Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Things I Learned in February and March

I have notes for one of these posts from last month, but never got it put together--so here's a double-up for February and March. Lessons recently(ish) learned: 

1. Male mallard ducks don't quack. That little tidbit came from Ranger Rick, Jr., the magazine we've been receiving and loving for several years now.

2. Costco's dishwasher detergent cleans my dishes WAY better than Cascade. 

3. I learned a few months ago that Aldi sold a store brand version of the Girl Scouts' Samoas; once I got my hands on a box of genuine Samoas, it was time for a blind taste test.
I could hardly tell the cookies apart; Steve showed a clear preference for the Aldi cookies four out of four times. The cookie part of the Aldi cookies is softer and chewier, whereas the Samoas are crispier and the entire cookie is sweater. The ingredient list is very, very similar; oil is the #2 ingredient in the Samoas, whereas flour is #2 for Aldi, giving the Girl Scout variety two extra grams of fat. The Aldi cookies do have high fructose corn syrup, but the Samoas do not. The real clincher is the price though: $3.50 for 14 Girl Scout cookies, or $1.96 for 18 cookies at Aldi. In other words: 25 cents a cookie, or 10 cents a cookie. In other words...I was better off only being able to get my hands on Samoas once a year!

4. I have written before about loving LLBean, but I have to say that when it comes to kids' backpacks, Lands' End won out this time. Elijah's school backpack came from LLBean; a few months later, I bought Jude a similar pack from Lands' End. Jude's pack wins out for three distinct reasons besides just being cuter overall: it has side pockets for a water bottle; it has a chest clip to keep the straps from falling off the shoulders (Jude *loves* this feature); and there's no flap over the zipper, making it easier to close up. I expect both to last for several years--Elijah's looks almost like new after 3/4 of the kindergarten year--but Elijah is having a hard time not coveting his brother's new pack.

5. Don't waste your time entering the Mgramcases giveaways you might be seeing on Facebook, much less ordering from the company. The products are crappy and the customer service, worse. I could live with waiting 3-4 weeks to receive a custom case, but I couldn't live with how different it looked from the product photo on the website. Here's what was advertised:

And here's what I got: A poor-quality (muddy colors and pixelated graphics) sticker on a plain white hard shell with a plastic coating over the top which added bulk to the case.

To make a long story short, trying to communicate with the company to get them to honor their satisfaction guarantee and give me a refund has been a huge hassle. Still waiting on my money. I can't remember when I've been so disgusted with a company.

6. Everyday Minerals now sells tinted lip butter. I've long been thinking I should switch to natural lipstick--of all the beauty products to care about, the one you actually end up *eating* would be a good one to go natural with!--but I hadn't looked very hard. At only $6 a tube, the Everyday Minerals one was worth trying--and I will definitely be buying it again. OK, the tubes are pretty tiny, but my lipstick tubes always last a million years anyway. The "barely nude" color is perfect for everyday wear, when I just want a little shine and a hint of color. And unlike my lipsticks, which leave my lips dry and chapped the next day, this stuff moisturizes to make them smooth and soft. I plan to try a couple of other colors next time I need foundation!

7. Lots of places will give you free stuff during your birthday month if you sign up for their rewards program/emails:
  • Chick-Fil-A (#1 combo meal)
  • Sephora (I assume the gift varies month to month--mine was trial-sized lipstick and mascara)
  • Starbucks (any drink, any size--helloooo venti cinnamon dolce latte)
  • Dunkin' Donuts (any medium drink)
  • Panera Bread (pastry, but NOT a bagel, for some dumb reason)
  • Spiffy Clean Express (basic car wash)

8. Garment workers in Bangladesh make 1/10 of the hourly wage that garment workers in America earned 100 years ago (adjusted for inflation). Stunning.

9. You can slide text messages to the left on your iPhone to see the time stamps. Also pressing space twice will give you a period with a space, and holding down the period will give you the option to select .com, .net, .org, etc. These and other helpful little hacks here and here.

What have you learned lately?


Danielle said...

We have these packs for the boys (snake and shark) and they love them and have held up well for two years now: http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/70468?feat=shark%20backpack-SR0&page=critter-pack&attrValue_0=Mariner%20Blue/Shark&productId=1102216

I'll have to look into the lip butters. I LOVE lipstick. But usually like more than just a tint.

And my birthday will be coming up in May, so I'll check out some of those birthday freebies! :)

Amy said...

Those are cute backpacks! And they have some of the features I like on the LE pack.

For "more than a tint" lip color, what brands do you like that don't totally dry out your lips?