Thursday, December 11, 2008

Review -

I wanted to spread the word about this website.

Christmas is fast approaching, boys and girls. I know most of you aren't quite finished with your shopping, and what makes things even more difficult and stressful is when you aren't able to find that special movie or television series. If you use a search engine to quickly locate one, this website will show up in the search results.

At first glance, the site looks legitimate, with sales and specials, easy navigating, and a large inventory. To the unaware and sometimes unfortunate buyer, this website promises an inexpensive Christmas gift to your loved one. The entire "Murder, She Wrote" series for $60? What a steal.

My mother, a highly intelligent, good-hearted woman, nearly fell victim to this website about a week ago. She ordered my father "The Smothers Brothers" DVD collection, a rare find that even does not carry. Within 3 days, she received an email stating her order had been cancelled - the credit card was declined. She tried again, same response. I suggested she use her debit card, and it was also declined, the site stating that her account had been cancelled. Finally, she called her credit card company and discovered had charged her account and included a confirmation code. She called the store. They claimed there was no charge.

After going back and forth and even having the credit card company say to the store that there was in fact a charge (more denial), my mom called me, frustrated. I looked up this store review and after lots of digging, found several reviews that coincided with what happened with my mom.

Check out some of the reviews from this site:

"I am one of the hundreds of people ripped off by, AKA Garcia Media Group, AKA SXR.CA. On August 3rd, 2007, I placed an order with said company for a Wonder Years DVD box set (Order #24534). They immediately charged my credit card $71.98. I of course NEVER received the item... "

"Wish I'd come across your posting before making my boxed set purchase. Not only did I receive bogus DVDs (blank) but the my credit card number was used by a syndicate in Nigeria that began to make all sorts of charges. Luckily my bank picked up strange charges immediately and invalidated..."

And some more from the Pissed Consumer website:

"Company sells DVD's of TV shows; not sure if legit as I am having trouble canceling an order and getting my money back; company is ignoring my request for a refund so having to get my credit card company involved ... buyer bewareThere appears to be a lot of companies online selling similar items. I found this company after doing a search on Yahoo so I thought it would have been legit. I hope to prevent others from running into the kinds of problems I am having right now. Always research a company before buying on online! You can never be too safe!"

Once I found these reviews, along with a few more from, I forwarded the links to my mom. She immediately called her bank and the CC company and explained what she found. They immediately cancelled the charges for her. She also emailed TVDVDMania to cancel her order, if one was still in process. As discouraged as she was to not be able to give my dad the dvd sets, she is very relieved to have her money back in her account.

I dug around a little more on the site. Check out some of the replies to the FAQs TVDVDMania offers:

Do you offer Express shipping?
Unfortunately, we do not offer Overnight or Express Shipping as our DVD sets are custom ordered.

Um, custom ordered? If offers express shipping, along with several stores on ebay - both are considered 'custom' sites. Unless you are talking about taping over previously pirated dvds...then I could see the problem.

I have not received a response to my email and it has been 48 hours. Why?
99% of the time, our email's got trapped in your SPAM/BULK mail folder.
Please note that many e-mail accounts do not recognize our e-mail address and mark us as "Spam". Because of this our e-mails may be sent into your "Spam" or "Junk" box. We ask that you please check your "Spam"/"Junk" box to see if our reply has been placed there.
Also, please check to ensure that we are in your address book so that our e-mails are not blocked. Some known email accounts where this problem has occurred are: Yahoo, AOL, Gmail and Hotmail.

If you were a legitimate business, this problem would also be averted. I have yet to see and ebay emails in my spam folder. Oh, and at least there is some form of honesty on their "Terms & Conditions" page, which nobody ever reads...unless you're MsJudgemental!

My comments in bold:

It is understood by the customer that some of the DVDs sold by DVD Mania have been individually compiled from original film stock and public domain wholesaler sources. (Meaning that these are pirated copies.) These sources have an inconsistent level of preservation associated with them. In accordance the playback experienced may vary from movie to movie on any DVD collection purchased. (Meaning that 'it isn't our fault they don't play properly) Every effort has been given to maintain true DVD quality, but the customer understands and accepts that some level of imperfection is present in each film and that level of imperfection can vary significantly between films. This means the customer accepts that their may be "pauses" or "skips" present in the playback of any given film. We have made every effort to keep errors to a minimum, but they may still exist. The customer accepts this as part of their set, and as part of owning films directly converted from original film stock.

Look, Mania gurus, this shouldn't even be a PART of your disclaimer. You should be standing behind a 100% high quality product with a satisfaction guarantee. Specialized stores shouldn't be half-ass efforts.

And finally, a forum discussion thanks to

DO NOT purchase anything from this company. I can only hope this review shows in the Search Results section of yahoo and google. Review the store before you buy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Product Review - South Beach Diet Pizzas

Oh, Kraft would think I've learned by now, after the invention of Velveeta, the condom lube products in Cool Whip, and your version of macaroni and cheese - powdered cheese with 5 gallons of butter? Hm.

