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JC Cole Shoehorns - 8" Metal Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Madison Pink)
JC Cole Shoehorns - 8" Metal Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Madison Pink)
Offered by Shoe Mart Inc
Price: $8.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Standard 8 inch shoehorn, October 1, 2014
Wide enough to make putting on shoes easy. Comes in some nice colors, including a pretty burgundy metallic red and a leather, as well as Pepto-Bismol Pink. This is easier to use than the "Just for You" five inch size, but it's heavier. So if you travel, the JC Cole Shoehorns - 4.5" Metal Mom Logo Shoe Horn is easier to pack, but this one is easier to use to put on shoes. If you don't want a long shoehorn, this one does the job.

Item was supplied in exchange for evaluation and review.


JC Cole Shoehorns - 4.5" Metal Just For You Logo Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Madison Pink Script-Gold Fill)
JC Cole Shoehorns - 4.5" Metal Just For You Logo Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Madison Pink Script-Gold Fill)
Offered by Shoe Mart Inc
Price: $8.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Purse or suitcase size shoehorn, October 1, 2014
This shoehorn is five inches in length and comes in various colors (pearlized burgundy and a stamped leather.)They are made in the USA. There is a leather thong on the end. If you are going shoe shopping, this is small enough for a purse or pocket, and if you travel, it won't take up much space in the suitcase. It is slightly less easy to use this shoehorn that the larger ones because it is very small. But for shopping and travel, it's great.

Item was supplied in exchange for evaluation and review.


JC Cole Shoehorns - 16" Metal Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Antique Pewter)
JC Cole Shoehorns - 16" Metal Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Antique Pewter)
Offered by Shoe Mart Inc
Price: $14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Narrower and not quite as long as the "Grandpa" shoehorn, October 1, 2014
This is a long shoehorn, silver colored, that lets you put on shoes without bending over. It's shorter than the "Grandpa" model and actually, it's not quite as slick as the "Grandpa"--it was very slightly harder to lever on my shoe. I'm not certain why. It is shorter and narrower than the big "Grandpa" model, so if you want a smaller, but long shoehorn, this will do the trick--and it doesn't have the embarrassing "Grandpa" logo on it, either.

Item was supplied in exchange for evaluation and review.


JC Cole Shoehorns - 16" Metal Grandpa Logo Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Silvertone-Black Screen)
JC Cole Shoehorns - 16" Metal Grandpa Logo Shoe Horn - Made in the USA (Silvertone-Black Screen)
Offered by Shoe Mart Inc
Price: $14.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy on, October 1, 2014
I wear "Mary Jane" style shoes in fall and winter--they are not easy to put on as they have a top strap, so I have to use a shoehorn (or risk crushing the back of the shoe to get them on.) The "Grandpa" shoehorn is a bit embarrassing but it does the job. I can sit without bending over--or stand and put on the shoe. The finish on the black shoehorn is an anodized black, and has gold lettering at the end proclaiming "Grandpa." (Great, just great.) But the shoes go on "like buttah."

This is relatively heavy, but has a hole at the end for hanging on a hook in your closet.

Item was supplied in exchange for evaluation and review.


Japanese Rice Washing Bowl with Side and Bottom Drainers
Japanese Rice Washing Bowl with Side and Bottom Drainers
Offered by JapanSuperMall
Price: $5.10
15 used & new from $2.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Rice and Quinoa, essential kitchen tool, October 1, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you make rice or quinoa, and if you wash your grains, this bowl is very convenient. Usually, I use a strainer, but this bowl lets you wash it more easily. The bottom holes are small enough to keep even quinoa from falling through. One of the spouts on the top has a strainer for pouring off the wash water.

Rice is dusted with glucose powder to keep it white-looking, and this needs to be washed off. Quinoa has a coating that has a bitter flavor and even if you buy "washed" quinoa, it needs to be washed and rubbed a bit for the best results. This bowl is very handy for that.

