Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Monday, May 10, 2021

Favorite Window Cleaner Review: Sprayway

Spring cleaning in the north usually includes the windows and it can be a chore! After having the long overdue windows professionally cleaned I asked they window cleaner which product they liked to clean glass and windows. The recommendation was Sprayway.



I was not familiar with Sprayway and was kidding the window washer about how I used to clean windows old school with a homemade liquid mix and newspapers. This method worked well until the ink was changed on newspapers...where the ink now ends upon your hands and the paper disintegrates. I then changed to the infamous blue bottle spray which I found was adequate enough, but left alotof streaks.

I searched out a bottle of Sprayway to try and am very pleased with the results. No streaks! Leaves the glass or window shiny and sparkly. Easy to use and the results are worth the labor.

Affordable Price

This is a product I suggest you comparison shop for if buying online. I found a huge price discrepancy between purchasing at the usual online and buying at brick and mortar stores in the area.  The online offerings also required a multi-pack purchase. Sprayway was easily found at the local Ace Hardware store, big box hardware stores and grocery stores. 

Curbside pickup is available for each store and while not as convenient as ordering online w mail delivery the savings were significant. 

Foam Or Spray

I have only used the spray version of the product. While intrigued with a foam option I decided to stay with the spray bottle for this round of glass cleaning.

Shout out to Ace Hardware

Once again the local Ace store comes through. Both the foam and spray versions were available.Ace offers online ordering with curbside pickup plus earning points on the Ace rewards card for monetary rewards. Always a fan of the local Ace store and much prefer to shop local if possible.

More About Ace

Ace Hardware Reviewed by Wednesday Elf

Local Ace Hardware Reviewed by The Savvy Age






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Sunday, May 9, 2021

A Personal Review of the Cubii - Five Stars - A Great Product

What's the Cubii?

If you haven't seen the ads on TV for this product, it's an "award-winning compact seated elliptical." In plain English, it's a small compact bike pedal that fits under your desk or anywhere you want it to do some pedaling from a seated position.

My 80+ Year Young Mother Purchased One

My mother decided that, especially with covid and with her health issues, she was simply sitting too much.

She had been thinking about getting the Cubii for over a year, and finally, after lockdown number three, she went ahead and ordered it in around March 2021.

The Cubii - Easy Assembly - Comes with the Mat

1. Does Your Mom Use it Regularly?

Yes. She sure does. She generally uses it on average three times a day for about 15 or 20 minutes at a time. However, once on a Zoom call, she biked for the full hour. Gently, of course.

2. Does Your Mom Have Any Pain from It?

No. Nothing that's from the Cubii.

3. Is the Cubii Strengthening Your Mom's Leg Muscles?

I'm going to say yes, slowly, yes. I was concerned about her muscles atrophying, so this is a terrific, safe way to get exercise without leaving her home and risking falls.

4. Does Your Mom Like the Cubii?

Yes. Mom really likes it. She's consistent when it comes to using it. She uses it daily.

5. Is it a Quiet Machine?

Not just quiet, virtually silent! Not a sound. The ads say it's whisper-quiet, and yes, it's that and more.

6. Can You Adjust the Tension?

Yes. Mom and I keep the tension low. Easy to do, turn the dial to the number you want.

7. Does it Track Distance, Time, Calories, and Rotations

Yes. It sure does. 

8. Is it Easy to Assemble

It's effortless to assemble. It comes with a screwdriver and four screws to put the pedals on. Once the pedals are on, it's assembled and ready to use.

9. What Comes with the Cubii?

We purchased the basic model (which is still fantastic). It comes with the unit, a slip-free mat, caster stops if you have a chair on wheels to prevent your chair from moving (I didn't need them because my chair is on a rug), a screwdriver, and four screws.

10. Hows the Quality?

It's high quality and durable—great value for the money.



My Early (Very Early) Birthday Present From My Mom was the Cubii - My Birthday Isn't for Months, But My Health Won't Wait

I was able to try my mother's Cubii, and I loved it. Since I have arthritic health issues, she offered one to me as an early birthday gift.

I positioned my Cubii under my desk, and as I'm typing this article, I'm pedaling. 

Get ready because using the Cubii is kind of addictive!

I LOVE the movement and motion when I'm sitting hours on end at my desk.

Typing and pedaling isn't a problem. Nope. I actually thought it would be an issue, but it's not. Yeah!

What Can I Do While Pedaling the Cubii?

  1. Build Web Pages
  2. Write Articles
  3. Social Media Marketing
  4. Create Graphics
  5. Self Publish Books (Typing & Word Processing)
  6. Talking on the phone
  7. Texting
  8. Watch TV and Videos
  9. Most Accounting Paperwork
  10. Creating Ads and Marketing
  11. Update My Website

The only thing I cannot do while pedaling is create the riddles for my riddle books. Creating original riddles requires focused thought, so I find myself stopping and starting the pedals when I'm in 'creation mode.' Other than that, it's ideal for working at my desk.

What I Like Most About the Cubii

Since it's under my desk and I can exercise anytime while sitting, I don't feel guilty sitting for hours. Of course, I still get up and stretch, etc., but now it's for a change of scenery, not guilt from lack of exercise!

I find it relieves stress. When I'm feeling challenged, I pedal off my steam. 

I highly recommend this product. You can get the product directly on the Cubii website or Amazon. If it's not available on Amazon (out of stock), head over to their website. They offer both a Canada and USA site link.

There are various models with various features. We chose the basic model, the JR1. 

Five stars.

Here is another model up with a few more elaborate features - Bluetooth Compatible - Sync it to Your Fitbit

Here is the one we purchased - on Amazon:







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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Garden Gnomes Reviewed

 

Definition of a Gnome: a legendary dwarfish creature supposed to guard the earth's treasures underground. 


Gnomes originally were thought to provide protection of buried treasure and minerals in the ground and were often placed at the entrance to mines.  Today they are used to watch over crops and livestock by placing them in the rafters of a barn or in the garden.  


Gnomes are also known as symbols of good luck.


History and Mythology of Gnomes


Image Source: Pixabay


From the Latin word genomus, which means 'earth dweller' gnomes are mythological creatures and diminutive spirits in Renaissance magic and alchemy, They were first introduced by Paracelsus in the 16th century 


Gnomes live underground and legend states that they can easily move through the earth. Gnomes are always described as being small and wearing conical hats. Myths claim that gnomes are sensitive to sunlight and some legends remark that the light of the Sun will turn a gnome into stone. 


In the book Gnomes, illustrated by Rien Poortyliet and researched by Wil Juygen, gnomes are thought to be seven times stronger than humans and live to be around four hundred years old.


Pixabay
Gnomes are described as being 'short of stature', which, being a pint-sized person myself, is probably why I like them. :)  Perhaps there is a correlation between protecting the earth's treasures and being short!




Gnomes Today


For years, the gnome lost it's appeal, but Social Media and the sharing of photos on the web brought back their popularity. Today, people love to share pictures of gnomes visiting places around the world. The gnome is becoming a pop culture giant as the key figure in the sport of “gnome-spotting”. There is even a movie – the 2001 “Amelie”, and major advertising campaigns for Travelocity and Ace Hardware.


Where to Find Gnomes


Fairy Garden Gnomes


Gnomes are available in many places, including Amazon and many garden centers, and come in a wide variety of styles and poses.  Holiday gnomes and whimsical poses are increasing in popularity.  Gnomes are favorites for backyard gardens and increasingly for Fairy Gardens


Handmade Gnomes


Many Etsy sellers have created gnomes in various mediums for your gardens and for miniature Fairy gardens. Gnomes are also popular on Garden Flags and as Yard Art. And, decorated in many styles and colors, gnomes are also becoming the 'in' thing for kitchen décor. 


