Tag Archives: review

What’s On Your Nightstand? H.A.G. Reads for September

Hey y’all. I have another book review for you today. I wasn’t going to put this as it’s own post but I cannot stop thinking about this book. I am sort of in a place where I know I will be going over this in my mind for a while and so to that end, I am putting these thoughts to words here- in case you were debating on reading it… Read this.

Station Eleven
Emily St. John Mandel
Knopf, 2014, 352 pages

Opening Line(s) of the Book:

The King stood in a pool of blue light, unmoored. This was act 4 of King Lear, a winter night at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.

Not too gripping, right?

Well, read on. These first few lines are just setting the stage (sorry, not sorry for the pun) for the rest of the book. Going back and forth through time, the book begins with a major event one night in Toronto which sets in place a series of events that change life as we know it, into one where only a few survive and these survivors try to find a way to survive and also live in this new world.

The life of Arthur Leander, a famous actor, sets the backdrop for the story. As his life unfolds, so does the scenery, the characters, and the story. It’s a doomsday book, with an upside. It doesn’t leave us hanging at the end- it finishes. It wraps up nicely in a way that left me feeling more reflective and satisfied that I greatly benefited from reading this book. Yes. A reading win.

I loved the subtley of this book- there is no horribly grizzly scene of the world’s end.The collapse of the world is fast. So fast that it is surprising-  but it is quiet. People just disappear and there is no way to contact them- The internet, electricity, vehicles don’t work anymore and become after time, a thing of only memory; memories are hard to come by with so many dead. The value of keeping the history alive and teaching what was to the children and other survivors is a theme. The book’s Museum of Civilization is seemingly a museum of just things: a high heel, a driver’s license, a comic book. But the importance of these things, and of the preservation of them is so…well, librarian…so basic to my values of remembering our history and artifacts, that I totally loved this idea within the book.

The author has such a knack for depicting a futuristic view without making it a science-fiction future that we can’t imagine. Her devastating future is tangible. We can see how it could happen- making it the scariest book that I’ve read in a while.

Favorite line:

“Survival is insufficient.”

Depicted as a tattoo and also painted on the lead caravan of the nomads, it’s a line from Star Trek: Voyager (Sept. 1999, Ronald D. Moore). I love it, because A) I love that it’s from Star Trek- the most well known sci-fi world that we have had the pleasure of experiencing both on TV and in comic book form- but also B)  I love the words themselves: Reminding us to LIVE. Not just survive. Notice. Experience. Do. Be. But also, of course, stay alive.

'Survival is insufficient.' Reminding us to LIVE. Not just survive. Notice. Experience. Do. Be. Click To Tweet

Favorite Exchange:

“Are you asking if I believe in ghosts?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. Yes.”

“Of course not. Imagine how many there’d be.”

“Yes,” Kirsten said, “that’s exactly it.”

Touching on what happens after doomsday event…I am so glad the book addresses how blindly we would follow…or who we’d follow…or what we’d believe if only to find the familiar. Good questions here.

Overall Take:

I loved it, obviously, and highly recommend, and not only for science fiction lovers. If you love history or present day contemporary fiction, I think you would appreciate the currency of this novel- it is so full of imagination, but also grounded by our very real lives today.

The rest of my nightstand is atrocious! I have at least 10 books on there and the pile is just growing. Why? I have time. I have no idea why my progress is so slow, but then, it’s not a race is it? No. Quality, not quantity, my friends.

What’s on YOUR nightstand?


Links within the post are affiliate links (read full disclosure). Linked up with  Book Beginnings, BookDate, What’s on your nightstand?

Cleaning the Car Without Chemicals: E-cloth Review

So many of you know how much, I love my E-cloths for use inside my house, and if you read this blog, you may have seen my review for them a while back. This post was updated in August of 2017 for links and deleting giveaway content.