Nope, I am still a glutton for punishment. I still bargain shop for Insta-meals and am determined to save an extra dollar while our economy plunges further into the depths of despair.

Kraft's South Beach Diet insta-pizzas caught my eye this past Sunday night, especially when I saw they were 15 cents cheaper than the average sodium-loaded Red Baron pizzas. To top it off, they make their pizzas with a wheat crust. I hurredly snatched 3 frozen boxes and chunked them in my cart, next to my always adored Lean Cuisine paninis.

Today's victim is the SB Grilled Chicken and Vegetable pizza with wheat crust. First, the image:

Following, the nutritional facts:

Calories :330
Calories from Fat: 90
Total Fat: 10g

Saturated Fat: 4g
Cholesterol: 25mg
Sodium: 620mg
Total Carbohydrate: 37g
Dietary Fiber: 10g
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 30g

And the review:

Every so often I have to serve my dog Cyrus a pill for some ailment or injury he obtained. This is always pure excitement and involves me chasing him around the house, crashing into the coffee table, falling down cursing and losing the pill (which was about $4 per tablet), then him feeling guilty and allowing me to jam the found pill down his throat. He ends up hawking it up, stuffing it in his jaw to avoid the taste, and later in the evening I can hear him smacking his lips in his attempts to remove the now jammed-in-the-gum pill from its location. The sound and sight is hilarious.

It's even more hilarious on a human, especially me. This pizza was dry beyond logical reasoning, especially with the high amount of sugar in it. There was no tomato sauce, and the spinach topping felt a little moldy. With the high amount of sodium in it, I drank a whole bottle of water in one sitting. The caloric content is reasonable, but as always, I supplement my meals with fruit and chips. I need the carbs to keep my internal engine going, so I could justify that.

The pizza's wheat crust was actually decent - flaky and crunchy, like pizzas should be. Of course, with all wheat breads, the texture will be a bit dryer than white, however I am used to that by now, having been consuming wheat bread for several years. I consider white bread a splurge.

I doubt I will buy this pizza again, and just go for spending an extra 10 cents on a Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice for the next time. I do have 2 additional South Beach meals hiding in my abyss of a freezer, though.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Product Review - Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant

Ok ladies, this one is for you. Guys, prepare to laugh, and for my friends, here is some ammunition when you've run out of things to make fun of me about.

Around my circle of friends, I'm known as the 'delicate flower' of the group. I'm feminine, squeamish with gross topics that men find funny, and wear pink on a daily basis. I am your all around girly-girl. However, I also ride horses, play tennis and volleyball, and have been known to cut down trees and brush on some acreage my family owns a little up north.

While most women claim that women don't sweat, we 'glow', I simply roll my eyes and make a mental note to proclaim loudly, "Look! She's glowing!" while a woman is in childbirth or even walking around in the Southern part of my world's blistering heat. Texan women don't glow. We don't glisten. We don't have vapors. Heck, we don't even slightly perspire.

We sweat. As my mother recently commented: "We sweat like turkeys at a turkey barn who are being chased around the turkey pen by a guy named Albert with a hatchet similar in size to the one Daniel Boone used while fighting off the indians."

Yes, your very own Ms Judgemental is a perspiring bucket of body coolant, yet somehow extremely sexy woman. And I am darn proud of my sweatiness, thank you. However, while it is appropriate to sweat during a work out, as your body is cooling itself down and burning off the fats and starches you ate earlier (remember that bowl of pasta? No wonder you smell like garlic!), with the average human body containing around 2 million sweat glands. Here is a little excerpt I know my readers will find fascinating:

"There is also a difference in the chemical elements when we perspire. Perspiration that is produced through the Aprocrine glands, or in the armpit, will be thicker and perhaps have a yellowish color. This is because it contains fatty acids and proteins. It is this type of sweat under the arms, coupled with antiperspirants, which can turn clothing yellow. Notice when we apply deodorants it is only to the armpits, in order to counteract the smell of the Aprocrine sweat. Sweat is actually odorless, but when it starts to decompose and is attacked by bacteria, the smell can be unpleasant." (source:

The result: You stink. Your underarms stink. Body odor is not an alluring scent that will attract Prince Charming from miles away. And while I hate to admit it, sometimes my sweat is a bit 'undelicate'. (Hangs head in shame)

One afternoon I ventured out to the Big Box store for my every few months personal product supply stockup. After weaving in and out of aisles, I found myself standing in front of a 10 foot long, 5 foot wide section of sparkly plastic tubes and aerosol cans of deodorant. Vanilla Sunrise or Banana Origami? Clear? Solid? The possibilities were endless. In their attempt to confuse us even more with thousands of powder white to clear gooey scented sticks, deodorant companies have now come out with another fantastic product guaranteed to leave one frolicking in the forest with unicorns while wearing a dress made out of lavendar and jasmine. And sadly, no unicorns visited me in the forest, and my dress fell apart. (Lavendar doesn't glue well.) However, as bright colors always do, a yellow "New!" tag on a white box caught my eye:

Deodorant in a box? At the Big Box Store? For the price of $5.99? Hm, this could be interesting. Being unhappy with my current smelly stick and not feeling springtime fresh like it promised me, I threw the box in my cart and resumed my shopping. With words like "Clinically proven", "Doctor Endorsed", an extra dollar to spend, and shiny colors on the box, maybe it was worth a try.

