Reviews


Disclaimer: I was not compensated for any of my product reviews. My hope is that I was able to objectively analyze and report my experiences. However, I must admit that my conclusions are mostly subjective, with only a dash of scientific objectivity applied. I hope these reviews help you make an informed decision. Thank you!

March 4, 2019

I’m sold on the Samsung Galaxy devices, and I especially like my new J7 Crown

In today’s digital world, it seems we all need a smartphone to get things done efficiently. There are a lot of choices in the world of smartphones, and I’ve sampled a few of the big names.

In the last few years, I’ve settled on Samsung Galaxy as my go-to smartphone. They’re dependable and competitively priced.

My most recent smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy J7 Crown. Read my review, and learn about all the high-quality features this smartphone includes. It’s got great, high-quality features, but at an affordable price.


February 10, 2019

Would Frank Sinatra approve of my oval-shaped glass coffee table?

Well, I think Sinatra, one of my favorite singers of all time, would have approved of my glass coffee table. To me, it is reminiscent of the simple, stylish, and contemporary lines that were popular in the 1960’s Palm Springs style of interior design.

But, what do I know about interior design styles? Honestly, I know next to nothing about how to style an interior living space.

What I do know is that when I like a certain style of furniture, I buy it. And, I do like my glass coffee table. Read about all the reasons this gorgeous style has captured my heart, and why you might love it, too.


February 2, 2019

I wanted a new coffee table that had a simple design

After months of shopping, I finally found one that really looked interesting. It was simple, had a rustic, almost industrial style, and was affordable. What more could I ask?

Well, I also asked that it was well-built and sturdy. Here’s my review of this well-built, and well-designed vintage coffee table. I included my observations about the mostly-easy assembly, and how it looked when I was finished.


December 10, 2018

To strengthen my cardiovascular system, I bought a recumbent exercise bike.

The older I get, the more I value my cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, I’ve been slacking off on taking care of my old ticker. To remedy my oversight, I bought the Marcy recumbent exercise bike.

Now, I pedal my way to a healthier heart and more robust metabolism. This is my review of one of the best values in home exercise equipment I could find.


November 10, 2018

I needed some casual and comfortable sneakers to wear to dress-down work days and also casual after-work get-togethers. However, I didn’t want to look like I just came from the gym.

So, off I went on a shopping expedition. I found two comparably priced sneakers. One pair was the Nike SB Check Solarsoft canvas sneaker and the other was the Vans Old Skool Classic skate sneaker. Read my thoughts about each casual skate sneaker, and which one might be the better choice.


November 6, 2018

Every item of clothing I buy and wear has to be functional. But, above all, I like my clothes to look good. Good looks is what first attracted me to my Nike Run Swift shoes.

Before buying, I didn’t even try my shoes on — that’s how much I was enamored by these uncharacteristically good-looking running shoes. Read my Nike Running Swift review, including my observations about the fit, comfort, and durability of these gripping shoes.


October 1, 2018

I wish I could go back in time. If I could, I would study and do everything else I could to become a physics student at MIT. However, since those days are long gone, I can still vicariously enjoy physics by reading and watching YouTube videos.

Instead of attending an Ivy League school, today I read books about math and science. The last book I read was Walter Lewin’s For the Love of Physics. Read my review, and why this book has opened my eyes to so many things we take for granted in our world and our own lives.


September 25, 2018

I was a high school slacker, and did what I could to avoid my science classes. As an adult, however, I’ve learned to love science. Now, I read all types of books about science, including one entitled The Elements.

This is my review of Theodore Gray’s book, The Elements. The books has both pros and cons. Overall, I loved the book, but read my complete review for details.


September 9, 2018

Since I adopted my small chiweenie dog, I realized that my bed was too high. If he jumped, he could get hurt, and that’s not good.

So, off I went in search of a high-quality, low-cost, low-profile bed frame. I didn’t want to use my box spring. All I wanted was the bed frame and my mattress.

After an intensive search, I found the Zinus Platforma bed frame. It was 7 inches high, made out of steel, and would support my mattress without using a box spring frame. Here’s my review, my experiences, and my thoughts about this low-profile bed frame.


August 31, 2018

I love my old Roku Media Streaming Device, but I’m really impressed with the new models.

I bought my one-and-only Roku HD streaming media player back in 2009. Today, I’m still using it. However, if I ever had to buy a new Roku, they offer many models that are tailored to specific needs.

If you need a streaming media player, read my Roku reviews. They’ve got compact, easy-to-use and easy-to-afford models that make it easy to stream your favorite high definition programs, all on-demand, no matter where you are. Now, that’s nice!


