2015 Gift Guide: Favorite Items Purchased in 2015!


Sylvania Portable DVD Player SDVD7027-C, 7-Inch, Swivel Screen, Black

  • Widescreen color 7 inch TFT -LCD display swivels up to 180 degrees
  • Plays these formats: DVD, DVD+/-RW, CD, CD-R/RW, MP3 music burned onto CD-R/RW, JPEG photos burned onto CD-R/RW;
  • SD memory card slot for playing MP3 music or showing JPEG photos, or playing MPEG4 videos
  • Includes; AC power adapter, vehicle power adapter, A/V cable, carrying bag, remote control
  • Rechargeable lithium-polymer battery, built in stereo speakers
  • Includes; Car Straps, AC power adapter, vehicle power adapter, A/V cable, carrying bag, remote control, stereo earphones


Yep I know this is the age of streaming and Itunes and Netflix, and I’m a huge consumer of Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu for casual or seeing what’s out there viewing (which to be fair is the bulk of our viewing and listening), but not as a replacement for hard media such as CDs and DVDs/Blu-Rays. Streaming is good for discovering things you like or dislike, and for introducing you to things you love, but once introduced I want to buy those things in the best quality possible, and in a form not dependent on weather, or broadband speed issues, or the impermanence of streaming shelf life… to enjoy.

I actually bought more CDs this year than the last few years, and this was because of streaming introducing me to must have bands like SONS OF SERENDIP and THE HEAVY as well as a bagful of the best mastered stereo cds. And I bought as many DVDs and Blu-Rays this year as well, due to getting introduced to films I adored coutesy of streaming and just having to have them in the most permanent and highest quality form available, including commentary and director’s commentary. I love Director’s Commentaries!

Needless to say I don’t use my portable for Blu-Rays ( I have a stand-alone player for that), but I find it great for Cds particularly and DVDs, when you want to watch or listen with headphones. The CDs sound better than MP3s, and you can use it anywhere. For $50 it was a no-brainer of a purchase in 2015.



Alpine Red Finish Encapsulated Base 18/10 Stainless Steel Whistling Tea Kettle Pot

Alpine Red Finish Encapsulated Base 18/10 Stainless Steel Whistling Tea Kettle Pot


“I did my research. I wanted a kettle; with a handle that would not burn my hand when pouring, had a large enough opening to be able to clean inside, would not rust, and was stylish. This stainless steel kettle filled the bill. The handle is comfortable and not hot to pour at any angle. The bright apple red looks is a pleasant touch for my kitchen and has been pain free to use.”

—Jeanette G. @ Amazon

Alpine Red Finish Encapsulated Base 18/10 Stainless Steel Whistling Tea Kettle Pot


ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup Pitcher

ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup Pitcher

One of my favorite purchases of 2015. I’ve used lots of filters, in terms of ease and features and lifespan, and particulate removal… this is my main filtration device. Highly Recommended!ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup Pitcher


ONEHOPE California Reds III Wine Mixed Pack, 3 x 750 mL

ONEHOPE California Reds III Wine Mixed Pack, 3 x 750 mL


Deal of the Day! ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup Pitcher or American Water Distiller vs Aquasana vs Pur vs Zero Water Filters!?

A while back I had done a post on the difficulty of finding a reliable, affordable Water filter. I had first tried an American Water Distiller, however after some weeks of use, quality control issues regarding the materials used, namely rusting and taste, made me question what it was adding to the water as opposed to removing.


Ultimately a distiller is a big expense and is only as safe as the parts used and the storage system used to catch and hold the water, and I found this particular model of American Water Filter… lacking.

I then after some reading tried Aquasana Counter-top Water Filter, which I used quite a while.


I loved the glass storage containers this company provided and the reviews and documentation initially appeared solid. But the price for filters were way too expensive, the plastic of the filter housings tended to stain, there was no real reliable method for telling when to change the filter, outside of guessing and when you noticed issues with the water, and the certifications claimed in Aquasana’s ads weren’t backed up with any current certifications, and the company’s lack of response when questioned regarding their NSF certification I found less than satisfactory. So all these reasons made me decide to discontinue using Aquasana.

I then went to Pur Faucet Filter, largely for its claim of weeding out Mercury, recent certifications, availability and ease of purchase and low initial cost. I really appreciated the system offered a handy LED reminder regarding when it was time to replace the filter.


One thing that never sat well with me is the loose way the Pur Filter fit into the housing. There was nothing to stop water from flowing around, rather than through, the filter. But it seemed better than nothing.

And that for quite a while is what I was using, until the Zero Water Pitcher. The design of this pitcher answers a lot of issues I had with the Pur faucet design.


And the included TDS water tester (Total Dissolved Solids) that came with the filter really made a believer out of me after testing my untreated water, which read something like 140ppm, than the Pur filtered water… which to my surprise read more than my tap water, was something like a 150ppm. I realized the Pur water filter was reading higher because of the very design I always found questionable, in essence the filter housing seemingly allowed water to sit there and levels to actually build up.

So then I tested the water coming out of the Zero pitcher, and sure enough it came out Zero. And you could actually see the difference between the tap water, the pur water, and the zero water. There was a lot of particles in the former two, and the zero pitcher came out noticeably clear.

That is what I call impressive. Down the road I intend to run other tests and testers on the Zero Pitcher to confirm what it removes from the water beyond turbidity, but for right now, and for the relatively affordable price compared to the alternatives, it is my current water filter solution of choice.

If you are looking for a better water filter option, Zero Pitcher with their included TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) Tester is a well thought out, and seemingly effective, and definitely affordable option to give a try to. Get your copy here: ZeroWater ZP-010 10-Cup Pitcher

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