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Recovering director and actress, champion of health & human services, and politico. I'm 27, a graduate of a small liberals arts school in PA where I was an English & Theater major. I've lived in Germany and France, worked as a professional actress and a professional activist, which should explain my tastes somewhat. I am now a human resources professional, married, and have 3 cats that I treat like children.
I chose to buy a costume this year, rather than sew one myself, so I could spend more time on household projects. Huge mistake -- this costume, which was poorly sized (my 3T-wearing, 99th percentile for height child literally swam in the 2T-4T size -- I ended up taking in more than 4 inches of fabric and still it was very large) and cheaply made. Very thin, cheap fabric; the ears didn't stand up at all; and the seams were completely uneven. I ended up essentially ripping it apart and remaking it. I could have saved money and had a nicer costume by making it myself -- and my kid was heartbroken about the ears not standing, which I never did fully remedy, even with creating wire and plastic inserts. (I think the hood's cheap construction just made it impossible to support the ears with lightweight wire or plastic in them.)
Especially at this price, this is a terrible costume!
Out of boredom or desperation, I picked up this heinous "romantic romp" of a "novel," and I rue the day I did. The book is not only offensive -- as many past reviewers have noted, with its self-loathing "lovable" heroine who is pretty much depicted as The Fattest Girl of All Time, and thus unworthy of love and success -- but intellectually lazy and bland. The author could not be troubled to come up with a better plot than "lose weight, get a man," her prose style is as unexciting and dull as her characters, and the total effect is something akin to a sharp stick to the eye.
Comparing this book to the others in the so-called "chicklit" genre, it becomes obvious that the form, while it has real constraints, does offer opportunity to create likable protagonists and zippy prose. (The success of the Bridget Jones books was not mysterious -- they were fun books with a protagonist whose flaws and merits went beyond her dress size, and the narrative voice was energetic and full of humor.) However, Jane Green is not among those who can succeed in either vein. This book is spectacularly devoid of any merit in terms of content -- though I will grant that I think the cover art for the paperback is well-framed and stylish.
If you hate women, if you make air-quotes around the word "feminist," if you are a woman who reads "Maxim" magazine, or if you just completely lack any sort of ability to read discriminatingly and will pick up whatever mindless pap darkens the post-Harlequinn Romance publishing world's door, this book is for you. For those of us who have an ounce of self-respect, who care about quality of writing, and who are comfortable wearing a size 8 (or 10 or 12 or 14 or what the heck ever) *and* knowing your man or lady likes you that way, KEEP FAR AWAY from this trite literary homage to the days where women were viewed as decorative throw pillows. This book redefines "abysmal."...Read more
I received two sets of measuring cups as wedding gifts and decided to keep both. I suppose you can never have too many, especially if you enjoy baking, as I do.
This set is well-constructed and lightweight, making it ideal for manouvering in sacks of loose rice and other weighty whole foods you may store in your home. It is also good for measuring messy foods like peanut butter or butter, since its surface is relatively unsticky, making it easy to dump into your mixing bowl *and* easy to clean afterwards.
One annoyance is that the cups sometimes fall off the little hook which keeps them together -- the hook is similar to clips which attach laptop case straps, but made loosely so that you can take it apart for cleaning or ease of use. My feeling is that the clip is made a bit *too* loosely, and the cups fall away from one another a bit too frequently during use.
I feel, in general, good about this measuring cup set...it's really quite functional and nice. I gave it three stars because it's not everything I dreamed of and more -- not exactly the Platonic Ideal of the measuring cup. I prefer my other set for its look, its stronger (but still flexible) hook and its, more satisfying weight in my hand. However, this set is excellent for basic use.
I have made a habit of buying chopstick sets as gifts for my husband, ever since we started dating. I found these as stocking stuffers last Christmas, and he named them as his favorite gift from me.
Beautiful and functional, these chopsticks stand out in our collection for being both modern and traditional. The unusual color combination is every bit as vibrant as it is depicted online, a great surprise.
The laqueur can make them a bit slick for tackling dishes like shark fin stews -- I have dropped mine a few times, but then again, my notorious ineptitude with chopsticks may make that more likely to happen to me with or without laquer -- but they are well constructed and hold up well after multiple washings and heavy use.
For entertaining, nothing beats these gorgeous chopsticks. For one dinner, we mix-and-matched the colors to create a different (and stunning) visual effect to rave reviews.
Highly recommended, for eye-candy *and* utility....Read more
I received these pots from my wedding registry this past year, and have lived with them for some time now. I have discovered that the pieces are not only beautiful (my commitment to aesthetics cannot be over-stated), they are extremely high performance pots and pans.
One of the best features about this set is the speed and evenness with which they heat. From boiling water to making crepes, I have cooked more speedily and efficiently thanks to these pots and pans. The concentric circles (hence the name Circulon) seem to transmit the heat perfectly throughout the pot/pan, even to the top-most edges of the container.
