The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

White Reese’s Peanut Butter Minis

I’m giving White Reese’s Peanut Butter Minis to trick-or-treaters at my house this year. I broke the golden rule of surviving a diet despite Halloween candy-giving by purchasing one of my favorite treats in anticipation of leftovers.

This time, I didn’t even have the willpower to wait for leftovers. I dove in about 2 seconds after I walked in the door, and haven’t looked back. These things are so damn good!

Oh, well… one bag down. I’m going to wait until the afternoon of the 31st to buy the next bag!

Merrell Pace Glove Shoes

pace glove I just bought a pair of Merrell Pace Glove minimalist shoes. I have never used Merrell before, but these were on sale for 50% off, so I decided to give them a try. They felt great in the store, and I’m really looking forward to using them on the road. I’m going to try them out for a couple of weeks and then come back and post a longer review.

Zamst Compression Socks

I’m a runner and have been having trouble with my calves, ankles, and arches lately. None of the problems are major; but they’re the kind of niggling aches and pains that get to you after a while. I don’t want to take a break from training (which is probably what I really should do), so I decided to get compression socks instead.

After doing a bunch of Internet research, I discovered that compression socks worn after a running workout can promote blood flow through the calves and feet, thus resulting in quicker recovery. The actual science behind these claims seemed mixed at best, but I wanted to do something.

Anyway, I bought a pair of full compression socks with ankle and arch support from the sporting goods place near my house. I paid close to $35 for them, which I thought was a bit steep, and have been wearing them after runs for the past two weeks.

I haven’t really noticed much of a difference in terms of recovery. My sore spots feel better when I’m wearing the socks, that’s for sure. But as I’m not treating the cause of the pain, nothing has changed dramatically.

Bottom line: compression socks didn’t help for my particular issue and I won’t be buying them again. But I’m perhaps asking/expecting them to do too much.

No new Paperwhite yet

So I had pre-ordered the new Kindle Paperwhite back when the product was first announced. But for one reason and another, had to cancel my pre-order.

Now that I’ve seen the early reviews, I definitely want to buy this again. Most people feel the new Kindle is an improvement over the old one, and the product currently has a 4.5-star rating at Amazon from about 350 users.

I need to wait for my next paycheck, but I should be able to order this by the end of the week. Fingers crossed!

gFlash+ Flashcard App

Fullscreen capture 10112013 070654 I have been taking some online courses from Coursera, and even though they’re only for personal enrichment, I want to study somewhat seriously. Towards that end, I decided to get a flashcard app to use on my iPhone.

After reading some reviews, I decided to go with gFlash from a developer called gWhiz. This one seemed to have the fewest negative reviews, which is what I immediately look at on iTunes now. And the description made it sound like the app had plenty of capabilities, even for the free version.

Anyway, I have to say that I’m really happy with this product. It’s very easy to create flashcards and answers, to group the flashcards into sets, and to test your knowledge via quizzes. I also like that you can use an Excel spreadsheet (available through the developer’s Google Docs page) to type out your flashcard info, and then import the document to the app. The imported data will then automatically get formatted onto flashcards. That’s sooo convenient and beats having to tap everything out on the iPhone keyboard (which can be maddeningly slow).

After using the free version for a few days, I decided to pay the $3.99 to upgrade to the Plus version. This not only removed the banner ads (which were extremely distracting and annoying), but also gave me some added functions, such as the ability to combine or split flashcard sets.

Another thing I like about gFlash is that users can share their flashcards with the community. This means you get access to study aids that other people have created. I’ve found several very useful flashcard sets related to the courses I’m taking now, and have saved tons of time by taking advantage of this feature.

All in all, I highly recommend the gFlash+ flashcard app. This one’s worth every penny!

Blizzident Custom Toothbrush

blizzident Have you heard about this new custom-fitted toothbrush called Blizzident? It’s some high-tech gadget that is supposed to get your teeth perfectly clean in just 6 seconds. Designed by dentists, Blizzident is precisely tailored to your teeth via molds (like when you get retainers or Invisalign trays) and features bristles poking out at 45-degree angles to get at the gumline and in between teeth.

I think this looks interesting, but the price tag pretty much ensures that I’ll never, ever own one. It costs $300 for a Blizzident toothbrush that only lasts one year. And that price probably doesn’t even include the cost of the dental molds.

Anyway, this is an interesting concept, but until the price comes down by at least 2/3, I don’t foresee Blizzident taking the world by storm.

Shopping for Health Insurance

With the Affordable Care Act set to take full effect in January 2014, shopping for health insurance has become a whole lot more important. People are still debating whether or not the law raises or lowers insurance premiums overall, but I’m not going to get into all that. I’m just going to look for the best rates for my family to ensure we’re in compliance.

Luckily there are sites like to help folks navigate through some of the confusing choices. I need to find a similar agency that handles coverage in my state so I can make an informed choice when the time comes.

Hopefully I’ll be able to find low-cost insurance that still allows me to feed my shopping needs!

KFC Go Cups

kfc go cups

KFC is introducing new Go Cups that are designed to fit in your vehicle’s cup holders. The Go Cups come with fries and a choice of various chicken options (Littles, Bites, Tenders, etc.) and will cost $2.49.

Some people are up in arms about the concept of Go Cups, saying that it promotes distracted driving and will lead to accidents or whatnot. That’s something of a valid point, I guess, but I look at it this way: We all know that people eat fast food in their cars anyway. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t happen. So by making it more convenient to do so, I think KFC is taking a step in the right direction.

Look, I eat in my car all the time and I know I’d much rather be able to prop a Go Cup in my cup holder than dig through a bag/box/container in my lap to get at my food.

I’m definitely going to try these out when they hit my local KFC!