Showing posts with label The Savvy Age. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Savvy Age. Show all posts

Monday, October 14, 2019

My Favorite Hallmark Couples Reviewed

Hallmark has become synonymous with the light romantic comedy with a family friendly happy ending - is that a bad thing?


Ah yes, I have seen quite a few Hallmark movies and through the years a few actors have hit upon a winning chemistry and their movies spurred sequels. Yes, Hallmark fans are aware the story lines are romantic, perhaps formulatic. Long lost loves reuniting is a frequent theme - and we are ok with that! Opposites attract and fall in love - and we are ok with that! The commoner and the royalty fall in love at the palace - and we are ok with that!

Enjoy a few of my favorite Hallmark couples and series; bookmark these movies for a nice two hours of happy entertainment.

Lacey Chabert And Brennan Elliott

The All My Heart series:

This duo have been dubbed the Hepburn And Tracy of The Hallmark Channel and their chemistry and comedic timing are evident. The All Of My Heart series began when both inherited a run down country inn; although neither knew each other prior to the inheritance.

Different worlds and different goals collide as they decide to renovate the home into a Bed And Breakfast.

Travel along their humorous journey of inn renovation when roommates turn into soulmates.

 All Of My Heart
All Of My Heart: Inn Love
All Of My Heart: The Wedding

and now teaming together on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel in Crossword Mysteries.

Jack Wagner And Josie Bissett


Seventeen years after Melrose Place and this duo has teamed up for The Wedding March Hallmark movies.

Mick (Jack Wagner) and Olivia (Josie Bissett) are college sweethearts who unexpectedly meet when Olivia's daughter books her wedding at Mick's charming country inn. Of course Olivia's daughter had no idea of their history and the inevitable sparks of unresolved sweethearts begin to fly.

Once again it is the chemistry that is difficult to ignore as the romance progresses. The quips and banter is witty and natural just as one would expect with long time friends and former co-workers.

The Wedding March Series
The Wedding March:
The Wedding March 2: Resorting To Love
The Wedding March 3: Here Comes The Bride
The Wedding March 4: Something Old, Something New

Rachael Leigh Cook And Brendan Penny

Enter the gorgeous scenery of wine country as this couple navigates competing family run wineries and learning to love their craft and each other along the way.

 The In the Vineyard series highlights the witty banter, competitive humor and likability of the couple.

Add to the mix the very different ways each approaches the business of the vineyard and each other which allows the chemistry to shine.

In The Vineyard Series
Autumn In The Vineyard
Valentine In The Vineyard
Summer In The Vineyard




There are of course more favorite Hallmark movies, click here to find my Top Ten Hallmark Christmas movies.




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


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Monday, September 23, 2019

Downton Abbey: The Movie Reviewed

This was a very, very excited movie audience! I thought I heard a few audible gasps and sighs of thanks when the familiar theme music began to play. Last week I saw a screening of Downton Abbey: The Movie and it has been a long wait for Downton Abbey fans since the conclusion of the television series.


The audience was in rapt attention and displayed perfect movie manners throughout the entire movie.
No one moved for the entire two hours.

  • Not one cell phone rang, beeped, lit up or vibrated.
  • Silence. No one was talking. Only listening and enjoying the movie.
  • The excitement for this movie was palatable.
  • These Downton Abbey superfans were ready!




The Plot

All of your favorite characters are back! The full contingent of characters from upstairs and downstairs at Downton Abbey have returned to continue where the story left off after the BBC series ended after 52 episodes and six seasons.

I do not want to spoil the plot of Downton Abbey: The Movie for its' devoted fans. The main plot is a visit by the King George V and the Queen in 1927 and the preparation for the visit by the family and staff.

Of course there are a few twists and turns as the characters navigate the visit and while the downstairs plot is a bit sketchy for the visit, Downton Abbey fans won't mind.


The Witty Repertoire


As a compliment to the script of Downton Abbey, these fans GOT IT. They laughed at the right places, chuckled at the double entendres and verbally cheered certain moments of the movie.

The highlights of course of witty banter were the characters of Violet Crawley played by Maggie Smith and Isobel Crawley played by Penelope Wilton. There were quite a few dry, witty, sarcastic and pointed exchanges between these two characters along with a twinkle in each of their eyes. The audience loved it.

As usual Lady Mary Crowley played by Michelle Dockery can throw a dry and sarcastic comment like no one else! I appreciate her directness.

I would have liked to see a more developed storyline for a favorite Downton Abbey couple, John Bates and Anna Smith played by Brendan Coyle and Joann Froggatt , but it was not to be for this movie. Both characters are in the movie, but not in major roles.

The Recommendation

When an audience stands up at the end of the movie and applauds - that says it all!
I heartily endorse all Downton Abbey fans to see this movie. You will not be disappointed!


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


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Monday, September 9, 2019

Favorite Fall Lawn Gadgets Reviewed

Oh no! What happened to summer? I say that every September though most of September is technically still summer.

