Review: Micro Touch Switchblade

This post is a review of the MicroTouch Switchblade. Since this is a PR-friendly blog that does product reviews, The Switchblade was sent to me by PR rep of the company for a review. I want to thank Sylvie for sending this to me after first reviewing the ONE Razor — thanks! 

Microtouch Switchblade Review from Knoxesque

Microtouch Switchblade Review from Knoxesque

The MicroTouch Switchblade is essentially a multi-purpose trimmer that has both a mini-shaver for trimming and a standard-sized shaver for larger jobs. The package you’d buy on their site comes with a whole kit of miscellaneous stuff, but the retail version you’d buy somewhere else, like on Amazon, comes with some plastic snap-on attachments to vary the length of hair you’re trimming.

The claim of being gentle on sensitive skin from head to toe and the ability to “remove hair anywhere” screams of trimming pubes. The design of the Switchblade is actually perfect for that, but if you’re like me, you have a huge problem with this type of crossover.

The Switchblade is nice and cheap, and it does the job. I like the various clip-ons because they’re great for trimming a beard & mustache without turning everything into a choppy mess. It really helped out in November, especially to clean up the absolute NAST that is neck hair. Another nice thing about the Switchblade is the smaller trimmer is perfect for nose hair trimming, but again, you may hate this level of crossover. Your call.

Like any product, the Switchblade isn’t without it’s negatives. For one, it comes with a stupid little light built into the device. I’d say “good hustle” to MicroTouch for it, but the spotlight is completely worthless and has a better chance of momentarily blinding you than helping at all. The biggest CON / negative in the way I see things is the use of batteries. I’ll concede that my batteries haven’t died yet, which is ok, I guess, but it’s still a cheap idea. The Switchblade is only $20, so I shouldn’t expect too much.

All in all, it could serve as a last minute gift. It could also be a funny white elephant gift in a group of ladies. I wouldn’t run out and buy this myself, but it IS nice to have around.

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Seasonal Adjustment and How to Fight off the Blues

GUEST POST: David Novak is a health writer and health and fitness enthusiast.  When he is not writing for publications around the world, he enjoys playing competitive tennis and keeping his physical health in check. He is an expert on fitness, diet and age management.  David is a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/.  

It’s not a lot of fun entering the winter months, especially if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Rather, the summer months allow for a much more enjoyable experience. In fact, most people, whether they suffer from SAD or not, often feel better in the summer, when the days are longer, warmer and sunnier.  This is the time when we can get out more, exercise harder and eat less.

Individuals who get the “blues” when the seasons change, also experience a change in personality — from peaceful and relaxed to tense and depressed. They may have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, moderating their eating and concentrating. They also may lose interest in the activities that they ordinarily enjoy, and they may feel irritable and down. Then, when spring comes, they feel like themselves again.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Around 30 years ago, those suffering from this seasonal change in personality had no idea what was wrong with them.  But research over the years made the connection between the shorter, darker days of winter and the onset of seasonal depression, a phenomenon we now call seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is now a formal and diagnosable mental health conditions.

seasonal affective disorder

How to beat the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder

Doctors are still mystified why exactly SAD occurs, but some professionals believe that light plays a part, and that exposing people with SAD to extra light sometimes improves their mood. The hormone melatonin also appears to be involved. It’s known that melatonin regulates hibernation in animals. Melatonin is secreted in the dark, and humans have more of it in their bloodstream during winter than summer. Additional melatonin in the blood causes a decrease in body temperatures as well as drowsiness. As a consequence, those with SAD often benefit from light therapy because light shuts off melatonin production.

Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs in varying degrees. Some people suffer from a mild bout of depression, while others are so clinically depressed, they require hospitalization. In others, mood is unaffected, but their energy levels are so low that they aren’t able to accomplish the things they would like to or would normally be able to during warmer seasons.

So what can you do about Seasonal Affective Disorder?  Actually there are few natural methods you can try that just might shake those winter “blues”:

Vacation Somewhat Regularly

If you can’t relocate to sunnier climates, at least get to a sunny and warm climate as often as possible, especially during the winter months.  Warm areas significantly help SAD symptoms disappear. In fact, Seasonal Affective Disorder rarely affects people living within about 30 degrees of the equator.

