Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Colgate Wisp

Check my post about DuckyBoy's first day of school for my reasons for loving the new Colgate Wisp mini toothbrushes.

My thanks to someone at BlogHer's BowlHer party who put freebies in the ladies' room, so I got to try them for free -- because honestly, at 50 cents (on sale) a brush, I might not have tried them otherwise.

I mean, in theory it's a ridiculous concept. I have so many toothbrushes for this kid that I could practically use them as disposables; once I bought a dozen, yes a dozen, of a style he liked. We still have most of them, because we can Never.Throw.One.Away -- they have a face, you see. So they're not just a worn-out brush, they're a friend.

But now? We have a saying around here: "Luxuries, once sampled, become necessities."

These fit. DB loves the flavor, I love they're small and disposable and require no water. And he lets me throw them away.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

McDonald's Angus Third Pounder

One of my BlogHer goodies was a coupon (I ended up with 2, actually -- probably Sara's) good for a free Angus Third Pounder.

Now, I'd be all over anything free from McDonald's, since I'm there oh, once a week or so anyway. But I've been wondering about these new burgers and was happy to give them a chance.

Husband and I agree: Yum! We both went for the deluxe, and were really happy with it. I thought it was diner worthy; Husband liked that it didn't seem skimpy, whereas sometimes fast food burgesr seem like they're trying to give the minimum for the minimum. Lots of cheese, lettuce, good tomato, and Husband said he's heard of a special spice added. Whatever was on there, it was good.

Husband said what I was thinking in that we probably wouldn't have tried it without the freebie -- we tend to stick with our usuals at places like McDonalds and take our food risks at higher-end places or cooking at home -- but now have a new favorite.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pantene Pro-V Moisture Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner

Pantene was supposed to be at BlogHer this weekend, so a month or so ago I'd signed up, via commenting, to be considered for a makeover at their booth.

For some reason, they're not going to be at the event, but when they pulled out they emailed everyone who'd commented and offered to send product if I'd provide my snail mail address.

Now, I love swag as much as the next blogger, so I promptly (ok, it wasn't so prompt) emailed back to get my freebies, with no particular intention of writing a review.

But I like the product so much I have to talk about it.

They sent me a full-size bottle apiece of the Pro-V Moisture Renewal Shampoo and the Pro-V Moisture Renewal Conditioner.

I have alternately been using drugstore-brand dandruff shampoo and V05, which do OK. Just OK. I can't really tell shampoos part very well. I do see that the Pantene does foam up nicer and seems to give me more coverage more easily. How about that -- maybe spending an extra couple of bucks makes a difference!

For conditioner I have some of the purple-bottle Aussie stuff that doesn't work so well now that my hair is long AND regularly colored. I've mostly been using two Moroccan Oil products that Benny my hairdresser (ok, he's a barber but he's good) recommended; I mix together the oil and the cream and my hair comes out really, really soft. But it's expensive and a bit of a pain to mix together things from an open jar and a glass bottle in a shower.

The Pantene conditioner works as good as the Moroccan Oil products, maybe better --not even factoring in the hassle factor. My hair is less flyaway, dries smooth and sleek.

Can you tell how happy I am?

Always Thin Flexi-style Pantiliners

These are a great concept, not-so-hot execution. They stick to my arse much better than they stick to my underwear!!

I am not so happy to have just found that out on the FIRST liner of a 100-pack box. *Sigh.*

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Boomerang Presentations: How to Give a Workshops

On March 30th we took a workshop by Lily Iatridis of Boomerang Presentations on 6 simple strategies to share your message with any audience.

The timing was perfect, as Husband and I had just been offered the chance to give a workshop to the members of ICF-NYC on Internet marketing, specifically, "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About the Web But Didn't Have Anybody To Ask." Interestingly, we've been asked to do it even though the group is already offering a webinar this month on Internet marketing. And someone is giving a presentation in June on Linked In.

Frankly, they're smart -- there's just so much to know, why not hear everybody on the topic.

Our goal is to help people who have want to use the Internet as a business tool cut through the clutter and #1, know what action they want the person who finds them on the Web to take; #2, choose the tools that will work for them and #3, know how best to use them.

So, that brings me back to Lily and her workshop. I wouldn't have known those goals without her asserting that the first thing to do when planning a workshop is to figure out the "mastery learning objective." (I feel so professional using such a big phrase!)

She also stated that each goal should be given about half an hour. So, for our four-hour workshop, minus breaks, we can reasonably expect no more than 8 -- I'd say 6. Oh, and that's how many the workshop offered! Ok, so I'll stick with the pro. (Meanwhile our initial brain dump has yielded a list of, like, 12 Internet strategies to talk about. Need some further thinking on that!)

