Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013 Holiday Greetings and Thank You!

It's been a pleasure hosting My Real Life Reviews for it's third year.
My sincere thanks to all my readers and friends.
 I truly appreciate your visits, feedback, comments, suggestions, emails.
And your affiliate link purchases made from here too (they do add up, slowly but surely!) ;<)
Special thanks to the many individuals and companies that have supplied wonderful prizes, product samples and gifts throughout this past year. It's been a pleasure corresponding with all of you. 
Your generosity and positive feedback, has meant so much. 
2013 has been a very productive year for me. I hope it was for you too. ;<)
I was able to complete and publish several book projects, some that I had had "in the works" for a long time.
Now, I am gearing up for 2014, including three new book projects.
And of course, more reviews and some new contests too, here at My Real Life Reviews.
I'm going to be taking a short break at all my blogs, very soon.
I'm guessing it's going to be kind of quiet around the blogs, in the next 2-3 weeks.

So for now... I wish you all: a safe, happy and magical holiday season! :<)

And thanks to Flickr for the original photo.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

First Sight by Danielle Steel

I was a fan of Danielle Steel's novels, about 20 years ago.
A good friend of mine at the time, got me "hooked" on her books and I read more than 20 of them during the next few years. But for reasons unknown, I gradually stopped reading her new releases and moved on to other authors.

I noted the book cover for First Sight by Danielle Steel a novel published this past summer, while I was doing a recent browse at the Kindle store and thought I'd give this author another try.
I'm a sucker for great book covers (aren't we all) and this one certainly is. 
And I was curious to see if I would enjoy one of this author's more recent books, as much as I had her earlier novels.

So, I got a copy from our local library and settled in for what I hoped would be a satisfying escape from the dreary grey afternoon that we had that day.
Well, as they say: you can't always tell a book by it's cover.
And in this case, it was all downhill after turning that first page.

Wow, what's happened to Danielle Steel's writing?
I got as far as Chapter 2 and that was it for me.

I remember her books from years ago as: easy, entertaining stories with believable characters, often exotic settings and travel. And with dialogue and narration that flowed smoothly.
This story was, in a word:

Oh (spare me!!!) the details, repeated over and over and over....

Yes, I got it (the first time):
-the protaganist: Timmie is a good but not flashy dresser.
-yes, Timmie is a good employer and her staff love her.
And yes...
- Timmie has had a series of bad relationships with toy-boys hanging on to her coattails for whatever they can get.
And stop talking incessantly about wearing a real fur jacket and carrying an alligator handbag Ms. Steel. It's no longer considered to be in good taste or chic and by a lot of people, to be wearing animals; haven't you heard?

Boring, pretentious and just plain bad.

Now, I HAVE read my last Danielle Steel novel, that I am sure of.
And yes, I'm so glad it was a copy from the library. 
Overall rating for this book: BAD. 0 out of 5

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Crochet Done In a Day! by Tara Cousins

I've always loved giving (and receiving!) handmade gifts. :<)
There's something so special about a present that someone took the time to make, in whatever type of craft it was created.
I recently found this short but worthwhile holiday crochet book over at Amazon:
You can read my full review here, that I just posted at Veggies, Yarns & Tails.
If you love to crochet and would like to make some handmade crochet gifts for Christmas (or for your own home!) there's still time. These are all definitely doable in a day or two.

Happy Hooking and Holidays! :<)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

20 Gift Ideas Under $20 for Christmas 2013!

20 Gift Ideas Under $20 for Christmas 2013
Wow, Christmas is less than a month away!
Did 2013 zoom by or is it just me? I can't believe it's almost 2014.
But before the new year begins, Christmas is on the horizon with all the goodies this season brings, including fun to give and to receive gifts! 
I thought it would be fun to share another 20 gift ideas this year, including some of my new and past favs. And all under $20. 
 I've included some products and books previously reviewed here at My Real Life Reviews and some new favs from the recent past.

Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping! :<)

As an avid reader, I don't think there's any better gift to give or to receive than a new book or ebook. A gift that can be enjoyed for years to come.
Here are some of my recent and past book favs and all under $20:
lace one skein wonders
crochet one skein
only $2.51 for the eBook version

only $2.91 for the eBook version

The print versions for both of these books are both under $20.

