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Baby Cargo Series 300 Lightweight Umbrella Stroller, Moonless Night
Baby Cargo Series 300 Lightweight Umbrella Stroller, Moonless Night
Offered by PlumStruck
Price: $189.99
2 used & new from $189.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely safe, top of the line stroller, easy to open and close, plus special additions, September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Although this is an umbrella stroller, this seems more like a regular sturdy stroller to me - but with all the benefits of an umbrella stroller. It is easy to open and close and very portable. At the same time, It is amazingly rugged and is certainly far better than many of the standard strollers I've owned.

And then there is my main concern: safety. It is also among the safest of the strollers I've found (and I've owned quite a few). The wheels are very impressive, large, solid, and seem meant to last. While this might not qualify as an "all terrain" stroller, I had no trouble pushing it on the sidewalks in our neighborhood or on some walking trails as well as areas of the park made for strollers. And of course, mall trips were a snap, especially with the storage basket under the stroller to hold shopping bags, etc.

As noted above, my first priority is safety and the Baby Cargo series is clearly designed to put safety first. For those who may be purchasing a stroller for the 1st time, I'd like to stress the importance of the 5 point harness system on this stroller, one which has a very secure buckle which is easy for parents, (not babies or toddlers) to open and close. Five point harness systems have been tested repeatedly and been found to afford the most protection in case of an accident. The one designed for the Baby Cargo Series 300 is both durable and comfortable for babies and toddlers.

Both the stroller design and special features make life easier. There's a cup holder, adjustable foot rests, and a very ample sun shade. Extra zippered pockets can hold bags of snacks, some toys and more. The handles were plenty high for me ( I'm 5 feet, 8 inches).

This stroller has the capacity to handle toddlers and even children who weigh up to 50 pounds. For comparison's sake, this stroller actually has a higher weight capacity than the expensive double stroller we bought for some friends! According to height and weight charts, the "average" 5 year old doesn't even weigh 50 pounds. So you're likely to get many years of use from this one. If you're concerned about head room for growing toddlers, it is nice and roomy.

Here's my experience - from assembling the stroller to actually using it:

1. Assembly - I find most instruction manuals challenging but I was able to follow the instructions and put this together fairly quickly. The wheels went on easily (two of the wheels were already attached). The explanations for opening and folding the stroller, using brakes, locking and unlocking front wheel swivel locks, and adjusting the seat belt were very easy to understand.

2. Features and use: When it comes bonus features which reduce frustration and keep babies comfortable, the Baby Cargo Series stands out. There is an extra padded cushion made to accommodate newborns as well as a padded seat cover (machine washable) which is reversible. Parents can use a smartphone pocket and there is even a rain cover which attaches to the stroller and provides ample coverage in case of sudden rain. Leg rests can be adjusted. There are loops for attaching baby toys and even a rattle is included.

I found the under-stroller storage basket to be very generous and there is also a cup holder which is easily accessed from the top handle area of the stroller. There are clear cautions about the maximum size for water bottles.I would never put a hot drink in the cup holder - something which seems like common sense.

This stroller folds and opens easily and the aluminum frame is made to remain rust-free. Time will tell if this is true and I'll certainly update my review as needed. The wheels are very impressive, sturdy and meant to last.

I was shocked to discover this one only weighed 20 pounds, especially since it is such a generous size when opened.


OXO Good Grips Mini Santoku Knife
OXO Good Grips Mini Santoku Knife
Price: $8.20
14 used & new from $6.01

4.0 out of 5 stars I reach for this one all the time and here's why, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It is a pleasure to use a knife which has a grip that doesn't slip, even if my hands are moist or have some oil on them. The heft is also very nice and the blade and grip are well balanced.

As for the blade, I love it, especially since I have had several unfortunate accidents with knives which are so sharp that even a tiny slip of the hand can result in a nasty cut - and that has happened to me several times - and I have the scars to prove it. So I love the Santoku knife. It is just sharp enough to meet my needs without the risk of an accident and deep cuts which requires stitches.

