I Tested the Tesla of Smart Ovens — And It’s as Impressive as It Sounds (Plus, It’s on Sale for Prime Day!)

I Tested the Tesla of Smart Ovens — And It’s as Impressive as It Sounds (Plus, It’s on Sale for Prime Day!)

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Like many children of the late 90s and early aughts, my Easy-Bake oven was my life. A child of the new millennia, I was instantly enamored by this piece of tech that allowed me to take cooking into my own tiny hands and create sweet treats in minutes. So, you could imagine my delight when I came across a device some 20 years later that seemed to improve upon this idea across the board by allowing you anything (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert) with the touch of a button. I’m talking about the Brava Smart Oven. Like most smart ovens, the Brava was designed to make cooking fun, easier, and faster. But does it live up to the hype? How hard is it to use? And most importantly, is it worth the $1000+ price tag? After months of testing and dozens of recipes made, dear reader, I’m happy to say this device is the real deal. The best part? It’s on sale during Prime Day, which ends tonight!

So what makes this smart oven different from the rest of the smart ovens on the market today? One word: light — as in it cooks with light. No, seriously. I’ll be the first to admit that when I first heard this, I cocked my head like a confused puppy. Let me break it down: using a combination of both infrared and visible light (courtesy of the device’s six halogen lamps), the Brava cooks with light, heating up in seconds and cooking anything you throw at it in record time. Able to work as an oven, toaster oven, slow cooker, steamer, air fryer, dehydrator, frying pan, sous vide, and grill, it’s designed to be the ultimate easy-to-use all-in-one device thanks to its intuitive touch screen controls and a library bank of recipes that is constantly being updated with new and exciting dishes (don’t worry, you’re not beholden to these recipes; you can customize them and add your own, too!)

To say I was excited to put this sleek, Jetsons-eqsue device to the test would be an understatement — I checked my package room with bated breath waiting for it to arrive and unpacked it with glee. There are a bunch of things that attracted me to the Brava Oven, with one of the main things being its versatility. As someone still building out their kitchen setup, my appliance collection was pretty sparse, so finding a device that could combine all these functions into one not only seemed cost-efficient but small-space friendly (a must for my studio apartment). Now for the fun part: the cooking.

A couple of days after receiving it, I dedicated a day to cooking solely with my Brava. Alongside the oven, I got the sheet pan, a glass pan, and an egg pan so I figured I’d start with something simple for breakfast to get familiar with the device: eggs and toast. After placing the bread and egg on their respective pans, I tapped the “egg sandwich” recipe, chose my desired egg hardness level, and let it do its thing. Not even five minutes later, I had a perfectly fried egg and crisp toast ready to be plated — minus the fuss.

While doing my research on the Brava, I found the most magical promise of this device to be that thanks to its Pure Light Cooking technology, it could cook multiple foods at the same time at different temperatures, each to perfection. This meant I wouldn’t have to worry about adjusting the temperature or pulling out extra pots and pans to cook an entire meal. It seemed impossible, so for my next test, I decided to go all in with something I personally find to be the trickiest to cook: salmon.

Attempting to recreate an image I saw on the company’s site, I put together a meal consisting of two pieces of salmon, green beans, and fingerling potatoes. Following the machine’s preset recipe instructions (but jazzing it up with some of my own spices), I placed each item on its own part of the sheet (each pan comes divided into three sections) and crossed my fingers. To my utter shock, it worked perfectly. The salmon? Tender and flaky. The green beans? Crunchy and delicious. The potatoes? Crisp on the outside, soft on the inside. I was flabbergasted.

