Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year’s Eve 2018

2018
It is New Year’s Eve. The last day of the year. Tomorrow turns the page into the brand new year. Beginning tomorrow, I will have to remember to write 2019 instead of 2018 on checks and paperwork. I will wonder where the years have gone and say, “Wow, time flies” at least once. Those are a part of my traditions during this time of year.

Each person, family, region, and country have New Year’s Eve traditions. A search on the internet will show those traditions; some familiar and some that seem very strange (red underwear).  Some involve food (12 grapes). Some involve drink (champagne). Most traditions involve how to celebrate and who to celebrate with.

As a younger person I attended New Year’s Eve parties at someone’s home. We drank, ate, talked, listened to music, and kissed everyone in the vicinity when the clock struck midnight.

Later, I sometimes attended public firework displays. In the US, many people go into the cities to see the fireworks. The dropping of the ball in Times Square draws many celebrants waiting to welcome the new year. It seems to be one of the most well-known celebrations worldwide but such a large gathering culminating in fireworks is not a uniquely US thing. I’d venture to guess that this is the most popular (worldwide) New Year’s Eve tradition.

More recently, I go to The Shack for New Year’s Eve. And by the time you read this, I hope to be there.  One of my superstitions is that whatever you are focused on as the New Year rings in is the focus of the new year. Therefore, my intention is to be at The Shack as 2018 ends and 2019 begins. I like to spend the evening close to nature and in the “home” I plan to live in soon. I also prefer to be off the roads and away from potential drunk drivers.

We have a wide audience at Review This! and it makes me wonder how our readers around the world welcome in the new year. On behalf of the Review This! team:

We wish you a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. 
We wish you the kind of celebration that leaves you with wonderful memories and continues welcomed traditions. 
Happy New Year's Eve!  


 Photo courtesy of Pixabay and Fotojet 



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Sunday, December 30, 2018

How to Clean Silver & Other Metals

An unexpected product that cleaned our silver
like nothing ever has!
For the past thirty-five years I've cleaned our silver using an electrolytic cleaning plate. I bought the plate in 1980's. It's a common and popular way to clean silver.

An electrolytic cleaning plate works with hot water and a water softener, Calgon. I've never used another water softener with it, only Calgon.

I wanted to clean the silver today and was out of Calgon, so thanks to google I tried baking soda and Borax with the cleaning plate. Neither worked very well. 

My husband, the car cleaning fanatic saw me struggle trying to clean the silver and jumped in and said, "I have a product that will clean that". When he demonstrated it, I was shocked at how amazing it worked!

Get this, he used Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish for All Metals. He uses it to clean many items, including the rims on the car wheels. He swears by it.

The best way to explain this product is to show you via the photos featured below:

Our Silver Tea Set was Severely Tarnished
(The photo is blurry because it's cropped from a larger photo)

Unfortunately I hadn't cleaned our silver tea set all year. By the time the holidays rolled around, the tea set was a mess. As mentioned above, I used the electrolytic cleaning plate but it didn't work well because I was out of water softener. However, the electrolytic cleaning plate has NEVER cleaned the silver like this.

Here's Our Tea Set after Hubby Used 
Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish on it!

This is not an exaggeration, our set has never looked this clean! It looks almost new now. Hubby didn't just do this quickly though, he was thorough. Check out the photos below for the steps to follow.
He Used a Toothbrush to Clean the Pieces
Where Intricate Areas Need Detailed Attention

I had already attempted to clean the above piece using the electrolytic cleaning plate, but it just didn't come clean without Calgon. So again, hubby used Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish on it. He detailed it using a toothbrush.

Here's the finished result! 

I'm shocked at how amazing the Mag and Aluminum Polish works! Our silver hasn't looked this clean for years.

Here's a Close-up of our Polish
Step by Step How-to Instructions:
  1. Apply polish on the surface with a microfiber cloth
  2. For detailed hard to clean areas use a toothbrush
  3. With the toothbrush work the polish into all the crevices and tight spots
  4. You can put a cloth over the toothbrush to help get into the tight spots
  5. Let it dry for three or four minutes
  6. Then remove the polish with a microfiber cloth, keep using multiple cloths if they get too dirty
  7. Repeat until the product is cleaned
  8. When done, give it a final polish with the microfiber cloth
  9. The final step is to clean the silver with a little bit of dish soap and water. Give it a quick wipe down, then dry it. You don't need to submerge the pieces in water. Just dip the cloth in water, wipe the silver piece, then dry it thoroughly.
Note, my husband cleaned our silver tea set and five other pieces in just over two hours.

