Featured Articles

Explore a featured selection of my writing work below.

Love Your Block provides mini grants to Westside residents for community improvement projects — West View Media

Ricky Arriola was sick of the blank wall and piles of trash behind the Breaking Bread Barbershop Co. on 900 W. As Breaking Bread’s owner, Arriola wanted something better for his neighborhood, shop, and customers. So when he learned about the Love Your Block grant, he applied. After two weeks and a meeting session, he had a plan for a new mural and lot cleanup project. “The application process was really smooth,” Arriola explained. “I just filled out a couple of things online and gave them my inf

How to Choose and Fit a Backpack

Nothing is worse than hitting the trail only to realize you’re stuck with an uncomfortable backpack. Chafing straps, poor padding, and no adjustability can make an exciting trail experience feel like a chore.
• Stand upright with your chin slightly down
• Locate your C7 vertebrae, that bony bump at the base of your neck
• Standing up straight, place your hands on your hips and feel for your iliac crest. This is the bone that protrudes on the side of your waist)
• Measure the distance between the

Dry and Clean Your Portable Hydration System

Hydration systems and bladders are favorites among avid hikers, runners, and cyclists. There’s no question that water packs are essential, but without regular cleanings, bacteria and mold can invade and taint any water inside.

So how do you keep your hydration system clean and dry between adventures?

Luckily, it only takes a few steps to dry and clean your hydration system.

Step 1: Disassemble the bladder

Cleaning the pieces of your hydration pack individually allows you to pay cl

Short Hike Essentials

Backpack? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Before you hit the trail for a short hike, be sure to pack these essentials for the trail.

What to Pack for a Short Hike

The definition of a “short hike” may vary from hiker to hiker, but they all have one thing in common. Short hikes are fun!

Whether it’s half an hour or a full day, a short hike can be a fun, relaxing way to spend time outside and away from the buzz of the city. But even with this more casual approach, it’s still important to prepare for ev

Protect Your Cameras from Hackers

Your home Wi-Fi network is the gateway to all your smart devices—phones, laptops, smart TVs, and yes, security cameras.

So when’s the last time you changed your Wi-Fi password?

Get in the habit of changing it regularly. Long, complex passwords with unique characters are best. And avoid reusing passwords.

Use WPA-AES encryption on your devices. Most IP security cameras (the ones that connect to Wi-Fi) can encrypt your video feed, making it harder for hackers to watch. So double-check your came

A Quick Look at the Cove Indoor Camera

The Cove Indoor Security Camera is one of Cove's three cameras. It costs about $50 and works with and without a Cove System. We got our hands on one to see how it works ourselves. Here's a quick rundown of what it can do:

While the Cove Indoor Camera boasts 1080p HD video quality, it wasn't really that stunning. But we were happy that the video quality was adjustable. You can switch between high-definition (1080p), standard-def (720p), and auto. Not going full HD all the time will save you some

Are Nanny Cams Legal?

You can own and use a nanny cam in all 50 states, but the rules depend on how you use it and where you live.

If you have a nanny or caretaker who watches your kids, maybe you’ve considered setting up a nanny cam.

Whether you’re looking for a specific activity or just want an extra eye on your family, there’s one important question to ask before setting up any hidden or indoor cameras in your home.

Is it legal to own a nanny cam? The short answer is yes. But it doesn’t stop there.

4 Things to Know Before Getting a Nanny Cam

Between work, family, and other responsibilities, hiring a nanny can lighten your load around the house. Adding a nanny cam to the mix will give you extra peace of mind when you check in on the kids and their caretaker throughout the day.

Unfortunately, not all nanny cams are created equal. Some can pan and zoom while others stay stationary. If you want to place your nanny cam on a bookshelf or the wall, make sure it has a wide view so it can capture everything in the room or hallway. For bigge

Vivint Car Guard Review

Vivint Car Guard is a GPS vehicle tracker, connection to your smart home system, and diagnostic wizard all in one device. It’s smaller than a pack of cards and installs into your OBD II port like a USB stick. Once it’s up and running, you can check the location, driving history, and general health of your vehicle. If you have teen drivers in your household, the Car Guard shows you their location and any dangerous driving habits like hard braking and speeding. Video: The GPS vehicle tracker you'l

Online Scams to Watch For in 2023

Phishing has nothing to do with actual fish, but it does involve bait. And just like that band you followed in college, Phishing has been around for decades.

