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The Mermaid's Sister
The Mermaid's Sister
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Modern Faerie Tail ;), February 25, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I was and am a very serious person, and have been my entire life. As a child, I was attracted to ALL sciences and math, choosing both fields to go into for my career. But, and this is a very important "but", I also have had my entire life the deepest of needs to 'escape' all that seriousness and found the Fantasy Genre the perfect "Escape Valve." It's a place for me to recharge my mind's battery, so to speak; a place where Rules of Reality are suspended and ANY and ALL things are possible.

I have also, inextricably, been attracted to All.Things.Mermaid. and Of The Sea since as far back as my memory affords me. When visiting my great aunt's home, I could play for hours with her seashell collection from Hawaii and I hand-sewed a mermaid costume for my Barbie. I began collecting mermaid "everything" as soon as my babysitting money allowed: mermaid art, statues, and paintings, and I now have my home office decorated with a lifetime's worth of "Maid of the Sea" art. Please note, I've NEVER read Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid" nor have I seen the animated movie. Where my obsession with mermaids hails from is truly a mystery to me but it is mystery I choose to allow, and NOT solve. :D

When I read the small info on this month's Kindle First selection, I was so very hopeful that this book didn't disappoint. And it does NOT!!! Charmingly written to the extreme with fantastic character development of EVERYONE, including the "critters", it was what I needed to disappear into this snowy and cold February. Starting with the very cover, which is cryptically illustrated, it teases the reader with all major plot points and most characters. (I do so love when I can judge a 'book by it's cover!') Moving past the cover, it didn't take me any longer than one paragraph to know that this book was going to provide me with endless enjoyment, for how can you NOT love someone who writes, "Do trees make wishes?"

The writing style of this book was captivating and I spent additional time rereading choice phrases and paragraphs and highlighting passages. Unfortunately, I can't quote any highlighted passages because once I went back and reviewed them, all of them would have provided some degree of "spoiling" the plot and I don't want to take that joy away from a future reader. Suffice it to say, Carrie Anne Noble REALLY knows how to combine words into lasting impressions. Carrie Anne's writing style is very similar to Sarah Addison Allen; if you've read "The Girl Who Chased The Moon" or "Garden Spells", then you'll be familiar with the type of writing exhibited in this novel.

I also want to thank the author for setting her story in OUR world!!!! Set in Pennsylvania, I did NOT have to keep a written note card of made-up place names and NO ONE had bizarre, impossible to remember made-up names that so many fantasy authors feel is de rigueur; you just don't know HOW much a worn out brain appreciates this fact!!! And for anyone interested, "Llanfair" is an actual word: it's Welsh and means 'St. Mary's Parish."

This story is written in the First Person narrative by "the mermaid's sister", Cora. The mermaid in question is Maren. The magic and fantasy is sprinkled about lightly like a delicate powdered sugar glaze vs a thick, sloppy frosting of fantasy. There isn't a weak character in the entire novel that "needs saving" and as a woman, I appreciate that all the women were strong. For male readers, none of them suffered the typical 'buffoonery" that is so in fashion with male-bashing.

For those that need to know: there is no sex, no swearing that I can recall, no rape scenes, and one minor character death that is done 'off scene'. There is physiological intimidation by one major character but it's all Mind Games, so if you can live with that, that's the worst it gets.

For me, this month's Kindle First selection of "The Mermaid's Sister" was a true gift from both amazon and the author. Thank you, both. :D

T.S. Shure Human Anatomy Wooden Magnetic Figures
T.S. Shure Human Anatomy Wooden Magnetic Figures
Price: $19.31

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Odd Anatomy Set Targeting WHICH Age Group?, February 19, 2015
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:2.0 out of 5 stars 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I reviewed T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Horse Pals Wooden Magnetic Dress-Up Set and wish I could have given it 10 stars.

This set, not so much.

Initially, it looked to be equally as fun and interesting as the Horse Set but my God-Daughter ended up playing with the skeleton magnets over everything else and then ditched it. I took the entire contents of the boy and girl and their skeleton system, the circulatory system, the muscle system and digestive system out of the bag, looking HIGH & LOW for any kind of Guide that would allow a parent to identify the organs, bones, and muscles. But alas, there was NONE!

