Category: Reviews

The violin sings, but the fiddle dances

CYH_CoverI am a big fan of music. All kinds of music. I enjoy rock n’ roll, folk, country, classical, Celtic, blues, and Christian. Music is a part of my everyday. I do more than just listen, I live it. Ofttimes a tune or lyric brings me to the heights of happiness or moves me to tears with a relived moment of life.

Don’t be mislead by my adoration of everything musical: I am not good at music. I can’t carry a tune, I can’t read music, and I can’t play any instruments. I know nothing about tone or harmony or any of the proper terminology. I only know what I LIKE.

Since I was a child, Country music and (what we called) folk music, has always been my go to genre. There was quite a bit of Irish music played during my youth (along with the Moody Blues, no wonder I am so eclectic) so I have always been a fan of strings (harps, fiddles, etc). After all this time, my ears are most pleased with a country (folk) sound that includes a lot of strumming or picking!

Luckily for my listening pleasure, I was able to review the Court Yard Hounds new album, Amelita. If the lovely ladies in the picture look familiar to you, it could be you’ve heard their earlier work as the two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks. This is the second album from the sister duo of Emily Robison and Martie Maguire and I must admit I never heard the first one. As a fan of some of the Chicks work, I was eager to discover what Court Yard Hounds had to offer.

This album is everything I adore. There are guitars, fiddles, banjos and so much more. I am taking toe tapping track Sunshine as my personal anthem for this time in my life. Maybe if I keep singing it, people will understand: “Hey, don’t rain on my parade.” The hauntingly, beautiful Divided is another treasure on this album. All around, it is an album I have listened to over and over and I have nothing but praise for the all the songs. It is not always true that I love more than half the songs on an album, but so far I haven’t been skipping any songs on this album and I have been enjoying it for days.

Right now, I think I’ll go pull up their début album and see what I missed out on!

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I participated in this campaign for One2One Network. I received a free copy of the CD to facilitate my review. By posting, I am eligible for incentives. All opinions stated are my own.

Too Much Of Me To Go Around

I am pretty excited to try this and to let you know how it goes. 12 INCHES is a lofty goal. I hope I can do it. If you hurry and sign up too, we can do it together…

lose12inchesforbanner

 

I’m Cowboy Ryan Ehmann  “AS SEEN ON ABC SHARK TANK” and I can’t wait to share this program with you.  Are you “TIRED OF WORKING OUT WITH MINIMUM RESULTS? CAN’T GET RID OF BELLY FAT? For only $9.95 LEARN THE Cowboy Fit Zone SECRET at LOSE12INCHES.comIT’S SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN AND SWEEPING THE NATION BECAUSE IT WORKS.  YOU WILL DISCOVER that YOU’VE BEEN WORKING OUT WRONG YOUR ENTIRE LIFE. My client “Daymond John, Founder of FUBU and Reality TV Star of ABC Shark Tank is doing the Cowboy Fit Zone training so why not join him.  You will learn the scientific reason why you are not losing fat with any other workout. Come on, let’s get started today.  Wooo Hoooo … That’s What I’m Talking About! VISIT: www.Lose12inches.com

 

Found: Lost Blogger Wearing Glasses and a Sun Hat. Reward to whoever picks her up first.

Can you see me? I see you! And you are not as blurry as you were before! Been wondering if I ever would get back here to post. I hope this isn’t a once in a year shot, because WOW do I have a lot to share.

My life has changed dramatically since I was last here. Things are very different around the den. In fact, the den relocated. And so did the horses. And my life. But that is another post to come!

This here post is about reading, writing and seeing. My glasses were giving me grief and I needed new prescription eyeglasses. I went to the eye doc and lo and behold – my insurance only covers one pair of glasses every two years! Suckers. So new prescription in hand, I started searching for the best deal. Much to my amazement the best deal, biggest choice and quickest turnaround was found on the internet! Who would have ever dreamed of shopping for prescription eyeglasses on the world-wide web? I wouldn’t have. When I shop for glasses in a storefront, I spend hours putting on and taking off glasses, making a pile of the ones I think are the contenders. All the while, some salesperson is hovering over me telling me how “those ones won’t work with your prescription” or “those are perfect” to the ones I hate.

