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Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling
Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling
by Katie Dalebout
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.29
50 used & new from $7.26

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tools to reprogram yourself, June 25, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you find motivation in responding to writing prompts or want to challenge your writing skills, Katie Dalebout’s “Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling” may be the book for you. Ms. Dalebout offers a collection of 55 tools or writing prompts that will help and inspire readers to add variety to their journal writing in order to better their lives.

Each group of tools, seven in total, is geared to different goals that varied from overcoming your resistance to journaling, through revving up your creativity, through decluttering your space, through planning healthy meals, through finding the right romantic partner, through facing your fears, to asking the Universe or God to bestow abundance on you. The ultimate goal is to get rid of emotional baggage, break bad habits and negativity and then reprogram your mind, attitude and views toward positive thinking and self-healing that would ultimately lead to success.

As I read through the different tools, I found some of them whimsical, most are fun. Some feel like you’re psychoanalyzing yourself, and some feel like work. A few bordered into wishful thinking (and why not?). For some exercises, readers may leave a copy of their entries tucked into a copy of the book in the library or tweet them if they wish. Wisely, Ms. Dalebout admits that not all the tools will work for all readers and she gives them the Create-Your-Own-Tool at the end.

I did some journaling when I was a teenager and at that age, having a safe place to freely pour out my thoughts and feelings and to hold them without internal or external judgment was immensely therapeutic. But from that experience, I believe that journal writing is an intensely private affair between the person, the pen, and the page and that the only requirements are to be as honest as possible with your mind and your heart and to give yourself permission to write anything that you need to write. That’s the essence of journal writing for me. In my opinion, prompts and exercises are optional. However, if you’re the kind of person who likes guided or structured practices, then Ms. Daleabout’s “Let It Out” might fit the bill for you.


Another Brooklyn: A Novel
Another Brooklyn: A Novel
by Jacqueline Woodson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $15.89

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual story structure but beautifully written, June 4, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
“Another Brooklyn” follows August as she remembers her tween and teen years in Brooklyn. Her father moved there from Tennessee when August was just eight years old. August and her younger brother used to people-watch from their apartment window. It’s from there that she spotted the three girls, Sylvia, Angela and Gigi, who would become her close friends for the next eight years.

August and her friends’ lives are far from perfect. Yet they try to hold on to their dreams just as reality rears its ugly face on every street corner. Out in the world, they confront drugs, sexual predators, poverty, racism, prejudice, and violence while at home; they must deal with parental absence, whether it is physical or emotional. This is a story of female friendship that evolves and changes, bringing both joy and pain as the four girls transition into adulthood. The amazing thing about this book is how Jacqueline Woodson can pack so much in “Another Brooklyn” yet it has less than 200 pages. She may be economical with words, but she doesn’t shortchange readers when it comes to delivering an emotional and thoughtful story of loss.


I Don't Wait Anymore: Letting Go of Expectations and Grasping God's Adventure for You
I Don't Wait Anymore: Letting Go of Expectations and Grasping God's Adventure for You
by Grace Thornton
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.12
70 used & new from $8.33

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected, May 21, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I’m one of those people for whom life hasn’t turned out as we expected when we were younger. Like the author, at one point in my life, I too hoped that one day I would have a husband and 2.5 kids, that I would be destined to have a “normal” life. So when this book showed up on my list, I thought it would be great to read about what another woman has to say about this situation.

I admit the book was a little disappointing. It is titled after a popular post on Ms. Thornton’s blog. I wasn’t aware of its existence until after I read the book. Out of curiosity, I did read the post and found the reason why the book didn’t quite jibe with me. Of the two, “I Don’t Wait Anymore,” the blog post, is the one I like better. There’s a kind of out-of-the-box-thinking going on and definitely a big dollop of defiance going along with it. In the post, the author realizes the difference between the expectations taught by the church (as an institution) and those born from a personal and direct experience with God.

“I Don’t Wait Anymore,” the book, tries to expand on that realization. Unfortunately, it stretches itself too thin. Lost are the touch of defiance and the clarity of the original post. The organization of the book is, I’m sorry to say, kind of confusing. Although I appreciated and enjoyed the anecdotes of the author’s personal interactions that led to enlightenment, I think she could’ve done better at how she put them together. There’s a lot of jumping back and forth which makes for unnecessary repetitions. And though the original post is about the author’s making a choice between the canned experience of God fed by the institution of the church and the direct heart-to-heart connection with the Divine, the book’s emphasis seems to be on how she’s no longer responsible for her choices, on how everything is being left up to God.

