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The Coolest Gadgets to Have on Your Next Camping Trip
“Roughing It”

I mean, let’s face it. Very few people like to “rough it.” You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like being outdoors, surrounded by nature, the fresh air and the trees rustling in the wind, the sunshine on your face…it’s wonderful. But most people, if given an option, will opt for a cozy bed, a thermostat, wi-fi, and if you’re a millennial, a flat screen TV that’s Netflix-ready and only steps away from a mini fridge. There are certain luxuries we refuse to go without.

But it’s the summer, and it would be a sin to not, at the very least, attempt to spend some time getting reacquainted with the great outdoors. In this blog, we thought we might help by offering up some great gadgets and gear that’s sure to make your next camping trip far more comfortable and enjoyable.

  1. DreamWave Survivor Speaker

The DreamWave Survivor speaker (http://dreamwaveus.com/Survivor) is not your average Bluetooth speaker. Throw your Beats Pill in the trash, you won’t need it anymore. This bad boy is both a 30W Bluetooth speaker and an LED light, using a 12,000-mAh lithium-polymer battery to play up to 16 hours of music and/or shoot 110 lumens up to 400 feet (122 m). But wait, there’s more. In the event that you need it, the DreamWave is capable of jumpstarting a 7.0-liter V8-powered car!

This wonderful device will only run you $280 (USD). It’s almost a no-brainer for anyone who plans to spend a lot of time camping this Summer and Fall season.

  1. Ravean Heated Sleeping Bag

A Kickstarter Project that’s picked up a lot a steam, the team at Ravean has solved a comfort issue that plagues many campers every year – staying warm while resting in a sleeping bag.  Their heated sleeping bag liner adds up to 20 degrees to your bag for a warmer night of sleep, using a 7600maAh battery. What makes this bag unique is that it cinches high at the top, and can be converted into a hoodie outside of the tent for comfortable heat all around camp.

At the time of writing this, Ravean has raised over $164,000 in funding. And for a pledge of $78.00, you can secure a bag of your own!

  1. The Beartooth

For some of us, the typical outdoor camping experience isn’t enough. Going completely off-the-grid and truly getting lost in the wilderness is an adventure that many of us live for. A new smartphone accessory called the Beartooth will ensure that friends and family still know your whereabouts when you decide to wander off and explore. The Beartooth effectively turns your smartphone into a two-way radio. It connects via Bluetooth and gives you up to 10 miles (16 km) of peer-to-peer communications for texts and 5 miles (8 km) for voice. Perfect for emergencies, or if you just want to inform everyone that you’re about to make a snack run.

  1. The Therapik®

Are you tired of the constant itching and discomfort that comes along with bitten by a mosquito or bee? There’s a way to treat the itch without the need for chemicals, and to many people’s surprise, it really works! Therapik® is a small, portable, hand-held, battery-powered device that weighs around four ounces (including the battery).

Using patented technology, Therapik® delivers a highly concentrated source of heat to the skin through a small cylindrical opening at its tip. The source of the infrared heat is a small 5 volt electric bulb connected to a replaceable 9-volt alkaline battery, producing an energy output of approximately 1.25 watts.

You can purchase your Therapik® by visiting our web store, or through Amazon, for only $13.00!

Where in the World is Therapik® Needed Most?
Some Things Are Unavoidable

So you’re planning your next vacation, and you only have one pre-requisite for the destination you’ll ultimately travel to…it’s gotta be HOT! Who doesn’t like the thought of disappearing to some small Caribbean island, surrounded by palm trees and endless stretches of beaches. Sounds lovely, right? One problem, any warm and tropical climate in the world worth visiting will be swarming with new and potentially poisonous insects, that could put a damper on the fun.

In this blog, we thought we’d provide you some information regarding the worst places in the world for insects. Where in the world are you most likely to get bitten by a mosquito or stung by a bee? Read on to find out.

Where Are Mosquitoes a Problem?