If I had to choose between an Electrolytic Cleaning Plate and the Mother's Mag and Aluminum Polish, it's the Mag and Aluminum Polish all the way!



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Saturday, December 29, 2018

New Year, New You: Reviewing New Year's Resolutions

New Years Resolutions
Did you know that 80% of New Year's Resolutions fail within the first 6 weeks of the year?  Knowing this why is it that so many of us continue to make resolutions each year?   I think it's because we live in hope that we can become healthier, become better off and either of these will make us happy.

Why do New Year's Resolutions Fail?


This is a question that talk shows ask psychologists every year and basically it's because people make these lofty resolutions without making realistic plans for achieving them.

Last year I made a resolution and actually kept it - that's because of two things - I broke down the goals and I also did personal development.

I decided I wanted to lose weight, feel better, get fitter and feel stronger - basically I wanted to be a healthier me.

Step one was taking Arbonne's 30 days to healthy living and beyond starting on January 1st.   I wasn't sure how I would feel on it, but I knew I had to start with something and it was only for 30 days!  It was amazing so I took a week off at the beginning of February to celebrate my 5th wedding anniversary and then undertook another 30 days to healthy living plan.

All told I did the plan 5 times and in between I took an 80/20 approach which is what is recommended.   So I basically went by the principles of the plan during the week and ate what I wanted on the weekend.

I had decided that I wanted to lose half my goal weight by my birthday - which I did before working on building my strength during the second half of the year.   Off to the gym I started going and I even had fun participating in Steptember with my workmates.

I haven't actually met my goal weight, but I feel fantastic, I am stronger, healthier and fitter so in my mind my resolution was successful.

New Years Resolutions - how to plan in order to keep them!


A big part of doing this was setting little goals along the way and doing personal development.

Personal development can mean something different to everyone and it's all about finding what works for you.   I read some personal development books (including The Magic which again breaks down things to daily 'tasks'), listened to some Soundcloud broadcasts (usually while on the treadmill) and every day I told myself that I was strong, healthy and fit.

Affirmations were something that I had never given much credence before, but they are a great way to start the day and my first affirmation of the day everyday is "I am strong, healthy and fit".   I don't know why saying that keeps me on track, but it does because to be honest I have days when I don't feel like going to the gym for my session, but I just repeat "I am strong, healthy and fit" and I do it anyway.

What are the Most Popular New Year's Resolutions?


Health related resolutions are apparently most popular from losing weight, getting fit or giving up bad habits.

Next people seem to want to work on their finances - getting out of debt is a big one.   Again this one is best done by setting yourself baby steps and this way you'll find it much easier to stick to.   One of my favorite books to help if you're trying to get financial control of your life is the Barefoot Investor.

Finally the third thing people seem to want to work on is themselves with a lot of people wanting to undertake some form of personal development which as I've mentioned is often key to success with other resolutions too.

Will You Be Making a New Year's Resolution This Year?


I'd love to know if you're making resolutions this year and if you want to share them that would be great.   Sometimes making a resolution public also helps to keep you accountable so either post here or get yourself an accountability partner!

I will be continuing on with my bid to be healthier when I hit 50 (May 2019, where has the time gone?) than I was when I was 40!   I am also setting myself the goal to double my income this year by building on my network marketing business and my affiliate marketing income.   I will let you know how I do, but now over to you ...





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Friday, December 28, 2018

Fabulous Heavy Duty Gift Wrap Storage Bag Reviewed

Fabulous Gift Wrap Wrapping Paper Storage Bag Reviewed
Last year, I purchased a fabulous gift wrap storage bag from Current catalog.  I didn't know if I would like it or not, but the price was right and I had very little to lose by trying it.  I knew if it worked for me, I would be thrilled to have a protective way to store my wrapping paper from year to year.

As it turns out, this is one of the best purchases I have ever made!

