Review: Gotham Academy Vol. 1

Gotham Academy Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy (The New 52)
by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, & Karl Kerschel

Graphic Novel, Teen, Mystery
Ebook/Print (160 pages, DC COMICS)
Welcome to Gotham Academy, the most prestigious school in Gotham City. Only the best and brightest students may enter its halls, study in its classrooms, explore its secret passages, summon its terrifying spirits…
Okay, so Gotham Academy isn’t like other schools. But Olive Silverlock isn’t like other students. After a mysterious incident over summer break, she’s back at school with a bad case of amnesia, an even worse attitude… and an unexplained fear of bats.
Olive’s supposed to show new student Maps Mizoguchi the ropes. Problem: Maps is kid sister of Kyle, Olive’s ex. Then there’s the ghost haunting the campus…the secret society conducting bizarre rituals…and Bruce Wayne, the weirdo billionaire who funds the Academy - and may know the secret to Olive’s big mystery.
Find out in GOTHAM ACADEMY VOL. 1, the acclaimed new series from co-writers Becky Cloonan (DEMO) and Brendan Fletcher (BATGIRL) and artist Karl Kerschl (TEEN TITANS: YEAR ONE)! Collects GOTHAM ACADEMY #1-6.

Nice option for the middle-school reader. (5 stars)

I'm notably new to the DC universe. I've just always been a Marvel girl but I'm trying to expand my reading this year and I'd heard good stuff about Gotham Academy. I'm so glad I did because I love a good boarding school story and this one is really good.

Since I was previously unfamiliar with the characters I definitely felt like I was missing something but that added to the mystery that Olive and Maps are trying to solve. I was pretty amused with what they discovered and am very eager to see where the story heads in the next volume. In particular I loved the illustration style, it suited the story so very well I felt it was important to mention.

If you liked the new Batgirl or have enjoyed the Vampire Academy graphic novelization or loved Runaways—all three of which I loved—I would highly recommend picking this up!

Notes: ARC received via Edelweiss.

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My Secret to Staying Hydrated All Summer Long

Infuser Water Bottle by Live Infinitely

Company Site: website
Product Details: SAVE MONEY & CALORIES - By using our infuser water bottles you not only have found a delicious alternative to achieving your daily intake of water, but you're also saving money with an eco-friendly and reusable infusion water bottle!
INFUSE EVERY DROP - Top loading infusion water bottles stop working the second you start to drink and decrease the water level. Our design allows the fruit to be infusing the entire time with the infusion basket at the BOTTOM of the bottle! Designed with the finest TRITAN material, we ensure a top quality water infuser that is FDA approved, BPA free, leak proof and dishwasher safe
STAY HEALTY - Fruit infused water provides an exceptional alternative to artificial flavoring. The options to customize your fruit water are endless; combine watermelons, kiwis, strawberries, lemons and more! Infusion tumbler can be refilled all day using the same fruit
VERSATILE - Use for more than just fruit! Perfect tea tumbler to take your favorite iced tea on the go, removable infusion basket to create the perfect sports water bottle, or bring the fun to any situation and use as your personal vodka infuser
Also available in blue, green, orange, purple and red.

A great way to stay hydrated. (4 Stars)

I love being the envy of my friends (who doesn't) and everyone has been asking me how I always have amazing mint water all summer long... FOR FREE. Well my secret is that I planted mint in my flower beds instead of shrubs and flowers because it's crazy low maintenance while providing food for the bee population in my area, looks amazing without much more than weeding, smells phenomenal, and of course, has wonderful edible uses. My favorite of which—aside from homemade mint ice cream, of course—is infused water.

Every couple of days I go out and snip stalks of chocolate-mint or my new favorite orange-mint and pop them in an infuser bottle to make chilly good drinks. But let's face it, not all infuser bottles are awesome. I have one I love but the infusion cup is at the top and you're drinking the water right through it which can be a little awkward. So I picked up this one from Live Infinitely for review because the infuser is in the bottom of the bottle.

Drinking wise I prefer it! I used it wrong the first time, forgetting that the words have to be a certain way and hated it but once I realized I had it wrong I was really pleased with the comfortable rim for drinking. I would love it with a spout at the top so it's just a little easier when I'm working out but it's not a deal breaker. I do feel it worth noting that I get a tiny bit of leakage that I can't seem to fix. (You can see it in the photo). It's very minimal so it would only bug me if I regularly stuck it on a wood surface. And no it's not condensation as the photo might suggest, I tested for that a few times and it does it with every use I've had.

