Amanda Redden

A Review of the Buckshot Pro Ultra

Review by Harold Whitford from Bikes Haven.

I’m quite meticulous when it comes to picking cycling accessories. So, when I heard about the Buckshot Pro Ultra wireless speaker, I was thrilled and skeptical about it at the same time. But after taking it for a test ride, the only thing I regret is not buying it sooner. 

For me, being able to bring a charger, flashlight, and a portable speaker all embedded in one small and lightweight gadget is fascinating and impressive. And in a way, the Buckshot Pro has saved me a lot of money that I would have otherwise spent if I bought each accessory separately. 

What is the Buckshot Pro Ultra? 

The Buckshot Pro is a combination of a Bluetooth speaker, a flashlight, and a portable charger. The speaker delivers hi-fi sound and an excellent amount of bass. Its flashlight includes a number of lighting modes for different levels of visibility, and the integrated charging system lets you juice up small electronics as you ride your bike.  

How to Use the Buckshot Pro Ultra When Cycling 

I’ve tested dozens of bike accessories in the last 6 months, and I can tell you that none of them come close to what the Buckshot Pro is. In my twenty-something hours of testing, I noticed how easy the device was to set up and how well it performed.

Setup  

The outer design features mounting straps to fix the device on a bike’s handlebar. To get started, place the Buckshot Pro on either side and adjust the strap to fit. 

mountain biking speaker

Putting the Buckshot Pro Ultra to Work 

1. The Bluetooth Speaker 

This one has been good company for me, especially on the loneliest trails that I’ve found myself on. The built-in Bluetooth speaker allows me to play music as I bike and dance to my favorite jams to get the most out of my rides. 

This gadget’s Bluetooth technology even lets you stream music from a wireless device like a smartphone or a Bluetooth enabled MP3 player. There’s even an integrated microphone that lets you make and receive calls on the spot. 

From my firsthand experience, the sound quality is undeniably up to standards. The highs are clean, the lows are deep, and the bass is spot on. With a 10-hour playtime on a single charge, you can go on long distance bike rides while listening to your favorite music. 

2. Power Bank 

The Buckshot Pro’s built-in power bank has been quite handy in juicing up two of my USB-rechargeable GPS-enabled cycling computers. For what it’s worth, the energy allows me the grace period to keep tracking my biking performance when it would have been impossible otherwise. 

Frankly, I don’t often bring a smartphone with me to a bike ride. But when I do, I like to use Buckshot Pro to charge it up. Quite a good power bank if you ask me. 

3. Bike Light 

The Buckshot Pro Ultra lets me cruise through dark trails without worrying about hitting anyone or hurting myself. The brightness level stands at 100 lumens, which is allows other road users to spot you. The strobe, torch, bright, and dim lantern light modes all work together to make you easily visible. At 100 lumens, you won’t be visible at a long distance, but other people will still notice you even in the deep dark.

What I Think About the Buckshot Pro Ultra 

I love the Buckshot Pro because it’s lightweight. At only 0.42 pounds, this device is so super light that it doesn’t add weight to my bike. 

It’s even IPX5 rated, so it can stand up to elements like dust and resist water in drizzles. I wish it were waterproof, though. 

My Final Thoughts on the Buckshot Pro Ultra

I don’t know about you, but I think Buckshot Pro is an innovative gadget that’s changing the way we perceive bike tech. Not to mention, it takes the bike riding experience to the next level. It’s the ideal combination of a bike light, a bike stereo, and a charger for a small electronic all-in-one. 

Top Gifts to Give Your Best Friend this Holiday Season

It’s no secret that this year has been a difficult one. Many of us are tired, overwhelmed, and craving connection with the people we love — which is why this holiday season will be more important than ever. Even if you can’t physically gather with your friends or extended family, you can still show them how much you care with a beautiful personalized gift.

You can find a personalized gift for everyone on your list, from your parents, nieces, and nephews, to your best friend in the world. But what, exactly, should you get your best friend this year? The answer depends on their interests… but we’ve got a few ideas that we think you’ll love!

For the “Monica” of Your Group: A Recipe Cutting Board

Is your best friend the person who hosts Friendsgiving? Are they always ready with a freshly baked treat when you walk in the door? Give them something that’s truly special and embraces their love of the kitchen: a personalized cutting board etched with a family recipe. 

