Category Archives: critics

Review: Micro Touch Switchblade

This post is a review of the MicroTouch Switchblade. Since this is a PR-friendly blog that does product reviews, The Switchblade was sent to me by PR rep of the company for a review. I want to thank Sylvie for sending this to me after first reviewing the ONE Razor — thanks! 

Microtouch Switchblade Review from Knoxesque

Microtouch Switchblade Review from Knoxesque

The MicroTouch Switchblade is essentially a multi-purpose trimmer that has both a mini-shaver for trimming and a standard-sized shaver for larger jobs. The package you’d buy on their site comes with a whole kit of miscellaneous stuff, but the retail version you’d buy somewhere else, like on Amazon, comes with some plastic snap-on attachments to vary the length of hair you’re trimming.

The claim of being gentle on sensitive skin from head to toe and the ability to “remove hair anywhere” screams of trimming pubes. The design of the Switchblade is actually perfect for that, but if you’re like me, you have a huge problem with this type of crossover.

The Switchblade is nice and cheap, and it does the job. I like the various clip-ons because they’re great for trimming a beard & mustache without turning everything into a choppy mess. It really helped out in November, especially to clean up the absolute NAST that is neck hair. Another nice thing about the Switchblade is the smaller trimmer is perfect for nose hair trimming, but again, you may hate this level of crossover. Your call.

Like any product, the Switchblade isn’t without it’s negatives. For one, it comes with a stupid little light built into the device. I’d say “good hustle” to MicroTouch for it, but the spotlight is completely worthless and has a better chance of momentarily blinding you than helping at all. The biggest CON / negative in the way I see things is the use of batteries. I’ll concede that my batteries haven’t died yet, which is ok, I guess, but it’s still a cheap idea. The Switchblade is only $20, so I shouldn’t expect too much.

All in all, it could serve as a last minute gift. It could also be a funny white elephant gift in a group of ladies. I wouldn’t run out and buy this myself, but it IS nice to have around.

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Review: TheraPod Pro-Fit Earplugs by Acu-Life

I received a free set of these TheraPod Pro-Fit Earplugs from Acu-Life just before the Holidays to give a test run and review for them.

Here is a link to their site: TheraPod/Acu-Life Ear

Here is my honest review:

I work as a copywriter in a very loud office, so I was excited to give these earplugs a chance. Apparently I focus better when my surroundings are quite. Who knew?

After opening the box and reading the instructions (I didn’t want to do it wrong and lose my hearing forever…dramatic, I know) I mixed the two balls of goo together and stuff my ears with it.

At first, it was weird. Can you really blame me though, who enjoys sticking goo in their ears?  You’re supposed to keep the stuff if your ears for 10-15 minutes or so while it shapes to your ears — talk about custom ear plugs.

For me, this was the highlight of the product. Just about everything was cut off and I was alone with my thoughts. Really the only thing I could hear was my own breathing, which was bizarre. I felt like I should be in space.

After letting the goo form to my ears, I took the plugs out and put them in the little case that’s provided in the package and I went to bed.

The next morning, and few days after that, I tried wearing them at work. Remember, noise and writing jobs aren’t the best of friends. But every time I tried, it was tough to fit the plugs into my ears again comfortably. Despite being formed to my ears, they were now stiff and were not all that comfortable. While trying to shove and maneuver them into my ears, little white and turquoise chunks kept falling off of the plugs and were getting lodged under my fingernails. After wearing them, uncomfortably, for a little while, I took them out and put them away and went back to the free white noise website I regularly use.

I may or may not have done something wrong, but the best part for me was the formation part. After that it was a downhill slope.

I’m bummed that I have to write a negative review for a product provided free of charge, but I’m not the type of person to just write only happy things. I do wish they would have worked out in my favor, but I guess some things just don’t jive with me.

(Also, I finally received that golden moon oolong tea, a review will be up after I try all of the samples and get around to writing it.)

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BD’s

I went on a man date with Micah last night to talk, catch up and discuss our book ideas. I love that man. We went to BD’s Mongolian Grill off of 42 next to the Burnsville Center.
Ummmmm…..
IT ROCKS!!!
After having free soup and salad, our very friendly server (ALL staff were outgoing and super friendly) brought us our bowls to go make our own food buffet style. We stacked our bowls so high we walked more carefully than we would if we had a mug filled to the brim with hot coffee.
Their website lets you build your own bowl. Here’s what I got…
The KNOX-esque

3 oz Chicken – remove
3 oz NY / KC Strip – remove
1 oz Bean Sprouts – remove
1 oz Broccoli – remove
1 tsp Cilantro – remove
1 oz Mushrooms – remove
2 x 1 oz Spicy Buffalo Sauce – remove
1 oz Chili Garlic Sauce – remove
1 oz Sweet n Sour – remove
.5 tsp. Oil Blend (added at the Grill) – remove
3/4 cup Rice – remove
3 oz. Rice Noodles – remove

The website is actually very limiting. I put WAY more meat on it! Lamb, shrimp, rib-eye, pork, etc. I also had pea pods and other stuff, but that’s the gist of it.

