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Customer Reviews: 254
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Heath Buckmaster "_heath_" RSS Feed (Sacramento, CA USA)
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

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Hill's Ideal Balance Slim & Healthy Natural Chicken & Peas Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food, 6-Pound
Hill's Ideal Balance Slim & Healthy Natural Chicken & Peas Recipe Adult Dry Cat Food, 6-Pound
Price: $25.21

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality product in an easy to open bag, smells fresh, however, cats have mixed response to it, April 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our three cats generally eat two moist meals a day and then have dry food the rest of the day (always available) for them to snack on. Sometimes they prefer the crunchy dry food overnight and then the moist food during the day - which is fun to hear that crunching sound in the middle of the night.

In the past I've focused on IAMS as the product of choice for dry food - using a variety of weight control, senior formula, and hairball control. However, that product tends to be a bit too hard for my senior cats teeth, so I've been trying out other products to see how they compare.

In terms of the SIZE of this product, the food pellets are small and round and relatively flat. This allows my cats to easily crunch through them (or in the case of the cat who acts like a dog, to just bolt the food) without causing their teeth any undue strain. I've found that the pellets that are more shaped like circles (non-flat) are just too difficult, but these that are pressed flatter are better.

The scent of the product is fresh and clean, and even after sitting in a plastic food box for a few weeks it maintains the fresh smell and doesn't feel like it's breaking down in any way.

The bag was easy open, and then very easy to pour into the food box, and it seemed very well filled in terms of volume in the bag - so you're getting your money's worth.

My only issue is that the cats are having a mixed response to it. Unlike some other varieties, this one tends to stay in their bowls longer before consumption. I don't want to say they are sticking their nose up to it, but they don't come running when I pour them a bowl-full. I believe this is this specific variety / flavour, because other Hill's products are devoured when served...so perhaps the chicken and peas is the real issue vs. anything else about the product.

Overall it's a quality food - but I will likely choose a different flavour for my specific cats. Your mileage may vary!


Vornado AC500 True HEPA Air Purifier
Vornado AC500 True HEPA Air Purifier
Price: $249.00
8 used & new from $172.47

4.0 out of 5 stars Sleek looking air purifier, can get noisy on medium+ speeds, better for enclosed spaces w/o open windows, March 23, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm a huge fan of the Vornado product line. I've gone through numerous floor fans over the years - most of them running 24x7 without fail. In terms of quality, this one is right up there and is well constructed and gives excellent air flow.

The product is easy to remove from the packaging, and is well secured in foam and multiple layers of plastic. You'll also remove plastic film from both sides - which is to prevent incidental scratching of the surface in transport. On the filter side you will see some blue tape holding the filter in place - I left the tape there - it's not noticeable, and I won't plan to remove it until I change the filter.

It is a bit confusing which direction you point the product, but you want the shiny side toward the room and the exhaust fan toward the wall or corner. Air is pulled in from the front and through the filter, then pushed out of the vents on the top back. By default it's on medium speed when you turn it on, and I wouldn't describe the product as "quiet running" at that point. Ticking the fan down to level 2 or level 1 is more of what I expect from an air filter fan...but for power cleaning, medium (level 3), (high) level 4 will do - just be prepared for it to be loud. It's advertised as "quiet operation" but...as I mentioned it can get noisy.

There are a number of neat features here with the ability to use an automatic mode that senses how dirty the air is and adjusts the fan speed accordingly. They call this the "dust sensing technology" because it needs a catchy name. Sleep mode will sense when the lights go down and turn the fan speed down accordingly - only really useful if you leave it on continuously in a bedroom or such.

The filter puts out fresh smelling air - it does its job to clean the air and give excellent airflow, which is what you should expect from a Vornado product. The fan blades move a lot of air no matter which setting it's on.

But here's where I have concerns - and my recommendation for using it in enclosed spaces without open windows. The whole purpose of the purifier is to clean the air of dust and allergens, but if you live in a place where you regularly open windows then it sort of defeats the purpose. In my home office where I almost never open the windows - it's perfect. It catches floating cat hair and other particles and freshens the room. In the bedroom and living room, however, the windows are open on all but the hottest of days, so there's no reason to purify air that is constantly being dirtied from the outside.

