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You Can Make Cold Brew Coffee Yourself. Here’s How.

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Cold brew coffee has been a hot trend these past few years among avid coffee drinkers. Even coffee chains like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have incorporated cold brew beverages into their product mix. As a coffee addict myself, I can admit to having burned a hole in my pocket just to experience this holy grail of coffee. Admitting you have a problem is the first step toward recovery, right? Well, consider me healed, because I’ve become a pro at brewing my own delicious cold brew. My bank account thanks me, and shortly you probably will too.

For those who don’t know, let me clarify what cold brew is and what makes it so great. Despite its name, cold brew is NOT the same as iced coffee. Cold brew simply refers to the temperature at which the coffee is brewed, not the temperature at which it is actually served. Meaning, cold brew can be enjoyed as a delicious hot cup of coffee too. Cold brew is made from ground coffee beans that have been steeped in cold water for 12-24 hours, eliminating the use of high temperatures normally needed to brew coffee. The cold brew process replaces heat with time. This results in a flavorful, strong and less acidic concentrate that becomes the foundation of a perfectly crafted cup of coffee. Here’s the best part: the concentrate can stay fresh in the fridge for up to two weeks, thus eliminating the hassle of having to brew a pot of coffee every morning. Pretty cool, right?

So, without further ado, I present to you: The Toddy Cold Brew System. The Toddy Cold Brew System, or “Toddy” for short, is a non-electrical coffee maker that uses a cold water filtration process to extract the rich flavor of the coffee beans into a smooth yet strong concentrate over a 12-24 hour period of time. For just $45, you can purchase the Toddy Cold Brew System on Amazon. It comes with a set of instructions, a recipe guide, one brewing container with handle (BPA-free), one glass decanter with lid, two reusable felt filters, one stopper and three paper filters.

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Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System with Extra Filters and Rubber Stoppers Bundle — $49.99

Now, I’ve been using my Toddy for about six months now and I really do love it (and all the money it’s saving me), but I’m still going to give it to you straight. The preparation process might take a time or two to perfect, but it gets much easier the more you do it. Not to mention, the clean-up is quick which is always a plus. The brewing container itself is made out of plastic and can be damaged if not handled properly. Mine started to leak after about two months of having it and I had to order another one, which I’ve had no problems with. Although the initial price might seem a bit steep, it has definitely paid off in my experience and is a great product for all my fellow coffee lovers.

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‘Tis The Season? Scented Candles Suffer From COVID-19

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Scented candles are a classic Christmas gift, right up there with gift certificates to Bath & Body Works. When you get someone a scented candle in a favorite aroma, you are showing that you’ve paid attention to what she likes. And, as SNL memorably parodied a few years back, scented candles are especially appreciated because they are easily regiftable in a pinch:

I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I’d be shocked if Yankee Candle didn’t typically do something like half of its overall sales during the holiday shopping season. Well, maybe not this year. As several internet sleuths with way too much time on their hands have noted and graphed, customer reviews of usually popular scented candles on both Amazon and YankeeCandle.com have been steadily trending downward.

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Yankee Candle Large 2-Wick Tumbler Candle, Balsam & Cedar on sale for $17.69

The suspected culprit? COVID-19. Loss of smell is a common symptom of the coronavirus, so it is possible that COVID-infected shoppers are buying the scented candles unable to appreciate the fragrance.

You’d think with people all across the country being shut up in side so much, candles would be in higher demand than ever. For all the procrastinating sons out there who’ve come to rely on Yankee Candle as a last-minute gift each year, here’s hoping the company is able to weather out this storm. If you don’t have COVID, do your part to help them out by buying a signature candle. If you aren’t sure if you have the virus or not, you can buy one anyway as a make-your-own COVID test. Good luck convincing your insurance to cover it.

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Looking For An Alternative To The Always Pan?

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If you’ve been on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube or any of the other social media sites that propel products to viral stardom, you know all about the Always Pan. Like the Instant Pot of holidays past, the Always Pan is designed to roll the functions of several pieces of cookware into one. This singular kitchen item can perform the tasks of a fry pan, a sauté pan, a steamer, a skillet, a saucier, a saucepan, a non-stick pan, a spatula, and a spoon rest.

The good news is that since it is Black Friday, the normally $145 Always Pan is on sale for just $95 with the code SUPERSALE. The bad news is that even though the deal is still available, the Always Pan has been so popular that they won’t be able to ship you one until February.

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Always Pan on sale for $95 with the code SUPERSALE

In other words, the Black Friday deal isn’t particularly useful if you are trying to do your Christmas shopping. If you want a pan that will arrive in time for the holidays, and also don’t mind spending your cash on a product without that Insta cred, then you might consider this “all-in-one” pan from Ozeri. It may not be able to do quite everything of the Always Pan, but it is non-stick and comes with a tempered glass lid with a steam release vent. The best part? Usually $90, the Ozeri pan is on sale for just $40.

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Ozeri Stone Earth All-in-One Sauce Pan 100% APEO, GenX, PFBS, PFOS, PFOA, NMP and NEP-Free German-Made Coating, 5 L (5.3 Quart), Lava Black on sale for $39.39

Ozeri is a brand to be trusted, boasting a 100% German-made nonstick coating. Their 10-inch stainless steel pan was Wirecutter’s picks for best nonstick pan to use for induction cooking.

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Can SAD Lamps Make You Happy?

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I am not a licensed psychiatrist, so I am not going to weigh in on whether Seasonal Affective Disorder is a legitimate mood disorder, as opposed to a normal human response to a change in seasons. But I will say that whoever named it obviously thought it was a joke – there is no way you can tall someone you are “SAD” and expect the sympathy that traditionally accompanies revelations of mental illness.

Whether you actually suffer from clinical depression or just would prefer more sunlit hours in a day, now is the time of year the winter blues are starting to kick in. And one would expect it to be worse than ever in 2020, with the amount of fresh air and sunlight you can get proscribed by COVID-19 regulations.

In theory, SAD lamps can help. Contrary to their name, SAD lamps are not designed to bring you further down into the dumps but instead to make you happy. Maybe they should call them HAPPY lamps. I’ll let the professionals to come up with some appropriate backronym for that like they obviously did with Season Affective Disorder all those years ago.

SAD lamps are useful for so-called “light therapy.” Again, I’m not a doctor, so I do not know exactly how they work, besides the crucial fact that they are meant to mimic daylight while filtering out UV rays. Putting one in your home can help you combat the effects of earlier and earlier sunsets, and maybe even trick your brain into thinking you live in Florida. SAD lamps aren’t very expensive, so if your mood ever starts to sag (especially going into the holidays without being surrounded by family), you might as well give it a go.

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TaoTronics Light Therapy Lamp, Ultra-Thin UV-Free 10000 Lux Therapy Light, Timer Function, Adjustable Brightness Levels, Memory Function, 90° Rotatable Stand for a Happy Life — $32.99

When choosing a SAD lamp, you’d do well to consider this one from TaoTronics, whose SoundLiberty 53 earbuds we reviewed on this website (back when they were called the TT-53) along with their TT-060 over-ear headphones. Although we tend to think of TaoTronics as an audio company, the Sunvalley group’s flagship brand sells a host of other home electronics as well, including space heaters and HEPA air purifiers.

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