Now, I do agree with the book that God has plans for us and He ultimately controls our lives, but to say that we are not responsible for our choices is not how I view things. I think God gives us choices so that we can grow. To admit our mistakes is to take responsibility for our choices. We learned from our mistakes and with luck, we get to know God through our mistakes too.

I’m sure Ms. Thornton’s fans will enjoy this book. For the rest of us, depending on our personal views of God and his workings, her insights may or may not be hard to follow.


Women Summer Short Sleeve Shirt Casual T Shirts Black White Formal Work Wear Tops Medium White
Women Summer Short Sleeve Shirt Casual T Shirts Black White Formal Work Wear Tops Medium White
Offered by Fly Feeling
Price: $6.96
5 used & new from $3.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice looking shirt, May 15, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I ordered the manufacturer’s size M and the blouse fits me just right. I usually wear Petite Small or Juniors Medium when it comes to USA sizes. This shirt is fitted but not tight. Since I have a small bust, there’s no gaping around the chest area (or anywhere else for that matter). I wanted a blouse that wouldn’t bunched out when paired with a high-waist skirt and this one works well. It’s office appropriate yet feminine because of the cap sleeves. Although the sleeves were a little bit puffier than I expected, I still like this style of shirt a lot. The material is soft and cool. It comes with two extra replacement buttons. The care instructions printed on the label are in Chinese, so I’ll be doing some guesswork when it’s time to wash it. After I got the shirt, I ironed it and all the wrinkles disappeared like magic. I think this is a nice shirt and I’m very happy with it.
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Swiss Legend Women's 16002SM-RG-02-BB Sea Breeze Analog Display Swiss Quartz Black Watch
Swiss Legend Women's 16002SM-RG-02-BB Sea Breeze Analog Display Swiss Quartz Black Watch
Price: $87.32
2 used & new from $68.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, elegant watch, April 30, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I’ve been looking for an oversized watch for some time now, and when I saw the Swiss Legend’s Sea Breeze watch, I knew this was the one for me. I chose the black and rose gold-toned one because I love the color combination. The face of the watch is 1 3/8” in diameter. For me, it’s big, but it does not overpower my small wrist. The dial is silver-toned but the numbers are set against a ring of mother of pearl. I like the fact that the numbers are large and therefore easy to read. Where the number 3 should be, there’s an aperture that shows the day. The hour and minute hands are white and are covered with a luminous substance so that they softly glow green in the dark, after being exposed to light.

I can definitely feel this watch on my wrist. No wonder. The case is about 3/8” thick. I’m sure Swiss Legend’s sapphitek crystal is one of the components that add to the look and feel of solidness the watch has. It sure beats acrylic. The total length of the strap, including the buckle and the watch, is a little over 9 1/2” long. The strap width is 3/4” The textured strap is made of a rubbery material, I think it’s silicone. It’s soft and makes the watch comfortable to wear.

The watch comes with an instruction booklet but it’s written in Deustch, French, and Italian. If you want the instructions in English, you'll have to download it from Swiss Legend’s website. It is under the Warranty section. There’s a trick to setting the calendar. It’s not just pull the crown out and turn, which is what I did, and I was half a day off until I set it the correct way. I haven’t had this watch for long, but so far it’s keeping time accurately. I think the Swiss Legend Sea Breeze is both elegant and sporty. I’ll definitely be wearing it quite often, both at work and on the weekends.
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Choies Women's Polyester Pink High Waist Trumpet Midi Skirt X-Large
Choies Women's Polyester Pink High Waist Trumpet Midi Skirt X-Large
Offered by Choies Clothing
Price: $15.99
2 used & new from $15.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Adorable skirt but listed measurements are not always accurate, April 24, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Unlike other reviewers, my skirt turned out larger than I expected. I measured my waist (29.5”) and after I compared it with the waistband measurements provided in the product page by the seller, I ordered an XL (29.9”). When I got and tried on my skirt, I was in shock. The actual measurement of the skirt’s waistband was 32”! Of course, I expected a full refund. After all, it was not my fault that I ordered the wrong size since I was following the seller’s listed measurements and sizes. However, I bought the skirt from the seller through Amazon Marketplace and not through Amazon, so if I wanted a full refund, I had to return the skirt at my own expense. The cost of mailing it back would have been as much as the price of the skirt itself. To avoid myself anymore hassles and wasted money, I took the seller’s partial refund and used it to pay somebody to take in my skirt’s waistband.

