Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer

Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer Reviewed

panasonic nose hair trimmerThis is one of those products that you must have once you find out how cheap and useful it is. The Panasonic Nose Hair trimmer can be purchased for just slightly under $10.00.  When I purchased the Old Spice Shaver, the one thing I immediately realized I was missing from my Wahl Groom Kit was the nose-hair and ear-grooming attachment. This handy little device made it easy to keep the nose and ears groomed. Thankfully, I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to replace what I was missing.

 

Panasonic Nose Hair Trimmer

Model ER-GN30

The ER-GN30 nose and ear groomer costs just $10.00 and operates via 1-AA battery. I purposely looked for a product that was both cheap and portable. With a cordless toothbrush and shaver taking up bathroom counter space and wall outlets, I didn’t want to add another one to the fray. The Panasonic nose trimmer fits on the inset of my back-splash and hardly takes up any space. Being that this is a device that is only going to be used once or twice a week, the single battery is both adequate and affordable to replace. I have yet to run-out the battery, but I would imagine that it will give me months of use before it has to be replaced.  Convenience and affordability are two important things, but how well does the Panasonic nose and ear trimmer work?

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Old Spice Shaver

Old Spice Shaver

Old Spice ShaverThe Old Spice Shaver for men is an electric, cordless shaver made by Braun. In the last few years, I’ve feverishly searched for a cordless, electric razor that is versatile enough to trim both a short beard and also maintain a close shave. I’ve tried two other Wahl Razors and both of them conked out after a few months of use. Also, I didn’t care for the flimsy attachments that were a nuisance to take on and off.  What sold me on trying the Old Spice Shaver was the fact that it is advertised as both an electric razor for a close shave and also a beard trimmer. Surprisingly, it is not so easy to find a mens electric razor that does both and does them well. The problem with the numerous electric razors that I’ve looked at is that they require numerous attachments for trimming the beard which keeps a fairly good sized mess on your bathroom counter. When I looked at the Old Spice Shaver reviews on Amazon, I quickly saw that it comes with only two attachments.

 

 

How does the Old Spice Shaver Work Work as a Trimmer?

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Oral B Professional Care 2000 Removes 5x More Plaque

Oral B Professional Care 2000
Oral B Professional Care 2000

 

 

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Oral B Professional Care 2000 is a dual-handle, rechargeable, electrical toothbrush designed to remove more plaque, and polish teeth significantly better than the hand-brush method. On the box, the claim is printed that the Oral B 2000 will remove up to 5x or 400% more plaque along your gum-line than the conventional toothbrushing method. Having personally used the Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes for a few days now, that claim is very believable.

Oral B Professional Care 2000

Performance

The latest Oral-B is nothing like your father’s electric toothbrush that merely vibrated quickly against your teeth. I was very skeptical about investing in an electrical toothbrush based on my past experiences with them generations ago. I was pleasantly surprised. The Oral B Professional Care 2000 brush oscillates, rotates, and pulsates at a surprisingly high and powerful RPM. Because the rotating brush is so powerful, it allows you to get to the back and inside of your teeth and gums effortlessly. The power of this toothbrush feels very similar to the polishing equipment used during teeth-cleaning visit to your dentist. I am apt to believe the claim this unit removes up to 5x more plaque. I can feel the difference around my teeth and gums. After one, single-use, I felt as though I had just been to the dentist for a complete teeth-cleaning.

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Best Hose Nozzle

Little Big ShotIs the Little Big Shot the best hose nozzle money can buy? Before I can answer that question, let me apologize for getting excited over little gadgets that seem so trivial. It’s that time of year when lawn and garden products dominate our weekends, so please allow me to get into the spirit of the season – and won’t you join me?  With summer nearly here it’s hard not to get excited about outdoor things like hose nozzles. Having just recently bought a new Honda-Simpson pressure washer, you would think a hose nozzle might be the farthest thing from my mind. I thought so too. That is, until, I saw this little 10-dollar gadget at my Bed Bath and Beyond store. The advertisement claimed that this little nozzle (Half the size of the previous hoze nozzles I like), sprays with 40% more pressure than other hose nozzles. In my previous review on best hose nozzles, I really thought this was about the best it good get:  As much as I love the gas-powered pressure washer, it is no where near as convenient as this little guy. Little Big Shot is about 1.25″ long and packs a powerful punch, just as the packaging says!

Best Hose NozzleThe Little Big Shot is much smaller than the previous hose nozzle I reviewed, yet much bigger on power and pressure. Not only does the little big shot shoot water at a much higher velocity, it also offers a much wider variety of spray settings. The advertisement on the package claims that this nozzle sprays with 40% more pressure and 40% farther. At $9.95, I figured it was worth trying. After mowing a damp lawn, my Toro Leaf Blower doesn’t always have the power to pull the sticky grass off my Elite Crete Driveway surface. Starting up the gas-powered pressure washer is fun, but maybe just a little bit overkill for such a trivial task.  There is more to this nozzle than just power, pressure and distance. The manufacturer claims that the Little Big Shot doesn’t leak and is capable of a very wide range of spray settings, including a needle-point spray.