Vintage Resin Outdoor Garden Gnome


This is a vintage resin outdoor garden gnome created by Joshua in a family-run business in Kettering, England.  This cute and colorful fairy garden gnome will spice up your garden.  Check it out in their Etsy Store called Darthomeltd.



Metal Yard Gnomes


Adorable spring yard gnomes!  Made of 14 gauge steel. 

Gnomes measure a total of 30 inches tall. The spikes that allow the gnomes to stand are 6 inches long which allow for 24 inches above ground level.

Created by Cody of Texas  for the Gillis Metal Works on Etsy. (Handmade metal art created by the owner himself!)


Kitchen Lemon Gnome

Gnomes can also be adorable indoor decor, as seen by this darling lemon gnome.  
This Lemon gnome will be the decoration of your kitchen or a great addition to your spring and summer decor. Lemon gnome measures 11.8 inches high. Adorable addition to your kitchen decor.  

Lemon gnome is handmade by Marina for her Etsy Store called the Magic Sewing Store.


Related Links:




Garden Gnomes article written by Wednesday Elf






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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Best Manicure Tools for Strong, Healthy Nails

For most of my life, I used to bite my nails and cuticles. Even after I eventually was able to break my nail biting habit, the only thing that helped me stop chewing or picking at my cuticles (for a while) was my mom's insistence that I join her for her weekly professional manicure appointment. Mom taught me the importance of bringing your own manicure tools and nail files for hygiene reasons (so you can be sure they have been properly sanitized), and she helped me choose the best set of nail care implements and related supplies to assemble my personal box of manicure tools to be used on my nails exclusively.

That was many decades ago. These days, we are even more health and hygiene conscious and cautious about the virulent spread of contagious diseases, and it's more important than ever for every member of your family to put together and maintain their own, personal, handpicked set of manicure tools to be used on their nails exclusively, whether for at-home nail care or to bring to a nail salon when they have a professional manicure.

For most of my life, I felt embarrassed by my unsightly, weak, flaking, peeling, and chipping nails and ragged cuticles. About 10 or 15 years ago, I finally decided to get serious about making my nails stronger, healthier, and more attractive. As a result of extensive research, dogged determination, and a lot of trial and error, I was able to educate myself about the most common causes of  nail damage, the most effective ways to heal the damage, and the best tools and techniques for improving the health and appearance of my damaged nails and cuticles. 

I have been surprised and grateful to see the slow but consistent progress these efforts have produced over time, and want to share the information, tools, techniques and tips that have helped me achieve such promising results with other people who might benefit from my experience.

This post, the first in a new series about my successful journey toward growing stronger, healthier, prettier nails and cuticles, focuses on the best types of manicure tools and pedicure tools for trimming and shaping your fingernails and toenails and grooming your cuticles. I'll also share the most important  features to look for when choosing nail clippers, nail scissors, nail files, cuticle pushers, and cuticle nippers, as well as the best manicure tools and pedicure tools I have purchased, handpicked favorites that have stood the test of time and earned a permanent spot as go-to components in my manicure and pedicure kits.

Woman's hand with nail polish, holding manicure tool
Some of the manicure tools that have helped me strengthen and heal my weak, ridged, peeling, splitting nails and ragged cuticles.

Selecting Manicure Tools Individually vs. Buying a Manicure Kit

Before we talk about which nail implements you need and the ones I think are the best quality at a good value, let's talk about the pros and cons of buying a nail kit that has the most commonly used tools and, often, some kind of storage case.

Pros:

  • Having someone else assemble a set of nail care implements for you is an easy, convenient option.
  • Having matching or coordinating tools (of any type) that are neatly organized in a fitted case is  visually appealing. A set of manicure tools designed and assembled by (or for) a single brand, especially if they come in a fitted storage case, can look neater and more attractive than a box or storage case with tools from different manufacturers.
  • Choosing this type of set also means having "a place for everything, and everything in its place" (as my grandmother, whose propensity for tidiness and order I unfortunately did not inherit, used to say). 
  • A preassembled nail care kit may be cheaper than the cost of buying the same types of implements individually, plus a storage case or box.

Unfortunately, there are also significant downsides to buying a these implements as a set, rather than selecting them individually, along with your own storage case or box.

Cons:

  • Preassembled kits often include items you don't need, even though you are paying for them.
  • More importantly, they can come with implements that can damage nails, such as metal files. These are much too abrasive to be used on natural nails and can cause peeling, chipping and breaking. (They are fine to use on artificial acrylic or gel nails, however.)
  • Conversely, many kits don't include all the tools I recommend for achieving and maintaining strong, healthy nails and cuticles.
  • If you've ever shopped for a multifunction printer, you know that it's rare to find one that gets top ratings for quality and speed across the board for text printing, photo printing, fax, and copy functions. Many excel at more than one, but few excel at all. The same tends to be true when buying tools, whether for car or household repairs, crafting, or nail care. Even in manicure kits that contain one or two high quality implements, the remainder usually are of lower quality.
  • Unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money, the quality of the manicure tools in a preassembled kit is likely to be inferior to the quality of tools you select individually.
So, while I love the idea of buying a nicely matched set of nail implements that fit neatly into a fitted storage case, I have discovered over time that, for me, the best way to get exactly what I need, at the quality level I want, is to put together my own kit.

Manicured hand holding nail clippers, cuticle nippers, cuticle pushers, and a glass nail file in a hard storage case
Having the right tools and making a commitment to daily nail care maintenance has enabled me to grow stronger, healthier nails, so I no longer have to hide my hands! 

Choosing the Best Manicure Tools

Choosing the components of your personal nail care kit means you can decide not only which items to include or exclude, so you can have everything you want, and aren't paying for anything you don't want or need.

It also allows you to decide how important the quality of each implement is to you which ones you are willing to spend more on vs. those you can economize on without damaging your nails or achieving inferior results.

Since everyone has different needs, the best set of implements for you will depend on factors such as whether you wear natural or artificial nails (such as gels or acrylics), your budget, and what, if any, issues you need to address, such as brittle, weak, chipping, peeling, ridged or splitting nails. 

Following are the best implements I have found for my own nail care kit that I can recommend highly based on personal experience and results. These are the tools I use on a regular basis, whether I'm giving myself a full manicure or just doing routine nail care maintenance.

Sharp Nail Clippers

I have always envied my sister's lovely, slender hands and long, slender fingers. My own tend to be a bit on the wide, stubby side, so when I'm not working on a jewelry making, crafting, or other project that requires short nails for the sake of practicality, I prefer to wear mine with a bit more length to create the illusion of slightly longer, thinner fingers. 

Before I learned how to improve the health and strength of my fingernails, as soon as I started to achieve any length at all, one or more of the tips would split, chip, or break (usually at or below the quick - ouch!), and I had to take them all down to the same, very short length and start again from scratch to grow them out to a more flattering (or, at least, not exceptionally short) length.  

When I finally learned that using files or salon boards to do this was actually contributing to my problems with brittle, weak, breaking, flaking, and peeling nails, I tried switching to nail clippers, one of the two recommended manicure tools for removing excess length before shaping the tips. (The other is curved nail scissors.) Unfortunately, I hated the first few clippers I tried! Here's why.

