Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trader Joe Joe's cookies

These cookies are DELICIOUS!!! Imagine a Minty Oreo cookie with candy cane pieces in it. YUMMM

Here is the description: Trader Joe's website

A rich cocoa cookie sandwiching an intense peppermint filling and crushed candy canes.

Move over Thin Mints, your cousin visiting for the holidays is way hotter than you, and with her pink and brown colors of the season, a much snazzier dresser as well.

Fans of Trader Joe Joe's cookies already know that this stand-in for an Oreo has the unique ability to be both better tasting and less expensive than its Nabisco inspiration. The filling is lighter and fluffier, and in the case of the creamy vanilla flavor, has obvious flecks of vanilla in the filling.

Candy Cane Joe Joe's are a seasonal offering -- same great, dark cocoa wafers as the existing Chocolate Joe Joe's, but filled with a very bracing peppermint vanilla filling, which has crushed candy canes throughout.

The crushed canes are finely crushed enough not to shred your gumline, but gritty enough to still stand up and be noticed.

This is one "minty" taste combo; very strongly mint flavored, but very much candy cane at the same time. This means it doesn't taste or remind me of toothpaste -- my litmus taste for all mint flavored foods. It is strong enough you won't likely eat an entire handful or a box (a good thing), but not so strong it will create a hip rumor, like Altoids.

Set two out for Santa with a cup of Hot Cocoa, or give them to carolers this season.

Two Candy Cane Trader Joe Joe's are 140 calories, 6g fat, 19g carb, 1g protein.
**And 100% delicious!! **My added note. All the ladies in my office went crazy for them!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hair Removal

I've had this Remington Epilator for years. It works just as well today as the first day I bought it. It came with a carry bag, cap for the top, small cleaning brush, instruction manual and a long cord. It works without the cord, but it spins much faster when plugged in. I think I paid $50.This is my favorite waxing product. I really like using a honey wax; it works very well and rinses easily with water (you can lick your finger if you get sticky wax on it too). It cost about 1/3 of Nads and works just as well (Nads is about $30 and Sally Hansen is about $11). Sally Hansen has recently stopped putting the rinsable strips in the package and now has a roll of plastic strips. I'm a much bigger fan of the rinsable strips; they are much better than the Nads strips too - the Nads strips are cloth and the threads start to shred at the ends. The plastic strips work well, but I run out of strips before I run out of wax; luckily I have many reusabe strips from previous boxes. And I'm also a fan of Venus Divine razors. In the past I've had issues with razor burn, but I don't have any problems with Venus razors. Also, it's very nice that even years later the heads still fit the same handle.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Cuisinart Rice Cooker

I really like our rice cooker. It makes about 4 cups of rice and it works really well. Doug bought this for me quite a while ago and we've used it pretty regularly; he found it on clearance and I think he paid about $20. The only thing I would like to change is that it spits as the water and rice boil inside. I put a flexible cutting board under it for easier clean up. Also, it spits less if I use the steam basket on top when only making rice. The rice cooker cleans up quickly and easily; I've burned rice in it a couple times and it came right out. It comes with instructions, a measuring cup, steam basket, lid and a rice scooper. All you have to do is measure how much rice you want to cook, fill water to the appropriate line and flip the switch. It turns itself to "warm" when it's done. I don't think it has an auto shut-off though.

