Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast

A Review of Zazzle's iPad Mini Cases

The Savvy Style Case



Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast

 

When you have invested in something as important as an iPad Mini, you will want it to be well-protected from the daily wear and tear of use and being transported wherever you go. I know that my electronic items get a lot of wear and tear just from being in my purse or waist pack. It's easy for your iPad Mini to be rubbed or scratched without protection.

You can defend your iPad Mini with a lightweight hard shell made of plastic. You can choose between a matte or a glossy finish for most designs. You can clip the case right to the back of the iPad Mini to protect it. These cases sold on Zazzle were specifically designed just for the iPad Mini, so you can be assured of a proper fit. You will also be able to reach all your ports and controls when your cover is shielding your iPad.

 If you have a Smart Cover, this will be compatible with it. If you don't have a smart cover and want even more protection, an automatic sleep and wake-up feature,  and a built-in stand to fit any iPad Mini position, you might want to check out one of these Smart Covers from Amazon. The black one is shown below, but it also comes in other colors closer to the Zazzle design you choose. And you might think about a screen protector, too. Although the Smart Covers offer a lot of protection and extra features, the selection of designs pales in comparison with what Zazzle has.

Zazzle also has the Powis Hardcover Cases

These cases were designed to fit either the iPad Mini or the iPad Mini with Retina and are made by Powis Park in Berkeley, California. The case's  rubberized non-slip edge makes it easy to use in landscape view position. Its hard cover is made with premium book cloth, and the designs you choose are printed on recycled hardboard which is laminated on both front and back. When you are using your iPad Mini, the case is free-standing. When you are not using it, the custom design you have selected or chosen will show. You still can choose a glossary or matte finish. 

 Your case from Zazzle can be anything you want it to be. You can even design one with your own photo. For best results it should should measure 5.85" x 8.45" and allow for 1/3" bleed space on the edges. That is what would be outside the safe area in design view when you are customizing. Of course, it's easier to just pick one of the already designed cases below to show your love of your Central Coast beach or area. 

Let's Begin Our iPad Mini Tour of the Central Coast Beaches


 San Simeon and the North Coast Of San Luis Obispo

 San Simeon is famous as the location of Hearst Castle, that spectacular retreat build by William Randolph Hearst for his family and friends.


San Simeon also has a fantastic state beach with a long pier and lots of recreation opportunities. I took the photos for these cases there. Both types are displayed here.





About 14 miles north of San Simeon State Beach is Piedras Blanco, which is well known for it's lighthouse and as a place to watch the elephant seals who return to its beaches to breed each winter. Here are some of the iPad cases with scenes from these beaches along the north coast. If you love rugged beaches or elephant seals, you might consider using them to decorate and protect your iPad.


In middle scene in first row above, the elephant seals are off in the distance and the emphasis is on the shore. Way in the background you can see the Piedras Blancos lighthouse. I could not get very close to it on the day I was there because it is only accessible to the public on interpretative tours at scheduled times. I hope to go back and take the tour sometime. If you look carefully, you can also see the lighthouse way back in the distance in the last scene above. This was taken earlier in the day than the other picture.

 As you can see, this can be a romantic place. I actually took the middle picture above on the evening of Valentine's Day, which I was celebrating here with my husband. This couple is enjoying the sunset together, perhaps after they've spent some time observing the elephant seals which are barely visible in the darkness behind them. This might be a great gift for one lover to give another. It also might work as an engagement present.

 Farther south are the beaches on the Cambria coast. Cambria is wonderful walking beach for those who like a bit of rugged coastline with rocks to climb and tide pools. You'll find seaweed and driftwood on the beach, and maybe some shells and interesting small stones. Here are some iPad Mini cases with scenes of the Cambria Coast and Moonstone Beach, one of our favorite getaways.



 South San Luis Obispo County Coast: Cayucos


The first beach town south of the North Coast is Cayucos. It's a small town and I've only been to the beach there once, but I explored it for several hours in the late afternoon. The waves there make it popular with surfers.

 I loved all the interesting seaweed that came ashore. You can see Cayucos for yourself and enjoy all the sights and sounds in my photo / video tour of it I put together during the day I spent there. See the waves come in and watch the children play on the beach and the sea gulls explore the beach near them. Walk the pier with us, too.