The last test was dessert: chocolate chip cookies. While I could always crank up my conventional oven to cook up a batch of cookies, I was really interested in trying it out in the Brava for two reasons: to make a smaller batch and to prevent heating up my apartment on a hot summer night. After putting together my mother’s secret recipe (sorry, can’t share it), I placed them in the Brava, put it in Bake mode (where you manually set the time and temperature like a regular oven), and waited for my cookies — oat milk in hand. They came out at about the same time as they normally would in a regular oven and were exactly how I like them, crisp and chewy. Yep, I was sold.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “Sarah, why would I need this oven when I have a perfectly good oven in my kitchen?” to which I would say two things: time and space. For me, time is precious and while I do love a big cooking extravaganza, there are days when I want to do anything but spend hours in the kitchen cooking, monitoring my meal, and cleaning up. With the Brava, cooking on crazy days is less laborious and, for the most part, foolproof (I’ll never make better salmon than my Brava does). It also provides me with the opportunity to save so much space by not having to invest in extra kitchen appliances for my home, which honestly would’ve been just as expensive of an investment. Having a true all-in-one appliance is a game-changer.

Sarah M. Vazquez

SEO Commerce Editor

Sarah writes about all things shopping for Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, and Cubby helping you find the best deals and the best products for you and your home. A Brooklyn-born Jersey Girl, she loves a good playlist, a good bagel, and her family (but not necessarily in that order).

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Is the Flexispot EG8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk the Best Option for Your Home Office?

Is the Flexispot EG8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk the Best Option for Your Home Office?

A white woman in her 40's works at the Flexispot EG8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk in standing position.

The Flexispot EG8 Comhar sit stand desk has a motorised lifting mechanism for ease of use.

I’ve always been quite curious about the sit stand desk and whether it is actually worth the investment. My job is pretty much fully desk-based and I spend eight hours a day sitting at my desk in my coworking space in Totnes. Whilst I don’t currently have any health problems that have resulted from this, I can definitely feel that as I get older, this is not really ideal and my posture is being affected and I can definitely feel myself getting stiffer.

So when Flexispot reached out to me and asked if I would like to review their EG8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to find out how a standing desk might work for me and whether it would make a difference to how my body feels working at a desk all day.

Are Sit Stand Desks Good for You?

Sit stand desks are great for encouraging us to move more during the working day. We all know that spending too much time sitting down is bad for our physical health, but The Sedentary Behaviour Research Network has also found that too much sitting can also be bad for our mental health. It looked at the relationship between sitting and depression and the research seems to support the idea that excessive sitting is positively correlated with an increase in depression.

So clearly too much sitting is bad for our physical and mental wellbeing. But it gets worse. According to The British Medical Journal, spending large amounts of time sitting or lounging around during the day is linked to around 70,000 deaths per year in the UK and the NHS spends in excess of £0.7bn per year treating the health consequences.

But there is hope. A 2019 study by The British Medical Journal showed that any level of movement decreases the risk of premature death. Therefore medical professionals strongly urge us to get more active during the day and reduce the amount of time that we spend sitting. It doesn’t have to be vigorous exercise either, light intensity physical activity also helps.

As well as taking regular breaks from your desk and maybe going for a little walk every now and again, a sit stand desk is a great way to introduce more movement into your work day.

A white woman in her 40's works at the Flexispot EG8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk in seated position.

How do Sit Stand Desks Work?

A sit stand desk is one that allows you to alternate between sitting and standing by lowering or raising the desk top. The way that this is achieved can be either manual or electric. In the case of a manual mechanism, the user would normally crank a handle to adjust the height, whereas an electric desk would move up and down at the touch of a button.

The Flexispot EG8 Comhar sit stand desk has the ability to be programmed with 4 height presets.

Some electric desks, like the Flexispot EG8 Comhar sit stand desk, have the ability to be programmed with height presets. This allows multiple users to save their preferred height setting in a family environment or a shared workspace. The E8 can be programmed with four different heights but you can also use the controls to regulate the height outside of these presets should you need to. This makes it extremely flexible and very easy to use.

The control panel can be locked at the press of a button which will prevent children and pets from interfering with the desk height.

A really nice functionality is the anti-collision feature which ensures safety by preventing the desktop from being damaged or crushing other objects and devices while in motion. The desk can sense if anything is under it and will not continue to lower if there is a chance that something may get crushed.

What is the Correct Height for a Standing Desk?