This was a GIANT missed opportunity! If the company had enclosed a printed booklet duplicating each "system" printed on the cut-outs and then identifying the kidney, heart, etc. and the major bones, it would have been a fun experience both for the parent and child. As it stands, I do NOT have the time or interest to try to find a dumbed-down version of anatomy on-line that will give me the same brief I.D. without checking out Grey's Anatomy at the library. My husband picked up a couple of the pieces and played "The Walking Dead" with them but even he lost interest after a couple of minutes.

For the life of me, I can't figure out WHICH AGE GROUP THIS IS TARGETED AT! The age coding on the bag says "Three and Above" but without a parent helping the child, the different systems loose their appeal quite quickly. And by time a child is old enough to learn about "The Birds & The Bees", they'd laugh themselves silly at the child-like illustrations. I'm not bothered in the least about the correct anatomy; any child can view their anatomy in a full-length mirror at home so it's no mystery.

Ultimately, my god-daughter and I took the girl and boy, put their lab coats on them and they are now Veterinarians for Clover, the pony.LOL At least we got some use out of the set that will make a child happy.

T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Horse Pals Wooden Magnetic Dress-Up Set
T.S. Shure Daisy Girls Horse Pals Wooden Magnetic Dress-Up Set
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It Doesn't Get CUTER Than THIS!!!!, February 19, 2015
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I had NO IDEA what to expect when I ordered this "toy" for our Toy Box. But having spent the past 3 hours playing with it with my 5 year old God-Daughter, I can tell you, "If YOU or the young girl playing with this is a Horse Lover or a Fashionista Horse Lover, THEY WILL ADORE THIS DRESS UP SET FOR HOURS!!!"

I must say, this set blew me away. I grew up in the 50's and 60's when we carefully and laboriously cut out the back-of-the-magazine McCall Paper Dolls. More fragile than egg shells, no matter HOW careful you were with them, clothing tabs wore out, dolls legs got bent and then fell off, all leading to the tragic "early death" of a paper doll. :(

THIS set...Boy O Boy...I wish to bits & pieces that they would make some of the retro paper dolls from my era into this sturdy of a toy!

Presentation of this set is I.M.P.R.E.S.S.I.V.E. from the moment that you open up the box it's shipped in. You are greeted by Poofy-Pink Marabou Feathers (miss ya, Barbie!) trimming the top of a vinyl bag, piped in bright pink vinyl which carries over into the handles. Bright azalea pink plastic dots trim out the feathers...heck, this is some HIGH fashion for a horse and her pal!

The girl, Poppy, comes dressed with three of the magnetic stick ons: Dress cowboy boots, pink jeans with gold stars and a bright blue and white top with scarf. Clover, her horse and best bud, nekkid...well, she's dressed as a horse. LOL Only AFTER I took out every piece of stick on things from the bag and sorted them out did I discover that the back of the bag shows every single piece and HOW it should be put together. (face palm!). But, what I enjoyed doing with Cora, my god-daughter, was exploring all the different options WITHOUT knowing that there was a "cheat sheet" on the back. Several of the items could be used on BOTH Poppy and Clover and I liked that inventiveness: the multi purpose items included two hair bows and two of the 4 hats. Also, by not using the cheat sheet, a young fashionista can Mix and Match the outfits on both Poppy and Clover and avoid the "Matchy-Matchy" syndrome that so many of us Baby Boomer's were brought up as fashion canon.

This is the break-down of what you get:

Poppy: 3 pairs of pants; 2 skirts; 5 tops;5 pairs of shoes; 5 hats; 2 hair bows, and an odd thing that looks like a smiling daisy but could possibly be a grooming brush. ;)

Clover: 5 saddles; 2 sets of dress shoes; the cutest amount of accessories possible which include a bucket of oats, a bale of hay, 1st Prize ribbon, a medal, a trophy and 2 riding crops.