Formosa Covers

We bought a new patio set cover and 2 chaise chair covers on
The patio set cover product description:
Mildew resistant vent. Heavy duty water resistant, UV treated polyester. Fits oval or rectangular tables up to 79 x 42 and 6 - 8 chairs. Heavy duty vinyl with polyester backing. Can be used with or without umbrella. (hole is located in the center of the cover) Keeps table and chairs clean and dry. Velcro ties keep cover secure. Zipper runs from center to one end for ease of putting the cover on. Clean with a damp cloth. Size: 120"L x 86"W x 45"H
Chaise covers product description:
Mildew resistant vent. Heavy duty vinyl with polyester backing. Heavy duty vinyl coated polyester 600 denier x 300. Heavy duty water resistant, UV treated polyester fabric. Easy to slip on and off Keeps chaise clean and dry Clean with a damp cloth Velcro ties keep cover secure Size: 84" L x 30" W x 24" H
They are much better than I expected. The patio set cover was $60 and the chaise covers were $20 each. I'll have to give an update about how well they hold up to the elements later; it hasn't rained much yet, but we're expecting wind and rain tomorrow.
I had to contact Formosa Covers customer service department about the shipping fees and they were very polite and helpful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber.
These are even better than the original Eraser. The say they are larger and more durable, but I was really wondering if it was true. The package comes with 2 for the price of the original 4 - about $3.50. They are worth it! I scrubbed our tub and shower and it didn't disintegrate like the original Eraser. It made cleaning the tub and shower MUCH easier....and a bonus - I didn't have to choke on the smell of bleach or cleaners. Great product.

You can check out their product and get special offers here:  Mr Clean

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Keep it Dry Closet Dehumidifiers

I love these. They cost about $3 at Walmart and are super easy to use. All you have to do it pull the orange top off, peel the seal off and replace the orange lid. You can put them anywhere. Before you know it they are full of water. They are like having the "do not eat" packets found in items you purchase like shoe boxes, decorations, etc. It's interesting how this little gadget can pull moisture from the air and fill the container. Just throw it away when it's full.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paint Primer

When we decided to primer our orange bedroom, we chose a 2 gallon, inexpensive primer at Lowes. I honestly can't remember the name, but I remember the name was Bullseye something. So the second time around we chose Kilz... it's supposed to coat better for fewer coats. I don't necessarily agree with that claim.Here is the first bedroom using the cheaper primer:In progress...It ended up taking 3 coats of the cheaper primer. Also note: the Bullseye primer said LOW ODOR...yeah right, our room still stinks and it's been weeks!

Then, onto the pink closet in the orange room. Using Kilz this time... It took 2 coats to cover the pink in the closet; I know it would have taken 3 coats if there was artwork like the rest of the room.
This is the next room to paint:
We still have Kilz to use for this room. I don't think Kilz covers that much better than the cheaper version, but it didn't leave the lingering odor. I'll post an update when we paint this room to compare the coverage over artwork.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Shark Steam Pocket Mop Post

As I was getting ready to post about our new Shark Steam Mop I realized Tammy already posted her review. Well, here goes another one....
I bought this mop because I was really sick of trying to clean the tile floor in the kitchen. I've only mopped it a couple times because I HATE doing it.
I paid $120 at Wal-Mart and then this last weekend I saw the ad on TV that you can get the rectangle AND triangle head for the same price (and free shipping). Bummer. Oh well...I got an extra cleaning pad :)
This mop is really nice because it only takes about 30 seconds to heat up enough for steam. You can pump it over and over and over again if you want to get some serious steam coming out of it.I went over our floor 4 times (you can use both sides of the pad too), yes 4, and each time the pad looked similar to this:The last pad came out pretty clean, so I finally moved on to another room, but here is an after picture:

I swear the tile looks richer, but like I've mentioned before, it might just be wishful thinking.
I didn't take Tammy's advice and just went for it; I cleaned the whole kitchen without a second thought. It worked out really well, but I don't think our tiles are sealed like Tammy's. Please spot test it because this little sucker can put out some serious heat.
I have a feeling our kitchen will be mopped much more often now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Biggest Loser Scale

I really like this food scale. It's very simple and easy to use; it's small too, so it will fit in a utensil drawer. We paid under $20 for it. We buy meat in bulk and I use it to separate the meat by weight for sealing in freezer bags. I usually put a piece of wax paper on the scale before I put meat on it, but the top is glass and really easy to clean. It shuts itself off when not in use to save the battery life.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Treasure Garden Patio Umbrella