According to the Mosquito Squad, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand have the highest number of the over 3,000 mosquito species in existence. However, the mosquitoes that call these countries home are mostly “endemic,” meaning that species is found in one specific location and nowhere else in the world. It is in Africa, South America and Asia where it is believed that most of the mosquito-borne diseases occur.

Where are Bees a Problem?

With over 20,000 different species of bees around the world, these pesky buggers can be hard to avoid. Honeybees are a common stinging culprit, but can only sting you once before meeting their demise. Bumblebees, however, can sting you multiple times. Bumblebees often nest in the ground, but can be found above ground around patio areas or decks. If disturbed, bumblebees will buzz in a loud volume, and they will aggressively defend their nests. Essentially, anywhere slightly humid near standing water is a good place for bees to reside. Bees are extremely common in both North America and Europe.

Where are Wasps a Problem?

According to National Geographic, there are over 30,000 identified species of wasps globally. We are most familiar with those that are wrapped in bright warning colors, like the popular “Yellow Jacket,” ones that collect in groups and threaten us with painful stings. Even though most wasps are actually solitary, non-stinging organisms that are a natural predator for other pests.

The “Vespula vulgaris” or common wasp, are most prevalent in the United Kingdom, Germany, India, China, New Zealand, and Australia.

How to Protect Yourself

Don’t give these annoying vacation-spoilers the satisfaction. Venture off on the vacation of your dreams, without worrying about the pain and discomfort that comes along with getting bitten. Bring along a Therapik®. This small, portable and lightweight device delivers a concentrated dose of heat to the bitten area, effectively neutralizing the

insect venom that causes itchiness and pain. Simple insert a 9-volt battery, hold the button and press it against the affected area for 30 seconds, and you’re done.

You can purchase your Therapik® by visiting our web store, or through Amazon, for only $13.00!

Insects to Watch Out For This Summer

Mosquito bites are distressingly familiar, we’ve all been bitten by one numerous times, and can recognize the itchy, swollen bump that results. But what about all those other mysterious, red, itchy spots that show up after you return home from all of your fun and adventurous outdoor activities? In this blog, we offer up a description of some of the most common bites you can expect to receive this summer, in order to protect yourself as best as possible.

  1. Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are prolific, annoying pests, that find their way into camping trips, cottage weekends, afternoon hikes and basically any activity people enjoy outdoors. Mosquitos live in grass and bushes with their favorite breeding ground being standing water, including birdbaths, clogged rain gutters, storm drains, pools, ponds, etc.

As numerous as mosquitoes are, thankfully, only the females bite humans. Both male and females feed on plant nectar and water. However, females require blood in their diet in order to reproduce.

Female mosquitos have long, tubular mouthparts that allow them to pierce your skin and feed on your blood, which usually results in an itchy welt. Most people are allergic to proteins found in mosquito saliva, which is the cause of the itchiness and swelling. Mosquitoes choose their victims based on the scent of your perspiration, so your sweat has a lot to do with whether you get bitten!

  1. Black Flies

Black flies are very common throughout the United States, often found near bodies of water where their larvae grow. Black fly breeding grounds are very similar to that of mosquitoes, which is why these two bugs get confused for one another all the time. And just like the mosquito, the females are the only biters, requiring the blood for reproductive purposes.

Black flies typically bite near the head or face, and their bites leave a small puncture wound that can result in anything from slight swelling to a swollen bump. Black fly bites are especially painful because the fly cuts a hole in the skin in order to feast on a pool of blood.

  1. Bees

Bees don’t need an introduction, nor do they need a description. Everyone knows what they look like, and chances are, you also know what a sting feels like. Getting stung by a bee in your lifetime is understood by most to be inevitable.

Honey bees, bumblebees, sweat bees, and other species, all have the capacity to sting. The stings of most of these species can be quite painful, and are therefore keenly avoided by many people.

Bee stings differ from other insect bite in terms of the venom that’s left behind. In particular, bee stings are acidic, whereas wasp stings are alkali. As a result, the body’s reaction to bee stings can be vastly different to that of other bugs. For most people, bee stings cause a painful stinging, but are otherwise harmless. In people with insect sting allergies, stings may trigger a dangerous anaphylactic reaction that is potentially deadly. A sting is typically followed by redness and an increase of heat in the affected area.

