Thursday, October 20, 2011

Beautifully Handcrafted

There is a local TV repair shop here in Columbus where the owner makes these GORGEOUS wood items in his spare time. He is the type of person that strives for perfection in every piece. Not only are the items well-made, but they are created from the best woods including exotic woods such as yellowheart, purpleheart, and bloodwood. The corner of this chess board shows the beautiful color in yellowheart.

He recently created a Facebook page to promote his crafts, which can be seen here. A person with this talent should get more recognition, so please check out his page and 'like' it.

 I am absolutely in love with these vases and bowls.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top 5 Gifts for Women & GIVEAWAY!!

With Sweetest Day right around the corner, I thought I would provide men with a little help on picking that perfect gift for any occasion by creating a top five gift guide.  I am also giving away a Victoria’s Secret PINK Perfume and lotion gift set.  Ladies….you are encouraged to enter this giveaway and win it for yourself as well; please see details below.
#5 FLOWERS – Different flowers have different meanings, and if you research this, you’ll impress her even more!  Flowers are beautiful and will brighten up her day; however, if she is anything like me then she will prefer a potted flower.  Although I love to receive roses from my husband, I feel a bit sad when they wither and die a week later.  He bought me an Orchid a few years back for Valentine’s Day; it is still alive and well, and I get to enjoy its blooms every so often.  It’s like a gift that keeps on giving!!  Flowers are the best gift when they are given as a “just because” gift and not on a specific holiday.
#4 ELECTRONIC GADGETS – You are probably wondering “what’s so romantic about electronic gadgets”?  Well, with a little thought and personalization, they can be the gift to bring tears to her eyes. 

A Digital Photo Frame already loaded with pictures of the kids or pets shows that you’re tech-savvy with a sentimental side.  Another great choice would be an IPod loaded with songs that remind you of her.  Back in the day we used to make each other mixed cassette tapes; however, an IPod will win you some extra brownie points.
#3 PERFUME – Now this gift is tricky.  Does she already have a favorite perfume?  If she doesn’t, you shouldn’t just go out and buy a random perfume without some sneaky preparation.  Every woman’s chemistry is different and the same perfume can smell differently on different women.  Perhaps one day at the mall, she can try on a couple to see which one she likes the best.  Then later you can buy her the bottle of perfume when she isn’t around. 
If she does have a favorite perfume, and unless you do not like the aroma of your lady, I wouldn’t recommend straying away from her favorite brand.  DO NOT buy her a “knock-off” brand of her perfume.  Although they may smell similar, you are giving her the message that she is not worth the real thing.
#2 PAMPERING –Treat your special lady to a day at the spa by providing her with a gift certificate.  What woman would not love a relaxing massage, manicure, pedicure, and facial?  This would be a wonderful gift especially for those mothers who need some alone time.  Let her relax and unwind while others take care of her for a change!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Avon Giveaway

I’ve bought Avon for years!!  I love the fact that I can shop in the middle of the night, get my items delivered to my door within days, and I pay NO shipping costs!  Here’s how that works…first you register and click "shop my store" online through an AVON representative.  You have to go through a representative in order to get the free shipping offer.  Don’t have a representative?  Here….borrow mine...  Make sure you check out the Outlet brochure because it has a lot of discontinued items at very low prices!  Secondly, add your items to your cart until your order is $30 or more (to get free shipping).  At checkout, if the code does not already come up, type in FS30REP in the promo code to get free shipping.  Finally, pay through a credit card or Paypal and sit back and wait for your Avon to arrive at your door via UPS.  I LOVE shopping this way because I do not have to deal with a pushy sales person, and I can shop all hours of the night.

So…What’s So Good about AVON? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Websites for Children

The World Wide Web can be a dangerous place, but it also can provide a wonderful learning experience for your children.  I was amazed when my four-year-old started reading and spelling words she learned from an online game.  I decided to create a list of great websites for young children.
A website full of games and videos from your child’s favorite TV shows on PBS kids.  There are a wide range of games appropriate for many different ages.  They are educational and focus on spelling, phonics, literacy, vocabulary, reading, social skills, and much more.  My four-year-old absolutely loves SuperWhy and walks around singing “I really love to spell S-P-E-L-L”.  She also knows the primary colors and how to make mixed colors. is another website full of games and videos from your child’s favorite TV shows such as Bubble Guppies, Dora the Explorer, and Team Umizoomi.  There is also a ‘create’ link that allows your child to draw, color, play with virtual stickers, and create spin art.
Coloring Book Fun is full of printable pages for your child to color.  I love this site because it offers a huge variety of coloring pages.  It has coloring pages for every holiday imaginable!  I used this site a lot when I ran daycare out of my house.  The popups are annoying, but I guess it’s a small price to pay for an extensive coloring book.
Spot the dog has his own website!!  Here is where your child can color, play games, and create a story!
Sesame Street also has many educational games.  There are even games about potty time, brushing teeth, and cleaning up!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

