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

Monday, June 22, 2020

Amazon Original Series Review: Making The Cut

Tim and Heidi are reunited! If you are a fan of Project Runway then you have noticed their absence from the show and have missed the presence of Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum the Project Runway OG's. The duo have reunited in the Amazon Originals Series Making The Cut.


Making The Cut

The similarities between Project Runway and Making The Cut are hard to miss. The premise is the same with fashion designers competing in elimination challenges to a season finale with a fashion show. The major difference is the focus of designing as a global brand with the prize of a mentorship with Amazon Fashion.and winning one million dollars.

This is where Making The Cut definitely differs from Project Runway. The show focuses on not only the design, but how the personality of each designer is enveloped into the design looking towards becoming a global brand. The next emphasis is their focus on the marketing and merchandising behind creating, building, growing and operating a profitable global brand.


Making The Cut Amazon Store


In conjunction with the show Amazon Fashion now has a Making The Cut Store which allows customers direct access to winning designs from the show. As easy as a click of the mouse fans can order newly created and exclusive designs from the competitors. This is a fun add on for the fashion forward customer.

Recommendation

The series is light fashion fun as the designers compete for the very serious and life changing prize of one million dollars. Tim, Heidi and the celebrity judges guide the contestants with their often blunt, but sincere critiques as insiders in the world of fashion. The series is an Amazon Original and included with an Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon Original Series


An Amazon Prime membership includes Amazon Originals which are series or specials exclusive to Amazon Prime members. 

Some current favorites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Upload
Alpha House
The Aeronauts
Late Night
Ballerina
Homecoming

Amazon Prime requires an annual membership; however, a 30 day free trial is offered to give the Prime membership a spin.



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, June 8, 2020

Regular Hereos: Amazon Original Reviewed

Regular Hereos is a documentary you want to see. Take a few hours away from masks and hand sanitizer to be inspired, be grateful and be thankful.  Celebrate these vital "essential workers" in this heart warming and at times heart breaking documentary as we are invited into their lives as they stay at work to keep our country running.


Who Are Regular Hereos?

This Amazon documentary features three hereos per one hour episode. Each hero is an "essential worker" whom the country could not have navigated without this year.

The backstories of each hero are different.
The location of each hero is different.
The profession of each hero is different.
The sacrifice of each hero is significant.
The contribution of each hero is significant.
And each hero is someone you will also recognize in: your neighborhood, your grocery store, your hospital, your community.
And each essential hero would humbly say they are "just doing their job..."

Each episode is narrated by a different entertainment star: Nick Jonas, Kevin Hart, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland thus far. The fifth episode is scheduled to premier June 12th.


Amazon Original Series


One of my favorite features of an Amazon Prime membership is the inclusion of Amazon Originals which are series or specials made exclusively for Amazon Prime members. I recall when Amazon Originals first began and members could view pilots and vote for their favorites. The top favorites were then made into Amazon series.

As  Amazon Originals have evolved series and specials are being made in all categories of entertainment: comedy, drama, kids, international, mystery, documentary. The content library is enormous and varied.

Some current favorites:

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Upload
Alpha House
The Aeronauts
Late Night
Ballerina
Homecoming

Amazon Prime requires an annual membership; however, a 30 day free trial is offered to give the Prime membership a spin.







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 25, 2020

Favorite Hand Lotions Reviewed

How chapped are your hands after this barrage of hand washing with soap and water! Clearly frequent and substantial hand washing will remain part of the daily routine and the hands are taking a beating!


Rough, dry, cracked, chapped hands can be just darn painful at times. So the search was on for a new lotion which helped sooth the hands; I've tried a few lotions before with limited success and was happy to find two new lotions that worked.

Amlactin Lotion



This is my new favorite lotion to use after washing hands. I was referred AmLactin by the local pharmacist and it was a very good referral to sooth chapped hands especially after frequent hand washing.

AmLactin is an alpha-hydroxy therapy which uses 12% lactic acid to soothe dry skin. The lotion is fragrance free and paraben free and not greasy.

