Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brite-Ideas. Show all posts

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Owl Wall Decals Review for a Baby's Room

Fantastic, Affordable Owl Wall Decals for the Nursery

The mommy-to-be recently added these Owl Wall Decals to her baby registry.

With wall decals, it can be a crap-shoot whether the quality of the stickers will be decent.

My main concern when I ordered them was the fact that they weren't expensive. I know, I should have been cheering on the fact that they weren't expensive. However, I was more worried that they wouldn't stay on the walls or look cheap.

These Owl Wall Decals Are Fantastic


The brand name of these wall decals is "Decalmile." I'm so pleased with them; I'll look for this company again if we order more.

Mommy-to-be had never put up a wall decal in her life, and neither had I. I watched her put these up, and it was easier and quicker than the time it took me to peel off the safety stickers on the crib!

The decals come in small sheets. If I had to guess, I'd say they were on 8.5 by 11-inch sheets. At any rate, they are shipped compactly in a small, durable envelope of about the same size. 

Owl Wall Decals - Looks as Good, or Better Than this Photo
We Purchased This 'Decalmile' Decal Via Amazon Here


How Mommy Put Up These Decals
  1. She laid out the sheets in the proper order for the design she wanted
  2. These owl decals show you a couple of different options for laying out the designs
  3. She decided where to place them on the wall
  4. Mommy wanted them coming out for the corner to make it seem like a branch from a tree
  5. After laying each sheet on the floor, she cut out the pieces one by one to start placing them on the wall
  6. She chose to go high enough so baby can't reach them in the crib
  7. She kept them to one side versus directly over the crib for safety purposes
  8. We pulled the crib out of the way so she could safely work on the decal
  9. Using a safe step-ladder, she placed each piece on the wall
  10. Once complete, back went the crib, and it was done
  11. The job took maybe 30 to 45 minutes

How Well Do These Owl Decals Stick to the Wall


These decals stick perfectly. They're removable and repositionable, although we haven't tried either of those options yet. They are vinyl, so I'm confident they'll come down fairly easy when it's time to remove them.

The wall surface needs to be a standard, clean, drywall. It may stick on other types of surfaces, but if you're planning on putting them on stucco or cement, I'm not sure that would work.

The walls in this baby's room have been freshly painted, so the owl decals went on beautifully.

They're colorful, cheerful, and gorgeous.

The Baby's Room Isn't Finished Yet


The baby's room is currently being set up, so the photos included here are the decor's early stages. Look for a review in the coming weeks on the crib featured in the room. Great-grandma gifted that one to future mommy and daddy, and I give it five stars.

Owl Wall Decal in Proportion to the Crib
Look for a Future Review on This Lovely Crib


When the room is completed, with all the accessories, look for a full review of the entire nursery.

Here's the Product on Amazon - (We also purchased it via Amazon)








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Sunday, April 4, 2021

Happy Easter from the Contributors of ReviewThisReviews

The Writers of ReviewThisReviews Wish You a Happy, Healthy, and Safe Easter Holiday

We would like to thank our readers for their time, following, and support.

It's been a tough few years, and we hold onto hope for you, yours, and ours, that we soon get past these challenging times.

Have fun, rejoice, take a break, and enjoy the Peter Rabbit cartoon featured below :)

If you're viewing via mobile, the cartoon link to YouTube is here.





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Sunday, March 28, 2021

3 Inspirational Songs to Sing When Your Spirit Needs A Boost


Today's review is about finding peace in a busy and often chaotic world.

When my soul needs a boost, I sing. At night, I'll play various lyric videos and blast out every word as loud as I choose.

I've long since stopped being self-conscious about it. My boys hear me singing all the time. I actually love that they hear their mother singing; I like to think I'm teaching them to be brave. It's also a way for them to see me making time to feed the soul.

For two years now, I've actively taken steps to balance in my mind, body, and spirit

For the body, I've lost over 60 pounds on Keto

For the mind, I've written nine books in a year, and for my spirit, I sing and listen to this spiritual channel on YouTube

No, I'm not superwoman. I turned 60 in 2020 and made a decision that, before that monumental milestone birthday, I was going to tick off some boxes on my 'get-er-done beyatch' list. 

So I stopped the talk, and walked the walk.

Today I'd like to pass along some of my personal choice lyric videos. Sing along, or just enjoy the words and message.

1. Don't Give Up on Me by Andy Grammer

This is a bounce-in-your-chair song. There's a section of lyric I use as inspiration to continue writing my riddle books. At 60, I'm just getting started, so yah, don't give on me. If you're viewing via mobile, the lyric video is here.
"Cause I'm not givin' up,
I'm not givin' up, givin up, no, not yet,
Even when I'm down to my last breath
Even when they say there's nothing' left,
So don't give up on me"

 

2. You Say by Lauren Daigle

This is one of the most famous Christian songs to reach number one on the Hot Christian Songs chart. It stayed there for 113 weeks, and that alone was a record. It also charted on the Billboard Top 100, Contemporary Chart, and the Mainstream and Adult Top 40 charts.

This song is my anthem for handing over my issues to a higher power. It reminds me what's possible when I let go and simply believe in a greater purpose. Mostly, it humbles me. I'm sure you've heard it. If not, be sure to listen; it's a gorgeous song. If you're reading this via mobile, the video is here.
"You say I am loved when I can't feel a thing,
you say I am strong when I think I am weak,
And you say I am held, when I am falling short,
and when I don't belong, oh you say I am Yours,
And I believe, oh I believe
What you say to me, oh I believe,
Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at your feet,
you have every failure God, You have every victory" 

3. The Most Beautiful Things, by Tenille Townes

When you need a song that reminds you of how small yet significant we all are, this is the go-to spiritual fix. This song is my universal remote for traveling away from earthly problems. If you're reading this via mobile, the video is here.
" So why do we close our eyes,
when we pray, cry, kiss, dream,
Maybe the most beautiful things in this life
are felt, and never seen"


Spiritual Medicine

We're all struggling in one way or another. I fight darkness with light. 