This set contains everything you could want for basic kitchen needs. We have added a large stock pot and a teakettle as well, and have plans to pick up another frying pan, but have gotten by for basic, everyday cooking (and some entertaining) almost entrirely on this set.
I have heard some negative feedback from other owners regarding the cleaning of the concentric circles and the wee patterns (of circles, obviously) that may or may not appear on the finished food product. To address these complaints individually:
1) Cleaning: I had almost no trouble cleaning the small, thin recessed spaces between the circles, using either a gentle dish brush or a washcloth. (However, I did note that it was important to let the pans cool before submerging them in water, as it could damage the pan.)
2) Circle patterns on food: I was actually kind of excited about this, since I thought it would be cute and may spice up the presentation of my dishes. Unfortunately for me, it doesn't happen very often. The only time in recent memory that I have been able to produce small circles on food was when I made buttermilk pancakes. Even so, the lines were faint and barely noticable. So if you are deterred by the possibility of lines, don't worry. You will probably never see them.
I am also shocked -- shocked! -- by the reasonable price of this set here on Amazon. The person who bought this gift for me most certainly paid the full price at a department store, and I had thought that to be a reasonable price at the time. I looked at a lot of pans during our wedding registry oddessy, we fell in love with the beauty and modern lines of these, and as a bonus we got great performance. To add a great value, price-wise, to that deal is to have a truly great set of pans.
I highly recommend this set, and I will never use another brand of pans again....Read more
...oh wait, I guess scooping ice cream isn't particularly difficult in the first place.
But if you are a wuss like me and always have to wrestle with the freezer-burnt remains of your Edy's Lo-Fat Ice Cream, you might want to give this scoop a try.
The angles of the blade seem to allow for leverage on the hard ice cream surface, even when you're trying to scoop out the sides of the container -- always the toughest challenge of any scoop.
Also, the comfortable handle allows you to grip the scoop firmly, so you don't fling it across the room, as I occasionally did with our old (pre-wedding shower) scoop. The whole piece has a nice weight in your hand, allowing you to manouver it with firmness.
As with all OXO products, it gets extra points for being nice to look at. The contours of the handle, coupled with the attractive functioning metal scoop part, create a great line that seems almost ridiculously attractive for scoop ice cream. The silver scoop part seems fairly scratch-resistant, and the black handle also seems to be holding up well, so the good looks endure.
In fact, I chose the item for our wedding registry solely because of its good looks, but was pleasantly surprised by its functionality and strength.
Highly recommended. Definitely the only ice cream scoop I will ever need....Read more
I purchased this book as a Christmas gift for the youngest daughter of a friend of the family. I was looking for something I knew her mother would never buy her, something that would make her learn about women as unique and wonderful human creatures.
I stumbled across this book and was attracted to its magazine-style layout, with photos and blurbs in sidebars as well as a main, brief narrative on each of the diverse women profiled. It drew me in immediately - in fact before I wrapped it, I had read it myself! It also offers, in the sidebars, ways for girls to start imagining themselves in roles like those of the women written about, but without that cheesy condescending tone of voice that so many educational books written by adults for kids take.
The book offers women throughout history, many of whom may not be known to adults (!), who achieved much on their own. Artists, politicians, soldiers, writers, inventors and businesswomen all are represented. The text avoids serious revolutionaries, which is, I think, age-appropriate. The book is targeted for girls and boys ages 12-14, and it fits well within those age groups, using colorful layout and a conversational tone to talk about these "cool women."
This isn't the text to choose for your burdgeoning Socialist, as many of the women celebrated within its pages are female entrepreneurs and monarchs (all, arguably, quite rightly chosen by the editors). However, many of the stories also chronicle women who rise from adversity, giving it a real sense of balance. One might also argue that there is a smattering of racial and ethnic tokenism at work, but I choose to view it as merely an attempt to speak of at least one woman from each group as promotion of multiculturalism (of depth) rather than tokenism (for appearances only).
All in all, this book is an excellent tool for teaching young women about the valuable contributions their sisters before them made, and what they too can hope to accomplish. Highly recommended....Read more
This book is hilarious, erudite and amazingly enjoyable, making it the best piece of travel literature (but it's more *living* literature than travel literature, I think) I've ever read. It's full of insights on French culture -- cuisine, labor unions, childbirth and everything else -- and, more affectingly, thoughts on the bittersweet experience of watching a child grow and change.
Gopnik, a New Yorker (the magazine as well as the city) writer known for his wit, chronicles in this book his years of living in Paris with his wife and young son. Sure, they enjoy an enviably plush lifestyle, with nothing to do but...well, observe all day. But the observations are worth the envy. Who else could describe the music (or muzak) inside French department stores so perfectly? Who else could describe the plight of the French garcon in his favorite restaurant with such humor and sadness?