These are some of the iPad Mini cases that capture the flavor of Cayucos. 


South County Beach Cities: Morro Bay


Each part of the coastline has is own unique character. Morro Bay is easy to recognize by its identifying landmarks -- Morro Rock and the smokestacks from a now inactive power plant. Its Embarcadero is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You will also see the fishing boats docked and moving around in the bay. Here are some iPad Mini scenes from Morro Bay.

 Morro Bay Fishing Boats and Smokestacks Case For The iPad Mini
Each part of the coastline has is own unique character. Morro Bay is easy to recognize by its identifying landmarks -- Morro Rock and the smokestacks from a now inactive power plant. Its Embarcadero is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries. You will also see the fishing boats docked and moving around in the bay. Here are some iPad Mini scenes from Morro Bay.

Moving South, We Next Reach Avila Beach, Including Port San Luis



At first I reached the smaller, more intimate part of Avila Beach that is loved by students at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Rather than being one big beach, it's a series of smaller coves. There is also an RV campground between the road and the beach, and I believe I also saw some tents there. 

Farther along on San Luis Bay Drive you will find Harford Pier -- a long pier with restaurants and a fish market at the end and an observation deck for looking out at the ocean below. The sea gulls are everywhere to entertain you, and occasionally you will even get to see a seal fishing or begging. You will also see people boating, fishing, and kayaking in the bay. It's a great place for nature photography. Here are some of the iPad skins I designed from my Avila Beach photos.

Pismo Beach


 Here are the iPad mini cases designed from the photos I took at Pismo Beach. This was my first visit to Pismo Beach, and I wasn't able to spend as much time there on this visit as I wanted to. First we parked where there was beach access at the end of a residential block. I took a very long stairway down to the beach. There were cliffs filled with colorful ice plant as I walked down, and I took a few pictures from that part of the beach.

 We moved on to a parking lot where there appeared to also be RV parking. I strolled along the boardwalk parallel to the beach as far as the pier. Since I've not been able to get to Pismo Beach during the migration of the Monarch butterflies, I have used a case designed by someone else who did get there.



I hope you've enjoyed our trip down the San Luis Obispo County coast as we stopped at each beach. I hope that you also found just the right iPad Mini Case to help you stay close to your favorite beach as you work. Please share this post if you think someone else might be interested these Central Coast photo iPad Mini Cases.

Let Your iPad Mini Case Reflect Your Love for the California Central Coast




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Monday, March 30, 2015

Otter Box - Protection for Your Electronics

Otter Box for the Moto X
After recently dropping my phone in a parking lot, for the umpteenth time, and finding it to be undamaged, I realized I should write a review on the protective phone case I am fortunate to own - the Otter Box Defender Series. The Otter Box is a rugged, shock-absorbing, attractive case for your android phone, iphone, tablet, or e-reader.


Why I love my Otter Box


I don't like to update my phone with each new model. There are several reasons that I'm so slow at trading in phones.  I worry about phones finding their way into land fills, I don't like to learn new gadgets, and I don't like to spend extra money.  In fact, I like to hang onto each phone until my plan allows for a free phone. Because I am frugal when it comes to electronics and because I am a very clumsy person in general, I need heavy-duty protection for my cell phones.

I have seen students, friends, and family members who have broken their phones from seemingly minor accidents.  My phone accidents tend to include incidents such as dropping my phone from my pocket as I'm exiting my Jeep. I watch in horror as my phone bounces on the pavement.  But so far, knock wood, my phones have been undamaged.

I am quite sure that my current smart phone would have been damaged had it not been for the Otter Box protective case.  There are many reasons that I love my Otter Box


  • I love the color - the dark blue matches my light blue phone
  • The "rubbery" material is easy to stretch over the phone; easy to put on and take off
  • Unlike hard/"plastic" phone cases, this never breaks or pops off unexpectedly
  • The port/access areas of my phone are covered by "flaps". The flaps are durable,  have not broken off, and continue to protect the ports.
  • The heavy-duty, removable clip is perfect for keeping my phone from becoming lost in my hiking bag - keeping it accessible and secure.
  •  I have hidden a few dollars for safe keeping between the clip and the case when hiking in clothing without pockets. 