I appreciate a lotion which has substance and penetrates the skin without leaving a slick residue. With the amount of hand washing now required per day I noticed a quick and huge improvement on preventing chapped and dry hands but using a dab of AmLactin immediately after hand washing.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost

I've been a fan of the Neutrogena Hydro Boost line since discovering the line about 2 years ago. The range of products have increased and after battling the chapped hands scenario with such frequent hand washing I decided to try another Hydro Boost product.


Hyrdo Boost is a light and fluffy whipped balm and uses Hyaluronic Acid to sooth dry skin. The balm is paraben free and does absorb very quickly. The Neutrogena line is available online and at local drugstores.

Recommendation

Hand lotions are indeed a test and trial product. I've definitely used and purchased a few different hand lotions with mediocre results over the past years.
I've been very satisfied with AmLactin and Hydro Boost balm with the cavaet that these are pricer lotions. I have found the rewards of the lotions are worth the price.


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 11, 2020

OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Speaker Reviewed

If you remember the days of speakers which were as big as furniture with the names of tweeter and woofer ... you may also be missing the superior audio sound which filled the room or even the entire house with those monster speakers!


Listening to music on a smartphone is easy and convenient, but the quality cannot compare to music from an actual 'speaker.' I went on a search for a wireless speaker and found the highly rated Oontz Bluetooth speaker.

I have not been disappointed with this small, portable and easy to install speaker which transforms music from a smartphone into quality audio. The output of this little speaker is impressive and could literally fill a small backyard with no problem.

Quality Of Sound


I was shocked at the sound quality of the OontZ Angle 3 speaker when paired with my iPhone. Was that music really coming from my phone?! Indeed it was.

Positives

  • Portable 
  • Bluetooth easily paired with iPhone
  • 100 foot range
  • Water resistant
  • Sturdy
  • Price
  • Battery time 14 hours
  • USB battery recharge

Negatives


The only negative I have found is when attempting to use the Oontz bluetooth speaker as a speaker phone with my iPhone. The audio quality was medicore, However the issue may lie with my iPhone and this was not the main reason for purchasing the speaker. 


Over 52,000 Reviews

An online product with over 52,000 reviews and an average 4.5 out of 5 star rating tells the tale of this bluetooth speaker. The number of reviews and high rating peaked my interest when searching for a portable speaker and I have not been disappointed.

Price

An affordable price under $30.00 helps the budget and puts this purchase onto the 2020 favorite list for  value as well as a favorite for gift giving. The perfect little gift for any holiday and I suspect all recipients would be more than pleased to receive.


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


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Monday, April 27, 2020

Zoo Cam's Reviewed!

Who doesn't need a bit of calm in this topsy turvy world of late? Free, fuzzy and a whole lot of fun are the Live Cam's from zoos across the world!


Larger zoo's have multiple live cams for a dose of free entertainment. However, the animals may not always cooperate with on demand viewing (we all need our sleep don't we!). So checking back is necessary at times to find the action shots. Here are a few of my favorite zoo cams.


Panda Cam - Smithsonian's National Zoo

Not one, but two cams for the absolutely too darn cute Giant Panda.
There is also a robust archive of panda videos at the National Zoo including the arrival of baby giant panda Bao Bao.



Penguin Cam - Detroit Zoo

If there is one cam that will give you an immediate chuckle is the penguin cam. These guys and gals are too funny!

Butterfly Cam - San Diego Zoo


The butterfly house at my local zoo is a favorite to visit. Entering into the butterfly house is akin to being transported to a fairy garden of gorgeous flowers.  The San Diego Zoo's Hidden Jungle greenhouse has 30 (ish!) varieties  of gorgeous butterflys on the butterfly cam.


Koala Cams - Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Lone Pine Sanctuary was established in 1927 as a safe refuge for Australia's koala bears. The sanctuary has its' mission to protect the Koala with its' efforts for a sustainable and biodiverse environment.

Lone Pine has quite a few Koala cams and I admit a huge fondness for the Koala! But the live cams at Lone Pine also have Platypus cams and Dingo cams.


Sloth Cam

For life in the slow and slower lane, check out the sloth cams. Sloths are active at night and no worries about missing the action with this slow mo crew.




Support Your Local Zoo

The vast majority of zoo's are currently closed and all could use financial support while America is staying at home. Now would be an excellent time to fast forward the holiday donation to your local zoo.