August 19, 2018

This tactical flashlight proves that good things come in small packages.

I like when a tactical flashlight is comfortable to hold. That’s especially true if I’m hiking in the woods, or fishing in the early evening. Well, I think I’ve found an almost perfectly fitting tactical flashlight. It’s the J5 V1 Pro tactical flashlight.

This baby is surprisingly well-designed and well-made. Read more about my experiences with this bright tactical flashlight, including one or two cons that could use improvement.


August 14, 2018

Netflix has won me back as a customer.

Remember when we used to get Netflix DVDs in the mail? That was a long time ago. Today, Netflix has high-quality, on-demand streaming content. We don’t have to check our mailboxes for our latest movie.

To get reacquainted with Netflix, I tried their free 30-day trial. Read about my new Netflix experiences and why you could cut the cable TV cord. Like me, you could try Netflix and save a ton of money every month.


August 10, 2018

I tried YouTube TV for free, and found some pros and cons.

Google is such a visionary company — they bought YouTube years ago, and are making big improvements. Recently, they offered a live streaming service with your local channels, plus other popular cable channel selections.

After trying YouTube TV, I found some good points, and not-so-good aspects. Read my review for YouTube TV, and see if it’s right for you!


July 31, 2018

It’s time to take control of your hair! Try a Wahl Clipper haircutting kit to save time, money, while you enjoy your well-styled hair.

Way back in 2010, I bought a Wahl clipper haircutting kit. Since then, I’ve never been to a barber, and have saved lots of time and money. Most importantly, I still enjoy my well-groomed hair. Read my entire review of my Wahl clipper haircutting kit experiences.


July 26, 2018

If you love to read, you need a portable LED reading light. This is my review of the portable, inexpensive, but beautiful Raniaco brand.

I love to read. So, why did it take me so long to buy a portable reading light? Well, this is my review of the Raniaco LED reading light, with all the pros and a couple of the cons.


July 19, 2018

For most of my life I’ve slept on conventional spring mattresses. That all changed when I bought a memory foam mattress last year.

Now, I’m hooked on memory foam. Read all about the conveniences a memory foam mattress has over conventional bedding. After my current mattress wears out in a decade or more, you can bet I will buy another memory foam mattress.


June 10, 2018

I’ve been wearing the Nike Air Monarch IV cross trainer shoes, in all their versions, for almost 15 years.

Read my review of this thoughtfully designed and well-made cross training shoe. I’ve used it to run, work, and relax. They’ve gotten my feet through rain, sleet, desert sand, mud, and desert. At the end of the journey, my feet have always felt grateful for the cloud-like support and lasting comfort of this shoe.


April 30, 2018

I hate reviews that reveal whodunit. Well, in this review of Killers of the Flower Moon, I do not reveal the details.

Instead, I discuss the writing style, the abundant historical research, and how our young United States was flawed. The author tied all those disparate elements together as he told the compelling story of the Osage Murders, and how it led to the birth of the FBI. Trust me, this is a good book — I think you’ll love it!


April 9, 2018

I bought a Samsung Galaxy J7 Sky Pro, and here is my review

After using my new Galaxy J7 Sky Pro, I realize this is the best smart phone I have ever used. Read my discussion of all the features of this high-quality, dependable, but inexpensive smart phone!


March 31, 2018

My review of Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken

Needless to say, I found Unbroken to be spell-binding. Once I started reading this book, it was hard to put down. Please read my review of this inspiring book of determination.


March 25, 2018

Despite its high quality, Spectrum coconut oil is a good value

You know I love coconut oil, and include it in most of my meals. Recently, I tried Spectrum unrefined organic virgin coconut oil. When solidified, it has a sparkling white color and creamy consistency.

Plus, Spectrum’s coconut oil packs all the benefits inherit in most oils, plus even a little more. Read about the benefits I’ve enjoyed by using Spectrum unrefined organic virgin coconut oil.


March 12, 2018

After all these years, I finally bought a food processor. But why?

Well, I’ll tell you why. I love peanut butter, but peanut butter is a processed food. It has lots of sugar, hydrogenated oils, and salt that I don’t want. Well, maybe I’ll add a little salt.

So, that’s why I decided to order a Braun FP3020 12-cup food processor. It will let me be the master of what additives go in my food.


February 24, 2018

Have you heard about pink Himalayan crystal salt?

The red, pink, and white salt crystals look pretty in a grinding mill, and taste superior to table salt.

For my first pink Himalayan salt experience, I chose the product offered by The Spice Lab. While I am skeptical of the health benefits recently touted on TV health shows, I do love the taste of this salt. For more information, read my review!