  1. Yellow Jackets

Not to be left off the list is the bug widely considered to be the most aggressive stinging insects – vespid wasps. The most popular of this category of wasp is the Yellow Jacket, identified by their alternating black and yellow body segments. They are often mistaken for bees, although their bodies lack the same amount of hair, rounded abdomen, and the expanded hind leg used for carrying pollen of the bee.

Yellow Jackets like to snack on meat, fish and sugary substances, making them prevalent near trash receptacles and picnics.

These wasps are not quick to sting, however, they will aggressively defend their hive if they suspect danger. Each insect is capable of delivering multiple stings, with each being fairly painful. These stings are also known to induce allergic reactions in some people.

Relief From All Insect Bites & Stings

Thankfully, there exists one handy, portable, lightweight, easy-to-use device that will treat ALL of the bug bites and stings mentioned above…the Therapik®. Using patented technology, Therapik® delivers a highly concentrated source of heat to the skin in order to neutralize the venom and relieve the itch and soreness. Simply press the device to the affected area, hold the button for 30 seconds, and you’re done!

And for only $12.99, there’s no excuse not to get one! You can order your Therapik® through our website, or by visiting our store on Amazon.







Earring Trends for Spring/Summer 2017

What To Expect This Upcoming Spring

Spring is already upon us, and like many fashion gurus and fashionistas out there, we’re already looking ahead to what will likely be the hottest trends of the year in terms of earrings and ear accessories. In this blog, we’ve compiled some of what we believe will be the jewelry trends you need to jump on right now.

According to Anush Hovhannisyan of the Fashionisers, the jewelry industry, as a whole, is moving away from minimalist and understated earrings, to those that embrace big, bold, and audacious design elements. “More is more” is the overall trend of Spring/Summer 2017.

An Odd, Yet Fashionable Trend

In what might be oddest earring trend of the year, Anush believes that non-identical earrings will catch on. The idea being, to “leave behind everything symmetric and balanced, thus opening up the whole charm of asymmetry.”

Vogue Magazine Earring trendAccording to Vogue Magazine, the hottest earrings and ear accessories this year will look to the not-so-distant future for inspiration. The “art school earring” will be one of the biggest fashion trends for Spring/Summer 2017. Inspired by futuristic lines, unique shapes and interesting material choices, this style of earring is sure to get you noticed.

Justine Carreon looks at some of the trends she noticed at the most recent New York Fashion Week, Justine’s Earring Trend 2examination focuses on the top brands to look out for in 2017, as opposed to the different styles one might want to consider to liven up their look. Some of the more notable brands include Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Maison Margiela, and many others.

What Is An Ear Cuff?

For those of us who really want to turn heads and wear something on their ears that is outside-the-box, is another trend identified by Vogue for Spring/Summer 2017, known as the fantasy ear cuff. These are essentially a string of piercings organized in an interesting way, and are described as having bold, graphic, and recognizable shapes, such as a pair of headphones, or a rose.

The same trend was also identified by InStyle, noting that the trend allows people to “channel their inner Rockstar.”

Additional Sources


Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Vaping: Part 4

Vaping: A Safe and Effective Method for Consuming Medicinal Marijuana

Why is vaporizing marijuana better for you than smoking it? The answer may seem obvious for some, but for those of us that are new to vaping cannabis for medical purposes, the answer may not be apparent at first because the act of inhaling is performed when choosing to smoke or vape. So why is one safer than the other?

What Makes Vaping a Safer Alternative?

An article published in the journal PLOS ONE illustrates that electronic vaporizers appear to offer a “safe and effective” method for medical marijuana consumption. The reason for this is fairly intuitive. The advantage that vaporizers have over traditional smoking is that the temperature can be controlled to heat the marijuana only to the point where vapor starts to form, and not past the point where combustion occurs, smoke being the by-product.

