Friday, April 26, 2013

Last Chance to Enter the Spring Yarn Lover's Contest

If you haven't entered already, click here to read about this month's contest and to enter for a  yarn lover's prize package valued at over $75.
Contest closes April 30th.
Stop by the first week in May to find out if you're the winner.
Good luck everyone! :<)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Terra Nostra Organic Chocolate Bar (Robust Dark, Raisins & Pecans)

As any of my regular readers already know, I'm a big fan of all things organic.
I think it's so important that we limit our consumption of additives, much as possible. When a product is certified organic and the certification is important, click to read more about this, it's definitely my preference.
 And that goes for chocolate too. One of the essentials in life, IMO! ;<)
I recently tried Terra Nostra Organic Robust Dark Raisin & Pecans Chocolate Bar for the first time and now I'm hooked!
This is one of the best organic chocolate bars that I have ever tasted and I've tasted quite a few.
What do I like about this chocolate bar? 
Where do I start...
- First of all, it's not overly sweet, it has an intense (but not bitter) true chocolate taste.
-The chocolate has a smooth, velvety texture.
- Lots of raisins and pecans in this one. Yumm.  A long time ago, I loved (and ate too many of) Glosette Raisins and this bar has the same, chewy texture, when you bite into the many raisins, without all the junk ingredients found in Glosettes.
-Certified USDA Organic, as I already mentioned.
-Reasonably priced: a 3.5 oz. bar sells for about $3.50 at our local food cooperative.
I was also impressed by this company's many initiative for equitable trade and ethical growing/harvesting practises. They have a detailed page about this at their site. Although this is becoming more and more of an industry standard, there are still too many companies that are not concerned enough to insure that their products are grown, harvested and brought to market, in a fair, ethical and equitable way, at each level.
Terra Nostra has a wide range of flavors for their organic chocolate bars including:
73 % Intense Dark, Double Dark Truffle, Satin Milk Truffle, Robust Dark & Roasted Almonds, Robust Dark Raisins & Pecans and Creamy Milk Raisins & Pecans.
Also, a  Ricemilk line for those who are vegan or lactose sensitive:
The Ricemilk line includes three flavors: the Solid Ricemilk Choco bar, the Ricemilk Choco bar with Almonds and the Ricemilk Choco bar with Dark Truffle Center.
I haven't tried all of these yet but definitely plan to try the Ricemilk ones in the near future. These sound like a great idea. And based on my taste experience with Terra Nostra Chocolate already, I'm guessing they'll be wonderful too. And what a plus for those who are lactose sensitive or follow a vegan diet.

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

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Two Widows Mystery Series by Ruth Ross

As I posted about here, I recently received a Kindle Paperwhite as a birthday gift, my first ereader.
To say I am loving having a Kindle, would be an understatement, and for so many reasons.
One of the best things about having an ereader has been browsing the Kindle Store over at and on an almost daily basis and finding new authors/books that I hadn't been aware of previously. One click of the mouse and voila!!!  I've got a new ebook on my Kindle, ready to enjoy. Now that's my kind of convenience and book shopping experience! ;<)
One of these authors is Ruth Ross, who writes the mystery series: The Two Widows.
Ruth Ross lives in Washington State (we're neighbours!) and shares her life and home in real life with her mom,  as does the main character in her books.
In the Two Widows Series, Millie Mahoney and her mom, Margaret share a lot more than just the day-to-day usual activities of the typical middle-aged daughter and older mom duo.
The series begins with: Two Widows and the Thrift Store Murders which was a fun, entertaining read from start to finish.

Along with frequent trips to the local thrift stores to check out the weekly "must have" bargains, Millie and Margaret soon find themselves right in the middle of murder and all kinds of mayhem.  I was so glad there was another book to follow in this series, after I had read the Thrift Store Murders in just a couple of days.
Second in the series is: Two Widows and the Misdirected Message. This has been my favorite Two Widows story, to date. Ruth Ross does a great job of expanding on her main character's personalities, quirks, likes and dislikes in this one.
I also found out a lot more about the identity theft than I previously knew. A cast of believable, but  often unsavory (yes, there are plenty of  'bad guys' in the mix) characters, suspense, even some romance, for Margaret that is! And how I love Margaret throughout this series. My kind of mom. Feisty, supportive, full of fun and ready for sharing all kinds of adventures with Millie, along with Margaret's new beau, Frank.
Last in the series (so far) is Two Widows and the Rest Home Menace. Again, Ruth Ross does a fine job of creating believable characters who move the story along and keep the reader wanting to turn that next page. 

The only thing I didn't like about this particular story was that the family pets seem to be a bit forgotten along the way, as Millie and Margaret find themselves knee-deep in yet another mystery to be solved. Take Aurora for more walks and yes, even Chance the Cat gets lonely, I'm sure!  
Except for Sue Grafton's alphabet book series, I've never been much of a mystery reader. But the Two Widows Mystery Series written by Ruth Ross are stories in the mystery genre that I  thoroughly enjoyed.

