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

Friday, December 28, 2018

Fabulous Heavy Duty Gift Wrap Storage Bag Reviewed

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

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

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

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

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

 

Clear Wrapping Paper Storage Bag

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click Here to Buy from Amazon




For More Gift Wrapping Reviews, Check Out These Articles 




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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sleep Better with the Amtooch Sleep Mask: A Review

The Amtooch Sleep Mask Really Does Block Light


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

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


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

What I Really Like about the Amtooch Sleep Mask



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

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

Sleep Better with the Amtooch Sleep Mask: A Review


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

Who Needs the Amtooch Sleep Mask?


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

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

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

A Note about the Ear Plugs Included in the Package


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


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

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

I wish you a great night's sleep. 

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




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


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Monday, December 17, 2018

How to Make Super Easy Gingerbread Cookies

If you have wanted to make gingerbread men but are too intimidated or short on time I have a great kitchen cheat for you! Even I was able to successfully bake these cookies with Wilton Gingerbread Man Cookie pans and Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix. However, please note that the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie mix is "limited edition". Perhaps it is only seasonal. So stock up now for your future gingerbread cookie-baking adventures.


Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix



I depend on cookie mixes. And have had really good luck with the Snickerdoodle and the Peanut Butter flavors. So it was an easy thing for me to buy the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Cookie Mix.


I followed the directions on the bag to make the cookie dough. The ingredients list is super short:

  • bag of cookie mix 
  • stick of butter 
  • one egg 
  • tablespoon of water.

I split the dough in half - using one half for each pan - and dropped by small spoonfuls into the pans. 





Wilton Gingerbread Man Cookie Pan


When I saw these adorable cookie pans at a local big box store, I could not resist. I'm not at all skilled with baking, but I really wanted to try these shaped cookie pans. I have had a great time making these cookies and I think these would be fun pans to use when baking with a child.

The pans are nearly 12" tall! They are non-stick (I still used a very light coating of spray cooking oil). And the pans have raised details that create slight indentations in the finished cookies. The indentations can be guides for icing placement. I left mine plain (I tell myself that because I left the frosting off the cookies were a "healthier" version of cookie!)


Big Gingerbread Man cookie pans by Wilton



Super Easy Gingerbread Cookie Pros and Cons



The best things about these super easy gingerbread cookies are that they are quick, easy, and tasty. Minimal time is spend in the kitchen and the cookies are oh so good.

When the pans are filled using the "dropped by small spoonfuls" technique the cookies are big and soft (similar to a brownie). I prefer that type of cookie.

My picky-eater friend said that the flavor was very good. I agree.

The possible "cons" of these cookies are that these are not the gingerbread cookies your grandmother made. If you are looking for original gingerbread men, this may not be what you are looking for. 

These cookies were not the "crispy"/"crunchy"  original style of gingerbread men. 

I have made these cookies using these pans three times. I have learned that the gingerbread dough does not "spread" during baking as much as some other cookie dough. So my first attempts resulted in the hands and feet not being fully formed. On my most recent attempt, I dropped small spoonfuls of dough in the cookie pans feet and hands. That created fully formed hands and feet.

My next attempt will include pressing the dough down into the pan to see if the result with be the thinner and more crunchy cookies. 




Related Link:


Do you love Snickerdoodles? 
Do you prefer super thick, cake-like cookies?  

Me too! 

Check out my Easy Snickerdoodle Cookie Pie recipe. 




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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Reviewing How To Reboot Your Body

reviewing how to reboot your body
The end of the year is often a time for reflection  and our New Years start off with  promises to ourselves of keeping good habits, kicking bad habits, taking time out for gratitude and other things.

This year I started my January by doing Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond plan and I felt fantastic on it.   This plan is a great way to basically give your body a reboot!

I will be 'rebooting my body' again in January 2019 and I'm going to review the reasons why as well as the what, whys and hows of the plan.

Why I Love The Basic Principles of The 30DTHL Plan


There are three principles behind the plan as I see it -
  • First foods that are often allergenic, acidic or hard for the body to digest are eliminated - don't worry it's only for 30 days!
  • Second, you nourish your body with good, clean food and quality supplements.
  • Thirdly you support your body as it goes through it's rebooting process.
Doesn't that sound good?  This was what attracted me to this plan as I had discovered over 10 years ago that a certain food could cause my Rheumatoid Arthritis to flare up and yet other foods that cause other people to flare up didn't appear to affect me.