Otter Box for Tablets


If you, or your children, carry tablets with them there is probably no better case to use for the protection of that investment. This is the Otter Box for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1.  You can see that it also has a durable clip that doubles as a kickstand. 


Otter Box for the Samsung Galaxy Tablet

Protect Your Kindle with Otter Box


I will soon upgrade my original Kindle to a newer version. When I do, I will be very tempted to buy an Otter Box case to protect it. I was thrilled to find that Otter Box makes a case for the newer Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Fire.  




The Otter Box, with a screen film protector, has been great insurance for my cell phone investment and has kept my phone looking like new.  While the Otter Box is not advertised to be water resistant or weather resistant, my phone has been protected during bad weather hiking trips as well as during clumsy incidents in parking lots. Whether you are looking for protection in order to increase the longevity of your electronics, out of concern about the environment, or for some other reason, I believe the Otter Box is an excellent way to protect your valuable electronics.






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Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Ring with a Heart and Hands

Ring with Heart and Hands
In today's world a visually meaningful expression of love doesn't have to be the simple gift of a ring, it can also be a profound denotation. There's significant heartfelt meaning behind this ring style; in fact, it's known as a Claddagh Ring, a traditional Irish ring.
So What Does a Ring with Two Hands, A Heart and a Crown Mean:
Each part of this ring stands for a different dedication; the hands represent friendship, the heart is for love, and the crown expresses loyalty. Giving this ring signifies a deep commitment of love. In fact, this ring is part of a group called 'Fede' Rings. Fede comes from an Italian expression meaning hands joined together in faith. A Fede Ring is the promise of love and loyalty. In fact, in medieval times they were often used as a traditional Engagement and Wedding Ring.
Around 18th century England, the Claddagh Ring, a ring with heart and hands, became a variation of the Fede ring. From that time forward and especially in the 20th century, there was a burst of popularity for this unique symbol. It's not only a message expressing love and promise, it's also a part of Irish identity.
You'll see the symbol used in various places, from gravestones to engagement rings. It's the eternal depth of love, friendship and loyalty that makes this artistic emblem very real and very deep.
The Ring with Heart and Hands Comes in Designs for Both Men and Women
Whether it's an Anniversary gift, Engagement Ring or just a gift of deep loyalty to a friend, this ring comes in many designs styles that work for both men and women. 
How YOU WEAR this RING also MATTERS - Different Meaning for Different Hands and Different Directions
  1. When a person wears it on their right hand with the heart on the ring pointing toward their wrist it means they're in a relationship and they're not available - Great idea for a promise ring
  2. If it's on the left hand with the heart pointing towards the ends of the fingers it means the person wearing the ring is married or similarly committed. Of course it it's given as a wedding ring, it will go on the wedding finger.
  3. Normally on the left hand pointing towards the finger tips, on the ring finger, means you're engaged
  4. If the wearer puts this ring on their right hand with the heart pointing towards the ends of the fingers, it can symbolize that the person is looking for love.
  5. If you were going to wear this is a friendship ring, you would normally wear it on the right hand with the heart either pointing towards your fingertips if you're unmarried, and towards your wrist if you're married.
By Barbara Tremblay Cipak



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Friday, March 27, 2015

Easy Product Displays Reviewed

Easy Product Displays for Amazon and Zazzle Affiliates A few years ago, I started using Easy Product Displays (EPD) to create my product displays on my websites.  I am still using them today!

I would like to take a moment to review the website "Easy Product Displays" and show you exactly why I would recommend them to anyone who desires to sell products online.


Amazon or Zazzle Product Displays in Minutes

If you own a website or blog, you already know product display codes to use on your websites and blogs can be difficult and cumbersome to write.

But, what if you had a tool that did it all for you?  If you could just pick what products you want and have them displayed for you, would you go for it?

That was my hope when I discovered Easy Product Display 2 years ago.  All my wishes came true! Literally!  Well, ok, I didn't win the lottery, but I can now make beautiful product displays with only a few mouse clicks.  Stay with me, while I show you how easy this really is to use.



How EPD Works

It Truly Does the Work for You!

Simply input the item you wish to search into the search box on Easy Product Displays and it will automatically populate the results of your search. You select the items you wish to have displayed, select your border & button choices and EPD will instantly give you the html to insert on your page.



