July 27, 2010

My Review of Dark Walnut Expandable Jewelry Chest with Sliding Trays

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

This versatile jewelry chest features a dark walnut finish and brushed nickel-finished hardware. The soft, ivory velvet interior will cradle your jewelry. Two trays slide open to reveal additional storage. Includes hooks for necklaces, two generous jewelry drawers, and specially sized and shaped co...

Great jewelry box for the price

By Shady Lady from TN on 7/27/2010


5out of 5

Pros: Good Value, Quality Construction, Ample Storage, Attractive Design

Best Uses: Organization

Describe Yourself: Comfort-Oriented

Excellent for storing lots of small jewelry items in a limited space. It won't hold too many large costume pieces, but if you only use this for small items, like earrings, rings, and watches, it is more than adequate for the average person.


July 25, 2010

My Review of Bell & Howell Brasstone Sunlight Floor Lamp

Originally submitted at CSN Stores

So much like sunshine, it feels like you're on vacation! The Bell & Howell Brasstone Sunlight Floor lamp could be the most important advance in lamps since the invention of the light bulb. The new lighting technology simulates outdoor sunlight, which is balanced across the entire...

Doesn't Deliver on the Hype

By tnshadylady from Tennessee on 7/25/2010


3out of 5

Pros: Sturdy, Easy Assembly

Cons: Limited Illumination, Short Cord

Best Uses: Reading

Describe Yourself: Bargain Hunter

Received in a timely manner. Box was HEAVY! Assembly required, but not a problem. Pieces snap or screw together easily. Base is heavy (that's what gave the box so much weight) for stability. The freearm swings very easily - almost too easily. If you're carrying the lamp from one place to another, be careful it doesn't swing out and damage something or someone in the process.

Illumination does look natural, but the field is so limited this lamp will only be good for reading or hobby work with the lamp right beside your space. With all the build-up of this lamp that I read before making this decision, I guess I expected an "indoor sun". That's not what I got. I got a good sturdy swing-arm lamp suited for being very close to the action.

Which is okay. I'm not disappointed in the lamp itself, only in the fact that I expected more out of the illumination. My apartment has really dark paneling, carpets, and furniture, and I need something to lighten up the "cave". I hoped this lamp might be it, but it is not. Fine for close work, but if you expect it to light your cave, it won't do that.

Also, it requires a special type of bulb that I've never seen before, so I don't know how practical this lamp is going to be in the long run if I can't find replacement bulbs or they are expensive to order.

So, bottom line is that the lamp is fine, no problems or complaints, but I expected more out of the illumination feature. If all you need is a reading lamp or hobby lamp, this will be fine. But be aware that the specialty bulb may be hard to replace. Would I recommend it based on the hype? No.


July 24, 2010

GoodLight Natural Palm Oil Candles

Did you know that the average candle is made from paraffin? Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, a non-renewable resource. And while it might seem obvious, many people don’t realize that inhaling the fumes from paraffin candles is not good for your health. According to a study done at South Carolina State University in 2009, the fumes from paraffin candles are still linked to cancer, birth defects and such respiratory ailments as asthma, especially when there are many of them burning in an enclosed space like a restaurant or church.

After it’s scraped out of oil refineries, paraffin wax is usually: bleached by adding dioxin and other poisonous chemicals; texturized with acrolyn (a known carcinogen); and then mixed with animal-based stearic acid (a nasty byproduct of the meatpacking slaughterhouses) to harden it so that it can be made into candles. When paraffin candles burn, they emit black soot and toxic fumes—similar in chemistry to diesel exhaust—containing poisonous chemicals such as benzene, toluene, naphthalene, tri-decane, tetra-decane, penta-decane, and hexadecane. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t require candle makers to list the ingredients in candles, so you never really know what you’re burning.

Kinda scary, isn't it?

Beeswax and soy wax are acceptable alternatives, but they can be very expensive and costly to produce and sustain.

Enter palm wax candles from GoodLight Natural Candles.

Palm wax?? Yes. Palm wax is a completely non-toxic product of palm fruit, a rapidly renewable resource that also happens to be the most efficient and highest yielding oil-producing plant on earth. And GoodLight's palm wax candles cost about the same as, and sometimes less than, their paraffin counterparts.