The idea of eliminating and then (this plan does include the words and beyond) re-introducing the different foods gradually so that you can see how they may or may not affect you, this idea is one that I think is brilliant.  Everyone is different, but I do think that everyone would benefit from a reboot at least once so that they can find out how different foods affect them.

I also love how the importance of nourishing your body correctly is handled.  This program provides you with protein powder to use twice a day leaving you to only have to prepare one meal a day (and snacks).  Initially I was a little unsure how I felt about this, however if I had to prepare three meals to the proportions recommended and not including processed foods I would probably not have lasted the whole 30 days.

We live busy lives and that's what Arbonne gets.   The protein powders are specially formulated (and by the way all of the products are vegan, gluten-free & kosher) and although I was skeptical about them filling me up they really do!   If you don't want shakes that's fine as you can cook with the protein powder too and there are recipes available for protein porridge, pancakes and lots more ideas.

Personally I love making up a shake in the morning as I find it quick, easy and filling.   On the weekends I will often treat myself to a smoothie bowl -

https://www.reviewthisreviews.com/2018/05/reviewing-smoothie-bowl-recipes.htmlReviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
A smoothie bowl is essentially a thick smoothie that is served up in a bowl with a variety of toppings. It is delicious and feels like a decadent treat while also being a very healthy choice.

Gently supporting your body in a delicious way with their herbal tea and body cleanse is also great.   If you live in the US, Canada or the UK you also get what they call Digestion Plus to take every day and this works wonders on your gut health which is really important.

Who Needs to Reboot Their Body?

I think most of us need to reboot our body at some point so that it's working efficiently.  I think of when my internet connection is dropping out or just seems to hang, the first thing I do is hit the reset button on my wifi router and 99% of the time that's all it takes.

So why would you need to hit the reset button on your body?  Well let me list a few symptoms that may show your body isn't working as well as it could be -


signs you may need to detox
  • Bloating
  • Bad Breath 
  • Feeling Tired
  • Dry Lips 
  • Insomnia
  • Sore Muscles 
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Low Libido 
  • Brain Fog
  • Skin Breakouts 
  • Headaches
  • Depression 
  • Gas
  • Skin Rashes 
  • Low Energy


What Do I Get with the 30 Day Pack?


When you order the plan you will receive 2 x bags of protein, 2 x boxes of herbal tea, 2 x boxes of fizz sticks, 1 x bag of fibre, 1 x box digestion plus*, 1 x box of Body Cleanse and 1 x tub of Greens Balance.

*Only available in the US, Canada & UK

You also get access to a private coaching group on facebook, a downloadable recipe book, 30 days worth of meal plans (both vegan and non-vegan plans) and you can message me any time.   I've actually done this plan a few times so can help with any questions you have.

30 days to healthy living and beyond - rebooting your body the healthy way
30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond

Changes I Have Personally Experienced


When I did my first 30 days to healthy living I found that I had lost 5kg (11 lb), I had lots of energy, I wasn't experiencing any mood swings (I am menopausal and these had been quite bad), my hot flushes had stopped, my sleeping had improved, my energy levels were really high and (as a total surprise) I was no longer sore or stiff in the morning when I woke up.

Now that last point was a big surprise to me as I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis approx 16 years ago.  I had come off of my medications about a decade ago and had been managing my condition with diet & lifestyle.   I had accepted, however, that I would be stiff in the mornings and sometimes a little sore - a combination of RA and getting older.   I have discovered that while doing this plan that was no longer the case and hasn't been all year!

Now I'm not claiming that this will work for everyone, but I can't think why you wouldn't give it a try!

What Happens After the Reboot


Part of the health reboot is eliminating certain foods for 30 days, now if you want to maximize the effect of this plan you need to gradually reintroduce these foods one at a time over the following few weeks.   This way you can pinpoint which foods (if any) effect you.

