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Now Designs Apron, Black
Now Designs Apron, Black
Price: $21.56
7 used & new from $19.95

4.0 out of 5 stars an apron that my husband can wear, August 22, 2014
This review is from: Now Designs Apron, Black (Kitchen)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Finally an apron that my husband can wear when grilling. Unisex, but based on the size, width and length, I would say this apron would work best for me or larger / taller women. Nice heavy weight cotton, well made, and an item that looks like it will wash and wear well.

One thought came to mind at first glance, if you have long haired pets, as we do, you can expect that the fur will stick to this apron, before and after washing. We're use to that, but your guests might not like a burger served by a cook wearing a fur adorned apron.
It's a very nice product though.


Now Designs Apron, Wine Labels
Now Designs Apron, Wine Labels
Price: $22.00
4 used & new from $18.93

5.0 out of 5 stars So cool and well made too!, August 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a messy baker, i wanted an apron that was fun and provided good coverage and also one that did not look too feminine.

This apron is so cool and well made. Wine bottles in a print pattern that is so pleasing to the eyes..... Earth tones and burgandy- it is perfect.

Oversized for full coverage and adjustable at neck as well. There are pot holders, that match this as well.

Planning on buying another as a birthday gift for a friend along with a few bottles of wine. Lovely fabric, looks expensive-- highly recommended!


Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Pancake Syrup, Original, 20 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Pancake Syrup, Original, 20 Ounce (Pack of 6)
Price: $44.16

4.0 out of 5 stars much better than the pancake syrups on most grocery store shelves, August 21, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I prefer “pure maple syrup”, but have tried a variety of different types of maple tasting pancake syrups as well – most of those had a high fructose content.

This product is different in that it uses organic sugar, and although that is not a “health food, by any stretch of the imagination, it is a better option to consider when you buy your next bottle of maple flavored pancake syrup.

Two of us tried this so far, one in our oatmeal and one on waffles. It had both a very good taste and good consistency. It’s a good option, in our opinion, to your run of the mill pancake syrups that are too high in fructose and artificial additives that you typically find in the grocery store.


The Story Hour: A Novel
The Story Hour: A Novel
by Thrity Umrigar
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.70
31 used & new from $7.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars compelling story and characters, August 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Maggie Bose is a 56 year old psychologist who is married to a professor from India. She is a black woman who has become successful despite growing up poor and being sexually abused as a child. One day she gets a new client, a 30-something, Indian woman named Lakshmi who has just attempted suicide. Every week following her release from the hospital, the two of them meet for a one hour therapy session at Maggie’s home office.

Lakshmi’s suicide attempt stems from several factors. She is in a loveless marriage to an verbally abusive man, cut off from her family (she moved to the US from India 6 years earlier), she is friendless and even though she works long hours at her husband’s restaurant, she has no money of her own. She is dependent on her husband for every little thing. In India, Lakshmi was a woman with pride yet in the mid western town she now lives her life is lonely and her self-respect gone.

As Maggie and Lakshmi meet for their weekly therapy sessions, Maggie is confident that all her client needs is a friend and some confidence to begin to feel some self-worth. Maggie tries to maintain professional boundaries yet she tells Lakshmi that her husband Sudhir is an Indian man so that she begins to feel comfortable with their sessions. Before long, Lakshmi is bringing Sudhir his favorite Indian dishes and she is starting to feel that Maggie is more friend than therapist. At her weekly sessions she shares more about her life in India and even sheds light as to why her husband feels the way he does about her.

Although Maggie is shocked by what she learns about Lakshmi's marriage, she has some secrets about her own marriage that she has attempted to keep secret, until one day Lakshmi discovers the truth. Despite all the help Maggie has been to build Lakshmi’s confidence and to make her more independent -- she’s taught her to drive, found her jobs catering for small parties and is cleaning houses, when Lakshmi discover the secret Maggie's been hiding she is angry and shocked and without thinking seeks revenge against the woman who has helped her.

The Story Hour brings together two very different women each carrying their share of guilt and secrets. Told primarily in the alternating voices of each woman, I must admit that initially, I found reading the broken English narrative of Lakshmi to very a bit off putting, but once I eventually got used to it., and understand that, it did make her character more authentic. As with her earlier novels, the author has created a compelling story and characters that you will remember after the final page is turned.


