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CandysRaves (and Rants) "CandysRaves" RSS Feed (Austin, TX)
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ZAGG Folio Case, Hinged with Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard for Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 - Black
ZAGG Folio Case, Hinged with Backlit Bluetooth Keyboard for Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 - Black
Offered by CELLULAR5STAR
Price: $74.95
11 used & new from $61.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Backlit keyboard is great!, February 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As tablets have become more powerful over the years, I've found myself using my tablet more and more in place of my laptop. While the virtual keyboard is great for an e-mail here and there, I needed something to take my "tablet game" to the next level. I needed a real keyboard, but I did not want to sacrifice the portability of my tablet.

The Zagg Folio Case is great! Thin and light weight, it really hasn't affected the size of my table at all. The keys are nicely spaced and the backlight is excellent for when you are working in an area with low light: a meeting room during a presentation, an airplane seat at night, or on the sofa while the family watches a movie.

That said: The charge on the keyboard doesn't last a year if you use the tablet 8 hours a day with the back-lighting turned on for 4 of those hours. That is why 4 stars. Why tout a battery life that doesn't take into account a major feature of the device?

Overall: 4 stars. Backlit keyboard and size make this my first choice for my tablet.


Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food, 4.5-Pound Bag
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato and Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food, 4.5-Pound Bag
Offered by Kens Fish
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Healthy and the dogs loved it!, February 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We've been trying a lot of different dog foods lately. We were just fed up with the things that pass for ingredients in your standard dog food. We wanted something that the dogs enjoyed eating, but at the same time was good for them.

Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet fit everything we were looking for. Our 3 dogs have tended to have very different taste in food, yet all three took to this food right away. We had previously used Sweet Potatoes chew toys, so maybe that helped them like this food.

That said, the price is a little more than some similar dog foods with excellent ingredients.

Overall: 4 Stars. The dogs loved it, but it might be a bit pricey for some.


Scharffen Berger Assorted Tasting Squares Gift Box
Scharffen Berger Assorted Tasting Squares Gift Box
Price: $19.62

4.0 out of 5 stars Nifty idea, useful pairing guide., February 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My book club is more about the experience of getting together than about the book we read. The Scharffen Berger Assorted Tasting Squares Gift Box seemed perfect to add a little something different to that experience, and it did not disappoint.

One thing to note: if you are going to use this for a similar experience, use the wine pairing guide in advance. Then, have people bring different types of wine from the list. It will save you time and everyone will be a part of adding something to the event.

Overall: 4 Stars. Chocolate Snobs should be aware that these are not meant to be ultra-high end chocolates. They are meant to give everyone the experience of enjoying chocolate and wine together.


Vortex Vegetable Spiralizer Bundle - Spiral Slicer Pro - Noodle Maker - Free Replacement Guarantee
Vortex Vegetable Spiralizer Bundle - Spiral Slicer Pro - Noodle Maker - Free Replacement Guarantee
Offered by The Brandless
Price: $19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Flexible and useful., February 22, 2015
With a family of 5 it can be hard to get everyone (including my husband!) to eat their veggies. I could easily make one or two meals with the vegetables each family member picks out of their own serving. Noodles and sauce? Eaten, no problem. Vegetables in big chunks? Left on the plate.

So I thought I would try to "camouflage" the vegetables. A food processor would (and did) reduce everything to an unappetizing pulp and then took a long time to clean.

So, onto try number two: The Vortex Spiralizer!

Ok, first off: This isn't some crazy, super advanced, gadget of the future. What it IS, is a nice updated take on an age old classic, the grater. Image if your mother's grated had a child with the gadget that makes curly fries. That is the Vortex Spiralizer.

For my first experiment I used carrots and zucchini. The Vortex Spiralizer turned both into these awesome little curly strings. I threw them in with some chicken and then combined with noodles. Altogether it made for a beautiful dinner. The vegetable strings blended well with the noodles, and nearly everyone cleaned their plates! My daughter thought they were just "vegetable noodles" that I had thrown in to give the meal for color.

My second experiment was a "grate" success as well! I thought about my old curly fry maker, and put a couple of potatoes through the Vortex Spiralizer. Turning potatoes into hashbrowns was never easier! Yes, I know not exactly "healthy", but it does show the flexibility of the gadget.

Cleaning was a breeze using the included cleaning brush. I wish more things would come with what is required to keep them useful and clean. The Spiralizer comes with a cloth bag for keeping everything together. A nice touch, but no really necessary.

