Archives for category: Product Review

Things are crazy here in Austin, but that’s all because of SXSW, not because of any withholding of the new flavor of Taco Bell chip-based taco.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 001

Obtaining one of these babies was as easy as wading through three levels of employees carefully repeating my order to make sure that it was correct. I don’t even know how much it is to order these “all the way” or whatever they call Taco Bell-izing with sour cream. James says it’s “supreme,” but my description is more memorable.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 002

The cradle is now two-sided, with the Nacho Cheese on one side and Cool Ranch on the opposite side.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 004

Here is a close-up of the spiced goodness on the shell.

Now, in “normal life,” I’m not a huge corn chip fan, but if Doritos are on sale and I buy a bag, it’s probably going to be the Nacho Cheese. That said, my opinion is that the Cool Ranch flavor works a lot more interestingly with the taco fillings than the Nacho Cheese flavor did.

Cool Ranch Doritos Taco 005

 

Also, like the Nacho Cheese shell, this thing splinters into 40,000 pieces when you bite into it, so I don’t recommend eating it in the car (as I did) unless you just like getting tomatoes in your floorboard and shredded cheese all over your jeans and your purse.

I don’t know how much this costs “plain,” but it’s $1.79 Supremed up, and I’d eat it again tomorrow. For breakfast.

 

 

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I have considered buying a SodaStream for a very long time, but as long as it was possible to buy a 2-liter of store brand diet soda for $.50ish, I could not justify the initial expense, because even without it, the syrup didn’t save much.

Lately, though, even store brands are closer to a dollar and name brands are nearly $2. I’ve taken to buying fountain drinks almost exclusively, because if I’m going to pay that much, I might as well have the good stuff.

A couple of days ago, though, I reached my breaking point and yesterday took my 20% off coupon to Bed Bath and Beyond and purchased the $99 SodaStream Genesis. They have other, higher-priced models, but I didn’t see the point. I’d hoped to get the red one, but they didn’t have any in stock. In fact, the one that I bought was the only one that they had left.

The system comes with a base, a carbon dioxide canister, and the top mechanism that allows you to dispense the carbon dioxide without hurting someone.

The system comes with a base, a carbon dioxide canister, and the top mechanism that allows you to dispense the carbon dioxide without hurting someone.

It also comes with twelve soda samplers and three water flavors.

It also comes with twelve soda samplers and three water flavors.

It also comes with two one-liter bottles.

It also comes with two one-liter bottles.

The instructions said to use “ice cold” water, so we put these in the refrigerator overnight. They can’t be dishwashered, no bigs since we don’t have one, but they also can’t be washed with hot water. In fact, there is a mildly frightening warning on the bottle that the containers are “dangerous” if used in a dishwasher.

I didn’t understand that when I read it, but I do now…

You start by putting the base, cartridge, and dispenser together.

SodaStream 003

This doesn’t require any power, because basically the CO2 propels itself and this is mostly a safety system. It makes me glad that I didn’t buy the more expensive models, because I’m not sure what modifications would make this “better.”

The first thing you do is carbonate your water. Apparently you have to screw the bottle into the dispenser. Otherwise…

We learn by doing.

We learn by doing.

Once you actually screw the bottle in, you carbonate the water. I was a little gun shy at first because of this warning

SodaStream 004

This instruction conflicts slightly with the instructions on the flavor syrup, which states to “buzz” the soda five times.

Confession here: We wasted our first batch because we did this wrong. When you “press firmly and quick release,” a jet of CO2 shoots into the liquid. I wouldn’t call it a “buzz,” but we counted each of those. And our first batches of drinks were… well, we didn’t get the hype.

Mentally trouble-shooting later, I realized that perhaps this “buzz” was a release valve of some type, and I was right. We’d “pumped” 5 times, and when I waited for the “loud buzz,” the first time I had to pump more than 30 times to get one buzz, and then it happened pretty quickly after that. The second batch was MUCH better.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Pump the button and fill the water with carbonation!

Pump the button and fill the water with carbonation!

Can you guess which is mine and which is Daphne's?

Can you guess which is mine and which is Daphne’s?

The root beer syrup smelled amazing.

The root beer syrup smelled amazing.

You fill the cap with the syrup, then slowly pour it into the bottle.

SodaStream 012

Daphne suggested doing this over the sink. Good idea, because some dripped out.

