30 September, 2015

The Magical Zoo #2 #ChildrenBooks #Review

     One week ago, I introduced you to The Magical Zoo by Dan Jackson.  It was a cliffhanger about a girl named Sally who finds a magical book at the local library.  When she opens the book, she finds that animal after animal are escaping from the pages and into the library, even a zookeeper jumps out of the book.  Well, obviously the animals can't be left to roam the library or run into the town, so now Sally and Zookeeper John are on a mission to re-capture them and bring them back to their magical zoo.
     In The Magical Zoo #2: Finding Tibby, they first decide to try capturing Tibby the tiger, probably because he's one of the more dangerous of the escapees.  They start off looking for him in the aisles only to see him leave the library through an open door.  Ruh roh!  So they follow him, which was fairly easy since he was in unfamiliar territory and taking it slow.
     When Tibby gets himself into a sticky situation, Zookeeper John helps him stay safe with the use of his net.  The poor tiger though, that isn't the last "cage" he'd be in.  Poor little guy needed to be penned in with a makeshift cage while Sally and John go to catch more of the animals.
     This was a nice second installment to the first book.  I noticed that there were a few pretty subtle animal facts thrown in there during the story, which I like.  The illustrations are colorful and the tiger is adorable.  The book is very child-friendly.  The book also promoted empathy and kindness toward animals through both main characters.  I'm interested to see where the next installment takes us.  I hope the penguin is next.  What do you think?
     Until we talk again, feel free to check out the book's author, Dan Jackson, on Amazon or GoodReads.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

#Digistick #SelfieStick Selfie Monopod #Review

     I tried not to like it, I did.  When Selfie Sticks became all the rage, just like any other trend, I try my best not to involve myself and be a sheep.  Then one day, I thought I'd try to get one and see what it;s all about.  As a product tester, I often think that.  And when days and weeks went by and no one wanted to let me test one, I felt a bit rejected, but also determined.  Instead of trying to see if one or two companies might let me try one out, I just asked all of them.  And by golly, I really wanted one, just to see what all the fuss was about.
     So HUGE thank you to TechSavvy for once again showing me how much happier I could be if I just gave in to fads already.  Yup, that's right.  Just like Twilight, just like rainbow colored hair, just like The Walking Dead... this too, I love.  And I did try so hard not  to.  But the Digistick has so many applications beyond enabling someone's vanity.
      The whole idea behind one of these is to get the phone further away so that you can properly take photos that include yourself.  You know how sometimes you will be at an event, say a hay ride... and you REALLY want a photo of you and your kids or of you and your boyfriend, but you don't want to pose while some stranger uses your phone to take an awkward photo of you..?  THAT is the situation that these were created for.
     I like to think it was also created for us moms who just like to be in the photos with our kids.  A little proof that we were actually part of their lives, you know?  That's what I plan to use it for.  Day at the beach?  Group shot!  Apple picking?  Group shot!  Need a new Facebook cover photo?  Yup, group shot!
     Now, don't get me wrong, I love taking photos of my kids.  They are my favorite subject.  But sometimes I go to grab a good photo of me and one of my kids just to realize that the last good one is over a year old.  So to be able to be in the photos that I take is awesome.  What I love most is that in most of them, it doesn't even look like a selfie.  It looks like someone else took it.
      Now, I will warn you... getting the Digistick to work was frustrating as heck.  Turns out that most selfie sticks can't work directly with the original camera on the cell phone.  All it does is turn the volume up or zoom in.  So I had to download a couple different camera apps before I found one that worked.  And this one does crash on me from time to time, but that's the app's fault.  Or maybe it's my phone;s fault.  The app is called SelfiShop.  In that app, you can go into the camera settings and choose to set the volume up button as the shutter.  So as soon as I did that, it worked perfectly.
      I also love that the kids can use it themselves.  Just today, I looked over to see my 2 year old taking selfies, it was the cutest thing.  And Streaker took one of herself while hanging upside down on the swings.  Baby Bee had some trouble holding it up, but even she managed to take a pretty cute one of herself.  God forbid that anything should ever happen to any of my children, those will be the photos that I cherish the most.
     Since I haven't mentioned it yet, here's a quick run down of how you use it.  First you do that irritating thing with the app, unless you are lucky and have a camera that has setting adjustments already in it.  After, you press and hold the camera button on the Digistick for three seconds until it blinks blue and turns on.  Then, you go into your Bluetooth settings and make sure that the phone is connected to the Digistick.  When that is done, place the phone into the holder, pull the telescopic monopod to the desired length, point and press the camera button once quickly to take a photo.   When done, press and hold the camera button for another three seconds until it blinks and shuts off.
     I also haven't mentioned what comes in the box.   You get the Digistick, an extra wrist strap, a carabiner, and instructions.  Personally, I don't think we really need the extra strap or the carabiner, but I'm not complaining, my phone now has a cool strap.
     In all seriousness, the Digistick is my new favorite take-along possession right after my DSLR.  I love it, I double love it.  And I don't even really use it for selfies, not in the traditional sense.  I recommend it for sure.  Do you have a selfie stick?
     To learn more, check out TechSavvy Co. on their website or on Amazon.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