Overall: 5 Stars. A gadget that is useful AND pretty neat as well.


I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son
I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son
by Kent Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.60

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I Am Sorry To Say This Book Tries Too Hard, January 28, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really wanted to love this book. I made it about half way through before I realized that I probably wasn't going to. I finished it hoping I'd grow to love it. It just didn't happen. And that was disappointing because this is one of my favorite genres and I actually enjoy the off-kilter.

I think the problem I had with this book is the cohesion. It lacked it. I get that this was essays and they were all linked by an undertone of his family's screwed-up-iness and, in theory, a study on masculinity. The problem is that I don't think it did either well enough. Really, this should be two books. A true memoir would have been a treat from this author. It's obvious he has an amazing story to tell, one that I would be honored to sit down and devour. The story is there, but the lack of flow doesn't make this a true memoir. It wants to be a deep essay on masculinity and how that's perceived, both internally and externally, but adding in the family situations just made it feel broken.

Overall, this isn't bad for a first book. I think I was also a bit disappointed that instead of a book of new material, some was recycled from previous published articles by this author. I do realize this is done quite often, but the lack of focus in the book really distracted from his message.

That's not to say that I didn't enjoy what I read. The stories themselves, taken in small bites, were decent enough. It's just not what the description led me to believe I was getting into. It really does feel like the author is trying too hard. I liked it enough that I would pick up something else by this author, but I'd probably peek at other reviews first to see if he (or a really good editor) were able to pull it together into one unit.

Recommended for those die hard memoir folks, but just know what you're getting into.


3M DS-C10 Self-Adhesive Door Sweep, 36-Inch, Clear
3M DS-C10 Self-Adhesive Door Sweep, 36-Inch, Clear
Price: $13.65

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to install, affordable solution for drafty doors, December 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Our back door is kind of a mess. It's on the long list of weekend projects for us to work on, but we've got so many other more pressing items that I doubt that it will be fixed for a while. There's a gap on the bottom where the door was cut too short. When we replaced the carpet with tile, it only made it more noticeable. I've been thinking about trying some sort of sweep for this to keep the living area from heating up (or getting too cold) because there's quite a draft that comes from under it.

I saw this go up and I thought it might be a good temporary solution. And it was! The install was super easy. We just cleaned the area where we wanted to install the sweep really well, made sure it was dry, positioned the sweep, making marks on the door to make sure of where it needed to go... pulled the adhesive strip off and popped it on.

It works great too! There's no longer a draft coming in and you don't even really see it on the door unless you're either looking for it or extremely observant. Coming from "oh man, you've got quite a draft coming in that gap under your door", I'll take it!

The only downside is that I really don't believe it's going to last long. With three dogs, three kids,a husband that loves to grill (and uses that door to go outside), I think it's probably going to wear off from regular use. The adhesive is strong, but I really don't think it will stand up to the task for longer than a few months.

The good? It's cheap and easy to install. So, if the door project doesn't come up on our list, we will just install another sweep and off we go.

Recommended for those with drafty doors and like easy fixes.


D'Addario Kaplan Amo Violin String Set, 4/4 Scale, Medium Tension
D'Addario Kaplan Amo Violin String Set, 4/4 Scale, Medium Tension
Price: $78.06
5 used & new from $76.69

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Help for bright instruments., December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My daughter and I have matching violins. Well, matching in the make and model anyways. Her violin has always had a darker, more mature sound than mine. Our instructor has said that she never before heard a student instrument sound as good as that one.

So, I thought I'd try out the D'Addario Kaplan Amo strings on my violin. It made quite a difference!

Suddenly, our violin sounds are comparable. Of course, my strings now cost twice as much as hers. At least I didn't have to buy a whole new instrument.

If you have a "too bright" instrument, these strings will definitely help.

On the quick settle: The instrument began staying in tune after 6 days. But just in case, I wouldn't put them on a violin less than a week before you need the sound to be consistent. Murphy's Law and all that!

Overall: 5 Stars. Expensive strings, but cost a lot less than a new instrument.


CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Land with Fresh Bison for Dogs
CANIDAE Grain Free Pure Land with Fresh Bison for Dogs
Price: $53.19
13 used & new from $51.61

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome dog food with good ingredients, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I'm constantly amazed by what passes for dog food these days. I mean, I think that there should be some sort of healthy proteins as the first ingredient (or really high on the list, at the very least!). Finding a lean formula for my slightly overweight dog has been a bit hit and miss.He doesn't have any particular food or airborne allergies, so I cannot speak to that side of things, but I will say that since we started feeding him this exclusively, he does seem to scratch less (I've always assumed it was because of the weather changes or dry skin or whatever.

