Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Mobile Art by Clare Youngs


Mobile Art by Clare Youngs


I have always loved mobiles!  ;-)


There is something so whimsical and magical about a beautifully designed (and preferably handmade) mobile.

Mobile Art by Clare Youngs contains 35 beautiful (and for the most part, easy to make) mobiles, made in a wide variety of materials including: paper, felted balls, metal, fabrics, wire...(click through to the Amazon page to check out some of the gorgeous interior photos and table of contents too)

I loved most of the designs included, particularly the: 

Cherry Blossom Cheer, Sausage Dogs, Twist and Turn Disks and Origami Swans.

The designs would work in a variety of settings: for children's rooms, in living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms, offices....some perfect for the outdoors too.

Full color photos throughout, clear, easy to follow directions and diagrams too.

I haven't had the time to make any of these yet, but I definitely plan too.

If you love mobiles and enjoy making unique items for your home or gifts, this is definitely a book to check out! ;-)

Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5

Friday, January 29, 2016

Simply Natural Organic Goddess Dressing




This dressing is NOT what I expected but it IS delish! ;-)

Based on the name, I was expecting more of a "green goddess" type dressing, full of chives and parsley, with a bright green color.

But this dressing from Simply Natural has a golden, earthy hue and a fresh but robust flavor, with lots of tahini and spices/herbs in it.

In spite of being an avid foodie and vegetarian cookbook author/instructor, I must admit I'm rather lazy when it comes to making salad dressings. It was so great to finally find a brand that I really like and for so many reasons. 

I really appreciate the organic ingredient list for this product; that is so important when I am buying all kinds of foods now.

A little of this dressing goes a long way; you don't need to pour it on liberally to enjoy the zesty, unique flavor. 

I used it recently with a spinach/lettuce/radicchio mix and it was wonderful. I think it would be great on a veggie wrap too.

The dressing is VERY thick and needs to be shaken well before using.

I also love the Simply Natural Ranch Dressing, that's excellent too.


I've also tried some other products from this company: including their spaghetti sauce (good), and salsa (good).  Also stone-ground mustard and ketchup (both good but I wish they came in a glass bottle instead of plastic). Again, all organic and all reasonably priced. 

I found this salad dressing locally for around $5 CDN and even less when on sale. At that price, it is a bargain too and comparable in $$ to mainstream non-organic dressing brands.

If you love salads topped with a better than average dressing, give this one a try! :-)

Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Lumosity Brain-Training (Update)


I had taken an extended break from Lumosity in the past few years.

 In a nutshell, I had gotten bored with the same games to play and had to push myself to complete my sessions (I was trying for at least 3 a week). 

But I decided to give it another try in 2015 and I'm SO glad I did. :-)

In the past couple of years, they have added lots of new brain-training games. Most of them are really fun and challenging too. 

And now, if you do get a game in your daily session that you don't like, you have the option of picking from 3 others, to replace it. That I also really like!

Each training session only lasts about 15 minutes, so it's not a big commitment of time. 

But it IS  time well spent. :-) No need to feel guilty about playing these games!

 Brain-training can have a significant, positive and long-term effect on how we think, react and age overall. And for people of all ages, young and old. College students apparently make up a big part of Lumosity's membership (and they have MILLIONS of members, worldwide)! 

My scores are not where they were at previously in 2011, but I am making progress. I hope to reach my previous overall score and exceed it. I love a challenge, especially when I know it is something worthwhile I'm aiming for!

Here's my previous review from 2011:

We all know how important it is to keep our bodies in the best condition possible, which includes regular exercise of various kinds. But how often do we consider giving our brain a regular "workout" to keep it functioning at peak performance, throughout our lives? 

I recently took advantage of a 2 week trial offer for "brain training" with Lumosity.com. I was surprised and pleased by what this company has to offer.

Lumosity.com provides a progressive series of brain exercise programs, tailored to each individuals needs and also to provide ongoing challenges to improve. 