GoodLight palm wax candles are unscented and all natural. They burn for a long time, too, with no soot or carcinogens being emitted into the atmosphere. While the main focus of the GoodLight Natural Candles company is selling to restaurants, bars, churches, spas, weddings, wherever candles are traditionally burned for ambience or ritual, I believe that there is a vast consumer market for these all-natural candles as well.

The fine folks at GoodLight were kind enough to send me a sample of their candles. I received an 8-pack of 15-hour votive candles (only $7.99 - that's $1 each, about what you'd pay for paraffin votives, right?) and a 6-pack of 5-hour tea light candles ($1.99 - again, about the same as paraffin).

I tried the votive candles and I am delighted that they are made from 100% palm wax and contain no additives. The wick is pure cotton and contains no lead or metal of any kind. Like any votive candle, the GoodLight votives are designed to melt and fill the holder with molten wax. Make sure to use a holder just wide enough to fit the votive. This votive will burn long and bright without harmful smoke or soot. Going green with candlelight just got affordable.

While I have to be honest and admit that I miss a bit of scent, I have nothing but good things to say about these candles. And besides, you don't want scented tea light candles under your chafing dish, do you? I thought not. The votives would be beautiful at holiday time without adding any additional scent to your holiday meals or decorations. And of course there are some people who just don't like anything scented at all.

Learn more about palm wax candles and the GoodLight Natural Candles company at their website http://www.naturalcandles.com. Because you breathe what you burn.

At the company's request, I am giving away the 6-pack set of tea light candles to the first reader of my blog who emails me at tnshadylady at gmail(dot)com and answers this question:

Jon and David are the co-owners of the GoodLight Natural Candles company. Jon also has another candle company. Tell me the name of Jon's other candle company and what he specializes in. (hint: you can find the answer on the GoodLight website) Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of GoodLight Natural Candles gratis in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. {Thanks David!} No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

July 10, 2010

Everyone needs a journal... Journals Unlimited {review}

Remember when you were young and you vowed to start a journal and keep it up? Maybe you actually did it. Maybe you, unlike me, got past the first few pages before you lost interest.

It wasn't that I disliked journaling. I loved it! But I could never figure out which direction my journal should take.

I mean, if I put everything in there, it was more like a diary, right? And that just put a whole other slant on the process. At least for me. (Your mileage may, and probably will, vary.)

So I put aside the idea of journaling. Until I saw the wonderful journals available at Journals Unlimited!

Journals Unlimited has the hottest selling and most expansive line of theme journals on the market. They offer over 60 titles that feature their trademark easy-to-fill-in format. They make it easy and fun to record all of life’s precious memories.

The "Write-it-Down!" series is printed in their home state of Michigan in the good ol' USA using soy-based ink on acid-free recycled paper. The journals have a durable hard cover design and handcrafted look. They are now available in the color collection as well.

Be sure to check out the "between me and you" journals (they make wonderful keepsakes for your family) as well as the line of notepads, which are sure to keep you organized.

The poem at the beginning of this post is printed in all of their journals and pretty much sums it up!

Keeping a journal has never been easier. Each journal in the Write It Down series has a theme to help you organize your thoughts into words for posterity. Here are just a few:

Camping - The Campers Journal

Christmas - The Holiday Journal

Sledding - Snowmobilers Journal

Gardening - The Gardener's Journal

Up North - A Cabin Journal

R and R - A Cottage Journal

Books I've Read - A Reader's Journal

Films - A Movie Lover's Journal

Motorcycle - A Rider's Journal

Treasures - A Collector's Journal

I could go on and on. Literally dozens of themed journals sure to please even those on your gift list who are hardest to buy for. For the dad who doesn't need yet another tie, how about the Fly Fishing Journal? For your mom who loves entertaining, how about Guest - The Visitor's Journal?

There's truly something for everyone here. A Teacher's Journal, Horses - A Rider's Journal, Precious Friends - My Pet Journal, My Dating Journal, and yes, even a blank journal.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg at Journals Unlimited. The ones I just mentioned are all from the Write It Down series, and they are also available in the Color Collection as well. There are other series too, like the Between Me and You series, journals of memories to give back to the gift giver. Share your memories with those close to you. It has a leading thought on each page to assist you in remembering those way back things. A wonderful new sharing journal.

The Write To Remember series will be added soon. This would be ideal for a member of the armed forces serving overseas, or someone on a religious mission, or a solo trip around the world, or anything spectacular and life-altering that should be - must be - recorded for future generations.