Foods can affect you differently as you age as well.  When we get older our bodies produce less digestive enzymes and this is why when I was on an elimination diet over a decade ago only one food seemed to effect me.   I now know that I have to reduce how often I eat other foods too.

The other thing that will happen after you've been making your clean meals for one meal a day (most people have dinners, but you may have chosen lunch) is that it's much easier to make your second meal as well.   I admit that a number of people I know actually continue to have a smoothie for their breakfast after finishing the plan.   In my case it's because it's easy, yummy and keeps me full!

Interested in Learning More?


Contact me via messenger on my Facebook page or leave a comment below and I'll get back to you with more information including how to order it at a discount.





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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Immersion Hand Blender Reviewed

Easy Way To Blend or Puree Foods

tomato soup
Soup probably pureed with an Immersion Blender
image courtesy of pixabay.com 
I don't own an immersion hand blender yet but I want one pretty darned bad. So, I thought I would review the one that I think that I will purchase in the near future. 

The main reason that I want one of these hand held blenders is that I love tomato soup and I want to be able to make my own. In order to get the correct consistency the soup needs to be pureed. Now, cooking up a big pot of tomatoes for soup and then having to pour batches of it into a regular blender is a pain in the royal keester. For one thing there is the most likely possibility that I will burn myself or spill quite a lot while trying to maneuver the contents from pot to blender. There is also the time involved! Not to mention that the clean-up will be a hot mess! I would have to clean up the pot that the soup is cooked in, the blender and the pot that I would need to put the pureed soup into while going through the blending process. An immersion blender solves all of those obstacles. 

With a hand held blender I can just puree the tomatoes in the pot that they have cooked in eliminating the use of so many tools, the burn factor and the spill factor. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 

So, I have been looking at my options and there are several to choose from. I can go the expensive route or I can try to save myself a little money. I decided that maybe the best route to pursue is the one that most folks seem to be happy with. So, I looked at ones that have the best reviews and then picked the one that is marked as Amazon's choice; which by the way, happens to have the best review history.

Here is the model that I believe I will purchase after the holidays. There is a possibility that Santa might leave me one so that is why I plan to wait. 

I like that it has two attachments. One for blending and a whisk. So, I will be able to puree all sorts of foods or easily whisk ingredients for many recipes. There are six speeds so that should be handy, too. I will be able to make smooth and wonderful tomato soup or wonderful fruit smoothies. I think my possibilities will only be limited by my own imagination.

I think it might be helpful if I let you on something. Depending on the cook these hand blenders are known as immersion blenders or sometimes they are called emulsion blenders. Those two words are describing the same tool.

How about you? Do you own an immersion hand blender? If not, do you think it would be something that you would use? Not only do I plan on using mine a lot but I think this is a wonderful idea as a wedding gift or a holiday gift for your favorite cook. 



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Monday, December 10, 2018

Snowglobes are Great Gifts and Seasonal Decor

Holiday snowglobes on Review This!
There is something magical about snowglobes. It doesn't seem logical. After all, Snowglobes are simply water-filled globes of glass (or plastic) encasing some sort of item or scene. Shake the globe and the little flakes begin to "snow". But there is something special about that frozen moment in time surrounded by the movement of falling snow.

At this time of year, snowglobes always come to my mind. They are a wonderful part of holiday decorations. Because holiday snowglobes are offered in such a wide variety of styles they can also be very thoughtful gifts. Each one individualized to reflect special interests of the giver or the receiver. Snowglobes range from the tiny plastic trinkets that you can find at just about any souvenir gift shop to high-quality pieces of seasonal art that can be enjoyed and passed down for generations. 


Santa Claus Snowglobes



This review came to mind after recently purchasing a beautiful snowglobe depicting Santa's workshop. There was a piece of synchronicity that led me to thoughts of how special snowglobes can be. 

Scenes with Santa are my favorite snowglobes. And there are MANY Santa scenes to choose from:
  • Seated in his workshop with the elves, making toys. 
  • Flying in his sleigh through the snowy sky. 
  • Dressed in his suit with the huge bag of toys slung over his shoulder. 
  • Seated with a child seated on his knee
Santa's Workshop - musical snowglobe


Musical Snowglobes


Some snowglobes come with a music box option. Typically, the music box key is under the base of the snow globe. Simply turn the globe over, turn the key a few times, then place the snowglobe on the table to watch the snow and listen to the tune.

