Review: Barnes and Noble Nook eReader

Nook!

My house is full of books. There are bookshelves full of them in my living room, my bedroom and my office, and I always have a running list of books that I want to read that I haven’t had time yet to add to the home collection. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve run out of space for more, and since I can’t imagine parting with any more of my current stash, I needed to find a solution. I’d heard about the kindle, but there was just something unappealing about the large white surface and the keyboard. It seemed, so… clinical. I like the size of my books. I like the smell of a new book, the feel of the pages, and the sound the pages make when I turn them. I like books. How could an electronic device give me that same feeling?

Last fall, as my book ownership was reaching the limit of my apartment and my husband’s tolerance, and I was sneaking books into the house and hiding them so it would appear they’d been there all along, Barnes and Noble announced that they were coming out with an ereader, a competitor to the kindle.  I’d already decided that I wasn’t interested in the kindle, but the new ereader, named nook, had a different look and feel.  It was smaller than the kindle in length and width, sized about the same as a thin trade paperback.  Instead of a keyboard, which seemed silly to me on a “book”, there was a small touchscreen that would show images of the covers of the books in my collection.  And it was from Barnes and Noble, my national book haven, the place that I could go, no matter where I was in the US, and feel at home.  It was as if the book gods where sending me help in my time of need.  How could I not at least give it a chance?

Not being one to rush in lightly, I waited until the sample nook arrived in-store to make a decision.  Excitedly I arrived at my local B&N and bee-lined my way to the giant “NOOK” sign in the middle of the store.  I couldn’t believe how small and sharp-looking the nook was, but I also couldn’t believe all the issues the salesperson was having with the display device.  It seemed to take forever to turn the pages and to navigate the menu.  I asked if the contrast on the e-ink screen was adjustable, and the staff went back and forth, unable to give me an answer.  I left frustrated, deciding to wait until some of the issues were resolved before I made my decision.

A few weeks later, on December 26th, I was back in Barnes and Noble, taking another look.  I’d heard that there’d been a software fix, and sure enough, the page turning and navigation were much faster.  I placed my order, and anxiously awaited my nook, scheduled to ship on February 2.  In the meantime, I read the nook forums an a lot of online reviews, and I started to worry.  The reviews were bad, and the nook owners had a lot of complaints – issues registering, freeze-ups, losing their pages, parts of the book being cut off, sideloading issues, etc.  I started to think I should just get a kindle.  But I waited it out, wanting to see for myself if my nook would have issues.

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Review: Dell Mini 10v Netbook

Dell Mini10v

Dell has recently released the Mini10, the newest addition to its line of netbooks. There are two versions, the Mini 10 and the Mini 10v, the 10v being the slightly economized version with fewer ports and a few different options. I chose the Mini 10v as it was available with a solid state drive on a Windows XP platform, whereas the Mini 10 options only include a solid state drive with Ubuntu, and I wanted to be able to install software that I already owned onto the machine.

The SSD option with the Mini 10v is a 16gb drive, which seems small compared to what most of us are used to, but it’s perfect for my needs. I already have a 13-inch Vaio SZ, so I wasn’t looking for a laptop to meet all of my computing needs. I wanted a second machine that I could take just about anywhere and that would fit into just about any bag, and that wasn’t so expensive that I would drive myself crazy worrying about it (the way I do about the Vaio). I planned to use it for surfing the internet and writing. I wasn’t looking for a computer that I could use for photography as I prefer a larger monitor for post-production. The 16gb hard drive prevents me from installing too many applications (which means a quick startup) and keeps me from storing my files on two different computers (I put any local files onto a flash drive or online storage and transfer them to my Vaio when I get home).

In the last month I’ve taken the Mini 10v to the lake, for tacos at the Tin Fish, shopping at the swanky local mall, out for coffee at various Starbucks and Dunn Brothers and book hunting at Barnes and Noble. It fits nicely into my little Timbuk2 Eula bag that looks like it couldn’t possibly have a laptop in it. It boots up quickly and runs smoothly, and with its candy pink casing it’s a great conversation-starter.

Outside of portability I really wanted a nice monitor, a keyboard that would be comfortable to type on and an easy-to-use touch pad.

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Reef Ginger: Ready for Summer

reef_ginger

Almost every Spring I place an order for at least a couple pairs of Reef Ginger sandals. I’m a bit of a flip-flop junkie and would spend the entire summer in these comfy beach shoes if I could. (and maybe someday I will!) While I have a variety of different brands and styles the Reef Ginger are still my favorites. The sole seems to have just the right mix of support and give to make them really comfortable, and they don’t have that floppy, smack-you-back feeling that some styles have. They come in a variety of different strap and sole colors to match any outfit. I prefer those with black soles as they show less dirt so I can wear them anywhere. They’re also really easy to clean, and are affordable at only $20 per pair.

Reef sandals are available through a variety of retailers, but I usually order mine from US Outdoor. They always have a good selection in stock and I’ve had no issues placing or receiving my order. I would love to tell you about their customer service, but I’ve never had to contact them!

The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

I’m currently reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Usually I would wait until I’d completed a book to blog about it, but what fascinates me most about this book is not the story, but the way the story is told. Don’t get me wrong, the story is excellent also, but the writing is unlike any other book I’ve read. Sebold writes in first person, but as the heroine of the book is dead she knows the thoughts and feelings of all the other characters. Consequently the book feels as if it’s written in first person omniscient, yet the tone all belongs to the heroine. The story is interspersed with memories and is told in vignettes, but at the same time it’s told in a way that’s really easy to follow. I’m a little in awe and hope someday to be able to craft a story this well.

I picked up my copy of The Lovely Bones from the used books section of a Barnes and Noble. I didn’t know B&N stores had used books sections, but I’m thrilled. It’s taken me a while, but I’m becoming quite a fan of used books. If you’re an online shopper, check out B&N’s online network of used books from stores around the country.

Super Yummy Body Wash

Yummy Body Wash

This is my absolute favorite body wash – the coconut lime verbena creamy body wash from Bath and Body Works. It’s got a clean, mild scent that smells (of course) like coconut and lime and reminds me of sitting on the beach in Mexico drinking pina coladas and frozen margaritas. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to that?!

I also love this body wash for the great things that it does for my skin. It keeps me feeling moisturized, even in the winter, yet it doesn’t make me break out – all it’s moisturizers are oil-free. If you’re not into the coconut lime scent, the cucumber melon scent is really nice too. And if you feel like you need a bit more moisture, Bath and Body Works makes matching luxurious body lotions too.