Posts filed under ‘Shopping’

Rock Star on the RoadL Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke

I love being out of the city.  The flowers, the sea, the incessant barking of the dog of the people renting the house next door.  Sunshine, fresh air.  Picking the herbs I need to cook instead of spending $1.50 a bunch for them, using only a few tablespoons worth, and waiting until the rest gets moldy or dried out before tossing it out.

What I don’t like, is all the driving.

Aside from the fact that all the time I spend in the car is one of the primary reasons I end each summer flabbier and fatter than I began it, is the endless tedium of sitting in the car. How many times do I need to hear that the Black Eyed Peas think “tonights gonna be a good night”?  Or that Cobie Caillat is so in love that it’s wrinkling her nose?  I’m wrinkling mine, too, honey, in disgust at the amount of gas I’m using and time I’m spending SITTING SITTING SITTING. (Does pushing the gas pedal burn calories?  I hope so.)

Notice I haven’t mentioned the kids?  Generally speaking, the bickering begins just as we reach the end of the driveway.  Lovely.

Imagine, then, how happy I was to get a distraction in the mail: Rand McNally’s Car Karaoke, part of their Boredom Breakers ™ series of car games for families. (Full disclosure:  they sent it to me for free.  Asked me to review it, but IN NOW WAY direct what I am going to say)

The Boredom Breakers Game Series

Rand McNally, the 100 + year old travel company mostly known for maps, just introduced a whole series of  games and activities to keep kids entertained and families connected in the car.  Since we don’t have a DVD players in the car (I know, I’m the last holdout) and my kids get sick when they read in the car or even play their DS, The Boredom Breakers™ games are perfect.  According to Rand McNally “The products are designed to bring families together, encouraging conversation, laughter and fun making the miles fly by for moms and kids on the go.”

They sent me Car Karaoke.  Here’s how they describe it: “Mom can sing lead and kids are back-up vocals.  Just pop in the CD with 12 classic rock, pop, and kid favorite songs.  Includes everything needed to be a rockstar: an inflatable microphone, rating cards, and three lyric books.  Choose from favorites like “Build Me Up Buttercup” or “Twist and Shout,” to see who’s got the pipes in the family.  Earplugs not included!”

Here’s how I describe it: hysterical.  My kids LOVE the blow up microphone.  So much better than a hairbrush.  Quite honestly, they don’t know a lot o f the songs on the CD, and don’t really want to sing the kid songs they do, but they use the mike for songs on other CD’s or on the radio (there’s a lot of wrinkling noses in the car) – and are surprisingly kind with the rating cards!  The only suggestion I would make it to include two mikes in the kit — one for each kid.
The quality of the singing on the CD is pretty varied — from quite good to bordering on torture — but you can choose to sing without the singers (like real Karaoke) and in any case, they sound better than you or your kids. (or at least me or mine!)
Truly, they could have just sent the inflatable microphone and the ratings card and it would have been just as good.

Still, it has helped to end the tedium enormously.  And from what they tell me, their other games help spark conversation.  Which, since they are trapped in the car with me, is perhaps the best time to get their attention and get them to talk.
Bottom Line: If you are heading out for a long drive this Labor Day Weekend.  Give these games a shot.  They’re not expensive (under $15,.00 for the Karaoke (why not Car-aoke?? I don’t know!), and they really might make being trapped on the road a lot more fun.
Rand McNally’s Boredom Breakers series of car games are on sale at and


September 4, 2009 at 8:39 am Leave a comment

My New Favorite Swimsuit Company

I’ve written quite a bit about Karla Colletto – the fabulously expensive and fabulously flattering swimsuit that actually managed to make me feel less than disgusting on the beach last summer.   But notice that first “fabulously?”  The expense of a KC bathing suit is a bit daunting — upwards of $200 dollars to start.

So here I am with a new recommendation:  Shape FX. It is QUITE unlike me to buy a bathing suit online — I need to try on, try on, try on.  Check out the strategic qualities of it’s camoflage abilities:  does my stomach look enormous?  Does the skin above the leg line bulge?  Is my back fat under control?  But after reading about Shape FX in Rachel Ray’s magazine (my guilty pleasure – hey, if I can’t eat fish cooked with a pound of butter and a cup of cream at least I can read about it) I decided to take a chance.