Examples of Displays Using EPD

Easy Multi Product Display

For this example, I put in the Search Term "Doll", selected the layout and in a matter of seconds had the entire code, borders, titles, buttons and all ready to copy and paste into my website page.

Note: In order to remain in compliance with the word/product ratio of Review This, this section is a photo of how the features would look, but are not linked to products. 


With a Simple Click, I Changed the Format to Look Like This:





Note: In order to remain in compliance with the word/product ratio of Review This, this section is a photo of how the features would look, but are not linked to products. 

Another Simple Click and I Have This Format



A Few More Clicks and You Can Change the Borders, Buttons, Text Style, etc

For a Totally Different Look




You Could Even Go Borderless on any Size!




Easy Options & Features on EPD

  • Amazon & Zazzle Search Tool
  • Single or Multiple Item Product Display
  • Change Image Display Size
  • Add a Border and/or Button
  • Select Color of Text, Border, Font and Button
  • Create Your Own Buttons 
  • Amazon & Zazzle Buttons Available to Select
  • Set the Image on the Left or Right Side (my examples are all centered
  • Manually Change the Item Title for Product Display Uniformity
  • Save Format Settings & Colors for Website Consistency 
  • Save Multiple Amazon Tracking ID's to Auto Load
  • Make Custom Display for Other Affiliations by Simply Entering the Product Link URL, Image URL and Title
  • Use the "import code" section to make changes to previous features easy
  • No Software Download
  • Can Use Tool from Any Device or Location 

Website & Blog Owners

If you own or write on a website or blog that allows html code for products, Easy Products Displays website was created just for you!

You can join today and start your free trial of EPD by simply clicking here.









Testimonials from Current EPD Subscribers



"I don't know how I managed without it before!  It's extremely handy!  I use it everyday when I'm building pages.   The speed and convenience of EPD is worth it!



"Easy Product Displays is an affiliate marketers best friend! There is nothing out there that even comes close in ease of use and versatility when it comes to making attractive displays for items you want to feature or sell. In addition, it also has great customer service if you have a problem, the staff usually gets back to you the same day and there is a wonderful community of users that frequent their Facebook page that also offer advice and ideas on how to better use this great tool. Last but certainly not least, the makers of EPD are always updating it and improving its functionality and adding features. You really could not ask for a better product than this, I highly recommend it."



"If you want a professional-looking web site for selling items directly or for marketing items as an affiliate, this is it! Easy Product Displays allows you to add items manually or to interface with sites such as Amazon.com to select the items that you want to add. This economical display solution is packed with features and gives you several choices of layout, and also allows you to easily change the code should you choose to add or delete items, even at a later time."
Rhonda Reid

 

 

One More Exciting Announcement!
EPD recently announced that they will soon be including ShareASale in addition to Amazon and Zazzle. This is a really exciting change for all of us and we look forward to being able to easily create our SAS product displays on EPD!

If you join today, you will already be familiar with the EPD website when they introduce ShareASale to the line-up. (This might be considered insider information, so if you are reading this today, be sure to share this article with your friends too.)

 

Update!  ShareASale Has NOW Been Added to EPD!  Join Today Easy Product Displays for Amazon and Zazzle Affiliates




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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Palm Trees in Paradise

There is something about palm trees that have always fascinated me.  I remember as a young girl the sight of our first Palms as we drove south from Missouri to Florida meant we were almost at our destination.  Even today, I always look forward to the first palms greeting me a the Florida welcome center.

Photography Tips

Palm trees are very majestic looking.  I love to photograph them in all types of weather and at all times of day.  The photograph above is one I took just the other night looking across our condo complex with sunset approaching.  It is fun to capture the silhouette of the palm again the setting sun.  You too can create these images by focusing on the light and then the palm will show as a silhouette. Photograph a second image by focusing on the palm tree and you will get an entirely different point of view.  The photograph below shows an image where I focused on the palm.  In this photo the details of the palms leaves stand out against the evening sky.

 Palms Photographed over the Years

The images below on various Zazzle products show some of the palms I have photographed over the years.  They are always a favorite subject of mine when we are in a tropical locale.