#AdventureAtNature Sleeping Eye Mask Kit #Review

     I've never really been big on pampering.  I've never had a manicure, never had a pedicure, and have only had my hair done at a salon a handful of times.  I've never gotten a massage or a facial, never set foot inside a spa... do we even have spas in Maine?  I'm sure we do in Portland.  I kid, I'm sure we do all over.  Maybe.  Truth is, I think any of those things would only serve to make me feel uncomfortable.  If I'm anything, it's humble, it's one of my strongest personality traits.  The idea of someone serving me makes me feel bad.
     I don't tend to ever take my own needs too deeply into consideration.  So when I got this sleeping kit from Adventure At Nature recently, my first thought was to try it out and then give it away as a gift.  I thought, 'I can't just tune things out, my kids need me.  They need my attention.'  But then I thought, 'Why can't I?  I haven't slept more than a few good nights since having kids.  So why can't I tune out the world sometimes and take a night for myself?'  So that's what I did.
     Although, I will say right off the bat that the ear plugs didn't really fit so well, so I guess I only half took the night.  Perhaps this is the way that they are supposed to fit.  I had to squeeze and manipulate like crazy to get them in like that and all it would have taken was a turn of my head on the pillow to get them loose.  I don't blame Adventure At Nature for that, or the ear plugs.  I have super small ears, and most ear plugs or ear buds don't fit well.
     Now that that is over... The kit came with not just the ear plugs and their really cute plastic case, but also with a sleeping mask and drawstring bag to keep it in.  That kind of makes it perfect for travel, you can keep it right in your pocket!
     The mask itself is so comfortable, and I know this sounds strange, but I actually put it on sometimes during the day to take a time out from all the visual clutter.  It's such a gentle presence on your face, that it's quite comforting actually.  I just can;t rave enough about this mask on that basis.  I adore it and will be using it pretty much every night from here until who knows when.
     Now, here's where me and the item description disagree on some things.  Though they may be factually true in some ways, I think on general principle, it's inaccurate.  Here's what I mean:  First it says that it blocks out 100% of light.  While the mask may block out 100% of light from seeping in through the material, there is light of course that can and will shine through gaps in the mask, specifically at the bottom where the nose is.  Unless you're looking down it's not an issue.  Secondly, it says that the adjustable strap accommodates all men, women, and children.  While it may technically fit all men, women, and children, there were times when I had wished it would tighten further.  My head is obviously larger than a child's, so although it may fit, it could use a longer Velcro area.
     Regardless of the description and my take on that, I do absolutely love the mask and am so happy to have this little pampering piece that allows me to escape the world and wind down.  I do recommend the kit for anyone who always puts themselves last, you deserve it.  I also recommend it, period.  To anyone.  Because we all need to escape sometimes.
     What do you do to wind down?
     To learn more, check out Adventure At Nature on Amazon.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