For most people with SAD, it takes two or three days of bright sunshine to elicit a reversal of symptoms. And, consequently, a tipoff that you may have it is if you find great relief in your symptoms when traveling towa­rds warming climates.

 Exercise

Exercise is fabulous for Seasonal Affect Disorder, especially regular aerobic exercise. Evidence suggests that endorphins are released during exercise, a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system, which have a number of physiological functions. They are peptides that activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.  In other words, they regulate mood.  It’s important to exercise outdoors in the early morning hours, or near a sunny window.

Additionally, you can also keep your body’s clock in sync by rising and retiring at the same time each day, even on weekends or days off from work. When you can’t get going no matter what you do, try sucking on some ice. Its chill can give you a wake-up call. Or, splash your face and wrists with ice water. Another option is to use lemon oil or peppermint in hot water and inhale. These stimulating oils may give you a little extra pep in your step and help you wake up.

Reduce Your Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption

If you suffer from SAD, caffeine and alcohol don’t mix well with this condition. Alcohol is a depressant, which can further exacerbate your low mood, and caffeine may give you a brief lift, but it can also cause gastrointestinal issues, muscle tension and anxiety.

Rather than coffee or soda for your caffeine fix, a better choice is any herbal tea. These can include cinnamon, peppermint or chamomile teas.

Diet

Those with SAD experience abnormal carbohydrate cravings. It’s believed that the reason for this has to do with decreased levels of the brain’s neurotransmitter serotonin. Since tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, taking in more of this amino acid may increase the body’s production of serotonin and help you feel better.

You should try eating more of these foods to see if your symptoms improve. Foods rich in tryptophan include egg whites, milk, turkey and cooked cereals, such as muesli and bran flakes. Other good sources include bouillon, rye bread, wheat pasta, oranges, grapefruits, plums, grapes, pears, apples and basmati rice.

Light

Finally, and most importantly, get more exposure to light. Try to obtain as much natural light as possible between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m, like a morning walk. If you can’t get out, spend time in the sunniest room in the house. Even if it’s cloudy, the natural light will do you good.

If there are overcast days, void of sunlight, try natural full-spectrum lighting indoors. One of the most effective treatments for SAD is daily exposure to a specially designed light box. Two variations exist: a special light visor (you want the particles of light from a light device to actually enter your eyes) and a “dawn simulator,” which is a light box that simulates sunrise by switching on when you awaken and grows brighter as the morning wears on. The amount of exposure time required each day can be as little as a half hour to as much as several hours.  You can talk with your doctor about whether you should try one of these devices.

Whether it’s moving to a sunny place or cutting back on caffeine, there are several ways to decrease the effects of SAD.  A professional can guide you through the symptoms of SAD, and suggest some of these natural methods that would best fit your lifestyle.

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Prophecies of the Dragon, Part 14

“Into the heart he thrusts his sword, Into the heart, to hold their hearts. Who draws it out shall follow after, What hand can grasp that fearful blade?”

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Prophecies of the Dragon, Part 13

“Twice and twice shall he be marked, twice to live and twice to die. Once the heron, to set his path. Twice the heron, to name him true. Once the Dragon, for remembrance lost. Twice the Dragon, for the price he must pay.”

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Prophecies of the Dragon, Part 12

“And his paths shall be many, and who shall know his name, for he shall be born among us many times, in many guises, as he has been and ever will be, time without end. His coming shall be like the sharp edge of the plough, turning our lives in furrows from out of the places where we lie in our silence. The breaker of bonds; the forger of chains. The maker of futures; the unshaper of destiny.”

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MicroTouch ONE Razor Review

I admit it, shaving with a real razor scares the piss out of me. I shave with a Braun electric razor/shaver 360 days a year — the other few days are with real razors and each one of those days reminds me why I use a Braun.

Every fall, I’m subtly demeaned for not using real razors by things like Movember / No-Shave November and companies like the Dollar Shave Club. I just won’t have it! I just wouldn’t have it … until recently when a rep from MicroTouch ONE Razor reached out to me and asked me to give it a shot.

