Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Glass Castle: A Memoir - Book Review

The Glass Castle:  A Memoir - Book Review
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Some things just speak for themselves.  That Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, has been on the New York Times Best Seller List for seven years is one of those things.  Obviously, I am not the only reader who has found this book to be extraordinary.

The Glass Castle, in short and yet potent vignettes, reveals what has to be the most bizarre childhood of all time.  Born to an artist and a dreamer, Jeannette and her three siblings find themselves living the barest of subsistence lifestyles.  A good day is one on which they are feasting on green grapes and stardust.

On the move constantly, their lives are an alchemy of famine, fire, fleeing (doing the skedaddle), fairytales, and far-off fortune.  One day, their father promises, just as soon as he perfects his invention, The Prospector, and finds gold, he is going to build them a glass castle in the desert.  While Rex chases his elusive dreams, and their mother, Rose Mary, loses herself in her art, the children are left to fend for themselves.

What is it that makes this collection of stories so compelling?  I asked myself this question over and over again as I began to draft this review.  I mean, there are plenty of memoirs about dysfunctional families out there.  What would make any of us want to immerse ourselves in another family's dysfunction?  Don't we have enough of our own?

One reviewer surmised that it could be the same human nature that makes people slow down and gawk at a wreck that draws one into this memoir.  Perhaps we can't help but stare at the scene of an accident.

Here's what I think.  It is the fending the children did, and the odd ties that bind a family together, that make for compelling reading.  I just had to stay by the side of Jeannette, Lori, Brian, and Maureen as they figured out how to survive each disaster.  I just had to know how they moved beyond the kind of upbringing that would scar most children for life.

This is the kind of book that puts things in perspective for anyone who previously thought he or she had a tough childhood.  It is also a memoir that reminds us of the amazing resilience of children.  Thank heavens for that.  I have a favorite quotation from the book that pretty much sums up the beauty of this memoir:
One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree.  I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house.  I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight.  Mom frowned at me.  'You'd be destroying what makes it special,' she said.  'It's the Joshua tree's struggle that gives it its beauty.'
May you be reminded, in a healing way, of what has made you beautiful as you enter into this walk on the painful side of childhood.  Here's to coming out on the other side.









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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review

Freshware Helped me Freeze Individual Mug-Size Soup Servings


After a recent bout with the flu, I realized I had not really prepared very well. Everyone knows how important chicken soup is in helping respiratory illnesses, but few people are up to making it from scratch after they get sick. I wasn't, either, and canned soup just isn't as good. If only I'd been able to pull individual servings out of my freezer that were just the right size for my soup mugs! But I couldn't, since there weren't any there. Since then I've stashed many soup servings in my freezer. Here's how.

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review




Fortunately I did have some frozen French onion soup I'd bought at Costco to get me though a couple of days of flu. Each portion was just right to heat in a soup mug. I decided to look for something that would help me freeze my own individual size portions, so I searched Amazon. I was actually looking for molds, but all I could come up with were muffin tins, and they weren't the size I wanted. I finally found these Freshware Food-To-Go Packs.

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I finally decided on the 16-ounce size. As you can see above, I wanted a portion just right for my soup mugs. My mug holds 12 ounces comfortably with a bit of room at the top. If I pour 12 ounces of soup into the Freshwear container, there is room left for expansion at the top.

My Soup Story


When my Freshware Food-To-Go packs arrived from Amazon. I was anxious to try them out. I chose them because they are BPA Free, and I didn't want to put anything hot  into a plastic container that contained BPA. I also liked that they could go from my freezer into my microwave so that I could partially thaw the soup before pouring it into my mug. It can stand temperatures from -40°F to +250°F. I liked that I could pour it straight from my crockpot into the containers without waiting for the soup to  cool.

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review


This is my most recent batch of soup as it simmered in my crockpot. This time I made vegetable soup with just a bit of ground beef for added flavor. Here's how I made the soup you see here: I Made Soup Again Today.

I really like my crockpot. It's an older version of this one, and its shape makes it easier to cook many kinds of meat and poultry that are harder to cook in my round crockpots. I can also program it for specific cook times and temperatures, knowing it will switch to warm if the cook time finishes. I can't do that with my older crockpots.

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Freezing Hot Foods in Freshware


I found the Freshware very easy to work with. It stacks neatly in the cupboard for easy storage. When I need to freeze soup or anything else in a mug-size portion, the containers are easy to fill and stack.