I found all of these claims to be true. When I examined the inside, I could see it was a little different than most hose nozzles. Rather than having a typical washer inside of its threads, there is a green-colored rubber fitting that completely seals the inside with a small, precision hole for emitting the water. Three ball-bearings surround the outer-sprayer hole allowing for precision and flexible spray-setting adjustments. It works as well as advertised. Below is a grief demonstration of the Little Big Shot. Unfortunately, my camera doesn’t seem to capture the velocity of the spray due to a slow, HD frame-rate. Just know that this product produces a high-pressure volume of water and works as advertised. I highly recommend the little big shot and up to this point, it represents the best hose nozzle I’ve ever tried.

Best Hose Nozzle In Action


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Wahl Lithium Ion Trimmer

Wahl Lithium Ion TrimmerCan a Wahl lithium ion Trimmer for under $50.00 replace a good Braun Electric Razor? We’re about to find out. My 5 year-old Braun Electric razor broke about 6 months ago. I was too cheap to replace it with a new one. Besides, nothing beats the close shave of an old fashioned razor blade. It took me a while to master the use of the blade and shaving cream before I could finish an entire shave with out nicking my chin and bleeding profusely for several minutes.  After some practice though, I was able to shave just as fast with the blade as with my old Braun electric razor and with much closer, smoother results.  What I didn’t realize is that I do like to grow a goatee once or twice a year. How would I trim it?

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Why I chose the Wahl Trimmer
Mens electric razors seem to have really gone up in price. I was unable to find anything similar to my Braun which only cost $35.00 at Best Buy a few years ago. I remembered Walmart having a pretty good price on Remington electric razors when I bought my son one for Christmas last year, but I wanted something a little more versatile. I found the answer once again at Walmart.  If there is one word that best describes the Wahl Ion Trimmer, it is versatility due to the fact it is equipped with 17 attachments made to shave just about every part of the body where hair grazes.  The Wahl trimmer was only $39.95 compared to the $81.00 Braun sitting right next to it. I was skeptical of the Wahl due to it’s small shaving surface for the face, but figured at the very least it would be great for mustaches, goatees, bears and sideburns. This is one of those times I decided to purchase before reading the reviews.  I planned on reading some of the Amazon reviews before I removed the Wahl trimmer from the box and here is what I found:

Wahl Lithium Ion Trimmer Reviews and Ratings

58 users of the Wahl Trimmer kit gave it an average rating of 4.5 stars. That is a pretty lofty rating for any product, let alone electric razors which always seem to leave much to be desired among Amazon reviewers.  The strengths of the Wahl trimmer cited had mostly to do with the powerful battery, quick charging and long lasting battery. Some users noted that the closeness of the shave is equivalent to a 5 o’clock shadow which is aptly described as such in the manual. Oddly, others noted that the shave was very close. Some users indicated that the quality of the handle was somewhat poor with the chrome discoloring after a short time. Most users seem to be in agreement that Wahl lithium ion trimmer is a very versatile shaver which is best suited for trimming, mustaches, beards and side-burns. Puzzling, is the fact that a small, minority  of Wahl lithium ion users were very disappointed in the trimmer and only gave it one star complaining that the unit didn’t charge properly or that the blades were dull and useless.  If there were not literally dozens of other satisfied users, the complaints of a few might have been enough to scare me away from trying it. I’ve read enough positive reviews to believe it’s worth opening up the box and giving the Wahl lithium ion trimmer a try tomorrow morning. Please bookmark this review and check back soon for the results.

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Photochromic Lenses vs Transition Lenses

Photochromic Lenses vs Transitions

photochromic lenses vs transitions
Photochromic vs Regular Eyeglasses

Before I even begin to answer the question, let’s make one thing clear: Transition Lenses are Photochromic Lenses. Transition Optical is a brand of Photochromic, transitional sunglass lens. I am unable to do a full review on transition lenses because I haven’t actually tried them. Why? Cost. Transition lenses cost about 6-7 times more than the traditional photochromic offered by the Zenni Optical online eyeglasses retailer. What is different about transition lenses that would make them cost so much more? Transition Optical advertises that there photochromic glasses are made from patented dyes. Well, okay – that sounds nice, but what does it do for me or you? From what I could find, Transition Optical neither offers any detailed explanations of the benefits of their patented dyes, nor are there any impressive reviews comparing their advantages over traditional, generic color-changing shades. I did see one advantage – that is, transition lenses come in flatter, thinner glass than the traditional photochromic lens which is offered by Zenni Optical. That’s not enough to make me pay $139 more for them. So, what did I do? Well, my first pair of glasses from Zenni Optical were so cheap, that I decided to buy another pair and give the transitional technology a try. So for the sake of a review, let’s forget about Transition Lenses and talk about how these lenses in general, perform as sunglasses and regular glasses.  Your first question might be, “why would I want photochromic lenses on my eyeglasses?”.. Good question.

Why buy Photochromic Lenses?

Photochromic Sunglasses
Photochromic vs Regular Sunglasses

My Lasik Monovision has served me well, but there are times when I like to see better; mainly while driving a car. My prescription, cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical are great, except they leave me squinting while driving a car. It would also be nice to have 20/20 vision in both eyes while hiking, bike riding, fishing and viewing nature in the great, sunny, Colorado outdoors. For a measly $19.00 extra, it was time to give photochromic lenses a try. I duplicated my prescription from my last Zenni Optical order and added the transitional feature for just $19.00 more. So, how do they perform?

Do Photochromic Lenses Work?

