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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On My Own at 107 by Sarah L. Delany with Amy Hill Hearth

We have a large "free box" at our local library and on many a visit, I've found a good book to take home from there. Sometimes better than what I found while browsing the library shelves. ;<)
Yesterday, the library free box contained a real gem!
On My Own at 107 is a small but extraordinary book. I read the complete book in one session last night and loved every page.
On My Own at 107 is the story of Sarah (Sweet Sadie) Delany, the surviving sister of the well-known Delany sisters who was left "on her own" at the amazing age of 107, after her beloved sister Annie Elizabeth (Bessie) died (at home) in the autumn of 1995 at the age of 104.
In this beautifully-written diary/memoir, Sadie must come to terms with the profound loss of her beloved sister's passing; sharing the heart-wrenching absence she feels on a daily basis in the house they shared together in Mount Vernon, NY since 1957, where Sadie continued to reside.
Both of these amazing women led long, healthy and inspiring lives.
 Bessie (Annie Elizabeth) graduated from Columbia University's School of Dental and Oral Surgery in 1923 and was the second black woman licensed to practise dentistry in New York. For many years, she had a thriving dental practise in Harlem and was known as Dr. Bessie to her patients and throughout the black community.
Sadie (Sarah) attended the Pratt Institute and later Columbia University and earned a bachelor and masters degree. Sadie was the first black woman to teach domestic science at a high school level, in New York city.
They faced many challenges along the way as single,  black career women in a time when discrimination and segregation were still the norm, rather than the exception. Neither of the sisters ever married, although they both enjoyed the company and friendship of many suitors throughout the years. But most of all, it was their bonds of sisterhood and family that saw them through the storms and also the good times in life.
On My Own at 107 is a touching, unique, at times humorous and unforgettable story to read.
And the only book I have ever noted at Amazon with all 5 star reviews!
For me, it was also a book filled with wisdom and inspiration as Sadie reminisced about the 104  years she shared with her sister Bessie. The good times, the lean years, the triumphs...all lovingly recalled and shared.
This is a beautiful book, in every way.
Not only does it share an amazing story, it also has a lovely presentation, with floral illustrations by Brian M. Kotsy featured throughout the pages. The beautiful flowers depicted in these illustrations were to showcase those grown by Bessie year after year, in her lovingly-tended garden that she cared for on her own, until her 98th year!
I did some checking and found this Wiki page for Sadie (Sarah) Delany. She lived two more years after Bessie's passing, to the age of 109! A life, very well lived. That of course goes for Bessie too. And it's nice to picture them together again now!
I'm so glad I stopped to take a look in the free box yesterday.

 But unlike most of the books I find there, this won't be one that I'll be passing along, any time soon. I'm looking forward to a re-read already!
Overall rating for this book: Excellent. 5 out of 5.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Mr. Cheddar Review: Arm & Hammer Ultra Last Clumping Litter

Mr. Cheddar here!
Yes, I'm finally back to blogging.
It's been a long, hot summer here in BC and I just didn't have the time or energy to post any reviews.

Spent most of my time wowing the gals (feline and human) at the lakefront with my purrfect feline physique.

Those bikini-clad vixens were "putty in my paws" I'll tell you!
I really must get Meowmie to post a photo of me in my furry "au naturale" swim trunks!
Now that's a treat you won't want to miss! ;<)
 I'll be discussing a rather indelicate topic today but I promise to make it entertaining from start to finish. And as you can see from the caption in the photo above, I certainly have NOT lost my talent for turning a humorous phrase, during my long blog hiatus.
 If anything, I think I'm even more scintillating and witty now, if that's possible? Snort!