I would give this a try with delicious combos like strawberry-basil, lemon-thyme, ginger-orange, raspberry-mint, and pineapple-blueberry!

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for an honest review.


Review: ODY-C Vol. 1 by Christian Ward & Matt Fraction

ODY-C Volume 1 by Christian Ward & Matt Fraction

Graphic Novel, Retelling
Print (136 pages, IMAGE)
An eye-searing, mind-bending, gender-shattering epic science fiction retelling of Homer's Odyssey starting with the end of a great war in the stars and the beginning of a very long journey home for Odyssia and her crew of warriors. The journey to Ithicaa begins HERE, by Matt Fraction (Sex Criminals) and Christian Ward (Infinite Vacation, Olympus).
Publisher Site: website

Wasn't for me but I think others will love it. (2 stars)

I was that weirdo who actually really enjoyed having to read The Odyssey in high school so I was pretty stoked when I started hearing buzz about ODY-C. Unfortunately, as much as I loved the idea of it... I didn't like it at all. I never stop in the middle of a graphic novel and make the conscious decision that it's just not my cup of tea but ODY-C just didn't work for me. Maybe it was the disjointed way it was written or the art that reminded me a lot of Low but I decided that this was one of those times when it wasn't going to get better for me and I'd be better off reading something different.

That said I really think that if you loved Low or Jupiter's Legacy, maybe even Pretty Deadly you'll find this warped and weird retelling turns your crank. It is really conceptually cool, especially if you love seeing women in powerful roles. I won't give away the surprisingly odd and good twistedness that was it's one saving merit but dude, if you like trippy stuff I would recommend giving it a try.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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Review: BigTimeTeez.com's The Walking Dead-inspired Carol's Cookies Tee

Yesterday, Mr. Rhi and I were getting ready for bed and he was regaling me some hooplah about how a co-worker said he needed to get some new t-shirts. To this I raised my eyes from my book and gave him 'the look'. You see, Mr. Rhi and I have a problem... we have a closet that has about 12' of bar and at least 4' of those feet are taken up by his collection of pop culture tee shirts. This is after we cleaned it out last summer and reduced it a couple of feet. The man buys funny graphic tees and pop culture inspired ones the way some people buy movies.

Gettin' fit for the zombie apocalypse!
With 'the look' trained on him I replied, "And did you tell so-and-so that you already have about 70 t-shirts in your closet? Perhaps you just need to stop wearing your 5 favorites over and over?"

To this Mr. Rhi gave a sheepish look and a snort because we both know it's just a fact of his personality. I have many pop culture tees myself, as I'm sure you've seen on my Instagram feed. I simply can't help myself. I tried wearing cute tops and being more girly but I'm just not that kind of lady. I'm just much more comfortable in a t-shirt and I'm not all that fond of plain ones. They're boring and I don't do boring. So when the lovely folks at BigTimeTeez.com let me have one of their The Walking Dead-inspired Carol's Cookies T-Shirts to review I knew I was in trouble.

I might have worn it 3 times in the week I've had it—with washes in between, what kind of person do you think I am!?!—because it's such a fab shirt. I was really impressed with the quality of the silk screening and that the preshrunk cotton tee itself didn't shrink. Yeah, I've had my fair share of supposed preshrunk tees shrink up on me and that's always frustrating.

I usually wear a women's XL fitted or a Men's Small so I went with a Men's Medium because I wanted a looser fit for this one. As you can see above it fits as expected. The design is also available in kids sizes, hoodies, long sleeve tees, and tanks too. The Carol's Cookies t-shirt not really your thing? They have lots of other fun pop culture inspired tees and just plain funny ones. They even have hats.

Be sure you give BigTimeTeez a Like on Facebook if you've read the review this far because they do lots of flash sales and giveaways you won't want to miss.

Note: I received a free product in exchange for this honest review.