The following day I got up, performed my womanly duties with soaps, creams, goos, gels, grunts and groans, and decided to give the stuff a try. I noticed absolutely nothing extraordinary during the day, despite lifting my arm to see if hydrangea and baby powder would pop out of my armpit glands. I did smell fresh and clean, however. Riding would be a good test that night.

I went riding. I sweat. My body ached with a strenuous workout. But the pits were still fresh and clean, even thought I had drops of sweat running down my back. Was this a fluke? Did I sweep that much on? I did notice a bit of white residue on my shirt, so I figured I had been overcompensating in the past with my 'unclinical' stick. I tested the product the following day, using less. I played volleyball after work that evening and still smelled fresh. No residue, either.

This was too good to be true! Sure, my hair was sticky, and I sweat as much as I normally do, but I didn't have the nasty feeling that I once felt with my regular product. I felt less stale, less disgusting when we went out to eat afterwards.

6 months later, I am still using the Clinical Strength stuff, using less than I once did with the regular sticks. No, I haven't seen a unicorn in the forest yet, but Texas has lost the battle with one stinky woman, who now smells powder fresh.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Product Review - Lean Cuisine Chicken Florentine

Like millions of other Americans, I am constantly looking for new ways to eat healthier, save money, and keep up with the growing food trends. I'm also dirt cheap and get tired of spending $50 a week on restaurant food. My good friend The DailyDimwit is also going through a "I feel fat! Must eat in more often!" phase, and my feeble attempts to introduce him to low cost, healthy eating are futile. I have tried to tell him which instant lunches taste the best, but of course, being a man...he doesn't listen.

With that in mind, I went to my local grocery store and stocked up on 'insta-meals': welcome new category!

My freezer's supply is getting low, but in my attempts to keep pinching the poop off the buffalo on a penny I dug around and discovered a loan box, snatched it up, and ate it for lunch today. Then I read the paper, RIGHT after I pitched the container in the trash. Oops.*

Today's experiment was Lean Cuisine's 13.25 ounce Chicken Florentine meal. No preservatives! Here are the nutritional facts they exploit right on the box:
  • Fat - 9g
  • Calories - 410
  • Vitamin A - 70%D
  • VCalcium - 35%DV
  • Vitamin C - 0%DV
  • Dietary Fiber - 24%DV
  • Weight Watchers® Points® 8
  • Vegetable Servings 1
  • Total Carbohydrates (g) 54 - 18% DV

I'm all about the high fiber content at this point in my life, and for a woman my age, that's a bit less milk I have to drink to get my calcium. The sodium content is a bit high at 840 mg, 35% DV, but that is easy to counteract with enough water consumption and eating acidic fruit with the meal. Calorie-wise, if you focus only on that, it isn't much for a meal within a 2,000 calorie diet. However, knowing my system, internal clock, and overall being in tune with my body (as all women need to be in their 20s and up) I knew that the carb content was enough to keep my engine burning through the rest of today. Me + no carbs = zonked out writer with no personality! That equals less reviews for you all. And yes, people do read this...especially my Rooms to Go! The hits on that are astounding!

Moving along...the recommended radioactive cancer forming (also known as microwave) time was about 5 minutes with a stop/stir in between. I chunked mine in my office fridge this morning about 9:30 when I stumbled in, late as always. It sat for about 2 1/2 hours until I remembered I brought my lunch and needed to eat. I nuked this bad boy for about 2 minutes, found the center frozen like a hot pocket, then nuked it for another minute. Give it a stir and off we go!

The pasta noodles are precooked and taste like plain pasta noodles. They aren't crunchy or dry, and retain the spiral shape pretty well. The chicken is impressive -all white breast meat that is tender, juicy, and no sign of frost bite. The veggies are good; the meal doesn't contain enough for my liking, but I'm someone who will sit and eat an entire head of broccoli and puts okra in everything.

The meal loses points for the sauce. With the freezing/thawing/nuking process, the sauce loses the creamy thickness people adore in pasta, and turns into a watery, runny mess. It appears and tastes as if it was made with skim milk, and in further review of the ingredients, my taste buds were correct. This is where the lower caloric content comes into play. I prefer at lowest, 1% milk within the sauce.

My tastebuds are also an the pro-savory side. The sauce in the meal is a bit bland and leans to the sweet side, so I had to season it severely to satisfy my salty desires. I also cracked some pepper over it, which helped.

The portion size for me is perfect (I am 5'3'' and on a good day weigh about 125 pounds; if you tell anyone I'll smack you), but I do supplement with fruit. I also have an afternoon snack to keep me from inhaling cookies or cake that our office loves to provide. It's a birthday! Let's have cake. Retirement! Cake! New hire! Cake! Someone had a baby! Cake! Someone has diabetes! with fruit on top!