My fingernails have always tended to curve in at the sides. Also, when I need to repair a split or tear, the most effective solution I have found is the Orly Nail Rescue Kit, which includes brush-on super glue and a small container of fine acrylic nail powder to reinforce the glued repair area, which is them sanded or filed down as level as possible with the surrounding area. (As I mentioned, it's fine to use a file or salon board with acrylics.) Unfortunately, the cutting jaws on most of the fingernail clippers I tried were too close together to accommodate either the natural curve of my tips or the extra thickness created by the cyanoacrylate glue and acrylic powder patch. Also, the combination of my small hands and decreasing hand strength and dexterity made controlling the clippers somewhat challenging.

I even tried toenail clippers designed with widely spaced cutting jaws to accommodate thicker toenails, and an ergonomic design. Unfortunately, toenail clippers have straight jaws instead of the curved jaws recommended for trimming fingernails, and the clippers were much larger, bulkier, and more difficult to control and maneuver. So, eventually, I went back to using salon boards to file down the excess length instead of trimming it.

However, I knew this was exacerbating the existing damage to my fingernails, and I continued to look for a viable solution. Finally, in 2013, I found the right tool for the job! 

I highly recommend the Seki Edge Nail Clippers (SS-106), which feature:

  • Well crafted, precision cutting jaws made from high quality Japanese stainless steel.
  • Extremely sharp, curved blades that meet perfectly, with no gap, offset, or overlap.
  • Efficient, clean cuts that won't crush or damage nails and leave smooth edges that need only minimal refinement to the desired shape.
  • A generous 2 mm wide opening that can easily accommodate even curved or thick fingernails.
  • An ergonomic design that fits my small hands perfectly, yet also provides plenty of leverage to give me excellent control.

Sharp Nail Scissors

An alternative to nail clippers is to use a small pair of nail scissors with sharp, curved blades for trimming excess length prior to shaping the tips. They're actually better for your nails, since they are less likely to crush rather than cut cleanly. The downside is that they tend to be difficult to control when held in your non-dominant hand.

I picked up a pair of inexpensive Revlon nail scissors just to see if I could get the hang of using them in my non-dominant hand, but decided it wasn't worth the effort. So, instead, I use them to cut the nails on my left hand, and use my Seki Edge SS-106 nail clippers to clip the ones on my right hand. 

The Revlon scissors were fine for a while but, predictably, they have begun to dull, and it is cheaper to replace them than to have them sharpened. When I do, I'll be buying better pair that will hold their sharp edges and alignment for considerably longer. I'm leaning heavily toward these highly rated GERMANIKURE Professional Nail Cutter Scissors, handmade from FINOX high carbon stainless steel in Solingen, Germany (renowned for its finely crafted blades, knives, and cutting tools). They come with a leather storage case to protect the razor-sharp blades. The manufacturer, GERMANIKURE, stands behinds its tools, which are guaranteed for life! The company is also committed to ethical business practices, refuses to participate in child labor or worldwide pollution, and manufactures all its handcrafted products in socially and environmentally responsible facilities. 

Nail Care Tips: 

  • Always choose nail scissors with curved blades, not straight ones. 
  • Avoid buying manicure scissors intended for trimming cuticles. Their blades are too short to cut fingernails smoothly or efficiently. They also are not strong or sturdy enough to be used for cutting nails, which would likely cause them to loosen, become out of alignment, and lose their sharp edges prematurely.

Glass Nail Files

Emery boards, metal files, and coarse salon boards are best reserved for use on artificial nails. And while fine grit salon boards (and even medium grit, in a pinch) can be used to do the final shaping of your fingernails, the best thing to use for this step is an etched Czech glass nail file, sometimes called a crystal nail file.

Here are they key advantages that make etched glass nail files superior for achieving and maintaining strong, healthy nails.

Safer and More Hygienic

Unlike those made from other materials, glass nail files can be cleaned, sanitized, or sterilized in a variety of ways without negatively affecting their performance or shortening their useful life. They can be washed with soap and hot water; soaked in a solution of Barbicide concentrate (the iconic, Environmental Protection Agency-approved germicide, pseudomonacide, fungicide, and viricide that is effective against HIV-1, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, which is widely used in beauty and nail salons); cleaned with another strong chemical disinfectant; or sterilized with an autoclave or a UV light, among other methods.

Gentler and Less Damaging

Did you know that using emery boards, salon boards, or diamond coated files to refine the shape of your nails not only can exacerbate peeling, flaking, chipping, or splitting in weak, damaged nails, but also can cause new damage to healthy nails? These types of nail files are coated with abrasives that have tiny, sharp edges or corners that can create friction and drag, potentially catching or snagging on the exposed edges of the keratin protein layers along the "free edge" of each nail. 

Czech glass nail files have the exact opposite effect, thanks to their etched glass filing surfaces that, unlike glued-on abrasives, have no sharp edges or corners to catch or snag on the nail's vulnerable free edge. The first time I used a crystal nail file to shape my just-trimmed nails, I was very surprised at how different it felt compared to the fine salon boards I had been using for this purpose. 

Helps Seal the Vulnerable "Free Edge"

The etched glass surface enables the file to glide across the free edges much more smoothly, so shaping them is practically effortless. More importantly, the filing surfaces can help to smooth out peeling or rough edges and, in the process, help seal the edges of the layers together.

If you are lucky enough to have strong, healthy nails, using glass nail files will help keep them in good condition. If you have weak, peeling, chipping, or splitting nails, switching to etched Czech glass files can help make them stronger and healthier.   

Faster and Easier

After feeling how smoothly and effortlessly the Mont Bleu file glided over the edges of my newly trimmed nails, I assumed that significant reduction in friction or drag meant that the glass file was removing less material per stroke than the abrasive-coated files, and that shaping my nails with the crystal nail file would require either more strokes or more pressure compared to using a salon board.

Imagine my surprise when, after just two or three strokes, I discovered that the etched glass filing surface had removed much more of the nail than I had intended! After having to trim the rest of my nails (again) to match the unintentionally shorter length of the nail I had been filing quickly taught me two important lessons about using glass nail files for shaping: 

  1. Use barely any pressure, and allow the file to do the work.
  2. After each stroke, take a moment to check your progress. (It takes only a second to file off a bit more, if you need to, but once you have removed some of the length, you can't put it back!) 

I took very little time to get a feel for how these wonderful Czech glass nail files perform compared to emery boards or salon boards, and how light a touch I to use to achieve the results I want. After having used them for many years, after I have trimmed my nails to just slightly longer than I want them to be with my nail clippers and/or nail scissors, it usually takes me about a minute (maybe two, if I'm being fussy) to file all 10 nails to the round/oval shape I usually prefer. 

Extremely Long Lasting

The etched glass surface doesn't wear out, unlike salon boards or emery boards. This means that, unless you lose them or break them (which can happen if you accidentally drop or knock them onto a hard surface, or don't store them in a protective hard case), once you purchase them you can use them indefinitely. 

The Best Value for Money

Since the filing surfaces never wear out, as long as you take care of them and wash them regularly (to prevent the etched surfaces from clogging with nail filing dust), these Czech etched glass files will work as well decades from now as the day you received them. In fact, both the sets I am recommending are backed by a lifetime guarantee against the filing surfaces becoming dull (provided the files are used as intended and not abused, and that reasonable care has been taken to protect them, such as storing them in a protective sleeve, pouch, or hard case).

Mont Bleu is one of the largest and best known manufacturers of Czech glass nail files. Their Mont Bleu Premium Set of 3 Crystal Nail Files in Velvet Pouch is a terrific value: a set of Czech glass nail files in three different lengths (3.54”/90 mm, 5.31”/135 mm, and 7.68” / 195 mm) for less than $10, as of this writing. Their high quality crystal nail files are made from dual-tempered glass, so they are significantly more durable than products made by companies that don't use a dual-tempering process to add strength. This Mont Bleu premium set of three crystal nail files is being offered in a choice of 22 colors, including some extremely attractive color combinations with ombré shading. The only drawback is that each glass file is protected only by a sleeve made of black velveteen fabric and clear plastic, which may or may not provide sufficient protection, depending on how, and where, they are stored.

