Hi, my name is Candy in Austin, TX and this my blog to rave (and sometimes rant) about books, movies, products, services or just whatever strikes my fancy. I love when people comment on my blog, so feel free to agree or disagree or maybe I inspired you to try something?

Disclaimer: I do get some of these books/products for free for doing an honest review. Yes, those are affiliate links and I could be compensated if you purchase through them. It\'s always small and it always goes to my kids college funds.

07 November 2014 ~ 2 Comments

How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie – Blog Tour 2014

Guest Blogger: Gina Henning 

Pecan Pie BLOG TOUR2

The How to Bake the Perfect Pecan Pie Blog Tour runs from November 7th until November 18th, each day of the tour a different character will share their favorite recipe for Thanksgiving. Stop by and see what’s cooking in the Hauser kitchen and be sure and enter the giveaway for a $50 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card, just in time for Thanksgiving!

How to Bake The Perfect Pecan Pie
 

Aurora Hauser’s Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

The back office at the Hauser home has been converted into a mini-video recording studio for each member of the Hauser family along with two special guests to share one of their favorite Thanksgiving recipes other than the pecan pie.

Hauser Family File: Aurora Hauser is married to Luke Hauser and the mother of Winter and River and the sister-in-law to Lauren Hauser. Aurora has been exhibiting signs of being pregnant, but has yet to share with the family despite the movements from her belly region.

“Roll the tape.”

Aurora waddles into the room and bows. Her auburn buns wiggle on top of her head. She shuffles her ballet slippers over to the leather couch and plops down into a lotus yoga pose. Her eyes close and she takes in a several deep breaths. Aurora snaps her eyes open and rolls her shoulders and cocks her neck from side to side.

“So I know Lauren has her pecan pie which is what ends the meal so I thought I would share my recipe for something prior to the meal. Pecans are my favorite nut. I like their shape and texture. I feel like they’re really an image of wholesome empowerment.” Aurora takes in a deep breath and closes her eyes.  She bobs her head up and down and pops her eyes open. “I’ve created a recipe with spices.” Aurora waves a white notecard in her hand. Her soda cap bracelet jingles along her arm.

“Spices are essential in every house. Not only do I cook with them, but I also use them for medicinal purposes.” She rubs her lips together and nods her head. “This is my Spiced Pecan recipe to keep you healthy, mind, body, and soul for the entire holiday season. Namaste.” She closes her eyes and bows her head.

 

Aurora’s Spiced Pecans

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin                            2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon                     1 tablespoon zested orange peel

½ tablespoon orange juice                              1 pound pecan halves

4 tablespoons unsalted butter                        1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar      2 tablespoons water          1 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Rip a piece of parchment paper and lay it on down in a sheet pan.

Mix the salt, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon and orange peel together in a small bowl and set aside. Toss the pecans in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or regular skillet will work) and set over medium heat. Stir it up for 4 to 5 minutes until they just start to brown and smell toasted. Add the butter and watch it melt. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine. Once combined, pour both sugars in the pan, orange juice, and water, stirring until the mixture thickens and coats the nuts, approximately 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the nuts to the prepared sheet pan and separate them with a fork or spatula. Allow the pecans to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Can be stored up to 3 weeks.

*Don’t miss the Hauser family Thanksgiving, available now from all these fine eBook Retailers:

Amazon US Amazon UK   Nook US   Nook GB    Google Play   Kobo

Enter the giveaway for a
$50 Williams-Sonoma Gift Card!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Be sure to stop by these blogs for sneak peeks and secrets from the Hauser Family!