I did NOT do mine over the sink. Yeah.

I did NOT do mine over the sink. Yeah.

Once we made these the correct way, they were very good. I’m interested to see if I can acclimate to Sucralose; I prefer the taste of Aspartame, and yes I know how “bad” it is for me, so I’m trying to do this instead. All of SodaStream’s “diet” syrups are sweetened with Sucralose, no Aspartame at all. I had read that the Zero is better than Diet, so started with that.

The drinks are crisp and taste very “normal.” We’re looking forward to trying all of the sample flavors.

 

My friend and pharmacist (not mine; she belongs to the world) Shelly told me a couple of months ago about Asthmaferin. I have a prescription for an Albuterol inhaler called Ventolin; before I got the official diagnosis of asthma, I’d always purchased Primatene Mist, which was discontinued because of its massive effect on the environment (eye roll).

When Primatene was taken off of the market, I had to get myself to a doctor to get a prescription. When Asthmaferin came out, Shelley pointed it out to me. I just ran out of Ventolin and thought I’d see about this over-the-counter stuff.

The starter kit is $55ish, which comes to just under $60 with tax here in Austin. This is what you get:

Cat hack and Asthmaferin 004

As you might notice, this is 10 doses. The refill is closer to $35, so this parses out to about $3.50 a dose, making this not at all how it bills itself, which is an alternative to Primatene Mist. The only way it compares is that you don’t need a prescription. This isn’t to say that I’m not pleased or that I don’t recommend it, I just object to its being sold as an alternative since it’s a completely different animal.

Actually, what is is more similar to is a nebulizer treatment.

You take the dose, drop it into the atomizer, turn the machine on, and breathe it in for the thirty seconds or so before the medicine is gone. The effect is immediate and overwhelming. It made me cough at first, then I could feel my chest relaxing. I also started shaking and my legs got kind of funny feeling and numbish. I drink a lot of caffeine and am pretty immune to the jitters there.

This made me woozy, but I was really comfortable for the first time in a few weeks.

So I got all excited and decided to write this review.

Then half an hour passed, and the “extremely comfortable, wide-open chest” feeling went the way of the shakes and now I’m back to breathing better than I was, but it’s still slightly labored.

In the final analysis, I’m going to keep this on hand for those times that my rescue inhaler just isn’t enough. It’s good for that.

But I’m going to have to refill my Ventolin tomorrow. For this reason, Asthmaferin is in no way a replacement, functionally. It is an effective, cheaper, and more compact alternative to a nebulizer, though. For that reason, it’s worth having on hand.

Typically, I sleep by myself. This week, however, I’ve been snoozing in the same room as Daphne and she pointed out to me (in a rather startling manner by standing over me early one morning in order to rouse me) that I might snore the teensiest little bit.

Since I have nothing to which to compare this, I will assume that it could be because I haven’t used my inhaler this entire trip (and, yes, I realize this means that I need to get rid of the cats but that is not going to happen) and therefore my airways aren’t as wide open as they would be at home. Or, to add another layer of rationalization about my night gurglings, this could also be because I am sleeping a lot more or a lot harder here than when I’m not on vacation.

Whichever the case might be, I don’t snore!

Hypothetically, however, let’s say that I did and that I wanted to do something about it.

Several years ago, when my ex-husband had this issue to earthquake-level proportions, he purchased some Breathe Right spray. It lubricated the throat, opening all of that up and keeping it from slamming against each other, making irritating-to-everyone-else noises. It does not appear to be sold any longer because I’ve looked and would have bought some.

Honestly, my level of irritation about others’ snoring is the main reason I don’t want to snore. Plus, snoring is something that old men in recliners do. Not delicate jeweled flowers like me.

But I digress.

Last night, I remembered that I had a couple of Breathe Right Strips in my purse that I had received in a sample pack several months ago. This is one reason my purse is so big. I have everything in there. Mini-toothbrushes, breath spray, French-fry-flavored lip balm, gas pills, a tiny tube of toothpaste, cold sore cream, scissors, two different asthma inhalers (one old school OTC kind in case someone else needs it), a multi-sized memory card reader, coupons, camera, pens, make-up, tissues, mini-business cards that I have never given anyone for James’s and my website, etc.

I found one of the strips and decided to try to use it and see what it would do.

