Homedics Shiatsu Massager

Homedics Shiatsu Massager

What is the Best Neck Massager?

What is the best neck massager you can buy for stiff, sore necks, shoulders and back? Had I not discovered the Homedics Shiatsu Massager yesterday, I would not even be thinking about writing this article, much less actually sitting up straight and typing it. I gave myself two treatments with the shiatsu massage pillow this morning. I literally feel as though I went into a professional Shiatsu spa for a professional massage. Shiatsu is a deep kneading form of massage that digs into tight, sore muscles; releases toxins and helps loosen up tension.  I have always been prone to getting stiff cricks in my neck. About 8 years ago, this rather common malady took on a whole new, more serious meaning when I was diagnosed with a ruptured disc in my neck.  After lots of ice, physical therapy and stretching every single day, I was able to avoid surgery and have even greatly reduced the frequency of neck ‘cricks’, as I call them.  On the rare occasion that I do suffer from a crick,  they usually seem to heal faster than they used to thanks for having the knowledge from my therapy, stretching and frequent use of ice.  This most recent neck crick was an exception. After two days, I was still feeling extremely sore, tense, tight and worried that my ruptured disc was acting up again. I was looking for a way to loosen up my tight muscles and kept stumbling upon reviews of these different types of the Homedics Shiatsu massager. Not all of the neck massagers by Homedics are equally praised by users as I’ll explain.

Neck Massage Types and Models

As I looked into vibration and massage solutions for my neck, I discovered there are two different types of Shiatsu Massagers by Homedics that are very popular: Pillow Massagers and Neck Massagers. The advantage to the shiatsu pillow massager is that it is not only for use around the neck. There are some clear advantages and disadvantages to both. One  has to do with cost and the other has to do with flexibility. Here is a brief description of each.

Shiatsu Neck Massager

Shiatsu Neck MessagerThe Homedics NMS-350 is a shiatsu neck massager made exclusively for the neck. The NMS-350 is a horse shoe shaped neck massager device that fits snugly around the neck. Inside the neck massager are a total of four rotating, pulsating, golf-ball sized shaitsu type thumbs which dig into your neck in a circular motion on both sides.  At the press of a button, you can get this NMS-350 unit to disperse some heat to your neck while it performs a shiatsu massage on your neck.  The NMS-350 Shiatsu Neck Massager was rated an average of 4-stars by 64 Amazon users.  Users were happy with the strength of the massage and the way it loosened up sore, stiff muscles in the neck. The major drawback to the NMS-350 is versatility. It will only fit around your neck and therefore is unable to reach your shoulders or other parts of your vertebrae.  There were a few other spurious complaints about longevity and overall quality, but for the most part, the NMS-350 was rated as an effective shiatsu neck massager. For me, a neck massager like theNMS-350, would be a little bit too limited. My disc problem is mostly in the lower part of my neck where it it couldn’t be reached. Also, I would like to be able to use it for a stiff, lower back occasionally.  The Shiatsu Massager seems like a great idea, but I would prefer something shaped like a pillow that can be moved around and used on different parts of the neck, back and spine.  Alas, I found it at my Walgreens store on my way home from work. I also picked up a bottle of  Max-Freeze analgesic cream which I’ll tell you about soon.

