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Classic Brands Europa Wood Slat and Metal Platform Bed Frame, Mattress Foundation, Queen Size
Classic Brands Europa Wood Slat and Metal Platform Bed Frame, Mattress Foundation, Queen Size

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful solution for apartment living and small spaces, January 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Europa wood bed is very similar in style to the beds sold at Ikea. The idea is a simple but useful one that eliminates the need for box springs so that you can set a mattress down directly on the bent slats which have a slight give to them.

Assembling the bed was not terribly difficult. The instructions are quite poor so be prepared to squint at tiny, fuzzy drawings and puzzle out where things go but, if you are game for that, the actual assembly is not difficult at all. I have to say that the instructions were actually worse than Ikea's but we sorted it all out in the end. All the pieces required are in the box but you will need a rubber mallet (that is the only item I can think of that not everyone has! ). The metal and the paint are tough and, despite assembling it with the help of kids, there were no scratches and dings to the frame.

The one thing to keep in mind if you are assembling this in a flat / apartment is that you need to whack each pair of slats into the center rail using your mallet. It is not a thing done quietly. Some of the Ikea beds have roll out bed slats that may be a quieter option if the noise might be an issue.

I was initially surprised that the corner legs were inset from the edges but it is really quite smart that way since you are less apt to stub your toes as you edge around the bed changing sheets, etc. There are no casters on the legs but I've had beds with casters and never once rolled the bed around so that does not bother me. Also, the frame does not have mounting equipment to attach a headboard.

There is ample space under the bedframe (12.5 inches height) for storage boxes, suitcases, sports equipment, etc. All you need is a bedskirt with the correct drop of 14 inches and you are set.

At the moment we have the bed set up with Ikea's Morgongava Latex mattress and the bed is extremely comfortable. The slats seem strong although I'm not sure if they would hold up to a child bouncing on them.

So, for apartment living and as a storage solution, this bed is a good option to consider.

OXO Good Grips Can Opener, Green
OXO Good Grips Can Opener, Green
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A well made product that should last!, January 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm always on the lookout for items that are more ergonomic for those with wrist pain. As the years have gone one I've learned that cheap kitchen gadgets can be painful! OXO has been making decent quality kitchen products for many years and their commitment to making products that are functional as well as comfortable has made them a good bet for kitchen utensils.

The OXO can opener is a good standby for emergencies. I normally use an electric can opener to spare the wrists but the few times we have had power outages have taught me the value of having a good can opener as a backup. The advantage of this can opener over my electric model is that you can pop this right in the dishwasher with no harm done. The construction of the device is solid, the knob turns smoothly and the plastic has been used over strong metal. The only completely plastic part is a small L shaped piece that sits against the can below the lower wheel. It isn't necessarily a crucial piece and seems sturdy enough so that this item should give quite a few good years of use.

Zenna Home E35603BN01, NeverRust Aluminum Curved Shower Curtain Rod, 44 to 72-Inch, Satin Nickel
Zenna Home E35603BN01, NeverRust Aluminum Curved Shower Curtain Rod, 44 to 72-Inch, Satin Nickel
Price: $29.78
5 used & new from $26.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A Quality item!, January 26, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The Zenna Curved Shower curtain rod is a very well built and thought out item. I was impressed with the quality of the metal - nothing flimsy here - and the accuracy of the design and instructions. Once the installation is done and you put on the mount covers this is a beautiful addition to your bathroom. I installed this in a 60 inch long tiled tub surround but did not drill into the tile to mount it. I got lucky in that the tile in this bathroom ends 7 feet up the wall. So, instead of drilling into tile and taking a chance on cracks forming I was able to install the rod higher up than the previous spring loaded shower curtain rod I was using.

There are a few things to watch out for when installing it.

1. Make sure you have enough clearance around where you want the rod to go. I do have a wall cabinet close to the tub so I had to set the rod mounts a bit further into the tub area than I had planned.

2. You will also need leave enough space under the mounting hardware for the metal covers to go on easily and to allow room for you to tighten the screws that hold the covers in place.

3. I'd recommend finding the studs in the wall and installing the rod into studs only. It is a heavy piece by itself and with the addition of curtains I can see it ripping out drywall pretty easily.

Installation (with very careful obsessive measuring) took about an hour. If you are skilled and confident with home repairs, etc I can see it taking much less time to put this up.

Highly recommended.

Zume Games Tenniz Set
Zume Games Tenniz Set
Price: $54.38
15 used & new from $50.03

5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Tennis set for days at the park or your own backyard!, January 15, 2015
This review is from: Zume Games Tenniz Set (Sports)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I've used this kit with a group of 10 year old boys who, without any assistance, were able to assemble the net and supports in less than 10 minutes. The instruction booklet was glanced at but the assembly was very intuitive. The metal rods clicked together smoothly and the net survived a few dives and collisions. They used it on a concrete surface and I think that helped a lot with the stability but if your lawn is fairly smooth it could work on grass as well.