I keep several small glass nail files on hand, including one in my purse or handbag, another in the glove compartment of the car, and a third in my travel toiletry and makeup bag. I also keep a larger size in my box of manicure tools. I started with this set of three premium Mon Bleu crystal nail files, which are wonderful. Unfortunately, I can bit a bit of a klutz sometimes, which caused two of them to meet premature ends. One of the smaller ones snapped when I accidentally sat on my soft fabric purse when I got into the car, and another broke when it accidentally fell out of my travel toiletry bag, which was sitting open next to the bathroom sink at our hotel, and landed on the hard tile floor. So, for me, keeping my glass nail files in protective, hard plastic cases is a high priority.

When I researched possible replacements for my original set that would come with cases that offered better protection against breakage, I was thrilled to discover that Mont Bleu also makes the Czech glass nail files sold under the Bliss Kiss brand, which are available in only two sizes and one color choice (a pretty ruby red), but come with not only the soft velvet and clear plastic sleeve, but also an elegant looking, durable, protective hard plastic case. 

I now own three of the 3.5" (9 cm) long Bliss Kiss Simply Crystal Nail Files (small), which have a 2.25" (5.71 cm) usable filing surface. I also have one large Bliss Kiss Simply Crystal Nail File, which is 5.38" (13.7 cm) long and has a usable filing surface or 2.5" (6.4 cm). Note: An extra 0.25" of usable filing surface may not sound like much, but the difference definitely is noticeable when I'm using the larger size.

Cuticle Pushers

I recommend having at least two types of cuticle pushers, a set of silicone-tipped cuticle pushers and a wooden cuticle pusher, also called an orange stick.

I also have a metal cuticle scraper that I use only when necessary. If you decide to add one to your box of manicure tools, be very careful to use it sparingly and be extremely gentle, since it is very easy to cause potentially serious damage to your nails, cuticles, and nail bed with this hard, sharp metal tool

Cuticle Nippers

When choosing cuticle nippers, look for a pair that has:

  • Very sharp blades on the jaws.
  • Properly aligned jaws with no gaps; you shouldn't be able to see any light shining through between the edges when you hold the closed nippers up to a bright light.
    • It is especially important to check that the last millimeter or so of the pointed tip is sharp and is perfectly aligned, since that it the only part of the cuticle nippers you will be using to nip off the tiny bits of hangnails neatly, without tearing or cutting too much. When using cuticle nippers to nip off a tiny hangnail, it's far too easy to make it worse instead of better. 
  • A robust spring-loaded mechanism that is properly centered and doesn't slip easily when you close the jaws.
  • A silicone cover to protect the jaws when the cuticle nippers are not in use.
On the cuticle nippers I have tried over the year, my favorite by far is the Sephora Collection Cut to the Point Cuticle Nippers, which are sharper and better made than my much more expensive Deborah Lippmann cuticle nippers that I purchased years ago as part of a special nail care set. They have been on sale for a while, and I don't know whether they are being discontinued. So, if you want a pair, I encourage you to grab one ASAP!

    Keep a Separate Set of Pedicure Tools

    It is a good idea to use your manicure tools only on your hands (which are washed frequently throughout the day), and assemble a separate pedicure tool kit reserved exclusively for use on your feet (which usually are washed only once a day, are enclosed in hosiery and footwear all day long, and are more prone to fungal infections). 

    A good set of pedicure tools should be very similar to your manicure tools. Mine includes duplicates of the same Czech glass nail files, cuticle pushers, and cuticle nippers I use for grooming my fingernails. 

    The main difference is that, instead of fingernail clippers or nail scissors, you will need a set of high quality clippers designed specifically for cutting toenails. (I would be wary of nail clippers that claim to be for both fingernails and toenails.)

    To avoid ingrown toenails, your toenails should be cut straight across. When shopping for toenail clippers, I recommend looking for the following features:

    • Very sharp blades that make efficient, clean cuts through toenails, which are thicker, tougher, and (in the case of the big toenail) significantly larger than fingernails.
    • Jaws and blades made from high quality metal, such as high-carbon stainless steel, that will not only take a sharp edge but also keep it for a long time.
    • Straight jaws (unlike fingernail clippers, which should have curved jaws) that meet perfectly along the entire length of the cutting edges, and are precisely aligned.
    • An ergonomic design, including a handle with a good, comfortable grip and good leverage, to prevent your hands from becoming strained or fatigued after several minutes of use.
      • This is especially important if your toenails have thickened or become tougher, which often happens as we age.
    • Jaws that open wide enough to slide along your big toenail, especially if it is thick, tough, or curved at the edges.

    Like my fingernails, my toenails curve inward a bit (which might have been exacerbated by my foolish insistence on squeezing my very wide feet into B-width shoes during my "salad days," since fashionable shoes in wide widths didn't exist back than). As a result, I need toenail clippers (as well as fingernail clippers) with jaws that open quite wide. 

    My grip strength is also much weaker than it used to be. This meant finding toenail clippers that, in addition to being a precision tool with very sharp jaws and a wide opening, also would allow me to grip them securely and comfortably in my small hand and provide superior leverage to compensate for my weak grip strength, so that I would be able to make sharp, clean cuts through my thick, brittle, curved toenails without painful strain and cramping. 

    As with my earlier search for the best nail clippers for my fingernails, finding the best toenail clippers to meet my needs required investments of more time and money, as well as more trial and error, than I had hoped it would. Fortunately, my stubbornness and persistence eventually paid off.

    My BEZOX Toenail Clippers are some seriously heavy duty nail clippers. They are designed specifically for cutting tough, thick, and ingrown nails, and are substantial and sturdy without being heavy. The jaws open wide enough to easily accommodate even the thickest or most curved nails. The long blades are extremely sharp, and I have learned to treat them (especially the super-sharp, pointed tips) with the respect they deserve! The long, well cushioned handles have an ergonomic design, and despite their unusually wide profile, they fit my small hand very comfortably, which was a pleasant surprise. Most importantly, perhaps, they also provide enough leverage to enable me cut my thick, tough, slightly ingrown big toenails without having to ask my husband for help!

    These awesome BEZOX toenail clippers are very reasonably priced, given the high quality, thoughtful design, and attention to detail. I appreciate the sturdy metal storage box with a velvet-lined fitted interior. And although the color of the handle did not factor into my purchase decision, I have to admit that I love the pretty red cushioned grips.


    The Best Manicure Tools for Strong, Healthy Nails product review by Margaret Schindel


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    Tuesday, May 4, 2021

    How to Maximize Space in a Small Bedroom

     

    How to maximize space in a small bedroom
    Making the best of a small room - reviewed

    We have a nice 3 bedroom home with plenty of room. Although, one of the bedrooms happens to be a small 8' x 10' room. This is the room that our granddaughters stay in when they come for a visit.

    We had a bookcase full of books and toys, along with a tote full of toys and a full size bed in this small room. This did not leave much room for the girls to play.

    Fran decided that it was time for a makeover in this room. First she emptied the bookcase and got rid of it. We needed to make the best of this space so the girls had room to play. For those of you who don't know who Fran is, she is my better half forever.

    This small room makeover was all Fran, all I did was assemble all of the furniture and place it where she wanted it. 