So a solid 4 stars for being a well constructed Vornado product that moves air quickly and efficiently and works great in rooms without open windows. 1 point away for the noise factor - but only because they specifically advertise quiet operator, which I have not found to be the case.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 27, 2014 11:50 AM PDT


Glad Matchware Food Storage Containers Blue Rectangle Variety Pack, 4 Count (Pack of 4)
Glad Matchware Food Storage Containers Blue Rectangle Variety Pack, 4 Count (Pack of 4)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product, easy to use in all storage locations, holds heat well, March 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What you get? 4 food storage containers, in two size configurations. All four have similar theme (decoration) with a blue lid and contemporary patterns on the sides.

All four containers have well crafted lids and seals that snap firmly into place. They stack neatly in the refrigerator if you wind up using multiple containers after a large meal. They also work well in the freezer with no noticed puckering or issues with the seal (just make sure you don't put something very hot inside and then immediately into the freezer (which I'd say for any storage container).

This product also works well in the microwave, and the upper seal doesn't retain heat so it's easy to lift out without burning yourself - but if you have a lot of food product inside, be sure to use mittens or a rag for protection.

In the dishwasher they rinse clean and I have not noticed any food staining on the inside, even with sauces. I have yet to try with a hearty tomato sauce, however, which has been a culprit of staining other containers in the past.

Overall quality product, well crafted, good seals, versatile for fridge/freezer/microwave/dishwasher. Easy storage, easy cleanup.

Solid 4 stars.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 23, 2014 3:17 AM PDT


Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen Optimus Prime Wacky Wobbler Special Print
Transformers 2 Revenge of the Fallen Optimus Prime Wacky Wobbler Special Print
Offered by TOKYOPOP FREAKS
Price: $54.99
5 used & new from $39.81

4.0 out of 5 stars Clever toy from Funko that authentically (humorously) represents Optimus Prime, March 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I really dig these Funko bobblehead toys - they are delightfully funny, but surprisingly authentic and accurate to capture the spirit of the character.

The Optimus Prime bobble is no different. From the flame streaks on his shoulders, to his fists that are ready for action and his mouth shield in place, Optimus Prime Wacky Wobbler is ready for fun on your desk at work, a shelf at home, or as one of my friends wants to do - "super glue it to the dashboard" ...

I can't comment on the glue-ability of the product, but I can comment on how many people have remarked on how fun it is and people just can't help themselves tweaking the head so it wobbles around.

As with all the Funko products, the head is exaggerated in a fun way, and you can't help but smile watching him waggle his head around.

The base of the product clearly identifies him as Optimus Prime, and both arms freely swing back and forward. However, that is the limit of the "pose-ability" of the product - just the arms. The head is VERY wobbly, but not in a bad way. Even with a gentle motion of the desk or shelf, the head had a regular wobble so you know Optimus is always paying attention.

4 solid stars for a well made product that accurately represents the leader of the Autobots.


First Alert SMOKE1000-3 Atom Micro Photoelectric Smoke Alarm 3 Pack
First Alert SMOKE1000-3 Atom Micro Photoelectric Smoke Alarm 3 Pack
Price: $59.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compact, easy to install, quality product that looks great while doing its job, February 16, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What you get in the box:
3 micro smoke alarm units (white and silver)
3 baggies, each containing 2 screws and 2 plastic fixing anchors
3 instruction manuals (a bit redundant)

Steps to install:
Remove the base ring from the smoke alarm unit and drill appropriate holes in either your ceiling or wall, as desired.
Affix the base ring with the included screws and optional fixing anchors (depends what kind of material you are drilling into). Into my ceilings which are cement-like, I used the fixing anchors because the house is old and the material breaks apart a bit.
Pull the plastic tab away from the battery in the main unit and make sure it's full seated and installed in the correct direction.
Screw the main unit into the base, and press the test button to make sure it's working.
Done.

