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Jill Clardy "So many books, so little time...." RSS Feed (Redwood City, CA USA)

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Lancaster Soft Cream Candy, Coffee/Caramel, 8 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Lancaster Soft Cream Candy, Coffee/Caramel, 8 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Price: $35.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Soft, Creamy and Buttery - Delicious, April 30, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My review is for the Coffee & Caramel variety of Soft Cremes, which are delicious. Though the rich caramel flavor dominates, there is a hint of coffee flavor that is quite enjoyable without being overpowering. The soft texture allows the candies to melt in your mouth, though you'll be tempted to chew them quickly because they're so delicious. They're softer than other caramels I've had so don't stick to your teeth. I counted 38 caramels in the 8 ounce package, and 7 caramels are 190 calories - just over 25 calories each. After eating a few I had to put the bag away out of reach to prevent over-indulging.


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
by Marie Kondō
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $10.19
368 used & new from $5.65

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Good Advice, But I Decided to Pick & Choose, April 30, 2016
I consider myself a very organized person, and my house is quite tidy. I wouldn't be embarrassed at having someone drop by for a visit at anytime, unless it's early morning and I haven't put my makeup on yet! However, I find myself in the phase of life where I am more motivated to divest belongings rather than continue to acquire them. We have lived in the same house for nearly 27 years, and the cupboards and closets and bookshelves are full. Kondo writes that "tidying must begin with discarding". After discarding then you can consider organizing. I have been taking the opposite approach, which is how to reorganize my existing belongings so that they fit better in the space allotted.

Since I'm not living in a messy, cluttered house I decided to pick and choose among the advice offered by Kondo. She seemed horrified at the idea that socks are stored in balls and felt that the socks needed to relax and restore themselves after the beating they take when worn. I'm quite happy to actually have the socks stored in pairs where I can reach in and quickly grab the right color!

Since I have hundreds of books in my house and bookshelves in every room, I carefully reviewed her advice on determining whether a book will ever be read again. I regularly donate books to the local library and to family members, but I can clearly see that others are taking up space on my shelves and will never be read again. On the other hand, bookshelves with handsome hardback books are a part of my decor, so I won't get rid of too many!

Her advice on dealing with excess paper is also worthwhile. It's okay to get rid of product manuals, since you can easily retrieve the information online when needed. I have a tendency to hang on to old magazines because I might want to go back and clip a recipe or reread an article. I almost never do that, so will be changing my strategy to throw them out after a month. And I have several drawers worth of old greeting cards. I need to toss many and just keep the few which have personalized notes.

Some of her advice is just goofy; she seems to anthropomorphize inanimate objects. Socks can't talk to you. You don't need to be grateful to your shoes or handbags. Greeting your home each evening when you return home seems a bit demented 😳 Emptying the handbag at the end of each day also seems unnecessary to me.

I also resented the fact that it seems the be the woman's job to organize the home. There is no discussion as to how to get the husband and kids on board with the tidying scheme. The book is also written for Japanese homes which are tiny compared to American standards. Kondo talks derisively about keeping stockpiles of household items, but if you shop regularly at Costco, you will be stockpiling paper goods and some food as well. We have a cabinet in the garage for that specific purpose.

The overarching message is certainly appropriate to many of us who live in prosperity: "Tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in." We should all try to appreciate what we have rather than clamoring to acquire more.


The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The World Is Not A Wish Granting Factory, April 29, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I don't think I've ever seen another book on Amazon that already has more than 37,000 reviews! The book has definitely moved many people to report their feelings after finishing the book. You cannot read a book about teenagers with cancer without getting emotionally involved. We know from the start that Hazel, who has thyroid cancer that has metastasized to her lungs, isn't expected to survive. She is on a drug that has slowed the deterioration of her lungs and has to drag an oxygen canister around with her. The third paragraph of the book states that "depression is a side effect of dying." Hazel's mother has insisted that she go to a weekly Support Group, which is where she meets Augustus (Gus) who is in remission after having lost a leg to osteosarcoma. They start to hang out together and bond over the shared love of a bizarre novel titled "An Imperial Affliction". I love the witty dialogue between these two teenagers. They have faced impossible struggles but still have a zest for life, and an ability to see the humor in every situation.