7th November – Candy’s Raves http://www.candysraves.com

8th November – Avid Book Hoarder http://avidbookcollector.blogspot.com/

9th November – Krysten Lindsay http://www.krystenlindsay.com/

10th November – Aurelia Bowl http://www.aureliabrowl.com/

11th November – Rosie Amber http://rosieamber.wordpress.com/

12th November – Holly Martin http://hollymartinwriter.wordpress.com/

13th November – Karen Aldous http://www.karenaldous.com

14th November – Rebecca Raisin http://rebeccaraisin.wordpress.com/

15th November – eBook Review Gal http://www.ebookreviewgal.com

16th November – Mika Jolie http://mikajolie.com/

17th November – Katie Oliverhttp://www.katieoliver.com/ko/blog

18th November – Gina Henning http://www.ginahenning.com/blog

28 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Nerf Rebelle Messenger Blaster

Nerf Rebelle Messenger BlasterThis is a really cool idea, but… I’m not sure that it was needed, really. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cute. You can write messages on the bullets and shoot them at someone that can read them, if they have the secret reader part. I mean, I could see kids using it to send secret messages across the backyard to their neighbors, but it’s a novelty that quickly wears off. The gun itself is nice enough, but for the price, my girl would rather have a “real” Nerf gun, not the girly one. She liked it, she played with it and the messages a few times, but abandoned it pretty quickly for her gun with a clip so she could do some real damage. In an epic family nerf gun war, this wouldn’t stand up.

Recommended for girly girls that want it to play with more than participate in nerf wars with friends.

Description:
Nerf Rebelle Messenger

When the mission calls for secrets to be sent and shared, you show your spy style with Nerf Rebelle Secrets and Spies blasters and bows from the Nerf Rebelle brand. Messages fly back and forth between you and your team, hidden in plain sight on Message Arrows. Red reveals what the designs conceal; arm your friend with the decoder so she can discover your secret messages. It’s Time to Step Up and Stand Out!

Write and Send Messages

Send your messages with style and still keep your secrets hidden from view with the Nerf Rebelle Messenger blaster from Hasbro. Use the special pen to write spy secrets on the Message Darts. The messages can only be seen when you look at your secrets stay concealed. Once you’ve written your messages on the darts, load the darts into the barrel, pull the handle back to prepare the blaster to fire, then pull the trigger to send the darts flying through the air!

Mystery, Action, and Adventure

The Nerf Rebelle Secrets and Spies Messenger blaster combines the excitement of spy missions with sports action fun for girls who love mystery, action and adventure. Write and send secret messages, and reveal them with your spy decoders. When only your closest allies need to know the plan, you hide the details in plain sight with the Messenger blaster. Even the biggest secrets are safe with a messenger like you!

Reveal Secret Messages

The Nerf Rebelle Secrets & Spies Messenger has a built-in decoder on the blaster, so you can read secret messages. The blaster also comes with a separate decoder that you can give to a friend, so she can read the secret messages you write and send to her. Slip the Message Darts into the decoders, and the messages appear! Spies send and receive lots of messages during their missions, so you can reuse the Message Darts to keep the secrets flying. Use a damp cloth from home to erase the messages on the Message Darts, and now you’re ready to scribble some more secrets and shoot them to a fellow spy. The pen stores in the handle of the blaster so it is always nearby when you need it.

Includes

Blaster, 5 Message Darts, double decoder, and instructions.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

23 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

VTech Grow – Along Music Center

VTech Grow Along Music Center We borrowed a baby and a toddler to check this one out and he gave it a thumb and a half up. It’s VERY sturdy and for a baby that’s just learning to pull himself up, he didn’t fall over once because of it. The two had a great time, the big bright buttons draw their attention and the music gives them something to “baby dance” to. I found the microphone annoying. It doesn’t do a great job with voice changing and once my husband got ahold of it, I really really hated it. It’s a bit loud and distorted and really… just not good quality. The rest of it is fabulous though. Adjustable heights so varied that it can be used by a sitting or standing child. And hey, who doesn’t like jamming out to Let It Go?

Recommended for busy babies and toddlers. And those parents who need 15 minutes of peace to get a long overdue shower.

Description

Sing and learn with the Grow-Along Music Center by VTech. Pretend to be a musician and sing along with the music. Sing into the microphone and watch as the five colorful lights on the piano correspond to your child’s voice, or play with wacky voice-changing and amplifying effects. Rock out with three instrument buttons that play guitar, drum and saxophone sounds. Five animal piano keys introduce your child to instruments, colors and animals. Choose between Learn & Play mode and Sing-Along mode and become a learning super star!