    Maximize Space in a small room:

    Ellen Corner DeskEllen Corner DeskCheck the Price


    First Fran wanted a space where the girls could do some projects such as crafts, drawing, coloring, or reading.

    We moved the full-sized bed to one corner of the room and placed this corner desk in the opposite diagonal corner of the room.

    The corner desk measures 42" across and has a drawer and shelves for storage. 


     

    Vanity StoolVanity StoolCheck the Price


    Since a desk chair would take up too much space, Fran decided on this vanity stool.

    This stool fits perfectly under the desk when it is not in use. When it is pulled out for use there is still plenty of room to get by between the stool and the bed. Did I mention that the cushion top is very comfortable.


     

    Storage CubeStorage CubeCheck the Price

    Now, it was time to clean up all of that clutter and empty that tote full of small toys, crayons, and makers. Fran picked out this cube storage organizer.

    This was a perfect fit next to the desk and along the wall to fill the space to the entrance door of the room.

    These storage cubes are a great idea for craft rooms, bedrooms, playrooms, or a small office.

    The cube has six storage spaces and each space will hold 60 pounds.


     

    Sorbus Foldable Storage CubeSorbus Foldable Storage CubeCheck the Price


    To store all of those little things Fran found these colorful foldable storage cubes.

    They fit perfectly into the cubes of the storage organizer. These a perfect for games, crayons, makers, and small toys.





    Fran hand picked every one of these items for a specific purpose in this small bedroom. She created a comfortable and useable space for our granddaughters. This was an easy project for me, as I said earlier all I had to do was assemble. All of these items were easy to assemble and all had excellent assembly instructions.


    Here is a photo of our youngest granddaughter hard at play using their new corner desk. They are very happy with the new changes to their room away from home.

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    Sunday, May 2, 2021

    Review of Gremlin Week - Two Appliances Bit the Dust

     
    Gremlin week was expensive

    This past week was 'everything broke' week. Literally. 

    We had to make two substantial purchases to replace the items the Gremlins busted.

    The Microwave Bit The Dust

    So there I am in the kitchen, minding my own business, reaching for something as my hand brushes the top of the microwave when I notice that thing that makes you go 'hmmm; heat on the top exterior of it.

    My son had just made popcorn, running it for four minutes or so. However, it shouldn't have been on the hot side to touch the exterior ... or so I thought?

    So doubting myself, I called one of my brothers and asked him to run his microwave to see if it was hot to touch on the exterior after use. Because, seriously, I was just second-guessing myself ... had I just never noticed that the exterior of the microwave got so hot?

    My brother confirmed my thoughts; my microwave shouldn't be hot to the touch after use. In fact, it was so hot, I couldn't really touch the top.

    Yes, I googled till the cows came home on this scenario, and just like google, the responses were a mixed bag of nothing concrete.

    So I decided to give the microwave one last, quick try. 

    And that's when it happened. The entire thing started to spark. OMG. Scared the living crap out of me. Quickly the beast was unplugged, and off I went to Amazon (Amazon, you are way too convenient) and ordered a new one.

    My criteria was very specific: inexpensive - and that's it. 

    Why inexpensive? Because since we've owned this house, nearly thirty years, we've gone through at least four microwaves. So all I wanted was something that didn't break the bank.

    Here's what we selected. Oh, and I threw in a picture of my favorite red wine and some Lemoncella - just in case you're having a Gremlin week.

    Here's the one we purchased on Amazon
    Read the reviews, went for the price. Inexpensive. So far so good. Working fine.

    The Central Vacuum Unit Went to the Big One in the Sky

    Hubby was vacuuming something up in the laundry room ... minding his own business .... when poof, the central vacuum system ceased. He stepped into the garage to smell smoke, and yep, our central vacuum unit reached the end of its appliance life.

    I am not complaining though, because we bought and installed our Electrolux Central Vacuum system in 1994 - It lasted 27 years!! It's been the ONLY appliance that hasn't broken down until now. They don't make them like that anymore!

    My brother informed me that Beam bought out Electrolux. He put a Beam central vacuum system in his house not too long ago. 

    Strangely enough, my mother's central vacuum system also died this year. She went ahead and put a Beam central vacuum system. Actually, my brother helped her pick it out. He's handy; he installed it.

    I decided to check Amazon and go with something a bit less in price. The Beam central vacuum (just the unit that hangs on the wall) cost my mom about $795 (Canadian) - yah, we live in Canada.

    Here's the central vacuum unit we selected - An Ovo. The unit itself cost us $399 (Canadian). We don't need any piping or vacuum parts. Our old ones still work.


    Available on Amazon

    It's a pretty darn powerful vacuum system. It works for homes up to 7000 square feet, and our home isn't anywhere near that size. With the basement, we're about 3500 square feet. So it'll be fine. Plus it offers a ten-year warranty.

    Since we've just purchased these items, I can't give you a detailed review of how they've performed yet, but I'll be surprised if there's a problem. I'm not anticipating any problems. So far, so good.

    So now I'm heading off to enjoy a glass of wine - the one that's sitting beside the microwave in that photo up there. 

    It was a cha-ching week. Yuk. I hate shopping. Actually, I hate spending money, but it had to be done.

    Gremlin week sucks.




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    Monday, April 26, 2021

    Mega Maxx Furniture Lifter Reviewed

    Furniture moving can be an issue! If you like to change up the interior decor handling the actual moving can be a chore and even more of a chore if strong family members are not available. The Mega Maxx Furniture Lifter can be the answer to make furniture moving easy!



    Designed to move furniture with one person and that includes appliances! This deceptively simple looking device is a gadget worth owning. Affordable price point, easy to use and easy to move. I had read the reviews prior to purchasing and so many lauded this device to move furniture with one person. I was intrigued and after using the Mega Maxx found the reviews to be on point.

     

    How To Use

    Of course read the instructions first; always so tempting to just dive into using a gadget before reading the directions. The directions are well written and easy to understand and get an overview of how the furniture lifter works.



    The lifter is like a lever on a handle. The lifer is inserted under the corner of the furniture piece and a roller or slider is inserted  under each corner. The height of the lifter can be modified with the included adjustable bases capable of handling all heights of furniture and furniture legs. 

    The Mega Maxx really is quick, simple and easy. It is slightly quicker to use the lifter with two people as one person can use the device to lift the corner and the second person can insert the roller or slider. But two people are absolutely not required. 

     

    What's In The Box

    Furniture Lifter

    Rollers

    Adjustable Bases

    For Hardwood Floors

    Leaving marks on your hardwood floors or tile floors is always a major concern when attempting to move furniture. Pairing the Mega Maxx with felt sliders is the easy answer to move furniture safely!.

    Use the furniture lifter to life one corner, insert a furniture slider under each corner/leg and you are good to move!

    For tiled floors the Mega Maxx kit includes rollers for each leg. Heavy appliances can be moved with ease with the rollers under each corner. The rollers are then removed once the appliance has landed in its' new location.

     

    For Carpet

    To move furniture on carpet I found pairing the furniture lifter with sliders made specifically for carpet made moving the heaviest of furniture so easy! The sliders are removed just like the rollers once the furniture has found its' new location.



    Removing the Rollers or Sliders

    Simply reverse the process by using the lifter to lift the corner, carefully remove the roller or slider and gently lower the furniture corner to the floor.

    Recommendation

    This will be a favorite gadget of the year! Even though I had read the very positive reviews I admit I was skeptical. This product delivers as promised and turns furniture moving into a pleasure instead of chore.

    As with any product be mindful of reading the directions thoroughly as well as the safety precautions. Follow the directions to lift and glide your furniture safely and easily.