The nicest thing about the kit is that it all comes apart and stores in a zippered carry case. The case holds everything, racquets, foam balls, net, metal frame and instruction book. It doesn't take up much room at all in the trunk of a car and this is going to be one of the regular items we take to the park for play dates.

Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Legume & Duck Meal Formula Dry Dog Food - 4.5 lb
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Legume & Duck Meal Formula Dry Dog Food - 4.5 lb
Offered by etopso
Price: $14.60
10 used & new from $14.60

3.0 out of 5 stars Garbanzo beans = gas. Too plant based to suit my dog, January 15, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Natural Balance has been highly respected for a long time as a manufacturer of quality dog food. The company used to be owned by Dick Van Patten but has changed hands. I don't know if that has anything to do with the quality of the food being manufactured today but I was not impressed.

My dog had it for five days before I gave up on it for all our sakes. First and foremost, it gave him gas!! No one liked that. Even he seemed pretty surprised at what was going on in that department! Secondly, stools were larger and softer. A significant change from when he is on Taste of the Wild or even Nature's Domain from Costco.

Secondly, the ingredient list gave me some pause. The first ingredient is duck meal which is well and good. The second is dried Garbanzo beans (source of the gas, I think!) third and fourth are dried peas and pea starch before we come to duck again. Then we have the nebulously defined Natural Flavor, Canola, Beet Pulp, Ground Flaxseed and Salmon oil. The list continues with vitamins and minerals added.

Peas, Pea Flour, Flaxseed and Garbanzo are all sources of Protein. The analysis of the food says that it has 22.5% Protein and I think a large part of this is coming from the plant ingredients and not the duck.

Anyway, this is not a dog food that worked for my dog. So, based on my sample of one, I can't honestly recommend it.

Westcott 8" Titanium Non-Stick Bent Scissor - Pink
Westcott 8" Titanium Non-Stick Bent Scissor - Pink
Price: $13.79
2 used & new from $12.92

2.0 out of 5 stars Short cutting area and not smooth to use. Best for small craft projects., January 9, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The non stick aspect of these scissors can make them very useful for craft projects involving duct tape or scotch tape.

However, even though the description claims that they are idea for fabric, projects involving a lot of cutting of paper or fabric may not be best done with this pair. You only get about 3.25" of cut each time you open and close the scissor. This makes it a bit annoying to use if you are planning on cutting fabric for sewing or quilting. The tips of the scissor are not smooth which creates an issue with the scissor getting caught and pulling snags in delicate fabric.

Another thing about this scissor that made it less than perfect is that the blades have some definite resistance from rubbing against each other when you use them. The resistance is not even - it is rougher about halfway shut - which makes me think that the blades are not uniformly straight.

So depending on your intended use for these, they might be fine. I personally would spend a little bit extra if you plan on working on important or detailed projects in fabric. Unfortunately, these have subpar workmanship and I don't feel that I can recommend them.

Golden Son: Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy
Golden Son: Book II of the Red Rising Trilogy
by Pierce Brown
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.14
83 used & new from $13.08

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full speed ahead!! Terrific addition in the YA catergory., December 31, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Golden Son does something quite impressive for a second book in a three part series - it picks up momentum where Red Rising left off and roars ahead at full speed. Darrow has survived the Academy and the brutal games of the first book. We meet him now at the age of 20 and in charge of his own fleet of ships under the mentorship of Archgovernor Augustus, the man he hates. The setting of this book is different from Red Rising as is the complexity of what Darrow is dealing with now. Political intrigue and betrayal surround him on all sides and he finds friends and enemies where he least expects them.

Darrow himself is an interesting character who develops as we follow him in this book. In Red Rising there was still some adolescent immaturity in many of his actions and thoughts but in Golden Son we can see him maturing even as he continues with reckless and bold moves in his dealing with so many challenges.

Having said all that, I would put both Red Rising and Golden Son in the young adult category. It is well written and plotted marvelously but it does lack some of the maturity of Science Fiction books written for adults. I have heard accusations of this book being reminiscent of The Hunger Games and, quite honestly, I think that is ridiculous. If it is a rip off it is certainly written much better than its predecessor. But if one wants to call it a rip off you'd be hard pressed to decide what it is a rip off of! The movie Metropolis? Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles? Nietzsche? There are familiar traces of so many authors and books and philosophies in this novel that I can't see how anyone can call it a ripoff of any one series. I'd prefer to think that Brown was inspired and influenced my many writers.

