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spinning dervish

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The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition (includes blue-eyed girl scout elf)
The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition (includes blue-eyed girl scout elf)
by Carol B. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 35.95
13 used & new from CDN$ 35.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Younger kids do love the story and looking for the elf, Dec 21 2014
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Younger kids do love the story and looking for the elf, but the price is ridiculous and so is the fact the elf body is very cheap quality and the girl elf does not come with a skirt as shown in the book. In small print on the box is says "skirt sold separately" but I didn't notice this when purchasing and as the elf is sitting cross-legged I assumed the skirt just wasn't showing. Honestly, how cheap can you get? A crazy example of commercialization of 'tradition.' I bought this on a whim but wouldn't recommend it.

LEGO City Town Advent Calendar Stacking Toy
LEGO City Town Advent Calendar Stacking Toy
3 used & new from CDN$ 99.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Christmas tradition!, Dec 20 2014
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I was hesitant to spend this much on an Advent Calender, but it has so been worth it! Much better than chocolate! Each day has a small element to put together, just enough for kids to feel like they did something but not so much it can't be done quickly in the morning before school. And as the pieces start to accumulate, it forms a nice play set. The backdrop that folds out from the box is nice as it naturally forms a spot to keep all the pieces together. Overall a high quality product, highly recommended!

Llewellyn's Classic Tarot
Llewellyn's Classic Tarot
by Barbara Moore
Edition: Cards
Price: CDN$ 21.00
18 used & new from CDN$ 20.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Very nice but not a standout, Dec 20 2014
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This review is from: Llewellyn's Classic Tarot (Cards)
After reading all the glowing reviews on Amazon.com and previewing many of the card images, I was really excited to receive this deck, but found myself underwhelmed. Yes the artwork is lovely, but after spending time holding and looking through the deck a few times it just didn't stand out or speak to me. Somehow it just came across as a bit flat or generic. I have over a dozen different Tarot decks and most of them have their own character that makes them best suited for particular types of readings or readers. This one just left me feeling bland, like I'm not sure when or if I will actually use it. Will probably gift it to a new Taror reader as it should be a perfectly fine learning deck.

More Original Sudoku
More Original Sudoku
by Editors of Nikoli Publishing
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.78
39 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, Dec 20 2014
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This review is from: More Original Sudoku (Paperback)
Perfect size book of high quality Sudoku puzzles. Book is small for portability, but the puzzle size is nice and large, easy to see and plenty of room for pencil hints.

Doctor Who - Dalek Genesis Mug
Doctor Who - Dalek Genesis Mug
Offered by Philosophers Guild
Price: CDN$ 19.95
6 used & new from CDN$ 15.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, Dec 20 2014
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This review is from: Doctor Who - Dalek Genesis Mug
Delightfully detailed, well packaged, good quality. There are some nice little surprises about this too, that I won't spoil. I wish the mug were slightly thicker ceramic, to hold heat better, but this is a nice large mug that any Whovian will be pleased with.

One Day University Presents: Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness (Harvard's Most Popular Course)
One Day University Presents: Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness (Harvard's Most Popular Course)
Price: CDN$ 1.08

3.0 out of 5 stars Good info but very poorly edited, May 3 2014
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This is great information, but it reads like a bad transcription of a lecture. That may suit the idea of being at university, but when watching a speaker there are a lot of contextual and body clues that make up for the lack of 'normal' written syntax and grammar that occurs. The book was hard to follow in places and seemed like a bit of a rip off since they hadn't bothered to edit it. You can find the same person giving almost the same talks on youtube. Still, interesting and useful ideas.

Nourish Your Noggin: Brain-Building Foods & Easy-To-Make Recipes to Hasten Your Healing from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Concussion & Post
Nourish Your Noggin: Brain-Building Foods & Easy-To-Make Recipes to Hasten Your Healing from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (Concussion & Post
by Tina M. Sullivan
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 16.72
15 used & new from CDN$ 16.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Great information and recipe ideas, May 3 2014
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I first bought the kindle version, thinking I would read it over and not need to refer back often. However, the recipes are so good (easy, clear, healthy) that I found it too hard to find them in kindle and am now buying the paperback so that I can mark them more easily (you can probably do that in kindle but it was new to me). I bought this having a mild TBI and after following some of the suggestions (especially reduce gluten and add omega-3) notice a difference in my energy. The best thing about the book is that it makes it seem easy to make healthy changes, which can sometimes seem overwhelming when also dealing with a brain injury. Common ingredients are used and there are lots of interesting, easy ideas I had never thought of (like using brown rice instead of oatmeal for breakfast cereal).