February 23, 2018

I review my first bag of Malabar black peppercorns.

All I can say is that I should have bought these peppercorns years ago. I never imagined that black pepper could taste so good!

This is my review of my first-ever purchase of organic Malabar black pepper. My bag contained the sun-dried, fermented black peppercorns. To enjoy them on a meal, I just used a pepper mill to grind them up. Sometimes, though, I put them in my mouth and suck them like candy — they are so good.


February 22, 2018

My first salt and pepper grinder mill set was quite an experience.

If my set of salt and pepper grinders work, I can enjoy fresh, aromatic black pepper ground from fresh peppercorn!

Read about my experiences with this attractive, stainless steel salt and pepper grinder set. So far, I’m enjoying it.


February 19, 2018

It’s time to learn when leather is not really leather, but faux leather.

I bought a leather loveseat, but it started to peel. Does leather peel? I don’t think so!

Read more about my experiences with faux leather, or bonded leather, and how I evaluate a new furniture purchase.


February 12, 2018

This entry-level Canon camcorder is a bargain.

I wanted a high-quality camcorder that was inexpensive. I finally found one.

Read about my experiences with the Canon VIXIA HF R700 camcorder. As I continue to shoot videos, I learn new features that improve the quality. It’s a great camcorder.


January 31, 2018

My dog was diagnosed with a trick knee. I ordered Cosequin DS, which contains glucosamine and chondroitin, to improve my dog’s joint health.

My little adopted chiweenie dog is very brave. When his knee shifted out of position, he didn’t yelp, but he did limp. He quickly recovered, but there was still a problem.

His veterinarian diagnosed my dog with luxating patella. She suggested I buy glucosamine and chondroitin tablets to fortify his cartilage and reduce possible pain later in his life. Read more about my experiences with Cosequin DS.


January 22, 2018

I found a great deal at Walmart for a set of nonstick cookware.

Well, I just felt I needed new cookware. I wanted to try the newer lightweight aluminum pots and pans.

So, I bought this 18-piece set of nonstick cookware from Walmart. They delivered it for free. Plus, I really like the aluminum material. Read more about my review!


January 20, 2018

This frugal person (me) bought an inexpensive cell phone with great features.

I needed minutes, so I looked around for deals. I found the Samsung Galaxy J3 Luna Pro. This is my review.

Today, smartphones have become necessities for our modern lives. The last time I had a landline connection was back in 2006. Since then, I’ve been wireless all the way.


January 16, 2018

I am a strong believer is using turmeric in my daily diet of unprocessed foods.

That is why I was intrigued enough to buy the Organic Wise organic turmeric that contains a minimum amount of 6.75% curcumin. That is an above-average amount of curcumin.

Turmeric can prevent all kinds of diseases, while it makes our bodies healthier. I believe every person should have turmeric in their kitchen, and should try this organic turmeric for its high curcumin content.


January 13, 2018

I bought my new Apex Ultra Pill Splitter to cut my dog’s humongous glucosamine tablets down to size

Because I am frugal (not cheap!), I try to save money anywhere possible. That’s why I buy large sizes of my prescribed medicines to get a lower unit cost. Then, I use a pill splitter to cut them to the appropriate size.

One of my pill splitters is over 8-years-old, and still working well. Read more about my pill splitter experiences.


January 12, 2018

I have used H&R Block’s Deluxe + State tax software to prepare my taxes for over 10 years

During those many years of preparing my own taxes, I’ve easily saved over $5,000 in tax preparation fees. Hopefully, I’ve also captured all the deductions that a tax pro might have picked up for me.

Based on my experiences so far, I will continue to use H&R Block’s Deluxe + State tax software. It gets the job done fast, efficiently, and keeps itself updated on new tax regulations. Read more about my experiences in this review.


January 6, 2018

Here’s my review of the Nutiva coconut oil product

You know I love coconut oil and appreciate its health benefits. During the last year, I’ve tried different brands. Recently, I reviewed the Nutiva brand of organic virgin coconut oil.

Read more about my observations of this coconut oil, along with the reasons why I am especially concerned about expiration dates on any food product I consume.


December 29, 2017

This is my review of the most accurate blood glucose meter I’ve used

To maintain a healthy A1C, it is important for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to use an accurate meter.

That’s why I wanted to review the FreeStyle Lite blood glucose meter. First of all, it is accurate. Second of all, well, maybe you’d better read my review!


December 26, 2017

I review an inexpensive and well-built shoe rack

Why do I have so many shoes? It seems each shoe I have has a specific purpose. Still, it seems I have too many. They looked so cluttered on the floor. That’s why I bought a shoe rack.