Overall, I give this about a 3.75 out of 5 on my insta-meal scale. I will buy this meal again, but now I remember why it always finds it way to the no-man's land of my freezer. However, if you are craving some carbs, pasta, and just something different, rather than a PB&J or pizza, it's worth the $2.50 you spend at the store. Lean Cuisine also provides coupons, which, at this point in the economy, makes the addition of salt seem worth the 40 cent savings.

*Editor's note: I ate this meal despite the news that 3 of Lean Cuisine's meals have been recalled here in my side of Texas. If I die, now you guys will know why!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Store Review - Rooms To Go

I recently moved from my small shoebox of an apartment to a larger "boot box" a few miles up the road. However, my new living room is slightly smaller in square footage, as I gained a bigger kitchen and closet. The result was a frustrated woman (me) knocking into couches left and right, no matter which way I angled them. I eventually sold them on Craigslist, ready for a fresh seat (start?).

I ventured out into the furniture shopping world, cash in my pocket, to hopefully find a smaller set. Clutched in one fist was the dimensions of my apartment, and in my other hand a tape measure. Determination and claustrophobia were my motivations.

Have you heard about the newest craze, Rooms To Go ? The premise of this place is that you can buy an entire room of furniture for a steal of a deal, and have your home instantly decorated - EXACTLY how their underpaid designers laid it out within the store - with little to no effort!

Like that denim couch set with the saggy lazy boy? It can be yours for only $2,000, and it comes with the coordinating geometric rug! For added dramatic effect, paint the railing on your staircase a delightful electric blue. It's just an accent, not an overwhelming addition to your already shabby pad with a picture of a window to look at. I'm sure you'll get LOTS of ladies with this set. (Is it me, or does that whole set look like a slipcover set purchased from the clearance rack at Wal Mart?)

Or this cheeky little number, which I had to see in the store to believe:
The color, which reminds me of mashed peas in baby vomit, is called "Silhouette Pear Green" A 7 piece set, yours for only $1700! And yep, you're stuck with the 1974 lamps and coffee table, which looks as though it could be knocked over by a gust of wind at any moment. The oh-so-comfortable sofa is also a sleeper. Perfect for torturing your husband to unfold when guests arrive! You can find the same set in other colors, such as Galveston beach sand, rusty nail orange, and retro-powder blue. Cindy Crawford must be proud to have her name associated with this beautiful set. I love how one of the lamps is eco-friendly - it's growing its very own plant right out of the shade!

There's also an accent chair! Stare at it for a few minutes, and the geometric shapes adjust before your eyes. It goes with all 4 of the collection's colors...

Ok, time to refrain from laughing. I found three sofas on the website, and in my determination to find a set sooner rather than later, I went in on a whim to check out the place.

Disclaimer: This review is of a local store near my new dwelling. This does not reflect the overall customer service of Rooms to Go and its affiliates. Your store may vary in selection, size, and employees.

I have visted 3 times to this particular location, and each time have been more than disappointed. On each visit, I was well-dressed (usually having been on my way home from my real job, which pays me real money to write). And each time, I was given a 'hello', then passed over for a married couple or a non-English speaking family with 27 kids running around. Each time, aside from my last visit, which is written below, I left without being helped. I suppose the salesmen figured I could simply write up my purchase, pay my money, and leave a copy of my receipt on the desk on my way out, couches strapped to the tailgate of my sedan. No bother.

I continued to make my way around the store, then saw a clearance section in the back. What they don't tell you in the clearance section in the back:

1. We are not here to help you, as we are making absolutely no commission off your cheap-ass purchase. Therefore, see number 2.

2. We aren't delivering this furniture to your home. Better get your UHaul flat bed trailer and load this on your own. That's right, we don't even help you load it up!

3. These prices are not the cheapest around. Like a liquidation sale at Linens n' Things, we have jacked the prices up 175%, then 'slashed' them by 50%, resulting in you paying twice as much for clearance furniture, and no that is not a stain on that microfiber couch, it is a shadow.

I meandered my way through mismatched pieces, a few dented sets, a rather rude sales guy who reminded me that there was no way in Hell he'd help me load up the pieces, and if I have questions to read the back of the cards pasted on the furniture. He then took off to the bedding section to assist a rather busty woman select a sturdy headboard to attach her handcuffs to. Interesting...she didn't look like a police officer...

I gave up in clearance and headed back to the main showroom. I laughed at a denim 'country style' set up, complete with fuzzy cow hide rug, 'iron' (spray painted plastic) accents, and 'wood' (composite shavings) accent tables. The lamps were complete with Texas stars, horseshoes, and cowboys. I sensed a pile of manure was all it took to complete the effect, but due to health codes, R2G was forbidden and had to return it to the dude ranch. The poor decoraters instead threw a large picture of a steer above the loveseat.
Finally, despite being ready to spend money, no one offered any help whatsoever. I caught one sales guy snoozing in a massage chair. I asked him if I could get him some coffee, and he gave me an irritated look, however did not heave himself out of the chair. He rested in the chair for about another 15 minutes before a young kid approached me, asking if I needed help. Finally, service!

