The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Bamboo Stylus for iPad

I use my iPad for almost everything, including daily to-do lists and memos. Sometimes it’s a pain to have to type everything in on the touchscreen, so I decided to buy a stylus and note taking app. After checking out some recommendations, I decided to go with the Bamboo stylus by Wacom.

The Bamboo stylus has the length and heft of a regular pen, so it feels good in my hand. It also works very well with Penultimate. All of my brushstrokes are recorded and the handwriting rendered looks VERY close to what it does on real paper.

The only thing I have a problem with is that I can’t quite get used to its wide nib. This was my first stylus purchase for a touchscreen device, so I didn’t know that this is how they all are. I can control the line width in Penultimate, but even when I select the finest option, I can’t get used to writing that way. I prefer the thickest line option in Penultimate, in which case the Bamboo stylus works like a champ.

Overall, I think this is a good product. It does what I need it to do, which is general note-taking for daily life. I’m not in school and I’m not an artist, so if that’s what you plan to use your stylus for, you might have different criteria.

At $30 this was the priciest stylus at the store. I chose it anyway because I have used cheap accessories in the past and been burned. I don’t feel I was ripped off on this purchase, though.

CampusOne Mizzou Tee

I usually don’t complain much in my posts because most of the products I buy turn out to be better than what I expected. But that wasn’t the case with this CampusOne Mizzou t-shirt that I bought a short time ago.

It’s a white t-shirt with black screen-printed lettering edged in gold. The shirt looks absolutely fantastic when it’s brand new because all the colors really pop. But after just a single trip through the dryer, the lettering faded so much that the shirt looked like it had aged a few years! I know the dryer can wreak havoc on screen-printing, so I try not to judge the effects too harshly. But in this case, the wear factor is just way too much.

I wouldn’t recommend buying this one!

Most Returned Holiday Gifts

Okay, we’ve all been taught that it’s “the thought that counts” when it comes to gift-giving, but that doesn’t stop us from returning unwanted holiday presents for cash, store credit, or other merchandise. Here are the most-returned holiday gifts, as compiled by MarketTools.

  1. Clothing, 62 percent
  2. Toys and games, 16 percent
  3. Electronics, 14 percent
  4. Kitchen and bath products, 13 percent
  5. Cosmetics and beauty products, 10 percent
  6. Jewelry and watches, 10 percent

I guess the moral of the story here is that it’s just better to give cash or gift cards instead and let the recipient choose their own stuff! I don’t know why that sort of gift-giving is frowned upon….

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

There aren’t many shopping days left this holiday season, so if you haven’t covered everyone on your list yet, you better get a move on. Last minute gifts are always dangerous to your budget because you might feel the pressure to spend more than you’d ordinarily be willing to. That is a mistake that can last well into the new year as you continue trying to pay off credit card bills.

Instead of overextending yourself, why not get something simple like Mrs. Fields cookies? Cookies are always appreciated, easy to order, and most importantly, don’t cost an arm and a leg. I personally love receiving cookies, so if any of my friends or relatives are reading this, feel free to send me as many Mrs. Fields samplers as you want!

Mylec All-Purpose Steel Goal

My son has been getting into floor hockey and soccer at school, so I decided to buy him this Mylec All-Purpose Steel Goal to use in our basement during the winter and in the driveway during the summer. The goal can be used for hockey, soccer (obviously a LOT smaller than regulation, but better than nothing), lacrosse, handball, field hockey, etc. which is pretty cool.

After reading some product reviews, I decided to go with a steel goal rather than one made of plastic or PVC tubing. Those models, while definitely lighter and cheaper than the steel version, tend to break easily according to other customers. I figured I should just get the best product I could afford rather than getting something that would need to be replaced several times.

The Mylec goal was fairly easy to assemble. It comes with about 10 pieces of numbered steel tubing that snap together and lock into place. The net is quadruple stitched onto canvas sleeves that the tubes then slide into. The quadruple stitching ensures that the net will hold up even against the toughest slapshots — and so far, that has been the case. The goal is 52x43x28, which is actually pretty darn big. But that’s a good thing as long as you have the room for it.

