Owen Kyne Windproof Double-Layer Folding Inverted Umbrella with C-Shaped Handle

~ Never Going Back To My “Ex” ~

Umbrellas have been around for 3,000 years or so. Why did it take until the 2,000’s for it to see “inside out” technology? The old standard design nearly guaranteed the user and the floor would get wet when closing it after use. There would be the puddle of water in your car where you set it down. It was hardly the best way to stay dry or keep things dry.

I heard about the inverse umbrella and was game to try one out. My daughter and I selected the A-Carmine style, but we had a tough time deciding, as we liked most of the fourteen options in the

Owen Kyne collection. The color and pattern of the one we chose are strikingly beautiful. Rain falls on everyone alike, but I catch myself smiling when I reach for this rain protection. It looks fantastic and functions perfectly. Old umbrella, you had ONE job! I am never going back to my “ex.”

The design is fantastic. The c-shaped handle allows you to hang it on your arm or elsewhere to store or dry off. One of my favorite things is that I will suffer no more pinches while opening or closing my umbrella. Those can hurt. It has happened more times than I care to estimate. There is a button to (gently) fold it up.

We have used it many times since it arrived, but the first time we needed it was the most telling about the durability and quality. Our area had a freak storm. It had been unseasonably warm but then got cold pretty rapidly. Torrential rain turned into hail. The winds were astounding. Sturdy trees blew over randomly. Power lines were down including ours early into the proceedings. People were dodging the lines and the trees in the roads in town.

Since the power was out, I walked next door to check on my in-laws using the new umbrella. I nearly decided against using it, as it would be a shame if the winds proved too much for it. It survived the trip there and back, and I did not get the least bit wet. I have had conventional umbrellas whose spokes snapped in lesser winds where I used to live in Upstate New York. This one is a keeper!

If you would like to see for yourself that inverted umbrellas live up to the hype, here is the Amazon product page. Click here to see my original Amazon review.

 

You’re Purrfect Fur Me | Premium 11 oz Coffee Mug Gift

It Makes My Day!

This cup is adorable! I received it before Valentine’s Day, and it made the day more enjoyable no matter my relationship status. I like the message. There is no perfect person, but there can be someone who is perfect for you, nevertheless.

The mug is dishwasher and microwave safe. The cup is durable ceramic. I measured; it holds eleven ounces of your favorite beverage. I like white cups for coffee or tea, as the light color makes it easier to tell that my coffee will be to my liking. 🙂

I would buy the “Purrfect Fur Me” mug again for certain.71rUQsQ6rRL._SL1500_

If you are interested in purchasing this cute coffee cup, here is the link. My Amazon review is here.

Happy sipping!

Comfortable, stylish fun!

~ “My Neighbor Totoro” Socks ~

 

These socks are incredibly adorable! I bought them for my daughter who is a Studio Ghibli fan. The character is Totoro from “My Neighbor Totoro” fame [US movie title].

This set of three pairs of socks has blue, gray, and pink colors included.

She and I wear the same size, so I tried them out, too. The pairs are quality-made, though thin socks. These are perfect for warmer weather. I think the area of the ears at the top of the sock is excellent. The tops are not at all binding on the calf, which is a great relief to me. I have diabetes and the problems associated with it.

My daughter likes that they are fan-related and that they show her style and personality. That is a win in my book.

A tip from the company states that the socks should be washed inside out in cold water for the best results, so I have done that hoping that the socks will last a good long while. So far I have no complaints about durability. There has been no degradation that I have noticed with these from regular wear, washing, and drying.

If you would like a pair of these cute character socks, here is the product page on Amazon.

Here is the link to my Amazon Review.

Do you like Studio Ghibli? Have you seen “My Neighbor Totoro”?

Oskri Almond Cranberry Dark Chocolate Protein Bars – 55g – 5 Pack

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SIMPLY DELICIOUS!

These Almond Cranberry Dark Chocolate Protein Bars are among my family’s top three bars ever. This ranking says a lot, as we have a bar of some sort and coffee at least once a day. That is a lot of bars over the years! I appreciate that these are made in Wisconsin right here in the US.

This box has a five-count supply of healthier protein snacks which are coated with delicious dark chocolate, which is just slightly bitter. Inside there are dates, raisins, and rice syrup, but the taste is more like a nougat. It reminds me of a healthier version of a Milky Way with almonds and cranberries and dark chocolate. The texture is amazing. My daughter and I love varied textures, and this one is loaded with them. The taste pairs so well with coffee that I love my morning ritual particularly when I get to have this variety.

The protein is ample, with 16g, and the fiber content is 4g in these 55g beauties. The carb content is 25g, which is considerable. I feel good about this bar nonetheless, as it is packed with real food and quality ingredients. This is clean eating at its finest. There are companies out there that make many health claims about their products, but later the truth comes out about them. Then some products you try and the taste is something akin to tree bark. These gluten-free bars taste better than most candy bars! I highly recommend them.

Here is a link to the product on Amazon if you are interested in checking them out further.

This is my original Amazon review.