September is actually I think the best month for the northern United States. The air is crisper, the humidity has decreased and the leaves are just beginning their journey through the colors. Fall also means lawn work, garden clean up, Fall planting and preparing the lawn and garden for a snowy winter.

My Favorite Fall Lawn Gadgets 

The Bagster - On Demand Debris Removal

If Fall clean up involves heavy materials whether it be concrete, wood or trees then The Bagster is a great alternative to dispose of heavy loads. Simply purchase The Bagster bag either online or at a big box store, fill the bag and schedule the pick up!


Find the full review here and see if your area qualifies for The Bagster.


Greenworks Leaf Blower

This is one of my favorite lawn tools of all purchases. The lightweight Greenworks Leaf Blower is so versatile.

I use it all year to blow leaves and debris off the driveway or deck, blow leaves to dispose of in the Fall and even use it for a Car Hack to blow dust out of the car.

Read the full review here of this easy to maneuver Leaf Blower.

City Pickers Raised Garden Bed

I really enjoyed this garden bed on wheels during the summer and will transition this raised bed garden for Fall planting. Maybe a pumpkin?!? I plan on rolling the bed into the Florida room for the winter and begin herb planting come spring.


Read the full review here of this rolling garden bed perfect for the yard, deck or patio.


Blue Shoes Disposable Shoes

Fall means rain, mud and leaves in my area of the country. Do you have trees with those itty bitty leaves which stick to everything and every shoe?

These affordable disposable shoes I have found invaluable for yard work in any weather. Pop the shoes on and dispose of in a jif if needed. If the conditions are dry the shoes can be used as a cover and then reused.

Read the full review here of these little shoe savers.


Top Ten Hallmark Christmas Movies

I know, these are not a lawn gadget. But Fall means Hallmark Christmas Movies are in the near future. As I recall the Christmas movies began at Halloween last year.


Find the full review here.

A few new favorites from last Christmas to add to the list:

  • Christmas At Pemberley Manor
  • Christmas At The Palace
  • Christmas On Honeysuckle Lane






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Monday, August 26, 2019

The Handmaid's Tale TV Series Review

Gripping and disturbing are two descriptions which immediately surface when asked to describe the original television series The Handmaid's Tale. The television series is based on Margaret Atwood's 1998 book of the same name of which many are familiar.


The Story

The story of The Handmaid's Tale is categorized as speculative fiction or futurism. The disturbing reality of The Handmaid's Tale is the reality of history when any group, government, country or sector persecute any group of citizens who do not meet a defined criteria.

Gilead is the fictional world where woman and men are categorized into well defined roles. Offred is the main character kidnapped from the United States and transported into a dystopian society of which women who can bare children (handmaidens) are the only priority so the society can repopulate.

The handmaidens' are assigned to high ranked Commanders with wives unable to conceive. The handmaidens' role is to conceive a child by the Commander and then give the child to the couple after birth.

The complexity of the story further evolves with the emotions and interactions between the Commanders, the wives, the family, the handmaidens and all those involved in each Commander's goal to have a child. All are intertwined and though the characters are neatly categorized into roles, the emotions of each differ markedly as well as the varying interactions between the classes of Gilead and its' rules.


The Drama And It's Characters


The emotional and physical brutality of the television series I found difficult to watch. The powerful acting vests you into the plot and the characters. If you like strong character driven books, movies or television series you will vest in these characters as presented and for the future.

  • The dystopian society of Gilead is scary, thought provoking, disturbing and yet compelling.
  • Thought provoking to events of history and could it happen again?
  • Disturbing because of the violence and intolerance of anyone 'not like them.'
  • Scary to think of the power and misuse of power to propel unwilling members of society to an unwanted goal.
  • Compelling because of the acting which brings you into their world so effectively it compels you to think of the above questions and thoughts.



I highly recommend this original television series; however, viewing is not for the timid. Is it entertainment? Is it entertaining? I liken this to watching a disaster unfold, difficult to watch, but difficult not to watch.  

It is a pleasure to watch such powerful acting, but one must be in the mood to watch a serious television series as this is a series which provokes afterthoughts of past society and the future should power go awry.


Where To View A Handmaid's Tale?

This is an original series by Hulu, so a membership is required to view the current season or past episodes of season one or two. Season three began in June 2019.

However, Amazon members can stream seasons one and two and the third season will be released after its' first run on Netflix. The series is available here to purchase per episode or per season.


The Testaments


To date A Handmaid's Tale has over 14,000 reviews on Amazon, is a number one New York Times best seller and a sequel The Testaments is anticipated for September 2019.


The end of season one of the television series correlated to the end of the book. The Testaments is Ms. Atwoord's voice as to the future of the main character Offred and the society of Gilead.


Books Similar In Theme To A Handmaid's Tale


1984 by George Orwell
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury




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Monday, August 12, 2019

Nonni's Biscotti Reviewed

Nonni's Biscotti Reviewed
Looking for a light and airy snack? Perfect to accompany a nice cup of tea or coffee? Nonni's biscotti is a yummy alternative to the after meal cookies and sweets or a mid afternoon snack.

