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Customer Reviews: 146
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Maclaren Mark II Stroller, Silver
Maclaren Mark II Stroller, Silver
Price: $197.00
22 used & new from $194.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Travel Stroller, But Not A Great "Only" Stroller, December 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This stroller isn't for everyone - there are a few downsides that I'll get in to in a bit. But for someone looking for a well-built travel stroller that is very light and very comfortable, this is the one to get.

The most important feature of this stroller is the weight, and it really does make a difference. We initially purchased a different Maclaren stroller that was listed at about 11lbs, and the difference was dramatic - what seemed like a small difference in weight turned out to be a huge difference on a daily basis - not only was it notably heavier it was also bulkier. The Mark II in contrast is both light and compact. The folding mechanism also means it's compact when standing or thrown over a shoulder, so it's great for getting around in tight spaces like a subway, elevator or airport.

When unfolded, the unit has a very small footprint, making bit easy to maneuver in stores. The wheels have independant suspension which makes a difference on rough pavement, though it would not be the greatest stroller for dirt or gravel trails. The frame is incredibly well built with a hexagonal tubing, which is very rigid. The handles are surprisingly tall. Which makes for a much better position for the person pushing the stroller - no bent back syndrome for parents. Both me and my wife found this to be true, and she is 5'6" and I'm 6'0", and I imagine it'd be true for taller people as well. The small footprint does mean that for people with long strides, it's necessary to take a little care not to step on the back wheels, but that's something you get used to pretty quick. The folding mechanism works very well for a one-handed fold and unfold (with a little practice) and the locking mechanism is easy with one click of the pedal (though for some reason you have to push both of the unit is folded). While it doesn't stand freely like some other mfrs, it does lean nicely out of the way against a wall.

The material of the unit is a lighter fabric, perhaps best suited for summer though with the addition of a universal padded seat or one of those zip-up blankets it works well in winter too. The seat doesn't recline but the angle isn't so steep that a toddler can't fall asleep a it might not be the most comfortable for a long nap, but at least for my toddler that doesn't seem to matter much. The seat back is very high, as is the canopy. This means that it will fit a pretty tall toddler, giving you years of service, but at the same time it means that the canopy doesn't provide as much side coverage for smaller kids. There is a caopy extension built in, but again for smaller kids it's not going to do very much. My biggest problem with the design is actually something very small - the buckle is a really strange design that requires holding the two upper part of the buckle together while clipping it in to the lower receiver. It's frustratingly awkward, especially with a squirming kid.

The downsides are pretty well described above, but to summarize; there is no recline, it is a lightweight (but durable) fabric best suited to summer, and the canopy is too tall. The seat is somewhat short and unpadded. The buckle is poorly designed. It's not going to fill every need, and we still keep a "Sunday stroller" around for longer walks and trips. But overall as a short-trip stroller this is a very good one - easy to throw over the shoulder and whip out when needed.

Waring Pro PVS1000 Pistol Vac Professional Vacuum Sealer System
Waring Pro PVS1000 Pistol Vac Professional Vacuum Sealer System
Price: $58.99
18 used & new from $58.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Sous Vide, and Everything Else, December 31, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
It's only been a couple of days, but already I'm loving this vacuum sealer, and can't imagine living without it. Orignally I bought this for the sous vide cooking I planned to do, for which it's great; the bags are large enough to fit at least a three or four pound roast in, and are thick and durable so they are reusable - which is good for the environment as well as the pocket book. The lot comes with a dozen gallon and a dozen quart, all of which are even a little larger than something like a ziplock of similar capacity. The bags are cook and freezer safe, and BPA free (at least the parts that touch food). The vacuum process is straight forward, and easy to get the hang of; after sealing the bag with the little plastic tool (it's not necessary, but it does help), just put the nozzle of the handle over the red ring, press firmly and pull the trigger - that's it. It's best when done on a firm surface and with nothing under the valve, since this gives a better seal. Any liquid that's in the bag will get sucked up a little in to the unit, but it's collected in a removable trap that is easy to clean.

Aside from sous vide I found an immediate use for his device when on the same day it arrived, I also got a random smoked, spiral cut ham from a relative (this happens to everyone, right?). Knowing I wasn't going to eat a 10 pound ham in a day, I made quick work of it, and split it up between a few single-serving quart bags and a gallon bag for the bone and some bits that will eventually become soup. I was impressed at how quick it was to do all this, and how much the vacuum bags saved space in the fridge by compressing everything down. Now I look at just about everything in my fridge and freezer and wonder if it really should be in a vacuum bag. Probably it should.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 22, 2015 7:44 PM PST

De'Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
De'Longhi EC680 Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso Machine
Price: $299.95
24 used & new from $225.76

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sleek and Powerful, Very Easy to Use, December 12, 2014
I've had this unit for just a few days so I can't speak to thre long-term durability of it, but so far I've found it to be an exceptional "consumer grade" espresso machine.