From the Lumosity.com site: Improve Your Brain: Lumosity.com has been clinically proven to support brain health. 


Our users report profound results: faster name recall, greater attention to detail, better concentration, and quicker problem-solving skills.

                          
Areas addressed include: speed, attention, memory,problem solving, flexibility. In each specific category, online games/exercises are offered that are not only helpful and challenging  but a lot of fun too. Progress is individually tracked for each member so that you can monitor where you are doing well and also where there is room for improvement.

I thoroughly enjoyed most of the games I've tried so far, especially the Route to Sprout (helps with navigation skills when driving etc...), Bird Watching(for improving peripheral vision) and Lost In Migration (helps with focusing on one specific task at a time) to name but three of dozens of games to choose from. 

What has been really exciting for me is that after only a couple of weeks of training, I have already noted improvement in real life tasks such as: easily remembering names, being more focused when working on a specific project, being able to perform calculations of all kinds quicker and more accurately...it's been significant.

Lumosity  has millions of members from around the world. 

Their easy to navigate and attractive website and simple sign-up process makes it easy to give their program a try, without risk or with no long-term obligations required. 

They also don't swamp your inbox with a lot of emails you don't want. You can choose to have a weekly or daily reminder to "brain train" sent to you if desired. 

And their support team has quickly answered any questions I've had, with a personal email, not a form reply or the ever-popular "q and a" list. (don't you just hate when they offer those by way of reply?)

Two minor negatives about Lumosity. There were ongoing technical issues with one game I tried to play several times: Penguin Pursuit which last I time I checked still seemed to be acting a bit wonky. Also, the Assessment exams offered to also track progress should in my opinion record a member's latest scores and dates of exams taken. But these are minor in comparison to all the positives I have found over at Lumosity.com.

Monthly, yearly and family plan rates available and IMO, all very reasonable. 

Brain training can be fun and rewarding too, thanks to Lumosity.com.
And isn't exercising your brain (not just your body) important too? I think so!

Overall (updated) rating for this site: Excellent. 5 out of 5

(My previous rating in 2011: Very Good. 4 out of 5)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ringo Starr: Icon (CD)


ICON



I got this CD for Joe as a Christmas present, as he's always been a big fan of Ringo. 

I ended up liking the CD just as much as he does. ;-)

I've always been a huge Beatle fan, right from the time in the mid-60's when they first came over from England to the US and captured the hearts of fans everywhere, including me, as a (very) ;-) young child. 

My brothers (all older than me) REALLY got into the groove: wearing Beatle boots (remember those?), sporting the long, shaggy Beatle haircut and lapel-less sport jackets. 

The Twist and Shout (MONO LP and bought for $5 and change at the time!!) played almost endlessly, when we all got home from school. As we danced and sang our way around the house, 'til suppertime. Such happy, groovy memories! 

In those early days, Ringo always seemed like the "joker" of the group, "Mr. Cut-Up", in spite of being a very talented drummer. But he certainly proved in the years to follow that he is also a talented singer, producer and all-around musician. This ICON CD is proof of that, in a big way. 

I love the variety of songs on this CD. Every one is different and unique. 

My particular favs are: Only You, You're Sixteen and Walk With You, but I enjoy them all. 

And just like those Beatle tunes all those years ago, this CD gets me up and grooving around the living room too! ;-)

The sound quality is excellent on this CD. 

And what a great price: currently only $5. at Amazon.ca and $7. at Amazon.com. That is kind of weird, as online Canadian prices are almost always higher than US. But I'm not complaining. 

If you are a fan of the Beatles and in particular Ringo, this is a CD you will definitely want to add to your collection. 


ROCK ON RINGO! :-)


Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.  


