Showing posts with label Dawn Rae. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dawn Rae. Show all posts

Monday, June 1, 2020

Reviewing the DB Moon Women's Summer Casual Dress

I recently decided that I needed a new piece of clothing. I needed lounge wear that didn't look too much like pajamas. I wanted something extremely comfortable that could be worn in public. I didn't really want stretchy pants. What I chose was a casual summer dress by DB Moon and I like it so much that I'm ordering a second dress in a different print.





Summer Casual Short Sleeve Dress with Empire Waist 


This dress has a scooped neck, short sleeves, and an empire waist. The waist is elastic. The dress has pockets (in-seam and deep) and what I call a full skirt. 

The material is 95% Rayon and 5% spandex. It is machine washable - cold. And it is "hang dry".  It is offered in a variety of colors and prints (including floral, polka dot, and snow leopard). 


Why I Chose This Dress


During this work-from-home time frame, I found that I do not have adequate lounge/casual clothing. I have pajama dresses and jeans/slacks. Period. I decided I needed some dresses that I could wear both while lounging/working from home and while doing errands or walking the dogs. I was also thinking of future camping trips. While camping at The Shack, I tend to slip my boots on with my pajama dress when I go out to walk the dogs or look around the yard in the morning. Typically, no one can see me when I am tucked down the hill and hidden from the road. But recently, the builder pulled up while I was in my boots and pajama dress!  

I wanted a comfy, casual-but-appropriate dress.

The DB Moon dresses offer a variety of color choices. It was hard to choose which color to try first. And is knee-length (to the bottom of my knee since I'm 5'4") which means I feel adequately covered for errands or visitors. The material is very soft and cool and drapes/swings nicely. But I think I like the pockets the best. The pockets are deep enough for a roll of doggie bags, my key, and my phone. 

Some people may be put off by the "do not tumble dry" care directions. I'm not. I already prefer to hang dry as much clothing as possible. Also, while most of the reviews are good reviews, a few ladies were disappointed with the fit of the dress.  From their photos, it seems that they maybe chose a size too small. I chose XL and the dress does not fit me as tightly as it seems to fit those who didn't like the fit. So I guess I am recommending that when in doubt about the size, go a size up.




Related Links: 

Bev reviewed comfy flannel pajama bottoms. I love flannel and that sort of pajama pant is what I often prefer to wear. However, we are moving toward summer and warmer weather. I wanted something cooler during warm days.  

Our friends on the other side of the world are moving into cooler weather. They may prefer the flannel pants. Or, they may prefer this fun Cow Onesie that LouAnn reviews. I know I want one! Just not as our summer is arriving. Maybe this fall I'll be seen wearing a cow (or chicken!) onesie while puttering around the yard at The Shack. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, May 18, 2020

Reviewing the Dexter Russell 8-Inch Bread Knife

All knives are equal in the kitchen, right? Wrong! I immediately put my original bread knife in the trash after using the Dexter Russell scalloped bread knife for the first time. 



Over the past couple of years I have focused on learning to bake homemade bread and biscuits. I typically need very easy recipes. As I bake successful loaves of bread, I tend to share with friends and family. Recently, I baked a wonderful Artisan-like loaf of crusty bread. The bread itself was amazing. But as usual, I struggled cutting even slices.

My friend laughed at me, as he watched me saw and hack away at the bread. Sometimes squishing the softer loaves more than cutting them. He said I needed a bread knife. I told him that I had a bread knife.

It was only a few days later that a bread knife arrived in the mail. After my very first slice of bread I immediately realized why my friend laughed at me and my original bread knife. With the Dexter Russell knife I could cut even slices of bread, thick or thin, with great ease.  There was no "sawing" involved.

I am so incredibly thankful for this knife!


Dexter Russell 8" Scalloped Bread Knife with Polypropylene Handle



This knife is SHARP, cuts through bread like cutting through warm butter, and seems very durable. The handle is very comfortable and large enough that I can firmly grip it.

You may already know that Dexter Russell is advertised as the "largest manufacturer of professional cutlery in the United States." So although this is my first experience with a Dexter Russell knife, it is clearly a company that has a history and a good reputation.

Some facts about this bread knife:

  • made in the US
  • superior blade shape
  • 400 series stain-free, high carbon steel
  • formed handle with finger guard
  • slip-free polypropylene handle

My knife was ordered and shipped via Amazon. However, knives ordered on the Dexter Russell website can be engraved at extra cost. 



An engraved bread knife would make a special and memorable gift for a housewarming, wedding, or culinary arts graduation. I know this gift is a much appreciated addition in my kitchen.


My Favorite Bread Recipes



In 2016 I had my first bread baking success with this Peasant Bread recipe. The round loaves are incredibly easy to make and end with a buttery flavor and crunchy crust.



In 2017 I began having success with making delicious loaves using Patara's bread recipe and a Pullman Loaf pan. Making my sandwiches using my own bread is wonderful. And having a good knife to cut those bread slices will be even more wonderful!