But don't make the mistake of thinking the blade is dull. It isn't and can easily handle everyday cooking chores such as dicing and slicing tomatoes, paring vegetables, and many other cooking tasks. A professional chef who is very confident when it comes to chopping veggies and other foods quickly and without any errors might want a sharper blade but I prefer the Santoku. Teens and older children can use this one and I don't worry about accidents.

When caring for this, I suggest hand washing. I wouldn't put this in a dishwasher - but then I never let my knives go through a washer. I quickly dry them after washing.

I can also sharpen this one with ease and it does become significantly sharper when I do.


Collezione Orecchiette, 12 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Collezione Orecchiette, 12 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Price: $28.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superior flavor and texture and works perfectly in soups, salads, and entrees such as the ones listed below, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I make several favorite recipes which use orecchiette pasta. One is a basic green salad with diced tomatoes, goat or feta cheese, freshly grated Parmesan, and a simple dressing. The Barilla brand of orecchiette produces very reliable results and the taste and texture is noticeably superior to other brands.

Orecchiette is an ideal shape and size for salads, soups, and more. The bowl shape (which is also known as "little ears") helps hold both herbs and juices, and helps achieve a well-balanced mix of flavors. I also like using the orecchiette in a light and refreshing soup made from homemade chicken broth mixed with some fresh chopped herbs, a squirt of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. The bowl shape (which is also known as "little ears") helps hold both herbs and juices.

My family also likes this pasta tossed with peas, ham, and a basic white sauce or plain butter. As with the recipes listed above, the bowl-shaped pasta absorbs just enough moisture to help ensure that sauces have body, aren't too watery, and remain just moist enough. Other pastas I've tried don't hold their shape or provide inconsistent results.


Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Mower
Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Smart Stages Mower
Price: $12.35
6 used & new from $12.35

5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun! Here's some details about each level, from 1-3, September 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We've had several mowers designed for toddlers and preschoolers and this has been the most popular by far. One of its MAJOR advantages is that the sound can be turned off and it can be used for imaginative play without any input from all those recorded phrases. If you have 2 little ones and only one still takes naps, this silent option is particularly appreciated!

Here are the features for each level and how each differs from the other:

Level 1-- designed for ages 12 months and up. When the "starter" handle is pulled up and down, the words "up" and "down" are heard, simple and clear. When the gas cap is twisted (with help from parents at first), the word "turn" is heard. There are some short songs that also appear from time to time at this level but the simple words are the real features. There are no verbal prompts given at this stage, nothing that requires babies to respond to any directions. They can simply enjoy the sounds and other features as they explore this toy.

Level 2-- Designed for ages 18 months and older. This stage definitely presents more advanced concepts of "pull" and "push" when the handle is raised and lowered. There is also an engine sound. When the gas cap is turned, there is a "glue, glug, glug" noise (it sounds like gas is being added to the mower and the kids loved this feature). There are also some voice prompts to encourage kids to turn the gas cap, a feature that wasn't there in Stage 1.

Unlike Level 1, Level 2 seems aimed for little ones who are starting to follow simple prompts. They can also listen to a song about counting to 10 and hear the words "Great job!" afterward.

In Level 3, designed for ages 2 years and up, the emphasis is on pretending and imaginative play. Pulling the handle results in a sound like the motor is turning on. Pushing it down indicates the mower is "off", especially when they hear the words "Now our work is done" . This is a nice cause and effect concept that goes beyond Levels 1 and 2.

In Level 3 there is also a sound like the mower is running out of gas and a reminder that it is "Time to fill up". The kids loved pretending to fill the tank. Turning the cap again can reward them with a cheery "You filled up the tank! Hooray! " There is also the addition in this level of the sound of the mower blades turning.

As for the rest of the mower's features, it has appealing and bright colors, a smiling face on top, and is a sturdy toy.