They cooked it for us, rather quickly, on a giant doughnut grill while we hung out and talked with the staff.

The food was amazing!!!

I’m taking Sarah there soon! She’ll love it.

To Sarah: Trust me, you’ll love it. You can even make your own iced tea.

 

To BD’s Mongolian Grill: I love you.

 

To Sarah: I love you too!

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Punch Pizza – the best worst place in St. Paul

(Note from Knox: I received two very nice and apologetic notes from managers at Punch Pizza with gift cards attached. They wanted to apologize for my bad experience and I am happy to see that restaurants care about their visitors. Sarah and I have already used one card and had A VERY NICE experience. I still have one more gift card to use. After going the second time, I will write a different post.  I’m keeping this post up so that any reader will know what to expect as far as the seeting arrangement and to know how the system works on a busy night).

punch Last night, my lovely, Sarah, and I went to Punch Pizza for my birthday. It was my birthday yesterday – I’m 23 now.

The food was amazing! We ordered a Bruni pizza (sausage, spiced salami, onion, oregano) and a chopped Italian salad with a Summit Red Ale and a mediocre cup of red wine.

The food came quickly and we tried to eat slowly to enjoy the meal.

For the food itself, I’d give Punch top marks.

For EVERYTHING else we dealt with, I’m probably going to spit on the on the place every time I walk by it from now on.

Walking inside Punch is like walking into a Chipotle or Five Guys, there are people everywhere and it’s noisy. I give major props to both of those places over Punch because I actually enjoy eating there. I am never going to eat at Punch again; take out, maybe, but not inside.

We walked inside and took a gander at the crowd. We were standing in line when we saw a table open up, “thank God,” we thought. I jumped towards it and sat down to ensure our seating for dinner. Two minutes later, some floor manager guy walked over and kicked me out of the table; there are some seating rules apparently. I was annoyed, but they have a system, I suppose I can respect that without being TOO perturbed. Then we sat and waited for our number, 82, to be called (by the same guy). After calling 82, he hurried off to a large table in the middle of the place – I refuse to call this a restaurant. I looked around to find two other tables open, one was even a booth. But instead of taking us to one of those, he still went with the giant table. This table is one you’d imagine in a pub in some bad fantasy movie – long, wooden, bench-style. He sat us here, saying, “one on either side.”

Seriously?

Sitting in between people we don’t know, bumping their elbows with our own, more than a full arm’s stretch away, Sarah sat across from me mirroring my look of disgust and annoyance. I had to basically lie across the table like a bored 3rd grader to talk with her; in doing so, I drew a few looks from the people around us, but didn’t care because I wasn’t going to let the atmosphere COMPLETELY ruin my time with her.

Not long after being seated, our food arrived and we had to go get our own silverware, plates, napkins, etc. Again, the food was really, really good, but we had to focus on it to enjoy it.

Then, get this, halfway through our meal, the same balding floor manager approached us, touched my shoulder and asked us to move over so he could make room for more people.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m sorry, you want us to do what? Even after you kicked me out of a table and then sat us at this giant wooden log between strangers, you want us to move?  Being the polite, Christian kids we are, we moved down, only managing nasty looks. Then two minutes later, he came back and told us to move the other way because the hole we had already made wasn’t good enough where it was. By this time, other pairs of people had joined us and were equally frustrated. This whole act pissed me off and I started shooting my mouth off to Sarah about the guy’s dickheadedness, how rude he was, “this giant *f-bombing* table”, etc. Sarah tried quieting me because the guy was just behind me. Bless her soul, it didn’t work. I hoped he could hear what I was saying. We finished eating, got up and left. On our way out, with me still complaining, we walked past the guy again.  Our eyes met and he didn’t say goodbye like he had just done with the past four couples walking out.

I’m still fuming about that place. I even got on Google to read other reviews. Like us, everyone loved the food. They recommend, however, “don’t go to the Punch on Grand Ave.” Apparently this location sucks and treats people like cattle more than the other sites.

Maybe someday, when I don’t feel as offended and angry, I will give Punch another try at a different location. Maybe.

(Please notice I didn’t link to Punch at all in this post, but linked to several other places instead)

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Snow, sickness and Starbucks

Story: The black radio alarm clock promptly clicked on at 7 this morning, playing 4 seconds of something on the best radio station in the country – if not the country, then at least Minnesota – 89.3 The Current. I’ve developed quite a talent for slapping the sleep button before waking up enough to actually get out of bed; again, only 4 seconds of whatever The Current was playing. By now, based on my alarm clock, I should be an all-star Slap Jack, Spoons and Grab-The-Coin-From-The-Palm-Of-My-Hand player.

After slapping the sleep button, I rolled over on my right side (the side facing the window [my right side because I haven’t been able to sleep on my left side very often because it hurts my shoulder for some reason…?]) and noticed more white than I usually do. So, naturally, I shot up like some cartoon zombie or Frankenstein, with my arms outstretched and everything, to look out the window.