Only recently I became successful at baking crusty, round loaves of bread. I think this bread's appearance is as wonderful as the taste. If you'd like to know more about this bread, you can read about it here





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, May 4, 2020

Reviewing the Lifetime Folding Utility 4' Table

I cannot believe I am this excited about a folding commercial utility table purchase. But I am! The Lifetime table is extremely durable, adjustable to three different heights, and is a convenient length. And it has just made my life easier.
Lifetime adjustable folding 4' table

Lifetime 80160 Commercial Height Adjustable Folding Utility Table


This table top is made of an extremely durable high-density polyethylene. These table tops last for years without breaking or cracking. I know because our conference tables at work are made of the same material (and I've knocked one over while trying to put it away but didn't cause any damage).

The legs are adjustable, easily moving between children's table height, adult table height, and countertop height. 

When set up, the legs are strong and lock into place. The feet of the table hold the table in place - even on carpet. 

This 4' long table is the perfect size for my current needs. I am using it as a temporary desk.

During this sudden and expected work-from-home situation, I was struggling with working comfortably on my laptop for 8+ hours each day. When I write blogs, or browse the internet, I sit in a chair, on my bed, or on the floor. I get up frequently and move around. But that wasn't at all comfortable for work. I needed a desk or some suitable work space. But I have neither the room for that or the desire to buy that furniture.  

This table is a very similar size to my desk at work. I can work on my laptop with everything I need nearby.  And when I'm finished working I merely fold the table up and move it out of the way. Perfect.

I spent only $55 on this solution - which is the same price as a decent folding card table but far more sturdy.


Lifetime 4' folding table


Other possible uses for this table include:

  • seating (adult or child) for family reunions
  • all-weather resistant so it is perfect for outdoor uses such as picnics and parties.
  • extra table, desk or countertop space for small living areas (such as dorms, small apartments, mother-in-law suites, etc)
  • the smooth top is perfecting for crafting, sewing, and large crochet projects - no rough edges for snagging things. 
  • desk or table work space for children and their school work
  • perfect table for jigsaw puzzles
  • extension of counter or kitchen space for canning or other large projects
  • small buffet table or dessert table
  • workshops and garages





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, April 20, 2020

Reviewing Meditation Videos as Sleep Aids

photo courtesy of Pixabay
While some people have suffered from insomnia over the decades, this review is being written during the current pandemic situation. And during an increase in sleep problems. Including my own. I have found that meditation videos and a sleep timer on my television have been very helpful for me. 

Historically, I am generally exhausted. I quickly fall asleep each evening. I would occasionally have some insomnia caused by particularly concerning things happening at work or because I am a light sleeper and I have noisy neighbors. Sleep hygiene is something I'm familiar with but had not been something I've had to be particularly focused on for myself - until now.


Sleep Hygiene


Sleep Hygiene is another way of saying good sleep habits.  It is often the topic of discussion in my work. No matter the age, most humans benefit from getting sleep that is long enough and deep enough.

The CDC gives tips for better sleep here. Not all of those tips work well for everyone. But I've included the list because it is a great place to start thinking about what might work for you. For example, I'm such a light/anxious sleeper that for decades I needed the television to be on as a background noise to cover any outside noises that would wake me and prevent me from falling back to sleep. As a rule, it is recommended to remove electronic devices from the bedroom. Including the television. But in my case a television has been helpful. Not every sleep hygiene tip will work for every person. But that list includes great things to consider.


Major Insomnia


Wow. I've been hit with major insomnia during this stay-at-home time period. I was trying a variety of things with very limited success. Even my trusty television as white noise was suddenly a distraction and it was keeping me awake.

Stretching, doing yoga, and meditation before bed helped. But not enough. 

Then I discovered the sleep timer and meditation videos on my smart tv.

I find a relaxing video on YouTube and start it. These videos are created on loops so the same thing runs for many hours at a time. I then set the television sleep timer for 90 - 120 minutes (which is enough time for the neighbors to settle down). The video lulls me to sleep and the tv eventually turns off. I remain asleep and have noticed that I'm getting a much more restful sleep. I'm waking up refreshed in the mornings.


Types of Relaxing Videos for Sleep



There are many types of meditation and relaxation videos to choose from. Far too many to list here. I tend toward the thunderstorm or rain/wind chimes sounds.  Additional themes are:
  • beaches/waves
  • birds
  • forests
  • meditation chants
  • talk/guided meditation
  • Native American flute music
  • what I generally refer to as "spa music"
  • a crackling fire
  • and much more

Some of the videos have one photograph as the visual. Others have a black/blank screen (which would help if light in the room keeps you awake). And still others have scenes with some movement such as raindrops falling, lightning flashing, or scenes that have some very minimal movement added digitally. I like the videos that show the rain drops.

As examples, I am including my two favorite relaxation videos. You may find that these are not helpful to you. That's okay. There are plenty of others to choose from.