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    Sunday, April 25, 2021

    Review of the Westwood Elsa Swivel Power Glider Chair for the Nursery

     

    Great Chair for Baby's Room - Rocks, Swivels, Power Glider, USB

    The last several reviews featured items mommy-to-be selected for her baby's room. You can view the crib choice here and a lovely, affordable wall decal here.

    The Chair for Baby's Room is an Important Choice

    When my boys were little, I used a standard rocking chair with lovely decorative padding. After seeing the options for comfy, functional chairs, I would go with today's choices.

    Knowing what I know now, I encouraged mommy-to-be (although she didn't need to be encouraged) that a comfy chair that reclines, rocks, and swivels would be imperative, especially during the newborn stage.

    Before choosing The Westwood Elsa Swivel Power Glider, we took a trip to BuyBuy Baby to check it out in person. After trying the chair, mommy-to-be loved it.

    Power Glider, Rocker, Recliner

    This chair offers all three of these features for a reasonable price.

    • It plugs in, thus allowing mommy to recline using power buttons. 
    • There's no trying to hoist yourself out of the chair in recline position with the baby in hand; the power buttons do it all.
    • It comes with a USB charger for your phone.
    • It's also a rocking chair.
    • It swivels as well.
    • Available in two colors; Harbor and Pearl - The chair below is in Harbor. Harbor is more on the grey side, and pearl is more on the cream/tan side.

    1. Sitting Mode:


    Here's what the chair looks like in sitting mode. The picture doesn't do it justice!



    2. Power Buttons & USB Charger

    Below you can view the power buttons. It's effortless to operate. Simply push one button to recline and the other button to return to sitting mode. The USB requires a charger cord. We had an extra one.


    3. Full Recline Mode

    With a full-reclining option, mommy can sleep in the chair when the baby needs her in the room. Those days happen, so a comfortable reclining chair is an excellent addition to the nursery. This chair goes quite a ways back.

    Swivel, Rocker, Power Glider in Full Recline


    4. Partial Recline Mode

    When you want your feet up, you can easily put up the footrest only, using the power buttons, of course.


    5. Swivel and Rocker Mode

    This chair rocks (literally) when it's in the basic sitting position. It also swivels 180 degrees left and 180 degrees to the right. The range of movement is particularly convenient when the chair is located in a tight spot, and you need to change the chair's alignment to allow for a full recline.


    6. A Final Look

    I would recommend this chair, and so would mommy. Power Gliders can be a lot of money, sometimes thousands of dollars. However, this chair, before taxes, as of this date, was below $600. Note that prices can vary.

    Available Via BuyBuy Baby

    Here it is on BuyBuy Baby. When you sign-up with Buy Buy Baby, they send you frequent discount promotions.




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    Wednesday, April 21, 2021

    The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

    I love baking homemade cinnamon muffins, which always fills our house with the lovely, nostalgic aroma of this traditional, warm spice. So, I've been collecting and trying out low carb, keto-friendly cinnamon muffin recipes that fit my healthy, ketogenic approach to eating. 

    The recipes I'm sharing produce scrumptious sugar free cinnamon muffins that the whole family will enjoy, especially if they are trying to reduce or eliminate grains or sugar and other sweeteners that can spike their blood sugar levels and be harmful to their health in potentially more serious ways. 

    Any of these cinnamon muffins can be paired with a cup of hot tea, coffee, or cocoa, or a glass of cold, unsweetened vanilla almond milk or macadamia milk for a guilt-free, wholesome, low carb treat for breakfast, dessert, or a healthy, nutritious, and delicious snack.

    I am also sharing my product review of BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix, which makes excellent low carb muffins in practically no time when mixed with just two ingredients: eggs and melted butter (or coconut oil).

    Bon appétit!

    Photo of keto friendly cinnamon muffins

    The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffin Recipes

    I have hand picked the following recipes based on their flavor, texture, calories, net carbs, and other aspects of their nutritional profile that make them good choices for people who love baked goods and follow a low carb or keto diet, or who just want to reduce or eliminate sugar from their diets as part of a healthier lifestyle. 

    The keto cinnamon muffin recipes I've chosen to feature also can accommodate a range of common dietary restrictions. Most of them are low carb, sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and diabetic friendly. Two are also dairy free, and many of the others can be used to make dairy free muffins by replacing the butter with coconut oil. One of those is vegan. The other suggests substituting sunflower seed meal (aka sunflower seed flour) for the almond meal or almond flour for a nut-free cinnamon muffin recipe option. 

    Replacing almond flour or meal with sunflower seed flour or meal works well in many low carb or keto baking recipes, and for someone with nut allergies, it's well worth experimenting with. (You might need to use a bit more than the specified amount of almond flour.)

    If you are making these treats for someone who has dietary requirements other than, or in addition to, following a low carb or keto diet, be sure to review the ingredients for each recipe to ensure that it will fit that person's specific dietary restrictions.


    Keto Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins Recipe (Wholesome Yum)

    Maya Krampf developed the recipe for these yummy low carb keto cinnamon cream cheese muffins for her deservedly popular Wholesome Yum low carb and keto website. She is also the author of one of my favorite low carb cookbooks, The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook: 100 Simple Low Carb Recipes. 10 Ingredients or Less.

    A sweet vanilla cream cheese filling makes her low carb keto cinnamon cream cheese muffins like a cross between a coffee cake muffin with cinnamon streusel and a cheese danish pastry. I always make sure to warm these up before eating them (or sharing them with my husband, who also enjoys them), so the creamy filling returns to its slightly runny, just-out-of-the-oven state. 

    The batter and cream cheese filling are sweetened with Maya's granulated/crystallized Besti monk fruit allulose sweetener blend. She says you could substitute allulose, or granulated erythritol for the batter and powdered erythritol for the filling, if you wanted to. The cinnamon streusel topping is sweetened with her Besti Brown monk fruit allulose sweetener blend, and she says she hasn't found another healthy, keto-friendly brown sugar substitute that works well in this recipe.

    Compare the macros for Maya's Keto Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins, at 4.8g net carbs each, with those for Winchell's Donut House Cream Cheese Muffins (the most similar commercial muffin I could find nutrition data for), at a whopping 81g net carbs!

    Nutrition Facts

    Keto Cinnamon Cream Cheese Muffins
    (Wholesome Yum)
    Winchell's Donut House Cream Cheese Muffins
    (source)
    Serving Size: 1 muffin

    Calories 318 610
    Total Fat 29.3g 27g
    Total Carbohydrate 8.7g 82g
    Net Carbs 4.8g 81g
    Dietary Fiber 3.9g 1g
    Sugars 1.8g 56g
    Protein 9.3g 9g

    Recipe Notes:

    As of this writing, these sweeteners are not yet available on Amazon.ca. However, you can order Besti sweeteners on Wholesome Yum Foods and have them shipped to Canada (although the shipping obviously will be higher). If you live in a country other than the U.S. and Canada and would like to be able to order these products, Wholesome Yum plans to expand its distribution internationally, based on demand. To express your interest, you can sign up to be notified when Besti sweeteners will become available in your country.


    Keto Coffee Cake Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)

    Like any coffee cake worthy of the name, these tempting keto coffee cake muffins from Carolyn Ketchum have a grain-free, sugar-free cinnamon crumb topping, as well as an optional sweet vanilla glaze drizzle. Carolyn is the writer and fabulous recipe developer for another extremely popular low carb recipe blog and website, All Day I Dream About Food, another of my go-to resources for consistently excellent keto recipes.