There is a hole with a plastic eyelet on the other side of the top if you like to hang up your kitchen utensils. At this price, with Prime Shipping, it's a very good deal.


Black and Decker CM3005S 12-Cup Tea and Coffeemaker
Black and Decker CM3005S 12-Cup Tea and Coffeemaker
Price: $61.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Toffee-pot? Brews tea or coffee and has a lot of features, September 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Did someone make a wish list: "Everything I need in a coffee maker"? Because this is a very complete tea and coffee system.

Good things:

1. Brew 1-4 cup (with slower drip of water for complete brewing) or 5-12 cup
2. Delayed brewing of tea or coffee with a timer
3. Clock
4. Clean cycle
5. Tea filter
6. Coffee filter (mesh)
7. Brew Strength for coffee (regular or strong)
8. Sneak-a-cup (for impatient people brewing a whole pot but who want that first cup NOW)
9. Built-in cord storage

Thing(s) it doesn't have:

1. Built-in water filter. I use filtered water to make tea or coffee, so I filled the carafe with that. Some coffee pots do have a filter for chlorine-laden water, but this one doesn't. Surprised me a little, as there are SO many features on this pot. However, I have filtered water.
2. Simplicity. You have to pick from an array of buttons to make coffee or tea. My current pot--you just fill and turn it on. This pot, I have to choose, 1-4 cup or 5-12 (and it makes a difference), strong or regular, tea or coffee, etc. Unless you are always making regular strength coffee at 5-12 cups, you have to be mindful of the settings. And since I wear bifocals, I have to bend down to see the labels on the array of buttons as I can't just look down on the counter and read them. A quibble, perhaps, and the trade-off for having a pot that does a lot more than just brew up standard coffee.

Beverage Testing:

Tea: I made up a pot of green bancha (Japanese) tea. I thought the water was a tad hot. I usually brew at 175 to 180 degrees and this was more like 190-194 degrees. The tea was fine, however and the pot does keep it hot on the heating element, which is something you can't easily do in a regular teapot. However, the carafe is quite hot, so removing the filter unit to prevent overbrewing is not easy. The pot steeps the tea for five minutes, showing you the time on the LCD, and beeps when brewing is completed. My bancha tasted very good--like sushi bar tea--it was that slightly murky yellow green color and tasted just fine. I'm not sure I'd use this for delicate Chinese green teas or white teas, but for bancha and black tea, this is great.

I was out of black tea so I didn't try it for Earl Grey or to make a big batch of hot black tea to chill for iced tea. And as an iced tea maker, it is not as fun as the dedicated machines that brew over ice.

Coffee: works fine. Having a permanent filter is a nice touch. I brew 4 cups, no more, in the morning, so the low-volume brew setting was welcome, as is the timer. My current pot has no timer. There is also a counter to show you how long the coffee has been sitting on the hot plate. I brewed 4 cups of Starbucks' Anniversary Blend and brewed it on regular. It was not quite as good as my regular brew in a Delonghi pot I've had for years. (That pot makes exceptional coffee--and it has a built in filter as well as the ability to steam milk.) It may be because I put the coffee up the night before, the grounds lost some of the aroma. But there was also a bit less body, so I may try the "strong" setting next time. The pot beeps when it's finished brewing. One thing I wish more coffee pots had as a feature (this one doesn't) --temperature control of the plate. Coffee isn't great if it's held on a hot plate too long and if you cut down the temperature a bit, you can keep it warm. I used to have a copper plate that fit over it to lift the pot up but this coffeemaker has a very tight tolerance between the pot and the brewing portion, so I don't think I can install one of those plates to reduce the temperature under the carafe.

The pot is decked in stainless steel and looks pretty good--it does have a bit of the Black & Decker utilitarian look about it, but it's fairly good looking, and the blue LED lights and LCD display are modern and sharp. The Black & Decker logo below looks like it belongs more on a table saw than a coffee pot. But...guys who want a tea and coffee maker in their Man Cave will not find this out of place and it works in a stainless steel kitchen.

