Monday, August 31, 2015

Silicon Muffin Pans

I received the Silicon Muffin Pans through a promotion.

Product Info:
  • Pack of 2 (12 & 24 cavities
  • Can withstand heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Can go in freezer as an ice tray
  • Works with muffins or cupcakes
These silicon muffin pans are made with a nice food grade silicone that won't rip or tear easily. The cavities remind me of the size of normal muffin pans. They very similar in size. 

The silicon makes it that you don't have to use any non-stick spray or papers with the muffins or cupcakes. When making the cupcakes or muffins, you can just stick the batter into the pans. Once the muffins or cupcakes are done in the oven, take them out and let them cool. Once they're cool, you can pop them out by pressing from the bottom side of the silicone muffin pan cavities and push up. This will usually make the muffin or cupcake pop out. Sometimes you may need to wiggle the muffin or cupcake out. 

The silicon is very flexible. I tend to be a klutz and drop things, so I like to put the silicone pans on top of a sheet pan or inside a metal muffin pan to make sure I don't end up having the silicone pan fold up on me. It does make it that the muffin or cupcakes have more heat on them if they're in the metal pans, so they dry out more. The silicon muffin pan alone will keep them moist. 

These silicon pans are much easier to clean than a metal pan. Some muffin or cupcake can get stuck in the corners on the bottom, which with the silicon pan, you can just move the pan around to help loosen it. The flexibility and the non-stick surface makes these pans very easy to clean. 

Check out these silicon pans on Amazon

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Seaside Nights Review & Giveaway

Voted Beck Valley Books Reviewers Favorite Mini Series from the Love in Bloom Series 

SEASIDE SUMMERS joins the LOVE IN BLOOM series, featuring a group of fun, sexy, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They're funny, flawed, and will have you begging to enter their circle of friends. You met them in READ, WRITE, LOVE, (The Remingtons, Book 5), follow these friends on their search for forever love in the Seaside Summers series.

Fall in love with Sky Lacroux and Sawyer Bass in Seaside Nights, the fifth book in the Seaside Summers series!

Sky Lacroux has finally realized her dream and opened her own tattoo shop in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She’s happy as can be, preparing the shop for its grand opening and renting a cottage in the Seaside community while renovations to her new apartment are being completed. The only thing missing is the one thing she longs for, and has no control over—love.

Sawyer Bass, a professional boxer, plays his guitar at a local bar to escape the painful reality of his father’s deteriorating health and a recent health warning of his own. But when he spots a stunning brunette across the room, escaping reality goes out the window, and the beautiful woman becomes the focus of his next song—and maybe even the rest of his life.

When Sawyer walks into Sky’s tattoo shop and sees the woman from the bar—Sky—the chemistry between them is instant. Sawyer is everything Sky could ever hope for in a man. He’s honest, loving, sensitive, and potently virile—but boxing goes against everything Sky believes in. The closer they become, the more she realizes that her alpha boxer is waging his own emotional battle—only the battle she thinks he’s waging isn’t the one that threatens to tear them apart.

SEASIDE SUMMERS are the newest addition to the LOVE IN BLOOM series
**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

I love reading the Seaside Summers books. The characters always bring a smile to my face with their humor, wit, and the love they have for one another. The seaside characters are like a giant family, and the family expanded in this story.  
I love Sky's character. She's so caring and down to earth. She seems so mellow and balanced, yet creative at the same time. She's the type of person I'd love to hang out with. When it came to Sky and Sawyer's relationship, it seemed like Sky questions it more than I had expected her to. She seems unsure it was okay or normal for her to be having such strong feelings towards Sawyer so quickly. If I in a situation like her, I'd feel the same way. 
Sawyer seems too good to be true. Can more guys in real life be like him? His poetic words and kind heart make him the perfect book boyfriend. I loved the poetic lines from him throughout this book. I highlighted so many of them because I liked them so much or could relate to what was being said. Although, I did want to shake him during the times he thought being a boxer was mainly who he was and was in denial about being a poet. It's like he never thought he could be anything beyond that since he has been a boxer for so long.  
Although their connection was instant and happened quicker than I normally like in books, it made perfect sense for how Sky's and Sawyer's personalities were. They are very alike and seem to share similar values and interest, minus the Sawyer's career in boxing and Sky's distaste for violence. I enjoyed reading them trying to work through the differences.  

Available to buy from...... 

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About Melissa Foster

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary CafĂ© and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine. 

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa at The World Literary Cafe or her personal website.  Never miss a brand new release, special promotions or inside gossip again by simply signing up to receive your newsletter from Melissa.
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Follow the Book Tour

I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.

Five lucky winners will each receive the Sisters in Bloom ebook
Ending on Sunday 20th September at 11.59pm EST
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Gadget Monkee Selfie Stick

I received the Gadget Monkee Selfie Stick through a promotion. 

