Taking up mountain biking? Get the right gear for your ride

I was an avid mountain biker in my early 30s, and once again I have taken up the sport, more than a decade later, to find that lots has changed. The trails and techniques have not changed much, but I have. Luckily, mountain bikes have changed too, and newer models are much more suited for people at various stages of life and skill levels.

The Mongoose Switchback Sport ($399) women’s mountain bike is a great bike for a new or returning mountain biker. The Switchback is tall, with its 27.5-inch wheelbase and a raised handlebar stem, and it allows me to sit high and upright. As I have gotten a little older, my neck and back sometimes feel stiff and painful, so this more erect posture is exceedingly more comfortable than the hunched-over downward-facing position of older mountain bikes.

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The front suspension fork absorbs shock and offers a lower-impact ride…

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7 Holiday snacks and beverages that bring good cheer

Moms NoVa

There are plenty of goodies to nibble on and imbibe during the day holiday season to fill you up like a bowl full of jelly. Here are some sweet snacks and twists on traditional treats and drinks for you and your guests that taste good and will get you on the nice list.

Party poppers

Want to bring a little, little hostess gift?  Pack along a bag of The Little Kernel mini popcorn. These tiny sans-hull crunchy popped corns, in six flavors– Truffle Sea Salt, Sweet and Salty Pink Himalayan, White Cheddar, Butter and Naked, made with 100% pure olive oil and are gluten-free, dairy-free, whole-grain and non-GMO. And for a conversation starter, the snack company was founded by Chris Laurita of the Real Housewives of New Jersey and business partner Andy Epstein. $3.99, Giant, Sprouts and other select grocery stores nationwide.

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Serve up nostalgia at…

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10 tech toys and more for every kids on your holiday gift list

Kids of all ages get excited about the latest electronics, and tech-savvy parents know that sharing in their kid’s enthusiasm and wonder for technology is an excellent way to bond. When kids have reached their screen time limit, it’s time to get real with physical games and toys that engage them the old-fashioned way. For every child on your list, here are 10 great gifts that help kids grow in their understanding of technology, develop their creative skills and encourage connection with others.

Two hit wonder

For those of us of a certain age who remember the rock-em-sock-em toy robots, whose heads popped off with a firm jab to the jaw, there’s a new heavyweight in the ring. Big Robot Data Rate and Tenderizer Remote Control Fighting Robots are eight-inch fighting machines with Innovative Motion Control Technology so that each user can steer, maneuver and punch using a handheld nun-chuck…

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12 holiday gifts for tech lovers

If you are shopping for a tech geek this holiday season, here are 12 great electronic gifts that will light them up.

Take charge

The myCharge RazorPlatinum portable charger ($99.99) is the perfect companion for the MacBook on the go. It charges a MacBook in 100 minutes via a USB – C port, and it also can charge any compliant USB – C or USB-A device, such as tablet, phones and other devices. It has an anodized aluminum body, and a rapid – recharge power bank and includes a USB – C cable.  This heavy-duty battery will add a bit of weight to your load, but the power it packs is worth its weight. To check if the myCharge is topped up, you simply shake it, and it will light up with one to four flashing dots, depending on remaining battery life.

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Just in case

For the iPhone aficionado who takes their phone everywhere – who doesn’t – OtterBox makes a hard-core hard case that will protect their prized possession from dings and scratches with the stylish and durable Defender Series. The case can be customized with a variety of colors for the slipcover ($29.95) and shell ($29.95), which is always helpful since so many cases look alike. For added protection, the charger and headphone jack inputs feature rubber covers to keep out dirt and dust, and another huge plus to the Defender Series is the touch surface is incorporated into the shell, so you do not need to apply a separate protection film.

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Not your dad’s (or mom’s) smart watch

For parents who would love to get their kids a smart phone to keep track of their whereabouts and call them when needed, but they are afraid the child will lose such an expensive device, Tinitell is the perfect wearable solution.  This wristwatch phone has voice calling and smart location features so kids can run and play without having to carry a phone. With the touch of a button, kids can connect with the phone’s directory of contacts, and using the Tinitel app, parents can geo-locate their kids. Tinitell looks cool and comes in a variety of colors, and at the cost of $149 it’s far less expensive than a smart phone.

