buy on Amazon

4. Electric car jack

In case your new driver needs to change their tire completely, an electric car jack makes the process much simpler. This electric jack comes with a built-in flashlight and a toolbox set with the equipment needed to change out a tire. Plus, it only takes two minutes to reach full extension.

  • Includes toolbox
  • Built-in flashlight

Buy on Amazon

5. Bluetooth adapter

Teens driving older cars can use this Bluetooth device to make it hands-free. Once set up, smartphones automatically connect to play music, make calls and provide navigation — all by using voice commands.

  • Flexible gooseneck
  • LCD display

Buy on Amazon

6. Car dashcam

If you really want to keep an eye on your driver, you can install a driving cam that records your teen's driving patterns. Bonus features include a backup mirror and a motion detector to avoid collisions.

  • Clear night image
  • 24-hour parking monitor feature

Buy on Amazon

7. Cell phone holder

It's hard to find the right phone holder for your car. Sometimes they fall off the air vent, and other times they're just too complicated to install. This holder has a simple installation process and a magnetic clip for easy release.

  • Rotates 360 degrees
  • Easy setup

Buy on Amazon

8. Roadside lights

Roadside strobe lights are an excellent safety measure for your new teen. If their car dies on the side of the road at night, these lights ensure that other vehicles see them.

  • Requires 12 AAA batteries
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee

Buy on Amazon

9. Console organizers

Sometimes, a messy car is enough to distract an inexperienced driver. Avoid that distraction with these organizers that slide between consoles. Your teen can put everything they need there and keep their vehicle clean.

  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Fits space between 0.47” - 2.1”

Buy on Amazon

Living with a teen driver doesn't have to be scary with the right tools and preparation. The more confident they feel, the better they can focus on the road. For all those possible mishaps, it’s important to have the right auto insurance coverage. To help you find the right carrier, check out our car insurance guide.

9 items to help your teenager drive safely...
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Our favorite summertime backyard toys for kids

Get your kids outside this summer with these items

Kids today have an abundance of entertainment options, but most of them involve staying indoors and staring at a screen. However, it’s vital all kids get a chance to go outside and get some exercise. To help draw your little ones outdoors, we’ve picked a few of our favorite items to keep them occupied.

Splash pad

This large splash pad will provide hours of fun for your kids and their friends. The water height is adjustable, and all you need is a hose.

  • 18-months and up
  • 100% money-back guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Tot slide

This beginner slide for toddlers is an interactive way to start incorporating more playground activity into their day.

  • 3-feet long
  • Can be used inside or outside

Buy on Amazon

Outdoor sandbox

This sandbox comes with built-in benches and a shade to keep your kids out of the sun while they play. Bring some water into the play area to make sandcastles!

  • ASTM and CPSIA certified
  • Waterproof canopy included

Buy on Amazon

Platform swing

Hang this giant swing from a sturdy mount and watch the good times roll! Your kid can even fit a group of their friends on it and swing away. Pro tip: It could be a great pretend pirate ship!

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Portable

Buy on Amazon

Cornhole game

Introduce your kids to the classic game of cornhole with this small and portable board. You can also reverse the board for a fun game of tic-tac-toe!

  • Comes with 10 beanbags
  • Lightweight storage bag included

Buy on Amazon

Water blasters

These easy-to-fill water blasters can be taken to the park, camping or the backyard for some major fun.

  • 6 water blasters included
  • 10.24-inches long

Buy on Amazon

A spinning water sprinkler

Who didn’t love running and yelling through a water sprinkler as a kid? This cute turtle sprinkler will splash water around, and the giggles won’t stop!

  • Ages 3+
  • Water spray at all angles

Buy on Amazon

Waterslide

Perfect for hosting a summer party or everyday use, this waterslide will keep kids active, outside and playing without a video game in sight.

  • Suitable for parents and children
  • 18-feet long

Buy on Amazon

Summer is the best time to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Enjoy these picks for keeping cool and active during the hot vacation months!

Check out these great outdoor items to get your kids some fresh air....
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Our favorite sunglass styles of 2020

Looking for a great pair of sunglasses? We got you covered

Summer fashion is different from the other seasons. In the fall or winter, you can wear a sweater or fun socks to bring your outfit together. In the summer, fashion relies on little touches like a great pair of sunglasses perched on your head. Take a look (pun intended) at our top styles for sunglasses this year to bring your summer style together.

Oversized round sunglasses

Oversized round glasses, especially tortoiseshell versions, bring a vintage look to any outfit. These men’s and women’s sunglasses are big and fresh and match most styles.

  • UV400 protection
  • 4 colors available

Buy on Amazon

Small and round sunglasses

These sunglasses are the opposite of the larger-frame glasses. Their small round frames are highly reflective, very on-trend right now and look great for a fun day outdoors.

  • UV400 protection
  • 6 colors available

Buy on Amazon

Rimless sunglasses

Rimless sunglasses continue to be popular for a reason! These glasses give a splash to any outfit - whether it’s for work or play.

  • Polarized
  • 29 colors or duo-packs available

Buy on Amazon

Classic sunglasses

These classic-shaped sunglasses make a subtle statement without too much effort.

  • Polarized
  • 100% UV (UVA & UVB) protection

Buy on Amazon

Cat-eye white sunglasses

Take white sunglasses to the next level with these ultra-fun cat-eye glasses. These shades bring a sassy and fun look for those summertime afternoon cocktail parties.

  • Nonpolarized
  • UV400 protection

Buy on Amazon

Green sunglasses

These vintage sunglasses are fun! The transparent green frames bring freshness to any adventure; plus, they come with a cute case to tuck them away.

  • Polarized
  • UV400 protection
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Futuristic framed sunglasses

These chunky glasses exude cool vibes. Pair them with pretty much anything for an extra-edgy look that goes with a European summertime style.

  • Nonpolarized
  • UV400 protection
  • 5 colors available

Buy on Amazon

Small and vintage

These little sunglasses are slightly cat-eye and completely charming. The small frames will complement most face shapes and lend an air of sophistication.

  • Polarized
  • UV400 protection

Buy on Amazon

Polygon sunglasses

A twist on the small round glasses, these polygon-edged frames will add some sass to your outfit.

  • Polarized
  • 9 colors available

Buy on Amazon

Flattop sunglasses

Unconventionally cool, these flattop frames add just a hint of sporty to an oversized look.

  • Nonpolarized
  • 25 colors or duo packs available

Buy on Amazon

Classic Black

Occasionally, you might want a style that sticks around through the years. These simple black frames are just plain timeless.

  • Polarized
  • 100% UV protection

Buy on Amazon

Round flower sunglasses

These sunglasses have just the right touch of floral for this summer.

  • 100% UV protection
  • 3 colors available

Buy on Amazon

Sunglasses go with you everywhere during the summer, from work to the beach. Choose your favorites — the pair that makes you smile the most — because you’ll be seeing a lot of them in the next few months!

The summer season is in full effect, so here are our favorite sunglass styles of 2020....
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Best practices for summer grass care

We ask an expert how to treat the most common types of grass

The following companies participate in our Authorized Partner Program: TruGreen

The summer heat can be detrimental to your lawn, especially the grass. We asked Brian Feldman, who has a degree in plant science and directs technical operations at TruGreen, to break down how to keep the common types of grasses green.

Tall fescue

Tall fescue is a robust species of grass that thrives in many environments. It’s resistant to drought and has the best heat tolerance of the northern grasses. These grasses have a medium-fine texture, very prominent veins on the leaf blades and a pinkish color at the stems.

  • Popular areas: Mid-Atlantic, parts of the Northeast and Midwest, Central Plains and Southeast

Recommended treatments: Tall fescue grass should be mowed as high as possible, roughly three to four inches. Try to mow about once per week, or less often if you live in an area affected by drought. It’s best to water in the mornings three or four times per week (not every day). Usually, there’s no need to fertilize or apply weed control treatments in the summer.

Kentucky bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass has a good tolerance for traffic and cold but poor shade tolerance. Under the right conditions, it can grow lush and vibrant. These grasses have a boat-shaped tip, a prominent midvein and medium texture.

  • Popular areas: Northeast, Midwest, Plains, Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Mountain region

Recommended treatments: Since Kentucky bluegrass has a relatively shallow root system, it’s essential to keep it watered during dry spells. During the summer, it should be mowed at 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Keep an eye out for white grubs and sod webworms — insecticides may be required.

Perennial ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is known for its fast germination and annual regrowth. It has excellent traffic tolerance but the least heat and drought tolerance of northern grasses. These grasses have prominent midveins, glossy leaf surfaces and reddish coloring at the base of the stems.

  • Popular areas: Northeast, Midwest, Plains, Upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Mountain region

Recommended treatments: Perennial ryegrass requires medium levels of water, so you need to water two or three times weekly during the summer. It should be mowed at 2.5 to 3.5 inches once or twice each week. Ryegrass is prone to thatch development, which can be remedied with annual aeration.

Zoysia grass

Zoysia grass is a popular grass in warmer climates because it’s known to do well against heat. It has a medium to fine texture and no prominent midvein on the leaf surface.

  • Popular areas: Zoysia grass is common throughout the U.S. but most prominent in the Southeast

Recommended treatments: It’s smart to water Zoysia grass an inch or so each week. It should be mowed at one to 2.5 inches. Applications to treat crabgrass, sand spurs and other weeds are sometimes necessary during the summer. Depending on the type of soil where you live, aerification might also benefit your yard.

St. Augustine grass

St. Augustine tends to do very well in southern states, especially around the gulf, because it thrives in heat and humidity. This grass has the best shade tolerance of the southern grasses. However, it’s also the most susceptible to insects and diseases and has poor cold resilience. It has a coarse texture and a prominent midvein.

  • Popular areas: Florida, Texas and parts of California

Recommended treatments: St. Augustine grass will likely require fertilizer and insecticides during the summer to treat chinch bugs and patches. Bluish patches mean the grass is too dry — try irrigating with about an inch of water. Yellow spots typically indicate a nutrient deficiency that can be cleared up with potassium and nitrogen applications. Like tall fescue grass, it should be mowed as high as three to four inches.

Bermuda grass

Bermuda grass handles heat, humidity and high traffic very well. These grasses are known for efficient water usage, good drought tolerance and poor shade tolerance. It has a fine texture and no prominent midvein on the leaf surface.

  • Popular areas: Southeast, Florida, South Central and Southern California

Recommended treatments: Bermuda grasses benefit from summer fertilizer applications. It should be mowed at one to 2.5 inches — try to mow often enough that each time you cut less than one-third of the blade. You can water Bermuda grass up to four times each week but should only use about half an inch of water at a time.

Taking care of your lawn is a critical step to beautifying your house, and we hope Brian Feldman at TruGreen was able to guide you in the right direction. For more information about caring for your lawn, check out our guides on lawn care services and garden equipment.

Expert summer grass advice...
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7 tax tips in the era of COVID-19

Handle tax debt and take advantage of tax credits in 2020

The IRS is back at work and sending notifications as the July 15 tax deadline quickly approaches. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, more people are looking for tax relief than ever before. If you need some advice on paying taxes this year, here are some tips that can help.

1. File by July 15 or ask for an October extension

Good for: Anyone filing a tax return

This spring, the federal government announced it extended the usual April 15 tax deadline to July 15. Most states have also allowed for delays for payments and filing, but it’s smart to check your state’s website. If you want help filling out your taxes, consider using tax filing software.

Like any other year, you can apply for an October extension to file your taxes. However, this doesn’t extend the deadline for paying taxes, so only use it if you need more time to file. The IRS website has more information on filing extensions with the right forms.

If you know you can’t make these deadlines for payment, look into tax relief services. Professional tax relief experts have experience negotiating with the IRS and can help you deal with unpaid taxes and make payment plans.

2. Borrow cash from your IRA

Good for: People with an IRA

Usually, withdrawing money from an IRA before the age of 59½ comes with a hefty penalty (this rule encourages individuals to save up for retirement). However, the IRS has temporarily changed this rule.

You can now withdraw up to $100,000 from an IRA account without penalty. If repaid within three years (i.e., recontribute the withdrawn amount back into the account), there are no tax consequences. This penalty-free withdrawal option is currently in effect through the rest of 2020.

3. Apply for the Earned Income Tax Credit

Good for: Working people with lower incomes

If you have a moderate or low income, you might qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. This credit can help you pay less in taxes, but certain restrictions apply. Visit the IRS website to learn more and see if you qualify for EITC.

4. Apply for the child tax credit benefits

Good for: Taxpayers with at least one child claimed as a dependent

With child tax credit benefits, taxpayers can receive up to $2,000 per qualifying child. The credit applies to a wide variety of incomes, so almost all households qualify. Visit the IRS website to find out if your child or dependent qualifies.

5. Apply for the Child and Dependent Care Credit

Good for: Those with a child under 13 or a spouse incapable of self-care

The Child and Dependent Care Credit covers up to 35% of the expenses needed to provide for a child or an adult incapable of self-care. The total costs used to calculate the credit can be up to $3,000 per person or $6,000 for two or more. You can find out if you’re eligible to claim this credit on the IRS website.

6. Follow up on your stimulus check

Good for: Consumers who haven’t received a stimulus check yet

Congress passed the CARES Act to provide financial assistance through stimulus checks, but some people have not yet received the funds. Here are some possible reasons why your stimulus check is missing:

  • You aren’t eligible: Check to make sure you’re eligible for stimulus payments.
  • Invalid banking information: The IRS is using information from 2018 or 2019 tax returns for payments. If the information is incorrect, the IRS should send a check in the mail instead, but this could cause a delay.
  • You didn’t file in 2018 or 2019: If you didn’t file previously but are still eligible for a stimulus check, consult the IRS page on nonfilers to see what to do next.

The IRS website has more useful information on stimulus checks, including an online tracker.

7. Work with a tax relief company

Good for: Those with tax debt more than $10,000

If you already have tax debt and are worried about not being able to pay your taxes, consider working with a tax relief company. Common tax relief options include:

  • Offer-in-compromise: This program decreases your tax liability, so you pay less.
  • Installment agreement: Under this program, you pay off your tax debt monthly.
  • Penalty abatement: This administrative waiver is for those with outstanding failure-to-file, failure-to-pay and failure-to-deposit penalties.

To learn more about tax relief, read the ConsumerAffairs Tax Relief Guide, or get matched with our Authorized Partner quiz.

7 tax tips for 2020...
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Summer lawn care Q&A

We asked an expert how to care for your lawn this summer

The following company participates in our Authorized Partner Program: TruGreen

Your lawn is the first thing most people see when they come to your house. Unfortunately, the summer weather isn’t conducive for a green, lush yard. We asked TruGreen’s Director of Technical Operations Brian Feldman, who has a bachelor’s degree in plant science, about common lawn issues people face and how to treat them.

What are the biggest lawn care issues people face during the summer?

The summer months typically present many challenges for lawns. According to Feldman, here’s what to look out for: 

  • Insects: Grubs, chinch bugs and sod webworms
  • Weeds: Crabgrass, sedge and spotted spurge
  • Fungi: Brown patch, dollar spot, summer patch and fairy ring 

“Opportunistic weeds can begin to invade thin or stressed areas of the lawn,” Feldman said. He also warns people to watch out for fungi. “Various fungal diseases begin to be more prevalent during this time, especially when temperatures remain over 70 degrees during the night and humidity is high.” 

In addition to natural invaders, your lawn is prone to drought stress as days get longer, hotter and drier. 

“Mowing and watering correctly is extremely important during the summer months to prevent these issues,” Feldman said. “When done correctly, the lawn will remain more resilient to these challenges.”