Ideal Home Range 16 Count Boston International 3-Ply Paper Guest Towel Napkins, Foliole
Ideal Home Range 16 Count Boston International 3-Ply Paper Guest Towel Napkins, Foliole
Price: $6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great in guest bathrooms. Also a nice touch for bathrooms when staging a home for sale, September 8, 2014
I have used these before but have had trouble finding this particular pattern in stores ever since. When they do arrive, they seem to sell out quickly. So I was delighted to come across them again -purely by chance -when searching for something else on Amazon.

The designs on these towels work well in a variety of bathroom styles, from contemporary to traditional. They are neutral but not boring and the black stripe is a nice accent. The pattern is distinctive enough so that guests frequently ask me where I've purchased them.

Although I use these in our guest bathroom, I've also seen them i used effectively in homes which are being staged to sell and they provide a nice decorative accent for guest bathroom which needs a bit more flair. Obviously, if you're selling an older home with a seriously dated bathroom ,these towels aren't going to get potential buyers to overlook dingy grout or cracked floor tiles. But when you've reached the point where the bathroom is sparkling clean and you're adding some final accessories, these towels are a cost-effective way to add some extra appeal.


Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement
Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement
by Peter T. Coleman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.24
48 used & new from $6.22

5.0 out of 5 stars I've read plenty of books on conflict resolution at work and still learned some new tricks from this one, September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Whenever a diverse group of people work together, it is likely - perhaps inevitable - that disagreements will arise. Some of these become so intense that any chance of a satisfying resolution seems impossible. I've been privy to these types of workplaces conflicts, many ending in heated arguments, shouting, and verbal attacks. As a result, I am always looking for information on resolving conflicts and how to achieve a resolution that defuses tension and anger.

Unfortunately, most of the material I've read simply rehashes the advice found in other books, leaving me frustrated and with no useful tips. So it was refreshing to discover the new information in Making Conflict Work. Even when some familiar material is covered, the authors frequently approach things from a new direction. They point out that conflict may even lead to positive outcomes. But the crucial factor is learning the basics of constructive conflict management and assimilating the information until it becomes second nature.

I really liked the fact that the author utilized questionnaires and quizzes which required me to participate and which were designed to help me determine which skills I already used -and then offered advice about how to go to the next level. This personal involvement with the material in the book was an effective way for me to help understand how to tailor my usual patterns to fit various work challenges.

Instead of simply handing out advice and suggestions (and I'll get to the other advice further down in this review), the authors also provide some additional self-assessment tools (besides the ones already mentioned above) . One of these looks at what the authors term "principled rebellion", something which may be the only recourse when other attempts to resolve conflict have failed.

The authors provide 6 good reasons to use principled rebellion, a tactic which requires actions which may seem ineffective and even destructive at first glance - but actually make sense in practice. I won't go into a lengthy definition of principled rebellion but will note that the authors convinced me that it could be critical - and perhaps the most effective choice: when working with cheats or crooks, if sexual harassment exists, employers are pushing for practices which may put consumers at risk, when all other opportunities for a fair resolution have failed, if illegal or immoral activities are being encouraged (perhaps by an employer) and other wrongdoings are being encouraged. Suggestionsfor dealing with each of these challenges are provided.

Other skills which are covered include learning conflict intelligence and becoming a conflict- benevolent leader ( which includes patiently listening to employee grievances and opinions and being open to disagreements) . Power imbalances are also addressed and "constructive dominance" is defined and supplemented by tips on how to use it. Being assertive while maintaining perspective is a key component of constructive dominance.

There is far more in this book than I've noted here. The conclusion of the book sums up the most effective steps and activities for managing conflict. These can be used in nearly any situation.

Whether you're a manager, employee, or the head of human resources, this is a must read.