Coral Cove Beach Print
Coral Cove Beach Print by mbgphoto
Browse anotherPoster template design online at Zazzle
Here are a group of palms I photographed one evening in Jupiter Florida.
End of a Perfect Day Greeting Cards
End of a Perfect Day Greeting Cards by mbgphoto
Check out other note cards online at Zazzle.
This stately palm was photographed a few years ago from our balcony in Jupiter Florida. Palms like this one along the ocean are a wonderful sight. I love the way the palm fronds wave with the ocean breezes.
Browse more Palm in paradise Ornaments at Zazzle

Fun Facts about Palms

In looking up palms online I found lots of interesting facts.  Here are a few you might enjoy.
  • Palms are everygreen trees
  • In the Continental USA, Palm are found mainly in southern Florida and southern California
  • There are over 2500 different species of palms
  • Some palms produce fruits like coconuts and dates
  • Most by not all palms have single trunks
  • Palms have different types of bark



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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reviewing the Risks and Rewards of Living on the Web

Review the risks and rewards of your online time before stepping out into the world wide web

The Web is a two edge sword with benefits and risks. As you travel the Internet, review how you act and react on the sites you visit. Here are some things to think about.

We're living in a new world. Tread lightly.

That was how a friend started her Facebook post. An article she read on Time.com put a warning in her head about the dangers of texting while parenting. She wanted her friends and family to know that the relationships we have with our children and grandchildren are at stake!

According to the article, kids don't want to compete with smartphones for attention. Can you blame them?

In the 1960s and 1970s, parents were warned that watching too much TV meant spending less quality time with family. In 2015, it's the smartphone that monopolizes our attention and causes us to get grumpy when the kids interrupt a game of Candy Crush.

The moral to this story... Think before using your smartphone and watch your travels carefully when you step out on the web. It's not just our relationships with our families that are at risk.

Review Your Online Activities


The Reputation Economy is available on Amazon in Kindle, Hardcover, Audible and MP3 CD editions.
Available on Amazon.com
It was ironic that my friend posted this article just as I finished reading The Reputation Economy: How to Optimize Your Digital Footprint in a World Where Your Reputation is Your Most Valuable Asset by Michael Fertik and David C. Thompson.

It's not just our children and grandchildren that react to our online activities. Our banks, employers, travel agents and others watch us as we surf the 'Net. Yes, the Big Brother from George Orwell's classic book, 1984, is alive, well and watching us. And, Big Brother's cousin, Big Data, is keeping score.

In the new and evolving Reputation Economy that is forming on the web, the authors predict that reputation, not money, will be the new power. And, how we act online will affect our online reputation score. It will be this score that will define how people see us and what they will do for us. Or, not do for us.

What is this online reputation score? It's created by a computer algorithm and it takes all of our online activities into account. How can it do this? Big Data is busy collecting everything it can about us as we travel from site to site on the web. Cookies are just one way to collect all kinds of data about us. And, data storage is so cheap that companies can afford to store petabytes of data. A petabyte is 1 million gigabytes!

With so much available cheap storage, Big Data's sibling, Big Analysis, has lots of data to work with and manipulate. Big Data can store everything from our Google searches to online purchases, websites visited and social media posts. And Big Analysis has the computing power to make a quick decision about our characters and habits.

Create an Online Reputation Plan


Think about this for a minute. The combination of data collection, cheap data storage and blazing-fast analytic abilities means that everything we do online can be under scrutiny and recorded. Algorithms have the ability to assign us a reputation score based on the people we meet, the places we go and the things we do.

How much do you know about your fellow Farmville players? You may not think your time spent with gaming friends doesn't matter, but it might. Big Data and Big Analysis may use this information to create a reputation score that affects your ability to rent a car, buy a home or receive valuable coupons.

Now, if you're thinking that you can surf the web anonymously and avoid detection, you may be wrong. According to Fertik and Thompson, "powerful software can often identify you by nothing more than the quirks of your writing style."

What do the author's of The Reputation Economy suggest we do to protect ourselves from Big Data and Big Analysis? Here are their basic tips:
  • Assume everything you do online is being collected, stored and analyzed.
  • Be careful what you say and how you react to false allegations.
  • Create a digital smokescreen to hide any negative information in your search results.