Wrong. I attempted to explain my size requirements, which I already knew he could not fulfill (take that any way you want it, kids.) He pretended to understand my decorating needs, and stuttered that no couch in the store was going to fit. Ok, I'll leave. Good job, kid. You just blew a sale.

In his realization that he just put his foot in his mouth and lost his potential new pair of Abercrombie jeans, the kid blocked me from the exit and lead me over to a sagging set that would no way fit my needs. This 7 piece set was on sale for $1788. I explained I didn't need the whole set, that unfortunately the color isn't espresso (aka: dark brown, people) and that those cushions would not hold up to my liking. He ignored my rebuttals and asked me which pieces I was interested in. I told him the loveseat, chair, and ottoman, fully knowing I would not be purchasing the set. He quoted me $1500.
Am I the only one who sees a problem with that? I looked at him, dumbfounded. For $200 more, I get lamps, a coffee table, and a sofa?
"Uh, yes ma'am." he must have thought I was crazy, not seeing the amazing deal for a fantastic furniture set of the highest quality. Der...
$1500 for 3 pieces of furniture is not going to sell me. He made no attempt to cut a deal, instead unzipping one of the pillows to show me the double-layer of fabric they use to keep the foam insulation secure and look at the pretty colors it comes in and do my pants make my butt look big?
I thanked him, reluctantly took his card, asked the other sales guy if he'd like a massage with a happy ending, then said he should get off his lazy butt, as I'm not allowed to do that at my job. "Sucks to be you," he said.
My overall opinion of Rooms To Go? Fail.
The sales staff is biased, probably due to their extensive sales training from corporate, who explains that couples are more likely to spend money than a single person. True, but again, don't sell all of us single cats short, as I had lots of money to spend, had I been stupid enough to take 3 pieces of furniture for $1500.
There is no negotiating prices like individually owned stores (Gallery, Bi-Rite, even Star Furniture in Houston, TX will allow you to negotiate). I was unable to see financing terms. What you see is the amazing deal of what you get. No mixing and matching. You'd better like that snazzy pickled pink coffee table with your room or know how to use a can of varnish. Otherwise, go find another set.
Their version of 'clearance' and the average shopper's view of 'clearance' are entirely different. Full priced furniture is less expensive than what I saw there. I saw a set on clearance that was the exact same set I owned several years ago, for twice the price of what I purchased it at - on sale.
My vote? Go somewhere else. I have a list of good furniture stores to shop at in the area, so feel free to drop me a line and I'll fire it over.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Product Review - Nutro Brand Dog food

I own a dog.

Correction, I am owned by a dog. That seems more truthful.

My family has been in the "Owned by a Bulldog" club for several generations, all the way back to the 60s, in which my grandmother raised a champion Bully. Today my brother and I each are graced daily by our Bulldogs, Zeus and Cyrus.

Nutrition is a key factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for the Bulldog breed. With my first Bulldog (Betsy, owned by my father), it was all a learning experience, and I believed that I had all the answers when I purchased Cyrus almost 4 years ago. For the past year, I have been feeding my dog this food:

For your history lesson today, Nutro has been around for approximately 80 years, specializing only in dog and cat nutrition. They take pride in ensuring your pet is fed only the best quality kibble available. They are even proud enough to display the ingredients in each bag of kibble that they display it right on the back of the bag.

Why is that such a big deal? Well, fellow pet lovers/owners, I have a great little secret for you. Pet food manufacturers are required by the FDA to post the ingredients of the food somewhere on the product's packaging. They do not specify the exact location, but what has become a growing trend is the following:

Ol' Roy, Kibbles n' Bits, Alpo, etc: post their ingredients on the bottom of the bag.

Grocery store brands, such as Purina, Pedigree, Science Diet: post their ingredients on the side panel of the bag. They aren't thrilled with the ingredients and know that any intelligent pet owner will realize the garbage in the food is not healthy for their pet, but it's better than Ol' Roy, who ground up chicken feed and horse hooves in theirs!

Don't believe me? Check out this little morsel of information:

"....there is no mandatory federal inspection of ingredients used in pet food manufacturing. In all but two or three states, the law allows pet food makers to use “4-D sources,” that is tissues from animals that are dead, dying, disabled or diseased when they arrive at the slaughterhouse. Another shocking fact is that before meat even arrives at the rendering plant it has already been saturated with chemicals. To comply with government regulations all meat rejected by slaughterhouses must be “denatured”-- a procedure designed to make it unpalatable to humans, thus ensuring it cannot be resold as human grade meat. "
Special thanks to this website:

Sounds tasty, eh?

Here is a sample of what is in something that most people feed their own dogs: Purina One:

Lamb (natural source of glucosamine), brewers rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), oat meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), lamb meal, animal digest, potassium chloride, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, salt, caramel color, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Add Videogarlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. (Special thanks to

Looks good, right? Meat, rice, etc.