In 2013, the year my father died, I decided to find my way through darkness, fear, and especially over-thinking by learning more about what lives on when we physically don't. As mentioned above, it's this YouTube channel that guided me out, and I believe, through.

One particular video struck me with how dark energy (whatever you want to call it) tries to feed on us around the clock. We need tools in our toolbox to fight back. Repeating Psalm23 was one suggestion. You can select anything spiritual to repeat.

As soon as my thoughts tailspin into a whirlpool of 'what-ifs", I repeat Psalm23 in my mind. In fact, I've written it on a card and placed it near my computer. When darkness creeps in, I read the card. Sometimes I'll simply repeat the first few lines over and over until the dark path my thoughts were heading to disappears.

There's a saying that "95% of what we worry about never happens". With that in mind, I work to turn that 95% into positive thought.

Here's a video written and created by me in January 2020 to celebrate light and love. If you're viewing via mobile, here's the video link.



Blessings to you and your family for this coming Easter weekend.




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Sunday, March 14, 2021

10 Gifts For Mom That Don't Cost Money

Gift Ideas for Mom that Don't Cost Money

Free gifts have value. A free gift requires thought and time, so be confident in your decision to give Mom a gift that doesn't cost money but instead touches her heart.

Here's a Review of 10 Gifts for Mom That Don't Cost Money:


1. A Video Compilation of Her Life


This takes work. But with today's technology, it's not as hard to do as it used to be. If you have a computer with Windows 10, type "Video Editor" in your search bar, and the "Video Editor App" should show up. Once you click on the App, you can start to create your video for mom. Of course, you'll need all the photos you want in the video to be on your computer so you can upload them into the Video you're making.

2. A Jar of Wise Quotes and Sayings from the Family - For When Mom Needs an Emotional Lift


Write sayings or quotes that come from the heart on tiny pieces of paper. Fold the paper and put them in a jar for mom to pull out and read from time to time. The sayings or quotes can be funny, serious, complimentary, or inspirational. However, make them personal. Include famous quotes if you want, but the sayings should be what the family would really say to mom when she needs a pick-me-up. Put a label on the outside of the jar that says, "Here's Why Mom is Special." Or, label it with your own saying.

3. Do All the Housework for Mom While She Watches Movies All Day


Don't just give her breakfast in bed and do the dishes. Do the laundry, put the clothes away, dust, vacuum, cook dinner, and do the dinner dishes. Bring her snacks while she's watching movies, get her coffee if she wants it, or better yet, a glass or two of wine.

4. Send Her Loving Text Messages for a Defined Period, and Answer Her Texts Without Fail During That Period - Put That Promise in Writing!


If you think this is stupid, it isn't! A typical parent complaint is when a child doesn't answer their texts. Also, when we get a text from our child, sometimes we worry before answering. Why? Because a child who doesn't text often triggers the "something is wrong" warning when they do text! Give mom a card, and tell her you plan to commit to sending her a loving text message daily for a period of time, and during that time, you will also answer her texts. 

5. Write Mom a Poem and Frame It


It doesn't matter if you can't write, just do the best you can, and take the time to frame it. Granted, if you don't have a frame, you will have to buy one, and yes, that costs money. However, a trip to the dollar store will get you an affordable frame. Before you go that route, look around the house and re-use an old frame.

6. Plan a Picnic for Mom and the Family


Being cooped up during these pandemic years has been brutal. Pack a picnic lunch, take mom to the park, bring a radio, a blanket, and some fun outdoor games and spend the day with her.

7. Create a Photo Collage of All the People, and Things Mom Loves


Use a large piece of cardboard art paper, and on there, glue or tape a photo collage of every member of the family at different stages, as well as all of her favorite things in life. Spend time talking with her about each photo you selected.

8. Have Everyone in the Family Write Something Special About Mom


Get everyone in the family to write something they love and admire about mom. Put each written item in a homemade card, or tape each onto a large art paper sheet. Give this thoughtful gift to her when you're serving her breakfast in bed.

9. Read Mom a Story - One You've Written, Or Just From a Book She Loves


Sit with mom for the afternoon, serve her favorite beverage and snacks, and read to her. Take a few hours, without TV, without phones and distractions, and just spend some quality time with mom.

10. Create a Playlist on YouTube that Consists of All Her Favorite Songs


The nice thing about this gift is it's public. You can write something about Mom in the YouTube video description for the world to read and see. Don't get too personal. Just say enough that she knows she's loved and respected. 




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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Hey Keto Warriors, Have You Seen the Ad for Magic Spoon Cereal?

A Personal Review of Magic Spoon Cereal

The advertisement for Keto Magic Spoon Cereal lands on my Facebook feed almost daily. Here's my review.

It looked and sounded delicious, but I didn't jump in to buy it. Honestly, I rarely buy from Ads on my Facebook feed (unless endorsed by someone I know) because I've been disappointed several times in the past.

A Delivery to Our Door, and a Surprise From My Son

One of my sons also saw the Ad, but I believe it was on his Instagram. He said, "I thought of you, mom, and had to buy it for you." So thoughtful!

How Does It Taste?

I have to admit, it's delicious.

Being on Keto, I miss cereal and am never hungry enough to make special Keto recipes. 

I eat basic Keto foods; meat, some veggies, good fats, and low healthy carbs. Reaching for treats while on Keto can be tricky when you rarely purchase or make any keto-dessert-related. Sometimes I'll end up munching on a piece of dark chocolate or peanut butter to satisfy those rare cravings.

This cereal fills my snack and dessert void.

The Magic Spoon Cereal Flavors

The four flavors are cocoa, frosted, fruity, and peanut butter.

Here's a photo of the boxes.


This cereal is high in protein, keto-friendly, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, wheat-free, with nothing artificial. It really is a childlike cereal for grown-ups.

Here's another photo from the Magic Spoon Cereal Box:



I devour Magic Spoon cereal with Almond Milk or Coconut Milk. I sometimes add a couple or three tablespoons of table cream as well. All I can say is, "double yum."

Another way to eat this cereal; straight out of the box as a snack.

