Holiday Gift Guides 2023 – Lifestyle and More

We are fans of cool, useful gifts, and a few come to mind. Here are some favorites!

The Oral-B iO Sense Series 10 in Cosmic Black Electric Toothbrush is their latest approach to dental hygiene, the Dreamroo - Over the Sink Colander is a very cool addition to your kitchen. Love your hearing, check out the Earasers Hearing Protectors, and the Sennheiser SoundProTex Hearing Protectors. Tired of cords getting loose, consider the CordBrick, tired of folks swiping your chargers, the Lock Socket to the rescue. Reliefband makes two writstwatch sized devices that can prevent nausea. The new NEX Playground is an AI game console with uses a camera to recognize motion. Very cool for all ages!


Oral-B iO Sense Series 10 in Cosmic Black Electric Toothbrush

We have reviewed several Oral-B Electric Toothbrushes in the past. To be honest, just the idea of an electric toothbrush was pretty cool when we kids. Over the years they have gotten more sophisticated. Several years ago we reviewed their first models with Bluetooth, that connected to the Oral-B App on your phone to guide your brushing. The app let you know the optimum time to brush, pressure warnings, patterns, and now with A.I technology, it promises the best brush ever.

What does the new Oral-B iO Sense Series 10 do? It has a Smart Pressure sensor, Linear Magnetic Drive, iO Technology, a nifty Interactive Display, interchangeable brush heads, 7 Smart Brushing Settings including Daily Clean, Sensitive, Gum Care, Intense Clean, Super Sensitive, Tongue Clean, and Whiten. It has iO Sense with Personalized Guidance personalizes your clean with live coaching to guide how, when and where you brush. It’s available in two colors, Cosmic Black and Stardust White. We think it’s a solid upgrade to the already excellent line of Oral-B electric toothbrushes.

For more information on the Oral-B iO Sense Series 10 visit:


Dreamroo - Over the Sink Colander

We really like discovering new products that improve on life’s everyday moments. We also like supporting companies with an innovative vision and inspiring backstories, so we were very impressed with Dreamroo’s line of nifty kitchen and home accessories.

We recently tried out their Dreamroo - Over the Sink Colander and are happy to report that it’s a great improvement over a common item we’ve all had in our kitchens for years, and in many iterations. Made of sturdy, BPA-free material, this adjustable colander can slide to fit over almost any size sink. We’ve used it to strain pasta, to rinse berries, thaw out frozen foods, and even as a space for drying wine glasses that we don’t want to run through the dishwasher. It’s easy to clean, not expensive, and incredibly useful.

Dreamroo is a woman-, minority-, and veteran-owned company. Their certification as a Veteran Owned Business (VOB) highlights their dedication to delivering stylish products that show off the discipline, integrity, and resilience acquired through their military experience. Highly recommended for the cooking lover in your life!

For more information on the Dreamroo - Over the Sink Colander visit:

Hearing Protection

Most of the time we are reviewing products that make noise. Amplifiers, headphones, earphones, DACs, turntables, music, and on occasion automotive repair tools. We are however very protective of our hearing, and numerous discussions with hearing experts like Dr. Mead Killion, founder of Etymotic, further reinforced this. We began a series of reviews of hearing protection products that allowed music to come through with good fidelity, just as the pandemic hit. And… suddenly there were no more concerts. Sure, we tested them with the lawnmower, or a really noisy multi-tool, but that’s a different task. Those protectors are designed to block as much sound as possible, damn the fidelity.

However, hearing protectors for music and musicians are vastly different then foam plugs handed out for free. In the past we’ve tested active and passive noise reduction products from Etymotic and others. This time we wanted to comment one of our favorites, the Earasure and SoundProTex from Sennheiser. Both are can save your hearing, they are intrinsictly different designs. And both are pretty swell.


Earasers Hearing Protectors

We first met Martin Nardini of Earasers at a CanJam show in New York around 6 years ago. We discussed them on the radio, and felt they were a great choice for music lovers. Made of clear silicon, they are practically invisible, are soft and squishy, can be easily cleaned, and incredibly comfortable.