How do I keep my lawn from dying in the summer?

With lawn care, prevention is the best medicine. “It’s important to inspect the lawn regularly during the summer months and be prepared to treat any problems areas found,” Feldman said. “Because there are so many maladies that can arise during the summer, routine inspection is critical.”

Feldman makes it simple: “All living things need water.” If you don’t receive that much natural rainfall, irrigate with at least 1 inch of water each week.

“Irrigation is best when administered once or twice a week rather than every day. Heavy, infrequent watering of 1 inch per week is much better than light watering of 0.25 inches four days in a row,” according to Feldman.

“Heavy, infrequent irrigation allows water to penetrate deeper into the soil profile, therefore training roots to grow deep. The deeper and more extensive roots grow, the more water they have the ability to capture and the less prone they are to drought stress.”

What treatments should I put on my lawn in the summer?

“Warm-season grasses grow most vigorously during the summer, so they need more nutrients during this time,” Feldman said. Light rates of fertilization are sometimes needed with cool-season grasses. However, be careful not to overdo it — too much fertilizer during the summer heat can burn your lawn and leave it worse off than before.

Additional sprays or treatments should be applied when needed. “Depending upon the issues found during an inspection, be prepared to target-apply for weeds, insects and diseases accordingly,” Feldman said. It’s smart to treat these problems before they mature and cause more damage.

With lawn care, identifying your problems and having the right solutions is critical to achieving the best-looking yard on the block.

“Often, specific issues require prescriptive control measures,” Feldman said. Materials used to control chinch bugs are not the same as those that control grubs, and materials used to control crabgrass are different than those aimed at controlling sedges.

How do I keep my grass green in hot weather?

Water is the most significant factor in keeping lawns green during the summer months. An inch of heavy, infrequent irrigation is best.

Another tip: Mow it high! The longer the grass, the healthier your lawn is during the summer months. This is especially true for cool-season grasses. Some warm-season grasses don’t precisely fit this general rule of thumb — for example, Bermuda grass is an exception.

“The longer the grass blade, the greater the ability grass has to conserve and protect itself from the long, hot days of summer,” Feldman said. “Also, lawns look much greener when mowed high during the summer months.”

What time of day should I do lawn care?

Generally, the best time to mow is in the midmorning, when the sun is higher and the grass has dried out from any early-morning dew. Late afternoon can also be a good time to mow.

“It’s the most efficient time to allow water to penetrate into the soil before the sun rays start evaporation. Any surface water after irrigation will evaporate quickly, lessening disease pressure as well,” Feldman said.

Avoid cutting grass during the hottest times of the day to reduce stress on your lawn. Feldman recommends watering in the morning rather than the evening to lessen the chance of disease pressure associated with wet grass during the extended night hours when fungal infections can set in.

We hope these answers from Brian Feldman at TruGreen helped answer your summer lawn care issues. It’s safe to say that to manage your yard this summer, you might need more tools in your shed. If you want a professional to take a closer look at your lawn, search our guide of great lawn care companies.

Expert summer lawn care tips...
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Great 4th of July deals you shouldn’t pass up

If you’re looking for a fantastic 4th of July deal, check out our list

We all know that holidays can sometimes open the doorway for great deals, and this Fourth of July is no different. If you want to get more bang for your buck this Fourth and need a little advice on where to go, check out our list of great holiday deals.

Mattresses

There are very few things in life that really affect your day-to-day quality of life, and one of them is bad sleep. The lifespan of your mattress can vary wildly, and whether you need a new one is based on your level of comfort, the age of the mattress and whether you followed care instructions. If your bed feels like a lumpy mess and you want to invest in better sleep, you should check out these deals.

Casper

  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed
  • Virtual appointments available

Shop Now

Puffy

  • $300 off
  • Free pillow

Shop Now

Idle Sleep

  • Free adjustable base with purchase
  • 30% off entire website

Shop Now

Saatva

  • $200 off $1000+, applied at checkout

Shop Now

Beautyrest (OFFER EXPIRED)

  • Save up to $300 on mattresses
  • Sale ends 7/13

Tuft & Needle (OFFER EXPIRED)

  • Spend $800, save $150.
  • Spend $1200, save $250.
  • Sale ends 7/7

Eight Sleep

  • Up to $250 off the Pod Pro and Sleep Essentials

Shop Now

Nolah

  • 25% off mattresses
  • 20% off adjustable bases
  • 40% off bedding

Shop Now

Leesa (OFFER EXPIRED)

  • Up to $350 off mattresses
  • Free organic sheets (up to $159 value)

Awara (OFFER EXPIRED)

  • Get $350 off
  • 10 trees planted for every purchase

Nest Bedding (OFFER EXPIRED)

  • Save 20% site-wide when you spend $150 or more
  • Use code "FIREWORKS"

Travel

Traveling has been dramatically reduced because of recent events, but the summer is a great time to plan future journeys. And with online travel sites, choosing the perfect destination is easier than ever. Whether it’s your next big family vacation or a quick trip for one, check out these deals that will help get you up and out in no time.

Enterprise

  • Free single upgrade if available

Shop Now

Choice Hotels (OFFER EXPIRED)

  • Members save 25% booking a 3-night stay
  • For stays between 7/1/20 - 7/7/20

Appliances

There are plenty of Fourth of July foods and drinks you can make with great appliances, but what do you do if yours are old, broken or you still haven’t purchased that perfect blender? We tracked down this great Fourth of July deal on all the appliances you may need.

Appliances Connection

  • Summer exclusive deals up to 50% off

Shop Now

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate, but it can also be a great time to shop. And if you are having a party this year, remember to have proper homeowners insurance to protect your home and guests from misadventure.

Our favorite deals not to be missed this 4th of July weekend....
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American flag gear to celebrate 4th of July in style

Celebrate the 4th in style

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate our freedom, so why do it in your plain old clothes? Pick out a fun pair of sunglasses or go the whole mile in a star-spangled jumpsuit! Whatever your plans are this holiday, do them with style!

Women’s

Festive tank top

With the weather getting warmer, why bother with sleeves? Enjoy the sun with this vintage tank top and sport a classic look for the Fourth of July.

  • Cotton Blend
  • Available from X-small to X-large

Buy on Amazon

American flag shorts

These adorable flag shorts are perfect for whatever plans you have this holiday. Tuck a white T-shirt in to create a stylish July Fourth outfit!

  • Spandex/polyester blend
  • Available from small to 2X-large

Buy on Amazon

Fourth of July leggings

While celebrating the Fourth, you should always keep comfort in mind. Show your excitement with these super-soft and patriotic leggings.

  • Leggings come with hat
  • Available from small to X-large

Buy on Amazon

Men’s

U.S. flag tuxedo T-shirt

This fun tuxedo U.S. flag shirt will have you dressed for success for any occasion. With this shirt, you can have some fun while showing your patriotism.

  • Cotton blend
  • Available in small to 5X-large

Buy on Amazon

American flag dress socks

We love these bright American flag dress socks. Whether hidden under slacks or on full display, these patriotic socks can bring a smile to your face.

  • Cotton blend
  • Sizes from 6 - 12

Buy on Amazon

Swim trunks

If you’re spending the holiday by the water, you should definitely check out these trunks. They’re great for the lake but can also work as stylish shorts for the Fourth.

  • 100% Polyester
  • Available in small to 4X-large

Buy on Amazon

Children’s

Dino-flag shirt

This dino-flag shirt is so cute! The little print on the shirt adds even more to the celebration, and you won’t be able to stop snapping shots of your little one enjoying the Fourth!

  • Breathable, stretchy and soft
  • Available in small to X-large

Buy on Amazon

Girl’s flag swimsuit

Your kid will look great in this adorable stars-and-stripes two-piece swimsuit. Enjoy the day in the pool or out sunbathing!

  • 82% nylon/18% spandex
  • Machine-washable

Buy on Amazon

Fun

A U.S. jumpsuit

Go all out this Fourth with a zip-up, one-piece jumpsuit. With all the craziness of this suit, your friends might not realize it’s you!

  • Double-panel construction with reinforced seams
  • Machine-washable

Buy on Amazon

Fourth-themed sunglasses

Whether you’re having a small get-together or partying on Zoom, everyone will appreciate these patriotic and fun shades. They come in packs of two, so you’ll have an extra for a family member or friend

  • 2-count
  • Microfiber storage pouch included

Buy on Amazon

Stars and stripes headband

This colorful headband will show your excitement for the Fourth and let you look good while doing it.

  • 100% cotton
  • Fits adults, children and even pets

Buy on Amazon

We hope you found something perfect for your celebrations with this fun list of Fourth of July outfit options. You can never have too many stars and stripes!

Here are our favorite patriotic outfits to celebrate this 4th of July....
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How to make your home more comfortable after quarantine

6 items for a more pleasant space

Quarantine has taught us a lot about how meaningful our own spaces can be. With a few additional products, your time at home can be just as exciting as going out — and much comfier. Here are some of our top picks for sprucing up your daily home lives.

A houseplant (or two)

Indoor plants come with several health benefits, including carbon dioxide and pollutant reduction. Plus, they look amazing and may even brighten your mood. Find one that fits your space, character and skill level — try starting with a succulent and work up from there!

  • Online houseplant decor and care tips
  • Succulents available

Shop on 1-800 Flowers

A neck massager

A neck massager might not make your space cozier, but it can help you relax. No need to visit a masseuse when you feel stressed; instead, pop this handy massager onto your neck and enjoy.

  • Ergonomic and compact
  • 1-year exchange policy

Buy on Amazon

Furry seat cushions

Being at home more has made some of us realize exactly how uncomfortable our chairs are. Add a touch of fancy with faux-fur seat cushions! Your back (and future guests, eventually… ) will appreciate it.

  • Select from 8 different colors
  • Available in 2 sizes

Buy on Amazon

Blackout curtains

Blackout curtains have many functions. They help limit outside light, insulate your home and keep noise from entering through the windows. Use them to put an end to screen glare or take the perfect mid-afternoon nap.

  • Blocks 85% - 99% of UV light
  • Multiple colors to choose

Buy on Amazon

A colorful tapestry

Artless walls were fine when you rarely stopped to sit down in your living room. These days, though, all that white space can leave you feeling empty on the inside. A tapestry is a cost-effective way to fill the colorless void in any room.

  • 60” x 40”
  • Suitable for indoors and outdoors

Buy on Amazon

At-home movie projector

As studios premiere more films on streaming services, why not elevate your movie-watching experience at home? You can have your own little theater outside or in your living room with a mini-projector. Stay in, pop some popcorn and enjoy!

  • Optional protection plan
  • Compatible with TV Stick, PS4, HDMI, TF, AV, USB

Buy on Amazon

Some businesses are starting to open their doors, but many consumers are still avoiding crowds and staying at home. With these products, we hope to help you keep your home comfortable, functional and fresh. And if you want a more significant upgrade for your home, check out our smart home automation guide.

6 items to make your life more comfortable during lockdown...
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What you need to spruce up your bathroom

Here are some exceptional items to make your bathroom your happy place

Everyone wants to have a fantastic bathroom, but a full remodel can take more time, effort and cash than you might want to spend on a small space. If you want to get organized and feel happy about the way your bathroom looks, we can help. Below are some of our favorite items to make your bathroom feel like a new space.

Makeup organizer

One of the most challenging things to manage in a bathroom is all the clutter. An excellent first step to revitalize any room is getting organized. This organizer can declutter your counter, keep your things arranged and give the room more space.

  • Clear, acrylic material
  • Money-back guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Shower curtain

Who likes a dirty, dreary old shower curtain? Brighten up your bathroom with a sparkling new one! We love this plant-themed shower curtain for its modern look, and it’s a simple way to bring a new vibe into your space.

  • Shower hooks included
  • Various sizes available

Buy on Amazon

Memory foam bathroom rug

You probably stand in your bathroom far longer than you realize, so why not upgrade your experience with a foam bathroom rug? These matching rugs come in several colors and help keep your feet comfy.

  • Multiple colors available
  • Machine wash and dry

Buy on Amazon

Bathroom towel rack

These floating shelves are a classy and functional addition to any bathroom. They have a space for your towels and other bathroom items, as well as handy hooks and a rack for wet items and your robe.

  • 2 shelves included
  • Money-back guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Toothbrush holder and sanitizer

Take cleanliness to the next level with this toothbrush sanitizer. This device sanitizes and dries your toothbrushes every four hours using UVC rays. It’s also a handy way to store your brushes off the counter and save space.

  • Cleans up to 5 brushes
  • 99.9% sterilization rate

Buy on Amazon

Bathroom canvases

The easiest way to liven up a room is through artwork, so why not hang some new canvas art on the walls? These matching prints will introduce some great colors and a new feel to your space.

  • 12” x 12”
  • Includes all 4 canvases

Buy on Amazon

Shower organizer

An organized shower is a huge part of having a functional bathroom. Put away all those random bath bombs, shampoos and soaps with this hanging organizer. Not only is it practical, but it has a classic finish for a high-end look.

  • Rust-resistant steel
  • 10" x 4" x 22"

Buy on Amazon

Full-length mirror

Having a full-length mirror is a fantastic way to make a smaller bathroom feel more open. It’s also an excellent tool to help you get ready and feel confident before starting your day.

  • 65" x 22"
  • Shatterproof glass

Buy on Amazon

Storage for bathroom products

Unsure where to put cotton balls, Q-tips or other daily products? These clear canisters are perfect for organizing these small items. Plus, they have an upscale style that makes your bathroom look like a whole new space.

  • 3 canisters included
  • Shatterproof

Buy on Amazon

When sprucing up a bathroom, remember to think about what style you’re looking for and the best ways to get organized. For significant bathroom projects that need more elbow grease, read our guide on bathroom remodeling contractors.

Here is our list of items that can bring new life into your bathroom....
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Our top 5 reasons to work with a financial advisor

Financial advisors may help you take control of your cash

Financial advisors are experts that examine your finances. They may help you plan for retirement and help with cash management, investments and any financial problems you may have. There are many reasons to hire a financial advisor — here are our top 5.

1. You’re thinking about retirement

If you are close to or thinking about retirement, an experienced financial advisor may be able to help. By looking at your current situation, discussing your retirement goals and specific planning, you can better prepare for your golden years.

2. Handling finances can be difficult

Most of us don’t have the advanced education and financial background to understand the most prudent way to invest your money. Finding a knowledgeable financial advisor with all the appropriate Financial Industry Regulatory Authority licenses lets you leverage their experience to your advantage.

3. They can help you make the right choice

There are many investment options, including more than 10,000 mutual and exchange-traded funds alone. Navigating a sea this vital for your future can be confusing and put a lot of pressure on you. Sometimes, an experienced financial advisor can make these decisions simpler.

4. You’re embarking on a major life decision

Planning a family, going through a divorce or changing careers are just a few major life events you may experience in the future. When dealing with major life decisions, it may be worth listening to expert opinions from a financial advisor.

5. You have a sudden windfall of money


If you have a sudden influx of money — such as a raise, settlement or lottery win — it could be beneficial to speak with an expert financial advisor to help you make level-headed plans. You may be able to secure a comfortable future by putting your money into a great investment early.

When making a significant life decision, it can be helpful to talk to the right people. When investigating advisors, be sure to do your research and find a company that makes you feel comfortable and is aligned with your goals.

If you're looking to find a financial advisor, click through below to connect with our partners at SmartAsset.

And if you have financial questions you would like answered, check out our partners at JustAnswers.

