Stock Yards Steaks: A gift basket that even a man could love

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1-800-Baskets.com has become the go-to online store for quick and dependable gift ideas, partnering with companies like Cheryl’s and The Popcorn Factory to bring their goods to a larger audience. But while the site contains the usual items tailored for special occasions – such as flowers, fruit bouquets and tasty treats – its newest addition will have even the most macho men excited about the prospect of receiving a gift basket, although technically it comes in a Styrofoam ice box. We’re talking about meat, and not some dainty summer sausage that’s served with crackers and cheese, but USDA Prime and Choice steaks, pork, lamb and veal from Stock Yards, who have been providing quality meat to some of America’s finest restaurants for over 100 years.

Stock Yards isn’t the first company to offer meat delivery direct to your home, but the fact that they’ve joined the 1-800-Baskets family shows that they mean business about expanding their brand. And with a variety of products available – from steak burgers and BBQ pork ribs, to seafood and steaks – there’s something for just about everyone, provided they fancy themselves a carnivore.

We recently had the chance to sample the King & Queens Collection, and while we weren’t too impressed with the 10 oz. Center Cut New York Strip steaks that were included (more on that below), the 6 oz. Complete Trim Filet Mignon steaks came off the grill tasting almost as good as what you’d get at a major steakhouse. We prepared the filet mignon a little rarer than the New York strip after discovering that the steaks had a tendency to toughen up when served at a medium-well doneness, and combined with the provided Epicure seasoning, they were the best home-cooked steaks we’ve ever had – tender and flavorful with a melt-in-your-mouth center.

Whether or not they’re worth the price depends on how much you like steak. The King & Queens Steak Collection costs $84.95 (plus a shipping charge that varies between $4.99 and $12.99 depending on the day you want them delivered), which averages out to about $23 a steak. That’s a lot more than you’d pay at a typical restaurant, and not much less than at a quality steakhouse, especially when you consider that you still have to prepare the food yourself. But for anyone that loves to grill out or just wants a special meal in the convenience of their home every now and again, Stock Yards is a great way to treat yourself or a friend, regardless of the occasion.

  

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Product Review: Adidas RG3 Energy Boost Trainers

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We’ve been fortunate to test some amazing shoes lately, but the all new RG3 Energy Boost Trainers are crazy hot! Adidas and Robert Griffin III recently launched the quarterback’s first signature training shoe, and we would like to report that they are going to be a huge hit for the folks at adidas. RG3’s signature trainer features full-length Boost, adidas’ revolutionary energy-returning cushioning technology, along with a SPRINTWEB upper for maximum comfort, support and breathability. The TORSION SYSTEM, which allows independent movement of fore and rear foot, is fully integrated into the SPRINTFRAME platform. The dynamic fit panels for lockdown work with the seamless strap and the full-length booties offer the ultimate in comfort. Adidas Football’s Carmoflauge colorway is inspired by the automotive industry’s prototype testing process, meant to test future products without revealing design lines. The diamond tread design reflects RG3’s movements on the field and in the gym.

The design is sleek and the shoes are so smooth that it feels like you’re walking on air. And considering these are probably the quietest shoes we tested, you can work the field or court and go virtually undetected. Fresh looks along with signature RG3/adidas styling will have these shoes popping off the shelves. Snap up a pair here for around $140.00.

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Product Review: Adidas Predator Instinct FG Cleats

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Two months ago, we wrote about the new collection of Battle Pack cleats that adidas unveiled in conjunction with the 2014 World Cup. And with two adidas-sponsored teams ready to battle it out in today’s World Cup Final at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, we figured it was as good a time as any to take a closer look at one of the five styles available: the Predator Instinct.

The latest version of the popular Predator line has been worn by several top players throughout the tournament (including Germany’s Mesut Özil, Brazil’s Oscar and USA’s Graham Zusi), and that’s because it’s arguably one of the best soccer cleats on the market. Along with a HYBRIDTOUCH synthetic leather upper that offers premium softness and light weight without sacrificing durability, the shoes feature a transparent, firm-ground outsole with a control frame that’s more flexible and thus more responsive.

But what sets the Predator apart from adidas’ other styles are the five control zones located on the top of the cleat that are designed for more power, swerve and contact. Each raised zig-zag pattern (or “zone”) is made of a next-gen SL rubber that allows you to make the ball move in ways that’s an absolute nightmare for goalies. Additionally, adidas has upgraded the gel pad located on the instep that improves grip and control for a better all-around touch of the ball.

