William & Douglas 4-Piece Ravioli Maker Set

Few things are as yummy as fresh, home-made ravioli. And while with much practice one can develop the skills to make them at home without specialized tools, many of us, myself included, just don’t have the time to develop that particular skillset. So along comes William & Douglas and their nifty 4-Piece Ravioli Maker Set, looking all cool and begging for me to use them!

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All the tools sport solid hardwood handles and zinc-alloy metal cutting edges. They’re not sharp so they should be safe for the entire family to use! I would have preferred stainless steel, but in the long run unless I use them way too vigorously than I should they should last a good long time. I would advise against dishwashers, because the zinc-alloy can start to oxidize, and the hardwoods can split if that’s where you decide to wash them, but it’s not advisable by me or the company. I love the little rolling pin tool, because a full sized-rolling pin can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth, and can be overkill for a small batch of ravioli and make a disaster on the counter.

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These tools are easy to use and are ergonomic enough that making large batches won’t cramp your hands or be to taxing on the arms. And William & Douglas offer a 100% money-back guarantee if you’re unsatisfied with your purchase. I liked them well enough and would recommend them for both the experienced user or novice home chef.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from William & Douglas. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

LK Baby’s “Heavy Duty Collapsible Trunk Organizer

If you’re like me you need to make more than a few stops to get groceries. Like, sometime 5 or 6 stops. All in different cities. And the one thing that gets Hubby’s goat more than anything are the “nickle-and-dime tactics” of markets that want you to pay for a bag. So thankfully, LK Baby offered us another car trunk organizer that has made our shopping trips a lot less frustrating.

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See, we both get when a city has decided to ban plastic grocery bags. The reasoning is specious at best and the results are marginal, but hey, it’s pure profit for everyone involved (except the consumer). And charging for paper bags? When they’re made from the cardboard boxes they get their products delivered in? Give me a break! So I’m sure I’m not the only person who had things rolling around in the trunk or back seat because you’ve gotten tired of everyone having their hand in your pocket. And Starling’s is a lifesaver, because their organizer is big, spacious, sturdy and oh-so-helpful getting stuff from the truck to the house. It’s well-built and strong enough that we stuffed all our Costco purchases in it, and could easily carry everything in with no fear of dropping anything or the organizer being strained. It’s covered in water resistant nylon fabric, which means cold things sweating, or light spills, are not a problem. The bottom is unfortunately not rubberized, unlike the Starling’s version I previously tested, and the carry handles on the sides are strong and sturdy. You can customize the divider inside, or only open up half to minimize the space it takes up. I’m in love. And the dividers have done a fantastic job of keeping cold, warm, and non-food items all away from one another. There’s room in the pockets for more stuff, on all sides, and should one feel the need, you could store everything you’d need for any roadside emergency in Starling’s organizer, with room to spare. and when you’re done with it, it folds right back up, nice and flat and takes up practically no space at all.

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We’ve bought cheap-o organizers for the car and truck before. They always fell apart, broke down, or weren’t made to last and got tossed. But for only $19.99, you get a rock-solid trunk organizer that holds way more than you’d think, and does more than you can imagine.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from LK Baby. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Smarson WIFI HD Digital Action Sports Camera

You know a product is a hit when there are countless imitators and knock-offs of your innovation. Sometimes, it’s a product slapped together to cash in on a craze and it’s junk. Sometimes, it’s about making a quality product that comes in at a fraction of the price to open the market to buyers who’d never have thought about, say, an HD action camera before. Smarson isn’t the former, it’s definitely the latter.

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We got a cheap-o HD action cam this summer to play around in the pool with the dog and record the memories. Sadly, though “Bresser” claimed full HD, the picture quality was poor, with washed out color and grainy video. And that was where Smarson’s camera shined. The picture was crystal-clear in outdoor light and there was no judder with quick “action” scenes (As much action as a 12 year-old dog can muster!). And there was a host of accessories included to make mounting your camera on nearly any surface possible. At 12 mp, and full 1080p (1920 x 1080) recording (30fps), you get all the clarity of high definition recording, or you can downgrade your image to 720p and go up to 60fps for great slo-mo. you get mutiple shooting modes, (treble shot function, time lapse, continuous shooting, self-timer, and driving mode), a 170 degree wide angle lens, and a similar user interface to the industry leader, the GoPro series of cameras. And, at this price point, you also get WiFi capabilities via Smarson’s iSmartDV App (for iOS and Android 4.4 and up), which is a real bonus to me, even if the range for the wifi is pretty limited (around 10-15 feet, line of sight). It’s small but rugged, and the build seems solid, unlike the other bargain brand action cam I tried that felt flimsy and the battery cover would constantly fall off. The included lucite case is dust and dirt proof and water-resistant up to 30 meters. My pool is only 9 feet deep, so I can safely say from experience it’s solid up to 9 feet! The included 3.7v 900mAh battery is rated for as much as 90 minutes of continuous recording, Thought I’ve gotten up to three hours of off-and-on recording in one afternoon with juice left after. But never worry, the camera will run off the included micro-USB cable and wall adapter, so you’re never without juice. I also had good success with up to a 32gb micro-SD card, and on that card you could record and store a few hours of full HD videos.