The skirt itself is adorable. I bought it in light pink, but the actual color is more of a soft, pastel orange. The length of the skirt from the top of the waistband to the hem is about 26.5”. I’m on the short side, so for me, the skirt is rather tea length than knee length. But I don’t mind. The material is soft and swingy. It needs to be ironed as it wrinkles easily. It’s not as see-through as some people say it is. It does come with a pink lining that’s about 18” long. The skirt is well constructed. The zipper in the back works smoothly. Now that I had my skirt altered to fit me, I’m happy with it. I think it’s cute and I can dress it up or down to fit the occasion. And since I own so many black skirts, having a pink/orange one is like bringing a breath of fresh air into my wardrobe.
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Enchanted Islands: A Novel
Enchanted Islands: A Novel
by Allison Amend
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.36
76 used & new from $13.48

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes me wonder what the real Frances Conway would say, April 24, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If I got something out of Allison Amend’s “Enchanted Islands” is that I wanted to find a copy of the real-life Frances and Ainslie Conway’s memoir to find out why a middle-aged couple chose to forgo the comforts of modern city life for a Robinson Crusoe lifestyle in a faraway island. In the novel, Allison Amend opted for the premise that they were undercover agents on a mission to monitor a small colony of Germans in the Galapagos island of Floreana. Hitler is in power and threatening Europe. The handful of Germans living on an island in the Pacific Ocean, 906 km away from Ecuador, could be Hitler’s toehold into the United States.

However, don’t expect Allison Amend’s book to be an espionage thriller. Instead, it’s an exploration of relationships. Friendship and marriage are at the center of this book. Readers are introduced to Frances and her friend Rosalie in their old age. Rosalie is about to be publicly recognized for her contributions during WWII while Frances must still keep silent about hers. But she can still remember. And so, readers are taken back to her childhood when she and Rosalie met; their estrangement when they were young women, and later reconciliation when both were already in their 50s. Secrets play a big role in Frances’ life and relationships. More than once, they will be a cause for soul searching during her unorthodox marriage to Ainslie Conway, an intelligence officer.

“Enchanted Islands” moves at a nice pace. Frances and Rosalie are characters I would like to spend an afternoon with, chatting about their pasts. I thought this novel would be a good book to pick up for a long flight. I didn’t find the story particularly memorable (and frankly, I find it somewhat unethical to borrow real-life people and smear their reputation, just because they're dead and for the sake of fiction), but I like it that it is about relationships; imperfect relationships that somehow, like Frances, we learn to forgive, accept, and value because without them, our lives would be the lesser of it.


Lab Girl
Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.17
77 used & new from $11.74

59 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An ode to trees, March 25, 2016
This review is from: Lab Girl (Hardcover)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
It sure makes me giggle that the first thing that seems to have stay with me after reading “Lab Girl” was Ms. Jahren’s lines about how science differs from literature. But since I’m rather one of those people who would enjoy talking about, as she puts it, “books that had been written to analyze other books that had originally been written as retellings of ancient books,” maybe it’s not so strange that I recall them easily. However, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the book will not leave a mark on the readers. On the contrary, I’m sure many would be touched by Ms. Jahren’s beautifully written essays about trees.

“Lab Girl” is an honest portrayal of what it is like to become a female scientist and devote one’s professional life to science. Ms. Jahren lays it all out, the joys of research and discovery, of building labs and going on field trips, and the struggles for funding and acceptance. As in other fields, women scientists must also break their own glass ceiling. “Lab Girl” is also about Ms. Jahren’s best friend and lab partner, Bill. I admit that I soon grew tired of the relationship part not because it was boring, but because I felt like an outsider politely eavesdropping on their private conversations. Theirs is a special bond, but what glues them together doesn’t quite translate on paper.