I usually make a crockpot full of soup or another dish. I put about six servings in a casserole dish to store in the refrigerator to cover about three meals for two during that first week after cooking. I freeze what's left in the Freshware containers. Here's how that looked when I froze some beans I had cooked.

Here the containers have been filled and I've put the lids on them. The foods were still hot when I filled the containers.

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review


Below I show them stacked.

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review


Notice how snugly the lids fit and how neatly they stack for storage in the freezer. Because the containers are clear, you can see exactly what's in them.

Thawing My Soup after Freezing in Freshware Containers


I had planned my container size for filling mugs that comfortably held 12-ounce portions of food, mostly liquid. You can see the beans I froze above, before they went into the freezer. Below you see the soup after it came out of the freezer. On top you see the soup still frozen after I removed the lid, which kept its shape well. You can also see that the soup had plenty of headroom for the liquid to expand.

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review

The middle photo shows the soup thawing in the microwave. I thawed it without the lid. When it was almost thawed, I transferred it into the mug, since I prefer handling a mug when the soup is hot. Had I wanted to take this to work as a hot lunch, I could have packed it frozen and heated it in the container at lunchtime and also eaten from the container.

Note: This week I cooked a large batch of lentils. I filled three Freshware containers to freeze and one to put in the fridge. I wanted to be able to easily add cooked lentils to soups and salad during rest of the week. When my husband was removing something else from the fridge, my lentil container fell out and fell on the floor from three feet up. The thin bottom of the container broke, but did not shatter. The top stayed on. I was able to safely remove the contents to a new container without adding any cracked plastic with the lentils. It was a very easy process.

Lunch is Ready


The soup is pretty hearty, with lots of protein and vegetables, so it doesn't need a lot to go with it. I toasted a slice of sourdough bread and peeled a tangerine because I love tangerines with anything savory. I can eat the toast on the side or dip it in the soup.

My Experience Using Freshware Food-to-Go Packs to Freeze Soup: A Review


What do you like with your soup?

Get Freshware Containers to Make Your Life Easier


As you can see, Freshware Food-To-Go Packs make preparing and freezing meals in single portions very easy. Cook a large batch of your favorite lunch, freeze what you want to store for later, and thaw at home or take frozen to work to heat there. The containers are able to be washed in a dishwasher. I didn't try this because my dishwasher isn't working anymore and I'm waiting to replace it. But the containers are easy enough to wash by hand. Why not pick up some Freshware containers today while you're thinking about it?



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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Brita Water Pitcher Reviewed

Easy Way To Filter Water

brita water pitcher
My Brita Water Pitcher
Recently, I purchased a Brita Water Pitcher to use in my home. We have a serious problem with hard lime scale in our water so I was looking for something that would help with having water that was fit for drinking, cooking and using in my coffee maker.

My daughter is the one who clued me in on this amazing little pitcher. I had spent a few days at her place while she was gone on a business trip. Her water is even worse than ours is! She had purchased a Brita to use for her water needs and showed me how to use it before she left. I was duly impressed with how easy it is to use and how much better the water tasted. 

After arriving back home, I decided that this water filter system was perfect for our house, too. It is so very easy to use! After placing the filter into the top part of the pitcher, you just fill up the reservoir and let it filter the water to the area below. Yep, it is that easy!

I purchased the 10 cup capacity model and I love it! A neat feature on the top of the pitcher is a little indicator that tells you when you need to replace the filter. The manufacturer states that an average household will need to change the filter about every two months. My daughter told me that her filter lasts about 40 to 45 days. Obviously, it depends on how much water you use as to the mileage you will get out of one filter. 

The filter takes care of that chlorine taste and odor if it exists in your water. It also takes out copper, mercury and cadmium that might be found in your tap water. It also removes lime scale from your water. For several years now, I have purchased distilled water to use in my coffee maker. It made the coffee taste better for one thing and it also helped my coffee maker to last longer due to no lime build up on the inside. Now, I can use the water that has been filtered in my pitcher. Even though, I have to purchase replacement filters every so often, the cost per gallon works out to be cheaper than buying the distilled water as we have been doing. So, in my case I will be saving money.

If you have hard water like we do, you know that when you boil water for cooking there is a lime residue left in your pan. I hate that! I spend extra time trying to get the scale out of my pans. Now, with the Brita, I can use water from the pitcher and not have to waste more water by cleaning the pan of scale left behind.