Review: The Blender Girl Smoothies by Tess Masters

The Blender Girl Smoothies: 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly Recipes by Tess Masters

Release Date: June 30th, 2015
Health & Wellness, Cookbook
Ebook/Print (256 pages, TEN SPEED)
A beautiful collection of vegan smoothies from powerhouse blogger The Blender Girl, featuring photographs, flavor boosters, and nutritional add-ons for every recipe.
The Blender Girl takes smoothies to the next level in this comprehensive guide, helping you blast your way to good health and blended bliss. These 100 creative and delicious recipes are designed to fit your every need, whether you want to detox, lose a few pounds, get energized, or guard against seasonal colds. Each smoothie has three optional boosters (like chia seeds, ginger, coconut oil, or wheat grass) that allow you to ramp up flavor, nutrient value, or both. Featuring gorgeous photography throughout, a smoothie pantry that demystifies unusual ingredients, icons to identify smoothies that fit your particular dietary needs, and strategies for achieving smoothie success, this accessible handbook makes it fun and easy to find your perfect blend.

Very involved but also, worth it! (4 stars)

Somehow I missed the Blender Girl boat but that's okay. Since the temps have risen I've been in a mood to consume nothing but smoothies every day and since that's not really very healthy I wanted a great resource for improving the ones I was making. I have to admit I never bothered following any of the recipes, that's just not my style, but I've been inspired to play around with liquids I didn't use before like juices and coconut water now when before I tended to prefer nut milks and teas.

Whether you're the kind of person who needs a recipe or prefers to get inspired there's an amazing array to go with here. Each recipe is very purposed whether it's focusing on a healthier liver or helping clear your skin so you won't be finding a lot of random stuff thrown together. Many are unsweetened too which is a nice change of pace for folks like myself who hate stevia. These are vegan so you also won't find yogurt or milk as an ingredient but for those of us who aren't I think some of these could be adapted well to suit the addition of honey or yogurt if desired.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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Review: Nail Art by Douglas Scotti and Alessandra Pelagotti

Nail Art by Douglas Scotti & Alessandra Pelagotti

Children's Nonfiction, Beauty, Fashion
Release Date: July 15th, 2015
Print (48 pages, DOVER)
With this book's illustrated advice, you can not only give yourself an ideal manicure but also use your fingernails to express your moods and creativity. Discover how to add musical notes, flowers, snowflakes, animal faces, and other dainty designs to your nails.
Each style features a color photo and step-by-step instructions. The designs are graded according to difficulty, from simplest of styles to those requiring expert skills. With these guidelines and a little practice, anyone can learn to create the most sophisticated nail art.
(Age 8-16)
Publisher Site: blank

Perfect for the budding tween/teen nail artist.  (4 stars)

Nail art has been trending for several years now and what used to be viewed as trashy, has since become so popular it's everywhere. From the lunch lady to the celebrity, beautytubers to preschoolers. I'm terrible at it but I love it as an art form so I was curious what this book would bring to a young artist. My own daughter is a few years to young for it but a good friend has an 11 year old that I think would absolutely LOVE this book.

The ideas are simple and though I sometimes feel the instructions could have been a bit more helpful to a kid trying to do them they were also very well laid out. Most of these are basics that are very easy—I've done the cloud one myself, for example—and others are a little more involved but still simple enough they look harder than they are—like the watermelon/strawberry which I have also done and got lots of compliments on.

If you're looking for a fun way to keep your tween/teenager busy this summer I would gladly give this book a recommendation. The only thing I didn't care for were how unprofessional a lot of the photos looked, they used fake nails a lot that did not fit the models' nails and it looked awful.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Other great picks from Dover Publications:

Review: Indulge Personal Lubricant

Indulge Personal Lubricant
Product Details: Experience total bliss with indulge personal water based lubrication. This sensual lube provides the added moisture to enhance your erotic sessions whether you're alone or with a partner. Safe to use with any adult toys and compliments any type of birth control, including latex condoms. Indulge is the perfect bedroom companion.
Smooth, slippery, wet and loads of fun. Indulge sex lube is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Superb for vaginal dryness and does not irritate sensitive skin. It is easy to dispense, with no smell, no irritation. Leaves no stains and washes off skin and fabric without a problem indulge has a very natural and clean sensation.
Discreet, elegant, black safety-sealed bottle, packaged with a pump for easy dispensing. Indulge water based lube is light and easy to use. One simple pump is enough for a passionate session of pleasure. Large 16oz bottle will provide endless indulgence and lasts as long as needed.
Made in the USA in a professional laboratory using the highest measures of safety and FDA sites. Your Health and wellness are of prime importance with our lubrication. A very safe way for a wonderful amount of enjoyment.