As a pair of indoor glasses, my new glasses work much better than I had imagined.  They stay nearly as light as my regular glasses indoors and become sufficiently dark outdoors. The transition from darkness to sunshine is much better than I anticipated. The photochromic lenses reach about 80% of their total darkness in about 2 minutes. In approximately 15 minutes, they are as dark as you’d ever want them to be. The same is true in reverse. I was really worried that the photochromic lenses would not turn light quickly enough when coming in from the outdoors. I was pleasantly surprised. In about 2 minutes the photochromic lenses adjusted to about 80% of their total lightness, making them completely adequate for seeing indoors. Likewise, it takes about 15 full minutes for them to achieve their full lightness indoors. This is completely satisfactory for me. I thought the photochromic technology was the greatest thing since sliced bread until I took them for a drive.

Using Photochromic Sunglasses in Your Car

I got in the car with my new chameleon sunglasses hoping to experience great driving vision combined with the same protective, brown-tinted shade of my regular sunglasses. As I drove into the bright sunlight, I wondered why it was taking so long for the sunglasses to darken. After 10 minutes, I concluded that my transitional sunglasses were not going to darken as much as I wanted them to. The tinted or UV coated glass of the car was keeping the photochromic technology from doing its intended job. On the other hand, maybe this is exactly what they were supposed to do, since the car glass is already protected. That may be true, but unfortunately, my eyes still felt like squinting and reaching for a pair of regular, dark sunglasses. hmmm…darn – photochromic glasses sounded so good. In conclusion, auto-changing sunglasses lenses work great for every day use in and outside of your home or office. Just don’t expect to get relief from the bright sunlight while using them in your car. Maybe photochromic lenses are something we can learn to love?

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Monovision

What you Need to Know if You’re considering Monovision or Lasik

MonovisionMonovision reviews on the internet are difficult to find. If you’re past age 30 and using a glasses,   contact prescription or considering Lasik eye surgery, it’s time to learn a little bit about the philosophy and consider whether or not it might be a good strategy to address your reading and distance vision simultaneously. I had Lasik surgery 11 years ago and thought it would be worthwhile to share my own experience; satisfactions, dissatisfaction, pros and cons of monovision. Consider this the complete review from one who has been using it for 11 years. While monovision is most often associated with Lasik, it is important to understand that one doesn’t need lasik nor any other type of eye surgery to use it. Before I begin with my review, a more complete definition is in order.

What is Monovision?

Monovision is a vision correction strategy for making it easier to read as we get older. After age 40, our distance vision and near reading vision seemingly become at odds with each other. It becomes more difficult for us to read due to a natural vision phenomenon known as presbyopia.  After age 40, the lenses in our eyes become more rigid, less flexible and we find ourselves having to hold books and other text documents farther away from our eyes to read the text. The small print on prescription bottles is particularly difficult to read. Those of us who are Myopic (nearsighted) can often correct the presbyopia (near vision) problem simply by removing our reading glasses. When we remove our reading glasses, our near sighted eyes which are not suitable for distance, tend to do a much better job at reading words and things that are near. Monovision is a method in which the optometrist corrects one eye for distance vision and leaves one eye under-corrected for reading vision. This can be accomplished through a glasses or contact prescription with different strength contact lenses or with Lasik corrective eye surgery. Depending on the degree of your myopia, your doctor may even be able to leave your reading eye completely uncorrected. In my case, I was so nearsighted that I required distance vision correction in both eyes. I was 39 years old at the time and didn’t want to mess with reading glasses in the near future, so I took my eye doctor’s recommendation and deliberately had my left eye under-corrected for reading. My right is my dominant eye. There is a very simple strategy for determining which eye is for distance and which is for reading: With both eyes open, point at a small object about 20 – 30 feet away from you. Close your right eye, then close your left eye while leaving your finger pointed at the object. Did your finger appear to move more with your left eye closed or right eye closed?  Whichever eye caused the appearance of your finger to move less or not at all is your dominant eye. My dominant eye is my right eye. Since I use my right eye for vision, my optometrists corrected this one for 20/20 vision and deliberately under-corrected my left eye for reading vision. This is the theory behind monivison. Theory is one thing; how well has this worked out over the last 11 years?

Does Lasik Monovision Really Work?

Yes, it really does work. It took me a few Lasik follow up appointments to get both eyes properly adjusted. Here is one important drawback: It is more difficult to get a successful eye surgery when both eyes have different vision goals. My vision in both eyes was finally where it needed to be after my third visit. My right dominant eye was 20/20 for distance and my left eye was probably somewhere around 20/80 or 20/100 for near vision. Reading books, one dominant and one reading-eye takes some getting used to. The first thing I had to learn was to not close my right eye while reading. Let the left eye do its job. For reading books and fine print, my reading eye has been a huge success. For seeing things in the distance like road signs, shapes, figures, trees and other details, the monovision has worked out just fine for the past 11 years. Other friends and family members my age or older who had lasik corrective eye surgery without monovision, immediately began complaining about their reading vision and had to where reading glasses. I was feeling pretty good about my choice to try monovision. Is it perfect? Well, not so fast.

What are the Problems with Monovision?

Screen vision has been my biggest problem.  We read books from a different distance than we read our television and computer screens. Unfortunately, I spend most of the hours of my days at the office looking at a computer screen. The monovision just doesn’t quite cut it. I can read hard copy text just fine, but the computer screen is just far enough away that I really have to strain with my left eye to see it. I’m often straining my neck when using a computer. The same is true for televisions. Reading the text on a television screen can be difficult. The other drawback is that my vision declines in dimly lit, dark rooms. I’ve had a difficult time seeing as well as I’d like to at dusk. Light and lots of light has been the biggest friend to my monovision. Problems aside, would it all over again if I had to?

