Upgrade Your Kitchen With These 25 Gadgets

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iStock

The way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach … but sometimes, you’ve got to step your presentation up to really make a lasting impression. Whether you’re entertaining new friends or breaking bread with family, these tools will have your guests talking all night long.

1. PASTA MEASURING TOOL; $15

Pasta Measurer Tool
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Your eyes don’t have to be bigger than your stomach anymore. This handy pasta measuring tool is a fit for those with an itty-bitty appetite, or your pals hungry enough to eat a horse.

Find It: Amazon

2. SPICE RACK WITH GLASS SPICE TUBE SET; $27

Why You'll Want It: Muggles, rejoice! This 10-tube spice rack, meant to be filled with the seasonings of your choice, looks like it came straight from a shop on Diagon Alley.

Find It: Amazon

3. CIRCULAR ROLLING KNIFE; $12

Why You'll Want It: Those Friday night pizza parties just got a very special plus one. This wheel blade doesn’t just slice into your favorite pie—it also cuts cakes, veggies, and meats with ease.

Find It: Amazon

4. FRITTATA AND OMELETTE PAN; $28

Why You'll Want It: Have a hunch for brunch? Try preparing your eggs in Nordic Ware’s nonstick pan, built with a hinge that makes your breakfast dishes easier to flip.

Find It: Amazon

5. HERB SAVOR; $30

herb saver
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Lookin’ fresh. Extend the life of your basil, rosemary, thyme, and other garden go-to’s by placing them in the device’s pod and sealing them tightly, and they’ll last up to three weeks.

Find It: Amazon

6. INSTANT POT DUO MINI; $70

Instant Pot
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Talk about an all-in one. Instant Pot is only 8 pounds, but does a host of tasks: It’s a pressure cooker, a rice cooker, a slow cooker, a steamer, a yogurt maker, a warmer, and it even sautés.

Find It: Amazon

7. MONKEY PEELER; $13

Amazon

Why You'll Want It: This bright orange peeler is a perfect fit for all of the party animals out there. So perfect, in fact, that your little ones will actually want to help with the kitchen prep.

Find It: Amazon

8. ELECTRIC FOAM MAKER; $15

Electric foam maker
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: For less than the price of two Venti dirty chais, you can make your own froth with the help of this handheld electronic device. Just pour your milk, whisk, and sip.

Find It: Amazon

9. SPIRALIZER; $28

Vegetable spiralizer
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Quitting pasta cold turkey is a tough feat for most, but making your zoodles doesn’t have to be. This spiralizer has three blades to slice your fruits and veggies thin enough to trick yourself.

Find It: Amazon

10. PASTA MACHINE; $93

pasta maker
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Everyone needs a cheat day (or two). Create your own spaghetti, fettucini, and lasagna noodles at home—and transport yourself to the Old Country without leaving your kitchen.

Find It: Amazon

11. BAMBOO CUTTING BOARD

Amazon

Why You'll Want It: You’ll geek out over this periodic table cutting board, which fuses the elements and your ingredients. It can also double as a serving board for game nights or dinner parties.

Find It: Amazon

12. EGG COOKER PAN; $36

Egg cooking pan
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Over easy does it. Your kitchen burners will breathe easier, as this three-cup pan allows you to make eggs, and pancakes at the same time.

Find It: Amazon

13. BURGER PRESS; $25

Burger press
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Prepare for your friends to rave about all of the homemade dinners you’ll get out of this press. It doesn’t just shape burgers—you can also use it for pasta, rice, and other side dishes as well.

Find It: Amazon

14. BREAKFAST SANDWICH MAKER; $24

breakfast sandwich maker
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Go ahead and empty your Uber Eats cart. With one machine, you can warm your bread, prepare a sunny-side-up egg, and heat the breakfast meat of your choice for a sandwich that’d make Ronald McDonald green with envy.

Find It: Amazon

15. MANDOLINE SLICER; $19

Mandoline Slicer
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: One appliance, endless possibilities: This slicer chops cucumbers, grates cheese, spiralizes veggies, and dices ingredients.

Find It: Amazon

16. STAND MIXER; $280

Kitchenaid stand mixer
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Whip your baked goods into shape with the help of this holy grail appliance. The 10-speed KitchenAid, equipped with four attachments, is what your baker’s favorite baker uses to bring life to their batters.

Find It: Amazon

17. DACHSHUND DOG-SHAPED ICE CUBE TRAY; $20 AND UP

Ice cube tray
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Impress guests with these adorably-shaped cubes. Some buyers have even used the trays as molds to make soap.

Find It: Amazon

18. TORTILLA PRESS; $34

tortilla maker
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Taco Tuesdays will never be the same. After making your masa, simply press down to create your own tortillas and taco shell rounds—as well as roti, dumplings, and even plantains.

Find It: Amazon

19. RAVIOLI MAKER; $14

ravioli maker
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Let the carb loading commence. This gadget is a perfect mold for pasta as well as dumplings, stuffed cookies, and mini pies.