The correct height for a standing desk depends entirely on who is using the desk at a given moment. And this is the beauty if the E8 Comhar because it can be raised or lowered to meet the exact requirements if the user.

The EG8 Comhar is designed with the entire family in mind and has a broad adjustment range of 28.3″-47.6″ which makes it perfectly compatible with the height of children.

What is really important is that you set the desk up to meet your own ergonomic needs and to be supportive of good posture. For example, you should ensure that your arms are bent to 90 degrees while you work, with your shoulders relaxed and your back straight.

The Flexispot EG8 Comhar sit stand desk has the ability to be programmed with 4 height presets.

What are the Benefits of a Sit Stand Desk?

As we’ve seen, sit stand desks can offer many physical and mental health benefits. So let’s take a look at what they are.

Burns Extra Calories

Use of a sit stand desk allows us to burn more calories during the working day. Studies have shown that standing burns about 100-200 calories per hour while sitting burns 60-130 calories. Admittedly this isn’t a huge amount but over time this will add up. If you wanted to increase the number of calories burnt you could always consider doing exercises while you stand such as leg lifts or squats.

Improves Posture

How is your posture if you spend all day at a desk? I can tell you how mine is…terrible. My neck and shoulders are almost always tense and there is a horrible crackling noise in my neck when I turn my head. I had a massage once and the lady said she’d never dealt with such tension before. I think this is down to “text neck” a term used to describe the strain on the spine when we continually look down at our phones, laptops or reading devices.

Using a standing desk can help improve posture and build our core muscle strength. And better posture has been proved to improve our moods, increase our breathing capacity, improve digestion and reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.

I’m hoping that in time, by using my new sit stand desk I will be able to reverse some of the damage that I have done to my own posture.

Boosts Mood, Focus and Productivity

Research has shown that standing up helps us to feel healthier and when we feel healthier we tend to be in a better mood. Brain scientists at University College London also conducted studies that showed that when employees were given standing desks at work they showed better performance in their tasks, improved accuracy, and better decision making. They were also more open to creativity.

Improves Circulation

Standing up can be better for our circulation. It is recommended to stand at least two hours every day in order to help increase circulation and blood flow, and reduce the risk of blood clots. So using a sit stand desk is a great way to increase our time spent standing and improve our circulation.

A white woman in her 40's works at the Flexispot EG8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk in standing position.

Are Sit Stand Desks Worth it?

If we look at the price tag of a sit stand desk they are usually more expensive than regular sitting desks and more expensive than static standing desks, particularly if they are electric models like the Flexispot EG8 Comhar which is currently on sale for £469.99.

But when we look at the added physical and mental health benefits that can be had from using a sit stand desk, we can quickly see that the payoff is definitely worth it.

In addition to this, the EG8 Comhar has other benefits that make the price worth paying. It has 3 convenient USB charging ports (2x USB Type-A, 1x Type-C) embedded in the desk so that you can quickly and easily charge your electronic devices.

It also has a handy anti-collision function that ensures safety by preventing the desktop from being damaged or crushing other objects and devices while in motion. So for example if you are lowering it, it won’t come down and crush your legs or anything else that may be underneath the desk.

A Sit Stand Desk for Small Spaces

The Flexispot EG8 Comhar is particularly well suited to smaller spaces due to the fact that it takes up minimal floor space despite having a generously sized desktop. The fact that it is also available in white helps as the desk doesn’t take up as much visual space in the room as it would if it was just available in black.

A Sit Stand Desk with Storage

The Flexispot EG8 Comhar sit stand desk has a built-in storage drawer.

One thing I particularly like about the E8 Comhar is the built-in storage drawer that allows you to keep your belongings close to hand but off the desktop. The drawer isn’t particularly deep which means you can’t cram it full of too much but it is big and deep enough to keep your notepads, pens, and phone inside.

Flexispot E8 Comhar Sit Stand Desk Review

All in all, I was mighty impressed with this product. The build is really good and the materials used to make it are of superior quality. It took about 30 minutes to put together and two of us to construct it and get it in position.

