Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Which Clif Bar Flavors Are The Best?

I recently took up an interest in Clif Bar energy bars and started trying out some of the different flavors. I did a little research to get an idea of what some of the most popular flavors tend to be, but ultimately wanted to try them out first hand to decide which flavors were the best. So far, I have tried most of the flavors I have been able to find in store. There are still a few seasonal flavors and more rare flavors that I have not tried, but here is a recap of my favorites so far.

1. Cool Mint Chocolate
After trying many different flavors, my favorite has to be the Cool Mint Chocolate. It tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream but in energy bar form. Sometimes when products try to add mint to their flavor, it ends up tasting artificial, but with the Clif Bar, they got it right and it has a refreshing taste that is also sweet and savory. I highly recommend this flavor if you are a fan of mint.

2. Chocolate Brownie
It's hard to go wrong with chocolate flavor and with the Chocolate Brownie Clif Bar, they did a good job getting the flavor to be quite tasty and still have a good level of nutritious qualities. If you like chocolate, this one should be near the top of your list of flavors to try.

3. Peanut Butter Banana With Dark Chocolate
This is a newer flavor and I would have to say it is one of my favorites, coming in at the number 3 spot. It has the banana flavor which makes it kind of unique and different compared to many of the other flavors and energy bars in general. It also has the savoriness of the peanut butter and chocolate which compliment it nicely.

4. Oatmeal Raisin Walnut
This one is another one of my favorites and tastes a lot like oatmeal raisin cookies so if you are a fan of oatmeal raisin, definitely give this one a try.

5. Chocolate Chip
The most classic flavor. Overall good taste and something you can eat often without getting too bored of it, but not as interesting as some of the other flavors.

6. Carrot Cake
The freshest Clif Bar I have tried so far. I liked the sweet frosting-like pieces and overall flavor, but found the carrot pieces to be a little hard to chew.

7. Blueberry Crisp
Another unique flavor and good taste, but this one I would only want to eat once in a while, not necessarily on a daily basis.

Other flavors I have tried which I thought were just ok include Crunchy Peanut Butter, and White Chocolate Macadamia Nut.

In store you can usually find Clif Bars sold individually and sometimes in 6 or 12 packs of individual flavors. It can be hard to find variety packs in store but they can be ordered online as a way to try out many different flavors.

I will update this article in case I try any of the other flavors soon. Which is your favorite Clif Bar flavor? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Xfinity Modem Rental Price Increase

Upon checking my internet bill from Comcast this month, I noticed the price was $1 higher than expected. I thought this was odd considering they advertise a flat rate for the entire year. With the promotion for the first year, it was supposed to be $29.99 per month but this month it was charging $30.99.

I looked into the details and it appears they have increased the price of the modem rental by $1 per month. I contacted support to ask why it went up. Apparently the price of equipment can change even if the monthly service fee stays the same. They offered a $1 credit but said it will probably keep charging the $11 per month for the rental.

In the terms, they do mention that equipment fees are subject to change, but I think if they are promoting a certain price per month for the year, they should honor that price. It seems kind of like false advertisement if they say “it will be $29.99 a month for a year... until we raise the price on the modem rental 6 months into your term.”

This is actually not the first billing discrepancy I have had with Comcast. I was overcharged $5 when the credit for Ecobill was not applied to my account for the first month. These are small charges, but it is more the principle that if they are going to promote a certain rate, it should be honored. $1 a month is not a lot for one person, but if they are charging every customer an extra $1 a month, that is a lot of money.

Overall the Xfinity internet service has been ok and they did give me a free upgrade in the speed this month which was nice, but still I think the pricing could be a bit more straight forward so you don't have situations like this where you are charged more than expected.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Alone Together – New Show with Esther Povitsky and Benji Aflalo off to a good start!

A while back, I discovered a comedian/actress named Esther Povitsky also known as “Little Esther”. After watching a bunch of her videos, I learned she was staring in a new show called Alone Together, beginning January 10th on Freeform. Today, they released the pilot episode for streaming on the Freeform website so I decided to check it out.

It is a half hour comedy that follows Esther and her friend Benji as reluctant friends who are trying to make it out in L.A. The show seems to be very autobiographical from what I can tell, which is a good thing and makes them very relatable as characters.

After watching the pilot episode, I really enjoyed it! It is very funny and the characters are likable. They even had some recognizable guest stars such as Chris D'Elia and Jim O'Heir in the first episode. I like the relationship that has been created between Esther and Benji as they don't really like each other (or at least won't admit it) but are just kind of stuck hanging out with each other by default.