Rain and Wind Chimes:



Rain and Native American Flutes:



Swamp Sounds at Night (in this video, it is the visual that relaxes me. I enjoy the fog and the smoke from the chimney. Others may find this particular video a little on the creepy side):




Related Links:

I am not a tech-nerd. Far from it. I usually do not replace any of my electronics until they are so out-of-date that they no longer work properly. But I purchased a smart tv and LOVED it so much that I bought a second one for the bedroom. The two televisions are different brands, therefore they have different apps. But both allow me to watch Amazon Prime and Youtube. It is the wonderful new technology that allows me to watch these relaxing videos while in bed. You can read my smart tv review here.

Our BarbRad has written about the things that help her get a good night's sleep. Among other things, she finds that a sleep mask is very helpful. Barb gives extremely good tips about finding an effective sleep mask here

Don't have a smart tv? Or a television in the bedroom? There is a large selection of video and audio relaxation selections on Amazon. There are just a few:





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, April 6, 2020

Crochet: Using Those Leftover Yarn Balls

As soon as I crocheted the first afghan for my grandbaby I had thoughts of using that leftover scrap yarn to make a throw. A sentimental way to keep pieces of their blankets for myself. Now is the perfect time to do it and I've made huge progress on my own afghan. I want to share the super-easy idea with you.

using my scrap yarn to make something special for myself

I crocheted afghans with VERY different colors for my three grandbabies. As a result, I kept my idea of using all of the scrap yarn (orange, purple, white, pink, and a variety of "under the sea" colors of tans, blues, and greens) in one project to myself. I adore rag rugs. So I suppose it wasn't a far jump to crocheting a blanket with this odd color combination. It was just a matter of finding the crochet pattern I'd want to use. But this kind of wild color combination...who does that?

Apparently, a lot of people do! 

There is even a name for this particular blanket - Scrapghan.

In searching for patterns, I find that making scrapghans is a fairly popular thing to do. And using a wide variety of colors that may not typically go together can lead to some beautiful projects. In addition, these projects save odd bits of yarn from being wasted and ending up in the local dump.

Personally, I have the best luck with learning new projects via video crochet tutorials. Sometimes it is a bit frustrating finding a video with someone whose teaching style matches my learning style but I've always managed to find someone eventually. If you have thought about using your scrap yarn to make a blanket, Ophelia tells us about her scrap blanket (and uses the Granny Stripe).

Ophelia Talks About Making a Scrap Blanket (Ophelia Talks):


If you are interested in learning the Granny Stripe stitch, I recommended viewing  How To Crochet Granny Stripes, episode 246 (Fiber Flux):




I prefer the look of the "granny stripe" patterns with the different colors of scrap yarns. In addition to creating a wide stripe of each color, the pattern works up very quickly. I also personally think that a granny stitch creates a "softer" blanket than a straight single stitch. I already know that this is a project that will create a functional and meaningful blanket I will treasure.

Related Links:

Colors from Ardin, Harper, and Bentley's blankets
For my grand-daughter's baby blanket, I used the Bernat Pipsqueak yarn. The yarn is unbelievably soft!  And when used with worsted weight yarn, in a lined pattern, the Pipsqueak creates a soothing sensory texture.  To see my Pipsqueak review click here. Notice that in 2017 I was already planning on using that yarn in a project for myself!

In two of the grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Done in a Day pattern by Dabbles & Babbles. I LOVE that pattern. It is easily adjusted for any size afghan and any size yarn. You can see my review of that pattern here

Of the three grandbaby blankets I made, I used the Under The Sea pattern for my grandson who is already on his way to being a marine wildlife expert! You can find my review for that fun crochet project here.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, March 30, 2020

Movie Review: This Mountain Life

This Mountain Life is a beautiful, inspiring documentary about a grown daughter and her 60 year old mother who ski traverse the Coast Mountains of British Colombia, a six month trip in the winter. But this movie is not just about them or their trip. It is about people who choose to live their lives and pursue their passions.


Movie review: This Mountain Life

"Shot in cinematic detail, This Mountain Life is a riveting examination of human passion set high in the peaks of British Columbia". - This Mountain Life homepage.
Martina Halik (at age 29) is planning to ski/hike/climb the Coast Mountain range in British Columbia from Squamish, BC to Skagway, AK. This is a trip that is over 2,300k (1,400+ miles). She invites her mother to come. Martina describes her mom as super hardcore and very humble. 

Tania Halik was 59 when her daughter was planning this trip. Without hesitation she said that she would go along. And would consider the trip her 60th birthday present. Tania tells us how proud she is of her daughter. That her daughter has not done anything this difficult. She says this with love. And we learn that this is the 2nd time Tania has crossed mountains. I thought that I couldn't imagine taking this trip, but after learning about Tania's first trip I realized that this 2nd trip was probably the equivalent of a pleasure cruise compared to her first adventure.

"Maybe when I'm old I'll [do other trips]. And then I get these odd looks and I realize, oh they think I'm old now. I don't feel old. "  - Tania Halik

It is a wonderful thing to see a parent and an adult child admire and appreciate each other the way the Halik women appear to. 