Product Info: 
  • Compact Design (Foldable cradle)
  • Wireless bluetooth design (Pairs with Android and iOS devices)
  • Ranges in size from 7.2" when folded and 32" when extended 
  • Made with pvc material, stainless steel monopod, and rubber anti-slip grip handle
  • Comes in pink, blue, or black colors
  • 270 degree rotation 
First thing I noticed about this selfie stick was the compact design. I love that the cradle is foldable. It makes storing the stick so much easier! I can fit it in my purse without it taking up too much room. 

The turning knob allows you to adjust the angle you wish to have your phone at with the cradle. If you're phone is in the cradle, I highly suggest locking it in at an angle, so it doesn't flop down and fall out of the cradle. The cradle holds onto a phone quite well, but it's better to be safe than sorry. 

The cradle has a great anti-slip rubber piece that helps hold onto the phone and also helps protect it from getting scratched from the metal underneath the rubber piece. The cradle is able to hold onto my Samsung Galaxy S4 with it's bulky outerbox case on it. 

This selfie stick is bluetooth enabled, which I love. It beats having to plug in the selfie stick to your phone.

You can charge the selfie stick using a USB charging cord, the same ones that can charge an Android phone.

The selfie stick doesn't really have an "on/off" button. The button with the camera on it can be used to turn on the selfie stick. Just press the button and a light will come on on the button. To turn off, press and hold the button until it flashes quickly and goes out.

To connect to bluetooth, use the camera button on the selfie stick. The light will do a slow, steady flash when it's scanning or searching. It'll be listed under the name "GadgetMonkee" when you try to connect it to your phone or device.

The selfie stick can go from 7.2" when folded down or 32" when fully extended. It's light weight and easy to hold. Although, sticking a heavier phone or device in the cradle will make it more top heavy.

The selfie stick works well to take quick pictures. There is a slight delay between when you press the button on the selfie stick to when it takes the picture. Usually about a second or two delay, nothing major.

As to my knowledge, you're not able to take videos with this selfie stick. I tried, but it wouldn't work. The selfie stick does focus if you press and hold the camera button on the selfie stick.

Overall, it's a nice quality for a selfie stick. It's easy to use. The handle is a non-slip grip. The stainless steel extendable part is sturdy. The cradle can extend to hold bulkier phones and cases.

Check out this product on Amazon

La Fede's Aqua Series Card Holder

I received the La Fede's Aqua Series Card Holder through a promotion.

Product Info:
  • Vegetable Tanned Leather
  • Flexible leather 
  • Resistant to wear and tear
La Fede's Aqua Series Card Holder feels nice to the touch. It's smooth, even with it's fine lines and ridges. It's fairly flat with no odd buckles or buttons, so it fits in a medium sized to large pocket with ease. 

I like that there's no buttons or buckles on this card holder because those always tend to get caught on something. It either catches on something in your purse or it's awkward feel when you have it in your pocket. 

The leather is flexible thanks to having been vegetable tanned. It holds up strong. I could pull on the sides of the card holder, and it didn't tear. The card holder tends to keep it's shape unless it's filled to the max for a long period of time. It holds cards and money snugly, even with the leather being flexible. If I stuck money in the middle, larger pocket and shook the holder upside down viciously, the money would fall out. If I just tipped the card holder upside, the money and cards would stay put. 

The card holder does come with a dust bag, gift box, and the care instructions if you ever need to clean the leather. 

Check out this product on Amazon

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kitchen Utensil Set

I received the R.S.G Kitchen Utensil Set through a promotion.

Product Info:
  • 6 pieces (slotted turner, slotted spoon, serving spoon, soup ladle, spaghetti server, and spatula
  • Ergonomic and brightly colored handles
  • Nylon heats are to resist heat up to 485 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • Easy to clean (dishwasher safe)
The holder for the utensils fairly decent. The base feels sturdy, but the pegs where the utensils go on can get broken off if too much pressure is placed on them. I wouldn't recommend dropping the holder in case one of the pegs gets broken off. The top of the holder, the black circle part with the pegs, does spin to allow you to select which utensil you want without moving the base of the stand. 

The utensils are average to slightly above average. 

The handles of the utensils are wonderful. They have a great grip and hold on them. It feels like a natural hold with how my hand usually rests.

The nylon heads are heat resistant. I haven't had any of them melt on me. Although, some of the edges of the heads are rough and can scratch you. It had came with those sharp edges. They didn't appear after or during use. 

The part that I don't like about these utensils is the stainless steel core. According the the company's description, the stainless steel core is suppose to be sturdy and durable. I didn't have to put much effort or pressure behind bending the utensils at the stainless steel core. The core is very thin. It's easy to bend back into place, but getting bent too often or too far could cause them to break or get stuck. 