I knew I wanted a certain shape and I knew the one thing I did not want were those little plastic things on the bridge of my nose. Those things antagonize the heck out of my nose. I hate them, they were on my current glasses, and were the number one reason that pair had to go.

So I found the best prices, the quickest turnaround and the best selection…but how much more complicated would my search for the best pair be if I had to save every picture of the ones I thought were cute? Or if I couldn’t see them on my face? Then I FOUND THE Virtual Mirror; probably the number one reason I ended up at GlassesUSA.com.

Upload a picture and try on all the glasses you want! Alone and in the privacy of your own home. I probably spent twice as long perusing all the glasses than I would have out in public. Which to me means I actually got the perfect pair of glasses for me, not some I just settled for because I was tired and wanted to go home. I ordered my glasses on line, faxed over my prescription and had my new pair in less than a week. Super, super fast service!

I love them. High quality, super comfortable and I can see again! Most importantly I have fancy-shmancy glasses for a mere fraction of what you could pay elsewhere. I love function and style but mostly I love INEXPENSIVE!

I want to share my find with all my glasses wearing readers, if you are looking to buy glasses head on over to GlassesUSA and check out the virtual mirror. Check out the most current discount codes here Sales & Coupons(the 4th of July sale is 30% off + $30 cash back + free shipping. You can’t pass up a deal like that). GlassesUSA provides:

  • 110% lowest price guarantee and a 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • A generous refer-a-friend program (You can get $30 for each first purchase a referred friend makes – and use the $30 towards your next pair of glasses)
  • A Facebook page and Twitter feed with exclusive discounts for fans

Now before I run off and start working on my next post (ha ha haha), here is a little shot of my new specs:

I received a free certificate of value from GlassesUSA t0wards the purchase of a pair of new eyeglasses to do this review. All opinions are honest and mine based on my experience ordering glasses through GlassesUSA

 

Searching For Healthy

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I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour conducted by Clever Girls on behalf of Dannon. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program but my opinions are my own.

For more information and recipe ideas, visit www.oikosyogurt.com or www.Facebook.com/oikos. ; I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

So last week I went for my check up and things are going okay. My blood sugar is staying in a better place….not perfect but the doctor was satisfied. She also said my bad cholesterol came back down from the outer stratospheres! My good cholesterol, however, is still low. She suggested cardio workouts and higher protein intake.

Just my luck that this week I was given the opportunity to try Dannon’s new yogurt which:

  • Dannon® Oikos® is created through an authentic Greek straining process which gives it a rich and creamy-thick texture.
  • Dannon® Oikos® Plain and Fruit on the Bottom contains 0% fat, while the Dannon® Oikos® traditional blended varieties contains about 3% fat. Both are an excellent source of protein, twice that of most regular lowfat yogurts.

Twice the protein sounded good to me. My issue (don’t I always have one?) is that I have never been fond of yogurt for purely texture reasons. I have tried and tried to incorporate it was a part of my new diet….but I always give up after a few days because all the yougurt I had previously tried doesn’t agree with me. I had to force myself to eat it. To me, yogurt is slimy, watery and has a bitter aftertaste. I was not a poster child for yogurt consumtion.

At BlogHer in the expo I tried some and truth be told, I wasn’t sure it was really yogurt. BlogHer was a whirlwind of new tastes, sensations, and product and by the time I was home I figured I must be mis-remembering it.

Luckily, through the Clever Girls Collective I was able to try it again (during a more calm and less exciting time of my life). I purchased four flavors and took them for breakfast every morning this week at work. YES, every morning! I have not fallen off the yogurt wagon this time! I am going tonight to buy more because I have found my new go-to breakfast! If they come out with more flavors (like lime-hint hint) I may even add one in the afternoon for my snack.