The Swiss researchers behind the study concluded:

“As the oral administration of cannabinoids reveals poor and unreliable bioavailability and smoking of cannabis cannot be recommended for medical purposes, alternative efficient and less harmful application modes are needed. Vaporization of cannabis without the formation of potentially toxic pyrolysis products appears to be such an alternative.”

Elizabeth Enochs of Hustle notes that it’s difficult to ignore the obvious: smoking ANYTHING is bad for you. Not because of any inherent chemical properties of what you’re smoking, but because the combustion and inhalation of any plant matter will have adverse effects on your health. She identifies four reasons why vaping should be your preferred method of consuming cannabis.

  1. Vaping Exposes You To Fewer Toxins Than Smoking: The combustion of marijuana results in several known carcinogens and tar, which can lead to lung irritation and chronic bronchitis. Approximate 88% of combusted smoke consists of non-cannabinoids, which means you are consuming far less THC than what is contained in the marijuana itself. But when you vape, 95% of the vapor contains solely cannabinoids.
  2. Vaping Allows You To Inhale Less Smoke Into Your Lungs: This point ties into the previous one. If you’re consuming more THC every time you inhale vapor, the effects of the cannabinoid will kick in faster, requiring less vaping than smoking to achieve the equivalent effect.
  3. Vaping Can Actually Undo The Respiratory Symptoms Caused By Smoking: Vaporizing marijuana can lead to significant improvements to the health of your lungs, according to at least one study of 20 cannabis users.
  4. Vaping Results In Faster Pain Relief: Vaping marijuana, because of the speed at which your body absorbs the THC, can act as a very potent and fast-acting pain relief method.
Enjoy the Great Outdoors by Being Prepared

Nights spent under spinning stars. A walk through colourful brush on the first autumn morning. A canoe ride through a calm lake under the clear blue sky. There’s nothing like the great outdoors!

No matter the time of the year, there’s always something to explore and experience.

Insects are more than just an Annoyance

Insects have a way of intruding on fun moments or tend to strike during meals or when one is asleep. Most will agree that they are annoying but some insects have venomous bites which can have dangerous consequences. Insect bites can cause anything from a sting to an allergic reaction that ranges from mild to severe.

In fact, insect bites harm or kill almost three times as many North Americans as snakes do. Oftentimes, they are underappreciated as a predator.

There’s a Whole Lineup of Insects Looking to Attack

Yellow jacket wasps are responsible for many of the insect bites in North America. Then, there are honeybees and bumblebees and in certain regions of the U.S. you’ll find the irascible fire ants. All of the above mentioned insects are searching for skin to pierce and blood to infect with their venom.

Don’t forget that North American is also home to spiders, ticks, flies, mosquitoes and fleas whose venomous bite can transmit West Nile, Lyme and many other diseases. While these are treatable, the best and safest route will always be prevention.

Protect Yourself from Insects by being Prepared

Therapik® is your partner for every outdoor adventure to ensure relief from the itch and pain of insect bites. In addition to using Therapik®, you can take further precautions by covering your skin and applying insect repellent with an appropriate amount of DEET.

Little Tricks that Make a Big Difference

There’s also little tricks like choosing a breezy spot for a picnic or campground. This can prevent mosquitoes from approaching since they have trouble flying in even the slightest breeze. Also, wearing light-colored clothing can make you less attractive to mosquitoes.

A fear of insects should never stop you from heading outdoors. Using Therapik® and being prepared can help remove worry and enhance the experience.

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Could Marijuana be the Cure?

Marijuana is currently being studied to determine whether its consumption can be effective at treating chronic pain, cancers, epilepsy, and Crohn’s disease. But just this year, researcher’s started testing the effectiveness of marijuana for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Many would probably consider this to be counter-intuitive, considering Alzheimer’s predominantly effects memory, and marijuana has been widely known to negatively effect a person’s short-term memory. But the results so far have been very promising.