I've been a fan of the "One Skein Wonders" book series for a long time.

These two are new to me and I am loving the patterns in both of them. And what a great buy they both are right now.

Here's a gift idea for any knitter on your list:

Cast On, Bind Off

by Leslie Ann Bestor.
I must admit, I've been one of those "lazy" knitters who use the same bind-off and cast off techniques for most of my knit projects, year after year. But after getting this book, I've been expanding on my finishing techniques, thanks to the easy to understand instructions and photos (not hard- to- fathom diagrams, love it) provided in this knitting reference book.

Spiral bound so it stays flat at the page you're using too, I like that too.

As it says on the cover: this book really does provide: the perfect start and finish for every knitting project.
Speaking of craft books, here's one endorsed by the oh, so fabulous Mr. Cheddar:

Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya. 
A book to consider for all the cat-lovers on your list.

The easy-to-make crafts in this book are definitely doable by crafters and wannabe crafters alike, including some that would be fun for kids to make too (with adult supervision).  
How's this for a visual endorsement for collecting cat-fur from grooming sessions!
Read Cheddies' full review of this fun book. 

I'm a big fan of John Grisham's work and The Litigators continues to be my favorite of all his novels that I've read to date.

You can read my full review here.

What did I like about this book? In a nutshell: everything!

Entertaining from the first page to the last. Characters that literally "jump off the page" with their authenticity. And lots of (unexpected)laughs too, not the norm in most of Grisham's novels.

This is a real "page-turner" that I read in two days and that would have been even less time, if I hadn't had other things I had to do.

Grisham fan or not, this is definitely a novel to consider for the book lover's on your list.


 And now for a bit of "shameless" self-promotion. ;<)

My new haiku book: Haiku Reflections II  is now available in print and Kindle versions.

If you enjoy haiku poetry and/or know someone who does, I hope you'll check out this newest addition to the Haiku Reflections series.

PS: I don't know why the cover is showing up here as a bright lime green, it's actually a very pretty soft, spring green.

 If you click through to Amazon you'll see what it actually looks like. ;<) Blogger...what gives? 

For the cooks and wannabe cooks on your list:

The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker

is available in both ebook and print versions.

Click to enjoy sample recipes for Moroccan Vegetable Stew with Fragrant Orange Basmati Rice from The Groovy Green Kitchen.
On the supper menu here today! ;<)

I love using a slow cooker for all kinds of recipes. A great way to save time and bring out all the flavors in recipes. And at this time of year, saving time is even more important. .

You can check out all my books and ebooks at my Amazon author's page.


There are so many people forgoing gluten-containing products these days, for health reasons.

I don't have any problems with actual gluten-intolerance but I do think it's a very good idea to cut back on gluten-containing foods, for everyone.

One of the books that I've found so helpful in this regard is:

The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson

 (click to read my review to enjoy a fabulous and personal fav, grain-salad recipe from this book).

There are a lot of gluten-free cookbooks out there that fall well short of delivering on their promises for delicious, gluten-free recipes. Happily, not the case here. This is a cookbook that delivers!

If you are shopping with gluten-free and healthy in mind this holiday season, make sure to check this one out.


The Pickled Pantry by Andrea Chesman is a not only a treasure-trove of recipe ideas for all kinds of pickles, relishes, chutneys and preserves, it also provides a recipe section including main dishes,  salads and dressings of all kinds, incorporating some of the preserve recipes from the book.
For anyone who has been intimidated by the thought of making homemade pickles and preserves, this might be the cookbook to change their (or your) mind!

Another gift idea for the foodies on your list.
The Spice House is my new "go-to" online shop, for all my dried herbs and spices, including their fabulous blends. Using quality herbs and spices can make a real difference in how a recipe turns out. I know! ;<)

Superior products with great selection, reasonable prices and exceptional service.

They have lots of beautiful gift ideas too.
And for a limited time, for Canadian shoppers, The Spice House is offering a shipping promo discount. Use the code CANADA at checkout for 15% off your order.
Here's my previous full review of The Spice House. 

After giving those cookbooks a "workout" ;<) here are some easy ways to get and stay fit!

I am loving the: Jane Fonda Prime Time fitness DVD series!

 Here's my complete review for Fit & Strong.  