First, the build quality and appearance are quite nice - the all-stainless look fits well in the modern kitchen, and the very compact footprint makes it perfect for people with little counterspace, or those who just want a very sleek look. The thin dimension does mean that it's a little deeper than other units, especailly with the handle in the unit it projects about 17" from the wall. But still, very compact. That compact shape does have a small downside though - the top cup warmer area can really only fit espresso cups, not larger coffee cups. Not a big deal, but it is always nice to have a warm cup to pour in to.

The functionality of this unit also shines. It's incredibly easy to use, with one-touch brewing of either one shot or two. this is great, especially if you are doing other things while brewing your morning cuppa - turn the unit on, pack the handle with some espresso, nd by the time you're done packing the machine is probably ready to brew (it's very quick!). All you have to do then is press the button and you're done. Espresso brews in about 30 seconds, and becasue it shuts itself off, you can use those 30 seconds to get the milk ready for your cappucino, which is also pretty easy to make. To heat the milk, just press the steam button and wait until it stops blinking, and then turn the steam wand on (a little purge of the pre-steam water is a good idea). .The steam wand is really nice - most home units I've owned haven't really had a steam wand that could move around a lot, or give enough clearance between the unit and the pitcher to get a good angle for frothing. Not so with this unit - the wand is fully articulated, moving side to side and back and forth. The steam is powerful enough to get pot of milk hot or frothed quickly, with no signs of petering out at the end. The other thing I really like about the frother is the fact that the covering can be easily removed and rinsed. Most wands I've used end up with a lot of gunk on them after time because they generally don't get well cleaned each and every time. Since it's so easy to clean, I don't see that happening with this wand.

The unit has some programmable aspects as well; the brew temp can be adjusted between three different levels, and the unit can be programmed to work with harder or softer than normal water (which affects the time between descalings, which you get a notification about). One thing that is NOT programmable is the length of the shot. This actually surprised and disappointed me a bit - I find the shots are a little on the long side. whereas I like to pull a double a little short (less watery). That does not seem to be an option with this unit, and I wish it were. [EDIT: it's actually possible to interrupt the brew - just tap the brew button again and the unit stops. But it's not programmable, which would have been nice.] The shots are of normal size though, so it's not a huge deal - again, this is a consumer grade machine not a pro machine, so in exchange for convenience you give up some control. You still end up with a very nice espresso.

Unlike other reviewers, I did not have a problem getting good espresso - it's full and rich, with nice (not exceptional) crema. It's about what I'd expect from any decent home machine with a 15 bar pump, maybe even a little better since this unit automatically pre-wets the grounds which has the effect of releasing more flavor. Espresso quality varies with a lot of factors, including grind, coffee type and roast, as well as freshness. If you're not getting very good espresso out of this machine, it's probably the coffee you're putting in, or if you're using the absolute freshest coffee ground correctly, it's possible the brew temp is high and you need to adjust it down.

Another thing that I am a little disappointed with is the "basket handle" aka the "group" - the one included with the system is a little long and a little light, which ends up feeling a little cheap in the hand. Also, it's designed around a "pressurized" basket which means that while it is more forgiving of vagaries in the grind or the tamp, it doesn't brew as nicely as an unpressurized system and it's more likely to get clogged at some point. Again, it's a convenience/control trade-off. Luckily I happen to have an unpressurized group that works with the system, so I just use that. I believe there are other third-party groups available to buy if you're not satisfied with the one that's included.

Overall I'd say this is a great home unit for a person who is just looking for a delicious espresso or latte in the morning. It heats up quickly, it brews quickly and quietly, and it offers a number of consumer-friendly features that make it super easy to produce very good coffee. Those who are obsessed with pulling the absolute perfect shot and having a lot of control over every aspect of the process should probably look elsewhere.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2015 9:07 PM PST

Fire TV Stick
Fire TV Stick
Price: $39.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Smarten Up Your TV on the Cheap, December 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fire TV Stick (Electronics)
There is much to love about the Fire Stick - it's small, and brings Amazon streaming to any TV for a very low price. And Amazons selection for streaming are amazing - I love that I can watch a lot of things for free with Amazon Prime, and get Amazon's own shows too, and also that if its not available on Prime I can rent it easily from the same device and service - no jumping back and forth between different apps just to find something. The remote on this device is basic but straightforward and easy to use, though it would be nice if the buttons had better markings or colors, just to make it easier to use. My issues with the stick come down to two; first, the wifi receiver isn't as strong as it could be, and in my case that lead to some connectivity issues. Nothing that couldn't be fixed with some rearranging of the router, but if your wifi isn't strong where you have your TV this could be a problem. Second, the fact that this requires the use of a wall plug is a little frustrating - it would be nice to have it plugged in to one of my TVs USB ports to draw power, but apparently that's not possible. At least that's what the instructions say. Ymmv. Overall it's an excellent product for people looking to "smarten up" their TV at a low price. And for Existing Prime members who have only been able to access video on the computer until now. It's a no-brainer. People who have wifi issues should opt for the speedier and more capable Fire TV unit, which not only has better wifi reception, but also supports more gaming options.