Homo Economicus: The (Lost) Prophet of Modern Times
Homo Economicus: The (Lost) Prophet of Modern Times
by Daniel Cohen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.95
46 used & new from $1.64

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Challenges assumptions about the relationship between the economy and personal happiness, September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Even though this is a relatively short book, it is rich in detail and may require not only close reading - but also rereading - to fully grasp the concepts presented by author Daniel Cohen. I had to review each chapter several times to get a better comprehension of the book's essential information. A main focus is how economic and social changes contribute to happiness and the often surprising ways that modern improvements actually increase unhappiness. This is a very broad explanation of what is in the book and reading it is required for a deeper perspective.

While I can't possibly cover the main points in any sort of depth, I do want to highlight some of the central topics and Cohen's basic approach to them. He begins by noting that even though many relatively wealthy countries have modern conveniences that didn't exist in the past, making life less "nasty, brutish, and short", a significant number of people aren't any happier and may even feel much worse.. He cites statistics which reveal that 14 percent of Americans (under the age of thirty-five) have suffered a major bout of depression. This rate of depression has also soared in France and in many other societies.

Even those who aren't severely depressed may not feel significantly happier. This can greatly affect the economy. Other factors also come into play. I thought Cohen provided an excellent example when he wrote about the director of a blood bank who wanted to increase the number of blood donors. He thought they'd flock to the center if he provided a financial reward. Instead, donations dropped. On the surface, this seems to make no sense. Why wouldn't people want to benefit financially?

It seemed perplexing until Cohen explained that people have competing drives: one is to act for the good of others and that is its own reward. But when they are paid for giving blood a different part of their brain takes over, one that is less cooperative and altruistic. As Cohen explains it, these two parts of the brain "can not be seated at the same table."

This is a point that is stressed repeatedly in Homo Economicus; the conflict between the desire to seek a common good for society and the competitive drive. Employers don't consider these competing drives when they make the mistake of trying to raise productivity by offering bonuses to their employees. Cohen's research indicates that bonuses affects productivity negatively, in a similar way to those who were paid for donating blood. It lowers the "moral value" of work, the intrinsic pleasure of a job well done, and doesn't achieve the desired benefits for the company.

All of this is just a small part of what is contained in Homo Economicus. Other chapters focus on the diminishing value of work, gross domestic happiness (with a fascinating section on the adverse effects of television in Bhutan), the complexities of globalization and the economy, the dangers of "virtual communites" on the Internet and the threats to building a true sense of community, and more. Cohen ties these topics to happiness - and unhappiness - and the often surprising ways the economy may be affected. My assumptions were often challenged.

Highly recommended.


Dr. Smith's Diaper Ointment Rash Spray, 3.5 Ounce
Dr. Smith's Diaper Ointment Rash Spray, 3.5 Ounce
Price: $11.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Works well for babies and (based on my experience) adults who need help with chafing, rashes, and related issues, September 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This not only works for babies but I know how it feels on adult skin as well. In my case, it provided quick relief for irritated skin and added a layer of protection from moisture. To be on the safe side, I'd suggest you consult with a doctor or medical specialist before using this for anything other than diaper rash. But I had excellent results.

It also clears up diaper rash in infants quickly and seems to provide effective and quick relief. The he baby was clearly more comfortable and less fussy. Redness disappeared.

In my case, I had two instances where my thighs as well as other areas needed something to soothe red and sore skin. The first situation involved a long bike ride and I hadn't ridden in awhile. It was uncomfortable being on a hard bike seat for so long and the skin surrounding that seat was in terrible condition. It hadn't blistered but the discomfort lasted for half a day - and then I used the spray. It was a great help. I know it is meant specifically for diaper rash but I think the zinc oxide or other ingredients work on other painful skin conditions as well.

The other situation was closer to an actual diaper rash and I did indeed have a rash just above my thighs. Again, it was red and painful. My doctor actually suggested a zinc oxide solution so I gave the Dr. Smith's ointment a try. It was successful.