I considered many shoe rack possibilities, and finally settled on the Seville Classics 3-Tier Resin Slat Utility Shoe Rack. Read my review and see what you think.


December 24, 2017

This is my review of Elizabeth Kolbert’s book, The Sixth Extinction, an Unnatural History

While enjoyable to read, I have to admit that this book contains lots of data and historical information. That’s good, but this Pulitzer Prize winning book is not easy-to-read. At least, for me it was a challenge.

Despite that, I am grateful she wrote the book. The world needs the information contained in this book, along with its call-to-action to prevent a sixth extinction. Sure, extinctions have happened in the past, but the one that is developing now will likely be caused by us and our careless actions.


December 21, 2017

I just discovered red palm oil — this is my review

I probably shouldn’t give away the red-palm-oil plot, but I loved it. In all my life, at least as far as I know, I’ve never had red palm oil.

Now that I’ve had this taste experience, perhaps I can imagine what it would be like to be marooned on a tropical island just like the Tom Hanks character in the old movie. If there were lots of palm trees around, I might actually get used to the sun, surf, and sand. The only problem would be to catch enough food to survive.

Well, read my review and find out everything I know about red palm oil.


December 20, 2017

Vincent reviews his Oinkies pig skin twists

Lucky loved his smoked pig skin twists, so I thought I’d let my chiweenie chewing machine, Vincent, have a shot at them, too.

Read all the benefits and detriments of this non-rawhide, pig skin chew. While both Vincent and I love his Oinkies, I had some reservations.


December 13, 2017

My review of The Non-Designer’s Design Book

For almost 10 years, I have been using this design book written for non-designers to improve my visual communications.

This book draws on the Gestalt Theory of design principles, and makes then easy-to-understand and simple to apply to any promotional or informational communication. We would all benefit by learning and using these simple, common-sense principles of design.


November 28, 2017

My review of solar-powered spotlights

I was searching high-and-low for a low-voltage landscape lighting kit. Since I am frugal, I was on a tight budget. My solution was to go the solar-powered route. This is my review of Urpower’s solar landscape lighting offering.

Solar lighting is much easier to install than most low-voltage lighting kits. They need a transformer and lots of wires going all over the landscape. Solar lighting is a better solution. The only bad thing about solar lighting is that the lights are not on a timer.


November 5, 2017

Vincent reviews Dingo Rawhide Mini Bones

I can’t keep a secret — Vincent loves his Dingo Rawhide Mini Bones chicken flavor chews. They are his favorite!

But, there is more to the story. Just because Vincent loves the Dingo Mini Bones doesn’t mean I let him have 24 hours a day. For various reasons, I monitor and time his use. Read the review to find out more!


November 4, 2017

My review of Gracetop LED Tactical Flashlight T6

To get right to the point, I love my inexpensive Gracetop LED Tactical Flashlight T6. I use it every night to take my dog out for his last potty call of the day.

Before I bought this LED tactical flashlight, I used to buy inexpensive, disposable incandescent flashlights. They never seemed bright enough to be practical. However, this Gracetop LED Tactical Flashlight should outlast all the disposable flashlights I had.

If you order, don’t forget the discount codes at the end of the review!


October 28, 2017

My review of Dr. Bronner’s
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

In an effort to add variety to my life, I decided to try a new brand of coconut oil. My choice was the impressive Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

As you know, I am a big believer in the health benefits of a moderate use of coconut oil. Currently, I use about 3 teaspoons in my meals and beverages each day. That is a total of 360 calories. I know that is a lot, so I have cut back moderately on other items. That is how strongly I feel about coconut oil’s health benefits.


October 13, 2017

My review of the Mild Dreams Waterproof Terry Mattress Protector

Recently, I bought a new memory foam mattress and wanted to protect it from spills or other damage. My easy solution was to buy the Mild Dreams Waterproof Terry Mattress Protector.

This waterproof mattress protect was an inexpensive solution to any unexpected accidents that can happen during the night. Only 8 months ago, I had adopted an orphaned puppy. Of course, he sleeps in the same bed with me. Puppies can sometimes be unpredictable, so I appreciated having a waterproof mattress protector.


October 10, 2017

Vincent and I review the Purina Beyond Grain Free chicken, carrots, peas and rice formula

I replaced another popular wet food brand with this Purina Beyond grain free blend.

My dog, Vincent, has become a big fan of this wet food. I was surprised that he loves the peas and carrots. For some reason, I always thought dogs hated vegetables and only went for the chicken or beef. Either way, Vincent is healthy and has grown as he celebrates his one-year birthday.