Conclusions

I don’t regret the Lasik Eye surgery one bit. It’s been great getting out of bed in the mornings and having perfect vision without putting on a pair of thick-lensed glasses. I’ve also loved being able to have perfect reading vision without the use of reading glasses or straining my eyes. If I <i>might</i> have any doubts at all, it’s that I went with lasik monovision, rather than having both eyes corrected for distance. Like my non-monovision friends and relatives who had Lasik, I’ve had to cope with my computer and night vision using glasses and/or a contact lens in my left eye. On the other hand, for 11 years I’ve been able to read anything without the use of glasses; I’ve just had to strain a little extra hard with the computer and TV screens. If I hadn’t chosen the monovision, I would be forced to put on a pair of reading glasses to read any and everything. Monovision probably works better for some then for others. The trick is to have your reading eye adjusted for distance just well enough to read those computer and TV screens, but not so much that you’re unable to read those close-up books, manuals and instructions on bottles. If you are going to have Lasik, there is a very simple way to give this tecnhique a try before having expensive surgery. Have your optometrist give you a contact lens prescription for monovision. Don’t be too fast to judge. It may take a couple of weeks for you to get used to using both eyes for different purposes. After 11 years, my conclusion is that monovision was the right choice for me for a couple of reasons:

Pros and Cons of Monovision vs Regular Lasik Surgery

I was given a pair of vision glasses by my eye doctor which corrected my vision to 20/20 in both eyes for the sake of better driving vision at night. Using these glasses, I’ve been able to compare what it would be like had I not gone with regular lasik vs. monovision lasik. The difficulty seeing computer screens with my reading eye pales in comparison to how difficult it is to read a book or text with the glasses on. Reading computer screens with glasses on is of no benefit at all over monovision, though it does help a tad with television screens at a distance. Lasik, without monovision, would make it necessary to carry reading glasses along with me at all times. With Monovision Lasik, I can get by without glasses at all, even if reading the computer or television screen is not ideal. Below, is my perception on how Regular Lasik compares to Monovision Lasik.  Monovision Lasik can save you money by eliminating the need for corrective surgery in both eyes or allowing you to buy contact lenses for just one eye instead of two.

While there are advantages to having 20/20 vision in both eyes, my conclusion is that this is still a better way to experience the benefits and convenience of improved vision.

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monovision lasik vs regular lasik

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Zenni Optical For Cheap Eyeglasses

Cheap EyeglassesWhen I first purchased a pair of cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical about 3 years ago, I didn’t really know what I was getting. Was I getting a pair of inexpensive prescription glasses or a pair of really cheap eyeglasses that would fall apart before it was time for my next eye exam? Question answered: The two pairs of prescription eyeglasses purchased from Zenni Optical 3 years ago are still as good as new, today. It’s only my vision that hasn’t held up. But, before I even talk about the quality of Zenni products, let’s be honest about why we buy online eyeglasses: We want cheap eyeglasses! When, glasses can cost $400-$600 a pair, you’re darn right we want to find them cheaper! So where do you go?

Zenni Optical

Let’s not assume that all things inexpensive are necessarily cheaply made.  Don’t get me wrong, buying eyeglasses from Zenni are cheap, but cheap doesn’t always mean bad. What do I mean by cheap? I can buy 5 or 6 pairs of stylish, scratch resistant glasses and frames from Zenni for the price of one pair at a local optical retailer; that includes Costco’s vision center which has some pretty low prices on eyeglasses by industry standards.  All questions, problems and answers to eyeglasses are solved with Zenni. You get cheap eyeglasses, save a fortune and they hold up just fine for three years or longer.  Besides, why pay more for eyeglass frames and lenses when the style of the glasses frames, your vision, or both are likely to change 3 years later? Another reason for cheap eyeglasses is so you can buy 2 or 3 pairs: one for the office, one for home; maybe a shaded or tinted pair for the car.  While there are a number of online eyeglasses retailers, I went back to Zenni Optical for a couple of reasons other than price.

How to Buy Online Eyeglasses From Zenni Optical

Zenni Optical made it very easy for me to order eyeglasses online three years ago and since that time, their website has been greatly improved, making the experience even better. With your eyedoctor’s glasses prescription in hand, nothing could be easier than ordering your own glasses online. Your selection begins with choosing frames. On the left handside of the website, is a selection filter so you can hone your frames choice down by several variables and/or preferences:  Full Rimmed, Half Rimmed, Rimless, Single-Vision, Bi-Focal, Progressive, Mens, Womens, Unisex, Theme, Style, Shape and Size. Since I have somewhat of a square head, I chose a square style, medium sized frame, progressive lens and half-rimmed style.. Zenni lets you add as many frames as you want to your favorites selection. If you register and create an account with them, your favorites will be saved forever. When I bought from Zenni for the first time, they did not have a “try-on” feature for seeing how the glasses actually look on your face. Not only do they have a “Try On” feature, but it’s greatly improved over the ones I’ve used on some of the other resellers.  You are now able to see and compare pictures of yourself for up to 4 different glasses frames. Uploading your picture is easy to do – and very fast as well.  When you’ve made your selection, simply add the eyeglasses to your shopping cart. With your eye doctor’s prescription in hand, simply type in your prescription. Zenni’s website makes it very easy to understand and if you have any questions on what a term means, you can move your mouse over a question mark which explains it. Zenni Optical has made it virtually impossible to order wrong. You’ll find that the selection of glasses is just as good as any retail store.  It is helpful to follow a few guidelines which I learned from my last experience buying online eyeglasses: In addition to prescription glasses, Zenni also has reading glasses, prescription sunglasses and other various eye-wear. The customer service at Zenni Optical is excellent and reviews very favorable.

