Jul 31

ViewSonic VX2252MH 22-Inch LED-Lit LCD Monitor ★★★★☆

ViewSonic VX2252MH 22-Inch LED-Lit LCD Monitor, Full HD 1080p, 2ms, 50M:1 DCR, Game Mode, HDMI/DVI/VGA, VESA

I am a huge fan of ViewSonic monitors. This is my third one, and I have it set up in dual monitor mode with one of the older ones.

The ViewSonic VX2252MH is the first model I have that has an HDMI port. The improvement in crispness and clarity is apparent. I don’t do gaming, but I do edit videos. My eyes appreciate the impressive resolution, which doesn’t distort when viewed at an angle.

Audio is a problem. I can chalk up the HDMI audio to a driver issue, since I googled and found many other people with the same problem. Updating the video card driver and the Windows drivers and downloading drivers from the ViewSonic site did not help.

I temporarily went old school to see what would happen, and yes the speaker works. Music is much fuller out of my older ViewSonic monitor, though. From the VX2252MH, it just sounded canned. It’s acceptable for work but not if I wanted to live and breathe music.

As I use this monitor, I normally have sound dialed all the way down or muted. Sound quality is not an issue for me. I am happy not to need another speaker just to hear alerts. Video is what I’m looking for, and it is wonderful for that.

PROS:
+ great resolution
+ HDMI port, DVI port, VGA port
+ speakers onboard
+ DVI, VGA, audio, power cables included (does not include HDMI cable)
+ VESA mountable

CONS:
- couldn’t get HDMI audio to work (could be fault of my system)
- stand is not height adjustable (will tilt)
- music sounds “canned” compared to older ViewSonic model

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

Jul 31

BLISS – Portable and adjustable Tripod Mount Holder ★★★★★

BLISS – Portable and adjustable Tripod Mount Holder for iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4G/5 ,iPod Touch ,HTC ,Samsung ,BlackBerry-Black

The BLISS Tripod Mount Holder is a medium size phone mount for a tripod or monopod. I own one smaller and one larger. This one is the perfect in-between size, fitting both my iPhone 4S and my HTC One (with cases on) via a spring tension. Mounting is both easy and secure.

I use this gadget to attach my HTC One to a monopod in order to raise my phone above the crowd during my children’s events. A Bluetooth shutter controller makes the set complete. After all, what good is the phone above the crowd if I can’t reach the controls to take photos?

This is my favorite smartphone tripod mount because of its size and versatility. You may find others that need to be stuck on the phone with adhesive or will only fit one brand. This one fits most all phones, and it does its job well. I used it during the San Diego Comic Con. Lots of people there, big crowds. It came in handy.

This product was provided for review by JbsOptical.

Jul 31

BLISS – V2.0 Camera Extender Hand Held Monopod ★★★★★

BLISS – V2.0 Camera Extender Hand Held Monopod for Most Cameras

When I go watch my children on stage, I take photos with my smartphone. Usually, there are people in front of me. Who wants photos of the back of people’s heads? Reaching up with the arms is less than ideal. I can’t get high enough, or I have to block people’s view. There’s a solution to this: a BLISS Monopod.

I have to pair it with a cell phone mount. There are a variety of styles, but I prefer the spring clamp design (e.g., BLISS – Portable and adjustable Tripod Mount Holder), which is more versatile than some other designs. They come in small, medium, and large sizes.

Indeed, I also need a Bluetooth shutter controller. My favorite so far is made by Kootek: Portta PETCC Remote Control Camera Shutter Release .

As far as monopods go, this one works as well as the others I own. It’s small enough to fit in my purse. It’s long enough to extend over any crowd. It will hold most any camera or camcorder, and it doesn’t collapse until I make it collapse.

If I get bored, I can turn the camera around and take selfies. What’s not to love?

This product was provided for review by JbsOptical.

Jul 31

Lightshare 7Ft Pear Blossom Flower Tree Light ★★★★☆

Lightshare™ 7Ft 200 LED Pear Blossom Flower Tree Light, Clear Flower, White Light

The Lightshare™ Pear Blossom Flower Tree Light reminds me of the light up orchids also sold by Appearances International, except the tree is larger, prettier, with more flowers. I have the white flower tree (it comes in other colors). Everyone’s first reaction was, “It’s a Christmas tree!” but this Christmas tress is full of flowers.

Assembly was extremely simple. All the branches and lights come attached to the main trunk. We just have to fit the trunk together like we would a Christmas tree – just the trunk and the base and that’s it. The flowers fall off as we take it out and manipulate, but they slip back on with ease.