Top Features

      • Voice-changing microphone with 4 fun effects
      • 75+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases
      • 5 light-up keys flash along with your child’s voice
      • Adjustable height stand for sitting and standing play
      • Learning and music modes provide two ways to play
      • Play guitar, drum and saxophone sounds
      • Teaches imitative play, instruments, animals and colors

Developmental Benefits

Language Development and Imaginative Play
      • Introduces age-appropriate vocabulary with fun phrases.
      • Popular melodies and songs enhance vocal exploration.
      • Musician role-play elements promote imaginative play.
      • Real microphone lets your child pretend to perform.
Discovery and Exploration
      • Voice-changing and amplifying effects inspire curiosity.
      • Light-up keys encourage exploration.
Cause and Effect
      • Five colorful lights correspond to your child’s voice.
      • Pressing piano keys plays fun sounds and phrases.

Rating: ★★★★☆

06 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Sterling Silver Created Ruby and Created White Sapphire Heart Dancing Pendant Necklace, 18″

Wow! I must admit that I was very leery of getting jewelry from Amazon. I usually want to see it in person. I’m super picky about what I wear. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I figured I’d give it a go. I love small pieces like this. The length is absolutely perfect on me. It really is just a wonderful little piece. I love the “dancing” in the middle too. It makes it a little more interesting.

The chain is actually thinner that I thought, which ended up being a good thing. It looks really good with the pendant. I’ve found that if the chain is too thin or too thick, it makes the whole thing look odd. But this really is a perfectly put together piece. I know I’ll be wearing this both casually and when I need just a little color to off set something more formal.

I wore this yesterday with jeans and a shirt and last night with a black cocktail dress. Both were the perfect match. I love that it’s versatile like that. My favorite was the black dress though. The splash of red just really brought my entire outfit together. The movement from the middle stone is a great conversation starter too!

Recommended for the jewelry lover in your life. This would be equally great for your wife, girlfriend or daughter.

Description:
The Amazon Curated Collection
Discover the Amazon Curated Collection of fine and fashion jewelry. The expansive selection of high-quality jewelry featured in the Amazon Curated Collection offers everyday values that range from precious gemstone and diamond pieces to the latest fashion designs.

This hand-selected assortment features an array of diamond, gemstone and precious metal designs that receive a quality inspection, including from Amazon’s staff graduate gemologist, to ensure they meet Amazon’s high standards. All diamonds featured in the Amazon Curated Collection are certified by our suppliers to be conflict free, and IGI, GIA, or AGS certifications are provided on white diamonds of .75 carats or larger on all stud earrings, rings, and pendant necklaces.

Pieces from the Amazon Curated Collection come packaged in a custom box, making them wonderful gifts. In addition, we offer free one-day shipping within the continental US on items over $500. International shipping options for friends and family overseas are available for an additional fee.

The Amazon Curated Collection offers a specialized customer service team that is available seven days a week to answer any product questions before, during or after the purchase. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, you will receive a full refund and free return shipping within the US if you return your purchase within 30 days.

Find a special gift for a loved one or a beautiful piece that complements your personal style with jewelry from the Amazon Curated Collection.

Gemstones

Color

Jewelers describe the color of a gemstone in terms of three characteristics: hue, saturation, and tone. A gemstone’s basic color is its hue, and those with purer hues (for emeralds, green; for sapphires, blue; and for rubies, red) are generally considered more valuable. Often, however, a hint of another color can be detected. Saturation is a measure of the intensity or purity of a gem’s hue and is determined by the degree to which gray or brown hues mute its defining color. Value tends to increase with saturation, so a fully saturated purplish blue sapphire may well be more expensive than a muted pure blue one. The tone of a gemstone, a measurement of its lightness or darkness, is usually given as light, medium-light, medium, medium-dark, or dark.

Clarity

A flawless gemstone is rare and expensive. As with diamonds, most gemstones have inclusions, or tiny mineral flaws, that can be seen under magnification or by the careful eye. Make sure that any inclusions in the stone do not penetrate deeply into the gem, as this may cause it to break or crack. Clarity grades range from VVS (very, very slightly included) to I3, in which inclusions are prominent and severely affect the gemstone’s beauty.

