Monday, June 23, 2008

Unsolicited Product Reviews

There are a couple of things I have been eager to talk about here, whether the Internet cares for my opinion or not. I'm not getting paid to review anything (ha!) and suspect my readership would have to increase mightily before anyone would care to pay me to do so. . .

Something I don't like -- the Schick Intuition Plus razor. To be fair, it's pretty and I think the idea behind it is a good one, but it just doesn't work for me. I have over a dozen of these things because they were giving them away when I was in the hospital for a month and just about everyone who walked through the door left one for me. The supposed benefit is that this razor eliminates the need for shaving gel/cream etc. This point is lost on me because I don't use those things anyway. In my experience the surrounding skin conditioning stuff is too big in the beginning, making it difficult to get a close shave and making the whole thing unduly slippery. I've been through several of these now and there is a very small window between when the conditioner ceases to be too big and when it falls off completely. I find the razor very uncomfortable once the conditioning stuff is gone so I am going through them pretty quickly. I would not pay for refills at the rate I would need them. We do have a bit of a moisture problem in our bathroom, so it is possible that the razor would hold up better under drier conditions. It just seems to me that a product designed for bathroom use shouldn't fall apart when it gets wet.

Now for two things I really like.

The first is Shout Advanced stain remover. (It will come in handy for the blood I got on my sheets after cutting myself with the slippery razor.) I cannot say enough good things about this concoction. We have had some severe baby stains in these parts lately. In particular, I have had many items stained by regurgitated baby vitamins with iron in them and by prune juice, both dribbled from the bottle and spit up. This stuff is amazing. A few days ago Michael spit up prune juice all over a fuzzy white blanket; I treated it with the Shout stuff, washed it normally (in cold water with regular Tide) and I can no longer tell there was ever a stain there, I kid you not. The only baby stains this has not removed completely are the ones I failed to thoroughly spray. It works for set in stains (days old!) and fresh stains. It seems important to rub it in well and let it sit for at least a few minutes before laundering (you can leave stains for several days after treating if need be), but I swear the stuff is practically magic. The only downfall is that it warns to wash your hands after you use it, so you'd definitely want to keep it away from the kiddos. A certain three-year-old I know has a tendency to play with exactly this sort of thing if it is accidentally left within her reach.

I was unable to find a link for this product, but if you're looking for it in the store it comes in a blue spray bottle. I wouldn't sent it in the mail, but the next local person I know to have a baby shower is totally getting a bottle with their gift.

The other thing I really like is Wondertime magazine. A few of months ago a friend (Hi, Moira!) sent me a piece from the magazine about blogging and a couple of weeks later I received a card in the mail saying that another friend (Hi, Jill!) had given me a subscription. I've received three issues so far and read them all cover to cover (the other parenting magazine I get I usually flip through, but I'm not sure I've read one issue cover to cover in three plus years). I find the issues nearly as engaging as a compelling novel. Wondertime is beautiful but not cute. The style (layout/photography) has a nostalgic feeling to it, bringing to mind all the happiest of my fuzzy childhood memories, without being cheesy at all. The advice is gentle, the opinion pieces are balanced, and it is relatively very light on the advertising. So far (three issues in) I haven't come across a single article of the scary and over-reactive type I feel like I'm seeing in lots of parenting magazines these days. No seven page pull-out on 398 seemingly harmless summer items that could maim your innocent child. They do highlight kid friendly products and I find it refreshing that most of their suggestions are affordable for the masses and not only items to put on a list for the day I win the lottery. I am not sure how apt a description this is, but it feels more like I'm reading really well written essays than articles. The NPR of parenting magazines, perhaps?

Oddly enough I am not as taken with their website, but that's fine by me, because I really do not need one more thing to keep me busy online!

So there you have it, some advice you didn't ask for! Go ahead and leave your thoughts about these, or similar, products in the comments, I dare you.


Anonymous said...

Hello sweet girl -- thanks so much for my own personal subscription to Wondertime! I received my first two (!!) issues yesterday and really enjoyed them. I echo all of your sentiments about the simplicity, the practicality, and the layout -- I was smiling reading them last night, there's just something about them that makes you feel that life is undeniably and completely good. Love to you, Harper, and the boys ... can't wait to see you in September! Love, Tracy

desperate housewife said...

I have been searching in vain for a good stain remover, so thanks for the tip! I will definitely give the Shout Advanced a try.

Jen said...

I've never read the magazine, but I agree with your first two reviews. The razor is a waste of money for all the reasons you stated. I do not use the Shout Advance spray that often, but they do have a Shout Advance Gel (with built-in scrubby brush on top) that I have used with all 3 of my kids. The stuff is amazing and removes almost won't work on pen, but I learned to use alcohol-based hairspray for that. Good reviews!