The planned route
This movie is not a detailed look at their trip. Nor is it a how-to-traverse-mountains video. Although, you may learn something. For example, I had no idea that it was possible to ski up steep mountainsides! This documentary is a variety of brief glimpses at the Haliks as individuals, as a mother and daughter, and of the terrain they are traveling through on this very long trip. It is a movie about living.

In addition the Halik story, the movie cuts out to vignettes about 5 other people. At first, I found the vignettes to be pretty but jarring. But by the end of the movie I felt that it was a gift to have met these people. I viewed the movie a second time within the same week and those vignettes were my favorite portions. I looked forward to meeting those folks again.
"I'm not interested in dying. I'm up there because I want to live" - Barry Blanchard, mountain guide/climber

This movie is about people who are following their passion and living their lives. Really living their lives - not just going through each day habitually. It is also about the magic of the mountains and encourages us all to experience that magic.  Granted, not all of us will make art in the snow, survive an avalanche, climb frozen mountains, be a nun who skies across snowy clearings at the mountain monestary, live on a remote homestead for 50 years, or ski for 6 months from one country to another.

Us less skilled folks do not have to go into the backcountry for months in order to experience nature's benefits. But we can each appreciate the beauty of the outdoors around us and become rejuvenated through the sights, sounds, and fresh air. Us folks who are not skilled in the mountains, can choose to actively follow our passions where they lead us.

I watched this movie in bed late one night. I expected to fall asleep during the movie. Not only did I not fall asleep but I became energized. I got out of bed after the movie feeling stirred and excited to continue to pursue my own passions. It took me hours to settle and fall asleep - in a good way.

Perhaps this movie hit me hard because my dream is to live in a small house, on my own piece of land, in the mountains of West Virginia. But I think this movie would be appealing to a broad range of people. Especially those who want to live a more inspired life.

I saw the movie via Amazon Prime. You can find it here. Amazon also offers the video in DVD format.

Watch the official video trailer on Vimeo here

If you would like to know more about my mountain homesteading dreams, you can read more about me and The Shack here


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Monday, March 16, 2020

Book Review: Chesapeake by James Michener

Until now, I had never read Michener. For some reason I had the pre-conceived notion that his stories would be long and boring. I am happy to announce that I was wrong. While Chesapeake by James Michener is indeed a long novel, it is far from boring. It is a captivating account of the families who settled the colonies and waterways of the eastern United States. And their ancestors in the Delmarva region over the next 400 years. 

Reviewing Chesapeake by James Michener


I was in the mood for a story that highlighted life in the outdoors. As I searched my local library's digital selections I chose Chesapeake with the thought that if I find it to be over-rated, under--whelming, and difficult to read, at least it was free. I was surprised that I was immediately hooked with the first character.

This story begins in 1583. Pentaquod, of the Susquehannock tribe, is a widower who has voiced an opinion against the plans of the tribal council. As a result, the family of his new love interest has refused to allow her to marry him. He is looked upon with suspicion by the members of his village. Pentaquod does not want to war with the northern tribe and he wants to continue to live in peace. Because he disagrees with the tribal council, he is increasingly an outcast. He flees the village for parts unknown downriver.

"It was toward morning of the third night, when he had had only two small fish to eat in three days, that he came to those falls which his people called Conowingo, and here he faced the test which would determine the success of his escape. When he approached the white and leaping water he intended to drag his canoe ashore and portage it a long distance downhill, but as he paddled away from the middle of the river to the safety of shore.... "

Pentaquod's journey south by canoe from the Susquehanna River to Chesapeake Bay were stories that seemed familiar. The water and wildlife descriptions are similar to what can be experienced by those of us who sit along the banks or kayak these waters.  

Pentaquod had never traveled as far as the open water of the bay. He chose an island on the eastern shore for his new home. There he is introduced to Blue Heron's, crabs, and the natural rhythms of life on the water. Later, he joins a part of the local tribe (later named the Choptank) and lives a long, mostly peaceful life living on the rivers and in the marshes of that area. Michener's descriptions of the flora and fauna make me feel as though I am sitting there, on the banks of the Choptank river. 

In 1606, Captain John Smith brings ships and crews to the New World with a plan to "conquer Virginia". He also brings Edmund Steed. The Steed family is one of the families we follow over the centuries.

In Chesapeake, the focus is on a 400 year saga of these families who settled the area. Each of the families intertwine with the others over the years. While the characters, and an island on which one of the main families settle, are fictional the issues are historical. We are reminded how the people in the first colony barely survives. We are reminded that many of the first settlers are fleeing religious persecution and how that continues in the New World. As time goes on, "letter brides", indentured servants, and slaves join the growing population. Public whippings - including that of a Quaker woman - are the norm of the day. I was reminded that settling this country was no easy task. And this was just the beginning.

James Michener paints a picture of the area and of the families whose ancestry intertwine over time from the 1500s to the late 1970s. I will think of them every time I sit along the banks of the local waterways or watch the water spilling from Conowingo Dam.