Which Flavor is My Favorite

Here's my personal opinion on the best to the least favorite flavor according to my taste buds. Your tastes could be entirely different.

In this order, from best to least best (according to me):
  1. Frosted (yum! - has a vanilla taste)
  2. Fruity (Tastes like fruit loops)
  3. Cocoa (Not as chocolatey as it should be, but still good)
  4. Peanut Butter (Not my fave)

Here's the Nutritional Information

How Good is It, What's the Downside, and Where Can I Get This Cereal?

My son, a weight-lifter/workout maniac, loves the cereal and devoured most of it! Next time I'm hiding a box. Oh, and he's certainly not on Keto! The kid is fit.

The only two negatives are; it's a bit pricey, and the cereal may cling to your teeth a bit after eaten.

I've checked Amazon and don't see Magic Spoon Cereal available there yet. 

However, Magic Spoon has its own website where you can order directly. The link to order Magic Spoon Cereal is here. By the way, I'm not an affiliate and do not receive anything for this endorsement. 

In summary, five stars from me.

Note:
A Bonus Recipe for Fellow Keto Warriors - Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding by Margaret Schindel

If you're interested, here's more on my personal Keto journey. I've lost over 60 pounds and have been following the Keto way of eating since May 4th, 2019. Still going strong.




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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Long Distance Friendship Lamps - Send Love and Light With Just a Touch

Long Distance Friendship Lamps - Review for a Great Gift Idea

I've been reading about these lamps for over a year now but haven't jumped in yet to get one. However, this one is on my list of original gift ideas.

Unique Gift Idea for Separated Loved Ones During Quarantine, or Any Reason

I've been thinking about getting this gift for both a friend of mine and my mother. 

When I first read about this lamp, I was confused about how it worked. I won't pretend I've seen it in action, but I had to share this funky lamp with you all today.

What Are Friendship Lamps?

When you buy the lamps in pairs, you give one lamp to a friend, grandparent, parent, or anyone for that matter, and you keep the other lamp at your place.

Each of you set-up your lamp via WiFi. Yes, you both need WiFi.

When you touch your lamp, it lights up at the other end to let the other person know you're thinking of them. 

Apparently, it cycles through colors when you touch it.

Plus, you can assign different people different colors. For example, each grandkid could have their own color that lights up when they touch the lamp to let grandma or grandpa know they're thinking of them. Popular grandparents could have these things going on and off all day!

Here's a Brief Video on How to Set The Lamps Up

If you're viewing this article via mobile, you can view the YouTube Video for Friendship Lamps Here.


Why A Friendship Lamp Would Be Nice to Share Between Long-Distance Loved Ones

Here are a few things that come to mind:

  • Grandparents may not have cell phones, and for that reason, they don't get the frequent communication that texting provides to most of us. My mom doesn't have a cell phone, so this lamp would be a nice way to say hello throughout the day. I do call her every night, but we could all be lighting up her life during the day.
  • For those who have trouble hearing, this is a quick way to send frequent loving light messages.
  • It's a lovely way to say goodnight when talking isn't possible.
  • Since it's as simple as a touch, loving light messages can be sent throughout the day.
  • Those who work many hours could bring one to the office and have the other at home for their spouse.
  • This is an ideal gift for besties. Best friends could share light messages whenever a little support or love is needed.

Featured - Friendship Lamps Below

If you can't see the products below, you can find them on their product page here.




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Sunday, February 21, 2021

A Handy Pinterest Tool That Predicts Future Trends

Review of a Pinterest Tool That Predicts Future Trends

Most of us don't choose what to write about based on what is popular. However, there are specific exceptions. For example, if you have a Home Decor website (as I do), you may want to feature trending products or ideas that are projected to be the current year's rage.

I have to admit, I rarely approach selecting a funky home decor item to write about based upon its popularity. However, I also don't just select items willy-nilly either.

When I'm featuring a product on Funkthishouse.com, it's because:

  1. It's different, funky, and something everyday decorators would not consider.
  2. It's a home decor item loaded with color, design, and style.
  3. It's a product that a select group of home decor junkies tends towards.
  4. It's a creative item or idea that can be added to existing decor.
  5. It's through the roof expensive! For the shock value alone.
  6. It's through the basement inexpensive! Shock value savings.
  7. It's bright, cheerful, and, most of the time, not a neutral color.
  8. It's popular, but only for its originality.
  9. It's a common item, with uncommon prints and designs.
  10. It's bizarre but very cool.
However, there's a particular Pinterest Tool that I do use once in a while to see what future trends for the year will be. After all, who better than Pinterest to be able to compile shopping trends and data?

Pinterest Business - Pinterest Predicts

Have you ever taken a look at this part of Pinterest?


It's interesting to read their stats on a projected year-over-year increase in trends.

When you're over there, you'll notice that the categories are broken down for you: Fashion, Beauty, Travel, Food, Home, Parenting, Well-Being, and more! You'll be able to see each category clearly.

What Information Are You Provided on Each Category?

Click the category you're interested in, and you'll see some easy-to-read information on the popular trend(s) for it. 

You'll be provided with a previous year versus current-year estimation of the global increase in stats/searches/interest items within that category. You'll see easy-to-read and understand percentages broken down by category for items/products/interests.

Since my niche for Funkthishouse is funky home decor, obviously, I had to check out the "Home" category. The projected popular item for 2021 is "Vibey Lights." 

Pinterest points out that Gen Zs (born in the late 1990s to early 2000s) are very much into mood lighting for their rooms. As soon as I read that, I thought, yep, bang on! I have a Gen Z'er in my house, and he's been into LED ambient lighting for several years now. His room features LED lights; behind his piano, behind the bed headboard, and behind his desk; it's lovely.

You can view a collection of vibey-mood lighting here. Most of the products featured at that link are popular LED strip lights.

My son recently purchased these 'vibey' LED strip lights. I highly recommend them. They went up easy, and so far, work perfectly. Oh, and they're not expensive!

