Tag Archives: product reviews

Spring Outdoor Gardening With OXO

I haven’t posted since March? Well, we’re not dead – we just moved!

The Complete Package pulled the trigger on retirement and the lure to be close to our grandkids was just too strong for me, so we packed up our stuff and we moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Okay, not Beverly Hills exactly, but we did move to the hills west of Austin. Hello, Hill Country!

Two weeks after we moved into our new home, we were hit with a massive hail storm that blew out three picture windows, totaled TCP’s truck, dented the guttering, destroyed our roof and beat our landscaping to a pulp. (Stupid hail.) Not the welcome we expected, but it didn’t dampen our love for the new place. It just meant we had more work to do. And we still absolutely love it.

While we wait for contractors to fix the big stuff, we started on the yard with a little help from OXO. Their Spring Gardening campaign kicked off just as we were preparing to redo the flower beds. Perfect timing! The box of tools they sent were exactly what we needed.

OXO Spring Outdoor Gardening Tools

I’ve made no bones about the fact that I love OXO products. Their commitment to smart design at a great price continually knocks me out. They don’t just design comfortable handles, for example. They add gel pads to the grips to prevent blisters. Ergonomic and comfortable for the win!

OXO Transplanting Trowel - Gel Pad Comfort

I decided to start with the hand plow and tackle replacing the salvia that got beat literally to death. Hail hath no fury? Try telling that to the salvia.

OXO Plow To the Rescue

Because of the pointed tip, I could literally plow through the rock to the soil beneath. This is a serious hand tool. Besides digging rocks, I also used it to re-trough the edge of the bed where approximately two gallons of tiny gravel from our asphalt shingles washed off the roof. Apparently, when golf ball size hail beats your roof badly enough, all that gravel will indeed come off and end up in your yard, which is totally bizarre. But fear not! The hand plow is your friend.

OXO Pointed Plow Blade

Next, we tackled trimming the broken branches from our oak trees and bushes. (Stupid hail.) I don’t have any idea what this bush is, but I like it. Could it be a blueberry bush? Only time will tell. If you recognize it, feel free to shout it out.

OXO Bypass Pruners

The bypass pruners made quick work of those branches and also helped me clean up our poor agave. He did not fare so well with the hail. Poor guy had holes blown all the way through his fronds.

Our Poor Hail-Damaged Agave

Once he was spruced up, I used the hand rake to create a zen pattern in the sand. You know… to help calm him and restore order. Quick question: Do you talk to your plants? I’m asking for a friend.

New House - Agave & Rock Bed

And the hand rake I mentioned? Wait until you get a load of it. Man, I love this thing. It’s the Edward Scissorhands of hand tools.

OXO Hand Rake - Fully Expanded

We used it to help spread new mulch because the storm washed all of our previous mulch into the adjacent greenbelt. (Stupid hail.) What I loved about this rake is that it’s expandable. Did you hear that? I said expandable!

OXO Expandable Hand Rake Collage

You can’t help but play with this thing, but the truth is it’s so functional and easy to use. TCP dumped piles of mulch, and I played with the new hand rake. I mean I ‘worked hard to improve the beds’. (Sometimes I wish he didn’t read my blog.) It made getting into tight nooks and crannies super easy.

OXO Hand Rake - Working Those Corners

Because you can release the lock and adjust the rake width in or out, you can put that mulch into any corner instead of accidentally flinging it out into the grass. That’s a big bonus for a klutz like me.

Now for my personal favorite – the Pour & Store Outdoor Watering Can. I’m telling everyone about this puppy. It’s pure dynamite. The spout actually swivels so you can fill and store with ease. What?!? You heard right!

OXO Pour & Store Watering Can - Easy Fill

And it holds 2+ gallons of water! You’d think that would be heavy and awkward to carry, but it’s really not. The can is so well balanced, you can grab it and go. And you don’t have to constantly peek into the can to see if it’s full yet, because the handle is translucent and you can see the water as it fills. See what I mean? The designers at OXO are so smart! Why did no one think of this before? Why didn’t I think of it before? I coulda’ been RICH, I TELL YOU!

OXO Pour & Store Watering Can - Easy View Fill Level

Other features that rock – the pivoting spout that allows you to fold and store easily and the removable spout head that goes from rain function to full stream with a twist. You’d better believe I am watering ALL the things now.

