Car Review: 2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium

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There were big changes in store for the dazzling 2014 Toyota Corolla, and although we knew the new design looked sweet, time behind the wheel would give us a true measure of the car. That was taken care of when we drove the Corolla for a week, and quite honestly, we hated to see the week end.

EXTERIOR

You’ll find yourself doing a double take when you first see the Corolla, because the new design is light years ahead of the past models with the new aggressive styling. The 2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium looks that good and will shake the compact car segment without a doubt. Our test model was a sharp blue crush metallic sporting 17 -nch smoked alloy wheels. The all-new Corolla makes an immediate visual impact with a more expressive, chiseled exterior design that elaborates on the “Iconic Dynamism” theme first seen on the Corolla Furia Concept that debuted at the North American International Auto Show. The new Corolla is distinguished by its tauter, more athletic proportions that ride on a longer wheelbase (+ 3.93 inches/ +100 mm compared to current model). With the wheels pushed out toward the corners, compact overhangs, and more tapered front and rear expression, the new Corolla communicates a more dynamic compact sedan form, even at a standstill. The new sedan is 3.90 inches (99 mm) longer overall and yet presents a more compact appearance than the current model thanks to a basic shape that tapers at the front and rear of the vehicle to help emphasize the wheel arches and wheels-to-the-corner stance.

The new Corolla features an expressive front fascia with sharper, more pronounced details above a large trapezoidal grill that rests beneath a thin intake inlet below the hood. The front view of the new Corolla reveals a continuation of the design themes seen in recent Toyota sedans such as Camry and Avalon, and it creates a sleeker, more assertive impression of a Toyota compact sedan with its more precisely sculpted surfaces. Among the challenges presented by the new Corolla’s original design concept was the need to execute more deeply rounder corners to achieve the desired sleeker image. The thick structure of conventional headlamps would hinder the appearance of deeply rounded corners. Sleek, compact LED lamp assemblies were adopted to reduce the corner mass and help accentuate the Corolla’s tapered, rounded-corner, front- end design theme. In addition, the low heat generated by the LED lamp enabled the use of a lighter weight PES resin lens instead of conventional glass. Corolla is the first compact sedan to offer standard equipped LED headlamps.

INTERIOR

The impressive 2014 Toyota Corolla S Premium continued inside the cabin with a plethora of new options that enhance the overall driving experience. The new Corolla’s interior continues the “Iconic Dynamism” theme to create a stylish, highly functional and inviting interior space with a greater sense of craftsmanship in its design, use of materials and attention to detail. A horizontally oriented dash structure helps enhance the interior’s sense of spaciousness while providing a more wide-open, intuitively functional space for interface with vehicle controls. The interior offers a premium aesthetic with its use of piano-black gloss trim highlighted by metallic ornamentation and trim that conveys an upscale yet sportier image. Depending on interior color theme, blue, black or amber pinstriped accents are used in conjunction with the dash and door panel ornamentation to enhance the premium appeal of the interior. Ornamental stitching along the leading edge of the dash pad adds a sense of craftsmanship to the interior’s upscale nature. An available decorative boot with ornamental stitching surrounding the shift lever adds a sporty, premium look.

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Product Review: Old Spice Re-Fresh Body Spray

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Ever since I saw the first Old Spice “Mom Song” video, I have been praying to my non-denominational Spray God every night, asking (begging) that one of the smell technicians at Old Spice reach out to me for a product review of their new Re-Fresh Body Spray. In the meantime, I used an old bottle of Fiji shower gel to feel like I was part of the movement, to show I was “down,” i.e. the way gang members have to “do dirt” to be accepted into a particular gang or sect. And it paid off.

Old Spice reached out, but just like in gang life, they wanted something from me.  Even though I killed that drifter (needlessly, as it turned out) to peg my “real-a-meter” into the red, what they really needed from me was to recruit more members who cover their members in body spray. After all, 67% of guys who use body spray aren’t using it correctly.

I blame AXE for the cavalier spray techniques that have been developed, because after those ads, you thought the only way to apply body spray was via Spray Cloud. I seriously didn’t think “too much” existed in the body spray vernacular.

If AXE isn’t to blame, perhaps it is the lesser known GED equivalent, Bod and the famous song/tagline conveyed via sex drenched female voice, “Hot bod/I want your bod.” And who could forget that dude’s ripped abdominals? Here, check ‘em out:

Oh my Bod, that’s terrible.

Whoever you want to blame, it doesn’t change the fact that an Overspraying Epidemic exists thanks to the lack of proper training regarding spray techniques and men’s body sprays.

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adidas Springblade shoes setting a new standard for workouts

For all of you out there who, like us, were hooked on the original Springblade shoe from adidas, you really have to check out the newly released version. Springblade, introduced last year, is the first running shoe with blade technology designed to help propel you forward. The Razor features a unique web design over sock-like Techfit technology that helps lock your feet in place and enhances breathability. The shoe’s 16 individually-tuned blades instantaneously react to any environment, compressing and releasing energy.

The Springblade Razor is on sale on adidas.com, at adidas Sport Performance stores and retailers nationwide like Finish Line since January 16.

The Razor launches in four colorways for men, including Solar Blue/Tech Grey Metallic/Black, Black/Tech Grey Metallic/ Light Scarlet, Metallic Silver/Black/Light Scarlet and Light Scarlett/Black/Metallic Silver, and three colorways for women, including Solar Blue/Tech Grey Metallic/Black, Black/Black/Vivid Berry and Bahia Pink/Metallic Silver/Black.

Your training will never be the same after you utilize the Springblade design and comfort. After testing the 2014 version, they only improved, as the Techfit technology is a real difference maker!