Have You Used Pinterest Trends - Another Handy Tool

Pinterest Trends (trends.pinterest.com) gives a breakdown of the top weekly trends by country. You can search by item or category - whatever you want.

I use Pinterest Trends to find popular pins. I like to share a variety of pins, and of course, that includes popular pins. 

Go take a peek at both tools; they're a bit addictive!






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Sunday, February 14, 2021

10 Free Things You Can Do For Valentine's Day

Review of Ten Free Things You Can
Do for Valentine's Day

In these pandemic times, money can be scarce. We don't have to spend money to show those we love that we're thinking about them. Where money is avoided, time is required.

Below are ten free things you can do for Valentine's Day.

1. Create a Video Memory Collection

For my step-daughter's major milestone birthday this year, that's exactly what we did. It takes a bit of time, but a memory video dedication can last a lifetime and be used for multiple family occasions. 

If you don't have a video/photo program and have Windows 10, type "Photo App" in the bottom search bar. The One Drive App should pop open. Across the top are menu items you can choose from. Select "Video Editor," then begin to create. I found it easy to use, and I hadn't tried it before. It also gives you the ability to add music to the background. There's a wide selection of music to choose from. I was able to upload the video to Facebook, for my step-daughter, without issue.

Once your video is completed, share it via email or social media.

2. Plan a Group Song for that Special Person

Dad or mom, get the kids together, either in the home or via Zoom, and sing a collection of love and thank you songs to that special someone. Who cares if you can't sing! Sing anyway. Embrace the lovely, horrible, wonderful sounds of a family singing together.


3. Make a Meal for Your Significant Other

This one is obvious, yet rarely done! Don't just plan a meal; plan a sit-down candlelight dinner. Plan a meal featuring foods that you all like. If it's for the whole family, have each person pick their fave food item.


4. Plan a Valentine's Day Candy Heart Treasure Hunt for the Kids

On Easter, the kids hunt for eggs. For Valentine's Day, do the same thing with Valentine's Candy. Granted, you'll have to buy the candy, so that part isn't free. Or, if you'd rather skip the sugar-high, make hearts for the hunt. Let's face it, the candy is more fun!


5. Plan an Outing at the Park

Weather permitting, pack a lunch, and head to the park. For those with kids, it's a lovely way to get outdoors and spend time together. 

For those living in snowy areas, go sledding! That's so much fun. There's fishing, biking, golfing, or a day at the beach swimming in warmer climates.


6. Bake Together With the Kids

Plan a day of cake or pie baking with the young ones. Most children love being involved with dessert creation. Use a heart-shaped cake pan, and create Valentine's cake.


7. Have a Movie Day or Game Day at Home

Get the popcorn and snacks ready, select several movies, and spend the day cozied up under a blanket, snacking and watching movies. Just don't chew in his ear because, yah, annoying. :)

You could also binge-watch a series together. It's not hard to do that!

If movies aren't your thing, play games, lots of games. Make it a retro-game-day; Monopoly, Scrabble, Sorry, Yahtzee, Operation, Mouse-Trap, Cards.


8. Re-Write Your Vows to Each Other 

Whether you're married or not, write or re-write your vows. Place them in a pretty sealed envelope, open them over dinner, and read them to each other.


9. Trade Foot Massages

Oh yes. This. Give each other the gift of touch. Agree to spend a half-hour on each other's feet! If feet aren't your thing, how about the back or neck and shoulders?


10. Agree to Spend the Day Paying Each Other Only Compliments

Absolutely no nasty remarks for the entire day. Make Valentine's Day a day dedicated to kindness, goodness, and grace. Seriously, this could be tough at times, lol - but you can do it! 

Make a vow that for Valentine's Day, the full day, you both have to give at least ten compliments spread throughout the day to each other. Yes, count and keep track.

So, not only do you have to be nice to each other all day, you have to say at least ten nice things to each other. 

Bonus Suggestion: Do nothing! Couch, sleep, snacks.




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Sunday, February 7, 2021

Review of Blackout Window Panel Drapes - Highly Recommended

A Review of Room Darkening Drapes - Yes. Recommended.

 Let me start this review by getting right to the point; I highly recommend these blackout drapes.

My son selected them for his recently re-vamped bedroom.  Actually, I suggested them (based on reviews and price), and he said "what-ev." Lol. Boys ... I've raised four of them, so I can safely say they are men of few words. However, few words or not, he loves these drapes.

The Nicetown Blackout Window Panels do exactly what they advertise they do - they blackout the light. 

These Drapes Completely Block the Morning Sun

My son's room faces east, so it gets the full morning sun. Certainly, that's a lovely feature when you're awake, not so much when you're trying to sleep.

In the morning, while he was still sleeping, I opened his door expecting to see some sunlight, and to my surprise, there was zero light in the room.

Honestly, I was shocked. I expected there to be some faded light peeking through, but nope, nothing. His room was night-time dark in the morning.

He said, and I quote, "it was so dark, I had to check my clock and was shocked that it was noon." He enjoyed his morning sleep-in. 

Closed Room Darkening Drapes in My Son's Room

How Many Panels Do You Need for a Window

I'm a bit fussy about having too little drape for a window.

My son's window, from outside frame to outside frame, both width, and height, measures 51 inches by 51 inches. However, from the top of the curtain rod to the bottom of the window, the measurement is 54 inches long. 

The choices in size widths are 29, 42, and 70. The length choices are 18, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72, 84, and 90 inches. 

To ensure proper window coverage, we purchased two sets of the 42 by 63-inch drapes. Thus we have four panels; two panels on each side.

We decided on the slightly longer measurement of 63 inches versus the 54-inch length for fear that the 54-inch drape would be slightly short, and allow the light to peek through.

To completely block the light, make sure the drape seams (where each drape meets) are pulled so that you can't see the window at all. Otherwise, the morning light might peek through.

The finished look of the drapes - open - two sets of drapes


Affordability? Absolutely

We were able to cover this window for under $75 (Canadian). The curtain rod was already installed; just the drapes had to be replaced.

How Many Colors Do These Drapes Come In?

Lots. Lots of colors. When I last checked, there were about 20 colors to choose from.

