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Rachel Haskell

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Rachel loves hats— Fedoras, ten-gallons, those crazy ones that fancy British ladies wear. Not only does she love hats, she also wears many of them. After graduating from Penn State, Rachel has been an ESL teacher, a barista, a proofreader, a barista, a copy editor, and probably a barista a couple more times. Rachel now lives in Chicago with her three roommates: a rescue dog Nemo, her fiancé, and a flatscreen that’s always playing Scandal. Connect with her through Google

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These days, shoppers have a slew of options for finding merchandise online. Whether they order direct from retailers, or seek out third-party sellers, consumers have the ability to do their homework and find exactly what they need, from convenience to price to quality. For those seeking convenience and speed, Amazon is a great place to get your goods. Their Prime membership including free, two-day shipping is increasingly popular, and Amazon continues to make headlines as a direct threat to the convenience of big box stores. However, if your priority as a shopper is a great deal, you probably have to look elsewhere. Two places you should look are the main players in discounted goods—eBay and Quibids. The former is a longtime veteran of the web. The latter is a recent upstart with an interesting bidding model. Let’s compare the two bargain hunting sites across 6 key questions and see which one comes out on top.

1. Who has more deals?

Quibids entire pricing model is built on penny auctions. Each bid costs 60cents, but you are only raising the bidding price of the item by one cent at a time. This way, you can time your bids however you choose, with a live look-in on how many people are actively bidding on the item, so you can maximize your potential discount. Built into every auction is a “Buy Now” feature, which allows you to get the item right away after simply paying the difference between your bidding cost and the value of the item. Conversely, eBay has recently steered away from its days as an auction hub. Many more of its items are now “Buy It Now” only, without any chance to get a steal-of-a-deal through an auction. With fewer and fewer auctions, eBay is becoming a less enticing option for finding the deal you want.

Winner: Quibids

2. Who is more trustworthy?

Everything on Quibids is sold directly by them, achieved through overstock from distributors and manufacturers. As a BBB accredited business, you can be fairly confident that if you purchase an item, you will receive that item in brand new condition in a timely manner. eBay invites a large population of independent merchants to sell their goods on their site. It’s important in this case to verify their consumer rating and read any negative reviews left on their profile by dissatisfied customers.

Winner: Quibids

3. Who has a broader variety of merchandise?

The same feature of independent sellers that nags at a consumers trust when buying from eBay, is the same feature that works to eBay’s advantage in this case. With so many independent merchants, eBay trumps Quibids with its diverse offerings. If you have an obscure item that you simply can’t find anywhere else, your best chance of finding it is with eBay.

Winner: eBay

4. How does bidding work?

Both eBay and Quibids have automatic bidding options, which comes in handy when you have other pressing matters to attend to besides clicking a mouse. The main difference is that while Quibids has a maximum number of bids that you can autoload, eBay has a maximum price that you commit to pay if the auction reaches it. In this way, it’s more benefical to know your cost ceiling and then walk away, which is why eBay has the more favorable automated bidding system.

Winner: eBay

5. Who has better price stability?

With the ability to compare prices of the same product from different sellers, eBay provides consumers with the tools to zero in on an expected price for any given item. This way, consumers have a good sense of whether they got a bargain or not, relative to other identical transactions on the site (with sellers essentially stabilizing prices through natural competition).

With Quibids, it’s a lot harder to know how much you’ll end up paying for an item. During a recent auction, we noticed a memo line that states how much the item has been purchased for recently, with wildly varied numbers, from $0.08, to $14.00, to $36.95. The way the bidding structure works, it’s very hard to know exactly how much an item will sell for at any given moment.

Winner: eBay

6. Are there additional ways to save?

With eBay, there isn’t much else besides looking for the best deal or lucking out with one of the fewer and fewer auctions around. With Quibids, there’s a way to actually win additional bids through a thing called, “Gameplay.” Many auctions have Gameplay packages attached to them, and if you win one, then when you play the online game, it translates your score into free bids that you can use on actual items. With the Gameplay feature, there are additional ways to save money and earn purchasing power on the site for free.

