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Shala Kerrigan "Glitter it and call it art." RSS Feed (Anchorage, Alaska)
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   

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Polychromos 120 Pencil Metal Tin Set with CD
Polychromos 120 Pencil Metal Tin Set with CD
Offered by Buy 4 Less UK
Price: $180.36
53 used & new from $180.36

5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous colors, amazing to use, October 20, 2014
I'm so impressed and happy with these pencils. They blend well, they sharpen well and lay down color like no other colored pencil I've used before. They are creamy and pigmented well. Getting nice shading effects is easy with these and they don't have a shiny waxy build up when you layer them.

I draw mandalas for people to color, and these are the pencils that I recommend and use myself.


Chef's Star BBQ Cooking Gloves
Chef's Star BBQ Cooking Gloves
Offered by Super Deal
Price: $34.99

5.0 out of 5 stars They work great unless you have very large hands, October 17, 2014
I debated between 4 and 5 on these gloves, but they are getting used frequently so went with the 5.

Fit- my daughter and I can slip our hands into these easily. They will fit my husband but fit him like a... they are too closely fitted for him to slip on easily, so he'll grab a standard potholder instead.

The nubby texture on the outside does grip well and doesn't get slick when they are moist. They handle heat well with minimal transference. I feel some warmth through them with very hot items. I love the cherry red color and how easy they are to keep clean. A spill on these isn't a breeding ground for bacteria because it can be easily rinsed off and the gloves are still usable even when damp on the outside. Cookie cutter construction instead of an inset thumb, so they can be worn on either hand. I was able to remove jars from my canning pot with these on instead of my jar lifter.

My daughter LOVES these. She's been doing a lot of the cooking in our home in the last year and with all the potholders, mitts and gloves in our kitchen, this is the pair she reaches for first every time since we got them.
Review item provided at no cost, this is my honest experience and opinion.


Effortless Bento: 300 Japanese Box Lunch Recipes
Effortless Bento: 300 Japanese Box Lunch Recipes
by Shufu-no-Tomo
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.11
48 used & new from $10.82

5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite cookbook this year, October 16, 2014
Wow. Seriously, just WOW. This cookbook is my favorite new cookbook for the year.

It's released by Vertical Inc., so as you can guess, it's a carefully edited English edition of a Japanese book. So this is the real thing. The bentos aren't cute, this isn't a how to make cartoon characters out of carrots, nori and rice cookbook. There isn't a hot dog octopus in the whole thing. The focus is attractive and delicious food that can be prepared ahead to pack into a lunch box and the recipes are just as appropriate for adults as for children. These are the lunches you pack to make your co-workers jealous, and to give you a good reason not to skip lunch.

So starting at the beginning, there is a very good overview of how to safely pack lunches so you don't risk giving yourself a case of food poisoning. It talks about the different kinds of bento boxes, how to keep things cool, and how to pack the lunches so everything is at the optimum temperature.

Then the recipes. 300 of them! Now, I know that some recipes aren't going to appeal to everyone. For example, my husband won't eat squid. My son will. My daughter is hit and miss with nori, and my son eats it toasted instead of chips. Well, actually I think every single recipe in this book is something my son would eat. He loves Japanese food. This cookbook has a lot of tasty options for Americanized tastes. You cook a certain number of servings ahead of time, and freeze or refrigerate them so packing lunch is fast.

Some of the ingredients can be tricky to find if you don't live in an area with great markets but a lot of the recipes are a lot more accessible. So you might not be able to find fishcake and lotus root- but pork cutlets and panko crumbs are easy to find. Some recipes you can make substitutes. Like if you can't find kabocha in your area, substitute butternut squash. The cooking methods are easy to learn.

The truth is, as much as I'm loving the recipes, the book is worth it for the tips, hints, and quick recipes sections which include furikake (rice seasoning), pickles, vegetables, instant soups and a nice collection of onigiri (rice balls) recipes.

I'm loving this cookbook, and happily recommend it.
Complimentary copy received for review on my craft blog. This is my honest opinion.


Haggar Men's Performance Cotton Slack Straight Fit Plain Front Pant,Ash,34x30
Haggar Men's Performance Cotton Slack Straight Fit Plain Front Pant,Ash,34x30
Price: $29.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Just right, October 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm constantly looking for pants for the men in my family. They have to wear well, wash fairly easily and have the correct inseam and waist size. It's sort of surprising how often the first two things are easy to find, and the last one winds up being a problem- especially the inseam.

These are just right. The inseam is 30 inches with a comfortable fit for my dad. The fabric is soft enough to be comfortable, but not so soft that they are fragile, the seams are well constructed and they have the right rise for men who prefer a more old fashioned fit. They look nice.

The fabric does seem to be cooling, and I do plan to buy these in the future for my husband and son.


Viva Labs Organic Coconut Sugar: Non-GMO, Low-Glycemic Sweetener, 6 lbs Bag
Viva Labs Organic Coconut Sugar: Non-GMO, Low-Glycemic Sweetener, 6 lbs Bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $29.95
2 used & new from $24.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, earthy flavor works really well in a lot of recipes, October 13, 2014
This is not a super sweet sugar. It does sweeten but also adds a depth of flavor to your favorite recipes. The flavor is earthy, rich and a bit like caramel.