Would We Rebuy These Drapes?

Yes. In fact, my first granddaughter is due to arrive in August, and we're planning on choosing a set for her room. They're ideal for a nursery since they completely block the morning and day light. 


Check out the bedding we selected for his room here. The bedding is also good value for the money.


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Sunday, January 31, 2021

6 Handy Work From Home Office Gizmos and Gadgets

Review of Handy Home Office Accessories & Gadgets

Since many of us are working from home these days, acquiring just the right gadgets and gizmos for our desks can be fun! 

For me, it's fun. Maybe, you're like, "no clutter, please." These six items don't really clutter the office up; they're all useful.

My family tends to give me gifts that fit nicely into my home-office set-up. Since I spend so much time here, I appreciate every little thing I get from them.

Here are six handy items that I've either purchased or received as gifts you may also want to consider.

Handy Home Office Gizmos and Gadgets

1. A Calendar Mousepad

My 2021 calendar mouse pad is on order. Last year, I decided that I needed a handy calendar that didn't have to hang on the wall or be buried in a drawer. The perfect solution was a mouse pad that doubles as a calendar. Sure, you can't write on it, but who cares! If I need to quickly glance at a particular date while viewing the whole year at a glance .... bingo! Problem solved.

Here's My 2020 Mousepad Calendar - 2021 Just Ordered - Waiting for Arrival

I find the calendar mouse pad handy when I travel to my mother's house. I'll work from there, and since the year is displayed in one handy spot, boom, I have a calendar at my fingertips, literally. The best part is I don't have to look at my phone or google a calendar. The mousepad gives me immediate access when working.

I'll end up with a collection of calendar mousepads as the years go by, but how cool is that? After many years of collecting them, God willing, I was considering sticking them in a photo frame for the wall and pinning a small photo in the middle of each year to represent the major event for that year. I guess the covid virus will be the 2020 photo? Um, maybe not. We'll see. 

I would love 2021 to represent something positive about my riddle books, or better yet, my first grand-daughter due in August. There you have it, she gets the 2021 photo billing.

2. HomeMedics Hand-Held Massager

This thing is so darned convenient! This massager is very inexpensive and needs batteries - yah, that part sucks, but honestly, it's worth having on hand. Sitting at my desk can cause tightness and cramps in my thighs and knees. When I'm in the middle of a project and not willing to get up and walk around, I grab that little massager and use it in those painful spots. Works great. 

3. Motivational Words

These can come in many forms. For some, it's a quote on the wall or a plaque on the desk. For me, it's a gift from my grandsons. They gave me three rocks, each printed with a motivational word; "wish, hope, dream." I love these rocks! Here they are:

Wish, Hope, Dream Rocks on My Desk

4. Candles, Yes, Candles, Lots of Candles

Over the holidays, I received three new candles, and I've used two of them completely, and it's only the end of January, lol. These particular candles came in lovely pastel-colored, small glass containers. They fit perfectly on our kitchen window ledge, so I've cleaned them and plan on planting herbs inside in the spring. If fire freaks you out, go for the led battery operated version. The ambient light, no matter which you use, is lovely, and of course, the scent of a real candle can be calming. Lemon, my fave - #anythinglemon.

5. Plants - Plants Are a Must

Plants clean the air. For that reason alone, I include them in a room. Certain plants are ideal for rooms with a lot of electronics, such as Spider Plants. I have one of those plants by our family room TV.

 Fresh flowers are nice and are normally only on my desk when given as a gift. For that reason, I keep plants. I have two plants, one on my desk and one on my credenza: They're easy to keep, they can handle indirect light, and I only water them once a week. I insert a fertilizer stick once a month or so. They're self-sustaining, and the greenery is lovely. This year I plan on adding a floor plant to the room.

Here's the plant on my desk. It's approximately six years old. It was originally at my mom's house, and during her snowbirding days, she'd give her plants to me.

Plant on my Desk - About six years old now - Easy to care for

6. A Portable Heater or Cooler

There's an electric fireplace in my office; however, I prefer the stand-up portable heater. I live in Canada, it's winter, and we're having a cold spell right now. The heater is a gawd-send during the winter months. You can find ones that offer both heating and cooling. However, with central air, the cooling option isn't necessary for us. 

What I like most about the heater is the soothing effects of it at night. When I'm working late, and the room is cold, I pull the heater within one foot of where I'm sitting, and the heat pours over me. When I've had enough, I turn it off. I'm actually turning it on and off all night long. This was a gift that I said I didn't want (since I have a fireplace) - I was wrong. Best gift evah!

I hope your workspace is cozy and filled with encouraging and handy gizmos and gadgets; working from home is much better when it is. Turn your office or desk space into a reflection of yourself.




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Sunday, January 24, 2021

His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story



I've had the privilege of reading and reviewing many short stories by friends of mine. Being a writer of poetry and riddle books, I've never tackled a fictional short story online. As a young girl, I wrote many. However, as an adult, nope, never fictional.

Fiction wasn't my thing. Maybe it's this whole getting-older-stuff that gets us stepping out of our comfort zone? That's exactly what propelled me to write and publish my first poetry book in 2019, and since then, six riddle books. For some unknown reason, I had and still have a sense of urgency.

I blame time for my bravery to try new things. Time is knocking on my door, and my sense of it passing by too quickly is front and center these days.

So today's review is about jumping in and doing that one thing you've been hesitant to do. For me, it's writing a fictional story. So judge away, lol.


His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story by Barbara Tremblay Cipak

His Gift Was Knowing - A Short Story About Love and Light

She stood at the bottom of that radiant sun-soaked hill sobbing from a pain that she didn't fully understand. 

This kind of suffering was beyond anything Kathleen had ever experienced.

It hurt more than when her father unexpectedly died in his sleep from an unknown heart condition when she was only eighteen; and even more than her mother's difficult passing from dementia three months ago.  

At the top of that hill, Kathleen could see Jeffrey, dressed in a lovely black suit. Her heart could feel his soul as if he were still that precious two-year-old rusty haired boy she rocked to sleep every night for years. She wondered how he grew up so quickly into the dapper twenty-year-old she was looking at today.