Hazel really wants to meet the author of the book, who lives in Amsterdam, and Gus offers to use his cancer kid Wish to take her there. They meet the author, who is a sad old alcoholic who treats them horribly. Hazel is infuriated that he treats them so badly, but she and Gus go on to have a lovely time in Amsterdam nevertheless. Though she'll never get to know the answers to her questions about the book, Gus has given her a memorable experience, and has become the love of her very short life. The sad news builds up after this, and as Gus states more than once "the world is not a wish-granting factory."

If ever there was a book to remind each of us to live in the moment, it's this one.


The Eagle Tree
The Eagle Tree
Price: $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars From the Perspective of an Autistic Boy, April 29, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Eagle Tree (Kindle Edition)
THe Eagle Tree is told from the perspective of Peter Wong, who prefers to be called March Wong. Though the label "autistic" isn't used until well into the book, it is apparent that the 13 year old boy who is obsessed with trees is "on the spectrum", and that terminology is used frequently throughout the book. Peter's father has moved away from the Pacific Northwest to take a job in Arizona, leaving his mother to raise him alone. She doesn't want to uproot March from his school, and from the trees that he dearly loves. March climbs trees all the time, and is fearless and unconcerned for his own safety. He does what he wants to do, in spite of the rules that his mother tries to enforce. In fact, she is faced with a hearing to determine whether she is a fit mother because of the numerous incidents in which he has been injured.

Once March Wong spots the majestic Eagle Tree, which is fenced in on private land, he becomes obsessed with climbing the tree; and when he learns that it is in danger of being removed to make way for a development, he must find a way to save it. The book is full of highly detailed information on many species of trees, which March has committed to memory. The nonstop barrage of information about trees does become overwhelming, but it certainly makes the point about the mental capacity of this young boy to store and retrieve facts.

Being inside the head of an autistic child, and experiencing the world as he does, is the most valuable lesson of this book. He relates to trees better than he does to humans, but he does eventually learn to connect with other people a bit better. March states: "I believe in trees. I can touch them. And they have true names. They do not change in terms of what they are to me." Trees keep him oriented in a sea of things that he cannot understand.

The book can be a bit repetitive and slow in parts, but does an excellent job of representing the challenges of living with autism.


Wisdompro® 8-Pack Microfiber Cleaning Cloth For Camera Lens, Glass, Lenses, Phone, iPhone, iPad, Tablet, Laptop, LCD TV/Computer Screen/Monitor and other Delicate Surface - Blue (6 x 7")
Wisdompro® 8-Pack Microfiber Cleaning Cloth For Camera Lens, Glass, Lenses, Phone, iPhone, iPad, Tablet, Laptop, LCD TV/Computer Screen/Monitor and other Delicate Surface - Blue (6 x 7")
Offered by Wisdompro
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Quality and Just the Right Size, April 24, 2016
These high quality microfiber cleaning cloths are the perfect size for me as they work well for both eyeglasses and camera lenses. I keep one in each car for cleaning eyeglasses and sunglasses, one at each desk for wiping screens and cleaning eyeglasses, one on the end table to clean the iPad, one in my purse, and a couple in my camera bag. They launder well and the edges do not fray; just remember to avoid using any fabric softeners or dryer cloths to avoid depositing any oils onto the cloths. I received a discounted set of cloths for my evaluation and review and highly recommend them.


