Monday, June 29, 2015

Baby's Butt Aid (Dollar Tree)

A review of Baby's Butt Aid, but note that it was never actually used on a baby...
Now that previous reviews have regaled you with problems I've had on the front part of my privates, let’s work our way to the back, shall we?  I sometimes get rashes on my behind, usually from dry skin, but sometimes from sweating at work (the summer weather will do that to you).  Needless to say, they are not pleasant.  At first, I thought it might be a cleanliness issue, even though I shower daily, but when more focused cleanings did nothing to heal it, I knew I needed some medical help.

I had always seen Baby’s Butt Aid on the shelves at Dollar Tree (and laughed at the name), but I never gave it any serious consideration to use on my own skin.  After all, I’m not a baby, so what use would I have for a diaper rash ointment?  I was surprised when my wife suggested that I try it, as she was fairly certain that what I had was essentially an adult version of diaper rash, with moisture collecting and creating an infection.  So I took her advice…and I’m glad I did.

This stuff works pretty well, as I noticed a big difference within a couple days of first use.  I actually like the texture, almost like a soft paste, which goes on easy and, as the packaging says, “wipes off easily”, so there are no annoying messes to deal with afterwards.  I was also afraid that, like some creams and ointments, it would be uncomfortable, or noticeable, right after applying, but that’s not the case either.  While I generally put it on right before bed, giving it a few hours to work, I’ve also put it on right before work, and still didn’t notice it during a long day at work.

Oftentimes, companies will charge an excessive amount of money for simple creams, and this one doesn’t seem to be much of an exception.  While this tube is only 2 oz., it still provides great value, as 4 oz. tubes of the national brand can go for upwards of $4.  So even if you have to buy two, you’re still coming out on top.  I definitely would recommend this to anyone, but especially those looking for relief on a budget.

NOTE: I’ve noticed many discussions online alluding to the fact this has boric acid, and is therefore bad for your skin, or worse, bad for your health.  Not sure if any of this is true, but it is also included in the name brand “butt paste”, and no one seems to be crying foul over that.  I’ve also been using this for several months with no adverse side effects, so it’s probably just another example of people getting worked up for no reason.

Overall: 9/10.  Why pay more for butt paste when you can get this stuff for $1?  At first, I thought the pasty texture would be very uncomfortable once applied, but it really goes on smooth and is unnoticeable.  It also worked incredibly quick, clearing up a rash I had in about two days.  I can't vouch for how it will work on a baby, but I would expect similar results.  Highly recommended, especially to those on a budget.

Natureplex Athlete's Foot Cream (Dollar Tree)

Doesn't just work for athlete's foot! (wink, wink)
Let me start off this review with a story that will be as uncomfortable for you to read as it is for me to share:  A couple years ago, on the family trip to the beaches of South Carolina, I contracted a rather painful rash that developed in my--nether regions.  At first, we thought that it was just getting dry from all the ocean water, so I bought a couple bottles of Skin-so-Soft, and started thoroughly feeding the area with moisture.  It got worse.  Finally, after about a week (and after we had already returned home from the beach), that’s when I learned that it was jock itch…which starts because of excess moisture.  So I was literally feeding the problem every time I was spraying it with moisturizer.  Which I had been doing for the better part of seven days. Ouch.

Immediately, my quest for a cure began. 

For reasons that are still completely unknown to me even now, I initially bypassed trying this product, simply because it didn’t specifically mention that it cures jock itch.  I guess I had been suffering so long that I wanted something that I knew for a fact was going to work.  So even though athlete’s foot and jock itch are both funguses, and this is an antifungal cream, I opted to pay $7 at a local chain pharmacy, simply for a product that clearly stated it was for “jock itch”.  The store brand cream was surprisingly “pasty”, kind of like Neosporin, and was rather difficult to maneuver around (and into) the affected areas.  Pairing that up with the fact that my seven dollars only bought me a .5 oz. tube, I felt like I was rubbing liquid gold all over my balls, and thus I felt like I had to use it rather sparingly.

I’ll spare you any more graphic details by just saying after a few more applications, it was slowly starting to clear up, but my tube was halfway gone.   So I went to Dollar Tree and purchased a tube of Natureplex Athlete’s Foot Antifungal Cream to see if it could help remedy the problem.  I quickly learned I should have just done it to begin with.  Probably the biggest thing that stood out to me was the size of the tube…1.25 oz.  For a dollar.  When I had just paid $7 for .5 oz.  God I hate getting gypped.

Anyway, Natureplex’s product is actually much easier to apply, simply because it has a consistency similar to lotion.  And the fact I got so much for so little, allowed me to use it much more liberally, which probably helped in clearing it up that much quicker.  Now, this is the only product I’ll buy to treat my random little outbreaks, and it kills it before it even has a chance to flare up.  So don’t get suckered into spending ridiculous amounts of money for a little tube of the “name brand” stuff, because this works just as good, if not even better, for literally a fraction of a price.  When it’s all said and done, this has got to be one of the best all-around deals in a store that’s literally chock-full of them.