I am really happy with my new purchase and am grateful that I learned something from my daughter. The pitcher is easy to use, relatively inexpensive and I feel that it will pay for itself in a short period of time. Plus the water that we now consume will be healthier for our bodies.

How about you? Have you considered getting a pitcher that filters your water? Possibly, you already have one; if so, are you glad you purchased it?



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Monday, February 12, 2018

Reviewing the Antique Rose Emporium

The Antique Rose Emporium 2018 catalog.
Do you love Roses? Would you like to grow roses in your garden but believe they are too delicate and difficult to grow? Are you looking for a special, hardy, old-fashioned rose and can't find quite what you want at the local nurseries? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" I recommend that you shop at the Antique Rose Emporium.

What better recommendation is there than word-of-mouth?  A few years ago, when I was searching for a very specific rose but had no idea it's name, Renaissance Woman pointed me in the direction of The Antique Rose Emporium.  I'm glad she did. Receiving my 2018 catalog in the mail recently reminded me that I wanted to continue to spread the word about the wonderful roses offered at the Antique Rose Emporium (ARE).


The Antique Rose Emporium


The Antique Rose Emporium (ARE) is located in Independence, Texas. There you will find their display garden and retail center.  If, like me, you are not able to visit them in Texas, you can order from them online and request their catalog. The ship orders within the continental US. It is their philosophy (and in my limited experience with roses, I agree) that old garden roses are hardy and easy-to-grow.

An excerpt from their "our story" page:


"Until the discovery of old garden roses, I shared the prevailing bias that roses were hard to grow, were fussy, needed to be sprayed, needed to be pruned in a certain way, and were short-lived. Roses we have since discovered have changed my bias and have made me an advocate of these easy care roses and I truly believe they are the ultimate garden plant"  -- Mike Shoup at Antique Rose Emporium

If you'd like to read more of what Mike Shoup has to say about roses, take a peek at his book:

Empress of the Garden available on Amazon

My Quest for a Specific Rose


Many years ago, I lived in a home that had been the home of a family who had lived there for 60+ years. In that yard was a rose bush that was both adored and hated. It was the most thorny thing and was a chore to mow around.  Yet, despite not being pruned or fertilized, or cared for in any other way it provided constant and a profuse amount of little maroon blossoms from the heat of the summer through late autumn. Those small roses had a strong fragrance that floated through the yard and into the house. On days off, I spread a blanket in the yard near that bush and relaxed with a book.

I had no idea how much I'd miss that rose bush and how often I would think about it after I moved away.  So the search began for a similar rose bush.

The problem is, I know next-to-nothing about roses. Didn't know what "hips" were. Double-bloom? Rambler? Remontant? WHAT?! 

Despite my complete lack of familiarity with describing roses, and trying to recall details about a rose from a decade ago, I emailed ARE to ask if they could help me identify that elusive rose.


Great Customer Service at the Antique Rose Emporium


I expected no response from my strange email request to help find that rose bush. Imagine my surprise when I received a personal response within that same day! Mr. Shoup described two roses with similar characteristics. And closed with the comment "This is the closest I can get. I think you are describing an old Hybrid Tea that we don't carry". 

I was astounded that anyone would take the time to respond to my inept description of an old rose bush. In my excitement about the roses they had to offer, I had already ordered a Granny Grimmetts for my yard at The Shack.

I received my Granny Grimmetts via the mail; shipped safely in a box and packaging that held it securely. I planted it in my yard at The Shack and the deer immediately stripped it. I now know that roses are a delicacy to deer and planting a rose on a ridge in West Virginia was like ringing a deer dinner bell. I placed a protective cage around the bush, and something else feasted on that poor plant.  I was sure that I had failed and killed that little rose bush but I allowed the cage to remain. And I was thrilled that the following year, that poor victimized rose had grown, put on a few buds, and was doing well! 


Granny Grimmetts in her new home
I have since returned to the area where that original rose bush was. I drove past the home and had plans of knocking on the door to ask if I could get some cuts from the plant. Alas, that unruly and thorny rosebush was long gone. But I have my Granny Grimmetts and plan to add the recommended Dame de Coeur.


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Sunday, February 11, 2018

How to Create Color Flow Through Your Home Using a Colorful Palette

If you're partial to a colorful palette when decorating your home, but unsure of how to tackle it, the first rule is to think in terms of 'color families'.

For this article, we'll examine the colors blue, orange and white in combination.

