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T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Wooden Dollhouse & Dress-Ups Set
T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Wooden Dollhouse & Dress-Ups Set
Price: $58.85
2 used & new from $54.95

3.0 out of 5 stars A 4-star dollset with a 3-star dollhouse, October 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: The doll set itself is 4 stars, but the dollhouse it comes it only gets 3 stars. That, plus the recommended age of 3 and up seems a bit reaching; maybe 4 or 5 and up would be better.

BACKGROUND: Our family has a 3yo who helped us test this product. Her behavior is what leads me to suggest that the recommended age of 3+ is over-reaching. A 3yo just doesn't appreciate a gift like this like an older child likely would. If you spend $50 on a nice wooden doll set, you don't want a child to admire it for a moment and go on to something else. The other issue is the dollhouse, which does stow all the dolls and doll outfits, but is fairly useless aside from that. Finally, pay attention to the dimensions of this set -- it was much bigger than I imagined it would be! It's 24 inches x 18 inches. Make sure you know you can stow this doll house when not in use.

WHAT WE LIKED:

- Made of real wood, so it's durable and a throwback to yesteryear toys
- The dolls themselves are great! Lots of colorful and fun pieces to stick on/off
- It's got potential to be a fun gift for years to come
- It's an imaginative item that can engage a young girl's siblings or friends (and keep them away from the TV)

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The dollhouse background images aren't securely affixed to the dollhouse itself, so they tend to buckle and bow rather than lay flat.
- The two pieces that screw into the sides of the house (to help with balance) are irritatingly difficult to screw in
- The dollhouse itself has no magnetic surfaces, so there are no dollhouse pieces to stick on and off (like 2D pieces of furniture or decorations)
- The dollhouse is so shallow that all the child really does is just stand the dolls inside the room, rather than move the dolls around
- The attic is fairly useless; none of the standing pieces fit inside it
- You can't layer the pieces on the doll, so the doll can carry food or be fully clothed, but not both!

CONCLUSION: I recommend this item for slightly older children, maybe 4 or 5 years old and up, and only if the above complaints aren't bothersome to you.


U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving Mask Snorkel Set, Clear
U.S. Divers Malibu Silicone Free Diving Mask Snorkel Set, Clear
Offered by Bay 15

3.0 out of 5 stars 5-star snorkel with a 2-star mask, October 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: The snorkel is a terrific improvement over the years-old style I'm used to, but the mask falters with the comfort under the nose. The mask's purge valve is unyielding, making the mask uncomfortable to wear.

BACKGROUND: I live in Florida and have enjoyed snorkeling for many years. I would never buy a mask online without first knowing how well the mask fit my face by going to a dive shop and trying on many kinds of masks. The shapes of people's heads and faces is virtually unlimited, and although a mask can adapt to comfortably fit many of those heads and faces, it's really demands a try-before-you-buy experience if you don't want to risk an ill-fitting mask. Turns out, this mask fit my face fairly well, but the purge valve beneath the nose inflexibly dug into my upper lip. It's fine to use while inspecting my pool, but I would never take this mask to the ocean for extended use.

WHAT I LIKED:

- The snorkel is great! In our pool, I had my kids purposefully try to splash water on the exposed end of the snorkel while I was using it, and the snorkel's design very effectively kept water from entering the snorkel tube.
- The snorkel valves worked very well to both keep water from filling the snorkel tube (which is an innovation I'm not used to) as well as purging water from the tube (which I am used to)
- The snorkel mouthpiece was comfortable to use, and the flexible tubing and mask clip made it easy to attach to the mask and use with the mask
- The mask provided ample visual field of vision (note: it has no side glass for peripheral vision)
- The mask straps were very easily adjusted
- The tote bag was a nice touch to keep the snorkel and mask together

WHAT I DID NOT LIKE:

- The mask wasn't comfortable to wear because the area for the nose was a little too narrow for my nose, but, much more importantly, the purge valve under the nose just jammed into my upper lip, irrespective of how I adjusted the mask straps, causing some pain when I wore this mask in the pool

CONCLUSION: The snorkel was 5-stars for design and comfort. If the mask's purge valve didn't dig into my upper lip, I'd give this 4.5 stars (because the nose area was a tad too narrow), but the discomfort I had because of the mask purge valve meant that this mask is fine just to inspect my pool, but not for extended snorkeling in the ocean.


OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatula, Medium, White
OXO Good Grips Silicone Spatula, Medium, White
Price: $10.24
14 used & new from $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Makes a good first impression, September 29, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: Nice weight and balance, stiff blade, and the blade and neck are made of one piece for improved durability. The only question is, how well does this last over time?

NOTE: If you're reading this review and others from Amazon's Vine Voices, know that none of us have had this item to test with for more than a month. In my experience, spatulas are great at the outset, but their durability and resistance to staining and shredded blade edges can only be judged over time. So, I peg this item as a 4-star item because I like it, but if it's as good one year from now as it is today, it'll be a 5-star item.

WHAT I LIKE:

- Feels good in your hand, weighty without being heavy to hold
- The blade and neck are a single piece (no spatula head that falls off!)
- Dishwasher safe
- Safe to use up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use this in cooking applications as well as for baking
- Supposedly resists staining, but we haven't used this enough to judge that characteristic

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

The spatula tends to attract crumbs or whatever small particles are in your utensils drawer. You may have to rinse off this spatula before you use it to remove any foreign material that the silicone material has attracted.

CONCLUSION: Nice spatula! I hope it lasts for many years.


Thule TCCS-101DKS Covert Covert CSC Satchel (Dark Shadow)
Thule TCCS-101DKS Covert Covert CSC Satchel (Dark Shadow)
Price: $49.95
2 used & new from $49.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Great bag for small cameras and personal devices - but there's no Velcro here, September 27, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 1:22 Mins

QUICK SUMMARY: Small, durable-looking camera bag works well for point-n-shoot cameras, larger cameras with zoom lens (but not DSLRs like the Canon Rebel), and most of your other personal electronics or keepsakes. Zippered pockets make it water resistant and secure, but zippers are more cumbersome to deal with. I miss having Velcro flaps.

WHAT I LIKE:

- Small and compact, this would be a good choice if you're taking a camera to the park, beach or theme park
- Water resistant features like zippered pockets would keep your gear dry in a short shower
- Shock-absorbing, flannel lining would keep your camera from breaking if the bag falls to the ground
- The main pouch opens up away from you, so, if you're wearing it around your waist, you're not having to peer over the main pouch's flap (there's a small element of privacy, too, with this feature)
- Because the pouches are zippered, you won't accidentally have something fall out because a Velcro flap didn't catch right

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- There is no Velcro here, so to open/close the flaps, you always having to zip/unzip which is a little bothersome, especially if you're wearing it around your waist. I suppose I wish it had the option to just use Velcro if you wanted, but also zipper shut the flap for greater protection. So, I guess the trade-off is you get better water-resistance and security by only having zippered pouches, but you're always having to unzip/zip to open/close this bag.

CONCLUSION: For someone who needs a small bag and doesn't mind zippered pockets, this is a very good choice for a small camera bag. Recommended!


Benson Mills Climbing Vine Heavy Weight Spillproof Tablecloth, Ivory, 60-inch-by-104 inch
Benson Mills Climbing Vine Heavy Weight Spillproof Tablecloth, Ivory, 60-inch-by-104 inch
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars We like the color, look and feel - but not the weaving flaws, September 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: My wife likes the look, feel and spillproof nature of this item, but she didn't like the fit-and-finish of it.

WHAT WE LIKED:

- The ivory color was very suitable for our dining room (the ivory color of this tablecloth is a little more yellowish than the product picture makes it out to be)
- The herringbone design was attractive
- The tablecloth has a rich, heavyweight feel to it
- It resists absorbing liquids spilled onto it, so they can be blotted up instead (but note: liquids do still seep through, so you still must use a table pad if your table is susceptible to water damage)

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The herringbone design tends to snag easily
- Our tablecloth came with two manufacturing defects, one of which was a 12-inch loop of thread that somehow didn't get woven into the fabric properly, and the other was a pilling that it noticeable but not terribly so

CONCLUSION: Overall, this is a nice item for the money. You get what you pay for.


Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Back-Lit LCD Display, Tare, Hold and PCS Features 2000 x 0.1g Capacity (2 Lids Included)
Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Back-Lit LCD Display, Tare, Hold and PCS Features 2000 x 0.1g Capacity (2 Lids Included)
Offered by MeasuRite
Price: $24.99
4 used & new from $14.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Accurate, small, easy to use - but the precision level is illusionary, September 26, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: Small scale works fine for a non-scientific scale that costs as much as two or three McDonald's dinners.

WHAT I LIKED:

- Accurate to within a gram or two (see below)
- The backlit LCD display was easy to read
- Battery powered, so, no cords
- Small and compact, just 5" x 4"
- The "Count" function makes it easy to, say, count a jar of coins having the same denomination
- Has plastic covers to protect the scale when not in use (it has one cover for the weighing surface, and one for the entire scale)

WHAT I DISLIKED:

- It only weighs up to 500 grams; my digital kitchen scale is much more useful to me
- The instruction manual uses a teensy-weeny font size of about 3 or 4 points
- The plastic covers lack a thumb notch to make them easy to remove (and why have two covers?)
- After self-calibrating, the scale tended to still bump around +/- 0.010 grams, even when nothing was on the scale. And really, can a scale like this really measure 1/1000th of a gram accurately?

HOW TO CHECK SCALE ACCURACY:

A cup of water is about 8.3 ounces, or, about 237 grams. Use a measuring cup and the Tare function on this scale to check its accuracy. After turning on the scale, put a plastic cup on the scale and press Tare so it reads 0.000 grams. Then, pour exactly one cup of water into the plastic cup. It should read 237 grams, more or less. My scale read just slightly under 237 grams.

CONCLUSION: Great little scale for the money, but a good kitchen scale does everything this scale does. Unless you weigh very light items and/or need a very small scale, get a good kitchen scale instead. (Vendor supplied product for review).


Collar and Basic Dog Leash Combo - Small Adjustable Dog Wear Collar (10'' - 16'') with Extra Long Basic Leash (45'' = 114 cm)
Collar and Basic Dog Leash Combo - Small Adjustable Dog Wear Collar (10'' - 16'') with Extra Long Basic Leash (45'' = 114 cm)
Offered by PetMagasin Direct
Price: $26.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very strong collar/leash combination - but I didn't like the hardware, September 26, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: The material looks as strong as the cargo straps inside my flatbed pickup, but I didn't care for the metal hardware used on the collar or the leash.

WHAT I LIKED:

- Very sturdy collar and leash, you could use these to tow a vehicle, I think
- Both the collar and leash were surprisingly wide (I've seen this width only for large dog leashes; our dog is medium-sized)
- My daughters liked the color (but turns out, I disliked the light blue color against our mutt's black, white and tan fur)
- The light blue trim makes this an easy-to-find leash inside your vehicle, and you won't likely get it mixed-up with someone else's pet leash

WHAT I DISLIKED:

- The collar's D ring (onto which you place a keyring holding your dog's tags) is so thick, we had to use a tool to separate the keyring wide enough so it could be threaded onto the D-ring. Rather than use such thick metal for the D-ring, I wish they used a thinner D-ring that was still just as sturdy (perhaps made of high-quality stainless steel instead).
- The thumb latch on the leash was difficult to depress and sounded awful. The spring-loaded pin scraped against the surrounding metal collar, which made a harsh sound (not a big deal, but annoying). I dabbed Vaseline into the mechanism to quiet the sound and make it easier to depress. Also, it just wasn't comfortable to depress this mechanism with my thumb; there should have been a little larger pad onto which you place your thumb when you're leashing or unleashing your pet.

CONCLUSION: Be sure your dog will look good in light blue before you pull the trigger on this item. (Vendor supplied product for review).


Surpahs Shiny Small Lightweight Digital Bathroom Scale w/ BMI Calculation, Auto Identify 4 Users [White]
Surpahs Shiny Small Lightweight Digital Bathroom Scale w/ BMI Calculation, Auto Identify 4 Users [White]
Offered by Surpahs
Price: $29.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Great choice for our bathroom - but why only four profiles?, September 26, 2014
QUICK SUMMARY: Sleek scale with a bright, easy-to-read, backlit, digital readout. Worked great! I only wish it had room for more than just four profiles. Recommended!