Tunes that are as familiar as Jingle Bells and as traditional as Oh Holy Night can be found with some snowglobes.


Religious Snowglobes



A variety of religious scenes are depicted in snowglobes. From angels to the nativity scenes (simple and ornate) a snowglobe reminding us of the "reason for the season" can be found.


Nativity - musical snowglobe



Snowglobes and Nature Scenes



In the areas of the world that have four seasons and the possibility of snow during the holidays, snowy naturescapes are reminiscent of Christmas. Trees drop their leaves and make unique silhouettes against the sky. Native backyard birds are easier to see against the white background of snow. Polar bears, penguins, and white hares are wildlife that are often associated with a winter wonderland. 


Penguin snowglobe - plays "Let It Snow"



Baby's First Christmas Snowglobe



Special occasions, such as baby's first Christmas, can be commemorated with an engraved snowglobe. And those globes can last a lifetime.

Baby's 1st Christmas snowglobe



Snowglobes with Favorite Movies, Places, Things



Perhaps your family has made a tradition of watching the Nutcracker during the holidays. Or watching the Wizard of Oz has become an annual event as the holidays approach. 

Maybe you've traveled during the holidays and want a reminder of those special places.


Whatever your holiday traditions include, chances are good that there is a snowglobe that gives a shout out to those special memories.

design courtesy of pixabay.com

Whether you are looking for long-lasting holiday decorations or a special gift for that special someone, snowglobes are a great choice. 

My love of snowglobes was recently renewed during an incident of coincidence. Or maybe it wasn't coincidence at all. I'm not completely sure. If you would like to read about how I came to own my most recent Santa Claus snowglobe you can read about it on my personal blog. 


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Advice from the Ocean T-Shirt Review

 Advice From Nature Products

(c) Elf. Ryan's New Beach-Themed T-Shirt
I recently moved from the Georgia Coast to the Midwest to be near family. Before I left Georgia, I wanted to gather together a few beach-related mementos to give to my family members who had all visited me in Georgia at one time or another.  I thought the items would be a nice memory of our time spent together in the South. 

One family member is my grandson, Ryan.  At age 16, it's harder to choose a gift he'd enjoy as teenagers have set preferences. When I saw this T-shirt with an ocean theme found in the Tybee island, Georgia Marine Science Center, I thought “this is the perfect gift”. Ryan loves the beach and the times he spent at the Atlantic Ocean. 





Earth Sun Moon Trading Company


The T-shirt is the product of Earth, Sun and Moon Trading Company, located in Grove City, Pennsylvania.  The themes of their t-shirts reflect the company's mission to be “Good to the Earth”. You can read about their commitment here.



(c) Elf. Advice from Nature

Earth, Sun & Moon's “Advice” nature themes have scenes with a large number of animals, birds and insects we share our earth with (i.e. Advice from a Buffalo, Advice from a Bear, Advice from a Cardinal), as well as places such as this one “Advice from the Beach”. Each design is expertly printed in beautiful colors and features words of advice presented in a funny and delightful way.


Advice from the Beach Slogan


For instance, the words for this 'Advice from the Beach' T-shirt state:





Be shore of yourself | Come out of your shell | Take time to relax and coast | Avoid pier pressure | Sea life's beauty | Don't get tide down | Make waves!

As you can see in the intro photo, Ryan enjoyed receiving this reminder from Grandma of his visits to the Georgia Coast, beach and ocean.


Summary


So if you are shopping for a nature lover, you will find the choices from Earth Sun Moon to be unique and fun for both the gift giver and the recipient. The company has been creating their T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats and more since 1996, all with original designs. Therefore, there is sure to be a design of an animal or outdoor theme that perfectly fits any occasion, like this ocean theme for Ryan did for me. 









(c) Wednesday Elf Product Review written 12/8/2018






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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Multi-use Cake Stand Reviewed

More than just a place for cakes

no cake stand
Cake not on a stand (image from Pixabay.com)
One of the things that my youngest daughter asked for this Christmas was a cake stand. She also wanted a salad bowl. As one of Santa's dedicated elves, I found a perfect solution! Let me tell you about it. 