Step 1 - Take a Look at Your Home and Notice Which Areas Can be Seen From Each Room

Start with your foyer.

What rooms can you see from your front foyer when you're standing in it? Whatever rooms you can view from the foyer, you'll want to include in the color family you choose.

As an example, using the chosen color palette orange, blue and white, you could plan the bolder choices in the rooms seen from the foyer, and use the same tones softened for the hallway.

Mix patterns in your décor to break harsh solids, and if you're into a major re-do, add lovely half or quarter wall wainscoting to the foyer, living or dining rooms.

If you're brave, of course you can work the opposite way around; put the brave bold blue, orange and white in the hallway, and use softer hues in the main rooms.

Here's an example of Living Room Design Choices - A Chair, Sofa, Rug and Coffee Table you could put together with a Blue, Orange and White/Black theme.

Step 2 - To Continue the Palette in Other Rooms in the Home Use Various Shades of the three Colors You Selected to be in Your Color Family

Flow is probably one of the most difficult things to achieve in a home. We tend to have ideas for the living room, ideas for the family, ideas for the kitchen yet many times these ideas don't naturally flow into each other. So out of color fear, we fall back to neutrals.

If you want to keep the adjoining rooms neutral, just bring in various shades of your chosen color family into the room using accessories: Pillows, throw blankets, wall art or add a punch of color with bright end tables.

Examples of color variants for orange are, corals, tangerine and grapefruit. Variants of blue can include cobalt, turquoise, delft, and navy.

Here are examples of some Blue, Orange and White Accessories to Use with Other Major Furniture Pieces being neutral (tan, white, beige):

Step 3 - When You're Decorating Rooms Not Directly Connected to the Main Area, Such as the Master Suite - Keep it Calmer by Using More Pattern than Bold Color

You can still focus on the color family you've selected for your home, and include some in the bedroom, however, do it by using more patterned pieces combined with neutral solids.

As an example, you could keep the bedding mostly white, the wall soft coral or soft blue, the bedframe a darker shade, and the drapes and chairs similar or matching in simple patterns.

Here are crisp but muted pieces for in the blue-family for a Master Suite:

Remember, once you decide upon your color family, decorating your entire home simply means introducing shades and versions of your color-family throughout your home.

By the way, you can still decorate other rooms that don't flow off an open area pretty much any color you want. However, if you're going to go completely off of your color palette in that room, be sure it can't be seen from any hallways or open areas.

Shop by Color - Have Fun!


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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Reviewing Arbonne's RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask

RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask
Let's talk about my experience with Arbonne's RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask, but first try and say that three times really fast! I tried this product a week ago and in one word I would say - Wow!

I could not believe how smooth and soft my face felt. I used it on a Saturday night and all day Sunday I was constantly touching my face, so much so my teenage daughter started rolling her eyes at me! Mind you, she did lean over and touched my face herself and all of a sudden was telling me how soft it was (I'd been telling her that, but ... ).

So what's so special about this mask? Well all of Arbonne's products are botanically based and the botanics in this mask are pineapple and papaya.

They have used pineapple and papaya because they are both a natural source of Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and this works as a natural exfoliator.

Who should use this mask? Anyone over the age of 30 or 35 depending on who you believe, but especially people over the age of 50.

Skin Rejuvenatation


Let's talk about our skin rejuvenation, because this explains why using this mask is a fantastic idea.

Our skin is made up of layers of skin cells and as they die they slough off without us even knowing.  When the old skin cells slough off the newer cells come to the surface.  This is skin rejuvenation (well very basic understanding anyway!).

As we get older this process takes longer, going from 14 days (as a baby) to 37 days (as an over 50's person).  It's after the age of 30 or 35 (depending on who you believe, let's face it scientists may like absolutes, but humans are all unique so they can't be completely exact!) that we really start to notice it.

Our skin gets dry, looks tired and sometimes we can even get skin blemishes and acne.   This is where we really should pop a cape on our tube of RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask and call it Super Skin Rejuvenator!  This may not quite have the same ring as Superman or Batman, but your skin will definitely thank you.

The Magic of AHAs


What's so special about 'Super Skin Rejuvenator'?  Well you see AHAs removes the top layer of skin which means you look younger - your skin isn't as dry or tired looking.  It also means that any dead skin won't be blocking your pores and causing blemishes.

But hang on, what about 'normal' scrubs?  Now you could use another type of scrub that contains some type of abrasive granules, but using AHAs is a more gentle way of removing the dead cells and according to the Harvard Medical School AHAs are a much more effective solution over the abrasive scrubs.