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3D Sleep Masks, Alistart Contoured Shape Eye Mask

 

This package has two Alistart Contoured 3D Shape Eye Masks included. Having a pair makes it very convenient for couples or if you want to give one as a gift. The elastic strap is highly customizable with velcro offering your best fit around the circumference of your head. These feature something they call advanced 3D technology. In truth, this development is way more comfortable than the older style I have owned. Contoured so that your eyes and lashes have room, there is no feeling of being cramped. You can even nap while wearing eye makeup and it will remain entirely undisturbed. How perfect for traveling!

These masks are best when washed by hand or put into a garment bag to keep them from damage and to keep their unique shape.All in all, the comfort is a big selling point all the way around. The mask material feels luxurious and sleek.The only detraction for me is that some light can get through from around the nose-piece. I believe this is due to my having a relatively small nose. I think many others would have no light at all when wearing it. If you do not have a sleep mask or haven’t upgraded yours in a while, this will likely make a world of difference.

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If you are interested in checking them out for yourself, here is the Amazon product page.

Please check out, comment or vote on my original Amazon review.

 

 

 

 

Heiyo Finger Holder Phone Grip, Desk Stand With Car Mount – Compatible with All Phones & Tablets

This Heiyo Phone Holder is an extremely handy little gadget for your phone. The dimensions are about 1.5″ x 1.25, ” and it is 2″ diagonally. The ring is 1″ at the widest point. It fits fine on any of my fingers and should work for most people. 

The ring holder has a pretty prominent logo along with the phrase “make life easier.” While I’m not a big fan of logos, this one is decorative enough that I like it. The ring itself is quite sturdy, and it can be turned 360° so that you can hang it in any direction The surrounding surface is strong as well, though it is slightly pliable if you try to bend it. The other piece that you can stick on the car dash or wherever you choose is plastic, but it is more than adequate to the task. It looks pretty handsome, all in all.61tuE17cgkL._SL1100_.jpg

I do like it a lot. It has come in very handy. It had saved the phone a few times when I had the ring on my thumb but would have otherwise dropped it. It looks good on the phone, and the hook is small and has a low profile for the car. I don’t think I can ask for much more than this stand offers. This Heiyo product is a great stand for video watchers.

Even though an be undone and reattached, I would take care to make sure of the exact spot that works for you before applying the ring to the back of the phone. Check how you tend to hold and how you like it positioned for watching video content, etc. before trusting that you know where to place it for best utility.

If you are interested in this cell phone & tablet holder, here is the link to check it out on Amazon.

Here is my original Amazon review.

 

 

Zancona Medium Roast Ground Coffee

 

I am a huge coffee fan, and reviewing has allowed me to try some coffees that I would not normally have a chance to experience. Sampling a new coffee is something I enjoy so much that I give it a bit of fanfare and ritual.

This Zancona Medium Roast Coffee is from Panama. As I have not tried many offerings from the mountains there, I was even more excited than usual. The package is vacuum-sealed and decorated beautifully by the indigenous people of the Kuna tribe and is an example of their Mola artwork. “Mola” means “cool,” and it certainly is àpropos. Although I did not see the designation “fair trade,” the company does compensate the Kunas and supports farmers and education initiatives there.

Opening the one pound bag, you can smell the captivating aroma. It is top-notch. This Zancona Medium Roast is a ground coffee, and it is on the finer side. I wondered whether it might prove too fine for my French Press which is my go-to method for making coffee. Thankfully, it brewed up splendidly. There was no bitterness at all, and each cup has tasted balanced and smooth. It is a medium roast, so it is neither too intense nor too light. It has chocolate notes. What is there not to love about that, after all? This is a coffee to get lost in for a bit. Turn off the world and savor. Enjoy! 🙂

If you want to see the product page on Amazon to try this gourmet coffee for yourself, click here.

 

 

 

 

Not Exactly “The Mutual Admiration Society”

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I wanted to like it a lot. Memories of those glorious hours I spent in childhood reading “Nancy Drew,” and most especially “Trixie Belden” came to mind from some description of TMAS on the product page. This tale is not like any of those books. Nor should it be– I get it. Much time has gone by since then, and they seem a bit dated. They were pretty idealized, innocent stories. If I reread them now, I would read them differently than my younger self. I might have to (reluctantly) agree with detractors about being “saccharine” and such.

Though I am willing to concede the series’ I used to get lost in were possibly too straight-laced, this book went too far off the rails for me. The writing is good. This volume is not the first story written about these characters, and this is not the first book in the series, either. Written from the perspective of a jaded 11-year-old girl named Tessie Finley, it follows her and “Birdie,” her 10-year-old sister. A well-intentioned librarian tells Tess she might aspire to become “a real-life Nancy Drew.” Instead, she reads mysteries for the opposite reason. She has dreams of “doing crimes, not solving them.” After all, she would be what she “already was– an eavesdropper, liar, shoplifter, cat burglar, poison-pen writer extraordinaire, and top-notch blackmailer….”