Because I am not a medical expert, I am NOT advocating the use of this ointment for anything other than diaper rash but I am sharing my experience in case anyone else decides to give it a try. I would suggest consulting with your doctor or health care specialist first.


Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You
by Todd Hasak-Lowy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.80

3.0 out of 5 stars I admired the writer's creativity and innovative style but...., September 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This one simply didn't work for me and I actually rounded up my rating of this book (which would have been 2 and 1/2 stars) to 3 stars. I also want to note that I think the author is clearly talented, with some sections which were intriguing. He also understands the concerns and anxieties of adolescence. But in spite of those major pluses, this one just didn't hold my interest.

There were some aspects I liked a great deal, including the fact that this was written in list form, with each page consisting of various lists created by teenager Darren Jacobs. He is dealing with his parents' divorce, the departure of his brother for college, his obsession with a particular girl, and some news about his father which Darren finds very disturbing and unsettling .

Examples of some of Darren's lists:

The 12 members of the North High Jazz Ensemble, 4 words Darren got right on a pop vocabulary quiz, 7 standard ingredients in Darren's daily wardrobe. Some of the lists provided interesting details about Darren emotions, appearance, and the personalities of his parents. But other lists seemed to be irrelevant to the plot and I wondered why they were even included in this book.

Maybe I missed something but I couldn't understand the point of noting the 15 words Darren forgot to review for his Spanish vocabulary quiz or his brief descriptions of 8 travelers waiting for the same bus as him. And I also wondered if teens would care about those particular bits of information.

A major plus of this book is that it should be a quick read for its target audience, teens who are 14 and up. Some pages consist of only a few sentences, making the book very accessible. It could be easily finished in a day or two. And there are also plenty of adolescents who have faced - or may be in the midst of - similar challenges as Darren: divorced parents, worries about relationships, trying to figure out how to navigate the transition from teen to adult.

But I was left wondering if they'd stick with this one long enough to discover how Darren evolves over time.


Mccormick Gluten-Free Taco, 1.25 Ounce (Pack of 12)
Mccormick Gluten-Free Taco, 1.25 Ounce (Pack of 12)

5.0 out of 5 stars Worked very well for friends and family members on gluten-free diets., September 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have a son who not only felt much better on a gluten-free diet but lost over 30 pounds without making any other changes. No extra exercise. No counting calories. He just eliminated gluten and remains gluten-free. Also, based on my research, not all taco mixes are gluten-free. So this is handy to have in my pantry.

Here's the results I had when using McCormick Gluten-Free Taco Mix:

1. Taste:
Everyone who ate the tacos loved them. We also tasted the mix when used with meat and then in a vegetarian version (no meat). Both were fine although most preferred the meat version. If you want to add some extra zing, you might want to try mixing part of a package of the Taco Mix into some sour cream and use it as an additional topping option.

While we were fine with the taste of the meat sauce before adding any toppings , your final results, including taste, will depend on how you "tweak" your tacos. Do you provide a wide variety of toppings or do you basically place the taco mixture in some shells and put some chopped lettuce on top? I'm not suggesting that there is one right way to make tacos but I do believe that any taste test is affected by the toppings used. But, as noted above, even before adding any toppings, we were happy with the taste of this in beef.

2. Results
No discomfort or problems for those following a gluten-free diet. We've had different results with some products advertised as gluten-free.

3. Ease of use:
I didn't have to tweak the instructions at all or tinker with the amount of liquid, although I always keep a close eye on how much liquid is in my pan (if we don't eat immediately, the meat tends to absorb any liquid and I need to add more)

4. Versatility:

I used this in a number of recipes which called for Mexican seasoning, including one of my favorite layered salads. In that case, I added some taco seasoning mix to sour cream and it worked very well. So it can be used in more than tacos.

5. Overall results:

Very pleased. This mix is great for preparing tacos in a flash as well as adding to other recipes for extra zip.


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