There was also a study at the University of Maryland Medical Center that suggested that Alpha Hydroxy Acids may also enhance your body's production of collagen.  Collagen is the protein that plumps and firms the skin surface so if this is correct put another tick next to our Super Skin Rejuvenator!

Back to Arbonne's RE9 Advanced Cellular Renewal Mask


Okay so I'll stop calling it Super Skin Rejuvenator (even though I think it should be renamed that) and just start telling you what it's like to use.

When you use it you'll see it just looks like a day cream and when you rub it onto your face it feels like that too!

I left mine on for 5 minites (it says to leave it on for 5-6 minutes) and it really didn't feel like I had a mask on.  I was expecting my face to feel like it would crack should I talk, but nothing like that at all.

They do say that some people experience a little tingling, but I didn't have any of that.

After the 5 minutes I simply rinsed it off with water.

Now it does say that you may experience a little redness and I did have a little bit on both sides of my nose just up from the nostril.  Now I did my mask before going to bed and when I got up the following morning there was no sign of the redness at all. 

Will I be using it again?   Absolutely I will, I just had a sample tube that I used, but I have now ordered a full size tube of this mask because I just can't get over how great my skin felt.

Alternatives to Arbonne's Cellular Renewal Mask


Now pineapple and papaya can be used on their own to the same effect apparently (I haven't tried this though)  When I was researching these two ingredients I found that you can get fresh pineapple, crush it and apply to your face.   My first thought was what a sticky mess!  I won't be trying this, give me my tube of Arbonne Cellular Renewal Mask please.

The other thing I was told was that you could take papaya, eat the flesh and rub the skin on your face.  There was some debate about how effective this was as opposed to just using crushed papaya.   Now to be honest if I liked papaya (which I don't) I may have tried this as I do like to find uses for skins etc to reduce waste (like my veggie skins for example that I freeze).

As far as other commercial masks in this ilk I haven't found one that makes my skin feel this nice, however I must admit that I haven't tested hoards of masks just a handful.

Have you tried this mask?  If you have please share your experience below, if you haven't what are your thoughts on it?




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Friday, February 9, 2018

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Movie Review

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Movie Review
Travis Parker summed up The Choice perfectly at the very beginning when he said, "little seemingly insignificant decisions that clear the road for monster truck life altering ones.  Every breathe you take leads to another choice.  Some choices change everything".

Like any real relationship in life, Travis (Benjamin Walker) and Gabby (Teresa Palmer) are constantly making choices that will either lead them toward each other or away from each other.  And just like life, those choices are not always easy choices to make.  Perhaps, it is because we can all identify with the characters in this movie that make it one of the best romantic movies to watch.  Or, perhaps it is simply because we all want to believe in the power of love.

Years ago, I watched "The Choice" for the first time and thought it was a fabulous movie.  However, I had forgotten how much I loved the movie until last Sunday when I was searching for a romantic movie to watch.  I found it in the list of movies that are now available to watch on Amazon.  So, I immediately hit "play". Once again, I was pulled into the lives of characters that were so well developed that I felt like I actually knew them as friends or family members.


The Choice Movie Synopsis


Travis is a fun loving, womanizing bachelor who clearly has his choice of women in his small coastal hometown.  However, his new neighbor, Gabby, seems to only be annoyed by Travis and his lifestyle.  His loud music, partying, lackadaisical attitude, flirting, and his dog, agitate Gabby to no end.  Plus, the noise disrupts the quiet she needs to study for her medical board exams.  
 The Choice [Prime Video, DVD, Blu-ray]Check Price
With each meeting and interaction, the very serious Gabby becomes even more exasperated by his jovial, carefree personality.  The conversations between them are actually rather funny to listen to and watch.  Travis is just trying to be friendly, but Gabby sees it as anything but kind.

Remember how the movie begins with Travis talking about "choices"?  As neighbors, every day they are each making a choice of what they think about each other.  When Gabby's boyfriend has to leave town for a few weeks and her dog has complications while delivering puppies, Gabby makes the choice to run next door to Travis for help.  Later, Travis invites her to join him and his friends on a boat ride, she makes a choice of whether to stay or to go.  She is faced with that same choice, whether to stay or to go, several times.