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


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Monday, April 13, 2020

Grocery Delivery Services Reviewed

If there was ever a time for grocery delivery services, the time is now! I have been trying a few of the grocery delivery apps and services with varying degrees of success. My experience the last few weeks have confirmed my appreciation of the independent grocery store and in my urban area it is these stores which have come through.



But first the major players for grocery delivery service are reviewed.

Shipt Grocery Delivery


Last Fall I wrote a review of Shipt which - at that time- was offering a two hour window from the time of ordering to the time of delivery. Shipt delivered every time without fail. At that time Shipt was an annual membership with all deliveries over $35 for free.

As life has drastically changed in the last few months, Shipt is like every other delivery service or app in my area as the demand exceeds the supply of shoppers. Shipt offers deliveries to Meijers, Petco and Target in my area; however, each area is different.

Instacart Grocery Delivery


I have used Instacart and this is a slightly different business model than Shipt. Instacart has a much larger selection of big box stores and smaller grocery stores. The delivery charges vary per store and some stores are adding a percentage price increase for the groceries. Make sure to read the "fine print' as the charges can differ per store.

Review This Reviews writer Bev Owens had a successful delivery experience with Instacart and provides an in depth review of the service. Thanks Bev!

How To Navigate The Grocery Delivery Services And Apps

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence.

A few Hints:
1. Load your cart before looking for the elusive delivery slot.
2. Slots can appear at any time of the day or night, but late night, middle of the night may yield better results to obtain a delivery slot.
3. Stalk the app. Once the list is loaded, stalk the app whenever you think of it or your phone is in your hand. It can become a part time job.
4. Be flexible on the delivery. If a slot opens up it may just be that one slot.
5. Grab the slot when it opens up, don't hesitate.
6. Be prepared that the promised time may or may not be the final delivery time with the ordered items.
7. Be flexible and let the shopper substitute at their discretion. Because stock is limited if you choose the option where the shopper texts you and asks you if you'd like a substitution then your phone will be ringing all. the. time.
8. Tip your shopper.
9. Choose curbside delivery if you are comfortable making the essential drive to the store. Most stores have reserved curbside delivery parking spaces for you to drive up, pop the trunk and the car is loaded.
10. Be prepared for 1-9 to not happen and have to start from again!

The Independent Grocery Stores


In my and suburban area it has been the independently owned and family owned grocery stores which have consistently come through with not only delivering, but actually having items in stock (including that oh so elusive toilet paper!)

A few weeks ago when it was clear the shelves of the big box stores and drugstores were being emptied, the independents immediately restricted the number of items a shopper could buy. Thank you!

Stock: Somehow, someway the independents had stock of the paper essentials and have restocked the new normal essentials (paper towel, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes are still missing in action.) But if you "order" a multi pack of toilet paper, then you may receive 4 individually wrapped rolls. I appreciate their independent decision to provide for all.

How To Order From Independent Grocery Stores


This has been interesting to navigate. The stores are each working around this new way of grocery shopping and perhaps because they are smaller and independent - the stores can adjust much more quickly and efficiently.

A few of the stores have online ordering on their own website. The orders can be then picked up curbside. One of the nice features of the store I have been using is the ability to change the order once it is placed. Obtaining a time slot does take patience, but once the time slot is open and the list is paid for you can go back and add and delete the order up to the time the groceries are packed.

The pick up time slots are in one hour increments. When you arrive at the store and park in the curbside delivery designated spot you call the number provided.  The trunk is popped and within minutes the groceries are wheeled out to your car.

The employee stops at your window and I hold up the confirmation sheet so they can confirm your identity and the trunk is loaded. Trunk is closed, thumbs up from both parties and off you go.
I provide a tip by placing a note in the trunk with the tip in an envelope.


Another independent store in the neighborhood does not have their own website ordering, but is accomplishing the order and deliveries old school with email and phone calls. An order can be called in by 10 a.m. or emailed for same day pick up or delivery. This is the neighborhood "Cheers" type store and they offer free delivery to all seniors or health compromised or in a high risk category. Each week their order/delivery/pick up system has evolved and I know the neighborhood is grateful for their contributions to keeping us at home.

