Friday, March 7, 2014

I'm the Cooking for the Holidays Contributor on Review This!

I am pretty excited about sharing holiday recipes! 

As the Cooking for the Holidays Contributor on Review This, I will not only be seeking and sharing awesome holiday recipes, but I  also plan to share the ways we prepare to serve multiple meals during the holidays, our time saving tips, as well as the sanity saving tips, that we all need when cooking for the holidays.

Websites are brimming with fabulous holiday recipes and special treats.  Many of which, have been handed down for generations.  Other recipes are straight from the pages of our favorite cookbook and they have been tried and proven for years.  

I love new recipes and new cookbooks!  We all want to be ready for the next holiday by having the right cookbooks on hand when needed.  So, I will also be searching for great cookbooks to recommend, as well as reviews to feature.

I would also love it if you would share your holiday preparation articles, time saving ideas, or survival tips for the holidays.  If you have published an article on either of those topics, awesome!  Simply share that link in our guestbook below.

I am waiting to hear from you!

Cookbooks & Recipes Reviewed Here on Review This 

For More About Sylvestermouse, Visit:  About Me

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.”


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Travel Photography

Document Your Trip with Your Photos

Vacations tend to bring out the photographer in everyone.  Even if you don't normally take photographs when people travel they usually like to record memories with photos. 

When I travel I too love to take  photos.  I always want to make sure I get photos of the main landmarks of the places I visit, but then I also want to photograph details that I enjoyed about the place.  When I visited old Quebec city in Canada one of the things I really noticed was all the unusual window and door decorations. On this page Quebec City you will see how I used the photos of the windows and doors to make a photographic collage.  One of the things you do not want to forget on your travel photos is people.  Be sure to include those you are traveling with in at least a view of your photos.  I took this photo of friends in an entranceway in Quebec City.

Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia is well known for the lighthouse and I took hundreds of photos of the lighthouse.  Peggy's Cove  I also found the fishing boats and the rock formations to be interesting so I made sure to capture them in my photographs.

So next time you travel think about what photos really represent the place you are visiting.  Make sure you take all the popular shots.  After all you wouldn't want to go to Paris and not photograph the Eifel tower.  But then don't forget to get those unusual shots.  Look for the details that the place interesting and be sure to get some people in your photos too!

Be sure to share your travel photos in your writing.  Everyone like to see interesting photos, especially when you add a story with your photos.

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.”


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Writing Power

I’ve been thinking a lot about energy lately while composing a new Green Living article.  As I have gone around the house testing various appliances with my Kill A Watt monitor, checking how much power they need to do their thing, I began to think about the amps drawn upon when I am cranking out articles, reviews, and blog posts.

Many of my appliances, such as my refrigerator, are energy stars (as in Energy Star appliances).  They didn’t achieve that status by burning through tons of power over the course of their machine lives.  These are lean running machines.  Just as world class runners have honed their craft to achieve an economy of movement and an optimal use of their body’s energy, so too writers work to find the kind of flow that produces while drawing upon precious resources.

When I was a long distance runner, my breathing and running rhythm didn’t kick in until I had covered three miles.  At that point, the running began to feel good… almost effortless.  My heart, lungs, and muscles found their synchronicity.  They pumped as one. 

If I quit running before mile four, I missed out on the naturally released endorphins that produce such an incredible feeling of “rightness.”  It’s the only way I can think to describe it.  It’s called the runner’s high because of the sense of intense wellbeing that envelops one after a good run.

There is a “writeness” that exists for authors, too.  If we write our way into that place where our mind, heart, and life energies merge, it is possible to experience the writer’s high.  Sometimes we get there without expending a whole lot of energy.  It can feel effortless at times.  There are those days, though, when we may not hit our flow until mile five, or seven, or ten.  The thing is to keep writing.  There is always that breakthrough mile where it begins to feel incredibly right.

Whether you are a new writer or a pro, I encourage you to become an Energy Star.  Writing every day makes us lean, powerful writing machines.  Just as I became a better, stronger runner when I started training with a partner, I encourage you to draw strength from the many talented Squidoo writers.  Have you joined our team?  We’d love to write alongside you and cheer you on toward your next writing milestone.  See you at the starting line.

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.”


Monday, March 3, 2014

Happy Birthday to You and Happy Reading to Me!

“I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be! If I say so myself, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!”  ~Dr. Seuss

Theodor Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. He passed away on September 24, 1991.  It is hard to believe he is gone since his writing and his art continues to touch people; adults and children alike. After all, Theodor Geisel was also known as Dr. Seuss, and whose life hasn’t been touched by Dr. Seuss in some way?