With both maple and cherry wood finishes, you can select a board to suit any decorating style. This beautiful paddle cutting board can be a lovely serving tray for special events, or it can simply be decor for the kitchen. Trust us, once they see this beauty they’ll be baking you lots of cookies to thank you!

For the Constant Jet-Setter: A Personalized Passport Holder

This friend has the most enviable Instagram page you’ve ever seen. They’re constantly flying off to some beautiful and exotic locale, and they usually bring you back a cute souvenir or two. Even if travel is on hold at the moment, this friend needs something to remind them that soon they can get back in the skies.

A personalized passport holder is a great way to indulge your friend’s love of travel while making them feel extra fancy. The soft, vegan leather feels ultra-luxe, and the laser engraving will last as long as your friend’s passport (maybe even longer).

For the Music Lover: A Bluetooth Speaker

We all have that one friend who’s always in charge of the party playlist. They love music, they know all the latest artists, and they will not rest until they’ve found the perfect song to suit the mood. If that person is your best friend, give them a new way to play their tunes this holiday season.

bluetooth speaker will allow your friend to play the latest songs anywhere they go — in the car, on a camping trip, even while lounging in the pool! With a durable and sleek design, this speaker will quickly become a constant companion for your friend, and that means you’ll be treated to their best playlists every time you’re together (bonus!).

For Your Partner-in-Crime: A Keepsake Box

Of all your friends, this one is like the friend you’ve known the longest. You two have shared countless memories, from special events like concerts and vacations to many nights in binge-watching Netflix. While you may not have spent as much time together this year (dang 2020), you can give them a gift that shows them how much you value your time together.

A personalized keepsake box is a perfect gift for anyone who wants to save precious memories with their friends and loved ones. Have it engraved with your names and fill it with ticket stubs, funny photos, souvenirs from trips, and so much more. This is one gift that will truly last a lifetime.

For the One Whose Phone is About to Die: A Power Bank

Now, we’re not trying to shame this friend, but we all know who it is. This is the friend whose phone is always at one percent, the one who takes hours to respond to your texts, the one who — as much as you love them — could use a little help getting it together this holiday season.

How can you help this friend keep their phone from shutting down mid-call? Get them a portable power bank. This small, rechargeable battery can fit nicely in their car, purse, or backpack so that they always have a little extra power handy.

Get Personalized Gifts For Everyone on Your List

Whether you’re shopping for your parents, best friends, or that someone special, you can’t go wrong if you put some thought into who they are. After all, it’s the thought that counts!

Best Hobbies to Pick Up During the Pandemic

These are challenging times for everyone. It helps to have a hobby to occupy your mind and your time. The situation going on around us is unprecedented, but it’s full of opportunities if you know where to look. Rather than sitting around the house feeling bored, lonely, and worried, why not pick up a hobby? You can enrich your mind and entertain yourself, as well as your family. All you have to do is select the right activity for you. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Binge-Watch Your Faves

You might be stuck inside, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do. During times like these, sometimes you need to do something soothing that will not only take your mind off of what’s happening, but will also numb you a bit and take you out of the situation. For that reason, binge-watching movies and TV shows might be your best bet. You can turn it into something fun, even something that has a purpose. For example, this is your opportunity to catch up on all the shows you always wanted to watch but never had time to enjoy. You could also sit down to watch an entire movie series, such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy or all of the Marvel movies—in order. To make it more enjoyable, consider Facetiming or Zooming with a group of friends while you watch.

Pick Up a Book

Speaking of immersing yourself in different worlds, all you need is a book to transport yourself to a faraway place. At the very least, you can get lost in a world where the pandemic isn’t happening. It’s hard for busy adults to find time to read even when they enjoy doing so. Right now, you have no excuses and no other commitments. You’re stuck at home, so there’s no reason not to pick up a book that you’ve been dying to read. Then again, why not reread your old favorites? Books and stories are comforting, and comfort is exactly what we all need right now.

Bust Out the Crayons

Soothing activities are unquestionably some of the best hobbies to start right now. Plenty of adults have embraced some of their childhood favorites because those activities give them a sense of calm and help them to believe that everything genuinely will be okay. Whether you want to color with crayons, colored pencils, or watercolors, take a look at some adult coloring books to see what strikes your fancy. In addition to funny adult coloring books with risqué pictures and naughty words, you can also pick out books with intricate designs and breathtaking scenes.