This DVD helped me to transition back into working out on a regular basis, when I had lapsed (big time) in that area.
Jane Fonda, now in her mid- 70's (amazing, but true, she looks fantastic) continues to inspire people, including me, to get up off the couch and just do it. No matter what age you are or what your present fitness level is.

Jane Fonda: Prime Time - Walkout

I also purchased the Jane Fonda Walkout another DVD in this series and use it on a regular basis. This DVD features 2 aerobic workouts, each providing the equivalent of walking 1 mile. Again, a great way for anyone to ease back into a regular exercise program.

 Jane is so personable, encouraging and inspiring. I look forward to my exercise time these days and rarely skip. Not something that's always been the norm in the past. A wonderful gift idea too for anyone who is trying to shed their "couch potato" persona and get moving again!
Both of these DVDs are priced at less than $5. at Amazon now! What a great bargain.

The Happy Face Yoga DVD has been a very popular review, here at My Real Life Reviews. 
Most of us work at keeping fit from the neck down, but often give up on fighting the battle of the sags and bags, from the neck up.
After trying Happy Face Yoga, I'm a believer in this facial exercise regime, it worked for me! In only a few weeks time, I saw significant improvement in my neck and chin areas in particular:
Before Happy Face Yoga
this photo btw, is from 2 years ago

and after!
photo taken in late August of this year
Read my full review, including a link to order the DVD here.

A unique gift idea that will definitely give the recipient a special lift! ;<)

Mr. Cheddar is back with another gift suggestion, this one for the cats and d-o-g-s too!

Mr. Cheddar is a big fan of Zuke's treats, he reviewed their Hip Action Natural Cat Treats a while back and continues to enjoy them (a lot!) on a regular basis.
Available in a variety of types, flavours and purrfect for adding to your fav feline or canine's stocking this Christmas.


And speaking of stocking stuffers here are some of my new and old favs in that gift category:
What would any holiday be without plenty of good chocolate?
 I recently found out about Theo (organic and fair trade) chocolate bars and now I'm hooked. They are so delish. Silky smooth texture, unique ingredient blends, I even love the wrappers. Stack a few of these together and tie with a ribbon and you've got a lovely little gift!
I've tried the: Nutcracker Brittle, Gingerbread Spice and Coconut Mint so far and there's a Peppermint one in the fridge that's calling me right now. Hard to ignore!!! ;<)
Made in Seattle which I think is pretty cool too, by some of our talented neighbours to the South.
If you like superior chocolate and want it to be organic and fair trade too (don't we all?)  plan to stock up on these yummy treats for yourself and for gifts
 Stop by their website to see all their products.
Wow, that's my kind of sweet shop!
I'm not usually a fan of herbal-type teas but Four O'clock Teas are changing my mind about these kinds of beverages and in a big way.

I just love having a cuppa of Four O'clock Tea, after a long session on the computer or coming in from the cold. Wonderful, flavorful and oh, so soothing too.
 I've tried the Licorice Spice and Chocolate Spice (organic and fair trade) flavors so far and I just love them.
Stop by their website to see all their fine products, including their holiday-blend teas.

 Only in Canada from what I read but hopefully they will be expanding their distribution, at least to include the U.S. This is a superior product!

I've been a big fan of Caf-Lib Organic Grain Beverage for a long time (click to read my complete review). In the past year, I've kicked the regular (caffeine) coffee habit completely and am enjoying Caf-Lib Organic on an even more frequent basis.

I've tried a lot of coffee substitutes over the years and this product (click to visit their website) is by far the best.

Great taste, no caffeine and organic too! Love it. Would make a great stocking stuffer or gift basket addition, for anyone trying to kick the coffee habit or as a delish coffee alternative.


I reviewed the Seven Year Pen, after receiving one as a gift (mine's the pretty mauve one with the feather). I'm happy to report that after using mine of a fairly regular basis for the past 2 years, it's still working fine.

 I think this is one of the coolest little gifts for yourself or someone else, that $$ can buy. And for less than $10 too!

Considering the millions and millions of pens that are discarded each year, this is definitely an easy way of putting a personal dent in that particular "waste pile"!



 I've tried a lot of foot lotions, creams and rubs over the years and Badger Foot Balm is definitely at the top of my favs on that list.