The Independent Pharmacy

Once upon a time which is now many years ago, the local big box pharmacy has excellent pharmacists and staff. Knowledgeable, dependable, consistent. This has greatly changed in recent years and it has been a hot mess getting prescriptions filled ... correctly. Sigh.

So who has come through in the recent weeks? The independent pharmacy.

The local independent pharmacy is making hand sanitizer for its' customers and provides delivery free of charge. I am so happy the switch was made from the big box pharmacy a few weeks to the independent pharmacy. (They are located next to an independent grocery store and even offered to pick up groceries for my mom on the way over with her prescription delivery- unbelievable!)

I see the big box pharmacy is offering delivery through Instacart, so that is an option for big box customers if a shopper is available.

Every day can be a new adventure lately just trying to obtain groceries, but I am thankful, grateful, and every appreciative as they allow us to #stayathome #michiganstrong

Don't Forget The Local Hardware Store


Our local Ace Hardware store is open and ready for business. Orders can be placed on the phone or on the website and the items are delivered to your car via curbside pickup. Ace had a birthday last year, read all about the history of Ace by Wednesday Elf !





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


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Monday, March 23, 2020

How to Open Fire TV Remote Reviewed

Cutting the cord from cable can be a challenge. I never thought one of the biggest challenges would be the remote control and batteries! The Amazon Fire TV stick is my main tool to stream television - but one must first insert the batteries into the remote. I was surprised, frustrated and a wee bit befuddled as to why a task so easy can be so hard.



The version of the Fire Stick I was installing on multiple televisions had a remote control case that I absolutely could not open. No open = no batteries= no fire stick! Frustrating. When it became evident I was close to using a tool to pry the case open, not recommended and not wise, I headed to the internet and a quick search revealed that I was not the only one with issues.

The problem with sliding the remote open to insert the batteries is smoothness of the remote. The directions give a nice tutorial on how to open the two piece remote by sliding the remote apart. Except I and judging from the amount of results on the internet search and many others had issues.

I found this DIY tutorial and problem solved. Using gloves or tape works in a flash to provide the grip needed to open the remote so it easily slides apart to insert the batteries. Sometimes nothing is easy in the quest to cut the cable!


My Favorite Free Services To Cut The Cord


One of the main reasons to cut the cord is cost. My cable-internet bill decreased by over 100 percent by eliminating the cable tv charges. So much of the monthly bill was fees, franchise fees and more fees combined with what seemed a zillion channels I do not watch (and that was the basic cable package!)

I found a wealth of free services to stream entertainment through membership at my local library. The online offerings from your library should be your first stop for free entertainment with the caveat your library must first belong to the services to pass along the membership to you.

Most of the free services do have a monthly limit of downloads; but I have found the limit to be very reasonable. The limit does differ per library.


Kanopy For Indie Films


Hoopla For TV Shows & Movies



Freegal For Music




Freegal


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Monday, March 9, 2020

West Paw Toppl Reviewed: Favorite New Dog Puzzle

The West Paw Toppl is my and if I may speak for The Fluff as he is affectionately known, new favorite treat dispensing puzzle!

Oh dog toys, dog puzzles, dog thingamyabobs, I have known and bought a few. Some are winners, some are losers and some fall in between. I know the loser toy look from the Fluff, the disdain, the side eye, the this is not acceptable. I will humor you and flip it around, but do not expect any further consideration.


And you know when a dog puzzle or toy is a winner! It is the same toy they go back to time after time, squeak after squeak and slobber after slobber. Now design wise all the dog toys and puzzles may be a winner, but the key is to find one your furball considers worthy.

West Paw Toppl


A diet change and chew bone change precipitated my search for a combo food dispensing toy for the Fluff. The Fluff likes to chew and it has been very difficult to find softer and natural bones that last more than 2 minutes.

I have a team of Kongs stuffed with dog food, peanut butter and yogurt in the freezer, but the Fluff can conquer those quite quickly. And experience has shown when the Fluff has not satisfied his need to chew, the Fluff can turn back to his puppy ways which is just not fun!