To be honest, I planned to purchase both of those items for her. When on my quest to find a nice cake stand, I came across something that has multiple uses that surprised and delighted me and I know it will be perfect for my daughter. 

The wonderful set can be a cake stand with a dome. The dome can be flipped over to create a salad bowl or a punch bowl. The base can be turned upside down to be used as a chip and dip tray or veggie dip. There are six different ways to serve whatever you need with this one set. Isn't that amazing? 

I also like that instead of having to store six different pieces for six different functions, this set only takes up the space of one piece. That is wonderful for my daughter since her storage space is limited. I think she will be thrilled!

I also like the simple design because it will go with any style of dinnerware and can be used throughout the entire year. It is made from acrylic so it isn't heavy to move, either. Let me tell you, this Santa's helper is so excited about this find!

How about you? Can you use something like this for your serving needs? Perhaps you know someone on your list who would appreciate its multi-function features. It is perfect for a gift for a bride or a house warming gift, too. 



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Monday, December 3, 2018

Reviewing the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger

Anker PowerCore Review
Anker is becoming a brand name that I trust and depend on. And the PowerCore portable charger is no exception. Whether you travel and do not want to have the security risk of plugging in to public charging stations or you spend time off-grid but still want to keep that cell phone charged for emergencies, the Anker is an excellent choice for portable, secure, and dependable charging.

I bought one for myself but I think this little gadget would be a great gift idea.


What is an Anker PowerCore Portable Charger?


My description of the PowerCore is a rechargeable battery that is small enough to fit in my coat pocket but holds enough power to fully recharge my phone (and Kindle) many times. 

Even though it is an electronic gadget, it is foolproof. 

Three easy steps:

  1. Plug it in to charge the battery using the USB cord (using my laptop or the same plug I use to charge my phone and my Kindle)
  2. Remember to put it into my purse, coat pocket, or camping tote
  3. Plug my phone (or Kindle) into the PowerCore to charge as needed.



The Description from the experts:

  • Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 (24w) with Anker's proprietary PowerIQ and VoltageBoost technology - fastest possible charge to almost any USB device. 
  • 7 days of power (fills the iPhone 7 almost seven times, the Galaxy S8 more than four times, and iPad Air 2 one and a half times) 
  • Quick Charge input, a full recharge is over in half the time of standard portable chargers. (written by Anker about the PowerCore 20000 Quick Charge 3.0)

Why I Chose the Anker PowerCore 20000 Quick Charge 3.0


I go camping at my cabin for days on end. I own the Anker PowerPort Solar charger and love it. It is dependable and perfect for off-grid living (see my review here). Perfect, except for when it isn't. 

This year was a record-breaking rainfall year in my area. Rain means solar charges aren't able to work properly (if at all). Lack of sunlight was causing either no charge on my phone or a walk (in the pouring rain) to the Jeep to charge (slowly) my phone. Due to all this rain, I bought the PowerCore "battery".  I charge it fully at the apartment, throw it into my camping tote, and I have a dependable way to charge my phone - rain or shine.

I depend on the Anker PowerPort Solar charger - except during a season of record rainfall.

I chose the 20,000 based on the higher number of charges it provides (compared to some of the more compact PowerCore chargers) and the price tag was as high as I wanted to spend that day.  

My PowerCore came with the charger, the USB cord to charge it, and a slightly padded travel bag. It did not come with the plug that is used in a wall outlet. But I already had several of those. 

There are many Anker PowerCore choices, smaller/less expensive and larger/more expensive.  I love that Anker provides so many options.





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Friday, November 30, 2018

Leather Professional Planner Calendar by Gallery Leather Co. Reviewed

Leather Professional Planner Calendar by Gallery Leather Co. Reviewed
For years I have been using the Professional Planner Calendar by Gallery Leather Co.  It is, by far, the best planner calendar that I have ever owned and I do love the leather cover.  I used to buy a different color each year as a way to differentiate between the years at a glance on my shelves.  However, for the last 2 years I have purchased the burgundy.  I just love the deep wine color.  I plan to order the navy this year.  I need to get back to using a different color per year.    Or, perhaps I'll opt for green in the hopes that it will represent strong earnings for the year.