Who doesn't need more TLC for their overworked and under- appreciated footsies?

I love the attractive tin that this natural product comes in too, great for gifting! Nice for sharing too, with someone you love.

For the full scoop on this soothing, foot pampering product, read my review: Badger Foot Balm.

There's something so special about getting a foot rub, isn't there?
Just don't forget to return the favor! ;<)


Another product that has become one of my personal, must-have favorites.

Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel (click for full review) .

Natural hair gel/styling products are few and far between, when it comes to those that truly do "walk the talk" and deliver with ingredients that (I'll say it again!) don't make a person cringe and still deliver great results.

I had been looking for a better option when it came to hair gel for a long time and this one is definitely a keeper! Available at Amazon for less than $10.And you don't need a lot of product (and I have thick hair) so this 6.8 oz. tube goes a long way!!!



I hope you find these gift suggestions helpful and inspiring. And do share if you can too!

Wishing You a Magical 2013 Holiday Season :<)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Deadly Readings by Laura Bradford

About the only "plus" of being sick (as I was last week) is having lots of time to do nothing but read or knit, without feeling guilty. ;<) 
 I was feeling too lazy to even knit most of the time, so instead I napped and read a LOT of eBooks, including:
The cover and title of this book got my attention right away. And the story itself did not disappoint, I loved this book!
From the Amazon product page:
The Jersey Shore has always been known for warm sand, lively boardwalks, and the promise of carefree summer days. This season the small scenic town of Ocean Point, New Jersey, is not nearly as carefree as tourists would hope. The discovery of the body of a young woman is the first in a string of seemingly random and senseless murders, murders connected only by a warning from the same boardwalk fortune-teller.

It’s a crisis that puts local detective Mitch Burns on edge, and his job in jeopardy. It’s up to him to solve the crimes and protect the livelihood of the town, a livelihood that relies almost entirely on tourists. With the help of newly hired local reporter Elise Jenkins, the two step out to discover who the killer is, before another body is found.

I read this eBook in a couple of afternoons. It kept my attention to the very last page. Suspense, romance, intrigue...and up until the last couple of chapters, I had NOT guessed who the real killer was. I like that. Nothing too predictable here.
Laura Bradford is an excellent writer. Her characters are realistic and easy to visualize. The story moved along at a good pace, with no filler or lag time, which has been too often the case with some other stories I've been reading recently.
A couple of  reviewers at Amazon did make negative comments about the religious undertone of this book but I disagree. I am not an overly religious person and I don't like being "preached" to in a story of any kind. That REALLY turns me off and in a big way. But I didn't find the religious references in Deadly Readings over the top or superfluous. They were a part of the story that fit. 
I just noted that this eBook is available for FREE over at Amazon right now, so a great time to get a copy. I am definitely going to check out more of this author's books in the very near future. Based on this story, I'm guessing they'll be well worth the time too.
Overall rating for this book: Very Good. 4 out of 5. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Getting Over the "Snuffles" :<( and an Upcoming Free eBook Promo :<)

Hope you're having a healthy and productive week.
I've been spending most of my time in the past few days, reading and napping, while I get over a cold. :<(
On a happier note, I do have a free Kindle promo coming up this Friday and Saturday, you can read all the details here.
I'll be back to posting here at My Real Life Reviews, as soon as I'm feeling better.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Critter Knits by Margrit Lohrer

I just noted Critter Knits on the top 100 free ebooks, over at Amazon today.
I've just taken a browse through the book so far, haven't made anything yet obviously.
But I did want to share this ebook here, while it's still available for free, that's why I'm posting this now. ;<)
All 4 and 5 star reviews (60) over at Amazon so that sounds like a good start.
 The patterns are adorable from what I've checked out so far.
I'm thinking the Cat Wrap is a must and Mr. Cheddar, who is sitting on my lap, agrees!
Any critter-lovers out there who also knits, will definitely want to give this one a try.
Happy Knitting!
**PS: On a completely different topic, is anyone else having a problem with their link lists on Blogger? I can't add review links to my sidebar now, only text.
I checked the Blogger forums and I thought it would be fixed by now. **
Overall rating for this book: Very Good. 4 out of 5. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Falling Star by Diana Dempsey