Ok, time for your daily TMI moment:

Did you know humans cannot digest corn? Ever eaten some tasty corn on the cob one night at a barbeque, then the next day (or next bowel movement, depending on how regular you are) you notice the corn chunks in your stool? Well, there's your proof in the proverbial 'pudding', my friend. So if humans cannot digest corn, why feed it to your dog? While corn is a 'vegetable', stuffing it down your dog's throat isn't going to keep him full for long, and will create more 'land mines' in your lawn. And who doesn't want additional animal fat to pick up? There is a list of other delicious sounding products that I cannot pronounce, but I guarantee you aren't good for your precious FiFi.

Back to my original topic, as I could moan, groan, and gnash my teeth for hours on the ridiculousness of grocery store and Wal Mart brand dog foods....

With a Bulldog, who has a highly sensitive tummy, this stuff is sure to keep their life spans in the 6 to 8 year range. However, Betsy, rest her little soul, lived to be 11.

ELEVEN years old. The dog had hip dysplesia and regular $300 vet bills. But how did she live to be so old and still kicking right up to her last day on Earth?

We discovered premium dog food. Nutro.

I have fed my little bulldozer Nutro dog food products since I can remember. When we first adopted Zeus, my brother's rescued Bulldog, he was being fed grocery store brand dog food, and a bit of the BARF diet , a new age way of feeding, that really isn't necessary. When comparing the two bullies, Cyrus was visibly in better shape. Cosmetically speaking, he had a light layer of fat on his body (ribs still able to be felt, of course) well defined muscle, a shiny, glossy coat, white teeth, clear eyes, and little mucus on his nose. Energy-wise, he outlasted Zeus easily.

The first thing we did was rip any raw meet and bones away from Zeus, who seemed eager to do the same - by ruining several sheets, a blanket, and almost a rug with his bouts of diarhea for about a week - before he went home to his new family. We switched him over to a Nutro product, and the change was nearly immediate. Today, he has more muscle, clear eyes, energy, and is a happier dog.

Ingredients in Nutro: Chicken meal, whole brown rice, ground rice, lamb meal, rice bran, soybean oil, sunflower oil, poultry fat, salmon meal, flaxseed. (More thanks to While soybean oil isn't the best (I vote for sunflower and olive oil,) it still aids in a healthy bully. Also note the missing filler ingredient: CORN.

Some more facts about this particular brand of dog food: While I have used it for about a year (this type, not the brand...I love Nutro), it is considered the second-rate version of the original Nutro food. I think this product was created for a dog owner that doesn't want to feed grocery store garbage, but just doesn't feel comfortable paying a little extra cash for premium dog food. The large bag that I feed costs about $25.00 and lasts me a little over 2 months. Cyrus is fed two cups of it a day.

Raves: It is low odor, keeps his teeth pure white, and has the best ingredients for the price, plus it lasts longer, is filling for my extreme eater, and comes in different sizes/flavors.

Rants: I think it also has food coloring, because Cyrus's stool is a little more orange compared to other dogs. And it stains if they decide to puke on your white carpet. (Mix a little bleach in your steam cleaner detergent, and go after the stain a few times!) Also, while this may not be related to the product, I have noticed that Cyrus has been shedding a little more often than usual. This could be the amazing changes in weather we continue to have.

Overall, if you want to have your dog around for a few extra years, I vote you try Nutro brand dog food. One bag makes a huge difference. Spend an hour on a Saturday at your local Petco or Petsmart, where Nutro experts are available to chat with. And enjoy the lowered stress - avoid less 'presents' around the yard. Less 'filler', more 'food', means more energy, and less poopie. And, if you are a Wal Mart shopper like myself and have some extra time, check out the ingredients in some of the dog foods, like what we found in Purina's Beneful (gee, yummy...)

Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, sugar, sorbitol, tricalcium phosphate, water, salt, phosphoric acid, animal digest, potassium chloride, dicalcium phosphate, sorbic acid (a preservative), L-Lysine monohydrochloride, dried peas, dried carrots, calcium carbonate, calcium propionate (a preservative), choline chloride, added color (Yellow 5, Red 40, Yellow 6, Blue 2), DL-Methionine, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, copper sulfate, biotin, garlic oil, thiamine hydrochloride, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, sodium selenite.

Sounds so....tasty, doesn't it? Just because the bag has pretty packaging doesn't mean it is going to make pretty poop piles for your dog.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Product Review - Crest Spin Brush

I told you guys that this blog reviews everything.