The desk came in two large boxes which were really quite heavy and I struggled to get them up into my office alone. I had to enlist help from my husband as I simply wouldn’t have been able to lift and manoeuvre the boxes on my own. This is definitely something to bear in mind if you are considering purchasing the E8 Comhar for your home office.

I love the look of the desk as it is very minimal and the white version looks very fresh and clean. The legs are particularly sturdy and the tempered glass desktop in white is finished with rounded edges for extra safety, comfort, durability, and elegance.

One drawback I have found is that the glass top is very prone to sticky finger marks and smearing. Therefore it needs to be wiped down and given a polish quite regularly. This is no big deal though and I still prefer the glass desk top over a wooden one purely for aesthetic reasons.

The built-in storage drawer comes in very handy for keeping clutter at bay and ensuring the desktop stays free from chaos. And the USB charging points are a really nice addition.

However, it is taking me a while to get into the habit of actually standing up to work. As I’ve spent most of my working life sitting down at a desk, standing up still doesn’t quite feel natural to me. But I am getting used to it now and I will be trying to increase the amount of time I spend standing in the coming weeks.

But what I have noticed is that on the days that I do remember to spend more time standing, my neck and back definitely feel less tense and my mood is slightly better. Hopefully, these benefits will increase the longer I spend standing.

Overall, I have had a very positive experience with my new sit stand desk and it has been a pleasure to work on. I can’t say yet whether or not it has improved my productivity as I haven’t really been measuring it. But I do find that standing helps with concentration and focus.

I have found it to be really easy to use, and great value for money. Because I haven’t tried any other sit stand desks, I cannot make any comparisons. However, the E8 Comhar is great value for money and really good investment for your home office. I would definitely recommend it if you are on the lookout for a new desk for your own home or office.

If you are looking to purchase, you can take advantage of the FlexiSpot Summer Sale up to 38% OFF from 1st July to 31st July 2022.

Have you got a standing desk or a sit stand desk in your home office? If so how have you found it? How long did it take you to get used to standing up to work? I’d love to know so leave me a comment below and don’t forget to pin this post for later.

I Gave Up Mindless Scrolling for a Day — Here’s How It Went

I Gave Up Mindless Scrolling for a Day — Here’s How It Went

It’s nearly impossible for me to go a weekday without screens — mostly because I work from home, from a computer, typing all day. But also because my phone is my main method of communication with loved ones: My partner lives across the city, my family lives across the country. 

So when I was challenged with going an entire day without screens, I had to be mindful about what kind of screen time I was realistically able to sacrifice. Of course, work items weren’t negotiable. But what about watching YouTube videos during downtime? (I’m a big fan of watching people clean and organize.) That could be nixed. 

Other screen items I was willing to forgo for the day included any social media, Pinterest, Reddit, online window shopping, and anything else that could easily move into the mindless territory. That also included TV and reading the lifestyle section of the news on my phone. I wasn’t about to give up texting and FaceTime calls with my partner, my friends, or my family — I consider it valuable and life-giving. That being said, I’ll admit I accidentally messed up when I was sent a very sweet video showcasing the unlikely friendship between a deer and a dog

Many professionals tout the numerous benefits of going without screens, without social media, and limiting mindless scrolling, even if it’s just for a day. In a study done during 2018-19 at a university, experts found that when participating students detoxed from social media, “most students reported a positive change in mood, reduced anxiety, and improved sleep during the immediate aftermath of the detoxification period.” 

Since I don’t have many social media accounts, and don’t use the ones I have that often, my main objective was to decrease the amount of mindless scrolling that I do on other websites like Pinterest and Reddit. But I was hoping that I would still be able to reap some of those same benefits. 

What I noticed when I gave up mindless scrolling for a day

The first thing that I really noticed was how frequently I used my phone or computer for mindless entertainment. I was regularly catching myself opening a tab or picking up my phone to do something that was not within the jurisdiction of the allowed screen time that I permitted myself. 