I read a LOT of books, including various genres of novels; usually 2-3 books (sometimes more) per week. Since getting my Kindle Paperwhite (click to read my review of this ereader) my reading addiction has gone to an even higher level! :<)
At the same time, with so many books to chose from now, arriving within seconds to my Kindle, I tend to pick and choose more, what books I actually read to the end. If it doesn't capture my attention in the first few taps of the screen, it's a goner. LOL
What a treat it is to find a truly engaging story, that is hard to put down and enjoyable right to the last page.
 I read Falling Star by Diana Dempsey in a couple of days. I had other things I should have been doing but I kept going back to find out what would happen next in the story.

From the Amazon product page:
About the author:
"Diana Dempsey traded in an Emmy-winning career in TV news to write fast, fun romantic fiction. Her novels have been called “almost impossible to put down” (Romance Reviews Today), “skillfully plotted and filled with realistic detail” (Library Journal), and “spicy, sexy, and sultry” (Booklist)."
About this story:
"Natalie Daniels’ husband just dumped her. Her boss is scheming to replace her. And she’s falling in love with her sexy Australian TV news agent – who’s about to propose to somebody else.

What’s a woman to do? Dig deep and show what she’s made of – which just might land her both the job and the man of her dreams."

When I read this book, I wasn't actually aware of the author's background in TV news. But the authenticity of that fast-paced, at times cutthroat work environment came through, page after page.
Falling Star is Diana Dempsey's debut novel and was nominated for a RITA award for “Best First Book” by the Romance Writers Association.
The story is fast-paced, with characters that come alive and make the reader want to succeed or go down hard! And with just enough details provided to set each scene but not over the top.

Natalie Daniels, the protagonist in the story is "the real deal". You want her to win, to get even, to conquer and overcome....and Natalie does not disappoint! 
I won't spoil the plot by saying too much. Get a copy and prepare to enjoy a great read. One of the best novels I've read in quite some time.
I just noted that this ebook is FREE today over at Amazon. 
Click now, I  don't know how long that offer will last. ;<)
I'm looking forward to reading more books by Diana Dempsey. She's written quite a few since Falling Star.
Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5

Monday, October 28, 2013

Buteyko Breathing Method DVD

Although I don't personally suffer from any serious breathing problems; I have known many people over the years, including close friends, who have.

Asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and other breathing- related conditions impact a person's life in very significant, negative ways; making even simple, everyday tasks like: vacuuming, exercising, walking...a challenge.
I can't imagine what it must be like to suffer with these kinds of conditions.
Most of us take breathing normally for granted. But for millions of people around the world, the "breath of life" is a lot more than just a catchy phrase. They live with the reality, anxiety and long-term effects of breathing problems, every day.
And for most people, suffering from serious breathing problems, their only relief is usually found by taking a variety of prescription drugs, including the use of inhalers, etc...that unfortunately often come along with a long list of potentially harmful side effects.
But there is an alternative that is a drug-free way to assist people with breathing-related conditions.
The Buteyko Breathing Method teaches simple breathing techniques to help overcome a variety of breathing problems. It has also been used to assist with disorders like: panic attacks, sleep apnoea, sinus problems and anxiety.
The Buteyko Breathing Method DVD fully explains the science behind the Buteyko Method and takes the viewer through the complete breathing exercises, in a concise and easy to understand manner.
 I learned a few things myself, watching this DVD. Of particular interest to me was just how harmful breathing through our mouths, can be. Something that I'm taking a lot more notice of, especially when doing my yoga routines.
The Buteyko Breathing Method was developed by Doctor Konstantin Buteyko (click to read more about his life and research).
Although the Buteyko method is still considered controversial by some people, it is also embraced by many users of the method around the world, who have finally found relief and more control of their breathing conditions, often without the use of any drugs.
If you suffer or know of someone who suffers from breathing problems, this is a technique you might want to consider looking into. 
To order the DVD and for additional information about this method visit the Buteyko website.
** I can't endorse or comment on the Buteyko Breathing Method's effectiveness personally, as I do not suffer from breathing-related problems.**
But based on the quality of instruction in the DVD and the many testimonials of people who have found relief using this method, I think it's certainly worth considering as an alternative, drug-free therapy for these types of health conditions.
Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Upcoming Free Kindle Ebook Promo!