Get to the Kitchen

Throughout the course of the pandemic, people have understandably been cooking at home more often. Many restaurants are open for delivery, takeout, and social distanced seating, but with the economy the way it is and with growing numbers of furloughs and layoffs, cooking at home is often the more practical choice. Why not turn it into an adventure? Try your hand at gourmet meals that you’ve never attempted. Experiment with baking, chocolate, or pastries. You never know, your true talents may lie in the kitchen.

Stay Active

You may be wary of going to the gym, if they’re even open in your area. That’s entirely understandable. Fortunately, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy physical activities. Turn your home into a gym. There’s a wide world of videos and tutorials out there that can show you exactly what to do using basic equipment. You don’t need to spend a fortune to work out at home. Simply going for a local hike or doing yoga in the backyard is excellent for your mental and physical health. You can also opt to go for a run, but don’t forget your earbuds to entertain yourself while you’re on the go.

Choose a Craft

Are you into arts and crafts? Maybe it’s time to start crafting. There are all sorts of hobbies to learn. For instance, have you ever considered crocheting or knitting? You can order the supplies, have them sent to your home, and look up video tutorials to get started. The same goes for painting, felting, jewelry making, or woodworking. Just think about an artsy hobby that you’ve always wanted to try and jump right into it.

Turn Your Thumbs Green

Have you ever considered gardening? It’s a calming activity, it serves a practical purpose, and it gives you the chance to nurture something and watch it grow. It may not be the right season for gardening where you are, but that’s okay. You can set up an indoor garden, instead. Consider creating a container garden in your sunroom or treat yourself to an herb garden starter kit. You can grow herbs right in your kitchen. Not only are they beautiful and fragrant, but they can elevate all of your cooking endeavors, as well.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of hobbies. You may decide that it’s the perfect time for a few DIY home improvements. Learning a new language may be right up your alley. What hobby interests you the most?


5 Lesser-Traveled Spots to Check Out That Are COVID Friendly

The COVID-19 pandemic has been excellent for outdoors lovers. Bars are closed. Conventions and amusement parks are widely considered bad ideas. What’s left for simple recreation is getting outside to camp, hike, backpack, and otherwise enjoy nature and all its myriad attractions. 

However, many of our favorite outdoor locations have become crowded by groups who usually would have gone to Disneyland or stayed closer to home, sampling the local pubs and restaurants. This not only makes these destinations less enjoyable for a diehard outdoors lover, but it also makes them dangerous. A crowded campground can be just as hazardous as an overpopulated beach, from a disease vector standpoint.

Until there’s a vaccine, good sense and a spirit of adventure both dictate that we go to the lesser-known spots. Here are a few great ones from different parts of the country.

1. Pacific Northwest: Toad Lake Campground

This small patch of camping bliss is 12 miles west of I-5 near Mount Shasta. It’s one of the hike-in-only locations on the Pacific Crest Trail, a strong deterrent for casual campers. You can take your pick of developed sites with park benches and nearby toilets or hike the extra few miles for a back-country or primitive space. The farther you go, the more separated you’ll be from the crowds.

Its eponymous lake covers 23 acres surrounded by hilly forest. The shores vary from thick woods to rocky outcroppings to meadows. Boats are not permitted, making it great for fishing and swimming. There’s not much going on besides the beautiful, off-the-beaten-path nature, but that’s all we need. It might even be the perfect spot to bring out your Waterproof Speaker and lounge around for a bit.

Toad Lake Campground is open all year. Camping sites are first-come, first-served.

How to Get There

Turn onto exit 738 from I-5 near Mount Shasta, heading west. Follow Route 26/Barr Rd and turn off at the Toad Lake sign. Follow the winding road to the parking lot, then hike in following the marked trail.

2. Southwest: South Ruby Campground

A fishing and boating paradise located in the Ruby Valley National Wildlife Refuge, this campground is rarely close to as crowded as its location and amenities would suggest. It sits at 6,000 feet elevation around the coast of Ruby Lake in Nevada. Despite being a classic high desert location, its lake and marshlands attract stopover species from all around, making it one of the best bird and wildlife watching locations in the area.

The campground is located among pinyon pine and juniper, offering a shady place to pitch your tent in one of 35 sites, including one double spot and one wheelchair-accessible site. All sites have picnic tables and campfire rings, with vault toilets and running water available nearby. Besides being out of the way, the campground’s structure runs screens of trees between sites, making social distancing (and privacy) easy.