The set says "40 pieces" and after looking at the back, I see that we are missing the brush with the heart on top, so we'll use the strange daisy thing as a brush, if need be.

BOTH my God-Daughter and I were captivated by this set. The pretty vinyl and feather bag is an All-In-One carry on that holds both Poppy, Clover and all the clothing. Other teeny-tiny personal items of the young girl who owns this could be included but there isn't much "give" in the bag. I pried myself away from playing with this to make lunch for us and while I was preparing it, Cora played uninterrupted with this set.

I feel that this would appeal to both Tom-Boy Girls who enjoy horses and girls who like dress up with a horse thrown in for interest. If I were to add anything to the stickers, it would be 2 companions for the girl, a dog, of course, and the ubiquitous barn cat, to chase (and eat) the mice in the hay. It would also have been nice if the figures could stand upright by the use of a slotted right-angle stand, but we got around that by propping them up against sturdy-bottomed drinking glasses. That go-around worked perfectly and Cora was pleased that she could stand back and admire her handiwork.

I wish I could give this product TEN STARS, it's THAT GOOD!!! Now, you'll have to excuse me as I make my way back to playing with Poppy, Clover and Cora. :D

P.S.--To avoid many tears down the road, I'm passing along this tip. When Cora packed up the accessories, her little hands didn't have the strength to *snap* both snaps tightly enough to keep everything inside of the front pouch and several accessories came tumbling out! Fortunately, this was against a white carpet so it was very easy to see them. I simply grabbed a fresh Quart Sized ZipLock Baggie and put ALL of the accessories into THAT, and Cora has the dexterity and strength to *zip* that shut. The bag will NOT fit into the pouch, now allowing the girl that extra space for barrettes, stickers, etc. I simply dropped the ZipLock bag directly behind the pouch so it looked like it fit. And, if you think that either Poppy or Clover could possibly "make a break for it, you could place ALL of the kit and caboodle into a Gallon-sized ZipLock bag and then everything will be secure. I guarantee you, dropping a gallon sized baggie onto the floor will not escape anyone's notice! Have fun, everyone! :D

Scotts Super Bloom Water Soluble Plant Food, 2-Pound
Scotts Super Bloom Water Soluble Plant Food, 2-Pound
Price: $14.62
2 used & new from $9.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surest Way to Achieve YOUR Garden of Eden!, February 18, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It was an absolute No-Brainer for me to review this fertilizer by Scotts as I have been using it for at least 10 years! I'm a landscape architect who's owned her own firm for 25 years as of 2015. My client base is Lincoln Park, Chicago where Container Plantings RULE, simply due to the lack of gardening space in so many of my client's homes. Between garages and patios and the ever increasing square footage of designer homes, there are houses in urban areas with NO GARDEN SPACE, whatsoever, and it's only balconies and roof top decks that can offer a splash of Nature's colour for my clients.

As such, container plantings are radically different to care for than in-ground plantings. Because of the areas that most pots are located, usually roof tops and decks, the pots are subject to endless wind, heat and sun with NO WHERE for the poor roots to get extra moisture or nutrients. If a person does NOT routinely fertilize their trapped plants, by the end of Summer, you end up with bedraggled and sun-burnt plants that are *begging* you to toss them into the dumpster to put them out of their misery. Poor, poor plants. :(

Being that my company provides maintenance to my client's gardens, part of that maintenance is a WEEKLY APPLICATION of this product at "1/4 strength or 1/2 TABLESPOON PER 2 GALLONS OF WATER." WHY quarter strength and not FULL strength (1 T./2 gallons)? Please allow me to explain how blooming plants are raised in professional greenhouses and brought to market. In these greenhouses, the plants are watered by tiny drip irrigation nozzles in each pot and mixed INTO the water is fertilizer. So, each and every single time that plants are watered, they are also fed. THAT is why the plants that you buy look SO AWESOME...and why those people "not in the know" end up with crappy looking plants at the end of the season. IF they even remember to fertilize their plants at all, they do so once or twice a season and the sudden amount of intense feeding results in burnt foliage (if you're lucky) or a dead plant because of "fertilizer burn".