I'm having another free Kindle ebook promo for two of my ebooks, this Sunday October 27th.
You can read all the details here.
Happy Weekend, Reading and Cooking! :<)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tyrrell's Beetroot, Parsnip & Carrot Chips with Sea Salt

I'm always on the lookout for healthier snack options, that still taste great and really satisfy "the munchies".  :<)
I recently tried: Tyrrell's Beetroot, Parsnip & Carrot Chips with Sea Salt and really enjoyed these rather unusual "chips".
Here's the ingredient list and nutritionals:
Mixed root vegetables in variable proportions (beetroot, parsnip and carrot) 65%, sunflower oil, sea salt.

Typical Values
Per 100g
of which sugars
Total Fat
of which saturated
Now that's my kind of ingredient list!
These are not for anyone who hates veggies obviously. But then again, how can anyone really hate vegetables? ;<) I find that hard to imagine. 
But if you DO like veggies and enjoy the crunch of a good chip snack:
are definitely one to look for and try.
Gluten-free too, that's always a plus.
Stop by the Tyrrell (fun!) site to see their extensive product line that includes all kinds of other delish sounding nibbles. They also have a caption contest happening right now.
Tyrrell's is based in England which is kind of cool too.

I can't remember ever having any other snack food that came from the UK. I hope they continue to add to their North American markets, for the US and Canada. I'd love to try more of their products.
Only two things that would have made these chips even better.
 If they were organic and if the chips were just a bit bigger.
But when it came to flavor and crunch, top-notch!
I had a hard time not eating the whole bag at one time! ;<)

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Focus Booster Desktop App.

I am loving this small, oh so cool and effective desktop app. :<)
Read my full review of Focus Booster, posted at my writing/poetry blog: My Poetic Path.
And do let me know if you give Focus Booster a try too and find it helpful.

I think you'll be glad if you do!
Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Mount Hagen Organic (Decaf) Instant Coffee

I gave up regular coffee (with caffeine) about a year ago, for health reasons.
It was hard to kick the caffeine habit initially. But I got past the few withdrawal symptoms I had (excessive tiredness, brain fog, low energy, nausea) after about a week and I'm so glad that I made this decision. Excessive caffeine consumption is not good for anyone and there were days when I drank a lot more coffee than I should have.   
But I still LOVE the smell of coffee and the taste of it too, so when I found out about Mount Hagen Organic Decaf Freeze Dried Instant Coffee, I  was excited about giving it a try.
Product Information from the InterNatural Foods Website:
Mount Hagen organic instant freeze dried coffee was the first certified organic instant coffee in the world. This coffee has special appeal for those interested in organic coffee with the convenience of an instant. It's great for travelers, campers, and small households. Made from 100% arabica beans, Mount Hagen organic instant coffee is shade grown at higher elevations which produces a naturally flavorful, yet mild taste. One 3.53 oz. jar yields approximately 60 generous cups of delicious coffee.

For those that love coffee but don't want the caffeine, there is Mount Hagen instant organic decaf coffee. Mount Hagen instant organic decaf coffee uses a patented process involving just water and carbon dioxide to extract virtually all of the caffeine without removing the rich aroma and full-bodied taste. A 3.53 oz. jar yields approximately 60 generous cups of delicious decaffeinated coffee.

By comparison to other instant coffee brands that I've tried over the years (with and without caffeine) Mount Hagen Organic Decaf Freeze Dried Coffee is definitely one of the better ones I've tasted. It's not on par with brewed coffee, but that's not to be expected, with any instant coffee.

Instant coffee is a handy convenience and this one has a rich, satisfying flavour.

