Sunday, August 27, 2006

Tips or TMI?

I was shopping at Target today and in the hair care aisle almost one entire side was taken up by Pantene. How on earth did we reach this point, people?! How many different kinds of shampoo, conditioner, mousse, gel, and hairspray can one manufacturer sell?! Apparently like a hundred. Anyway, I was contemplating trying a new kind of mousse (named "Pantene ICE," apparently due to the way it will make my hair shine like an Arctic glacier) when I noticed another woman pondering all the options. I said, "They're trying to confuse us," and she agreed. She appeared tobe at a loss for what to pick, so I decided to offer my opinion. "My favorite conditioner is this one," pointing to Pantene's Daily Moisture Renewal. "It's as good as the stuff that comes in hair coloring kits." She seemed grateful for the suggestion, and even asked my opinion on shampoo. I said that I've tried Pantene shampoos but have found that Suave works just as well, and I directed her to Suave Humectant. She said, "Thanks! I'll try these and see how it goes." I of course had to insert a disclaimer: "Everyone's hair is different but I hope it works for you!"

As I made my way up and down the aisles filling my basket, it occurred to me that I have pretty strong brand preferences when it comes to many products. Now, I'm no Consumer Reports, and I have done no scientific testing, but I thought I'd list a few of my favorites in case anyone out there is not happy with what they're currently using. This is a very self-indulgent post and I forgive you if you stop reading right here because you're thinking to yourself, "Who the heck cares??!"

Dental care:
Toothbrush: Oral-B Cross Action, regular size head (which used to be "compact") with soft bristles--who uses the hard ones??

I think the "Cross Action" thing is new, but I have used Oral-B for years. I like the way the handle feels in my hand and the bristles are soft from the start--no "working in" period.
Toothpaste: Colgate Tartar Control Whitening. I've used this solely for years now, and I have zero cavities.

I like the way it tastes and foams up. Can't say it does much in the area of whitening, though.

Hair products:
Shampoo: The aforementioned Suave Humectant. Lathers well, rinses well. Not expensive.
Conditioner: Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal. Super thick. Worth the extra couple of dollars compared to Suave's less rich (ha, ha) conditioner.

Mousse: Pantene Extra Fullness mousse. It doesn't necessarily make my hair fuller, but it definitely makes it easier to comb and style, and when I don't use it, my hair does not feel as conditioned. I used to use Suave, but this is better.

Razors: Venus. Three blades means a close shave and, ironically, less likelihood of getting cut.

It kills me to buy the refills because they are ridiculously expensive but, again, it's worth it. I tried going back to cheap twin blades and it was a mess.
Shaving cream: I usually just use soap lather.

Paper products:
Toilet paper:
Cottonelle double rolls. (Honestly, why does anyone buy regular rolls anymore? Does anyone really enjoy changing the roll?)

It's single ply but does not feel like it at all. They have a thicker version but I don't like it as much.
Paper towels: Viva select-a-size. I think I've mentioned this before. I used to use Bounty select-a-size but now that they offer it in Viva, Bounty is only a backup. Viva is almost cloth-like, and is worth the few extra cents. Select-a-size is an easy way to make a roll last longer, because most jobs don't require a full sheet.

Air freshener:
Oust fragrance-free.

You really know it works because the smells are gone, not just covered up by some putrid flowery scent.

Pet products:
Kitty litter: Feline Pine (or, preferrably, the pet-store-generic brand, but they always seem to be out of it).

This stuff truly absorbs odors, and you don't have to scoop it every single day (unless your cat is super picky about that kind of stuff). It does have some tracking issues, but I've never used any litter that doesn't. I used to use the crystals but they are sooo expensive.
Scratchers: Comet loves the corrugated cardboard scratchers.

I've tried scratching posts but he was never interested in them. I had a roommate a while ago and her cats loved these cardboard things, and when Comet started using them, I was surprised but grateful. I have several around the house and he luuuuuvs them, especially if I put fresh catnip on them. He started scratching the carpet a little while ago, right by my bedroom door, so I moved a scratcher there and he started scratching that instead. Marvelous!

Food (this is more preference stuff, not so much advice--again, I don't know why you should care, but for what it's worth, here ya go):
Macaroni and Cheese: Kraft Thick & Creamy. So much yummier than the regular.
Butter vs. Margarine: I was raised on margarine but recently switched to butter because it all has the same amount of fat anyway (reduced fat margarine is WATER, folks), and butter is at least all-natural fat. Plus it is soooo much tastier.
Milk: 1%. I was raised on skim, but switched to 1% when I moved out on my own because skim expires too fast. I'm very accustomed to 1% now, to the point where skim tastes and looks yucky.
Drinks: I prefer Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke, although it used to be the other way around. In college, the cafeterias served Pepsi products and when I came home for vacation I tasted Diet Coke and was like, "Eww, what is this?" I'll take either but if given a choice, Pepsi it is. Although I don't usually buy soda at the grocery store. I like flavored sparkling waters, usually peach. Most stores make their own brand. I don't even know if there IS a national brand. Wal-Mart's has the best peach flavoring. It seriously tastes like you bit into a peach!
Crackers: My favorite is Cheez-It Twists, in Cheddar-More Cheddar flavor, followed by Cheez-It Crisps. But I've switched to Triscuits recently because my doctor said I should eat more whole grains. I like the Triscuit Thins, as well as the Rosemary-Olive Oil flavor. Stay away from the Garden Herb. It tastes like a cracker with soup mix on it. Yuck!
Chips: Oh there are so many yummy ones, but if you're looking for something a little less unhealthy, try Doritos Baked Nacho Cheese. They are quite good. You don't miss the extra fat at all. Stay away from baked potato chips though. They are nasty (at least in my humble opinion)!


Mint: Orbitz, in original flavor. Very nifty packaging that fits neatly in your purse (Friday I discovered that Trident has recently adopted similar packaging), and a great pepperminty taste. Chewable for a loooong time (I frequently pop a piece after lunch and keep it until dinner time).

Other: Bubble Yum Sugarless, in bubblegum flavor. Sometimes you're in the mood for something besides mint. This has a classic bubblegum taste yet is not bad for your teeth! You can blow good bubbles with it too, although it loses its flavor pretty quickly and becomes unchewable after about 30 minutes.

So do y'all have any tips or preferences?

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