The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Sharing the Load

I do the bulk of the regular shopping for my family. I go to the grocery store on a weekly basis (and also make special trips when we’ve run out of something), I do the clothes shopping whenever someone needs new socks, shirts, or pants, and I do all the gift shopping for family birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.

But Jerry does shoulder some of the load, especially when it comes to home improvement or auto parts stores. I hate to sound like a typical girl here, but since I don’t know the difference between coilovers and camshafts, I really have no business trying to do that kind of shopping.

Although I would love to have a break from having to go to the grocery store all the time, I guess this division of labor is acceptable for now. After all, I know a few women whose husband’s can’t even be bothered to help even that much!

Birthday Time

open-secret My stepfather’s birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been trying to think of a nice present to get him. It’s especially important this time around because he was just laid off from his job because of the economy, and at 60 years old, it’s going to be tough for him to find equivalent work.

As I was browsing around, I came across a website that sells discount Hamilton watches. These immediately caught my eye because my stepdad’s current timepiece is a Hamilton that he has worn for about 15 years. He could definitely use an updated version, so I’ve decided to go ahead and buy him one.

I really like the Open Secret model that’s pictured above, but I haven’t completely made up my mind about it yet. I’m going to get more opinions from my husband and mom before I make the purchase, but I have a feeling they’ll really like this watch too. It’s quite attractive and classy, so what’s not to love?

Anyway, if I do end up buying a Hamilton, I’ll post an in-depth review to let you guys know what you can expect from the product.

Snuggie Blankets

snuggies I’m sure you’ve all seen the cheesy television commercials for Snuggie blankets by now. Snuggies are fleece blankets with neck and arm holes (making the wearer look like a medieval monk), and have been a big hit with consumers for some reason. I don’t have one, but am wondering if those of you who do have them think they’re worth it.

Thus far, I’ve read lots of conflicting reviews about Snuggies. Some people think they’re too thin to do any real good as a blanket, but others swear by the product and say that activities like reading, knitting, etc. are a lot easier to do with a Snuggie than with a regular blanket.

I looked online and saw that you can get two Snuggies plus two portable book lights for just $19.95 and a shipping and handling fee of $7.95. Sounds like a good deal on the surface — but that’s only if the blankets are actually of decent quality.

Anyway, if you have one, let me know if they’re worth it. I’m thinking about wearing a Snuggie while working at my desk during the day so I can turn the thermostat down a few degrees. I could end up saving on my heating bills, so who knows!

Knee Pain

supercissus I suffer from chronic knee pain due to the fact that I played a lot of sports when I was younger. I even ran cross country for a couple of seasons when I was in high school, which led to a whole slew of problems, including a stress fracture in my foot.

Anyway, my knee pain isn’t so bad that I have trouble walking or can’t get out of bed in the morning. But it does sometimes get to the point where it affects my ability to hit the gym and spend quality time on stationary bikes, treadmills, or Stairmasters. This is obviously not a good thing, as I certainly don’t need any more excuses not to work out!

So I’m thinking of trying Super Cissus, which is a supplement that helps with this sort of pain. Lots of bodybuilders use the stuff so they can enjoy pain-free workouts. That’s all I’m really looking for, so I’d definitely like to give this product a try!

Getting Fit at Home

Like most people, I’m looking to cut back on household expenditures, and right now, the $60 per month that I pay for my health club membership is looking like a prime candidate. Although I like going to the gym and love the results I’ve seen over the past year, I can’t help but think that I can achieve my fitness goals by working out at home.

For example, if I spend a few hundred dollars on an elliptical machine for the basement, then I can still get in all my cardio workouts every day, and I’d end up saving money over a monthly membership. Heck, even if I spend $500 on a machine, I’d recover that amount in just 8 months because I’d be able to cancel my gym membership.

I spend most of my time on the elliptical when I’m working out, so I think this would be a smart move. The only thing I’d be worried about is the motivation factor. I don’t know if I’ll be able to force myself to go downstairs every single day, especially if the rest of the family is upstairs having a good time. Having a TV and DVD player down there would help, though, so I definitely want to give this a try!

199 Lives: The Travis Pastrana Story

I have been a Travis Pastrana fan ever since he first launched his motocross bike into the San Francisco Bay in 1999 after having locked up the Freestyle gold medal at the X Games. Of course, he was fined all of his prize money and had to forfeit the medal, but at the age of 15, he had solidified his position as a freestyle legend.

Pastrana then went on to show that he could do far more than a few tricks on his bike. He became a professional racer on the AMA Motocross and Supercross circuit, winning championship titles in both disciplines before giving up his career because of injuries. Now, a decade late, Travis is the ripe old age of 25… and still going strong as an extreme sports icon and rally car racing hero.

199 Lives: The Travis Pastrana Story is a biography that chronicles the extreme nature of Pastrana’s life. It shows a bunch of his stunts and tricks, many of which lead to serious injuries (he once separated his spine from his pelvis) or put his life at risk (he jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, trusting a couple of other jumpers to catch him). It always seems that Travis is going at 100 mph, and this film tries to capture that energy and zest for adventure.

I really want to see this DVD, and can’t believe I haven’t ordered it yet. I guess it slipped off my radar because it hasn’t been promoted very much in any avenues that I’m likely to see. At any rate, it’s available now and is just $21.49, so I’m definitely going to order it soon. Travis is one of my favorite motocrossers ever, and the sport really hasn’t been the same without him. It’ll be great to see him in action again!

2009 NHL All-Star Beanie

all-star-beanie In honor of the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, I thought I’d feature one of the many souvenirs currently on sale at The game is being played at the Bell Centre in Montreal this year, and there are lots of cool products available to commemorate the occasion.

I particularly like this reversible beanie, which can either feature stripes or a solid gray pattern with blue trim. The beanie has official NHL All-Star Game logos embroidered on both sides, and is very reasonably priced at $16.99.

I know a lot of people love this type of knit cap, so it could be the perfect gift for the hockey fan in your life — especially if you can’t make it to the game in person!

Crewcuts Kids Clothes

crewcuts-ball-dress Ever since it was revealed that first daughters Sasha and Malia Obama wore outfits from Crewcuts, the J. Crew clothing store for kids, I’m sure interest in the brand surged. But when I read an article praising Michelle Obama for shopping at Crewcuts, saying that she was able to find trendy clothes that weren’t too expensive, I had to wonder if mainstream Americans would agree with that assessment.

I browsed through the site a little bit earlier today and saw that they sell silk taffeta dresses for $158, a “cymbal dress” for $248, and a silk taffeta tartan for $228. I don’t know about you, but these are not prices I’d be comfortable paying for a couple of growing girls!

Jeans at Crewcuts cost anywhere from $29.50 to $49.50,which again is more than I would pay for kids jeans. Sure, if they were in high school and basically done growing, it’s a bit of a different story, but that’s not the case with the Obama girls.

Look, I get it. The Obamas are the first family and as such they’re much richer than average people and therefore can spend differently. But I wish these idiotic reporters would stop saying stupid things about how Crewcuts is “affordable”. I’m middle-class, and I would NOT pay these prices!