Cut

A gemstone’s cut refers to its proportions and symmetry. In making a gemstone look appealing–the stone should be symmetrical in all dimensions so that it will appear balanced, and that its facets will reflect light evenly. Color should also be taken into account when cutting for optical efficiency. If a stone’s color is highly saturated, a shallow cut will allow it to pass more light, while a deeper cut may increase the vividness of a less saturated gem. There is no generally accepted grading system for gemstone cut.

Size

Though a gemstone’s weight is usually given in carats, this may not give an accurate idea of its size, because different types of stone have different densities. Therefore, a one-carat sapphire or ruby will be smaller than a one-carat emerald, though they have the same weight, because sapphires and rubies (both a form of the mineral corundum) are more dense than emeralds.

Gemstones can also be measured in dimensions (diameter, length, and width). It is important to know the dimensions to ensure that the gemstone weight will be visible and well-proportioned in the setting.

Gemstone Treatment

Gemstones are often treated to enhance color and fill cracks. Please note: if a gemstone has been treated, this information will be provided in the specifications on the stone’s product detail page.

There are various accepted techniques, depending on the type of stone:

Oils and resins are frequently used to fill surface-reaching fissures in emeralds and rubies. This process is not permanent; however, if a treated ruby or emerald is subjected to high heat, the filler may leak out of the stone.

Sapphires and rubies are often heated in a kiln or furnace to enhance their color. Such heat treatment, which is considered permanent, has been used for centuries.

Lightly colored sapphires may also undergo diffusion treatment. This is done by heating a stone in the presence of coloring elements such as titanium or iron, which causes a thin layer of color to be diffused into the stone’s surface. Because this color layer is so thin, a diffusion-treated sapphire should not be re-polished.

Gemstone Care

To clean gemstone jewelry, first wipe it with a soft cloth to remove any dirt. Emeralds require only the use of a soft cloth, as cleaners may damage these soft gems. Sapphires and rubies can be cleaned with either an ultrasonic cleaner or a solution of one part ammonia to six parts water, with a soft brush. Store your gemstone jewelry in a soft cloth pouch or jewelry case so it does not touch other pieces in your collection. As with all jewelry, normal wear and tear can loosen prongs and settings, so it is a good idea to have it checked by a professional jeweler who can make repairs as needed.

Rating: ★★★★★

03 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Taboo Buzzd Game

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve played the regular Taboo game. Family, friends, any gathering really. It’s one of those tried and true ones that we pull out when there’s a group together. Most people already know how it works and if they don’t, it’s easy to explain – especially if there’s wine involved!

I was really excited when I saw this. One of my favorite games – portable!

But… it didn’t live up to what I would have liked. Yes, it’s small and portable. Yes, it’s impressive that they were able to do it, but I’m not sure it works. The buzzer and button placement is awkward. It’s a little odd to reach over and hit the button on the top if you’re sitting next to someone. I really wish it had some sort of detachable buzzers on cords or something. This could easily be something to play “on the road” if it had a few changes.

It’s still the same game. There’s a limited number of turns because… well, it’s small. I don’t see a way to load more cards, which would be another great feature, have a side loadable cartridge or something, hey, they could even sell me “theme” packs for new words. I’d totally go for something a little risque for my girl’s night out and something Disney for the kids night in.

I dunno. I was overall a little disappointed. Does it work? Absolutely! Does it work well? Nah…

Recommended for diehard Taboo fans that absolutely MUST take it with them. Then again, if you’re going to be somewhere you can play a game without worrying about losing pieces, just bring the old tried and true version. You’ll be happier.

Description:
It’s the popular Taboo game, the laugh-out-loud game of forbidden words. The Taboo Buzz’d game is an electronic, hand-held party game that’s easy to play, auto scores for you, and it all comes in one handy unit. Get your team to guess as many words as you can while you race against the clock, but if you say a Taboo game word, the other team will hit the buzzer and your team loses a point.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

01 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Guest Post by Veronica Li, Author of Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home (Memoir)

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an English major turned journalist turned banker turned writer. When I graduated from UC Berkeley eons ago, I was confronted with the question all English majors faced. How am I going to earn a living? I went into journalism, a field that allows me to write and earn a decent living. After five years I realized how profound my ignorance of world affairs was. I went back to school and got a masters in International Affairs at Johns Hopkins. The degree led me to a position at the World Bank, where I became the loan officer for Somalia.

