The Real Deal

Have You Ever Wondered... Is that certain book really good? Does that product really work? So have I. From Indie authors and musicians to local products or nationally advertised, I can't tell you the countless products I've bought as seen on TV only to find out that they don't work at my house, the book was really a bunch of hype, the music was not what I had hoped for or a movie was a yawn. If you want an honest opinion, you will find it here. Although I do lots of book reviews, I also check out lots of other products and let you know if they really live up to their ads or their hype. Stay tuned, and check in often. You never know what I'm going to talk about next.


Expand Your Options With Seagate

It's summer, you're planning a vacation of a lifetime: maybe abroad, the Bahama's or Route 66. You're planning to take hundreds maybe thousands of photos. You want to write in your digital journal every day. You might even interview the locals, shoot some video and you can already see your laptop choking on all the saves. You need to travel light, but you want to capture, store and retain as much as possible. Do you pack your terra book? It's got the storage, but it's so bulky, so heavy! all those wires...

 No! Seagate Hard Drive to the rescue! Seagate Expansion 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable External Hard Drive STBX500100 comes in a sleek, low profile design. It's slightly larger than my fiancee's wallet and about the same weight. It requires only one plug in to work : a USB 3.0 cable (included with a quick start guide) and unlike the book, doesn't require an additional power source in addition to the port.

 The super speedy USB 3.0 is "backwards compatible" with USB 2.0 ports, is automatically recognized by the Windows operating system. No time-consuming installations and nothing to configure. This has my vote for portability, compact space saving design and ease of use. I plugged it in and within 10 seconds, I was dragging and dropping photo files to store. Not only that, it fits inside my netbook bag. I will be recommending this to everyone of my digital photography travelers, and business associates.


A Big FAT No to Feather Pillows

My assistant and I have been talking about pillows. Bed pillows. How difficult it is to find something light, fluffy with enough support to keep a neck from kinking. We had found some inexpensive ones at a discount store (which shall remain nameless.) I tried to remember why I hadn't owned or bought a feather pillows in years, so we each got one.  I left, feeling like I'd got a pretty great deal, and with a smile, I looked forward to the wonderful experience of sleeping on a real feather pillow.

The question floated in the dark recesses of my mind, did I not like feather pillows?  I laid my head down for a relaxing night’s sleep. A single feather poked me in the head. So, I pulled it out and let it fall to the floor. The next day, we went to the store to get cases for the pillows. That night, I slept pretty well. If a feather scratched out, I pulled it out and let it fall to the floor. After a week, there were enough feathers on the floor to wing a small bird. A second pillow case was obtained.

This worked for awhile. But eventually, after a month, they began emerging all over again, scratching my cheek, head and neck until I pulled them out.
When we couldn't stand it anymore, we removed the pillow cases to shake them outside. That’s when we saw how many barbs had actually migrated through the fabric. Try as I might, the feathers didn’t want to shake free; barbs stuck to everything. It was also when I noticed the pillow tag: Contains chopped waterfowl feathers. Uh… gross.
After washing the cases, pillows were stuffed back inside them. That night as I tried to sleep, bizarre imagery swirled in my mind. Pictures of dismembered birds, their feathers being unceremoniously plucked and boiled clean. Were these feathers from oil-spilled waters?  Feathers harvested from dead water birds? Couldn’t they have put a little better spin on this? Used prettier sounding words? But even I couldn’t come up with anything that sounded pleasant.
When the chopped feathers began poking through again, another pillow case went over the pillow. How many cases can I put on one pillow? How many would it take before they stopped coming through?

I developed a-middle-of-the-night coughing spell. A dry hacking cough that went a few rounds before it allowed me to fall back asleep. This went on for a week or so, until I noticed on the dark colored sheets, what looked like a layer of dust at the head of the bed. Every time I moved them, fluffed, settled my head, shifted or turned the pillows, out sifted tiny white curls of waterfowl debris. The pillows were degrading. I felt nauseous. I removed the pillow from the bed and set it on the floor. I refused to sleep on it another night. I advised my assistant to do the same.

Interestingly, that night, I didn’t cough at all. The next day I and my assistant, who it turns out had not been sleeping well either, drove to a national chain store and looked at lots and lots of pillows. Foam, memory foam, cotton fiber filled, polyester, firm, soft, medium soft. Pillows for stomach sleepers, pillows for back and side sleepers. Prices from seven to twenty nine dollars.

