Photo of the day: A little tug-of-war

Horus and Baby decided to play with a shoelace. Of course, by the time I pulled out my camera, they weren’t so hyper anymore:


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Pet Flow Spoiled Rotten Box Review

Subscription boxes are one of the hottest trends right now. There are monthly subscriptions available for everything from books to work out style clothing – and pets. The Pet Flow Spoiled Rotten Box is available for either dogs or cats. Obviously, since I have a bunch of cats, I tried that one out. Here’s what I received.

The first thing in the box was a card explaining its contents:


There were several different types of cat treats inside, including:

PetNaturals Calming Cat Chews


Omega Paw Cranberry Cabernet Treats


And Omega Paw Meowtinis Treats


As usual, some of my cats loved the treats, while others turned up their nose. Really, the only treat that they seem to agree on is catnip.

Speaking of catnip, these Softbite toy mice that were in the box were supposed to have catnip inside of them:


My cats seemed less than enthused to play with them, until I dumped the mice in a container of catnip and shook it up. The catnip clung to the colored twine that covered the mice. I pulled them out and gave them to the cats and haven’t seen them since (the mice, not the cats.)

There were also two cans of soft food – Merrick Purrfect Bistro Turkey and Merrick Purrfect Bistro Tuna Pate:


And a cool cat toy – the Cat Dancer Compleat:


This toy is a sturdy wire with a sticky cat paw on one end (to attach it to the wall) and some small cardboard tubes on the other end. I stuck it to the wall, where it stayed for for about 24 hours before one of my enterprising furballs yanked it off the wall.

It also came with a package of Supercat Catnip Stickers, which are supposed to smell like catnip when scratched. I placed a few on the lid of the box that they came in and a few cats happily rolled on it, and then looked at me wondering where the real catnip was:


Here’s one of my happy Spoiled Rotten cats enjoy his bounty:


The box costs $19.99 plus $5.00 for shipping. It certainly came with some interesting toys and treats, and  my cats are happy, which makes it worthwhile.


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Book Review: Empty Mansions by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell

Empty MansionsWhen most people think of prominent names of  the Gilded Age, a few common ones come up: Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, and so on. However, not many people come up with W.A. Clark, who made his money in the copper mines. What happens when a formerly prominent family line dies out, when the only remaining heir is a 104-year-old shut-in who owns expensive homes in three different states, yet prefers to live in a hospital? That’s the mystery that Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell take on in Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune.

Huguette and her older sister Louise Amelia Andree’ Clark were the progeny of W.A. Clark and his second wife, the much-younger, Anna. W.A. served in the U.S. Senate and made his money through railroads and copper mining. When Huguette was young, the family owned a mansion on Fifth Avenue. Her older sister died at the age of 17 in 1919, and her father passed on a mere 6 years after that, leaving Huguette and Anna (as well as the family from W.A.’s first marriage) a substantial fortune.

Although Huguette finished high school and married briefly, she spent the rest of her life essentially in solitude. She communicated with others via letters and phone calls, but spent a good deal of her time painting and arranging (and commissioning) her lavish dollhouses while her actual inherited property – a house in New Canaan, Connecticut and another in Santa Barbara, California, went largely ignored, except for the attention of the caretakers who were paid handsomely to take care of them.

Dedman discovered the mystery surrounding Huguette Clark after stumbling upon the empty New Canaan house, and set about piecing together her history. Although he never really comes to the reason as to why she behaved as she did (childhood trauma? overt shyness? mental illness?) he and Paul Clark Newell, a distant relative of Huguette’s, do manage to paint a very detailed picture of her life.

Empty Mansions is available now through booksellers everywhere and on If you love a good, real-life mystery (like I do) you’ll enjoy this book.

(Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book to review through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy above.) 

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Getting crunchy with CrispRoot

In my quest for a healthier snack (because there is no way that I can give up snacking) I was given the chance to test out CrispRoot chips. These chips are gluten free, dairy free, and contain no trans fats or cholesterol. They’re made from Cassava Root and come in four flavors:

P1020914Thai Ginger


P1020919Sea Salt

P1020922BBQ Bliss

My favorite of the bunch were the Original flavored ones. They are seasoned with garlic powder and sea salt. The chips themselves are very crunchy, and are ridged:


If you’re looking for the CrispRoot equivalent of regular potato chips, then you probably want the Sea Salt ones, as they don’t have any garlic flavoring. The BBQ Bliss flavored chips were good, but on the spicy side thanks to the paprika that is sprinkled on them. The Thai Ginger ones were also tasty, but I prefer the Original flavor. (They didn’t last more than ten minutes.) I give them two thumbs up!

For more information on CrispRoot chips, please go to their website. A list of stores can also be found there.

(Disclaimer: I received four bags of CrispRoot chips *one in each flavor* from a press representative in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure policy for additional information.)


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Photo of the Day: Spoiled Rotten and proud of it


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September 12, 2013 · 4:23 pm

Are your pet products Pruven?

