Profile for Monica J. Kern > Reviews


Monica J. Kern's Profile

Customer Reviews: 206
Top Reviewer Ranking: 5,289
Helpful Votes: 2177

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Monica J. Kern RSS Feed (Lexington, KY United States)

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Balance Bar Nimble Peanut Butter, 12 Count
Balance Bar Nimble Peanut Butter, 12 Count

4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasing and healthy snack choice, September 23, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Somehow I can't manage to make it through the long hours between lunch and dinner without a snack, but as somebody fighting middle-aged metabolism slow-down, I'm always looking for a low-calorie alternative. Balance Bars will go near the top of my list as a good snack to keep on hand for those afternoon cravings.


1.) They're chock full of vitamins and other stuff (fiber, lutein, etc.) that's good for you.
2.) They taste pretty danged good, too.
3.) They're chewy, not crumbly. (I can't stand the dry granola bars that crumble into a million pieces when you eat them.)
4.) They do a good job of tackling the hunger pangs. I can get by until dinner with just one, rather than being tempted to eat one more, and one more...
5.) At 120 calories, it helps me in my (never-ending) battle to keep the pounds off.


1.) While they're still a fairly substantial snack, they're not quite as thick when you open them as is pictured on the package. I get annoyed when the photos are more appealing than the actual product, and I was annoyed enough to dock my rating a star.
2.) I'm not sure how to describe this, but there's a slight waxiness in the texture that detracts from the overall taste a bit. I still prefer the chewiness of these bars to other entrants in the snack bar category, but it's not quite as pleasing as, say, a Reese's Fast Break bar. Of course, it's got less than half the calories, too!

Bazooka Candy Sweet Tweets Count Goods, 0.26-Ounce
Bazooka Candy Sweet Tweets Count Goods, 0.26-Ounce

3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, implementation lacking, September 23, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I pack my kids' lunches every day, and I really like the idea of slipping in a little surprise or note to brighten their days. Mornings are rushed, so I usually forget or don't take the time to do so. "Sweet tweets" thus promised to be a quick and easy way of doing something a little special for my children. The pack contains several little candies attached to a rectangular piece of stiff paper that you can use for writing a short message, hence the "tweet" part of the name.

Unfortunately, the reality did not quite live up to the anticipation. Each "sweet tweet" consists of exactly one small Sweet Tart-type of candy, about the size of an M&M. I don't know about you, but it's hard for me (or my children) to get excited about such a small bit of candy. Even more troublesome was the fact that the paper provided for the "tweet" was that glossy kind of paper stock that doesn't take pencil or ballpoint ink very well. By the time I hunted around for a felt-tip pen that would work on it, I could've written a short story for my kid, not just 40 characters.

While I still admire the concept behind Sweet Tweets, I suspect the next time I want to surprise my children, I'll just scribble a separate note or toss in an extra cookie or something.

No Title Available

4.0 out of 5 stars A good choice for computer security, August 26, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Most of us who use computers have probably suffered the incredible inconvenience and expense of dealing with a computer virus. Norton has been the industry leader in antivirus and other programs designed to help clueless computer users save themselves from pulling dunderheaded stunts like clicking on unfamiliar .exe files or deleting important files. The Norton 360 is an excellent package that provides security against viruses, warns against identity theft, and sets up automatic backups of important files.

These are things all computer owners need, and the Norton 360 provides all that in an easy to use package. The only caution I would advise is that it is never a good idea to rely on only ONE program for anti-virus needs. The IT people I've worked with have all suggested downloading and--this is vital--updating regularly at least three anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-trojan packages and to run scans every few days. So I view Norton 360 as a good start toward a computer security regimen.

Many excellent anti-virus programs can be downloaded online, for free. Norton 360 does things the free programs don't do (e.g., the automatic backups), and it does more in one self-contained package. But if you're trying to economize, you could probably cobble together enough free software downloads from the web to accomplish much the same things, which is why I docked a star from the rating.