To celebrate Dr. Seuss this weekend, I wrote a book review of one of my favorite Seuss books. Even though today is a day past his birth date, you can join the fun and review your favorite Seuss book too.  Especially since March 3, 2014 is National Read Across America Day.  What a better way to introduce a child to the love of reading than with a Seuss book?

In addition to writing a review of McElligot's Pool, I also pulled a few lesser-known (is there really such a thing) Seuss titles from my shelf this weekend and read them again.  I love that Seuss brought us both entertainment and life lessons. One of those very important lessons is something I am still trying to learn from Marco and his adventures at McElligot’s Pool. You will have to either read my review or the book itself to know which life lesson I’m referring to.

Thank you Theodor Geisel for sharing your talent and vision with us. And for introducing us to the Cat in the Hat, green eggs and ham, Things 1 & 2, and so many other wonderful characters, places, and things. 

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.”


Sunday, March 2, 2014

I'm the 'Baseball Fan Contributor' on Review This!

From the beginning of Spring Training to the last day of the World Series each year, my life is totally wrapped around baseball. I watch whatever game happens to be playing on TV each day, no matter what teams are involved. The first thing I check each morning is the scores and stats of the day before, and the times of the televised games coming up. As you may have guessed, I'm extremely passionate about Baseball. That's probably why Wednesday-Elf is the Baseball Fan Contributor on Review This. 

Grayson Stadium, Minor League Ballpark, Savannah, GA
Besides my 'daily dose' of TV baseball, I have been to games in person in a couple of Major League stadiums, and these days frequently go to our minor league Single-A team games, the Sand Gnats, here in Savannah, Georgia. Many a great major league player has come out of minor league baseball and Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle and Jackie Robinson once played here at our humble Grayson Stadium, the oldest (1926) working minor league stadium in the United States today.
March brings Spring Training each year as teams and players prepare for Opening Day of Major League Baseball beginning most years in early April.  This Baseball Fan is also busy this time of year, getting ready to follow favorite teams throughout the season.  I also spend time featuring baseball stories about this, our favorite sport, on my baseball blog "Baseball Moments and Memories" and reading baseball stories from others.   

For instance, our own Mary Beth (mbgphoto here on Review This) gives us a fun review of hers (and my) favorite team, the St. Louis Cardinals, at Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida where she attends the Cardinals' Spring Training games each season.

Many events take place throughout baseball season, one of the earliest being 'Jackie Robinson Day' on April 15 – the day every ball player on every team wears the number 42 (Jackie's number) to honor him and his contribution to baseball. Greekgeek has written a wonderful tribute to this special player. 

These are just a few of the people and pages I will continue to feature during baseball season as the 'Baseball Fan Contributor.' I invite all baseball fans to join me for the upcoming season... and beyond.

Quick Link:

For a list of all the baseball-related stories currently featured on Review This! ~ click here.

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


Saturday, March 1, 2014

How to Write an Informative How-To Article

Writing Step-by-Step Instructions Made Easy

Do you know any useful Web tricks that make online marketing easier? Do you create unique crafts that other people would like to re-create? Do you stay updated on current cooking techniques that make meal preparation easier? Do you want to share your how-to stories with the world? Are you unsure about how to write a how-to article? It's easier than you think!

Hello Writing Friends!

Last week, a friend and I were chatting away and doing some brainstorming. I asked her to hold me accountable for a how-to article I had started. She mentioned how much she disliked writing how-to articles. Personally, I enjoy using my writing as a teaching tool.

Today I'd like to share with you a few tips and hints to create a how-to article that is unique, useful and updated.

Reuse Your Project to Get It Right

Wash, rinse and repeat. Build your confidence as a how-to writer by re-creating your project several times before you sit down to write. You'll learn something new each time you make a beauty elixir, use a smartphone app, start tomato seeds, decorate chocolate cupcakes or refurbish a picture frame.

Each time you re-create your project, take lots of photographs. Think of your photos as your notepad, a place to store your writing ideas. Each of my attempts to Recycle Egg Shells to Make Sidewalk Chalk resulted in a slightly different result. It took several attempts to get the chalk recipe just right.

Tip:  Pictures are only worth a thousand words if those pictures help the step-by-step instructions tell the story. Show readers exactly how to do a task and the result they should expect. Show the before and the after.