So, weekly fertilizing your potted plants with a 1/4 solution results in a steady/safe amount of fertilizer to your blooming babies and practically eliminates ANY chance of damaging your plants from foliage burn or root burn from too much fertilizer. Regarding the ratio on the box: 10/54/10, this is a very, very specific fertilizer for BLOOMING PLANTS ONLY and not recommended by ME for leafy plants like spinach, grass, or even tomatoes. For in-ground plants and edible fruit veggies like tomatoes and peppers, I recommend working cow manure into the soil and then using a 10-10-10 fertilizer once they are established and then all the way until harvest-time.

If you are NOT aware of what the numbers mean and what they do, here is a very easy tutorial that I use to explain to my clients: The numbers refer to the weight of a chemical in the total fertilizer bag. The first number refers to Nitrogen. This works directly on the chlorophyll in the leaves of plants, making them stronger and increased food production for the entire plant. The second number refers to Phosphorus. It provides help to build strong root development and increases flowering ability and bloom size. The fertilizer industry smartly markets high phosphorus fertilizer as "Bloom Booster." Why I don't recommend it for tomatoes, peppers and the likes is that it is TOO concentrated and results in watery tomatoes/peppers with thin walls. A balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 is HIGHLY recommended by myself after over 40 years of caring/raising plants. The last number in fertilizer is Potassium. It guards the plant against diseases and aids in drought protection and cold tolerance. It also serves a role in improving root development and helps in the process of photosynthesis.

So, to explain succinctly what THIS fertilizer provides: there is enough Nitrogen (10%) for roots and enough Potassium (10%) for wellness/health, to maintain a blooming plant. But, for Over-The-Top, Blue Ribbon Winner Blooms, the Phosphorus (54%) is EXCESSIVE to produce massive/giant blossoms!

Because the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are soluble, they are basically "salts" that dissolve in water. The most important thing for you to remember about fertilizing any and all plants: -NEVER-EVER FERTILIZE A DRY PLANT...EVER!!! MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE MOISTURE IN THE POT BEFORE APPLYING ANY FERTILIZER!!! When a plant is bone dry and you fertilize it, the salts in the dissolved fertilizer literally *RIP* the water out of the plant's roots and leaves and THAT is why you end up with a chemical burn to the leaves or death. Just imagine if you were beyond parched and begging for water and I gave you a heapin' glass of salt water! Yeah, it's the same reaction in plants...yech!

Per growing season, I go through 3-4 two pound containers per week or 16 boxes per month or 112-115 boxes per growing season! As the old saying goes, "The Proof Is In The Pudding" or as I'll say, "The Proof Is In The Pot" as my client's ooh and ahh over their massive hibiscus and rose blooms that festoon their deck and patio areas. <3
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 27, 2015 5:47 AM PST

T.S. Shure Pictorial Map of the World - Laminated Poster with Interactive Stickers
T.S. Shure Pictorial Map of the World - Laminated Poster with Interactive Stickers

3.0 out of 5 stars Cute and Colourful but VERY Confusing!, February 18, 2015
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I ordered this map not only for the young kids in our family but also for my husband and I to enjoy, with a handy reference to find out exactly WHERE a country was that was featured in a day's newscast. The size is substantial: 2 feet tall x almost 3 feet long, so plan accordingly on where you want to display this. It is laminated so it will hold up to time and sticky fingers; each corner has a very nice grommet so you can easily take it off the wall to place on a table for closer examination and then *pop* it back into place.

The illustrations are absolutely adorable and remind me so very much of the children's encyclopedia's of Yore, when I was a child growing up in the '50s and 60's.

However, my MAJOR sticking point with this map IS the illustrations: they almost take over the entire surface of the map!!!! When I had read that "56 colorfully illustrated stickers" came with, I had wrongly guessed that all the cute themes on the map WHERE the stickers and that the map, itself, would "clean up" a bit. Even with my 20/20 vision, finding the names of the countries among the camels, palm trees, hula girls, etc., is difficult at best. The map creators would have/should have had the countries names in HIGHLY BOLD-FACED type encased in a box. Any child learning their countries for the first time will find it horribly distracting and confusing to "dig" through all the pretty pictures to find out where Bolivia, Nepal, etc., are located. It also does NOT have the outlines of ANY country, short of the Canadian and Mexican borders; it's all one big Crazy Quilt of cute pictures. Wanna know where France lies? Oh, it's the Eiffel Tower. It's the same way with every other country: No borders, just pix.