My writing life began when Somalia exploded into civil war. I was so shaken up that I wanted to write about my experience. Instead of a history book, I turned the story into a spy thriller, Nightfall in Mogadishu. My second book, Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home, is a true story of my mother’s life.

What inspired you to take up writing?

I write to understand. When an experience affects me deeply, I want to get to the bottom of it. I read what others have written about the subject. Then I make up a story with fictional characters going through more or less the same experience. At the end of the process, when the “truth” emerges, I’d feel really alive. I feel I’m truly living, and not just going through the motions of living.

Why did you write your mother’s story?

My mother lived with me during her final years. She loved to tell stories about her life, so I decided to tape record them. These were stories I’d heard many times before, but hearing them told as a chain of events, I began to appreciate what an extraordinary life my mother had lived. Life had dealt her one bad hand after another—poverty, wars, disease, and a disappointing marriage—but she kept making the best of what she had. She finally brought the family to the U.S. in search of a better life. My siblings and I are forever grateful to her for the opportunity to live out the American dream. Because she’s the “founding mother” of our clan in the U.S., I decided to write her memoir for her American born descendants.

Is there anything in the book that you would have preferred not to know?

My father’s philandering while he was a businessman in Thailand was a shock to me. I knew he had some emotional problems, but I thought he was totally dedicated to my mother. This happened during the time my parents lived in Bangkok, where they’d fled to escape the Communists in China. My father was out nightclubbing with clients every night, while my mother was stuck at home with four children ranging from one to five. When I recorded her stories, I could feel her pain even after forty some years.

Do you have any new projects coming up?

I’m currently working on a new novel, Confucius Says. It’s about caregiving for elderly parents. It’s based on my own experience of taking care of my parents. The characters (all fictional, of course) are members of a Chinese American family struggling with what to do with ailing parents. The plot is driven by misunderstandings of Confucius’ teachings about respect for elders. The result is hilarious mix-ups and ridiculous expectations. The subject of aging and dying is dead serious, so humor is the best way to deal with it.

What advice do you have for aspiring authors?

Strike a balance between writing for yourself and writing for an audience. You want to be true to yourself, but you also want people to read your book. The best way is to get feedback on your manuscript at every stage of your writing. I’m lucky to have writer friends to review my drafts. Since I live in Virginia, I’m a member of the Virginia Writers Association. My local chapter meets once a month and is a great resource for ideas and making friends. Writing is a lonely job, but don’t try to go it alone.

Links to Veronica Li’s books:

Journey across the Four Seas: A Chinese Woman’s Search for Home
Nightfall in Mogadishu
Veronica Li’s website

About the author:
Veronica-LiVeronica Li was born in Bangkok, a child of the post-war Chinese diaspora. She spent most of her childhood in Hong Kong and immigrated to the U.S. at the age of fifteen. She received her B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley and her master’s degree in International Affairs from Johns Hopkins University. In her first career, journalism, she wrote for Agence France-Presse, The Asian Wall Street Journal, and Congressional Quarterly. In her second career, international development, she traveled for the World Bank to Asia and Africa to work on aid projects. For the last fifteen years Li has been a writer and caregiver to elderly parents.

About the book, a memoir:
Flora Li (author’s mother) was born into poverty in Hong Kong in 1918. She fought her way through the education system and became one of the few women to get into the prestigious Hong Kong University. When the Japanese invaded, she fled to unoccupied China, where she met her future husband, the son of China’s finance minister. He thought she had found the ideal husband, but soon discovered that he suffered from emotional disorders caused by family conflicts and the wars he had grown up in. Whenever he had a breakdown, Flora would move the family to another city. Throughout her migrations, she kept her sight on one goal—providing her five children with the best possible education. Her final move was to the U.S, so that all her children could go to college.