Shiatsu Pillow

Homedics Shiatsu Massager Pillow

Shiatsu Pillow Massager

The Homedics shiatsu massager turned out to be a life safer. I took it home, opened the box, sat on the sofa and positioned right behind my neck. I had a difficult time getting the pillow positions properly on my neck until I realized I had it upside down. By turning it the other way, I was able to position so the firm,  rotating shiatsu thumbs were grinding and kneading on my neck exactly where I wanted them. It took a little while figuring out how to get comfortable at first. The massaging pillow needs to be positioned between you and a soft surface, but one that is not too cushy or bloated so that it pushes your neck forward in an uncomfortable way. It is possible to position the pillow between you and other pillows in such a way that you are leaning forward in a comfortable position. You can also place it on a flat surface like the sofa seat or bed so you are lying on your back. After 10 minutes of use, I can guarantee the results will be looser muscles and less pain in the affected area. Before going to bed, I gave myself a thorough shiatsu massage: 10 minutes on the upper neck; 10 minutes on the lower neck and 10 minutes on the lower back. The Shiatsu pillow massager by Homedics seemed like the best of both worlds. The pillow uses the same rotating, mechanical thumbs as the shiatsu neck massager and also disperses heat to the surface. The only difference seems to be the shape and size. The pillow massager can be placed on any portion of the neck, back and shoulders. I was only able to find 7 reviews on this product, but all 7 of them were from 5-star rated, happy users. The $40 price tag at Walgreen seemed a little stiff, but not as stiff as my neck. I needed immediate relief and I was in no shape to spend hours shopping on the internet for a better neck massager. The Shiatsu Massager proved to be the best neck massager for me. My shoulders and back think so too. My only concern with these Homedics shiatsu products is longevity and durability. With those hard balls rotating against the fabric of the pillow how long will they last before the fabric rips or tears or the motor wears out from the pressure and weight resistance of my body? The way I look at it, though, is that for $40, I’ve already gotten 4 very good massages from the Shiatsu pillow – way less than a spa would have charged me for two visits. Also, we were able to get you a new product review article out of the deal before the end of the year. Perhaps, but the pillow massager has already paid for itself and for my money is the best neck massager you can buy.

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O Face Horsetooth Hot Sauce

horsetooth hot sauce

Put on your O Face

The first time I tried O Face Horsetooth Hot Sauce anyone could tell by my own “O Face”  that this savory Habanero sauce is aptly named. But, the reason for my expressive o face isn’t what you think. It has nothing to do with the heat of the Habanero heat, but everything to do with the flavor. The Horsetooth hot sauce people are selling their product short if they think the heat is the only reason the sauce will make you say, “oh”. Habanero’s  have always been one of my favorite peppers, not so much because they are hot but for their earthy, exotic flavor. If you can get past the heat, habanero’s are the tastiest peppers on earth. The key is for the habanero peppers not to be so ridiculously hot that they you can’t enjoy the flavor – and I think the Horsetooth hot sauce people have accomplished this feat with their O Face habanero sauce.

 

The Real Reason for an O Face

o faceThe real reason for the o face is that the flavor of this sauce is oh-so-good. O Face Hot sauce is made from Habaneros, Cantaloupe and Sweet Carrots.  It’s flavor alone will literally make you say, ‘oh’ and the heat is just the icing on the expression, so to speak. The bottle is also filled with black pepper and tangy vinegar, but the #1 ingredient is indeed habanero peppers. The result is an orange, flavorful, tangy, spicy and sweet mixture of habanero peppers, black pepper and fruit. O Face is no where near as hot as Dave’s Insanity sauce, but it is a much tastier and more useful sauce as I’ll explain:

 

How to use O Face Hot Sauce

Many years ago, I discovered that habanero sauce is the best thing you can use on a dry piece of chicken, pork, turkey or steak. The habanero peppers, for some reason liven up the flavor, turning a ‘ho-hum’ face into an ‘o face’. Aside from just using O Face on your plate for dipping meats and chips, it makes an excellent marinade. O Face already has everything you need in the way of sweetness, tang, vinegar and spice to be used as a perfect marinade. Yesterday I had some rather bland, left-over sirloin steak. I chopped it up into bit sized pieces, doused it with the horsetooth hot sauce and stored in a bag overnight. The result was a delicious lunch bursting with flavor.  I would be tempted to use o face as a salad dressing. It would be especially good on a Taco Salad.

 

Other Flavors from Horsetooth Hot Sauce Company

Horsetooth hot sauce is made just 50 miles north of me in Fort Collins Colorado. They produce six other hot sauces with interesting names.

