Category Archives: Product Reviews

U Don’t Get Me

It was Spring, 2010. I was in the basement, doing my typical run/walk workout on my in-home treadmill, and keeping myself company with the nonsensical fluff they air on the E! channel (think anything Kardashian, Top 100 Most Shocking Reality TV Moments, etc.). I can’t watch anything too heavy while I’m working out because  it’s physically painful to exert both my body and my brain simultaneously, so I was kind of half-watching the screen and half-monitoring my “laps” when this commercial grabbed my attention:

“How spot on!” I thought (no pun intended). Kotex understands that the feminine protection industry has for years bombarded the viewing public with ridiculous images of women reveling in the wonder of their monthly “gift.” But here, the brand captured every cliche used throughout the decades and successfully mocked it in a 30-second spot.

The commercial also had people talking (and sharing) via the social networking sites. It was certainly a breakthrough ad. I don’t know how it impacted the company’s business, but it certainly must have increased awareness for what I perceive is a second-tier brand – behind Procter & Gamble’s Always and Tampax.

However, what I’ve learned in the past two days has made me think Kimberly-Clark (the company behind the Kotex brand) really doesn’t understand me too well, after all.

They’re absolutely correct in that women have to find ways to sneak their feminine products into the bathroom when they’re in a public place. We don’t want to boldly announce that we have our periods – usually, the people in our lives can tell just by our uptick in crazy, tearful behavior – because there’s no way to walk around with a tampon or pad in hand and not feel like you’re revealing too much information about yourself.

So, tell me Kotex, how does wrapping a tampon in brightly colored plastic make it easier to hide the fact that we have our periods?

Oh! You’re saying we don’t need to be ashamed anymore because now our tampons are pretty. Also, women are a lot freer and less uptight these days. I get it!

We are a lot freer and less uptight these days. But does that mean we’re any less embarrassed by the fact that we’re on the rag. Some things don’t change, and no matter how bold and free I feel to talk about matters that used to be taboo years ago, I still don’t want the world to know my “friend”  (or my “aunt.” Whatever…) is in town.

So, dressing up your products in bright, dayglo packaging makes it even harder for me to unobtrusively transport my tampon from Point A to Point B, and no matter how funny your commercial and no matter how cool you think you are, I’m not going to buy your product because it’s positioned as the cool, hipster brand.

Of course, it’s possible I’m no longer considered part of the target market. I hate to say it, but it won’t be long now before I won’t need these kinds of products anymore. And perhaps the new generation of women feel comfortable letting the world know when it’s their time of the month. I’d be interested to know if that’s true.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to slip my tampon in my sleeve at dinner parties and let no one be the wiser. Although I do tend to speak my mind, I like to reserve some room for a little mystery in my life.

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Goo Goo Gah Gah!

It’s been a few years since I’ve been surrounded by babies, so I’m a bit out of the loop when it comes to new, gimmicky ways to make the little ones eat.

For example, a couple of months ago I saw a mom pulling a multi-pak of squeezable applesauce out of her bag and then pass around the tubes to other toddler moms at the playground.

“So, there’s an interesting idea,” I thought. “A nice healthy snack for kids-on-the-go!” (Because what kid isn’t going somewhere at all times these days, right?)

I’ll give these moms the benefit of the doubt, and assume that when they’re at home, they make some kind of effort to teach their offspring how to use actual utensils. Because, judging by how the playground kids were consuming these, it looked like they were sucking on a bottle. I wonder what the developmental specialists and occupational therapists would say about this trend. I was roundly criticized by an OT when my son was still drinking from a sippy-cup at age three.

While I can kind of understand the appeal of food from a tube if you’re a small child or a harried mom, can someone please explain why older kids and (gasp!) adults are drawn to what seems to be a growing trend in the confection aisle? 

What would compel a sentient individual to purchase a container of goo? What could possibly be enjoyable about it? I love the Icee (and its better known competitor, the Slurpee), but the appeal of those items is that they’re cool and refreshing. They quench your thirst in a fun way.  Why would anyone think squirting a shot of the Icee’s raw flavor material into her mouth (warm, mind you) is a good idea?

I found a review of the product on a blog, which seemed to make no mention of the fact that this is just weird! (He likes the Cherry and the Blue Raspberry flavors but not green because “green sucks.” Okay. I’ll give  him that.)

But if squirting sickeningly-sweet fruit-flavored gel from a tube that resembles toothpaste is not your thing, why not try squeezable marshmallows? Thank goodness!  They’ve finally come up with a solution to the annoying problem called “chewing”!

Maybe I’m just a purist, but I prefer my candy in solid form. Perhaps they’ll come up with compelling evidence which proves that goo is less harmful for your teeth. If that’s the only benefit, well….it’s a completely lame one!

In fact, I have to stop writing about this now because it’s making me gag.


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Fool Me Twice

Really, Fiber One!

How difficult is it to mimic caramel flavor?

These are not Oats & Caramel bars. These are Oats & Butterscotch bars.

Yes, they are similar

But not the same.

I do not like butterscotch.

I was not expecting butterscotch.

I feel betrayed.

Just like that time when you told me what I had purchased was a brownie.

That was no brownie.

So I guess what I’m saying is, “Shame on me.”

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I don’t care about your registered trademark, your apparent “non-stick” capabilities, or your prestigious brand

When I use this pan and it comes time to clean up, the remains of the baked good get stuck in the crevices.

I’ve tried scrub-brushes. I’ve even attempted to scrape out the gunk with a toothpick.

Sometimes the dishwasher solves the problem, but often it does not.

It makes me not want to bake.

Thanks a lot, Williams-Sonoma. You’ve ruined my Fall.

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