Once up, bend the branches to the most pleasing shape. They are pliable wires that go any which way, but we are not to bend them more than five times, according to instructions. That means this tree will not last us more than a few years, if we bring them out each Christmas.

Stakes are included for securing outdoors, but I’m not sure how durable the tree is outside. I just leave it indoors to be safe.

At night, the room lights up and the tree really is a pretty sight to behold.

This product was provided for review by Appearances International.

Jul 31

Prime Line S 4443 Outlet Safety Plug ★★★★★

This review was originally posted February 1, 2009.

Prime Line S 4443 Outlet Safety Plug

I’ve heard some people’s children find these plugs a challenge and go around trying to pry these out of the outlets. For my kids, Prime Line Safety Plugs were a successful deterrent. I put them in six years ago. For the outlets we use regularly, we’ve pretty much taken them off, but some still remain in place today. Throughout all those years, the kids have had no desire to pull out the plugs, although we’ve had a few instances where the children tried to play with unprotected outlets. Even after the kids learned how to pull the plugs out, they did not have much desire to do so. I would have to label these a successful childproofing aid in our house.

Jul 31

Medications & Mothers’ Milk ★★★★★

This review was originally posted February 3, 2009.

Medications & Mothers’ Milk: A Manual of Lactational Pharmacology

by Thomas W. Hale

Medications & Mothers’ Milk is really one of the most complete guides to medications in the breastfeeding mother. It is small and compact and yet full of information. The medications are alphabetized by generic name to make them easy to look up. A full evaluation is given including a brief description of the drug and what it’s used for.

It rates the lactation risk factor for each drug on a scale from L1 to L5 with L1 being safest and L5 being contraindicated. This makes it quick and easy to see how safe the medication is for breastfeeding.

It makes suggestions for alternatives when the risk factor for the drug is high. This is very useful when deciding on appropriate therapy so that the clinician needn’t look up each individual drug.

It lists pediatric concerns if the baby breastfeeds from a mother taking the medication and how much of the drug the baby might be expected to get.

This is a thoroughly complete breastfeeding reference guide. I would recommend it for all breastfeeding moms and any clinicians treating breastfeeding moms.

Jul 30

Dirt Devil Dash Dual Cyclonic Bagless Upright Vacuum ★★★★☆

This review was originally posted February 3, 2014.

Dirt Devil Dash Dual Cyclonic Bagless Upright Vacuum with Bonus Vac+Dust Floor Tool, UD70250B

ASSEMBLY

Assembly couldn’t have been easier. The Dirt Devil Dash comes in three pieces and installs with one screw. You’ll need a Phillips screwdriver. I was done in literally minutes.

ATTACHMENTS

Everything is stored onboard with the exception of the Vac + Dust Floor Tool. I’ll make a special mention of that later. In addition to that tool, we also get a Turbo Tool, an extension wand, and a 2-in-1 combo that changes from a dusting brush to a crevice tool.

It’s all very clever. The handle comes out and all the attachments go on it. It is the quickest, most convenient attachment feature I’ve ever seen on a vacuum.

TURBO TOOL: This is good for stairways and furniture. It’s a little vacuum head with a rotating brush. I found it very useful on a giant beanbag chair we have. If the fabric is loose and gets sucked into the Turbo Tool, the brushes will stop spinning, so it’s better on things with more taut fabric.

2-IN-1 COMBO TOOL: Transformation is quick and easy between crevice and dusting brush. I like the crevice tool. The dusting brush is at an angle that makes it only useful for things lower towards my feet, or up towards the ceiling. If I need to dust shelves or anything like that, it won’t work. Needless to say, I don’t have much use for it.

VAC + DUST TOOL

This one bears its own section because it’s the selling point of the vacuum. That said, it’s not very well thought out. I don’t like it and won’t use it. Why?

1) The tool is the only one that is not stored onboard. It comes in a mesh bag with a hook. Am I supposed to hang this in a closet?

2) If I use this, I’ll have to wash the Swipe – another chore to think about.

3) If the vacuum does its job, why do I need this to pick up dust on hard surfaces?

4) This is a big issue for me: If I’m to use this duster, it will be on a large area, like my kitchen and foyer. I attach the tool to the handle, which also happens to be the handle to the vacuum. So now, my vacuum has no handle. The duster is attached to my vacuum via the hose, because it also sucks up dust and dirt. Here I am in the kitchen, pushing the duster around while dragging a vacuum that has no handle and also wrangling the cord. Get the scene?

PERFORMANCE

I don’t think it cleans hard floors as well as my Bank Stick Up, but it will do. There is an option to stop the brush from spinning. We can also set the brush height. I’m glad it tells us on the vacuum what the lowest number is for. I never know which setting to use on other vacuums.