Unlike many of the out-of-the-way camping opportunities on this list, South Ruby allows boating, ATV riding, and off-road vehicles.

South Ruby Campground is open May through September, with exact dates announced one year ahead of time. You can book sites up to six months in advance.

How to Get There

Turn south off I-80 onto Route 227 near Elko. Turn right onto Route 228 and follow it past Jiggs. As the highway begins to turn north in a wide dogleg, turn right onto Ruby Valley Road and take it to the campground. If 228 turns into 767, you’ve gone too far.

3. Southeast: Linville Gorge

“The Grand Canyon of the East” is a rugged river valley in Burke County, North Carolina. The land is so steep and rough it was never harvested for timber, leaving much of it as pristine, old-growth forest rare on that side of the Mississippi River. The designated National Wilderness Area covers 12,000 acres deep forest, offering multiple rare plant species and excellent wildlife and bird viewing opportunities. The Linville River cuts a meandering path through granite walls, creating stunning falls, steep gorges, and multiple deep coves for swimming and fishing.

Trails here are not well-maintained or even clearly marked, but they offer unique, spectacular vistas to experienced hikers. Camping (with permits) is available both in established, primitive campsites and simple backwoods spaces. Motor travel is not permitted, and cellular reception is spotty. This is wilderness camping, so come prepared.

The Linville Gorge wilderness is open year-round.

How to Get There

You can access this large patch of wilderness from multiple locations, including simple roadside trailheads and a few logging roads kept open during the summer months. Aim your GPS for Spruce Pine, North Carolina. or Lenoir, North Carolina, and set off from there. Local guides can tell you what’s best and what’s least crowded at any particular time.

4. Great Plains: Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

Another sizable protected area, Wichita Mountain Wilderness contains Fawn Creek Campgrounds and Doris Campground. It covers more than 59,000 acres of scrubland containing rough hills, plains, and waterways. It’s one of the oldest national wildlife refuges in the United States and home to roaming herds of bison and longhorns. Locals and road trippers visit for camping near the Visitor’s Center, but the hiking trails and boating opportunities go deep into the Refuge.

Camping opportunities are more strictly regimented here than in many other areas. Doris Campground offers hookups for RVs and pop-up tent vehicles (tents are currently prohibited). Fawn Creek Campground is reserved for organized youth groups. Everybody else is invited to enjoy backcountry camping, which is likely what you wanted anyway if you’re reading this article. All three options are by permit only, available up to three months in advance.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is open all year, though some facilities shut down or curtail operations during winter.

How to Get There

Drive west out of Lawton on Highway 62. At Cache, turn right onto 115 and enter the area Refuge near Doris Campground. For faster access to the Visitor’s Center, continue on 62 and turn right on Route 54. Turn right onto Hwy 49, which leads you straight into the Refuge and to the Visitor’s Center.

5. New England: Cutler Coast

This area is also known as the Bold Coast, and it offers some of the most extended tracts of undeveloped coastline along the East Coast. Activity here is centered on trail hiking, including the famed Caribou Loop and Black Point Brook Loop. You can access most camping by car, but some of the best views, hiking, and wildlife viewing are only available to those willing to reach them on foot (or by paddling).

The entire area is dotted with primitive camping opportunities, all first-come, first-served. The main areas include Fairy Beach, Machias River Corridor, Donnell Pond, and Stave Island. Bear in mind that hiking is often strenuous and consists of some hazardous conditions. This getaway is not recommended for families with small children or novice hikers, making it an excellent choice for experienced outdoors lovers looking to avoid crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cutler Coast is open year-round, but the hazards increase and the foliage decreases as soon as the snow starts to fall.

How to Get There

Follow 191 northeast out of Cutler (accessible via 191 by driving south, then east out of East Machias). You’ll find multiple turn-offs and opportunities on your right as you go.

Final Thoughts

Visiting these out-of-the-way spaces is no guarantee you’ll be alone or at no risk of COVID-19 exposure. Be sure to include hand sanitizer, face masks, medical gloves, and similar items in your packing kit. For the time being, they’re as important as your cooking supplies and first aid gear.

John Bradley lives with his family of six in Oregon. They hiked and completed a big trip across the country in an RV during COVID-19.

