Limited Editions

I love Limited Edition candy. I like to think that I was way ahead of the whole Dark Chocolate trend because I bought bags and bags of Dark Chocolate M and M’s all the way back to May 2005 with the premiere of Star Wars: Phantom Menace when they were still in their limited edition phase.

But where does it end? When do the candy makers just give up because they’ve invented every combination possible? For example: I’m a huge Skittles fan and have tried every concoction they’ve dished out, but Mars went a little too far with the Carnival flavor.

So when I came across this blog post from Cotton and Sand bemoaning the very same thing, I just had to share their invented images of limited edition candy concepts. Believe me when I say that all you need to do is print out these pictures, pin them up in your cubicle and you’ll curb your desire for a quick energy pick-me-up at 3pm in the afternoon.

It’s all Apples and Oranges for me now:


Hydra Coach Product Review

I finally got around to setting up my HydraCoach water bottle yesterday and I’m very glad that I made the effort. I managed to drink a little over 75 ounces of water.

The set up was easy and intuitive. The first thing I needed to do was peel away the protective tab on the battery in the control panel. It uses a common CR32 watch battery that is easily found in your local drug store and is supposed to last up to six months.

As you’re setting it up, you choose liters or ounces, enter your weight, set the date/time and the computer determines your ideal amount of water consumption based on your weight. Mine was around 90 ounces which is CRAZY. But the nice feature is you can always modify the recommendation so all I needed to do was pare back to a sane 64 ounces.

Getting used to gripping the straw with my teeth to open up the flow of water when I suck is awkward, but after a little bit of practice you hardly notice it. I didn’t use the Start/Stop feature too much during the day. Really all that does is restart the stop clock feature. I just let it run. But I think the feature is pretty cool if you want to track how long it took you to drink 64 ounces of water.

The bottle is shaded a deep shade of blue so I could get away with even putting flavored water in it to use at work. (My company doesn’t allow any food or beverages in our offices except water). Hooray for being sneaky. Take that Corporate America.

The other thing I like about the bottle is the toggle option for the screen. I find myself just setting it to show the date and time which will be great when I bring this little wonder to meetings or when I’m outside and forget my watch.

Overall it’s a nice inexpensive gadget and I think it’s going to really help me stay focused on consuming 64 ounces of water a day.

Flicker Picker

I am always getting gifts at work from my friend Michelle. She is my official Bose benefactor.

Here’s the latest little gadget that she clued me in on. Really–sometimes I feel like I came from the backwoods of someplace weird. I never know about these neat little things.

This is a citrus peeler. It cost $.75 from The Pampered Chef and this little plastic device lets me perfectly slice an orange like I’m a citrus surgeon. I love it.

Beware My Tiny Little Voice

We bought a new leaf blower/vacuum a few days ago at Lowes. I should be excited to use it because it’s bright bee yellow and all brandy new. But I’m sitting here posting to my blog rather than being out in my driveway sucking up the leaves because I’m afraid that I’ll put all the work into setting it up and it won’t start. But I’m sure it will…

So rather than procrastinate any longer, why don’t I leave this desk and get outside into the fresh air to start blowing the leaves?

A tiny little voice in my head is chanting, “You’re on vacation. Don’t do any yard work. You’re on vacation. Take a nap instead.”

Somehow I don’t think I should be listening to my tiny little voice anymore.

Starbucks Maple Latte Review

I met my friend Mark at Starbucks in Southborough this morning for some coffee talk before work. (We really were meeting so he could get the last episode of LOST I taped for him from my DVD because he fell asleep Wednesday night at 11:30 when it was on later because
of the hated Red Sox baseball game.) He was given specific instructions to order me a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream.
Upon arriving five minutes late, there he was standing in line unshaven in
an old Hanes t-shirt about five people deep waiting to place our order. He
greeted me and asked if I had tried their new Maple Latte because his son
Zach thought I should try it. Mmmmm….Maple Latte. Sure-sign me up for a
drink of that.

The young kid running the front end was simply amazing. He was ON! He was
in total command of the ordering area. He seemed to know every single
person by name and was confidently calling out orders while madly scribbling
on coffee cups and continuing to take orders from the next person in the
queue. In fact, he was so loud and happy doing his thang that when Mark was
trying to tell me something, it was all I could do to pay attention to him
because the snappy young man kept rolling over our conversation with
background shout-outs and hellos to approaching customers in line. This kid
had his flair on in a big way.

We eventually got our drinks and took a table to enjoy our drinks. The only
highlight aside from the good conversation between two friends was Mark’s
observation of a man wearing black cowboy boots: “Oooh, cowboy boots in
New England.” They were nice boots, but the man was wearing a burgundy
sweater while my companion was wearing flip-flops and shorts. Only in New

Here is my succinct review of their new Maple Latte: It tasted like a
blended pancake.