Ingredients: Glycerin, Water (Aqua), Carboxymethyl-cellulose, Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate

Your mileage may vary... (3 Stars)

The older I get the more I appreciate the glory that is personal lubricant. When it comes to intimacy the saying 'the wetter the better' is just way too true. It's been my personal experience that I tend to prefer silicone based lubricants but as a toy user from time to time I've pretty much gone to water based lubricants only. All it takes is accidentally grabbing the wrong lube in the dark and ruining an expensive favorite silicone toy to make ya kick it out of the bedroom. If you're a toy fan Indulge is toy friendly and condom safe making it an excellent choice.

Unfortunately for me, I found that Indulge was mildly to moderately irritating. My skin overall tends to run on the sensitive side but this is the first time I've found a lube that caused discomfort. I know the info says it won't but it did. I believe it could be the potassium sorbate which from what I was able to discover upon trying to figure out which ingredient might have caused it seems to be commonly known to cause irritation. So if you tend to be on the sensitive side this is something to consider but otherwise I think it's a good lubricant at a very good price. Bonus, it's made in the USA!

Notes: I received a discounted product in exchange for an honest review.

Review: Radha Tea Tree Oil

Radha Tea Tree Oil
Product Details: PREMIUM TEA TREE OIL - 100% Pure & Natural Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade- The best Tea Tree Oil on the market produced through steam distillation of fresh leaves. This versatile oil can be used in your beauty routine, home remedies, and much more! 4 ounce bottle!
WORKS OR YOUR MONEY BACK - Our Guarantee: We back our products up with a LIFETIME hassle-free money back guarantee, no matter where you buy our product. There is absolutely no risk to you when you order now! If you are not completely satisfied, simply contact us and we will give you a full refund, no questions asked (you do not even have to return the bottle). Our #1 priority is to make sure our customers are completely happy.
MOST VERSATILE ESSENTIAL OIL - Helps heal and soothe sunburns. Heals skin infections naturally and helps to prevent lice naturally, just add a few drops to your shampoo. A few drops in your pets' crates or beds keep the fleas away. Has been found as an effective treatment for warts and soothes insect bites. Treats ringworm and is great for removing ticks.
PREMIUM QUALITY MELALEUCA OIL - Best home remedy for skin tag removal, acne, dandruff, toenail fungus, yeast infections, cold sores, ringworm and more! Great to mix with carrier oils such as Radha's Fractionated Coconut Oil to relax and soothe sore muscles. Another benefit is that it has a pleasant aroma and opens the sinuses and bronchial tubes for easier breathing, which results in deeper relaxation. Tea tree oil can be used in facial massages, mix with Radha Miracle Retinol Moistorizer and apply to your face to protect against the bacteria that causes acne.
WORKS WONDERS AS A NATURAL ANTISEPTIC- Great to have in your first aid kit.Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is soothing, detoxifying and cleansing for the feet, and it is very effective in soothing sore, tired feet after a long day. Because it has antifungal properties, it also helps to prevent and eliminate athlete's foot when it is used regularly as part of foot massages. Before massaging your feet with this oil, make sure that your feet are clean and that you use Radha Beauty's Fractionated Coconut Oil as a carrier oil for the tea tree oil. It only takes a few drops of tea tree oil for it to be effective.

Smells wrong. (2 Stars)

I have been using tea tree oil for years and unfortunately as soon as I opened this one I could tell something was either wrong with it or that it's not pure tea tree. In fact it smells downright chemical, the odor reminds me of the household cleaner Comet. I'm not sure if it's contaminated or something was different about the production but it does not smell like tea tree oil is supposed to.

While the blue bottle is very pretty, I just can't recommend this one.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this honest review.


Review: Batgirl: Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside

Batgirl Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside (The New 52)

by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr
Graphic Novel, Superhero
Print/Ebook (176 pages, DC COMICS)
Barbara Gordon’s ready for a fresh start. She’s packing her bags, crossing the bridge, and heading to Gotham’s coolest neighborhood: Burnside. And when a freak fire burns up her costume and gear, Babs has the chance to become a whole new Batgirl!
But she barely slips on her new DIY costume before Batgirl starts trending as Gotham’s first viral vigilante — and attracting a new wave of enemies who want her social-media spotlight for themselves. Meanwhile, the girl beneath the gear’s got a whole new crew of friends, college classes that are kicking her Bat-butt and a dating scene that can make anyone want to swipe left on life.
This bat’s done living in the shadows. But will the bright lights of Burnside burn her for good?
Red-hot creative team Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr reinvent Barbara Gordon from the boots up in BATGIRL: THE BATGIRL OF BURNSIDE (collects issues #35-40 and a story from SECRET ORIGINS #10). (Gr. 9+)

A great choice for a first timer. (5 stars)

I have a confession... I've never been a DC reader. But I kept hearing great stuff about the new Batgirl comics so I caved and checked this out and I was really pleasantly surprised. I love a great female protagonist comic and Batgirl goes one farther and rounds it out with supporting characters who are also women.