Of course, a lot of this seems wishful thinking. She is not bad. I just cannot relate to those sorts of goals. At all. I understand there has been a tragedy in her life, as she watched her beloved father die in a horrible accident. The title “The Mutual Admiration Society” comes from one of the few flashbacks we get of them with their father. Unfortunately, they are quite brief, as they are the best part of the book. That highlight is never matched for me. That is disappointing, as it happens fairly early.

On the other hand, their mother is barely seen or heard from in the course of the book at all. Her absence and things the narrator/ title character says leads the reader to know that she is not a fixture in her daughters’ lives– even though she lives in the same house. She does not even allow them to call her mom or a similar title, as doing so may detract from her finding a new husband and the girls a substitute dad. We readers are privy to no scenes of closeness with their mother– no breakfasts, lunches or dinners. Nothing. The lead does think about how her mother is a lousy cook, so these meals do happen. It feels contrived. I feel as annoyed at this as I do when watching a movie in which a couple has a child or children, but they hardly appear on camera at all. It is like having children is the easiest thing ever. They never need or want anything. The parents’ lives just progress like when they were pre-child. Anyone? LOL

Much to Tess Finley’s credit, her top goal on her “to-do” list is to take care of her sister. Although just a year separates the girls, Birdie is working with some significant issues of unknown origin. Tess’ treatment of her sister is kind for the most part, allowing for some momentary lapses. She is eleven, after all. However, even being so young, she has compiled what amounts to an enemies list with an expletive title. Really? She often uses her favorite cuss, da*n, and sometimes she uses the blasphemous version. Other than that, there is not too much by way of swearing. There is no sexual content of any sort.

The characters are stilted and not fully fleshed out. Tess’ way of thinking and talking seem a parody of some ne’er do well gangster. It does not ring true but feels quite forced. Add to this that nothing much truly happens, and it was a disappointing read for me. It seems at times like the author was taking a crack at duplicating the charming “Scout” character from “To Kill A Mockingbird,” but it comes up short. The book just does not jive with my sensibilities.

The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen was my January selection from the Kindle First Program. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can choose one of these special titles every month for free. See the choices here.

Here is my original review on Amazon. Please feel free to comment, share or vote as helpful. Thank you! 🙂

Wuudi Measuring Spoons [8] with Egg Whisk and Measuring Ruler for Dry or Liquid Ingredients

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I wanted a steel set of measuring spoons so that I could hang them on my refrigerator. I finally order these after far too long of digging in drawers for the spoons when I needed them. Talk about inefficient when baking or cooking!

These Wuudi spoons are on a D-ring style link that pulls apart to add or remove one or more of them. The sizes are the standard: 1/8 tsp 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 Tbsp, and 1 Tbsp. There are also markings for mL. This set also includes a measuring ruler and an egg whisk, which were essentially bonuses to me, as I just wanted the spoons. The measuring ruler has already come in handy. The egg whisk is something I’ve thought about getting for a long time. Even the small whisks I own just seem too large for a single egg, so this size is great.

Being 304 stainless steel, these kitchen tools are durable. They should last years with no issue. They are not terribly heavy. The set and the bonuses are perfect for hanging on the smaller magnetic hook I own. Please see my original review here. If you want to see the product and possibly purchase it, go here

Review: JingXiGuoJi NFC Bluetooth Wireless Speaker With Enhanced Bass Sound Bar 10W RMS

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This speaker bar is fantastic! The look of it blends right in with my other electronics. It looks smart and not cheap at all. I consider myself a bit of an audiophile. Music has been important to me my whole life. I respect it. I appreciate when the music sounds bright, crisp and full. The bass is excellent, though not so extreme that the sound bar crackles or shakes. It has a deep, rich tone and not the tinny and weak output from many units.

The pairing is simply the easiest I’ve done. You merely turn the dial on the right-hand side, and it is ready for pairing. Turn on the Bluetooth function of your computer, phone or tablet, search for the speaker and choose it. That is it. 

I have several Bluetooth speakers, but this is the one I use every day. My daughter and I listen to music on it together when we are in the common rooms of the house. We control it then by either the living room computer or a tablet. Over the holiday, my brother-in-law came over and was visibly shocked by the sound that came out of this deceptively small bar. He assumed that it must have cost hundreds.

At night sometimes I listen to music. I felt my bedroom Bluetooth speaker was a capable one for years. Realizing now how much better this one is, though, I use the JingXiGuoJi there.

Sometimes I play music while bathing or showering. I had one of those shower wall speakers, but this blows that away, so it too has been unceremoniously replaced. I just take this with me from room to room to enjoy it everywhere. Why settle?

I am looking forward to the nicer weather again and setting it on the porch to enjoy while getting some fresh air and sun. I highly recommend this speaker.

I cannot get over how long this JingXiGuoJi NFC speaker lasts between charges. It has never quit on me, though I only think to charge it once in a great while. My only concern is that it stands up to all the use it gets and keeps on going for many years to come. I am extraordinarily happy with it.

Here is my original Amazon Review. Look at the Amazon product page if you are interested here.

 

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