    She says these keto coffee cake muffins are "better and healthier than any bakery option!" For me, that's a bit of a stretch. (Even though my taste buds have adapted to enjoy the baked goods from the best keto baking recipes, which definitely includes Carolyn's, I have never eaten keto baked goods that have a better taste and texture than their flour- and sugar-laden counterparts from a good bakery.) That said, this recipe produces wonderful, bakery-style low carb muffins that have an unusually moist and tender crumb (for keto-friendly baked goods), thanks to the use of both almond flour and coconut flour, as well as unflavored whey protein powder that helps them rise properly, since there is no gluten in the grain-free batter. The cinnamon streusel topping and optional vanilla glaze also add to their bakery muffin taste and texture. 

    The recipe calls for Swerve Brown sweetener for the crumb topping, granulated Swerve sweetener for the muffin batter, and powdered Swerve for the vanilla glaze drizzle. 

    Compare the huge differences in nutrition between a Keto Coffee Cake Muffin from All Day I Dream About Food (3.9 g of net carbs) and a Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffin from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (54 g of net carbs):

    Nutrition Facts

    Keto Coffee Cake Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)
    Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins (source)
    Serving Size: 1 muffin

    Calories 285 450
    Total Fat 24.4g 23g
    Total Carbohydrate 7.6g 55g
    Net Carbs 3.9g 54g
    Dietary Fiber 3.7g 1g
    Sugars - 32g
    Protein 9.1g 4g

    Recipe Notes:

    Swerve sweeteners are mostly erythritol. If you don't care for the taste of erythritol, or if it causes you gastric distress, you can check out Carolyn's Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners Ultimate Guide to Keto Sweeteners on All Day I Dream About Food to find suitable keto-friendly brown, granulated, and powdered sweetener alternatives.


    Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)

    I have had a long and complicated relationship with Nutella. The first time we met, it was love at first bite. I fondly remember the blissful decades when we were together. Sadly, when I started focusing on improving my health and trying to lose weight, I was forced to accept that my beloved "Nutty," with its palm oil, sugar, and artificial vanilla flavoring, was just no good for me. Finally, I found the strength to break up with it, fervently hoping that, someday, I would find another chocolate hazelnut spread that would be just as sweet, satisfying, and special, but also would support my commitment to a healthier lifestyle.

    Fortunately, when I began researching low carb and ketogenic diet recipes, I discovered Carolyn Ketchum's All Day I Dream About Food website, which includes quite a few Nutella inspired low carb and keto recipes. Her amazing keto Nutella-stuffed cinnamon muffins hide a sweet surprise—a rich, creamy chocolate hazelnut filling made with healthier, fresher ingredients than the popular commercial spread. In this recipe, her sugar free Nutella filling is made from freshly toasted and husked hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, dark cocoa powder, heavy cream, keto-friendly sweetener, and pure vanilla extract.

    These luscious keto cinnamon muffins are sweet and rich enough to enjoy for dessert. Served with a cup of fresh, hot coffee, they also make a truly decadent breakfast. 

    The most comparable muffins I could find (from a reliable source I trust) for a nutritional comparison were the Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins from Sally's Baking Addiction, which have a cinnamon-sugar topping instead of Carolyn's streusel crumb topping and vanilla glaze drizzle. 

    Compare the calories, net carbs, fat, fiber, and protein in these indulgent yet low carb, keto-friendly Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins from All Day I Dream About Food to the wonderful Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins on Sally's Baking Addiction.

    Nutrition Facts

    Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins (All Day I Dream About Food)
    Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins (Sally's Baking Addiction) (source)
    Serving Size: 1 muffin

    Calories 310 450
    Total Fat 29g 23g
    Total Carbohydrate 8g 55g
    Net Carbs 4g 54g
    Dietary Fiber 4g 1g
    Sugars - 32g
    Protein 10g 4g

    Recipe Notes:

    In the comments, Carolyn Ketchum explains how she toasts and husks the hazelnuts. Toast the nuts in a preheated 350 °F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, take them out, and let them cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Then roll them between your fingers while still warm and most of the husks will come off easily. Don’t worry about a few stubborn bits of husk; they won’t matter after you grind the hazelnuts. 

    In my experience, nuts can go from nicely toasted to burned very quickly. I toast mine on a rimmed baking sheet, so I can give it a shake every few minutes without the nuts falling off the pan, and keep a close eye on them until I remove them from the oven. I let them cool for only 3 or 4 minutes, and then rub the toasted nuts briskly inside a clean kitchen towel to loosen the husks. I find that they loosen more easily when they are quite warm, and the towel protects my fingers from the heat.

    Note to low carb baking enthusiasts:

    In addition to being the driving force behind All Day I Dream About Food, Carolyn Ketchum has written eight keto cookbooks (as of this writing). I highly recommend the two I have purchased so far, the Keto For Two Cookbook (e-book) and The Ultimate Guide to Keto Baking: Master All the Best Tricks for Low-Carb Baking Success, which I consider my keto baking "bible" and a must-have for anyone who wants to understand the chemistry and techniques of successful keto baking recipes (which are fundamentally different than those of successful conventional baking). 

    Note to conventional baking enthusiasts:

    For many years, Sally McKenny's Sally's Baking Addiction website and her superb baking cookbooks have been among my favorite sources for consistently reliable, clearly written and clearly explained recipes for mouthwatering baked goods made with conventional ingredients, such as sugar, wheat flour, and cornstarch. So, although they don't fit within a sugar free, gluten free, or low carb diet, I recommend her cookbooks and website very highly to anyone who loves to bake with sugar and other high carb ingredients.


    Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins (The Big Man's World)

    This high protein, low carb cinnamon roll muffins recipe from Arman Liew of The Big Man's World is quite unusual, since it contains no eggs and no butter. In fact, this recipe is keto, paleo, vegan, sugar free, gluten free, grain free, and dairy free. 

    These almond flour muffins also contain vanilla protein powder to add sweetness, increase the protein, and help them rise in the absence of gluten, which creates a lighter texture and a better crumb. Pumpkin purée makes them moist. Coconut oil provides the fat in the muffin batter, along with your choice of unsweetened, low carb nut butter or seed butter (Arman suggests almond butter, peanut butter, sunflower seed butter), which further boosts the protein, while coconut butter (also called coconut manna) gives the lemony glaze a luxurious mouthfeel. 

    It was hard to find a close analog for a nutritional comparison. I finally chose to compare the impressive macros for these Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins from The Big Man's World (only 1g of net carbs per serving) to Starbucks Cinnamon Muffins (41g of net carbs each). 

    Nutrition Facts

    Low Carb Cinnamon Roll Muffins 
    (The Big Man's World)
    Starbucks Cinnamon Muffins
    (source)
    Serving Size: 1 muffin

    Calories 112 350
    Total Fat 9g 27g
    Total Carbohydrate 3g 42g
    Net Carbs 1g 41g
    Dietary Fiber 2g 1g
    Sugars - 30g
    Protein 5g 5g


    Keto Cinnamon Muffins (Sweet As Honey)

    This versatile recipe for gluten free, dairy free, sugar free cinnamon muffins comes from another of my favorite low-carb food bloggers, Carine Claudepierre, the writer, recipe developer, food photographer, and videographer at Sweet As Honey

    Her bakery-style keto cinnamon muffins are dipped into sugar-free cinnamon sugar while they're still hot, to add a crunchy topping and more cinnamon flavor. After they have cooled completely, the tops are coated with icing, made from powdered sugar-free sweetener mixed with just enough unsweetened almond milk to achieve your preferred consistency. 