I agreed to review….{drumroll please}…. the Interior Car Kit for ecloth. Win. Win! And by the way…these little cloths aren’t only for your car- you can use these to clean your bikes after a long outside ride, or your boat if you are a boater (duh) and probably any outside toys that have chrome to polish and grime to clean!

Full Disclosure: I received a free Interior Car Kit from E-cloth in exchange for writing a review on the blog. However, and as always, any and all opinions are genuinely my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

e-cloth auto

If you follow my blog, you know that I have been running a Clear the Clutter Challenge this month. While a lot of my clutter-clean up is focused on the inside of my house, you all know the garage is the palace (I did NOT mean to write ‘place’) of clutter for the outside…and the cars with all the shuttling to and from soccer practices, basketball, or road-trips can get pretty knarly themselves!

Before I get ahead of myself though, I have a few tips on tidying your cars before we even look at the dirt and start cleaning them and testing out the new cloths!

DeCluttering the Car:

#1– Get some bins to keep in the car. These can be bags or boxes or anything that will keep items from rolling around your trunk or under-foot as you drive (danger!)

#2 – Make an emergency kit- Both first aid and also think about what you need if you break-down. Make sure you have wiper fluid in the upcoming winter months, and a blanket if you have no heat for a while, as you wait for roadside assistance.  Keep kitty-litter in the trunk as it helps the tires get traction on slippery roads.

#3 – Get some winter floor mats.  These are made of rubber, so the salt and dirt on your boots won’t wreck the carpet in your car.

#4 – Have a permanent garbage bin IN the car. Instead of stuffing tissues in the side-pockets, maybe put them in a receptacle.

#5 – Put the toys in one of those bins (see #1).  Instead of books and markers flying all over your car floor, keep them all in a car-only toy place, that will be a busy-box of sorts for the kids to have.

organize the car


That’s it. Now on to the cleaning.

#1 – Take everything out.

#2 – Clean it. Test out the e-cloth. I used the Interior, e-Auto Car Cleaning Kit.  It comes with:

  • one 20″x16″ Glass & Chrome Cloth, one 12.5”x12.5” Car Cleaning Cloth, a Water Atomizer, and a laundry and storage bag.car kit
  • Glass & Chrome Cloth (grey) cleans inside windows, outside windows, all metals
  • Car Cleaning Cloth (orange) cleans dashboards, armrests, spills, inside doors, fabric upholstery, leather upholstery, outside windowscar kit

#3 – And finally: Only put back the items you must have, into a bin or some type of container: Toys, Snacks, Emergency Kit (may or may not include a trunk potty- mom’s you know you need this!)  You are done.


 The e-Auto Kit: What do I think?

Just spray the water and wipe. Can’t be easier. I am not sure you can’t do this with any little cloth and some water, but the beauty and difference of the e-cloth versus any old cloth in your house, is the e-cloth itself. No lint, and for whatever reason, it picks up the dirt unlike any rag I have.  You can check out their website for more info. on why they work so well.

I used the chrome & glass (grey) cloth for all the windows and the mirrors…and the glass parts of the dash. No streaks and no lint. It is way easier than window spray and paper towels- plus better for the environment.  Now, I am not saying that child labor laws don’t exist for a reason…but- using the e-cloths is a great and SAFE way to have your kids help you clean the inside of the car with just water and a cloth. You don’t have to worry that the twins kids will spray  each other in the eyes with chemicals or wash the windows with the leather-care cleaner. Not that this has happened, but it is definitely not happening with e-cloth! One of the many reasons why I really like this product. See what I did:

e cloth

before is pretty gross…I am not too thrilled about sharing that.

And this:

ecloth

I had to keep going…I love my new clean car!

Once I was done cleaning, I put both cloths in the bag and threw them in the washer. I wash them just like regular cloths, but you have to remember not to use fabric softeners – which I don’t use anyway. Even if you forget and use the softeners, just run them again in a hot-water only wash and then they are fine again. Actually, these are guaranteed for 300 washes just like the rest of the e-cloth line. Easy.