Other Notes:
The main unit will not affix to the base if the battery is not installed, or not installed correctly. There's a metal plate that flips out and prevents you from screwing the main unit onto the base unless the battery is firmly in place.
The battery style is a 3V CR2 (Duracell DLCR2 is listed as an acceptable replacement). It's similar to others you might have in home alarm systems (window sensors).
There is a silence feature - if the alarm goes off you can press the test/silence button and it will reset for 10 minutes - obviously, please don't do this if smoke is present.
It's recommended you have a smoke alarm in each bedroom / hallway, and I recently had some work done at the house which triggered some new building codes. Thus - I was in need of three more smoke alarms.

I give this product high marks. Price point is good, installation is very easy and quick, product quality is as expected and both the base and main unit feel sturdy and well constructed, testing works correctly with a loud piercing alarm (don't stand too close), and the device looks attractive. The small form factor doesn't get in the way, and you could put these just about anywhere and likely never notice them.

5 full stars.


Quartet Magnetic Dry-Erase Board, 8 1/2 x 11 Inches, Red Frame (MHOW8511-RD)
Quartet Magnetic Dry-Erase Board, 8 1/2 x 11 Inches, Red Frame (MHOW8511-RD)
Price: $5.62

2.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, low-quality product that is poorly packaged, but does have a functional whiteboard, February 13, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What you get in the package:
Whiteboard with attached "ReWritables" pen/eraser combo.
Two magnets stuck to the front of the board.
Baggie stapled to the cardboard back of the board with four magnets and four 3M sponge stickies.

The very first impression I had is: "wow this is pretty cheap quality"

Starting from the top - the combo pen/eraser is attached by a plastic clip which is TAPED to the plastic frame of the board. You'll remove the tape and then peel off the sticky on the sponge sticky and "permanently" attach it wherever you want it. In this way you can put it on the top, bottom, or side of the board.

The eraser is incredibly unsubstantial as compared to the size of the white board, so you will likely NOT use this tiny eraser when a piece of tissue paper will work much better, and more cleanly. The included pen is fine-tip, so if you need something more broad, use a regular dry erase marker.

The two magnets on the front of the board left sticky residue on the white portion - and I had to use Goo-Gone to get it cleaned up. Very messy. These magnets are useful if you want to stick a piece of paper onto the white board like you would with a refrigerator magnet. Only moderately useful due to this white board being pretty small.

The plastic frame is really cheap quality. Out of the plastic wrap mine had scratches on both the top and sides of the frame.

Because the baggie with magnets and stickies it stapled to the cardboard back, it left large holes. Not a big deal since you're going to mount the whiteboard, but it could just as easily have been taped to the front and not damaged the product.

You have two choices for adhering the whiteboard - either use the stickies and more "permanently" affix it, or use the magnets and put it on something else that is magnetic (a fridge or other whiteboard).

The white board itself works fine. I wrote and drew on it and was able to clean it off without leaving any residual pen markings.

Overall I am giving this product a 2 star rating for very poor and cheap quality. If there had been a metallic frame around it that would have significantly improved the feel of the product and durability, but as the plastic was already damaged and scratched on delivery...you get what you pay for.


Colgate Extra Clean Full Head, Medium Toothbrush, 4 Count
Colgate Extra Clean Full Head, Medium Toothbrush, 4 Count
Offered by GM DEALS AND STEALS
Price: $6.99
5 used & new from $1.93

3.0 out of 5 stars Cleans teeth, but feels more like a travel toothbrush than for daily use, February 3, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For this review I compared this product to my regular daily-use toothbrush which is an Oral B (Clinical Pro Flex style).

For starters, opening the package of the Colgate brushes is relatively easy. There's a perforation on the back directly behind the 3rd brush and it makes it very easy to remove it from the package without tearing the whole thing apart.

Upon removing the brush I was struck by how plastic and lightweight it felt. There is no texture on the plastic, only contours - which means there is nothing allowing your fingers to grip. The plastic is hard with no flexibility in either the brush head or the handle, and it's very thin so it doesn't feel like you're really gripping anything substantial in your hand while brushing.