SCOSCHE MagicMount- Magnetic Window Mount for Mobile devices - Car Mounts - Frustration-Free Packaging - Black
SCOSCHE MagicMount- Magnetic Window Mount for Mobile devices - Car Mounts - Frustration-Free Packaging - Black
Price: $24.99
4 used & new from $22.74

5.0 out of 5 stars Great For Car, And For Home!, December 6, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This mount is actually incredibly useful. I got it because I often use my iPad (mini) while cooking and wanted something that could hold it upright on the counter and it works great for that - the suction is super tight, and the neck bends at just about any angle. I like that I could use it in the car as well, but I actually think it's so useful in the home, sitting next to my desk, or mounted under a cabinet, that I'm going to buy a second for use in the car. Heck, I might even buy a few of the button-style ones and put them all over the house!

My only concern is the strength of the magnet, which holds the iPad mini in place well enough, but it's not so strong that it can't be tipped off with minor bump. I'm not so worried about my mini, but certainly people with the larger iPads or other devices might want something with a sturdier grip. If I were using his in the car, I expect it might slip off if I hit a good sized pothole. Again, this is for the iPad mini, not a phone. Phones are held very firmly and I'd have no issue using this in the car with a phone. This device does come with one large and one small metal plate to put on the back of a tablet or phone, so you get a twofer if you have both phone and tablet.

Short Buds - 15" Cord Stereo Earbuds (In-Ear) with Fabric-wrapped Cords for clip-on music players
Short Buds - 15" Cord Stereo Earbuds (In-Ear) with Fabric-wrapped Cords for clip-on music players
Offered by Far End Gear
Price: $16.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good earbuds at a reasonable price, October 22, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Surprisingly good earbuds at a reasonable price. I mean, we're not talking Shure level here, but they have a good sound, great volume and the construction quality is good. If you're planning on using these with a bluetooth dongle or a small "clip style" mp3 player they should work nicely with the short length.

Animal Planet Wooden Pet Stairs
Animal Planet Wooden Pet Stairs
Price: $49.99
15 used & new from $42.97

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Quality, Good Looking, October 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Solid, handsome stairs. Stain ends up looking a little more black than in the picture, but I'm fine with that. I particularly like the locking mechanism that keeps the stairs in the open-and-locked position - our previous stairs didn't have that and I was concerned that at some point they might fold up on their own.

ArtSkills Stencils, 3", Transparent, 60 Pieces (PA-1348)
ArtSkills Stencils, 3", Transparent, 60 Pieces (PA-1348)
Price: $6.23
17 used & new from $4.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Selection, But Flimsy, October 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I used these stencils for a craft project and taped them in place very carefully. Despite that, it was hard to get a clean line on the letters because the material is very flimsy. It just means having to be a little more careful when painting, I suppose. Otherwise it's a good set that should last through multiple projects. Contains a full alphabet as well as numbers and some random, if not terribly useful, patterns like stars.

Wool Blend Classic Style Ivy Driver Golf Flat Cap (Black, Small/Medium)
Wool Blend Classic Style Ivy Driver Golf Flat Cap (Black, Small/Medium)
Offered by work and play
Price: $19.49
4 used & new from $15.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Hat, But Picture Not Accurate, October 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a perfectly decent hat for the price - a nice wool, comfortable fit (for a "medium" size head I ended up with the smaller size and it fits just fine). It's not too retro looking, and I appreciate that. My only complaint with it is that the picture does not include the fact that this comes with a small metal logo at the left temple that says "Pamoa" and has a small turtle on it. The logo does not seem to be easily removable, though I'll probably give it a go with some needle-nose pliers, at the risk of damaging the cap.

Loew Cornell 1021201 Woodsies Alphabet Value Pack, 250 Piece
Loew Cornell 1021201 Woodsies Alphabet Value Pack, 250 Piece
Offered by Deal Grabber
Price: $9.15
4 used & new from $6.10

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for craft projects, October 5, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great for craft projects. Easy to work with, if a bit on the fragile side. Sure, some of the letters are not in the quantity that some folks would like, but the box is cheap enough that you can always buy more. We used these to create 3 children's height rulers, with the letters spelling out the names. We had plenty of letters and tons left over. So for about $2 per ruler, not a bad deal. Certainly less expensive than buying each individual letter on its own.

It's worth noting that the exact numbers of each letter are printed on the back of the box. It would be nice if Amazon had a picture of that included with that product description so that people could tell in advance if the needed letters were included.

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