Find It: Amazon

20. TEMPERATURE CONTROL CERAMIC MUG; $160

temperature controlled mug
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: In this cup (that comes with a charging saucer!), morning coffee, afternoon tea, or after-dinner espresso stays at your desired temperature until the last drop.

Find It: Amazon

21. PRE-SEASONED SKILLET; $11

pre-seasoned skillet
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Spend less time soaking and more time tasting during dinner. Vegetable oil is actually baked into this pan, ensuring that all of your recipes slide right on out.

Find It: Amazon

22. FOOD PROCESSOR; $35

Amazon food processor
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Let’s not mince words: Any chef (professional or not) needs this tool in their kitchen. From chopping fresh fruits and veggies to blending smoothies, this Ninja topseller saves you half of the effort with full results.

Find It: Amazon

23. INDOOR GRILL; $59

Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Even though it’s freezing in most parts of the country, that doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice your cookouts. Bring the barbecue inside with an electric grill that delivers A+ sear marks—no charcoal required.

Find It: Amazon

24. EGG COOKER; $22

Smart egg cooker
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: It doesn’t matter if you like your eggs hard-boiled, soft-boiled, poached, scrambled, or in omelette form, the Dash Rapid has you covered.

Find It: Amazon

25. ECHO SHOW; $230

Amazon's Echo Show
Amazon

Why You'll Want It: Buyer’s remorse, begone. Aside from making hands-free calls and blasting your favorite tunes, Echo (which is the visual component of Alexa, with a video screen) helps you see your shopping lists.

Find It: Amazon

25 Back-to-School Products That Earn High Marks

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iStock

New school style: Whether you're starting college, shopping for the kids, or just want an excuse to treat yourself to new office gear, Mental Floss has you covered. Equip yourself or a loved one with these stylish and functional school supplies.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. COFFEE AND DOUGHNUT POST-ITS; $13

coffee and doughnut Post-its
Courtesy of Post-it

Add some flavor to your notes with the two-pack set of coffee and doughnut Post-its. Each of the 60 sheets is 3.20-by-3 inches.

Find It: Amazon

2. PACKIT FREEZABLE HAMPTON LUNCH BAG; $16

PackIt Freezable Hampton Lunch Bag, Blanket Stripe
Amazon

This spacious lunch bag is designed with a freezable lining, so it can be folded and placed in the freezer. When you're ready to take it on the go, it'll be ready to chill your food for hours. Bonus: It's also lead- and BPA-free.

Find It: Amazon

3. MONSTER REUSABLE SANDWICH BAGS; $11

Orange Monster Reusable Sandwich Lunch Bags
Amazon

Save the Earth and amuse little students with these reusable, dishwasher-safe bags. Each set of four includes two sandwich bags and two snack bags—all with an easy-to-grip opening.

Find It: Amazon

4. BENTO BOX FOR KIDS; $40

OmieBox Bento Lunch Box With Insulated Thermos For Kids
Amazon

This three-compartment bento box is roomy enough to fit a hearty, healthy lunch. The BPA-free container—available in five bright colors—is leak-proof, easy to open, and comes with a built-in thermos.

Find It: Amazon

5. LARGE MONTHLY PLANNER; $15

Large Personal Monthly Planner
Amazon

JStory's minimalist planner is made of thicker-than-average paper and includes a column for notes. And the blank design offers flexibility: You fill in the dates yourself.

Find It: Amazon

6. ORANGE LINED NOTEBOOK; $9

Rhodia Staplebound Orange Lined Notebook
Amazon

French brand Rhodia earned a strong following among artists and designers for its high-quality paper that's unbelievably smooth. The cover is sturdy so you can take notes anywhere.

Find It: Amazon

7. HONEYSTICKS BEESWAX CRAYONS; $23

crayons
Amazon

These sustainable crayons are made of 100 percent beeswax from New Zealand. (They smell like honey, too!) The thick shape is perfect for toddlers to hold.

Find It: Amazon

8. MOPHIE POWERSTATION XL; $66

external battery
Amazon

An external battery is a must for days when shuttling around campus from classes to clubs to rehearsals is unavoidable. This slim rose gold option has two USB ports and is compatible with both smartphones and tablets.

Find It: Amazon

9. CABLEKEEP; $13

Nice GLD-02 Goldie CableKeep
Amazon

This helpful gadget for iPhones holds both your power adapter and USB cable while keeping them tangle-free. It also functions as a stand for your phone when the Cablekeep is plugged into the wall.

Find It: Amazon

10. PARKLAND BAYSIDE KIDS' BACKPACK; $28

Parkland Bayside Kids Backpack
Amazon

Tote books in style with this eco-friendly backpack, featuring a polyester exterior made from recycled water bottles.

Find It: Amazon

11. LEGO BRICK BACKPACK; $50

LEGO Brick Backpack
Amazon

This whimsical statement backpack from LEGO features a padded handle and shoulder straps, so it's as comfortable as it is cool.