Being a hygiene fanatic, from time to time I will review various beauty products, like today, in which I review the Crest SpinBrush:

The picture to the right is courtesy of
Being someone who was content with a simple, inexpensive manual toothbrush, I never concerned myself with the fancy gadgets and gizmos of the oral hygiene industry. I figured that quality toothpaste and a firm bristled brush would do the work for me.
My visits to the dentist are semi-annually, well, they were until I lost my job a year or so ago and went without insurance for several months. I soon became employed and received insurance again. Yay, me.
Before I lost my job back in August of 2007, I visited my dentist. For the past two years, there had been a small, dark spot behind my upper left 'canine' that they had been closely monitoring and sending me home with headaches after digging at it for so long. Moving on, I lost the job, got a new job in September of that same year, and Christmas showed up with this toothbrush in my stocking. Thanks, Mom.
I have used this toothbrush since Christmas of 2007. I visited the dentist last week for my much needed annual cleaning, opened my mouth for x-rays, and questioned the progress of the dark spot. My hygienist peered into the x-rays on the computer and said, "Weird, I don't see it anymore." I was relieved, but still unsure why my girls were so concerned over the spot in the first place. It wasn't causing me any pain or discomfort...until the dentist walked in and said, "Yeah, that spot was the makings of a cavity. Impressive! That thing has been there for two years!"
Sure, you can claim that it was a stroke of luck, or that I moved my head at the last minute, causing the x-rays to blur, so on and so forth. You're wrong. I've always prided myself in the excellent condition of my chompers, and was even more proud of myself now that the spot had cleared.
My cleaning went on smoothly, despite my very sensitive gums being attacked. However, for someone who hadn't been in over a year, my teeth recovered well. I have noticed a whiter appearance and less gum bleeding now that I use this brush.
Some specs of the SpinBrush: The toothbrush I purchased comes in various colors, for you finicky color-schemed fanatics out there. Mine is, yes, pink, as in the above picture. It is a double A battery operated mechanism that lasts about 8 months before it starts to slow down. This is with twice daily brushing. The heads are replaceable. The cost of my brush was approximately $14.00 from Wal Mart, the 2 pack of heads about $5.00. It is a little bulky because of the battery case, but worth the extra weight. Besides, you need to work out your forearm and wrist more often!
The pros: Hey, I'm missing one less hole in my head. Need I say more?
The cons: Yep, a little more landfill waste than what I prefer, with replacing the heads. However, it's better than replacing a toothbrush every 3-4 months. I want to invest in rechargeable batteries as it is.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Restaurant Review: Grand Lux cafe

I apologize for the lack of a review. I have been in the midst of Hurricane Ike and upon my return to my real job, was greeted with over 200 new emails.

However, I recently came upon something available to review. Now, I'm no real food critic, but I know what good food is and what isn't. Grand Lux is the first victim to my unsual and sometimes picky tastebuds. The following is a review of a few of their menu items.

To begin:

Grand Lux is a highly rated and sometimes pricy restaurant with a location in the Galleria area of Houston, TX (where I am stalkers, please!) They serve the standard items - meat, sandwich/burgers, salads, and pasta plates, all with their own 'signature style'. I suppose anything with garlic added to it must be a signature.

The first time I ate at the Galleria location was a few months ago with coworkers. I ordered the following combo for lunch:

Lunch Sandwich Special One-Half of a Chicken Salad, Turkey, B.L.T or Tuna “Nicoise” Sandwich, a Cup of Our Soup and a Small House Salad (source:

The price at this location was 10.95. A little high for my tastes, until I saw the amount of food I was presented. The salad was slightly bland with their house dressing and wasn't really dressed. The bread was sourdough, a Turkey sandwich. The soup? Fantastic. I ate the chicken mushroom soup and couldn't get enough of it. Fabulous.

This afternoon, my coworkers had another urge to return to the cafe, and I decided to try something different - and with less food. I ordered this:

Lunch Oven Baked Rustic Pizza & Salad A Half of an Oven Baked Pizza and a Small House Salad. Your Choice of: Margherita, Pepperoni, B.B.Q. Chicken or Fresh Mozzarella (Source same as above)

It was another giant portion. I ordered the mozzarella pizza with the house salad (ranch dressing - yep, they chunked garlic in there too.)

My friend ordered the margherita pizza and we decided to share, since we both wanted both pizzas.

The mozzarella pizza was tasty for the first two slices, then started to feel greasy as I continued to eat. The garlic chunks were large, with fresh spinach and sundried tomatoes. The salad was light, a typical house salad. The price: $10.95. For the size of the pizza and salad, this was fairly priced. The margherita pizza consisted mainly of tomatoes and cheese, and didn't have the feel of a true pizza like what one could purchase from the California Pizza Kitchen. The tomatoes could have used a little seasoning to them. However, both pizzas tasted fresh and well-prepared, the dough being crispy and soft in all the right places.

Overall, though the menu is high priced, the portions that are served coincide with the size of dollar you want to spend. With a glass of tea, my total came to $14.02. My server was well informed of the menu (as all servers are required to be at this place). The location was impecably clean, and food was served promptly during the busy lunch hour. I will continue to dine here, giving the restaurant a 3 1/2 out of a 5 star rating...for now. I may try a burger next time.