All Fall Down
All Fall Down
Offered by Audible, Inc. (US)
Price: $23.95

4.0 out of 5 stars great story for book club discussions, August 18, 2014
In All Fall Down, Allison Weiss is a 39 year old who on the outside appears to have it all. A gorgeous husband, a cute, rambunctious five year old daughter name Eloise, and a successful career as blogger for a very popular woman's website. One day while she's waiting in the pediatrician’s office with Eloise, she takes a quiz in a magazine about addiction and begins to wonder if she may have a bit of a problem.

For Allison, what began with a legitimate prescription for Percocet, for back pain after a gym injury, gradually develops into a full blown pill addiction. An extra pain pill here and there to take the edge off at the end of day, soon she finds herself consuming a dozen or more pain pills a day. She justifies her need for them by the stress of her daily life. Motherhood, a troubled marriage, job stress, a high maintenance five year old, and a father who has developed Alzheimer's related dementia. Is popping a pill now and then so different from the women who end their day with a few glasses of wine to relax?

For Allison, the increased need for more pills to feel relief leads to doctor shopping for multiple prescriptions. She even resorts to illegal online pill purchases. One day her erratic behavior and an incident at her daughter's school, forces her to come face to face with her addiction and enter a rehab program.

Allison's stint at rehab and the stories of the other women in rehab (both younger and older) seemed very realistic -- different backgrounds, their substance of choice, how they got hooked, therapy sessions and more, I found their stories compelling. The novel seemed like a realistic account of what addiction and rehab must be like. I was surprised to read that the author's father, a psychiatrist, died from an overdose seven years ago, and although she hadn't seen her father in several years, she never realized he had a problem.

The subject of addiction seemed very well researched. I found Allison to be a sympathetic character, a woman who felt she must be everything to everyone. I think this would be an excellent choice for book clubs as there is a lot to discuss. The audiobook was good, read by Tracee Chimo, but the whining by five year old Eloise was a bit much at times. Although I wasn't sure this would be a story I would enjoy, I was happy that I tried it.


Rada Cutlery Regular Paring Knife, Aluminum Handle, Made in USA (Pack of 2 - R101/2)
Rada Cutlery Regular Paring Knife, Aluminum Handle, Made in USA (Pack of 2 - R101/2)
Offered by Made In USA Shop
Price: $11.94
4 used & new from $6.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Just may be the PERFECT paring knife yet, August 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
After buying several different paring knives, using the fir a few months and then rendering them junk, I've been on a search for a quality product.

The Rada paring knives just may be that perfect paring knife. It feels great, quality shines through and slices so very thin and sharp. So far I am very pleased.


Now Designs Basketweave Teatowel, Royal, Set of 3
Now Designs Basketweave Teatowel, Royal, Set of 3
Price: $14.85
2 used & new from $14.85

5.0 out of 5 stars kitchen towels like my mom use to use, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
These towels remind me of the kind my mother use to use and loved. They are 100-Percent cotton, and very thick and absorbent, so unlike most of the kitchen towels on the market today. One towel does the job that I previously had to dirty 2-3 towels for. They wash and dry well and are just as absorbent after being washed.

The price for these varies by color (not sure why). This set 3/ about $15.00 seems a bit pricy, but they are QUALITY towels.


OXO Tot Sippy Cup, Green, 7 Ounce
OXO Tot Sippy Cup, Green, 7 Ounce
Offered by Think Fast
Price: $8.09
5 used & new from $2.00

5.0 out of 5 stars another great OXO product, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
OXO is a product brand that I have purchased previously and have been very happy with. This 7oz sippy cup is no exception. This is a great item for babies transitioning from battle to cup for several reasons. This one does not have handles, but they sell one with removable handles (which I also reviewed).

There is a leak proof valve which releases pressure when sipping and can be removed for cleaning.I love that these lids fit so well that big messes are not an issue. If you own several different styles of OXO cups (some come with straws) all of the cups and lids can be interchanged.

