Product Reviews

Seriously? 5 Wonderfully Bizarre Products

Time once again for another Top 5 List, this time of wonderfully bizarre products. The criterion for making the list is quite simple: it must make me wonder, “Do they really make that?” Laughing out loud is optional but highly preferable.

Number 5: Anti-Procrastination Course. Haha, right. Like I’ll ever get around to ordering this, even if it is on sale for a limited time. Or loading it on my computer if I order it. Or using it if by some miracle I get around to both ordering it and loading it on my computer.

procrastination-boxNumber 4: Retro handsets for cell phones. Are you ever nostalgic for the good old days of party lines and rotary-dial phones? Regain that old school feeling whilst still enjoying the benefits of cutting edge smart phone communication. Black is the retro-est, but it is also available in princess phone pink, Kremlin hotline red, white, and not-quite-so-60s blue, purple, and green.

handsetNumber 3: Bacon flavored and scented stuff. Thankfully, bacon is in once again, but I didn’t realize to what extent. Now you can get more than $40 worth of bacon stuff for just $39.95. What a bargain! That’s right – bacon flavored dental floss and toothpaste, lip balm, soap, bandaids, mints and lollipop, bendable figure and more!

bacon_collectionNumber 2: The CitiKitty Automatic Toilet Flusher. I knew that cats could be trained to go in the toilet, but what happens afterward? Never fear – there is a product that will flush once Kitty is finished with business, just like the toilets at the airport. Now to go figure out the payback period for a toilet-training kit ($25) plus a flusher kit ($189).

toiletflusherAnd Number 1: NoseFrida the Snot SuckerI have three children, so I spent my share of time wrestling to clear their stuffy little noses with a bulb syringe. Babies can put up quite a fight when they don’t want to do something. Nothing against the FridaBaby company or anything, but I have to wonder whether they would have pitched any less a fight against the NoseFrida. Then there’s the ick factor. Filter or not, I cannot imagine myself sucking my baby’s snot. nosefridaBonus! FridaBaby has two more products for your consideration: the Windi, for relieving blockages at the other end, from colic or constipation, and the environment friendly, recyclable, easy to clean, non–toxic foam FridaBaby Mat (be sure to keep an organic cider vinegar wash at hand for easy cleaning).




Would you like a little cheese with that whine?


I came across this image during research for last week’s Rosie the Riveter post:


Now, that’s funny – Rosé the Riveter wine. Working Girl also offers Working Girl White, Go Girl Red, and Handyman Red. Too bad it’s not available in Missouri, but fortunately I now possess log-in information in case I want to make an online order.

I have a confession. I shop for wine by how interesting I find the label. The more artistic and quirky the label, the better. Since I’m in the mood for confession – I also shop by price. I have discovered plenty of decent inexpensive to moderately priced wines out there. Rarely will I pay more than $15 per bottle, but I have my limits on the low end, too. I tried Charles Shaw, aka “Two Buck Chuck,” and couldn’t drink it. I ended up using it and some herb-infused olive oil as a steak marinade.

Here are five of my favorite labels:

5. Benefactor Cellars


Trader Joe’s carries these Australian wines on a seasonal basis. They’re not great, but not awful either, and at just $5 per bottle, a lot of fun for Halloween or Día de los Muertos festivities.

4. Big House


We have a local microbrewery called Prison Brews, so these wines piqued my interest, especially after perusing this stellar website. Big House features witty names – The Usual Subject, Cardinal Zin, Pinot Evil – and most varieties are also available in 3L boxes. The winery mails out temporary tattoos upon request. Can’t wait to get mine.

3. Middle Sister


I am a middle sister, so this line has special appeal for me. These wines have clever names such as Rebel Red, Drama Queen, Smarty Pants and Goody Two-Shoes. I haven’t tried them all yet and will probably skip the sweet ones and the Moscato. Middle Sister also maintains an outstanding website with loads of information, recipes, music, games and quizzes, and a bunch of images so that one doesn’t have to search all over the Internet for them.