As it stands, we will NOT be using this as a teaching tool for our young visitors but will merely have it hanging as Educational Art in the guest room and if anyone wants to wade through the pretty pictures to try and locate a country, we wish them Good Luck. LOL

My fondest wish would be that the maker of this map "clean it up" by removing half or more of the illustrations and offering the charming art work as the stickers, so that on a more "tabula rasa" surface, the child can actually place the 'camels, palm trees, and hula girls' in the appropriate areas, if they choose. For now, I'll store the stickers away, as I feel that one.more.bit.of.clutter. on the map will make it useless.

GREAT concept! GREAT artwork! VERY pretty to look at! But....trying to easily locate the countries (and after all, isn't that why we WANT a map?)...pretty useless. I'm truly not sure what age group this map is geared toward, as a young child will only see the art and won't recall that a bush-baby represents Madagascar and an older child that needs to learn the world's regions will see this map as "too baby-ish."

Philips PureRadiance Multi-Speed Skin Cleansing System, Peach
Philips PureRadiance Multi-Speed Skin Cleansing System, Peach
Price: $124.99
9 used & new from $124.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PureRadiance Scrubber Brings PURE Radiance to your Face!, February 16, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I don't live a "typical" female life-style: I'm a landscape architect and after 8-12 hours of installing sprinkler lines, building patios, blowing out leaves and sweating up a storm in ALL degrees of temperatures, I resemble Charlie Brown's friend, Pigpen, when I crawl home to my shower. The embedded soil and grit that is ground into my skin requires a scrub brush on my body, but "What to do about my tender facial skin?" I've used a wash cloth for years but I just couldn't get my facial skin clean enough without roughing it up to the point of irritating it.

Now, with the use of this beautiful Philips Skin Cleansing System, I can use it IN THE SHOWER, and get my facial skin clean and debris free! I had attempted to use battery-operated facial cleaners before but they were clunky and couldn't be used in the shower, so I was forced to first clean my face over the sink with a device and THEN crawl into the shower. Being able to eliminate that extra step of cleaning when you are operating on fumes is important to me, since I am normally too exhausted to care and will skip deep cleaning my face if I have to make it two steps. With this highly effective cleaning system, I can get clean from top to bottom in the shower in one time span.

It's very light weight and having the built-in timer system of three 20 second time periods with a 5 second wait time is a BONUS. I remember with my old automated skin cleaner that I'd use it to the point of rubbing my skin raw, forgetting how fragile the facial skin is. Now, having the scrubber do the thinking for me, I can't over-do it any longer. The three periods are for the left cheek, right cheek and T-Zone with a slight pause in-between the zones so you can switch it up. I use the scrubber with a Neutrogena product I received through Vine and between the two of the products, I have glowing and healthy skin right down to the pores.

The scrubber comes very nicely packaged so that when the box is opened, the hand-held unit is featured like a gem. Instructions, charger, and 2 discs (Normal & Exfoliation Brushes) are stored in hidden cargo areas of the box. Aside from a QuickStart Guide which is nicely pictorial, there is the standard "Warnings" enclosure and a very nicely thought out Instruction Manual in many languages. There are also two speeds to the device: 1) Gentle Cleaning and 2) Deep Cleaning; the manual suggests to begin use of the Gentle Cleaning for the first two weeks of use. A truly appreciated nice bonus from Philips is the ever-so-slightly padded Silver Lame zipped cover that allows you to place the charging stand and unit inside and zip it tightly up for traveling. VERY NICE ADDITION!