Like most gift givers, I spend a lot of money on wrapping paper.  I love to have pretty gifts under the tree.  Or, an attractively wrapped gift for birthdays and other occasions.  However, I don't like dirty or ripped paper and I often end up buying new wrapping paper annually for Christmas or even if I have only one gift to wrap.  I have always known that it was a waste of money to buy a whole roll for one gift, but I won't give a gift unless it is attractively wrapped.  I have been known to even re-wrap a gift if I don't think it is pretty.

Gift Wrap Clear Vinyl Storage Bag - 8-1/2" x 31" Long

Gift Wrap Clear Vinyl Storage Bag - 8-1/2" x 31" Long

 

Clear Wrapping Paper Storage Bag

https://amzn.to/2URIYFZ
There are several things I really love about this wrapping paper storage bag.  To start with, I love that it is clear and I can see the paper being stored without opening the bag.  I really do hate having to hunt for a specific wrapping paper just to wrap a gift.

I also love that it keeps my wrapping paper clean and pretty, ready to be used immediately.  When I stored my wrapping paper in the shipping box, not only could I not see what was inside without opening the box, but the paper would often get creased or even torn when the box was moved around.

Since I store my Christmas wrap in my attic, I am especially thrilled that no attic dwellers or debris can get inside the bag and be my special Christmas surprise. 

This storage bag is large enough to hold 8 - 10 rolls of wrapping paper, depending on their size.  As you can see in the photo, it will hold the longer wrapping paper rolls too, or you could use that top space for bows, ribbon, tape, and other wrapping supplies.

I absolutely love the handles!  The top handle makes it easy for me to carry down the attic stairs and the reinforced double handle on the sides make it easy for me to carry from room to room.  The zipper top allows easy access, plus keeps the storage bag closed up tight when not stored.  

I sure wish I had this wrapping paper storage bag sooner!  I carefully select our annual Christmas paper and I wish some of our older paper was still in good enough condition to use.  It would be a tremendous money saver to be able to use the leftover paper.

I should add that I also have a separate gift wrap storage bag for birthday wrapping paper.  I keep it in our hall coat closet for extremely easy access.  I just reach in and grab the bag when I need to wrap a gift.  The only way it could be easier, or better, is if the gift would wrap itself.

The featured wrapping paper storage bag is available on Amazon or directly from Current catalog.  Both are linked below for your shopping convenience. 

Click Here to Buy from Amazon




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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Photographing Christmas in Historic St. Charles


One of my favorite Christmas outings is a walk down Main  Street in downtown St Charles, Missouri.  This charming town was built on the banks of the Missouri river.  I wrote about this town in a previous post World Wide Photo Walk
In that post you see the town decked out in their fall décor.

In this post I will give you a brief history of the town and then share my photos taken during early December.

A Brief History of St. Charles

Here is a few of the highlights of St. Charles history. If you'd like to know more, check out the link below.

  • Founded in 1769 by French-Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette
  •  In 1804 on the banks of the Missouri river, Lewis and Clark met here to begin their westward expedition.
  • In 1818 Saint Philippine Duchesne established first free girls school west of the Mississippi.
  • Between 1821-1826 St. Charles served as Missouri's first capital.
  • Today it is a destination for over one million visitors each year.
https://www.discoverstcharles.com/about/history/


Conservatory for Weddings


Before we started our walk  down Main Street we stopped by the Conservatory a greenhouse turned into a wedding venue.  It was my first visit and I found it a delightful setting for small weddings.  Below is a shot looking toward the front of the greenhouse.


Photos from our Walk down the Historic Streets

After visiting the Conservatory  we proceeded down Main Street to photograph the historic buildings in their Christmas décor.  I was especially drawn to the windows and doors as you can see in the photos below.






Zazzle Products from Main Street Photos




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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

December 26th, Time to Write a Thank You Day

Boxing Day Blues can sometimes strike when all the awaited  festivities are over.  

And they do seem to be over so quickly.  All the hustle and bustle of preparing for the BIG day gives way to feelings of let down and down right depression.  Knowing this before hand might just help you to get through those feelings and come out the other side with a new sense of wellbeing and a new purpose too.


thank you note, mental health, Christmas let down, coping mechanisms
Christmas time and all the build up to this holiday can make some people really "crazy".  There are all the lists for food, drink, presents, guests and so much more to attend to.  Then there is the cleaning and other preparations for the BIG day.  

By the time it arrives you are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.  And just when you think it's perfect, it's  over in a heartbeat.  