Anyhoo....on to the topic at paw.
Getting down to the basics, the nitty-gritty, the down and dirty...
We've all "got to go" and when I do, I want my litter to be the real deal.
Plain and simple: NO... perfumes, additives, weird shiny pellets, chips from the forest or corn from the fields.
In a word, I want CLAY litter, straight up, or flat down...depending on how you look at it.
To backtrack a bit, Meowmie and Pawmie were in a conundrum a while back, on a trip to the mall. That happens a lot with those two, but I won't go into further details right now. I do have a rather extensive shopping list prepared for them, still awaiting approval; so no time like the present to stay in their "good books".
So staying on topic and back to that particular conundrum.
Lo and behold, litter was on the shopping list that day and the situation here at home was:
 No litter at all.
Danger, danger!!!
Bells ringing, lights flashing, fire department on the get the picture.
The humans were in deep "do-do" for not keeping the litter supply up to acceptable levels and they knew it!!!
But after trying to purchase my usual fav choice for toilette duties, none of the "plain jane" brands/types of litter I prefer, could be found. Not a one!
We live in a rather small city and running out of even the basics at several stores is not that uncommon.
What to do, what to do!
Without my expert input close at paw, the humans were all but lost. :<(
They commiserated on the problem at hand (probably for hours!)  and finally picked up a box of: Arm & Hammer Ultra Last Clumping Cat Litter as the best of the choice they did have that day.
On the plus side:
It wasn't highly scented, which is a big pet peeve in my books.
Cats don't like perfumes and strong chemical scents.
When people buy scented, chemically-laden cat litter and expect their felines to be happy about their rather misguided choices in that respect...well it's just another example of why we felines DO rule the world when it comes to be intellectually superior!!! I mean this one is definitely a "no brainer".
Next plus, the litter did stay fresher longer than some of the other brands I've tried.
It also had an OK texture, not too fine or dusty but with no heavy, gravelly bits either.
Now for the negatives:
There was no ingredient list on the box and this is a big no-no in my books. We felines want to know what we are using, when it comes to all the products we require, including cat litter.
Next, when I had a longer than usual PEE!!! There, I've said it, the P word, snort...
...the litter did clump up but also gave off a rather weird, unpleasant smell. Kind of like a watermelon that's been left out in a damp basement for a month or two. Not pleasant, for felines or humans either. With other plain ol' basic types of cat litter, this doesn't happen.
Soooo, bottom line (no pun intended. OK yes pun intended).
Will we be buying this brand of cat litter again?
Not likely. It was better than nothing, in a crunch but definitely not my first or second or third...choice.
My paw is half-way down on this one.
and Meowmie says:
Overall rating for this product: Fair: 2 out of 5.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beanfields: Bean & Rice Chips

I'm always on the look-out for healthier, preferably gluten-free snacks to try.
And I've tried a lot of them, in the past few months.
Some good, some ho-hum and some just plain bad!
On a recent trip to our local food co-op, I noted: Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips and decided to give them a try. I'm glad I did!
Of all the rice, veggie, gluten-free... chip snacks I've tried, these are the closest in taste/texture to actual potato chips.

So if you've been dismayed by the bad rap that most potato chips are getting these days and have been looking for a healthier alternative that still tastes like your old favs, give Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips a try. They really do taste like "the real deal".
I started with a bag of the Pico De Gallo and they were soooo good!
A nice spicy kick to them but not overly hot.

I've also tried the Salt n Pepper flavor. A bit milder taste for these but also good and not overly "peppery".
With both flavors I tried, it was that "potato-chip like" taste and texture that kept me reaching for more. And with a salsa dip, yummm...even better.

And not an overly crispy/hard texture like some of the healthier chip choices available; these were just right!
Here are some additional "good things" about these chips:
-29% less fat and twice the protein and fiber of most tortilla-type chips
-Non GMO project verified
-No gluten OR corn
-No peanuts or seeds
-4 grams of complete protein in a 28 gram serving
-Only 140 calories in a 28 gram serving
-No saturated or trans-fats
The only term that I didn't see on their ingredient list that I would have appreciated was CERTIFIED ORGANIC. Hopefully that's something that will be a consideration for future production.
And if you're thinking these might have an overly "beany" flavor that's unappealing, think again. I don't think I would have even known there were beans in these chips, if I had tasted them out of a sampler bowl instead of out of the bag. :<)
And speaking of beans, do you know just how good they are for you? You can read more about the many health benefits of beans here. I'm already a bean-lover so I didn't need to be convinced. LOL
Available in these flavors:
Pico De Gallo
Sea Salt
Salt N Pepper

You can read more about the Beanfields company: their story, values and all products at their attractive and informative website.
Overall rating for this product: Very Good. 4 out of 5.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Upcoming Free Kindle Book Promos!

Just to let you know about some upcoming free Kindle book promotions! :<)
On Saturday Sept. 7th, my novel: Third Chapter, Second Chance will be available as a free download at Amazon.
On Sunday, Sept. 8th, my new cookbook: The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow-Cooker will be available as a free download at Amazon.
This Saturday and Sunday, my poetry book: My Poetic Path (revised August 2013) will be available as a free download at Amazon.
These downloads are also available at, UK, de....etc, in addition to
Thanks to everyone who have already purchased and/or downloaded any of my new eBooks and books. 
And if you enjoy any (hopefully all) of my books; reviews would be appreciated too. :<)
Do spread the word and hope to see you there!

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