The instructions give you method to clean with white vinegar. Re "Toffee" or coffee flavor mixing with your tea: you remove the filter holder and mesh coffee filter to brew your tea--I wondered about that, because coffee oils bind to plastic and mesh and--well, ew! (By the way, if you find there is still a strong coffee flavor, you can brush out the plastic top area with a dampened paper towel that has some baking soda dissolved on it. That seems to remove coffee residue really well. Then wipe again to remove the baking soda.)

Bottom line: lots of features for a very reasonable price and it works very well. It makes good coffee and excellent green a (my pot of Japanese tea was very enjoyable.) This pot would be good if you entertain--if you make Asian food and want a whole carafe of green tea or black tea, you can easily make some up, and of course it works for your morning coffee. I drink tea in the afternoon and only one (monster) cup of coffee in the morning. So for me, this is very handy to brew hot beverages throughout the day and to have it for entertaining guests.

I'd give this five out of five if you could control the water brewing temperature for tea, and if it had a water filter. However, it's a solid four (four and a half if they had half stars.) I think it's a real contender as a reasonably-priced, very feature-rich countertop coffee/tea brewer. If you need a new coffee pot, I think it compares favorable to several best-sellers such as the Cuisinart and the Mr. Coffee.


Converter for Safari, Joy, AL-Star Fountain Pen, 2 Pk (LZ24)
Converter for Safari, Joy, AL-Star Fountain Pen, 2 Pk (LZ24)
Offered by BestSource OfficeSupplies
Price: $9.88
3 used & new from $9.88

5.0 out of 5 stars Lets you use many inks, for a lot less., September 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
These fit the Joy Calligraphy pen, the Al-Star and the Safari, the most popular of the Lamy pens. If you have one of these, you can use the many inks that are now available in a rainbow of colors. I filled mine with Diamine ink and Herbin's anniversary "Hematite Red" and both worked extremely well. Since cartridges come in fewer colors and are by comparison, more expensive, it's good to own converters. Two pack means you can have two different inks loaded and not have to flush the converter to change inks (right away.) The coverter twists down, dip in your ink bottle, twist up and blot the outside and you're ready to go. If you haven't tried bottled inks, Diamine makes smaller 30ml bottles of many interesting colors, and you can even find samples of various inks on fountain pen specialty websites.


Lamy Calligraphy Set Pen Sets - Black L15S
Lamy Calligraphy Set Pen Sets - Black L15S
Offered by Sun World
Price: $53.95
8 used & new from $53.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Good value, good function, September 28, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a fountain pen for calligraphy. Unlike regular fountain pens, the Joy has an elongated barrel (something I didn't realize when I ordered it.) It comes with 3 nibs sections: 1.1 mm, 1.5 mm and 1.9 mm. The pen has an oval ink window and the characteristic Lamy U-shaped clip in bright red on the black plastic barrel. The nib is steel and able to handle sharp lines and broad ones with ease. It comes in a handsome brushed aluminum box with foam dividers to hold the nibs, barrel, a box of cartridges and even two caps for the cartridges.

Good points: This pen writes well for italics and even engrossing script. The ink flow is good but not too liquid. Changing nibs is easy--screw on a new section and you are good to go.

Bad points: I prefer to use my own inks, and this does not come with a converter. You can buy a two-pack of converters for an addtional ten bucks, but I would have preferred one converter to be included rather than a box of an additional five cartridges. Most people I know use converters to take advantage of the many beautiful new inks available in so many colors.

The wider nibs drag a bit--this is not the smoothest and fastest pen, but that may be a function of the width of the nib. You have to cap it between writing, or it is hard to start without priming. Capped, it writes immediately (in my hands.)

You cannot post the cap.

The longer barrel makes writing less tiring--the pen is very balanced. I like it for italics and calligrapny and find it a lot less tiring than a standard fountain pen. For the price, this is an excellent calligraphy set and I am happy with it.


Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient
Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient
Offered by Hachette Book Group
Price: $14.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Eggs-cellent?, September 26, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I had HIGH hopes for this book by Michael Ruhlman, because anyone who says that chicken Caesar salad is what's wrong with American cuisine is onto something. But this book was a bit disappointing. And I really enjoy cooking eggs--omelets, souffles, boiled, scrambled, poached, you name it. But for some reason, I was somewhat disappointed in "Egg", although it has some very good recipes--and it's high time the egg was celebrated for its versatility in cuisine.

The recipes are a strange mix of the mundane, the exotic and the missing-in-action. There is a good section on hard boiling eggs--if you want to avoid the gummy yolk or the green ring and dry disaster, this is explained well. There are riffs on egg salad, but truly, there could have been more in the hard-boiled egg section. The famous "Scotch Eggs" which are hard boiled eggs wrapped in sausage, breaded and fried also fail to make an appearance. There are some fun things you can do with this recipe. And whole eggs can appear in pates. Nope, nothing. There is no exciting, new deviled egg recipe--just a deconstructed curried deviled egg in the eggs-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good chapter.

There is one frittata, eggs in sauce but no shakshuka though it rates a mention as a variant of eggs cooked in sauce. This is a fun dinner recipe and common in the Middle East and it's popular now in the US. I'd have appreciated his take on a really good version. You do get chawan mushi (a custard soup served in a tea bowl) and ramen and a very interesting puttanesca sauce topped with a poached egg. The bread section is good--brioche, challah, gougeres, and an egg yolk fresh pasta. There is a chapter on sauces (mayonnaise, Bernaise, etc.) The sweets include French meringues and Ile Flottant but not Pavlova, the ultimate egg white dessert. You do get a panna cotta (which I make without egg, by the by) and ice creams, and a few custards. The only souffle is a chocolate souffle. As a souffle is one of the most amazing things an egg can do, I thought a savory souffle would be included. No. And the Salzburger Nockerl is also MIA--a very dramatic dish that depends on eggs for its structure. It deserved a mention--its tiny American cousin, the popover is in here but both nockerl and the English Yorkshire pudding are egg-dependent famous recipes and I thought should have at least had an honorable mention. So this is why I say the book is hit or miss in some ways.

I also have a real problem in how this book is presented online for Kindles. I am annoyed at publishers who demand top prices for Kindle books and do not make it easy to evaluate a Kindle book online before purchase by just lazily putting the first pages up for a downloaded sample. A lot of the initial pages of any book are acknowledgements, introduction, even publisher's frontispiece and no pictures, table of contents or index. The samples are hit and miss for usefulness. To evaluate this book, you have to go to the hardbound version and look through to see the table of contents and pictures, some recipes and excerpts. On some occasions, the previews for paperbound and hardbound books are just the Kindle previews (skimpy) and if the "look inside" ever goes totally to just the first few pages, we won't be able to truly evaluate a book before purchase.

I was expecting more from this book. There is nothing here that makes me need to keep this book front and center on my cooking island. I was hoping for more, or let's say, different, although I will say, Ruhlman covers the bases.


BELL 22-1-70310-9 Gray Foose Boulevard Seat Cover - Pair
BELL 22-1-70310-9 Gray Foose Boulevard Seat Cover - Pair
Price: $20.80

2.0 out of 5 stars Ok for occasional protection, not for every day use, September 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My dogs don't always stay in the back seat, where there is a seat cover designed for dogs. They want to be up front, and even though they ride in the back, they occasionally burst in or out of the front via the center console, muddy feet and all. So for weekends out in the field, I thought these would be a good idea to protect the leather upholstery.

They are not very pretty--but the interior of my car is similarly colored (dark gray and light gray.) The material is thin, and there is no separate cover for the headrest--so these look rather ugly and a tad wrinkly when they are installed. At the price currently (twenty bucks) they aren't a bad idea if you are taking your car for a weekend campout or going somewhere and think your upholstery might get soiled. For daily use, I'd spring for something thicker and more stylish.


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