Looking for reasons to work with a financial advisor? Here are our top 5....
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3 things to consider when shopping for homeowners insurance

Before purchasing homeowners insurance, here are some tips to get you started

Buying a home is a significant step in your life, and protecting your purchase is vital. Homeowners insurance protects you financially if your home, possessions or some surrounding buildings are lost or damaged by disasters like burglary and fire. You can also protect your finances from personal liability in case someone injures themselves on your property.

However, when committing to protect your investment through homeowners insurance, you should always carefully consider all the available options. Here are 3 things to remember when you shop for homeowners insurance.

1. Contact multiple companies

Finding the right policy takes time and research. After looking into several companies, contact at least 3 to discuss which coverage options you need, the cost of deductibles, the liability coverage and the maximum replacement cost. This is also a good time to decide whether you like the company’s customer service. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and take notes you can refer to later.

2. Consider your needed coverage

Like any other insurance plan, you have different options for homeowners insurance coverage. Along with several coverage options for homes, there are policies for co-ops, condominiums, mobile homes and older homes. For most homes, the most common types of coverage include:

  • HO-1: This is considered a “bare-bones” policy that covers 10 perils outlined in the policy.
  • HO-2: This is a broad policy that covers 16 perils outlined in the policy.
  • HO-3: This policy covers all perils but those excluded in the policy.

If a policy doesn’t have a specific type of coverage, ask whether the company has riders available. Riders are additions to your coverage for things like antiques that may cost more to replace than regular items listed as personal property.

3. Always check for discounts

There are several discount options that insurers may offer, such as discounts for bundling policies and lower rates for seniors or military personnel. Some insurers may even give you discounts for upgraded home security or installing a discount-qualifying new roof.

If you’re interested in homeowners insurance, make sure you check out our homeowners insurance guide for more information.for more information. To get started on your shopping, you can contact Allstate or EverQuote for quotes and coverage information.

When searching for homeowners insurance, try to remember these 3 things....
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8 gift ideas for the college graduate in your life

Looking for a great graduation gift? We can help

Graduation ceremonies may have been canceled, pushed back or performed with limitations, but you can still celebrate your graduate's accomplishments. Here are some recommendations to help you find the perfect gift to let them know how proud you are of all of those late study nights.

Glasses that help with screen time

These days, we all spend too much time on our computers, and living a postgraduate life is no different. Blue-light glasses help to block blue light rays that cause eye strain and fatigue when using electronics.

  • Two-pack
  • Block 99% of harmful blue light

Buy on Amazon

A smartwatch

A smartwatch is a great gift option for tech-lovers. This Apple Watch has several functions to help you perform tasks ranging from tracking your exercise routine to answering texts on the run. With a smartwatch, you help ensure your grad is fully connected in this new remote world.

  • Built-in compass and GPS
  • Option to add AppleCare

Buy on Amazon

Meal subscription service

Your grad is about to become an adult, and they might just feel a little intimidated by learning the ins and outs of cooking. Set them up for success with a meal subscription service that sends precooked meals or ingredients with detailed cooking instructions right to their door.

Find out More

A fancy coffee machine

Nothing says adulting like a French press sitting on the counter. Help your grad take on those early mornings of adulthood with better coffee made with a sleek new brewer.

  • Stainless steel
  • Duel filter

Buy on Amazon

An inspirational book

Sometimes, an inspirational book can help a graduate acclimate to their new surroundings. In her memoir, “Becoming,” Michelle Obama tells her story of growing up. She asks tough, thought-provoking questions and shares her experience of breaking expectations and striving for excellence.

  • New York Times bestseller
  • Oprah’s Book Club pick

Buy on Amazon

A Nintendo Switch Lite

Maybe you want to buy your grad a gift that’s more fun and less functional. If so, the hand-held Nintendo Switch Lite is an excellent choice. Grads can play games on the go and virtually with their friends with this device.

  • Available in yellow, grey or pink
  • Optional protection plan

Buy on Amazon

An Instant Pot

An Instant Pot is like the Crock-Pot’s cooler, faster cousin. The Instant Pot is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker and more in one device. It can seriously cut back on food-prep time and is an excellent tool for beginning cooks.

  • Stainless steel cooking pot
  • Optional 4-year protection plan

Buy on Amazon

Amazon Echo

“Alexa, play pomp and circumstance.” Get your grad the perfect gift for their new place: a smart speaker. Amazon’s Echo can play music, set timers and give weather forecasts. It can also control compatible thermostats, lightbulbs and locks.

  • 4 different colors
  • Warranty available

Buy on Amazon

Picking out a college graduation gift can be fun — focus on what your grad loves and what could help them transition best from lecture halls to weekly laundry loads. The class of 2020 may be celebrated virtually, but they should still be rewarded for their hard work.

Show your graduate how proud you are of their accomplishment with these gifts....
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5 ways to spoil your new kitty

You got food, litter and catnip — what else is there?

In June, the American Humane Society encourages people to adopt shelter cats, partly because the kitten population surges each spring. If you've been on the fence about adopting a companion pet this far into 2020, now is the best time to commit.

One of the best ways to enrich your new little friend's environment is with an empty cardboard box (convenient for online shoppers!). Additional low-cost options include laser pointers, ping-pong balls and catnip. However, for more out-of-the-box ideas, here are our suggestions.

1. Outdoor bird feeder

The window is basically your cat's TV, and an outdoor bird feeder is their subscription to Netflix. Cats love looking at birds. It's great because you get to hear those cute chattering-chirping noises when they click their teeth together really fast — it only happens when cats get really excited!

Platform, perch and window bird feeders appear to be most loved by felines. To decide which feeder is right for you, think about what types of birds are most common in your area. Remember to get quality birdseed and keep your feeders clean.

  • 100% clear acrylic
  • Guaranteed for all weather

Buy on Amazon

2. Window perch

Window perches work miraculously to enhance your kitty's environment, especially in tandem with an outdoor bird feeder. We like the Kitty Cot Original World's Best Cat Perch because it's American Humane Society approved and has excellent customer reviews.

  • Easy to clean
  • Sturdy support cables.

Buy on Amazon

3. Interactive robotic cat toy

Even cats with the most independent personalities need mental stimulation. If your work schedule keeps you busy most of the day or you spend large portions of time away from home, you can buy robot cat toys to help keep your cat happy. Robot cat toys, like the one below, are battery operated and run for hours to keep your kitty busy.

  • 360-degree self-rotating ball
  • Built-in spinning LED light

Buy on Amazon

4. Indoor climbing tree

Sometimes called cat condos, climbing trees are great because they let your cat exercise and reduce stress. Kitty can climb, stretch, scratch and nap. We like the 64-inch Feandrea cat activity tree because it comes with sisal-covered scratching posts, a detachable bowl and plenty of places for your cat to nap or play.

  • Includes hammock and cave
  • Anti-toppling design

Buy on Amazon

5. Fancy water bowl

Cats love running water. It keeps them hydrated, healthy and happy. We like the Veken cat water fountain because it lets you easily track how much water your cat is drinking. You must be realistic as a cat owner, though — there’s a chance kitty will still drink out of your toilet.

  • Triple filtration system
  • Includes silicone mat

Buy on Amazon

In addition to these fun toys and accessories, you can spoil your new cat with special cat treats and food. For more information, check out the American Humane Society's cat adoption checklist and be prepared for most cat health issues by reading our guide to pet insurance.

5 ways to spoil your new kitty | ConsumerAffairs...
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Dating while socially distant

Dating while staying distant is difficult, but these tips can help

If you’re single and wanting to mingle, the pandemic can be a problem — but it doesn’t have to be. Now is a great time to sharpen communication skills, slow down and get to know potential partners on an intellectual level. We created a list of what we believe are the top things to help you find love during COVID-19.

Try dating apps:

If you haven’t done much dating online, some of the most popular apps to try are Tinder, OkCupid, Bumble and Hinge. To get started with these apps, you write a quick biographical message, answer some questions relating to what you want and add a few pictures of yourself. Your success on these apps depends on a few factors, including the population of your area, but their basic functions are generally free, so there's minimal risk if you want to check them out.

Tinder is a simple app that focuses on fast searching. It is mostly known as the platform where you swipe right to match with people you like and left to avoid ones you don’t. Unlike other apps, the written information you give is a small part of your profile, so searching for a partner is focused on the images you provide.

OkCupid is a more detail-oriented dating app. In addition to providing a more detailed profile page, the app lets you answer as many questions as you want from a list of thousands. OkCupid designs these questions for an algorithm to find a partner that matches your personality.

Bumble has a swiping system similar to Tinder, but the company designed the matching method with female users in mind. With heterosexual couples, the female has to make first contact within 24 hours of a match, while either person can be the first to connect in a same-sex couple. Bumble also differentiates itself by having a friend and a business mode for making new friends or networking — both great features for the current pandemic.

Hinge skips the swiping process and tries to make connecting more natural. The app believes dialogue is easier to start by letting you comment on a prospective partner's photo or part of their bio. If the partner matches with you, you can then converse in chat.

If you want to avoid the uncertain and endless cycle of swiping and meeting people who may or may not be a good fit, you could join a matchmaking service like LoveAndMatchMaking.com.

Video or phone date:

Once you’ve made a virtual connection, consider moving to a video or voice call. Most dating apps have rolled out video and voice chat features since the pandemic began, so here are a few tips that can help make the best of these forms of contact.

  • Dress to impress: You don’t need to wear a suit, but at least put on a clean, stylish shirt or top. If you look good, you’re going to feel more confident and likely make more of an effort to make a date.
  • Clean up your space: You never know where the conversation could go. You might end up showing off your collection of house plants, an adorable pet or a recent home improvement project. Take some time to clean your home before your date.
  • 40-minute run time
  • Cord-free

Buy on Amazon

  • Be on time: Being on time shows you care and take the person on the other side of the conversation seriously and can treat them with respect. Life happens, though — I’m late to things all the time. When I can see I may be late, I just shoot the other person a message saying, “So sorry! Running five minutes behind!” It’s also a great idea to add your dates to your calendar app, so you don’t forget.
  • Have good lighting: This might sound unnecessary, but virtually everyone looks better under warm, slightly dimmed lighting. It hides blemishes a bit and generally feels more romantic. Not too dim though — you’re not a cave dweller. I’m a big fan of dimmable and adjustable-warmth smart lights from Wyze. I usually start my video dates out on my balcony so I can show off the sunset view and turn a smart bulb through the Wyze app once the light gets dark. I also have Lutron Caseta Smart dimmers for my living room. If you really want to show off your face, you might take the opposite approach and get a Ring light.
  • Find a quiet space: Many of us are sheltering from home with family or roommates. Just let everyone know that you need a quiet space and want a room to yourself. Most people will respect that. If you can’t ensure a tranquil area, be sure to let your date know someone else is around or may make a sudden burst of noise. Some people might be offended to find out someone else could hear their call if they aren’t told up front.
  • Camera and audio equipment can also be important: The 2 most common ways to have a video date are on your phone or your laptop. If you’re using your phone, get a stand or something else to prop it up. Your arm is going to get tired after 20 minutes if you try to hold it. I recommend a simple cradle stand if you’re sitting at a table; if you’re elsewhere, a bendable, clamp-based stand is helpful. If you’re on a computer, I recommend sitting at a table — computers can get quite hot while video chatting. You might also want to upgrade your computer video with an external webcam. A good choice is the Allinko 880, but many 720p or 1080p webcams will offer a better image than the built-in webcam on your laptop.

If you get a second date, it’s time to be more creative.

It’s tough to form relationships without some sort of shared experience. So after the first date, you might have to go a little further than just talking with each other.

  • Consider a date night where you order each other takeout, have it delivered at the same time and eat together. There are some great food delivery apps that can help.
  • Try a movie night. Watching a show at the same time and chatting with an app like Netflix Party can be fun and spur conversations about a movie, show or other topics.
  • You can even play games with apps like Houseparty and Jackbox. The one caveat here is that most games are made for more than 2 players, so this is perfect if you want to expand into having a double date with another couple. And you get the added bonus of seeing how well your date interacts with your friends or if you like their friends.

Even with the safety measures put into place, socially distant dating can be an interesting experience. It may even become a great story of how you first met your significant other!

Looking to date while remaining socially distant? Check out our tips....
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9 items to take your camping trip to the next level

Save yourself some headaches by bringing these items on your next camping trip

Camping is an excellent way to vacation for a quick weekend or extended holiday, and the most successful camping trips are the ones in which you have the right gear. Here's our list of products that help provide a more enjoyable camping experience.

1. Portable fan

A portable fan has multiple uses around your campsite. You can use it to create white noise while you sleep and to circulate air inside your tent. Additionally, you can use it to direct smoke from your fire in one direction. With a portable fan, you can keep yourself cool from every angle.

2. Lanyard hanger

Instead of hanging your clothing on trees, bring a lanyard hanger to keep your clothes and towels dry. With this line, you can also hang items you do not want to leave on the ground, including jackets, supplies and cookware.

3. Folding table

Make meal prep and meal distribution easier with a small folding table. It’s much easier to cut and serve off a table than your lap or the ground, and you can use it for games when you and your friends stay up late.

4. Coffee maker

We all know that coffee is an essential part of the morning, so why change things while camping? Sleeping in a different environment can be difficult, so be sure you start your day right with your favorite cup of joe. By using a portable coffee maker, you don't have to leave all the comforts at home!

5. Canopy tent

Sitting outside in the sun can take its toll on you. If you have a foldable and easy-to-carry canopy, you always have shade on your trip. It's lightweight and portable so that you can move it around your campsite with ease.

6. Indoor/outdoor mat

It's always nice to step on something soft when you wake up in the morning. Whether you sleep in a camper or a tent, a mat lets you avoid stepping on rocks, twigs and mud when you put on your shoes outside. A mat also helps everyone's shoes and living space stay clean.

7. Water carrier

Water is a staple for any camping trip. Having a jug of drinking water is always a great idea because you don't know what the water quality will be at your campsite. You can also use this large jug to refill your water bottles all weekend.

8. Portable charcoal grill

Not good with fires? Just bring along a portable grill for all your cooking needs. It's easy to start and lightweight, so you can take it anywhere around the campsite.

9. Electric skillet

Don't want to make a fire? You won't have to worry about propane or charcoal if you bring along an electric skillet. You can use it for bacon and eggs in the morning or hamburgers and potatoes in the evening.

Camping is fun, even if it is in your backyard. If you're into RV camping, make sure your insurance is up-to-date by checking our RV insurance resource. And if you have any other camping suggestions, let us know in the comments below.

Ready for a big camping trip? Check out our list of items to help make that trip memorable....
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Products to keep your lawn looking great this summer

Summertime has its own lawn problems, so check out these tips for a little help

Your lawn is the first thing people see when they pull up to your house, so why let it deteriorate during the summer? The following are some summer-specific tips that can help keep your front yard looking fantastic.

Water in the morning or evening

As the season warms, so does the ground. If you water during the regular daytime hours, the heat can evaporate water on your lawn's surface before it has a chance to soak into the ground. Choose a time in the morning or evening to water your garden — it saves water and keeps you out of the heat.

  • Made of durable steel
  • Weather-resistant

Buy on Amazon

Water deeply

With the rising heat in some areas, you want to water a little deeper than most times of the year. During the morning or evening hours, water your lawn like usual, then take a trowel or screwdriver and make sure the water reaches a depth of around 5 inches.

  • Sprays up to 90’ in diameter
  • Gooseneck connection

Buy on Amazon

Keep your mower blades sharp

As we already mentioned, retaining moisture during these warmer months is critical. If your lawnmower blades are dull, they can tear up the grass instead of cutting it, making it difficult for your lawn to retain water.