WHAT I LIKED:

- The backlit LCD display makes reading the digital readout very easy to do, even on dreary mornings or in bathroom nooks that are shadowy
- The accuracy was as you'd expect to find (say, +/- 1 lb.)
- The instant-on feature was nice, as is the quick read-out
- The BMI was a unique touch (though BMI only has only moderate usefulness for making health decisions)
- I liked the way it matches each profile automatically, without having to specify which profile you're using
- Looks much more modern than our existing, mechanical-spring scale
- For the price, this is a very affordable scale!

WHAT COULD BE BETTER:

- The only reason I didn't give this item 5 stars was because it only stores four profiles. Not every family is that perfect little nuclear family with a dad, mom, and two kids. My family is bigger than four people, so we can't all have a profile to measure our BMI over time. Not a big deal, but shoot -- how hard would it have been to include 8 or 10 profiles in the scale's design?

CONCLUSION: Great bathroom scale overall. Recommended! (Vendor supplied product for review).


Climate Shield OSCS-HC Pool Heater Cover
Climate Shield OSCS-HC Pool Heater Cover
Offered by Doheny's Pool Supplies Fast
Price: $59.98
5 used & new from $49.87

1.0 out of 5 stars Perfect in every way - but it doesn't last!!, September 26, 2014
Length:: 0:41 Mins

QUICK SUMMARY: When I originally wrote this review, I gave it 5 stars. But I'm dropping it to 1 star because, a little more than six months later, the vinyl surface has cracked miserably, allowing water to seep onto the water heater it's supposed to protect. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!! (Note: I wrote this review for the identical product in the larger size, made by the same company -- the Climate Shield OSCS-HPC Heat Pump Cover; since these two identical except for their size, I'm publishing my same review on both Climate Shield product pages).

<< Original review follows >>

BACKGROUND: My 3-year-old heat pump's fan motor began seizing after a few hours' use until I got it replaced (still under warranty, thankfully). My heat pump is on the side of my house, underneath my eaves, but not fully so, so water running off my roof falls directly atop my heat pump. After getting the fan motor replaced, I thought I ought to keep a cover over my heat pump to help protect it from the elements better, and so hopefully my equipment lasts longer. I bought this Climate Shield because it fit the physical dimensions of my Jandy heat pump, and the product description seemed good. Note that my pool installer wrongly placed my heat pump right up against my home's exterior wall (rather than giving it the manufacturer-recommended 6" of clearance), so it would be challenging to put a cover over my equipment without any clearance.

WHAT I LIKE:

- It fits over my Jandy heat pump perfectly
- It is extremely easy to put on and take off
- I was pleasantly shocked to find that this cover has a Velcro seam at the back, so I can splay the cover where my heat pump comes nearly into contact with my home's exterior wall; this makes putting the cover on/off extremely easy to do
- There are cinch cords to raise the bottom edge of the cover a few inches above the concrete pad, to provide air circulation under the cover
- There is a cinch cord in the front to tighten the cover for very snug fit over my heat pump
- There are two grilled vents on the left and right side, to give additional airflow through the cover
- The inside of the cover has a fuzzy-soft material lining it, so the protective vinyl doesn't just stick to the heat pump

(Originally, I wrote, "There is nothing I dislike about this cover." That is not true any longer. I hate that this cover has failed to protect after a little more than six months of use.)

CONCLUSION: This is exactly what I wanted to protect my heat pump from water run-off from my roof, and to keep my equipment protected from the summer sunshine, too. It's too bad that fails miserably to protect my heat pump after so little use. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!!


Pentair 08650-0018 Weir Bumper Replacement Sta-Rite U-3 Pool and Spa Skimmer
Pentair 08650-0018 Weir Bumper Replacement Sta-Rite U-3 Pool and Spa Skimmer
Offered by Recreation Supply Company
Price: $6.99
5 used & new from $6.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible waste of money, September 25, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
QUICK SUMMARY: This weir bumper did not stick, fell off in a day. Horrible waste of money. Buyer beware!

BACKGROUND: I bought this to replace the worn-out weir bumper on my pool's weir. I cleaned off the old bumper and then *very carefully* added this one to a dry surface. I was surprised at how non-sticky the bumper adhesive was as I peeled away the protective paper.

RESULT: The stupid bumper fell off by the end of the day!! The adhesive isn't strong at all, certainly not for outdoor use or around water. This was a total waste of money. Not recommended at all!


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