Hiking Or Camping? Here’s How to Spot Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Spending time outdoors is one of the best things we can do for our physical and mental health — especially right now. And if you’re looking for something invigorating to distract you from the pandemic, hiking or camping should probably be on your list.

Of course, you do need to take precautions when you participate in these outdoor activities. Although going outside can be one of the safest options right now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be hazards waiting for you. Many of those hazards occur naturally, so you’ll want to be mindful whenever you’re walking through wildlife. If you keep an eye out, you might even find a Mossy Oak Buckshot Pro hiding in the bushes.

As we move from summer to fall, you’ll still need to be aware of the animals and plants that can cause harm. Poison ivy and poison oak are among these dangers. It’ll behoove you to learn exactly what these plants look like so you can avoid them on the trail. That way, nothing can ruin your trip.

Poison Ivy Vs. Poison Oak: How to Tell the Difference

Both poison ivy and poison oak can cause allergic reactions (which typically show up in the form of a bodily rash) due to the urushiol they contain. In fact, 85% of Americans are allergic to poison ivy. Both plants are characterized by their lack of thorns and their three-leaf clusters. (If you’ve ever heard the expression, “leaves of three, let them be,” you’ll already be familiar with this aspect of their physical appearance). They also grow as either a vine or a bush, have red berries and white flowers, and come in a variety of sizes. They also tend to turn red in color during the fall.

However, poison ivy and poison oak also have some key differences that can help you know which plants to avoid. Poison ivy often grows close to the ground and has vines or stems that are fuzzy in appearance. Its leaves are almond-shaped and may look shiny. Poison oak has leaves that are a bit more rounded and “hairy.” They really do look similar to oak leaves. 

Avoiding and Treating Poison Ivy or Poison Oak

Knowing how to differentiate between poison ivy and poison oak can allow you to avoid making contact with these hazardous plants. But you may not always be able to rely on your quick reactions to keep you safe. When hiking, camping, or spending time in nature, you should consider wearing protective clothing to cover your skin. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts should be worn to provide a barrier between your bare skin and any plants you might brush up against.

But since reactions to poison ivy and poison oak aren’t immediate, you might realize too late that you’ve unknowingly touched them. You should first wash all exposed areas of your skin (or the affected area, if a rash has started to form) with soap and cool water. You can use cool compresses, calamine lotion, or antihistamines to treat the symptoms. Be sure to seek medical care if the rash becomes increasingly uncomfortable or if it’s accompanied by blisters, swelling, fever, or difficulty breathing. In most cases, however, the rash will eventually dissipate on its own within a couple of weeks.

Now that you know all about poison ivy and poison oak, you can hike or camp with confidence.

Analysis of a Successful Traveler’s Gear

There’s a lot to think about when you’re a frequent traveler. From the types of clothing you pack and the shoes you wear to the airport to how many bags you bring and where you keep all your essentials, a successful traveler has a plan for everything. If you’re wondering what you need to have in order to ensure your travels are comfortable and convenient, explore these top tips for the most essential traveler’s gear everyone should have.

  1. Inflatable Pillows

Getting rest while in the air or on the road is critical. You don’t want to arrive exhausted and take days to recover from your flight and adjust to a new time zone. Whether you’re traveling for work or adventure, you want to get out and get at it right away! An inflatable pillow allows you to bring an ultra-compact accessory that provides so much comfort during your trip. Since it’s inflatable, your pillow can fit into any zippered compartment, side pouch, and even in your pants pocket. 

Once you’re settled in your seat, you can inflate your pillow to your desired comfort level. Instead of using those weird, flat airline pillows, you now have more neck support than ever. Since inflatable pillows are so versatile, you can find them in a number of sizes, shapes, and fabrics to customize your experience.

  1. Compact Electronics

Your phone may nearly be the size of a laptop these days, but that doesn’t mean that all your other electronic accessories and essentials need to take up a lot of space. From docking stations to portable chargers, you should be looking for all-in-one travel electronic tools that make it a whole lot easier to just pack up and go. Look for battery packs that fit right onto your phone or charging cords that split into several strands and can charge multiple phones, tablets, and cameras. The more you can compact your electronics, the easier it is to bring more of the travel accessories you really need.

