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E. Burian-Mohr's Profile

Customer Reviews: 299
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Helpful Votes: 3005

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E. Burian-Mohr "cornerstoregoddess" RSS Feed (Los Angeles, CA USA)

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Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Synergy Ultra Premium Formula Dry Dog Food, 4.5-Pound Bag
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Synergy Ultra Premium Formula Dry Dog Food, 4.5-Pound Bag

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chickens and US Sourced and Doggie Noms, Oh My, January 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I am suspicious of dog foods. Too many have proved harmful to the very dogs to whom they claim to be dedicated. Add to this that Esmeralda is prone to urinary tract problems and struvite crystals, so I need to be very careful in what I feed her.

First I look for a food with a minimal list of ingredients, and I look at the order of the ingredients. NATURAL BALANCE SYNERGY does fairly well in that department: The first ingredient is chicken, followed by chicken meal, which is considered a meat concentrate, high in protein. Next is brown rice, which, though easy to digest, is marginal in terms of doggie nutrition. Then is chicken fat, which is what makes homemade chicken soup so good and perhaps accounts for its curative powers. Fifth is beet pulp, which is thought to have intestinal health and blood sugar benefits. For more information, check out Dog Food Adviser. Also, according to Dig Food Adviser, "Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And below-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food."

Second, I look for where the ingredients are sourced. Too many pet foods contain foods sourced in China, which can contain harmful and possibly lethal ingredients. According to Customer Service, "All of the plants which manufacture the Natural Balance... are located in the United States: California, Arizona, Utah, South Carolina, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. Specifically, our ... Synergy formula is manufactured in Kansas, Nebraska, and Arizona."

Third, I look to see if Esmeralda likes it. She gets very little dry food because of the urinary probelsm, but she gets a small handful for her teeth,

And the good news is...Esmerald likes it! No hesitation.

The bad news? While Natural Balance was a brand I used to trust completely, they recently were acquired by Del Monte. And Del Monte, like Monsanto, has spent vast amounts of money (your dog food bucks) to oppose GMO labeling.

And that's where that elusive ffth star went.

Refractometer RF15 with Automatic Temperature Compensation (0-32 Brix)
Refractometer RF15 with Automatic Temperature Compensation (0-32 Brix)
Offered by sportswarehouse
Price: $28.99
9 used & new from $22.50

4.0 out of 5 stars For Making Coffee: Accurate but hard to read fractions, January 21, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am using this refractometer to measure the TDS in coffee. For coffee the TDS falls between 0.0 and 2.0. The problem is the refractometer has a range of 0 to 30 and it is very difficult to read the numbers in the desired range. From what I have seen, all refractometers are designed in pretty much the same way, so this will be a problem with any of them.

Natural Balance Delectable Delights Burger Bites Dog Treats - Lamb
Natural Balance Delectable Delights Burger Bites Dog Treats - Lamb
Price: $7.99
7 used & new from $6.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Paws Up: Itty Bitty Sliders for Your Dog, January 17, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Esmeralda, my beautifully fearful dog, has a thing about dog treats. If they are too small (kibble sized) she won't eat them. She probably thinks I'm trying to foist off her dental cleaning breakfast chow as something special, or an incentive for training. But many dog treats are too big. How many chicken strips are in a (rather pricey) package, anyway?

These are the perfect size. They look like itty bitty burgers. They are big enough to hold with your fingertips, so that Esmeralda can "Take nicely."

They are big enough for her to see when I tell her to do "Dancing dog."

And, oh yeah... she likes them.

Esmeralda gives NATURAL BALANCE BURGER BITES four paws up.

Natural Balance Dry Dog Food, Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Venison Formula
Natural Balance Dry Dog Food, Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Venison Formula
Price: $15.49
10 used & new from $7.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Despite the Venison, This Appears to be a Low Protein Plant Based Kibble, January 13, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My dog Esmeralda is plagued with urinary tract problems: bladder stones, infections... So I am extremely careful about what I will feed her. She only gets a tiny sprinkling of kibble, for her teeth. Other than that she is on a wet food (with plenty of water) diet. For her limited dry food consumption, I search very carefully.

And while Natural Balance is a brand I have trusted for years, in 2013, I found, Natural Balance merged with Del Monte Foods, and further research indicated that some of the ingredients are sourced from China.

After all the pet food disasters in recent history, this triggered my suspicious nature and I researched further. I look for a pet food that doesn't have the potential of any harmful ingredients. That's a sad commentary when you think about it: I'm looking for something that won't kill my dog.

I checked for the complete ingredient list: : Sweet Potatoes, Venison, Potato Protein, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potato Fiber, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Choline Chloride, Taurine, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Manganese Proteinate, Manganous Oxide, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium Pantothenate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

I went internet trolling for more information.