Though we weren’t crazy about the tribal war paint design of the Battle Pack collection when it was first announced, they’re a lot more attractive in person, particularly the Predator, which isn’t nearly as flashy thanks to its white-on-black color scheme. Of course, it hardly matters what the shoes look like if they perform on the field, and the new adidas Predator Instincts don’t disappoint in that department. Whether or not they’ll give Özil and his German teammates the edge they need to take down Lionel Messi’s Argentina is another matter entirely, but there isn’t a better stage to showcase these awesome cleats than the biggest sporting event in the world.

The adidas Predator Instinct Battle Pack cleats are available now in specialty soccer stores and online at www.shopadidas.com.

  

Product Review: V2 Cigs Electronic Cigarettes

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When I opened my Starter Kit from V2 Cigs, I wandered in wide-eyed and with no idea what to expect. While the e-cig market has recently exploded, the only prior experience I had with them was ribbing a buddy who totes his e-cig carrying case and essentials every time he leaves the house.

As a casual cigarette smoker, I never understood why a person would smoke an e-cigarette, rather than just fire up a smoke. But after using the V2, there are several obvious benefits that challenged my perception.

The first series of benefits of V2 Cigs are that they tar-free, carbon monoxide-free and ash-free.

The second set pertains to social stigma and ease of use. Nobody wants to be the “ash-hole” with cigarette holes in your clothes, getting ashes from your cigarettes all over the place. And if you want to smoke in public, you don’t want to be judged or blow smoke all over your friends in a public setting.

With V2 Cigs, there is no odor that lingers, thanks to the incredible vapor production. Additionally, there are no nasty cigarette butts to dispose of, no danger of starting a fire and you don’t have to carry a lighter to smoke.

Here’s how V2 Cigs work: The main body of the V2 electronic cigarette is a smooth-looking 4.2 lithium-ion battery. Located at the tip of the battery is a series of five LED nodes that light up when you inhale. The V2 disposable atomized cartridges store the flavor and liquid nicotine solution, and screw directly into the V2 battery.

The cartridges come in five nicotine strengths: 2.4%, 1.8%, 1.2%, 0.6% and zero. Each flavor cartridges are designed to be equivalent to one pack of 20 conventional cigarettes, and provide up to 250 mouthfuls of vapor. There are six flavors to choose from: V2 Red, Sahara, Congress, Menthol, Peppermint and Mint Tea.

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As you smoke, you can gauge how much battery life your V2 has left thanks to the LED nodes, which light up with ever puff. The V2 Cig Charger plugs into computers via the USB adapter, which can also be plugged into a regular wall adapter.

How does smoking with a V2 Cig compare to a tobacco cigarette? Surprisingly, it’s a smoother incarnation of an actual cigarette. There is no residual odor due to the vapors, which makes a bigger difference than I anticipated. You don’t have to plan your wardrobe or smoking times around being the “smoker guy” in office who smells like smoke, cologne or a mix of both.

I tried the nicotine strength of 2.4% in both the V2 Red and Menthol flavors and was amazed at the taste and the sensation of smoking. Upon exhale, it really tastes and feels like an actual cigarette, without the mess.

The cartridges retail for around two dollars a piece, and considering you get roughly 20 cigarettes worth of vapor in each, it’s cheaper than a pack of cigarettes. The V2 Kits range in price from $34.95 to $149.95 based on accessories and the products you select.

V2 Cigs are more economical, less messy and easier to use than a traditional cigarette. Each order includes a 30-day money back guarantee and free shipping on domestic orders.

For ordering information, check out the V2 website here, or reach out to V2 on social media via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.

Also, enter for your chance to win a V2 Cigs e-cigarette starter kit today!

(You must be of legal smoking age to buy and/or use any V2 Cigs product.)

  

Adidas RG3 cleats are just the right fit!

Robert Griffin III is fast becoming one of the most popular players in professional football, and his new adidas RG3 cleats look to do the same in the shoe market. We tested a pair of these technological wonders and found out quickly that they are the real deal, just like RG3. Right out of the box, you’ll notice the sleek design with the RG3-designed shoelace pocket on the tongue that keeps laces out of the way. They also feature a light and flexible techfit upper with QUICKWEB support and the QUICKFRAME plate outsole for the kind of speed that moves chains.

Adidas knows cleats, and they smartly constructed the RG3s with Bootee construction for a snug and comfortable fit, because no matter how good the cleats look, they have to fit right and give you that edge to make things happen on the field. The RG3-influenced cleats are your teammates in going the extra yard to win, and with the QUICKFRAME plate outsole, say hello to superior speed and quickness!

Robert Griffin III is a one-of-a-kind athlete, and the RG3 cleats are as original as the player himself. Check them out at adidas’ official site, because football will be kicking off before you know it.

  

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