  • 2.3” x 2.5”
  • Made with double layer corundum

Buy on Amazon

Don’t throw out those lawnmower clippings

With higher heat and humidity during summer, keeping the clippings on your lawn may help feed your grass. The summertime weather breaks down the cuttings better than the weather in other seasons, leaving you with a mulch-like treatment.

  • 28.5” x 17” x 21.3”
  • Made of high-quality, durable plastic

Buy on Amazon

Leave your grass higher

There are 2 reasons you want to mow high:

  • It promotes root growth, which is needed in a time where grass should be more robust.
  • It creates slightly more shade, which helps prevent water evaporation.

Until the season is over, you should definitely leave the grass a little higher when you mow your lawn.

Feed your lawn

The summer months are about keeping your lawn lush, and a growing lawn needs food. You can research your own feeding system, or you can discuss lawn feeding plans with your lawn care service company.

  • Made with EdgeGuard Technology
  • Holds enough fertilizer for 5,000 square feet

Buy on Amazon

Summer is a crucial season to prepare for the fall and winter months, so take your time, understand your lawn and get to work!

Check out these fantastic products for your summer lawn...
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Products to help you get a good night's sleep

If you’re struggling to get a good night’s sleep, these products may help

We all have times where we struggle to fall asleep. There are several reasons you might be suffering from insomnia: heightened stress, a changed sleep cycle or even allergies can affect your rest. However, there are things that may help.

Blackout curtains

Sometimes light can disrupt your sleep. Many sources state errant light can affect a person's circadian rhythm, which makes sleeping difficult. If you sleep in a room exposed to natural light, you may want to look into purchasing blackout curtains. Blackout curtains can block a large percentage of outside light, and some even help reduce energy consumption through thermal insulation.

  • Blocks out 100% of sunlight
  • Insulated

Buy on Amazon

A white noise machine

For some people, background noise may be preventing you from sleeping. A white noise machine helps mask noises from a dripping faucet to night birds chirping. Plus, some white noise machines have separate sounds to choose, including rain showers or ambient sounds of a forest.

  • 10 fan sounds and 10 ambient noises
  • Precise volume control

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Weighted blanket

There is a theory that the slight pressure from a weighted blanket can have a calming effect, so a weighted blanket may help ease you to sleep. Although professionals are researching the details, you can test the theory yourself with a weighted blanket. There are several types to choose from, including ones that are designed for children or people who get hot at night.

  • Machine-washable
  • 4 - 25 pounds

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Blue light glasses

Experts are finding correlations between blue light from the various screens we use all day and sleeplessness. One way to lower the exposure is by using blue light glasses. Blue light glasses cut a majority of blue light exposure and may also help with strained vision and headaches.

  • Cut 90% of the blue light
  • Lifetime warranty

Buy on Amazon

A new mattress

An old and uncomfortable mattress can affect your sleep. The discomfort you feel at night may keep you awake and ruin a good day, so check out our mattress guide to see several options.

Here are some great products that may help you sleep...
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6 great weight alternatives you have in your home

Looking to do some strength training without the store-bought weights? Here are some great alternatives

Weight training is an excellent way to burn calories, reduce fat and get stronger. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Strength training is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.” However, some of the equipment available can be a bit pricey. If you don’t have access to weights or just want to test the waters, you can find weight alternatives lying around the house.

1. Dumbbells

Dumbbells are an important part of strength training and have several benefits, such as increasing lean muscle and adding strength. There are many items you can find as a dumbbell substitute — you simply need to look around. For instance:

  • A larger, 72-ounce bottle of laundry detergent is almost equal to 5 pounds.
  • A gallon milk jug is a little over 8 pounds.
  • A 12-pack of soda is about 10 pounds.

2. Weighted vest

If your usual cardio is boring you, you should add some weight to your body. There are many excellent weighted vests online, but you can start by using a backpack and flour sacks. Get a comfortable, well-padded backpack and weigh it down with measured household items. For instance, add a 5-pound bag of flour and increase or decrease at your own pace.

  • 16" high
  • 15" shoulder drop

Buy on Amazon

3. Weight bench

We all have several strength exercises that involve a weight bench, from a dumbbell bench press to the row. Although the back angle will be fixed, any kind of bench will work. Use a picnic, kitchen or even a piano bench. Another tip is to add a cushion or mat on the top for comfort.

  • 71” long X 24” wide
  • Moisture-resistant

Buy on Amazon

4. Resistance bands

Resistance bands are an excellent option for weight training. They share similar weight lifting benefits while taking the pressure off your joints, allowing you to exert more power with less fear of injury. Although there are several inexpensive resistance bands online, you can test the workout by tying together any stretchy material — like pantyhose — and finding your favorite exercise.

  • 14 tension levels
  • 53" Color-coded bands

Buy on Amazon

5. Medicine ball

Several benefits come with using a medicine ball for weight training. For instance, it can improve your power, help with coordination and increase muscle mass. Unfortunately, we may not have one on hand, but we can make it with an old sports ball:

  1. Make sure the ball is empty
  2. Cut a small hole into one side of the ball
  3. Fill it with sand to the desired weight
  4. Reseal the new opening with heavy-duty tape
  • 27.5”, 28.5" and 29.5” sizes available
  • Designed for grip and comfort

Buy on Amazon

  • Works indoors or outdoors
  • Good for smooth, rough and uneven surfaces

Buy on Amazon

  • 50 pounds
  • Multi-purpose

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6. Barbell

Like the dumbbells, barbells are a staple of weight training. If you don't have a bar and weights for bench press, overhead press or squats, try various sizes of dog food bags. These bags are generally pretty tough, evenly weighted and you can shift the for comfort. Start with a 20-pound bag and move up from there!

Remember, weight training is a lifelong exercise. Take your time, increase weight at your own pace and always speak to your doctor about any change in physical activity. If you want to up your home gym experience, check out our guides on exercise equipment and exercise bikes.

Here are 6 ideas for weight alternatives you can find around your house...
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Our Favorite 11 Items For Any Road Trips

Be prepared for any and all car trips with the below packing list items

Summer is an excellent time for road trips; they are a great way to spend time with your family or friends and allow you to see parts of the country you wouldn’t see otherwise. Although road trips come with their own challenges and setbacks, taking a road trip is something you will not forget. To help you feel more comfortable in your journey, we put together a list of 11 essential items to include in your vehicle for these travels.

Hand sanitizer

After everything that has happened during the recent COVID-19 crisis, this is a must for 2020. One of the CDC's approved methods to stay healthy and keep clean is using an alcohol-based hand rub that is greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol. Not everything along the way will be as clean as you want. However, implementing hand sanitizer and regular hand-washing can help ensure you keep those germs off you and out of your car.

Travel pillow

Auto manufacturers do not design cars for a comfortable sleep, so a travel neck pillow will come in handy — as long as you are not the driver! Getting yourself a travel pillow is a must-have for the trip. Spending hours in the vehicle can get very uncomfortable, and a neck pillow can help keep you feeling relaxed and calm as you snooze.

Blanket

Similar to how bread and butter go together, so does a blanket and a pillow. You can wedge the blanket against the window or use it to cover your legs if the air conditioning is blasting on you. Additionally, you can use the blanket when you reach the destination, whether that be a campsite, hotel or a family member's house!

USB phone charger and external battery

Our cellphones are our lifelines, and a low battery can spell doom for any road trip. GPS, social media and Bluetooth connectivity can suck the battery right out of your phone, so make sure to carry with you a car charger and external battery. You may also want to grab a plug adapter to the charging cord so you can charge when you get to your destination.

Roadside emergency kit

It is always best to be prepared for anything, and you never know when you run into a problem on the road. One should not be taking any long trips in their car without an emergency roadside kit. Some day you may need jumper cables, a flashlight or even a whistle to signal help if emergency responders cannot see you.

Swiss Army knife

An excellent swiss army knife can be useful in a variety of situations. You can use it to open cans, bottles, cut kindling and even tighten some screws. Between this knife and your emergency kit, you should be covered for most roadside issues.

Car cooler

Snacks and drinks are essential in any good road trip. Having a car cooler that has a 12v DC car adapter for use in a vehicle can ensure all your snacks and drinks are kept cool. A cooler like this will also allow you to save money and time because you won’t be stopping to purchase supplies at mini-marts. Also, your options will probably be healthier than those at a gas station!

Road trip games

Do you or a group of bored kids need to pass the time in the car but are done with electronics and books, then bring yourself some entertaining road trip games! There are several games you and your family or friends can play on the road — from tic-tac-toe to battleship. Who says you don’t have fun without electronics?

First aid kit

People tend to get hurt when they least expect it, so prepare for any bruises or pains you may encounter along the way with a first aid kit. You never know when you will need a bandaid, aspirin or tweezers. Every car should have a first aid kit, even if you aren't on a road trip.

Tissues

One item you should always have in your car is a box of tissues. You never know when someone will sniffle or need to blow their nose! Additionally, they can be used as a quick solution for spills, extra napkins or emergency toilet paper if nature calls!

Reusable water bottle

Staying and being hydrated is critical while you are traveling, especially in warmer areas of the country. A water bottle is a perfect choice for getting the water your need; plus, it's helpful to have in case you are traveling with your pet. Some bottles provide a large cap to serve as a bowl in case you can’t leave your vehicle.

The key to success about any road trip is to plan ahead and think through all the items you may need. This list will help ensure the essentials are there, but the more you prepare, the more successful your road trip will be. Make sure your auto or RV insurance is up-to-date and obey all traffic laws!

Here is our list of excellent buys for your next road trip....
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Helpful items for first-time parents

Here are the must-haves to make navigating parenthood a little easier

When you're expecting to add a new family member, things can get overwhelming. There are many types of strollers, car seats, cribs and other necessities on the market. To save you money and time, here are some must-have items for first-time parents that make life a little easier chosen by ConsumerAffairs' own new mom, Lizzie Bolt.

Easy-to-use travel system

This one is a given — you can't bring a baby home without a car seat! Having the right travel system for your family is essential to making life a little easier when getting in and out of your car. The Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System comes with the base, car seat and stroller. Chicco designed the car seat for infants from 4 - 30 pounds and comes in 4 different patterns with the matching stroller. So stylish!

  • Parent tray with 2 cup holders
  • One-handed, free-standing quick fold

Buy on Amazon

Safe sleeping area

Much research has gone into the "back is best" sleeping method for infants. It’s essential to have a nice, firm mattress in a safe sleep space, such as this Delta Bentley S Series Convertible crib. Made with easy assembly in mind, the Delta Bentley crib will also grow with your baby, converting from a crib to a toddler bed, day bed and even a full-size bed with a head and footboard. Don't forget the final touch: Graco's Premium breathable, foam crib mattress. Graco's mattress will fit any standard full-size crib.

  • Available in 3 colors
  • Adjustable mattress height

Buy on Amazon

  • Removable and machine washable cover
  • GREENGUARD Gold certified

Buy on Amazon

Something soothing

We know parenting is overwhelming, but being a baby isn't a life in paradise (only according to them, though). When your sweet baby can't seem to settle outside of your arms, and you want to get some things done or even need a break, having a swing is a lifesaver! The Safari Dreams Cradle n' Swing from Fisher-Price lets you create the best environment for your baby to hang out. Packed with 16 tunes, a motorized mobile and 6 different swinging speeds, your baby will be in awe for sure!

  • 2-position recline
  • 3 adjustable seat positions

Buy on Amazon

Be ready for bath

Bath time is a fun time for everyone! Who doesn't love splashing and singing with their baby? Fisher-Price's 4-in-1 Sling 'n Seat Tub will stay with you until your tot is ready for the big tub. This bath center comes with a squeeze bottle to make washing hair easier, a soft mesh sling for newborns, an insert aid for unsteady sitters and a toy whale for playtime.

  • Easy to store hook
  • Useful for newborn to toddler

Buy on Amazon

Spyware

Getting your baby to sleep is the best part of the night, so why wake them up when you just want some quiet time? Sneaking into your baby's room is a thought of the past with today's incredible camera systems. Having a video baby monitor like the Summer Infant Explore baby monitor will ease your mind as your little one sleeps. The wireless monitor has a digital color screen with automatic black and white night vision. With the press of a button, you can also zoom, talk back to your baby and even change the night light with 2 color options.

  • Room temperature display
  • Remote camera steering from handled device

Buy on Amazon

Parenthood is anything but smooth sailing, but with these items, it’ll make life a little easier. Now that the little ones are entertained, why not get something for the older kids?

The Most Helpful Items to Have as a First Time Parent...
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What the dads at ConsumerAffairs are asking for this Father's Day

Hear what ConsumerAffairs dads want and get some ideas for your own dad

Just like mothers last month, the dads of the world are anxiously awaiting Father’s Day this June — perhaps more so than ever due to the pandemic. With kids’ schools, daycares and after-school programs mostly closed nationally, they have put in more hours without much rest over the past few months. It’s time to say thanks to their tireless efforts.

If your dad is tough to shop for, we’re here to help. Rather than blindly suggesting ideas we think the father in your life might enjoy, we went straight to the source and polled the dads here at ConsumerAffairs to find out what they want this year. Curiously, not a single dad mentioned any electronics, typically a safe standby gift for any dad — not AirPods, not a soundbar, not a new TV. So, what do these dads have in mind instead?

R&R

A day off

One dad summed it up in three short words — a day off — to which many others agreed. What does a day off look like for the dad in your life? For many, that could mean others are pitching in for a day while dad lounges in the backyard hammock, relaxed, refreshed, recharged and ready to jump back into action on Monday.

  • 59” wide x 78” bed length
  • Soft polyester rope

Buy on Amazon

A solo hotel stay

A solo stay takes the “day off” idea a step further. One dad has an agreement with his wife that each year on Mother’s and Father’s Day, the parent of honor will be sent away for a night to a local 5-star hotel. Dad can order room service, crank the AC down as cold as he wants, turn on the TV and unwind. He is guaranteed to be uninterrupted, then sleep in the following morning before returning home rejuvenated.

Dad gathering

Similarly, one dad is considering a safe, socially-distanced boat outing with some other dad friends. Renting a boat and heading out on the water might be just the refresher he needs after months of exhausting quarantining.

Quality time

Food and drink

BBQ set

One ConsumerAffairs dad is looking to up his grill game with a new deluxe BBQ accessory set that includes a spatula, scraper and tongs. Are grilling utensils a stereotypical Father’s Day gift? Sure. But it turns out, he’ll probably like them a lot, and they will no doubt get plenty of use. It’s also a win-win for the rest of the family, as dad can prepare delicious meats for everyone to enjoy.

  • 21 pc
  • Durable stainless steel

Buy on Amazon

A good meal and favorite brew

The best way to thank several ConsumerAffairs dads is in the form of food and their favorite beverage. One employee wants nothing more than to bite into a “nice, thick-cut ribeye” and to wash it down with their beer of choice. Multiple ConsumerAffairs dads mentioned that they would love to receive top-shelf liquors. If you’re familiar with Parks & Rec, you’ll likely remember Leslie’s winning gift for Ron’s birthday. She set him in front of a TV with his favorite movie, a giant steak and a bottle of Scotch, plus, she ensured he was uninterrupted.

Fun and games

Cornhole set

For the dad who enjoys backyard or tailgating games, look no further than a quality cornhole set. The popular game involves tossing bean bags onto a slightly elevated board with a hole in it. Land on the board and get one point; sink a bean bag into the hole for 3 points. If you’re handy with a saw, you could try to make a set yourself. Otherwise, sets can be found online, many with team colors or logos.