DogAware's analysis is: Human-grade ingredients. Products are tested for melamine and cyanuric acid. Several L.I.D. limited-ingredient, grain-free varieties available, which may be good for dogs with food allergies; however, Potato and Duck formula replaced duck meal with potato protein in 2009, and so is very low in meat protein, which can lead to problems when fed long term.

PetFoodAdvisor did an analysis of the Limited Ingredient line, as well, and concluded and stated: the brand features an average protein content of 23% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 57% for the overall product line. That gives it a fat-to-protein ratio at about 50%, meaning below-average protein and below-average fat, with above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.

When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the potato protein and flaxseed in this recipe and the pea protein, dried peas and garbanzo beans contained in the others, this looks like the profile of a kibble containing only a modest amount of meat.

Their bottom line: Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets is a plant-based kibble using a modest amount of named meats and meat meals as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 2.5 stars.

Sorry, Esmeralda. Sorry, Natural Balance. My quest continues.

Neutrogena Rapid Dark Circle Repair Eye Cream, 0.13 Ounce
Neutrogena Rapid Dark Circle Repair Eye Cream, 0.13 Ounce
Offered by Nation Wellness
Price: $39.91
2 used & new from $34.92

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eyes Have It, January 8, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I was skeptical of the claim that NEUTROGENA RAPID DARK CIRCLE REPAIR EYE CREAM could "visibly reduce the look of dark circles in just one week." I use a lot of "miracle" eye products is my battle against aging skin, and doubted that a product I would be able to buy at a regular drug store could do better.

I was wrong.

I used the product for one week, and can see a difference. It's not a huge difference. But it is a difference, and considering the hundreds of dollars I've spent on eye treatments prior to this, a change is a remarkable thing.

I also need to comment on the dispenser, which is very cool. I've used other (expensive) products requiring a mere drop of product, that have come in pen-like containers with a pump on one end, dispensing into a brush. They do not work well.

The Neutrogena dispenser operates with a wheel that turns, thereby pushing a single drop of cream onto the brush, which can then be applied under the eye. Another little racheted turn dispenses another drop, for the other eye. The brush is gentle and soothing, and very effective for smoothing on the cream.

I will continue to use the product to see if the effects enhance, stay the same, or regress. But I'm hoping for eternal youth by the end of winter. ;0)
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Scharffen Berger Assorted Tasting Squares Gift Box
Scharffen Berger Assorted Tasting Squares Gift Box
Price: $18.78

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stop Me Before I Eat the Box, January 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I felt like the kid in the Jack Prelutsky poem:

Mother's Chocolate Valentine

by Jack Prelutsky

I bought a box of chocolate hearts,

a present for my mother,

they looked so good I tasted one,

and then I tried another.

They both were so delicious,

that I ate another four,

and then another couple,

and then half a dozen more.

I couldn't seem to stop myself,

I nibbled on and on,

Before I knew what happened

all the chocolate hearts were gone.

I felt a little guilty,

I was stuffed down to my socks,

I ate my mother's valentine…

I hope she likes the box.

Okay. I didn't eat them all. The squares are individually wrapped, and that slowed me down. ;0) But... they were very tasty, and the suggested pairings with wine worked well (and also slowed me down a bit).

Many of the earlier reviews here add a lot to the body of knowledge about chocolate and I defer to them. I just like the stuff. And I like wine. And I like cool little books that tell me about chocolate and wine.

Which makes this a perfect gift for chocolate and wine lovers.

A Murder of Magpies
A Murder of Magpies
by Judith Flanders
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.62

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Characters, So-So Plot, Lethally Dull Description of Money Laundering, January 3, 2015
This review is from: A Murder of Magpies (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Samantha ("Sam") Clair is a book editor, portrayed as quiet, competent, and not very flashy. She enjoys dishing the dirt with fashion journalist Kit Lovell, who has just finished an expose of financial book-cooking and the murder of a noted designer. Sam is busy at work when she gets a visit from Detective Inspector Jake Field... who wants to know about a manuscript Sam hasn't received. It seems the courier carrying the mystery manuscript is dead, the victim of a hit-and-run. And the manuscript he was carrying has vanished. In fact, Kit Lovell has vanished as well.

Sam is far more concerned about Kit's disappearance than the police seem to be and, being a cozy little mystery, she starts to investigate on her own, with help from her mother, a corporate attorney who not only knows the law inside and out but can hide from surveillance cameras, break and enter with ease, and be back home in time do do some pilates before work.

The storyline bogs down with a rather large cast of characters, from Sam's cronies at the publishing house, to the "beautiful people" in the world of fashion, to professors and demented students, to neighbors and friends who throw inedible dinner parties. It's impossible to service them all. Sam's character is the most confusing. She is portrayed as almost mousie and middle aged, one who can blend into the background. But she's leading a very glamorous life for someone who pretends not to have a life. Her emotional arc over Kit's disappearance and possible murder also seems lacking.