OXO Pour & Store Watering Can - Thoughtful Design

Once you’re done, give it a quick wipe, twist the spout back around and pop it under a kitchen cabinet. Pure genius.

OXO Pour & Store Watering Can - Easy Storage

We had so much fun playing with our new toys, we got a wild hair and planted a herb container for the front entry. In case you’re wondering, I’m already planning a Margherita pizza around that basil. ‘Hey, Basil…looking good! What, these? Oh, they’re just bypass pruners. No big whoop.’

New House - Herb Container Garden

It felt good to stand in the driveway and look over our work. The beds look good again. The plants are pruned, watered and feeling loved again. The oaks are still bruised and holding a grudge, but 2 out of 3 landscapers agree that they’ll probably recover and grow to be big and strong despite the trauma they endured.

Yes, we are still waiting for guttering and the roof to be replaced, but we really can’t complain. It could have been worse, that’s what insurance is for, and no one got hurt. For that, we are truly thankful.

New House - Front Beds & Porch

Now if OXO could just design a shingle remover and a guttering installer tool, we’d be set. Go ahead, guys. I know you can do it, and I’m willing to wait.
Up Next:
An update on the inside of our new house, including photos from that storm. (Stupid hail.)

NOTE: As a member of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, I am occasionally given the opportunity to test OXO products, which I receive at no cost to me. I do not receive any other compensation and all opinions are my own. If you are a blogger and would like more information on the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, CLICK HERE.

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Filed under Blogger Collaborations, Family Stuff, Things I Love

My new favorite walking shoes

OMG. I never ever use that phrase, but O-M-G! I just fell in love with a shoe.

Skechers GO WALK shoes; photo via Amazon.com

Have you ever had that moment in a shoe store when you tried something on and said out loud, “Holy crap! Where have YOU been all my life?!?” This was it for me. I swear, I didn’t take more than 3-4 steps before I threw them back in the box and declared, “Oh, yeah. You’re coming home with me!”

Skechers GO WALK shoes; photo via Amazon.com

They’re not just comfortable, they’re big fuzzy bunny slippers kind of comfy. Walking on baby pillows kind of comfy. Dancing on big puffy marshmallows comfy. I think it’s the bouncy miracle air springs on the soles, although I’m guessing they don’t officially call them that (dibs on that trademarking gem).

Skechers GO WALK shoes; photo via Amazon.com

Another bonus – they’re super lightweight. I’m thinking they’re the perfect travel shoe; easy to slip on & off, supportive enough to run from gate to gate & leap suitcases in a single bound, and smashable enough to cram into a suitcase with almost no added weight. Mine are a soft dove gray, but they come in colors. Here’s the link: http://www.skechers.com/style/13510/skechers-gowalk/

How much do I love them? Enough that I am actively searching nearby stores for a second pair. I am not taking any chances they’ll stop making these puppies soon. I plan to stock up so I don’t have to shave my head, tear my clothes or sell my worldly possessions in protest some day. See this last picture?

Skechers GO WALK shoes; photo via Amazon.com

That’s all you’ll see of me until I find another pair (or four) – my backside. And God help you if I get to said store and you’ve got the last pair of size 10s in your hand. God. Help. You. You’d better run, girlfriend. :)

Note: This is not a paid advertisement for Skechers GO WALK shoes. They have no idea who I am other than some crazy nut-job fan of their delicious walking shoe, if they happen to read this. I was not compensated one iota for this post, but trust me when I say this – if they want to offer me some free ones? You can bet your sweet a$$ I’m taking them up on it. -NanaBread

UPDATE (Oct 2012): Several readers asked if these slip-ons started to take on that sweaty-foot stink after time. I’m here to admit that yes, after wearing them on hot summer days in Houston when my feet got sweaty, they did start to take on that weird vinegar smell those of us with stinky feet are familiar with. However, because these shoes are highly washable, it’s really not an issue. I’ve now thrown mine into the washing machine with a load of clothes three times without experiencing any shrinkage or change in the shape or color of the shoe. After washing, I let them air dry which happens quickly since the body of the shoe is a neoprene-type material. Final vote: A+. They’re still just as comfortable and look just as good as the day I bought them, and I’m still in love.

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Filed under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Things I Love