  • Weatherproof
  • Built-in bean bag storage

Buy on Amazon

Guitar

A musically inclined father is always trying to get his hands on a Gibson Les Paul guitar. However, few families have several thousand dollars to commit to a Father’s Day gift. Otherwise, a less expensive guitar or maybe even lessons could be a delightful gift for the dad looking to take up a new hobby or resurrect an old one.

  • Ultimate starter kit
  • Includes digital tuner and 6 extra strings

Buy on Amazon

Motorized skateboard or scooter

The dads in our office have mentioned that they would love one of the small motorized scooters we all see zipping around. Motorized skateboards or even scooters are fun and surprisingly fast, reaching top speeds of 18mph. Such a gift might be ideal for the adventurous dad looking for some fun, or an energy-efficient way of getting around.

  • Motorized skateboard
  • Made of maple wood and bamboo

Buy on Amazon

  • 15.5 mph max speed
  • Folds up in 3 seconds

Buy on Amazon

Practical and useful gifts

Tools

One of our resident ConsumerAffairs' dads also asked for tools. Before buying tools, it’s best to get a feel for what exactly he needs. If you want it to be a surprise, try scouring the garage or tool shed to see what he already has. Most dads probably have essential tools, so something a little more specialized like a specific power saw or impact drill may be high on his list.

  • Mechanical 2-speed transmission
  • Optimized battery usage

Buy on Amazon

Lawn tools

If the dad in your house enjoys an immaculately maintained lawn, he may be happy to receive an upgrade to his existing equipment. One dad cited “new lawn tools” as his go-to gift. Left to interpretation, that could mean anything from a push mower to an edger to a leaf blower. Many consumers with smaller, urban yards enjoy the battery-powered tools from Greenworks, which come equipped with a reasonably long-lasting rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

  • Trimmer and blower
  • 45-minute run time

Buy on Amazon

Auto tools

For the do-it-yourself car maintenance dad, consider items that can help him around the shop. One dad needs a new creeper — essentially, a board on wheels that allows a mechanic to slide underneath a car on his back — and a reliable floor jack.

  • Padded bench
  • Adjustable headrest

Buy on Amazon

  • 7,000-pound lift capacity
  • Lifts up to 22”

Buy on Amazon

Home upgrades

Another dad had a very unusual, specific request — 6 ½” round gutters in black. Although your dad will most definitely have a different request, items that make some of his chores easier can make excellent gifts. Simple things like energy-efficient light bulbs, a stockpile of various batteries or even a new garage door are great options.

Garden aesthetics

Along the same lines, one dad is asking for a new oak tree to be planted in his yard to replace one that had recently died and been removed. A tree can be one gift that will never be forgotten years down the road.

Health and hygiene

Home gym

One ConsumerAffairs dad is missing his gym during the pandemic, so he decided to build a home gym instead of returning to his fitness center when it reopens. There are dozens of possibilities to begin a home gym without breaking the bank. A good starting point might be some dumbbells of various weights or even a punching bag.

  • Anti-rolling design
  • Use as dumbbells or barbell

Buy on Amazon

  • Heavy-duty stitching
  • Comes with needed accessories

Buy on Amazon

Running shoes

On the same wavelength, another dad is interested in upgrading his very worn running shoes. If you’re going to buy shoes, you probably want to do your homework. Not all running shoes are created equal, so it might be best to ask what shoes he wants before ordering. One ConsumerAffairs dad mentioned you can find a great shoe for under $60.

  • Lightweight
  • Rubber sole

Buy on Amazon

For the bearded dad

Did the dad in your life grow out a quarantine beard and decide to keep it? One ConsumerAffairs dad mentioned he would enjoy a beard grooming kit from his kids. Most bearded men love beard accessories, from balms and leave-in conditioners to combs and clippers.

  • Shampoo and balm
  • Scissors and beard brush

Buy on Amazon

  • 5-in-1 trimmer
  • 60 minutes shaving time

Buy on Amazon

Permission or sign-off

Sign-off on dad’s project

One thing that stands out between our Mother’s Day and Father’s Day lists is that the dads seem to ask for more “outside the box” gift ideas. This one barely qualifies as a gift at all, but one dad mentioned he’d love his wife to sign off on a landscaping project he conjured up. This dad is happy to do all the work himself; he just wants an okay to move forward with the project.

A round of golf

Along the same lines, another ConsumerAffairs office dad asked for, “A leisurely morning on the golf course.” Unless you want to add a new club or two to his bag, this gift requires little effort or monetary commitment on your part, just the thumbs-up to get away for a few hours. If he is a beginner golfer, or perhaps in need of a whole set of clubs, Callaway’s entry-level brand Strata is a great way to start.

  • Complete golf set
  • Financing available

Buy on Amazon

Handmade gifts

Memories to cherish

Moms aren’t the only ones who appreciate a handmade gift. One dad suggested he wanted, “A framed document listing all of my fatherhood achievements from the past year.” Joking or not, the idea could bring a chuckle to the dad in your life. It may take some brainpower to formulate a list of his achievements, but it may be a winning gift.

  • Free personalized message
  • 8 x 10 pictures

Buy on Amazon

Surprise!

Sorry, this one isn’t going to be helpful for those looking for inspiration. Not every dad had something specific in mind. One dad, tired of making decisions, said he doesn’t want to have to think about a gift request. The idea of having to put hours of thought into a “perfect day” or ideal gift can be stressful for some. Put your heads together and surprise him with a gift you think he’d like.

Keep it simple

Sometimes, you’ll hear dads say they don’t want anything. If your dad’s response to receiving gifts is often, “I told you not to get me anything,” consider perhaps a simple card. Dad may just want a mere acknowledgment of the day.

So, now that you know what the dads of ConsumerAffairs want this Father’s Day, will you follow their lead or go your own way? Tell us in the comments what you’re getting Dad. For more great advice on Father’s Day gifts and many other consumer decisions, check out our podcast The Confident Consumer.

What the dads at ConsumerAffairs are asking for this Father's Day | ConsumerAffairs...
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9 Binge-able Netflix series

Looking to marathon a series on Netflix but can’t find anything? Here is out our list of great shows to check out

Here is our list of great new Netflix series to binge when you’re at home...

Family bicycling safety tips

A bike ride with your family can make a good day even better, but safety should be your first priority

Here are our tips to keep your family safe while taking a summer bicycle ride...

Freshen up your home with these 7 tips

With these tips, you can make sure your home stays fresh and sparkling

Do you ever look around your home and wonder if it was hit by a hurricane? We all do at one point or another! However, with these simple 7 tips for cleaning and organizing, you can bring a little order to your living room chaos!

Storage, storage and more storage

We only have so much room, and when closets and drawers get full, what do you do? One tip that we like is finding smart ways to store all your objects. Sliding under-the-bed boxes, hanging shoe racks and floating shelves are great ideas for storing unused items in an organized fashion. If you’re looking to take things up a notch, look into furniture with hidden storage compartments.

  • Holds up to 121 lb
  • All hardware included

Buy on Amazon

Take care of cleaning early

So often we’re too tired to clean after an activity. Handling the dishes after dinner or making the bed is sometimes simply a drag. However, those problems add up, and eventually, you’re looking at a mess that would embarrass Pig-Pen! Remember to clean every time you finish something, whether that be the dishes after a meal or making your bed after you get up.

Get into a routine

We’ll admit, it’s easy to forget to vacuum, clean the bathroom and wash your windows. That’s why setting up a chore routine is crucial if you want to keep things neat and tidy. If you live alone, a simple calendar with the time chores must be completing works well. However, a large chore chart is a fantastic idea to keep track of who needs to do what if you have a family or roommates.

  • 5 magnetic markers + 1 magnetic eraser
  • Easy clean and stain-resistant

Buy on Amazon

Sort your mail ASAP

Bills, coupon flyers, letters and other mail tends to stack up very fast. Instead of emptying your mailbox and stacking it on the counter, take the time to sort the essential items from the junk immediately. This is an excellent idea for cleanliness and makes sure you don’t have something important getting lost in the shuffle.

  • 8.0” height x 16.5” width x 2.75” depth
  • Includes 6 metal hooks

Buy on Amazon

Use doormats

You would be surprised how much dirt we track into our house every day — and this goes double if you have children. That mess transfers into our nicely cleaned hardwood floors, making “floor day” even harder. Grabbing some heavy-duty floor mats can help solve this problem. Take some time to find some that suit the area, and place them at all the entryways.

  • 24” x 36” to 35” x 59”
  • Anti-slip

Buy on Amazon

Let go of things you don’t use

By taking just a few steps, you can keep your house clean, fresh and looking great! For those who want to learn more about specific organizational tips, check out our articles on keeping the toys organized, making your pantry sparkle and getting your closet in order.

Here are 7 wonderful tips you can do to freshen up your home...
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5 great food delivery service apps

Our favorite food delivery service apps quickly bring delicious meals, snacks and groceries

Food delivery service apps are fun and make ordering delivery far easier. Long gone are the times where you search through numerous paper menus, check to see if the restaurant is open and wonder why your food is taking so long. With these apps, you know exactly what is available and track your order in real-time. They’re a fantastic option for those nights when you don’t want to cook or are looking to treat yourself. Below are some of our picks for food delivery service apps.

GrubHub

GrubHub has been delivering food from local restaurants to your door since 2004 and has delivery options from 50,000 restaurants in over 1,100 cities. Its simple layout and restaurant reviews right on the app are its better features.

Postmates

Postmates offers several delivery options, including food orders, grocery orders and alcohol. The delivery fee with their partnered merchants is manageable, and Postmates offers an unlimited plan that negates its delivery fee.

goPuff

goPuff specializes in several items, not just food delivery. So, if you’re looking for anything from chips to soda, or ice cream to home essentials like cleaning products, this app is for you. One of the significant bonuses is it has a flat delivery fee, so unlike other apps, goPuff doesn’t charge higher amounts based on distance.

Uber Eats

A service offered by Uber, Uber Eats provides you a selection from hundreds of restaurants. It also has a unique dine-in option where you order a restaurant meal online, pick it up and then eat it at the restaurant or take it home. The app conveniently connects to your main Uber account, so Uber Eats simply uses the card already on file.

DoorDash

One of the largest food delivery service apps, DoorDash has over 300,000 restaurants to choose from across the U.S. and Canada. It offers a wide selection of items, from pizza to Thai to seafood. Delivery and pickup options are available.

Check out these great food delivery service apps...
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6 easy ways to feel safer at home

Whether you’ve experienced a break-in, live alone or simply want to secure your home, here are some great things you can do to protect your home

Our home is a refuge after a hard day — a place to relax and enjoy ourselves, our friends and our family. However, sometimes we may not feel like our home is safe. If you are worried about your home's security, here are some simple tips that may bring back your peace of mind.

Invest in home security

The first thing to check out is a home security system. Having a security system is like having an extra pair of eyes on your living space, whether you are there or not. There are several options to choose — from wired to wireless and monitored to unmonitored — meaning almost everyone’s needs are covered. Plus, some home security systems have smart home integration that allows you to do cool things like switch on the lights when you aren’t there. If you’d like to know more about home safety, read our guide about how to find the best home security system.

Improve your lighting, inside and out

Darkness in and around your house leaves plenty of places for potential burglars to break in. By improving your lighting inside and out, you diminish threats while calming any insecurities that come with the dark. You can also hook up smart home devices to your living space that can be timed and controlled remotely, letting you feel safe while you're away.

  • Apple and Android compatible
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant

Buy on Amazon

Keep important items close

Never leave your keys, wallet, purse, phone or other daily essentials in your car or near a window. Burglars looking out for an opportunity can easily see them and "smash and grab" these items. It's best to keep these items, especially your phone, in your bedroom for added security and quick access.

Get to know your neighbors

This tip is both simple and fun — talk to the people that live near you. Not only is it nice to chat with your neighbors, but they can also help look out for strange individuals in your neighborhood that may be up to no good. You can also depend on them to keep an eye on your house and collect mail or packages while you're away.

Reinforce your doors and windows

An effective way to deter anyone from entering your home is to make sure your doors and windows are secure. Some ideas include updating locks, reinforcing your door, putting a wooden dowel in place for a sliding door and making sure your shades are drawn. Although simple, these steps can be highly effective.

  • 3-piece door reinforcement kit
  • $500 Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Don’t post personal info

This one may be new to you, but when you think about it, it makes sense. When you're on a trip, running errands or having dinner out, try your best not to post any live information to your social media accounts. Opportunistic burglars look for info like this to track others’ movements. Take plenty of pictures and videos, but send them directly to family and post any vacation pictures only after you’re back home.

Here is our list of 6 things you can do to feel safer in your home....
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New pet at home? Read these 5 tips

If you’re thinking of getting a new pet or currently have one exploring your home, here are 5 tips to help the transition

We all love bringing home that new pet. Watching them run around the house, find their favorite spot and enjoy time with you is why we adopt. However, there are plenty of responsibilities that come with our new little friends. Here is our list of things you should do when you have a brand-new pet.

Pet-proof your home

When you have a new animal around the house, young or old, take the time to make sure the space around them is secure. If you have houseplants, make sure they aren't harmed if they decide to chew a few leaves. You may want to roll up expensive rugs to avoid any “accidents” that ruin the item. If you feel your animal is in danger by entering another space in your home, keep them corralled in an appropriate area with a pet gate.

  • 60” width x .75” depth x 24” height
  • Folds down to 2.25”

Buy on Amazon

Give your pet a safe space

It’s a good idea to provide your new little guy or gal a space of their own. It doesn’t need to be complex, but if you want to spoil them, now’s the time to do it! Create their personal area with a cushion and toys, and keep them company while they get used to their zone. This saves the time and heartbreak of training them to stay off the furniture or your bed. Just make sure their cushion is fluffy and comfy!

  • 2.5” memory foam base
  • Cover is machine washable

Buy on Amazon

Get plenty of proper food

It goes without saying that you’ll need some pet food, but now is a good idea to explore your options and stock up. Depending on the species, age and breed, there may be several options for you to select. Get a leg up on what you should feed your buddy and speak with your vet about the best choice. For some ideas, check out our favorite dog food brands and high-quality cat treats.

  • High-protein dog food
  • Natural ingredients

Buy on Amazon

Purchase all the supplies you need

Depending on what you choose as your new pet, you could need anything — from litterboxes to leashes to the proper tank warming light. Do a little research and see what’s expected to make your pal’s stay as comfortable as possible. It’s better to have and not need than need and not have.

  • 20-gallon tank
  • 30” wide x 12” deep x 12” tall

Buy on Amazon

Put some money aside for care

If you’re anything like us, you want to take the best care of your pet if they get sick or hurt. However, that can happen when you least expect it, and it may be expensive. Take some time to put aside a little money in a special fund to ensure you can cover the cost, and keep contributing to the fund at regular intervals. Our pet insurance guide helps consumers choose the right plan for them and their pets.

Here are the 5 things every new pet owner should know....
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7 essential tools for the first-time homeowner

Start adding to your toolbox with these must-have items

Owning your first home is exciting, but before you start buying new furniture, you should ensure you have some essential tools. These necessary tools will help you make basic repairs or improvements in your home whenever needed.

Screwdriver set

A high-quality screwdriver set is a must! You will use the screwdriver to put new furniture together as well as pry and chisel, and a cheap set may break in the process. Make sure your set contains both Phillips and flat head screwdrivers as different projects will call for various types.

  • 56 bits
  • Easy-to-transport kit

Buy on Amazon

Cordless drill & drill bits

A cordless drill will become your new best friend. We recommended the cordless option because they are super convenient and you’ll be able to use them anywhere in your new home. Additionally, you will need a variety of drill bits for various home repairs.