This stuff is amazing. Perhaps they should just call it another name, since it is nothing like any yogurt I have ever had. It is thick and creamy, just a perfect consistency! The tastes are amazing. So far I have tried the blueberry, strawberry (twice) and the vanilla. I am not a big fan of sweets and these flavors are rich and enjoyable without tasting too sweet. It is more of a fresh flavor, I guess. The vanilla smells so good someone passing by my cubicle asked if I was having pudding for breakfast!

I can’t believe I finally have found one thing to eat everyday that is good for me and tastes good! This change of lifestyle for me has been mostly about giving things up and just settling for ‘okay’. Not anymore. I hope that I can find other foods as I continue on this quest for health (and weight loss), but at least for now I have this yogurt!

I have partnered with Dannon to help promote the Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt Series.  I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program, which includes writing about the promotion and product.  However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Let’s Talk Feet. Heels. Toes. Arches. And Hoofs.

So as stories go, this one is your average “oh I accidentally put my foot underneath my horse’s hoof, which I was holding HIGHish above the ground, and it landed on my toes” story.

It hurt. A lot. I am sure Calypso thought I had lost my mind as I pounded my hoof pick into the side of the shed, while moaning sounds were very similar to cuss words. But I couldn’t cuss because the grandkids were there.

Having painful feet is not new to me. I have plantar fasciitis and at times it is so bad, I can barely walk. Really painful. (not quite as painful as a 1,000-pound horse’s hoof, but still painful). Now I don’t often (never) where flip flops to work, but I did today. Mostly because I couldn’t fit those purple toes into my dress shoes. Luckily for me my work was understanding (although they don’t know I put my feet up on my desk and snapped this picture…that I did on the sly)

The point of the picture (besides showing off those sexy purple sausages) was to show how great looking these shoes are! But more importantly, they make my feet feel wonderful. Not just good, but really wonderful. I have zero plantar pain since I have been wearing them (everyday since BlogHer) and I am just amazed. I have used orthotics and had some relief, but not like this. And inserts don’t work in flip flops, which is what I wear everyday here in Sunny Diego.

The story of how my arches came to love me again began during BlogHer’11, when I was invited to the “Healthy Feet Fit Suite!” hosted by Orthaheel and Weil Integrative Footwear, where I was given the flip flops to try. Even more exciting than the free sandals was the link to their website. I had NO IDEA you could get good-for-your-feet shoes that are also super cute too! The only orthotic shoes I have seen before looked like old lady shoes or nurse’s shoes (no offense to other old ladies besides me or nurses).

I simply must get these (SQUEEE!!!!! SUPER CUTE) Melissa slip-ons for work.

I.just. must. have.these.now.==============================>>>>>>

I invite you to check them out, not because they gave me free flip flops, but if there is a chance your painful, hurting (non-horse-smashed) feet could feel as good as mine do in these shoes it would be a crime for me not to share!Visit www.weilbeing.com and www.orthaheelusa.com to see more style and comfort.

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Disclosure: I was invited to the Healthy Feet Suite at BlogHer’11 and was given those awesome green flip flops. I was not asked to blog or review this product, but chose to do so because I liked them ALOT. All views, opinions, and horse injuries are mine.

A picture is a poem without words

My daughter takes fantastic pictures. Sometimes I can take a good one also. What I really love to see is photography become art. I would love to wallpaper my living room with photos (wouldn’t that be cool?) or take a few favorites and blow them up as posters. When I was approached about a review for custom canvas prints I was really excited.

And then the problem began. The choosing of the photo. I agonized for days. Then weeks. I was pretty sure the lady had given up on me ever making up my mind. I love canvas and I had it set in my mind that the photo should be one with depth and texture to really stand out on canvas. I made my husband go through hundreds of photos with me, trying to choose. In the end, I saw a photo taken by Nannygoat on her facebook. I knew immediately it was perfect. It had everything I was looking for! Depth, texture, light, dark and (of course) Ladybug!

I had her send over the higher quality file and headed to the website to order. The site is very user-friendly. Just upload your photo, choose your border options, add any image & color effects if you want and voila, you are done. My canvas was in my hands in just a few short days. I chose a deep 1.5″ wrap with a mirror image border. I couldn’t be happier with the results. The prices are reasonable, the turnaround is quick and I love my canvas.