Friday, January 15, 2016

Dr. Woods Baby Mild Castile Soap (Bar)

Dr. Woods Naturally Bar Soap Baby Mild Unscented - 5.25 oz

I am really impressed by this bar soap! :-)

  • Excellent ingredient list (almost all organic). And what we use on our skin IS absorbed into the body. It is so important to check those ingredient lists!
  • Generous sized bar (5.25 oz).
  • Triple milled so it doesn't melt down too quickly in the soap dish like so many other natural bar soaps. 
  • Leaves skin clean but it's not drying. 
  • Great price (less than $5 at most stores/sites) especially considering the quality of ingredients and the size of the bar.
  • I use this soap for removing make-up, including mascara and it works fine. Really cleans in spite of it being mild enough for babies.
  • Cruelty-free.
  • Unscented ( I really appreciate that). Ideal for sensitive skin (and noses)! ;-)
  • 100% vegan.
  • Contains NO paraben, phthalates, SLS's, petroleum.
  • Made with Fair Trade ingredients
  • Packed in a simple paper box (no plastic) so it's easy to recycle.

Dr. Woods Baby Mild Castile Soap is my new "go to" soap for facial and body cleansing.

 I've been looking for a really good bar soap for a LONG time and I've finally found one I am happy with, for so many reasons.

Dr. Woods also makes a variety of other products including liquid soaps, skin- lightening soaps, scented bars...you can read more at the company's website.

Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

NeuTab® G7 7 inch GSM 4G Quad Core Tablet (Phablet)





I was not happy with this NeuTab phablet (phablet: a combination tablet with cell phone option) for a number of reasons. It is now on its way back to Amazon.ca for a refund.


I had bought this primarily to use as an ereader and replacement for my Kindle Fire (which I loved but the battery died).

What DON'T I like:

To begin with, the screen on this phablet is quite narrow for reading books on it, not ideal for this purpose.


The booklet that comes with it is basically useless. For eg: they say to insert sim card but no diagram is shown how the sim card compartment is even accessed, on the back of the unit. No photo of the parts of the unit either. I had assumed it was just a slot on the side of the tablet but it is actually enclosed and you need to snap off the plastic cover to get to it. I didn't want to break something trying to do this so I went to YouTube to see how to go about this. I shouldn't have had to do that!

Then, after charging the unit, I tried to adjust the volume for the keyboard, it was set with an annoying "tap, tap..." sound. couldn't find how to adjust that, the sound option only adjusted the volume on the tablet, not the keyboard.

I also tried to find the clear history option, again couldn't find it anywhere. Tried security tab, etc... not there.

I also noted smudges and marks on the back of the unit when it arrived. Not pristine as expected. Perhaps a refurbished unit, not sure about that but it was being sold as "new".

I then tried to get some answers from the NeuTab customer support. 
Now, over a week later still no reply and no option to phone them either.

Not a good start and I am not impressed by this company at all.

If I have to wait and wait... for an email for support, I know it's not a company I want to interact with, right from the get-go. That is where Amazon usually leads by a mile. If only they would get those Fire tablets back at Amazon.ca!


Overall rating for this product: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months by John Locke




As an indie author, I have read a LOT of kindle marketing books. 
Some good, some so-so and some, just plain bad


John Locke's: How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months falls into the GOOD category and for a number of reasons.

First of all, this is an author who really can show that his ideas DO work, not some "pie in the sky" suggestions from someone who has never achieved any success with their own books. 

Locke has definitely done well, going from selling only a few books each month, to thousands and then into the millions on Amazon! And he shares his own success story in a personable and entertaining way.

He also shares not only what worked for him but also what didn't, I appreciated that.
There is only so much time in a day and as a writer, I want to focus on writing and also on marketing strategies that have been proven as worthy of my time. Again, his own background as a very successful author of numerous kindle books gives credibility to his many tips and marketing strategies.

Mr. Locke also mentions (repeatedly) how important his readers and fans are to him and says that he answers all emails personally. He also seemed to sincerely mean that. So I wrote to him after completing the book. I'm still waiting on a reply, but hopefully he will deliver on that promise. :-)

As for the reviews he is suppose to have paid for (as some Amazon reviewers have mentioned) obviously this is not something I agree with or condone. But would that actually account for the kind of phenomenal success that he has achieved as an author? To some small extent perhaps, but it is definitely not the whole story. Whether he is a completely ethical person or not, the fact remains, he does know what works and what doesn't when it comes to book marketing. And he provides a lot more in this book than what most other successful authors/marketers have to share.