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No jack, no worries

Audiophiles who might have been disappointed in the headphone-jack free iPhone 7 will no longer have to suffer thanks to Wicked Audio Reach Bluetooth Audio Receiver ($19.99). This little device, about the size of a money clip, can connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth-enabled mobile device to stream music to headphones in a 30 foot range. It also has a built-in microphone for calls. The little magic matchbox device can slip into a pocket or clip on to clothes for people on the go, and it recharges in an hour and a half for five hours of play.

I stream, you stream…

The neat freak geek who loves streaming video but hates the clutter of cords connecting HDMI devices to the TV will go nerd crazy over the Nyrius Aries Pro ($249) wireless HDMI transmitter and receiver. This receiver will send video wirelessly to your TV without any latency or lag time — where audio and video don’t match up. It transmits up to 160 feet, allowing you to show video from your laptop or other device on the TV screen in another room. Because there are no wires, you can free up space around your TV and even place your game controller or other device across the room. The small receiver can also attach to drones or cameras, and up to eight devices total, so you can view video from those sources remotely.

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A cord of a different color

Techies can never have enough charging cables for their iOS devices, but cables don’t have to be white and boring. NewerTech makes premium USB 2.0 lightning-fast charge/sync cables ($7.99-$24.99) for Apple iPhone iPod and iPad devices in exciting colors and a variety of lengths ranging from 20 inches to 118 inches, to make plugging in anywhere easy. The multicolored cables feature a woven sheath over them so they are more durable than most cables, and because of their bright colors it’s less likely they will get left behind or mixed up and taken by your friends and family by accident.

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Search and protect

The ALLY Plus Whole Home Smart Wi-Fi System by Amped Wireless will connect your entire household to Wi-Fi, up to 15,000 feet, even out to your patio. This two-component rounter and extender system offers high power, buffer-free coverage for streaming HD and 4K games and videos on multiple devices at once, and all your internet needs. Using the app, parents can pause the internet for homework or dinner time and monitor what sites their children visit.  For extra protection the system uses AVG software to guard against malware and phishing attacks. $379, www.ampedwireless.com

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Switch hit

for the tech geek on your list who is a freak for holiday decorations, give them the ultimate turn on, and I devices outdoor switch. This switch can power up and control all their outdoor electronics such as lights, fans, speakers, fountains and more with the ease of Siri voice control and the I devices connected app. The switch theaters old outlets to control to products simultaneously and comes equipped with mounting hardware and easy instructions to connect the switch to your home Wi-Fi network and control devices with any home to compatible iOS device. $79, Available at Lowe’s Stores, Apple Stores and www.idevicesinc.com

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Store it up

Any smartphone-carrying tech aficionado knows it’s hard to choose what videos, photos and music to delete when your hard drive gets too full. The same is true for laptops.  With the Seagate 2TB Wireless Mobile Storage Device you can keep it all, safety stored and easily accessible on the wallet-sized external hard drive, which creates its own personal Wi-Fi network and features a 10-hour battery life.  Using the Wireless Plus free Seagate Media app for iOS, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8/RT, you can carry, manage and stream hundreds of movies or thousands of photos, songs and documents. $179, Amazon or retailers found at www.Seagate.com.

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Warm regards

Everyone hates to get up off the sofa to adjust the thermostat when the room gets too hot or cold. With Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat you can regulate the temperature from anywhere – at home or outside the home, using an app or even voice commands with Siri or Alexa in a smart home.  Cool off or warm up the house before you get home or set a program to change the indoor climate when you sleep, wake, or are away at work. $199, Home Depot and hardware retailers nationwide.