The local pet store recommended the Toppl and it has been a success so far. A combination puzzle and food dispenser that provides a good diversion for energetic pups.

Design Of The Toppl


I believe the difference and probably why the Toppl lasts so much longer than the frozen Kong is the grid inside and on the bottom of the Toppl. It definitely takes the Fluff longer to empty the Toppl than a Kong. Which for my purposes is the point!

 
I stuff the Toppl with his canned dog food and then freeze. I use this in place of the chew bone he used to get after dinner. So far the Fluff is happy (okay, not quite as happy when he had a bone), but the combination soft dental chew plus the Toppl is making the diet and routine change a little easier.

The Toppl can also be stuffed with a combination of dry food, treats, vegetables and soft food or yogurt and then frozen.

Recommendation


Adding the Toppl to the team of Kongs to keep the Fluff safe and happy.
Bonus the Toppl is also made in the United States. It also floats on water, is dishwasher safe and BPA and Phthalate Free.


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Monday, February 24, 2020

Celebrate Paczki Day!

Fat Tuesday is also known as Paczki Day in Detroit! You may be wondering what a paczki is and the second most popular question is, "How do you pronounce paczki?" Both questions will be answered as we learn and review the traditional and delicious packzi!



Hamtramck And Paczki

In Southeast Michigan and probably throughout Michigan, Hamtramck and Paczki are synonymous.
When preparing for Fat Tuesday people drive many miles to Hamtramck for the traditional Polish Paczki! Fans stand in line at the bakeries early Tuesday morning to pick up their order of this delicious pastry.

Hamtramck Michigan is known as "The World In Two Square Miles" and the city "within the city " of Detroit. Hamtramck became a destination for  Polish immigrants when an auto plant was opened by the Dodge Brothers in 1914.

The city boundaries are literally within the city of Detroit. In 1970 ninety percent of the population was Polish. Through the years the demographics of the city have changed and Hamtramck is a multi cultural city which continues to celebrate the traditions of Poland. And Paczkis of course!

What Is a Paczki?

Paczki are filled pastries that resemble a  traditional American filled doughnut, but that is where the similarities end for true aficionados. I am not one to turn down any type of doughnut, but paczki are deliciously unique and different.

Supermarket versions of paczki are usually like door stoppers = not a paczek! The inside should be  light and fluffy and the outside is crispy and topped with sugar.  Traditional flavors of paczki are: Powidła (plum jam) and wild rose petal jam; but the more popular fillings are custard, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, and apple. My personal favorite is Bavarian cream!

How Do You Say Paczki?

Poonch-kee !

What Is the Difference Between Paczki and Paczek?

A single pastry is a Paczek - Poon-check!
Many pastries are Paczki - Poonch-kee!

Paczki festivities in Hamtramck celebrate all week long including what has become a pre Fat Tuesday event the Paczki Run.


The Paczki Run


Prior to Fat Tuesday, Tour de Troit holds its' annual Paczki Run which is a 5k race highlighting the sights of Hamtramck. Traditional post race refreshments are a little different for the Paczki Run. Let's keep in mind this is a winter run in Michigan so Paczki participants are hardy braving snow, ice and wildly varying weather conditions.

Post race includes Polish music, dancers and  "paczek from New Martha Washington Bakery & New Palace Bakery and a beer from Motor City Brewing Works are served to each finisher! Na Zdrowie! "


If you are a fan of pastries and doughnuts I highly recommend the Paczki (because noone can eat just one!)

More Michigan Travel


It's not St. Patrick's Day without the traditional Wigley's Corned Beef.  Head over to Eastern Market to ensure you have the best! corned beef for St. Paddy's. 



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Monday, February 10, 2020

Dog Agility Reviewed!

It is winter here in the Midwest and I already thinking warmer weather and fun activities in the yard with my pup and dog agility!

A backyard agility course for your dog is fun with a F! Fun for you, fun for the dog and a fun activity both you and your fluffy friend can enjoy.

The Agility Obstacle Course


Dog agility is the running of an obstacle course. The sport originated in the late 1970's in England. There have been many organizations through the years as the sport has evolved; the goal of the organizations were shared, though the rules and obstacles slightly differed.