Command Medium Designer Hooks, White, 2-Hook
Command Medium Designer Hooks, White, 2-Hook
Price: $2.64
74 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Great hooks, easy to install, August 18, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
In the past I've relied on the screw-in type of metal hooks. I've become disillusioned with them, for two reasons: (a) after a bit of time, they get loose and wobbly in the drywall and eventually fall out when you try to use them, and (b) the hook itself is usually in a round circular shape with only a small opening to work whatever you're hanging in, so it's not feasible with many objects.

The 3M hooks don't have either of those weaknesses. They stick on the wall, so there's no holes in your wall. I'm usually a bit leery of stick on products (they tend not to stick and/or be a pain to take off), but these hooks are rated for up to three pounds, and it wouldn't surprise me if they held considerably more.

The application instructions seemed a bit intimidating at first, but it really is simple process, and I had my hook up and ready to go in less than a minute. The hook itself is a long sort of V-shaped thing, so it's easier to use. I hang up canvas bags by their straps on one, for example, and a first aid kid on another.

The only downside is that the footprint of the hook is (obviously) bigger than a traditional screw in hook, and arguably not as stylish (the "designer" label on the package is a bit of a stretch). But I use mine in my pantry and utility cupboard, so that doesn't bother me. I'd probably go with something more decorative for public areas, but as most of my hanging needs are in functional spaces, I'm happy to know about the 3M hooks.

Puroast Low Acid Coffee French Roast, 3-Ounce Bag (Pack of 10)
Puroast Low Acid Coffee French Roast, 3-Ounce Bag (Pack of 10)
Price: $12.51

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice if your stomach needs the low acidity, August 8, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I have occasional problems with heartburn, so when I saw that Puroast had released a coffee specially designed to be low acid, I was eager to try it, and I enlisted my husband as a willing co-investigator. Our verdict: The coffee does indeed have a noticeably smoother, less acidy taste. That's the good part. However, I would characterize the taste--and I'm trying to be diplomatic here--as reminiscent of a slightly old coffee foil pack found in a three star hotel. I'll admit to being somewhat of a Starbucks addict, and I don't think the Puroast will convince me to change. However, I think it would be a good option to have on hand for times when my stomach is acting up but I still need my morning caffeine fix, and if my stomach forced me to where I had to choose between the Puroast low acid coffee or no coffee at all, I'd gratefully drink the Puroast.

The King's Speech
The King's Speech
DVD ~ Colin Firth
Price: $6.43
190 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving film, worthy of its accolades, July 28, 2011
This review is from: The King's Speech (DVD)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Although it took a little convincing to get my family to watch this film ("a movie about stuttering? sounds boring"), it was worth the effort, as "The King's Speech" deserved all the academy award honors it garnered. Geoffrey Rush's performance as the therapist proved that he is a gifted actor indeed, but it was Colin Firth's ability to capture and express the anguish of the younger prince forced to assume a leadership role he didn't ask for that made the movie.

The scene where the King was delivering his speech on the eve of WWII, juxtaposed--with great irony--to the 2nd movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony, brought me to tears. This is a film about conquering one's fears to do what's right, whether we are talking about fighting a war that needed to be fought, or fighting one's inner demons.

Most movies made by Hollywood are flicks that entertain lightly but age poorly. "The King's Speech," I'm willing to guess, will be as meaningful and moving in 20 years or longer as it is today.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 10, 2011 6:15 AM PDT

Post-it Tabs, 2-Inches Lined, 4 Assorted Primary Colors, 6-Tabs/Color, 24-Tabs/Pack
Post-it Tabs, 2-Inches Lined, 4 Assorted Primary Colors, 6-Tabs/Color, 24-Tabs/Pack
Price: $3.99
50 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars functional and versatile, July 28, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These tabs are great for both schoolwork and the office. Perhaps their greatest advantage is that they can be affixed to anything, which makes them invaluable for sorting and organizing pre-existing large batches of paperwork. They also have a nice wide margin for writing a label on them. Last, the fact that it's a stick-on label rather than an entire divider means you can keep them on hand and use them for any size paper/notebook.