At this point, I want to warn you.  You should expect your heart and emotions to be twisted during this movie.  I don't often cry during movies, but like other Nicholas Sparks stories, this one had me reaching for Kleenex.  Travis is so adorable in this movie that you can't help caring about him and the choices he has to make.  It is downright gut-wrenching.  Like I said earlier, Travis and Gabby are like friends and we all hurt for them.


SPOILER ALERT - This trailer shows more than I was willing to tell. Don't watch the trailer if you plan to watch the movie. In my opinion, it shows too much and takes away from the movie.

Nicholas Sparks Movies & Books


Nicholas Sparks is an author name we all recognize. In part because several of his novels have been made into movies. But mostly because he is an excellent romance novel author. Even people who don't normally embrace romance novels and movies as their favorite genre enjoy his work. I'll never forget the first Nicholas Sparks movie that my husband and I watched together. It was, of course, The Notebook. I can honestly say, I don't know which of us was touched the most by that movie. We both loved it. 

I previously reviewed and recommended another Nicholas Sparks movie, Safe Haven,  which is another Sparks novel that delves into some extremely difficult real life situations.
You will be more than halfway through this movie before you will understand why I also recommend Dawn's review of Me Before You if you love this movie. 

For those of you who prefer books, remember The Choice was a novel before it was a movie.

 




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The Choice by Nicholas Sparks Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse




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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Review of Zazzle

Have you ever wanted to make a special gift for someone using a photograph you have taken?  If so, Zazzle is a great way to go!


Sea after Storm Throw Pillow
Sea after Storm Throw Pillow
by mbgphoto

The above pillow was made on Zazzle using a photograph I took in Florida.  There is one photo on one side of the pillow and a second photo on the opposite side of the pillow.  Whether you'd like to make a special gift for someone or whether you'd like to open a store and make a little extra money the information on the rest of this post will help you to get started.  This information was taken from a presentation I gave to my photography club.

What is Zazzle?

Zazzle is a program where you can get paid for doing what you love best, creating photographs and art!  It is free to set up, you don't have to carry any inventory and Zazzle handles all the production and customer service issues.  Zazzle has three ways to make money, as a designer, a maker or an associate.  I work as a designer and will concentrate on that aspect in this post.

Designer Program

  1. Upload your photograph or artwork onto products.  Over 250 different products are available.
  2. A customer likes your design and buys it.
  3. Zazzle processes transactions and handles all customer service.
  4. Zazzle prints and ships to customers.
  5. Zazzle sends you a payment for a percentage of sales.

Pricing System

  1. You choose any royalty rate from 5% to 99%
  2. Base price is increased by that amount so you earn your royalty.
  3. Base Price +Your Royalty Percentage=Retail Price

My Experience with Zazzle

  1. Started my first Zazzle store in 2008
  2. Currently have 3 Zazzle stores: mbgphoto, lighthouseenthusiast,and Butterflyblittz.
  3. Example of sales on photo from 2007 of Cabo San Lucas.  From that one photo $1607.28 in royalties.  Sold

    • 836 mugs
    • 333 magnets
    • 52 luggage tags
    • 23 ornaments
    • 16 keychains
    • 2 puzzles
    • 12 buttons
    • 2 postcards

  • I currently have over 6800 products in my three stores and I sell something most every day.  Sometimes it is only a postcard and sometimes it is a bigger sale.    Here are some examples of my products.
  1. Go to zazzle.com
  2. Click on sell on Zazzle in top left hand area
  3. Choose from Designer-Maker-Associate

Steps in Designer Program

  1. Create a Zazzle Account
  2. Open Free designer store and pick a store name
  3. Create design, choose product, upload image, create text if desired, resize image as desired.
  4. Post design for sale "Post for Sale"
  5. Enter key words so customers can find your product. Good key words are essential.

Enjoy!!





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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Amazing Swim Fins to Help You Get Fit (A Review)

Did you know that water exercises are some of the best exercises to do, especially if you have issues with mobility?  Let's Review How to make that exercise even better!





Over the years I have found that I am just not as mobile as I once was.  That's no surprise really as many people find that aging can be hard on the body.  One thing that I always enjoyed was swimming and when arthritis came knocking on my door, my doctor recommended water activities to keep my joints in shape.  

I have spoken to many people who are suffering from arthritis in their joints.  Some have gone the route of knee  and hip replacements to ease their pain.  I'm not ready to go that route yet.  So in trying to keep knee replacements at bay, I have taken up swimming again. 