Related Link:

Not long after I began reading Chesapeake, BarbRad reviewed The World is My Home by James Michener. She explains that in this memoir he shares stories of his life, travels, interests, and writing. I've added this memoir to my reading list and look forward to learning more about the author who wrote the engrossing story I'm reading now.


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Monday, March 2, 2020

Easy Meal Recipes: Fish Tacos

I am always looking for easy week night meals that are easy and inexpensive. Thanks to a suggestion from my son, I made these easy and delicious fish tacos. I want to pass this meal idea on to you.


Easy and delicious Fish Tacos with Avocado Cream Sauce


My youngest son regularly sends photos of the beautiful and delicious meals he prepares for his family. One recent evening, in response to his mouth-watering food photo, I responded something like: 


" I'm stopping for frozen fish sticks. Yay."

He responded that I should make fish tacos. That sounded way too difficult after a hard day at work and an irritating commute home on the beltway. Fortunately, he sent a link for avocado cream sauce. That did it. I stopped for the frozen fish sticks and the 5 ingredients that I didn't have in my kitchen already. And I made easy and delicious fish tacos. I am so glad I did.


Avocado Cream Sauce


The link he sent was the Avocado Cream Sauce recipe by Barefeet in the Kitchen. Along with the recipe on the page there are links for many recipes using the avocado cream sauce. But my taste buds were firmly set on fish tacos.



Avocado Cream Sauce shopping list


I did not use a blender to prepare my sauce. I was too tired to drag out a blender, wash it, and put it away. So I used a potato masher and mashed the avocados, adding the other ingredients while mashing. I liked the slightly chunky texture and I think it turned out great. But if you prefer a smoother sauce, make sure to use a blender as directed in the original recipe.


Cheap and Easy Weeknight Fish Tacos


Of course, these fish tacos would be even more delicious with fresh fish in place of the frozen fish fillets. However, whether you are cooking for yourself or for the family after a hectic day of work/school/activities, frozen fish fillets make this an easy meal.

Meal Ingredients:

  • small flour tortillas - approximately 6" size
  • frozen fish fillets - prepared per package instructions
  • half head of cabbage - shredded
  • Avocado Cream Sauce - prepared per the recipe instructions
Directions:
  1. Bake fish per the package instructions
  2. While the fish bakes, make the sauce using the avocados, sour cream, fresh garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper. Set that aside in the refrigerator.
  3. Cut the cabbage into small strips
  4. Allow the fish to cool slightly before assembling the tacos. Then assemble by placing a bed of cabbage onto a tortilla, a fish fillet on the cabbage, and a spoonful of avocado cream sauce on top of the fish.
Enjoy!

This recipe was a wonderful change of pace from my normal easy/cheap meal line up. The avocado and lime added a fresh summery flavor in the middle of our mild but dreary winter. The fish, avocado, and cabbage was definitely a healthier alternative to most fast food drive-thru meals. 

Related Link:

After looking more closely at the Barefeet in the Kitchen site I learned that the author is Mary Younkin. She has published recipe books that look right up my alley! Ms. Younkin caught my attention with the philosophy of "cooking from scratch as simply as possible".








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Monday, February 17, 2020

Reviewing the Muscle Max Massage Ball

The Muscle Max Massage Ball looks like a gimmick. It looks like an over-sized, hard rubber tennis ball with grooves. However, it is somehow much more than that and has helped me immensely with pain relief. After the first time I used one I knew I had to have one of my own. 


Reviewing the Muscle Max massage ball on ReviewThisReviews.com


The Backstory


I have had migraines and a constant daily headache since the late 1980s. Relief has been elusive. And costly. The causes of migraines are as individual as each person that has them. In my opinion, that is what makes them difficult to treat. I have recently found pain relief with treatment and the Muscle Max Massage Ball by Epitome Fitness is a part of that treatment. 

I have started treatment that has included chiropractic, dry needling, stim/heat treatment, stretching and exercise. With this treatment, I'm experiencing greatly reduced pain and actually have some days with no pain at all.


The Muscle Max Massage Ball


The physical therapy portion of my treatment began with the initial focus of loosening me up and increasing range of motion. The pain over the decades had kept me in a constant state of gritting teeth and shrugged shoulders. When the PT staff handed me this little rubber ball, I was so skeptical that I nearly laughed. But I did as instructed.

Standing against the wall, I placed the ball between my back/shoulders area and leaned back. As I moved my body up and down or side to side, the ball gave a deep muscle massage. I could adjust the pressure by how hard I leaned back. Finding a knot in my muscle, I pressed back and rubbed until I could feel the knot loosening.

It was so effective that I left my appointment and hopped on Amazon to order my own Muscle Max Massage Ball.  

A few descriptive blurbs from the Epitome Fitness site:

  • high density rubber
  • trigger point massage grid
  • provides Myofascial Release therapy (MFR)
  • relaxes contracted muscles
  • improves blood circulation

The Epitome Fitness site also highlights a few different ways to use the ball.

Clearly, the Muscle Max ball is only one piece of my recovery. I would not say that it alone cured my migraines. I would say that it immediately feels good and I can feel improvement each time I use this strange rubber ball. With daily use, the tension in my shoulders has released dramatically and my range of motion has increased noticeably.