In late June of this year, Popular Science published the findings of a study by the Salk Institute related to the effects of marijuana smoking and consumption on Alzheimer’s patients. This particular laboratory study was the first of its kind to test tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) against the plaque buildup of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. One of the characterizing pathological markers of Alzheimer’s is the buildup of amyloid plaques, a toxic aggregation of peptides in the neural tissue.

What’s especially fascinating about this study is that, instead of using actual Alzheimer’s patients as test subjects, the scientists involved grew their own neurons in the lab, altered them so that they would develop plaque, and then applied THC and other marijuana compounds in order to study its effect.

The result they observed was that THC was beneficial to the breakdown of the protein buildup, as well as a reduction in inflammation in the cells. ​Neuron inflammation is detrimental to your memory because it makes it harder for your neurons to communicate with one another correctly.

THC isn’t the only compound cannabis has to offer for Alzheimer’s treatment. A study back in 2004 attempted to study the effect of the non-psychoactive cannabidiol – better known as CBD – at preventing cell death. The study found CBD was successful at reducing neurotoxicity caused by amyloid buildup, a phenomenon that was re-tested in 2009, a study that involved a combination of THC and CBD. Researchers of this study concluded with cautious optimism:

“The great therapeutic value of CBD, either given alone or in association with THC, derives from the consideration that it represents a rare, if not unique, compound that is capable of affording neuroprotection by the combination of different types of properties…”

Buying a Home That Was Once a Crime Scene

Alexandra Posadzki of The Canadian Press had an article published in The Toronto Star recently, discussing some of the factors associated with purchasing a home that was once the site of a marijuana grow operation. The major upside identified in the article has to do with price: one can expect such a home to have a reasonable discount applied. But there are some issues you can expect to encounter, such as securing a mortgage from a bank or getting the home insured. Apparently, major banks and insurance providers are shying away from these properties, even after proper renovations have been done and several years have passed since the crime was committed. The justification for this, according to the banks, is that the home is likely inhabitable, because running a grow operation requires pesticide use, and often mould can become a serious issue. In such cases, the onus falls on the potential homebuyers to prove that the house is livable, a process that requires the financing of multiple, and pricey, tests.

Posadzki refers to the problem as “home stigmatization,” and such a problem extends beyond just drug related crimes.

Mark Weisleder of The Toronto Star makes a very interesting point. More often than not, as a potential homebuyer, the chances of your real estate agent willingly offering up information about a home’s shadowy past, is slim to none. But this is not because the lie of omission will help make the sale, real estate agents themselves are often kept in the dark about the home’s past. If a real estate agent knows about a murder, for example, they are obligated to disclose this under their Code of Ethics as a material fact. The problem is if the agent doesn’t know about it, there is nothing to disclose. Weisleder’s recommendation is that homebuyers conduct their own research, offering up two online resources that will help you find out whether or not a crime was committed in the home, and what kind of crime it was. To check out these resources for yourself, visit HomeVerified and IVerified (http://iverify.com/).

James Armstrong of Global News also discusses the phenomenon of home stigmatization, providing another resource that homebuyers can use to shed light on a home’s criminal history. Housecreep, developed by Toronto-native Robert Armieri, is described as a hub of “stigmatized” homes, listing homes where people have died, and if drugs have been grown or sold. It even goes a step further, letting you know if a famous celebrity used to live there. At the moment, most of the entries are for the GTA, with particular neighbourhoods being showcased, like Regent Park, Cabbagetown and Parkdale but many of the other approximately 2,000 listings are from around Canada and the United States.

Housecreep is interesting, in that, the information provided on the site is crowdsourced, which means that people have to sign up and provide the information about their home’s past. This raises questions about the validity of the information being provided.

Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Vaping: Part 3

The Long-Term Health Risks of Vaporizing: Public Organizations Take a Side

Evidence to support the claim that e-cigarettes are a less harmful alternative to traditional smoking, as well as evidence to support the opposite, are both available, and convincing in their own right. The conflicting evidence and the lack of longtitudinal studies measuring the prolonged effects of vaporizing, are making it very difficult for politicians and public organizations to decide whether to publicly denounce the product and practice. Opinions in the public sector vary widely, as this article will illustrate.

