Critical Consumer

Pivot Power: Best Product of its Kind

Posted in Sassy Stuff I LIKE, Totally Tech on June 9th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

By Michele Costanza…bringing you a humorous view on consumer topics in an all-too-serious world

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Puzzle Solved

Power-strips are NOT sexy. Well, I guess it depends on how you define power-strip…..

But for the geeky world of technology, they are an essential eyesore that clog up the space around every outlet, as myriad electronic gadgets jockey for position. You know what I’m talking about….every cord has a different shape and configuration these days (uniformity is so passe, so it’s like solving a 3-D puzzle to squeeze in as many cords onto one power-strip as possible.

Well, the puzzle is finally solved with this brilliant new power-strip called Pivot Power.

To quote my favorite tech-guru, Eric Totherow:

“Finally, someone invented a power strip that doesn’t suck.”

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

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Who is SassyCityGirl?

Just your average gal with two kids, a giant dog, an interesting life, and an ungodly obsession with certain quirky things. Sunblock for one. Electronics for another. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

My goal is to share fortuitous oddities and pearls of humor as I discover them. The best hair products, the worst customer service, the most delightfully random photos. You name it, I’ll share it.

I’m not just a Girl-about-town, I’m a Girl-about-town with a penchant for spreading the WORD.

 

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iPhone Users: Say Hello to Free Texting

Posted in Totally Tech on June 8th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

By Michele Costanza…bringing you a humorous view on consumer topics in an all-too-serious world

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I love text-messaging. I know, I know…it’s SO anti-social. What happened to the days of actually TALKING to each other, right?

Well, for starters, I’m always crunched for time, so the idea of sending off a quick message, without danger of getting sucked into an hour-long conversation, is majorly appealing.

I also love how, with the smartphones, addresses and business names within the body of the text are easy to cut/paste into other apps, like Google Maps, for easy reference.

But with this addiction to text-messaging, comes a price. At AT&T, that price is exactly $20/month, or $240 per year for unlimited texting. That’s a lot of money.

Well, for those of you with iPhones and iPads, and I know there are a LOT of you out there…iOS 5 has a new core feature…iMessage, which is affectionately known as the SMS Killer. Why? Because it’s better, and more importantly, it’s FREE.

Yes, I’m sure you’re asking whether this is for iOS users only, and it is, but with 200 MILLION iOS devices out there right now, I think this is a pretty darned good development.

To read more details on what iMessage is all about, here’s an article from the experts at TechCrunch.

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

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Who is SassyCityGirl?

Just your average gal with two kids, a giant dog, an interesting life, and an ungodly obsession with certain quirky things. Sunblock for one. Electronics for another. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

My goal is to share fortuitous oddities and pearls of humor as I discover them. The best hair products, the worst customer service, the most delightfully random photos. You name it, I’ll share it.

I’m not just a Girl-about-town, I’m a Girl-about-town with a penchant for spreading the WORD.


 

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Finally, my perfect jeans…Citizens of Humanity

Posted in Critical Consumer, Sassy Stuff I LIKE on June 2nd, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

By Michele Costanza…bringing you a humorous view on consumer topics in an all-too-serious world

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I’m that gal, the mom who spends much of the day wearing a chauffeur-hat, part of the day in pajamas writing on my computer, and the rest of the day slapping on lipstick and boots, pretending that I don’t really live in pajamas, but still wearing the chauffeur-hat, of course.

Not that I’m knocking pajamas, because I’ve successfully elevated them to high fashion in my own fantasies, especially in the carpool line at 8am.

That said, my REAL uniform is a great pair of jeans. Nothing comes close to the versatility and comfort, whether rolled at the cuff with flip-flops, or full-length and pressed (ok, not really pressed, because that would require OWNING an iron) with a fabulous pair of Prada heels…they just work.  Which is why I’ve been on a quest for the perfect jeans. Sounds simple, but ladies, we all know it’s akin to finding the Holy Grail.

