Dirt Devil Corded Hand-Vac:
It's big. It's loud. It has two speeds; if you plan on using it on "high", invest in some good earplugs. It has a spinning brush and a clever way of storing the crevice tool. It has an immensely long cord. And it took all the damn dog hair off my car seats yesterday with no fuss whatsoever.
I briefly considered going as high-toned as one o' them $150 Dyson cordless hand-vacs, but the customer reviews convinced me otherwise. The charge on a Dyson lasts five minutes; every review I read said, "If you need to be vacuuming longer than five minutes, you need to get out the full-sized vacuum." Bah, humbug. For $30 at Target, you can get a hand vac--corded, it's true, but with such a long cord that it hardly matters--that works better than the upright I own.
Verdict: A+--but don't use it around your Chihuahua. The suction is quite strong.
Oster Classic Beehive Blender:
Another Target purchase, this time because my generic six-speed blender had started to complain and smoke every time I tried to make gazpacho. The Oster has two speeds: On and Not On. It also has a Pulse feature, which is On on Steroids.
The base of the thing is shiny metal, and the top is very thick, confidence-inducing glass. When you put it together, everything fits in to everything else with nice solid clicks. The single toggle switch on the front moves up and down with a good, positive snap. And when you turn this sucker on, it has 600 watts of power (which I think is more than the local public radio station) and really works. You know you've got a blender when you use this.
Verdict: A+--but leave those earplugs in. It's noisy.
M.A.C. Loud Lash Mascara in Brown:
Beloved Sis sent me many tubes of mascara to play with. This is my so-far favorite.
M.A.C. is one of those cosmetic companies that cause people to develop lifelong obsessions. Their color range goes from the sweetly neo-punk to the outright drag-queeny, but everything tends to stick like the Devil and not wear off. This is true of this particular mascara: it does not come off.
Better than that, though, is the fact that it doesn't clump. You can put four coats on (which I do, liking a nice drag-queeny set of top lashes) with nary a problem, though a quick comb-through is never a bad idea. The formula dries stiff and rather shellac-y, but that's a small price to pay for something that works even better than Rimmel, my previous go-to mascara.
I have no clue whatsoever what this costs in the real world. Whatever you spend on it, though, plan to invest another five bucks on makeup remover, or you'll walk around for days with huge drag-queen lashes on an otherwise bare face.
Verdict: A+, but best get some cold cream.