See Shape FX is all about strategic dressing.  You take a little questionnaire online about your body, then they recommend clothing just for you.  I took the quiz, bought the bathing suit and all I can say is:


Quite possibly, the most flattering bathing suit EVER.  And way way less expensive than Karla.

So there you have it.  My new (budget friendly) alternative to my first love, Karla Colletto.  I plan to try their push up, control pants too.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

August 23, 2009 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

Youngening: It’s true! We’re all getting younger!

Forty is the new thirty.  Fifty is the new forty.  Twenty one is the new eighteen.  In fact, my hormones are skyrocketing to adolescent levels even as I type.

It’s the new math.  And Lord knows, I’ve never been much good at math. Funny.  I’m not much good at getting younger as I age, either.

This  new math is everywhere.  It also applies to clothing: What used to be called a size ten is now called a size eight. (Though at Old Navy, they call it a size six.  God bless vanity sizing.) In this economy, it also applies to shopping: what used to cost $30 now is a 50%-off fifteen bucks.

Everything that can have a numerical value associated with it seems to have gone down.  Except, of course, the size a woman is “supposed to be.”

Seems to me that the only value moving backwards the “optimum” size for a woman, as portrayed by TV, magazines, movies, and runway shows.  Because according to them, size six is the new size twelve. In other words:if you’re wearing a size six, you’re big.  Excuse me?  I mean, I’m pretty pleased when I’m in my vanity size 8’s, thank you very much.

Maybe it does make sense. After all, if we’re all getting younger, shouldn’t we all be getting thinner too? Shouldn’t we all be careening towards pre-pubescent hips, flawless skin, and the ability to be out in the freezing cold without a jacket? I don’t know about you, but I’m not “youngening.”  I’ve said it before and I”ll say it again: if forty really is the new thirty, somebody forgot to tell my thighs. And my knees, and my eyesight. I’m not getting thinner and tauter any more than I’m getting younger and more interested in The Jonas Brothers.   My brain may say thirty, but my ovaries say “I don’t think so.” (more…)

June 2, 2009 at 12:25 pm 3 comments

Why DELL Sucks

Part of my fabulous Mexico vacation was not so fabulous: An entire glass of water spilled on my laptop, and now it is no longer. 

I’ve always had Dells (so sue me, I’m cheap) and so went on line to order a new one.  The Dell representative I spoke to, Jamie Norman, told me I couldn’t order the less expensive Studio version, because she couldn’t guarantee shipment by Friday. (Today) So I spent more, (about 12% more) to get the snazzy new XPS 1330 which she SWORE would be here by Friday, which is today, which it isn’t. It won’t get here until Wednesday.  Which wouldn’t be SO bad, except that I told Miss Jamie that I leave for a business meeting in Silicon Valley on Monday. 

Hmmmm. Business meeting in the tech capital of the world, with a new tech company/new client and NO LAPTOP.

After 45 minutes on hold and talking to pretty much every service rep in Southeast Asia, I have no help, no answer.  Only a trip to Best Buy to get another computer will help me.  Which I guess is better anyway, since clearly, Dell does not know the meaning of the word customer service. And who wants a computer from a company like that?

Dell: you stink.

January 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm 3 comments

The Joy of Getting

Another Stock Photo!

Another Stock Photo!

This year Hannukah and Christmas coincided.  This might not be big news to gentiles, but to Jews, it is a fortuitous lunar/solar alignment that makes us want to spin around singing “The Age of Aquarius.”  Because when the two holidays combine, that means we have something to do on Christmas Eve, when everyone else is busy,  most things are closed, and those that aren’t are staffed by people who are thoroughly pissed off that they have to be working on Christmas.

So we have our big-ole Latke and best Brisket in the world party.  We also have  excessive gift-giving, to which I am, in principle, opposed, but which in actuality, I loved. (more…)

December 25, 2008 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Lovin’ Leap Frog

I went for the swag.

The holidays are coming, the economy is tanking, and Leap Frog sent me a (no obligations)invitation to a party offering free stuff,(I love swag) and free food (I love to eat)  at the Four Seasons Hotel!  Hello! I’m going.