There are a few things that every cat owner needs, besides cats, of course. These include the obvious items, like cat food, a litter box and cat litter, but also a litter mat, a pet stain removal spray and some furniture saving anti-scratch tape. Pruven Pet Products sent me a few goodies to test out, including a few things on that list:


One other thing that isn’t listed above? A pet hair roller. Every pet owner needs one, unless you feel like walking around all day covered in cat hair. This one worked very well and one sheet managed to remove all of the hair covering the shirt that I was wearing:


A litter mat is another useful thing to have. This one is fairly small (you can get a sense of its size in the last shot) so I put in the doorway of my “cat room” so that it could catch any stray bits of litter still clinging to my cat’s feet: P1020567

This scratch protection film is clear and rather thick. It’s designed to go on wooden surfaces, like table and chair legs. I tested it out on one, and it held up surprisingly well until one of my too-smart-for-his-own-good cats *cough* Socks *cough* decided to peel it off:P1020569

Here’s the side view of the tape: P1020571

And the most useful item of all: the pet stain and odor remover. I’ve used this countless times since receiving it, and it’s worked like a charm:P1020573

Lastly, here’s a view of the litter mat: P1020574

All in all, I say – Yes! If you’re in the market for pet products, aim for the ones made by Pruven. (Do you need me to mention that they’re owned by 3M, the makers of Post-It notes? And that I’m obsessed with Post-It Notes? No? Well, I mentioned it anyway.) They’re sold at Wal-Mart, Target,, and several other places.

(Disclaimer: I received these products to review for free from a press representative in exchange for my unbiased review. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.)

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Goodbye green car…

“You and I will meet again, When we’re least expecting it, One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won’t say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again.” ~Tom Petty

Old Car n New Car

Me circa 2001 standing between my first car (left) and my new-at-the-time car (right).


It’s been a fun 12 years Mr. Green Car. In that time, you helped me get to two different jobs (not at the same time), traveled to Canada, Iowa and Gettysburg (not to mention Toledo and back about 6 times) and were a faithful companion for all of your 113,000+ miles.

~You were the first vehicle that I bought and paid for all on my own.

~You were the sign that I was actually an adult.

~You took me where I needed to go, up until the end when your transmission broke and you started to self-destruct.

I hated to see you go off to a scrapyard, but you won’t be alone. There are other broken-down cars there as well. Although my brother-in-law graphically explained what happens to the cars in the scrapyard after they’ve been there for a while, I prefer to think that you’ve retired to the vehicle version of Florida to bask in the sun for the rest of your days.

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Photo the Day: Appropriately Named

I’m working on a bunch of posts. In the meantime, the label on this box says it all:


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A post about my biggest food weakness – guacamole

I taught myself how to make guacamole last week. I don’t know why I waited to so long. It was super easy, only took ten minutes and turned out great. It doesn’t look like much in the bowl, so you’re going to have to take my word for it. 🙂

P1020279Here’s my not-so-secret recipe: Crazy Mandy’s Guacamole

2 Avocados

Minced Garlic (I use the jarred stuff)

1/3 of a small onion chopped up into tiny bits

Salt, Pepper and Mexican Adobo Seasoning from the Savory Spice Shop

I’m one of those horrible cooks (I use the term lightly) who don’t measure anything, so I dumped in the avocados (after slicing them in half, removing the pit and spooning out the good part, of course), a heaping spoonful of the garlic, the onion and then added the spices before smooshing it all with a potato masher. You could always add some red pepper flakes or salsa if you like your guacamole spicy, but I don’t. I’m never buying pre-made guacamole again!

And a quick note on the Mexican Adobo Seasoning: my husband uses it in everything he makes that’s related to Mexican food. So far the list consists of rice, pork tamales, chicken enchiladas and soft chicken tacos. We haven’t tested it on beef yet, but it probably works on that, too. We discovered it when his aunt was staying with us last summer. Her chicken tacos were so good I had to peek at the seasoning she used, just for future reference.

(Disclaimer: I wasn’t paid or perked to mention the seasoning. I bought it last fall and just love it.)

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Book review: Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 486 easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown

Adulting BookThere are manuals for everything: vehicles, electronics, appliances, so why not one for adulthood? Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 486 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown fills that niche.

Part self-help manual, part manual, Adulting gets its point across with the help of plenty of graphics, including cute drawings (complete with a message) and flowcharts on various things. If you’ve ever wondered how to properly set up your own utilities or how to choose just the right apartment, then this book is for you. Other topics involve how to properly stock your kitchen and how to find a good, reliable auto mechanic.

Basically, it’s aimed at 20-somethings who haven’t quite successfully flown out of their parents’ nests yet. If you’re a 30-something, like me, odds are you pretty much know all of this or have experienced it already.

The book itself is cute, thanks to the doodles and flowcharts, and it’s set up in a logical manner. If you’re in your teens or 20s and have no clue how to become an adult – or are overwhelmed at the very thought of it – then I recommend this book. However, if you’ve been on your own for a while, then you probably don’t need it.

If you’d like more information or find that you need more than 486 steps to become an adult, check out Kelly Williams Brown’s blog by the same name.


(Disclosure: I received a galley of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. For more information, please check out my disclosure policy.)


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