Aug 20

Eachine Wireless Bluetooth Speaker ★★★★★

Eachine Wireless Bluetooth Speaker LED Light Touch Control Dimmable Night Lamp Mushroom Home Decoration

The Eachine Wireless Bluetooth Speaker Night Lamp reminds me of those children’s nightlights that sit on a nightstand. They can pick up in their hands and walk around with it to find their way.

The mushroom speaker works like a small night lamp. Touch the top and watch it dim or brighten. There’s enough light to not trip in the dark, but I couldn’t read with it unless it was sitting on top of my book.

It’s also a Bluetooth speaker. I paired the speaker with my HTC One M8 and it plays quite well, though the volume is restricted. My ears can tolerate a much higher volume.

There’s no mic, though. Calls have to go through the phone or not at all.

I like the form factor. I like that it can be removed from the base. Easy connection, good range. It makes a great personal speaker.

This product was provided for review by Eachine.

Aug 20

InnoGear® Waterproof Wireless Solar Porch Light ★★★★★

InnoGear® Waterproof Wireless Solar Powered LED Security Motion Sensor Detector Porch Light Wall Garden Lamp Spotlight

As I was walking my dog at dusk the other day, I looked over and noticed the InnoGear® Porch Light on in our backyard. It’s always on at night, but it turns brighter when someone steps underneath.

I have the light pretty high off the ground. I had to get on my six foot ladder to reach the rafters, yet it still detects me when I walk under it.

There’s plenty of light. I can see everything I need to see and more. It almost feels like a spotlight – great to have for areas we need to keep lit.

This product was provided for review by InnoGear.

Aug 20

Culina Premium Potato Ricer ★★★★★

Culina Premium Potato Ricer and Baby Food Strainer,BPA-Free 2 Stainless Steel Blades

This thing looks like a giant garlic press. It works like one, too.

Never in my life did I ever think I’d need a potato ricer. Now, I wonder how I ever lived without one. What a wonderful invention. The Culina Potato Ricer so much better than using a potato masher. I bake some potatoes, cut them in half, and smash them with this thing.

It makes the lightest, fluffiest potatoes I’ve ever tasted. My kids said they would make great hash browns because of the strands that shoot out of the ricer. I agree, but I haven’t tried that yet.

So quick and so easy.

This product was provided for review by Culina.

Aug 20

Iams Premium Protection Adult Dry Dog Food ★★★☆☆

Iams Premium Protection Adult Dry Dog Food

I can tell when my dog is head over heels over a dog food and she’s not really excited about Iams Premium Protection. Maybe it’s as bland as it looks. None of those pretty colors and shapes, and “premium protection” doesn’t sound too appetizing. On the other hand, I’m not one to want my dog to overeat, which she can do when she scarfs those delicious flavors down.

With Iams Premium Protection, my dog will only eat as much as it takes to keep from feeling hungry. That’s a good thing; but if I ask her, it’s only three stars.

This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.

Aug 20

Songza ★★★★★

Songza

Songza is better than Pandora or any other music app I’ve ever tried. I have it on all my devices. Choose the mood, choose the occasion, choose the genre. Everything has a playlist prebuilt. Pool party? No problem. Christmas dinner? Done. I don’t have to go through and pick an artist or anything. The music automatically plays, and I can vote if I like it or not. It’s okay to skip music I don’t care for.

I recommended Songza to my sister-in-law and she agrees. It’s a great little app.

Aug 20

Cutter – Original ★★★☆☆

This review was originally posted January 17, 2009.

Cutter – Original

I am an adult, not a child. I was hoping for something that would help me cut the centers out of small circles or maybe be easier than scissors for intricate work. When I got Cutter, I was thrilled, but that quickly wore off.

What I discovered was that cutting neat lines wasn’t easy. The little blade was difficult see in order to get precise cuts. It wasn’t easy to move the cutter in the lines that I wanted to get my cuts.

The cuts made the sheets of paper perforated, which I then had to tear. I thought they would cut cleaner, but just perforations.

The cutter is attached by a wire to the unit containing the batteries and that entire thing can be attached to the board. It was so cumbersome, I just left the two halves apart, most of the time.

I have found uses for this thing, mostly starting the center of a small hole which I then use scissors to round out. Wish the cutting was cleaner and easier to control. I use the board separately sometimes as a cutting mat.

I’ve owned this product for a year now and it’s now broken. The blade just doesn’t retract well and it no longer cuts. I’ll look and see if there is an adult version of this thing that makes cleaner cuts and has a bigger mat. Crayola was onto something. It just needs improvement.

By the way, this is not a toy for young kids, because the blade is sharp and can draw blood.