Years ago when agility was a relatively new sport I enrolled in a dog agility class. The difference between the backyard agility equipment and professional equipment is size. As you can see from the video below of a professional agility competition the obstacles are BIG!

Backyard agility obstacles are smaller, portable and easy to assemble. The starter kits are easy to set up, store and all you need is grass! The agility kits are easily transported so if a backyard is not available any nice sized section of grass will work.

The Beginner Backyard Agility Sets


Staples in a backyard agility kit are the jump, tunnel and weave poles.

Tunnel


The tunnel is usually one of the first obstacles to teach your dog. A few treats and encouragement and the tunnel can be easy to master for the confident dog. As with every new activity a little practice goes along way and the dog will give you cues as to how comfortable they are with the tunnel.

I have seen very skittish and less confident young dogs who at first look at the tunnel as a looming foreign object turn into tunnel loving runners with the right encouragement and practice.

Jump


The jump is adjustable and can be set very close to the ground to begin acclimating your dog to the desired height. Dogs who love to run and jump can take to the jump quite quickly. I happen to have a dog who loves to jump so the jump was quickly mastered and the height could be increased.

To teach and acclimate the dog to the jump you can see in the photo below the dog is on a leash and I am gently guiding the dog through the jump with a treat in hand ( why the dog is looking to my hand).



Last Fall we had a few doggie buddies over for backyard fun. 

The three Amigos

Within a few minutes of practicing individually we put the medium size dogs sitting at the start line and were amazed as they took off together taking the jump in unison!




 It was a race to the treat and the owners.

Because of size, as one of the three amigos was only six pounds, she was an observer while the two medium sized dogs navigated the obstacle course, and we practiced with her separately. 

She enjoyed watching and learning from afar however!



Weave poles

Weave poles can be tough! Where my dog took to the jumping very quickly, the weave poles not so much. The poles are set up for the dog to zig zag - weave in and out in a straight line. We are still working on the weave poles, but in the spirit of this is purely for fun, I think the pup and I have decided ... no on the weave poles.

But weave poles are alot of fun to watch. The video below shows a full sized Agility Course and look at those pups weave!

Sit stay box

This is a great exercise , especially for younger dogs, to practice sit/stay and down/stay. The “box” is either a marked area in a box or an actual raised solid box.

The dog either enters the box or jumps up on the box and does a sit/ stay or down/stay for a set number of seconds. If training a young dog, this exercise works right into practicing sits and stays.


Dog Personality


Of course it is imperative the personality and physical capabilities of your dog are of the greatest importance when considering agility obstacles. Dogs of any age, breed or height can participate in dog agility. The obstacles are 'sized' to the dog.

Age: Agility courses are not for puppies as their growth plates must be fully developed. Obviously this varies per breed, per dog. Pre agility exercises such as the sit stay exercise are pup friendly.

Does your dog love to run ? Try new things? Enjoy activity? Loves to figure out a puzzle? Agility may be a great fit.

Is your dog apprehensive to try something new but with proper training enjoys a new activity ? Agility could be a great confidence booster !

Backyard agility can just be plain ole good fun for the owner and pet. No need to compete, just enjoy the obstacles your dog likes and making a home agility course provides great exercise for you and your pet.

Where To Find Backyard Agility Kits


Online is where the kits can be found, this is a beginner kit I like.


DIY ers  can also make agility equipment! Here is a good resource in making obstacles for a backyard agility course .

I’ve been lucky enough to have dogs which naturally seem to enjoy agility which makes training much easier!

Whether it is one obstacle or a backyard of obstacles, I highly recommend dog agility for a few hours of amusement, exercise and bonding with you furry friend.


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Monday, December 23, 2019

Feast Of The Seven Fishes Book Review

Is your family archive of recipes full of recipes tucked away in notebooks, on napkins, folded pieces of paper and the old school recipe cards? And haven't you always wanted to turn those treasured recipes into a book along with the family memories?


Book cover of Feast Of The Seven Fishes with old family photos and fish on the cover.


In Feast Of The Seven Fishes a families' authentic Italian recipes are shared in combination with the stories of each recipe and the neighborhood which shaped this family and its' traditions.