Babs is very relatable as she juggles her college life, friendships, and her role as a vigilante. It's an excellent starting point for someone like myself who has wanted to pull from the DC line but hasn't found a character/book to start with. Occasionally I could tell there was back story I was missing but it was written well enough that I never felt fully lost. The art is great and totally fit the story and I love the attention that was paid to Babs' costume being realistic. Can't wait for the next volume!

Notes: ARC received via Edelweiss.

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Review: Zodiac Wine Glasses by Luminarc

Company Site: website
Product Details: Perfect Gift for a Wine Lover
Here's a unique personalized gift that will delight your wine loving friends and family.
It's perfect for birthday presents, bridal showers, weddings - any special occasion. It makes a thoughtful hostess or house-warming gift, and a great addition to a gift basket. Keep a set on hand and you'll always be ready with a last-minute gift.A New Favorite Wine Glass
This large, handsome wine glass will quickly become a favorite for everyday use. It's big! It holds a generous pour, allowing full enjoyment of the wine's aroma and flavor. The glass is elegant, yet sturdy and substantial feeling.
The Zodiac symbol is etched onto the glass creating a permanent decoration that is 100% dishwasher safe - it will not come off. This is a quality Arc International Luminarc Cachet 19 oz. wine glass - Made in the USA.Sandblast vs. Laser Etching
These glasses are sandblast etched by hand for a beautiful, uniform design. Laser etching is a cheaper process which heats the glass and makes tiny cracks in the surface which show as imperfections in the design. Sandblasting is more expensive but results in a smooth, even surface that looks great no matter how closely you examine them.What's Your Sign?
Aries Mar 21-Apr 19
Taurus Apr 20-May 20
Gemini May 21-Jun 21
Cancer Jun 22-Jul 22
Leo Jul 23-Aug 22
Virgo Aug 23-Sep 22
Libra Sep 23-Oct 23
Scorpio Oct 24-Nov 20
Sagittarius Nov 21-Dec 22
Capricorn Dec 23-Jan 20
Aquarius Jan 21-Feb 21
Pisces Feb 22-Mar 20

An excellent gift! (5 Stars)

We Scorpios are known for becoming obsessed with things and let me tell you, I have become quite obsessed with this gorgeous wine glass. Not only is it elegant and very well crafted, it's impressive in size. I picked this one up for myself because I'm quite a dork about all things Scorpio but I think this would make a really unique gift for wine aficionados and fellow astrology geeks. But it would also make a really special gift for bridesmaids or, depending of course on the tastes of the couple, a pair in their signs would make a cool wedding gift.

This is the first time I've come across the Luminarc brand and if this is the quality I can expect I will definitely be looking into purchasing other glassware from them in the near future. It was well packaged and ready for gift giving. I highly recommend pairing it with a bottle of wine when gift giving so that the lucky receiver can use it right away. No matter what your sign, or the sign of the recipient, the Zodiac Wine Glass is sure to make an attractive option for sipping wine or even just for making your morning smoothie a little fancier as you read your daily horoscope. I love mine!

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this honest review.


Recipe: AB&J Smoothie

Happy Hump Day Rhialists!

This recipe was one of those happenstance creations where this one time I threw a bunch of things together and it turned out so good I had to make it again and again to perfect the recipe for sharing.

Last year I started making my own almond milk to save money and make sure it was just almond milk and not additives. Also, I'm lazy. The less I have to pick up on store runs the better. When I'm done making the almond milk I'm left with almond pulp and it can be turned into almond butter which can then be spread on toast or added to smoothies like this one. Besides, why waste it by throwing it away? Love it!

AB&J Smoothie


1 Tablespoon Dried Goji Berries
1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds
2 Tablespoons Almond Butter
2 Tablespoons Greek Yogurt
3/4 Cup Almond Milk
1/2 Cup Frozen Raspberries


Pulse the goji berries and flaxseeds a few times in blender then add almond butter and 1/4 cup of the almond milk. Pulse several more times until milk begins to turn pink. Add the yogurt and the rest of the almond milk, blend for about 10 seconds. At this point the milk should look red-ish pink, add the raspberries and blend until smooth, about 20-30 seconds. Makes 1 serving.