October 3, 2017

My review of the Zinus Sleep Master Ultima Comfort Memory Foam Mattress

My inexpensive, old mattress was making me grouchy when I woke up in the morning. So, I decided to improve the 1/3 of my life that I spend in bed. I bought a new memory foam mattress!

I’ve never had a memory foam mattress, but the Zinus brand that I found on Amazon really piqued my interest. I really sleep well, but have found that sometimes I still wake up grouchy. Maybe I have other issues!


October 1, 2017

3 reasons I use Badia Ground Turmeric

I’m already sold on the health benefits of using turmeric in my meals. The problem was getting a good, dependable, and competitive source. My grocery store always seemed to run out of turmeric when I was ready to buy.

So, I went online and found Badia ground turmeric. The price per ounce was less expensive than the well-known consumer spice brand. Plus, it tastes great.


September 30, 2017

Vincent reviews his Multipet Look Who’s Talking Quacking Duck Dog Toy

Vincent loved his old quacking duck stuffed dog toy. The only problem was that it didn’t quack anymore. So, I decided to order a brand new quacking duck dog toy for Vincent.

So far, he loves his new plush, stuffed dog toy. At first, Vincent was cautious, because he never heard his old duck toy make a “quack”. Now, he loves to make his duck quack, and it’s one of his favorite toys.


September 13, 2017

My review of the Philips Sonicare Essence Electric Toothbrush

My dental hygienist recommended I get an expensive electric toothbrush. I considered her suggestion, but instead, opted to buy a low-priced, but excellent, electric toothbrush.

So far, I’m being real gentle and careful as I use my new electric toothbrush. After over two weeks, I’m still using the slower, gentler speed that novices use to get used to the handling and positioning of the brush. I want excellent dental hygiene, but I also don’t want to do any damage.


September 11, 2017

My review of the Zen Bamboo Ultra Plush Gel Pillow

My morning allergies were getting me down. Then, I saw the Zen Bamboo Ultra Plush Gel Pillow on Amazon.

The pillows were advertised as being hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. As much as I hate to admit it, there were dust mites in my pillow. I couldn’t see them, but they were making my allergies worse. Read my review of the Zen Bamboo Ultra Plush Gel Pillow and see if they helped alleviate my morning allergies.


September 4, 2017

My review of the Mohu Leaf 30 HDTV antenna

I got tired of paying the cable TV bill every month. Instead, I wanted free high definition TV. So, I ordered the Mohu Leaf 30.

That was in 2012, and it still works today. I get to watch most of my favorite shows, and the high definition is better than cable.


September 3, 2017

My review of the Chillout 2-speed personal fan, GF-55

Whether I am at my desk, or sleeping, I need to feel the air move. That’s why I bought the Chillout 2-speed personal fan. Here is my review.

Sure, I’ve got ceiling fans in every room. Still, I need a fan blowing air right in my face and over my body. Otherwise, I feel claustrophobic.



August 20, 2017

My review of the Besteker HD 1080P 24MP 16X Digital Zoom Video Camcorder

I wanted a high definition video camera and ordered a well-reviewed, inexpensive one on Amazon. Here is my review.

My plan was to use my new Besteker camcorder to record videos that I could post on YouTube. I’ve already posted a few under my Xeriscape and byoBOSS tabs.


August 3, 2017

Vincent’s review of Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula

My adopted puppy,

Vincent, takes his favorite food, the Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula, for a taste test a few times every day. And under his critical eye and discriminating taste buds, Vincent has given his Purina One SmartBlend Healthy Puppy Formula a 5 bark approval rating. In addition, Vincent throws in vigorous tail wags to show his approval. Yes, Vincent loves this dry puppy food.



July 11, 2017

Serfas TCPG Bicycle Floor Pump

The Serfas TCPG Bicycle Floor Pump was designed for bicycles, but I use it on my car tires.

It works well. This manual bicycle tire pump saves me trips to the gas station. There, I used to feed an antiquated tire pump a roll of quarters and then hoped that it would work properly. Now, I use this manual tire pump to check my car’s tires once a month while I’m in my own garage. That’s convenient.


June 28, 2017

Viva Naturals Organic Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil

My notes on the last six months of using organic extra-virgin coconut oil and the Viva Naturals product.

I recommend that you seriously consider adding coconut oil to your diet. You’ll see an improvement in many areas, including less abdominal fat, improved cognitive ability, and improved heart health.


June 4, 2017

My review of Student Amazon Prime.

It’s a great deal, and I list 6 reasons (plus one bonus reason) why it’s a smart choice for any student.