We bought an 11 foot Octagon Cantilever Umbrella by Treasure Garden with an O'bravia fabric. O'bravia is considered a C grade fabric, according to Treasure Garden's website.
It is such a beautiful umbrella. It's tall, has nice fabric and creates a lot of shade. And that's where the good comments stop. We bought this from a clearance center for $300. The "non-clearance" was on sale for $400, but says it retails for just over $1000. Our umbrella was returned, but we were told, "It wasn't even taken out of the package." Yeah sure, I know better now.
We got home, set up the umbrella and it wouldn't crank open. Ah, now we know why they brought the umbrella back. AND, we can't return it because we bought it in the clearance center. So, Doug and I set out to take it apart and figure out why it won't work - we figured it's already broken and worthless, so why not?
The reason: the company used a string about the size of a shoe lace, but weaker, to open and close this umbrella. The cord was broken and twisted up inside the arm. Really???? It retails at over $1000 and you can't put a decent rope/string/wire through it??? If the string breaks, the umbrella is worthless.
After working on the umbrella for a couple hours each day, for a few days, we went to Lowe's to get a galvanized wire to run through the umbrella. Guess what? It works.
For a very small amount of money we made the umbrella stronger and better than the $1000 retail version and we only paid $300. Granted it cost frustration also, but sheesh, Treasure Garden could have used something better than a weak shoe string.
Oh, and P.S., good luck trying to get parts or warranty info. Everything I searched for, on their website and others, said to go back to the store you buy it from. Really? A retail store is going to have spare parts or wants to deal with the manufacturer's warranty? No. That's why it's a MANUFACTURER'S warranty.

These umbrellas suck!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Topsy Turvy

I'm having something of a contest with the Topsy Turvy - I've got tomatoes in pots and hanging in the Topsy Turvy. I'm curious to see which one is better. So far, they are producing about the same amount of tomatoes:It was a bit of challenge to plant the tomato plant in the Topsy Turvy because there is a foam ring to put around base of the plant. It's hard to hold the plant and the planter while trying to add dirt. The first plant died and it was much easier to plant the second plant. I don't know if I was too worried about hurting the plant the first time. The second time I wasn't as careful and the Topsy Turvy was already full of dirt; I just put it on it's side and pushed the plant through the bottom.

The Topsy Turvy stand is twice as much as what you can get at Home Depot or Lowe's. Just make sure you buy a sturdy stand, these plants are heavy. We got ours for about $20 at Lowe's and it holds both plants; I just wish it could be a little higher off the ground - our stand is probably 5 feet or so.

I was going to wait to post about the Topsy Turvy, but thought I would tell you my experience so far - just in case you might want to buy one.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


My mom and I were at Costco a while back and I bought a 2 pack of Aveeno lotion. This lotion moisturizes well, but leaves my skin feeling sticky. I've also found that when using this lotion I would have white marks on my black slacks. I couldn't figure out where the marks were coming from until one day I rubbed my arm on my pants while sitting at my desk. I'm still searching for a lotion that works well without drawbacks.


I was frustrated with our shampoo and conditioner so I figured we would try Suave. Why not try it right? After all, the commercials say it's just as good as expensive hair products. We chose the Pomegranate Splash. We usually pay $5-$7 for our shampoo and the same for our conditioner; we paid about $5 for both in family size bottles.
I can honestly say they are great. I've been having issues with my hair feeling and looking oily a few hours after I wash it. Not anymore. My hair is just as soft and manageable too.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I've used the Swiffer Dusters and the Swiffer Sweeper. I use the dusters like crazy and love them. They are really easy to use and hold the dust and dirt in them. When the duster is dirty you slide it off the wand and put a new one on and keep dusting. While looking for a photo to use, I saw there is an extender you can buy to reach high objects.
The sweepers work pretty well too. They are more of a duster than a sweeper though. It will pick up the dust and hair and things, but it doesn't work great for larger crumbs and things like that; it tends to just push them around. We have tile in our kitchen and it's not great on tile either. But, I haven't found anything that IS great on tile. I use these in our bathroom and they work better on flat surfaces. We don't have a large surface area in our bathroom, so it's almost easier to use the duster.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Rival Crock Pot