And while there is plenty of bang for your buck here, a couple of things are not particularly great. At the $50 price point, you get a lot of value, and a cheap 4gb micro SD card should really be included like most action cams do at this price point, so you can go right out of the box. And while almost every GoPro accessory should work perfect with this awesome Smarson HD Action Cam, the battery is non-standard and getting a replacement or spare might prove troublesome. Also, the 1.5″ TFT LCD at the rear is soooo tiny, with the screen to bezel ratio being almost 50-50. But, again, the value here is undeniable and the quality for the price is top-notch. I feel the positives far outweigh the negatives enough that this Smarson camera earns a full 5 stars from me.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Samrson. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

CVLIFE Two Point Adjustable Rifle Sling


A rifle sling can be a very important, and often overlooked, accessory. Whether it’s a three-gun competition, or a home defense situation, a sling often can mean the difference between keeping your rifle at hand or taking the chance of fumbling it when called upon.

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CVLife’s Two-Point Adjustable Rifle Sling is adequate for all but the professional shooter or professional soldier who’s life or livelihood may depend on it. It is made from study enough braided nylon with “bungee” type ends that have enough give in them to be useful without being restricting or affecting aim. My Husband easily modified his to a single-point sling by clipping one end onto one of the open portions of the other, so that there’s no slide or binding. The clips are strong, if a little on the small-ish side to manipulate with gloves or large fingers, but they easily clip on to the standard sling points on my Husband’s rifle. The srping is strong with no wiggle or give either. There’s no way to simply modify this sling to accept a quick-detach option short of ripping the seams and re-sewing one in, so keep in mind that you’re limited to the clip-on style of attachment with this sling.

As I said, a perfectly adequate harness for the occasional user, or hobby shooter, and the price reflects that as well. At $9.99, it’s a perfect entry-level sling and should fit the needs of almost every casual user.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from CVLIFE. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Vivant Skin Care’s Maxilip Lip Plumper

I’m always up for trying new beauty products, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by some and greatly let down by others. This one falls somewhere in between, at least for me and my experience.

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I have used lip plumper glosses in the past, such as lipsticks that contain the ingredients that aid with such results.  What makes Vivant Skin Care’s Maxilip Lip Plumper different from the rest, this is not just made in balm form but also provides moisturizing ingredients.  Plumping agents from the past tended to dehydrate and stress the skin on your lips.  In other words, you paid a price for using them and especially on a regular basis.  Your lips would suffer and plumping lips that are chapped and peeling is not a good look, especially if they get red and inflamed.   I have had products even cause a negative reaction and not only do what I stated above, but caused cracks and bleeding.  That is one week of recovery at least with no lip anything but plain moisturizers.  Let’s say I got good at doing my eye make-up!  This balm from Vivant Skin Care allows me to suffer zero consequences and it minimally plumps my lips with no immediate adverse side effects.  I have even at times reached for the balm just to add moisture to my lips, so it’s more than just wanting fuller lips. The Maxilip Lip Plumper balm made my lips healthier plus gave them a little boost, sort of like a comfortable bra for lips with a little augmentation.  My only negative remarks is the petroleum by-products used are known carcinogens (petrolatum), I would love to see that replaced in the formula because Vivant Skin Care’s Maxilip Lip Plumper does have a good thing going here that needs in my opinion some tweaking.  There’s minimal tingling and discomfort, and no pain, but there may be a price to pay for ongoing and continued use. The price point I do feel is a bit high for how the product performs.  Yes, my lips were plumped but not what I feel $28 worth of plumping!  That was a little negative to see because it works but just not that well and the agent that causes the fuller lip look does not last as well as it does in other brands.  I see a $15.99 to $19.99 value, not a $28.00 (direct from the company).  Third party sellers on Amazon have lower price points, so that would be an avenue to consider if I was buying the product.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Vivant Skin Care. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

VMI Sports Vasogen Xt Pump-Activating Vasodilator in Mali-Blueberry Breeze

 

Against my better judgement, Hubby wanted to try out a new supplement for pre-workouts, and while the ingredient list looked promising, the flavor was such that we might not know whether this mix is good or works well. So, here we go again with Hubby taking over the reins.

