The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

My Top Searches

Just like practically everyone else I know, the bad economy has affected me in a bunch of ways. I haven’t been able to shop for and buy fun things, and as a result, haven’t been posting as much on this blog as I used to.

But I hate not updating my blogs, so I’m determined to post at least 3-4 times per week here whether I buy anything or not. Since I don’t have a product to review today, I thought I’d do something different and just let you know what some of the top searches for this blog are. These are the terms that people enter into search engines before ending up on my site. Here are my top 7:

bed bath beyond bankruptcy
stranger than fiction watch
monster energy hoodie
asso soap
colon cleanser
cutco knives
OSIM iSqueez

Actually, I’m kind of surprised by these results, as I never would have thought that, say, Asso Soap and Cutco Knives would be such big hits with my readers. I guess that’s why it’s so important to pay attention to stats!

A Line Between Friends

I haven’t been purchasing as many books as I usually do, mainly because I choose to read free e-texts or go to the library to borrow novels and audiobooks. But one title I’ve been hearing a lot of great buzz about is A Line Between Friends by Michelle Cozzens.

It’s a bestseller on Amazon.com (though they update those stats hourly, so this could be a bit misleading) and has received 21 positive reviews from customers. Twenty-one is not a lot, I know, but this isn’t the only place the buzz is coming from.

At any rate, I’m going to wait until the title is available in paperback, and then order it. For now, I’m putting it on my Wish List so I don’t forget about it!

Shopping at Thrift Stores

There are several thrift stores and consignment shops in my area, and every once in a while I like to go in and check out what’s available. I think a lot of people have this misconception that the only things you’d find in a thrift shop are clothes that a beggar might be forced to wear, but that’s not the case at all. I’ve actually purchased several nice, name-brand jeans and tops over the years — all at significant savings.

Sure, I have to examine the items carefully before buying to make sure that they’re not too worn out or damaged, but to me that’s worth being able to get a pair of Tommy jeans for $10. I think a lot of people would agree with me, especially when times are tough (like now).

Unfortunately, the nature of thrift stores is that you never know what’s going to be available in your size. Today when I went in to check, I found a couple of souvenir t-shirts from vegas hotels, a couple of business suits that I don’t need right now, and one pair of Calvin Klein jeans that were a bit too worn in the seat to entice me. I went home empty handed, but it was still fun to browse!

If you’re one of those people turned off by the mere mention of thrift stores, I recommend opening your mind a bit. You’d be surprised at the quality clothes that turn up in those places, and you’re probably losing out on a lot of bargains!

Home Furnishings

Neither my husband nor I care much about interior design, so as a result, we don’t spend a lot of money on home furnishings. To give you an indication of what I mean, just consider the fact that we have a plastic coffee table in our living room. Yes, plastic!

Nevertheless, we do have to shop for furniture and accessories sometimes — such as now, since my dog managed to knock down our only table lamp while chasing an errantly thrown tennis ball.

This might actually be a good time to start dressing up the place a little bit. I’ve held off on buying nice stuff in the past because my son was so young that there were bound to be spills, leaks, breakages, and other accidents all over my furniture and rugs. But now that he’s getting older, I think it would be safe to splurge on a particularly nice item every once in a while.

For instance, I saw this silver-plated JULITA table lamp (pictured above) over at LightingShowplace.com today, and instantly fell in love with it. It’s so beautiful, and would look great on our end table.

All I have to do is convince hubby that we should go with a nice lamp instead of our usual cheapo choices, and I’ll be set!

Bioré Pore Strips

I’ve had problem skin ever since I was a teenager, so it’s no surprise that I spend a lot of money on skincare products. Most of these products don’t help me, and in some cases even leave my face worse off than it was before. I end up tossing out a lot of skincare products because they’re ineffectual, but I occasionally do come across a keeper. Bioré Pore Strips happens to fall into this latter category.

I’m sure you’ve either seen a commercial for Bioré or have tried the product for yourself, so you probably have a good idea of how these strips work. Basically, they’re supposed to remove blackheads and dirt from your nose, leaving you with cleaner looking skin in that area. What you’re supposed to do is wash your face, leave your nose wet, and then stick a strip on. It takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes for the strip to dry, after which time you can remove it.