The hunt has begun again for more ‘canvas perfect’ photos, as I am going to have several done in a larger size to decorate my living room. Probably one each of the grandkids. Of course, I am hoping they are not all grown by the time I choose! I created a mosaic of my canvas below, but to really see it in all it’s glory you should click here to see individual photos.

I would highly recommend Easy Canvas Prints for all you canvas photo wants and needs.

(edited to add: I just saw this promotion they are running, what a great deal! “Like EasyCanvasPrints.com on Facebook to receive the offer of 50% off all products and free shipping. The offer will be automatically applied to your cart when you are redirected to EasyCanvasPrints.com from Facebook. This promotional offer cannot be combined with any other EasyCanvasPrints.com discount offers.

I received a this free canvas print in return for reviewing their site. All opinions are mine.

I Can See Clearly Now…


One of the very first things I am going to do with my new health insurance coverage is get new glasses! Stronger, better, prettier glasses!

Meanwhile, I’ve been making due with my old grandchild abused scratched glasses. I can’t tell you how many times a day RolyPoly manages to grab them off my head. And his adorably grubby fingers make seeing through the lenses nearly impossible. I was pretty excited when I was offered some screen cleaner to review, but I received a Brilliant Lenses set instead. 

This stuff is simply brilliant! What a tremendous difference it makes. Over the years, I have tried so many cleaners and my lenses were still always grimy, fuzzy and scratched. This stuff made my glasses almost like new! I can see again!

My laptop screen is even worse as RolyPoly gets to it even more often than he does my glasses. He apparently wants to start his own blog and twitter account. If the screen cleaning wipes work as well as the lens cleaning, someone’s laptop is going to look brilliant and be 50x more scratch resistant!

It’s giving and sharing week around here, so I am offering TWO lucky readers the chance to win some screen cleaners for themselves! To enter follow Brilliant Lens on facebook here and leave them a comment telling them I sent you! OR follow @brilliantlenses on twitter and tweet “Shine on and win Brilliant Screen Cleaning Wipes http://bit.ly/i6evP3 from @BrilliantLenses and @ladybugsgrama”

Winner will be chosen by random number generator. Contest open until midnight PST February 5th 2011.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall Who Is The Prettiest One Of All?


I have an issue with mirrors and my shower. Well, maybe I should add my daughter, Bear, in there. You see, she is on this roll where she takes my magnifying mirror into the shower with her and manages to drop it and break it. TWICE. I always wanted a mirror in the shower, but as is her curse they always ended up broken and so I abandoned that wish years ago. I could never find one that would mount on the wall and stay there (I can’t hold the mirror and shower at the same time, it’s like patting my head and rubbing my stomach difficult) and they always fogged up and became useless.

Enter the ToiletTree Products Fogless Shower Mirror into our lives. I had my doubts that it would survive the whirlwind that is my Bear. How would it remain fogless? How long would it be before she steamed it off the wall?

Flash forward 4 weeks and thousands of hot showers and baths. It works and it works well. It is still up on the wall and it doesn’t fog. You have to fill it up with hot water each time, which I thought would be a pain but I just get in the shower, dump out the cold water and fill it under the shower. AND??? It is still firmly up on the wall. Now I can shave and shower and glance at my lovely self, fogless. It even came with it’s own squigee that slides in the bottom, doesn’t get lost and easy clean! If you have been looking for a mirror for your shower, I would highly recommend you try this one out first! I love mine.  Check it out on You Tube or Facebook or Twitter

Disclosure: I received a free mirror from ToiletTree to review. I was under no obligation to say anything specific about this item. Everything was solely at my discretion.