Important Note: I am not a doctor or physical therapist. If you have chronic pain or health problems, as always, consult your provider before beginning a new treatment or exercise. 





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Monday, February 3, 2020

Reviewing the Honbay Convertible Sectional Sofa

When furnishing a living space your first thought might not be to shop Amazon. It sure wasn't my first thought. That is the last place I would have considered shopping for a sofa before now. But I ended up purchasing the Honbay Convertible Sectional Sofa through Amazon Prime and it turned out to be a great decision in several ways.


Reviewing this sectional sofa from Amazon.

My son recently moved to the area and was in the process of setting up short-term living arrangements in a small apartment. My youngest son and I wanted to give him a sofa. Small living space translates to small furniture. We searched nearly every furniture store in the Baltimore metro area to find a compact, inexpensive sofa that would fit the space and be easy to handle during his next move.

Every local small sofa on sale was nearly $400 and included approximately a $100 delivery fee. And some deliveries were scheduled for weeks out.

My son suggested Amazon and I was not initially agreeable. We chose the Honbay Convertible Sectional Sofa and I skeptically waited for delivery (expecting to feel regret at the purchase).

He is very pleased with the sofa! I was thrilled that it arrived quickly and with Amazon Prime's free shipping. I know that he really likes the sofa but when asking for the purpose of this review what he likes, he immediately listed:

  • easy to assemble
  • sturdy and well-built for the price
  • tear-resistant linen cloth
  • excellent size for a small space
  • seating for 3 adults comfortably

It is currently priced at $319 with no delivery costs - saving us nearly $200! It was delivered as easily as any other Amazon package.

This sofa has been great with the dogs. The cloth is durable - no punctures or rips from those sharp dog toenails. Because of the low price tag, I expected the covering to feel scratchy or cheap. It does not.

The chaise portion can easily be changed to either the right or left side by changing the placement of the ottomon and long cushion.


HONBAY Convertible Sectional Sofa 

I highly recommend this sofa for:

  • small spaces 
  • living spaces that are up or down stairs
  • temporary living situations 
  • folks who relocate frequently and want easy-to-move furniture
  • people with a tight budget
  • college students
  • young families just getting started
  • older folks who are down-sizing
  • furnishing that guest suite
  • seating for a large bedroom
  • seating for entertaining and conversation areas




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Monday, January 20, 2020

Reviewing Acorn Spice Dish Soap by Mrs. Meyer's

I am a big fan of the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day household cleaning products so I was excited to receive my latest shipment of dish soaps. Acorn Spice is a new favorite and it smells as wonderful as it cleans.


Reviewing Acorn Spice dish soap.

In 2018, I was introduced to the Mrs. Meyer's soaps during a visit to my son's home. I've been a satisfied customer since then. I am always looking for a cleaning solutions that use few (or no) chemicals, smells good, and cleans well. Mrs. Meyer's soaps are made using plant products and essential oils. At that time, my favorite scents were: lemon verbena, sunflower, and then radish.

With this order, I decided to branch out and try new scents. One of those is Acorn Spice. The nutty, outdoorsy, spiced scent seemed familiar. Reminiscent of holiday meals cooking in grandma's warm country kitchen. This soap leaves a wonderful aroma in the kitchen.

Mrs. Meyer's describes the scent as:
"The satisfying, nutty scent of acorn is blended with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla for an irresistible air of comfort and warmth"
In addition to the Acorn Spice, I ordered two other scents (Mint and Orange Clove). I'm stocked up for awhile with some really amazing cleaning products. 

Because I am raving about the wonderful scents, you may be wondering if these soaps are functional. I have found that these soaps cut grease better than the majority of the dish soaps available at the grocery stores. 

If your focus is putting fewer chemicals into the environment, avoiding scent-triggered migraines, enjoying clean scents in your home, or all of the above like me, I believe you'll love Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Acorn Spice dish soap too.

Related Links:

You are able to purchase Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day products on Amazon, Prime Pantry, and from the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day website. When I am ready to order, I check all three stores in order to find the scent I want and to find the best price and shipping deals. 

You can read my original review of Mrs. Meyer's soaps here


Reviewing Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day soaps




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Monday, January 6, 2020

Reviewing the Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed

I know someone who recently adopted a dog. I ordered a gift in celebration and welcome.  I sent them the large Veehoo Elevated Dog Bed. They both, human and dog, like it so much I thought I should share a review with you.


Reviewing the Veehoo Elevated Large Dog Bed

Radley, the dog, was adopted from a shelter. During the search for the right dog, the human noticed that all of the shelter dogs had raised beds in their kennels. I decided that Radley needed his own bed in his own home and perhaps an elevated bed would be something familiar or comforting as he gets settled in.

I chose the Veehoo Elevated Dog bed after reading many good reviews. It is made of durable mesh material and powder coated steel frame. The bed requires assembly. But that assembly does not require any tools. Veehoo offers this dog bed in a variety of sizes. Part of the reason I chose this bed was the reported durability as well as the non-skid feet. Radley is a rambunctious puppy and he's a huge 50+ lb puppy. 