The journals come in three sizes, and note pads are available too. These are truly thoughtful gifts and will encourage anyone to use them to record memories before they are forgotten. And they are customizable and can be personalized with text and photos!

Journals Unlimited sent me a sample journal so I could see for myself the quality of their product. The books are substantial, not some spiral-bound flimsy thing. These journals will last a long, long time and indeed are intended and designed to do so.

What I love most is that there are no blank pages (unless of course you got the blank journal!). Each page incorporates a writing prompt to get you started in recording your memories. This was the thing I found so difficult about keeping a journal when I was younger - staring at that blank page.

The sample journal I received was Adventures - My Road Trip Journal. My sister and I love to take road trips. We like discovering new things right in our own backyard (so to speak). So I was excited to see what the Road Trip journal would be like.

I was not disappointed. Each page of the journal has places to fill in the date, time, even the weather, who went along, where we left from and where we ended up, odometer reading, total miles driven, even miles per gallon! There are places to record the route taken, sights seen and memorable events, highlights of the trip, stops we made, where we ate, stayed, shopped, and places and things to remember for next time - like that little antique shop we didn't have time for or where the closest bathroom was located. :)

I'm just thrilled to think of all the future trips we will take together and be able to record in our new road trip journal. And sad to think of all the past road trips that are even now fading from memory. Truly, this will be something to be enjoyed for many years to come.

Journals Unlimited products are found in many gift and specialty shops, but you can also order online from their website. Prices are very reasonable for the quality you are getting. The Write It Down series is available in mini size (3"x5 1/2" 120 pgs $5.95) and the Wine Journal is available in mid size (3 1/2"x8 1/2" 200 pgs $12.95). The Write It Down series full size is 7 1/2"x9" 200 pgs for only $18.95. And you can personalize it for only $11 more, adding your own artwork/picture and/or text. That is an unbelievable bargain for something that will be loved and cherished and most of all USED!

Next time you see a display featuring Journals Unlimited, I hope you'll stop and browse for a while. Their products truly are unique and made with quality materials. If you can't find them locally, shop online. Their products can be found at Amazon.com as well, with frequent shipping specials.

Sign up at their website and enjoy valuable discount coupons! They have new money-saving specials every month.

Journals Unlimited... a gift for all ages, a keepsake for all time...

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample from Journals Unlimited gratis in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

NameMaker - personalized tags, ribbons, gift wrap & more {review}

Gifts are so much more meaningful when they are personalized. And I'm not talking about just monogrammed towels.

NameMaker (http://namemaker.com) is a company that sells myriad products personalized just how you want them. Need ribbon to wrap gifts for bridesmaids and best men? Namemaker's got you covered. How about personalized holiday ribbon? Yep, NameMaker has that too. They even have personalized wrapping paper!
My sister is probably the best seamstress I've ever run across in my life. Ever. I mean, she can whip up something that absolutely fits without even a pattern. She's amazing. Never a stitch out of place, never a crooked seam, never a hanging thread. Perfection.

Her sewing articles need and deserve name tags like those provided by NameMaker. I keep telling her she needs to get her own personalized garment tags to put in her creations. Maybe after she sees this review, she'll head over to the NameMaker website and check out the products they offer.
And the prices are very reasonable as personalized items go. You can get woven design labels with printed text for only $16.00 for 20 labels. They measure approx. 7/8" by 2 1/4", have been pinked at the ends to prevent fraying, non-fade ink, washable & dry-cleanable, and with 1 to 3 lines of text (depending on style) with max 18 characters per line.

You can even get 100% woven design-your-own labels starting at just $28.00 per 50 labels, where you choose your own text, background, thread, etc. Motifs/icons are available at no extra charge.

Personalized ribbon starts at only $14.00 and is available in satin, textured, gingham, polka dot, and loop edge styles.

How about waterproof stickers? Perfect for labeling sippy cups, water bottles, food containers, school supplies, pool and beach toys, even for labeling foods going into the refrigerator or freezer! Waterproof stickers are $14.95 for 30 stickers.

Personalized. Don't forget!

Iron-on labels with kids' designs or names are a must when sending the youngsters off to camp. I can just see some harried mom creating personalized labels for her children:

Billy Barton
Pick up your clothes and hang them up. love, Mom

Jennifer Johnson
Don't wear this two days in a row and try to sit up straight. love, Mom

The possibilities are endless.