The let down can be so significant, that many mental health agencies start to prepare for the fall out early as well.  But it doesn't have to be this way if you do just a little more preparation for this amazing holiday gathering.

Having a plan in mind to help you cope with the let down will significantly make the holidays much happier.  To that end, I am going to make some suggestions that just might help you, or someone you love, get through that post holiday let down.

Today, on the Calendar of Days, is Write a Thank You Note day.  Now, you may not think this is a good idea, but I'm here to suggest it's a great way to relive the excitement, joy, and happiness of the Christmas gathering.  It will help you to capture what was really important and let go of the myriad of small disappointments that may have happened to make the day less than perfect.

After all, getting the family together and enjoying each other's company is the real beauty of Christmas.  The gifts and the food and everything else is secondary to just being together.  

Sitting down and writing a thank you, will let you put into words how much you enjoyed and appreciated all the efforts everyone made to make this Christmas special.  It really acts as a way to relive the excitement and the funny things that happened during the previous day.  

If that doesn't work for you there are many other ways to get through that post holiday letdown.  Here is my list of ways to do that and maybe you can add some of your own ideas.

  1. Write that Thank You note to someone who went out of their way to make the holiday special.
  2. Plan a trip to the zoo. Christmas antics aren't just for people.
  3. Arrange some time to go for a walk in the neighborhood to enjoy the lights, decorations and all the sights.
  4. Let yourself relax with a good movie or go out to a show.
  5. Invite someone you haven't seen in a while for coffee and a good chat.
  6. Go out and play in the snow (if you have any).  Bundle up with those new scarves, hats and mitts.
  7. Start a new hobby.  Scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, drawing or woodworking.  Coloring pages are still a great way to relax too.  
  8. add your own ideas here.......

dealing with emotional let down, Christmas let down, emotional exhaustion 
All the expectations, disappointments and let downs seem to disappear when you have a plan in mind.  Just writing a note can help you get through that emotional build up of the past month.  Going out to park, zoo, or being with a good friend,  can give you a release for all the frustrations you may have felt or are still feeling.  It's hard to stay disappointed when you are at the zoo checking out all the Christmas treats the zookeepers have in store for the animals in their care.  Just watching the Polar Bears, penguins, monkeys and more,  get their treats can be a delight for your overworked body and spirit.  The walking and exercise are good for you too.  Too much food and drink can be the trigger to make some people feel cranky and "out of sorts".  Drinking water and walking can help undo all the overeating and indulgences that took place the day before.  If you can't do the exercise, then just sitting back and watching a favorite movie, with full permission to just enjoy it, can also revive the drooping spirits.  A new hobby will keep your mind and hands occupied while you try to figure out just what you are supposed to do. An active mind doesn't have time to dwell on things that didn't go as planned and that's a good thing.   

If this all fails, then you can always go to the internet and start planning something different, a vacation in the new year, places you want to see or books you want to read.  On Review This Reviews, you can find lots of book reviews, Do It Yourself projects, movie reviews and more.  I dare say you could spend the better part of a day just checking out all the articles and I'm sure you will find a few that will trigger some ideas of your own.  


The most important thing on December 26th is to relish and relive, enjoy and form the memories of the day before.  Writing that note may be the first step in some well deserved "self-care" that will keep you from drowning in some very powerful negatives that could be plaguing your spirits.  Don't let Christmas let-down, get you down.......there are plenty more good times coming your way. 

don't let Christmas let down get you down......coping mechanisms, depression,

**Olivia is not a health care specialist, if you are feeling down or depressed, please check out your local  health professionals.




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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Wedding Forward Website Reviewed

When A Wedding Is In Your Future

wedding plans
Wedding Plans image courtesy of Pixabay.com
I thought that a review for a website for planning a wedding would be appropriate today. Here in the US and in many places of the world this article is being published on Christmas Day. Many men have chosen to "pop" the question to many a gal either on Christmas Eve or on the morning of Christmas. So, there are some weddings that will need to be planned. 

A truly awesome site to visit if a wedding is in your future is: Wedding Forward. As a soon to be bride you will find a plethora of ideas for every aspect of your special day. There are ideas for themes, dresses, hairstyles and so much more on this elegantly designed and easy to navigate website. 

