Category Archives: Product Reviews

Only At Wal-Mart Mamma Mia! Packaged With Xanadu

Wal-Mart is home to some interesting deals, and it seems they have a deal designed just for me, only problem is I already have both items they’ve packaged together. What they’ve done is get with Universal Pictures and packaged some of their movies together in little Wal-Mart exclusive packages usually for a great price. In this case, what was packaged together was Mamma Mia! The Movie with Xanadu.

No doubt the decision was made because Mamma Mia appeals to a musical audience that appreciates ABBA as that is the basis for the music in the musical. Olivia Newton-John headlines Xanadu as a very late 1970’s early 1980’s attempt to build on her amazing success in Grease with a musical like picture. What Wal-Mart and Universal execs probably didn’t realize the packaging of ABBA and Olivia Newton-John together is something that’s been done before. When ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden, Olivia Newton-John was also competing in the contest for England. And when ABBA were making a concerted effort to try and build their success in the United States, they appeared on one of Olivia Newton-John’s television specials along with Andy Gibb. So it’s not the first time ABBA and ONJ have crossed paths.

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Where Have All The Tim Tams Gone?

My recent visit to Target also brought about an unexpected and not so happy sight to be seen. The Pepperidge Farm Cookie section in Target not only had no Tim Tams left, there wasn’t even a spot on the shelf for them any more! This criminal injustice left me a bit angered at Target because in the heat of the moment, they were the easiest uhm… target… to be upset with.

If you’re not familiar with Tim Tams, they are just the most amazing cookies from Australia (although Aussie’s will correct you and state they are “biscuits” not “cookies”). In early 2009, Pepperidge Farms cookies brought them in to be sold at Target exclusively for a limited period of time to test them out to see if they’d take off in popularity here in North America. The Tim Tams are not actually made by Pepperidge Farms, but by Arnott’s of Australia, who in turn just wrap the cookies in Pepperidge Farms logo packaging and ship them off to America. So to those who think the Pepperidge Farms packaged Tim Tams are inferior to Australia’s Arnott’s labeled Tim Tams, they’re exactly the same and made by the same machines.

Of course, this original test marketing was right around the time I was starting the Belly Fat Cure so cookies were not part of that plan due to the high sugar content. I didn’t buy any of them during Target’s originally carrying the product but I certainly made sure to tell people about them because I really wanted to see them become a permanent product on store shelves here in America. I knew when the test was done they’d be gone, but I was hopeful they’d be back some day.

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PureVia Now Available At Costco

When I originally started on Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure Program just about a year ago, the large majority of people weren’t yet aware how dangerous sugar can be to the human body. While it’s still arguable how well aware the public is now, it’s considerably more aware now than a year ago. Truvia and PureVia were just hitting the market and most people still unaware the Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola are the major backers behind the companies that make these Erythritol and Stevia combinations and helped push their rapid approval through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used as a sweetener.

A year ago, you’d be just starting to see Truvia and PureVia hitting the shelves of the average supermarket, and now they’re pretty much a guarantee to be seen there. Both are starting to make their way into beverage products made by the respective cola giants although they’re yet to make their way into the cola giant’s diet versions of their signature products. Perhaps one of the signs that things are changing in a good way is that packets of PureVia are now available in the bulk purchasing giant warehouses of Costco. The super-sized boxes of packets which contain 300 packets are humongous compared to the 40 and 80 count boxes you can typically find in a regular supermarket.

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My “Free” KitchenAid Blender

My previous roommates had a Magic Bullet, so I could kind of experiment with making shakes like the one in Jorge Cruise’s “Belly Fat Cure” book, but the Magic Bullet has a small capacity and really not a lot of power for some serious blending. Now that I’ve moved and got my own kitchen, I didn’t have a blender of any kind. And I really didn’t want to spend any money on one either.

At work, when we meet our customer service goals, they award us a bonus. The bonus used to be a quarterly cash bonus that maxed out at $200 but once taxed at the rate the government taxes bonuses, it was barely more than half the value. As part of a cost cutting measure last year due to the economy, the quarterly bonus opportunity was transitioned into a point program where the points could be saved and redeemed through an awards catalog online. The points can be redeemed for a wide variety of products and if that’s not quite enough for you, they even have a partnership with Amazon.com for supplying Music and DVD options to be redeemed for points.