I'm loving it in coffee drinks, but it's also really good in frozen avocado/banana treats and in baking. It works better than other non-cane sugars in baked recipes, but the finished taste will be a little less sweet.

I like it quite a bit, and the fact it's healthier than most sugars is a plus too.
Review item provided at no cost, this is my honest experience and opinion.


Viva Labs Organic Cacao Powder: Raw and Non-GMO, 1lb Bag
Viva Labs Organic Cacao Powder: Raw and Non-GMO, 1lb Bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $18.95
3 used & new from $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious flavor, October 13, 2014
My family takes chocolate a little too seriously. I prefer vanilla myself, but we go through astounding amounts of cocoa powder and cacao powder and have tried a lot of different kinds.

This one is great, it's deeply chocolate and can be used in place of unsweetened cocoa in your favorite recipes. My daughter loves one minute mug cakes and this is the chocolate she's been choosing. It also blends well into iced drinks. Make up some cold brew coffee, freeze some milk, and then blend it with this cacao and a sweetener for a frosty coffee drink that's delicious. Or my favorite- freeze a container of plain yogurt, then put it in the blender with a bit of milk, a couple spoonfuls of cacao and a couple spoonfuls of sugar and some vanilla- blend until smooth.
Review item provided at no cost, this is my honest experience and opinion.


Viva Labs Organic Coconut Flour: Non-GMO, and Gluten-Free, 1 lb Bag
Viva Labs Organic Coconut Flour: Non-GMO, and Gluten-Free, 1 lb Bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars One minute muffin- perfect!, October 13, 2014
The fine flour has a delicate flavor, and it can be overworked easily. The flavor is fantastic though, and I recommend short cooking times at moderate temperatures to retain it.

My favorite use for this flour is one minute muffins- they turn out delicate and cake like made with coconut flour. So good that even my husband who is very suspicious of my "hippie cooking" will eat them warm out of the microwave. There are a lot of recipes available, just look for omm coconut flour.

If you haven't cooked with coconut flour before, it's very absorbent. A small amount goes a long way and it can't be used a straight substitute measure for measure for wheat flour and it doesn't work well as a thickener. But if you're trying to cut carbs, but don't want to give up things like pancakes- this is a winner because of the egg/milk/flour ratio of most coconut flour recipes.
Review item provided at no cost, this is my honest experience and opinion.


Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio, Silver
Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio, Silver
Price: $12.49
106 used & new from $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good little radio, October 10, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
My daughter listens to the radio a lot, and after a conversation with her about the transistor radios from when I was a kid, we agreed that a little pocket radio might be a good thing for her to have.

I'm buying a couple more for emergencies. I have a much more expensive emergency radio, but it doesn't have the range this little pocket radio has, and doesn't sound as clear. It has a telescoping antenna to help with signal reception. We have a few stations very close to each other which will overlap on several of our home radios, and they don't on this. This has better sound that expected, tunes in easily with good indicator light to show when your tuned in. Sound quality is on par with vintage pocket radios- so if you're an audiophile, you won't want to listen to music on this but if you just enjoy having music or talk radio on in the background, it's ideal.

It looks like a classic pocket radio, same size and shape with manual tune and volume control. Plastic case and a lighter than the pocket radios I've had in the past.
My daughter is very happy with it. Recommended if you have need for a radio.


Mega Bloks Assassin's Creed Fortress Attack
Mega Bloks Assassin's Creed Fortress Attack
Price: $24.99
7 used & new from $19.79

4.0 out of 5 stars AC fans will enjoy this tie-in brick play set, October 9, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My family loves the Assassin's Creed game franchise, and enjoys brick sets a lot.

I love the detail in the brick panels that make up the sides of the tower, and the color effect of the building bricks that are molded in 2 shades of brown, The lift action is neat and because the bricks fit together so tightly, this is a set that can be played with after it's assembled.

The figures are well sculpted with lots of little costume pieces and accessories and multiple points of articulation- kind of like miniature action figures.

This is a well detailed set, and my daughter and I would have put it together very quickly except some of the bricks are a very tight fit which led to us to yelling a few times for my husband to bring his thumbs. This isn't a bad thing because the model won't be taken apart, it's going on a shelf. The tight bricks were the flat brown ones used in the top of the tower.

For fans of Assassin's Creed, this is nice accessory. My daughter thinks it's just plain nifty.


Poison Fruit: Agent of Hel
Poison Fruit: Agent of Hel
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $10.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying conclusion, October 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The series is urban fantasy, and light reading but done very well. The language flows well with enough description to really help you visualize the scenery and characters, but the primary focus is on what's going in the main character's mind and her relationships with the people around her.

The various mythologies were well researched. The Norse and fairy lore has been in previous books, but this also brings in some more myths with the same careful attention to detail and a good amount of "What if?"

The pacing is excellent, it starts with one conflict, and finishes that in the first half while laying out the groundwork for the big problem and for tying up the threads from the previous books. Good characterization and good action- I'd love to see this series turned into a television show.

Comparisons are inevitable. Like several other series, this is part cozy mystery, part romance and all urban fantasy. Forget the comparisons, this steps out from the expected from the very start.


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