Have YOU found the perfect pair of jeans? I personally have been searching forever, trying/buying/donating many pairs from every brand over the years, looking for the right cut, the right texture. Yes, the inseam can be altered, but every body is different and getting front/back rise, as well as the hip to thigh ratio right, is like winning the lotto.

Well, I think I’ve found it.  The right ones for ME, anyway.

For the last couple of years, I’ve found that Citizens of Humanity has great mid-rise options, the best cuts for my body-type….I hate the low-rise (low-rise + ANY body fat = muffin-top…who decided THIS was a good look??), but for a long time, this was the only option.  Thank GOD the higher rise is coming back…really, even a single INCH proactively hides butt-cleavage…another pet-peeve.  Or pet-cleave, as it were.

The one important tip I learned from the salespeople at Nordstrom is this: Jeans today have so much stretch (2% polyurethane) that you need to buy them SKIN-TIGHT, and they’ll stretch to fit. I bucked at this suggestion for a long time, but have since acquiesced. The jeans do stretch quite a bit, so unless you’re washing them every single time you wear them, you’ll want the fit to feel like a second skin when you first put them on, and they’ll relax to a snug, but breathable finish. If they feel PERFECT the moment you first put them on, they are guaranteed to sag too loosely within an hour, which might be just perfect for a 6 hour flight, but not ideal for a night on the town. Just my opinion.

The other thing I discovered, as I shopped for these at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale online, where I scored two pairs at 40% off, is that they’re available in Petites.  I never think to shop in the petite section (I’m 5’5″, which is pretty average), but yet I ALWAYS have to have my jeans tailored shorter. Every time.  Duh, you’d think I would have thought about this earlier….the inseam on the petites is shorter, perfect for me, yet the waist-sizing is the same, so ordering was a breeze.

They arrived today and I tried them on…absolutely perfect, well, in the skin-tight-stretching-to-perfect-sort-of way. I LOVE them. In my world, you can’t have too many pairs of good jeans.  : )

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

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Who is SassyCityGirl?

Just your average gal with two kids, a giant dog, an interesting life, and an ungodly obsession with certain quirky things. Sunblock for one. Electronics for another. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

My goal is to share fortuitous oddities and pearls of humor as I discover them. The best hair products, the worst customer service, the most delightfully random photos. You name it, I’ll share it.

I’m not just a Girl-about-town, I’m a Girl-about-town with a penchant for spreading the WORD.

 

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iPad 2: Razzle Me, Dazzle Me!

Posted in Totally Tech on May 15th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

By Michele Costanza…bringing you a humorous view on consumer topics in an all-too-serious world

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Well, the deed is done. After months of obsessive research on the merits of the iPad 2, I bit the bullet and bought one last weekend.

As much as I LOVE my MacAir for its lightweight, sleek profile and REAL KEYBOARD, I need Internet access on the fly even more, without being a hostage to free WiFi and the corollary caffeine-overdose that accompanies spending too much time in coffee houses.

Work on the beach on one of the rare sunny days in Seattle? Why YES, I’d love to. Answer emails while waiting in the carpool line? Of COURSE….plus,  I expect I’ll be able to type more than a sentence or two, now that I can use both hands. Obviously, this is entirely dependent on my ability to master this virtual keyboard, which has proven to be my nemesis on the iPhone. So far on the iPad, while typing this post, it’s not terrible.

Basically, this iPad 2 review will be a work in progress, as I learn the tricks and discover the inevitable weaknesses….hopefully tipping the balance in a favorable direction.

Wish me luck!

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

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Who is SassyCityGirl?

Just your average gal with two kids, a giant dog, an interesting life, and an ungodly obsession with certain quirky things. Sunblock for one. Electronics for another. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

My goal is to share fortuitous oddities and pearls of humor as I discover them. The best hair products, the worst customer service, the most delightfully random photos. You name it, I’ll share it.

I’m not just a Girl-about-town, I’m a Girl-about-town with a penchant for spreading the WORD.