 I'm so glad it's organic too. That's very hard to find in any instant coffee.
Although I enjoyed this product, when it comes to instant hot beverages, my first preference is still:

 Caf Lib Organic

 I've tried many types of grain- based hot beverages over the years in addition to various brands of coffee and Caf Lib  (click to read my full review) continues to be my fav hot beverage choice overall.
If you are looking for alternatives to regular coffee with caffeinebut don't want to give up coffee completely: Mount Hagen Organic (Decaf) Instant Coffee is one you might want to try.
Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jane Fonda Prime Time: Firm & Burn DVD

This is the third DVD in the Jane Fonda Prime Time DVD series that I've reviewed here at My Real Life Reviews. And it's the first one that I'm not that really pleased with.
Here are my previous Prime Time DVD reviews:
 (scroll down a bit on this gift suggestion page, to the DVD's mini review)
Now getting back to this particular DVD:

Jane Fonda: Prime Time Firm & Burn.
On the plus side:
I loved the music in this one. It's all aerobic-type dancing on this DVD and the music is retro, funky and fun; provided by a live band on the set with Jane and her students. Nice touch.
The DVD includes a 5 minute warm-up, followed by three separate dance routines:
Doo-Wop, Latin and Old-School Funk (each of these are 10 minutes) 
 followed by a 5 minute cool down to complete the workout.
All three workouts can be played together or a person can pick and choose which ones they want to do. The DVD plays separate sequences for each or all of them, if preferred. I appreciate that feature as it's annoying to have to keep going back to the main menu in some exercise DVD's to continue on to another routine.
The DVD also includes an optional 18 minute meditation segment.
What I didn't like about this DVD?
 It didn't provide a strenuous enough workout to make it worthwhile. At the end of the 3 dance routines, I hadn't even come close to breaking a sweat. No "burn" here!
I got a bit bored with some of the dance moves. Rather ho-hum and repetitious.
But I do think it would be OK for someone who is: just getting back to exercising, is rather out of shape and who enjoys routines that are mainly dance-type moves. And these aren't hard moves to master.
The meditation segment was a bit strange. It had some breathing suggestions that I do not agree with. Breathing through the mouth is a big no-no health-wise for so many reasons but that is part of this segment. What's with taking gulps of air through the mouth? Like I said, kind of strange and not relaxing either.
There is a mention of needing weights on the back of this DVD but they aren't used at all. Don't know why they included that.
I think Jane Fonda fell short (no pun intended) on this particular exercise DVD.
 I love the other two that I have mentioned above and I use them on a regular basis. But I will probably be donating this particular DVD to our local library/ free box.
Overall rating for this product: Fair. 2 out of 5.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Johnny English (DVD)

I've never been a big fan of Rowan Atkinson in his role as the famous mime: Mr. Bean.
But on a recent trip to a local thrift store, I found a VHS version of the movie: Johnny English and I am so glad I decided to buy it!
What a treat this movie was, from start to finish.
Rowan Atkinson is soooo funny. I can't remember laughing that much, in a long, long time.
I felt great afterwards too. Laughter really is good medicine, isn't it? ;<)

Here's a bit about the story, from the Amazon product page:
He knows no fear. He knows no danger. He knows... nothing! When the priceless Crown Jewels are stolen, bumbling Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is the only Secret Agent in the country (literally!) who can solve the crime. His prime suspects: a sinister businessman (John Malkovich) and a beautiful woman (Natalie Imbruglia) with a mysterious interest in Johnny's top-secret mission. Can the clueless super spy save the day without denting the nation's pride... or his super-cool Aston Martin spy car? Your whole family will howl with laughter as the clumsiest secret agent ever unleashes an onslaught of outlandish stunts, hair-brained heroics and outrageous goof-ups in this hilarious spy spoof!

Many years ago, I enjoyed Peter Seller's in the Pink Panther series but at times I found these movies a bit "over the top" and just too silly to watch, especially for a second or third time.
 Not the case with Johnny English. Rowan Atkinson has such a great sense of timing and keeps the pace of this movie fast and funny, right to the end. Silly yes, but just right!
There are also some interesting special effects, beautiful locations and a cast that are the perfect compliment to Atkinson's hilarious performance, in this movie. John Malkovich as the sinister businessman with goals to take over Johnny's beloved UK for his own evil business plans, is brilliant too.
I liked this movie so much that I ordered the sequel: Johnny English: Reborn.
Can't wait to get that one, this time on DVD and fresh from Amazon. Not that there was anything wrong with the VHS copy I got of Johnny English at the thrift store, but our VCR only has so many weeks left...I'm guessing. They don't last forever, do they?
Whatever format you can find, if you are in need of some great family entertainment that will have everyone laughing, long and loud; pick up a copy of Johnny English. You won't be sorry!
Overall rating for this product: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

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