Almost immediately, I noticed the impact that removing mindless entertainment had on my productivity levels. By 9:19 a.m., I got started on a non-urgent work task I had been avoiding for days. It wasn’t long before I made the connection that I frequently turn to this kind of screen time in order to procrastinate tasks that I am avoiding and don’t want to complete. 

Once work was over and I didn’t have TV to zone out in front of, I looked around the house and started noticing little spots that needed cleaning: My coffee table was dingy and needed to be wiped down, my plants were starting to make a bit of a mess and that needed vacuuming, and my stovetop needed to be cleaned and polished. I also tidied, swept, and did some other little chores — and by the time I was sitting down for dinner, I was completely exhausted. 

So after dinner, I called my partner, played with my roommate’s dog, and did some laundry. Before I knew it, I was ready to pass out. I couldn’t even believe I had managed to go the entire day without my regular screen time entertainment. 

I didn’t notice a very big change in anxiety levels or improvement in my sleeping patterns — although, if I were to do the experiment for longer than a day, I wonder how it would have impacted these aspects of my daily life. 

I don’t think that mindless entertainment on the computer or phone is inherently harmful. I’ll even admit that I was happy to enjoy some Pinterest scrolling the next morning. But in the days following the experiment, I was much more mindful about how frequently I turned to these vices for procrastination. 

So even if someone has no intention of removing mindless scrolling from their daily habits altogether, I found it useful even just for a single day.

This $15 Amazon Find Makes My Cable-Cluttered Corners A Lot More Organized

This $15 Amazon Find Makes My Cable-Cluttered Corners A Lot More Organized

As someone who still does everything from home — work, exercise, entertain… trust me, the list goes on — I’m no stranger to making the most of a surge protector. An easy, effective way to maximize your outlets without blowing a fuse? There’s no wonder why my fiancé and I have power strips in practically every room of our apartment. But recently, I had a surprising realization: A surge protector might be one of the most functional accessories in my home, but it’s by no means attractive. In fact, it’s kind of an eyesore.

For as long as I can remember, I’d buy those traditional power strips that would sit idle on my floor, dresser, or media center. Practical? Yes. Stylish? Well… not quite. Not only would my power strips of yesteryear hog up some valuable square footage, but they would also make my cables look unkempt. Almost like Medusa’s mane, and I don’t mean that in a glamorous, mythological way. “There must be a better, less cluttered way to stay plugged in,” I thought to myself.

Turns out, there is. A few weeks later, I went to a friend’s apartment when I saw the perfect solution in her bathroom: a surge protector… that’s mounted to your wall. I immediately picked up two from Amazon and am convinced it’s the game-changer my apartment needed.

For such a simple switch, it’s amazing how much of a difference it’s made. Instead of having a power strip awkwardly on my floor — and trying to find a semi-creative way to mask it — this new-and-improved surge protector blends into my wall. And, with six outlets and two USB ports, my wall mount has ample space to power up my phone, the television, our sound bar, and my fiancé’s gaming console.

Of course, a wall-mounted strip is about more than just aesthetics. Now, all outlets rest nicely above the floor, making my cables less taut than they used to be. And, since my cords have more give, I don’t have to worry about my precious office lamp getting hurled off my desk at the slightest movement. (Yes, it’s happened before.)

The only downside? The surge protector I bought from Amazon Basics is currently unavailable, but don’t worry: there are still plenty of options. If you want to stick with Amazon’s signature brand, Amazon Basics has a wall-mounted option with six rotating outlets. (That way, you can pivot you cable in the direction of your device.) Looking to plug in your smartphone? Belkin’s take has over 75,000 reviews, a near-perfect rating, an “Amazon’s Choice” badge, and two USB ports. Or, for the more budget-conscious, Cable Matters has one for less than $10.

Make no mistake, my chaotic cables still have a long way to go. In fact, I’m even looking for the perfect cord ties to keep the Medusa vibes to a minimum. But, if you’re also tired of looking at the same power strip cluttering your floors, this is a great place to start.

Kelsey Mulvey

Contributor

Kelsey Mulvey is a lifestyle editor and writer. She has written for publications like Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Wallpaper.com, New York Magazine, and more.

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