Tips for Buying Cheap Eyeglasses Online

  • Get a Complete Written Prescription from Your Eye DoctorMake sure your optometrist writes your prescription clearly. Also, ask him for your Pupil Distance or (PD).
  • Choose The Right Size Frames. If you’re buying progressive or bi-focal lenses, you will get better results with a higher lense. Be honest about your face size and profile and choose your frame accordingly – they are labelled small-through-large and anything in between.
  • Don’t experiment too much with your first online eyeglasses purchase. A basic pair of cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical should cost you no more than $50.00. If you’re happy with that first purchase, then you can order another pair and experiment with tint, style, type, etc.
  • Stay Away from Rimless Styles: Even expensive, name brand, rimless frames are less durable and prone to break. Since many of these online eyeglasses frames are of an unknown brand, you can increase your chances of a quality, durable frame by choosing at least a half-rimmed style.

If you really want to save on your vision, start gaining some experience ordering online eyeglasses. It is actually fun to buy from Zenni.

Below, are the actual details from my Prescription and Glasses Order from Zenni

Zenni Optical Prescription and Order Details

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VSP Vision Insurance

VSP Vision Insurance

VSP is a vision insurance plan that covers routine eye exams, eye glass lens, eye glass frames and contact lenses. Let’s face it, buying any type of individual insurance is a real drag on the finances and monthly cash flow. Insurance is something you don’t want to use very often and when you do, it is still not likely to make things completely free. Eyeglasses cost a lot of money. In fact, the purchase of a new pair of glasses can cost up to 4 times as much as your actual eye exam. Obviously, not all eye insurance plans are going to cover the cost of your glasses or contact lenses, but it could certainly pay-off to have some of those expenses covered. If your employer doesn’t offer you something like the VSP or another vision insurance plan, you’ll be glad to know it is available to individuals without employee coverage plans for optical insurance. A few months ago, I found a couple of good Individual Dental Plans. Once of these affordable dental plans was good enough to replace even the employer-sponsored Dental Plan I have through my company. Is the same true with Individual Vision Insurance or VSP? I do not have a vision insurance plan through my employer, but wife does through her school district. The vision insurance plan through the school would cost us about $28 a month out of pocket for the family. Most plans like these include free eye exams, $100-$150 on glasses frames and and many of them cover free eye glass lenses and contacts. Now, I’m no dummy. I know what a racket those eyeglasses stores can be. You’ll want anti-glare, scratch resistant lenses; thinner lenses; better lenses and you will end up paying much more above and beyond the free lenses provided by your vision insurance plan. None-the-less, a vision insurance plan might save you some money if you’re taking 4 or 5 members of your family to the eye doctor once a year. Let’s take a look at the VSP Vision Insurance plan which offers private coverage for individuals:

What is Covered under the VSP Vision Insurance Plan?

  • Full Cost of Routine Eye Exams
  • Full Coverage for Prescription Lenses, including bifocals, trifocals and polycarbonate lens for children
  • Cost of Frames up to $120, plus 20% off any out of pocket costs
  • Up to a $120 allowance for the cost of your Contact Lens Exam and Lenses

If you’ve been to your eye doctor recently, you probably have a rough idea of what your out-of-pocket costs of eye exams, lenses, eye glass frames, etc. are (with or without vision insurance). So, do you really save money with a VSP Vision Insurance Plan? It depends. Before we answer that question, we need to know what it costs to enroll in the VSP Vision Insurance plan that matches your family size.

Cost

The VSP Vision Insurance Plan requires an $18.00 per year CCA Membership fee.  I’ve added the CCA Fee into the costs below:

  • Just for You: (1 Person): $178.95 Annually or $14.92 Per Month
  • For You + 1 Family Member: $323.95 Annually or $27.00 Per Month
  • For Entire Family of 3 Plus:  $436.95 Annually or $36.00 Per Month

Your reaction to the VSP vision premiums above, probably ranges from “that’s not so bad”,  to “Holy Smoke! VSP Vision Insurance is Expensive!”.. The older we are the more likely we fall into the latter category of sticker shock at the Vision Insurance Premiums. There is a very good reason for that:

Is the VSP Plan worth it for Individuals?