Biscotti The Alternative Snack

The biscotti are made with real butter, eggs and sugar. No preservatives or artificial flavors are used in Nonni's recipe.

Each biscotti is individually wrapped which is very user friendly and keeps the biscotti fresh. The biscotti are light and airy yet crispy. These are perfect for those who like to dunk a crispy treat in their coffee, tea or milk.

These are a very nice alternative to sweets and cookies, but remember that biscotti does translate to a crisp cookie or biscuit. Biscotti is the plural of biscotto and biscotti are traditionally twice baked to obtain the light and dry consistency.

Who Is Nonni?


Nonni is the grandmother of the founder of Nonni's Bakery. The lore of the biscotti recipe began with Nonni in Lucca, Italy an area of Tuscan. The family recipe was then brought to America over a century ago.

Flavors Of Nonni's Biscotti


There are quite a few flavors for the Biscotti!


  • The Originali
  • Cioccolati
  • Dark Almond Chocolate
  • Limone
  • Salted Caramel
  • Toffee Almond
  • Turtle Pecan
  • Triple Chocolate


Where To Buy Nonni's Biscotti


The Biscotti are not inexpensive at our local independent grocer or brand name grocery store. I have found the selection and prices are much better on Amazon. If you'd like to look for Nonni's in your area, check the retail store locator here.

Amazon has a very nice variety pack of Nonni's Biscotti which has four flavors of the Biscotti: Originali, Limone, Turtle Pecan and Cioccolati. The biscotti are much lower priced online than I found locally.


Biscotti are a nice change of pace for those who like sweets and snacks. The flavors are subtle so no need to be worried about being over powered by the flavors. 

As they used to say, "Try it - you may like it!" The tagline of Nonni's is Nobody treats you like Nonni's!





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


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Monday, July 22, 2019

Defiant Wireless Motion Sensor Solar Light Review

Need an outdoor light but no electrical outlet? The wireless motion sensor solar light by Defiant can assist. I recently needed to light an outdoor walkway which was marooned between electrical outlets and hard wiring the area was not an option.


I purchased the Defiant Wireless Solar Light to solve the no electrical outlet, need light problem and have been very impressed with its' performance. 


Brightness

Brightness
Motion Sensor

x
This is a bright light! It is not for subtle soft lighting along the deck, patio or home. The solar light has the equivalency of 20 LED lights.

The unit actually has two lights. The main light facing out and an interior back light behind the main light. The two lights are synchronized to provide the full brightness. The motion sensor feature then regulates how the lights are dimmed after activation.




Motion Sensor


I found the motion sensor to be very accurate. The small unit is deceiving as to how quickly it will pick up motion. Activity to trigger the motion sensor is up to 26 feet with a 120 degree radius according the the specifications.

There are two settings for the motion sensor:

1. When motion is detected the front and back light turns on to full brightness. After 10 seconds of no motion both lights turn to low brightness.

2. Standby mode. When motion is detected the front and back light turns to full brightness. After 10 seconds of no motion the front light turns off and the back light turns to low brightness.

The light does not have an option for both lights to be turned off after activation. 


Solar Light & Wireless

The solar light takes eight hours of charging to provide 12 hours of continuous light during the night. 

The wireless feature is perfect for areas of the home, deck, landscape or yard which are not located near an electrical outlet. The unit is easy to install as it is lightweight and requires two wall screws (included.) However I liked the portability of the unit due to its' lightweight and shape so I positioned the unit on the deck stairs to face the sun.

 

 

More Home Reviews





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Monday, July 8, 2019

A Dog's Life By Peter Mayle


Are you ready to smile? Smiling, laughing and nodding are the side effects from reading this delightful book, A Dog's Life by Peter Mayle. This book is actually two books in one with the engaging illustrations by Edward Koren. So onward with a two books in one review!

A Dogs Life Book Review


The Point Of View

This is a story of a rescue dog in Provence named Boy by his new parents. What is different about this narrative is the tale is told by Boy ... in his own words.

Boy is thoughtful, introspective, funny, witty, dry and very on point with his observations of the household, his city, his new furry sisters, his parents and how life rolls in Provence.

I'm still laughing over his description of rolling in the grass, why it is a good idea, why he likes to roll over smelly 'things' in the grass and then the consequences of the behavior. Which leads us to ...


The Other Point Of View

Boy is also a philosopher and keen observer. As he says one of his best strengths is his keen ability to observe then adapt; definitely a strength when being adopted into an established household.

I very much enjoyed Boy's take on his new humans, siblings and household. In A Dog's Life he tells his story enhanced by his view of what others are thinking, the why behind their actions and how he will fit in his new home.


The Furry Topics 

Boy runs the gamut of topics he finds interesting but are also of interest to dog parents. He answers those human questions of "Why would...?" "How could ..." "Did you really do that...?" of:

  • Picking The Dog's Name (and lifelong implications)
  • Dog Birthday Parties
  • Rolling In Stuff!
  • Baths
  • Cats
  • New Siblings
  • Food Bowl Etiquette
  • Tasting Parties
  • The Art Of Communication

and much more!