I am looking forward to watching more episodes of this show this year. Interesting fact, upon looking up the credits of the show, it looks like Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island are involved with the show behind the scenes. If you are looking for a new comedy to watch, I recommend checking out Alone Together, officially airing on January 10th on the Freeform network. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Best Songs of 2017

1. Dear Evan Hansen – Waving Through A Window
The pick for best song of 2017 this year goes to “Waving Through A Window” from the Dear Evan Hansen musical. I haven't seen the musical itself, but I loved this song from the first time I heard it. Ben Platt gives an incredible vocal performance in this emotional song that is as powerful as it is beautiful.


2. Julia Michaels – Issues
One of the breakout stars this year was Julia Michaels, a singer songwriter who stepped into the spotlight with her single “Issues”. Her unique vocal style shines through the minimalist music and all comes together to make a perfect combination. Also recommend is another Julia Michaels song released this year, “Uh Huh”.


3. Lucky Boys Confusion – Name In Lights
Rock band Luck Boys Confusion reunited this year to record their album “Stormchasers”. After taking a long break, the band is back and continuing their streak of releasing great music. “Name In Lights” is my favorite off the album, but the whole album is solid and definitely worth checking out.


4. Lizzo – Truth Hurts
Lizzo is back on the best songs list for the 2nd year in a row with her song “Truth Hurts”. She has an original style and always seems to come up with catchy hits. This one reminds me of the song Black Beatles by Rae Sremmurd.


5. Avicii – Lonely Together ft. Rita Ora
At the number 5 spot is a collaboration between producer Avicii and singer Rita Ora with their song “Lonely Together”. Avicii really knows how to make dance pop hits and Rita matches the song perfectly with her smooth vocal style resulting in a fantastic song.


Bonus:

My Brothers and I – Dream
I had to add one more song as a bonus because it flew under the radar in 2015. I randomly discovered this band in 2017 and so far it looks like they are still under the radar. The song "Dream" by My Brothers and I is radio friendly Pop at its finest. It's the kind of song that would get millions of listens if it got a little exposure. Right now it is under 30k so we'll see if it catches on soon. Also check out their song “In the Stars (AdamHinden Remix)”.

If you liked these songs, or have other favorites for 2017, feel free to leave a comment below.

Also check out the Best Songs of 2016.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Best TV Shows of 2017

This year was kind of interesting in terms of which shows were picked to be in the best tv shows of 2017. In this years list, there were 4 major network shows and 1 cable show. Three of the shows were brand new this year and 2 of them actual had 2 seasons each within the year. After considering all the shows watched this year, here are Connected Isolation's picks for the best tv shows of 2017:

1. The Mick
The Mick is a new comedy that debuted this year featuring Kaitlin Olsen as an R-rated aunt who reluctantly falls into custody of her niece and nephews and has to look after them in the mansion owned by their parents who are put in jail. The show is very funny and stands out over other half hour comedies as it pushes the boundaries of what is appropriate for network tv. 

2. The Toy Box
The Toy Box is another show that debuted this year and like The Mick, had 2 full seasons in 2017. The Toy Box is kind of like Shark Tank for kids in that toy inventors pitch their ideas to a panel of kids who then play with the toys and review them as they ultimately decide which toy will be produced and sold at Toys R Us. Eric Stonestreet does a great job as host and the kids are always entertaining and honest with their critiques. 

3. Nathan For You
In its 4th season, Nathan For You is back with Nathan Fielder doing his thing as he helps struggling businesses succeed by using out-of-the-box ideas and elaborate methods to achieve a goal. If you have seen any of the previous seasons, you know what to expect. If you haven't seen them, definitely check them out as this is a fantastic series that is quite unique and will have you in wonder as you watch some of the craziest ideas come to life. 

4. Hunted
The Hunted is another new show that made its debut this year. It is a reality competition style show where pairs of “fugitives” are set off on the run while real detectives and investigators try to track them down by any means necessary. If the contestants make it to the end without being caught, they win a large sum of money. This show was very exciting and fun to watch as we get to see both sides of the chase from the detectives and the fugitives. 

5. American Ninja Warrior
Rounding out the top shows of 2017 is a returning favorite, American Ninja Warrior. The 9th season was a good one especially for the women ninjas as more than any previous year made it to the later stages of the competition. We also saw many veterans and new contestants compete on some of the toughest courses we have seen in the history of the show. ANW has a good mix of athletics as well as emotion as they feature the backstories of the ninjas revealing what motivates them to succeed. 