Observation 1 – You know how, when you put on a pair of novelty over-sized glasses for a photo opportunity, the bridge of your nose itches and tingles to the point that your eyes water? That is how it feels to put on a Breathe Right Nasal Strip. Bear in mind that I wear glasses approximately four hours per day. This is a completely different monster. Had I not been so tired, I doubt I could have gone to sleep with the irritation.

Observation 2 – I could tell that it did open up the upper part of my nasal passages. I also suspect that my snoring comes from farther back in my throat, not my schnoz, but it eliminated a lot of the low-level friction sound (it is *not* whistling, so do not call it that!) that sometimes accompanies prone breathing when I’m a bit stuffed up (which means “situation normal”).

Observation 3 – I laid on my left side all night, no tossing or turning. When I woke up at 6ish, the plastic ribbing that pulls open the nostrils had torn away from the adhesive and was uselessly poking up into the air. I tried to push it back down, but I suppose that once the adhesive lets loose, it’s worthless. I have no idea how long ago this had happened, but I am fairly certain that I woke myself up snoring.

Observation 4 – Daphne said that I was snoring when she woke up. A dainty, princess-worthy snore, mind you. But snoring nonetheless. Again, I woke up at 8:40 after having gone to sleep well before midnight, so there’s something else going on that is either making me exceptionally tired or wherein I am catching up on the sleep I do not get at home.

Observation 5 – Earlier today, James had tried to scrape something off of the side of my nose and it didn’t occur to me until I was putting on my make-up what it was. It looked like I had gotten a sunburn and my nose was peeling. This is not the case, as I haven’t seen the sun most of this week. It was the adhesive left behind from the nasal strip! I pulled and scraped it off, but it left my nose red from “attention.” It’s still a tad sticky, and my powder is a funky.

In the final assessment: For free, this was a neat experiment. I don’t think I’d pay for the Breathe Right strips, though. They didn’t prevent me from snoring, they fell apart during the night, and it was a pain to get the gunk off of my nose.

James is in the shower right now. As I was cleaning up (the three of us rode 14 miles on our bikes tonight, so extreme hygiene tending was necessary… 3 people, 8 gallons of hot water; I don’t think we used it up among us!), I noticed that I have two different shampoos, both of which are intended to be used for people with lots of hair. One is called Strong Lengths. The other is Long Term Relationship. Which one do you think James will elect to use?

Marketing HBA items to females has gotten ridiculous, name-wise. Herbal Essences (which brought us the horrific fake orgasm commercials of the early 2000s – what woman doesn’t ask to use the shower at a filling station when her car breaks down?) has embarrassingly coy names for every one of their shampoo lines: None of Your Frizzness; Honey, I’m Strong; and Tousle Me Softly among them. Someone sits around and gets paid actual money to think of these?

I have some deodorant right now that’s called “Rainkissed Water Lily.” I have no idea whether what it smells like is what the name is or not. I have no frame of reference. That’s not nearly as silly as some of the Teen Speed Stick names, though. “Pink Crush.” Umm… So, does it smell like the Strawberry Crush drink, or is it meant to evoke a kind of innocent lovering? I don’t think I want to smell like either.

Something in my make-up bag right now that I absolutely love is this two-sided lipstick from Cover Girl. It stays on a crazy-long time. Even though some of it comes off at first, the color itself seems to stain my lips for a long time. It’s neat because it’s two colors in one, and the tube is long enough that it’s easy to find in my big purse. But you know what they call it? “Two-sided lipstick”? No. That’d be too straightforward. It’s called “Blast Flipstick.” Wh? This sounds like something that should be sold on the side of the road near July 4 and New Year’s Day!

Marketers: You’re trying too hard to be clever!

If the sweat repellent smells like lavender, you can just say so. Adding an “Ooh La La” in front of the “Lavender” doesn’t make me want to buy it more. It makes me want to punch you in the nubbies. And what *is* a “So Very Summerberry”? Does anyone know?

While we’re nagging marketers, I have one other beef.

This, I realize is totally off-topic, and is something that is likely going to make you despise me and doubt my possession of a soul, but here it is: Using babies to sell stuff? For me, this has the opposite effect.

This? I am motivated to dip myself in the plague just to avoid this and all other babies’ kissing me. I don’t think babies in general are precious, nor do I aspire for them to approve of me in any way.

Is that supposed to make me want to get insurance? It makes me want to write a big old memo to myself to kick my kid out the second she turns 18. In case the caption is too small, it says, “At 18, your angry daughter won’t look this cute.” Um. What? Who is doing the judging here?