Learn How to Manage Your Online Activities


Why should you care about this online reputation score? Fertik and Thompson believe one of the outcomes of this reputation score is that business will use this score to pinpoint good customers and offer these people special offers. If you aren't lucky enough to have this prized reputation score, you may be passed over for these offers and never know it.

The moral to this story... Keep a clean social media profile, always be on your best behavior online and think before you post.

Find more insights and tips on living on the web while preserving your reputation by reading The Reputation Economy. I found this book fascinating, informative and somewhat scary. The Reputation Economy is a well researched book that looks at the effects online data collection can have on our lives and our abilities to get along in the world. It provides some serious food for thought that every netizen should be thinking about.




Coletta Teske received The Reputation Economy from Blogging for Books in exchange for this honest review.



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


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Review of Either Side of Midnight by Tori de Clare


Warning! I Could Not Put This Thriller Down!


I don’t often start a book I think is a thriller or has the kind of suspense that makes me unable to put it down. I really didn’t realize Either Side of Midnight was going to capture me the way it did. But I could not put it down. I read until too late at night, and then had to finish the book the next morning before I could do any real work. So I give you fair warning – don’t start this book if you have urgent tasks to get done or if you really need to get a good night’s sleep.


The Plot


It’s very hard to go into detail about the plot without spoiling it for you. We first meet Naomi Hamilton Stone six hours after her wedding, just after she steps out of the shower before consummating her marriage. She then discovers her special cross necklace is missing – the one she’d never taken off her neck except to replace it with a borrowed family heirloom for the wedding. She searches her room for the necklace, and realizes that in all the confusion after the reception and travel, it must have fallen out of the travel bag and been left behind in the car.

With little on but her underwear, Naomi throws on her coat and ties the belt tightly at the waist and tells Nathan  she is leaving to go to the car to get her necklace and will then be back to meet him in bed. He implores her to wait for him to dress and go with her, but she is already out the door before he can finish dressing. He has not yet caught up with her, and she is obviously enjoying the chase. They talk and flirt on their cells as she bounces down the hotel stairs as he is trying to dress and follow her. She is almost to the hotel door as he says he is leaving their room. They continue to tease each other as he tries to catch up


Book Review of Either Side of Midnight by Tori de Clare
She finally reaches the car and as she is unlocking it, a figure in a dark balaclava lunges at her and grabs her phone and she can hear Nathan calling her name, as the abductor tells her not to scream. There is a knife touching her side. She is forced to stumble along, feeling the knife against her bare skin, her head beneath what seems to be a small wool blanket. They finally stopped. Her hands were bound, but she continued to fight and struggle to no avail. A car door opened and her head hit something solid as she realized she was being shut into the trunk. She thought she heard Nathan pursuing the car before she slipped into unconsciousness.

From here on it gets more exciting, with amazing twists and turns. One was so subtle I thought the author must have made a mistake in the character’s name, but after rereading a couple of times, I realized it was just another twist.

I’ll skip what comes next except to say that just as Naomi thinks she is being buried alive in an old open grave, the book flashes back to her parents, driving home from the wedding. Naomi’s mother Camilla  continues to complain about the groom, convinced Naomi has ruined her life by marrying him.  Naomi was a promising music student who had just finished her first year at the Royal Northern College of Music. Camilla had great plans for her. Naomi had been a serious student of piano – unlike her twin sister, Annabel, who cared only to be a social butterfly.

The book keeps jumping from Naomi’s current predicament to the events leading up to it – moving into her rooms at school, learning to make friends, meeting Nathan, who was not a student there, and their courtship. We also see the dysfunction  of the Hamilton family, the competition between the twins, and some of the secrets Naomi has finally told Nathan. We meet Lorie, the employee that is responsible for keeping the Hamilton household running smoothly, but who has also become Naomi’s friend and confidant. We meet Tom, the ex-boyfriend who has badly hurt Naomi.

Analysis and Recommendation


I loved this book, but I wish the author had made more obvious breaks when moving from one scene to another. I found it a bit disorienting to move from one setting to another with no white space or line breaks to alert me. One minute I’m with Naomi and Nathan spending time together and in the next paragraph I’m back at the Hamilton household or in another flashback. Most of the time, though, there is a chapter or a break in the text to keep one from getting too confused.

