Friday, March 28, 2008

Reviews, AKA My Opinions, Which I Am Foisting On You

Tip Of The Day: The lowdown on three beauty aids I am loving today. Plus, two authors I am loving, and one restaurant I am, guess what? Loving.

Tip For The Weekend: Stay tuned Sunday evening for the recap of the first ever “Boys Suck” party, courtesy of Larue and Swimmer. It should be off the hook, as the kids say.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: If you haven’t noticed, I do dearly love to give my opinion about stuff, in particular, cheap stuff. Which is why I have compiled 6 different reviews for you, my fearless readers. It’s all stuff to try, read or eat, for under $20.

I wouldn’t want you to waste your money on things that suck, so here are beauty products, authors and a restaurant that don’t. Actually, one of the things sucks, because I didn’t want my reviews to be all sweetness and light. Where’s the fun in that? So be prepared for one sucky thing.

With no further delay, here are the three beauty products I tried out this week.

First up, Neutrogena Triple Moisture Pure Strength Conditioning Treatment – a hair treatment promising to not only repair damaged hair, but actually reverse the damage. Which, of course, is impossible, seeing as how hair is DEAD and can’t be fixed. However, the Treatment did soften my hair, make it shiny, and reduce the look of my nasty split ends. All for just $5.99 for a 5.1 fluid ounce tube.

I sampled another Neutrogena product – Skin Soothing Undereye Corrector. This stuff promises to brighten and ‘instantly’ reduce appearance of puffiness, minimize dark circles, and leave a lasting cool sensation. On your skin – it doesn’t actually make you a cool sensation.

I may not become cool while wearing the Corrector, but the Corrector itself is BEYOND cool. It does everything it says it will on the package, but the best part? The applicator – I am a sucker for a cool applicator. This one is a soft little brush, and you twist up the product into the brush from the tube it’s attached to. I love that! You can get all this greatness for just $9.99.

Last but not least, I finally caved in to packaging pressure and succumbed to the cuteness that is Burt’s Bees Lip Balm. I usually avoid Burt because, hello? $3.29 for a tube of lip balm? Can we say rip off? However, my SIL swears by this stuff, so I picked up a tube of Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil.

Yeah, sorry SIL. I’m not convinced. First off, this stuff tastes like crap – I guess pomegranate and mint do NOT mix. So if you are a Burt virgin and want to try his balm, stick with the regular stuff. Better yet, if you want to splurge on a balm, try the Body Shop’s little pots of goodness. They ALL taste yummy, they make your lips shiny, and only cost about $6.

To ensure you don’t waste money on books, here are two author reviews for your reading pleasure. However, you should know that I pretty much only read sci-fi/fantasy stuff, so if that’s not your bag, you may want to just skip the next few paragraphs.

If you ever thought, “gee, I’d like to try a fantasy series, but I’m afraid it will devolve into sadistic porn (yes, I’m talking to you, Laurel K. Hamilton),” do I have the author for you. Try out Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series, soon to be a prime time TV series!

It’s about a simple country lass, who happens to be able to read minds. She falls in love with a vampire, finds out her boss isn’t human, and wacky adventures ensue. There are vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, Maenads, fairies, plus violence, kissing, cute clothes, and clever quips. Best of all? There is NO PORN.

If you want to move up to advanced sci-fi/fantasy, I recommend Charles de Lint, the creator of urban fantasy and the town of Newford. Which doesn’t actually exist, but if it did? I think it would be in Canada. And what’s better than made-up fantasy-laden towns in Canada? Nothing.

Charles (yes, we’re on a first name basis) writes Newford novels and short stories that you don’t have to read in any particular order. In fact, that’s his whole point – he just wants readers to be able to step into Newford for awhile and hang out with the people and non-people that live there. Start with his short story collection, Dreams Underfoot. You won’t be disappointed. Unless sci-fi/fantasy isn’t your thing – then you’ll probably be all WTF?

Last but not least, my restaurant recommendation, a spot where you can get your feed on for less than $20 a person.

It’s such a small restaurant, I kinda DON’T want to tell you about, because it’s already too damn hard to get a seat there. However, that would be mean and non-sharing. So, if you are in Northeast Mpls, stop by Brasa Rotisserie. They serve chicken and pork, a bunch of yummy sides, and desserts like birthday cake with butter cream frosting. Which I did, in fact, have on my birthday.

Brasa is known for their amazing slow-cooked pork and slow-roasted chicken, but don’t skip the sides like collard greens and cheesy grits. You can get a meat and two sides for $11 a plate, and it’s the perfect amount of food – leaving you with enough room for dessert. Like birthday cake.

You’ll find Brasa at: 600 Hennepin Ave. (612) 379-3030.

There, those are my opinions. And seeing as how this is my blog, more of my opinions will be forthcoming.


LaRue said...

I would like to point out that this is technically a going away party for Swimmer, as well as a "Swimmer's Ex-Boyfriend Sucks," party. Just so as to not offend any other boys out there. Its really just the one boy we are planning on using the voodoo doll for.

I can't use Bert's Bees. It must be the bee part. It makes me break out. Unfortunate, as the stuff I have smells very nice. I am a Neutrogena girl through and through. Their Fisherman's lotion is fabulous, although a bit goopy. I recommend putting it on at night before you go to sleep.

As for reading, there is a hot book coming out eventually about a chick lit writer and the lipstick killer in her town..... Heh.

mia said...

Burt's Bee's lip balm irritates my lips, too. Sephora brand lip balm and lip gloss also tend to irritate my lips and leave my lips more cracked and painful than before.
I always get tempted to try other lip balms, but I have to admit the most effective in my experience has been Carmex in the classic pot--both the Cherry and the Classic.

My favorite body products right now are Trader Joe's "Refresh" citrus-scented products--they work well and smell amazing! The lotion is under $3 for a huge 16 ounce bottle and the other products (like body wash and shampoo/conditioner) are $1.99.

Michelle said...

Brasa sounds awesome! Like an upscale Boston Market. I'll have to give it a try, it is right in my hood. The birthday cake sounds yummy, too. I love butter cream frosting.

I like the regular Burt Bee's Lip Balm, but the flavored stuff is yucky--especially the honey flavored. It make me gag. :P

mia said...

If you like buttercream frosting and birthday cake, YOU MUST get Mayfield's Birthday Cake Ice Cream. It's worth the effort of hunting down a supermarket that carries it. It has buttercream swirls and rainbow sprinkles in a yummy cake batter flavored base. I think it's much better than all the other cake batter or birthday cake ice creams I've tried (including Coldstone's version, which costs way more).

Anonymous said...

The best lip balm ever is Canus Goat's Milk Lip Balm. It isn't waxy or goopy - and the light spearmint flavor/scent is heavenly!

Unfortunately, I, too, must avoid anything from Burt - all of his stuff makes me break out. And it really is a shame because his company is doing a lot of great things.

mia said...

FYI, Burt's is owned and made by Clorox, which makes everything from Formula 409 to Armor All to Hidden Valley Ranch to Glad Bags. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

Clorox now has its Green Works products out on the market. Maybe purchasing Burt's Bees last year will make a positive difference!? :o) I certainly hope so.