They fit in your ear canals, have a tiny little piece of rubber to pull them out with, and they lower the sound levels to reasonable and safe levels. We wouldn’t use them if you are stuck next to sound reinforcement array, with your teeth rattling, as they don’t have the mass to dampen that level of bass. We tried them at concerts, close to the front, in the back, in noisy bars, and yes, using tools and mowers, and in all instances we had little fatigue, music were nicely balanced in terms of high, mid, and low frequencies. Vocals were clear, everything sounded essentially normal, just at a lower level. They have different versions tailored for different industry uses, and ours were models designed for music.

The only feature we missed was that due to their minimalist design, there isn’t a way to attach a lanyard or keeper to them, to prevent you from losing them. They are available in different sizes, and with the proper fit, you can do a lot of head banging and they won’t fall out. Still, Michael O’Neal (Beginner Audiophile) used them at NAMM, and ended up losing one. I’ve done the same a couple of times, luckily I had another one I lost, so could combine the two (like missing socks) to have one full set. True, it’s not the fault of the design, but we’d love to see a version that a safety strap can be attached to. Our Etymotic models, have such a strap and we have found on multiple occasions one dangling from the strap, and our reaction was “Whew!” thank God we didn’t lose them!

We like the Earasers hearing protectors. The work great, providing up to 31db reduction, are virtually invisible in use, and do a commendable job of protecting your hearing while letting the music flow through. They are so comfortable that you forget you have them in, and work great for sleep use. Highly Recommended.

For more information on the Earasers hearing protectors visit:


Sennheiser SoundProTex Hearing Protectors

We’re used to generating or capturing sound with Sennheiser products, so it was a nice surprise when Jeff Touzeau, Sennheiser’s PR ace, handed us some of their new, affordable, SoundProTex Hearing Protectors and said “You’re gonna love these”, and he was right. These are different that most in that they are a multi-part construction, with a plastic outer cover, with the Sennheiser “S” logo, but with different interchangeable filters, and three different ear tips insure the proper fit. We found they stayed in our ears and didn’t fall out. They are small, fairly discreet earplugs that won’t bring attention to themselves. They are washable and reusable, and are made of a skin-safe TPE material, which Sennheiser states is perfect for sensitive skin, and non-allergenic.

One feature that’s unique to the SoundProtex, is that most off-the-shelf hearing protection is designed with one level of protection. The SoundProtex model is based on what the industry terms “Musician’s Hearing Protecton” which means the unit comes with replaceable filters for the level of noise you expect to encounter. Similarly, the SoundProtex comes with different filters, including a total block filter” for maximum noise reduction, perfect for relaxing in higher education committee meetings, sleep during a dull opera, work with noisy tools, and can even keep your ears dry while you swim. They are affordably priced, and we think will be a hit for anyone who loves music, but wants to keep tinnitus at bay. Highly Recommended.

For more information on the Sennheiser SoundProTex Hearing Protectors visit:


CordBrick asks a question all tech warriors have faced, “Ever drop your phone cord by your nightstand? Need to manage cords better around your desk, or while traveling? Enter , a patented device and cord solution created by serial entrepreneur Nick Barrett.”

It’s made of metal, coated with soft silicone rubber and weighted with enough steel that it stays put. It’s a flexible design, we used an Apple MagSafe charger and cord, and a couple of USB Type-C cords, and it held them in place. It even survived our cats multiple attempts to knock it off the table. It comes in several colors, including glow-in-the-dark (limited availability), isn’t expensive, and we think it will be great in a stocking. It’s a rectangular block, hence the brick reference.

It’s tough. How do we know? Our amazing cats Sandy and Grayson, weren’t going to give up, and the moment we left it on the table, without cables, they promptly knocked the heck out of it, repeatedly ignoring out attempts to keep them away. But, not a scratch. Worked perfectly. The CordBrick impressed us, it’s a solid product, that can help manage six cords in a snap. Perfect to make sure your phone stays plugged in. It also might double as a cat toy.