While we are young and near sighted or far sighted, our eyes seem to change constantly. If you have two or more children, you are probably taking them once or twice a year to the eye doctor to get them fitted for glasses or contact lenses. Us older folks (25 and up), are probably going to an eye doctor no more than once or twice every five years. I realize  optometrists tell us that we all need to go at least once a year, but most of us don’t follow that advice unless we have some type of ongoing vision problems. The same is true for my wife and even our kids are at the age where they really don’t need to visit the eye doctor more than once every couple of years. Do the math: For my family, we wouldn’t even break even with the VSP Insurance Premium of $436.95 annually. On the other hand, if I could go back 15 years, when I was taking my kids to the eye doctor and paying for eye exams, new glasses and contact lenses at least once a year, my out-of-pocket expenses for eye exams, glasses and contact lenses was approximately $1,000 per year. I could have saved some money, to the tune of around $400-$500 per year, with the VPS Insurance plan. Vision Insurance is always a bonus if it’s completely paid for by your company. But, if you’re shopping for your own individual vision plan, consider how many times you and your family use an eye doctor. If it is 2 or more visits a year for new prescriptions in glasses and/or contact lenses, you should consider the VSP Plan. Certainly, there are other good insurance plans out there for your eye-sight, but VSP seems to make the most sense for those who need eye insurance and cannot get it through their employee health plan. Deciding whether or not to make monthly payments on vision plan (or any insurance plan for that matter) is kind of like being a back seat driver. It’s always easier to make that decision with the benefit of hindsight. I’ve always recommended that shoppers of any type of insurance check with relatives and friends who were once in their own situation and ask them if they’re happy with what they are getting received for their premium payments. Since we don’t have the benefit of hindsight when shopping for a vision insurance plan, the best advice we can receive is from those who have been in our same shoes. Look into VSP – It is better to be nearsighted than short-sighted.

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Home Water Filtration Systems

Home Water Filtration Systems
Whole House Water Filtration System

Home Water Filtration Systems have a place in just about anyone’s home. Maybe some more than others would appreciate these home appliances. I’ve always taken good tasting water for granted. Denver has a pretty good water supply. Most of the time, the water coming out of our tap is clean, odorless, cold and tastes good. Odor and bad taste are the first two, immediate issues that cause people to look into a water filter for their home. Another big concern of bottled water drinkers and tap water drinkers is health. Not everyone agrees on the level of minerals and contaminants that should be in our drinking water, but we can all agree that we think it should taste good. There is another reason, though, to consider filtering the water that comes out of your tap: Skin Care. Some of the water supplies coming into our tap lines can be very high in chlorine and other minerals that can be irritating and harmful to our skin. I inherited a water filter with the used home I purchased nearly 4 years ago. I cannot say that the water tastes, feels, looks or smells any different than the water I’ve drank at other homes in my suburban area, but I do know it works. After a few months, the Charcoal filter gets filled with muck and slime. I can imagine that if I had really smelly, fishy water I would appreciate owning a whole house water filter more than I already do.

Reverse Osmosis Water Filter Systems

Most home water filter systems use a process called Reverse Osmosis to purify the water coming out of your tap. RO or Reverse Osmosis is the same purification process that bottled water companies use. Basically, RO or Reverse Osmosis, is a filtering process where-by water enters through one filtered membrane and gets processes through another. Many water purists complain that bottled water like Dasani and Aquafina are nothing more than RO Purified Tap Water and due to the Reverse Osmosis process taste flat due to the fact the minerals are completely removed in the purification process. See my Bottled Water Rating Brands. I’m here to tell ya: If you’ve ever tasted the horrible water in certain places of Texas and Arizona, you’d be darn glad to have water that tastes so pure and clean. Essentially,  RO home water filtration systems allow you to make your own Bottled Water. Why not have such a Water Filter in your own home instead of buying bottled water? There are a few good water filtration systems on the market, but not all of them are created for the same purpose. Whether you have foul tasting water or too much copper or other minerals makes a difference in choosing between the number of home water filters on the market.

GE Water Filter

My own home water filter unit is a GE, Model # GXWH30C, called SmartWater Chemical Reduction System. As you can see from the picture, the GE Water Filter is installed between the incoming and out water lines. GE refers to the GXWH30C as a Chemical Reduction System. From my Swimming Pool Testing, I’ve learned that I have a fairly high amount of metals in my water which is probably the previous home installed a GE Water Filter. The GE SmartWater uses a Charcoal Filter which seems very effective in what it is designed to do – reduce chemicals in the water. Unlike some home water filtration systems, this model is more apt at taking out chemicals than removing unpleasant tastes and odors which is really not an issue in our area. Still, it would be interesting to know how well this GE Water Filter would perform in other areas where foul tasting and bad smelling water is often a problem. I looked into some other home water filtration systems that would be better suited for the job of providing cleaner aroma and taste. The first place to shop?

The GE SmartWater Filter supposedly uses some of the RO technology, but people have reported better results of cleaner water from other brands such as Aquasana.

Aquasana Rhino EQ-300

Aquasana systems have the highest rating I’ve seen anywhere. Only 7 user have rated these on Amazon, but all 7 of them were extremely happy with the taste of the water – and this is coming from people whose water supply was downright nasty. Aquasana seems to do an excellent job of taking out the foul odors and tastes in your tap water and making it taste just as good as your favorite bottled water brand. What could be wrong with these kind of systems for your home? Well, it’s not cheap. The EQ-300 run from $400 – $1,000 and that doesn’t include installation. Unless, you are real handy with plumbing, you will need a professional to tap the system in between your main water line. Professionally installed home water filtration systems do require a small, but worthwhile investment.

Culligan Water Filter

Culligan is a name we all recognize, especially for water softener products for the home. Remember “The Culligan Man?”
Culligan also sells a few high quality water filter for the home. It is easy enough to find a Culligan part online, but I had trouble finding ratings and reviews on the Culligan water filters, themselves. There are other brands which are more popular with better track record like GE, Watts and Aquasana.

