Saturday, May 28, 2011

International Delight Breve Crème review and giveaway!

CONTEST ENDED June 5th, 2011 at 3 PM CST
Winners can be found here.

Many thanks to all who entered!

Several weeks ago, the postman left me a coffee cup. I was on the phone when he knocked, so I didn't answer. When I opened the door later, I found a plastic-wrapped paper cup sitting there.

Inside the cup was a handful of items from Vocalpoint, which, according to their website, is "A community of moms who love talking to other people, get energized when they are asked for their opinions, like searching for new knowledge and sharing it with others, [and] enjoy making a difference in people's lives." I meet all those criteria, except the "mom" part. Oops. Anyway, they sent me a coupon for a free pint of International Delight Breve Crème coffee creamer, as well as several 55 cent-off coupons. So, being the benevolent and generous soul I am, I am going to share these with you! Yay!

The Review
First of all, I would like to share my thoughts about this creamer. I used to practically drink flavored creamers straight from the bottle. I started drinking coffee at a young age; I remember bringing a travel mug of coffee (laced with chocolate raspberry creamer) on the bus with me in 5th grade and drinking it in front of the school before class started. This may be why I'm only 5'-almost-5"-tall, but hey, at least I can wear 5" heels and not feel like an Amazon giantess. At any rate, I use turbinado sugar and half and half in my coffee now. I've always liked my coffee hot and strong, like I like my men: hot and strong... with a spoon in them (apologies to Eddie Izzard).

On one of our last grocery shopping trips, I picked up a bottle of the Vanilla Caramel Cream flavor, since I had tried the Dark Chocolate Cream before and had a hard time finishing the bottle. Ever since I stopped using flavored creamers a while ago, it's been tough for me to want to try them again. They have a lot of calories and ingredients that I'd rather not be eating. I thought the Breve Crème line sounded like a good option, as they are made with real milk and cream. Unfortunately, they still have essentially the same nutritional profile as the partially hydrogenated oil-filled creamers; they've got 35 calories per tablespoon and more fat than an equivalent amount of half and half.

The Vanilla Caramel Cream flavor smells like caramel-corn and has a very rich, sweet taste. Although it does have artificial flavors, it doesn't have the same chemical aftertaste that other flavored creamers have. On its own, this creamer is extremely sweet; however, it's a little difficult to taste in coffee. This may be due to my making coffee strong enough to strip the paint off a car; I'm sure if you make coffee the way my husband does, a little splash of this creamer would suffice. I discovered that mixing it with an equal amount of half and half really enhances the caramel flavor, especially when the coffee has been sitting in the pot for a while.

If you enjoy flavored creamers, these would be worth trying. Since I prefer to drink coffee with sugar and half and half, I probably won't be getting another Breve Crème product unless they come out with a new and/or unusual flavor.

International Delight Breve Crème comes in three flavors: Dark Chocolate Cream, Vanilla Caramel Cream, and Hazelnut Cream. If you have a grocery store nearby, chances are they stock these; however, you can check here for availability.

The Giveaway
I have five coupons for 55 cents off any ONE Coffee House Inspirations or International Delight pint (any flavor). That's right, you could get a bottle of Breve Crème or you could get the limited edition Cinnabon flavor. The only limitation is that these coupons are void in dairy states (Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, and North Dakota). Coupons expire 7/31/2011.

One lucky winner will receive THREE of these coupons (you'd better like International Delight!) and a second winner will receive TWO coupons. All other entrants will receive nothing but the knowledge that they probably made me smile by commenting on my blog.

To enter, leave a comment below describing your favorite way to drink coffee.

I'd appreciate a follow via Google Friend Connect, but this isn't necessary to enter.

Contest ends June 5th, 2011 at 3 PM CST.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Like Arnold said in "Kindergarten Cop", STOP WHINING!

The only reason I like to read the opinion section on MSNBC is so I can find fodder for blog posts. So, when I found this article titled "Dove body wash ad stirs controversy", I had to write my own little harangue.

Let me start by reiterating the title of this post: STOP WHINING.