Whatever the case might be I have to appreciate Golden Son for its writing style, well paced plot and avoiding my pet peeve with YA books by having a well rounded and challenging vocabulary. The book does end with a horrendous cliff hanger so be warned! My advanced readers copy states that there is a movie in the works and hopefully it will do justice to an excellent series. Highly recommended.

Rite-Lite Judaica Hand-Dipped Rainbow 5.75-Inch Chanukah Candles, Box of 45
Rite-Lite Judaica Hand-Dipped Rainbow 5.75-Inch Chanukah Candles, Box of 45
Offered by DANISKI
Price: $13.99
6 used & new from $9.41

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!, December 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Arrived on time and in perfect shape. No broken candles and they looked beautiful in the Hannukiah. Not dripless but not overly drippy either. If you set them in perfectly straight and don't have a draft the wax drip is minimal.

Mercer Culinary M23505 Renaissance Forged Knife Block Set, Wood Block with Tempered Glass
Mercer Culinary M23505 Renaissance Forged Knife Block Set, Wood Block with Tempered Glass
Price: $158.72
2 used & new from $158.72

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality knives but there is room for improvement, December 22, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Mercer makes some really good quality knives in the more-than-basic level and with a much lighter price tag than some of the bigger names. The Renaissance set has many of the qualities cooks look for in knives - High carbon German steel, one piece fully forged construction, full tang that runs the length of the blade and handle, and most of the basic knives you would need in a starter set.

The Knives : I own a Wusthof Grand Prix set that I have used daily for about a decade. The Mercer knives come pretty close to the balance and design of the Wusthof which is very impressive considering their price. The 3.5 inch knife and the 5 inch knives are both pretty comparable. However, when you come to the 8" Chef's knife you can really feel the difference between the Mercer and the Wusthof. The Mercer is much heavier and harder on the wrist. Both sets taper a little from handle to tip but the Wusthof tapers down a lot more which is probably why it is a lighter blade and slices through hard things (Butternut Squash) much more easily than the Mercers. If you use a Chef's knife for a lot of food prep, a little weight and thickness can make a big difference.

The set also includes a Boning Knife and Bread Knife. The Bread knife is very useful and I do wish my Wusthof set had come with one. However, unless you use a Boning Knife a lot, it seems like a waste to have it in the set. It would have served better to have a pair of kitchen shears or a honing steel to maintain your blades. I use my honing steel regularly and find it indispensable.

The Block : Where the block is concerned, keep in mind that unless you have plenty of room under your wall cabinets,it becomes unwieldy to pull out the bigger knives without hitting the cabinets above. An angled knife block does have a bigger footprint but it allows for much smoother retrieval and storage of the knives. The Mercer block has a very modern look to it. However it does not have rubber feet or anything to keep it from sliding on the counters. On Granite counters, the block slides unless you are very careful. Also, the block is not balanced well so if you pull the longer knives out carelessly you run the risk of tipping the block.

Made in Taiwan : If you are buying this set for the German steel, I should point out that while the steel is German, the knives are actually manufactured in Taiwan. The Made in Taiwan logo is on each blade. This is not to say that the quality is inferior but it is something that some shoppers might want to know.

For the price, I would say that this is a good set. I am not too fond of the block but it's modern look may be appealing to younger couples. It would be a lovely gift to someone just starting up their kitchen.

303 (30209) Spot Cleaner - 32 fl. oz.
303 (30209) Spot Cleaner - 32 fl. oz.
Offered by Tru Inertia
Price: $7.95
6 used & new from $5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent cleaner for the car but no disclosure of ingredients, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I used this Spot cleaner on a car carpet that had an accident with chocolate ice cream that had dried and set in. Just for comparison's sake I cleaned one section with pine sol and water and the rest with the 303 cleaner. Using it was very easy - spray, blot, rinse and blot. The stain lifted up cleanly and there was no residue at all. After rinsing both areas it was very apparent that the 303 cleaner had removed every trace of the stain whereas the pine sol solution did not get anywhere near as clean. The odor was mild to nearly absent. I used it without gloves and did not have any sort of dryness or reaction to the chemicals.

Speaking of chemicals, the Amazon description currently states that the product contains "No phosphates, nitrates, caustics, toxic organics, enzymes, VOC's." I did not see this mentioned anywhere on the bottle or on the company website. All I found on the website was this: "303® utilizes a proprietary blend of sequester agents, surfactants and hyper-wetting agents to lift and suspend oil, grease and dirt to be easily wiped or rinsed away." If the company was more open with disclosing the ingredients then this would be a five star product. As it is though with the 'proprietary blend' I am a little leery of what exactly is doing the cleaning in the mix.

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