Gadgets to Get You Through Winter!
Whenever we see “most popular products” on Amazon or anywhere else, we’re not just curious, we HAVE to see what everyone is so interested in! What are the must-haves this winter to keep warm, keep calm and power through to spring? Some are strictly designed to warm up extremities, others are for stimulating your brain with something other than episodes of The Masked Singer (not that we’re addicted or anything!).
Warm Up Those Fingers and Toes
For keeping your hands and feet warm, we found quite a few options. Like these hand warmers for office work sitting at a computer. Sometimes one’s mouse hand tends to get colder than the keyboard hand. Mental Floss showcased these “toasty” handwarmers that leave your thumb and fingers free to type, while heating up the rest of your hands. Or check out these popular fingerless gloves on Amazon that expose ONLY your fingertips and plug into a USB port.
Of course, you can always get a heated mouse (?!) say the folks at PC Magazine. These are ideal if your office is the temperature of an igloo. They can heat up to around 99º which might be a little extreme – but you get the idea. And if you’re headed outside and want to use your phone at some point, these North Face gloves keep your hands warm AND let you stay connected to the digital universe.
For your feet, borrow a bootie from the Danes who know cold almost as well as Coloradans. Billed as “the coziest indoor shoes money can buy,” by Men’s Journal, these Glerups’ slip-on boots, shoes and slippers are handcrafted from 100 percent pure felted wool which naturally keeps your feet warm and dry – as in no sweaty tootsies. Be sure to read the reviews at Huckberry which, full disclosure, has a limited color selection You can get Glerups from lots of places, but Huckberry had the best price we found online.
And if you’re out and about in the great outdoors – highly likely in Crystal Valley — check out these Thermacell Warming Heated Insoles. Overstock has them for less than the competition at $76 a pair!
The Space Around You
Space heaters bring warmth to your immediate surroundings, and to find the best ones – eve this late in the season – we consulted Consumer Reports. Some last longer than others, and we wanted to know which not only performed the best, but had the longest life with the fewest complaints. Once you figure out if you want the space heater to warm only you or an entire room – then you can get down to recommendations. The top performing – and recommended by CR – at $150 is the Vornado. High marks in all the tested categories. The best buy at $70 and high scoring space heater according to CR (except for “hot surface”) is the Comfort Zone CZ499R. It also received an excellent rating in the fire safety test. More expensive but recommended for its performance as well is the Honeywell HZ-980 at $131.59.
Out and About Winter-Proofing
The snow we’ve had lately has made getting your car unstuck and sometimes even out of the driveway, a learning experience we’d rather not repeat! Bob Vila – always ready with advice for home owners – schools us on how to get unstuck and recommends, for emergency tire traction, either an interior car mat placed behind a tire or this Tire Grip Aid from Wawa Auto. The mat folds up so it’s easy to keep under your seat and pop out when you need to escape ice, mud, slush and snow.
Some ice-melting chemicals can damage your walkways, but it’s important to keep sidewalks clear for deliveries and visitors who enter by the front door, rather than the garage! The heavier the snow, the more potential to strain a back muscle lifting shovelfuls of the stuff. That’s why someone made the Snow-Melting Mat. You just lay these 10 x 30-inch mats over tricky steps or sidewalks and power them up to keep pathways cleared and safe for walkers-by.
And speaking of walking – we know more than a few people who have fallen on the ice this winter, making the Walk Traction Ice Cleat a smart consideration when traipsing around on slick sidewalks or icy parking lots. Made by STABILicers, these cleats – in regular rubber treads — fit any shoe and give you traction when you most need it!
Brain Teaser Apps for Winter
While staring at a phone or tablet might seem like a brain numbing activity, when you’re using an app that stimulates your brain – quite the opposite is true. From Elevate to Lumosity and Cognifit, the apps that not only make you smarter but keep you from going stir-crazy indoors during another major snowfall!
As Winter Wanes in Crystal Valley
For the intrepid walker/hiker/runner/biker Castle Rock boasts access to miles of trails and the largest open-air outlet mall in Colorado! Little wonder that lovers of the great outdoors land in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley. The new homes here, from Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton are set in natural surroundings with easy access to nearby amenities. Find the new home of your dreams in either a ranch or two-story model, priced from the $300s.