SHARK Navigator Lift Away Vacuum cleaner / sweeper

After many hours spent reading the reviews on vacuums I finally decided to buy one.  Although my husband was leaning toward a Dyson, I couldn’t justify spending $600 for a vacuum cleaner unless it came with an operator.   My decision was the Shark Navigator Lift Away.  Although there weren’t many reviews for this particular model at that time, I really liked how versatile it looked.  The day I got it is the day I fell in love with it.  Why didn’t I buy this thing sooner??  I used to have a heavy vacuum cleaner for the carpets and a ‘power broom’ for my hardwood floors, but I threw them both out (well, one went to the trash; the other I sold at my garage sale) after the first time I used the Shark.  It swivels to allow me to get around the tables legs; it picks up the dirt along the baseboard without requiring me to use the hose and an attachment tool.  The suction is AMAZING!!!  In fact, it allows me to adjust the suction if it is too powerful…as if there was such a thing.  It allows me to detach the canister and hold it in one hand as I clean the stairs.  The hose easily separates from the body in two different locations giving the choice of either a long attachment or short attachment.  When vacuuming in the upright position, you are given a choice of with brushes (for carpet) or without the use of brushes (bare floor), which is turned on and off by a switch.  When I use the brushes on the carpet, it is so powerful that it feels like it is self-propelled!
After my first use of my Shark, I could not believe all the dirt and pet hair that my other vacuum left behind!  I love EVERYTHING about this vacuum including emptying the canister.  The canister unlocks from the base, and then you place if over a trash can and push a button so the bottom drops down.  All the dirt falls out….no more banging a filter against the trash can trying to get the clinging dirt and hair off of it as you inhale a lung full of dust.  I just used it to sweep out my minivan, which had sand and hair in the carpet left over from the carwash vacuums.  I was able to use it in the upright position inside my van and now my van looks brand new again.    I paid $179 for this vacuum and I think it is COMPLETELY worth it.  After seeing what this vacuum is capable of, I would’ve paid twice that amount!  Now, of course, I've only had this for a couple of months now, but I also own the  Shark S3501N Deluxe Steam Pocket Mop and the Shark Premium Portable Steam Pocket Includes 5 Cleaning Pockets + 2 Quick Release Wands and I am happy with both of those, so I expect the same from the vacuum.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where were IPOD's when I was growing up???

For Christmas my oldest daughters each wanted an IPod touch.  So my husband and I let them open every single gift under the tree and watch the disappointment as they did not receive the biggest gift on their lists.  They then moved on to their stockings, which were usually filled with candy and dollar store items.  However, this time in the toe of the stockings was the IPod Touches they asked for.  I couldn’t understand why such a strong desire for another IPod…was it because it was a touch screen? 

They immediately transferred the iTunes to the new IPods, and nearly 9 months later, I have yet to see a day they don’t have it with them.  I think this is one of the best purchases we ever bought them.  It wasn’t like past gifts that I frantically searched and fought for on Black Friday (such as the Wii Fit) only for it to be shoved under the couch a month later and never be played with again. 

The IPod Touch 4th generation is much more than a MP3 player.  It has a camera that allows still pictures as well as video.  It allows you to Tweet and Facebook.  It has a HUGE market of applications that can be downloaded, many of which are free.  My ultimate favorite application (I believe it was already preloaded) is “Facetime”.  It allows you to have a video chat with someone that could be down the hall or even across the country.  I was impressed with the video quality and the speed!  The girls have downloaded so many games that the wait at a doctor’s office is no longer intolerable.  I, too, became addicted to Angry Birds while waiting for the test results regarding my daughter’s appendicitis.  The IPod touch can be educational as well; they have downloaded scientific calculators and apps to learn Spanish as well. 