What does come shining through the pages is Ms. Jahren’s love for plant life. For me, the best parts about her memoir are the chapters devoted to the trees. They’re informative and insightful; the writing is almost poetic. These chapters give readers a different way of thinking about trees, of what they are made of and how they live. Ms. Jahren helped me understand that there’s more to a tree than a trunk and leaves. Trees are a masterpiece of Nature.

“Lab Girl” is an enjoyable book. It’s an insider’s look at the world and life of scientists. But what I appreciate the most about this memoir is that it’s a beautiful ode to plants and trees.


18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver 1 inch Vertical Anchor Pendant Necklace, 18"
18k Yellow Gold Plated Sterling Silver 1 inch Vertical Anchor Pendant Necklace, 18"
Price: $21.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nicely done, March 25, 2016
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
When I first opened the box, I was surprised that this 18K yellow gold-plated sterling silver anchor looked bigger than I expected. It’s a little over 3/4" tall. The pendant and the bale together measure 1" in length. The bottom of the crown of the anchor is marked “PAJ 925 China” The anchor is nicely done. All its parts--ring, stock, shank, arm, flukes, as well as the rope that wraps around the shank are clearly rendered. The markings for the 18-inch gold plated chain are “925 Italy” and “PAJ.” To me, the chain is a bit too delicate looking for the size of the anchor. I think a thicker chain would have matched the pendant better. Other than that, this necklace is a welcome addition to my jewelry box. Anybody who’s into nautical-themed pendants or cherishes the anchor for its Christian symbolism of hope would surely appreciate this pretty necklace.


Panasonic DMC-ZS45 LUMIX 20X Zoom Camera with Wink-Activated Selfie Feature (Black)
Panasonic DMC-ZS45 LUMIX 20X Zoom Camera with Wink-Activated Selfie Feature (Black)
17 used & new from $193.41

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Learn the camera's tricks and it'll deliver, March 13, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this Lumix DMC-ZS45 more to complement than to replace my old PowerShot Canon camera. The feature that attracted me to the Lumix was the ability to rotate the monitor in order to see yourself when taking selfies. I bought a refurbished camera and so far its performance is satisfactory.

The camera comes with a very basic foldout owner’s manual. If you want to take advantage of and learn more about the camera's different features, it’s best to download the manual from Panasonic’s website. I found that the camera is user friendly once I understood that settings may appear and/or change according to the recording mode I choose. I’m not an expert at photography so I usually set the camera to IA (intelligent auto mode) and let the camera do the figuring out. The settings on the dial are for recording modes that go from automatic to allowing you to select your owns setting for aperture, shutter, and exposure. Also it allows you to access the scene and creative modes. Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Night Portrait, Baby, Pets are a few of the recording modes included in the Scene menu. Creative Control Mode allows you to add effect filters (black and white, sepia, etc.) to the pictures you’re taking. To set any of these modes, however, you have to fumble through a menu, which means it may take some precious seconds or minutes if you’re trying to go from “Portrait” to “Scenery.” I think this is probably one of the biggest disadvantages of the Lumix. With my Canon, I can make the same switch by just turning the dial. I also found the flash of the Lumix to be weaker than the Canon. Under some conditions and settings, it will fire twice and if you’re not aware of that, your subject probably would have moved by the time it goes off the second time.

Overall, I think the camera takes good pictures and it saves them to memory faster than my Canon. I’m sure it helps that I’ve given the Lumix a high speed memory card (SDHC UHS-I card). The main appeal of this camera is the ability to take selfies. The camera goes into Self mode shot as soon as you flip the monitor to face yourself. The wink detector works well (if you wear glasses, you need to remove them if you’re the one winking at the camera) but it’s not a quick wink that it’s going to activate the camera’s countdown. You have to close one eye and keep it so until the countdown starts. You can set the camera to take up to 4 selfies in succession and choose from 3 defocusing patterns (background blurring), but you have to make sure you’re inside the frame. Anything outside the frame is blurred. The camera may freeze if you accidentally set the dial in between two modes while doing a selfie. I found out that taking the battery out and then putting it back in will restart the camera.

I usually transfer my pictures to my PC by using the USB connection cable that’s included with the camera. It’s easy and fast. I don’t want to worry about passwords or about the safety of transferring data over Wi-Fi. I’ve only had this camera for about a month and I’m still playing with it. But so far, I like it
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