The next advice Lily had for us was to organize our workshop via "Say-Do." So for everything you teach the participants, give them a way to work on it, do it, think about it, talk about it. And I had no idea this was this important, but she said that 2/3 of the time should be spent on the "Do." Wow!

Frankly, that makes me feel less nervous about filling the time. (And it fits with one of the revelations I got today from Sesame Street; link about that coming soon once I get another blog up and running). This advice is also going to keep us from overwhelming our participants -- Husband and I tend to want to cram as much info as possible into everything we offer, in part because we simply know so much and also because we want to offer a lot of value.

The rest of the workshop was about how to build a relationship with our audience, how to be relaxed and natural, and dealing with troublesome audience members (which she also goes into on of her newly posted video clips from her recent Lifecoach TV appearance). I was really impressed with her experience and advice in this little-talked about area. And I would have not anticipated any of the issues raised unless I'd heard them discussed here, and now I not only know they could happen but also have a way to deal with them! Yay.

Finally, Lily went over how to talk about your other products and services during your workshop. She rightly emphasized the need to point out the benefits to the listener, and I liked that she stressed conveying "the cost of NOT working with you." And given the number of hangups we got at the end of one of our preview calls awhile back, her advice to promote throughout the presentation, instead of saving it for the end, made total sense.

I liked that she gave us stumper questions to think about (she lives by her own "say-do" approach!). Like this one (I'm paraphrasing): There's a fire drill right when you're about to start your culminating, bring-it-all-together final activity. When you all get settled again, there's time for that OR your sales pitch. Which do you do?

If you want the answer, you'll have to ask Lily! Her email is

All in all, I'd give her workshop an A. Thanks, Lily!

Monday, March 30, 2009

I Love DVR

I'm not sure whether we watch more tv or just enjoy it more since we've had DVR (digital video recording) service, but I'm really happy with it.

DuckyBoy loves being able to call up the show he wants to watch at any give time -- it's hard to believe I give him "when I was a kid" stories involving not being able to see things like the Charlie Brown Christmas special but once a year.

Husband and I also like being able to space out the shows we like throughout the week, though sometimes we "gorge" on a few in a night and then have a span with nothing (which is when those Netflix DVDs that are lying around come in handy).

Speaking of Netflix, we use the service a lot less now that we can DVR everything.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Family Fun Night at Cheeburger Cheeburger

We had so much fun last night at Cheeburger Cheeburger's "Family Fun Night." We like Cheeburger anyway but this put it over the top.

We rarely go out for dinner on weeknights but since I have so much more fun AWAY from home than AT home lately, and we had a great outing last week for St Patrick's Day dinner, we thought we'd give it a try.

Brilliant idea and well executed: The restaurant gave up just 1 table for a balloon guy and a face painter, and the place was packed with families. (And, smartly, the table they were at was next to the front windows so walk-by traffic could see the goings-on.) We ran into friends and the mom said her daughter (a first grader like DuckyBoy) had informed her at school pickup time that "You promised to take me to Cheeburger!"

And even though the place was amok with little kids it wasn't bedlam, just a happy loudness, and the staff was very tolerant of every kid moving around. Which is good for us because DB has a hard time sitting still!

The balloon guy was good, too, making complicated stuff like umbrellas, helicopters (ours has lost one propeller to deflation this morning, but who cares how long they last after the night is over, right?), and a yellow character that looked a lot like SpongeBob. (I give him credit for refusing to say the name, so he didn't run into any licensing issues!)

Oh, you want to know about the food? Does it matter, when my kids is happy? But yeah, the food is good too. Burgers of all sizes, chicken fingers that DB will actually eat most of, and decent fries, onion rings. Everything is rich. But I still managed to eat/drink ALL of my chocolate-peanut butter-banana shake! For $31 (tip extra) I thought it was a good deal.

Oh, and the kids meal comes in a cardboard CAR, a plus for us, and the walls are covered with funny signs that I'm counting toward DB's reading time for the day.

Cheeburger Cheeburger
108-50 Queens Blvd.
Forest Hills, NY

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Discovering a Discover Card Tool

This is a paid review from BlogHer and Discover.

I have been really happy with my Discover Card, from the American-flag card design I switched to after 9/11 to the way they handled it when someone stole my card number online a couple of years ago. And even recently, when I called to dispute a charge, it was handled quickly and just the way I'd expect. In these days of outsourcing to the lowest bidder, I'm happy to deal with a company that I feel has customer service that's holding up under the pressure.

