Happy Birthday!

Date Sun, August 17 2008

Reviews by Cole turned 3 months on the 10th. Sorry I missed it but keep coming back for another 3 and more!

Let’s Play

Date Sun, August 17 2008

I hope that is an adequate opening for the product to which I will sing my praises today. I am speaking of none other than the Nintendo DS (technically “lite” but I shall skip the formalities.

To put it mildly, my DS – in polar white – is the only gaming system I use frequently and is the only newer system to which I have become attached. The Nintendo DS builds upon the strong base that Nintendo’s previous hand-held consoles under the Gameboy moniker, bringing with it tried and true strengths as well as new features.

Although the DS in Nintendo DS stands for “Developer’s System” to the company, the public refers to it as “Dual Screen” because this system has 2 screens. Although not the first dual screen handheld system, the Nintendo DS brings some unique aspects to the concept which set it apart.

Some of the other features of this system include:

Touch Screen
Play with the stylus in addiction to the buttons
Microphone
Add the aspect of sound to your gameplay
Backward Compatibility
Play your GameBoy Advance games
Pictochat
Communicate with others in close range
Wifi
Upload scores and play games with others wherever a wireless connection is available
Download Play
Play games with friends who do not have the game by allowing them to download it temporarily to their system
Lithium Ion Battery
A 4 hour charge provides up to 15 hours of game play

Also available in metallic rose and Onyx Black as well as new duos of Black and Crimson and Black and Cobalt,there is a shade for everyone. The Nintendo DS Lite is actually a sleeker, smaller redesign of the original DS. I chose white because it looked sleek and slightly futuristic.

Of course, no Nintendo DS will be purchased without a game as well. My first game was Nintendogs and I have since added more to my collection including Mario Kart DS and Mario and Sonic at the Olympics. Of course, if you have Gameboy Advance games, these can also be played with the Nintendo DS as it has, true to hand held Nintendo systems, limited backwards compatibility.

The dual screen system allows for information to be displayed in one screen (usually the top) while game play takes place in the other (usually the bottom). Both screens are wider and taller than the screen on the GameBoy Advance which provides a richer gaming experience.

Additionally, the bottom screen is also a touch screen which adds a new and interesting element to game play. Instead of just using buttons, you can draw, rub, and tap with the stylus (which is housed in the bottom of the system and slides out easily) to add variation to the game. For instance, in Nintendogs, you can use the stlus to pet your pup, throw a Frisbee or pull a leash.

The microphone, located between the 2 screens, also adds a new element for use of sound in games. Players can teach their Nintendogs commands by using the microphone and in Mario and Sonic at the Olympics, clapping into the microphone will psych up the character. Mario Kart DS Makes use of the microphone in its Balloon Battles where players blow into the microphone to inflate their balloons.

Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more retro, you can always play your GBA games on your Nintendo DS. The bigger GBA cartridges fit into an additional port at the back of the system and use only 1 screen (the top) for play which lets you continue to enjoy your favourite titles.

Of course, the Nintendo DS has versions of many favourite games, as well as new ones, for today’s gamers. Mario Kart DS includes classic tracks as well as new ones, Super Mario Bros and Mario 64 have both been given slight face lifts to adapt to this new system as well.

The Nintendo DS Lite, like all Nintendo systems is a great way to interact with your friends. Without a game inserted, the Nintendo DS menu has an option for Pictochat which allows you to chat and draw with others in close proximity who also have a DS.

The download play feature of the Nintendo DS allows 2 or more players in close proximity to play the same game when only 1 player has the game (although if both people have the same game, there will be less limitations). You can now play Tetris or Mario Kart with your best friends with up to 8 players.

Of course, if your friends are busy you don’t have to play alone. The Wi-Fi option of the Nintendo DS adds yet another fun aspect to game play. The Nintendo DS supports WEP-encrypted networks and you can connect to play with others across the world.

The last significant feature of the Nintendo DS is its rechargeable LithionIon battery. Equipped with adapter, the battery indicator will change to red from its normal green when power is lower. You can continue to play as your system charges although it will charge faster when turned off. When the charge is complete – a full charge takes 4 hours – the red indicator will turn off and the Nintendo DS will be playable for up to 15 hours. Battery life can be extended by turning down the brightness settings.

The features sound great but how does it work out? Very well, in my opinion.

The dual screen allows for more in depth game play and information. The touch screen offers a new aspect that’s great for casual gamers, such as myself, and children. Some gamers may not like this type of game play and frequently playing with the stylus can require a surprising amount of speed and effort that can leave your arm tired. The same goes for the microphone which adds variety but can seem a little silly, especially when talking to your Nintendogs.

The Wi-Fi options are an improvement over the GBA’s gamelink. I can easily play a game with my husband who doesn’t have the game with Download Play or chat to the neighbours with Pictochat. As someone who likes that sort of interaction, the DS certainly delivers.