To make my swimming even more of a challenge and a workout, I have been given these Swim Fins to use in the pool. When you put these on, your swimming is more challenging than just swimming with your own feet doing the kicking.  I was amazed at the difference I felt after swimming a few laps of the pool.  Without the fins, I could feel my legs working, but when the fins went on, I could really feel the "burn" happening in the thighs and the muscles around the knee.

The fins add just that little bit of resistance that makes your workout even better.  Gliding through the pool is easier in a way and harder too!  You can cover a greater distance with less effort. The real trick is that with the swim fins on, your muscles are actually working quite a bit harder even though it doesn't feel like it.

 Now if you are just swimming for relaxation these are probably not what you might want, but if you are swimming for fitness, I can tell you without a doubt they are a great asset.  Swim fins for the pool have a much shorter blade on them than the fins used for snorkeling and scuba diving.  These shorter blades make them perfect for a pool.

When you know that these fins make the difference that they do, you are much more likely to try them out yourself.  They are not a "big" investment either.    Water activities are one of the best ways to keep in shape and do something good for yourself and your body.  At public pools, they have waiting lists to join in the Aqua Aerobics classes and it seems that even when they add more of these classes they fill up as quickly as they are started.  The water helps us keep active without adding extra stress to our already sore joints.

Its a win-win situation, you get the exercise you need to stay healthy and at the same time the water and activity makes you feel better about your overall ability to exercise.

I'm not a doctor and you should always consult with your family physician before undertaking a new fitness routine, but I can assure you there would be very few doctors telling you not to go swimming.  It's one of the easiest and best exercises around.  It is also one of the main reasons we moved from a house to a condo that has a swimming pool indoors for my use.  Being an indoor pool, there is no need to stop my activities in the winter months.  As a matter of fact, I kind of like looking out the windows at the snow covered ground while I swim my laps. I may be wet, but I'm also warm!

My fins are coming with me to Jamaica next week and I will give them a work out in the bay as well as the pool.  I'll let you know what I think.  Right now, I am so happy that my Santa saw fit to give me these for Christmas this year.  This is a gift that will be used all through the year and will travel with me too!




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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Stauber Best Bulb Changer Review

Does a light bulb going out in the ceiling elicit a sigh? Or a groan? Or I can't wait to change the light bulb? High ceilings and burned out light bulbs used to elicit dread at trying to change the light bulb, but the Stauber Best Bulb Changer is a true game changer.




This little gadget will turn sighs and groans into the routine delight of changing light bulbs in ceilings, flood lights in the driveway or any unreachable light socket with a burned out bulb.

Can You Change Me Now?

Absolutely.  I used the Stauber Best Bulb Changer to change a recessed light bulb 10 feet above the dining room table.  The two recessed lights cannot be reached without a ladder and the dining room table cannot be moved so changing the light bulb is a major logistical problem. It usually takes two people, one ladder and gymnastics to change the light bulb.

Usually when one of these lights go out the first decision is to ignore the situation.  Ignoring and tolerating the situation works until inevitably the second light bulb goes out. The thought of dragging out a tall ladder or hopping on the dining room table makes changing the light bulb a most unwelcome task. No more! The Stauber Best Bulb Changer to the rescue.

Safety First

What I absolutely love about the Stauber Best Bulb Changer is the ability to safely change a light bulb in the ceiling without a ladder! Only one person is needed to change the light bulb and I changed two recessed lights in literally minutes which included assembling the light bulb changer and reading the directions.


Tools & Tips

The Stauber Best Bulb Changer does not come with an extension pole. The pole can be bought separately if necessary. However, a broom or mop with a threaded end is all that is needed. I simply unscrewed and removed the bottom of a broom and was ready to attach the bulb changer.

The first tip is to read the directions. The second tip is to thoroughly read the directions. At first glance this little light bulb changer is deceiving and the thought expressed by many consumers is, "How can this little gadget work?" It does and it worked flawlessly. The little white cloth included is important to dust off the dead light bulb so the the suction cup can work properly.

The little white string is also deceiving and many customers wonder, "What the heck is that?" The string is used to disengage the light bulb from the suction cup once the light bulb is removed. This is where reading and following the directions is crucial (Raise your hand if you can't wait to use a new product and ignore the directions!) Do not ignore the white string!

Recommendation

I highly recommend the Stauber Best Bulb Changer. Prior to purchasing I researched light bulb changing gadgets and read many reviews of the top rated light bulb changers; I am most pleased I purchased the Stauber.



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