Kathleen could see Jeffrey comforting his sister. Holly's strong independent nature couldn't console her on this day. At eighteen, Holly needed her brother's shoulder. Kathleen was grateful that her children were there for each other.

Then it hit her. 

Kathleen suddenly realized why she was feeling this indescribable pain. Her children were grieving, and she could feel every part of their anguish. The tears she cried were a combination of all her love, as well as theirs.

Kathleen remembered how it happened, how she died. 

Two weeks ago, life took a turn that led her to the road she was on today.
_________

It was a bright, beautiful Tuesday. With spring in full bloom, she remembered feeling like anything was possible. As she headed downstairs that morning, she had an unexpected moment of knowing that everything would be ok. It was so profound that it stopped her on the steps. She paused to inhale the gift and felt fortunate to be in tune with something that always felt personal to her, something cosmic.

While sitting in her kitchen, waiting for nothing, Kathleen was enjoying a fresh cup of morning coffee. Life had always been a struggle, but Kathleen managed to find rays of sunshine. She called them 'her moments of bliss.' 

Being a single mom, she tried hard to maintain an uplifting attitude. She couldn't afford to slip into hopelessness. She often said, 'my children save my life every day.' To her, that was the greatest gift, and being a good mother was the least she could do for what they gave to her; hope.

Doing everything and expecting nothing had been Kathleen's motto. "Just do," she used to say; the rest will take care of itself.

While sipping that coffee, her phone rang. It was a number she didn't recognize and almost didn't answer. But being a believer in chance, she thought maybe today good luck would shine upon them and send the money they desperately needed for Holly's medication. 

Holly suffered from a rare auto-immune disease and required expensive anti-inflammatories to keep her frequent seizures under control.  

She answered that unexpected call.

"Hello, Kathleen speaking." 
"Hi, is this Kathleen Summers?" 
"Yes, it is."
"Hello, this is the office of Brander and Dorval. We handled your father's Last Will & Testament."

Kathleen was confused. Her father didn't own anything; he didn't have anything. How could there possibly be a Will, and why would someone be contacting her thirty-seven years after his death about a Will!

"What?" Kathleen said sharply

"Yes, there is a Will, and Mr. Brander needs to speak to you about it. Could you come in today, how's 1:00 pm?"

Although nearly speechless from shock, Kathleen agreed. 

Kathleen could hear both her kids shuffling upstairs as they readied themselves for their day. Jefferey loved animals and worked to save money to go to school to become a Veterinarian. His determination alone woke him daily for his job. Never late, always dependable. That was Jeffrey.

Holly never let her health stand in her way. She was about to finish her last semester of High School. Her curiosity about her auto-immune disease led her to want to study within that field. Maybe a doctor, perhaps a researcher; she hadn't figured that out yet.

Kathleen was proud of their determined spirit. It hadn't been easy for them; lack of money was always the mountain they had to climb, but her kids never let that stop them from dreaming. 

Kathleen headed upstairs to ready herself for her unexpected appointment and let the kids know she would be out for the afternoon. She didn't tell them about the strange call since she wasn't sure it was real.

Hugging both kids as they left for the day, Kathleen reminded them she wouldn't be working from home this afternoon, and not to worry, she had an errand to run. "Love you both," she shouted. "Love you back mom, bye, have a great day!"

The Law Office was grand. This company had been in business practically forever. As she walked into the ornate building, she wondered how on earth her father could afford this caliber of a lawyer. "Nah," she said to herself, "This has to be a mistake."

A lovely, tall, dark-haired lady led her into Mr. Brander's office.

Mr. Brander proceeded to introduce himself and encouraged her to take a seat. 

Kathleen exclaimed, "this is a mistake; you must have the wrong Kathleen Summers."

"I'll get right to it, Ms. Summers." He pulled out a large brown envelope. Inside the envelope were instructions given to the law firm.

Mr. Brander pulled out a photo and asked Kathleen, "Is this your father?"

Almost fainting, Kathleen nervously answered in question format, "Yes?"

"Ms. Summers, your father left you an inheritance, not to be opened until this day."

Mr. Brander proceeded, "In these instructions, we're asked to give you this black notebook along with this key."

Mr. Brander informed her that the key was to a safety deposit box at a bank not too far from here and that he would have to accompany her to access the box. However, she would have to read what was in the black notebook first, as those were her father's instructions. 

"It's private, only for you." Mr. Brander led her to a boardroom where she could quietly process the unexpected gift that was left to her thirty-seven years ago. 

Kathleen opened the cover.

"To my darling Kathleen and her children."

She gasped out loud, "how was that possible!"  She hadn't had children when her dad had died. 

She turned that first page and began to read.
__________

My Dearest Kathleen:

You have the same gift I do. From the moment you were born, I knew within you was the gift of knowing. You always seem to understand that in the end, everything would be ok. 

From as far back as I can remember, maybe back to when I was two or three, I could see significant events coming next. Everyone else calls it psychic; I call it life. I don't know why or how I have this gift, but it is a part of me. 

I'm writing this letter because, in less than a week, I'll be gone. I know I'm destined to die in my sleep. Rest assured, it will be from natural causes. You'll later find out I had a heart condition. I've seen several doctors about it, but all tests showed nothing substantial. However, I know I won't live. It's the same knowingness you carry about life.

You'll have two kids, and I know one of them will have a medical condition. I can't tell you any of this now, at eighteen. You wouldn't understand or believe me. But mostly, you don't need to know about this blessing and burden at such a young age. So I decided to handle things this way.

My grandchildren needed to be taken care of, so I started early in life making sure they would be alright. You'll eventually understand why this is so important and why I did things this way.

Go with the lawyer to open that safety deposit box. Please pass all its contents along to your children. I promise you; it will eventually make sense.

Love you more than you could  know - until we meet again,

Dad
_________

Kathleen felt both grateful and fearful, but a part of her was angry. 