A few of the categories that can be found on Wedding Forward are: 
  • Dresses & Attire
  • Flowers & Decor
  • Wedding Planning
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Photography & Video
You will see those top categories when you first land on the site but don't stop there! Scroll down the home page to find other very helpful categories to help you decide what you want for your wedding day. There are ideas for the music to be played, games to be played at your bachlorette party and tips about wedding vows. Ideas are shared for gifts and favors to be given to your wedding party and guests. Trending and traditional cakes are featured, too. There is also a convenient section with the Wedding Checklist that will be invaluable to you while planning your day to be the memorable event that you want it to be.  

If he just asked "will you" and you just responded with a thrilled and happy "yes", you should take some time to look over the website that will offer you some delightful and most helpful advice and ideas: Wedding Forward. The website can walk you forward from the time of his slipping that engagement ring on your finger to the moment that the words "I now pronounce you" are spoken. I feel certain that the ladies who contribute to the site will help take the stress out of the planning for you. 

Oh and I almost forgot to say, "Congratulations!" May your life be filled with joy and may you grow old together on one pillow.



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Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve: Here Comes Santa Claus

Here comes Santa Claus
This is Christmas Eve. Cookies and milk will be set out for Santa and NORAD is tracking his progress.

Christmas Eve means something different for each of us. For some of us, it is a day of gathering family together. And last minute preparations; shopping, baking, and gift-wrapping after getting excited children tucked into bed. 

For some of us, it is just another day. Many careers are in the helping professions and people are scheduled to work on Christmas Eve (if that is you, we thank you). Maybe some of us don't celebrate Christmas and never have. Perhaps the kids have flown the nest and Christmas isn't as exciting as it once was. 

There are literally millions of ways to experience Christmas Eve. No matter how differently we celebrate this day the one thing we often have in common is the music. We have a favorite Christmas classic - that song that brings us good memories. We can all sing along, and sing together, the most familiar of the holiday songs. There are songs that bring us to tears and others that make us laugh. 

This video compilation of Christmas songs is the perfect background music for the day. I was fortunate to stumble upon it during a search for something else. I am enjoying the 3 hours of music and accompanying background visuals that change with each song. It is playing on my Roku TV as I write this (By the way, Here Comes Santa Claus by Elvis is at 1:19:04).



Personally, I love the story that Santa Claus circles the globe with his sleigh and flying reindeer. The mystery and magic of "here comes Santa" is such a fun thing.

This is Christmas Eve. And whatever that means to you the Review This writers wish you the very best version of Christmas Eve possible. 

Related Link: The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) monitors objects in space; including Santa's sleigh. Get your updates here.

Photo Credit: Santa Claus photo courtesy of Pixabay and CC0 creative commons




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Sunday, December 23, 2018

DIY Battery Gift Storage Hack

When You Have to Add Batteries to a Gift but Don't Want to Put Them Inside the Item, Try This Hack

During the holiday's or for special occasions, it's safe to say once in a while we purchase gifts that require batteries.

Purchasing batteries in bulk is convenient and affordable. However, when you have to include four or more batteries in a gift, batteries purchased in bulk means there's no package to put them in.

It's not recommended to put batteries inside the item you've purchased as the batteries can begin to lose their charge from that point. Also, if you're buying a gift months before you plan to gift it, it's always best to keep the batteries separate.

Of course you could individually tape each battery onto the inside of the box, however that's not always convenient.

There's another easy hack you can use to store batteries inside a gift. Check out this hack I used to include batteries for a remote control car purchased for a grandchild:


Gift Card Holders - A DIY Hack to Store Batteries for Gifts
At the dollar store, purchase a package of gift card holders. You'll normally be able to find them for multiple occasions throughout the year. In this case, the batteries are for a Christmas Gift.

This Gift Card Box Holds Six Batteries
This remote control car needed six batteries. I lucked out in that one gift card box holds six batteries. If you want to give extra batteries for future use, simply fill another gift card box with six more batteries.

Tape the Gift Card Box filled with Batteries to the Inside of the Item's Box
Depending on the gift you're giving, find a place to tape the gift card box filled with batteries inside the actual gift item's box. Tape the gift card box to the item's box to prevent it from flying around inside.

So go ahead and get batteries in bulk and add them to gifts whenever your heart desires. Get your gifts early, add the batteries, wrap them and keep them until that special occasion comes along.