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How to Save Money at the Gas Pump!

Posted in Critical Consumer on May 12th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

By Michele Costanza…bringing you a humorous view on consumer topics in an all-too-serious world

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As the weather grows warmer, no one itches to hit the road more than I!  As the original RV Mamma, I love the freedom of “land sailing”, driving into the horizon armed with nothing more than a couple bags of groceries and a GPS.

However, with gas prices well over $4/gallon, most of us are feeling a serious squeeze in fun travel plans. Nothing makes parents more uptight than paying over $75 a tank just to hear your kids fighting in the backseat.

However, there are things you can easily do to stretch those gas dollars.

Max Bohbot, president of penny auction site, Beezid.com, has put together tips on how to get the most from your fuel tank:

  • Drive consistently and carefully: Avoid braking hard or accelerating unnecessarily quickly; you waste gas each time you accelerate just to brake a few seconds later.
  • Do Your Research: Calculate how much a trip will cost in gas (you can use AAA’s gas calculator) and then compare it to bus, train or air fares.
  • Cash not credit: Pay for gas with cash instead of charging it to a card, you’ll save a few cents per gallon. Sometimes you can buy gas cards at a discount on sites like Beezid.com.
  • Fill ‘em up: Check that your tires are inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. By maintaining well-inflated tires, you ensure your car is getting better mileage than on under-inflated tires.
  • Invest in a GPS: Using a GPS cuts down on the chances of getting lost while driving to your destination which can waste time and gas. You can check out Beezid.com for deals on the latest GPS models.
  • The one minute rule: If you’re going to idle your car for more than a minute, it’s worth turning off the engine. If it’s going to be under a minute, just leave the car running.
  • The more, the cheaper: Try to carpool and split the costs of transportation.
  • Quality goes a long way: Have your car or motorcycle inspected before you take a road trip, it’ll save you money to fix anything that might need repairs before your trip instead of potentially breaking down on the road which can become a costly inconvenience.

These are valuable tips that add up quickly. Safe travels!

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

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Who is SassyCityGirl?

Just your average gal with two kids, a giant dog, an interesting life, and an ungodly obsession with certain quirky things. Sunblock for one. Electronics for another. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

My goal is to share fortuitous oddities and pearls of humor as I discover them. The best hair products, the worst customer service, the most delightfully random photos. You name it, I’ll share it.

I’m not just a Girl-about-town, I’m a Girl-about-town with a penchant for spreading the WORD.

 

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What’s SEXY? A car with a bed. And a stove. HOT.

Posted in Critical Consumer, Witty in the City on April 27th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – 2 Comments

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

When it comes to my vehicles, I prioritize function over flash any day.  Which explains my less-than-sexy Volvo SUV, otherwise known as the kid-mobile, capable of transporting five kids in boosters (one built-in booster!) plus groceries and 2 adults. Not a bad haul.

Of course, my other ride of choice is my RV, a Sprinter conversion that looks more like a delivery van on steroids. A few years ago, I actually drove this as my CAR, maneuvering deftly through the city, parallel parking downtown. The benefits of a vehicle with its own flushing toilet are obvious when you have small kids, but add on a small fridge, microwave oven and an outdoor shower for muddy paws, and the picture becomes crystal clear.  Oh, I could wax poetic on the joys of RV-ownership, especially for those lucky parents who are stuck weekend after weekend at sports tournaments, but that’s a story for a different day.

In the meantime, here’s what I discovered today: The TentMushi.  Leave it to the Japanese to make everything miniature and cute, even RVs. Now who wouldn’t love to tootle around in this little thing, which probably gets killer gas-mileage, and certainly will grab the attention of everyone within line of sight.

Adorable.

テントむし

(Single people, take note! I think this little vehicle might blur the line between functional and sexy, in a Teletubbies kind-of-way. )

 

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Best iPhone Tip of the YEAR: Auto-correct Correction

Posted in Totally Tech on April 25th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

Follow SassyCityGirl on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl

(If the image doesn’t appear below, please click on the icon above…part of my constant running battle with technology)

This is a tip for anyone who is SICK of auto-correct on the iPhone.