I said OK and almost MicroTouch One Razor Reviewimmediately received the razor, which I was excited about until I had to write the review, which obviously meant I had to use it. In case you don’t know, the MicroTouch ONE Razor comes with actual razor blades … guys, straight razors come with REAL razor blades! Hell no. Not for me. The PR rep has actually reached out to me a few times to make sure I got the product and wanting to know when I’d put up an article. Sorry about that, Syl!

Well, I finally grew the pair necessary for me to actually try the razor. I lathered up, probably overdoing this job, and started. It was similar to cliff diving or repelling after rock climbing, the very first step is the hardest to make; the first stroke was so hard! After the first stroke, which went just fine, the rest was, as they say, cake. I had a near-perfect shave. It was only near perfect because I kept the razor to my jawline while I sneezed. In case you didn’t know or couldn’t have assumed this on your own, sneezing with a razor held against your face is a bad idea and you’ll almost surely cut yourself. I slightly nicked by jaw. Aside from that little blip of stupidity, it was great. After I finished, I pretty much slammed my hand on the counter and shouted, “I’m so damn manly!”

MicroTouch One Razor Review by Nate KnoxFor only $20, the MicroTouch ONE Razor provides a great shave. I would much prefer using this over a standard Gillette razor with who-knows-how-many blades they include these days. Not only does it come with the razor, which is damn nice looking, it comes with a case and 12 razors. If you’re like me and don’t have to fully shave often, this is going to last you a while. Beyond that, razors are cheap. The only thing you may be worried about cost-wise is investing in other fancy products, like nice soups & creams.

All in all, it’s a great deal and I’d recommend it to anyone, especially if you’re in need of a cheap, but great gift idea.

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November 11, 2013 · 12:23 pm

Casa Noble’s Reposado Tequila Review

It’s damn good.

As a person who considers tequila as something only good for margaritas and bad decisions, I was shocked to love Casa Noble‘s Reposado Tequila. I’ve always discredited people who consider tequila “a nice sipping drink” until giving Reposado a shot. It has a dark, rich and smokey taste that I’ve never found in a tequila before now.

After trying it (and loving it), I got on Casa Noble’s website and found out they mature the Reposado in French white Oak barrels for three hundred sixty four days. In my book, aging anything in an oak barrel is a good idea. The process of aging in these barrels leaves you with a smokey and spicy flavor that is incredibly smooth. For the first time ever, I considered a tequila to be “a sipping drink.”

For those looking for a nice out-of-the-normal gift this holiday season, consider giving this handsome blue/silver bottle, particularly if you’re looking to impression a dad or in-law. You’ll see various prices around the Internet, but the average price (or maybe the MSRP) is $60. I really enjoyed receiving this bottle from Casa Noble’s PR company. There are benefits to being a pr-friendly cocktail writer & blogger.

For those looking for tequila recipe ideas or margarita recipe ideas, here you go!

The Calaca

-1.5 oz. Casa Noble Reposado
-1.5 oz. Fresh Watermelon Juice
-.25 oz. Organic Agave Nectar
-.25 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
-1 pinch of Hepp’s Scorpion Salt

I have another recipe up my sleeve, but you’ll have to visit the Examiner page to check it out.

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November 10, 2013 · 3:45 pm

The Health Benefits of Apples

GUEST POST: David Novak is a health writer and health and fitness enthusiast.  When he is not writing for publications around the world, he enjoys playing competitive tennis and keeping his physical health in check. He is an expert on fitness, diet and age management.  David is a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit http://www.healthline.com/.  

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“An apple a day…..”  You know the saying, and it happens to be true. We all know that apples are a round shaped fruit that grow on small deciduous trees, and they come in many varieties: Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Granny Smith, among others. They also come in various colors including green, yellow and red, varying in flavor and sweetness. They are all good for your health but the Red Delicious, especially, stand out to be the healthiest.

Apple’s Nutritional Facts

Apples contain an abundance of fructose, flavonoids and fiber, which all combined can do some healthy stuff for your body, like prevent constipation, reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, boost your immune system, reduce the risk of stroke, maintain blood sugar levels, prevent menopausal bone loss, boost memory, prevent heart disease, raise HDL cholesterol levels and lower LDL cholesterol, to name a few.