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Saturday, December 22, 2018

River Street Sweets – Savannah Candy Store Review

(c) Wednesday Elf

The Sweet Taste of Savannah!

On historic River Street in Savannah, Georgia you will find a candy store that has been renowned for their world famous pralines for 44 years.  Everyone who walks into River Street Sweets will be enticed to try a sample of the pralines or fudge or other candies on display. 


A simple taste of these delicious handmade candies will also find you purchasing a bit of this, a little of that…. and of course a few pralines. So many sweet treats to choose from.  One whole wall is filled with every flavor of saltwater taffy you can imagine.  I have yet to go into the store without leaving with at least a few tasty tidbits. 



Oh Fudge – How River Street Sweets Came About


Chocolate Fudge - River Street Sweets
Stan & Pam Strickland had a gift shop on River Street called The Cotton Bale where they sold knick-knacks and Christmas ornaments.  In 1978 they were at a gift market trade show in Atlanta with their daughter Jennifer and son Tim looking for new items for their store .  Tim, age 11, found a fudge pot and begged his parents to put it in the store.  

They finally agreed and a week later, on St. Patrick's Day, the first batch of chocolate mint fudge was made. It sold like crazy and soon it became obvious that candy was much more popular than the gifts they had been featuring.  Within six months, River Street Sweets became a full-fledged candy store.

Today, they are known worldwide for their gourmet southern sweets. On a visit to River Street Sweets you can watch candy makers dip pralines onto a giant marble slab Stan bought from a gravestone company. You can also see them stir glazed pecans in  huge copper kettles and see the 100-year-old saltwater taffy machine in action. They make their sweets in the stores and also ship them out around the world.




Come on a video tour of Savannah Street Sweets




The Savannah store is run today by grown-up Jennifer and Tim, while just down the street Stan "The Candy Man" operates Savannah's Candy Kitchen, the largest candy store in the south since 1990. 


If you cannot make it to Savannah, other River Street Sweets stores can be found in the Mall of Georgia in North Atlanta, in two places in Charleston, SC, and in Myrtle Beach, SC, as well as Key West and Lancaster Maryland. New locations will soon be coming to Texas, New Jersey and South Carolina.  You can also order them online from Amazon or through their catalog or website.  



Holiday and Gift Baskets



Office Party Basket - River Street Sweets
The wicker gift baskets are popular with tourists for taking home to friends & family.  They are irresistibly filled with delights such as pralines, bear claws, glazed pecans, hand-stretched peanut brittle, nougat log rolls and creamy chocolate fudge. Or grab a box of your favorite sweets (mine is fudge with walnuts). 

All candies sold by River Street Sweets are made using their own family recipes to make the finest and freshest handmade Southern candies around.  Not surprising, their best sellers are the glazed pecans, their bear claws and the oh-so-delicious pecan pralines.




How the Pralines are Made





A Sweet Treat you'll love. 









(c) Travel Review written by Wednesday Elf (12/22/2018)




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Friday, December 21, 2018

Broadcasting Christmas Hallmark Movie Review

Broadcasting Christmas Hallmark Movie Review
When you mix Melissa Joan Hart, Dean Cain and Hallmark, what do you get?  An amazing romantic Christmas movie!

Broadcasting Christmas takes place at Christmastime in New York with Emily and Charley competing for the same job.   It isn't the first time they have both been considered for the same position either.  Both are television reporters who previously worked for the same station and who were previously romantically involved.  Actually, they were in a relationship until they were pitted against each other 6 years earlier for a different job.   The newscaster job that Charley subsequently landed. 

This Hallmark movie is available on DVD, or you can view it with Amazon Prime or as a subscriber to the Hallmark channel on Amazon.


Hallmarks' Broadcasting Christmas


 Broadcasting ChristmasCheck PriceWhen Emily hears that the "Rise & Shine" morning show is replacing one of their co-hosts, she is determined to get the job.  Unfortunately, when Emily contacts a friend at the network, is told that she really is not a reasonable candidate for the station since they are seeking a known "name" to fill that position.  In a rare moment of passion, fueled by years of struggling and desire to get a break, Emily makes desperate plea on the air to be considered for the co-host job.  Of course, the next day, she regrets that rash action and tries to apologize, only to find out that her plea is trending on Twitter and the stations viewers love it.  As a result, the network decides to give her a chance.