If you go, check out the chicken and mushroom soup! It's fantastic. Also check out their homemade chocolate chip and nut infused cookies. They are the size of a bread plate. Next time I will also attempt one of their desserts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Product Review - Magic Bullet

It’s Saturday night and you’ve just returned from yet another night on the town, but aren’t quite ready to go to bed yet. You still have to clear the cigarette smoke from your lungs and down six bottles of water before you attempt to sleep. What do most people do? They click on the TV. The first thing you are met with? Infomercials.

Throughout this website, you will find several product review from items “As Seen on TV!”. Such as the following product:

Meet the infamous Magic Bullet. Created by Homeland Housewares, its relatives include a Fat Burning supplement, an upgrade kit, and a recipe booklet. The Bullet appeared a few years ago for the one-time low price of $99.95, but now is available in most home goods stores.

I purchased my Bullet from one of those local stores with a 20% off coupon clutched tightly in my fat little hands. I eagerly hurried home, thousands of recipes in my head for amazing, fat free meals that could be ready to pour in only 10 seconds.

The basic setup includes the motor, four ‘party cups’ two sealant lids, shaker and steamer tops, two blades, and two cups – a large and a small. Oh, the party cups come with 4 various colored ‘comfort rings’, as the site so eloquently put it. I also pulled out an instruction manual and recipe booklet, which as of late I unfortunately have not opened. In fact, I can’t recall where I put it. The instructions lasted about two days before my first explosion.

To start off with, I read some reviews on one of my favorite shopping sites: Amazon. One review stated that there was a strange smell when the motor was run for more than 10 seconds. Other reviewers loved the product, while some reeked of a standardized review from the company with nothing but the actual product name replaced.

My first ‘recipe’ was, and still is, my standard breakfast protein shake. I used the tall cup because of the amount of milk and powder required to create my desired amount of breakfast goodness. I used the basic two blade attachment to mix the drink. The outcome is the same each time: While the consistency of the shake tastes fine – no chunks of powder get lodged in my throat while I’m hurriedly driving to work – about a half inch of the drink by the blade turns into a foamy concoction, causing me to swallow large amounts of air. I attempted to drink out of a party cup with the yellow comfort lid, all to discover that those lids are not suitable for the dishwasher and warp if you use the heat dry option on it. The drink promptly spilled all over my white shirt, and I was clutching my purse to my chest most of the day. I have since not used the rings. In fact, those are gone too…maybe somewhere with the recipe manual.

Not to give up so easily, I attempted my first food chopping experience with the trusty Bullet. I use a lot of garlic in my dishes because of its heart-healthy benefits, but the smell on fingers of garlic is not pleasant after the second day. I decided to try to create a simple marinade using olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, and a few other spices. I used the main blade with the 4 pronged chopper, and the small cup. The result was pleasant, and at this point I did notice a slight ‘heat’ smell associated with running the motor longer than 10 seconds. I checked the machine over, with no visible problems, I continued using it.

The marinade came out beautifully, and my hands were not tormented by the sticky, garlic feeling that takes a week to wash off. As of now, I have chopped onions, cheese, and pureed fruit with it. The smell also has not returned.

I also made a fruit smoothie using frozen fruit, yoghurt, and some milk with it. My only complaint with the cups is that there should be a third cup in a larger size, as the smoothie turned out to expand a little more than I anticipated.

Here are some notes on caring for the Bullet:

Don’t wash the blades in the dishwasher. My advice is if you are in a hurry, rinse the residue from your creation off and leave it until you get home in the evening. At that time, I advise handwashing the blade. My experience with a fruit smoothie yesterday consisted of the rubber ring within the blade’s cap becoming loose and popping out of the chamber, delightfully spraying purple paste all over my refrigerator, and making me change into a new shirt.

The rings are a waste of time. I use the party cups when my other two cups are dirty and are in the dishwasher – these are the only things that can be thrown in there.

If you decide to make a smoothie and it calls for one cup of milk, add a little extra. The blades are not standard blender blades. This machine is ideal for apartment dwellers that have little space, but because of its small size, it can’t handle the stress of frozen fruit as well as a standard blender can. Hence why I bought the machine - I lived in a tiny, 730 square foot apartment with the world's smallest kitchen.

Overall, I like my little Magic Bullet and continue to use the product. If I can find the recipe booklet, I’ll try out one of the recipes. It’s probably with those darn party cup rings somewhere….

Special thanks to Kat for giving me the idea for my first review!

About Us.

Welcome to my site.

I am your host, the nameless one. There is nothing more you need to know about me, other than I write for a living and have also been blogging since 2004. For the past year, I have been interested in writing reviews for specific products. Why? When I read the average product reviews on ,, and other websites, I never get a true 'feel' of the users overall opinion.

So I created this site, with a play on words in the title, and reviews that don't contain opinions like the following:

"This is a great album!! People on here bitchin about a harder album can go listen to something else!! Staind has always been best with their slower tunes! Just like Pearl Jam when they try to speed it up their music sucks!! These bands are best with slower tunes!! Face it!! "

Link stolen from here .

These are real reviews, with real opinions that contain more than the 100 basic words of the English language. I welcome product suggestions (within reason, please) and guest reviews at any time.

The first review will be coming soon. Check back often!