Raised beds with mesh are thought to be comfortable to dogs due to keeping them off the floor. The mesh provides ventilation for cooling. Add a doggie blanket to provide warmth. Also, Radley is far too big to be a lap dog. His own bed in the living room provides him with his own spot near his new family.



Radley's human is very pleased with the Veehoo bed. He confirmed that the bed was easy to assemble and is plenty large enough to be comfortable for this big red dog. 




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Review This contributors love their pets. For more pet-related reviews click here







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Monday, December 30, 2019

Movie Review - The Aeronauts

The Aeronauts is a beautifully filmed movie that is both entertaining and educational. It gives the audience a glimpse into a pivotal event in the 1860s that impacted meteorology and scientists' ability to begin to understand and predict the weather. 


The Aeronauts an Amazon Original Movie

I use the word glimpse because this is a fictional version inspired by a true event. Some of the movie storyline strays far from the actual event. But overall, this is a beautiful movie depicting explorers who risked their lives to further our understanding of the weather that impacts our earth. 

My son recommended that I watch The Aeronauts via Amazon Prime. I am so glad he did. I enjoyed this movie immensely. I have always been in awe of explorers and inventors - not understanding how humans can be so inventive. I often say, "how in the world did they think of that?".  The Aeronauts kept me glued to the screen and made me realize that I've been completely unaware of an entire group of adventurers who fundamentally began space exploration from baskets lifted above the clouds by balloons.

James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) is a scientist, a meteorologist, who is determined to gather data while in the sky. He appears in front of the Royal Society to plead his case of creating a science of the weather. He is convinced that the ability to predict the weather could come from studying the weather while in the sky.  He advocated, and finally received funding and support for an expedition in the skies. Mr. Glaisher, a meticulous and studious young man seems to be the polar opposite of young Ms. Wren.

Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) is the female aeronaut who reluctantly agrees to pilot Glaisher's trip. She is conflicted, not wanting to be his chauffer on one hand yet having a philosophy of "Look up. The sky lies open... ". Ms. Wren is as entertaining and dramatic as she is strong and athletic all while fighting the sad memories of the loss of her husband two years prior.

The balloon lifts the two explorers to heights that is currently the typical cruising altitude for commercial jets (37,000 feet). The views in the movie are breath-taking. The setting both beautiful and stressful; on the balloon, those in the balloon, and me while I was watching. The temperatures, oxygen issues, and atmospheric impact on the balloon are things that caused me to hold my breath and sit on the edge of my seat. 

I very much enjoyed Felicity Jones' portrayal of Ms. Wren. I don't think I have words that are sufficient to explain why I enjoyed her performance so much.  So I'll just leave it at that. 


The Aeronauts - Facts Versus Fiction


As it turns out, during the late 1700s to mid-1800s, women were passengers then pilots of balloons for entertainment purposes. These people who piloted the balloons were called aeronauts. Skilled as these women were, they were not a part of the scientific world. 

The Aeronauts that inspired this story were scientists James Glaisher and Henry Tracy Coxwell. These two men made significant discoveries related to weather during their record-breaking flights. And began the school of thought that weather can be predicted.

I found it a bit irritating that Coxwell was replaced with a woman. I'm not sure I like this sort of re-writing of historical events. It seems to take credit away from the very important life's work of another human being. 

However, if the director felt the need to put a female in place of one of the male scientists, I am grateful that he did so without a plot that included romance. 

In other parts of the internet, Director Tom Harper is quoted with an explanation that the worlds of science and Hollywood have had clear gender bias against women, and "we need to be active in our pursuit to redress that."  (Time, December 2019). I suppose that is why he replaced Mr. Coxwell with the fictional Ms. Wren. 

Even with my concern about erasing Coxwell from the movie, I highly recommend this movie. I enjoyed the themes of exploration, bravery, defying gravity, and a reminder of those who have been instrumental in society's progress over 100 years ago. Weather forecasts are something we seem to take for granted and it was very interesting to see a portrayal of someone so passionate in their career.




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For more information about Mr. Glaisher and Mr. Coxwell and their record-breaking flight, click here  (I recommend watching after you see the movie - to avoid small spoilers). You can be sure that I will be learning more about the early aeronauts, male and female, and their brave exploration. 


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Monday, December 16, 2019

Movie Review: Charged - The Eduardo Garcia Story

"Being alive with a few handicaps is much better than being dead ... that's for damn sure" - Eduardo Garcia. 


A story of life and healing.


Charged: The Eduardo Garcia Story is a movie that chronicles a man's recovery after an electrocution accident that should have left him dead in the back country of Montana. Not only did he survive, he thrives. 

As an adult, Eduardo returns to Montana. While on an outing in a glorious wilderness setting, he finds a bear carcass in a old steel tube. Curious, and with no warning that the old tube was an electrical station, he touched the bear and was electrocuted with 2,400 volts. When he regained consciousness, he somehow walked back down the trail and found help. He was life-flighted from Montana to Salt Lake City Burn Trauma ICU. 