But this food has an amazing ingredient list that is not only short, but also full of things that I can pronounce. The first ingredient is bison, with lamb meal, sweet potatoes, peas, chickpeas, canola oil and alfalfa rounding out the mix. I also LOVE that they use probotics in it as well. Yes, that's right, no grain filters to punch up the calories, but not the nutritional value. This is ALL value in those little kibbles.

My dogs all seem to love them. Our two chihuahuas are picky so I'm always going "yes!" when we find something they both like. My terrier/dauchaund mutt will eat anything (including towels - don't ask) so I wasn't surprised that he liked it. BUT I was really surprised by the fact that he ate less of it than of other foods. I think all that good protein worked to fill him up a little faster.

Another thing that I noticed is that he has reduced some of his doggy breath smells too. He can actually breathe in my face without me knowing full well that he had just eaten.

I'm definitely looking for this one in the future. Yes, I know, it's not cheap and you can find cheaper dog food, but why? Dogs deserve good nutrition and this fits the bill nicely.

My 3 dogs give this one 12 paws up. Way up!

Recommended for dog owners that like to know what's in their baby's kibble.


Petsafe Elite Pendant Remote Dog Trainer, PDT00-13377
Petsafe Elite Pendant Remote Dog Trainer, PDT00-13377
Offered by Countryside Pet Supply Co.
Price: $89.95
43 used & new from $84.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's okay, it works, but it's a hassle to use, December 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
We have a very lively terrier/dauchand mix mutt that likes to bark and get into all kinds of trouble. He is trained for some things, but others he's stubborn and he just doesn't care. We've tried, with some good results, the citronella collars. The sudden spray takes him by surprise (the way ours works is that when he barks, it throws up a spray to startle him).

We've got the barking thing down to a manageable level but we have several other things we've been trying to work with him on. When I saw this, I thought I'd give it a try. I'm usually not someone that would go for a "shock" collar, but I thought we'd give it a shot.

The first thing I noticed is how difficult it is to get the charger door open. We struggled with that for longer than we really should have had to. There has to be a better design idea for that, this just doesn't work well for us, too cumbersome.

We got it fitted to our dog and off we went. I really wish this wasn't yet another stand alone collar though. I thought, from the word Pendant, that this would work with our existing collar that he wears all day, but it's not... it's ANOTHER collar that he has to wear.

The dog we tried this on is around 25 pounds, so not too big. We started out with just the tone and headed out for a walk. He likes to pull while walking and it's exhausting sometimes to keep up with him and not dislocate your shoulder while he's zooming around for squirrels to stalk. He, of course, started pulling within just a few seconds of stepping outside. I pushed the button and it definitely stopped him for a minute. I waited for him to come back and give me slack. After a while, he just kind of started ignoring the tone, so we turned it up to the lowest setting. That had a little more effect. We eventually kept going until we were just a few settings in.

At first, it seemed like he was listening and learning. I mean, he's got the collar on and he's keeping half of an eye behind him to make sure he wasn't too far away.

We went for a few walks over the next week and had similar results. At that point, we decided to try it without the collar. No dice. He'd apparently figured out it was the collar, I guess?

So, I guess my bottom line is that if we didn't mind him wearing it ALL the time, it was great, but the fact that I'd like him to not to have to wear it, means that, for us, it wasn't that good of a deal.

We HAVE decided to hang on to this and after Winter passes we'll do some more research, and give it another go on longer walks. I'll update this review if we do.

Recommended for dog owners with dogs that need some extra help learning their manners.


HP Officejet Pro 6230 Wireless Inkjet Printer (E3E03A#B1H)
HP Officejet Pro 6230 Wireless Inkjet Printer (E3E03A#B1H)
Price: Click here to see our price
58 used & new from $60.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy Print solution for smartphones and tablets., November 5, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Do you ever need to print directly from your smartphone or tablet? In the past, I've had to move the files by connecting to my computer or by e-mailing them to myself. Then I finally get to print. HP's Easy Print solution fixes that problem by allowing you to connect your smartphone directly to the printer wirelessly. The Printer creates it own mini-network that you device can connect to and print. Very easy to setup and use.

Printing speed and quality are about the same as other devices. What really has me loving this one is the Easy Print. You just download the software and you are ready to go!


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