We both settled on the same one: a firm/extra firm with a 2inch gusset. We took them home and slept like babies in cradles of clouds (I got a new body pillow too). I couldn’t believe the difference. So, I am one more step closer to a vegan mindset as a result.
I will not recommend feather pillows to anyone, and if you are suffering from respiratory illness of any kind, you may want to remove feather pillows as a first step toward improved health.


illy issimo delicious!

I'm an avid coffee drinker. I like it hot, iced and on certain days, room temperature. I also like it black with cream on occasion and sweetened slightly. I could not have imagined how great illy issimo Caffe Coffee Drink would taste. 
I poured half for my assistant and myself and after drinking it, we both agreed that this coffee tasted bold without being overwhelming and pleasantly sweet. The flavor was clean, brisk and refreshing.

Each can contains 6.8 fluid ounces and can go just about anywhere you want to take it this summer, running errands, on the way to work, on vacation, or even camping. I recommend this to anyone who drinks coffee and enjoys it sweet and black.

I received illy issimo Cappuccino Coffee Drink from the Amazon Vine program. It arrived the same day as the Caffe but I tried them on separate days. The Cappuccino flavor was nutty and sweet, the same great flavor as the Caffe but creamier. The espresso style coffee contained low fat milk and cocoa. This 8.5 oz can contains only 100 calories but tastes like dessert. I love these ready to drink energy beverages. They come in lightweight aluminum cans with a push pop tab.

I wasn't able to get much of a break at work and I had packed Cappuccino as a "just-in-case" measure. Turns out I really needed it that day.
Cappuccino contains sugar also, 18 grams as compared to the Caffe which is 10. I enjoyed it but the sugar wreaked havoc with my head.If you don't mind sugar you are in for a treat. Give it a try. I will be looking for their sugar free versions.


Big Help form Janet Majure

A month ago I tried again to start another blog on Word Press, thinking, what the heck is the draw? But what I figured out is that looking different is very attractive when you want to get noticed. I had figured out enough to post but not much else. When the Amazon Vine Program offered TEACH YOURSELF VISUALLY WORD PRESS by Janet Majure I grabbed it.
A lot of my writing friends were moving away from Blogger to Word Press almost 6 years ago. I tried to follow them, I really did. But the amount of time I had to invest bore very little fruit. I used to think it was just me, that everything about Word Press seemed complicated. Six years ago, I wasn’t even sure what to talk about, and the options available in Word Press overwhelmed me.

I considered getting help. At the time, I had a stream of constant distractions and opted for the less time consuming option to blogging.
Since then, I’ve heard a lot about Word Press, how customizable it was. The blogs of writer friends were looking impressively professional and really polished. Very unique. I couldn’t believe it: I had blog envy.

This comprehensive book takes you step by step through Word Press, from Chapter one Introducing you to setting up the .com and .org (Word Press offers free and for purchase sites). It goes through the creation of that which makes each site unique : appealing visual and written content, then on to tools, widgets and plug ins. Chapter 9 is a how to on building traffic, so you can have an audience for your site. Majure rounds out the book with Tweaking Theme, Content Management and Maintaining the blog.

Even though I learned a good bit on my own, this book has been enormously helpful. It’s like having someone sitting in the room with you helping you each step of the way. I recommend this highly for people who have been frustrated and/or overwhelmed by Word Press. If you are trying to put together a unique and professional looking blog, this is a must read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Applause for Avitae

Who knows what I expected when a bottle of
Avitae Caffeinated Water arrived from Amazon Vine program, but what I found was a nicely tapered 16.91 oz bottle with caffeinated water. I put it in the fridge and went about my day until my energy started to flag.
I have two jobs and on the way to my second one, I drank the water. At first, I really didn’t notice a difference. Within twenty minutes I started feeling a little more alive. I don’t like feeling my heart pounding in my chest like I get with some energy drinks. Avitae hydrates without all the hype and has no calories, carbonation or flavorings, no dyes or artificial ingredients. With 90mg of natural caffeine, it’s a little less than a regular cup of Starbucks (260mg).
I'm not always in the mood for tea and like the idea of getting a caffeine lift from water, especially with summer right around the corner and this answers that problem for me. I will recommend it to my friends and co-workers. Try it, you might be pleasantly surprised.