Memoir + Cookbook

Feast Of The Seven Fishes: A Brooklyn Italian's Recipes Celebrating Food & Family by Daniel Paterna is a combination memoir and cookbook. This is the story of the community of Bensonhurst in Brooklyn and the impact the community had upon the author and his family through the generations. Food, family and community are interwoven with delightful neighborhood anecdotes with the impact of remembering history for those who grew up in Bensonhurst and to preserve it for future generations.

The story of Bensonhurst will resonate if your Grandma, food, family dinners and family owned neighborhood shops were apart of your community. It is rare for a cookbook to read as a memoir and vice versa which is what makes this combination so unique and enjoyable.


The Recipes

Do you have a treasure trove of family recipes written or typed on the old school index recipe cards? I suspect you do and the photos of this families' recipes handwritten on index cards certainly evoke fond memories of my Grandma and Mom's favorite recipes! And of course there are the personalized "notes" on the cards ...

The authentic Italian recipes are detailed throughout the journey of the neighborhood as the author recalls the family food shops which were an integral and historical part of the family recipes. 

Take a journey through each major holiday and the traditional Italian recipes which accompany each holiday.  The chapter with a compilation of Feast Of The Seven Fishes recipes is amazing and slightly intimidating (due to the number of dishes) for one who has never cooked such a feast! However, the recipes are inspiring to all cooks to either compare your family recipe or for those seeking authentic Italian recipes.

I am excited to cook these recipes and up my cooking game with authentic Italian recipes! Memoir fans and cookbook fans are sure to enjoy this book. This is a perfect gift for those who want real Italian recipes - old school - and aren't those recipes usually the best!

I received this book from the Publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.


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Monday, December 9, 2019

Shipt Delivery Service Review

The groceries are here! Yes, in the driveway and I never entered the store. How fun is that! If you dislike grocery shopping (raising my hand) then Shipt is a service which can lighten the burden, save time and make life just a little easier.


What Is Shipt?

Shipt is the home delivery service in which groceries and essentials are delivered  to your home. The items are ordered via the Shipt app or the desktop version and can be at your home within 2 hours.

How Does Ordering Work?

You are virtually shopping on the computer screen and adding items to the cart. The interface is very user friendly and the screens are self explanatory through the ordering process.

After the cart is filled you "check out" and select a delivery time frame. The delivery window is by the hour.

The shopping order is then processed and waiting for a shopper to accept the order. Once a shopper accepts the order you are notified via text or within the desktop screen.

The Delivery

Delivery is free if a minimum of $35.00 is spent. Orders under $35.00 are charged a delivery fee.

Thus far the deliveries have been very smooth with only one 'bumpy' order. The shoppers have been very communicative, courteous and pleasant. This is a real time collaborative shopping experience with the shopper. The shoppers can (your option) communicate with you during the order via text should any stock problems arise.

I have ordered items by 1 p.m. and the groceries have been on the driveway at 2 p.m.,  the deliveries have been very expedient.

I have been impressed thus far and one of the reasons I have been trialing Shipt is to vet the service for a homebound neighbor. This could be a very valuable asset to have in the toolbox for caregiving, not just the convenience factor of home delivery.

What Stores Participate In Shipt?

In my urban area (where big box stores are in great abundance) the participating stores are Target, Meijer and Petco.

What Is The Cost Of Shipt

I have been participating on the trial which is free. 
The annual fee is $99.00 a year; however I have seen sales for the service for $49.00 a year.

Delivery Or Pickup?

Thus far I have only used the Shipt delivery service; however the Pickup option can also be utilized. Because I do live in an area where it is not unusual to find multiple stores within 5 miles, the Pickup option can be very useful. I have frequented other services which offer the pack and pick up service and I have found this service to be a huge time saver.

Pros

User friendly screens
Fast service
Courteous shoppers
Reasonable annual cost
Convenient, easy to use
Free trial offered

Con


This  one area I would like to see an improvement is the stock in store versus the stock reflected on the app screen. Just as happens with an in store shopping experience items are not always in stock. The majority are, but sale items are in high demand and the shopping app stock is not always reflective of the actual stock found by the shopper.

