Friday, April 28, 2017

A Haiku and French Lesson Update :-)



As you may remember from this previous post about the latest book/eBook I am currently working on, I was trying to decide what color and photo to go with for Haiku Reflections III. 

                                                                                         
The pink cover above is what I ended up choosing instead of this one:




What do you think?
                                                                           

The print book is now in review at CreateSpace and I am also working on the Kindle version, which will also have additional interior photos, for each season. 

I'll post a link when available at Amazon! 


It has been such fun creating a new book and I look forward to completing this project in the next few days. 😊




Onto another topic, you might also remember this post about my wish to learn French and my experience to date with Duolingo software.

I'm still motivated to continue with my French language pursuits but not with Duolingo.  It ended falling well short of my expectations, after working with this software for several weeks. Too many errors in translations, silly sentences that didn't make a lot of sense and certainly didn't help with learning....and several other issues. 

But free is free so I won't complain too much. Suffice to say, it was time to move on and find other methods to continue with my French studies.

I'm working through a couple of French learning books right now which I'm quite impressed with so far (see below).



       
The Everything French Grammar Book: All the Rules You Need to Master FranΓ§ais (Everything®) by [Lawless, Laura K]


I am also checking out Benny Lewis' language site.

His own record of being able to speak over 10 languages fluently and with thousands of happy fans/students worldwide is impressive. 

We shall see! Best of all, my desire to learn French hasn't waned through all this and I think that's the most important thing when it comes to learning anything new.

Hope you have a lovely weekend and week! 😊

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yogi Lemon Detox Tea

Yogi Lemon DeTox Tea



I'm not a big fan of herbal teas but I DO like to use some type of detox product, when spring arrives. Spring cleaning for the body,not just the home LOL!

I happen to find this:  Yogi Lemon Detox tea online recently and decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did!πŸ˜€

To begin with, it tastes GREAT


Really hard to compare the taste with other herbal teas I've tried. Kind of a lemony-cinnamon flavor that really blends well together. 

There are so many herbal teas I've tried over the years, especially those for detoxification that tasted so BAD. Not the case with this one. 

Made with 71% organic ingredients and priced right at about $7 for 16 tea bags.

Here's a list of the ingredients in each tea bag:


Medicinal ingredients: Each tea bag (1.81g) contains:

Sarsaparilla Root (Smilax officinalis) 307mg, Organic Lemongrass Whole Plant (Cymbopogon citratus) 263mg, Organic Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) 173mg, Organic Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) 160mg, Organic Figwort Herb Top (Scrophularia nodosa) 160mg, Organic Ginger Rhizome (Zingiber officinale) 160mg, Organic Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum verum) 156mg, Organic Lemon Peel (Citrus limon) 96mg, Organic Peppermint Leaf (Mentha x piperita) 45mg, Juniper Fruit 4:1 Extract (Juniperus communis) 17mg.

********

I've never even heard of Figwort (love that name πŸ˜€) before but apparently it is a mild laxative and diuretic.

The only cautions listed for this tea were not to use if pregnant, breast feeding or if you have heart disease. Pretty basic cautions and a lot less than many other detox products I've tried and/or checked out.

I appreciated that this tea didn't cause me any cramping or tummy upsets, as can be the case with a lot of similar products, especially with laxative properties. No side effects at all which I really appreciate.

I bought mine at Well.ca but they only ship to Canadian addresses. I'm guessing though that this tea is probably widely available at health food stores and natural food sections in the US. 

If you've been looking for a milder option for a detox program, you might want to check this product out. I plan to be using it for a long time to come (although it is suppose to be for occasional use, not daily).

Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5

Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter and a Mr. Cheddar Treat! :-)




"Easter Cheddie" Wishes You a Very Happy Easter! 

We hope you have a happy and healthy weekend. πŸ˜€


It's beautiful and sunny here on Vancouver Island so I am looking forward to getting out for lots of outdoor time, after plenty of rain recently.
                         
As for the Mr. Cheddar Easter Treat....



Will be available as a FREE Kindle download at Amazon, this Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th.