Overall, I have to say that I think this was a great purchase. We’ve had the goal for a month now and my son has spent at least an hour a day taking shots at it in the basement. It has stood up to everything so far (granted, we’re just using a plastic floor hockey puck or plastic street hockey balls) and still looks like new. I have no regrets about spending $50 on this heavy-duty goal. I’m sure it will last for years and years, which is exactly what we want!

Mario Kart 7

I don’t play many video games, but I do love the Mario Kart franchise, so when I heard that Mario Kart 7 was coming out for the 3DS, I not only went out and bought the game, but had to buy the handheld system as well. After a couple weeks of playing it, I’d say both of my purchases were well worth the money!

Mario Kart 7 brings fans the same great racing action that they’ve come to expect from the series, with a few added twists. For example, you can now customize your kart by choosing the frame, tires, and kite from various presets and unlockables. Yes, I said “kite” — there’s also some fun flying action in the game when your kart takes off from a particularly long jump! In addition, you can do tricks over each jump (this was introduced in the Mario Kart Wii version) for an extra little burst of speed upon landing.

The physics of the racing itself has remained pretty much the same, so if you’re a veteran of the Mario Kart series, it shouldn’t take you long to master this game. Also, out of the 32 available tracks, 16 are brand-new and 16 are old favorites from previous incarnations of the game. And some of the tracks are just a long, single-lap race instead of the standard 3-lap race that you might be used to. But those are still fun.

The unlockable characters aren’t all that great. You get the bee from Super Mario Galaxy, the big caterpillar from one of the Mario Kart tracks, the ghost (I don’t know the thing’s name, but it’s not King Boo), and something called Metal Mario that is basically a silver Mario that looks like it’s made of metal (and sounds like it’s talking from under water).

There are also the familiar mini-games/challenges, time attack mode, and balloon battle, as well as online gameplay.

Overall, Mario Kart 7 is a worthy entry into the series, and a fun game that Mario Kart enthusiasts simply must buy. I highly recommend this one!

Yerba Prima Psyllium Whole Husks

I often think about doing a colon cleanse every once in a while in an effort to be a bit healthier and perhaps lose weight. But I’m always scared off by most commercial products, and end up buying all-natural stuff from Whole Foods. The latest product I tried was Psyllium Whole Husks by Yerba Prima.

Psyllium is supposed to be one of the most effective natural fiber supplements available. In whole husk form, it is meant to be mixed in drinks such as water, milk, juice, tea, etc. I’ve even heard of people putting a spoonful in yogurt or something similar to take the substance that way.

I tried psyllium whole husks twice daily for a few weeks, but didn’t notice any effect, either positive or negative. I wasn’t any more “regular” than without it, so the product felt like a waste of time and money. It didn’t taste bad, as far as these colon cleanse/fiber supplement products go, but if it’s not effective, then what’s the point? I won’t be buying this one again.

Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil

Whenever I get an acne breakout, which is becoming rarer these days, I rush to purchase a TON of different products to get my skin under control. I seriously have at least $1,000 worth of half-used treatments in my bathroom, and yet I still buy more and more and more.

Anyway, for my last breakout I decided to try some tea tree oil from Desert Essence. Tea tree oil is not made specifically for acne, but it is supposed to be good at treating a myriad of skin problems, such as cold sores, warts, athlete’s foot, burns, etc. and many people use it on breakouts.

Tea tree oil is very strong/harsh, so you’re not supposed to use it directly on your skin without diluting it first. So the way I applied it was by thoroughly wetting the end of a q-tip and then adding a drop of tea tree oil to that. Then I applied the resulting mixture on my breakout.

Although I could feel a slight burning sensation (not painful at all, more like what you feel with an astringent) that told me the oil was working, I didn’t notice any particularly positive results from this product. My breakout lasted just as long as it would have without the tea tree oil, so I don’t think it was effective at all. However, since it’s supposed to be such a versatile product, I guess I’ll keep it around in case I need to treat any of the other things listed above.

Anyway, if you’ve been thinking of using tea tree oil for acne, you might as well give it a try since the product is relatively cheap. But–don’t get your hopes up because this isn’t a miracle cure!