What were some of your favorite tv shows of 2017? Feel free to comment below.

Also check out the Best TV Shows of 2016.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Emergency Evacuation List – What to Save if You Have to Leave Fast

It is always a good idea to prepare for the worst case scenario such as if there is a fire, disaster or some kind of emergency that requires you to evacuate your home quickly. If a case like this were to arise and you had to grab the most important things to save, what you save? This is a question you should think about and prepare for ahead of time so you are ready if a situation like this were to ever occur.

So what are the important things you should save? One thing to note is that this list will be different for everyone. Yes, many of the things will be the same, but everyone will have different things that are most important to them depending on what they value. In this list we will recommend what to save as an individual.

Most Important:
- Wallet/Purse (drivers license, social security card, credit cards, insurance cards, cash, checks, medical cards etc)
- Keys (house keys, car keys)
- Mobile Phone, Charger
- Glasses, contacts, medications, or any other medical devices.
- Laptop, Charger, Hard drive or USB drive backup of important files.
- Important Documents (Titles, Taxes, Birth Certificate, House related, Retirement, Insurance, Medical, Will)

A tip for what is considered most important: Think about the things that are valuable to you and cannot be replaced.

More Things to Bring: (for more long term situations)
- Clothes, shoes
- Food, water, water bottle
- Flashlight
- Toiletries
- Multi-tool
- Notepad, pen, pencil
- Lighter, Matches

Another thing to do ahead of time is to go around and take pictures of the inventory of your home. This will help document your personal belongings and things of value. In case they are to be destroyed in a disaster, it may help to have pictures to show when it comes to dealing with insurance.

No one expects fires or disasters to happen to them, but these kinds of events can happen at any time and to anyone so it is important to be well prepared for them. Feel free to use the list above to help create your own emergency list. In case you have any comments or suggestions on other items that should be saved in an emergency, post them in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Baby Names – Tips on How to Choose a Name for a Baby

Names are very important because they are what we will be referred to as for our entire life, assuming we do not get a legal name change. A name gives you identity and can shape who you are. It can affect what people think of you and what opportunities you are given. It can affect one's self esteem and can ultimately effect who they turn out to be. Because of these things, it is important to choose a good name when having a baby.

In my opinion, one of the most important things to consider when picking a name is originality. A name should be unique and original so the child has a sense of personal identity that is not the same as anyone else. It can be strange when you run into someone with the same first name as you, let alone same first and last name. It makes you think, “How can they have that name? That's my name.”

Giving a child a common name may be safe, but it is sure to make them blend into the crowd. In a list of names, a common name will be glazed over while a unique name will be focused on. Common names are easy to forget while an original name may help people remember who you are.

Another thing to consider when choosing a name is how the name will work not only as a baby, but as child as well as an adult. A lot of names sound cute for a baby, but may sound a bit immature for an adult. Same with names that sound distinguished and professional for an adult, but may not work as well for a teen. Try to find a name that will work well through all ages of life.

When choosing a name, it is also a good idea to pick something that is easy to read, say, and spell. It can be annoying if you have a name that no one can pronounce or one that people are always saying incorrectly. Names should be easy to read so most people will not be confused on what the name is and how it is pronounced.

Another thing that may be more obvious is to consider how well the name works in relation to the last name. There are many great first names out there, but they do not always go well with the last name. Try to find one that has a good ring to it and flows easily while saying the full name. Middle names can be added as well, but first and last names will be used most often so make sure they work well together.

It is also wise to make sure the name you choose is unlikely to be made fun of. As kids grow up, they are often teased about their name. Make sure the name you choose does not rhyme with any objectionable words. Also make sure the name is not one that might be considered too nerdy or old fashioned.

For inspiration on ideas, think about some of your favorite characters or celebrities from tv, movies, books etc. It can give you some ideas for names you might have liked in the past. You may want to name a child after someone you really admire. This can work well but keep in mind to try to make sure the name is still original and not too common.

For more tips on coming up with a unique name, I recommend avoiding the “top baby names” lists because these are the names everyone is picking. Look for more obscure names or everyday words that might not have been considered names in the past, but can actually work as a name.

Choosing a name is a big decision so do not rush into it. Something you like today may not sound as good 9 months from now, so make sure to take your time and come up with the best name. Hope this helps and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any tips or advice on choosing a name for a baby.