Here's what readers/reviewers have been saying about Mr. Cheddar's eBook:


"This insightful, witty, and entertaining collection of cat wisdom is enlightening and fun to read. In addition, I enjoyed the wonderful photographs of Mr. Cheddar."

πŸ’›πŸ’›

"It's a fun book to read for someone who enjoys animals and enjoys musings about what they're thinking. I adored the matching of the captions with the images."

πŸ’›πŸ’›

"But most of all, it is a warm fuzzy joy of a book that would make great gifts for people of the feline loving bent. A true pleasure of a book from a lady with many talents! "

πŸ’›πŸ’›

"I enjoyed this sweet book featuring kibble bits of wisdom from this sweet faced and handsome big orange cat. I would recommend it to anyone with a love of cats and inspiration."

πŸ’›πŸ’›

Happy Reading and Happy Easter!!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Film Noir (Must Have) DVD Collection



I’ve been a fan of “film noir” movies (click to read more, if you are not familiar with that movie genre) since I was a kid. Not that I knew what movies in this genre were actually called back then, LOL!
 Loved the mysterious atmosphere that these movies portrayed:

 The night scenes, the danger, the spine-tingling suspense, the romance, the glamour, wonderful 40s clothing and music, the bad guys, the bad girls…what’s not to ♥, right? πŸ˜‰ 
I happened to find this Film Noir Collection: two DVD set over at Amazon for less than $10!!!
And that is for all 10 of these Film Noir classics:
DOA
BEAT THE DEVIL
IMPACT
THE STRANGER
SCARLET STREET
SHOCK
PORT OF NEW YORK
THEY MADE ME A CRIMINAL
WHIRLPOOL
QUICKSAND
***
As for quality, excellent picture and sound, considering the age of the original films these were reproduced from, all from the 40’s.
Only one thing that might be a negative for some viewers, this is a full-screen version not widescreen. For me though, it was fine, as we have an older TV and the full screen versions for movies are actually better.
This would also make a great gift for any “film noir” fans on your list. 
The DVDs are packaged in a black metal tin, instead of the usual plastic DVD case. Add a red ribbon tied around it and you’d be good to go! πŸ˜‰
If you are a film noir fan like I am or know someone who is, this is a must have collection! 

Happy Week and Viewing


Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5. 


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Your Opinion Please! :-)




After recently reaching the Number 1 spot  click to read more on the Asian and Haiku poetry paid list at Amazon.ca, (woohoo!) πŸ˜‰I have now decided to create another book/eBook in the Haiku Reflections series. 

The print cover above (click to enlarge cover) is what I have worked out so far. 


I wanted something with a wintery theme and also, a cover that would be in keeping with the previous two books/eBooks in this series:




What do you think?


 I was going for an icy, cool, wintery look with the new one, so that it would be a good contrast from the two previous volumes.

 I tried several colors for the background and also the text color and overall, this seemed to work best. 

I am open to suggestions though and have not submitted the cover for publication yet.

 I DID try black for the text color and also pure white, but neither of them seemed quite right. The text above is a lighter blue, in keeping with the cover color. 

I look forward to your suggestions and feedback!

The  only thing that I DON'T want to change is the cover photo. I like this one from my files, a lot. 

But I am open to ideas re: the color of the background and also the text. 
It is a template I am working with, so I can only adjust it so much, if I want to stay with this theme.

Thank you in advance for your input! It is appreciated.

When I created the other volumes in this series, I had lots of feedback from readers beforehand and it was really helpful. 😊

Have a Super Week and Happy Creating! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

A "Crafty Mojo" Post !











I have always loved creating handmade items. πŸ˜Š


Crafting in a variety of mediums has been a part of my life since I was in the single digits, age-wise LOL.

Knitting, painting, jewelry, sewing, embroidery,  eco-crafts....the list goes on and on.