Public Health England Announces Support for E-Cigarettes as an Alternative to Cigarettes

Back in August of 2015, James Meikle of The Guardian UK reported that Public Health England publicly announced their official support for vaporizing, stating their belief that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking tobacco. The PHE, in what was billed as a “landmark review” of electronic cigarettes, concluded that e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes, and should one day be considered a license medicinal product, a delivery system that could replace other anti-smoking products like gums and patches. They went as far as to say that e-cigarettes “have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco.”

The Government’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, supported the findings, but was quick to point out who that “there continues to be a lack of evidence on the long-term use of e-cigarettes,” pointing to the lack of longitudinal studies that exist examining the health issues that are likely to arise with long term use and exposure to inhaled synthetic e-liquid.

Davies was quoted as saying:

“I want to see these products coming to the market as licensed medicines. This would provide assurance on the safety, quality and efficacy to consumers who want to use these products as quitting aids, especially in relation to the flavourings used, which is where we know least about any inhalation risks.”

American Lung Association Remain Skeptical

The American Lung Association recognizes the growing popularity of electronic cigarettes, but is skeptical of their claims of reducing long term health risks. They believe that responsibility should fall on the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide oversight and institute regulations for e-cigarettes in order to “protect children and the public,” especially as the use of e-cigarettes become more popularized among youth.

Health Canada’s Stance on E-Cigarettes

As of March 1st of this year, Health Canada has not regulated e-cigarettes in any way. Which is extremely fascinating, considering the Food and Drug Act stipulates that any product containing nicotine has to be approved by Health Canada before it can be imported, advertised or sold. Therefore, e-liquids that are sold in Canada that contain nicotine are technically illegal, and should not be made available by vendors to individuals of any age.

Health Risks and Benefits Associated with Vaping: Part 2

The Opposing Argument: Vaping May Be Just as Harmful as Smoking

Even though the popular consensus among researchers and physicians regarding the long term effects of vaping electronic cigarettes might be swayed in one direction (that being, e-cigarettes are still harmful, but far less harmful than conventional smoking), there are still some that dispute this claim. The opposing argument focuses on the idea that e-cigarettes are not necessarily less harmful, but instead, are harmful in different ways. People who use e-cigarettes are simply exposing themselves to different chemicals and poisons that carry with them their own risks.

Research Into the Adverse Effects of Vaping

Back in early February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting, Ilona Jaspers of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made a public announcement regarding some of the findings her and her research team uncovered about the use of e-cigarettes. Her argument is that e-cigarettes are not more or less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but instead, introduce a whole host of different issues.

According to the news report published in Science News, by Janet Kaloff, Jaspers’ research team examined scraped cells from the noses of otherwise healthy people who had a history of smoking, vaping or doing neither.” The activity levels in these cells were compared with 594 genes responsible with the body’s ability to fight infections. The main conclusion of the study was that the cellular ability to combat infection was significantly diminished for both smokers of tobacco and e-liquids.

Kashmira Gander of The Independent, discusses a UK study published in the journal Oral Oncology, which argued that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing efforts would suggest. Dr Jessica Wang-Rodriguez, chief of pathology at the San Diego branch of the US Department of Veteran Affairs and co-author of the research, stated that “evidence to date” shows that e-cigarettes are “no better than smoking regular cigarettes.”

What is “Popcorn Lung”

Another among study conducted at Harvard University looked at the cellular reactions to 51 different e-liquid types, and discovered that the vaping of these liquids is responsible for a rare condition called “Popcorn Lung.” What this disease does is cause the airways in your lungs to narrow, weakening these organs through scarring and inflammation, which could potentially kill if you left untreated. The study found that 75% of flavored e-liquids they tested contained a chemical called diacetyl, which is safe to eat, but toxic to inhale. The chemical is used in artificial butter flavoring, and got its name after several workers at a popcorn manufacturer back in 2000 came down with the affliction.