  • Compact design
  • Variable speeds

Buy on Amazon

Hammer

You will need a hammer for several tasks in your home. It's best to choose a good quality hammer that is the proper weight, so it's easier to swing and pry.

  • ProTouch grip
  • Hammers things

Buy on Amazon

Stud finder

Soon as you start to decorate your home, you will need a stud finder. A stud finder finds the solid studs in your drywall, ensuring you save time and reduce damage to both the structure and artwork you intend to hang.

  • 5 scanning modes
  • Clear display

Buy on Amazon

Tape measure

A tape measure is vital for several house-related tasks. If you want to measure the distance between two pieces of art, mark straight lines for painting or measure doors or windows for replacements, you need one of these.

  • Self-locking tape mechanism
  • Nylon coated blade

Buy on Amazon

Wrench set

Everyone, especially new homeowners, needs a wrench set — you'll be surprised with how many nuts and bolts you will need to tighten throughout your home. Aim to have a variety of sizes to ensure they can handle most projects in your house.

  • Strong chrome vanadium steel
  • Long body for better leverage

Buy on Amazon

Flashlight

The light on your cellphone may be enticing, but a good LED waterproof flashlight can be lifesaving. Flashlights are fast, simple to use and you don't need to worry about a dead cellphone battery.

  • Can light up objects 1000 feet away
  • Waterproof

Buy on Amazon

Every homeowner wants to be prepared to take care of their new home. Ensure you invest in quality tools to guarantee you can handle any adjustments or projects along the way. And while you're at it, you may need to safeguard your home with a home warranty that will help you when more significant projects arise.

These are our suggested tools for every first-time homeowner...
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Our 8 favorite kayaks and rafts for hitting the water

Our picks range from inflatable to traditional, plus one unconventional vessel

It’s summer, and many of us will be hitting the water with family and friends on rafts and kayaks. A raft or kayak is a fantastic way to explore your favorite waterway or relax to the gentle sway of the water. Have fun on the water this summer, and remember: always wear a life jacket.

Inflatable, affordable raft

There’s nothing quite as relaxing as rafting down the river with friends. This nifty inflatable raft holds up to four adults and comes with inflatable cushions. Grab handles make it easy to get in and get out. At the time of publication, this raft was just over $100, a great deal for such a sturdy rig.

  • Fits 4 adults
  • Puncture-resistant PVC

Buy on Amazon

Bargain inflatable kayak

At just under $100 at the time of publication, this inflatable kayak for two is a true bargain. It even comes with a paddle for each occupant. Although it’s a low-priced kayak, its vinyl is puncture-resistant and surprisingly durable. Seats are removable and adjustable, and the kayak supports up to 400 pounds.

  • Comes with paddles and pump
  • 220-pound capacity

Buy on Amazon

4-person relaxing raft

This 4-person raft is a good pick for a lazy river with minimal rowing needed. The seat setup is more about facing your friends and having a good time than paddling intensely through rapids. The raft comes with a gear pouch, repair kit and a convenient carrying bag for transport and storage.

  • 725-pound limit
  • Puncture-resistant vinyl

Buy on Amazon

Traditional kayak

We’re big fans of this sit-in kayak. It has a classic, sleek look and several color options. There’s also lots of storage for your paddling gear and supplies on your outing. The seat is adjustable and has some nice padding to keep you comfortable during long kayaking sessions.

  • Blue, orange or red options
  • Gear storage

Buy on Amazon

Mid-range inflatable kayak

This 2-seater inflatable kayak and is in the midrange of prices for the same item. It seats 2 and is made of laminate PVC. We like the built-in seats with backs so you can truly relax and avoid aches and pains. There’s also storage space in the bow to keep towels, snacks and water bottles.

  • Laminate PVC with polyester core
  • Supports up to 400 pounds

Buy on Amazon

High-end inflatable kayak

Some outdoor adventurers worry about the durability of inflatable kayaks. It’s not as big of a worry to lose a cheap kayak, but what about pricier models? For a kayak priced like this one, it’s natural to ask, “How long will this it hold up?” The reviewers attest to the long-lasting, durable nature of this kayak. We also like that it supports up to 550 pounds.

  • Aluminum ribs
  • Supports 550 pounds

Buy on Amazon

Youth kayak

Kids love kayaking. If they’re old enough, it might be time to let them paddle on their own, although it’s still important to keep an eye on them. This teeny six-foot kayak comes with a paddle and weighs just 18 pounds. If your kids are a fan of the water, this kayak may be perfect for them.

  • Supports 130 pounds
  • Several footrest positions

Buy on Amazon

Pontoon boat

Maybe you aren’t feeling a raft or kayak. Have you tried a pontoon boat? This pontoon boat has removable gear bags, two drink holders and loads of pockets to hold your stuff. The footrests and seat mounts are adjustable, and the boat comes with two 7-foot aluminum oars.

  • 2-year warranty
  • Supports 400 pounds

Buy on Amazon

Our picks range from inflatable to traditional, plus one unconventional vessel...
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6 ways to celebrate the first day of summer

Kickoff your summertime fun with these ideas

Officially, Saturday, June 20th, is the first day of summer. Not only is it the longest day of the year, but it’s also a signal for us to start up all our favorite summertime activities. Fire up your grill, go on a hike, play some backyard games with your kids or get a tan. The first day of summer is a great excuse to get into the swing of things and ensure it's a day to remember.

Outdoor workout

If you're committed to staying fit, why not do your workout outside and take in all that sunshine? Go for a run, a long walk or a stroll through nature. Make sure to grab a water bottle to ensure you're hydrated.

Backpack with water bottle

  • Rehydrate in the heat
  • Lightweight (14 ounces)

Buy on Amazon

Hike in a new spot

Do you want to get away from it all? Then hiking is for you. Find yourself a nearby trail and enjoy the scenery or invite a friend you haven't seen in a while and catch up along the way. Make sure to put plenty of water and snacks in a backpack in case your hike keeps you out longer than expected.

Ultralight backpack

  • Lightweight nylon
  • Side pocket for water bottles

Buy on Amazon

Bike ride

If it's been some time since you've ridden a bike, grab or rent one and enjoy riding around your town. Experience the breeze and open atmosphere as you relish your cruise around your neighborhood. Just remember to make sure to wear your helmet!

Cycling helmet

  • USB safety light
  • Well ventilated

Buy on Amazon

Fly a kite

Nothing is more fun than flying a kite, so find yourself ample open space and enjoy the activity. Kites are an entertaining way to experience the sunshine and may help clear your mind. Grab yourself a kite and relax with that wonderful first day of summer weather.

  • Nylon fabric and fiberglass rods
  • Good for first-time flyers

Buy on Amazon

Spend the day at the water

A day at the lake or beach can be the perfect way to start the summer. You can tan, swim, kayak or even rent a boat — the possibilities are endless. Bring some sunscreen, snacks and a towel to make sure you can stay as long as you desire.

Inflatable kayak

  • Great for kids
  • Cargo net

Buy on Amazon

Go to a drive-thru zoo

Not much for the outdoors but want to do something different? Visit a drive-thru zoo. It's reasonably priced and allows many of the animals to come to you without ever having to leave your car.

You can even do something simple as a challenging walk to enjoy the day — it doesn't need to be complicated. Fresh air is excellent for all, so why not get out and enjoy the first day of summer!

6 ways to celebrate the first day of summer | ConsumerAffairs...
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5 do-it-yourself Father’s Day gift ideas

Don’t have a big Father’s Day budget? Make these low-cost presents your dad will love

Everyone loves presents, and Father's day is no exception. However, sometimes the gifts you make yourself may mean more than anything bought at a store. Each idea presented below is under $20, and some even cost you nothing if you have certain items just lying around the house. Make your dad feel special by utilizing any of our DIY Father's Day ideas below.

Special picture for dad

Everyone loves pictures of their families, especially their kids and grandkids, so why not create a special Father's Day pic for dad? All you need is a camera, some poster board and a photo frame. Get dressed in your best, make a sign with a caring message, print the pic on photo paper and order a cute frame online. The personalized message will make it even more special.

  • Attractive neutral frame
  • Fits 5” x 7” pictures

Buy on Amazon

  • 60 count
  • 5” x 7”

Buy on Amazon

World’s Greatest Dad jar

Dad will surely admire a jar with all of his favorite items. First, take some time a decorate the outside of the mason jar with Father's Day messages, then insert a ton of his number one go-to treats inside. Whether it's his preferred chocolate candies or colorful gumballs, a jar filled with all his favorite things lets dad know you care.

  • 1-pack or 4-pack
  • BPA-free

Buy on Amazon

Personalized BBQ flipper

For the grilling dad, a personalized BBQ flipper is perfect for him. Grab one with a long handle online, then get creative and decorate! Color the handle with your dad's favorite team colors, paint your dad's name or even add drawings of his favorite things to it. No matter what you decide, dad will appreciate all the thought you put into his gift.

  • Good for charcoal or gas grills
  • Stay-cool handle

Buy on Amazon

Homemade card with coupons

For Father's Day, a homemade card is always an easy go-to option. Have the kids go wild decorating a card for their dad, and insert cute handmade or store-bought coupons inside. These coupons will contain items like "help dad with the chores outside," "make dad breakfast" or "free sleep-in day for dad." Dad can cash in coupons at any time, and everyone must adhere to it. Remember to have fun with it!

  • 6 activities
  • Easy assembly

Buy on Amazon

Decorated handkerchief

Your dad will feel dapper if you make a handkerchief just for him. All you need is a blank handkerchief, and you can paint it, stamp it or even just draw on it. Dad will treasure it as it was handmade with love.

  • 100% cotton
  • Blank canvas for creative minds

Buy on Amazon

Father's Day doesn't need to be extravagant to make Dad feel treasured! Make your dad a present this year, and he will love it because you took the time to make it just for him.

Don’t have a big Father’s Day budget? Make these low-cost presents your dad will love...
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Our 5 favorite DIY alcohol kits

From gin to hard cider to craft beer, it’s never been easier to make drinks at home

Picking up a new hobby is fun, and so, of course, is having a cocktail. A DIY alcohol kit lets you productively combine the two activities. We selected our five favorite DIY alcohol kits to make everything from craft beer to Pinot Grigio to honey scotch whiskey.

Gin

A gin martini is a classic drink. Make it even better with your own homemade gin. If you’re not a martini fan, try a gin and tonic or one of the dozens of other summery gin drinks.

  • 12 botanicals
  • Makes 2 small bottles

Buy on Amazon

Pinot grigio

A glass of pinot grigio is an excellent way to unwind at the end of a long summer day. This pinot grigio kit includes everything except the wine bottles, so make sure you save a few bottles you buy from the store. This kit makes 5 good-sized bottles, and reviews rave about the taste.

  • Makes five 750mL bottles
  • 2-week fermentation

Buy on Amazon

Hard cider

This kit doesn’t supply the fruit juice, but that allows you to customize the hard cider to your liking, whether you prefer cloudy apple cider or clear-as-day apple juice. Once you’ve mixed the ingredients, the cider only needs to sit for 10 days before it’s ready.

  • Makes 3 batches
  • Better than the bottled stuff

Buy on Amazon

Personalized whiskey making kit

Have you ever wanted to pour a tumbler with your own, personal whiskey? Now you can! With this kit, all you need is the neutral spirit (like grain alcohol, moonshine or rail vodka), and you could have a personalized batch of aged whiskey to share with your friends!

  • Personalized barrel
  • 90-day oak barrel warranty

Buy on Amazon

Craft beer

Minor things like having a large opening at the top to comfortably add the ingredients and clearly marked volumes on the side help make this craft beer kit to the next level. Simply sanitize the equipment, pour in the ingredients and add carbonation. Several reviews mention the high-quality taste and simple setup.

  • 2-gallon recipes
  • Brews in 14 days

Buy on Amazon

From gin to hard cider to craft beer, it’s never been easier to make drinks at home...
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Our 7 favorite office chairs, from least to most expensive

From basic chairs that do the job to customizable, comfortable godsends

We selected our 7 favorite chairs from Amazon to help those of you wanting to make the leap from your awkward kitchen chair to an ergonomic chair designed for comfort.

An affordable, basic look

If you want an inexpensive chair, this is a good one to choose. It works well for an office, gaming center or just surfing the web at your desk. This is an excellent chair for those on a budget, and the only complaints via reviews have been customers wishing it could lean back a little further.

  • $72.87
  • Mesh back, ergonomic design

Buy on Amazon

Basic and cushy with great reviews

This chair is another economically priced seat with a high star rating from Amazon. Buy a version with adjustable arms or no arms at all (the armless version is cheaper). The seat and back are cushy for those who prefer that to mesh support. Choose from 4 different colors — there’s even a camo version for the adventurer in all of us.

  • $90.60
  • Waterfall seat, arms or no arms

Buy on Amazon

A little out there, but this one helps improve posture

This is one of the more interesting chairs we’ve found, but we like it a lot. Once you’ve found the correct height and setup for your build, it’s comfortable, and it helps you to sit up straight to improve your posture.

  • $199.95
  • Three-inch cushion, wheels

Buy on Amazon

Mesh support for comfort

Some of us were hesitant to purchase a chair for the listed price, but when you consider you sit in your office chair more than you sit in your car, an investment in comfort and productivity is worth it. We like the mesh and adjustable headrest that make it much more comfortable.

  • $214.99
  • Adjustable headrest and armrest

Buy on Amazon

The midcentury look

This chair looks a bit different from our other picks, and we like that. The midcentury vibes are classy, and the faux leather looks and feels great. Swivel, lean back and roll from left to right as you channel your inner executive.

  • $222.99
  • Faux leather

Buy on Amazon

A chair with high customizability

We like that this chair has customizable, well, everything. Adjust the headrest, tilt back, adjust the lumbar support, play with the armrests and roll around to your heart’s content.

  • $299.99
  • Aluminum base, one-year warranty

Buy on Amazon

An executive option

Our final pick may be the most expensive chair on our list, but its the most highly rated. We like that the chair supports up to 330 pounds and has several customizable parts.

  • $329.99
  • Mesh back, supports 330 pounds

Buy on Amazon

From basic chairs that do the job to customizable, comfortable godsends...
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8 great hiking accessories for the trail this summer

We chose some clever gadgets to make hiking more fun, plus a few products for cyclists

Whether you’re a newbie hiker who wants to take up the activity or an experienced hiker with thousands of miles of trails behind you, we’ve chosen some awesome hiking accessories that you’ll love.

Water purifier

For those longer hikes where you might run out of water, it’s great to have a water purifier. This ingenious purifier only takes 8 seconds to make any freshwater good to drink. The filter removes pathogens, pesticides, heavy metals and everything else that compromises the drinkability of water.

  • 24 ounces
  • Simple to use

Buy on Amazon

Lightweight hammock

Have you ever been on a long, tough hike when overwhelming sleepiness hits you? Or maybe you found a peaceful clearing where you just wanted to hang out for a bit? Kick back and relax in a hammock! Even if you don't use it on your hike, this hammock is so lightweight that there's really no harm in taking it with you.

  • Lifetime warranty
  • Supports up to 400 pounds

Buy on Amazon

Hiking boots (for everyone)

Tennis shoes are okay for hikes, but they wear out quickly and often aren't waterproof. It's a lot more fun to have a dedicated set of hiking boots for when you hit the trail. You'll feel like a true explorer, and you'll be less afraid to cross that shallow stream with some new waterproof duds.

Comfortable backpack

Everyone on a hike should wear a comfortable backpack. Fill it with snacks for the long trek, or a blanket and a book to read when you find a pleasant meadow to sit and relax.