My dear mom, Helen was a very talented seamstress and painter and I think a lot of my creative abilities and interest are thanks to her.
                                                                                                       
We spent many a long day together, creating beautiful things over the years, especially when I was writing a weekly craft column for over 5 years, in one of Canada's major newspapers, The Regina Leader Post. Such good memories that still bring a smile to my face, thinking about those precious hours spent together, creating something unique and beautiful.
                                                                                                                 
With crafts and hobbies on my mind, I thought you might enjoy checking out a few of the craft and hobby books/products/ sites that I have shared here, over the years at My Real Life Reviews. 
                                                                                  
Hopefully, one or more of these will inspire you to create something new and special, in the days ahead. We all need a boost at times to get our "crafty mojo" back. I know I do!
                                                                                     
Right now, I am happily working on my new haiku book but also hope to get back to another knit project, before the end of this week.
                                                                                           

What are you working on right now? 

What is your favorite craft(s)?

                                                                                                              
I have so many fav crafts and hobbies, I wouldn't know how to begin to answer that question!😊

Here goes:


Crafting with Cat Hair (a fun craft book and lots of Mr. Cheddar photos too!)
                                                                       


Homemade (a unique and extensive craft book, filled with all kinds of beautiful ideas)
                                                                                                  



One Yard Wonders (a fun book and sew kit, with all kinds of 1 yard or less, sewing ideas)
                                                                                                             


Knitting Warehouse (my fav online shop for knit and many other types of craft needs)
                                                                         





Lion Brand Recycled Cotton Yarn (one of my fav summer cotton yarns)
                                                    



Down & Dirty (gardening is apparently, the most popular hobby in the world!


Happy Crafting and Creating!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

If You Love Sauerkraut (or Not!) Check Out This Review/Recipe Post





                                              

I got to thinking about this previous post and review, while shopping for groceries yesterday. 

I am a big fan of sauerkraut and decided to make this yummy main dish recipe again today, that features sauerkraut, is made in the slow cooker (my fav small kitchen appliance) and is oh so easy to prepare. 

And Bubbies is the BEST sauerkraut I have enjoyed to date. It is definitely worth looking for this brand. 

If you   sauerkraut (like I do) or even if you don't (yet!!) if you have a slow cooker and are looking for some new ideas for main dish entrees, you might enjoy giving this recipe a try. 

I know from comments and feedback I've received about this German Sauerkraut Feast, that this IS a recipe that can change peoples' minds about all things sauerkraut, even if they hated this "cabbage wonder" previously!  :-)


Have a Great Week and Happy Cooking!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

An Exciting Amazon.ca Screenshot to Share! :-)

                                                                            

❤ This page, at Amazon.ca (this morning) really made me smile!! 

                             
                                                                                                

That is one of my eBooks: Haiku Reflections I, in the Number 1 spot for Japanese Poetry and Haiku, on the paid list!

I have had several of my eBooks show up on Top 100 lists over the years, but NEVER in the number one spot, on any paid list.

 I am honored and encouraged by this.


 I've actually been thinking about writing another haiku eBook (I have two in this series to date) and this has given me a gentle push to get started on that book project.


Haiku is one of my favorite poetry forms. I love the simplicity but at the same time, complexity that is part of creating a memorable haiku poem. 


If you are not familiar with this poetry form, you can read more about it at one of most popular  and respected haiku sites :


Haiku Journal

                                                                                           

And, if you'd like to check out my Haiku Reflection series, you can find the two eBooks (with seasonal photos) at these links:






and


I probably won't stay at the top of that list for long (these lists change every hour) but I'm sure glad I happened to check out that particular book today, at the right time! 😁


Have a super week!!!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Rescue Remedy (pastilles and also, pet formula)





Rescue Remedy Pastilles


I am amazed how well Rescue Remedy products work!

                                                                                                       
I have used the liquid Rescue Remedy many times in the past, but these "candies" are much more convenient.

The best test I've given them to date: facing several mornings in the dentist chair. It still wasn't fun or painless but I was a LOT calmer than usual. πŸ˜„ 

For me, the best time to take these is about an hour before expecting to need them. The effect lasts about 5-6 hours usually. A nice calm, relaxed feeling that is hard to describe but unmistakably there. Not like taking drugs, ie: Valium or similar relaxants, and a lot safer too as they are completely natural and drug-free.