2. Mad Housewife madhousewife

This has become my go-to wine. It’s fresh, fun, fruity and economical. Make that fresh, fun, fruity and frugal for fellow fans of alliteration. I prefer the merlot and cabernet over the chardonnay, but the white zinfandel is my favorite during warm weather months. It’s not too dry and not too sweet, but juuuust right.

Mad Housewife also has an entertaining website with recipes, contests and a store. You can even collect corks to redeem for Mad Housewife merchandise. I already have the tee shirts so I am currently saving up corks for their stylin’ apron.

1. Little Hills Winery


German immigrants found the climate and rolling hills of Missouri to be very similar to the homeland left behind; as a result we enjoy more than our fair share of wineries. Little Hills Winery is charming, award-winning, and its proprietor just happens to be my high school classmate David Campbell. The restaurant, tasting room and gift shop are located just down a cobblestone street from the first state capitol building in historic downtown St. Charles. It’s well worth a trip, but if that is not feasible Little Hills wines are available for online purchase. These wines are definitely worth suspending my sub-fifteen guideline.

My New Best (Home Renovation) Friend

Since my last post on home renovation, I am still hard at work painting the old steel frames to match our new windows. I started in the downstairs bathroom, where, as such projects are wont to do, my workplan took a detour.

It’s partly Menard’s fault. They ran a rebate special a couple of weeks ago, so Phil and I decided to change out some light fixtures in the kitchen and study. I suggested that we also replace this old and yellowing bathroom fan


with a new one to match the other fixtures in the bathroom. Isn’t it pretty?


It didn’t take long to discover that the ceiling opening required for the new fan did not match the existing one and would require significant patching following an already complicated process to replace the unit. Reluctantly, we returned the new fan and looked for a replacement fan grille instead. Menard’s carried only the entire fan kit, but a clerk thought we might be able to special order the grille.

Sure enough, I found replacement parts online, but decided to check to see whether Lowe’s might have a grille in stock. Unfortunately, they also carried only the entire fan kit. On my way to the exit, I happened to walk through the paint aisle and spied this:

My New Best (Home Renovation) Friend

According to the label, Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic Spray Paint (Oil Rubbed Bronze) works on most surfaces, including plastic, and does not require a separate primer. I snagged a can and headed home.

I had never used spray paint before, but I figured the worst thing that could happen would be that it wouldn’t work and I would have to buy a new grille online. Here are before and after shots of the bathroom fan:

Still not as pretty as the round fan, but a huge improvement nonetheless. The photo really does not do it justice.

This paint is seriously great stuff. There were a few hiccups along the way. I forgot to hit the inside angle of the louvres, and although I followed the label directions exactly (recoat within one hour or after 48 hours), the finish blistered a bit. I had to wait for that coat to dry, then sand the bubbles off, then wait another 48 hours to repaint. The finish still is not perfectly smooth, but it’s not very noticeable and besides – it’s on the ceiling. We also disrupted the paint around the grille while removing it, but that repair will just have to wait its turn.

Cost of the spray paint: just under $8. It would have cost $98 for the new bathroom fan (plus the aggravation of changing it out and patching the ceiling) or about $35 to have a new grille shipped to us.

But wait – there’s more! The bathroom floor vent had corroded, and since it had to be cut to fit an irregular opening, we never seemed to get around to replacing it. Emboldened by my success with the fan grille, I painted the vent as well. I’m not sure of the cost savings as I have not priced replacement vents, but I estimate $10-$15.

The floor vent turned out even better than the bathroom fan. So well that Rust-Oleum featured it on their Facebook page!

I can envision all kinds of other uses for this paint. I may try painting the shower fixtures this summer. The front door hardware and fireplace screen are also on the list of possibilities.

But for now, it’s back to painting window frames.