This Product Was a Free Giveaway

Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find

Some time ago I was approached by ecoSTOREUSA to review two of their products, here is a snippet:

I may not be a mother, wife, or a blogger, but if there’s anything that I know for sure- it’s that you, like me have people in your life that you love.
One way I prove my love to these people is by reducing the amount of chemicals that they come in contact to. This is why I represent www.ecostoreusa.com. An extension of a 20 year old New Zealand company www.ecostore.co.nz that makes affordable plant based, non-toxic Household Cleaning, Baby and Personal Care Products that contain No Nasty Chemicals™.
·Now, more than ever, we believe that the voice of the Mom Blogger, relative to the health of her family and the planet, coincide with the Ecostore mission. Word of mouth marketing and listening to the consumer – that’s us!
·The Founder was a stay at home dad living in an eco-village.
·We offer free shipping on orders over $25 and you can find us at Meijer and Duane Reade stores.

Already having two young grandchildren running around in the house and knowing that when RolyPoly’s mom would return to work we would be tending him several days of the week, I was excited to pick and try two products that would be safer to use around the house for them and for my little chihuahuas (which are just like little people: low to the ground, everything goes in their mouth and they need care, lol).

I chose the All Purpose Cleaner and the Laundry Powder. I found both products to exceed most of my expectations. The citrus-based all purpose cleaner has such a pleasant scent, that it was love at first sniff. But the truly amazing result I found was that after cleaning my counter tops daily with a regular cleanser; the first time I used this new spray my rag came away filthy! There was so much build up on the counters that I wasn’t seeing, I was a bit grossed out by what I saw. My “clean” counters hadn’t really been clean at all until I tried this product. I am actually on my second bottle. I use it every where in the house, from the kitchen to the outside screen room. It gets off every single thing my family has thrown at me; from markers to exploded soda on the walls (that dried because no one told me about said explosion). This is my favorite product ever. I have a steam cleaner for the floors, but for stubborn spills I spray a little on the spots before I steam clean and feel safe having small ones crawl around without worries of nasty chemicals getting on their hands and feet!

The laundry detergent impressed me with it’s value. Due to it’s concentrated form, I use a lot less detergent each load and my clothes come out just as clean. And now that RolyPoly is here (and doing the usual baby thing of having an accident or four a day) I have had to do his laundry quite often. I feel so much more confident doing his laundry with a soap that is plant based and contains no nasty chemicals. The powder has virtually no scent, so I will be perfectly honest in my review and tell you that my youngest (19) daughter (the Queen of all things must smell really, really good-including laundry soap) was not impressed. She now buys her own to use, which works in my benefit two ways A) I save money and B) My husband’s skin tends to react to laundry detergent with lots of perfumes in it. So win/win for me. Seriously, you only need to use a small amount of this detergent and you get clean clothes! What a money saver and it is planet friendly.

Now that Presto is here, being such a preemie, I know that when he finally gets to come home he will have some special needs. I am heading over to the Baby section of this great store to find some products for his family as part of their baby shower gift (okay, he actually arrived just before the baby shower so we had to cancel, but we are planning a ‘baby arrival’ party instead).

You can find ecoSTORE on Twitter and Facebook

Disclaimer: ecoSTORE provided me the above products for free to review. All opinions are 100% mine and I did not receive any other compensation for providing this review.

Firelight will not let you read fine stories but it’s warm and you won’t see the dust on the floor

I am obsessed with lights I tell ya! Mr. Vixen constantly runs around the house turning them off behind me, while I circle around in front of him turning them back on. Now that it is summer time, we spend more and more time outside. We have a set of hanging lights within the screen porch, but I like the breeze I feel when I sit out at the patio table by the pond in Collin’s Memorial Garden. (Which is looking quite lovely now that things are growing in, so I think I shall share a picture with you of it in a moment). Back to lights.  All long time ago I found (and I cannot remember where, when or how) a set of lights that you could put on your umbrella. Ours died a long, long time ago and I have been missing them terribly. So you can imagine my joy when I found these over at http://www.csnlighting.com. Sadly for me, my yard looks nothing as nice as this picture. Happily for me, the people over at CSN are going to send me a set of umbrella to try out on my umbrella. I doubt they will make my yard look this nice, but I am sure it will be a great improvement when I am out communing at the fountain. After I receive them, I will tell you all about them!

Oh yea, and here is a pic of Collin’s (aka Watermelon) Memorial Garden with all the plants growing so well (I can’t find the original from when we first built/planted it because I am brain dead):

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