    This recipe is made with equal amounts of almond flour and flaxseed meal (aka flax meal). Flax is a source of many nutrition and health benefits, and flaxseed meal contains very few carbs, so it's great to bake with. Carine recommends using golden flaxseed meal rather than brown flaxseed meal, which would give these baked goods an unpleasant, bitter aftertaste (and no one wants that!). I prefer Bob's Red Mill organic golden flaxseed meal

    She says she always uses an erythritol and monk fruit sweetener blend, and although the ingredients list says "erythritol," it links to the original Classic White Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener With Erythritol. The recipe was published in August 2019, three months before the brand introduced its  Lakanto Monkfruit Baking Sweetener With Erythritol, which also contains tapioca fiber, chicory root inulin, and cellulose gum and was created specifically as a 1:1 sugar replacement for baking recipes. According to Lakanto, some of its advantages for baked goods recipes are that it "dissolves effortlessly, retains moisture, can control cookie spread, and provides better browning for your desserts." I suspect it would be even better than the Classic White Lakanto for this recipe.

    Since I couldn't find any commercial equivalents to these Sweet As Honey Keto Cinnamon Muffins whose tops are completely covered with icing (2.3 g of net carbs), I'll compare them to the Walmart Bakery Marketside Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins with no icing (45g of net carbs):

    Nutrition Facts

    Keto Cinnamon Muffins
    (Sweet As Honey)
    Walmart Bakery Marketside Cinnamon Coffee Cake Muffins (source)
    Serving Size: 1 muffin

    Calories 217 370
    Total Fat 16.5g 19g
    Total Carbohydrate 5.5g 46g
    Net Carbs 2.3g 45g
    Dietary Fiber 3.2g 1g
    Sugars 0.4 26g
    Protein 5.3g 5g

    Recipe Notes:

    Carine offers several suggestions for optional mix-ins, if you would like to customize these muffins to suit your personal preference. (Keep in mind that any additional ingredients or substitutions will affect the calories, macros, and other aspects of this recipe's nutritional profile.)

    Even though the recipe uses flaxseed meal, she warns against trying to replace the whole eggs with "flax eggs" (flaxseed meal mixed with water), egg white, or another substitute. 

    She suggests coconut milk as an alternative to almond milk for the glaze. (I'm sure any keto-friendly dairy-free milk would work.)

    If you don't need dairy-free muffins, you can use melted butter in place of the coconut oil, if you prefer.

    For nut-free low carb cinnamon muffins, you can replace the almond flour with the same amount of sunflower seed flour or meal.  


    BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix

    If you don't have a lot of time for (or don't enjoy) baking from scratch, you can still indulge in some delicious, fragrant, freshly baked keto cinnamon muffins, thanks to BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix.

    Photo of BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffins on cooling rack
    My most recent batch from BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix

    Low Carb Muffins in About 15 Minutes

    Preparing these tasty treats couldn't be any faster or easier! Just mix the contents of one bag of BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix with 3 whole eggs and 1/2 cup of melted butter (or coconut oil, for dairy free muffins), portion the batter into a lightly greased 12-cup cupcake or muffin tin, and bake in a preheated 425 ℉ oven for 12–14 minutes, until golden brown, and enjoy!

    Low carb keto baking recipes often turn out to be dense, coarse, and dry. Not these delectable muffins! The texture is lighter than I was expecting, which is great. My first batch was a bit on the dry side, but only because I left them in the oven a bit too long. (It's hard to tell when the muffins are "golden brown" when that's the color of the batter to begin with, lol.) So, I baked my second batch for just 12 minutes, and allowed them to cool a bit longer before sampling them. This time, the muffins were delightfully moist and tender! And, both times, not just my kitchen but my whole smelled divine.

    High Quality, Wholesome, Healthy Ingredients

    I have shared many posts on Review This Reviews about my keto diet weight loss journey that began in May 2019 and enabled me to lose nearly 60 pounds, and my subsequent decision to continue to follow a very low carb, ketogenic approach to eating that has made it easy to maintain my new, slim, healthy weight for more than a year so far. If so, you know that my primary motivation for this change in diet and lifestyle was getting healthier and lowering my risk of cancer and other serious diseases. So, although I am somewhat flexible, I try to make fairly "clean" food choices. And, when I purchase a low carb or keto baking mix (or prepared baked goods), the first thing I look at is the ingredients.

    BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix is made with the same high quality, wholesome, healthy ingredients I use in my homemade keto baking recipes when I'm making low carb muffins from scratch: almond flour, BochaSweet (kabocha extract), grass-fed collagen, psyllium husk powder, organic coconut flour, organic cinnamon, MCT oil powder, baking soda, aluminum-free baking powder, pink salt, and xanthan gum. The ingredients are non GMO, and the mix contains no preservatives or additives. (For that reason, the prepared muffins need to be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.) 

    I love the fact that this keto cinnamon muffin mix is sweetened with BochaSweet sugar replacement, my favorite zero calorie, zero glycemic sweetener! BochaSweet tastes nearly identical to cane sugar and (to me and many other happy BochaSweet customers) has no aftertaste and none of the cooling effect produced by some other keto friendly sweeteners (such as erythritol). After using this healthy sweetener every day for about 1.5 years so far (to sweeten my tea, among other things), I have experienced zero gastric distress or laxative effect from this healthy sweetener, and most other product reviews I have read from customers who mention their reactions concur with my experience. The only downside is that it costs more than most other healthy keto-friendly sweeteners. However, for me and many other people who are looking for healthier, zero calorie, zero glycemic sugar alternatives, it's worth paying the higher price for this one, as well as for products that are sweetened with it.

    BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix was launched in late August, 2020, just as I was finishing up my review of recipes and baking mixes for making Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet. That meant I wouldn't be able to order, test, and review this new cinnamon muffin mix in time to include it in that review of my favorite keto muffins and cupcakes. In the course of testing the recipes and mixes for that review, I ended up with a freezer full of baked goods and a pantry that was positively overflowing with packaged low carb keto baking mixes. So, it was only recently that I finally ordered a couple of bags of the BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix to try. Now that I've made these quick and easy, tender, toothsome low carb keto cinnamon muffins, I will definitely update that review to include this yummy, convenient BochaSweet baking mix!

    Nutrition Facts

    BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix

    Serving Size:
    23g of dry mix


    Calories 60
    Total Fat 3g
    Total Carbohydrate 13g
    Net Carbs 3g
    Dietary Fiber 4g
    Sugars <1g
    Protein 4g


    Product Review Notes:

    The company provides this information for the dry mix only. However, you can easily calculate the nutrition data for the prepared muffins by entering the data for the dry mix into a tracking app such as Carb Manager and then creating a recipe entry in the app that will calculate the macros based on the ingredients (12 servings of the dry baking mix, three large eggs, and 1/2 cup of butter or coconut oil).

    The net carbs for this BochaSweet Keto Cinnamon Muffin Mix are calculated as follows:13g total carbohydrates - 4g dietary fiber - 6g BochaSweet = 3g net carbs

    BochaSweet is the name of the company, its flagship product (BochaSweet sugar replacement), and the overarching brand for its other products (such as baking mixes), including those with secondary brands (such as BochaSweet BochaBars high protein, high fiber bars and and BochaSweet Bocha-Beets nutritional supplement). For some reason, on the brand's logotype, the words Bocha and Sweet are separated by a space, which likely explains why it is often misspelled "Bocha Sweet" (occasionally, you'll even see an Amazon product listing for a "Bocha Sweet" product). 


    Recipes and Product Review: The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins by Margaret Schindel


    Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

    The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

    The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

    Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

    The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

    The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

    Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

    Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

    Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

    Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

    Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

    My First Year on The Keto Diet


    Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

    My Personal Keto Testimonial

    How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating


    Read More Recipe Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

    Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors




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