Yuck. Anyway, you get it. It doesn’t help on that last one that that kid’s outfit likely cost more than a Kia would. Babies. Pppsh.

 

Warning: If you are a female who is past child-bearing age, or at all squeamish, you might want to stop reading right now. If you’re a male, you definitely want to stop reading. Seriously, this post is not for you. Go over here and get a few chuckles, and then enjoy the rest of the internet. (Editor’s note: “doghousediaries.com” is NOT the same thing as “thedoghousediaries.com.” Too. much. cute.) Except for this post. It is not for you. I’m not kidding. If you continue, you’ll be very grossed out and ticked off, and I will not entertain your angry comments or emails asking me what I was thinking concocting such a post.

Just to clear up the adjective modification of this post’s title, the “revolutionary” refers to the product, not to my review.

Lest you believe I am overstating, may we take a stroll down a shady path I like to call Memory Lane?

Basically, throughout history, women have used some kind of padding or sponge to collect their cyclic evacuations. You may recall a story from the Old Testament in which Jacob (of the Jacob/Esau brotherhood) was returning to his estranged family with his new wife, Rebecca, who had stolen her father’s house gods. This was a big deal, and Daddy had tracked them down to reclaim what was rightfully his. Rebecca, lady genius that she was, placed the trinkets underneath a blanket and sat on them. When Dad came to ransack the room, she declared with feminine deception that she couldn’t get up because she was having her monthlies.

Well, women can’t just sit down three (if you’re my sister) to twelve (if you’re me) days out of thirty-ish, so someone wisely invented a belt device to hold the pad snug up against the offending orifice. Additionally, women have been using variants of tampons pretty much forever. Then there were adhesive pads that stick to the between-leg parts of the underpants, unless you’re wearing snug jeans, in which case the pad will migrate throughout a day of walking the halls in high school, and by the end of the day, you’ll have some flattering duck-wing action going on at either your slight left or slight right (depending on your footedness) cheek.

The downfall of pads is manifold:
1) They move around. At night, gravity and your unconscious flailings conspire against tidiness. During P.E., the constant movement threatens a complete dislodging and perhaps even a loss of adhesion. With those athletic shorts, what’s to keep it from just falling out? (My heart races at the very thought of this, some 22 years beyond high school, and 20 years beyond pad usage.)
2) They are bulky. Even the “thin” ones are bulky. You have to be aware that they’re there. Walking around with the equivalent of a carry-along tissue pack in your ‘twixt leg britches area is just not natural.
3) You can’t swim. Or do gymnastics. Or engage in any activity that calls for anything less than sweat pants or overalls.
4) If the adhesive is really good, you can get it stuck to YOU, and when this happens, especially in the middle of the day (after the aforementioned shifting and whatnot) it can be tricky finding a time or place to readjust. Or the adhesive can stick to itself, folding over, and creating twice the bulk. Fun!
5) Gross warning, okay? I’m telling you… skip it if you need to. This is going to be way too much information, but I’m trying to make a point. Remember my 12-day thing? Yeah. It should go without saying that I apparently get rid of a LOT of excess material. And, frankly, having to look at that, not to mention other senses at play… It’s. Just. Nasty.
6) Leaks! Oh my gosh, the leaks. No. No. No. Ruined sheets, ruined clothes, ruined reputations. It’s not worth it.

(P.S. If you’re one of those women who’s tempted to say, “No, it’s not nasty! It’s a natural part of life! It’s beautiful! Embrace it!” you don’t need to message me. I get that. But there’s a reason people don’t walk around with open wounds. Blood may be natural, but it’s also disconcerting. And there is move involved here that just blood, as you ladies well know. So perhaps it’s not entirely barf-inducing in and of itself, but you lug that stuff around in a very enclosed, potentially sweaty space for a few hours, and it gets there really fast.)

Tampons, I think, represent a slight improvement over pads in that the leak factor is lower, though not eliminated. There used to be a whole toxic shock thing that might still exist, but I guess women have learned to better tend themselves so we aren’t all just dropping like flies.

Actually, tampons represent a huge improvement over pads. You don’t have to worry about your kid making a bunny costume out of them and hopping into the living room when you have friends over for dinner. They are more compact, easier to carry, more comfortable, you can move around more easily and with less insecurity.

