The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Cross Classic Century Ballpoint Pen

Several weeks ago I bought a Cross Classic Century Ballpoint pen. I wanted something better than a typical disposable pen, but not as expensive as a Mont Blanc or anything like that. I figured I’d start with this $20 product and work my way up the price scale until I find something suitable. Fortunately, I’m perfectly satisfied with this pen and don’t see the need to get anything more expensive.

Upon first using this pen, I thought it felt very thin and lightweight in my hands — too insubstantial, really. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to get used to it. But the more I wrote with it, the more comfortable it became. I started to appreciate its slimness. Its lack of heft grew on me, too.

Now I like everything about the Cross Classic Century. It looks good, writes smoothly, twists easily, and otherwise performs as expected. As I said, I’m happy with this pen and will continue to use it for as long as possible!

MaraNatha Creamy Almond Butter

I’ve recently started substituting almond butter for peanut butter and am experimenting with different brands until I find something I like. One recent purchase was this creamy almond butter from MaraNatha.

I actually didn’t like this product very much. It had a thicker and heavier consistency than I was used to (I guess that’s the “Creamy” part in the product name), and it tasted more like peanut butter than almond butter. Honestly, if I did a blind taste test, I’d probably have trouble distinguishing this from Skippy.

Anyway, it’s safe to say I won’t be buying this stuff again. Guess I’ll have to keep looking.

Gap Modern Boot Pants

I have the hardest time finding pants that fit, as labels seem to change their sizes with each season. I hadn’t been to the Gap in a long time, but decided to go back there to see what kind of pants they had available. I liked these black Modern Boot Pants the instant I saw them.

These pants are suitable for both business and a night out with the girls. They have a hook and bar closure, zip fly, belt loops, two front pockets and faux back pockets (so as not to disrupt the “clean line”).

When I tried the pants on in the store, the length was good, but the waist was a little big. It made a gap in the back, so I knew I’d have to wear it with a belt. I decided to go ahead and buy them anyway.

Luckily, they look really good with a skinny belt and all my business casual tops. The Modern Boot Pants sit below the waist and are at the right position whether I want to tuck in my shirt or not.

They’re a bit on the expensive side at $60, but it’s so hard to find good pants that I’ll take what I can get. I might even go back and get the gray and navy pair as well!

Hostess Twinkies

Okay, I’ll admit I’ve gotten caught up in the Hostess bankruptcy frenzy. Upon hearing the news that the snack cake maker will be shuttering production facilities after being unable to reach an agreement with the employee union, I went out and bought stuff I hadn’t really indulged in since I was a teenager: Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, and Mini Muffins.

I’d forgotten how good these snacks are! So great for a sugar rush in the morning or a pick-me-up at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Sure, they’re throwing me way off my diet, but with Thanksgiving this week that was going to happen anyway.

The latest news is that the union has agreed to mediation, so a few of the Hostess products I like might survive bankruptcy. But I’m still using the potential extinction as an excuse to treat myself!

Decorating with Framed Puzzles

A friend of mine likes to decorate her walls with framed jigsaw puzzles. Although I’m not a huge fan of the look, I have to admit that some of the puzzles are so well done that they could pass for works of art.

For example, she has something similar to the new yorker puzzle pictured here, and when framed, it looks more like a magazine cover than a puzzle. Yeah, if you get right up close and inspect the thing, you’d be able to tell. But from across the room, it’s quite nice.

Anyway, I’m thinking of trying at least one for my home office. Now I just need to find a design I really like!

Free Sample of Real Time Pain Relief Gel

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any freebie offers, so I thought I’d pass this one along. You can get a sample of something called Real Time Pain Relief Gel by going to this page on their site and filling in your information.

I’ve never used Real Time Pain Relief Gel (or even heard of it, really), but I’ll definitely try the freebie. I almost always have some kind of minor ache or pain from working out or running, so I’m sure I’ll actually use this sample instead of just tossing it in the medicine cabinet, never to be seen again.

If the stuff is good, I might even post a full review of it.

Off-Season Vacation Ideas

So we’re thinking about taking a vacation in December. We don’t want to spend a lot on the trip, so we’re thinking of going to a place that people usually only visit in the summer. The off-season rates should suit us and of course availability shouldn’t be an issue if we do it this way.

Thus far we’ve checked out north carolina beach house rentals, Martha’s Vineyard bed & breakfasts, and even San Francisco tours. We’re kind of leaning towards North Carolina as the most affordable, but we’re certainly open to suggestions.

Any ideas?

Another energy drink linked to deaths

Personally I don’t know why people like energy drinks so much. I’ve tried Monster, Red Bull, Sobe, and Rockstar in the past, and they’ve all tasted like crap, IMO. But some folks are truly addicted to them — despite the health warnings that we constantly hear about.

Today I just read about something called 5-Hour Energy, which was marketed as a “healthier alternative” to Monster and the like. Yet according to the NYT, this product has also been named in 90 filings with the FDA, including “more than 30 that involved heart attacks, convulsions, and, in one case, a spontaneous abortion.”

Are you kidding me? Why risk your health like this??