Now that I have a dedicated set of e-cloths for the cars, I can store them right in the little bag and keep these in the garage on a hook, so I can find them right where I want to use them…always thinking, my friends!

Anyhoo…Now it’s your turn to try the e-Auto Car Kit! Check them out here!

e-cloth auto

Check out more on e-cCloth:

W: www.ecloth.com
F: www.facebook.com/eclothUSA
T: @ecloth


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

“Food52 Mighty Salads”: A Book Review

Have you been eating salads like crazy with the bounty of veggies from your garden? Then you might be the perfect candidate for the cookbook by Food52 Team called, Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad to Dinner. If you don’t know what Food52 is, I will tell you. It’s a food community site turned website and shop, which shares recipes from their editors and also runs contests for recipe contributions from their readers along with selling products and cookbooks that they put out.  I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book from Blogging for Books, and now I want to share with you my take on this not-just-summer cookbook.

What I like:

Being a salad lover, and also very sick of my same old recipes for salads, I am totally inspired by the recipes in the book. Don’t these sound yummy?:

Caesar-Style Kale Salad with Roasted Onions
Shaved Asparagus with Burrata, Radish & Cucumber
Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Endive & Apple
Fresh Corn Cakes with Crab-Tomato Salad

The contents are depicted by types of salad to make it easy to find a lot of variety:

Leafy Salads
Less-Leafy Salads
Grain & Bean Salads
Pasta & Bread Salads
Fish & Seafood Salads
Meat Salads

There are a lot of dressings recipes which I just loved. Sometimes I just want a new dressing for my salads, and I made this salad {Spicy Chicken Salad with Rice Noodles} specifically because the dressing of Lime-Sriracha sounded so good- and it was good. Not amazing, but very good. I made it with zoodles though and I liked all the textures and color to the dish quite a lot.Spicy Chicken Salad with Lime-Sriracha Dressing

I am a big fan of pictures if the whole book is about one type of meal {salads}. There are lots of pictures of the meals here {all the photos are done by James Ransom}, to give you an idea and some inspiration for what looks great to eat. This leads to:

What Bugs Me:

The pictures are dark. The intention and style of the book is farmhouse-rustic, so they styled the pictures in a way that feels dark and artsy instead of bright and inviting. To my eye, the food looks flat in a way that makes me not want to make it. However…I showed my sister the book and she found lots of recipes that she would make and she loved the darker style of the pictures, so I think this is a preference that I have, over what everyone would feel.

On another layout preference, I thought that overall the font is smallish and the sidebar that lists the ingredients doesn’t separate the salad from the salad dressing as much as I wanted- I was squinting. I don’t wear glasses, but I am sort of old…so that could certainly be it, but for even older, and blinder folks, just keep your glasses nearby!

As far as a peeve about the recipes…they many and varied.  I don’t stock my pantry with more than half of the ingredients, but as I said, my sister was all about the recipes as being up her alley. I found it inspirational but not practical for my everyday cooking. I had a hard time picking a recipe to make with ingredients that I had on hand. I chose the Spicy Chicken Salad because I had 90% of the ingredients on hand. Most of the other recipes, I would have to go out and shop specifically for.

Who Should Get It:

If you are a huge Food52 fan…and I know there are many! Also, if you love salad and need some new  ideas for making your regular old salads into something more of a meal, than there is a lot of great stuff here- Not just for vegetarians, the seafood chapter is super interesting and if you are a meat eater, there is a plentiful chapter for you too.

The Deets:

Food52 Mighty Salads: 60 New Ways to Turn Salad into Dinner- and Make-Ahead Lunches, Too
Editors of Food52, Photos by James Ransom
160 pages with photos.
Ten Speed Press, April 2017
Amazon Hardcover: $14


This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you order from one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation. It does not affect your price at all. See my full disclosure page.

Review for Mighty Salads Food52