However, tampons have their drawbacks, too:
1) Swimming. Although technically you CAN swim, if you try to do this for too long, it gets all water-logged and swollen. Yuck.
2) Learning curve. Tampons have various patterns of “opening,” or “blooming,” if you will. Some expand in all directions outward pretty evenly. Others lengthen as they widen. There are more flowering-shaped ones. If you happen to try to use a public dispenser and they have a different version than the one you use, you could regret this later.
3) Unforgiving at first. When you first put in a tampon, if you sneeze too hard or jump around too much before it’s softened up a little bit, it can shoot out of its home like freaking Nerf ammunition from an air gun.

There is another option, one that has been in use for centuries, as well. Previously, however it was made of rubber, and this is an allergy risk. NOW, there are silicone products available. I have used precisely one of these, and that is the one I’ll review now… (drum roll)

THE DIVA CUP!

I cannot even begin to tell you how long I have wanted to share an enthusiastic endorsement of this product, but haven’t been able to figure out how. I considered splitting my Facebook friends list into “male” and “female” and posting a status update only to the women.

However, since I have a few product reviews under my belt, I decided that the time was right for this. Without further ado…

Basically, this is a silicone cup that goes the same place as a tampon, and “disappears” the same way. In fact, I think it’s less noticeable for several reasons: 1) It’s softer, 2) it’s shorter, 3) it moves with you, 4) it genuinely conforms to your shape.

Besides the official website, there are tons of sites that explain how to use this product, how to clean it, have diagrams about how to fold it, hints for insertion and removal. It boils down to whatever works for you, and the time it takes you to figure these things out.

When I was 15, I got contacts. I cried every morning for two weeks as I spent the better part of an hour in front of the mirror, eyes red and tears flowing, trying to figure out how to put those tiny lenses onto my eyeball and make them stay. This product has the same kind of introduction, but it took me less than three days (perhaps because it was more than a once-a-day proposition).

The stuff you’re thinking about how it might be gross, how you’re not comfortable messing around down there looking for something, what happens if you lose it, etc… All of that is absolutely nothing about which to be worried. I will say that when I first got mine, I had fingernails, and that made removal considerably simpler.

It’s funny: the cup comes with a carrying pouch (I need a new one; mine’s pretty torn up) and a lapel pin (which I’ve never worn). The pin cracked me up. It just says “diva” and has a flower on it, but for those in the know, I knew that donning it would be tantamount to screaming, “I’m ridding my body of superfluous inner-uterine lining and whatnot!” No, thanks.

I made this purchase in January 2010, and it’s recommended that you replace this yearly. The price is $24, and within about three months (remember the 12-day thing?) it had paid for itself. I actually still use the one I bought more than two and a half years ago. Don’t judge me. It works just fine.

Here are the benefits, in no particular order:
1) I’m never caught by surprise. Have you ever had one of those moments (if you’re irregular like I am; sometimes I really despise my sister) when you go to the restroom and realize, “Dang it! Already?!” or “Dang it! I’d assumed I was pregnant!” and you’re product-poor at that moment? Have you ever created a temporary pad out of toilet paper? Yeah. That hasn’t happened to me in over two years. I am *always* ready. It is *always* in my purse.
2) Prorated out, this has cost me less than one dollar per month.
3) Swimming! I can swim! It doesn’t move! It doesn’t swell up like some bloated caterpillar that fell into the pool two days ago!
4) Virtually leak-proof. There have been times when I’ve pushed time-length because of having been super busy, but even that was negligible and probably wouldn’t be a problem if you’re irritatingly “normal”
5) No trash! You don’t have to worry about filling up landfills, or feel guilty because someone has to empty your hazardous waste from that little rectangular tin bin in the ladies’. Speaking of which, why do they have red bags for used shots but not for this?
6) Don’t have to carry your purse to the restroom during “that time of the month.” I never do that otherwise; do you?

Ownership and use of this product has made my life so much simpler and freer, it eliminates waste, and I can do so much more! I jumped on a trampoline for nearly two hours once before I even thought about the fact that I was wearing this thing.

I have a male friend who, earlier this year, said to me, “I’ve always considered myself savvy when it comes to women’s menstruation…” (Yes, this is how my friends talk. We’re all kind of geeky.) He proceeded to explain that he figured there were two choices when it came to dealing with periods. When I realized where he was going, I started squealing, “I’m so glad you know about this! I would never have told you about it myself, but now that you’ve opened the door, I feel like you know me so much better!”