Most wonderful, though, is the tender portrait of Gopnik's growing young family. It reads like a love letter to his son and wife. He chronicles Luke's first experiences, and eventual assimilation, in Paris with the eye of a brilliant naturalist, the kind of eye parents always seem to have. Far from being indulgent, this tendency is charming and makes me want to get pregnant and expatriate immediately, just to get a whiff of what Gopnik has experienced.
This book reads like a set of essays. Like a set of essays in the New Yorker. I have read some of the preceeding (negative) reviews, and would like to emphasize that if you have never picked up a copy of the New Yorker, if you don't enjoy the New Yorker, etc., that you avoid this book. Bear in mind that Mr. Gopnik is a staff writer for the New Yorker, and he epitomizes their dry, observational, academic reference-laden prose style. If you hate the New Yorker, you will hate this book as well and call it pretentious and stuffy. Hey, you may have a point. But I myself enjoy acerbic and bittersweet wit, with references just obscure enough to make me feel like my liberal arts education is good for something.
"Paris to the Moon" is one of the most enjoyable books of last year, and also one of the most intelligent -- a rare combination. Highly and enthusiastically recommended....Read more
Let me begin by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was an awful lot of fun to read, and I usually hate books about something unquantifiable, like the nature of love. They usually ring so hollow. But this book wasn't like that. It was good.
So, why the middling three stars? Well, because it wasn't great, in the sense of A Truly Great Book. Even this style of fiction has better novels in it's canon than Baxter. But on its own, this book has much to offer.
The book is essentially a series of interrelated short stories related to the author, who has placed himself snug at home in his Ann Arbor neighborhood full of Cupid's playthings. While the narrative voice shift -- as each of the characters tell their story about transforming love, the tale is told in a distinctly different tone -- is clever, it's really parlor tricks. (Admittedly, very good parlor tricks.) I admired the structure of the language used throughout the different narratives, how each one seemed to use different construction and vocabulary, just the way a real person would. In the details, the craft of the book is extremely precise.
The stories are all variations on the way that love changes lives and makes you do things you'd never have done without it. It's a good, though unoriginal, topic. Each of the tales is heartfelt enough, I suppose, and they all deal with that "everday wonder" thing that being truly in love will do to you. The narrators are all compelling, particularly that of the coffee shop-owning Bradley, whose misadventures in love lead him through a lot of different kinds of transcendence. Nonetheless, the stories were sort of like comfortable old jeans -- nothing new, but appreciated nonetheless after a hard day.
I would recommend this book to the savvy reader looking for a little escapism and a vacation for the brain (to Cape Cod, not to Daytona Beach, mind you). The amazing simple craftmanship of this book will be a pleasant piece of heavy fluff.
As we enter the millenium -- and now that I've married and am giving some casual thought to procreation -- I have been thinking about the world I would be leaving for any hypothetical children I may have. Part of my exploration of this topic has led to me reading books like this, books which attempt to galvanize "the movement" and give it a kick in the shins
Anyway, this book attempts to take the energy of young, politically-minded women, and direct it towards issues of women's rights and feminism in general. It takes a path less chosen, one that involves not only giving suggestions but providing a context for those suggestions in the historical roots of the women's movement thus far. By the same token, it doesn't focus exclusively on the work of the Gloria Steinem/Betty Friedan 2nd Wave set, but expounds on the influence that Jane Pratt (ed. of the now-defunct "Sassy" magazine as well as the currently published "Jane") and Katie Roiphe have had on young women.
It discusses dissent within the movement -- one of the most vital chapters, I think, because it points out what should be pbvious, but isn't -- specifically, the break between 2nd and 3rd Wave, as well as the "young upstart" feminists who occasionally seem to be fueling the fire for the attacks of conservative groups.
Additionally, the book discusses the personal/political problem...especially in the context of young women, whose focus on the personal has far overshadowed their motivation to do some political agitation, except for causes removed from women's issues. As a young woman who still struggles with not just politicizing the personal, but also with taking action on that politcal end, I found the ideas in these chapters very helpful.
The book is critical of the status quo, both in astute and unsophisticated ways. It calls for a 3rd Wave Manifesta, a document towards the end of the text, and it serves as a call to action, to reform both the state of feminism as a divided and sluggish movement, and to to reform the world into which we bring our future generation of female leaders.
It's written in a conversational sort of tone, complete with swearing and sly asides, which can be either comforting or terribly annoying, depending on your point of view, but it seeks to truly connect with the young women who may need some guidance on how to be a better feminist and woman. It is not a text for academics but a text for practical use.
All in all, this book is a great handbook for building a women's movement that is inclusive towards women of all ages. Highly recommended....Read more