Nov 24

Okra Smartphone & GPS Dashboard Grip Mount Holder ★★★★☆

Okra Smartphone & GPS Dashboard Grip Mount Holder

Here’s a dashboard mount that will stick anywhere and stay put. The ultra-low profile is a bonus. It doesn’t get lower than this.

The Okra Smartphone Mount is sticky all over. It will grab the phone or anything else, so expect it to collect dust, hair and whatnot over time. Every now and then, we need to rinse it out to make it sticky again.

I fell in deep like with this mount until I ran into a fatal flaw: the notch for the phone is one size only. There is no way to adjust it. My iPhone 4S with case won’t fit. My Huawei Ascend Mate2 with case won’t fit. My dash cam and TomTom won’t fit. Fat phones need not apply.

What will fit? My HTC One M8 with case and my Kocaso Android phablet. When they fit, it’s heaven. When they don’t, I squeeze them in. Eventually, they fall over. I recommend this mount for phones that are ½” thick or less, including the case. Keep in mind there is no way to adjust the angle of any phone that is mounted.

This product was provided for review by Okra Products.

Nov 24

Stanley Bostitch QuietSharp Glow Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener ★★★★☆

Stanley Bostitch QuietSharp Glow Classroom Electric Pencil Sharpener (EPS11HC)

I’ve owned a lot of electric pencil sharpeners. With all certainty, the Stanley Bostitch QuietSharp Pencil Sharpener is a beast, and it lives up to its size.

Compared to my Westcott iPoint Curve Pencil Sharpener, the Bostitch sharpens more quickly and evenly. It stops automatically and indicates it’s done with a blue light. It’s versatile, able to sharpen six different sizes of pencils, even my colored pencils. To keep it from shifting, the makers plastered suction cups underneath. They thought of everything.

IS IT QUIET?

I’m not sure if any motor grinding up wood is ever really quiet. I used a sound meter to check. At 11 ½” away, the Bostitch was 80.2 dB compared to Wescott’s 77.2 dB. I repeated it for a few pencils each with similar results, the Bostitch always a tad louder.

SPEED

When sharpening unsharpened pencils, Bostitch clocks in at 4.3 seconds compared to Westcott’s 8.9 seconds. I didn’t have to clock it to tell that it’s fast.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

This may not be the quietest pencil sharpener, but it’s not the loudest I’ve ever heard, either. Teachers will appreciate the speed when sharpening large quantities of pencils. Students won’t be grinding their pencils to a nub. Everyone will be happy the large receptacle doesn’t have to be constantly emptied. In a classroom setting, it will do nicely.

This product was provided for review by Amax.

Nov 24

EC Technology® 5W Enhanced BASS+ Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker ★★★★☆

EC Technology® 5W Enhanced BASS+ Bluetooth 4.0 Speaker, 8-12 Hour Playtime, Built in Mobile/Car Speakerphones, Portable mini Zinc Alloy Shell Speaker, -Titanium Gray

What a gorgeous little cuboidal speaker. Most speakers are plastic or some sort of metal. Here’s one that looks like polished hematite, so pretty just sitting on my desk, but it plays music, also.

Bluetooth pairs easily and reconnects automatically. The range is good enough to get to the room next door, which is decent. We can use it for phone calls, which are okay. The caller cuts in and out just a little. From the caller’s end, the sound is clear but distant. Conversations are doable.

I consider the EC Technology® Bluetooth Speaker a personal speaker. It’s clear but runs cool. What that means is the sound is not full enough, which makes me want to turn the volume up. If I do, it’s too loud and hurts my ears. For general use, I don’t think most would be bothered by it.

This product was provided for review by EC Technology.

Nov 24

Collapsible Silicone Kitchen Strainer (Colander) Set ★★★★☆

Collapsible Silicone Kitchen Strainer (Colander) Set By Comfify – Includes Two Silicone Strainer Sizes: 8′ and 9.5′ – Burgundy Red & Grey

I like things that fold flat. I’ve had collapsible storage bowls and dish drainers. Now, I have a Collapsible Silicone Colander Set. They really do collapse flat. They’re heat resistant, so I can put them on a hot pot, and they’re dishwasher safe. They come in a set of two sizes. That’s a lot to like.

What I don’t care for are the holes on the bottom. They need bigger holes. I tried to wash some salad and it was wet at the bottom because the holes are small and too far between. It drains, just not as well as regular colanders. For that, I deduct one star.

This product was provided for review by RK Ventures.

Nov 24

Bright Eyes Blanket, Blue Panda ★★★☆☆

Bright Eyes Blanket by Snuggie, Blue Panda

The Bright Eyes Blanket is a cute blanket, a lot like the hoodie animal towels. When not in use, they roll up into the head and look like a roll pillow with a face and ears. It has a softness we can sink into.

The hook is in the glow-in-the-dark eyes. Actually, both my daughter and I thought the eyes were supposed to light up. Sadly, they don’t glow as brightly as it shows in the ads. My daughter gives it three stars, because the blanket disappointed her. “The eyes don’t glow, mom.”

I guess if the selling point wasn’t in the eyes, I’d rate it higher. It’s soft and warm and adorable. Just don’t buy it for the eyes.

This product was provided for review by Interact Marketing.