The Illustrations

I love hand drawn illustrations and the illustrations by Edward Koren are fabulous. The illustrations are an integral component of A Dog's Life and can be enjoyed on their own merit. I liken the illustrations to editorial cartoons drawn from a dog's point of view.

Recommendation Of A Dog's Life

I highly recommend this book for all dog owners or dog fans. It is a perfect gift for all occasions including a fun gift for the new dog parent. Smiles and are guaranteed throughout the book along with frequent nods of agreement as to why dogs are so special, so beloved and so part of the family.

More Dog Reviews

Favorite Dog Harness - The Puppia

Kong Cloud Collar




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Monday, June 24, 2019

City Pickers: Raised Garden Bed Review

My collection of pots for the container garden had become sad and unusable. A refresh was desperately needed and I went on the search for raised garden beds.

 I'd love to have truly raised garden beds about five feet high in the yard, but for now I was searching for a garden bed suitable for the deck. I am very happy to have purchased the City Pickers raised garden bed and will be purchasing more!
City Pickers green raised garden bed on wheels

City Pickers Raised Garden Bed


The size of the garden bed at 24.5" by 20.5" is perfect for the deck. Large enough for room to plant a nice selection of plants, but small enough to move easily. The watering system is also a huge plus as the system holds 2 quarts of water.

They seemed to think of everything when designing this mobile garden including:

  • Self Contained automatic watering system
  • Mobile, on caster wheels
  • Aeration
  • Mulch cover
  • Easy to move
  • Fun colors from the neutral to bold
  • Reasonable price point
  • Waist height version on wheels

Who Wants Color?


I loved the City Pickers is available in 9 colors!

  • Terra Cotta 
  • Aquamarine
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Brown
  • Grey
  • Hunter Green
  • Lime Green (my choice)
  • Red
  • Sandstone

How Much Potting Mix To Fill The Garden Bed?


I used 4 bags of 8 quarts each of potting mix to fill the garden bed plus the recommended cups of lime. The directions are very specific to use potting mix, not topsoil or potting soil! The directions stated 1.5 cubic feet of potting mix is needed to fill the bed; however it depends upon how much muscle you or you have access to! The smaller bags of potting mix are easier to transport and are also frequently on sale.

Assembly Of The City Picker


The City Picker does need to be assembled and the assembly took less than five minutes! It is very easy and quick and requires little labor. One of the advantages of a mobile raised gardening bed is the ease of movement and convenience.


The City Pickers is on wheels which do need to be inserted into the bottom of the bed. I was very pleased to find it took no effort to insert each wheel! Seems like a simple request, but one of my pet peeves for furniture that needs to be assembled is wrangling with the coaster wheels;  these wheels were so easy to pop in and lock on the bottom of the City Pickers garden bed.

Best Way To Save! Swagbucks Hack


This is my favorite way to earn rewards points combined with the ease online ordering! I found one color of the City Pickers in my local big box store, but knew there was a wide selection of colors as I had researched the garden beds online. I really wanted a cheery blue or fun green garden bed.

Back to the internet and I used my swagbucks account to order online from the big box store and have the bed delivered to my door. The option to have the item delivered free of charge to the big box store also is very handy to use and saves time as the items can be picked up at the door at the customer service area.

Swagbucks is a free account in which points are earned for purchases at most online and bricks and mortar stores. The points can then be used for gift cards which are ordered online from the Swagbucks account and the gift code is delivered to your inbox. I love it and this system has worked flawlessly for my shopping.

Click here to sign up for Swagbucks (free!)

 

More Reviews From The Gardeners And Nature Friends at Review This Reviews

Balcony Gardening Tips by Olivia Morris
Garden Kneeler Review by BarbRad
Water A Flower Day by Wednesday Elf
Hostess Gifts For The Gardener by Olivia Morris 
Planting In Spring For Summer by Cynthia Sylvestermouse
Creative Flower Photography by Mary Beth Granger



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


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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Hoopla Review: Free Streaming Service For Movies, Books, Television & More!

Cutting the cord is not quite as easy as it seems! Well, cutting the cable cord by cancelling cable TV is easy, but finding free economical and quality content can be a search. However, it is a rewarding search when discovering services such as Hoopla which offers free content which appeals to the entire household.
Collage of Hoopla features: credits, movies

What Is Hoopla?


Hoopla is the free online streaming service which offers a wonderful mix of free content including:

  • Movies
  • Television
  • Audiobooks
  • eBooks
  • Comics
  • Music


Your library card is the key to access Hoopla. Each patron has a monthly access limit quantified by credits. I have 20 credits per month and one credit equals one title. Just as with a physical library checkout, Hoopla requires the "return" of the item in 3 days.


Is Hoopla Free?

Yes and no or yes with an asterisk.
Yes, because there are no upfront fees, contracts or subscriptions.
No, because your library pays for access to Hoopla and your tax dollars pay for the library.

How Do I Access Hoopla?


Hoopla is accessed through your library card. Check the digital services offered by your local library to see if Hoopla is offered. Note: Super Sleuth Margaret Schindel of Review This Reviews! discovered when I reviewed the free streaming service of Kanopy it appeared the library did not offer Kanopy, but she found it actually was offered when the service was searched for on the app.