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When one goes into a new pre-workout mix, the very first thing you want to look at is the ingredient list and research if the ingredients they claim are in there work.  So after much Google-Fu, I found that most of the ingredients in VMI Sports’ Vasogen Xt looked promising. There’s some sucralose, maltodexterin, and artificial flavors, but most of your bigger supplement companies will include these now a days. The smell upon opening wasn’t too off-putting, but the flavor…that flavor. VMI Sports sent me “Mali-Blu Berry Breeze”, and as a general rule I tend to avoid “blu”‘s or “berry”‘s because they’re usually super sweet. This one is tooth-achingly sweet. I tried watering it down, but the last thing you want before a workout is pounding 18 ounces of water to be sloshing around in your gut. Okay, new product, maybe I just have to get used to it. The next day I’m dreading it. The day after, I can’t finish it. By day four, I’m back to my old pre-workout because I can’t stomach this stuff. I tried contacting VMI Sports to see if I could exchange the flavor they sent for one of the other two (Tiger’s Blood, Hawaiian Pump), but I got no response. I tried once more but was met with crickets, so I’m not sure if they don’t care or know and don’t want to hear it. Whatever the case is, I couldn’t use enough of the product for a long enough period to tell if it works well or not. It might be good, it might be a bunch of sugars and a pinch of their proprietary ingredients. But for $37.03 for 30 servings, I’ll stick to the companies that address a customer’s concern and don’t make me sick to my stomach with artificial sugars.

VMI Sports did include quite a few samples, including one each of the other flavors of the Vasogen XT, which to their credit were much better flavors, so it might have been the luck of the draw for me. But I can’t rate the one I got very highly, because frankly, the flavor is disgusting. There’s a lot to like about this product, and the company, like being made in the USA and using some quality ingredients that have proven research, but if the flavor is so off-putting you can’t drink it, and the lack of response from the company make me pass on this product.

Poor guy. He can’t win for losing. So while VMI Sports Vasogen XT seemed promising, the company’s handling of a customer concern and flavor issues is enough for me to knock a few stars off. Oh well.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from VMI Sports. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Koram Irrigation Garden Drip Kit

I have been looking to install a drip system for vegetables and herbs for years, but so many things get in the way, I tend to put it off. When I got a chance to try one for reviewing, I was thrilled. But once it arrived, so the song goes, “The thrill is gone”.

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In the delivery box was a bag. In the bag was a myriad of plastic bits, almost 150 of them to be exact, and not a single instruction or user’s guide to be found. That’s right, Koram wants you to just intuit how this goes together or works, it seems. I’m pretty handy, I know my way around irrigation. I’ve run sprinkler lines. But to just throw 140-some odd little plastic bits in a bag and say “Figure it out!”? C’mon, Koram. You have to try a little harder than that. Suffice to say it took me a while to try this system out, because frankly I didn’t even know where to begin. Hubby mentioned after inspection that I should expect leaks, and the hose connector to eventually crack over time due to use and the unrelenting California sun. But as it stands it dribbled a little from various parts and the pressure was non-existent by the end of the run.  I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on a review of a product the manufacturer didn’t care enough about to tell me how to put it together. Koram needs to get the ship shaped up, because with a little care and help, this could be a great kit. As it is, it is not.

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  • You can find this kit on Amazon

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Koram. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

MYS Salt and Pepper Grinder Set

It might seem superfluous to have more than one set of grinders on your counter, but in this house, even two sets falls a little short. Because for us, we have 3 different salts and 4 different peppers to grind depending on the meal, so it can get a little crowded on the counter at times. What that also means is I get to compare and contrast MYS’s Grinder set versus, say, the previous set from Q’s Inn. They look alike, but do they perform alike?

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Sadly, no. Not that the MYS set performs badly, it’s just not as butter-smooth as the Q’s Inn set. There’s some binding in the grinding action, as well as a squeal or two. Occasionally they stick a bit. Other than that they function identically. What was absolutely superb was the collapsible silicone pouring spout for refilling. That’s a bonus that has unexpectedly made filling my grinders a joy instead of a chore. The julienne peeler is neat, but I have a few of those, and none of the are as dangerous. This one as sharp blades that are right out there for my soft, pink digits to get sliced and diced on, so have a safe place to store it. The included cleaning brush is also an inspired inclusion that is one of those “Well, duh!” tools that I should have had much sooner. But the meat and potatoes of this set are the grinders, and they’re decent, not great.

