review

Tea Time: Caramel Black HiCaf™ by Republic of Tea

This week was a beast!! I work for a major health insurance company, as a customer service representative, in the department that handles the individual products. Those people who have to buy their own insurance. Our call volume has tripled since the Affordable Care Act has come in to play – it is NOT called Obamacare!! Anyway, we have a butt load of overtime and I worked 8am – 8pm Monday thru Thursday this past week.

I am exhausted! Well, I was. Friday I got off work on time and I have a 3 day weekend! Woo hoo!

The reason I bring it up is because I would have written earlier this week but I just was not home to do so!!

But I am now…so on to the review!

I have a relationship with caffeine. I NEED it. Not proud of this fact, but it helps me function well and because I am addicted, I get a nasty headache if I don’t have it. I’ve gone cold turkey and gotten over the withdrawals but I’ve always found myself back under caffeine’s evil spell.

So, while browsing for different teas to try – I may have a problem – I found Caramel Black HiCaf™ tea by The Republic of Tea. It is in the photo below on the left.  Photo is posted on Instagram where my username is peargirly.

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OMG. It is delicious and woke me up right away!! I didn’t crash in the afternoon either!

Here is the information listed on the website:

 

Robust black tea with smooth caramel notes. Envision a clear mind and renewed spirit as you satisfy your sweet tooth by sipping this rich, energizing tea. Nice with a splash of milk.

A Better Buzz – We’ve intensified the caffeine content of this black tea by adding green tea extract and pure caffeine isolated from premium tea leaves. Caffeine and L-Theanine (often credited with reducing stress) are natural components of tea providing a state of calm alertness we call Tea Mind®.

I’ve been drinking tea everyday for a while now and this tea has a great smooth flavor and scent. It’s not overpowering or bitter. It’s a really nice tea.

The best part really is that I didn’t crash in the afternoon. I mean it’s really tasty, but the fact that I didn’t need to recaffeinate or have that afternoon crash that sometimes comes after having a high caffeine drink in the morning. I drank a 24 oz glass of the tea in the morning.

I make it every morning while I’m getting ready for work in a 24 oz Tervis cup like the one below (I don’t have that design tho! LOL. I really love these cups. I have 4 of them. I need one more to have one for every day of the work week!) I sometimes will get some hot water and have a 2nd glass of tea. (imaged from tervis.com)

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When I drank the HiCaf Caramel tea I didn’t need that second cup!

The best thing about drinking tea is that it’s got zero calories, where when I was drinking pop everyday it was regular pop and had calories. But tea? Nada! Plus, it’s also getting my water in.

All of the Republic of Tea flavors that I got are really good. But the Caramel is my new very favorite tea!!

I definitely give it 5 out of 5 pears. lol 

5pears

Do you have a favorite brand or flavor of tea? Tell me about it in the comments!

Till next time…

pearheidi

*I am not affiliated with Republic of Tea or Tervis…just a fan*

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

This is my first review for the YA Audiobook Challenge so please bear with me as I muddle my way through it. I’m sure I’ll get a good format going once I get a couple under my belt.

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If I Stay

Written by: Gayle Foreman ~ Narrated by: Kirsten Potter
Length: 5 hours 2 minutes

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck.

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make – and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

©2009 Dutton Juvenile; (P)2009 Penguin

This book was recommended by a few different listeners in the YA Audiobook Challenge on either their Goodreads page or blog so I decided to give it a whirl. Plus it is a short book as far as listening goes at a smidgen over 5 hours and since I started the challenge late I needed to catch up by getting as many books in as I possibly could in the beginning (I’m 3 books in now…still behind but definitely catching up!)

I don’t always read more than just the basic little blurb about a book before listening to it and I will basically listen to anything so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

The narrator was great and there was nice musical parts as well. As anyone who listens to books on a regular basis knows, a narrator can make or break a book. I have tried to get through a steamy love story with a ridiculous narrator and just can’t do it. Or, when the author decides to read their own book…not always a good thing. Yeah, Marley and Me, I am talking to you. Sorry but I could.not.listen to that book.

Anyway, the story was great. Not your typical storyline and not a girl-falls-in-love-falls-out-of-love angsty kind of book either. The emotions in this book were real – partially because of the narrator – and it was a little bit of every emotion. I found myself smiling, laughing, cheering, crying, and shocked even. And best of all, it left me wanting MORE. Good thing there is a second book in the series. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I will soon!

I give it: 200px-4_stars.svg

pearheidi

Instagram Alternatives for Android – Review

Like a posted a few weeks ago, there is no Instagram for Android and how this truly makes me sad because everybody who’s anyone is using Instagram on Twitter, Facebook and in their blogs.

My search for an alternative on Android pointed me to two main applications and another app that is a photo sharing site like Instagram.

I didn’t take as many photos as I wanted to, but I think I took enough for a good comparison.