"Why would dad leave something for children I didn't have and never think to leave things to me?" She wasn't jealous about the gift for her kids; she was baffled. 

Mr. Brander opened the boardroom door and asked her if she was ready to go to the bank. On the drive there, Mr. Brander informed her that her father and his father had been good friends and that it was his father who initially worked on her dad's Will. "Before my dad died, he filled me in on your dad's wishes and the Will our firm was holding for you," I promised him I would take care of it when the time came.

Inside the little room, and in her father's lawyer's presence, Kathleen opened the safety deposit box.

There were two large brown envelopes.

Printed on one envelope was "Open this one first," and on the other, "Open this one last."

Kathleen opened the first envelope to find another letter from her father.
_________

Dearest Kathleen; 

To help your children, my grandchildren achieve their purpose in life, I've taken steps to ensure they would have the resources they needed to achieve their goals and complete their contribution.

You'll find in the next envelope that I've invested $20,000 in a safe stock portfolio held by this bank. By the time you open this letter, it should be worth between 140,000 and 200,000 dollars. The bank can help you with those details.

Please ensure your children get all the documents and my letters.
__________

Kathleen felt more than loved. She began to get that cosmic sense she was accustomed to, that there's still more to this story. It both scared her and comforted her.

Mr. Brander handed her all the documents, including the little black notebook with her dad's initial letter, and they hugged and parted ways for the day. They planned to meet at the bank in the coming days to establish the value of the inheritance her father left to her children.

Kathleen arrived home at about 5:00 pm. Both Jeffrey and Holly were preparing dinner. "Hi, mom," they cheerfully blurted. "Where were you?"

"Well, you aren't going to believe my day; you both better sit down." Kathleen then proceeded to tell them the entire day's events.

The kids were beyond shocked. Like their mom, they were a bit confused about why their grandfather would wait all these years to give them this inheritance and why it would go to them. 

Later that night, as they were all preparing for bed, Kathleen hugged both of her kids, told them she loved them, and said, "Let's sleep on it tonight; maybe things would be clearer in the morning."

Kathleen died in her sleep that night.
__________

She understood the purpose of her father's Will now. As she stood at the bottom of that hill watching her kids at the top, she knew they were visiting her grave. She noticed something tucked under Jeffrey's arm; it was that little black notebook.

Suddenly Kathleen's tears stopped, and beside her stood both her father and her mother. Her first words were, "Mom, you knew all this time." "I did, dear, I always trusted your father's gift of knowing. We both planned this for you.

The three of them walked towards the children at the top of the hill. As they stood beside them, they heard Holly speaking. "Thank you, mom, for all you did for us. Grandpa's $20,000 investment is worth over $300,000 today. That's enough for Jeffrey and me to go to school. I'm going to be a Doctor, mom, and Jeffrey is going to be a Veterinarian. We promise to make you proud.

Kathleen, with joyful tears, had no doubt they would.

Kathleen's father let her in on the biggest secret of all. "Do you know why we did this?" Kathleen answered, "Yes, to help the kids achieve their dreams." 

Her dad said, "That was one reason, but not the main reason. Holly will be part of a global discovery on how to help those who suffer from auto-immune diseases. It will be the breakthrough of her time. She's going to help a lot of people. And Jeffrey won't just be Veterinarian; he's going to be a major contributor to one of the largest animal rescue facilities in the country."

"And you knew this when you were little, dad?" "Yes, I did," he replied.

"How?" she asked. "I don't know, we all have a gift; we just have to open our minds to see it and believe it.

As Jeffrey and Holly walked away, Kathleen asked her mother and father, "where are we going now?"

"Home Kathleen, we're going home."

__________

I had originally written this story to enter a contest but then decided against it. So there you have it, one more step outside of that familiar comfort zone.

Have you ever stepped outside of your comfort zone?





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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Review of a Bedding Set and Throw Pillow Covers - Ideal for Teens and Young Adults

 

Review of An Affordable Bedding Set for Teens and Young Adults

One of my sons recently switched to another bedroom in our home. In the process, he opted to make a few changes to his decor.

After scrolling through Amazon to find a bedding set that wasn't too expensive, he selected the Queen Size "Madison Park Essentials Cozy Bed in a Bag Comforter Set." The set he selected was charcoal and tan. You'll notice several designs and colors to choose from.

What is Included in The Madison Park Bedding Set:

  • A comforter
  • A sheet set which includes the fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two pillowcases with the queen set
  • A bed skirt
  • Two matching shams
  • One decorative pillow
The nice thing about this set is the price. At the time we purchased it, it was just over the hundred dollar range on Amazon Canada, and is under that range on Amazon USA.


Here's a Photo of  the Tan Madison Park Bedding Set in My Son's Bedroom:


Madison Park Bedding Set - Photo from My Son's Room

What I Like About the Bedding Set:

  • I like the price. Since you get the sheets, the comforter, the skirt, pillowcases and throw pillow, I feel it's a good price.
  • I like the design. It's masculine enough for a boy's room, but of course, it could work for either a girl or a boy.
  • The bedsheets are very nice. They're not "cheap feeling" like can sometimes happen with these less expensive bedding sets.
  • The bedsheets washed nicely as well. Granted, we've only washed them once.
  • It looks gorgeous with his black and tan decor. The photo doesn't do it justice.
  • The comforter is a satisfactory thickness. 

What I Don't Like About the Bedding Set:

  • I don't like the feel of the comforter. That's a personal thing. My son likes it. It's kind of a shimmery finish. I'm not sure if I'm describing it accurately - but it's not heavy fabric.
  • Since the comforter's fabric isn't heavy in texture, my concern is that it may pull at the seams easier or not hold up in the wash.

Here's A Close Up Photo:


The Throw Pillow Covers


This set does not include the two black throw pillows, throw blanket, and the two body pillows featured in our photos.

We used the body pillows (two of them) to raise up the pillows for decorating purposes. On top of the body pillows are two regular-sized pillows that feature the pillowcases from the sheet set. Positioned in front of that stack of pillows are two pillows with the comforter's matching shams.