Watts 

The Watts WP5-50 Premier Five-Stage Manifold Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment System is one of the most reviewed home water filtration systems I could find. If you’re looking for a whole-house water system with a track record, the Watts WPS-50 has an average 4-Star Rating from 28 Amazon Users. Unfortunately the WPS-50 is not for the entire house, but it will give you great tasting water out of the kitchen sink. The Watts WPS-50 is a water filter that fits under the sink. People who complained about scale buildup and sediment in their kitchenware had really good things to say about the Watts WPS-50..

Conclusion

Which water filter is best? It depends: If your objective is to merely get a good tasting glass of water and/or pot of coffee, the Watts Water Filter Model # WPS-50 is all you need. If you need to get clean, chemical free water running through the entire plumbing of your house, you’ll want a whole house home water filtration system like the Aquasana or GE SmartWater Filters.

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Waterpik Cordless Water Flosser

Waterpik WP 360 Teeth Cleaner
The Waterpik WP 360 is one of the most affordable products on the market of flossers. How does the Waterpik WP 360 do against corded flossers like the Popular WP 100?

waterpik cordless water flosser
Waterpik-WP360-Water-Flosser

Corded Flossers

Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Water Flossing can be really cool; if not so necessary sometimes. It beats spending a fortune on Dental Insurance.

Ten years ago I had a porcelain crown put around one of my top molars on the left side of my mouth. The crown work created a gap which is always prone to getting jammed up with meat and other foods that are sometimes hard to remove with regular floss. Sometimes, the floss itself gets jammed in between two teeth and that creates a real problem.  Have you ever tried to remove shredded threads from the deep crevices of two or more teeth? It ain’t easy – and it ain’t fun. If a fragment or sliver of popcorn gets stuck between your teeth and deep into your gums, forget about it! This can cause weeks of problems, pain and a possible infection if it isn’t removed. This is what happened to me just recently and I was without a Water Flosser to deal with it. Our expensive corded, Waterpik clogged up and broke a few years ago, so I was without out one for a few years when I finally had to go back and buy another one. I went to Walmart to see what was available and at what price. The Waterpick WP 360 seemed to be the one that was least expensive. So, I bought a Waterpik WP 360.

Waterpik WP 360 Over Corded Flossers

corded-waterpik
Waterpik with Cord

Corded Waterpiks

Waterpik is the most common household brand name for a dental tool known as a water flosser that shoots powerful jet streams of water between your teeth to clean them. There are other brands, but Waterpik is the first consumer model and therefore so popular that its brand has become a generic name for Water Flossers in general. There are other brands of Water Flossers such as Panasonic, Braun, Conair and Teledyne. My first Waterpik, like the one pictured left, came with a long flexible cord which is attached to a base that you fill with water. This is probably the most popular form of water flosser. It holds enough water to clean your teeth for about two minutes and it has adjustable setting which at full strength is powerful enough to make your gums bleed profusely. The good news is that it doesn’t take the most powerful stream of water to get most anything out of your teeth. The other good thing is that after repeated use, your gums will become healthier and stop bleeding. That said, it’s not all fun and games with a Corded Waterpik. The Waterpik WP 360 has no strings attached.

Disadvantages of Cord Type Water Flossers

I was constantly worried about keeping the corded waterpik sanitary. The base is easy enough to rinse out and clean but the long cord has to be purged of all of it’s water before it is put away. If there are several people wishing to use the same waterpik, I recommend constantly wiping it down with rubbing alcohol before and after use. Also, you might want to sterilize the hand held portion of the water flosser where the attached pik fits inside. I constantly worried that there might be water and mold trapped inside the cord. Needless to say, these corded water flossers are powerful, but not the most convenient to use and keep clean. That is probably why I procrastinated so long before purchasing another Water Flosser. Finally, my corded waterpik clogged up after a few years and had to be thrown away. I was ready to try a cordless and the Waterpik WP 360 was the one they had in stock at Walmart.

Waterpik Cordless Water Flossers

The Waterpik WP 360 Water Flosser Pictured at the top of this review is a Cordless Water Flosser by Waterpik. Why choose this one over the corded model above? Price is certainly one consideration. This Waterpik cordless water flosser sells for around $25-$30 where-as a Corded Waterpik typically ranges between $40 and $70. A Cordless Waterpik has no long cord to worry about cleaning or getting clogged. The base of the unit is built-in to connection where the flossing tool is held. The downside is that the WP-360 does not hold as much water and can only be used 30 seconds at a time before you must refill it with water. I read this on the box before I purchased it and it did not bother me until I realized that the base is too tall to fit under my bathroom sink faucet. I had to find a small pitcher to fill first with water then pour into the WP-360. Small matter, really. The WP-360 is not as powerful. There are two different flossing tools; high pressure and low pressure. I found that the high pressure tool is quite a bit more gentle than the corded waterpik. Don’t expect to get the same power from the WP-360 as more expensive corded models. Still, it was able to take care of the sliver of popcorn kernel that was stuck in my teeth for days. After a couple of jet streams of water, the matter was dislodged from my teeth along with some blood which is to be expected the first time you clean a problem spot between your gums. I continued using the waterpik for a couple of days. The problem area remained sensitive for a few days until it was completely healed. I really like how user friendly the WP-360 is to use and clean. At $29 bucks a pop, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one for each member of the household. It’s exactly what your teeth need at times. IN fact, Waterpiks have been recommended by dentists for reversing gum disease!

Waterpic WP-360 Specifics

The WP-360 is the most affordable way to keep your teeth clean by Water Flossing. No messy, long cords to deal with – just a small tank of portable water that sprays jets of water between your teeth. Easy to keep clean and affordable enough that everyone in your family can have one by their sink.