So check with your library, the library website and on the Hoopla App - Hoopla Digital (another reason cutting the cable cord can be a little more work!) Hoopla is very accessible. It can be accessed via desktop,  iPhone, iPad, Android devices and Apple devices, Fire TV and Apple TV.

What Is The Difference Between Hoopla And Kanopy?

It is apples to oranges regarding content which is a bonus for the user! Each offers different content with Kanopy having a strong selection of documentaries and classic cinema and Hoopla offers more mainstream content with a robust catalog from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC.)

The main difference is the content from Hoopla can be downloaded! Excellent for those with an unstable internet collection or travelling. Listening to audiobooks when travelling is a breeze when the book can be downloaded to your phone.

BBC Fan Alert!

If you are a fan of television and movies by the BBC then Hoopla will not disappoint. Was it so long ago when I would seek, search and find an older BBC series on DVD at the library and then go through the checkout hoops of:


  • Putting the series on hold
  • In numerical order 
  • Find a parking space
  • Pay for the parking space
  • Checkout the DVD
  • Return on time
  • Wait for the next DVD to be available
  • Checkout the next DVD
  • Rinse and repeat
Along with the BBC content there is a large selection of British movies and television by Acorn TV. Acorn TV offers original British content including comedies, mysteries and drama series.




Streaming is so much easier especially for binge viewing!

My first Hoopla checkout is RBG , documentary of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.




Free Alternatives To Cable TV




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Monday, May 27, 2019

Kanopy Review: The Free Streaming Service

Free! Yes. Free. Kanopy is the free streaming service you may be unaware exists and unaware you can be a member with your library card! Movies on demand with the click of a mouse at no charge to you. No contracts or subscriptions are required.

What Is Kanopy?

Be Entertained. Be Enriched. is the tagline of Kanopy.

Kanopy is a movie lovers' dream! Particularly if you are a fan of documentaries, Indie Films and non fiction entertainment then you will not be disappointed. It is akin to being transported to your local library, but through the ease of your computer.

Who can Access Kanopy?


Kanopy is free to members of participating public libraries and universities.  Check the digital services section of your library website or university; chances are Kanopy is available.

How Does Kanopy Work?


The Kanopy membership is linked to your library card account number. Create an account on Kanopy and the activation of the account is triggered when the library card number is entered and then automatically verified. An account can be created, verified and activated in less than five minutes.

A member receives 10 credits per month and one movie equals one credit. The checkout process is one familiar to library card holders when checking out a DVD or CD. The movie must be viewed within 3 days of checkout except with canopy the checkout is online access to the movie.

How Do I View The Movie?


Very easily! Kanopy is available on the majority of platforms including: Apple OS, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, Fire stick, Fire tablet and desktop.Simply download the app or access Kanopy in the menu section of Roku or Fire TV.

My first two "checkouts" were the documentaries "Above The Fold" a profile of legendary journalist Robert Scheer and "Celebration of the 89th Anniversary of The Martha Graham Dance Company."

What Does Kanopy Offer?

The major categories of Kanopy are:

  • Movies
  • Documentaries
  • The Arts
  • Business
  • Health
  • Education
  • Media & Communication
  • Global Studies
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Instructional Films & Lessons
The title selection is huge with over 30,000 titles including the Criterion Collection which features classic cinema at its' best.

Kanopy Kids

Looking for the littles?  Kanopy has a collection curated specifically for children at Kanopy For Kids. One of the main differences between the content on Kanopy For Kids and Kanopy is a parental control dashboard and unlimited viewing (because we know the littles love to watch and rewatch and rewatch their favorites!)

Again the variety of content is impressive with organized categories easily navigated:

  • Movies
  • Story Time
  • TV Series
  • Funny Stuff
  • Adventure
  • Quick Flicks
  • Explore Science & Math
  • Learning Languages
  • Animals
  • Tales From History ... to name a few.

Is Kanopy Really Free?


Kanopy is free with free* receiving an asterisk. The library or university pays a fee to Kanopy for access to the service. Just as your library card is "free" to obtain, but ultimately paid for by your municipality. Check with your local library or the library website to find out if Kanopy is available. Students and educators at .edu can also access Kanopy with their library card.

Cutting The Cable Cord?


Kanopy is an alternative to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime. As I am currently in the process of cutting the cord with cable television I am thrilled to find Kanopy and even more ecstatic with the easy access to Indie films, documentaries and classic cinema which are genres I already favor.

More on my journey to cutting the cord ... it is a work in progress!




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


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Monday, May 13, 2019

My Favorite Dog Harness – The Puppia!


Oh dog harnesses! I have known quite a few. Today I am reviewing my absolute favorite dog harness The Puppia.

Through the years I have tried many dog harnesses and have also watched my acrobatic pup escape from quite a few harnesses. Many of these harnesses have been advertised as escape proof, but more than once been I have been left standing with just the leash and harness in hand! Less than ideal or safe!