Winner: Quibids

Verdict: TIE!

eBay: 3 Quibids: 3

Both eBay and Quibids have their pros and cons, as they both operate very differently. If you’re at all interested in getting good deals online, then we recommend trying out both sites to see which one fits your style and shopping needs the best. It’s an interesting online landscape, and these two players have certainly found unique ways to benefit bargain-hunting shoppers.

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Chewing is overrated. Why waste all that time and energy moving your mouth and gnashing your teeth when you can just sit back and let your supper slide straight down your throat? That’s why we’ve decided to throw out our forks and knives and pick up a brand new blender.

We decided to take a look at the KitchenAid 5-Speed Diamond Blender. It’s right in our price range and had positive customer reviews. We wanted to make sure it really was the best blender for our buck, so we took a look at two other similarly priced and rated blenders: the Breville Hemisphere® Control, and the Ninja Professional Blender. Here’s how they stacked up:

KitchenAid® 5-Speed Diamond Blender

kitchenaid blender

PROS:  

The KitchenAid Diamond Blender has a strong vortex and a solid blade that blends well without getting jammed or needing periodic pauses to push ingredients down. The secret is the blender’s Soft Start feature. The blades start spinning slowly to pull down the food before speeding up to blend. 

As the name applies, the 5-Speed Diamond Blender can stir, chop, mix, puree, and liquify. There’s a pulse button for each setting and a very effective crush ice setting as well. The Diamond Blender can even turn tough foods like kale, nuts, and berries into a surprisingly smooth consistency.

Though it has a large 60 oz pitcher, the Diamond Blender has a slick and compact design that feels retro but looks modern. It comes in 14 colors from majestic yellow to cobalt blue to contour silver. 

CONS: 

Though effective, it doesn’t quite have the power and finesse of a high-end blender. Unlocking the pitcher from the blender’s base can be difficult and frustrating until you get the hang of it.

Breville Hemisphere® Control

breville blender

PROS:

The blender’s Permanent Hemisphere® Bowl and Blade System has a set of blades to draw down food from the top of the pitcher and another set sweeping the bottom of the pitcher. Like the KitchenAid Diamond Blender, the Hemisphere has five speeds and a pulse control. 

The 48 oz. plastic pitcher is rounded at the bottom. This both eliminates food traps and makes the piece easy to clean by hand. 

The timed smoothie preset button is a cool differentiating feature. Just press the button, sit back, and watch the smoothie make itself. With a sturdy metal base, the blender will keep secure and steady on your kitchen counter. 

CONS:

While the blender works great, it may take some time to figure out how to handle certain foods. For instance: Frozen fruit will give the blender trouble unless you use the crush ice preset first.

At just under $200, the Breville Hemisphere® Control is the most expensive model we looked at, but doesn’t outperform the lower cost options. 

Ninja® Professional Blender

ninja pro blender

PROS:

The Professional Blender has a huge 72 oz. pitcher, but also comes with two single serve blending cups. You can just pop the cup on the blender, make a smoothie or some juice, and take the whole thing with you out the door. Clean up is easy since all parts are dishwasher safe. 

The base has suction cups to keep the blender from moving around from it’s prescribed place on the counter or ceiling. 

CONS: 

The blade is super sharp and hard to handle while cleaning. There are also only three blend speeds. More doesn’t always mean better, but the Ninja doesn’t blend as smoothly and consistently as the other two reviewed blenders. 

The Verdict:

While the Breville Hemisphere is comparable in quality and the Ninja is a little cheaper, The  KitchenAid® 5-Speed Diamond Blender excels against the competition. It operates like a much pricier blender and looks good while doing it.

Take a look at our breakdown below and continue to see which blender works best for you. 

 Blender comparison review

 

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In recent years, the ever popular “sock bun” has made its way onto the crowns of the savviest fashionistas. It is the perfect up-do for on-the-go mornings, second day hair, hot summer days, and dressing up any outfit. And because not every woman was built the same, we’ve decided to compile the best variety of sock bun tutorials here. Sock buns for women with thinner hair, shorter hair—you name it. These are our favorite Youtube how-tos.