  • 55-liter capacity
  • Lumbar pad and molded channels for comfort

Buy on Amazon

First aid kit

Taking a first aid kit on a hike is a great idea. Besides being critical in emergencies, a first aid kit can help with little things like minor cuts and bruises. This kit also attaches to a vehicle headrest for easy access and storage when not outdoors.

  • Pre-stocked
  • Lifetime warranty

Buy on Amazon

Walking sticks

Walking sticks are an accessory that makes things a lot more fun as you trek up and down your favorite trails. The ones below are super light and have comfortable handles, making long hikes that much easier. If you’re feeling less mobile but don’t want to limit your movement, walking sticks may help.

  • Extendable, one size fits all
  • Anti-slip cork grip

Buy on Amazon

Bike hitch rack

Tired of walking the same old trails? Why not try biking a few new ones? This bike rack is easy to install and carries two bicycles, so you and a friend can go, too. Because the rack tilts away from the car, you can still access the trunk even while the bikes are loaded.

  • Carries two bikes
  • Folds up when not in use

Buy on Amazon

GPS bike computer

This GPS bike computer is an incredible piece of technology if you’re looking to hit the trails on a bike. It downloads bike trails, measures your heart rate and helps cyclists reach their goals. It’s also aerodynamic and can sync with your phone so that you can receive calls and texts.

  • 15-hour battery life
  • Waterproof

Buy on Amazon

We chose some clever gadgets to make hiking more fun, plus a few products for cyclists...
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8 robots to brighten up your home

We’ve chosen robots that clean, dance, answer questions and play music

Beyond doing household chores, acting as speakers or helping as virtual assistants, robots can keep us company or keep us entertained. We’ve chosen 8 home robots that are sure to liven up your home — some are purely practical, while others are kid-friendly and ridiculously cute.

Vector robot

The Vector robot is voice-activated and offers Alexa functionality. This little guy moves, charges himself and knows how to avoid obstacles as it travels around your house. Like Alexa, it helps with questions and performs fun acts like dance and give little fist bumps.

  • Voice-activated
  • Can navigate on his own

Buy on Amazon

R2-D2

Finally, you can have R2-D2 at home! R2’s built-in speaker means you can play whatever music you like, and kids will have a great time “driving” R2 from a compatible mobile device. You can even watch the newest "Star Wars" movies with R2 and watch as it reacts to the unfolding events.

  • Built-in speaker
  • Control R2-D2’s movements

Buy on Amazon

Echo Plus

The Echo Plus is an upgrade on the Alexa system we all know and love. It has better sound quality than previous generations and can control lighting, thermostats and other house controls. The Echo Plus has over 10,000 skills and is one of our favorite smart home devices.

  • Improved sound quality
  • Answers a variety of questions

Buy on Amazon

Sphero BOLT robot ball

The Sphero BOLT robot ball is great to have at home if you have a child interested in STEM subjects. Kids learn how to program the bot’s matrix to make it do cool stuff like light up its LED display and navigate an obstacle course.

  • Programmable
  • Great learning opportunity

Buy on Amazon

Remote Control Robot Dog

Are your kids not quite ready for a real-life dog? Try the next best thing — an obedient, potty-trained robotic puppy! It operates by remote and voice command and can imitate 10 animals. The robot dog is just 1 foot tall, making it a fantastic size for young kids.

  • Obeys voice commands
  • Dances to tunes

Buy on Amazon

ECHEERS Spaceman

The ECHEERS Spaceman loves to dance! It's programmed through a compatible app, making it another excellent learning tool for kids and a fun companion for adults. If you want to laugh and feel good, try playing some upbeat tunes and watching this adorable bot dance its heart out.

  • Programmable bot
  • Bluetooth speaker

Buy on Amazon

Fistone RC Robot Dinosaur

The Fistone RC Robot Dinosaur is a fantastic, kid-friendly robot for dinosaur fans. The dino dances and even goes into “fight mode,” where it shouts and wags his tail menacingly (although it won’t harm a fly). The dino also responds to touch and to remote control commands. It isn't as education-focused as other kid-friendly robots on our list, but it's still great fun.

  • Touch-sensitive
  • Dances and battles

Buy on Amazon

roborock E35 robot vacuum

The roborock E35 robot vacuum is one of the higher-rated home robot vacuums while still being relatively affordable. It vacuums both hard floors and carpeted areas and has mopping capabilities. Hundreds of reviews are highly complementary, with one of the reviews rated most helpful stated it “will change your life.”

  • 2.5 hours of cleaning on one charge
  • Vacuums and mops

Buy on Amazon

We’ve chosen robots that clean, dance, answer questions and play music...
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10 common ailments & easy ways to treat them

From stubbed toes and nose bleeds, we have simple treatments

On any average day, you probably suffer from more minor injuries than you realize! From a stubbed toe to a splinter to having something in your eye, minor injuries are usually either ignored or quickly treated and forgotten. While the ailments on our list typically hurt for just a few seconds, sometimes they require attention. Here is our list of simple over-the-counter items to keep on-hand for relief from these unpleasant experiences.

Cut

A cut, scrape or scratch can happen anytime, anywhere, and usually are minor enough to where we shake it off, put it out of mind and continue with our day. According to the Mayo Clinic, if the skin is broken and you find yourself bleeding, the major steps to remedy the situation are:

  • Wash your hands before addressing the cut.
  • Clean the area around the cut with soap.
  • Apply an antibiotic jelly.
  • Cover the wound with a bandage.

Remember to change bandages once a day or if it becomes wet.

Band-Aids

  • 120-count
  • Various sizes

Buy on Amazon

Antibiotic ointment

  • For adults and children 2 and up
  • Relieves pain

Buy on Amazon

Stubbed toe

One of the more painful day-to-day injuries is the stubbed toe. Bare feet leave themselves exposed to injury when we accidentally walk into obstacles. According to Healthline, if the pain doesn’t subside within a few minutes:

  • Sit down.
  • Elevate the foot.
  • Use a compression bandage and ice to reduce swelling.

If the pain persists or you can’t walk, you may have broken your toe, and it’s time to see a doctor.

Elastic bandage

  • Durable polyester
  • Individual protective wrapper

Buy on Amazon

Burned roof of mouth

Not unlike a bitten tongue, a great meal can be ruined by taking a big bite of something far too hot. Both your tongue and the roof of your mouth can suffer burns that cause unpleasant after-effects. To soothe your mouth, Medical News Today suggests 7 possible home remedies, including:

  • Swish saltwater in your mouth.
  • Eat honey.
  • Use oral aloe vera applications.

Oral aloe vera

  • No stinging or burning
  • Pain relief

Buy on Amazon

Nosebleed

Nosebleeds can be caused by dry environment, external factors or trauma. In rare cases, nosebleeds can be severe. However, most of the time, they are a simple inconvenience that requires a few minutes to control. According to the Cleveland Clinic, two ways to help a nosebleed include:

  • Lean forward and plug your nose closed for at least five minutes to get the bleeding under control.
  • Apply ice to the nose and cheek area afterward to help healing.

Ice pack

  • Medical grade plastic lining
  • Flexible and reusable

Buy on Amazon

Bitten tongue

Nothing interrupts a delicious meal like accidentally biting down on your own tongue! It’s almost painful to think about, but at least the tongue can heal itself from such incidents in 3 - 4 days. According to a Healthline article, if it’s a mild tongue bite, swishing with salt water after eating helps clean and desensitize the area. The report also mentions holding ice to the affected area to reduce swelling.

Saltwater rinse

  • Pleasant flavor
  • Fluoride-free

Buy on Amazon

Splinter or sliver

When working around wood, there’s always a chance that a tiny fragment could dislodge and wind up under your skin, and though it’s small, it’s no picnic. If part of the splinter is still sticking out of the skin, it can be removed with tweezers, a needle or even duct tape, according to Medical News Today. If not, it’s best to visit a doctor.

Tweezers

  • Stainless steel
  • Good for removing hairs and splinters

Buy on Amazon

Canker sore

Experts aren’t entirely sure why canker sores form, but we all know how annoying they can be. While most heal on their own in days, others are more painful and need medication. According to the Mayo Clinic, certain mouth rinses and topical treatments may help, including the popular over-the-counter medication Anbesol.

Anbesol

  • Helps fights toothaches and canker sores
  • Good for gum or dental pain

Buy on Amazon

Rug burn

Unless you’ve fallen in a carpeted house recently, you probably haven’t experienced a rug burn — also known as friction burn — since childhood. A rug burn is when friction causes a wide range of skin to tear, usually exposing a very tender, sensitive underlayer. While painful, a rug burn can be treated like any other cut, according to Verywell Health. Washing with a gentle soap, covering with a dry dressing and then waiting for it to heal is about all that can be done!

Absorbent wound dressing

  • Super absorbent
  • 4 by 4 inches

Buy on Amazon

Chapped lips

Whether it’s excessive licking or just the weather, our lips are a sensitive area of the body that can dry out quickly. Without oil glands, the lips need some extra attention to receive the moisture they need to avoid painful cracking. A lip balm like Chapstick or Carmex can provide immediate, short-term relief, but be sure to up your water intake.

Lip balm

  • 6 flavors
  • Organic

Buy on Amazon

Hangnail

Dry, brittle skin can lead to the annoying, irritating hangnail. While most hangnails are not particularly painful, others can cause us severe discomfort and seem impossible to leave alone. According to Healthline, one solution is to wash in warm, soapy water and then apply mineral oil or petroleum jelly to the affected area. One can also attempt to clip the hangnail away carefully with a clipper.

Clippers

  • Ergonomic design
  • Stainless steel blade

Buy on Amazon

From stubbed toes and nose bleeds, we have simple treatments...
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9 cool chess sets, from least to most expensive

Some are themed, some are glass or metal and some are ridiculously expensive

Even those of us who don’t know a knight from a bishop can appreciate the beauty of a chess set. We selected eight of our favorite chess sets on Amazon and listed them from least to most expensive. Prices are subject to change — costs listed here are from May 2020.

Glass chess set

It’s the cheapest chess set on our list, but also one of the most unique. Especially considering the price, this is truly a beautiful and eye-catching chess set. The board has alternating transparent and frosted squares so that you can see your playing surface.

  • $20.99
  • Frosted and clear pieces

Buy on Amazon

Fun, simple chess set for learning

It’s always nice to see a chess set aimed at beginners that still has a sense of style. This chess set has classic black and white squares and couldn’t be easier for beginners, especially kids. The board is made of wood and lined with velvet. We highly recommend this one for teaching kids how to think critically and maybe even exercise some patience.

  • $34.99
  • Color-coded movement cards

Buy on Amazon

Wizard’s Chess

Even people who haven’t read Harry Potter will be intrigued by this whimsical chess set. The board recreates the magical game known as Wizard’s Chess from the popular series. The pieces are plastic but have fantastic detail, so kids and adult fans alike are big fans of this one.

  • $39.90
  • Recreates Wizard’s Chess from Harry Potter

Buy on Amazon

Star Wars chess set

Get ready for a galactic showdown! Embrace the light side or the dark side with this Star Wars-themed chess set. The chess set features Star Wars characters like Boba Fett, Darth Vader, R2 D2 and Han Solo. Even if you never play chess, this is a cool one to display in your home.

  • $39.99
  • Empire vs. Rebels

Buy on Amazon

Batman chess set

It’s rare to see a chess set this colorful. This chess board pits the friends of Gotham City — including Batman — against the baddies, led by Joker. This chess set makes a great gift, especially for kids, who will be eager to learn how each piece works.

  • $43.95
  • Batman, Harley Quinn, Batmobile and more

Buy on Amazon

Metal chess set

Most chess sets have wooden pieces or sometimes even plastic. To play with real gravitas, opt for metal pieces. The weight and clang make the chess battle seem even more serious. We like that this board has storage beneath it. It’s practical but also elevates the rest of the chessboard, adding again to the coolness factor.

  • $62.75
  • Metal pieces, wood board

Buy on Amazon

Greek and Roman chess set

Here it is, the first set on our list over $100. The gold and bronze squares are pleasant to look at but don’t hinder the ease of play. The rooks — also known as castles — take on the forms of pillars in this chess set. Other pieces wear traditional Greek and Roman togas.

  • $159
  • Made in Greece

Buy on Amazon

Egyptian chess set

This one’s pricey, but it sure is incredible, especially for Egyptologists. Four sphinxes “hold up” the board from four corners, and the board itself is decorated with hieroglyphs and scarab beetles. A pharaoh commands each team, and the other pieces take influence from Egyptian mythology.

  • $202.05
  • Sphinxes, scarabs and wolf-head gods

Buy on Amazon

Isle of Lewis chess set

The one you’ve been waiting for — the priciest chess set on our list! This is one of the most expensive chess sets on Amazon, but also one of the most interesting. The Isle of Lewis chess board is based on a 12th-century chess set discovered in 1831 made from walrus ivory. This chess set was created using a laser recreation of the original Isle of Lewis chess game. With the set, you’ll feel like you own a piece of history.

  • $632.01
  • English pieces, Italian board

Buy on Amazon

These 9 cool chess sets will be a checkmate...
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5 outdoor water activities to keep kids busy

Don't have a pool? Create your own water fun at home

Summer always includes time for some fun in the sun. If you're sharing space with your kids at home, outside water activity is a must. With some of our great ideas, you can create your own liquid entertainment at home so your kids will have lasting fun. But remember: Don't forget the sunscreen!

Slip and slides

Transform your backyard into a racecourse with a slip and slide. These slides are fun for kids of all ages as they race each other to the end. You can make them even more slippery by rubbing some soap on them!

  • 16’ x 82” wide
  • Includes 3 inflatable body boards

Buy on Amazon

Water sprinkler

Who doesn't remember running through the sprinklers as a kid? Go one step further and purchase a crazy sprinkler to show your kids how fun this simple garden tool can be. Sprinklers are an excellent way for your kids to cool down and get some exercise while they jump and skip through the water.

  • 360-degree rotation
  • Up to 30-foot range

Buy on Amazon

Inflatable pools

Want a pool for your yard but don't want all the hassle? Get an inflatable pool! It is an easy way to add a relaxing spot to any backyard, as you only need to blow it up, fill it with water and put it away when you're done. The kids can splish-splash, and the adults can use it to lounge in a cool place during the hot summer days.

  • 95” x 56” x 22”
  • Durable and wear-resistant

Buy on Amazon

Water balloons

Water balloons are a vital ingredient in several outdoor games. You can play capture the flag, tag, balloon stomp, balloon toss or just mess around for some crazy fun! Keep the kids busy for hours coming up with your own spin on classic games.

  • 1000 water balloons
  • Biodegradable latex

Buy on Amazon

Backyard water park

Can't visit the water park this year? You should build your own! You can purchase a great set online or make your own creation by drilling holes into PVC pipes and fasten them together. Attach your house to the structure, and voilà, you have a backyard water park!

  • 6 activities
  • Easy assembly

Buy on Amazon

Now that you have backyard water fun for the kids figured out, find some backyard games for the adults!

Don't have a pool? Create your own water fun at home...
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7 magazine subscriptions that open your mind

Whether science, history or travel is your thing, a magazine subscription is a great way to lift your spirits and expand your thinking

There’s not much better than receiving your favorite magazine in the mail, rushing inside and sinking into a cushy armchair with your favorite beverage while you flip through the pages. Check out our top 7 magazine picks for recreational and educational reads.

National Geographic

National Geographic is an excellent magazine with beautiful nature photography and interesting articles. Kids are in awe of the pictures (okay, we are, too), and older readers enjoy the unique editorial content covering topics as diverse as spelunking, Sputnik or an inside look at the life of a key-keeper in the Vatican.