Emily will once again be competing with Charley and two other well known television faces.  It seems highly unlikely that she will be the one to get the job.  Plus, she will have to face her boyfriend from the past.  

When Charley got the newscaster job 6 years earlier, Emily ended their relationship, refusing to move to Manhattan with him so he could work at the job she wanted.  Not to mention, she would have to leave her present position and would not have a job in New York.

This movie might be somewhat predictable, but there are a few fun surprises.  It truly is a really sweet romantic movie with the perfect ending for the couple we all adore.



Currently, "Broadcasting Christmas" is also available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  
 


Hallmark Channel Subscription on Amazon


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Available with Subscription to the Hallmark Channel






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Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Review

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book ReviewThe book The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is the story of an elderly movie star named Evelyn Hugo who has decided to allow an author to write the story of her life. A tell all, no holds barred. For reasons known only to herself, Hugo picks an relatively unknown, inexperienced young magazine reporter named Monique Grant. In doing so, she astounds both the publishing house and the young woman.

Monique is at a low point in her life. She is newly divorced and frustrated with her unsuccessful career so she accepts this writing job without knowing why she has been chosen. She hopes that she will find success through the sought after story of a reclusive actress.

Immediately after announcing that she wants to have this book written and picking Monique, Hugo puts her to work and the two spend long days in her New York apartment discussing her life story. Hugo arrived in Los Angeles in the 1950s and had a very successful acting career until she finally left acting in the 1980s. As is obvious from the cover, she has seven husbands during that time frame. She has been ruthless in her choices and efforts to get what she wants and along the way found a few great friends and one forbidden love. Of course, it turns out that there is a connection between Monique and Evelyn.

This story is a trip through the Hollywood of times gone by, in both the good and the bad aspects, and it is also a voyage of discovery in which both women find out what it costs to face the truth. It deals with sexuality including LGBTQ, with race and with strong women in the 1940s and 1950s and in the current day.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Book Review by Taylor Jenkins ReidIs The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo recommended by me? Yes, I enjoyed the book. It was an easy read but be warned that Grant is a not-very-nice woman who will go to any means to get what she wants and that the book includes many of the vices we associate with Hollywood. If you are interested in the history of Hollywood, I believe you will enjoy this story as I did.

The Historical Novel Society says, "Evelyn, her husbands, and others may be composites, but the story is fresh, and the end reveal is worth the wait." I agree.

I spent the entirety of the book wondering if it was linked in any way to the actress Elizabeth Taylor and her seven husbands and eight marriages and a bit of research cleared up the mystery. I do wish there had been a tagline like "based on the lives of real Hollywood actresses."

Anyway, when interviewed by Pop Sugar, author Taylor Jenkins Reid said she was inspired by true stories like those found in Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversation and Scandals of Classic Hollywood. Ava Gardner had herself hired a ghost writer to write her story and shared so many secrets with the writer that the book was eventually cancelled and not published until both Gardner and the writer had passed away. Jenkins Reid drew on many stories from real life and yes, that included the lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth.

In the Pop Sugar story, Jenkins Reid said that she hopes we learn from this story and that "Hugo can teach us a lot about how to get what we want out of this world." Jenkin Reid goes on to say that she believes "It is time for women to get ours (but that) we've got to go out there and take it. (That) it is going to be uncomfortable, but that she thinks the rewards will be there for us. We need to find the confidence in ourselves to say, Pay me what I'm worth. Promote me when I deserve it. Don't take advantage of me. Don't underestimate me."

Have you read The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo? Will you be adding it to your reading list? Are you interested in the history of Hollywood or could you care less?

See you
at the library!
Brenda

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sleep Better with the Amtooch Sleep Mask: A Review

The Amtooch Sleep Mask Really Does Block Light


I'm a night owl who generally tries to sleep between 2 am and 10 am. I have a rechargeable power failure nightlight in my room and lights from many electronic helpers which charge next to my bed at night. One of these is my new Galaxy Note 9 Smartphone. I charge it next to my bed because its Relaxio App helps me block out noise and get to sleep faster. In the morning when the sun rises, it sends bright light through the mini blinds over my east-facing window.