1. The Basic Bun

This is the basic sock bun principle. If you have longer, thicker hair with less layers going on, this is how you want to approach the do. Timeless look in less than five minutes. Beat that.

 

2. For Those Rocking Shorter Cuts

I love bobs, but they get to be a hassle in the summer time when you want to get that last inch off your neck. They’re also problematic when that dress calls for an up-do and you’re running out of pins and places to hide them. Enter: Sock bun. Now this tutorial is actually three in one, but we only recommend the first tactic she teaches. The last two get to be too complicated and sort of defeat the purpose of a fast hairstyle.

 

3. Cascading Layers? No Problem

Layers are always (mostly) a good idea. They add volume, visual interest, … fly aways? That’s only true if you’re trying to pick up your hair, and in this case we are. Check out this Youtube contributor’s trick for tucking those rebel strands away.

 

4. For the Finer Heads of Hair

Some of us were not born with perfectly thick locks. We have to find ways around this, like how to hide a hair-part when getting our hair up into a pony tail or how to make that ponytail lift proudly. In this case, how to get the ponytail all the way around the sock without the donut showing in the end product. Brittany makes that look easy.

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Watching TV shows on TV is fine.
But using streaming services on computers and mobile devices is so much more convenient. You can watch any show at any time with a click of a mouse.

Here at The Foundist, however, we’re even over watching TV on computers. We’re on to the next, groundbreaking thing: Watching TV on computers on TV. That’s why we decided to take a look at the Roku 3— one of the leaders of streaming devices. To get a fuller perspective, we decided to compare the Roku 3 with two other similar devices: Amazon Fire TV and Google Chromecast. Let’s see how they stack up.

Roku 3

PROS:

Roku 3, like the other two devices, is incredibly simple to use. Plug it into your TV, connect it to the internet, and you’re watching whatever you like on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and WatchESPN. Roku 3 specifically has over 1,000 channels in addition to the old stand-bys. There’s even a cross-platform search so you can find the shows and movies you want to watch… wherever it is.

The Roku 3 is lightning fast with almost no noticeable lag. The interface has been updated and is a breeze to navigate through as well.

Roku 3’s remote is simple and easy to use. There’s a headphone jack right on the remote for private listening and watching which comes in handy much more often than you’d think.

CONS:

The remote has a motion-sensor but with very few gaming options, there isn’t much use for it at the moment.

If you’re interested in watching or listening to anything from your personal library, Roku doesn’t make it easy to do.

Amazon Fire TV

amazon-fire-tv

PROS:

Amazon has a large and dependable roster of apps and programs to make sure you can watch your favorite shows and movies. The gaming library is much more extensive than Roku.

CONS:

It greatly favors content from Amazon Instant, and because you basically need an Amazon Prime subscription, you’ll keep paying for your purchase long after the initial $99.

Google Chromecast

googlechromecast

PROS:

It’s super cheap and it works very well. It may not have the  selection that other devices have, but it can also cast your computer screen on your TV. Anything that plays on your laptop will play on Chromecast. You can also still use your computer while the Chromecast is streaming.

CONS:

It’s very limited and dependent on your other devices to run. If you choose to cast directly from your computer screen there are two drawbacks. The screen can only be visible in 720p and there’s a slight time lag between the two screens.

The Verdict

All three are dependable, but The Roku 3 is the superior device with the best variety and interface. If you’re only going to use a streaming device to watch Netflix on the big(ger) screen though, you can’t beat Google Chromecast for doing the job effectively and cheaply. It all depends what you’re looking for.

Take a look at the comparison chart below to see which device best works best for you.

Roku 3 review table

 

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The young Lord Instagram, mighty adopted son of the great Lord Facebook, rules over the mobile lives of a global kingdom. We take photos of everything. We take photos of our meals, our new outfits, our cars, our meals, nature, our meals, skylines… you name it, it is living somewhere on the land of Instagram. And like in any reality based realm, we like to look our best. On the mobile app, that means photo editing. While Instagram is technically a photo editing app (where the endgame is to share your finished product), there are a slew of others that have come to market in recent years for those of us that want more than a Sutro or Earlybird filter. Some of these apps are free, some aren’t. The price isn’t necessarily indicative of an app’s awesomeness. Of the top thirty apps buzzing the scene today, we chose Camera+ as our favorite photo editing app for amateurs and pros alike that are employing Apple.