As compared to many other products on the market, this lack of flexibility is really noticeable and does impact the feel of the brushing.

So on to the brushing. One of the first things I noticed is that the toothpaste doesn't foam up nearly as well with this brush as compared to my other one. I tried it with the exact same toothpaste and amount, and the Oral-B brush created a significantly noticeable amount of foam, while the Colgate did not. The Colgate's brushes are very stiff and this is again why it reminded me of a travel toothbrush.

Travel toothbrushes to me are low quality, emergency use brushes that stay in your travel bag for long periods of time without use. They get hard and inflexible. That's what the Colgate felt like.

On this particular model the "extra clean" seems to come from the elongated bristles which are the Yellow ones in the central part of the brush (surrounding the blue), and a couple of the white ones right at the tips. Generally I have seen elongated bristles on the outer edges of brushes, not the inner parts like this one. The location of the long bristles did not seem to make a difference in either of my tests.

Both brushes DID clean my teeth to a quality level I expected. I felt like the plaque was removed and when I ran my tongue across my teeth they were smooth and clean-feeling. And so the majority of my scoring has to do with everything else about the toothbrush.

If you're looking for an INEXPENSIVE pack of brushes that does the basic job of toothbrushing, there's nothing standout-wrong with this product. However, if it's important to you that the feel of the brush is substantial, that is has a good texture and grip for your hand (which can be important when the brush gets wet), and has flexibility and give in the brush head (which makes it not feel as abrasive against your gums/teeth), then you might want to consider an alternative product.

2 stars removed for the above mentioned issues.


Thai Kitchen Stir Fry Rice Noodles, 14-Ounce (Pack of 6)
Thai Kitchen Stir Fry Rice Noodles, 14-Ounce (Pack of 6)
6 used & new from $41.49

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent gluten-free alternative to wheat pasta - and tastes better, February 2, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
You can turn this product into anything - fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti - and you'll never know the difference.

A wonderful gluten-free alternative that tastes great and provides those who need it with a way to enjoy pasta dishes again.

Cooking is fast - bring the water to a boil, drop in the noodles then bring down to a simmer or turn off and let sit for about 8-9 minutes and done. Much faster than wheat-based pasta. One thing to keep in mind is the stickiness of these noodles is much increased from regular pasta. Save out some of the cooking water to loosen the product if desired, or you can immediately mix it with a marinara (or other) sauce and the product will not be as sticky.

The dry noodles break easily if you want to have smaller bites, and you can also use a smaller pan because the noodles will soften in hot water almost immediately.

This product is a regular-use item in my kitchen - and besides the gluten-free benefit, I don't feel nearly as full after having a nice-sized portion. Enjoy!


The Workshop
The Workshop
DVD
Price: $1.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gratuitous...ineffective in giving the viewer anything to learn, February 2, 2014
This documentary (or as described by the press as a shockumentary), takes us to a Workshop with behind-the-scenes host Jamie Morgan. The Workshop is run by guru Paul Lowe who apparently influences attendees to learn more about themselves through sexual exploration and sharing in a group setting.

The content from Paul Lowe is sorely lacking in this documentary. Most of the video clips of him specifically are him saying things like "it doesn't matter" over and over again. There is no actual meaningful content from him - so don't watch this expecting to actually understand why being nude is important, or what wisdom he actually imparts upon the people who paid to be there.

What you'll get are interviews with attendees, many in the nude, about why they are there, what they are trying to learn about themselves, and what sort of sexual exploration they are interested in. Even these interviews fall flat in meaningful content - probably the most emotional performance comes from Jamie Morgan in a phone call to his girlfriend while he's still at the workshop.

There is full frontal male and female nudity, including one prominent erection. There's a lot of showing off - wrapped in the veil of being free and open and self-exploration and whatever.

