Anker's excellent Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 usually costs $56 on Amazon, but today it's a Gold Box deal on sale for $42. It can fully recharge an iPhone 7 seven times, and can charge two USB devices at once. It can even charge the power-hungry Nintendo Switch. I gave one to my nephew and he said it can charge his Switch even while he's playing it. (If you're looking for smaller less expensive battery that will charge the Switch, consider the $29 Anker PowerCore 13000.) Read the rest
Get ready for some Japan posts over the next few days, because I spent five wonderful weeks in Tokyo, Koya-san, and Kyoto. Carla, Jane, and I enjoyed it so much that we were not at all homesick. A few days before the end of our stay we tried to think of what we were looking forward to about Los Angeles. The only thing I could think of was the hangnail nippers I'd forgot to put in my travel kit. I had to use regular nail clippers to trim my hangnails, and they didn't do nearly as good of a job of getting to the nub as these little Tweezerman hangnail nippers ($12 on Amazon). I'll never forget them again. Read the rest
It's rare for Amazon to sell Apple's wireless AirPods let alone have them on sale. I bought a pair in March and I really like how convenient and easy to use they are. Right now Amazon is selling them for $145 with free Prime shipping, which is $14 less than the price at the Apple store. Read the rest
This Prismacolor beginner hand lettering set comes with a variety of pens, brush pens, pencils, and eraser and instructions. It's on sale of Amazon for $10. I don't have this set, but I have the brush pen (available separately for $6) and it is a fun pen for laying down lines with varying line widths. Read the rest
I couldn't resist buying this Gerber keychain multitool for $5, as an Amazon Prime Add-On item. The folding tools (knife, medium flat head driver, small flat head driver, phillips head driver, file) lock into place. It also comes with a bottle opener and carabiner. Read the rest
This super-lightweight backpack came in very handy during my 5-week working holiday in Japan. It has two pockets for water bottles, which was useful because temperatures approached 100 degrees almost every day. There are two other front pockets for battery packs, pocket wifi, sunscreen, sunglasses, notepad, and other small items. The main storage area is for hats, more water, laptop, guidebooks, and items bought while shopping. It folds up to a tiny size. I'm really happy with it. It's $21 on Amazon. Read the rest
I travel with a small bluetooth speaker similar to this one. It's great for watching movies on my laptop and for listening to music and podcasts. Amazon is selling it for $5, when you use IPSLZEP5. Read the rest
$22 is the lowest price I've seen for an Aeropress coffee maker. (Just click the the little coupon checkbox on the Amazon page.) It's a lot of fun to make coffee with the Aeropress -- you pour a little water in the piston and put it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Then you put a microfilter in the cylinder (you get a "years supply" with the Aeropress) and a scoop of ground coffee. The you put the cylinder on top of a cup (the company recommends using a clear mug to make the process even more fun), pour the heated (not boiling -- it'll make the coffee bitter and sour, they say) water, stir for 10 seconds, and press the piston down. A few seconds later, you have a wonderful cup of silky smooth coffee.
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I've had a Roku, Apple TV, and the Fire TV Stick. I no longer use the Roku or Apple TV because the Fire TV Stick, in my experience is less buggy and easier to use than the other streaming devices. Also, I'm an Amazon Prime member, so I can watch a bunch of shows and movies that are included in the membership. Right now its on sale for just $20. Read the rest
The Weber Rapid Fire Chimney Starter has a 4.8 rating and over 5,000 reviews on Amazon. I've been using one for years and I don't know how I managed to start a charcoal barbecue without one. You fill it with charcoal briquettes, put two sheets of crumpled newspaper in the bottom and light with a match. In 20-30 minutes the coals are ready to be poured into the grill for cooking. No starter fluid needed. It's on sale for $15 on Amazon right now. Read the rest
If you don't have hex key without ball ends, you are missing out. The ball end allows you to tighten/loosen hex nuts from an angle up to 25%, which helps get around obstructions that would block a regular hex key set. Amazon has a good deal on a double set of ball-end hex keys (one metric, the other inch) for $11.
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I bought this Instant Pot earlier this year to replace my Fagor pressure cooker (which broke after many years of service). I like the Instant Pot more. The pot is stainless steel, unlike the Fagor, which is teflon-coated. The interface is easier to use, and I don't have to worry about forgetting to press the "start" button because there isn't one. It's on sale today only for $90, making it less expensive than the 3-quart model ($100). If you are looking for a combo slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, this is the one to get. Read the rest
I bought the WEN 2305 Rotary Tool Kit with Flex Shaft last year and it has worked beautifully. The speed is adjustable, it has tons of power, and it comes with a number of different attachments. It also has a flex shaft for fine work. It comes in a very sturdy plastic box. At $20, it's a steal. Read the rest
American Metalcraft makes restaurant equipment, but you can buy these stainless steel taco holders for home use on Amazon. The have a model that holds 2 tacos, and another that holds 3, which is on sale today for $6.52. We use them at least once a week, and love them. Who on earth wants a taco shell sitting on its side, disgorging its contents on the plate? Not me. Read the rest
The eufy body scale, made by Anker, has a bluetooth radio to store your weight in your Google Fit, Fitbit, or Apple Health account. It also records body fat, bone mass, and muscle mass, but I think home scales like this don't do a good job of measuring anything other than weight. If you use code EUFYS789 it's just $29 on Amazon. Read the rest
Amazon is selling Sharpies at a great price today: 36 for $11. (Does anyone know how long an unopened Sharpie lasts?) Read the rest
I use my phone to take photos of business cards, signs, parking spots, and so on, but I don't like to tap out notes on it unless I have to. I make too many errors. I've been carrying around a small notebook when I travel, and the one I like the best is this 3" x 5" Rite in the Rain, a pocket sized notebook with nearly waterproof pages. Each wire-O bound book has 50 double side sheets (with a grid pattern print). I use a pencil to take notes with it. Ordinary ballpoints won't work when the pages are wet, but all-weather pens do. The cover is made from durable plastic. They come in a variety of colors and sizes. The small ones cost less than $4 each.
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