Camera+

Priced at a reasonable $1.99, Camera+ is an all-Instagramers favorite. “Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or someone who’s barely touched a camera, Camera+ will make you love taking photos…” That is, without a doubt, a heavy handed way to hype yourself up. I’ll disagree with the wording “make you love taking photos.” I don’t feel imposed on or ruled over (okay, okay, the metaphor ends here); I feel invited. Camera+ is user-friendly. The interface feels natural to interact with. For instance, the Touch Exposure and Focus features hardly need pointing out. If you’re second nature is to touch the photo first—which for any Instagram user that is the case—then you’ll find that you can set exposure separately from focus. The Grid, Flashlight for brightening, and Digital Zoom are all familiar enough to those of us interested in tweaking our shots. It is the Shooting Modes, and that aforementioned Touch Exposure and Focus feature, that set this app apart from the masses. Shooting Modes gets your phone as close to a traditional camera as possible. Set the Stabilizer to steady your phone for the crispest shot imaginable; set the Timer the way you would to shoot a family portrait; set Burst for quick-fire streamlets of pics that work great in any active / sports scenario. Camera+ turns any iPhone into the original Olympus family outing camera, 21st century edition.

Camera+ is available fore iPhone and iPad.

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Pipes come big and small, but when a big sound comes from a small inconspicuous pipe it is hard to keep the jaw hinge tight. Here are five little girls performing on big-name talent shows for a chance to shock and awe. Some of these future Beyonce’s and Jennifer Hudson’s bring serious sass and umphf to the stage, while others tender up the judges with an earnest streak of shyness. Regardless of how far along they are in the development of their inner diva, these five blossoming buds kill it, and we have no doubt they will flourish to the top of the charts.

1. French Caroline Sings Christina

 

2. Chloe the Mini-Carrie

 

3. Arisxandra Brings Her Voice within out

 

4. Beyonce Sounds like Rachel

 

5. Hard to Believe Anna Is 10

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The year is wrapping up and 2013 is closing in! So far, 2012 has been unbearably exciting with Obama claiming his turf, Gangnam Style, well, everything, classy events in London (totes not fair they got Queen Eliz’s Jubilee and the Olympics!), talk of the end of the world, and Lindsay Lohan getting arrested again.. and again.. and again.

But seriously, who has time for worrying about that stuff when you can watch yourself enjoying the highlights of 2012? Aka your New Year’s Eve kiss, that epic bday party you don’t remember, crazy vacays, or just hanging out with friends on an idol Tuesday. There’s an app for that and it’s called Animoto. Simply, connect your Facebook to the app (so it can collect your pics) and then Animoto takes over: a dash of music, a pinch of love, a few words of inspiration, and out pops your “Best of 2012”!

Easy, right? Make your Year In Review here.

 

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Psy taking over the world! First, he conquered YouTube, then he shut down the VMAs with MC Hammer and now Psy has his sights set on your holiday card.

Thanks to JibJab, you can now spread some holiday cheer by starring in the video that made Psy famous. Here’s what you do:

Upload your face (or anyone’s–we added our friend, Lindsay’s), add a message, and then JibJab does the rest. Within in a few short minutes, you’ll have your very own horsey dance video to spread holiday cheer! Easy, right? And it’s free, too!

Make your Gangnam Style eCard here.

 

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Ah, bacon–who can get enough of it? Apparently, not the folks at J&Ds because they invented a new way to add it to your morning routine.

Behold, J&D’s Bacon Shaving Cream. Yes, it’s bacon-scented shaving cream and yes it’s a real thing that sells for $15 a jar. Now if you’re wondering if it actually smells like bacon, it does. I wouldn’t be surprised if you got bitten by a dog on your way to work after using it.

Great or gross? You be the judge.

Get your jar here.

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Ah, the diner. Some of the more pivotal scenes in television and film have been set in quaint diners with muted lighting, classic booth...