I always like it when a product is simple and works well. Thumbs up to these tabs.

BIC Velocity Bold Ball Pen, 1.6mm, Black, 2ct (VLGBP21-Blk)
BIC Velocity Bold Ball Pen, 1.6mm, Black, 2ct (VLGBP21-Blk)
Price: $4.78
11 used & new from $0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bold is right!, June 16, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I tend to be a bit rigid about my preferences for writing implements, in the past using almost exclusively Bic medium-point ball-point pens. I don't like pencils, and I intensely dislike gel or rollerball type pens. (Don't even get me started about fine point Sharpies...) The one downside of ball-point pens, though, is that the writing is often not as bright or vivid as you can get with a gel pen.

The BIC Velocity pen, however, offers both the non-scratchy feel of a ballpoint but the bright, vivid ink of a rollerball. And, better yet, it comes in a medium point, so the thickness of the individual letters is better than you get with most gel pens.

Best features:

1.) Feels absolutely terrific when writing. This is, without a doubt, the smoothest feeling pen I've had the pleasure of writing with. I love it.
2.) Bold, thick (but not TOO thick) ink.
3.) Rubberized grip is very comfortable. It doesn't make my fingers sore the way a pencil can, for example, when writing for a long time.

(The only) negative:

1.) The ink does not dry quite as quickly as a regular ballpoint pen. Since I am a lefty, what this means is that if I am writing quickly, I will sometimes get a slight smudge on the side of my palm. Not always, and it's not as bad as I have found with other types of pens, but it happens enough that I knocked my rating a star.

But if I want to write or draw something that is highly visible, I'll grab for the Velocity pen.

AmazonBasics Silicone Smooth Case for Apple iPod touch 4th Gen (Black)
AmazonBasics Silicone Smooth Case for Apple iPod touch 4th Gen (Black)

4.0 out of 5 stars Feels great, easy to put on and take off, June 16, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We bought an iPod touch for my 12-year-old son for Christmas, and given the circumstances (adolescent boy), I wanted a protective cover for it. There is a bewildering assortment of options for such a case, but I am very happy with this one. First, it's made of a flexible silicone material that feels great to the touch and bends easily to put on and off the iPod. This is not true of a lot of other cases out there that are made of harder materials and/or come in parts that must be snapped together. My son can put this case on or take it off in literally under a second.

The case protects the sides and back of the iPod touch, but it does not have anything for the front of the device. This means you should go ahead and use one of the surface protector shield films to keep the front from being scratched. That's not a downside of this case, in my opinion, but something prospective customers should know about prior to ordering.

The only negative of this case is that the Touch won't fit on my son's sound dock with the case on. That's also not really much of a downside, given how easy it is to pull the sleeve off. But it does mean that my son has to remember to put the case back on after charging it in the sound dock, which (given the adolescent boy factor) doesn't always happen.

In short, I'm impressed by the product and would happily buy more of them for our other iPods. My son told me to tell everybody that "it feels really neat." There you have it.

BIC Students Choice Mechanical Pencil (0.9mm), 10ct (MPLWSP101-Blk)
BIC Students Choice Mechanical Pencil (0.9mm), 10ct (MPLWSP101-Blk)
Price: $5.72
14 used & new from $3.00

5.0 out of 5 stars At last, a mechanical pencil you can use on scantrons!, May 24, 2011
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a professor, I see a lot of bubble sheets (Scantron forms) in my career. And one of the most annoying things about those forms is their insistence on using a #2 pencil to fill in the forms. I happen not to like most pencils, as I'm left-handed, and I weary quickly of smeared print and smudged hands.

The Bic students choice mechanical pencils are thus a welcome addition to my office. They work as well as any mechanical pencil, and I have minimal smearing with them. Best yet, I can use them for those pesky Scantron sheets. Yay.

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