29 September, 2015

#TheSpunkySoul Guitar String Eyeglasses Holder #Review

     Do you know what I don't have enough of?  Accessories.  I do get the occasional necklace or earrings, I suppose.  But I never really accessorize the way that I see a lot of women do.  I never wear a scarf, almost never wear bracelets or headbands.  I'm a pretty sad case actually.  But I am trying to up my game some now that my kids are getting older and I have a bit more motivation than I used to.
     One thing that I never really thought to accessorize until recently is my glasses.  But there are ways that you can add some flair to them, albeit, not many.  One way is to use eyeglass charms.  They clip onto the frames, but there are few options and most of them are for kids.  Another way that you can accessorize your eyeglasses is with an eyeglasses holder or chain.  They keep your glasses from hitting the floor if they fall off your nose, making them useful and pretty.  They're also great for keeping your glasses handy around your neck, so that they don't get lost or left behind.
      The one I just got is from Spunky Soul.  It's beautiful and is made from guitar string in both turquoise and purple.  The design of it is very simple, but also very pretty.  It alternates turquoise and purple guitar strings and separates them by about eight light blue seed beads.  Because it's made of guitar string, it has a neat springy feel to it.
     The eyeglass holder pieces at the end are adjustable to fit thick and thin frames.  They add 2 1/2 inches to the over all length of the holder, making it 31 1/2 inches total.  It's a nice length.  When looking at my photos, keep in mind that I'm quite short.
     Usually a person will probably lose their glasses off the tip of their nose, but I actually lose my gasses off the back of my head because I forget that I placed them up there.  I'm not too keen on wearing them all the time and set them up there without thinking.  So I will be wearing the holder much like a necklace instead of your typical way, like above.  I might even add a pick to finish it off, since I'll be wearing it up front.  I love that the possibilities are endless.
     It comes nicely packaged and ready for gift giving.  To be honest, I'm not sure that I would give it as a gift to anyone that I don;t know for sure wears this type of thing.  As The Big One put it when I asked her if she'd wear one, "They're an old granny thing."  So maybe just make sure that they would use it first, it's become somewhat eccentric.  But for someone who does wear them, I think this would make a great gift, especially for a musician.
     All in all, I think this is a really pretty eyeglasses holder and I will probably use it every time that I go out somewhere so that I don't lose my glasses.  I love the guitar string look and feel and it will definitely come in handy.  Do you have glasses?  How do you keep them safe?
     To learn more, check out Spunky Soul on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and their website.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

10 Foot iPhone/iPad Charging Cord #Review #ReachCables

     You know that feeling you get when your phone needs charging and you really don't want to put it up yet.  Maybe you're in the middle of a funny text conversation or you're just getting into the latest episode of The Walking Dead on your Netflix App, but you just don't want to call it quits, but your phone won't reach an outlet from where you are?  In my bedroom, There is only one outlet super close to me, close enough for my charger to reach... and it's blocked by my bed.  So I know the struggle all too well.
     Reach Cables has a pretty good answer for that: the 10 Foot Long Lightning Cable.  This cable is super long.  My whole room isn't even ten feet across, at least I don't think it is.  Of course, I do have a smaller room than most people, but it's a long cable anyway.  That's the point I'm making.  It's plenty long enough for most situations that you would need it for.  I could sit on my couch and charge something from all the way over by the TV, for example.  How cool is that?
     So here is what I thought:  First of all, this is a beautiful cord.  I've never seen one like it.  It isn't your typical rubber coated wire, it's much more like a paracord or small rope.  It's soft, it's pretty, it isn't prone to kinks and the like, it's just awesome.
     After that, I didn't notice too much out of the ordinary, except that it is indeed quite long.  The cord is a lightning cable, which is not the same as the 30-pin regular charger that Apple users might be used to.  It's also not the same as a micro-USB.  This charger has only 8 pins, but it doesn't matter which way you put the plug in, it will work no matter what!  That's a pretty great feature!
     I found that this charger works well, the instant I plugged it in, it started charging.  I used it in an iPhone 5c, but it works with a whole array of Apple products.  A list of items that can be charged with the cable is on the back of the package (above).
     In general, I think this cord is awesome.  I LOVE the look and feel, it works like it's supposed to and it's super long.  So I recommend it for sure!  Do you use Apple?
     To learn more, check out Reach Cables on Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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