One note about charging the unit: the device does NOT *click* securely onto the charger and is quite top-heavy with barely a breeze capable of knocking the entire thing 'arse over tea kettle". So, either place the unit on the floor so it has barely any distance to tumble or be extremely cautious as to where you are charging it so nothing breaks. According to the box, you get 30 uses of cleaning with one single charge, which takes 6 hours to charge (I timed it.) Also, it's recommended that every 3 months, with daily use, you replace the brushes.

This would be a fabulous present for any woman or any age that is interested in quality care of her skin. The fact that it's rechargeable and that you're not blasting through batteries is a Plus-Plus Bonus! :D

Ringside Striker Training Gloves, Red/White, Large/X-Large
Ringside Striker Training Gloves, Red/White, Large/X-Large

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Working Out Frustration!, February 14, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
First off: I'm a chick. I ordered these for ME to work out frustrations of life.

Yeah, I know, it sounds silly but until you've tried it, don't knock it! We've ALL had those days/weeks where "Everything seems to go wrong." It can be small and petty stuff like hitting every single light on the way to work. Or, ending up in the one check out lane where it takes FOREVER for the person to find their check book, or they need to count out .98 cents in change!

Then, there's the BIG STUFF like losing an account to a cheaper/inferior vendor. Or slamming your hand in the car door..ouch! Or any number of things that can turn YOU into a raving "you know what." I learned decades ago at an Anger Clinic held in Chicago, how to defuse pent up rage/anger/frustration by doing pro-active healthy defusing measures from walks, bath time, and hitting things. NO!, not your spouse or child or pets but inanimate objects like a punching bag or pillow. I personally like to use one of those long Body-Cuddle Pillows as my punching bag since I can do it at home and not drive to my gym.

These gloves are light enough in feel that it doesn't tire out my hands but weighty enough that you feel that you have something substantial on them to protect your bones. I LOVE the Velcro closures; even when I got them on too tight, I can use my teeth to loosen one of them and then pull the other glove off with my free hand. As the other reviewer mentioned, these are NOT the gloves to go all Rocky with someone; they are strictly "training wheels" for people learning to box or for uses such as I described. After a couple of rounds of beating up my pillow and pounding all my frustrations and anger into THAT, I can laugh at myself, take off my gloves and feel that I won't be dumping my *crap* onto loved ones who don't deserve it.

T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Wooden Pirate Blocks Play Set & Storybook
T.S. Shure ArchiQuest Wooden Pirate Blocks Play Set & Storybook
Price: $23.97
2 used & new from $23.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Building Imagination, One Block At A Time., February 14, 2015
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you predate computers as a child, then you know that almost all of us grew up with dominoes, Tinker Toys, the infamous Mouse Trap (my personal fave!) and Operation. Not only were these games incredibly fun, but it taught patience, imagination, very important tactile skills and especially tapped into the depth of imagination that children are so richly endowed with having.

My grandbaby is too young for this but we have plenty of friends who have 3-10 year olds that come over for the day and bring their children along. Our house is a very strict "No Video Games Allowed" so I jumped at the chance to try out this 3-dimensional, tactile and imagination building block set. Why no video games? Simple. We live in a cottage in the middle of the wild woods of Michigan. When friends and family visit us, it's to relax, kick back and leave technology back in the city. We encourage all who visit us to explore our acre of land, sit by the pond, watch fire flies glimmer at dusk and generally just get back in touch with being human.

We've amassed a nice collection of interactive toys that are fun for toddlers, tweens and teens (some adults, too) and this Pirate-themed block set is brilliant at how many people can be involved, of all ages. There's a nice little book on pirates that can be read to children who don't read. The beautifully illustrated with ~gasp~ a girl!, a boy, different ethic make-ups and a skeleton. Most of the pieces are double-sided so all players can enjoy the graphics. I really appreciate that the company took the time to round the corners of the blocks and also to encase the entire block set in a very sturdy wooden crate. As another reviewer mentioned, I wish that there was a closing cover for this set so the pieces won't tumble out if tipped but we solved that by using a very snug mesh bag with cinched closure that I found at The Dollar Store.

