What Type of Grill Is Right for You?

There’s a good chance you fall into one of these five categories.

It’s not quite a summer party without the smell of a grill out back. But which is best for you? That depends on what kind of backyard boss you want to be. One of these five should fit the bill.

For the Technophile

Your grilling style: Constantly monitoring

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Traeger Timberline 1300.Source: Vendor

If you want the ease of gas but the flavor of wood, a pellet grill is still an underappreciated option. The Traeger Timberline 1300 will automatically feed fuel to maintain your desired temperature, so you don’t have to do it yourself. You can even monitor the action on your phone over a WiFire app. (Downside: Now the Russians can get you through your grill, too.) $2,000

For the Social Butterfly

Your grilling style: More style than grill

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Everdure Cube, by Heston Blumenthal.Source: Vendor

Good looks and great-tasting food shouldn’t be an either-or proposition. The Everdure Cube, released under the aegis of British chef Heston Blumenthal, comes in fun colorways that are enhanced with practical touches, such as bottom venting to keep it from overheating whatever it’s standing on. $200

For the Classicist

Your grilling style: Easy, low, and slow

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Weber Summit Charcoal LP Black.Source: Vendor

The latest 24-inch Weber Summit updates the famed kettle design with a black porcelain-enameled finish and air-insulated, double-walled construction, so it can hold its temperature for as long as 10 hours. A liquid propane self-ignition system upgrades it further, but people will still think you’re chill. $1,700

For the Showoff

Your grilling style: Fickle

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Kalamazoo K1000HT Hybrid Fire grill.Source: Vendor

The Kalamazoo K1000HT Hybrid Fire can burn charcoal and wood, or you can leave the drawer empty to turn it into a turbocharged gas grill. Customize one of the four laser-cut surfaces with your initials, so every steak and burger comes off the fire monogrammed. It’s sure to impress your son’s friends from boarding school. $28,880

For the Cultist

Your grilling style: Patient

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Big Green EggSource: Vendor

We all know at least one insufferable Big Green Egg evangelist. The heavyweight, thick-walled grills have incredible heat retention with relatively little fuel, which means your food can grill deeply over a long period. This MiniMax is nominally portable, at just 19.5 inches tall. Still, it weighs a stout 76 pounds and can roast a 12-pound turkey (or cook four burgers at a time) on its 13-inch grill. $598

Source: bloomberg.com | Matthew Kronsberg

The Best Mosquito Repellent (Outdoors Friday)

It’s that time of year again. You know the seemingly 8 months we do our best to repel mosquitoes. So, we’ve looked to the experts at review.com for their opinion and recommendations. Here is what they found.

The best mosquito repellent should protect you from bites without causing irritation. To find our top picks, we consulted with mosquito experts, researched active ingredients, and tried 20 sprays, wipes, and lotions on our own skin to figure out which ones we’d actually want to use.

How We Chose the Best Mosquito Repellent

Three main ingredients

Out of 85 mosquito repellents, our first task was to figure out which ones actually work. The two U.S. agencies responsible for assessing the safety and efficacy of bug sprays — the CDC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — say perfume alone doesn’t cut it. Strong perfumes repel people, but mosquitoes don’t care.

The CDC and EPA recommend active ingredients like DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus and other, less common ingredients IR3535 and 2-undecanone (or methyl nonyl ketone). But we focused on the most widely available products and made the first cut based on whether the product had either DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Amount of active ingredients

There’s a fine line between having enough and too much active ingredient in your bug spray. This is especially important for DEET-based repellents; although the EPA and CDC have concluded DEET is safe, side effects like nausea or skin rash can come from overexposure. It’s best not to use more than you need. We found the best sprays with the right balance.

A 20 to 50 percent range turns out to be the most effective. The CDC says efficacy actually stagnates above a 50 percent concentration, so it’s not worth it. In fact, anything over 30 percent will only be giving you more exposure to the chemical than actual protection — so we cut anything with concentrations outside the 10-30 percent range.

To learn more about each of these active ingredients, check out our FAQ section.

Active IngredientConcentrationHours of Protection
DEET5%-10%2-4 hours
DEET15%6 hours
DEET25%-30%Up to 8 hours
Picaridin20%Up to 8 hours
Oil Lemon of Eucalyptus30%6-7 hours

Smell

Let’s be honest: Some bug repellents smell really bad. Ben’s 30% DEET Tick & Insect Repellent Eco Spray was so noxious that we could smell it as soon as we took the plastic off the bottle — and when we tested it, the spray made us cough and hold our noses. Then there was Coleman Botanicals Insect Repellent, which smelled like menthol mixed with cheap scented candle.