The Puppia dog harness is my workhorse dog harness that delivers as promised.
Collage of black poodle in blue Puppia harness.

Fits The Hard To Fit Pup

The fit of any harness is definitely a key to the success of any harness. Each dog is different and of course it is difficult to standardize dog harnesses to fit all. My dog happens to be in between the standard sizes of a dog harness and is a small-medium size.

The straps are easily adjusted to fit dogs between sizes or for dogs with hair instead of fur. My pup also has curly thick hair which grows quickly between grooming visits; the adjustable straps are very convenient for the size difference between a freshly groomed pup and ‘fuzzy’  season.


Easy To Put On

The Puppia harness is very easy to 'install' with only one clip to manage. The harness does go over the dog’s head which can be a concern if your dog does not care for that type of harness. 

The front legs are inserted through the leg openings or the dog can step into the leg opening. The one piece design I believe lends to the strength of the harness as the majority of the harness is material and not clips or nylon.Sometimes less is more!

Lightweight and Strong

The Puppia Dog Harness is lightweight with the mesh construction and deceptively strong. My pup is a “puller” especially when encountering squirrels during a walk. The pup has yet to escape from the harness.

Breathable And Water Resistant

The harness material is breathable and water resistant; both useful features for warmer and inclimate weather.  I’ve used this harness in driving rain and snowstorms and it is durable!


Washable

The harness is machine washable, however the manufacturer does recommend hand washing and air drying. I have had no problems machine washing the harness on the gentle cycle (and even dried the harness on air dry in the dryer).
Black poodle in blue harness sitting in lawn with purple flowering tree.

Variety of Colors

Who doesn’t like to add a little fashion to the daily walk? The Puppia harness comes in a variety of solid colors and fun prints. Don't forget the color coordinated Puppia leashes!


Recommendation


I highly recommend the Puppia dog harness!
Special thanks to Aunt Amy, the Dog Whisperer,  for pup sitting and photography!

x



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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Reachers And Grabbers Reviewed

O, the reacher and the grabber - I've known a few!  Reachers and grabbers have become an integral part of this household. The design of reachers and grabbers have evolved through the years to become lightweight, affordable, practical and indispensable!



The Difference Between The Reacher And The Grabber


The reacher and grabber I have found each perform well together, independently but each has a specialty function which is very helpful and practical.

The reacher is lightweight and can be used to easily extend your reach in both directions. Extend your reach down to help put on socks or pick up items off the floor. Extend your reach up to help take lightweight items off a shelf or even change a lightbulb.

The grabber is great for heavier items which require more strength to grab such as canned food in the pantry or medium to heavier items off the floor or under the bed. The grabber also works very well in the grocery store to retrieve items on the top or bottom shelves.


My favorite Reacher And Grabber

I and my family members have tried a few reachers and grabbers through the years and these two are the favorites.

The Duro Med 32 Inch Aluminum Reacher With Magnetic Tip

This is very lightweight, foldable and has a magnetic tip which is invaluable for retrieving small metal items off the floor or items which find their way under the refrigerator. I love the reacher can be folded up with ease to carry with you to the grocery store or store in the car.


Ettore 34-Inch Grib'n Grab


This grabber is heavier than the reacher and it is deceptive as to how heavy an item can be grabbed and retrieved. I call this the workhorse of the reacher and grabber category and many obviously agree with over 4,000 positive reviews!


Why You Need Both!


As I discovered when caring for a family member after hip replacement surgery, not only is a reacher and grabber both necessary devices to help a person perform daily living activities independently, two devices are necessary!

Two are necessary because the reacher and/or grabber somehow tends to wander and miraculously ends up NOT by the immobile person. This happens quite frequently in a two floor home; it is a reacher/grabber phenomenon akin to the missing laundry sock. If you are upstairs, the reacher is downstairs. If you are in the living room, the grabber is in the kitchen. Buy two!


Different Functions


The reacher and grabber I have found each perform well together and independently, but each has a specialty function which is very helpful and practical.

The reacher is lightweight and can be used to easily extend your reach in both directions. Extend your reach down to help put on socks or pick up items off the floor. Extend your reach up to help take lightweight items off a shelf or even change a lightbulb.

The grabber is great for heavier items which require more strength to grab such as canned food in the pantry or medium to heavier items off the floor or under the bed.


Yardwork


The grabber is a cherished member of the yard work team! A true back saver for picking up twigs, branches, debris and even fallen branches. The reacher is perfect to rearrange items on the garage shelves or retrieve items which roll under the car.

Once you own a reacher or a grabber (or both!) it is amazing the different ways each can be used to make your life easier and your back and knees happier! Reachers and grabbers also make very practical gifts a gift recipient will appreciate.


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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Greenworks Blower Reviewed

Let the Spring Clean Up begin! Tidy up the yard, the  porch, the lawn and the garage in minutes with the Greenworks Single Amp Electric 160 mph Blower.