Dry Erase Whiteboard Markers - 12 Pack - Thin Style
Dry Erase Whiteboard Markers - 12 Pack - Thin Style

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Variety of Bright Colors, April 24, 2016
I like the variety of colors in this 12-pack of thin-tip markers. The color goes on smoothly and wipes easily off of the white board. I enjoy using these with the kids that I tutor at the local school and they definitely make learning more fun ! I receive a discounted set of markers for my evaluation and review.
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DII Bone Dry Warm, Soft, Plush, Pet Throw Blanket for Couch, Car, Trunk, Cage, Kennel, Dog House, 50x60", Navy
DII Bone Dry Warm, Soft, Plush, Pet Throw Blanket for Couch, Car, Trunk, Cage, Kennel, Dog House, 50x60", Navy
Price: $24.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Made and Attractive, April 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This luxurious throw is way too nice to let a pet shed and slobber all over it! The textured fabric is lightweight yet warm, so you can tuck it around you on chilly evenings without feeling weighed down. It is generously sized and nicely hemmed with no loose threads or crooked seams. It looks nice enough to leave it draped over the sofa. The faux fur fabric does attract lint and hairs, so if you do decide to let your pet use it, it will have to be laundered often. The throw is machine washable and dryer safe with no special care requirements. The navy blue tone will blend with many styles of decor. I was going to eventually pass it along to my daughter who has a Boston Terrier, but we'll see about that...


Nature's Guru Organic Tea, Masala Spice, 25 Count (Pack of 12)
Nature's Guru Organic Tea, Masala Spice, 25 Count (Pack of 12)
Offered by Mom's Healthy Market
Price: $13.00
3 used & new from $13.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Very Appealing Scent, April 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My review is for Organic Tea, Masala Spice (reviews for different varieties seem to be intermingled here). Half of the enjoyment of a freshly brewed cup of tea is the scent, and this one definitely smells great. The tea bag is a net sachet with a string attached, and no staple so you can brew or warm it in the microwave if desired. I like to brew a cup in the late afternoon or evening when I don't want any caffeinated drinks. It also makes a nice iced tea if you brew it strong enough.


Homegarden Artists Paint Brush Set Acrylic Watercolor Brush Round Pointed Tip Nylon Hair ( Pack of 9) (Black)
Homegarden Artists Paint Brush Set Acrylic Watercolor Brush Round Pointed Tip Nylon Hair ( Pack of 9) (Black)
Offered by Homegarden
Price: $9.99
2 used & new from $9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Well Made Brush Set, April 21, 2016
This is a very nice set of watercolor paint brushes with a nice heft, long handles and tightly packed bristles. The bristles are securely attached to the handle and do not break off during use. The brushes are also easy to wash clean after use, though there does seem to be a tendency for the bristles to clump together a bit. I am enjoying practicing my very amateur painting skills with these brushes. I received a discounted set of brushes for trial and review.


CrownArt- 24 Pack of Colored Pencils - Our High Quality Pigment, Full Color Spectrum are Great for Adult Coloring Books and Sketching
CrownArt- 24 Pack of Colored Pencils - Our High Quality Pigment, Full Color Spectrum are Great for Adult Coloring Books and Sketching
Offered by Warehouse Rush
Price: $9.97
2 used & new from $9.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vibrant Color Flows Smoothly Onto the Page - Fun to Use !, April 14, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This set of 24 colored pencils is much more satisfying to use than the starter set that came with my coloring books. The color flows smoothly onto the paper and you can easily adjust the vibrance and saturation of the color by applying more pressure or coloring repeatedly over the same area. Colors can also be readily blended or shaded for a different hue. In the photo shown below, the larger butterfly was done with another set of pencils and the smaller butterfly with the CrownArt pencils. You can easily see the difference in vibrance.

The only negative aspect of these pencils is the carton. My set arrived with the pencils all bunched up to one side of the carton, and the pencil tips had rubbed against the top of the carton and some were chipped. The carton is not sturdy enough to store the pencils; they won't lay flat, and it's difficult to extract just one pencil from the carton. I will most likely just throw away the carton and store the pencils, tips up, in a pencil cup or vase. I received a discounted set for my trial and review and will definitely be ordering another set to give to my daughter, because I've decided to keep these and not give them to her :)
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