Brave Intuitive Painting-Let Go, Be Bold, Unfold!: Techniques for Uncovering Your Own Unique Painting Style
Brave Intuitive Painting-Let Go, Be Bold, Unfold!: Techniques for Uncovering Your Own Unique Painting Style
by Flora S. Bowley
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.55
28 used & new from CDN$ 15.73

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous book but somewhat contradictory premise, May 26 2012
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I read all the Amazon.com reviews of this book, including the negatives, so I knew what to expect. Still, I managed to be initially disappointed and it took awhile to figure out exactly why. I think the problem lies in the book's premise that "techniques for uncovering your own unique painting style" can work in a book packed with gorgeous images of the writer's own painting. On the one hand the reader is exhorted to find a completely unique and personal mode of expression, on the other hand they are inundated with eye candy, ideas, and prompts for artwork that is in a very specific, consistent style (vibrant, bold, semi-abstract, spontaneous, playful, deeply layered).

So I can understand some readers' complaints that the book doesn't offer enough instruction in technique to really recreate this style successfully. It's like Bowley ends up teaching you her style while withholding some of the detailed technique information that might have been most interesting and helpful, in the name of wanting you to develop your own style. It's a bit contradictory and the very generic ideas and prompts can be a bit frustrating or even irritating.

All this said, and understanding the limitations of the book, I did come to really appreciate it. The gorgeous imagery was enough to keep me coming back for another look and along the way I began to see the subtlety and wisdom behind the accompanying text. The highest praise I can give the book is that it has gotten me painting again after a long time away from it. Now that I've started painting I just have to put the book away to not be overly influenced by Bowley's beautiful images! :)

The Golden Tarot (Box Set)
The Golden Tarot (Box Set)
by Liz Dean
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.64
27 used & new from CDN$ 14.61

3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been a really good deck, but feels half-complete, Oct. 8 2011
The packaging on this deck doesn't make it clear that only the major arcana and court cards are illustrated. It says "Each of the 78 cards contains an exquisite, specially commissioned painting," and the box shows several fully illustrated major cards. However, when you open the deck you find out that the 40 pip cards just have the same generic background (same within each suit) with a repeated symbol (for instance, 3 of cups has the standard cups background and three identical cups arranged on it, like the number cards in a standard deck of playing cards).

Yes, this practice goes back to a tradition before people started illustrating all the tarot cards, but in this day and age of fabulous deck artistry it feels cheap or lazy, and greatly reduces the usefulness of the deck for me. As I like to read for myself and others using the images to spark intuitive insights, having to rely on a memorized formula for the card meanings trivializes the process. Perhaps for someone who already knows the tarot meanings inside out, this would be less of an issue, but it certainly would detract from the enjoyment and utility for anyone new to the practice as I am. Just looking at an image of 5 identical cups is unlikely to mean much.

On the good side, the artwork on the illustrated cards is very pleasing, calm, clean and uncluttered yet detailed enough, in most cases (many of the court cards are a bit generic), to draw out the traditional meanings as well as some intuitive insights. The pictures are very gentle and would be suitable for younger readers or anyone who doesn't like some of the harsher or more violent imagery in some decks. Death and the Devil are both represented in a non-frightening way that suits modern practices of reading those cards as, if not positive, at least not strictly literal. Perhaps to broaden the audience for the deck, all the figures are clothed except, inexplicably, the Star figure who is entirely nude (so I'm not sure what the overall philosophy was about this issue).

Do not confuse this deck with Kat Black's Golden Tarot which was published some years earlier and is a classic among tarot enthusiasts. There is some concern that the publisher using the same name for this deck is acting unethically. It also bothers me that even though the artwork is the only redeeming feature of the deck, the artist's name, Melissa Launay, isn't even included on the package, and is only mentioned in small print in the included book. Whatever the reason for this, it smacks of not giving adequate credit.

Had Launay been contracted to provide full original illustrations for all of the cards, this might have been one of my favourite all purpose decks for reading for others. As is, I'm unlikely to use it except perhaps if I am doing any majors-only readings.

Delicious and Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes
Delicious and Dependable Slow Cooker Recipes
by Judith Finlayson
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.52
13 used & new from CDN$ 8.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring and practical, Sept. 21 2011
I really like the recipes in this book, a good mix of traditional and more creative dishes, and my kids love looking at the mouth watering photos and planning which dish to try next. Ingredient lists are manageable and the recipes are all very clearly written. If you don't want to do all the steps you can always adapt (which is true of any cookbook), for instance I am not adventurous with peppers and so am following her tip to simply use a dash of hot sauce instead. Flavours may suffer slightly but the results are still wonderful. This is a great cookbook both for browsing and using, inspiring and practical at the same time.

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