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The stainless steel is also slightly thinner, and not as “polished” so I would be wary of putting in salts that have high moisture content. The ceramic burrs are adjustable and should last a while. The glass bases are easy to clean, grip and use. And the included goodies are mostly awesome, but the action on the grinders, which means the most important part of the set, is lacking and problematic on my set, so I have to knock a couple of stars off for that, but I’ll add one back because the silicone funnel for filling? Inspired. And MYS states on the Amazon listing: “100% MONEY BACK GUARANTEE; we aim to keep you perfectly happy with our products and want to know if there are any concerns or questions; please contact us as we will make it right!” So it’s up to you, but for my money, Q’s Inn gets my business instead.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from MYS Homeware. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

AqtivAqua POLARIZED “Poseidon” Swim Goggles

Hubby’s been through more than a few swim goggles from various suppliers, and rarely have a pair been good for more than a couple of uses before they start to leak, or the anti-fog lenses fog, or some plastic piece breaks. These are the first, however, to claim to be polarized.

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Polarized lenses not only reduce glare, they increase contrast and reduce eye strain. Unlike a traditionally tinted lens, they don’t just darken the field of view with various tints or shading in the lens, but block the horizontally polarized beams of sunlight. Generally this makes anything with polarized lenses more expensive than non, but the benefits for some greatly outweigh the costs.  So putting a polarized lens on a set of swim goggles seems like a no-brainer, since there’s rarely more sunlight bouncing around than when you’re in the pool in the summer, right? So far, these AqtivAqua® POLARIZED “Poseidon” Swim Goggles are the sharpest, clearest goggles I’ve ever used. Whether the lenses are truly polarized or just tinted perfectly, I can’t tell. But the sharpness and clarity both in and out of the water was stunning. They fit well around even Hubby’s giant pumpkin head, and there’s no leaks or fogging. They’ve only been used twice in chlorinated water, but both times on both of us they were comfortable, there was no pinching or binding, and they were easily adjusted on the fly to fit either of us. They are a touch on the bulky side and there’s not as much peripheral vision as we’re used to with our swim goggles. But other than that, we have no complaints. The zippered, molded storage case is a nice touch too, a real “value added” bonus. 

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I will revisit this review after a few more uses, because testing and reviewing swim goggles has shown me that the first few uses are always perfect, and with exposure to chlorinated water over a season, the cheaper, poorly made ones tend to start fogging and leaking after about 5 or 6 uses. But as of now, these are Hubby’s go-to for lap swimming. Whether they stay that way, only time will tell, but AqtivAqua states on the Amazon listing: ” If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your AqtivAqua® Swimming Goggles, contact us and we will provide a no-hassle full refund”. Alrighty, then. I say give them a try!

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  • On Amazon

I received the above product(s) free of charge from ActivAqua. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Bstean Industrial Syringe applicators w/ Blunted Tips and Caps

How many times have we tried to apply glue, lubricant, water, or alcohol to a very specific place only to have it spill over, dribble, or miss and nearly ruin what we were trying to protect, clean or preserve? It’s happened to me countless times, but it won’t be happening again in the near future thanks to these wonderful Bstean Syringe applicators.

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Content in the past with being inaccurate or buying those cheap, disposable bulb applicators, or even a cotton swab or Q-Tip, these syringe applicators are a crafter’s DREAM! I never again have to worry about slopping glue or oil or even droplets of paint, I can now apply them all with laser accuracy! With blunted tips to keep from accidentally jabbing yourself, you still get pin-point application or whatever viscous liquid you want to apply. Hubby even swiped a few because let’s face it, gun and knife lubes are not cheap, and you don’t want to be slopping oils on parts that absolutely don’t need it or could damage the tool. Need to apply a light grease to a hinge? Problem solved. Need a few drops of that expensive, fancy Benchmade lubricant? Got you covered. Want a single drop of glue for a delicate crafting project? Yup, Bstean’s syringes are up to the task. Single droplets of paint on a project? Done and done!

BStean actually took some of the criticisms to heart and have included rubber caps or stoppers for filling your syringe applicator from the back with particularly viscous fluids. Still lacking, though, is the notice on the Amazon order page that all the syringes come printed with “Single Use” on them. Hubby disregarded that, and stuck his for his knives and guns in a zip top baggie and squirreled them away with his other tools for his “stuff”. No problems to report from re-use, though. The ones used for glue are almost always single use anyways, because the glues will harden in the tubes. But at only $9.89 shipped for a pack or 10, you get four different sizes, too: 1ml x 3, 3ml x 3, 5ml x 2, 10ml x 2  with needle gauges ranging from 1.5” 14Gx2, 1” 18Gx2, 1/2” 16Gx3, 20Gx3, and color coded for your convenience. Really sturdy, industrial grade, really well-made with metal needle syringe applicators, I plan on buying more in the future as my old ones get used up. Great product all around with a multitude of uses, and a fantastic price.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from BStean. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation for this review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

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