We've had 4 groups of children play with this set, usually mixed ages and gender, and all enjoyed it. Of course, the boys wanted to "blow the ship up" and the girls wanted to "save it" and that difference will never cease to exist. LOL There are canons to blow up the ship, cheeky monkeys, a smiling shark (I miss Starkist's Charlie the Tuna, looking at him!) and of course, the treasure chest!

The children never got bored with this set and found all manner of creative ways to build with the blocks. One inventive child even took several Popsicle sticks so that they could have a "plank" for the bad pirates to walk on and fall into "the sea." :D

Thoughtful, imaginative, highest quality possible...just a beautiful toy, start to finish.

HoMedics SP-100H 3D Shiatsu and Vibration Massage Pillow with Heat
HoMedics SP-100H 3D Shiatsu and Vibration Massage Pillow with Heat
Offered by Portlight
Price: $83.26

4.0 out of 5 stars Drug-Free Way to Relieve Pain :D, February 10, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Let's be honest: NO ONE orders this device unless they experience PAIN...either in their neck, back, shoulders, legs or feet. So, it's a sad truth that we buy this in hopes of reducing the amount of pain we live with daily. MY pain comes from the lower 4 vertebrae in my back, as a result of being a Hit & Run victim, left unconscious in the intersection of Randolph and State Street one early Chicago morning. I spent April 2nd through September 1st in hospital, paralyzed initially from the spinal damage but through intense therapy and traction, I was released with a fused spine and a walker. Over time, I regained 70% of my ability to walk: praise God. But, as a result of my injury, there are days I have crippling pain in that region. I refuse to take pain pills unless my eyes turn red from the stress of the injury, so I'm always on the look-out for ways to reduce the pain to a level I can live with.

The HoMedics SP-100H 3D Shaitsu and Vibration Massage Pillow with Heat is a God Send. It weights 4+ pounds, runs on electricity, and has three settings on one of two buttons: 1) shiatsu, 2) vibration, and 3) shiatsu and vibration, in that order. The heat setting is it's own button, and after fifteen minutes the pillow shuts off.

For my needs, I can't start off with the shiatsu as the 4 roller balls are too intense for the inflicted area. So, I begin with the heat, then the vibration mode, and finish it off with the shiatsu. Rather than spending the evening after work curled up in a ball and crying, just 15 minutes (or 30 for extreme pain) can give me back my ability to have a productive night.

The device is covered with a very soft grey pile with a mesh insert where the rollers are. Some reviewers and even the product itself have mentioned the potential for an "odor" when first un-boxing: unless I lack the gene to detect it, there was ZERO odor from my unit.

The ONLY complaint that I have about this wonderful device is the complete lack of ability to move it around without either A) grabbing it with both hands, or B) grabbing it by the thick fabric cord to move it. The pillow is NOT 'light weight', meaning that at almost 5 pounds, (4.8 #), you really have to dedicate some effort into positioning it around your body; it refuses to budge with one hand if you are laying on your side and need to move it. So, when you're relaxing and receiving relieve, you then have to get up and re-position the pillow with both hands to move it.

Without ANY compromising of it's ability to massage, the manufacturer could have easily sewn into the wide top of the unit a thick fabric strap that would allow you to slip your hand into it and move the bugger with ease. In a 'perfect' world, I'd like to see FOUR straps sewn into it: one on each side of the device. Also, I have a lot of concern about how NICE and hygienic the very fluffy exterior will hold up to being touched and man-handled over time: think of how ratty looking a child's cuddly fluffy toy becomes over continued use!

So, with the aid of a friend of mine who is a master seamstress, I had her sew a wonderful custom cover for this device that incorporates all of my wishes: it's sewn out of a soft, cheap fleece; made like a pillow so it can easily slip IN and OUT and leave the power cord free; and has a sturdy fabric handle sewn into the top/bottom/ and one side. THIS creation works like an absolute CHARM and now I can not only drag the unit a couple of inches to where I next require it without moving my body, but I have an easy to wash cover that keeps the original fabric of the pillow pristine. I've since requested an additional cover from my friend so one can be hand-washed while another one is put in place.

The cost of $60.00 is minimal when you consider what pain pills and/or a professional massage would cost you. I highly recommend it as a drug-free way to reduce the horror of pain that some of us live with daily.