It is mysterious to me that life is both fragile and strong beyond understanding. An accident can kill us in the blink of an eye. Or we can continue living through that which should have killed us. With no explanation to the how and why we survived. This is the case for Eduardo. It is beyond our ability to understand how he survived. 

The electrical shock blew off part of his side, head, and hand/fingers. It left him without a large portion of muscle. The film shows his treatment and wounds - including scenes that are not for the squeamish. I am not squeamish and I had to look away from the screen several times. The burnt skin and holes in his body looked like movie special effects but the damage filmed was real.

This documentary is not about a perfect hero. No. Eduardo has his flaws and difficulties in relationships. His ex/best friend/business partner, Jennifer, remains at his side during his recovery. Eduardo recognizes that caregivers are the forgotten victims of such trauma. He family members, including his previously absent father, are shown throughout the process of physical and emotional healing. 

Eduardo, a chef prior to the accident, resumes cooking when he returns home. He jokes that at least with the prosthetic arm he no longer has to worry about cutting his fingers while chopping. He resumes outdoor activities; running, hiking, surfing, and hunting. 

We all have pain and trauma - our individual crosses to bear. What makes us different is how we choose to live our lives while facing difficulties. Frankly, I'm not so good at it. I see others who seem to be optimistically facing much more hardship than I am, yet I continue to struggle to get out of bed many days. But I'm working at finding ways to stay upbeat and productive. Eduardo inspires me to keep working at it and to appreciate every single day. We are not promised tomorrow.

Eduardo Garcia reflects about his need to take a full appraisal of himself. His strength and tenacity is displayed from the moment he walks out of the wilderness to find help to the end of the movie while he's continuing to address relationships and living. But his realization of the need to take a good look at all aspects of himself I think is what requires the most bravery. No one wants to take an honest look at our own character flaws.

I saw this movie for free with my Amazon Prime account. It is also available on Blu-ray. If you are looking for a motivational movie to help you keep on, keeping on... this might be it. 

Related Link:

MontanaMex.com is Chef Garcia's website with original spice blends and sauces for sale. He also lists many recipes






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Monday, December 2, 2019

Reviewing the Kuppet Mini Clothes Washer

A friend recently gifted me a Kuppet Portable Clothes Washer. This tiny machine is amazing and I am so thankful to have it! If you wash clothes by hand, prefer to wash your clothes at home, live in a small space, want to conserve water, or just try to avoid public laundries at all costs this may be perfect for you too.

The Kuppet portable washing machine


The Kuppet Portable Clothes Washer is everything it advertises and more. It is portable. I place mine in my bathtub for easy use. At only 22 lbs. it is easy to lift in and out of the tub. I am also considering purchasing a small kitchen cart on wheels and use it at the kitchen sink. Either way, I will need to purchase a hose adapter to fill the washer from a faucet, but that's okay. That will be easy enough to do (it comes with a fill hose, but without the faucet adapter I need).

Currently, I place the washer in my tub. I fill it with only the amount of water needed using a small bucket. Thanks to the transparent front of the machine, I can see exactly how much water that is. 

The control panel is on top of the machine. A timer for the wash, a dial to choose drain, and a timer for the spinner. 

I fill the washer side with warm water, soap, and my clothes and set the time.  The agitator moves the clothes well.  It spins in one direction, pauses, and spins in the other direction. I am amazed at how energetically the wash moves.




A small load of 7 shirts and less than
3 gallons of water (compared to the
15 - 30 gallons used in most high-
efficiency washing machines).


After washing, I set the dial to drain. After the water has drained, I refill the wash side with clean water and allow it to rinse. When that cycle has finished, I drain the machine and move the clothes to the spin side.

THE SPIN CYCLE IS AMAZING.  Yes.  I'm yelling. If you've hand washed, you know that it is hard to get the majority of water wrung out of the clothes.  This spinner spins so well that the clothes do not drip at all when you hang them. They are only damp. Some of my thinnest t-shirts are all but dry. They dry after only an hour hanging on the balcony. However, please don't be mistaken as one you-tube reviewer was: this is a spinner - not a dryer. 

At less than $100 this machine will pay for itself in no time (versus $3 loads at a public laundry plus gas, time, and effort). Oh how I wish I had this washer when the kids were young and wore small clothes but had to be changed multiple times through the day! I was lugging their clothes to the laundromat back then. This would have been a wonderful thing to have in that situation.

Finally, I could see that this machine would also be very useful in homes that have a full-sized washer and dryer. At some point, we all have wanted to wash just a couple of items and hopefully we all cringe at the idea of wasting water by running an extremely small load through a full-sized washer. This Kuppet mini clothes washer would be an awesome addition to any residential laundry room for convenience and water savings. 

Note: The cord is relatively short. From the bathtub, it reaches only to the floor just outside of the tub. You will need a 3-prong extension cord if you use you machine in the bathtub. 





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