Other sprays were more fragrant and even pleasant; 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 8 had a citrus odor, and the Off! Deep Woods repellents had a hint of pine. All of the picaridin repellents smelled sweetly floral.

Application

We couldn’t test our mosquito repellents against actual mosquitoes — none of them responded to our Craigslist ad — but we could test what it was like to wear these repellents. We looked at how easy it was to apply each product and how they felt on our skin.

Some failed miserably: difficult push-up sticks and heavy, drippy sprays that sent trails of repellent running down our arms. There were also two repellents that one of our testers described as “painful to wear” — Repel Sportsmen Dry Insect Repellent and Ben’s 30% DEET Tick & Insect Repellent Eco Spray. Both left her with a slightly irritating, burning sensation after application.

Overall, DEET repellents had a stronger skinfeel than picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus repellents. When you’re wearing DEET, you can tell; it feels kind of like you have a chemical coating on your skin.

The 4 Best Mosquito Repellents

For a complete breakdown of each repellent and why it was chosen in its respective category visit the source at reviews.com.

11 Ways to Prepare for Mosquito Season

Image Credit:City of Philadelphia

I am one of those lucky people mosquitoes love. According to Web MD, your genetics account for 85 percent of why some people get bit more than others (thanks great-grandma!).

Studies have shown that mosquitoes are attracted to about 400 different things, but are more likely to attack individuals with a high concentration of cholesterol on the skin, a high concentration of uric or lactic acid, and people who produce a lot of carbon dioxide and heat. That is why you are more likely to get bitten if you are exercising than if you are sitting still (unless you are me).

Conditions that Make Mosquitoes Outbreaks Worse

Mosquitoes are more likely to be present in warmer climates. Mosquitoes can survive in temperatures over 50 degrees. If a region never falls below 50 degrees, mosquitoes can be a year-round problem.

Stagnant water is the ultimate breeding ground for mosquitoes. Keep all stagnant water covered, if you must have it near your house for any reason. Even small puddles can produce thousands of mosquitoes.

Rains that occur after a long drought can often produce the worst mosquito swarms, simply because predators that normally eat the mosquitoes are no longer in the area.

A Word on West Nile Virus

Texas has faced several outbreaks of West Nile Virus over the past few years. West Nile Virus can be deadly, but is usually harmless. In fact, 80 percent of people who get the virus show no symptoms at all, according to the CDC.

If you are in the 20 percent that shows symptoms, they will look like this:

  • Unexplained body aches or headaches
  • Unexplained joint pain
  • Rash
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

If you have any of these symptoms in combination with mosquito bites, consult with a health professional right away. According to the CDC, about 1 percent of infected people could have a serious reaction to the virus, resulting in encephalitis or meningitis. Individuals with existing health issues are more likely to develop serious complications.

Following the tips outlined below will reduce your risk of getting the virus.

How to Prepare for Mosquitoes

Preparing to fight mosquitoes is a continual process. The biggest preventative measure you can take is to eliminate breeding places. It takes 7 to 10 days for mosquito eggs to hatch. Standing water should not be allowed to remain uncovered for more than 7 days. Pay special attention to areas like empty buckets, uncovered boats, low areas in the yard, rain gutters, and pet food bowls.

Keeping ducks or chickens may also help control your mosquito population because birds eat mosquitoes and other insects. Keeping fish and frogs in ponds and small bodies of water will also help prevent mosquitoes from breeding and keep live mosquitoes under control.

Certain plants also have mosquito-fighting properties. Rose scented geraniums contain citronellal oil, and can help ward off mosquito attacks. The lemon balm plant also offers mosquito-repelling properties. Catnip is also an effective plant remedy against mosquitoes. A study from Iowa State University found that the oil in catnip is 10 times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET. The basil plant also has some mosquito-repelling properties. Other plants that can provide benefit include marigold, ageratum, and horse mint.

Natural Prevention Methods for Mosquito Bites

While using the above methods can help reduce mosquito infestations at home, what about when you are out and about? Do you have to resort to chemical sprays? Of course not!

  • Light up a few citronella candles and place them around the perimeter of where you will be.
  • Try rubbing lemon balm, catnip, or basil on the skin to ward off aerial attackers. Re-apply every 30 minutes.
  • Use a hand-held fan to blow the insects elsewhere.
  • Don’t use perfumed shampoo and soap. Perfumes tend to attract mosquitoes.
  • Use a natural bug repellent spray. You can either purchase one at a store, or make your own. You can use essential oils as a natural repellent.
  • Wear loose clothing that covers up as much of your body as possible.
  • Avoid going out at dawn and dusk, when possible.
  • Smoke will also repel mosquito attacks.

How do you prepare for mosquito season?  Comment below!

Source: momprepares.com