These pastilles come in several flavors, the Black Current is my favorite.

The ingredient list is good but they do contain sorbitol as a sweetener. It would be nice to see an even better choice for sweetener (fruit juice?) but not a big concern for me, in this small amount. 



Mr. Cheddar also uses Rescue Remedy in liquid form, a type that is specifically formulated for pets. 

And that to me is another real "test" of the efficiency of these products. 

Mr. Cheddar is MUCH calmer, when travelling etc, after a few drops of Rescue Remedy, which I put on some treats and he happily gobbles up. 




We were really concerned about how he would fare on planes, ferries etc, with our recent travels, but he did great. I am so grateful to have had RR to help. He does tend to be quite a "nervous Nelly" when it comes to loud noises, etc...and as we all know, airports. large ferries and planes are certainly all in that category!!

I don't know how homeopathic remedies work but based on my experience with Rescue Remedy products, I'm a believer! πŸ˜€ 

You can read a lot more about all types of Rescue Remedy including more testimonials, at the Rescue Remedy site. Their customer service staff were most helpful when I had questions about using RR for Mr. Cheddar, I appreciate that too. 

Overall rating for these products: Very Good. 4 out of 5

Monday, January 30, 2017

duoLingo (free language software)


UPDATE AS OF APRIL 28, 2017:


After using duoLingo for a couple of months on an almost daily basis, I am downgrading my rating to 1 star.

It leaves a LOT to be desired when you use it regularly, at least in terms of the French lessons provided.

 Initially, both Joe and I loved duoLingo. But it is painfully obvious that it is strictly a volunteer-based program that relies their (probably untested) skills in the language they are teaching there.

We found too many mistakes in translations, too many 'weird" sentences that made no sense, too many times we were penalized when we actually had a correct answer and it wasn't recorded correctly in our stats, slowing our progress to a crawl.

 For example, I went through one module recently, had 1 LETTER incorrect for the whole lesson, and the next day, this module once again showed up as requiring a review!!! Come on.....

Too bad, but it was time to look for other options.

 I still am very pumped to learn French but I don't want to be wasting time in the process.

**************************************************

Here is my previous review 4 star rating, about this software:

I have wanted to get back to learning French for a long time and recently decided to actually do something about it. ;-)

I started by checking out a few kindle books that promised a lot but did not actually deliver much, after browsing carefully through these books. I also knew it would be a LOT easier if I could actually hear the pronunciations of words as I progressed, not just to focus on writing the language, which is a rather limited way to learn any language, including French.

Then I started looking at language software available online and found:


And after less than 10 days of using this language software, I can happily share that it's been a great experience to date! And according to the duoLingo site my progress as of yesterday has been that I am already 18% fluent in French. :-) I think that's stretching it a bit, but it still is encouraging.  

Except for a smattering of French that I remember from high school and some  lessons with my first mother-in-law who was oh, so French (born in Quebec), I don't know much about the language at all. But determined I am, to learn how to speak and write French at a fairly good level, by the time I complete my studies. 


So, what do I like about duoLingo? 


Well, first of all there's the price, it is totally FREE!!! 

I haven't found any other language software that offers what they do, without a price tag attached.

And there are no add-ons, pop-ups or annoying emails day after day, with this service either. You CAN sign up for a reminder email each day or week, but it's not mandatory. They let you decide.

The lessons progress in an easy to follow way. Starting with some basic words and phrases and building on each module as you progress. There are also some mini reviews to help you retain what you've just learned, if you decide to use them after a particular lesson of the day.

I've been averaging a couple of lessons each day along with a review and it seems like the right amount of material to cover, without totally forgetting it all, before the next time I study! No point if the retention isn't there, right??

This site also offers many other languages, and again all for free. Spanish has the most number of students right now, with French being second. I noted German, Esperanto, Russian, Portuguese and many more. There are also quite a few languages that are being considered for addition to their site.