Nov 24

Kitchness 12″ Silicone BBQ Basting Brush ★★★★☆

Kitchness 12″ Silicone BBQ Basting Brush – Stainless Steel Handle – Round Silicone Bristles Hold Butter or Sauce – Heat resistant (Orange)

The Kitchness Silicone BBQ Basting Brush is useful for things like basting beef ribs. It picks up sauce well and spreads it evenly. The brush is a little on the narrow side compared to another silicone brush I own, but that hasn’t hurt performance. It’s superior to my “paintbrush” basting brushes because it doesn’t lose bristles into my food and it’s easy to wash. I just put my Kitchness brush into the dishwasher and it comes out clean.

A surprise cake tester was included in the package. I tested that cake tester against toothpicks a few times on some cupcakes. It seems I always get to my cupcakes when they are done, so I haven’t seen the results for when they are not done. So far, so good. It’s nice having a cake tester I can wash and reuse.

This product was provided for review by Ed Amazing Store.

Nov 24

Dell Inspiron i3148-6840sLV 11.6-Inch 2 in 1 Convertible Touchscreen Laptop ★★★★★

Dell Inspiron i3148-6840sLV 11.6-Inch 2 in 1 Convertible Touchscreen Laptop (Intel Core i3 Processor, 4GB RAM)

This is my second touchscreen Windows 8.1 laptop. It’s the first one with a screen that folds over, transforming my laptop into a tablet. What can I say? I love it!

SIZE

I’m not sure I’d really classify the Dell Inspiron i3148-6840sLV Convertible Touchscreen as a laptop. It’s lots smaller than my husband’s Dell Inspiron 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop, but just a tad bigger (and heavier) than my 11 inch ASUS Eee PC netbook.

Would I call it a tablet? It’s noticeably larger than my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ tablet, and much heavier. If I only wanted to haul around a tablet, I’d pick my Kindle Fire.

WINDOWS 8.1

The key to unlocking the beauty of Windows 8.1 is a touchscreen laptop. Swipe-touch-scroll-type-click flows so intuitively, you’ll wonder where Windows 8.1 has been all this time.

I was a Windows 8 hater. I’m not anymore.

TABLET/LAPTOP

I’ve only ever used my ASUS netbook when travelling. This has changed with my Dell convertible. I am so comfortable hauling it with me around the house. If I need to type up an email, I can do it. If I want to read, just fold it over. Like the Android tablets, it senses when my screen is in portrait mode and automatically rotates.

I was afraid the keys would get in the way when I fold it over, but that hasn’t been the case for me. I could hold it like any tablet, touching and swiping away on the screen. I tried pressing the keyboard intentionally to see if it would cause problems, but it doesn’t.

There’s a little button on one side I can touch any time I want to see the tiles. I never liked the tiles when I had Windows 8 on my PC, but they work so well on a touchscreen.

I do use the touchpad, but I use it less and less as I get more comfortable touching the screen instead. The touchpad is sensitive and works very well.

SOME ISSUES

The one thing lacking is documentation. There wasn’t any paperwork in the box, except the warranty.

I see three USB ports. One of them looks like it’s marked for charging and the other two are just marked for data. I’m not sure if the charging port is the USB 3.0 port or not.

There’s also an HDMI port and a card reading slot. That card reading slot is a 2-in-1 media card reader. Which media? My SDXC card fits, but I’m afraid to insert it all the way, because I got it nearly in but felt no spring and didn’t know how I was going to get it out.

I’d like to find some answers without having to go online.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

This is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. It turns on and off quickly. The battery life is great. I’ve been using it for days and it still has juice.

The Dell convertible won’t replace my Kindle, but it will replace my ASUS. I haven’t ditched my PC, but I’m no longer chained to it.

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

Nov 24

Salicylic Acid 2% Daily Gentle Peel ★★★★☆

Salicylic Acid 2% Daily Gentle Peel – Naturally Derived From Willow Barks

When we first got Salicylic Acid 2% Daily Gentle Peel, my son absolutely refused to use it. He said it burns. So, I bought him some other acne meds. Months go by. His acne cleared up and I thought nothing more of it. Today, I noticed his acne was coming back. I asked him if he would like me to buy more cream. No, he doesn’t want the creams. He says they’re messy and they don’t work. He wants this peel. It turns out that’s what he’d been using when his skin was so clear and he’d run out. “It burns, but it works.” Go figure.

This product was provided for review by Refresh Skin Therapy.

Nov 24

Dickies KHAKI Big Boy’s Flexwaist Slim Stretch Pant ★★★★★

Dickies KHAKI Big Boy’s Flexwaist Slim Stretch Pant, Dark Navy, 16/Regular

I imagined Dickies Slim Stretch Pant would hug the leg, something I’ve seen for slim jeans, almost looking like jeggings for guys. They don’t look like that at all. I would label them more like “not baggy,” a close fit but not tight or leg clinging. Size 16 fits my son very well. He’s been shopping in the men’s section (size 29 x 32), but these pants still have the adjustable waistband and the length is to the ground — good if he grows.

The khaki material is great for when the occasion calls for “not jeans,” like Thanksgiving dinner coming up. I’m happy he’ll have something to wear.

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

Nov 24

Exclusive Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set ★★★★★

Exclusive Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set – Limited Edition

I cannot believe this. All my measuring devices in one set. They all stack neatly and everything is easy to find. I’m never going to lose another cup again, not if it means losing R2.

Is it dishwasher safe? The box didn’t say, but I put it all in the dishwasher and they survived. I’m probably going to hand wash it most of the time, because I don’t want the colors to wear off prematurely. R2 needs to keep looking like new. Of course, if colors fade, it would just make him look like he’s been through a lot.

I love my R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set. I bought it for myself, but I would have been over the moon if someone had gifted it to me.