Overall, I give the IPod Touch 4th generation five out of five stars due to its capabilities.  I would strongly recommend a 32 GB or 64 GB because the 8 GB can be used up pretty quickly with all the pictures, games, and music that is available.  I’ve seen my girls drop their IPod Touches more than once, and yet they are still going strong.  So durability is another plus; however, I wouldn’t recommend dropping it to find out.

Apple iPod touch 8GB (4th Generation) - Black - Current Version

Apple iPod touch 32GB (4th Generation) - Black - Current Version

Apple iPod touch 64GB (4th Generation) - Black - Current Version

Thinking of buying a Dodge Caravan?

The only good thing that has come from dealing with issues with my 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan is that I was inspired to start this blog.  What better way to prove to my readers that I will not endorse a product that I do not believe in than to start with a product I regret buying.  Of course I am only three years into my six year loan, but I am ready to push it off a cliff (too bad Ohio is mostly flat).  So….let me start from the beginning but keep it long and not so sweet.  I bought the van brand new in 2008 and thought it was the greatest thing.   After 12,000 miles, I was told that my front brakes needed replaced.  After researching and seeing that other Caravans had the same issue, I called Dodge to see what they would do about it.  They told me to take it to the dealership and have them check it out.  Well, according to the dealership, they were fine.  Two weeks later, my husband replaced all four brakes himself because they were so worn down and squeaking so terribly loud.  A few months later I received a letter from Dodge stating that the Caravans have premature brake wear and to take it to the dealership to fix the issues and that Dodge would cover the cost minus a $100 deductible.  Of course, I already replaced the brakes, so why bother now?  A few months after that I took my van to another service center in a different dealership for an oil change and a replacement of a recalled radiator cap.  While in the shop I was told I needed front brakes again and that I would just have to pay the $100 deductible.  So my van received its third set of brake pads at 21,000 miles.
Now my van has 40,000 miles and it needs rear brakes again.  I sent Dodge an email and received a response immediately that stated a case manager would contact me the next business day.  Here I thought, “Wow, this company stands behind their product”.  Unfortunately, when my case manager called I could not take his call, but I returned it no longer than 3 minutes later.  I was told he was on the other line and that he would call me back.  My van was already at the dealership being evaluated as to whether or not it needed new brakes.  I also had a rental car while it was being fixed because my first day is free due to the service agreement I bought.  I did not hear back from my case manager that day despite my three phone calls and two left messages.  The dealership was waiting on a response from my case manager before they performed the work because apparently rotors were on backorder for six months (WOW, there must be a demand for them…wonder why?).  Day two, I am still in a rental car that I am now being charged for and I still have not heard back from Dodge.  I call again and leave a message.  Two hours later I call again and another case manager tells me she will time stamp my request and my case manager will call me back as soon as he is off the other line.  Two hours later I call again and a different case manager gives me the same time-stamp spiel, and I argue with her that it didn’t work last time so I don’t expect it to work this time.   I call back at 4:30pm and my case manager is gone for the day.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?  I left a couple angry messages and then called the dealership to tell them to just fix my brakes because I want my van back.
 Day three, I still have not heard from Dodge and my van is ready for pickup with a cost of $428.00, which was for brake pads, resurfaced rotors, and labor.  I didn’t even get new rotors??!!  By this time I am FURIOUS, and I call Dodge once again demanding to speak with a supervisor.  Could you believe that he was busy and would have to call me back within the hour?  Three hours later it wasn’t a supervisor that called but my case manager to discuss my brakes.  He requested a copy of my receipt for work, and he will contact the dealership to see if Dodge can reimburse me any.  They are quite aware of the issues and have fixed them in the newer models, but are doing little to help those stuck in these money pits.  My frustration is that in every 13,000-15,000 miles I will have to go through this again, and more than likely, I will be eating the cost. 
Moral of the story??  Do your homework before you buy!!  Other people were already having problems before I bought my van.  After researching it recently, I find an upsetting amount of unhappy Caravan owners.  That is the purpose of my blog…honest opinions, stories, and reviews for the sake of all of mankind's wallets.

Update: Dodge finally contacted me and is giving me a reimbursement on my brakes minus a $100 deductible.  Perhaps they do take care of their customers to an extent....However, now my tire valves are breaking in half (which costs $150 to replace each one), and my transmission is slipping.  Can I scream yet????