These scams are more closely associated with emails, but you may see them when logging into an account or in texts that send you a link to click.

Phishers cast a subject line in an email, for example, that prompts you to click. They can promise rewards like discounts or threaten you with bogus charges. But don't be fooled, that's the bait

The Truth About Black Mold—And How You Can Stay Safe

You’ve probably heard about the dangers of black mold, an alleged silent killer that hides in water damage and ceiling tiles. But what is black mold? And is it dangerous? Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, surfaces as blackish-green spots or blemishes. It lives on moist, cellulose-rich surfaces like fiberboard, drywall, and gypsum board. Black mold is most attracted to moisture, which is why it lives in previously-flooded homes, leaky pipe areas, or anywhere with water damage.

The short ans

How to Tell If You Are Buying a Meth House

It’s normal for old homes to smell musty, but meth labs leave a signature scent. So put your nose to the ground and sniff for any suspicious smells like ammonia, rotten eggs, or vinegar. These smells are a red flag for any property, so be sure to ask the hard questions before buying.

Meth labs aren’t exactly known for their cleanliness. If you walk into a house that looks messy and run-down, it’s a good indicator that something might be amiss. Deep stains on the carpet and walls can also be a s

Abode Cam 2 Review

Off the bat, there were a few things we really liked about the Abode Cam 2. It was small enough to fit anywhere, and its video quality was decent. But after a few days of testing, we weren’t fans. Features like its live recording, color night vision, and even the mic and speaker weren’t reliable. It became a bit of a headache. After getting to know it, the best word to describe this camera is “inconsistent.”

The Abode Cam 2 shoots in 1080p, which is the standard HD resolution for security camer

Best Radon Detectors for Your Home

The Radon Eye RD200 tops our list for its fast, accurate readings. After setting up this radon detector, you’ll get your initial reading within the first 10 minutes with a more accurate reading appearing within the next 60. While that might sound like a long wait, many lab tests and other digital radon detectors can take several days to produce an accurate reading. This radon detector may seem expensive at first glance, but it comes with some serious credibility. The ion chamber within the RD200

Ring Doorbells for Renters

The Ring Peephole Camera is kind of a renter's dream. And all you need is a peephole in your door. There are no holes or screws required, and the instructions are pretty straightforward.

All you have to do is unscrew the peephole in your door and then put the camera over it. That's it!

Plus, it sports 1080p resolution, two-way audio, custom motion zones, a 155° field of vision, and knock detection.

And if someone rings the doorbell or knocks, you'll know and you can see them via live feed on

Best Portable Wheelchair Ramps

Portable wheelchair ramps are helpful for people who use mobility devices like wheelchairs, scooters, canes, or walkers. They can be installed in your house or come on errands with you around town. Frustratingly, many businesses and homes aren’t fitted for wheelchairs or mobility scooters, so it’s good to have your own ready to go. The EZ Access wheelchair ramp is sturdy enough to hold 800 pounds, but lightweight enough to stow in a van or other vehicle. Its center hinges allow the panels to sep

Best Sliding Glass Door Locks

How do you keep burglars from breaking in through your patio door? Simple. Make your patio door stronger than the burglars. The Toledo Sliding Door Lock’s bolt is made of 1 ¾-inch hardened steel and contains concealed screws. These features keep the bolt tamper resistant and in place. Its anti-theft design also includes two hidden screws that prevent tampering. This level of security requires a more involved installation, but the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The only way to lock an

If I Have an Emergency, Who Should I Call First?

It’s easy to panic in a stressful situation and immediately call 911. But calling 911 for non-emergencies takes a huge portion of the system’s resources from those in life-or-death situations. Plus, ambulances can cost thousands of dollars, and police can escalate a situation in non-emergencies.1 This isn’t to say you should never call 911, but there are a few things you can do to handle an emergency before picking up the phone.

What is and isn’t an emergency? Before we dive in, let’s establish

Council Post: Why Online Marketers Can't Ignore Net Neutrality (Ghost Written Post)

Would you trust a phone company that blocked every number except a select few? What about a school that only taught a few standard courses unless you bought the full curriculum? Without net neutrality, your internet service provider could do just that.

In December 2017, the FCC approved the removal of Title II regulations that labeled cable companies and internet service providers (ISPs) as public utilities. Without these regulations, these telecom giants have free range over how they charge th

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