We ordered two pillow covers to cover two existing throw pillows we already had. We selected throw pillow covers with a furry texture to provide contrast. I highly recommend them. They don't shed, and they look terrific. Here are the throw pillow covers we purchased on Amazon.

Also on order are two black body pillow covers to complete the set.

Do I Recommend This Bedding Set?


For a teenager's room, child's room, even a guest room, absolutely. However, I would want a higher quality, more durable set for the primary bedroom.


Madison Park Essentials Cozy Bed in a Bag Comforter SetMadison Park Bed in a Bag Comforter Set

 




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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Review of LED Rechargeable Strip Lights for Closets, Kitchens and More

LED Rechargeable Strip Lighting - No Batteries Required

I purchased LED rechargeable strip lights for my son's closet as a small Christmas gift, and wow, great product.

LED Strip Lighting for Closets and More

My son loves ambient lighting and has positioned stip-lighting behind his desk, his piano, and bed headboard, and they look amazing. However, those particular strip lights require electricity, and that's fine for furniture pieces near an outlet, but not for a closet.

In my search for a creative gift, I came across strip lights that are rechargeable. My first thought was, what-the-heck is rechargeable strip lights? First of all, I despise lights that require batteries. Batteries are simply an added cost. So the word "rechargeable" piqued my interest.

My son's closet is big enough to step into, and I wanted to get lighting for it without resorting to something that requires batteries.

In my search, I came across these Medulla Strip Lights and decided to give them a try. Good decision. They're fantastic. 

Here's how they look in his closet:


One set was enough to reach across the back of the closet. The closet is about 5.5 feet wide. He positioned the lights along the back wall of the closet. You can put them under the top shelf; however, he felt they would be better across the back. 

Here's Another Look at His Closet:


Settings on the Led Strip Lights

On his model, there are three settings; On, Off, and Auto. Also, the brightness can be adjusted up or down. Auto activates the motion sensor - which is fantastic. The lights stay off until it senses motion when you open your closet. That helps to preserve battery life.

Easy to Install With Built-In Adhesive

Simply peel the protective backing off of the strip lights and install them where you want. They secured perfectly for my son. His were placed on wood. The rechargeable unit also has adhesive on it and can easily be positioned where you want to put it.

How Long Does the Battery Last?

The instructions indicate that when you have the strip lighting set at Auto (Motion Sensor), assuming you open and close your closet 5 times a day, the charge should last approximately 30 days. My son hasn't had it that long yet and hasn't had to do a recharge.

How Do You Recharge LED Strip Lighting?

This unit has a USB port and a short USB cord. Simply plug it into a USB outlet. I imagine you could use your computer to recharge; however, we have a power cord with built-in USB slots, so we intend on using that.

Other Places You Can Put this Convenient Strip Lighting:

  • Staircases
  • Under bedframes for kids for added lighting when they step out of bed.
  • Sheds and Garages
  • Under kitchen cupboards
  • Dark corners that need lighting from time to time
  • The back of headboards for ambient lighting
  • Home entertainment systems
More Info On Recharging the Battery

Below Margaret asked some good questions that I thought would better be mentioned up here:

Does the Recharging Unit Detach for Charging?

Yes, it does. Simply pull it out from the end where the connection is made to the lights.

More Info on Recharging

My son plans on using a recharging brick (you know, the ones from cell phones). He'll simply plug the charging unit into the brick, and then plug the brick into the wall. The unit comes with a short cord to attach the closet charging unit to the brick. Of course, you can plug it into a laptop or PowerBar with USB connections as well. I think the brick connection is the easiest. 

How the Charging Unit Attaches to the Wall

The unit comes with a magnetic strip with an adhesive backing. Simply place the magnetic strip on the wall (stick it), then the rechargeable unit attaches to the magnetic strip for easy removal when it's time to recharge.






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Sunday, January 3, 2021

What to Put Above a Bench Seat

 

Ideas on What to Place Above a Bench Seat - Complete the Look

If you've added a bench seat to a foyer or against a wall in a bedroom, it can be difficult to figure out what to put above it.

If the bench seat is against the wall in a bedroom, it can look rather lost when you consider the distance between the seat of the bench and the ceiling. 

Obviously, you'll have to position items higher than where a person's back and head would be when they're seated.

Below Is a List of Items to Consider When Decorating Above a Bench Seat

  • Wall racks with metal hooks are ideal above a bench seat. Whether in a bedroom or a foyer, a wall rack with hooks provides a place to hang coats, sweaters, hats, or just use it to feature a gorgeous array of decorative wreaths. If you're not a fan of clothing hanging out in the open (some prefer clothes hidden in closets), then use the hooks to feature decorative hanging pieces, such as dream catchers, tin signs on wire hooks, a collection of colorful cloth bags, decorative umbrellas, or narrow baskets filled with colorful dried flowers. Just remember to gauge the distance between where to place the hooks and how far down items should hang to not land where someone's head would be when seated.

  • Place a floor-to-ceiling strip of decorative vinyl or paste wallpaper behind the bench. The bench then becomes its own decorative area. If you're a fan of brick, there are many brick-look wallpaper designs to choose from. Add photos on the paper above it or hooks, or just let the wallpaper speak for itself.

  • A large decorative wall clock makes an excellent decorative piece when the bench seat is in a hallway. Again, place it high enough not to collide with people, but make it large enough to make an impression as a substantial decor item. The nice thing about a clock is it's fairly flush, and won't protrude very much from the wall.

  • Use metal art to add dimension and texture as a backdrop. You can check out some of the metal art featured on the product display below. Metal art comes in multiple designs, ranging from butterflies to birds, to sayings, to abstract collections. If the area you're decorating needs something other than simple photos, consider textured art.

  • A Collage of Photos and Various Textured Items. Don't be afraid to mix photos with wreaths, dream catchers, and word art. Mixed textures such as wood, cloth, greenery, and even lights can create a lovely rustic decoration piece, especially for an entryway. Consider a shelf positioned quite high up, then place the items that are flush to the wall below it.

Check out some of the above-suggested product ideas below:






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The Review This Contributors

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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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