12 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Mini-Rewards Lamb Formula Semi-Moist Dog Treat

I shared these with a friend of mine’s dogs. My dogs are smaller than hers and loved them as well, but this is what she had to say about them:

My dogs will eat just about anything unfortunately they also have some crazy allergies such as chicken, duck and turkey. Finding dog treats with reasonably natural ingredients is relatively easy to find but finding treats with no chicken is difficult. When I found these I was excited to try them since the puppy is in training and I like to reward him with treats occasionally.

These treats are small and my dogs are medium and large so it’s just a little taste for them. They are great for training so we’ll definitely be using them for that. As far as an everyday treat these are pretty small so it’s not so much a treat for them as a swallow.

I’m picky about ingredients and watch their food closely so these are a winner in that regard. Their usually treats are ice cubes (they love them) and vegetables from the fridge but those are a little harder to carry around when working on obedience.

The real test for me is smell and feel. These don’t have a bad odor and they aren’t slimy (another issue I’ve had with other dog treats that were chicken-free). They are moist so be sure to store them out of heat and direct light, they will mold and get hard.

Recommended for training sessions and pet owners who are picky about their dog’s food.

Description:
These delicious Mini-Rewards turn anytime into treat time and help keep training fun and healthy! Natural Balance Mini-Rewards are a great way to reward and motivate your dog while helping your dog stay healthy, balanced and trim. Natural Balance Mini-Rewards are made with high quality proteins for the delicious taste they love and are less than 5 calories per treat. Formulated without corn, wheat, artificial flavors or colors.

Ingredients
Lamb, Brown Rice Flour, Dried Potatoes, Water, Dried Sweet Potatoes, Vegetable Glycerin, Sucrose, Cane Molasses, Natural Flavor (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Gelatin, Salt, Salmon Oil, Phosphoric Acid, Sorbic Acid (preservative), Mixed Tocopherols (preservative), Citric Acid (preservative), Rosemary Extract.

Directions
This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only.

Rating: ★★★★★

10 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Guest Post by John DiRicco, Author of Through

Why did you decide to become a writer?

There are only 26 letters in the English alphabet. It is amazing to me that these 26 letters can (through hard work, inspiration, and sometimes maybe a little luck) be arranged into words, and those words into sentences, in such a way that moves a reader (or listener) to laugh, think, get angry, or cry. And sometimes all at the same time. Words can stand forever. Writing is so hard to do, and often frustrating to try, but there’s something about trying to find those words.

Your book “Through” is set in purgatory. How did you approach writing about a place like this?

I understand the religious connotation the word “purgatory” has, but I did not approach my story necessarily from that perspective. There are hints of that in my story, but I was interested in writing about the idea of atoning for the sins one commits during his or her life. Is there a price to pay for how you live your life? Who might make that judgement? And what if you can, after you die, still be forgiven for your sins? And the concept of a purgatory seems rather scary – a limbo that one may or may not ever leave, like an open prison of some sort.

How can readers identify with a character in purgatory?

I think readers can identify with the characters in this story because we are all flawed. No one is perfect, and while readers might not have committed sins as grievous as the characters in this story, they can ask themselves: “Would I have done the same thing if I found myself in a certain situation?”

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is John DiRicco, and I was born and raised in Munhall, Pennsylvania. My schooling (St. Therese, Central Catholic High School, Duquesne University) kept me close to home, which was a great thing as I remained close to my family and met my future wife at Duquesne. We’ve been happily married since 2003 and live in the Pittsburgh area.

About the Book:
Is it too late, even after death, to save yourself? This is the only question worth answering for Thomas when he wakes up dead and in purgatory. He is perhaps trapped in this dismal world, with only fellow liars, thieves and sinners to turn to as he seeks an answer. One person seems to know a way out, but can Thomas trust her? Or anyone here? Or himself? The individuals he meets in purgatory are damaged and guilty. All are here for a reason, but few show just one shade. And some seek only damnation for themselves and others. There is not much time. Most succumb, sooner rather than later, to the pull below the surface. In this world, Thomas is both his own biggest weakness…and only hope.