One small negative, the formatting of this eBook is not the best. The paragraphs on many pages run together with not even a little space between them. Doesn't add to the presentation and yes, I do think that is important too. A small point though in comparison to the quality content of this eBook.

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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Holiday Greetings from Me and Mr. Cheddar! :-)

mr cheddar and me skating

We are busy promoting Cheddie's new eBook right now so will be taking a break from blogging until the New Year.

We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas and a Furrbulous New Year ;-)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Andalou Naturals Sunflower & Citrus Styling Gel

Andalou Naturals Sunflower & Citrus Medium Hold Styling Gel - 6.8 oz

This is the best hair gel I've tried to date! :-)

A superior ingredient list, reasonably priced and it really works with thick unruly hair, like I have. 

You can read my full review here.

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

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Holiday Poem AND My Gift Suggestion List For 2015 (10 Under $20) :-)

The
first of
December
brought thoughts
of Christmas magic.
The Day, so soon to arrive.
Our expectations ran high.
Through snow days and blizzards.
Making a list and checking it twice.
Santa’s letter printed and ready to mail.
Christmas baking: heady, wonderful aromas.
Pageants at school, with costumes of many colors.
The tall lush evergreen, centerpiece of the season.
We decorated so carefully; each bough lovingly adorned.
With some old, some new, every one used and none forgotten.
The long days of dark December. Finally, homework complete.
Sitting in the darkened living room; time alone to drift away.
Marvelling at the masterpiece of lights and shining ornaments.
Gazing far beyond to the bliss to follow. Hurry, hurry, hurry!
Christmas eve: midnight mass and carolling.Treats aplenty!
Then the long awaited, special treasures.
The secrets of shining boxes and ribbons.
Finally revealed and always worth the wait.
Off to sleep, to dream of a perfect snowy Christmas Day.
Now content, to still remember these childhood memories.
On
this
November day.

**CLICK TO READ THE REST OF THE POST HERE**

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND SHOPPING!


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Badger Sleep Balm

Badger Sleep Balm 2 oz Tin - Lavender and Bergamot

This stuff really works! :-)


If you have trouble getting (or staying) asleep (like I often do) you can read my full review here.

Sweet Dreams! 

Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

TCM: Hitchcock Thrillers

Tcm Greatest Classic Films Hitchcock Thr

This truly is: "Hitch" at his finest! :-)

I LOVED 3 of these movies, :-) the 4th one, not much :-(

You can read my full review here.

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Body at Bunco (Myrtle Clover cozy mystery series, book 8 )







When I noted this cozy mystery by Elizabeth Spann Craig (click to visit her site/blog) at Amazon recently, it was the word "bunco" in the title that caught my attention first.  

Many years ago, my mom hosted bunco parties. 
At that time, I was a little girl, sneaking out of bed to see what was going on with all these ladies moving around our living room and porch, the tables, the treats...what a nice memory it brought to mind. :-)

And In case you haven't heard of BUNCO, it's a dice party game that is apparently still quite popular now.


A Body at Bunco was a real treat and Myrtle Clover is my kind of main character.

 Myrtle is spunky, sassy, opinionated (in a good way) and lives life on her own terms. 

And In spite of being in her 80s, she is not portrayed as some achy, whining older woman (which has all too often been the case in other books I've read), who is past doing anything constructive or exciting, Myrtle is still living life full-tilt and making the most of every day! ;-)

The story has LOTS of twists and turns and red herrings left along the way. Had me guessing who the real killer(s) was too, I like that. I don't like stories with obvious finales almost right from the start, that are too obvious.

Another plus with this series, the stories can be read in any order. Too often books in a series don't make sense, unless they are read in order from book 1...I appreciate that. 


I will definitely be reading more from the Myrtle Clover series! :-) Just delightful.  


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