My Dad turned me on to Discover Card years ago when it was still the "replacement for a Sears card" -- I think he liked the no-fee and also the cashback bonus. Which I like too, especially since we have no income yet DuckyBoy insists on growing out of his clothes on a regular basis. In fact, I just bought him some sorely needed new socks and sweats with my latest cashback bonus.

So when BlogHer asked for reviewers for Discover’s new online spending analysis tool, the "Spend Analyzer," I was happy to throw my hat into the ring.

I use my Discover primarily for my online purchases, which I always think are purely educational stuff for DuckyBoy, so I was interested to check out how the reality stacks up.

My first and overall reaction is, What a neat tool!

When your information loads, you get a colorful pie chart with your purchases for the current month broken down into various categories, such as Travel/Entertainment, Services, Merchandise/Retail, Supermarkets, and so on. Then you can look at spending by 1,3, or 6 months, year-to-date, or by 1 or 2 years. You can click on a category, and even a vendor you shopped with, to see further details of what you spent when and where.

So for example, in the "Merchandise/Retail" cetegory, all my Netflix payments were already added together and shown in a pretty blue, next to the 2nd biggest recipient of my "Merchandise/Retail" dollars, which was, shown in green.

I'd never even given a thought to how much those 2 bouquets cost -- who knew they were almost as much as a year's worth of movies? Very helpful for putting those movies we don't even always watch into perspective of how much we spend for them. (Does anyone else find the maintenance of the family Netflix queue a constant source of contention? "Why'd you pick THAT?" "Well, if you'd just log in once in a while you could pick something you haven't seen!")

I love graphs and charts anyway, so this is right up my alley. And it saves me from doing all the math and putting everything into categories. It worked really quickly in IE and with our wireless Internet access.

Turns out I spent $1,000 last year, mostly on stuff I can't remember. I paid parking tickets, and bought a few gifts and goodies in addition to the stuff for the smart boy I live with. Hmm. Build-a-Bear Workshop? That's not very educational. (OK, but that was in December, so it was for Christmas.)

I only shopped at 4 educational-sounding companies, including Amazon and Scholastic. And the biggest payment to Scholastic was for the rest of a Care Bears book-and-toy installment series they had the audacity to cancel halfway through. (Didn't they know I was using it as an incentive for DB to sleep through the night? Didn't they care how addicted to sets of things he is? But that's a post for another day.)

I like clicking on a single vendor to get the specific amount of each transaction with them. (Netflix makes the prettiest pie chart since it's the same amount every month! See, I warned you I like charts.) And within that vendor-specific chart, I can click on the timeframe tabs to see how much I spent at that company or story in a certain time frame. Cool.

To the right of the pie chart is a section called "Spending History" which averages out my spending for the previous 2 years in bar chart and number format. Mousing over the month-by-month chart for the past 8 months brings up total spending, biggest expense amount and category, and average transaction amount for each month. If I was really trying to budget and/or track where my money was going, that would be really helpful. Though it was hard to tear my eyes away from the colorful pie chart on the left! Oooo, pretty wedges... (My Dad would approve, by the way. His favorite dessert is pie.)

Makes me wish I had a kid at college ... Believe me, I'm in no hurry for DuckyBoy to be college-age, I just could totally see using this to see how he was spending my money.

I may switch my business card to a Discover just so I can use this ... though then I'd want the categories to be the ones the IRS uses. (Yes, I want it all done for me! I hate doing my business taxes!) On the existing tool, it would be nice if the nonprofit donations I made with my card were separated out from the "Services" category... but I've never seen that done, so maybe the way online donations get processed just doesn't flag nonprofits as such.

Actually, the only way I could imagine this tool being any better is if it told me what I bought ... but really, in the long run I don't want that much information stored anywhere anyway.

All in all, I'm looking forward to using this tool again. You can check it out at

To read more BlogHer reviews of it, click here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ocean Spray Diet Cranberry Pomegranate

This juice (sweetened with Splenda) makes excellent Cosmos. That's all I have to say right now. Husband and I are going to call them "Skinny Girl Cosmos" for the batch I'll take to the annual girls-only Oscar party tomorrow night.

Of course we're testing them tonight. So I know they're good.

I can't even find a mention or photo of it on the web; I wonder if it's a test product. If so, I APPROVE!

About Me

I think of myself as an easygoing person but it turns out that I have a lot of opinions.

However, I rarely share them in person. Blogging is helping me share more of myself and my opinions with those around me (and those far from me), for better or worse, haha!

I would like my son to know that I matter for more than how quickly I can get him cold water from the refrigerator or make a rhyme for some unusual word.