Additionally, apples can improve the appearance of skin, especially Fuji, Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples. Granny Smith and Red Delicious strengthen collagen and elastin in skin, and can help maintain a glowing and youthful appearance. The skin of Red Delicious and Fuji apples contain a high amount of antioxidant compounds called phenols. Phenols provide UV-B protection from the sun, strengthening the ability of skin to resist sun damage. In fact, the skin is the healthiest attribute of the apple, providing antioxidants and nutrient benefits.

Quercetin and Antioxidants

Apples contain Quercetin, which is thought to be the main reason why the saying “an apple a day” is associated with good health. Quercetin is mainly found in apples, black tea and onions, which helps to combat the destructive free radical molecules in many diseases, such as reducing heart attacks and cancer risk.  It can control asthma and diabetes and ward away eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Apples are also rich in antioxidants, which can help prevent many diseases. They also contain a mineral called boron, which can help to keep your bones strong and healthy, as well as 25% of the daily Vitamin C you need to strengthen your immune system and ward off colds and flu.

Lose Weight

Eating an apple a day can help dieters lose weight as well.  The sugar in apples are release slowly in the G.I. track, which can help to maintain a steady blood sugar level and control the hunger pains. If eaten before a meal, apples can help fill you up so you don’t eat so much.

Studies have shown that overweight women who ate apples lost more weight on a calorie controlled diet than those that ate no fruit at all. Additionally, those who ate apples ate fewer calories overall. Apples contain zero fat or cholesterol and have only 80 calories.

Apples are great to eat in their natural state, or try them steamed as a dessert…a much better substitute than the high-calorie, high-fat, high sugar desserts we’re accustom to.

Avoid Dirty Apples

It’s important to wash your apples.  Some of them are grown with the use of insecticides or protective waxes, containing unhealthy residues.  Wash and rinse your apples with soap and water. There are fruit wash sprays available as well.  Also, consider buying organic apples because they are void of any chemicals used to preserve them.

Eat them Anytime, Anywhere

Apples are great, and so convenient.  You can literally eat them anytime, anywhere, and they can be eaten in so many different ways.  Slice them, dice them, chop them, bake them, use them in desserts or eat them whole. You can eat them with cheese, add them in fruit salads or add a fun flavor to some apple wedges.

Apple juice is great for you as well, but make sure it’s 100% apple juice, and not from concentrate. Avoid “apple drinks” with a high sugar content. Instead, look for 100% natural apple juice or make your own. Also, consider buying organic apple juice. Pure apple juice also contains many antioxidants, just like apples themselves.

Reduces Risk of Metabolic Syndrome

Finally, People who eat apples may be less likely to suffer from metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms linked to an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Studies have found that people who eat apples in any form are 25% less likely to have symptoms of metabolic syndrome than those who don’t. Apple eaters also had lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation whose presence in the blood suggests an increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

 

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Limited Edition Glen Grant with Limited Taste

Note: It’s nice being a pr-friendly wordpress blog with ties to Examiner.com because receiving pitches and products for review is fun… who’da thought? Obviously, the spirits industry reps are my favorite people to hear from, but everything is fun. I actually have some new facial hair products & reviews coming out in the next month or so. Stay tuned. In the mean time, here’s a review of a very average-tasting scotch.

Glen Grant Five Decades Limited Edition Single Malt ScotchLast month, Glen Grant announced the Five Decades Limited Edition Single Malt Scotch and made a large media push to announce it. I had my hopes up for this, all things considered, but it fell short. The taste was average, but only that exciting.

The Five Decades is characterized by an appearance of light golden barley, and a bouquet melding vanilla, honey and Oloroso sherry. Once on the tongue, the Five Decades instills tastes of honey and orange blossom, with intensely creamy sweet toffee and raisin fruit. The finish is smooth and lingering, with continued notes of fruit. While this may sound amazing to some people out there, it conflicted with my tastes, particularly the fruity ascents. That’s just me. For the price they’re asking, I would go a different route. By the way, the price is high and you can find different price points around the Internet, but the pitch listed it at $250. No thanks.

For those who are still interested, here’s the PR pitch and link to the site.

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Prophecies of the Dragon, Part 11

“It is said that when the Dragon is Reborn, he will break all oaths, shatter all ties.”

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