If you go to the Android Market and look in the photography section, you’ll see that there are a number of different options. I like to check out reviews online of different apps or visit forums and see what people recommend before I download an application like a photo editor.

These reviews are strictly my opinion, I am not getting paid by anyone to review these applications. Carry on.


hi-124-5Most people recommended an app called Vignette, so that’s where I started. Vignette has a demo and a paid version. The paid version is $4.11. The difference between the two I believe is just the photo size, the paid version will save the photos as a larger file than the demo version will.

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I first used the free version, but I did end up paying for the full app to be able to save larger photos. My phone has a 8mp camera, and I like to save larger files.

Vignette takes a few seconds to initialize and overall it is a bit slower than my phone’s regular camera. It only takes square photos and has a number of filters and frames to use.

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As you can see, I like that frame and I am not sure what the filter is called. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of that. Sad smile

What I don’t like about the app is having to go back and forth to pick the filters and frames. You can’t scroll through them and instantly see the changes, you have to pick from a drop down and then go back to the photo each time. And for some reason when I take photos I have to rotate them or they are sideways. That’s annoying.

But, it does save your last filter/frame used and will automatically apply that. That is definitely a plus!

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What I do like is that you can choose from different methods of taking photos, like instant, continuous, and then like a grid or filmstrip (or like those photo booth strips!) as shown below.

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I like Vignette, but it’s not my first choice. I give Vignette 200px-3of5.svg


 

hi-124-9The other application I used is called Magic Hour – Camera. This application also has a free and a paid version. I didn’t even use the free version of this app, I jumped right into the paid version. The paid version is $1.99.

I like this app a lot. It’s a little slow on the start, but you can scroll through the filters easily and you can see the changes as you scroll. There’s also a button to see the original and the photo will switch over to the original.

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There are a number of preset filters and frames, you can make and save your own, or you can download ones from other people. I really like the option to download filters! You can also put some in your favorites.

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I’ll be honest and say I have played with this app more than I have Vignette and I downloaded Vignette before Magic Hour. I like the user friendly-ness of this app better.

The cons to this app is the speed. It is slow! Slower than I’d like, but tolerable. The other con is that you always start with the original photo in Magic Hour whereas Vignette will apply the last filter/frame that were used. I tend to like cutesy, animated apps and this is definitely one of them. Vignette is more business.

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Magic Hour – Camera is my choice for the winner and I give it 200px-4hvof5.svg


hi-124-17If you’re still reading, the final application is a photo sharing site app similar to Instagram. It’s called picplz and it’s completely free!

I joined and only uploaded one photo and I also didn’t play around with this app much because I thought you could only upload regular photos without editing them. But, now that I’ve gone back and looked, you CAN apply a filter to the photos! Cool!!

I don’t know if it’s as popular as Instagram, but it’s definitely a workable option!

Oh, and I did hear back from the people at Instagram. Here was their response:

The Instagram Team

AUG 02, 2011  |  05:42PM PDT

Thanks for your interest in Instagram. We’re excited to expand to other platforms and understand the importance of making Instagram available to the millions of people without iOS devices. However, we have nothing official to announce at this time.

 

Hopefully one day Instagram will come to Android!!!

I will leave you with one more comparison: (Vignette on left, Magic Hour on right)

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I even think that the Magic Hour camera takes better photos!!

heidipear

Have you used one of the other Android cameras? How do you like it? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Instagram for Andriod? WHEN?

instagramIf you have an iPhone then I’m sure you’ve heard of the popular photo taking, editing, and sharing app called Instagram. I mainly see people sharing their photos on Twitter, but people who have Instagram have other people who follow them on Instagram and they can see their photos there.

Being an Android girl, I don’t have the ability to use Instagram. Crying face

I don’t think this is very fair! In fact, I emailed them tonight and asked if they were ever coming out with an Android app. I’ll let you know when/if I get a response what they say.

In the meantime, since I am destined to be Instagram-less, I have decided to test out a few of the Android app alternatives to Instagram.

I have downloaded (and actually bought) the following apps: Magic Hour, picplz and Vignette.

Picplz is the only one (I believe) that has a sharing website similar to Instagram. I have signed up for it but have not really delved into it much. But I will be!

I am going to use these three apps for a week and then I will write a review of them. I will be looking at ease of use, filters, and ease of sharing.

I have already used Vignette to take some photos around the house, one I think came out great but I can’t find the buggar on my phone! I did upload it to Google Plus though.

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This is Cosmo kitty and he was following a bug in the lamp, but I was able to get this one photo of him looking at me.

So, I will be uploading them to my Google Plus page and posting them on twitter as well.

Check back here in a week for my reviews!

mittenname

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Welcome! My name is Heidi and the handsome boy I am holding is my nephew (who is a triplet!). I write about the things I love in my life and like to keep things real. I don't sugar-coat. Thanks for reading, and if you want to know more about me, please click the About Me link above!

 

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