I’ll admit that auto-correct has lodged itself firmly in our techie-humor (have you read DamnYouAutoCorrect.com??), but on a functional level, it makes me homicidal. Here’s an excerpt from that delightful website, a nugget of gut-busting humor at its most primitive level.

damn you auto correct funny iphone fails and blunders

damn you auto correct funny iphone fails and blunders

Ok, all humor aside, I just learned about the BEST iPhone tip that’s sure to save you hours of auto-correct frustration. Well, let me admit for the record that this will not ELIMINATE all your auto-correct woes, but it will make a significant difference.

If you’ve been using an iPhone, you know the native dictionary just doesn’t recognize many names and abbreviations you commonly use.  I’ve heard rumors that it’s supposed to “learn” the words you regularly use and eventually stop auto-correcting, but to date I see no evidence of that actually happening.

What you need to do is ADD words to your native iPhone dictionary so it recognizes them.  I’ve always known I wanted to do this, but until this week, had no idea how….

This fantastic article in BusinessInsider.com gives step-by-step directions on how to do this!  Click on the link for the entire article, but here’s the excerpt on how to add words to your dictionary.

Edit your phone’s dictionary:

Go to Settings, General, Keyboard, International Keyboard, Add New Keyboard, and select Japanese Ten Key.

Now go back and select “Edit User Dictionary” from the main Keyboard screen.

Tap the “+” in the top right-hand corner, then tap “Word”. You can now add any word you want your iPhone to recognize.

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Who is SassyCityGirl?

Just your average gal with two kids, a giant dog, an interesting life, and an ungodly obsession with certain quirky things. Sunblock for one. Electronics for another. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

My goal is to share fortuitous oddities and pearls of humor as I discover them. The best hair products, the worst customer service, the most delightfully random photos. You name it, I’ll share it.

I’m not just a Girl-about-town, I’m a Girl-about-town with a penchant for spreading the WORD.

 

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Another Reminder to Eat French Fries

Posted in Critical Consumer, Witty in the City on February 22nd, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

Ridiculous.

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Pop-Up Boutiques are all the RAGE….

Posted in Critical Consumer on February 9th, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment
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Local fashionista-duo, Tasha Headley and Julianne Johnson, will sell their divine vintage finds in a one-day-only, Pop-Up-Closet this Saturday, February 12th, at 2nd Saturdayz Flea Market in Magnuson Park.
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Their so-called “closet” is a curated mash-up of vintage and new fashions….Moschino to Marc Jacobs…vintage shoes, handbags, costume jewelry, and all the things necessary for a lady to feel glamorous…
Think: feathers, bows, brocade and kitten heels. Oooo- lala…..

The show hours are: 8AM-3PM
Admission: $10.00 for early buying and $5.00 general admission after 10 am.

Get yourself there… and get your glamour on.
MUAH!

Get your style ON

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Corpse Bride?

Posted in Critical Consumer, Witty in the City on January 23rd, 2011 by Michele Costanza – Be the first to comment

I know times are tough, and flexibility is the key to survival in this economy, but here’s scraping the bottom of the barrel….

Weddings in funeral homes. *

Yes, it may be beautiful inside.
Yes, it may cost a lot less money.
Yes, your friends may SAY they didn’t even notice it was a funeral home.

But they are LYING.

Gorgeous flowers and a Vera Wang gown could not disguise the fact that there are DEAD people in the next room.

The perfectly manicured lawn, verdant and lush, is punctuated by gravestones.

And that beautiful marble building might make a perfect backdrop for family photos, but it’s still a mausoleum.

Not the most auspicious beginning for a marriage that already has to swim upstream to beat the odds of survival. Unless the marriage is doomed from the beginning, and the symbolism works for you.

Just my opinion.

Follow me on Twitter @ImSassyCityGirl
*USA Today

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