  

Product Review: Sebamed Sensitive Skin After Shave Balm and Deodorant

Sebamed first hit store shelves in the 1960s, which makes it about twice as old as Sabretooth, famous archenemy of X-Men character Wolverine. Maybe if Sabretooth used Sebamed, his pH levels wouldn’t be so out of whack and he wouldn’t be as vicious. He would at least have better skin.

Speaking of which, healthy skin has an intact protective barrier which defends against environmental irritants and guards against dehydration. In fact, the surface of the skin is covered with a hydrolipid film called the acid mantle that is slightly acidic (pH 5.5). The acid mantle is essential for supporting the barrier functions of the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. And you thought the acid mantle and stratum corneum were obstacles you encounter during the Tough Mudder.

“Acid mantle? Stratum corneum? What is all this stuff, Paul?  The active ingredients in Sebamed sound like something straight out of X-Men. But it’s just another facet of aging, and as you age, you start to care about stuff you never thought you would. Like warranties, APRs and how rezoning of the local school district may impact what school your daughter attends. You also want to avoid crow’s feet and other examples of skin pushed to the limit without the intercession of a tender hand. And that is where the tender, caring, nurturing hand of Sebamed makes the difference, just like the tender hand of Professor Charles Francis Xavier aka Professor X.

Disruptions in the skin’s barrier function can lead to sensitive and dry skin. The skin then becomes susceptible to outside (allergens, irritants, weather, infection) and internal (stress, hormones, diseases) factors which can trigger skin inflammation. Moisture is lost through unprotected cracks in the outermost layer of the skin and the skin is also more prone to infections.

I tried the Sebamed for Men After Shave Balm and the mix of botanical phytosteroles and chamomile extract had a soothing effect, like a fat tax refund. It didn’t dry my skin out because it isn’t loaded with alcohol or mentholated.

But the product that I really enjoyed was the Sebamed Balsam Sensitive deodorant. What I really liked is that it is aluminum free. Amazingly, almost all name brand deodorants contain aluminum, and I just don’t think there’s any way that is good for you, unless you are Magneto, primary villain of the X-Men. It was also applied via roll-on applicator and reminded me of Certain-Dri in terms of consistency and application.

Sebamed isn’t going to wow you with an awesome marketing campaign like Old Spice’s “Mom’s Song,” but that’s not their brand. Sebamed is the old standby that doesn’t jump up for attention, like Mystique, who is there and you’re glad, because they hit the mark every time.

For more information on Sebamed, click here.

  

Did You Know… with Mike Furci

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A column by Mike Furci that brings you research, trends and other info to help you with your fitness, health and nutritional needs.

…agriculture is trashing our environment. The Telegraph discusses what decades of agriculture has done to the life of our soil.

“American scientists have made an unsettling discovery. Crop farming across the Prairies since the late 19th Century has caused a collapse of the soil microbia that holds the ecosystem together.

A team at the University of Colorado under Noah Fierer used DNA gene technology to test the ‘verrucomicrobia’ in Prairie soil, contrasting tilled land with the rare pockets of ancient tallgrass found in cemeteries and reservations. The paper published in the US journal Science found that crop agriculture has “drastically altered” the biology of the land. “The soils currently found throughout the region bear little resemblance to their pre-agricultural state,” it concluded.”
(The Telegraph Nov 27, 2013)

It’s obvious what big agriculture and the government has done to our environment and food supply. It’s time to start supporting local farming.

…in the 1970s, researchers who believed our deteriorating diet had a profound effect on crime, tried to reduce crime through diet. “Research by Hippchen, Schoenthaler, Schauss, and others concluded that hypoglycemia, caused by a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, could account for most of anti-social behavior, they found that hypoglycemia causes the brain to secrete glutamate, a neurotoxin, which leads to agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and violent behavior.”

It’s becoming more apparent that our deteriorating diet in the U.S. is cause for alarm. The meteoric increase in many disorders and diseases (i.e., autism, depression, cancer and diabetes) has a linear relationship to denatured and devitalized modern foods.
((2013). Wise Traditions, 14(1), 19-35.)

…many trainers and coaches still espouse to pre-exercise warm-up that includes stretching. The objective of a study conducted by Brazilian researchers from the University of Sao Paulo was to compare the effects of static stretching, ballistic stretching and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation on maximal strength, number of repetitions at a sub-maximal load (endurance) and total volume. All 12 participants completed eight weight training sessions. Four were designed to stretch prior to weight training. Researchers found that all stretching protocols significantly improved range of motion, but significantly reduce leg press one leg maximum, number of repetitions at a sub-maximal load and total volume. (J Strength Cond Res 26(9): 2432–2437, 2012)

…the barbell back squat (BBS) is widely regarded as the king of all exercises. It is without question. No other exercise works as many major muscle groups as thoroughly or as intensely as the squat. It is also a highly functional and safe exercise, and is used as a key component of many strength training programs including Olympic lifting. The BBS is also a mainstay in bodybuilding routines given its record for overall leg development. Because of its efficacy and versatility, the squat has been studied repeatedly for many different purposes. A review published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined studies that investigated muscle activation during the BBS to clarify how the exercise can be appropriately applied for different goals. The following are some highlights of this review:

• Increasing the stance width increases the activation of the adductors and gluteus maximus, but not the quadriceps or hamstrings.
• Activation of the muscles of the legs and trunk increase as a consequence of the increase in external load not stance width.
• Free BBS elicits and higher overall EMG (muscle activation) than squats in a smith machine, leg press and leg extension.
• The squat at moderate loads is a more effective method of activating the trunk stabilizers compared with other instability trunk exercises.
• Muscle activation is not influenced by the use of a weight belt.
(The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 26(4):1169-1178, 2012)

  

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