When I logged in to look at what was available, I really wasn’t looking to purchase yet with the point I had available. But I just happened to look and not only did they have a variety of blenders available, they also had KitchenAid Blenders. I’m already familiar with KitchenAid quality thanks to my grandmother’s mixer being passed down to me. And I love a great deal, the mixers are normally 7,176 points, and they were on special for 3,915 points, essentially 45% off the usual “price” only thing was there’s only one choice of color, the “Willow Blue” model. Fortunately, it’s a nice color and since buying the blender for real money would be about $100, I felt it was a great deal and placed the order. Within in a couple days the blender arrived. Continue reading My “Free” KitchenAid Blender

Ghirardelli 86% Cacao Chocolate Is Nasty

In my time on the Belly Fat Cure, one of the earliest things recommended was very dark chocolate, first Jorge Cruise was recommending the Green & Black’s‘s 85% Dark Chocolate, and more recently the Ghirardelli Midnight Reverie 85% Cacao dark chocolate. Both offer dark chocolate with only 5 grams of sugar per serving. I’ve never been a big fan of dark chocolate in my life so I’ve resisted trying either brand…until now.

Pretty much my indulgences in Chocolate on the Belly Fat Cure have been in the form of sugar free chocolates such as the line of sugar free chocolates from Hershey’s which includes miniature sized candies of several Hershey owned brands like Hershey’s (Chocolate Bars), Reese’s (Peanut Butter Cups), and York (Peppermint Patties), which have been fine, but sometimes not quite as indulgent as I would like. I’ve also just allowed myself to have the chocolates I do like but only in very small tiny portions, such as a single Dove square, or my favorites imported from Canada such as mini Aero bars and mini Coffee Crisp bars. I’ve actually done quite well with those, I ordered some from Canada in July and I still have a sizable number of the mini bars left and it’s now February. In the old days they wouldn’t have lasted a week, much less 7 months so far.

So I happened to be in the store and saw the Ghirardelli chocolate, and thought I’ll give it a try as I can have four squares of it for a single serving. So I got it out to the car, and opened up the package and broke off a small piece and bit into it, and let’s just say, I quickly posted on Twitter that not only was it my first ever purchase of the 86% Cacao chocolate, but also my last purchase and that my opinion of it was that it was “Fucking Disgusting.”

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Steaz Introduces Sugar Free Sparkling Green Tea Beverages

Following my visit to the Sonic Drive-In in Vista, I stopped at the nearby Frazier Farms Market mainly to see they had any Ginger Ale Zevia, which they did have, but I was intrigued by what I saw next to the Zevia. With so few beverage manufacturers realizing that there is a market for sugar free drinks that don’t use artificial sweeteners, it’s always a nice surprise when a new comes to market that is able to be naturally sugar free, and today, I discovered a new product that I just had to bring home to try out.

That new product is Steaz Zero Calorie Sparking Green Tea. Essentially it’s a flavored tea product made with sparking water so it looks and tastes more like an exotic flavored soda instead of a tea product. The tea is sweetened with Erythritol and Stevia extract thereby making it a great option for people following Jorge Cruise’s Belly Fat Cure program. The teas are also organically grown with special mention on the bottles about how its sustainably sourced for a natural and organically based beverage. There’s also several logos on the bottle to indicate it’s compliance with several programs such as certifications for being organic, vegan, fair trade, and a low carbon footprint during manufacturing. Essentially indicating the company is as environmentally focused as it is profit driven, definitely an admirable quality.

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Trying The New Dr. Zevia Flavor

One of my favorite things of 2009, was discovering Zevia’s all natural sodas when I was introduced to the Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise. I’ve been a big fan of Zevia since my very first purchase. Their sodas are all natural, and naturally sugar free, and calorie free. They are sweetened by Stevia, a South American plant who’s name means “sweet leaf” and Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that naturally occurs in plants.

At the time I first started trying Zevia, they only had four flavors, Cola (similar to Coca-Cola or Pepsi), Natural Twist (a lemon-lime soda similar to 7-Up or Sprite), Root Beer (similar to A&W), and Orange (similar to Fanta). Soon after they introduced two new flavors, Ginger Ale (similar to Canada Dry) and Black Cherry (similar to a Cherry 7-Up). And now they’ve introduced a new flavor called, Dr. Zevia, which naturally is similar to Dr. Pepper.