Rating: ★★★★★

Book count for 2014: 00

08 September 2014 ~ 1 Comment

Kobi Electric K7L6 12-watt (60-Watt) PAR30 LED 3000K Warm White Outdoor Flood Light Bulb, Non-Dimmable

My family has always been fairly energy conscious. We first switched to CFL bulbs a few years back but the lack of instant on, long warm up time, and the upfront cost has constantly disillusioned us. About 6 months ago we started transitioning to LED bulbs in the house, but this is our first exterior lamp purchase.

Is it instant on? Yes.
Does it have to warm up? Nope.
And I would have to say that the light quality is just as good as the incandescent bulb it replaced.

But is it worth paying 12x the cost of a similar incandescent?

Well, obviously I haven’t had this bulb that long, but looking at the warranty and the ratings:

Kobi LED: 12 watts
Competitor Incandescent: 60 watts

Are you really going to notice $3 a year (or so) in energy savings? (Maybe, maybe not)

Kobi LED: 25,000 hours
Competitor Incandescent: 2,000 hours

Even if you don’t save any money on electricity, the two pretty much break even.

Where I see the biggest advantage is in security and convenience: If you leave this light on for 9 hours every night you should not have to replace it for almost 8 years. Mine is only on when it is needed, maybe 4 hours a night, max. If everything go right, this bulb could last as long at 20 years. My grandparents talked about bulbs that last this long, but I’ve certain never seen one.

But I’m looking forward to it!

Description:
The Kobe Electric PAR30L LED light bulb produces 700 lumens which makes it the ideal replacement for a 60-watt halogen light bulb. Being UL approved for wet locations, it is ideal for the outdoor application where it is exposed to rain or snow. Not all PAR30L LED bulbs are UL approved for wet locations, Consumers beware. This is the perfect PAR30L LED for outdoor security lighting or outdoor spot lighting. Designed by KOBI in Texas to deliver maximum value at an affordable price. We stand behind our products with a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty – if you are less than completely satisfied, we will make it right. Let us know by calling 800-505-2106 or email: helpdeskatkobielectric.com.

Rating: ★★★★☆

05 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster

As a kid I took up archery for a few years with my father. 20 years later, I picked up the Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster. I have to say it is fun to play with, but has very little in common with the real thing.

Feel: Unlike a lot of Nerf’s blasters, the ThunderBow feels like a toy. The balance feels off and it isn’t easy to carry. Firing position is easily held though, and the grip is good for right- or left-handed people. When pulling back to fire I was always a little worried: Far enough to fire? Go too far and the arms feel a little creaky. There is a green indicator for when it is “just right” but it isn’t readily apparent.

Looks: I think it looks pretty cool, but once again, but you have to suspend a lot of disbelief to see it as a “blaster”.

Range: Raising the firing angle, you can easily get 90 to 100 feet.

Accuracy: Accuracy was definitely worse than the last Nerf model I tried out. At 40 feet I consistently hit within 3 feet of my target. 30 feet was not much better. I feel that the larger projectiles and the “whistle effect” really kill the accuracy on this model.

Things I liked:
– While it may (or may not) effect accuracy, the whistle effect is cool.
– It definitely has a different look than other blasters.
-Rapid fire of the individual darts.
-Five extra projectiles

Things I didn’t like:
– Watch out for the string! It may not be a real bow, but if you hit your forearm enough times it starts to sting.
– No place to store the extra projectiles.
– No way to easy reload all 5 darts.

Overall: 3 stars. Interesting idea, I can definitely see that it has a place in some peoples Nerf arsenal.

Description:
Experience the excitement, energy, and attitude of the Nerf brand, and find out why it’s nerf or nothing. Nerf N-Strike Mega blasters feature bigger darts for bigger battles! Take aim with the Nerf ThunderBow blaster that features real bow action, and let the darts fly with the first Nerf Mega bow!

  • Mega ThunderBow blaster has real bow action and flexing bow arms
  • Fires up to 100 feet
  • Includes 10 Mega Darts
  • Fires 5 Mega Darts at a time without reloading
  • Mega Darts scream through the air

Rating: ★★★☆☆