However, I have been a bit disappointed with the Wi-FI capabilities. For starters, not all networks are supported. I have only been able to successfully connect to a wireless network once, although the DS detects networks. It seems that the system is not a very strong receiver and that a strong signal is needed. With public networks, this is out of my control. Also, some network settings may need to be adjusted to allow a specific DS system to connect which is, again, impossible with public networks.

It may work better with a private wireless network, which I don’t have. I’m also not positive if the weak reception is an issue with the Nintendo DS in general or just mine as my husband’s DS seems to work a little better in this area.

If I were better able to use the WiFI feature, I would definitely look into the DS browser which allows one to browse the internet with the system.

Despite the issue with WiFI, I still get many hours of enjoyment out of my Nintendo DS on a weekly basis. It’s great when I’m waiting for someone or something, like in an airport, and is small enough for me to carry around in my purse if I suspect I may be bored.

There’s a wide variety of games including first person shooters, racing, puzzle, pet, RPGs, fighting, action, arcade, simulation, strategy, music and educational games so everyone will find something that fits. The games are also significantly less expensive than games for other popular systems.

It’s a good system for solo or interactive play so it doesn’t bore you easily.

If that doesn’t get you, I’m sure the price will; at roughly %100 cheaper than the least expensive full console (Nintendo Wii), the Nintendo DS will not burn as big off a hole in your pocket and the games won’t set you back as much.

I love my Nintendo DS and think it’s a great system for anyone of any age or gender. With an abundant supply of accessories and tools, the Nintendo DS provides a gaming experience like none other. The only thing I would caution about it keeping an eye on your stylus; those small pen-like pieces are easy to lose! Other than that, let’s play!

Pretty in Pink!

Date Sun, August 10 2008


The Pink collection by Victoria’s Secret is one that I have shopped and enjoyed for many years. With a young femininity that is flirty and girly compared to the store’s usual sexy and seductive lines, this collection is perfect for young women in their teens and twenties. Oft adorned with lace and bows, this will bring out the girl in all of us as the name suggests. However, don’t be afraid if Pink is not your favourite of the hues; many others are available.

The comfortable cottons of the Pink collection have led me to it, if not exclusively then at least predominantly, for most of my young adult life. I especially love the panties that come in many styles from bikinis to hipsters, boyshorts to thongs, all available in a wide variety of styles that are constantly updated so you’ll always find something fresh and new.You’ll be able to shop ’til you drop if you love pink, bows, lace, text styles or even the cute little Pink dog logo which are all available in panty and clothing styles.

The Pink Collection offers many other products as well. Add a stylish yet comfortable bra to your wardrobe; mix and match to your heart’s desire with other pieces in the Pink line.

Pink offers certain styles of apparel, especially when it comes to lounge wear and sweats. If you’re looking for something a little more sporty, VS just added Collegiate styles to the Pink collection featuring your favourite universities. Of course, you can find tops and bottoms as well.

Pink also offers accessories to match your new wardrobe as well as room decor and beauty products to top off the Pink collection.

In my experience, most of the products in the Pink collection are slightly pricey, similar to most VS prices. I tend to be a sale shopper and as the panties collection is always offered at a “5for $25” prices, I tend to save quite a bite by doing so. However, for those prices you are picking up items that tend to be more quality than the products you might buy as a big box store. For the most part, my Pink panties have far outlasted other brands while remaining comfortable and cute.

I would definitely recommend the Pink collection to anyone looking for something fun to add to their wardrobe, beauty chest or home.

Do you believe in magic?

Date Tue, July 29 2008


If not, then you haven’t tried Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Find me a person who has used this little sponge-like tool and doesn’t love it and you have found a crazy person!

Basically, this little cleaning pad works well for just about everything as die-hard fans will surely attest. The box advertises a bunch of places you might try the Mr Clean Magic Eraser pads including “ranges, refrigerators, plastic patio furniture, floor tile grout, athletic shoe soles, scuff marks and dirt from walls, floors and doors” and you can even use it to break “up tough bathroom soap scum.”

It works well for scuffs and smudges on floors and walls. I used it around the plug ins and light switches where finger and hand prints show up. If you have furniture against a wall, this will work well to get rid of any smudges; I cleaned off the marks from our bedroom door handle on the wall.

If you have kids, crayons and the like on the wall will be a breeze to clean off. Your bathroom will sparkle like new if you use it on your tub, tile and porcelain surfaces.

There is a mop, too! If your messes are extra stubborn, you can try the Extra Power cleaning pads ; although the original will probably do the trick. You can also try the Magic Eraser Duo which has 2 sides, one to penetrate surface grooves and the other to wipe up everday messes.

And the best thing is, there’s no clean up. Wet the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Pad so that it’s damp and scrub away. The dampness creates a bit of a chalky conistancy and the pad is scrubbed away as you use it so you use it all the way (or most of the way) up and there’s nothing to throw away!

If you haven’t used Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Foaming Cleaner Cleaning Pads, you’re missing out!