People who think this ad is racist probably thrive on finding "racism" in everything. Heck, my sister-in-law, who is black, does this. When my husband tried to explain to her the difference between Yahtzee and Kismet, he said, "Well, the only difference is that Kismet has colored dice" and her head just about exploded. She didn't say anything, but the smoke pouring out of her ears made it clear that she was incensed (man, am I a master of punning, or what?).

The article quotes another source's criticism of the ad as "turning Black Women into Latino Women into White Women." Yeah, I'm sure Dove's intent was to piss you off. Darned elitist soap company, thinking that white women are the ideal form of beauty! Why not be happy that Dove actually uses models who have different skin tones? Most other ads for body care products use skinny white women, so it's refreshing to see something different.

I did find an interesting comment below this article, however. Someone mentioned that Unilever owns Dove. Not a big deal, until you consider Unilever also owns Axe. Dove promotes beauty in all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. and wants to change the way women are portrayed, while Axe pretty much suggests that if you use their products, hot skinny white women will fall from the sky and onto your penis. That's pretty slick marketing right there, people. Create a problem and pretend to fix it.

What this all boils down to is this: people need to lighten up. Oh snap, there's another pun. I'd better stop before I get myself in trouble.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Make mine medium-rare... please?

All right, I need to get off this fashion kick that I've been on lately and write complain about something else.

Now, this is something that probably wouldn't ire too many people, but it certainly got to me. Last week, my husband and I went out to eat before catching a play (we've got more culture than yogurt, I tell ya what) and I ordered a steak. As always, I ordered it medium-rare. The waitress brought us our food, and my first cut into the steak revealed a well-done edge. I didn't think anything of it, until I made another incision into the meat. The entire thing was well-done.
When the waitress came by to see how we were enjoying our meals, I said this was not what I had ordered. She apologized, took my plate, and went back to the kitchen. Several minutes later, she returned with a new steak and said, "The chef even checked this one!" (as evidenced by the large knife wound in the middle of the steak)

It was medium-well.

When she came back again, she asked how the steak was. I said it wasn't what I had asked for, but I wasn't going to send it back again (for fear of the chef sliding my new steak between his buttcheeks before serving it). I ate the steak anyway, even though it was hard to chew (I have a tough time with that because of my teeth, which is why I tend toward soft, squishy, mooing steaks). The waitress deducted $5 from our bill for the inconvenience, but I would rather have had my steak prepared properly. Even with the discount, I'm still shelling out $12.99 for a piece of shoe leather. That being said, the steak did taste good, much in the same way that Jack Link's teriyaki jerky tastes good.

Another trend I dislike: burnout

I was in Maurices the other day and noticed how remarkably thin all the material is. I've also noticed the proliferation of "burnout", or devoré, fabric in garments. It looks like the fashion industry is trying to convince us that cheap, threadbare clothes are trendy.

When I was a kid, I remember my Dad wearing a lot of shirts like this (not in this color, of course, because it's kinda icky) not because they were trendy, but because he would wear them out completely. All of his t-shirts went from their thick, high-quality splendor to something resembling a "burnout" tee, until they were finally holier than a block of Swiss. The same thing goes for jeans. Why is it trendy to look like your pants got caught in a weedwhacker? My brother-in-law buys brand new, $120 Armani Express jeans that look like my husband's years-old, $40 Levi's he wears to work. My brother-in-law hasn't worked a day in his life (in fact, he even went to grad school just so he could stay out of the workforce as long as possible).

This all makes me wonder: why can't we have nice things anymore? Why are we being convinced that ratty old t-shirts and slumpy, shredded jeans shouldn't be used as rags to wash the car? And why are so many people buying into this nonsense?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Newest obsession: Kandee Shoes


I only recently found out about Kandee Shoes, but I'm totally in lust with everything they sell.

Kandee was founded in 2009 by Josh Wayman (Princess Dominique did a great interview with Josh in April 2011). The line is described on their Facebook fanpage as "fun, bold, feminine and sexy", which is absolutely spot-on.

I mean, just look at these heels!