About the only thing I don't like about the course is that it is not always able to hear the pronunciations of the words, at a slower rate. They only have that feature on limited numbers of pages in each lesson. For me, it is SO helpful to be able to hear the pronunciation of each word, slowly and in a more pronounced way, to begin with. That is something I would like to see changed. 

But overall, I am just loving this new learning experience. I am already looking forward to trying another language, when I complete the French course, I'm thinking Spanish or German next! ;-)

If you've been considering learning a new language, are heading to foreign country for a trip soon, or just need a refresher on a language you already know, give duoLingo a try. I think you'll be glad you did!


Updated rating as of April 28, 2017: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Down & Dirty by Ellen Zachos (a gardening book!)





Down and Dirty by Ellen Zachos

                                                                                                                                      
With gardening season just around the corner, this wonderful book by talented author and gardener: Ellen Zachos, came to mind today. 

I am definitely a novice gardener, but I   the idea of being a lot more skilled at this oh so popular hobby.

Yes, I've had my patches of potatoes, the occasional perfect tomato, some pretty flower beds... over the years.  But as for a true "green thumb" mine definitely ain't!! 

 This particular gardening book appealed to me so much. Not just because it is so visually beautiful but mainly due to it giving the "gardening challenged" like me, the hope of actually creating a beautiful and unique garden. All of the numerous garden theme projects in this book provide a welcome creative challenge; but most of all, look like lots of fun too.

You can read my full book review here that I wrote a few years ago. 

No matter what kind of gardener you are, novice, expert or somewhere in between, I think you will   this book!!! 





PS: I noted this collage in my photo archives when I was putting together this post. One that I created a few years ago. Thought it went well with the theme of this post too.

Spring flowers can't be too far away,  now that we are on Vancouver Island.  The spring season comes even earlier here, compared to other parts of BC. ;-)



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Happy New Year! 2017



It's almost here!!!


Another year has flown by and for me, it is hard to believe that the New Year will ring in 2017. I remember when the year 2000 was so, so far away. 

Something to do with the clocks speeding up, after we hit 40 I think! ;-)

 I hope to get back to more posting and visiting my many favorite blogs, in the New Year. It's been hard to keep up with my blogging, with all the travelling we've been doing. But hopefully, will have more time for all my online pursuits soon. 

I wish all my readers and blog pals the best year ever. 

May 2017 be filled with new adventures, opportunities, wonder, magic and all the good things. A time to look ahead with optimism and renewed hope. In a world that often seems crazy and without any goodness left, it is so easy to forget about all the good things and people that are out there too.

Happy, Healthy 2017!!! 

And Many Hugs Too. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas Miracles



Christmas Miracles


There are some amazing and memorable stories in this eBook/book Christmas collection.

Inspiring, touching and heart-warming and not just for Christmas-time reading either. 

These are the kinds of stories/experiences that will uplift and inspire readers all year long, particularly those who may be struggling with a serious illness or family issues.

I was moved to tears at times, reading these stories. Many others brought a smile to my face and a feeling of gratitude for having been able to share them.

The only thing that would have added to this collection, would have been color photos to begin each chapter, instead of the rather bland black and white snow scene that was used throughout this eBook. That would have added to the presentation overall. As far as the stories though, first rate!

In a time when the world often seems to have gone mad (I've been watching the news a bit more lately :-( ) I think it is so important to remind ourselves that the world IS still filled with good people and wonders of all kinds, including true miracles. 

I have personally witnessed Christmas miracles (big and small), over the years. 

What about you? 

This is the season that should bring out the best in all of us, including extending a helping hand, not just to those we know, but to strangers too.

We can build a better world with optimism and hope through our actions and words. Sometimes even a smile can make such a big difference in someone's day. 


I wish you all, a season of happiness, hope, new beginnings and miracles too.

 And if you need a little inspiration to get started, give this eBook/book a try. ☺ 

❤  Happy Holidays! ❤


Overall rating for this eBook: Very Good. 4 out of 5
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