Aug 20

Vegetables Every Day ★★★★★

This review was originally posted January 18, 2009.

Vegetables Every Day: The Definitive Guide to Buying and Cooking Today’s Produce With More Than 350 Recipes

by Jack Bishop

I never liked vegetables as a kid. My best memories are of the canned vegetables they would serve at the cafeteria at school every day. Yuck. I thought that’s the only way they tasted. Even as an adult, they were only a second thought to my meals. In an effort to improve my diet, I bought Vegetables Every Day.

Having never been much of a cook, I did not know what to do with vegetables, how to pick them, how to cook them. Wow. This book changed everything. I learned when each vegetable was in season, how to pick the best one, the best way to cook each vegetable to bring out its flavor. The recipes are simple. The vegetables are allowed to shine, not drown in some thick sauce. They are not the second thought but the star. I never liked carrots or broccoli until I tried the recipes from this book. Nice book, I highly recommend it for vegetable novices like me.

Aug 18

USB Car Charger ★★★★☆

USB Car Charger with Lifetime Warranty – Portable for Travel – Rapid charging Triple USB Ports for iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, 4, 4S, iPad 4, 3, 2, iPad Air 4, 3, 2, iPad Mini 1, 2 Retina, iPad touch, iPod Nano (Lightning Cable/Adapter Not Included) 5.1A Battery Power Supply for All Apple Smartphones/Tablets and Android Devices – LG Optimus G3, G2, Flex, G2 Mini, G Pro 2, G Pad – Google Nexus 5, 4, 7, 8, FHD 2 – Samsung Galaxy S4, S3, S2, Note 4, 3, 2, Tab S 4, 3, 2, 7.0, 8.0, 10.1, – All New HTC One, M8, M7, M4, Mini 2 (White+Red)

I’ve been using this USB car charger to power my dash cam and also charge my phones and power banks. It works beautifully. I like the compact size and the three USB ports.

The ports are a tight squeeze, for sure. If you have a large USB plug, it may turn this three-outlet charger into a two-outlet charger. Other than that, it’s a great charger. It’s small and it works, and I like it.

This product was provided for review by Adfilic.

Aug 18

Lomui® 4400mAh Portable Charger ★★★★☆

Lomui® 4400mAh Portable Charger Backup External Battery Power Pack for iPhone 5S, 5C, 5, 4S, 4, iPad Mini Retina, iPod (Apple Adapters Not Included), Samsung Galaxy S4, S3, S2, Note 3, Note 2 and Most Other Android Smart Phones, Gopro Cameras, PS Vita and More Other Devices (Green)

Lomui power banks are all about fashion. This model reminds me of compact makeup. Just twist the top to expose the ports. We only get one USB port, but that’s about right for 4400 mAh. It’s enough to give my HTC One M8 a 92% charge.

My only qualm is the pretty, shiny exterior, which attracts fingerprints and is more prone to scratches. I have to be a little more gentle with it to keep it looking nice. I would like to see this power bank with a matte finish. Oh, and I see no LED flashlight.

This product was provided for review by Lomui.

Aug 18

D-Link Wi-Fi Day/Night Baby Camera with Remote Monitoring ★★☆☆☆

D-Link Wi-Fi Day/Night Baby Camera with Remote Monitoring (DCS-820L)

Like a lot of people who use baby monitors, my babies are grown. What I want is a security camera. Why not get a security camera, then? Been there, done that.

Those security cameras are a pain in the rear. I had one that was an eight camera set. Holy cow. It took forever and a day to just get the internet part working and when I switched providers, I couldn’t get it to work ever again. I gave up and moved on to Nexia.

Nexia was easier to set up, but it still took work. Every now and then, it would go down and I needed to go through the whole routine of setting it up again.

I needed something simple, so simple that any mom suffering from lack of sleep and time can do it: a remote baby monitor. What a wonderful invention. The D-Link Baby Camera even has two-way communication so when the thieves come, I can yell at them.

Not so quick. Almost everything works exactly as described. I can monitor using the local Wi-Fi network. It has sound and motion triggers. I get emails (sporadically) when there is a trigger. All the events are recorded on my micro SD card, though, and the images are crystal clear.

What doesn’t work at all is the remote monitoring. Before anyone asks, yes, I did update firmware. I have tried and tried through my app, and it’s a no go. Technical support deserves a ding. I sent two messages with no replies to my situation.

As things stand, I use the phone app on the local network to position the camera and watch replays of the different events. I wish I could view it remotely. That would make it over-the-top amazing.

Minus two stars for no remote camera viewing. Minus one star for unresponsive technical support.

This product was provided for review by the Amazon Vine program.