I don’t know that this greatly improved our friendship, but it made me giddy to know that this wasn’t a totally hidden product anymore, even to the male portion of the population. If you’ve never thought about it, you should. It’s cheaper, it’s more comfortable, and ultimately, it’s cleaner. Try it! Try it! You will never go back!

This is so I’ll have a picture to show when I post this to Facebook. 🙂 I don’t want the other two pictures on my wall!

Yesterday, my teammate’s mom mentioned a BK employee pushing a bacon sundae on her (which she posted to Facebook since she knew of my love for local Momo’s Donuts’ maple-bacon doughnuts – available only on weekends!).

I had never heard of such a thing! And, of course, I couldn’t let another day go by… So, lunchtime took Daphne and me to our local Burger King, where they happened to also be featuring a buy one/get one free promotion on their classic chicken sandwiches.

One of the “barbecue” summer items they had advertised was a pulled pork sandwich, which Daphne wanted. Apparently that is discontinued, even though it’s still being advertised in the store.

Back to the sundae. Here it is from the BK promotional material.

Here is what I got.

Yeah, buddy!

The bacon appeared slightly overcooked, but it worked perfectly with the ice cream, because it was crunchy throughout. Had it still been somewhat chewy, it would have been as icky as some people think the bacon/ice cream combo sounds.

Also, I didn’t have any little chunks of bacon. All of mine was pretty much one- to three-inch strips of crispy, meaty goodness.

Like this one, coated in chocolate.

In case you know nothing about this brilliant concoction, it’s ice cream, hot fudge sauce, caramel, and bacon. So, basically, the bacon does serve as a nut replacement, and I prefer it. The saltiness of the bacon works with the caramel (anyone tried any sea salt caramel?), and bacon and chocolate are just a perfect combination, anyway. Put them all together with ice cream, and, well…

Yeah. I would have licked the bowl, were that physically possible.

I even ate the whole sundae before I tackled another new BK offering: sweet potato fries!

Very yummy. Too salty toward the bottom, and I ADORE salt. Maybe it was a fluke. No extra charge for this mini-review, folks!

My hair is naturally fairly oily, but since I bleached (fried) it last summer for Harry Potter, the ends are crispy and prone to increased damage. This and time constraints mean that some days, I just can’t/don’t want to wash my hair every single day.

I have tried a couple of dry shampoos, and wasn’t too impressed. It should go without saying, if you follow this blog or know me at all, that I haven’t tried the $25 variety; we’re talking CVS/grocery store purchases here.

Anyway, most recently, I purchased this:

 

The way this works is a lot like Carpet Fresh, except that instead of sprinkling it on your carpet, you spray it onto your scalp. But, just like Carpet Fresh, you have to leave it for a bit so it can “soak up” the oil and odor.

See the powdery stuff?

To keep the sprayer from clogging and to make sure that everything (like the clay) comes out, you need to shake the can repeatedly during the application.

All done!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, you do something for a couple of minutes. I recommend washing your face, cleaning out the cat box, singing karaoke, or eating the last piece of Amish fudge.

After that, you just brush your hair. First of all, it will smell a lot better than it did before, unless you slept in a literal bed of roses. Also, check out how much more body the roots have! No oil loading it down and making it look dirty for Day Two!

The picture on the right is the one I took after just brushing this morning. It doesn’t look too bad right this moment, but later in the day, it’d be matted and oily. The picture on the left is the one after I sprayed. I hadn’t styled yet, but you can see a difference in the volume and lightness. Love it!

 

Last week (and I think this week, if my morning foray to the grocery store was any indication), Kroger had a bunch of their energy drinks on sale half price. I’ve not ever been a huge fan of energy drinks, having tried a few when someone else was paying (gas station convenience store mystery shops). Diet Red Bull, some other Rockstar… I just thought they were awful. But they were on sale HALF PRICE!! So…

Sale bonanza! But was it a good buy?

I read all of the information on the cans carefully. For instance, did you know that you aren’t supposed to drink more than three energy drinks per day? I took it easy and only had one or two. There were a lot of supplements in the drinks, and I know that overdoing it on vitamins is just as bad as underdoing it on vitamins.