All Aplologies

Date Mon, July 28 2008

I did not mean to be gone for so long but moving was just hectic. Things have calmed down a bit now that we’re staying at the inn and have nothing to do. I figure I can post a bit. I had been wanting to post about of the few items I used when cleaning my house that made the job absolutely easier so I’ll get right on that.

Lysol Disinfecting Wipes 4in1 – Citrus Scent are simplay amazing. I like wipes because I don’t have to touch anything dirty and I can just throw them away. I’ve always hated using washcloths to do surface cleaning because I felt like the cloths became dirty and then I didn’t want to touch them anymore.

I’ve used a variety of wipes including Clorox and generic brands as well but really prefer the Lysol Disinfecting Wipes; they’re tough and thick without being a hassle (the new, thicker Clorox wipes are sort of quilted in a way that makes it easy to catch on sharp corners, fingernails et cetera).

Besides wiping up visible messes, the Lysol Disinfecting Wipes disinfect and kill the germs and bacteria the eye can’t see so they’re perfect for use in the kitchen (counter tops, refrigerator, freezer) and bathroom (counters, toilet, handles) where germs like to live.

I’d say the “4 in 1” claim is a bit exaggerated because the “4” things are that they kill germs, clean messes, are strong wipes and can be used in the kitchen and bathroom.

Silly advertising aside, these wipes are definitely handy to have around!

Reed Diffusers by Partylite

Date Mon, July 21 2008


One of my more recent discoveries related to perfuming my living quarters is that of diffusing. A container, usually decorative, is filled with liquid and through a small opening a “wick” of sorts is placed, with one end in the liquid. Through this method, the liquid travels the wick and is then expelled into the air. Diffusers are quickly gaining in popularity

I currently use a reed diffuser by Partlite, which was gifted to me from my mother; although many candles and home decor stores have similar products. The diffusers consist of a fragrance oil in a clear glass bottle, and several thin wooden reeds are inserted into the bottle. Partlite’s version comes with decorative wooden ‘baubles’ on the some of the reeds but, overall, the set up is very similar and it something that can make a fun do it yourself project.

Unfortunately, my diffuser has not had the wonderful results I’ve known others’ to have and I suspect it’s because of its specific scent: cherry. Initially, the oil smelled great in the bottle but its scent spread via the reeds is not as pleasant. The overall effect is also not as fragrant as I would like.

However, I have experienced others’ diffusers that were both strong and pleasant, from Partylite.

Partylite‘s fragrance oils do not contain alcohol and the reed diffusers do not need a flame to work which makes them safer to other alternatives. According to the website, the lack of alcohol means the reeds do not need to be flipped over to continue aromatizing but I find that flipping them over can provide a fresh burst of fragrance even if it is not necessary. I’ve had my diffuser since April and I’ve used about half of the product so it lasts quite a while.

Partylite diffusers come in a package containing the oil, reeds and bottle but replacement oils can be purchased. Many online shops contain whole diffuser sets as well as replacement bottles, oils and reeds.

Another alternative to bottle diffusers is disposable diffusers made from popular home fragrance companies like Glade. Lower end diffusers generally come with a thick wick, similar to a candle, instead of reeds. Periodically, this wick needs to be adjust to insure continuing fragrance.

Although my current reed diffuser is a little disappointing, I will definitely try a different oil in the future.

Incensitive

Date Sun, July 20 2008

Another method I use to fragrance the air in my home is incense. Incense has been used for many years in both practical and religious senses. I don’t use it as much as some people and my house doesn’t constantly smell like the inside of occult/magick stores but I do like to use it, especially since I just got my pretty blue glass incense burner back!

I tend to use the stick kind and have tried a lot of different scents from basic vanilla to more exotic scents. My favourite scent which I’ve been burning for years is a refreshing, relaxing scent by Escential Essence (purchase at MatchlessGifts.com).

Escential Essence incenses are not as smokey as someone and do not simply smell like burning wood, which I like. The incense, packaged in bags of 16 with a blue and white label featuring a foil sun come in scents like Rain Goddess, Myan Temple, Tibetan Musk and Mountain Wildberry – my personal favourite. It can be found in the aforementioned occult shop and has a woody, fruity scent that reminds me of the rain forest or jungle (though I don’t know what either smells like! LOL)

Escential Essences incense sticks are 10″ long and the package advertises them as cruelty free, probably a good thing as many incense users are nature lovers. Each scent is labeled with sort of a magical magical description (although the “fine print” says that the incense is sold as curio only, no magical effects are guaranteed); for instance, Mountain Wildberry promotes harmony (and who doesn’t need more harmony in their life?).

The back of the packages suggest usages or properties for the specific incense. My favourite comes with the advice to burn during “Joyous summer festivals. Meeting old friends and lovers” where Tebetan Musk is good for “Inner truth, Love, Mountains, Strength and Prosperity, Strong and penetrating scent.”

Magical properties aside, I enjoy Escential Essences incense simple because it’s a clean burning, wonderfully scented incense. Of course, incense comes in many forms besides sticks and there’s quite a market for incense related products and accessories so you can enhance the smells of your home and beautify it at the same time.

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