Ruth Ross has also done something quite unique with these stories, featuring a 50 + main character and her mom, who are doing anything but slowing down and taking it easy. Tossing out some stereotypes about what it means to be an older woman and in a big way.
I'm looking forward to the next installment in the Two Widows Mystery Series. If the first three are any indication, I know I'm in for a good read.

 The Two Widows Mystery Series is available in Kindle and print editions at Amazon. You already know which format I now prefer! ;<)

You can also find out more about this series and author: Ruth Ross at her website.
Overall rating for this book series: Very Good. 4 out of 5. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Memorex OptiDisc Laser Lens Cleaner

We've been having some ongoing problems with "break-up" and occasional skipping when using our DVD player, probably caused by an accumulation of dust and debris, on the laser lens.
I found the Memorex OptiDisc Laser Lens Cleaner over at Amazon and thought it was worth a try, to hopefully rectify these DVD issues.
 What had surprised me given the 200+ reviews over at Amazon about this product before even using it, was the diverse experiences shared by people who had used this lens cleaner. Some for their DVD player and some when cleaning their CD player; this product can be used for both.
 The majority seemed to think it did a good job so I thought that was a good beginning.
The disc has 6 tiny and I do mean tiny brushes that are suppose to gently clean the DVD player's laser lens, quickly and completely. Given that the DVD player we had, had never been cleaned previously, I expected it might take a couple of cleanings before it was back to working correctly at all times.
Well, after 3 cleanings, following the easy to use instructions that show up onscreen, I put in a DVD that had been previously skipping and pushed PLAY. The part of the DVD where the skipping and breakup had been occurring previously was a bit better but it was still not playing correctly.
Next, I tried a brand new DVD to compare results. This is where it got surprising. There was not a scratch, flaw...of any kind on this DVD disc. It was pristine, right out of the package. And it skipped in places too! This made no sense at all.
Why would a brand new DVD not play well, given the perfect condition it was in, after using this DVD cleaner disc?
Many of the people who reviewed this product over at Amazon described issues with their DVD player that were a lot worse than what we had been experiencing. Some mentioned that their player had not worked at all, before using the Memorex OptiDisc . But after using it, many were once again able to play DVD's without any problems.
But there were a lot of people who had the same experience we had here. No difference, nada...and again, considering I also tested it on a brand new DVD and still had issues, this cleaning disc definitely didn't seem to have done much for our DVD player.
I guess you get what you pay for. This Memorex OptiDisc  is on sale for less than $6. over at Amazon. Based on my experience, I don't think it's even worth that.
If any of you have used this product for cleaning your DVD player or have used a similar product and had good results, please share your experience in a comment below. I'm still looking for a cleaning product that will actually get our DVD player back to working as it should all the time and with all DVD's.
Overall rating for this product: Unsatisfactory. 1 out of 5.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Yarn-Lover's Contest at My Real Life Reviews!

It's been a while since I've posted a contest here at My Real Life Reviews but I've got a wonderful giveaway to share today, especially for all the yarn-crafters and wannabee crafters too! ;<)
One lucky winner will win all three of the great prizes up for grabs in this month's contest.

Here's what this Yarn-Lover's prize package includes:

One of my favorite knitting resource books:

 Stitch N Bitch Superstar Knitting click to read my full review.

Book provided courtesy of Thomas Allen & Son.

If you've been looking for an easy-to-understand guide to help take your knitting to the next level: Fair Isle, Cables, Intarsia, Lace... this is a book you'll definitely want to check out. One of only a few knitting books in my craft library that I actually refer to on a regular basis.

This book is a keeper!

A $25. gift certificate from Willow Yarns.

I only recently found out about this new yarn company. They have an extensive selection of high quality yarns, books, patterns, accessories, kits...

 And with spring/summer knitting time on the way, check out Willow Yarn's gorgeous summer weight picks from a variety of natural fiber sources.

I'm a big fan of linen, cotton, flax...yarns and there is a lot of temptation when I stop by their site. What to choose, what to choose... ;<)

If you haven't checked out Willow Yarns yet, do stop by soon.

It's a yarn-lover's heaven!

And to keep all those handmade yarn projects looking their best:
A $25.  gift pkg. from Eucalan Inc.
I use Eucalan on a regular basis, for washing all my hand knit and crochet items.
Eucalan No Rinse Delicate Wash products, gently but effectively removes dirt, leaving sweaters, socks, scarves... looking and feeling wonderfully soft and smooth. No need to rinse either (how cool is that!)  as Eucalan leaves no heavy soap residues.
You can read my full review about all of Eucalan's  fine products here.

Total prize package value, over $75!

To enter the Spring Yarn Lover's Contest:

-Leave a comment below including what your favorite yarn-craft is: knitting, crocheting, loom knitting....

-If you are a "wannabe" yarn-crafter at this point, pick the type of yarn craft you are planning to pursue, if you do win the contest.
-One entry per person.

-Please sign in with a valid blog address/identity (no anonymous comments please).

-Contest is open to Canadian and US residents.
Exception: void in Quebec (sorry about this) you can read why I've had to add this to my contests.
-Winning entry chosen by a random generated system.
-Contest closes April 30th.
-Winner will be posted here the first week in May.
Good Luck Everyone and Happy Crafting! :<)

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