So head over to NameMaker and get inspired. Think you don't need personalized labels? When was the last time you took a dish to a pot luck dinner and didn't get it back? Waterproof personalized stickers on your kitchen wares will insure that everything is returned to you and they WON'T get washed off in the dishwater.

And that's worth the price of the stickers right there. Don't you agree?

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of NameMaker products gratis in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

Here, pretty pretty pretty! {NGlassworks review}

I'll admit it... I'm a sucker for flashy jewelry. You can keep your simple chains and charms. I want my jewelry to stand out. I mean, that's what it's for, right?

To catch the eye.

To be decorative.

To make someone envious.

Okay, maybe I should leave off that last one! :)

But that's exactly what happened when I sported my brand spankin' new sparkly beautiful Nancy Giere NGlassworks fused dichroic glass pendant.
 Isn't it gorgeous? My cheapo camera just doesn't do it justice.

Here, have a look at some of Nancy's creations: (taken with a much better camera!!)
I just love 'em!!

She's also got some new items ready for summer:
From left to right: a pendant, a suncatcher, and a framed bar.

If there's one thing I would offer advice about, dear Nancy, it's to make the lovely cord necklace that the pendant is strung on a little teensy bit longer. When it's worn without the extender, it lies like a choker. Even with the extender fully used, it barely reaches my collarbone and I found that when wearing a boatneck blouse or top the pendant tended to get lost underneath my clothing. I want that baby to show! :) The next time I wore it, I wore a V-neck top and, fully extended, it worked much better. But it still could be just a tad longer for my taste. Just my opinion. :)

Nancy Giere is the talented artist behind NGlassworks. As you'll find on her website, Nancy has always been the crafty type.

I’ve knit, stitched, woven, and beaded my way through life. I’ve kept my hands moving to relieve stress and quiet my mind. I’ve spent my whole life creating but never saw myself as artistic. It was just something I felt compelled to do. I’ve expanded my wardrobe, decorated my home and made numerous gifts for friends and family.

Three years ago I was perusing the Bead and Button Show class list and came across a glass fusing class that sounded fun. I had no expectations, I was just curious.

My first project, a pendant, was a success and I was hooked. I bought a kiln, some dichroic glass, and assortment of tools and supplies. I set up a work area in my basement. I was having a lot fun playing with heat and glass.

I started showing my dichroic glass jewelry to friends and family. I heard two words several times that caused me to examine what I was doing, “How much?” I found myself in the middle of a marketing research study. I could be in a meeting, at a restaurant, the hairdresser, the doctor, the grocery store, being searched by airport security and I’d hear those two words - How much?

I took this as a sign and decided to start NGlassworks, LLC. I now have the opportunity to keep creating, stay centered and offer my work to people that I’m not related to and never met!

Nancy Giere
I love her attitude. :)

And I LOVE her dichroic jewelry! It's available at a number of boutique shops nationwide. Check the list here - maybe there's one near you, or maybe you'll be crossing paths with Nancy Giere NGlassworks jewelry on your next trip or vacation. I hope you'll remember her name.

When you see her fused glass jewelry, you'll be as mesmerized as I was.

And you too could have the chance to make someone in your life green with envy! :)

Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of NGlassworks dichroic glass pendants gratis in exchange for providing this unbiased review of the product. {Thanks Nancy!} No other monetary consideration was involved, and my review was not influenced in any way.

July 8, 2010

I am better than ever!

Time to take stock - my life has changed in ways that at first perhaps didn't seem to be in a better direction. It takes a little more time to see that indeed things are better than ever.

I moved away from the big city after having my apartment burglarized not once but twice. Honestly, I don't know what took me so long. My family had been bugging me for years to move "home" to the country, where I was born and raised. I was perfectly happy in the city...until urban crime made me a victim too and I'd had enough.

So I'm back in the bosom of my family in the country. The job I found doesn't pay as well as what I had, but the cost of living is a lot less. Life moves at a slower, simpler pace. I can finally take time to smell the flowers.

And the best part? I'm reconnecting with my family, especially my mom. We actually went fishing together yesterday! She had a blast and I learned a valuable lesson about time wasted on what I used to consider priorities.

My priorities have changed. And that's changed my whole attitude. I am better than ever!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Dove® gofresh™ blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card and some product. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Dove® gofresh™ is also sponsoring a Facebook photo contest! Share your photos about what's "better than ever" on the Facebook contest page for a chance to win a spa weekend getaway in Sedona, AZ, and thousands of dollars worth of great prize packages from Dove® gofresh™!