Reduce Your Project into Steps

The trick to the how-to article is to separate your project into a series of steps. Creating these steps is similar to writing an outline. Look for 6 to 8 items that need to be completed to perform the task. The pictures you took while you completed your project will give you some clues.

Your project may also give you clues to its natural step-by-step process. A project that I started many years ago to Recycle Avocado Seeds and Grow Luxurious Trees lent itself to steps describing each of the growth stages of the avocado tree.

Remember, Revisions Are Your Best Friend

There's always room for improvement in a how-to article. Friends may suggest a different approach that you didn't think about. Add it as a tip in the appropriate step. You may learn more about the subject. Share your new-found knowledge and update your how-to. While re-reading your article, you may think of a better way of explaining a step. Never hesitate to make your work better.

Writing the how-to article is fun. Sharing your knowledge and making new discoveries is a rewarding experience.

Until next week, happy how-to writing!


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.”


Friday, February 28, 2014

Romantic Movie Reviews: The Bodyguard, 10 Things I Hate About You, & More
I absolutely love watching romantic movies!  Recently, I have spent a lot of time and had a lot of fun reading reviews of the best romantic movies.  I have found myself grabbing my own old copies of the movies to watch them again.  

In a few cases, I have actually been introduced to new romantic movies by our review authors.  I really do love that!  Having a movie reviewed and recommended, truly helps me find entertainment that I have previously missed, but that I am sure to enjoy.  

Recommended Romantic Movie Reviews

The BodyguardThe Bodyguard review written by ThanksDevine, is a perfect example of an older movie being brought back to mind by an excellent review.  

Just reading his words filled my mind with memories of the scenes from that movie and made me want to relive the experience of watching Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner fall in love on the silver screen.  

This movie is filled with passion and I was reminded of looks of longing and desire these two exchanged with each other as I read this review. reviewed 10 Things I Hate About You and I was, once again, swept back to the past.

I had not even realized Heath Ledger was the male star in that movie.  When the movie was originally released, Heath was new to Hollywood.  As a matter of fact, since reading this review, I did a bit of research and found that "10 Things I Hate About You" was Heath's first movie.  

This was such a tender movie about first loves and discovering romance. I had to watch it again and, of course, my heart cried for both actors as their relationship developed.

I will admit, I also cried at the realization that the real man, Heath Ledger, was taken from all of us way too soon.
While You Were Sleeping  is one of my personal all time favorite romantic comedies. 

Crystalwriter wrote an excellent review of this fabulously fun movie.  Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman both have a way of making you feel like you know them personally.

The two of them together in any movie is bound to be a hit, but this really is The Best Case of Unexpected Love.  

There are several quotes from this movie that you are apt to hear me reference on a daily basis.  I might mention "leaning" or "pencils" and if you have seen the movie, you will definitely grasp the implication.  

Romantic Movies by Special Request
WhiteIsland88  suggested that I include Anne of Green GablesI immediately applauded her movie suggestion.  In less than 24 hrs, she had written an outstanding review of the movies.

The romance part of the story comes more into focus in the second movie, but we chose to add and review the trilogy.  

While there is no question that you could enjoy the second movie without having seen the first movie, the trilogy is simply more complete with the beginning and end.  They are all worthwhile and highly recommended. 

Since I have never personally seen the movie Brief Encounter, karen1960's review was especially intriguing to me.

I do love the older movies and the beauty of black & white.  I always enjoy the close up look at historical places, architecture, clothing styles and political references of what would have been current day when the movies were originally made.

I have added this movie to my list of must sees.  I am certain there is a rainy Saturday in my future when this will fit with my desire of the day.

The Anniversary of a Romantic Movie Classic
I had not realized that it had been 40 years since I first viewed this movie until I read this review written by Serendipity831.

Talk about a flood of memories! I definitely experienced flashbacks as I was reading this review.  It is so hard to believe it has been 40 years.  I can easily remember exactly how I felt when I first saw The Way We Were.

Many of us grew up with the golden voice of Barbra Streisand setting the tone of our days and "singing" our lives. When she was teamed with the beautiful "golden boy", Robert Redford, to make this movie, it was bound to be a smash hit! 

Happy Anniversary to "The Way We Were" !

Future Romantic Movie Reviews

If you would like to share your romantic movie review with us, simple leave the link to that review in the comment section at the bottom of the list.  

I look forward to reading and sharing your review!

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.”


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sharing Chocolate Recipes

Favorite recipes are always fun to share with others. Anything chocolate is a favorite of mine. So share your chocolate recipes with me. Well, lots of other people, too. Simply by writing them out as Web articles.