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Suck up

Cordless vacuums are usually great for fast-and-dirty pick-ups, but with the Dyson V-6 Absolute, the once-over will be the end-all. Its portable size makes it perfect for those quick jobs to clean up the floor, carpet or sofa when guests are coming over and you don’t have time to get out the heavy-duty vacuum, but unlike other mini-vacs, this powerful bagless vacuum has super strong suction that doesn’t quit, with a full charge lasting up to 26 minutes. It also features a variety of attachments and a handy holster to mount on the wall.  $599, available at Dyson dealers nationwide found at www.dyson.com

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Snap a pic

The old meets the new, with the latest shoot-to-print camera from the first name in instant photography.  The Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera has an all-new style in a compact pocket-sized camera that can capture photos and print them out in minutes.  The camera features six different capture modes, including a vintage-Sepia tone, and a timer mode to snap a quick selfie.  Prints use ZINK zero ink print technology, and each print can double as a sticker.  $84.99, Amazon

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Power up

For those who love electronics but hate the tangle of charger cables on their bedstand, Easy-Dok has a solution.  The Dök CR33 5-Port Smartphone Charger features a organizer cabinet with a built-in Bluetooth speaker and ports to simultaneously charge up a smartphone, iPad, iPod, tablet, MP3 player and most any device that can be charged with a USB cable, up to five devices simultaneously.  The multipurpose dock can display and play one device while charging another all while streaming music streaming and allowing hands-free calls via Bluetooth. To protect devices and persevere batteries, the dock features SCD (Smart Current Detection) Technology to protect your device’s battery from being over charged. $65.67, Amazon or www.easy-doks.com

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Personal gifts for the holidays – a guide to gifts that show you care

Giving someone a personal care gift can be touchy. For instance, unless a woman has asked for a cellulite massager, she might take it the wrong way. Here are six non-offending personal gifts that loved ones are sure bring comfort and joy.

No Pain, their gain

The Oska Pulse device is the latest technology in pain relief. About the size of a large computer mouse, the device can be strapped to the body with the included sling or even placed under the user’s pillow. Employing pulsed electromagnetic field energy, the same technology used by NFL players and the military special forces to promote healing at the cellular level, the device glows and works its magic, painlessly, silently, and with no side effects. It also has a moneyback guarantee if you do not get relief. $400, www.Oskawellness.com

Smooth Shaving

You may not think a man’s bald head and a woman’s legs have much in common, but the makers of Skull Shaver electric razors get that the delicate knees, ankles and other contours of a woman’s body deserve the same gentle care as a man’s head when achieving a close, smooth shave. The mushroom-shaped cordless Butterfly Shaver has five flexible rotating heads plus a foil head attachment for bikini and under arms. Holiday sale price $54.99, www.skullshaver.com

Smile Pretty

With all the “to floss, or not to floss” debate, only one thing is for certain, debris between your teeth is unsightly and unhealthy. The Oral Irrigator, despite its aggressive name, gently removes particles from teeth and gums with a stream of pulsed water. Unlike bulkier dental devices with cords and separate tanks, this pulsing water device charges up and then can be picked up and used like an electric toothbrush. It has three settings and a two-minute auto shut off and is safe for braces implants and bridgework.  $49.95, www.toilettreeproducts.com

Sock it to me

Socks might seem to be a rather pedestrian gift, but not when those stockings are ready for the cat walk. Lily Trotters are fashionable high-performance women’s compression socks that look as good as they work.  Lily trotters are designed thin so they can pair easily with running shoes or boots, and despite their snug squeeze, they are easy to get on and off and can be worn comfortably for hours on end. They may be just what you need to slip into for recovery after exercise or during pregnancy or air travel when it’s most important to keep blood circulating in the lower legs for vein health and to keep legs feeling refreshed and energized. Available in dozens of sassy styles. $48, www.LilyTrotters.com

Pillow talk

A good night sleep can improve productivity, mood and general health, and it all starts when you lay down your head. The Sleep Innovations Versacurve memory foam pillow, engineered by a team of sleep experts who studied people while they slept, cradles your cappie with gentle therapeutic support and a curved design that accommodates those who change sleeping positions from side, back and stomach during the night, promoting a sounder sleep. $38.99, www.Amazon.com

 

Cool it

If someone you know has a hothead, or hot body for that matter, MISSION’s EnduraCool neck towels ($14.99-$29.99), will cool them off.  The MISSION line of athletic accessories are made with dry-to-cool wicking fabric technology embedded into wraps and other gear such as hoodies, hats, headbands and helmet liners use patented technology that can lower the fabric’s surface temperature by up to 30 degrees when activated with water, and the technology is embedded in the fabric so it can’t wash out. Available at www.mission.com