It was quite a while following the introduction of the Ginger Ale and Black Cherry Zevia flavors before I ever found them in the stores, so this time I ordered a couple of cases of the new Dr. Zevia directly from Zevia. Fortunately they were offering a great discount at the time which dropped the price of shipping for the two cases down to just a couple of bucks over top the price of the cases. And after a couple of weeks of waiting for the order to ship and for FedEx Ground Service to deliver it, the Dr. Zevia had finally arrived.

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Hint Flavored Water Invites You To Drink Water, Not Sugar

The other night I happened to be visiting the Bed Bath And Beyond store in the 4S Ranch Section of Rancho Bernardo. I left Bed Bath And Beyond empty handed and figured I was in the area, I should check out the Jimbo’s Naturally store which is the local health food store which happens to be in the same shopping complex. I happened to need some unsweetened almond milk, so I thought should just pop in.

While browsing through the store, I ended up over by the cooler that stocks bottles of water in a variety of sizes, everything from gallon size bottles on down to individual sizes. The display case had a big section filled with bottles of water that featured really brightly colored pictures of fruits and berries. While the photos of the fruits and berries caught my eye, it was the name of the product, “Hint” and it’s tag line, “Drink water, not sugar” that made me pick up a bottle to read the label. Just looking at the Nutrition Facts label, hint water is identical to ordinary water, no calories, no fat, no sodium, no carbohydrates, no proteins, and no sugar whatsoever. The only difference to be found on the label is in the ingredient list, where in addition to purified water, it has whatever it happens to be flavored with. Just pure and simple, water and the labeled ingredient that gives it flavor, no sugar, no sweeteners, and no preservatives.

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My “New” iPhone 3G

Earlier this month, my good friend Vito Grandolfo, said that he was going to upgrade his iPhone 3G to an iPhone 3GS phone and wanted to know if I would be interested in his iPhone 3G. I was definitely interested and I asked Vito if he was interested in my older Blu-Ray player, a Samsung BD-P1600. And he was interested so we decided to do a swap. A older Blu-Ray player for an older iPhone.

Vito got his new phone on Christmas Eve and we arranged a time to the technology exchange on the day after Christmas as Vito was flying out to another assignment for his job the very next morning. I helped Vito set up the Blu-Ray player on his TV and gave him a couple of the freebie Blu-Ray discs I had gotten by mail order rebate with the purchase of the player and we made sure it all worked.

Because I’m a T-Mobile customer and not an AT&T customer it was going to take a little bit of time to get the new iPhone ready for use. I already knew I wasn’t going to be able to use the 3G network as AT&T’s 3G network operates on a different frequency than T-Mobile’s 3G network and they’re not compatible. But what I was looking forward to was the integrated GPS as the older original generation iPhone I was using was only ever able to approximate my location using triangulation between cell phone towers and was not always the most accurate, especially when trying to use Google Maps for directions or having the phone identify the direction I was traveling on highways for one of the traffic monitoring applications. Additionally the iPhone Vito gave me was double the capacity of the small 4 GB iPhone I was currently using at the time. So plenty of room to expand.

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You Sank My Battleship On The iPhone

Milton Bradley’s (though now made by Hasbro) classic board game “Battleship” makes it’s way to Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch. Battleship was a game my brother and used to play as kids. I enjoyed the game but after having played the Electronic Battleship at a friend’s house I wanted one of those. In the electronic version the positions of the ships had to be programmed in and then when the game was played, you’d enter the grid location you wanted to strike and then pressed a fire button which would play a sound effect of a missile firing and if you actually hit something then you would hea and explosion and see a panel light up with a little red light to indicate a hit.

Many years later when hand held electronics were becoming quite popular, I bought several of the games including, Yahtzee, Connect Four, Battleship, Mastermind, and several game show games. It was handy in the bring with you and play on trips or have handy. Ultimately, the one I ended up carrying around the most was the Yahtzee game, but Battleship was probably my second favorite of the bunch. It could be played as a one player game or a two player game, but also had the fun of the sound effects of the missile launch and the hit which could be turned off if you wanted to play it in a quiet place. But they ended up being bulky to carry around as single application games. So they tend to sit in a box not being played.

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