Imation LINK Power Drive Portable 32GB Power and Data Storage for iPhone iPad and iPod Touch Devices
Imation LINK Power Drive Portable 32GB Power and Data Storage for iPhone iPad and iPod Touch Devices
Price: $79.47
7 used & new from $71.13

5.0 out of 5 stars Gobbles Up Data In a ~Flash~!, February 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Like many people with Smart Phones, I take an incredible amount of photos and videos. Not only does that suck up storage (some days the entire amount!) but also drains your battery on your PHONE, which results in a *blinking* or dead battery...defeating the very core use of a make and receive phone calls! Stupidly, I've been in many a situation where I've ended up with a dying or dead battery on my business phone because I've been taking the amount of photos necessary to document a 12 hour installation of a landscape (my profession). It's rather embarrassing, at 3:00 pm in the afternoon, to finally be returning phone calls to clients who left messages hours earlier that I couldn't retrieve due to a dead battery. :(

Enter this amazing device, whether you use it for business or personal use. I was one of those persons who always went with the largest data capacity on my laptop/phones before I got into Cloud Storage. Nowadays, I buy a mid-range storage capacity device, but as mentioned above, if I'm taking a vast amount of photos/videos, I sometimes get 'burned' by my need to do so. With the Imation Link Power Drive, I now have the "White Knight To The Rescue" in saving me both storage AND power!

This device comes in three different levels of storage so you need to be the judge on which capacity you will use on a daily/weekly basis. Since phones go out of favour so quickly, I'd suggest to get the MAXIMUM capacity on this device since it will last you for years, unlike your phone. It comes very nicely boxed so it makes a very good present for yourself or a lucky friend. The power drive is nestled in a pull-out crimson box, rather like a ring presented in a Tiffany box. The Instruction Guide and Registration Reminder is located underneath the device. Handedly, there is a Q.R. code on the side of the box so you can download the app that runs the storage unit; nice touch.

As is typical these days, the Instruction Manual has a billion pages of instructions featuring every language on Planet Earth; English readers get the first 7 pages for instructions. I was very pleased with the thoroughness of both the illustrations and the instructions for use; many new devices send you right to their website rather than giving you a proper paper manual so Imation gets points for that.

Size wise, you can amply afford to carry this storage device with you EVERY day: it is no bigger than a box of Altoid Mints. My device came 3/4's charged; another nice bonus. Their is a small lit panel on the top with 4 lights: as your device is charged or discharging, the lights go from all 4 to none as your power level drops...VERY nice and simple way to indicate when you need a charge. I end up charging this each night along with my other iProducts so they are both full each morning.

If you've ever encountered a Japanese Puzzle Box, that's what this storage/charger unit reminded me of: there is a barely 1" USB cable that *pops* out of one side and a 3.5" Micro cable that attaches to your iDevice that *pops* out of the other corner. The fit is perfect but the itsy-bitsy 1" cord makes plugging into a power cube delicate to maneuver. I downloaded 800 photos in minutes; it felt awesome to clean up my phone before I even got back to the office. And for emergency back up of power: brilliant! It powered up my iPhone 5 with enough juice that I was able to return every call and still have some power to get me back to the office, again.

Note: this may be MY storage units problem but the tiny "shelf" that allegedly pulls out of the unit to support your phone would NOT come out!!! Finally, with the aid of a Slot Head Screwdriver to supply the *PUSH* that was needed to dislodge the 'shelf', it finally slid out the 1.5" length. I pushed it back inside, hoping the initial release would make it easier to come out but no such luck! So, unless you want to break off 2 finger nails (ouch!!!) or carry a screw driver with you, be forewarned that YOUR shelf might or might not have these same problems. I've opted to just leave it in place as it's too big of a hassle to dig out that tiny storage shelf.

I'm extremely satisfied with ALL that the Imation Power Drive and Storage Unit has to offer: small size, incredibly fast storage transfer and back up power drive. Now, if they just made one for my husband's Android phones, we'd both be sitting pretty. :D

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