For more information on CordBrick visit:


Lock Socket

Have you ever discovered that a charger you plugged into the wall wasn’t there when you returned? We have. A few times it was just a colleague who saw an unused charger and no one was around, so they borrowed it, returning it later. We learned the hard way that you should always put a label on your charger, or at least use a permanent marker to label it with your name and number.

Losing a charger isn’t just a matter of money, it can be a crisis if you are depending on it to charge a nearly dead phone. When I used to rock climb, occasionally you be half up a face, and discover a missing bolt or hanger. And… it could really ruin your day. Suddenly finding your charger missing is pretty much the same thing, minus the potential life threatening fall.

What to do? Well, aside from hiring a guard, the next best thing is the Lock Socket, designed for Apple and Android chargers. Well made of plastic, it allows you to screw a locking guard around the charger to the screws that hold the faceplate of a socket on. Even cooler, they supply an Allen Wrench and Allen Screws, so that even if a thief had a Swiss Army Knife, they’d have trouble unscrewing it.

We think it’s perfect for your office, or anyplace where chargers seem to vanish into thin air. Most petty crimes are opportunistic, turn your back and things happen. Use a Lock Socket and most thiefs will just keep on walking. Highly Recommended.

To learn more about Lock Socket visit: 



Reliefband makes two handwatch sized devices that can prevent nausea. Many people suffer from nausea for a variety of reasons, anxiety, migraine, morning sickness, chemotherapy, post-operative, car sickness, air sickness, and the most well known – sea sickness. Even a trip on a roller coaster, gaming, train and bus travel, can ruin someone's day.

Most sufferers of us have tried various remedies, from Scopolamine (Transderm Scop) to Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), which is probably the most popular. Those medications have side effects however. Dramamine has a tendency to make folks sleepy, as well as a roller coaster effect where it's effectiveness wears off. Add to this, many folks dealing with illness are prohibited due to intereractions with existing medical conditions or medications. Enter Reliefband.

Reliefband uses subtle electrical signals to essentially tell the body to reduce nausea. One of its growing use is with medical patients, and since it's passed FDA approval, it's the only OTC (Over The Counter) device approved for hospital and oncology clinics to reduce nausea and vomitting. We tried it, and found it works as advertised. The two models we reviewed were the Reliefband Classic, and the Reliefband Flex. We liked the Flex a bit more, but both had the same effectiveness. For anyone who has experienced nausea we recommend the Reliefband. 

To learn more about the Reliefband visit:


NEX Playground

We love products done right. And the new NEX Playground console game device is one such product. Aimed at children, but totally usable by adults, the NEX console is a small, brightly colored cube, that uses a camera and advanced AI routines to allow users to interact without the need for a remote.

We had no problem seting it up, although the miniscule instruction manual had some of the smallest font sized type we have ever tried to read. Fortunately, it takes almost no information to get it setup and running. We had a bit of a hiccup when our Samsung Smart TV tried to recognize the small setup remote, which wasn’t included in its list of devices. Once we quit the Samsung assistant, all was well, and it worked perfectly.

We were provided a code that unlocked all the titles, and had a great time doing the tutorials and playing the games. From kid games to a gym app, it was both fun and a workout. After trying the setup tutorials, our arms started to feel the burn! Graphics are good, the GUI is easy to use, and it works on the first try. One of the smartest features is a small magnetic cover for the lens of the video camera, to insure privacy when not in use. The small remote charges quickly with a USB Type-C cable. You don’t really need the remote for much, mostly setup. Once we charged it, it never required recharging in the several weeks we used it for.

The games are a nice selection with fun and challenging titles, which we think will suit any household with kids of all ages. Look forward to a more extensive review as we spend more time with the NEX Playground, and new titles are released. The AI worked great, we tried it in front of bright backlit window, against the instructions and it had no problem recognizing and tracking us. We also think that as a workout tool for all ages it's a solid product. It worked fine at night with only room light as well. We think the NEX Playground is great will make the holidays and new year a lot more playful!

For more information on the NEX Playground Console visit:

Harris Fogel, Nancy Burlan, and Frank Schramm, posted 12/06/2023