Doug and I got this crock pot as a wedding gift a couple years ago. I love it. It's the Rival "Smart Pot". It's got digital controls, digital timer and when the meal is done it automatically sets itself to warm so the meal doesn't overcook. It's great. It comes with an instruction manual as well as recipes. I've seen it for sale at Costco for about $40, it's definitely worth the cost.

Check out their products here: Crock~Pot

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


We stayed at the Sheraton while we were in San Jose, CA. It was a nice room, simple and classy decorations, clean and it felt comfortable to be there. We booked online using and got a great price of $90 for a weekend night while most hotels in the area were going for $120 and more. The staff was very nice and although the hotel restaurant/bar was empty, the food was good (Doug got the wrong sandwich, but he ate it anyways) and the bartender was very helpful.
I would definitely stay at this hotel again. The picture above is from their website and looks just like the room we stayed in, except our comforter was white.

Southwest Airlines

When I fly, I always seem to check Southwest first. It's always been a pretty easy experience, so I keep flying with them. I don't dislike the other airlines, but Southwest seems to be my preferred airline (not to mention we don't have to pay for our luggage to fly).

We flew Southwest to and from Minnesota. I searched online to find the cheapest flights and found one online for $200 each. It wasn't letting me book it online and the next flight price was $400 for the exact same trip. I called Southwest to see why I couldn't book online and I was told they must have sold all the tickets at that price level. The gentleman I spoke with asked me to hold for a moment and was very sympathetic to my situation (trying to get to my grandma's memorial). He was able to find me a ticket at the $200 price. I'm so grateful for their customer service! They saved us $400 on our flight to Minnesota!!

A funny story though: while we were on our flight from Chicago to Minnesota our flight attendant was the equivalent to the "Soup Nazi" on Seinfeld.
Here's how the drink orders went:
What do you want to drink?
(to the next person) Yes
If she got to you and you didn't have an answer ready, I was SURE they were going to hear "NO DRINK FOR YOU!" We had a pretty good laugh over it. It was funny to watch when the people in the next rows weren't paying attention and would hear, "Yes." I imagine the blank stares she would get and then she would say, "What do you want to drink?" "Yes." "Yes." "Yes." "Yes." "Yes." She did apologize while rapidly handing out the peanuts/pretzels that they were in a hurry due to the ice delay in Chicago.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Jack's Urban Eats

You should really take a break and stop at Jack's for lunch. They have delicious food. You can create your own salad, have a Thai Salmon Salad, Hot Pastrami Reuben, or have a BBQ Tri Tip sandwich - there are many more items as well as garlic french fries and sweet treats. Doug and I stopped in for lunch on our way out of town a couple weekends ago and he really liked his Tri Tip Sandwich and said we need to go again next time we're in the area. I usually create my own salad, but I had a BBQ Chicken Sandwich and it was really good.
I used to work across the street from one of their restaurants, now it's a little further of a drive to a different location but always worth the food. There are about 5 restaurants in the Sacramento area and most items are $7-8. Enjoy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Giant Cupcake attempt #2

My sister-in-law gave me this pan for Christmas. It works so much better than the Wilton Giant Cupcake pan. I'm sure I would have mastered the Wilton pan, but it seemed like extra work compared to this pan. The silicon version positives: 2 separate pieces, an insert for fillings, a "fill-to" line in the base pan (you pour the rest in the top pan), and it comes out of the pan SO much easier. The issue I did have with this pan was the baking instructions say 35 minutes, then the base will take an additional 10 minutes; it took almost an hour to bake the cake (I only used one box mix for the recipe as instructed). See how clean the base pan is??? A little bit of the top was left in the top pan, but not enough to have to use frosting to put it back together. The plate on the right is the cupcake after I cut each piece to level them.
The plate on the left are the pieces we cut off, frosted and ate over the weekend :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fruit Snacks