  1. TSA Friendly Bags & Cases

TSA pre-check and carry-on only travelers may have a great deal, but that’s not always an option for everyone. To ensure you have the easiest time getting through airport security, a TSA-friendly bag is one of the most important pieces in your traveler’s arsenal. Look for laptop backpacks that have separate and distinct compartments, so that you can easily access your laptop and whip it out for security. Restraining straps are also a top choice for TSA-friendly bags to allow you to access any section of your carry-on without opening and sorting through the entire thing.

Travel bags are about more than just being efficient for security checkpoints though. They’re also more durable and protective than other backpacks and bags. You’ll find travel bags that are weather resistant and waterproof, ones that can convert from backpacks to messenger bags, and bags with specialty contoured designs that make them easier to carry over long distances — no matter how heavy they are!

  1. Packing Cubes

Organization in packing is the key to making sure you can fit everything you need into the smallest space available. With travel restrictions in place dictating how many bags you can bring and how much they’re allowed to weigh, strategizing where everything fits in your bag is one of the most important parts of packing. Invest in some travel cubes to make packing more like Tetris and less like Jumble.

  1. Comfortable Clothing

Getting to and from the airport means you don’t want to be messing with your clothing or tripping over heels as you rush through security, terminals, and gates. Comfortable travel clothing ensures you feel good in any situation — whether you’re running to catch your connecting flight or freezing in an over-air-conditioned cabin. Athleisure and loungewear are the most recommended options for flying. Opt for leggings, sweats, layered tops, and slip-on sneakers to create a flexible wardrobe that you can adjust to your surroundings.

  1. Supportive Travel Shoes

Traveling to your destination can require a surprising amount of walking even if you’re mostly navigating airports and train stations. When you’re walking around through airports and foreign cities, thinking about your shoes is probably the last thing on your mind. But, if you want to get through your trip without aching feet and legs or a sore back, you should move your shoes to the top of your list. Get travel shoes with thicker soles and more shock absorption, as well as light, breathable fabric that won’t weigh down your bag. Bonus for finding a shoe with removable arch support that allows you to insert your own orthopedic footwear!

Become a Travel Expert

man holding luggage photo

Travel looks very different now than it did five years ago, or even just one year ago. While there are still a depressing amount of travel restrictions in place, don’t lose hope! Embrace the change in travel and evolve with the times to ensure that when everything opens up again, you’ll be ready with quality traveling gear.

The First Time I Took my Turtle Shell for a Swim

Life is filled with many firsts. First love. First car. First legal drink. First concert. First paycheck. The list goes on. I’m here to talk about one of my firsts. The first time I took my Turtle Shell 3.0 for a swim. It was truly quite a rush. Nothing compares to the feeling of relaxing in my Jacuzzi with my Turtle Shell floating right beside me…literally my right-hand man for music.

Here’s how it all began. It was a Thursday night around 9pm. I had around 15 friends over to celebrate. Not too sure what we were celebrating, but it seemed like a good excuse to throw a little party. Of course my Turtle Shell 3.0 was center of attention the entire night. You can’t have a party without good music! My friends were mentioning how cool the speaker was, and they were obsessing over the rugged shape. I thought it’d be a good time to point out that the speaker was fully water-proof. I got a few looks of doubt, a few looks of complete shock, and a few looks of excitement. Of course now I had to prove it.

We headed outside to my Jacuzzi and stood over the ledge. We all kind of stared at the speaker, then the water, then back at the speaker. At this moment, I realized I had never even splashed water on this thing. What if I break it? I don’t want to pay for a new one! All my friends are expecting to be wowed by the Turtle Shell, so let’s see what it’s got! I grabbed the speaker and dunked it under the water, then I let it float around the Jacuzzi. Success! The Turtle Shell continued to blast music and wasn’t fazed by the water. “WOAHHH that’s so dope!!” My guy friends were clearly amazed. My Turtle Shell proved itself and showed why it’s worth the money.

The first time I took my Turtle Shell 3.0 for a swim changed my life. Why have the speaker 5ft away on a table when I can have it in arms reach, right next to me. If you ever catch me in my Jacuzzi, you can bet the Turtle Shell 3.0 will be right there with me.

 

Guide to Laguna Beach

The famous tourist location Laguna Beach can be a tough place to navigate. Especially when you’re a local and you’re trying to escape the tourist traffic on streets and sidewalks. Don’t even attempt to go to Main Beach for the day. To find parking is one thing, but to find relaxing spot on the beach is another. This area is one of the most popular locations in all of Laguna, for good reason of course. Main Street Beach is right across from popular shops, restaurants, gelato places, art galleries, etc. The beach also has basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a cute mini boardwalk…tourist heaven! I suggest heading to some of the other beaches in Laguna to get in a relaxing beach day, (mostly) tourist free.