Notes: It reminded me of an almond butter and raspberry jam sandwich the first time I made it, hence the name. You could probably swap the raspberries for frozen blackberries or strawberries but I haven't tried them because I'm a bit of a raspberry nut. You could also likely swap the almond milk or almond butter for another nut combo (ie. cashew milk + peanut butter). If you try substitutions and they rock let me know. ☺

For a smoothie bowl you could sprinkle more flax seeds on top with some slivered almonds and fresh raspberries or why not go with halved grapes and raw peanuts? This is a small serving that easily doubles but I find it very filling at this size.

Did you like this recipe? Leave a comment letting me know if you'd like to see more recipes for smoothies. I already have two more lined up to share I just need more 'test cooking' for the one and hopefully the other one will be up next week. -- Rhi


If You Have Pets or Small Children This One Thing Will Change Your Summer

Mega Mesh Magnetic Screen Door
Product Details: EASY TO INSTALL & REMOVE - No tools required. SIZE 36"x83
26 MEGA MAGNETS SEWN IN - MegaMesh uses 26 strong magnetic points of contact SEWN IN THE REIENFORCED EDGES so it opens and closes automatically with no gaps
MADE OF PREMIUM QUALITY MATERIALS - MegaMesh Premium Magnetic Screen Door by Easy Install uses the strongest materials and a superior manufacturing process.
EASY INSTALL VIDEO TUTORIAL - Ensures you get your screen door up and working right the first time

A life changer, so glad I got this! (5 Stars)

Last simmer my sliding screen door took a beating. My preschooler and my dog are... well, we'll just say that they're not always mindful of their surroundings. :P After they'd slammed into it and knocked it off the hinges enough times they finally just tore a huge hole in it which they then used regularly. With summer almost here again I said heck no to having to manhandle it back onto the track and rescreening it only to have them tear it again and got one of these Mega Mesh screen doors.

I was really disappointed when I received my order and went to put it up only to find that the hardware (tacks and velcro strips) was not in the package. The company was happy to help me out and as soon as the replacement arrived I put it up. It was very easy to do even in the awkward place I needed it. While it's a little too long for my spot, it is exactly what I wanted. It only took me standing on either side with a treat and calling my dog once each for her to figure out how to use it now she happily goes in and out without issue. Occasionally when she comes in the bottom will stick on the inside and a small gap will be left (as shown in the photo) but a little foot tap gets the lower magnets going. I'm considering either trimming it or hemming it up a little and if I do so I will update the review.

What impressed me most is how well made it is. The screen netting and edging are high quality and the magnets are quite strong. The Velcro isn't the piddly stuff either. The glue is hardcore after you peel the sticker back off and you'll want to be extra careful when you place it. If you can get someone to stand back and guide you in case you're getting it off center or too low it really helps. That said, I got one edge wonky and had to peel it up and try again with the top one and it worked well the second time. 

Overall, I am super happy with it. It's keeping the bugs out and letting my dog and daughter go in and out without the stress I dealt with previously. Now if only my indoors-only cats hadn't figured out how to use it too. (Something to consider if that's a concern for you, I've already had to bring one of my ninjas back into the house from under the deck). For the money it's an excellent pick and one I'm going to recommend to all my personal friends with dogs and kids.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this honest review.


The Perfect Spray Bottle for Your DIY Cleaning & Beauty Needs

Emmi's Essentials Glass Spray Bottle, Adjustable Mist Trigger Sprayer, Dropper and Decorative Label ~ 16 oz. ~ Dark Amber

Company Site: website
Product Details: Perfect companion for natural, green, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) cleaning.
Emmi's Essentials 16 oz. Amber Glass Spray Bottle is the perfect size to make your own DIY cleaning solutions with common household items such as vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, and essential oils. And along with our decorative label to identify the contents of your bottle and our 3 ml transfer dropper, the uses are limitless. Use over and over to...
Save Money
You can buy basic cleaning ingredients inexpensively. But the same pre-made cleaners cost much more. Stock up on a few basic supplies, and your DIY cleaners cost just pennies.
Go Toxin-Free
Tired of using products around your kids and pets that containing potentially dangerous chemicals? Our Amber Glass Spray Bottle allows you to use natural products you'd see in most kitchen pantries. What you see is what you get...or in other words, you KNOW the products you are using and you know they are safe!
Protect the Essential Oils
If you add essential oils to your cleaning solutions (which we highly recommend to make them smell wonderful and benefit from the natural antibacterial properties) the amber glass protects the essential oils from degrading and becoming rancid. Our bottle allows you to store your mixtures longer to avoid waste.
Protect the Environment
Instead of using plastic throw-away bottles that clog landfills, reuse your Amber Glass Spray Bottle over and over again.