Greenworks blower

Easy To Use

Very easy to use with a one touch control. The Greenworks blower was ordered with Amazon Prime and arrived in two pieces. Simply snap in piece A to piece B and the assembly is complete in under one minute.
The cord is adequate, but more than likely an extension cord rated for outdoor use will be necessary depending upon the location of the electrical outlet. I highly prefer a lightweight blower with an extension cord versus a heavier cordless model.

Power

The Greenworks Blower has plenty of power for blowing leaves off the deck, the front porch and off the driveway. It provides enough power for a light Fall or Spring clean up for a small yard or between visits by a lawn service if the area is full of trees.

Trees drop their leaves in our area from September through November and last year we were buried in leaves between the last lawn mowing and the Fall Clean Up. The blower was a great convenience to blow a path on the driveway until the Fall Clean Up was completed.

Light!

The Greenworks 160 MOH Blower weighs in at a nice and light 5.6 pounds. Light enough to generate the power needed with the maneuverability necessary to aim the blower at its' target(s) without shoulder and arm fatigue.

Dust Off The Car Inside And Out!

This is not my original idea which begged me to ask myself, "Why didn't I think of that!" It is a little leaf blower hack that works great!

My friend mentioned to me when the Fall weather started to worsen and the outdoors was not conducive to car washing. Use the leaf blower to dust out the interior of the car. Yes!
Simply open all four doors and remove any objects in the car that are NOT to be blown onto the driveway or the garage.

Point the handy dandy Greenworks blower to the interior of the car and blow out all the dust! It works! Fabulously! Three minutes and the dust and debris from the interior of the car is gone.
This was a great hack for the middle of winter to freshen up the car in the throes of salt and winter weather.

Recommendation

I highly recommend the Greenworks blower if a lightweight blower is necessary for the health of your shoulders and arms. The blower has come in very handy and is one of my favorite home purchases. This Spring the blower has already used for a car dust off, driveway clean up, garage clean up, porch dust off and cobweb clean out.




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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers Reviewed

Weather is a challenge! It is raining,it is pouring, it is still snowing and welcome to Spring! Spring in the northern midwest can wreak havoc on your lawn, carpet and landscaping. Last year after a particularly challenging and wet Spring I purchased Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers and it was one of the best purchases of the year.
blue disposable shoe cover

What Are Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers?

Yes, the name is self explanatory. Strong, resilient, convenient and disposable paper shoe covers once associated with the the blue shoe covers seen in the hospital or on the shoes of the plumber or the cable television technician visiting on a service call.

The shoe covers have migrated to the mainstream and are an affordable and extremely easy way to protect carpet, hardwood floors, tiling and automobile carpet from the elements all with the flick of the shoe cover.

Shoe Covers For Fall And Spring

Four letters in this area describes the grass, mulch and landscaping with Spring and Fall ... mush!
Spring is a combination of snow melt, rain, more snow, more rain and so it goes through May. Fall brings the opposite of rain into snow, add another dose of rain plus a nice dollop of clay soil and the lawn and landscaping are soggy!

Uses For Blue Shoe Guys Shoe Covers

Saves The Carpet & Floor

I originally purchased the shoe covers as a landscaping required many trips touring the yard in wet, mushy conditions. Loved the convenience of quickly putting on the shoe covers to run in and out of the house without bringing in wet mulch, mud, grass clippings.

The shoe covers are a carpet saver for light colored carpets!


Dogs  

(Do dogs on outdoor leads only get the lead tangled in bad weather?) The shoe covers are perfect to pop on to head outside to retrieve the dog and just as easily pop off when entering the home. There seems to be a direct correlation the dog will go out on its'lead and seek and find the one lone branch to create the dog/lead/fallen branch tangle.

Guests/Visitor

So easy to have shoe covers available for service techs or guests who pop in during in climate weather when light colored carpet is a concern. It's not unusual for guests to carry a spare pair of shoes when visiting during the winter as no guest wants to track winter into your home. The shoe covers are great to have on hand when the guest forgets their spare pair of shoes and the guests are so thankful they don't have to walk around the house in stocking feet.

Car

Tuck a pair or two into your car for emergencies! I've been grateful more than once to have a pair handy for an unexpected muddy park to walk the dog or visiting a friend in the winter where I am the guest who forgot the spare pair of shoes (see above!)

Not Just For Shoes

The shoe covers are very flexible and forgiving in size. I've used the covers for any size and type of shoe or boot from the slimmest shoe to the very sturdy and very wide fuzzy winter boot.

Recommendation

I highly recommend the Blue Shoe Guys Disposable Shoe Covers! One pack contains 100 shoe covers which is more than ample for a home with a few extras to tuck into your car, briefcase or garage.


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Friday, March 8, 2019

The Famous Wigleys Corned Beef Reviewed


When I see St. Patrick's Day on the calendar I immediately think of corned beef and the traditional Irish boiled dinner. Actually an authentic boiled dinner is the perfect comfort food year round in our household and if you are from an Irish depression era family - well, Grandma did tend to excel at boiling :) !
Wigleys Famous Eastern Market Corned Beef. The best corned beef in Detroit reviewed.