Sleep Better with the Amtooch Sleep Mask: A Review
Amtooch Sleep Mask and Ear Plugs with a Case for Storing Each


I finally bought a sleep mask a couple of years ago that helped block out most of that light. (See A Review of Products that Help Me Get a Good Night's Sleep.) I used that Bedtime Bliss sleep mask for three years, but the elastic in it finally got so weak it no longer fit snugly enough to do its job properly. So this year I decided to replace it. I choose the Amtooch mask instead because it does an even better job of blocking light.

What I Really Like about the Amtooch Sleep Mask



  • It has a really snug fit. 
  • It's comfortable
  • It does a great job of blocking light
  • It comes with a convenient attractive carrying case
To completely block light, a sleep mask has to have a snug fit. Although both the Bedtime Bliss mask and the Amtooch mask are contoured to be three-dimensional, the nose opening is different. Unless your nose is the exact size as the indentation in the Bedtime Bliss mask, it will let a little light seep through no matter how snugly the elastic strap fits. 

The Amtooch mask doesn't attempt to fit your exact nose size. It has a slit for the bridge of a nose to fit through. When you adjust the mask properly, the indentation adjusts so there is no space for light to come through. Look closely at the top photo in the image below. That mustache-shaped foam around the nose helps seal the light out. The Bedtime Bliss is flat around the nose and some light seeps in. (I increased the exposure on that image so you could see the nose spaces in more detail. The bottom part of the top photo shows the inside of the Amtooch mask and the outside of the Bedtime Bliss mask. The outside view of both masks shows in the bottom photo. 

Sleep Better with the Amtooch Sleep Mask: A Review


I was really impressed with how snugly the Amtooch mask fit me without making my head feel like it was in a vise. The masks use two different types of elastic and have different ways of adjusting. The Bedtime Bliss strap closes with Velcro with no way to make it tighter. When the elastic starts to go, you can't adjust it any tighter.  The Amtooch strap adjusts by pulling the elastic through metal adjustment slides until the mask fits your head exactly. Because it is tight enough for a firm hold to my head, it doesn't slip and let light in when I sleep on my side and the mask connects with my pillow.

Who Needs the Amtooch Sleep Mask?


Anyone who needs a darker sleeping environment needs this. That includes day sleepers, those who need to sleep in a work environment or in a hospital. I used my Bedtime Bliss mask when I was in the hospital after surgery in 2014. I still had a problem with noise, but at least it was dark enough to sleep, and that helps. This also would have helped when I shared a dorm room with someone whose habits were different than mine. (Or helped my roommate when she went to bed first.)

I take both the sleeping mask and my Marpac noise machine if we need to sleep in a motel when we travel. Motels often have lights coming through the window and doors banging in the hall or outside in the parking lot. There is also electronic light in motel rooms from the television, a charging phone, or, in my case, my husband's CPAP machine he needs to help him breathe when he's asleep.

Maybe you know someone who needs a sleep mask as a gift. There's no gift quite like better sleep. Get one for someone you love. 

A Note about the Ear Plugs Included in the Package


Before there were any alternatives, I think I tried every kind of ear plug available to sleep through my husband's snoring. It was so loud that when we were at family camp on Catalina Island, I could find my way in the dark to the cabin from the beach, a walk of at least a block, late at night, just by listening. I always was a night owl.


 The only ear plugs I ever found somewhat effective were the Mack's Silicone Putty Earplugs. I could mold them to the shape of my ear and they stayed in. Eventually all ear plugs began to cause pain in my left ear and I stopped using them in favor of white noise. I never found any ear plugs that completely blocked noise. The best just lowered the volume.

I tried the ear plugs that came in the package with the Amtooch mask by putting them in my ears for a few minutes. I realize that's not a really fair trial. But they are made of foam, and foam ear plugs have never done much to even lower the volume of the noise a little. These didn't do much either. I just consider them an extra that was in the package so I could get the mask. You may have better luck. If you really need to get rid of disturbing noises at night or any other time, either use the Mack's EarPlugs if you prefer ear plugs, get the Marpac white noise machine, use the free Relaxio app on your smartphone, or find another source of white noise. White noise not only covers up most annoying sounds, but it often is soothing and relaxing.

I wish you a great night's sleep. 

Sleep Better with the Amtooch Sleep Mask: A Review
Have Mask, Will Sleep. My photo edited with PicMonkeyBasic




All photos not included in Amazon's ads were taken by me of products I have purchased. I used both PicMonkey and Fotor editing programs to assist in editing these images.


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