The closest thing I can compare this to is The Secret or What the Bleep, in terms of documentary style of a "metaphysical" or "spiritual" awakening. The difference is that in this one you don't get any sort of real CONTENT. It's a look at the people who are there and what they are doing, but not actually what the viewer can learn from it. There are even scenes of Paul Lowe's face on the screen like he's big brother looking over us telling us to get naked, have sex, and not be monogamous.

I was expecting more than just gratuitous nudity...but that's all it gave me, and it wasn't that impressive either.


Brooklyn Beans Variety Pack Coffee Single-cup coffee for Keurig K-Cup Brewers for Keurig Brewers, 40 Count
Brooklyn Beans Variety Pack Coffee Single-cup coffee for Keurig K-Cup Brewers for Keurig Brewers, 40 Count
Price: $22.00

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Good" coffee with lots of flavour varieties, some better (stronger) than others, January 26, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For starters, I have tried these cups in both a Keurig K-Cup branded machine, and a Hamilton Beach coffee maker that also has a K-cup side. No issues with inserting the cups or removing them after puncturing. Water flows very well through them (perhaps too well), and there's no dripping when removing them from the coffee maker.

Packaging: there is a punch hole in the side of the box allowing for easy access to the pods. However, since there are 40 cups among several varieties, if you want to get exactly the flavour you want, you'll have to go searching or repackage them in separate containers. I went ahead and left them all in one box after confirming that the box does indeed contain all advertised samples. One note is that it's super easy to tear out the sides of the box when you're opening the access panel - so be advised.

The main selling point for this product is the variety of coffee flavours. If you're a coffee purist (and want coffee not added flavours, then this is not the product for you - you'll want to stick to a nice bold roast (or whatever floats your boat). But for those who like a bit of variety in their cup, here's what you get in the box and their general profiles:
Boardwalk (medium roast - your basic blend),
Breakfast (light roast - see below for decaf version - think dark water - weak taste),
Breakfast Decaf (light roast - and they do mean light - think dark water - weak taste),
Brooklyn Bridge (medium roast),
Cinnamon Subway (there's your cinnamon),
Colombian (probably your more expected coffee here),
Coney Island Caramel (self-descriptive),
Corner Donut Shop (medium extra-bold - think Dunkin Donuts coffee that sat on the burner a bit longer),
Cyclone (this one is a dark roast described as bold - and I'd agree),
Expres-O (stronger and bolder - similar to cyclone),
French Roast (not as strong as I expect for a French roast but good),
Fuhgeddaboutit (another dark roast described as extra-bold - brew this one using your strong Keurig setting),
Hazelnut (a light roast flavoured - smells good - very weak taste - another dark water one),
Maple Sleigh (if you want coffee to taste like pancakes),
Oh Fudge (the smell of chocolate but the taste is weak - another dark water one),
Vanilla Skyline (just what you'd think - a hint of vanilla).

Overall there's plenty of variety for you to choose from - especially if you don't want to buy 10 different flavoured creamers, you can mix and match these to create the combo you want. For example I mixed the French Roast and the Oh Fudge for a stronger chocolate-theme. I have also blended the Hazelnut and Vanilla Skyline (although both of these are generally weak coffee so it was more about the flavours than strength).

And that's where I started to see a theme emerging - the majority of these coffees just aren't strong enough for me. Even the French Roast and Columbian seemed weaker than their other-branded counterparts. Express-O was more bold as was Cyclone, but not different enough for me to really care.

Finally - sustainability factor. You've got a foil top and a large plastic K-cup in this product. As compared to some brands coming out of San Fran which have mesh-style cups, this one has more plastic and is a larger sized product (without the commensurate denser packed coffee). I prefer to minimize waste, and this product has a bit more than others. I'd like to see something smaller and with more coffee packed inside. The best way to explain this last part is that the water flows through the K-Cup too fast and gets clear too quickly. Other brands I've seen the water almost struggle to get through and stay dark and rich the entire brew.

Overall this product gets higher marks for VARIETY OF FLAVOURS and COMPATIBILITY with different K-Cup products. Where I take away two stars there are issues with consistent product STRENGTH and SUSTAINABILITY.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 3, 2014 6:14 AM PST


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