I am reviewing the Gallery Leather Co. Professional Planner today simply because I want the opportunity to point out the fabulous features of this calendar.  I admit, I take them for granted now.  One glance at a different planner reminds me why I choose the Gallery Leather Co. planner year after year.  The fact that they are pretty on my shelf is only one reason.



Fabulous Features of the Leather Professional Planner by Gallery Leather Co.


Aesthetically, it is a beautiful calendar with it's leather cover and gold gilded page edges. Plus, as the name suggests, it has a very professional appearance.  The year is embossed on the front cover, but is not colored or filled with anything.  I love that professional simplistic design.  I am never embarrassed to pull this calendar out in front of anyone when setting appointments or making notes.


Speaking of notes, there is a special note section in this planner.  I use that section to write down ideas for articles, or things I need to do that don't have a deadline.  

Leather Professional Planner Calendar by Gallery Leather Co Reviewed



Leather Professional Planner Calendar Reviewed
The first page displays a quick reference showing a calendar of all of the months and dates in the standard square box display (shown on the right).  That helps when I just need to pull the dates quickly for every Friday in a particular month.   Or to quickly count the number of Fridays in a particular month.

A quick glance page for the previous year and the next year immediately follow the current year calendar.

Following those pages is a larger breakdown of the months for quick notes.  Each month has a page with boxes, one for each date, and area to make quick notes.

Professional Planner by Gallery Leather Co.
  

However, the section of the planner that I most rely on, the one that I refer to multiple times everyday is the daily calendar that displays each day of the week with appointment times.  This is where I organize my work day.  Without it, I would be lost.  The satin bookmark could be used anywhere to mark your place in the book, but I use it to mark the current week so I can quickly flip the planner open to it.


Professional Planner Calendar by Gallery Leather Co.
My fellow contributors already know a great deal about my busy schedule.  They see me at work daily.  But, I am here to tell you, without my trusty planner calendar, I would be lost.  It keeps me focused on what I need to accomplish each day and what should get my attention first each morning.  

I know I am not alone.  Many people scurry from one activity to the next trying to stay ahead and on their fast paced schedules.  I can tell you from experience, this planner calendar really makes a huge difference!
 





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House of Sylvestermouse



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Thursday, November 29, 2018

DesignCap Free Online Poster Maker Reviewed

DesignCap is the free online poster maker offered by PearlMountain to make all your poster and flyer graphics easy to make and easy to design. The variety of templates, colors, text and background options are endless and will whet your appetite to make free posters in a few minutes for all your events.

WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get


The DesignCap software is WYSIWYG which is very helpful for all levels of poster designers.
Beginner designers will enjoy the ability to change a template with the click of a mouse and the visual changes are immediate. Graphic designers with more advanced skills will find the templates easy to adjust with the text, color and image options.

DesignCap is an online program which is a bonus as software is not required to download to your computer; design the poster and simply save the poster as a download for its' future use.

I used the cover of my cookbook to test DesignCap and loved the ability to upload an image and change the background in a few seconds.

Background Options DesignCap

DesignCap offers a large variety of background colors and one can get lost (in a good way!) browsing through the options and making changes.

This is the DesignCap template I used for my cookbook.



This is the same template with a different border using the background menu.
The Low Oxalate Cookbook

The border was changed with a quick of the mouse when browsing the background menu. It was very helpful to have different colors and designs available to change the colors of the background.

Intuitive Design

Overall I found the menus easy to use and intuitive. The text menu to change the font size was less intuitive; however this is more than likely dependent upon the skills the designer has prior to using DesignCap. Two options exist to change the font size: the A+ or A-  or the font size can be changed manually. I like the ability to choose the font size manually; however, a first glance it appears the font size is limited to the drop down menu sizes when in fact any size font can be chosen by typing in the size. DesignCap offers tutorials for assistance and step by step guidance through its' menu options.

Image Size


The design can be saved in either jpg or png format. Remember this is a poster therefore the size is large. The image can then be scaled down if necessary or optimized prior to using on a website.