Wigleys Famous Eastern Market Corned Beef provides the perfect mix of seasonings and high quality corned beef that allows the flavor of the corned beef to shine while the seasonings enhance the corned beef versus overpowering the beef.

Who Is Wigley?

Wigleys dates back to the 1880’s in England and the Wigley family meat recipe.  Job Wigley arrived in Detroit in 1924 with the Wigley family meat recipe along with the vision of the American dream. The family tradition continues to this day with Job’s grandson Tom continuing the Wigley business.

What Is Eastern Market And Why Is It In The Name Of Wigleys Corned Beef?

Established in 1891 Eastern Market was originally a market for wood and hay. Additional sheds were added in 1921, 1926 and moved to its’ current location. The end of W.W. II brought the wholesale food industry to the market. Hence why Wigleys Corned Beef has Eastern Market in its’ name.
Photos courtesy of CC 4.0:  Sarahebrowning,
Bill Whittaker, Etx313
Eastern Market is renowned in Detroit and the metro Detroit area. Before farm to table became trendy, vendors at  Eastern Market have provided the freshest meats, seafoods, vegetables, spices, candies,  flowers in an open air market.  Enjoy the amazing murals, antiques, art and crafts throughout the market as a destination stop for locals and tourists.
Whether it be for corned beef or flowers, Eastern Market is a treasured Detroit tradition and institution which was recorded to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1978. Wigleys and its’ corned beef is an integral part of the tradition.

The Fool Proof Corned Beef - How To Cook Wigleys?

So easy and so fool proof! Wigley’s corned beef is packaged pre seasoned; the seasoning surrounds the corned beef like a marinade.  Simply remove the corned beef from the package and squeeze the seasoning from the package and into the pot. Cover the corned beef with cold water and simmer. Depending upon the size of the brisket the corned beef will be ready in 3-4 hours.
Perfect every time!

Where To Buy Wigleys

If a visit to Eastern Market is not possible Wigleys is available throughout the metro area at grocery stores and specialty markets.  




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Monday, January 21, 2019

Kong Cloud Collar Reviewed

The dreaded two words for any dog or cat parent. The Cone. It is tough to be a conehead if you are the pet and sometimes even tougher to be the furball parent of a cat or dog recovering from surgery or an injury who returns home attached with the dreaded cone.

You are not happy. The pet is not happy. But you both will be sharing custody of the new nemesis in your life. The Cone.

Pets acclimating to wearing a cone run into everything and everyone! Imagine walking around with a plastic cone around your head and it is not difficult to imagine the problems it presents with eating, sleeping, playing, napping, squirrel chasing, stairs and the list never ends.

Kong's Cloud Collar


The Kong's Cloud Collar is an inflatable cone akin to an inner tube covered with washable soft fabric designed for comfort while not obstructing the peripheral vision of the pet. One of the main problems with a plastic cone excluding the discomfort is the lack of vision, difficulty navigating and eating from a bowl.

The Cloud Collar is designed to battle the inherent problems of the plastic cone. I purchased the Cloud Collar after my pets' last surgery and found the cone to be quite an improvement over the traditional plastic cone.


Positives Of The Cloud Collar


Easy to quickly put on and easy to take off
Soft
Adjustable collar
Washable
Pet adapted easily

Considerations


The velcro on the cone serves its' purpose to make the size of the cloud collar easily adjustable, however velcro is sticky! The velcro does attract the dog hair depending on whether the dog has fur or hair. My dog happens to be have curly hair which is a velcro attractor.

This is a consideration addressed in the customer comments so I was aware of the velcro consideration and prepared! The work around indeed worked like a charm: simply use one half of an old sock and cover the area on the collar where the velcro attaches.

The other main consideration is the type and location of the injury or wound the cone is trying to protect. A plastic cone generally stops the pet from reaching the area to be protected; the cloud collar provides the pet more mobility and therefore may be able to reach the area. My pet is very nimble and agile (code name gumby) and could reach the surgical area if he was so inclined.

Less Injury For Pet Parents


I still remember not so fondly when my dog in his energetic style of greeting ran full force into my shin with the cone. It was not pretty and surprising how much damage a plastic cone can inflict. The fluffball was no less worse for wear, but my shin was added to the recovery list.

I used a combination of the Cloud Collar and traditional plastic cone for the recovery. My dog definitely preferred the cloud collar and while under supervision I used the cloud collar. It was a nice break for the dog from the plastic cone and as the surgical area improved I used the cloud collar more.

Ten days or more is a long oh so very long time to keep a pet restricted plus wearing a plastic cone. I knew the wheels were starting to fall off when the we were gifted with a ten inch snowfall during the recovery period. Plastic cones are also excellent to scoop snow and throw snow and play with... snow! After being cooped up with snow and pet recovery cabin fever as a craft project we bedazzled the cone; confirmation the wheels had fallen off the snowed in recovery house.

Recommendation


Every pet is different regarding the tolerance of the plastic cone and cloud collar during the recovery phase. It can be a battle to keep any cone on! I recommend the Kong Cloud Collar as a means to aid the recovery while increasing the comfort of the pet and the pet parent.





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

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