They're called Peanut Crunch and have a towering 6" heel and 2" platform. They also come in bootie form, which I am definitely coveting. I don't think I'd be able to walk a dog while wearing these, but they're still gorgeous.

The detail on these is magnificent. This is an extreme close-up of the gold stud-embellished, cowhide cheetah print Peanut Crunch Booties:

If you really want to stand out, you could pair the Lime Sours or Raspberry Sours with a plain black dress and let your feet do the talking. And if you're not feeling that fierce, Kandee even has the black patent Liquorice Allsoles that are anything but plain.

Out of all the styles offered by Kandee, I think my favorite has to be the Glace Cherry.

These, like all of Kandee's shoes, are a definite statement piece. The statement they make is, "I have excellent taste in footwear!" I don't have anything to wear these with, but that's never stopped me before. I like to pick out a killer pair of heels and create an outfit around them.

Bad news in Boston

I want to take a moment to let you all know about a company I am choosing never to do business with again, the clothier Boston Proper.

If you're not familiar with their line, Boston Proper makes a lot of things that only look good on the models. Their target demographic falls in the range of 35-55 years of age and is "college educated, owns her own home, and her average household income is $100,000 ... She's savvy, works, travels a lot, and is active; she wants to find clothes quickly and efficiently when she's shopping" (excerpted from Clearly, I am not their target, though I do tend toward stores that cater to people older than 30 (for example, I love Eddie Bauer... then again, I also love Maurices, and that's geared toward 20-somethings. I wish Maurices was my closet.). Seriously, though, go take a look at the clothes on their website and tell me if you want to see your Mom wearing any of them (no offense, Mom).

Take this dress, for example. My Mom would never wear this. Your Mom would never wear this. It only hits their target age of 47 because Boston Proper caters to Mrs. Robinson. Oh, hey, that lady's on hubby's yacht in her clingy dress and totally impractical heels!

So, here's my real beef with Boston Proper. Their customer service sucks. About a week ago, I found a shirt in the clearance section for $19.99 (a steal compared to the rest of their items, which could set you back $129 dollars for a freakin' tank top). They had it in my size and the color I wanted, so I added it to my cart, clicked to check out, and got to the payment page. At the bottom of the page, it showed the item as "In Stock and Reserved!" I got up to get my wallet, came back, entered my credit card number, clicked "submit order", and....... the item was sold out. If it's in "in stock and reserved", how in God's holy name did it sell out? It's like going shopping at Christmastime, grabbing the last shirt off the rack, and having someone snatch it out of your cart while you're waiting to check out.

I sent Boston Proper an @reply on Twitter saying "I tried to place an order yesterday and the items "reserved" in my cart "sold out" when I clicked the submit order button. :(" to which they replied "We're sorry! Please DM us your name/email & we'll see if there's anything we can do." I sent them a direct message shortly after I received that reply, but they never got back to me on Twitter or via email. That's fine, I thought. They probably wouldn't do anything anyway. I contacted them later to say I had never received a response, to which they did not respond. The shirt I had previously tried to order mysteriously showed up in the clearance section again. I tried to order it again and it said, "This item is backordered 30 days." Fine, fine. I click through to the order screen and once again it tells me the item is sold out. *head explodes*

I then sent @boston_proper the following messages:
"It happened again. Tried to order & it said it was on back order. Then, it disappeared from my cart!" (12:12 PM Apr 28th via web)
"Now, it shows that shirt is "No longer available for purchase". It seems to mysteriously flip-flop from available to not." (12:13 PM Apr 28th via web)
"Since no one will bother responding to my comments, I think it would be wise of me to take my business elsewhere." (12:15 PM Apr 28th via web)

Never heard a word from them.

Nevertheless, I did end up ordering this shirt because I found the secret $20-off code (*cough*S1PC142*cough*) that brought the price plus shipping down to a reasonable $27. And if it doesn't fit, I'll sell it on eBay. No harm in that, right? NB: the aforementioned code only works once per mailing address/name/lifetime, and if you try to use it more times, you will get a personalized email from Boston Proper advising you not to do that, mmmkay.