WP-450

The WP-450 provides a little more water capacity and flexibility than the WP-360. People have said that it is easier to use and holds a charge better than the WP-360. If you can pay a little more and want a rechargeable water flosser, the WP-450 is for you.

WP-100

The WP-100 is probably the most popular water flosser on the planet. The WP-100 gives you more power and water capacity than either of the other two rechargable units. Because it is electric, you will never have to worry about it losing its charge. Over 1500 Amazon Users rated the WP-100 4.5 stars, the highest rating for a Waterpik water flosser, you’ll find anywhere.

If the WP-100 is the most popular on the planet, the WP 360 is the most popular Waterpik cordless water flosser in the universe.

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Rhoto Eye Drops Review

rhoto eye drops
Rhoto Eye Drops

For Dry Red Eyes: Rhoto Eye Drops Does Both

I’ve had problems with dry eyes ever since I had Lasik Eye Surgery about 10 years ago. Looking at a computer screen all day long doesn’t help, either. The high cost of Systane Eye Drops and other expensive brands of eye lubricants that optometrists recommend has motivated me to search for more cost effective, long-term products for eye relief. Chronic, dry eye irritations can often be mistaken for the Symptoms of Pink Eye. My right eye, which is where I have most of my sinus problems is nearly always red, burns and feels irritated and dry. Just in case, I had my doctor take a look at the eye to see if there was any chance of a Pink Eye Infection. My doctor went over the common checklist of Pink Eye symptoms; which Rhoto drops will do you know good. What I had in my right eye didn’t quite measure up to the checklist.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

  • Redness of the Eye: Check
  • Irritated, burning and scratchiness in Eye: Check
  • Eye Itches: Uncheck
  • Fluids oozing from eye: Uncheck
  • Eyelids sticking shut: Uncheck

As I suspected, my dry, red eye is caused by the same sinus and allergy problems that cause the headaches. Regular eye moistening drops provide temporary relieve of the dryness, but only antihistamines and sinus decongestants will clear up some of the redness. I learned a long time ago to stay away from Allergy relief Eye Drop products like Visine. With prolonged use (even Rhoto Eye Drops), these types of products will cause chronic red eye addiction; much like the over-counter nasal sprays will create long-term congestion addictions. I’ve suffered through both of these addictions and they’re not easy to break. Even Lip Balm has some addictive problems associated with it. So, with these risks in mind, I decided to stick with occasional use of oral decongestants and antihistamine with eye moistening drops that can be used every day – and without costing a small fortune.

Systane Eye Drops

systane-eye-drops
Systane Eye Drops

It is critical to keep your eyes moisturized after lasik surgery and Systane Eye Drops are the ones my optometrist still recommends. A couple of years after Lasik Surgery, I got a little lax about using eye drops. Not only were my eyes feeling dry and tired, even my vision seemed to digress a little bit. I was unable to read the eye chart at 20/20 without squinting. After using the Systane Eye Drops a couple of weeks, my vision was back to a perfect 20/20. One thing I didn’t like about Systane Eye Drops: They blurred my vision for about 5 minutes after use. Systane is now using an improved formula and that is no longer a problem. The real reason I don’t use Systane Eye Drops anymore is the price.
Rating: 4-Stars

Equate Eye Drops and Artificial Tears

Equate Eye Drops are refreshing for dry eyes and they are extremely cheap. Unfortunately, they are not very long lasting. They do not have the same ingredients of the more expensive brands for addressing long-term dry eye problems. I keep them on-hand, anyway, as a supplement to the more expensive brands. There’s a better one if you want your eyes to feel refreshed and they’re called Rhoto Eye Drops.
Rating: 3-Stars

Rhoto Eye Drops

Rhoto Eye Drops are like no other artificial tears product on the market.
Dozens of user reviews give Rhoto an average rating of 5 out of 5 Stars. Users unanimously agree that Rhoto drops are the most soothing, refreshing artificial tears they have ever used. It makes sense that they are a Mentholatum brand. drops treat your eyes to the same cool, comfortable soothing sensation of other Mentholatum products. For the most comfortable relief of red, dry, irritated eyes, they are the best I’ve ever used. Is there a draw back? Yeah, they’re not cheap. Do like I do and keep the Equate on hand, if you constantly find yourself needing to re-wet your eyes. Then, once or twice a day give your eyes a real treat with the Rhoto.
Rating: 5-Stars

Vigamox Eye Drops

Both Rhoto and Systane are excellent products for treating dry, irritated eyes, but they won’t do you any good for an Eye Infection or Pink Eye. Vigamox Eye Drops are prescription eye drops for treating bacterial infections of the eye such as Pink Eye or Conjunctivitis. If you’re wondering if Vigamox Eye Drops are any good in treating this condition, don’t worry. They are 100% effective. If used properly, the symptoms will subside, if not completely go away within 48 hours.

Systane vs. Rhoto

It would take a chemist to understand the chemicals used in these eye drops. How do they work and which one is best for long term treatment of dry eye? There is no question that regular use of Systane helped my dry eye condition and even improved my vision. The Systane, however, does not give the very satisfying refreshing sensation as the Rhoto. Can they be used in place of Systane as a long term dry-eye remedy? Perhaps, some informed optometrists or ophthalmologists can chime in with some advice on this. Stay Tuned. I’ll use them sparingly, but my cabinet will always have a bottle of Roto.

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