 

  1. The Green
  2. Naughty # 4
  3. Rubin’s Red
  4. Rubin’s XXX
  5. Smokestack Lightening
  6. Melt Your Face (For a Limited Time)

 

Horsetooth Hot Sauce Ratings

I have not had the chance to try the other six flavors from the Horsetooth Hot Sauce company, but this one gets my highest rating.

  • O Face Hot Sauce: 98

 

Order a bottle or two of this today – you will be glad you did.
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Strongest K Cup Coffee

What is the Strongest K Cup Coffee you can Buy?

strongest k cup coffeeWhat is the strongest K Cup coffee you can buy? I’m not certain, but I can definitely tell you that the Barista Prima Columbia is the strongest one I’ve tried to date. Barista Prima is not only the strongest k cup coffee I’ve tried, but competes with Starbucks as among the most expensive. I found an 18 pack of Barista Prima for $14.99 at my local Target store. The other brands; Newman’s Organic, Caribou are $11.99 for an 18 Pack. The Starbucks sells for $13.99 for a 16 pack. Roughly, there is a 20% premium for Barista Prima over all of the non Starbucks Coffee K Cups. It is probably no coincidence that it also seems to be about 20% stronger than any of these other brands, including Starbucks. Perhaps, there is 20% more coffee inside the Barista Prima. Still, the Barista Prima brand is a little cheaper than Starbucks despite tasting like a stronger coffee. Target had the Starbucks on sale for $11.99 along with a $5.00 card for buying any selection of 2 Boxes of K Cups. Finally, I had a good excuse to try this peculiar, more expensive brand of coffee and compare it to Starbucks and the others.  I bought one box of the Barista Prima Columbia and one box of Starbucks Pike Place Roast. If you’re curious as to how these different k cups price out per cup on a regular basis at Target, here is a quick break down:

Target K Cup Pricing

  • Starbucks: 87 Cents
  • Barista Prima: 83 Cents
  • Other Quality Brands: 67 Cents
  • (Newmans, Caribou, Donut Shop, Van Houtten, Van Houtte, Emeril’s, etc..

Barista Prima Columbia Tasting Notes

The Barista Prima Columbia comes off very strong and rich right from the very first sip. The box advertises this as a medium-dark roast. I cannot argue too much with that description, though I will add that it tastes and looks much darker than your typical Columbian Coffee. It is exceptionally strong – and I could tell that not only from its taste, but from the jolt of caffeine I got after finishing the cup. There is not much advertising on the box about this coffee. What makes it so special? Why is it so expensive? Is there more coffee in each k cup to make it stronger? The Barista Prima Coffeehouse website might offer some clues about this good, strong coffee. I would rate certainly rate this one as the strongest k cup coffee I’ve had, but maybe not the best. I think I prefer the Pikes Place Roast ever so slightly for its balance and overall smoothness of taste and flavor. But if you’re looking for the strongest k cup coffee and Starbucks doesn’t do it for you, give Barista Prima Columbia a try!

Strongest K Cup Rated from 1-5

  1. Barista Prima Columbia
  2. Starbucks Pikes Place Roast
  3. Newman’s Organic Extra Bold
  4. Caribou Obsidian
  5. Emeril’s Big Easy Bold

How do you Rate Barista Prima K-Cups?

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Youngs Double Chocolate Stout

Youngs Double Chocolate StoutA four pack of Youngs Double Chocolate Stout in the 16.9oz cans found it’s way to my home by mistake. I was at a beer and wine store looking at the dark imported beer when I grabbed a 4-pack of the Youngs Stout, thinking I was getting an unusual variety of Guinness. It is close, but not quite the same. This one is made in England. While the size of the can and familiar rattling of the plastic ball is the same as Guinness, the most notable difference is chocolate. I don’t mind hints of dark chocolate and coffee in my stout beers, but I was a little put off by the label which indicates that chocolate flavor is intentionally added to the brew. I prefer beers where the hints of dark chocolate flavoring comes as a natural result of brewing process and aging in the barrel. See my review on Bourbon Barrel Stout. To be honest, I would not have bought the Youngs had I read the label more carefully and had I known it was only 5.5% alcohol as opposed to the hefty 10.3% alcohol level of premium beers like Bourbon Barrel Stout and Woodcutter # 5 by Odell brewing in Fort Collins. England is a good distance away from Fort Collins, Colorado and so is the taste of this interesting beer.