I'm buying more of these ASAP! (5 Stars)

I've been making my own ecofriendly cleaning products for years but I've always hated the cheap plastic spray bottles I've either reused from old cleaners or new ones I've bought. They get grungey and stain easily, and aren't particularly great for cleaners and beauty products containing essential oils. But buying a glass spray bottle can be an investment since they tend to cost about 10 times what plastic ones do so you need to be sure you're getting a great one. I'm thrilled to report that this one from Emmi's Essentials is perfect!

I decided to use it for my homemade Everything Cleaner which is a blend of white vinegar, castille soap, water, and essential oils (tea tree and lemon at the moment) because I use it to clean everything, hence the name. One of the challenges of DIY cleaners is that when essential oils are involved they will float to the top and your bottle will need frequent shaking during use. Every plastic bottle I have used has leaked when I do this which is very annoying. This glass one did not! With the amber color too, I know the oils are better protected from degradation. Which means products using essential oils will have a longer efficacy stored in them. The sprayer itself is plastic but is high quality and sprays beautifully. I haven't noticed any plugging and it mists like a dream!

The spray bottle comes well packaged and includes a pipette and a decorative label you can use if you need one. If you make your own cleaners like I do or perhaps you've gone no-poo and have a conditioning rinse in a spray bottle (which I also do) this is an exceptional option. While it'll be a pricey investment at first the long-term, non-disposable quality will make up for it many times over. I'm going to be buying more as soon as I can fit them into my budget.

Notes: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this honest review.


Review: Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Self-Help, Mental Health
Ebook/Print/Audio (320 pages, CROWN)
Gretchen Rubin's answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.
So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?
Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Before explains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.
Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:
• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
• Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
• How quickly can I change a habit?
• What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
• How can I help someone else change a habit?
• Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?
Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

Really interesting look at habits! (4 stars)

Somehow I missed the boat on Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project but after I saw Better Than Before featured in a magazine I was really intrigued and had to read it. It was really, really worth taking the time. I found the overall attitude and approach to be a little meh, the author's personality is definitely askew from mine and yet the information was richly researched and fascinating.

While I don't really think this will really help anyone change old habits or make new ones just from reading it, the information will certainly give those who are tenacious a starting point. It's really more just a study in how habits are formed (or not) and doesn't contain any worksheets or instructions for those who might be looking for something like that.

If you're interested in learning why habits work the way they do it's a fantastic read and I think it would make a great conversation starter. I very much enjoyed it!

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.


Review: Chowderland by Brooke Dojny

Chowderland: Hearty Soups & Stews with Sides & Salads to Match by Brooke Dojny

Cooking, Seasonal
Ebook/Print (144 pages, STOREY)
Creamy Clam Chowder. Portuguese Caldo Verde Chowder. Northwest Salmon Chowder with Leeks and Peas. Double Corn Summer Chowder. Brooke Dojny offers 57 recipes for chowders of all kinds -- some made with seafood, some with meat, and some with just veggies -- plus side dishes, salads, and desserts to round out the menu. Whether you’re looking for a hearty meal on a cozy winter evening or a fresh gumbo perfect for a summer lunch, you’ll turn to this delicious collection again and again!
Bowls of Comfort (5 stars)

One of my earliest memories is eating clam chowder with my grandparents. Maybe that's why chowders have always been a comfort food for me. I eagerly lapped up every drop this book had to offer because quite honestly, it's one food I've never actually attempted to cook before. I used to find it intimidating. Approachable and inviting with stunning photography and reasonable ingredients I think this would make a wonderful gift for a cooking enthusiast. I especially loved that it wasn't just the chowders, there were salads and desserts and such to pair with them.

If you enjoy soups and stews this is a delightful comfort food cookbook that's sure to please. Not usually into soups and stews but love seafood? Here's a great way to mix it up beyond grilling and baking.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.
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