  1. Oak Street Beach

This beach is easy to access and you don’t have to walk down tons of stairs or a steep hill! It’s right off PCH next to where Banzai Bowls and Active Culture are located. This beach is small, but I’ve never had an issue getting a good spot.

  1. Victoria Beach

Off of Nyes Place you’ll find Victoria Beach. Yes, you have to park on a hill, but it isn’t too steep and it’s FREE! You’ll usually never see little kids at this Laguna spot either, which is a plus if you’re trying to relax without kiddy screams! This spot also has a blowhole that you can jump in if tides are high enough.

  1. West Street Beach

You can park along PCH near the West Street intersection and head down to this beach. West is a wide, sandy cove that has volleyball courts perfect to practice your beach volleyball skills! Near the north end, you’ll find unique rock formations when the tide is low.

  1. Table Rock Beach

This hidden beach can be tough to get to, since it’s tucked away and hard to find from the highway. Your best bet is to get there early to park along PCH and walk down to the entrance. Table Rock has secret pools that you might’ve seen before. When the tide is working in your favor, you can swim around in these hidden pools. An experience unique to SoCal’s Laguna Beach!

  1. Thousand Steps Beach

This beach is a tad more popular than the ones I’ve talked about so far. Famously recognized for its name, Thousand Steps Beach includes a killer workout for the walk back up. 1,000 steps down is easy, but the climb back up will leave your legs sore for days. It’s worth it though for the beautiful, wide beach in Laguna. You’re surrounded by beautiful mansions too which are fun to fantasize about.

  1. Thalia Street Beach

The beach on Thalia Street is right next to Oak Street, so you can access either beach from either entrance. I love the waves at this Laguna spot (usually they are bigger than some other beach spots). There’s also a unique wall at Thalia Beach giving its own cool feature. This is the perfect beach to lounge out and watch the surfers and skimboarders do their thing!

  1. Treasure Island

For easiest access to this beach, head over to the Montage Resort and walk down the stairs or ramp. This beach has it all. A park, tide pools, and a cool rock arch. If you park on Wesley Drive off of PCH, you can get free parking too. A great bonus!

  1. Wood’s Cove

If you’re looking to get a nice tan or explore some tide pools, then head to Wood’s Cove. This is a small little cove in Laguna Beach that makes for a great, private spot. There are lots of rocks here though, so if you’re looking to go swimming, you may want to head to a larger beach.

10 Ways to Help Take Care of Our Environment

There are many ways to do your part in taking care of our Earth. These 10 simple tips are a great place to start. By adopting even a few of these suggested changes you can have a big effect on reducing your environmental footprint. And don’t forget that the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) are always there to guide you in your quest for sustainable living!

  1. Use Reusable bags

Since California has banned plastic bags, it’s been tough to remember to bring my own to the store. The newly famous cashier line, “Do you want to pay 10¢ for a bag?” always guilt trips me into saying no. Then I end up struggling out of the store with a handful of items. If this sounds like you, then go put a stack of reusable bags in your car and reduce the number of single use plastic bags you generate!

  1. Say NO to Straws

Straws are one of many single-use plastics that contribute to our waste. In the U.S. alone, roughly 500 million straws are used a day and most don’t get recycled. If a server sets a straw on your table, simply say “no thanks.” I promise your drink will still taste the same!

  1. Switch to Glass Containers

When storing food in your kitchen or packing lunches to-go, use glass containers rather than plastic Ziploc bags. Investing in high quality food storage containers will help your food last longer, taste better, and save you money!

  1. Buy in Bulk

Whether you shop at your local market or Costco, there are plenty of opportunities to buy in bulk. This saves you money and decreases the amount of food packaging waste you generate. Don’t forget to bring your own reusable containers when filling up at the bulk bins!

  1. Use Reusable Water Bottles

Recently, there has been much hype over the use of reusable water bottles. It’s pretty obvious why (at least I think so). A reusable bottle means cold, refreshing water anywhere: beach, gym, airplane, work, couch…the list goes on. They’re free to fill up and fun to personalize with crazy stickers!