Tasting Notes

The pouring and appearance of Youngs Stout is very similar to Guinness and in the way that the foamy head sticks to the inside of your glass. The aroma of Youngs might make you think you’re about to drink a chocolate milk shake from McDonalds. Milk chocolate, more than beer is the first thing I imagined before the beer touched my lips. While the actual taste of Youngs is a bit chocolaty, it really does taste more like a good dark beer than a chocolate milk shake. The Chocolate Stout has a pleasant, smooth and light taste of vanilla, milk and caramel along with a hint of hershey-like instant chocolate flavoring. It is really not bad, especially if you are a milk chocolate lover and don’t mind it being artificially introduced into your beer. Many of the beer snobs online described a lactose taste in this particular creamy stout beer. I would agree with this perception. Overall, it’s a good beer, but is it a hit?

Ratings: 84 / 100

From 1 – 100, I give Youngs Double Chocolate Stout an 84. It is good, overall, but the chocolate flavoring make it a little bit too sweet for me to consider it among my favorites dark beers or preferred next to a black patent malt.

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Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur




leopold bros cranberry liqueurI was recently given a bottle of Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur for Christmas. I love to try new liquors, so needles to say, the cork on the cranberry liqueur only lasted until the same evening I brought it home and popped it open for a sample. Though I am not a fan of sweet type drinks or liqueurs, they do have their place; either for mixers or sipping on a cold, winter evening. Leopold Bros is a small batch distillery in Denver, but the cranberry liqueur is made from real cranberries from New England. I was impressed with the 20% alcohol rating on the bottle and thought this might be something I could enjoy either as a splash in my vodka martinis ala cosmopolitan or mixed with bourbon whiskey for a tangier tasting Manhattan. Of course, it can also be drank straight which is how I tried my first sip.

Tasting Notes

I will confess that I didn’t take much time to smell the cranberry liqueur before taking my first sip. As a result, I quickly got a taste somewhat reminiscent of Robitussin cough syrup. It was not all that bad, so I took a step back; cleared the fumes, and swished the cranberry-colored liquid in my glass. My nostrils were filled with the very deep and pleasant sensation of fresh cranberries. Ahh..much better. The next sip tasted as cranberry-like and delicious as its aroma. I loved it. Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur would make a great holiday shot or served over ice in a highball glass. It is rich and tart, but very satisfying and refreshing. I immediately though of how well this would go with Vodka in a Cosmopolitan. Instead of diluting the vodka with straight cranberry juice, why not blend it with an alcohol distilled from real cranberries for a much heartier, more robust and tastier Cosmo? I think this cranberry liqueur would also go very well shaken with and poured over crushed ice in a small, whiskey glass. But, there is one other way to enjoy Cranberry Liqueur.

Strong Drink Recipe using Leopold Cranberry Liqueur

I thought bourbon would be the perfect match for a rich, tart and tangy cranberry liqueur and my instincts didn’t disappoint me.

New Recipe for your Martini Glass

Ingredients

  • 1 Part Leopold Bros Cranberry Liqueur
  • 2 Parts Bourbon

Shake ingredients with crushed ice and pour into your martini glass. Add a cherry or orange slice.
Not sure what you’d call this drink, but the

    Leopold Bros cranberry liqueur

mixes really well with Bourbon. A bourbon cranberry splash is a great way to warm up on a cold winter day or evening.

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