  • Nature, science and technology
  • $24 a year, 12 issues

Buy on Amazon

Condé Nast Traveler

The name “Condé Nast” is reasonably well known, but not many people know the secret behind the Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Its writers travel anonymously to stunning locales around the world and pay their own way — no company credit cards here. As a result, writers must find affordable, accessible sights to see and places to eat. The magazine reads like a sleuth revealing his or her mission findings, and the pictures are something to behold.

  • Written by travelers visiting covertly
  • $5 a year, 8 issues

Buy on Amazon

Popular Science

Science is a fascinating subject, but we’ve found some magazines are too technical for everyday readers. However, Popular Science is a good option for a more laidback read. The magazine covers the latest in gadgets and technology while remaining down-to-earth, focusing on products families and ordinary people might purchase someday.

  • Covers new, cool technology
  • $3 a year, 6 issues

Buy on Amazon

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics appeals to more than just those interested in tinkering with electronics and household appliances. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How does that work?” then Popular Mechanics is for you. The magazine explains how everyday products function and has recommendations for several household items.

  • Discusses cars, electronics and health
  • $12 a year, 6 issues

Buy on Amazon

Smithsonian

Smithsonian is an excellent choice for exploring general interests, covering topics like science, pop culture and the arts. Recent subjects include how other cultures celebrate Mother’s Day, how to virtually adopt a plant and the world’s most fascinating insects. One cool perk of subscribing to Smithsonian is receiving dining discounts for when you visit the Smithsonian Museum in person.

  • Covers popular culture, arts and sciences
  • $12 a year, 11 issues

Buy on Amazon

Discover

Our favorite thing about Discover is its monthly columns — one recently included a doctor explaining a real-life medical emergency and how it was resolved. Other sections involve quick write-ups of the latest scientific breakthroughs, and the Blinded by Science column mixes humor and scientific inquiry for an amusing but enlightening read. It’s the priciest mag on our list, but we like its human touch and whimsical approach to learning.

  • Good for political and science fans
  • $29.95 a year, 8 issues

Buy on Amazon

Ask

If you ask us, Ask is a great option for kids, especially those 6 - 9 years old and interested in science and learning. Topics include the solar system, animal behavior and ecology. The reading level is challenging but not overwhelming, and we also like that the magazine is ad-free.

  • Fun for kids 7 - 10
  • $24.95 a year, 9 issues

Buy on Amazon

Whether science, history or travel is your thing, a magazine subscription is a great way to lift your spirits and expand your thinking...
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Upgrade your bike with these 7 items

These accessories ensure your bike has all the appropriate bells and whistles

Biking is an activity enjoyed by numerous people each year. Everyone’s bike is particular to them in color and style, and accessories can make your bike even more personal. They can help your bike be more luxurious and make your experience easier. Upgrade your bike with these great 7 accessories.

Bike lights

Bike lights are an ideal way to stay safe. Give yourself extra visibility during the day and ensure drivers see you at night!

  • USB rechargeable light
  • Simple installation

Buy on Amazon

Bike bag

Attaching a bag to your bike is a good idea. It not only holds your keys, your phone, a tool kit & extra clothes, but you can store some snacks if you get hungry along the way.

  • Waterproof
  • Adjustable velcro straps

Buy on Amazon

Gel seat cover

Everyone knows that sitting on your bike seat for too long causes unnecessary discomfort. A gel seat cover can give you the padding you need for longer rides by minimizing soreness.

  • Comfy gel material
  • Works for spin and indoor cycling

Buy on Amazon

Water bottle holder

If you’re going to bike a few miles or more, a water bottle holder is a good investment. It easily attaches to your bike frame, and you can access it without stopping as you ride. This particular holder comes in a two-pack, so you can fit them both on the frame if you’d like.

  • 26-ounce water bottles fit snugly
  • Easy installation

Buy on Amazon

Phone mount

We all feel the need to remain connected, which is why a phone mount is a useful item. You will be able to adjust your phone to your needs during your ride and ensure you don’t miss out on any important calls or texts.

  • Flexible silicone
  • Seconds to install

Buy on Amazon

Bell

One of the most popular accessories is the bike bell. The bell is essential for anyone to ensure others know that you are coming. They range in different sizes and colors in order to find the right one for you.

  • Loud warning bell
  • Anti-rust materialss

Buy on Amazon

Hands-free dog walker leash

If you have a dog, then this is the accessory for you — you can both ride your bike and walk your dog at the same time. All you have to do is attach the bar to the back of your bike, and then take your dog for a walk. One neat thing about this particular attachment is that it has a shock-absorbing system to ensure your dog doesn’t get yanked around as you cruise over bumps in the road.

  • Durable stainless steel
  • Adjustable leash length

Buy on Amazon

Upgrade your bike to your own needs and wants. If a pedal bike is not an option for you, consider purchasing an exercise bike to utilize instead.

These accessories ensure your bike has all the appropriate bells and whistles...
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Our 5 favorite live feed websites

Want to see amazing locales from the comfort of your own home? Check out our favorite live feed sites

We’re all going a little crazy while stuck indoors; however, some great websites offer beautiful live streams of several locations, be it a tropical beach or an exotic landmark. Check out the list below to see our favorite live streams. While you're looking, make sure to explore further for more spectacular spots.

Go on a safari

Have you ever wanted to go on a South African Safari? Check out Africam! The Africam highlights several watering holes that are known to be wild animal hotspots and even has a library of great footage to check out for more videos of these animals as they go about their day.

Spot the Loch Ness Monster

There’s a monster hunter in all of us, so keep your eyes peeled for the mother of all creatures — the Loch Ness Monster! Check out the Loch Ness Live Stream for a chance to catch a glimpse of Nessie. You can also take the time to admire the beauty of the Scottish Highlands while sipping your morning tea.

See an active volcano

For the more adventurous among us, great active volcano cams await! The US Geological Survey has set up a few incredible static streaming cams on Hawaiin volcanoes — such as Halemaʻumaʻu and Kīlauea Caldera. The site even includes a few cameras with thermal imaging.

Explore a tropical reef

Explore.org has a section focusing on several tanks in The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. Check out adorable penguins in the aquarium’s Penguin Beach, spy some jellyfish in the Jellyfish Tank and watch some sharks in the Shark Lagoon. The Explore.org website also has several other nature-focused live streams.

Visit a national park

The US National Parks are incredibly beautiful, but what do you do when they’re closed or too far away? The National Park Service (NPS) has a great series of live stream cameras to check out on their official website. From Yellowstone to Glacier National Park, the NPS virtually takes you there. The site also has a vast library of various natural events and wild animals captured via these webcams.

With these websites, you can visit fantastic places around the world, at least virtually! And when things open up and you're ready for a road trip to see some of these places in person, get prepared with an extended auto warranty. Check out our matching tool to help you find a car warranty that matches your needs.

Want to see amazing locales from the comfort of your own home? Check out our favorite live feed sites...
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4 great art projects to try at home

Looking to add some DIY crafts to your space while keeping yourself (or your kids) busy? Check out these great ideas

We’ve all spent a good amount of time in our homes, so why not decorate your space with some fun DIY art projects? We listed some fantastic ideas you can do on your own or with your kids that bring some color to your favorite rooms.

1. Robot party

We all have several boxes left over from online shopping, so why not recycle and create your own robot party? Cut the boxes into fun robot parts and decorate them with things you find around the house for a futuristic celebration. Grab some scissors, tape and markers and have a cyber-good time!

  • Ages 4+
  • Reusable plastic jar included

Buy on Amazon

2. Milk carton birdhouse

With the weather warming up and the birds returning to sing their songs, it may be time to make a classic milk carton birdhouse. They’re simple — cut a few holes in a milk carton for an entrance, decorate with some great designs and fill it with seed. You and your children can watch the neighborhood birds swoop in and enjoy all the fantastic colors.

  • 11 different ingredients
  • 40% sunflower seeds

Buy on Amazon

3. Water bottle greenhouses

This project is fun and a great way to teach your kids about the greenhouse effect where the sun naturally warms up the surface of the soil and circulates the water inside the bottle. Cut a two-liter bottle in half, fill the bottom half with soil, plant a seedling in the soil, add a small amount of water and cap the seedling with the top half of the bottle. Make sure it has plenty of light and watch as your plant grows from within.

  • Good for vegetable, flower and herb seed
  • Offers MicroMax nutrients

Buy on Amazon

4. Potato stamps

Potato stamps are a fun, versatile project. Cut a potato in half and carefully carve a design into the underside of the potato. You now have a brand-new stamp! You can use the stamp to decorate wrapping paper, plain paper and even use the designs on your wall. The best part about these stamps is when the project is over, you can throw them away for a mess-free experience. Try using pumpkin carving tools for more detailed designs on your potato stamps.

  • 5-piece set
  • 10 patterns

Buy on Amazon

Looking to add some DIY crafts to your space while keeping yourself (or your kids) busy? Check out these great ideas...
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5 cute animal-inspired kitchen products

Once you see this menagerie of kitchen products, you’ll want to start your own zoo!

Sometimes, you see something that’s so cool you just need to buy it. These 5 fun products can bring a good measure of joy to your day, and we think that’s worth more than almost anything!

Taco holder

Sure, we have hands that hold tacos, but that isn’t as fun as a dinosaur taco holder. You can also replace the tacos with healthier options if you’re trying to get your children to eat better.

  • They call it the TriceraTaco
  • Holds more than just tacos

Buy on Amazon

Magnets of dog posteriors

If you’re going to use magnets on your fridge, they might as well be funny! These dog behinds are oddly charming, and they bring a smile to anyone in the room. Reviewers mention how many laughs these get and how much joy the magnets bring to their day.

  • Cat, safari and whale butts also available
  • >1.25” x .625”

Buy on Amazon

Baby Nessie brewer

Brewing tea can be a pretty boring household task. Why not make it exciting with this baby Nessie brewer, based on the Scottish Loch Ness Monster? If only the real-life Nessie were this easy to find.

  • Dishwasher safe
  • BPA free and dishwasher safe

Buy on Amazon

Elephant corkscrew

Uncorking wine is only exciting because you’re 1 step closer to wine time, so add a cuteness factor with an adorable elephant corkscrew! This elephant bottle opener is a great conversation piece at any party.

  • Open beers and wine
  • 3.8” x 3” x 1.3”

Buy on Amazon

Penguin shaker

Why didn’t we think of this? Just add in your ingredients and some ice and shake — once the penguin is icy cold, your drink is ready. Normally, gimmicky products cost a lot more than their traditional counterparts, but this one is reasonably priced.

  • Stainless steel
  • Affordably priced

Buy on Amazon

Once you see this menagerie of kitchen products, you’ll want to start your own zoo!...
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8 apps to bring reading to life

Read graphic novels, browse your local library’s collection or listen to episodic audiobooks

Read graphic novels, browse your local library’s collection or listen to episodic audiobooks...

5 things you can do for active service people on Armed Forces Day

Recognize our active-duty soldiers’ hard work with these thoughtful ideas

Every third Sunday in May, we celebrate Armed Forces Day, where we come together to appreciate what our men and women in the armed forces do year-round. Here are a few thoughtful ways to show our soldiers we care.

Sponsor a care package

Photo (c)eclipse_image - Getty

The USO (United Services Organizations) has been serving the men and women in the U.S. military and their families with several great programs. Join in and donate a much-needed care package through the USO's official website. Care packages include toiletries, snacks and other needed items that active-duty troops have requested.

Volunteer

With the current coronavirus situation, we are limited with our outside interactions with people. However, it’s never too early to check out some worthy programs and volunteer for future positions. For instance, Operation Homefront helps military families with basic needs like rent or mortgage payments and groceries. There are several things you can do to support the organization.

Display your admiration

Although most parades have been canceled, you can still display your pride in our armed forces by hanging flags, streamers and patriotic decorations. You can even print out a free, full-color poster commemorating Armed Forces Day from the Department of Defense’s website and hang it in your house or business’ window.

  • 45 pieces
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Buy on Amazon

Thank a service member with the hashtag

This one is pretty easy, but just as notable. Go to your favorite social media account, share a story, show appreciation and add the hashtag #armedforcesday. It might seem like a small act of gratitude, but plenty of active military personal will see this, and your friends can join in.

Send a troop a letter

Plenty of troops overseas could use some recognition, and you and your family can take care of that with a thoughtful card or letter. Check out the Support our Troops website for helpful information on sending a card to an active service member — from where to send it to suggestions on what you should write.

Armed Forces Day is an excellent time to show your support for our active-duty members, so do your best to bring a smile to those that have done so much for us and our country.

Recognize our active-duty soldiers’ hard work with these thoughtful ideas...
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8 fun items that put the "happy" in happy hour

Wine accessories, trendy drinking glasses and the ultimate happy hour gag gift

Happy hour is supposed to be one thing — happy. Bring some joy to your happy hour with these clever, useful alcohol accessories that also make great conversation pieces.

Gin-making kit

Alcohol-making is a centuries-old process, and everyone from medieval Franciscan monks to modern-day Americans have taken part. Bring the tradition to your home with this nifty gin-making kit. You and your friends can enjoy the big flavors that come from the juniper berries and a secret spice blend.

  • Makes 750ml
  • Includes everything you’ll need

Buy on Amazon

Wine bottle/glass

The wine bottle with a wine glass topper is a hilarious product. If you happy hour with wine snobs, this will bring some smiles amongst the sniffing, aerating and tasting. Just uncork a bottle, pour it into this funky product and you’re ready to go!

  • Holds a 750mL bottle
  • 11.4” tall x 2.8” wide

Buy on Amazon

Charcuterie cutting board

What’s a happy hour without something to nibble on? We’re new to the word “charcuterie," but it seems to involve cheese, so we’re excited about it. Add some olives, fruit and crackers for a better selection on your hors d'oeuvres platter.

  • Made from bamboo
  • Stainless steel cutting knives

Buy on Amazon

Wine tumbler

Wine glasses are functional, but they break easily, and white wine gets warm reasonably fast — especially if you're sipping outdoors. These wine tumblers are an excellent way to keep wine cold and stop wine glass breakage.

  • Keep wine cold for 9 hours
  • Stainless steel

Buy on Amazon

Stemless aerating wine glasses

If you’re feeling fancy, these aerating wine glasses are a fun way to make your wine taste even better. Aerating wine — i.e., exposing it to air — alters the flavor, improving it in many cases.

  • Set of two
  • Pyrex glass

Buy on Amazon

Whiskey glasses

Some people prefer a cocktail — and it tastes even better when sipped from a well-made glass. These whiskey glasses’ freeform shape looks plain cool, and they’re easier to hold onto than traditional tumblers.

  • Great for scotch, whiskey and spirits
  • Man cave must-have

Buy on Amazon

128-ounce carbonated growler

With a carbonated growler, you can say goodbye to flat beer. The carbonation cap lets you determine the level of carbonation you want in your brew. The growler also has a pressure gauge and a sight glass, so you see how much beer you have left. You’ll have an "ale of a time" with this one.

  • Co2 cartridge
  • Vacuum-insulated

Buy on Amazon

Tea tumbler

We have an answer for all those teetotalers out there that want to enjoy a sober happy hour. Tea is a good alternative — it has numerous health benefits, brewing it is simple and it tastes good. This tea tumbler makes drinking tea fun, and it looks excellent as well.

  • Built-in infuser
  • Double-walled to prevent leaks

Buy on Amazon

Wine accessories, trendy drinking glasses and the ultimate happy hour gag gift...
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