Most people will just use this as a vacuum for carpet, as I intend. I like it. My other vacuum has this swivel head that bothered me. Not this one, and it does seem to get everything on the first pass.

The one thing I don’t care for is we have to step on the vacuum and push to release the handle back. It’s awkward but not difficult. I guess I’m used to pressing a lever.

Emptying the vacuum is a lot better than my other cyclonic vacuum. The dust falls out the bottom of the canister. It’s much less messy that way, but some of the dust/lint gets stuck in the canister and I have to put my hand inside to pull it out. Still less messy than my other vac.

OVERALL IMPRESSION
This is my second cyclonic bagless vacuum and I like it better than the first. I’m going to keep this one. I just don’t like the Vac + Dust Tool. Since that is the selling point of the vacuum, I’m going to deduct one star for it not being very practical. It’s otherwise a good vacuum.

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

Jul 29

VIVA OFFICE® Swivel Task Chair ★★★★☆

VIVA OFFICE® New Arrival Mid-back Black Bonded Leather Comfortable Ergonomic Swivel Task Chair, Adjustable Computer Office Chair VIVA08835

You might say I’ve had a lot of experience putting together office chairs. The hardest part is usually the wheels, which was relatively easy for me here. The rest of the assembly was a cinch. If you can turn a screw with the included hex wrench, you can assemble the chair.

This VIVA OFFICE® Chair has well-padded seat and seatback. Even the armrest was not forgotten. I love the cushy yet firm armrests. Lumbar support rides a little low for me. Given that I like to slouch so that my lumbar region is not in contact with the proper parts of the chair, I’m not sure how much lumbar support is supposed to help. When I sit up straight, it just doesn’t quite hit me where I need it.

The chair can lock upright, or I can lounge in the reclining mode. Reclining is one step away from slouching. It’s so comfortable that way. Even though it’s a mid-back I don’t ever want it upright.

The wheels roll better on carpet than they do on tile. They feel locked up on tile. On carpet, they perform about as well as my other office chair. I don’t do a whole lot of rolling, though. I mostly sit in one spot.

There’s a pneumatic lift to easily adjust to just the right height. I can go high enough so that only the balls of my feet touch the floor (I’m 5’5″), or I can go low enough that my thighs are parallel to the floor and my feet rest flat. For those who need to know: the top of the front seat edge rises from 16″ to 20″.

It’s a nice chair – not too big, yet well-padded and comfortable. My husband has been eyeing it, said he’s ready to change chairs.

This product was provided for review by Viva Office.

Jul 29

Poweradd TravelMate USB Wall Charger ★★★★★

Poweradd™ TravelMate 17W/3.4A Dual-Port USB Wall Charger Adapter Portable Travel Charger for Apple, Android and other 5V USB-Charged Devices

As a travel charger, the Poweradd™ TravelMate is perfect. It’s compact for storage. The prongs fold up so they don’t rub holes in our luggage. There’s no LED bulb to light up our hotel room at night.

I like the USB ports positioned on the back of the charger. That’s so much better than on one of the sides. I can reach the ports without unplugging the charger from the outlet.

I’ve used this charger on two different trips and at home for my phones, power banks, and tablets. It works well. The only issue I have is it’s so hard to see which port is 2.4 amps.

This product was provided for review by Poweradd.

Jul 29

Glad Press’n Seal Wrap ★★★★★

Glad Press’n Seal Wrap

Glad Press’n Seal has always been my favorite food wrap. It clings better than anything else on the market. I can wrap the top of a bowl and stack another bowl on top without worrying about the seal giving way. Try that, Saran Wrap!

Press `n Seal is also ant-proof. I had a horrible problem with ants. They’d get into the bottles and jars, no matter how tightly I closed the lids. Enter Press `n Seal. Simply wrap the lid where it meets glass with Press `n Seal and no ant can breach that barrier.

Although the wrap is impressive, the last two boxes I’ve bought have been a disappointment. The wraps were fine, but the plastic ends that keep the wrap in the box fell off so that the roll wouldn’t stay in the box. That’s a problem. Trying to unwrap the wrap while holding the roll causes the wrap to cling to itself until I have a wad of Press `n Seal stuck on a hollow cardboard tube.

I just got a three-pack to test. Here be my chance for Press `n Seal to redeem itself . . . and it has. I’ve not yet had any problems with the plastic ends coming out. The rolls stay in the box and my wrap comes off neatly. Hooray! I’d have been so sad if that weren’t the case.

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