Chocolate cake, chocolate brownies, hot chocolate, dipping chocolate. Whatever recipe you love can be shared.

Along with your actual recipe, feel free to offer tips or suggestions. Things that you've found to make it easier, tastier, or more elegant. Even offer some of the unique products needed to make your recipe. You can choose your products from the amazing number available

  • Is your brownie recipe called the best ever by your family and friends? Then share it like Pukeko did here. 
  • Do you like to add interesting ingredients to your chocolate brownies? Then share it like I did with my Decadent Brownies. 
  • Maybe chocolate eclairs are a specialty of yours. ItalasDesigns shares her recipe.
  • If hot chocolate is your thing, share your favorite way to make it. Sylvestermouse shares hers here.

No matter what kind of chocolate recipe you have, you can share it. When you finish, be sure to share it by adding your link in the comments below. That way I can feature your chocolate recipe page. Being the chocoholic that I am, mostly likely I will be trying out your recipe, too.

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.”


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Do or Di DIY

My Third Eye
When I was taking a high school Probability and Statistics class, believe me, an improbability in itself, my good friend and I sat in the back row repeating our mantra over and over again: “Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die.”  Then we would laugh.  Crisis averted. 

Sometimes DIYers get in a situation that begins to feel a little do-or-die.  I know I felt that way at least a couple of times during my recent kitchen renovation project.  That’s when you begin to ask: Whose idea was this?  What was I thinking?  How do I get myself out of this mess?

Home renovation, like grief, can offer up many stages: denial, anger, acceptance, and, finally, thank goodness, relief.  Geesh.  All I wanted was to reface my cabinets.  I didn’t know I was signing on for any heavy-duty emotional stuff.  I must admit, it was pretty cathartic.

I’ve decided there really should be home renovation support groups.  It is not unusual to need some therapy while in the midst of living in a home that is torn to smithereens.  DIY adventures are rarely neat and tidy.  We can all use a little encouragement to stay the course and push through to the other side.  It really is worth it.

Because I didn’t have a support group cheering me on during my kitchen facelift, I have decided to start one for all of you DIY brave hearts out there.  Our group meetings will take place on Facebook and Squidoo.  Therapy and cookies will be provided free of charge.  Just bring your renovation issues.  Of course, you are entirely welcome even if you have never experienced one single moment of DIY angst.  You can be our well-adjusted home renovation poster child. 

We have a new Facebook hangout.  I call it “Do or Di DIY” (the “Di” is me, Squidoo’s Home Renovator Contributor).  Please stop by and use your greatest DIY tool, your thumb, if you feel moved to do so.  A little love goes a long way.  And now, please pass the cookies... greatest therapy known to womankind.

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.”


Monday, February 24, 2014


“I wish I could paint without me existing – that just my hands were there.  When I’m alone in the woods, across the fields, I forget all about myself. I don’t exist… but if I’m suddenly reminded of myself, that I’m me – then everything falls to pieces”Andrew Wyeth

Over the years, I have read many writing how-to books and tutorials.  There are so many that I can’t keep all of the tips and rules straight in my head.  Some have taught me entirely new information and others have reminded me of the writing rules I should have remembered from school.  None of them were the magic cure for my writer’s block.

The trick for me has been shushing myself and allowing my art to exist.

Does this sound confusing, the artist trying to lose herself in order to create her art?  After all, the artist has to exist in order to create. Right?  Well, yes. It is my mind, my body, and my imagination that produces my work. However, I understand Wyeth’s comment completely.

If I try to remember the rules, or worry about the expectations of others, I am not able to write.  If I set my imagination free and let it roam on it’s own, I am able to write. I must squelch the thoughts of rules, of chores and of the never-ending lists of things I must do.  I cannot allow my mind to wander into the realm of bills to be paid, chores to be done, and upcoming appointments blocks.  I am a slow writer, but I know that I write better and more productively when my mind isn’t stuck in the “what-ifs” and trying to figure out the rules before I write.

I also write better after I have had an emotional experience of some kind.  I am fortunate that I have had such an experience this weekend when I visited Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  The conservatory was bustling, despite snow still covering the ground outside.  The Orchid Extravaganza was in full swing.  The sights, the sounds, and the heavenly scents rejuvenated my writing spirit. And like a child, I gazed with wide-eyed and open-mouthed wonder.  I lost myself and found plenty to write. 

I am excited that I am able to share this wonderful experience at Longwood Gardens with you. 

Image Credit: ©Dawn Rae – All Rights Reserved (Click on photo for larger view)

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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