BAM!

Photo 97

Snow! Everywhere! (A shot of my deck and park… I didn’t take this while in bed)

I immediately collapsed into bed and pulled the covers over my head.

RULE:

A person should never get up on time when it legitimately snows for the first time of the year. The other day doesn’t count compared to this. Refer to the last few posts to see a picture to compare the amounts of snow.

After looking three more times out the window to make sure it was actually real and not a dream or some mean joke, I saw something … something awesome!

FOXES!

There were three foxes playing around in the snow in my backyard. I should have taken a photo, but I wasn’t in the right mindset. It was really cute and fun though; a time of being too giddy too early.

So I’m sitting here typing, twittering and job searching with a cup of coffee that’s pretty awful. I didn’t feel like straight black stuff this morning, so I added in some french vanilla Coffee-Mate… I put too much in and now it’s gross.

Speaking of coffee –

Starbucks Via Ready Brew. I was given free samples of this, I said I’d review it and it’s time to do it.

Before I poured the little packet into a mug of hot water, I was very, VERY skeptical about it. It’s instant coffee! Instant coffee is NEVER good. Just because Starbucks writes a name that sounds better, doesn’t change the fact that it’s instant coffee.

Well, I tried a cup… a few cups.

It tastes like REAL coffee! It tastes like the actual coffee you buy inside a real Starbucks store. I drank it straight and didn’t pollute it at all to ensure accurate flavor. It was good. If it didn’t cost so much I would actually consider buying it myself. But I looked up the pricing and how much you get and decided it’s not worth it.

It averages out to be $1 per cup.

That’s ridiculous to me. A buck for one cup of regular black coffee. Nooooo thank you, Starbucks. You won’t win me over with that price, regardless of how you’ve magically made instant coffee taste like the real thing.

I do like the name though. Via. Good name. It’s short. It’s snappy. It’s memorable. Props, Starbucks.

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Filed under critics, global warming, reviews, Uncategorized

They’re (almost) BAAAAAaaaaaack!!!!

People get excited about the different seasons for different reasons.

Some people like the cool, crisp air and vivid colors of tree leaves come Autumn.
Some people look forward to hockey season.
Some people look forward to baseball season.

Some people can’t handle the cold at all and show their spring fever in April at the first chance of warming – the girls put on pencil skirts, unbutton their shirts and let their hair down and it’s still only 39 degrees; guys do the same by putting more gel in their hair, wear that “sandblasted” light-wash pair of jeans with holes all over paired with a nice buttoned shirt fully unbuttoned to show off their stained beater… they think this is a good look for some reason…

I’m not these people…
I look forward to each season because it brings a seasonal brew around AGAIN!
Whether it’s the Maibock from Minnesota’s own Summit Brewery or Oktoberfest by … well, anyone… I especially liked the new stuff from New Glarus, Staghorn? I think that’s the name.

Well, one of my favorites is back…

Autumnal Fire by Capital Brewery… It’s great. According to my lovely mother, there’s only one place in the (twin) Cities that sells it… or only one place near us..  Well, I’m glad there IS somewhere that sells it. It became an instant favorite last year.

Want something fun?  Here…

Recipes:

Buttercrust Beer Bread

  • 2 C self-rising flour
  • 3 T sugar
  • 12 oz. Capital Autumnal Fire
  • 4 T unsalted butter, melted

Oil or butter standard loaf pan. In bowl combine flour, sugar, and beer. Mix until well-blended and sticky. Pour dough into prepared pan and bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Remove bread from oven, pour melted butter over the top, and resume baking for 30 more minutes until lightly browned.


Sweet and Sour Beer Brisket

  • 12 oz. Capital Autumnal Fire
  • 1 C packed canned whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 C catsup
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 4-5 lb. flat-cut brisket
  • 1 large onion, sliced

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine beer, cranberry sauce, and catsup in medium bowl. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Season brisket with salt and pepper. Add brisket to Dutch oven and sear until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to plate.

Add sliced onion to Dutch oven and sauté until soft & brown, about 8 minutes, stirring, and scraping bottom of pot frequently. Place brisket on onions. Pour beer mixture over brisket. Bring liquids to a boil. Cover pot tightly. Transfer to oven and bake until tender, about 3 hours.

Let cool 30 minutes before serving. Spoon fat from top of gravy. Slice brisket across grain and return to gravy.

ANOTHER of my favorites is by the good Ol’ Leinenkugel’s brewery. I go back and forth on their beer.

I’m not a fan at all of their Honey Weiss and I especially hate Berry Weiss. I don’t even understand why it’s still being sold and how someone would actually order it at a bar. There are SOOOO many other kinds of beer ANYWHERE that has better beer!

Well, the beer I love is:

Fireside Nut Brown!

It’s great… the guys and I discovered it and bought 5 cases of it when we took a weekend trip up to Andrew’s cabin. So it may or may not be related to the memories of the trip… bit very well could be that… but it’s a classic favorite for us now. BUT, it doesn’t start selling until November I guess. That’s what I heard.

Until then!

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