Although there is lots of suspense, there is not much violence or gore. I appreciated that. Most of the language was clean, too, and there was no explicit sex.  I would recommend this book to anyone who is prepared to read it in one sitting. It took me several hours to finish it. I’m dying to read the sequel. Unfortunately, though it's been a year since this was published, no sequel has been published yet.

I highly recommend Either Side of Midnight (The Midnight Saga Book 1)to those who love suspense and who don't mind a little mental exercise in following the abrupt changes in the setting. Since I read this, the sequel, The Darkness Visible, has been published. Get both books together so you don't have to be left hanging at the end of Either Side of Midnight




For more of my book reviews, please see my blog, Bookworm Buffet.




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Monday, March 23, 2015

Sharpies - a Great Way to Personalize Easter Eggs

Eggs by A Pumpkin & a Princess
There is an easy way to make beautiful and personalized Easter eggs. In this review, you will see that using egg coloring and Sharpie brand markers is an inexpensive way to make your eggs unique.Whether you decorate Easter eggs as a great way to spend time with children or because you are an adult who loves to relive that childhood magic of coloring eggs, using a Sharpie marker is a great way to make your eggs your own.

I have always loved Easter eggs


I am not a very creative person. Nor do I do much decorating on the holidays. But I have always loved Easter egg decorating and hunting. Easter eggs bring back memories of the hunts at Grandma's house so many years ago.  Even the hunt that I remember few details of except looking down at my pretty new shoes in the snow, leading up to Grandma's house. We had the hunt in that house that year.  I must have been around kindegarten age but I sure do remember those black patent leather shoes and the excitement of trying to add eggs to my little basket. 

Coloring the eggs


Over the years I have tried different products to color eggs. But I always return to the familiar way with PAAS. I have the best luck with PAAS and it is inexpensive.  I find PAAS is reliable and the directions are simple to follow. 


PAAS Egg Decorating Kit

Some folks color their eggs with Kool-Aid.  I may try that this year. I like the colors and they say that it slightly scents your eggs. The directions for using Kool-Aid packs are as follows:

  • Pour 1 pack of Kool-Aid into a container suitable for coloring eggs
  • Add 2/3 cup water to container; stir until completely dissolved.
  • Place the egg into the container (with a spoon preferably)
  • Keep the egg, or section of egg, submerged until the desired color is achieved
  • Set egg aside and allow to dry completely

Cherry Kool Aid


Taking the decorating one step further


My friend's personal Easter Bunny
I have to say that I LOVE Sharpie brand markers. Always have and I always will.  I use them at work, at home, and every chance I get.  Sharpie makes a marker size and color for every project you could think of.  They are bright and permanent. There are a variety of tips and mediums. 

My friend likes Sharpie markers even more than I do. A few years ago he introduced me to the idea of decorating Easter Eggs with Sharpie markers. We colored our eggs as we normally do. After they cooled and dried, we drew on them with these simple, black, permanent markers.  I regret not having taken more photos of his artwork but I think you can get the idea. You can see that the marker ink is dark and bold.  I am not as artistic. Rather than drawing things such as bunny faces, I drew simple smiley faces on mine, and wrote words or messages. 

I never imagined that Minion eggs would be an easy and adorable Easter egg design. Crystal on A Pumpkin & a Princess shows us how to color the eggs with PAAS, then add googley eyes, a bit of string, and a hand-drawn face to make these holiday Minions (shown above).  There too, you can see how nice the Sharpie marker ink looks on the eggs. 


On Redefine Creativity Alisa Burke shows us how she creates gorgeous "doodle" Easter eggs by using a black Sharpie over a white egg.  She uses the empty egg shell after blowing out the contents.  There are a variety of designs in her article but they all remind me somewhat of beautiful henna tattoos. I'd like to try these with a hard-boiled egg and a base of pastel color. Thank you Alisa for this wonderful idea. 


Eggs by Obviously Sweet
The "doodle" eggs displayed on Obviously Sweet are also white eggs with black sharpie patterns. These have a slightly different look than the patterns mentioned earlier. To me they look more modern and geometric. They can be as easy or difficult as you care to make them.

I don't know how I didn't know, but there is a neon sharpie marker set that is fluorescent under black lights.  I can imagine using the neon colors for these patterned "doodle" eggs.  I think they would look great. 