See, I have been raising a couple of Luddites. My kids have no play station, no DS, no x-box – we don’t even have a portable DVD player for the car – we are a none too technical family, to say the least.  (Though we do have a Wii and the super fabulous Wii fit.  I like those.  And that’s why I let them play with them.  Plus, we got the Wii Outdoor Challenge recently, and let me tell you, on a rainy day when the kids can’t go outside, the Outdoor Challenge rocks! And it’s almost as good a workout as the Wii Fit, PLUS you don’t have to get weighed to play it! Seriously, Wii Fit people, you gotta make that scale business optional. But I digress.)

Lately, I’ve been feeling guilty about not letting my kids have all the techie stuff the other kids have.  My kids need at least a little techno-savvy to function in the world — or at least to not be complete social rejects.  But I can’t bring myself to give them one of those coma-inducing, mind-numbing, opiate of the children, hand-held gadgets. (I think DS might stand for DEMON SPAWN)I’ve written about that before – about Dissing the DS.  And even though it’s tempting – I still haven’t started down that slippery slope.

Though I’d never used one, I had a hunch that LeapFrog products could assuage my guilt without completely compromising my morals.  They seemed like they might actually teach my kids something while they played. I had to go to the Leap Frog Party and see. (plus, did I mention how much I love swag?) -Read more about how Leap Frog made me a tech mama>

November 2, 2008 at 10:20 pm 4 comments

Sexpot Barbie

Remember back when the most upsetting things about Barbie© were:

a. Were she a real, live person, her proportions would have meant she were anorectic and incapable of standing up.

b. When you were playing with her, you couldn’t make her stand up


c. She had better clothes than you did.

Well, seems like Barbie©has entered into new and to some, more upsetting territory, sexpot territory. Yes, she of the Dream House, the long legs and the nipple-less breasts will soon be sporting fishnets, black leather boots, and a latex-y looking bustier. Ken had better refill his Viagara for Dolls prescription. I mean, neither of them is so young anymore, (Barbie is pushing 50!) and frankly, were it not for all the plastic, she wouldn’t be able to carry an outfit like that off at all.

Some people are shocked by the new S&M styled Barbie©. (In truth, she’s Barbie as Black Canary from DC Comics) But I think she’s just doing what she’s been doing all along. She’s clearly got an eating disorder, so she’s used to pain. Her mammoth breasts (in proportion to the rest of her) have always given her kind of a porn-star look, and let’s face it, what with all the outfits, she’s no stranger to roll play.

In fact, Barbie has been pushing the envelope for years. First, there are those infamously unrealistic proportions, which set up generations of girls for bad body image, then, her never-legalized but enduring relationship with Ken — (who does she think she is, Orpah?), her inability to hold down a job (I mean, flight attendant, doctor, nurse, ballerina — and that’s only in 1975), and finally, her infamous declaration “Math Class is Tough” which set off a firestorm of protest from irate feminists around the globe.

Puh-leaze! Being outraged when Barbie says something damaging to girls is like being shocked when Geroge Bush does something beneficial to oil companies. It’s what they do, people.

So I say – let Barbie be Barbie. She’s always rolled with the times. And ours is a highly sexualized, pregnant at 16 child-star, naked on the cover of Vanity Fair pop-star kind of time. Maybe after she’s done with her little “exploration” she’ll be ready for a new de-sexualized look: Butch Barbie maybe, or Post-Op Trannie Barbie. Hey, Mattel, are you listening? The possibilities are endless.

I’ve never had a Barbie, even as a child, and I don’t plan on buying Sexpot Barbie (not her real name) for my daughter…why introduce her to sexualized plastic beauty before she’s in the double digits? (Oh wait, she’s seen High School Musical…too late!)

But I don’t find this Barbie any more shocking than the others. What would be a shocker is if they came out with Middle Aged Barbie, with sagging breasts made out of rubber instead of hard plastic, varicose veins from wearing heels all those years, age spots from her Malibu days, and a foreclosure notice on her Dream House. That would surprise me. And that might be the only Barbie I’d ever buy.

July 18, 2008 at 10:23 pm 1 comment

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