PearlMountain

DesignCap is the latest online design program from PearlMountain along with the established Fotojet and DesignEvo, the free online logo maker. The mission of PearlMountain, "We aim to make professional photo editing and graphic design capability accessible to everyone."





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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Reviewing How to Clean Jewelry Like a Pro!

Connoisseur's Jewelry Wipes
I have recently discovered Connoisseur's jewelry wipes and I have to say they are fantastic!

My daughter has just graduated high school and I thought I would give her some moonstone ear rings that have some family history to them.   My daughter loves moonstones and these originally belonged to her great grandmother.

I got them out of a jewelry box that they've been in for about 17 years and they looked tarnished and old.   I popped them in some vodka overnight and then gave them a wipe with a soft cloth and they certainly looked better, but not great.

My husband went down to a manufacturing jeweler to see about getting them cleaned, she gave one of them a quick clean with a Connoisseur jewelry wipe to demonstrate and then gave him the price to purchase a pack and the price for a professional clean.

When I got home from work he showed me the two ear rings and in my mind it was a no brainer - we went and brought the wipes the very next day!

Using Connoisseur's Jewelry Wipes


When I opened up the container that the wipes came in I was a little surprised.  I expected the wipes to be damp, like cleansing wipes I guess, but they were dry.   I wiped the jewelry and the wipes looked black in places where they were doing their job.

All you have to do is gently wipe the metal part of the jewelry - you can wipe the stones, but the wipes make no difference to stones.  These wipes work on either gold or silver.

The end result was that the ear rings looked like they had just come out of a jewelers box brand new!

It was so easy to simply wipe the jewelry that I'm looking forward to 'refreshing' a few pieces of old jewelry I have.  One thing I will say, I do not think I'll be getting my jewelry cleaned by a jeweler again since discovering their 'secret weapon'.

I thoroughly recommend these jewelry wipes and if anyone is wondering, my daughter loved her ear rings and not just because they were moonstones, but because of the family history that was attached to them.

Have you ever heard of or used Connoisseur's jewelry wipes?


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Friday, November 16, 2018

Duraflame Firelogs Reviewed - Wood Alternatives for Fireplace

Duraflame Firelogs Reviewed - Wood Alternatives for Fireplace
If you love a great fire, but don't love the idea of chopping wood or cutting down trees, than you are going to love Duraflame firelogs!

We started using the Duraflame firelogs years ago. Once it gets cold outside, my husband starts every day by his outdoor fireplace, drinking his coffee and simply enjoying the great outdoors.  As fireplace enthusiasts, we are very familiar with woodpiles and the creatures that made their homes in them.  Therefore, neither of us are keen on having a woodpile stacked close to our home.  Frankly, if it was left to me to go to a woodpile and bring in wood, I would probably start burning the furniture inside first.  As much as I love mice, I really, really hate snakes!

The Duraflame firelogs are a most excellent alternative!



Duraflame Firelogs


 Duraflame 2.5 lb 1.5-hr Firelog, 6 pkA Duraflame firelog will last for at least 1½ hours, which is the perfect amount of time for hanging around an outdoor fireplace in the cold.  If you need more time, simply use a second firelog after the first one has gone out.  Not only do they create that inviting fireplace ambience, but they are actually warm.  Because the Duraflame firelogs are made with sawdust, they smell like firewood. 

We use them outside only, but they are actually made to burn inside in a well-vented, open hearth fireplace in place of burning real wood.  

For the environmentalist who enjoys a great fire, the Duraflame firelog is the perfect replacement.  Since they are made of sawdust, agricultural fibers, and wax, they don't require cutting down trees to have a fire.  It is a green, environmentally friendly way to have a fire.  And, for those of us who hate discovering creatures in the woodpile, well needless to say, we are also thrilled.

Each log comes individually packaged inside the box.  Don't unwrap the log!  You light the firelog by lighting the paper wrapper, which serves as the perfect fire starter.  



Information About our Outdoor Fireplace shown in the introduction photo:  We bought our outdoor fireplace 7 years ago and have been very pleased with it. Unfortunately, the Char-Broil Trentino Deluxe Outdoor Fireplace has been discontinued.

If you need an outdoor fireplace, we did purchase ours from Amazon and you can see their current "in stock" models by clicking here.




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