The Critic Returns

You may recall that I review stuff every now and again. It started with my first review, The Critic. I realized in this original post I said I'd spring "Heather, the critic" on you occasionally. I've been neglecting my critic obligations, so I thought I'd give you some reviews on recent things in my life. These are quite random, but that's just how I roll (get used to it - wink wink).

  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane - I finished this book shortly after my visit to Chicago (boy, you sure get lots of reading time when you fly!). I had a good feeling about this book from the start considering it was historical in nature and had a fictional twist - love that historical fiction. Plus it was about the Salem Witch Trials which I've always found intriguing. The first two chapters made me re-think whether I'd really like the book, but I charged on. As happens with some books, you just need to get past the first chapter or so to get into the follow. By the end, I couldn't put it down. I thought it was an interesting perspective and a clever way to reveal the tale. I would recommend this book for those who like the historical fiction slash supernatural stuff (note: supernatural not quite the right word, but it's the best I can come up with for it - read it, you'll see). Since we're talking books, these are two sites I've checked out recently: Good Reads and the Book Seer.

  • Simplenote - This is an app for the iPhone and/or iPad. It's probably my favorite app. Josh, my tech dude, found it for me and downloaded it. However, if I inspire you to download it for yourself, then I wanted to also let you know that it's free! Best part, right?!? Anyway, it's sooo cool and incredibly useful. Seriously. It totally fits my note taking needs / obsession. I can access a note from any of my electronic gadgets -- iMac, iPhone, or iPad. If you update a note in one, you update them all. It's simple too (hence the name) - creating a note is quick and managing an exciting one is a synch. The power of the list unleashed!

  • Swifer Duster - Yes, I'm talking about a cleaning product. A girl at work mentioned it to me when I was complaining about house cleaning. I saw it on sale at Target, so I grabbed one. Now, let me tell you, I dislike cleaning.  Like most folks, you probably assumed I like to clean considering how I like cleanliness; however, I don't actually like doing the physical cleaning part. Not to mention, I now clean at work. This intensifies the home cleaning dislike. The Swifer Duster changed that experience for me (just a bit mind you). I enjoyed seeing the dust magically disappear - visible results (okay, that's probably more visible because dusting was highly necessary). The Duster, though, it really did it's duty - dust clung to it and didn't create a tornado of dust bunnies. With one sweep, the dust was gone. Loved it. Yea for stuff to make cleaning easier!

  • Whole-Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies - These were "healthy" cookies in disguise. My co-workers didn't even realize they were whole wheat. I even put in a tad bit of wheatgerm. All totally unnoticed until I brought it up (not sure why I even brought it up). Anyway, these were delicate and scrumptious; a definite crowd-pleaser. I think they made a nice sweet tooth treat after dinner, too. Caveat: This never out-beats froyo.

  • Open-Face Turkey Burgers with Gruyère, Mushrooms, and Arugula Salad - I made this tasty dinner a few weeks ago and it turned out great. I used par-baked potato bread (obviously I baked the rest at home and got it nice and crispy). Since it was raining, I ended up cooked the burgers on the stove top inside. This method didn't prevent them from jaw-dropping awesomeness. They were fast and easy to make - a 30 minute meal (take that Rachel). I found the recipe on Epicurious as I was exploring the app on my iPad and planning the week's meals out. To end, I'd like to make a quick call tech out: Epicurious is another fav app.

  • Florence + The Machine - I'm not talking construction in Italy, rather a music group. Their songs are very mellow and nice for chilling out - i.e. while you are napping or cruising the Internet. I guess this would go under the Indie genre. Josh actually got the Lung album on iTunes and I used iTunes home-sharing feature to download it for myself. If you need something pleasant, I highly recommend this one.

Alright, I covered a plethora of topics there - cleaning, cooking, and more. I have another blog topic in mind, but I need to find the time to write. I'm busy these days since [A] I'm getting more hours at work, and [B] Josh's graduation is this weekend and the parents are both going to be in town soon (now you understand the Swifer topic).

I'll end with a picture since it's my "blog thing" and I enjoy photos (plus I hear adding visuals to your blogs make it more interesting for the audience - and I'll do anything for my fan club).

P.S. I like to think this is Josh laughing at my clever, and witty post above. Rather, he's just laughing at a cupcake (he's gone a bit crazy with finals).