LOVE the cup's style, quality and the color. These cups last too. We have one that we've used for over 2 years and it is still in great shape.


OXO Tot Sippy Cup with Handles, Green, 7 Ounce
OXO Tot Sippy Cup with Handles, Green, 7 Ounce
Price: $5.99
16 used & new from $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars very good quality - secure lids and more, August 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
OXO is a product brand that I have purchased previously and have been very happy with. This 7oz sippy cup is no exception. This is a great item for babies transitioning from battle to cup for several reasons. First the handles are a great shape for little hands learning a new skill, but yet they are removable as well, as the infant gets a little bigger. I love that these lids fit so well that big messes are not an issue. If you own several different styles of OXO cups (some come with straws) all of the cups and lids can be interchanged.

It's a very good product and not that it matters, but the color is awesome as well as the quality.


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel
Offered by Random House LLC
Price: $10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fully engaging, and enjoyable, August 15, 2014
When I first heard about Murakami's new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, I admit that was a little put off by the title, but after finishing the book in just two days, I must say that afterward I felt the title was perfect.

The story begins with the title character, Tsukuru Tazaki, in his 30's, depressed and contemplating suicide.

QUOTE --- "From July of his sophomore year in college until the following January, all Tsukuru Tazaki could think about was dying. He turned twenty during this time, but this special watershed--becoming an adult--meant nothing. Taking his own life seemed the most natural solution, and even now he couldn't say why he hadn't taken this final step. Crossing that threshold between life and death would have been easier than swallowing down a slick, raw egg.

Perhaps he didn't commit suicide then because he couldn't conceive of a method that fit the pure and intense feelings he had toward death. But method was beside the point. If there had been a door within reach that lead straight to death, he wouldn't have hesitated to push it open,without a second thought, as if it were just a part of ordinary life. For better or for worse, though, there was no such door nearby."

In his teens, Tsukuru Tazaki formed a friendship with 4 other teens. 2 males and 2 females. Of the group, he was the only one who did not have a "color" in his name. While his friends were very good students, Tsukuru's grades were average. He wasn't a sport's fan, and really there wasn't anything special about him, his family, however, was the most affluent of the group.

Since Tsukuru always had an interest in trains, when it came time for college, he went to Tokyo to study engineering, hoping to have a career designing train stations and railroads.

In the summer of his sophomore year when he returned home during his college break, he called his friends. One call, two calls, three calls and no response. Finally one of his former friends announces, "I'm sorry but don't call us." Without explanation, he had been banished from the merry group of five. Somewhat insecure anyways, this event sends Tsukuru into a downward spiral making him feel even more insignificant than before. He loses weight and his body begins to take on the look of someone much older.

Then one night after a strange dream changes everything. Tsukuru awoke from the dream feeling as if his dark days had disappeared, but he still had a "colorless" empty feeling that remained. He did the same things each day, but yet he felt different. Remaining in Tokyo a woman he is seeing, Kimoto Sara, suggests that to help him get on with his life, he needs to get some resolution to the traumatic event that still haunts him. She feels he has too much baggage that he needs to unload, and suggests he seek out his former friends and get to the bottom of why they ended their friendship with him. Since Sara works at a travel agency, she helps him track down his friends, 16 years after the fact. He learns some startling things as he connects with them individually, except for one (who has died).

I really enjoyed this novel. It didn't feel as surreal as some of the author's other books, but it was fully engaging, and enjoyable. A few erotic dreams, a conversation with a stranger that vanishes, all add to the mystique of the story. The third person POV worked well, and, even though Tsukuru's former friends were less developed that I had hoped, I was glad that he was able to eventually connect with them, even though none of them were individuals I care for. Instead, for me, his reconnecting with these individuals was a reminder of how our early interactions and the cruelty of others can deeply scar us for life. I liked the way they author wrapped up this story with Tsukuru reflecting on his life, I was satisfied with the ending, but readers who like all the loose ends neatly tied might be a tad disappointed.

The narrative flowed extremely well with both the eBook and the audiobook thanks to great translation by Philip Gabriel. The audiobook reader, Bruce Locke was amazing as well.

Read it!


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