  1. Avoid Microbead Products

The tiny little plastic microbeads in face and body washes don’t filter through filtration systems. Those plastic beads end up in our oceans and are mistaken for food. If you use these products, you should look for new alternatives. Congress banned microbeads and the deadline for stopping production was July 1, 2017, so you’re going to need to find new products anyways!

  1. Cancel Mail Subscriptions

If you end up throwing away half of your mail without even opening it first, go ahead and cancel that subscription. If you don’t want to cancel it, then make it an online subscription through email.

  1. Reusable Coffee Filter

Regular coffee makers and Keurigs both have reusable coffee filters. They are easy to use and easy to wash, so give it a shot! Don’t forget to use a reusable coffee cup when taking your own coffee on the go.

  1. Avoid Traditional Wrapping Paper

Whether it’s Christmas or a birthday, there are many alternatives to traditional gift wrap. You can reuse materials such as newspaper, cloth, or old gift bags. The options are limitless if you use a little bit of creativity and imagination!

  1. Share this with a Friend!

It is up to every one of us to pass on the knowledge we learn. By sharing this article with a friend, a domino effect will continue to create positive change.

Outdoor Tech Inspired Dorm Room

Do you have a student going off to college? Are you the student going off to college? If you answered yes to either of these questions, read along to find out some tips for a rad dorm room. Living in a shoe-box for a school year doesn’t sound too appealing, but there are a few ways to make the space feel more like home. The secret key to a comfortable living space is to personalize your dorm. ODT products will get you one step closer to a personal, rad, and tech inspired living space that will have your new friends wishing they invested in ODT.

Let’s look at ODT products your dorm room needs:

  1. Turtle Shell 3.0 – $99.95

At some point in college, it’s going to be your turn to host the pregame. The Turtle Shell 3.0 makes this easy and everyone will love coming to your room before the party. It’s not too big of a speaker, making it the perfect sized center piece for a quick game of beer pong. You won’t have to worry about this speaker getting ruined either if an accidental spill happens! Don’t blast the music too loud though, the last thing you want is an RA knocking on your door.

  1. Buckshot Pro – $79.95

This little speaker is a great addition to your room. Its high quality sound makes it easy to have music playing while friends are hanging out. The built-in flashlight will come in handy for those times you drop something behind your bed or lose something in your closet. You can easily take the Buckshot Pro for a walk around campus if you want to be that cool kid playing music while walking to class. Definitely a power move.

  1. Tags 2.0 – $39.95

At an affordable price, the Tags 2.0 make the perfect college earbuds. Whether you’re watching Netflix or doing homework, these earbuds make it easy to privately listen to music without bothering your roommate. You can also throw them in your bag or purse and you won’t have to worry about them getting tangled because of the magnetic ends that clip together!

  1. Los Cabos – $59.95

If you’re more of a headphone type of person, get the Los Cabos for your dorm living. This rugged piece of technology is tough to break and sweat/splash resistant, so no need to worry about accidentally ruining them. Put them on and turn up the volume to tune-out those unwanted visitors in your room. Study time? Block out surrounding noise to focus in on getting good grades. Lounging out on the campus quad? Bring your Los Cabos and relax to some quality tunes. They’re also good for your flights back home!

  1. Kodiak Power Series – $24.95 – $79.95

Portable chargers are necessary for all college students. Whether you’re out and about on a Friday night, enjoying a football game at your stadium, or studying hard in the library, a portable charger will come in handy. The last thing you want is to get separated from your friends with a dead phone, or for your devices to run out of battery while you’re in the study zone. Many dorm rooms don’t have outlets near the head of your bed, so it can be hard to charge your phone overnight. With a Kodiak Power Bank, all battery problems are solved!

  1. Calamari 2.0 – $24.95

Do you ever feel like your pile of tangled chords represents your mess of a life? If you get the Calamari 2.0 your life will be a whole lot better, just watch. The Calamari is the greatest 3-in-1 USB charging/data transfer cable and it’ll help step up your device game. As a college student, I know you have chords coming from every direction. Do yourself a favor and get the Calamari. It’s worth it.

  1. Apparel – $22.00 – $56.00

To top off your ODT dorm inspired room, get some apparel to represent! If you go to school where winters are cold, a beanie or sweatshirt will keep you warm. Nothings cooler than wearing a Yowie, that’s something I know for certain.