Find It: Amazon

12. HERSHEL NOVEL DUFFEL; $81

Herschel Supply Co. duffel
Amazon

Class up your gear with this stylish duffel from Herschel. It features a padded shoulder strap and a special compartment for those dirty cleats.

Find It: Amazon

13. ANTIQUE BRASS PHARMACY FLOOR LAMP; $50

Dawson Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Amazon

Overpower dim dorm room lighting with this brass floor lamp. Its height can be adjusted from 33 inches to a maximum of 55 inches, while the arm can be adapted to shine light at a variety of angles.

Find It: Amazon

14. EGYPTIAN COTTON TOWEL SET; $24

bathroom with towels
Amazon

This set of soft Egyptian cotton towels from Amazon's Pinzon brand includes two hand towels, two washcloths, and two bath towels—all listed as 100 percent cotton and at an affordable price.

Find It: Amazon

15. WHITE MARBLE MACBOOK KEYBOARD SKIN; $12

White Marble MacBook Keyboard Skin
Nordstrom

Protect your keyboard while adding a little luxury to your Macbook with this white marble keyboard skin.

Find It: Nordstrom

16. MAGNETIC CHALK BOARD; $18

chalkboard
Amazon

Get organized with this wood-framed chalk board, which comes with chalk and two vintage-style magnets.

Find It: Amazon

17. COFFEEBOXX SINGLE SERVE COFFEE MAKER; $230

portable coffee maker
Amazon

This ultra-durable single-serve coffee maker is great for the dorm as well as the campground. It's water- and dust-resistant and works with K-cups.

Find It: Amazon

18. TRAVEL MUG; $25

 Zojirushi SM-SA48-BA Stainless Steel Mug
Amazon

If you need java to survive, pick up this sleek vacuum-insulated travel mug, which features a splatter-free push-button lid. It's also lockable, so you won't be that person who spills coffee in class.

Find It: Amazon

19. SIX-PACK OF STACKING DRAWERS; $32

stacking drawers
Amazon

Stack these versatile transparent drawers to create a dresser so you can fit your huge wardrobe in your dorm room.

Find It: Amazon

20. FACETED TAPE DISPENSER; $7

gem tape dispenser
Amazon

This elegant copper tape dispenser will give your desk some class. It's also weighted, so you can grab with ease. (Roll of Scotch tape included.)

Find It: Amazon

21. COUNTERTOP MICROWAVE; $84

microwave
Amazon

Master the art of dorm room microwave cooking with this 1000-Watt model, featuring that all-important popcorn setting.

Find It: Amazon

22. SATEEN SHEETS; $18 AND UP

sheet set
Bed Bath & Beyond

These 400-thread-count sateen sheets feel silky to the touch: They're a simple way to make your dorm room feel luxurious.

Find It: Bed Bath & Beyond

23. TOUCHSCREEN MIST CLEANER; $10

Two-In-One Spray and Microfiber Cloth
Amazon

Use this screen-safe spray to remove dirt and fingerprints from your phone. It comes in a bottle that's coated with microfiber cloth so you can spritz and wipe all in one.

Find It: Amazon

24. MESH SHOWER BAG; $13

 Saltwater Canvas, LLC Zip Top Mesh Shower Bag
Amazon

No more feeling around outside the shower curtain for your shampoo. Take this quick-drying mesh shower caddy right into the stall with you.

Find It: Amazon

25. MINI FRIDGE WITH DRY ERASE BOARD; $250

 Igloo FR326M-D-BLACK Erase Board Refrigerator with Neon Markers
Amazon

Make your dorm room unique with this fun fridge that has a dry erase exterior and comes with neon markers so you can write notes directly on it. No paper and magnets needed. It also includes a freezer unit and ice cube tray.

Find It: Amazon

The Brilliant $20 Gadget That Will Keep Your Beach Umbrella Firmly Anchored in the Sand

iStock
iStock

Failing to properly secure your beach umbrella is more dangerous than you think. Tumbling, airborne umbrellas can be a safety hazard, with the potential to collide with beach-goers. Recently, a woman in Maryland was struck in the chest by one that was carried away by high winds.

Usually, it’s simply a matter of inconvenience—chasing a rogue umbrella is not how anyone wants to spend their day. Today recently broke down some preventative measures to help keep umbrellas secured, including using a rocking motion to bury it in the sand and making sure at least one-third of it is underground. You also want to tilt it into the wind so the gusts help keep it secured. 

The best way to avoid umbrella-related mishaps, though, is to opt for a sand anchor. These cheap-but-effective devices are like giant screws that bite into the sand for a much more secure fit. You then place the umbrella pole in the anchor. You can find the Beachr Beach Umbrella Sand Anchor, which fits all sizes of umbrella, for $19.97 on Amazon.

Experts like beach superintendents also advise you to consider taking down umbrellas if it's too windy and never, ever bringing a patio umbrella to the beach. With a larger surface area to catch wind, they can be extremely dangerous.

[h/t Today]

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