These Kirkland brand fruit snacks from the makers of Jelly Belly are so yummy. I think these are my favorite fruit snacks. I wish the bag was made in “April size”. But, it keeps me from eating the entire box in one sitting. The little bags are 80 calorie packs and I want more than that. I really like the fruit snacks by Welch’s too, but they aren’t selling them at our local Costco anymore (Welch’s makes an “April size” bag). On a side note: food sizes just keep shrinking….100, 80, 60 calorie packs. Here’s an annoying example: the Jello 100 calorie packs of pudding are actually more calories than the regular Jello pudding packs we would normally buy (thanks to the Eat This, Not That book for pointing this out), but the unobservant consumer doesn’t realize that they are probably paying more for the “100 calorie pack” and are actually getting more calories when they think they are cutting calories.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


This is such a fun phone. I really wasn't looking forward to the extra $30 a month data charge, but Doug and I really like these phones. There are so many free apps to get. We can stream music online for free, email, look up maps, play games, etc. I upload different things frequently and it's like having a new phone all the time. There are 16G of memory in this phone, so we have a lot of room for photos, music, etc. It's an easy phone to use, customer service is great, and we are glad we bought them. Unfortunately it took dropping my other phone in Tilex, but we've had these for a couple months and don't regret it.

A note about the customer service....AT&T cell phone customer service is amazing. I think AT&T kept the Cingular customer service department when everything switched over; they've been great over the last 10 years, all the way back to when I joined Cingular. I can't stand the AT&T customer service for their internet and phone and have a friend who has fought with them on numerous occasions regarding cable, internet and phone also.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Plant Caddy

I bought these from Home Depot last summer. They suck. Short and sweet. They were great at first, but then moisture ruined the “wood”, so they are cracked and gross looking. The wheels, which are plastic are breaking and the caps are falling off. I got three ($15-$20 each I think) and 2 of them are holding very heavy pots, but I expected them to hold up better than they have. The third one is holding a small plant I call Anastasia because I could never remember that it was an Azalea bush; even the wheels on that one are breaking and the “wood” is cracked and breaking.
Real wood and sturdy wheels are the way to go; not these little caster wheels and fake wood.

Hopefully we can get these trees in the ground soon and not have to buy more.

Faux Wine Barrels

I wanted the half wine barrels to plant our orange tree and mandarin trees in until we were able to get our yard in order. Not wanting to spend a lot of money – and unable to find a couple – I settled for a faux wine barrels my mom and I found at Kmart. It’s held up pretty well, until recently. They’re over a year old and being fake, I guess I didn’t really expect too much. The black coloring is rubbing off, so I try not to touch them. The weather is getting to them, so they are beginning to crack and I’m sure it won’t be too long before they fall apart. I’ve got a couple online photos for these posts until I can get actual photos posted.

Updated...Here are my photos. Don't be like me....wait and buy the real thing.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Energizer Batteries

I LOVE these batteries.

I've tried so many rechargeable batteries and they just don't last long. We got our camera a year and a half ago and I was constantly carrying batteries around, rechargeable or not. I have a small box full of batteries that we've been through, even rechargeable that don't hold a charge although they're new.

Doug bought these Lithium batteries just to try them and they're amazing. To get an idea of how long they last: rechargeable batteries would last a day ( on a REALLY good day ), "regular" batteries would last about a week, but the Lithium batteries last about a month, if not longer.

Our packaging looks a little different, but I L.O.V.E these batteries. It's so nice not worrying that our batteries are going to die while we are out for the day. We use 4 AA batteries in our camera and buying batteries was getting ridiculous, not to mention having to carry an extra 8 batteries and a battery charger.

These cost a little more, but I think it's worth it. I think this 4 pack of batteries is about $8.