It wasn’t terrible, but I should have went with my original choice of
Pumpkin Spice. The Maple Latte left an after-taste in my mouth, sort of
like what you would imagine burnt maple syrup might taste like if you left
it on the burner too long.

I think I’ll hold out for their infamous Eggnog Latte. Mmmmm…Eggnog
latte. Let It Snow and all that happy crap. Bring on the deliciousness.


The Fruit is Always Sweeter…

Every Monday it’s the same conversation: “So…what did you do this weekend?” Well, for starters, I weaseled a trip to Longhorns Steak House in Marlborough with Spencer on Saturday. It was hotter than hell and what better way to cool off than with a nice hot steak and a baked potato? Seriously, I know I’m fantastically insane…but I like meat.

Our lunch was actually pretty underwhelming, but that’s for another blog. What I want to tell you about today is our little side trip to a grocery store called Hannaford which is next to Longhorns. I love shopping for fruit and right now my Holy Grail is a big juicy piece of watermelon priced right at about 55 cents a pound. It’s not gonna happen and believe me, I know that. But it’s the thrill of the chase because after all, Summer means delicious watermelon and next up is Pomegranate season (the most holy of seasons).

Hannaford is my new favorite grocery store. The aisles are wide, the selection is plentiful and the floors aren’t sticky. The was no dust to be found on their canned goods and we found a rippled no-salt bag of potato chips about four aisles into our browsing. (My mom is going to be psyched and I can’t wait to present her with my new find when I visit her this Tuesday! She loves no-salt chips and can’t understand why the selection is so minimal anytime we go into a superstore like Wal-Mart or Target. I keep trying to tell her no-salt anything is difficult to find, but when she wants something her needs must be met–or I’ll be nagged to death.)

Spencer is all about the price and I think he was pleased that the prices were surprisingly good-especially on their health & beauty products. We didn’t even have to add another one of those annoying plastic discount cards to our already overloaded keychains to benefit from their prices.

We walked the aisles of Hannaford like tourists in Disneyland. But what cinched it for me was the yogurt section. Amazingly, they were charging $.55 cents for Breyer’s Creme Savers yogurt! It’s normally about $.89 or more at Price Chopper and Stop & Shop so I snagged a few containers and moved (or shall I be corny and say MOOOOved) over to the dairy section to price the Bunny Milk. Although they were charging $1.29 for it, they still redeemed themselves because they had Garelick Coffee Milk. I can never find coffee milk anywhere.

Did I mention the store was completely dead? I didn’t have to maneuver around annoying customers leaving their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle or deal with screaming kids in the cereal aisle demanding Cookie Crisp cereal. I expected to see pallets of food in the aisles waiting to be put away by stocking clerks hoping to take advantage of down time. Nothing. The aisles were free and clear. Come to think of it, I don’t recall seeing too many cardboard displays taking up aisle space either.

Since I’m a shopper who purposely shops in the dead of the night to avoid being stressed when I want to browse the salad dressing aisle for an undiscovered flavor (to stoke my salad dressing fetish), Hannaford scores points for the discerning shopper who wants to spend time experiencing what it’s like to have such a grand amount of food choices. At Hannaford, it’s perfectly okay to shuffle through your coupons with ease never worrying about the agitation from a stressed out, low-on-patience mom eager to push past you to get their cans of spaghettio’s. The aisles are just that spacious.

The checkout was wonderful and free of any confrontation from apathetic cashiers. I was actually asked if my two flavors of Skinny Cow ice cream was the same price and when I confirmed it–the cashier nodded, punched in the price and moved on to my next item on the belt. No price checks or surly behavior whatsoever.

But here’s the best part. They give you plastic bags that are study (about the thickness of a Target bag) and say cheeky things like:

I’m observant. I may look like an ordinary bag, but I’m not. I notice things. Like that tender asparagus you selected…and that roast…Excellent choice! You know what you’re doing and I can tell you have GOOD TASTE.


The bag then has a little request: Please re-use this bag as many times as you can, then return it to Hannaford for recycling.

I am here to tell you that I’ve witnessed patrons of Hannaford actually bringing their used plastic bags back into the store for reuse! And that’s the amazing thing about these gray bags. They are so hearty that you can actually recycle them. They don’t rip or tear from your trunk to your countertop. They withstand the journey sustaining the weight of glass pickle jars, Ocean Spray grapefruit juice, boxes of Lean Cuisines and a can of scrubbing bubbles.

Today we drove 16 miles out of our way-from Worcester to Marlboro- to do our weekly grocery shop at Hannaford. Our trip was not disappointing in the sense that the store was still stone-cold quiet, Bing cherries were on sale for $2.99/pound and I even found a new salad dressing that I had never tried before-Ken’s Sweet Vidalia Onion.

So that’s what I did this past weekend–I shopped Hannaford and discovered a wonder right in my own 20-mile radius of home.