Check out these utensils on Amazon

Travel Dog Bowl

I received the Etherno Travel Dog Bowl through a promotion. 

Product Info:
  • Works for food or water
  • FDA approved food grade silicone 
  • Collapsible 
  • Holds up to 500mL
  • Dishwasher safe (top rack)
  • Suitable for small and medium dogs
The Etherno Travel Dog bowl is a perfect size for my small pets. The bowl's size works for medium and small dogs to get their heads in the bowl if it's not filled up all the way when the bowl is used for food or water. Larger dogs may struggle trying to get food or water out of this bowl if the food or water level is low. 

The bowl is able to fold up into a pretty decent sized bowl. It's a bigger bowl than what my dogs are used to for food and a deeper bowl than what they're used to for water. It can hold up to 500mL. 

When I take my dogs for walks or to travel, it can be a pain trying to find them a dish to drink out of. Normal bowls don't fold up and are bulky to carry around. My dogs don't always do well with drinking out of a water bottle, and they don't understand how to drink from a fountain or from a hose.

This bowl makes it easy to fold up and carry in a bag without it taking up too much room.

Thank goodness this water bowl is easy to wash because one of my dogs thinks the bowl is also a place to wash her paws. The bowl is dishwasher safe and is recommended to be placed on the top rack. It's also easy to clean using soap and water. When folded out, the area where the bowl collapses has enough room for you to get in there to clean without worrying about getting in the small areas.

Check out this product on Amazon.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Coffee Pod Rack

I received the Coffee Pod Rack through a promotion.

Product Info:
  • Made for Nespresso coffee pods, works with Keurig coffee pods
  • Carousel holder
  • Four rows
  • Lightweight 
  • Made with chrome wire and stainless steel finish
  • 14.5" tall 
The Nespresso Coffee Pod Rack is is made with chrome wire and a stainless steel finish. It looks very nice. I had thought it'd be heavier by the way it looked than what it actually was. It's pretty lightweight, yet the wires in the rack and the bottom of the carousel is fairly sturdy. The rack doesn't bend or break even if it accidentally gets dropped or falls to the floor.

The carousel part of the pod rack reminds me of a Lazy Susan. It spins very smoothly. It makes turning the rack easy and with very little effort. 

When I first got this product, I was really hoping that it'd work for Keurig coffee pods, since that's what I have at home. At first, I was really disappointed when I tried to put my Keurig 2.0 pods in the rack. The space between the wires is too small for the lid or bigger part to go into the rack, as you would for the Nespresso coffee pods. I didn't think of trying to put Keurig coffee pods until after I saw another review on Amazon where the reivewer had images showing how they got the K-cups to fit. The K-cups do fit in snuggly using the bottom of the cup. The rack gives it a slight squeeze, but it's not enough to break or damage the pod. It does keep the pod in place. With having the K-cups fit in this way, you're able to see what flavors or types you have in the rack and how many. To get the coffee pods out, either slide the top one up to pop out or the bottom one down to where the openings are bigger in the rack. 

It's a nice visual way to display the coffee pods you have. 

Check out this product on Amazon

Taylor Bluetooth Smart Scale

I received the Taylor Bluetooth Body Fat Smart Scale through a promotion.

Product Info:
  • Uses SmarTrack App (free app) on Android and Apple products
  • Works on devices with Bluetooth 4.0 or higher 
  • Tracks weight, body fat, body water, and muscle mass 
  • Can be viewed on app through data or chart forms 
  • Can be conntected to others apps (myfitnesspal, RunKeeper, and mapmyfitness)
  • Scale has a calorie feature that calculates maximum calorie intake needed to maintain current weight
  • Supports up to 8 profiles/users
  • 11.8" x 11.8" durable, tempered glass platform
  • Dual-line 3" x 2" readout 
  • Switch read of Ibs or kgs 
  • Takes 3AAA batteries (included

When I first opened the Taylor body scale, I didn't think it came with batteries because I couldn't find them. I had expected them to be loose in the box or attached to the scale some how. I happened to look over at the cardboard that helped protect the scale and found the batteries taped to one of them. 

The scale does take 3 AAA batteries to run. The battery compartment is on the backside of the scale. It's easy to find and open. The battery compartment does have images indicating which direction each battery is suppose to face. 

The size of the scale is perfect. It's not too large where it's taking up a lot of room. It's also not too small where my feet would be falling or hanging off the edge. The 11.8" x 11.8" platform is an excellent size. 

The scale connected to with my phone and the SmarTrack app with ease. Although, when I hit the connection button, it changed the unit reading to kg. I was so confused when I started up the scale the next time to see it reading out differently. I didn't realize I changed the unit reading as well when I connected the scale. I hit the unit/connection button again to change the reading back. It did not unconnect the scale from my phone when I hit the button again.