Recommendation 


I've definitely enjoyed the service and would recommend using the trial offered by Shipt to explore if this would be a useful service for your lifestyle. I do plan on giving Shipt as a Christmas  gift this year!





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Monday, November 25, 2019

Favorite TV Show Cookbooks

I love finding new recipes and I particularly love finding home cooking family recipes! Cooking shows have become quite a business with channels devoted to cooking 24/7, but are the recipes good?

I separate TV Show Cooks from Celebrity Cooks as cooks who became popular because of their TV show versus a celebrity introducing a cookbook as part of their brand.



Defining a good recipe is of course subjective, but some of the main components for me of a good recipe include: easy, real ingredients, affordable and authentic. I'll never forget one of the first recipes I tried from a TV show tasted wonderful; however it was one of the most time consuming recipes I have ever made with expensive ingredients I had to search the city to obtain. Easy and affordable it was not.

However, I am now a more seasoned cook and recipe evaluator and always love a 'good' cookbook. There is still nothing like a full size cookbook to give or receive; the internet is quick and convenient to find recipes, but is not the same experience of reading a cookbook.

There are a few TV Show Cookbooks I regularly visit and find the recipes promise as deliver. I also am a fan of their TV Show and regularly watch their shows.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood 

Love these recipes! I am a fan of Trisha's family recipes. I also enjoy watching the cooking show with Trisha.

Home Cooking is full of family recipes made with recognizable ingredients, but with their family tweak on
the recipes.

Yummy southern cooking!



Fun snack recipe >> Sweet And Saltines Recipe




In The Kitchen With David: Comfort Foods That Take You Home

David Venable is QVC's Foodie and cooking show host. I stumbled upon David's show and the show became a favorite as I love to look at the new kitchen gadgets; unfortunately for QVC I am a watcher not a buyer, but did purchase and enjoy David's cookbook.


 Who said comfort food!

All recipes are easy and true comfort food.

When I am searching for an old or new comfort food recipe I turn to this cookbook for ideas.

David's classic recipe >> Mashed Potatoes Three Ways






Pioneer Woman A Year Of Holidays

I am a fan of the Pioneer Woman. Real ingredients with no apologies. There is a place for real butter, real cream and all things comfort food (in moderation of course!)

What is nice about this cookbook is the organization by holiday.

A Year Of Holidays is a great resource for traditional and perhaps new ideas for your holiday menu.

All meals of a holiday are covered in each chapter which is so clever and reader friendly.

A favorite Pioneer Woman recipe >> Perfect Pot Roast Recipe






Any of these three cookbooks make a great gift for your favorite cook! Bon Appetit!




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Monday, November 11, 2019

Freegal Review: Free Music Downloads

The journey through cutting the cable cord continues! It has been a indeed a journey and  cutting the cord is easy. What is not as easy is finding affordable content that is easy to access and user friendly to replace cable content! I happened upon Freegal when researching the free digital content available from my local library.


What Is Freegal?

Freegal is a music library offered through your local library. Music can be downloaded for free with a weekly limit of downloads. The music library includes Sony's music catalog and a reported catalog of over 15 million songs. 

How User Friendly Is Freegal?


As you can see below, I am limited to five downloads per week. The number of downloads per user per week is determined by the package purchased by your library.


It is easy to access Freegal. Simply navigate to the Freegal website and log in with your library membership information. Or enter Freegal through your library digital menu with your library membership number.

The Freegal menu for desktop is self explanatory. The songs can be previewed prior to downloading. I did not find the search feature overly helpful for browsing. However, if you are searching for a particular artist versus general browsing the search engine is adequate.

The library can also be accessed with Apps from Google Play and Apple App Store.

As with any new service or app there is a small learning curve to use the service. Freegal is easy to use and the music can be downloaded easily with the click of the mouse. Check with your local library to see if Freegal is included with your library membership.

Cutting the cable has been an interesting experience. Freegal is the third service reviewed which offers free content. The search for additional user friendly and robust sources of free content continues!

Where To Find Free Content For Cord Cutters



Hoopla - Hoopla offers free books, movies and television shows through your local library.


Kanopy- Kanopy offers free movies with an emphasis on Indie films and documentaries.




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