Happy Easter to you. Whether you are helping a child discover the wonder of making beautiful things or whether you are an adult that still enjoys the fun of decorating eggs, I hope that you create some wonderful memories as you make your eggs this year. 









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Saturday, March 21, 2015

Making a Mattress More Comfortable with a Microplush Mattress Pad

Microplush Mattress Pad
If it's currently not an option to replace a not-so-comfortable mattress, there is an affordable solution: With a soft Microplush mattress pad you can bring an otherwise useless mattress back to life - A Review
This particular padding comes in several size choices and it's made of one hundred percent Olefin. The inside is polyester and in order for the sides to stretch nicely over the mattress, they have ten percent spandex in them. The extra softness comes from the fact that they're over-filled. The stitching you see is purposeful; it's there to prevent the filling from shifting.
Although a mattress pad is mostly for added comfort, there are two other benefits to having them: They form a cleanliness barrier for the mattress itself, and they also make it a little easier to clean the bed. Some padding covers are machine washable while others are dry clean only. Usually the over-filled padded covers are dry clean only.
Even if a mattress has a pillow-top, you can still use this Microplush filled padding. You really do get a
Microplush Mattress Pad with Bedskirt
lot of extra softness by doing this. The deep pockets on the sides of the cover make it easy to go on, even with the added thickness of a pillow-top.

To save even more, you can also get a comfortably filled pad that has the bed skirt already built into it. That way you don't have to run out and buy a separate skirt. I've featured one here so you can see what it looks like. It's pretty much the same as the one above, except of course, it has the skirt built in.
So before you go to the expense of adding a soft topper to your bed, be sure to examine whether a mattress pad is a wiser, more affordable option.
by Barbara Tremblay Cipak



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The Crafty Month of March in Review



March is 'National Craft Month', a month which also includes National Crochet Week

This is the perfect time to look at some handmade crafty creations, including DIY projects and tutorials, and read some articles about the art of crafting to get you in the mood for creating.

 

 

To Craft means to make or produce something skillfully.





Craft in Green for St. Patrick's Day


Crafting for holidays is quite often a popular endeavor.  Since the month of March includes the St. Patrick's Day holiday, crafters enjoy the opportunity to 'Craft in St. Patrick's Day Green'


St. Patrick's Day Octopus

Craft Ideas for National Craft Month



  • If you check out the Craft Section here on Review This, you will find many articles with crafts to try for all the other holidays during the year from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day and throughout the year right back to the Fall Holidays which begin with Halloween!



  • Or try out one of these DIY Craft Books with projects and gift ideas for a large variety of holidays available on Amazon.

  • A fun example is the one for the next nearest holiday – Easter.  DIY Projects & Gift Ideas for Easter is filled with amazingly easy guided gift ideas for beginners to the more experienced (with pictures!) and is available in Amazon's Kindle Store. 

Handmade gifts are such a joy to create, give and receive and this book will give you lots of crafty ideas.  There are homemade Easter crafts in the popular areas of Easter Eggs and Easter Bunnies and fun DIY Easter food, to name a few of the projects available in this book.


More Easter Crafts


Easter Egg Craft Tutorial
Sometimes Easter is in March and sometimes in April, but March is never too early to start crafting an Easter project.

For a quick Easter craft idea that combines the fun of an Easter Egg hunt with some non-candy treats that will encourage kids to enjoy crafts, check out this clever Easter Egg fillers craft tutorial by Corrinna Johnson.

This Easter craft and many other DIY craft ideas can be found on Corrinna's delightful  blog, Glitter 'N' Spice.



Time to Get Crafting...



Handmade Pink Easter Bunny
Bunny rabbit in crochet is hopping by to remind you that if you love to craft, but find life getting in the way and your crafting time getting put on a back-burner, circle the month of March on your calendar and use National Craft Month as a reminder to restore your creative self!  

Crochet crafter Wednesday Elf uses National Crochet Week in March as her reminder.

If you are a crafter and have a DIY tutorial to share with those of us who love hand-crafts, please feel free to share a link with us in the comments section. 
 
Wednesday Elf on Etsy
Follow Wednesday Elf on Twitter
Crochet Blog by Wednesday Elf



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