The side stories are the most interesting. There's aforementioned demented student. There's conflict at the publishing house with a younger editor who thinks he's hot stuff. There's a very amusing tale about a celebrated author's newest work which Sam and her assistant almost destroy trying to fix. And there's great interplay between Sam and her mother.

I found the actual mystery of the vanished manuscript and murdered designer lethally dull. It might qualify as an accounting thriller but for those of us not numerically inclined, it was a snore-fest.

I almost felt that a mystery had been inserted into a perfectly interesting book about a perfectly interesting character to gather mystery reader freaks like myself into reading it.

This mystery reader freak was disappointed.

Christmas Holiday Rubber Ducky - 12 Count
Christmas Holiday Rubber Ducky - 12 Count
Offered by THE BT GROUP
Price: $6.96
12 used & new from $6.96

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Stocking Stuffers and Giveaway Fun, January 3, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
(apologies to Sesame Street)

Rubber Duckies, you're the one,
You make Christmas lots of fun,
Rubber Duckies, I'm awfully fond of you;

(woh woh, bee doh!)

Rubber Duckies, joy of joys,
When I squeeze you, you make noise!
Rubber Duckies, you're my very best friends, it's true!

(doo doo doo doooo, doo doo)

Every day when I
Make my way to the tubby
I find a little fella who's
Cute and yellow and chubby

Rubber Duckies, you're so fine
And I'm lucky that you're mine
Rubber duckies, I'm awfully fond of you.

The Stolen Ones (A Stevens and Windermere Novel)
The Stolen Ones (A Stevens and Windermere Novel)
by Owen Laukkanen
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.86

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confessions of a Reader Who Had to Take a Peek at the Ending, January 3, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Have you ever read a book where it gets so intense that you have to peek at the ending to assure yourself it will be okay? I confess: that is what I did when reading THE STOLEN ONES.

Back in Romania, Irina is seduced by promises of a glamorous modeling career in America and gladly signs on for what turns out to be a widespread sex trafficking ring. Her younger sister Catalina, always the more sensible of the two, follows to protect her sister and is caught in the same net, shipped across the ocean in a cargo container, and trucked across the US to assorted brothels. Irina and Catalina bust out; Catalina is recaptured and thrown back into the stinking container with the other terrified girls.

Enter easygoing BCA agent Kirk Stevens and tough-as-nails FBI agent Carla Windermere, who set to work tracking down the girls, hunting for the "brains" behind the operation, and uncovering multiple layers of horror along the way.

The pace is relentless and the book is filled with despicably nasty villains who stop at nothing to make a dollar and satisfy their rather unsavory desires.

The characters of Stevens and Windermere play nicely against each other. This is not their first case together, but you do not need to read their earlier exploits to understand their relationship. There are nice side-stories for each. Stevens has a happy marriage and a teenage daughter running amok; Windermere has a new love interest which may, or may not,work out.

It's intense and fast-paced​ and enough to keep you reading deep into the night.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 4, 2015 9:20 PM PST

Avery Index Maker White Dividers, 8-Tab, Laser/Ink Jet, 3-Hole, Letter Size (8.5 x 11), Clear, 8 per Set (11417 )
Avery Index Maker White Dividers, 8-Tab, Laser/Ink Jet, 3-Hole, Letter Size (8.5 x 11), Clear, 8 per Set (11417 )
Offered by Arch Superstore
Price: $3.19
40 used & new from $0.09

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hellooooooooo! Avery! We want 1/8 labels only!, December 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As anyone who spends large amounts of time wrestling with side tabs knows, it is nearly impossible to get labels that fit the 1/8th cut tabs. You end up using larger ones and either cutting them or wrapping them. You invariably end up decked out like an Avery label Christmas tree. It's not a pretty sight.

So I was thrilled to see these labels.

The good news? Avery actually, and rather secretly, makes these labels.

More good news? Avery has a template for using with them.

The bad news? You can only get them WITH the Avery dividers and, sadly, the Avery dividers are rather flimsy. If you want a lot... you have to buy a lot of Avery label/divider sets, and then you are stuck with lots and lots and lots of dividers that scream "CHEAP" in the middle of your otherwise professional-looking presentation.

"No problem," I thought. "I'll just write Avery a nice letter and request that they make sets of the labels. Or maybe they'll tell me a secret source of 1/8 tab labels."

So I did.

More bad news. I got a letter back saying, "Sorry. We don't make them. We don't plan to make them. You are SOL."

(Well, that's not exactly what they said, but you get the gist.)

So here I am, hoarding the two sheets of labels I got, hoping I don't make any mistakes because I need them to last a long long time.

After that, you'll find me in the corner, snipping larger labels and decked out like an Avery Christmas tree.

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