The app's layout is easy and user friendly to view. I prefer reading the data using the chart form to see my previous weigh-ins to my current one.

The scale reading was in large number or letters. It was easy to see in the readout screen. The scale reads out body fat percentage, current weight, maximum calorie intake to maintain weight, muscle mass, and body water. The scale allows you to set up 8 profiles. Setting up even one of these profiles was frustrating to me because it wouldn't let me set it at first. It kept just reading out the profile rather than blinking to where I can reset or set the info. While setting up a profile, you're able to set up a weight goal (which during the read out it'll tell you the goal weight difference from your current weight) and you can set up how athletic you are.

I loved the weight goal difference reading. It was fun see how far off or how close I was to reaching a goal.

One of the times I flipped the scale back over, the rubber piece on the floor stands came off. The sticky part got stuck to the floor. It was easy to peel off the ground. It was still sticky, so I stuck it back on the stand.

Check out this scale on Amazon

i-Design Aviator Sunglasses

I received the i-Design ID1004 ultra light rectangular aviator sunglasses through a promotion. 

Product Info:
  • Tr90 Nylon Lenses for uv protection
  • Lightweight
  • 58mm frame shatterproof stainless steel
  • Synthetic rubber earpieces and nose-pads
  • Screwless design 

The sunglasses come in a very nice sunglass case and bag to help protect the sunglasses. The box is great for storing the sunglasses. The box is magnetized to keep it shut. The bag is a draw-string style bag. Also, it comes with a cleaning cloth for the lenses.

The lenses is shaped and styled like the aviator sunglasses. The sunglasses are a black darkened look that is non-polarized. The lenses help protect the eyes from uva, uvb, uvc, and harmful blue-lights. These lenses are not scratch proof.

The rubber on the nose and earpieces are comfortable and fit well.
The screwless designed is new to me. It's a nice idea, but you can hear the stainless steel edges rubbing together. To me, it's an annoying sound, not as bad as nails on a chalkboard. This screwless design could cause skin or small fingers to get pinched between the folds. It can also catch and pull on hair. The stainless edges on the arms is rounded, but the edges on the frames where the bend or fold is with the arms is a bit rough or sharp.

The stainless steel frames are very thin. They may be shatterproof, but they can still bend. If bent too far for too long, the frames does get stuck that way, especially the ear pieces.

How far these sunglasses bend does worry me. I wouldn't recommend allowing a child or anyone to play with these sunglasses if they're going to bend them. I'm afraid they could actually break.

I've had several people ask me to see these sunglasses, and they're first reactions once they felt the lightweight frames were that they were "cheap" because of how light and bendable they were.

Check out these sunglasses on Amazon.

Monday, August 17, 2015

ekSel BBQ Grill & Baking Mats

I received ekSel's BBQ Grill and Baking Mats through a promotion.

Product Info:
  • Set of two (one Beige and one Black)
  • Reusable 
  • Works with ovens, gas grills, charcoal grills, and electric grills 
  • Non-stick
  • Size: 15.75" x 19.7"
  • Can be used with steak, ribs, burgers, bacon, sausages, chicken, turkey, fruits, vegetables, pizzas, fish, hash browns, etc. 
  • FDA approved
My family grills a lot during the summer. We tend to use gas grills or putting a grate over a fire-pit to grill our food. A lot of the time meat can get burnt front the flames in some areas, grease can cause a mess, and the grill gets hard to clean with certain foods. 

The first time I tried the grill mat was with an oven. I wanted to make a pizza, but often pizza sauce can bubble up, fall off the pizza, and land on the bottom of the oven. It makes a mess, smells horrible, and gets difficult to clean. None of our pans were big enough for the pizza, so I used one of the mats and placed it on an upside down pan. The mats was big enough to cover the area of the large pizza. I stuck the pizza right on top of the mat. Some pizza sauce did bubble over from the pizza, but it landed on the mat. There was still a smell from the sauce getting cooked, but it wasn't as if it was getting burnt. As soon as the pizza was done, I used the upside down pan to grab a hold of the pizza and mat to pull it out without having it fall or fold over from the flexible mat. The mat was so much easier to clean the pizza sauce off of compared to the actual oven. The mat is dishwasher safe if place in the top rack. Otherwise, washing with soap and warm water works as well. 

The mat does fit over our gas grills. It allows us to make thinner meats, such as bacon or some sausages, without having them fall through the grill's grate. It made it easier to turn the meat without worrying about having it fall. It also kept flames off the meat to avoid the meat getting burnt. 

Note: Greasy meat or other foods should still be watched closely. Yes, the mat does help catch some of the grease and makes you able to grill bacon. If grease comes off the mat and goes into the flames, the flames can flare up. 

Check out this product on Amazon