Then, as if by magic, all the blackheads and other gunk from your skin will cling to the strip and be pulled away.

Bioré pore strips actually do make my nose feel cleaner, and they make any blackheads I have far less visible. Plus, I always see a lot of nasty stuff stuck on the strip as I pull it away, so that’s another way I can tell that the product works.

However, I do have a couple of problems with the strips. First of all, the box promises that the product “helps reduce the appearance of pores with regular use”. This has not happened for me, as I’ve been using Bioré for years and my pores are still as large as ever.

Second, the strips sometimes stick to my skin so much that it hurts like hell to pull them off. Usually, I can remove them without incident, but every once in a while, I get a stubborn strip that’s extremely painful to take off. Heck, just the other day, I actually drew BLOOD after removing the the strip — gross!

Overall, though, I do like these Bioré strips. I use them about once a week and really do like the way my nose feels after a treatment. Try them out for yourself!

Working Outside

Now that the weather shows signs of stabilizing, I’m going to start setting up my backyard deck so I can take my laptop out there and enjoy the outdoors while working. We just had our deck built last year and haven’t gotten around to putting any patio furniture on it or anything. So the first order of business will be to buy a table, chairs, and one of those big umbrellas to ward off the sun.

Next, I need to buy an extension cord so I can plug my laptop in when the battery runs low. I’ll also have to stock up on Citronella to keep the bugs away, and maybe even get one of those electric mosquito zappers (though the noise might drive me crazy after a while).

I also would love to buy a portable refrigerator for my Diet Cokes and beers, but that’s obviously a little bit lower on the priority list than the other things I mentioned!

My next shopping trip is scheduled for Wednesday (yes, I schedule trips now because of gas prices and all), so we’ll see what kinds of things I can find then.

Mini Oreos

I’ve never been much of a cookie person, preferring instead to snack on chips or crackers whenever I crave some junk food. But I started buying packs of Mini Oreos for my son a few months back, and now find myself completely hooked on them!

Prior to this, I would say that I haven’t had Oreos in at least two decades. Even when I was a kid and did eat cookies pretty often, my favorite kinds were oatmeal, Lorna Doone, and Pecan Sandies, so I never really had Oreos in my house. The only time I ever ate them was when sharing stuff during lunchtime at school or when I went to a friend’s house.

Anyway, I can’t believe it has taken me this long to “discover” how good Oreos are! I absolutely love these individual packs of Mini Oreos, not only for the taste, but also for the convenience. They’re excellent for taking along on car rides, soccer games, and trips to the park, and they’re also the perfect size for lunch boxes, briefcases, and purses.

The only drawback to Mini Oreos is the calorie content. A 1.25-oz bag contains 170 calories and 7g of fat, which is a bit more than I’d like to see in a snack. So while I might crave these things every day now, I only allow myself to indulge a couple times per week.

Wimbledon Tickets

Like most other avid sports fans, I have a personal list of major sporting events that I’d like to attend in person at some point in my life. The Super Bowl. A Final Four matchup during March Madness. The World Cup finals. A gold medal game or match in any Olympic event. Game seven of the World Series when the Chicago Cubs finally break their 100-year-old championship curse. And the Men’s Finals on Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Watching the Wimbledon tournament on television has been a summertime tradition in my family ever since Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and John McEnroe held their epic battles on the most revered stage in tennis. To say it would be a dream come true to catch all the action from Centre Court would be an understatement!

I actually checked into Wimbeldon tickets this year just to see how much it would cost to make this dream a reality. I went to TeamOneTickets.com, where they had several different ticketing options to choose from — including great seats to the 2008 Wimbledon Finals on July 6. The prices aren’t quite in my budget, but then again this is a premiere sporting event, so I’d expect to have to pay a bit more.

At any rate, I’m not giving up on my Wimbledon dream just yet. We’re building up a nice nest egg for retirement, and will surely have something extra for a Centre Court excursion in the future!