If you’re new, I’ll tell you this right now: I love me some food. So I don’t like wasting calories on beverages. All of these drinks have 10 or fewer calories per serving (most cans are two servings, except for the itty bitty baby Rockstars). And most of them have excess caffeine.

This is the first one that I tried.

After a Zumba class, the rehydrating promised from this Rockstar seemed appropriate.

In case you're wondering, milk thistle is supposed to help with liver toxins or something. Taurine does something with bones. Whatever. How does it taste?

It looks moderately like lemonade.

This wasn’t offensive-tasting. It didn’t taste like lemonade per se, but there was a lemony citrus element to the drink that successfully masked the supplement content. I was able to finish this beverage without much protest from my taste buds.

Monster Red Tea and junk

Have you ever had Lipton prepared tea? The kind you can buy in a 2-liter bottle at the grocery store? That’s kind of what this tastes like. It looks like this…

You got your cranberry juice in my tea!

Again, this wasn’t difficult to get down, and it tasted fine. Not wonderful. Fake tea isn’t my favorite. But I didn’t gag.

More like "Mountain Don't"!

I had high hopes for this one! I’d downed two energy drinks and had not had much trouble with that whole thing. And I LOVE Mountain Dew! But this drink… goodness help us, it is NASTY. It tasted not at all like Mountain Dew. It tasted like supplements and something strong that is supposed to mask that taste, but didn’t. Yuck. Gagged it down because I’m cheap, but it was disgusting.

At this point in the experiment, by the way, something interesting had started happening. I was crashing at the end of the day. I would fall asleep at 9:30 and stay down all night. I usually go to bed between 12:30 and 1. That happened for a couple of days, and then something REALLY weird happened…

I left the house one morning feeling like I could conquer the world! I was so giddy and hopeful and energized! By 4:00 PM, I was drowning in a sea of morose complacency. I was sitting at my desk on the verge of tears, thinking, “This life is soooo depressing. Nothing is ever going to change. Whyyyyy?” So I was emotionally crashing in addition to the physical. I don’t think it was the caffeine; I drink a ton of caffeine (in the past 24 hours, I’ve had more than 3 liters of Diet Coke). I guess it must have been some of the other stuff?

Of course, at the same time, we were having really weird weather and I was largely unable to breathe, so I was sucking on the Albuterol way more than the recommended dosage. So perhaps the lesson here is not to mix a stimulant inhaler and energy drinks?

One morning, I got to the office about the same time as my employer and, because his hands were full, I was trying to unlock the door for him. My hands were shaking so much that I couldn’t hit the key hole!

Lesson learned.

Oh, and speaking of lessons…

zomg, it's pink!

It's packing its own straw!

This here beverage was adorable. But do you remember the stuff with which you used to swish during your visits to the pediatric dentist’s office? Yup. That was how this tasted. It was even a little worse than the Amp, but only because instead of just being generically bad, it was specifically medically-tasting. And, yes, I polished it off.

This one wasn't memorable in any way. Meh.

So. Not really impressed with any of these. None was tasty, and they might have contributed to a near mental breakdown. You should really pity my closest friends; if you interviewed them, I’m sure they’d tell you that they highly recommend I no longer partake of the energy beverage genre. Plus, even half price, they’re still too expensive for me.

Call me naive, but I’d seen this picture so often, that even after other people had posted their pictures of the Locos Tacos with completely different wrappers, I was still kind of hoping for something like this.

 

Because, let’s face it, that’s pretty epic.

We ordered two: a regular taco for Daphne, and a supreme taco for me. Now that I think about it, the actual product didn’t look too much like that picture, either.

Which one is supreme? Which is regular? Yeah... the tomatoes tell you that it's full-throttle!

 

The hard paper packaging. It's not a chip bag, but it'll do.

Dorito-y!

At first, I felt kind of ripped off because I couldn’t see the sour cream… then I bit into the taco, and there it was! In giant, uneven globs between the meat and the lettuce.

Still, compare the concavity of my actual taco to the near-bursting bounty of the publicity photo.

Basically, this is a Taco Bell Taco in a Dorito shell. The shell improves it, of course, and it’s a fine quick snack but it didn’t transport me to another world or anything.

I did, however, have the tell-tale “Dorito fingers” after having consumed my dinner.

This is a weird-perspective picture. I don’t have freakishly-malformed fingers. (No offense to people who have freakishly-malformed fingers.)