Overall: 10/10.  Let me just say it now to anyone that might be as uninformed as I was:  Athlete’s foot and jock itch are both funguses.  So even though this doesn’t specifically state it’s for jock itch, it will still work the same way as the grossly expensive “name brand” jock itch creams do.  In fact, with the consistency of lotion, Natureplex’s Athlete’s Foot cream is actually easier and more comfortable to apply than similar creams.  You also get 2.5 times more product than the national brands, for about 85% less money.  Moral of the story:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Unless you’re talking about Dollar Tree’s antifungal cream, in which case it’s more than worth it.  One of the hands-down best deals at the Tree! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Vivello Mango Moscato (Aldi)

A refreshing summertime beverage.
Summertime really brings out the best in Aldi’s alcohol selections, though I guess that statement could really apply anywhere, given my taste for sweet things, with summer being the main season where sweet drinks are always accepted.  So when I saw that they would be offering a mango Moscato via their ad, my wife and I knew we’d be jumping all over that.

And jump over it we did, picking it up a day or two after it was made available.  I was relieved to see that it has a twist-off top…old-fashioneds and wine connoisseurs will no doubt laugh in my face for this, but I hate the unpredictability of corks.  Even with those fancy cork removers that prevent the cork from shooting anywhere, I still get nervous trying to pull one off; I trace this back to my younger years, when I idiotically removed a cork with my hands covering the top, allowing it to shoot directly in my palm.  Even though the lasting damage was little more than a few minutes of stinging, it’s still something that has stuck with me ever since.

Cowardice aside, I cracked open the bottle, and, hoping to get a foreshadowing of the taste to come, took a whiff--my God, this stuff smells like heaven.  It literally smells like an explosion of tropical fruits and scents, all combining together in your nose, and immediately diving down in your taste buds, forcing them to water.  At least, that’s exactly what happened to me. Without wasting another minute, I resolved that I must take a sip!

Sadly, the taste did not live up to the smell, though really, there was no possible way it could have.  There are so many flavors that hit the nostrils, it’s inevitable at least a few would be lost upon hitting the taste buds, which is exactly what happens.  But before you go thinking this is going to be a negative review, I must right the ship--this stuff is still really delicious.  Of course, it’s super-sweet, but there’s at least a good bit of mango that shines through in the flavor, making this a very enticing summertime beverage.  The only thing it’s missing, and this is just a minor gripe, is a little bit of carbonation, which I think really could have elevated it a bit more, though admittedly, that would have just turned it into more of a wine cooler than an actual wine beverage (though the taste is already in wine cooler territory anyway, so…).  Aside from that, though, this is pretty darn tasty, and one I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up again.

Overall: 8/10.  It’s super-sweet, which will no doubt turn off most wine snobs, but Vivello’s Mango Moscato is a delicious, refreshing summertime beverage.  It doesn’t quite live up to the scent, which is a very inviting tropical blend that immediately made my mouth water, but there’s definitely enough mango and fruitiness to go around.  I wish there would have been a little carbonation added, but that’s just a minor gripe--I can definitely see myself getting at least another bottle of this before the season ends.

Landshut Riesecco Sparkling Wine (Aldi)

Not too shabby, this one.
This should come as a surprise to no one who knows me, but I do not have a refined palate when it comes to anything, but especially alcohol.  My taste definitely skewers toward the sweet side--as in, the sweeter the better.  This is why I still refuse to drink beer (and on a non-alcoholic note, coffee), and instead go for anything with tropical fruits, umbrellas, and sweet and sour mix. 

Wine is typically not my thing, but my wife also enjoys a sweet wine every now and again (her favorite kind is Moscato), and I’ve been known to have a glass with her, though usually it’s only when no other alcohol is present in the house and I’m too lazy to leave the house to get some.  Moscato is definitely something that’s down my alley, but I also tried a Riesling a while ago and really enjoyed it.

Well lo and behold, we noticed Aldi was offering a Riesecco in a recent ad.  Of course, this is a combination of Prosecco and Riesling, which is something I figured I’d probably like.  I only know of Prosecco as one of the main ingredients in peach Bellini’s, which are absolutely delicious.  I’m pretty sure Prosecco is dryer than something I would usually try, and a quick scan of the label showed that it was only halfway up on the sweetness scale…normally, I’m going to need something that’s at least three-quarters of the way up. (On a side note, I absolutely love Aldi’s wine labels, as they specifically tell you everything you need to know about the wine inside, from level of sweetness, to style, to serving suggestions, making it really easy for clueless wannabe winos like us to tell if we might like something that we wouldn’t normally try.)  But my wife really wanted to give it a try, so I decided that I could probably give it a shot.

I’m not even going to pretend I can tell all, or really ANY, of the notes in anything I smell, so I won’t even bother trying to describe the scent to you, other than the fact it smells surprisingly sweeter than something only halfway up the scale.  Tastewise, though, the label proves to be right.  This is definitely a dryer wine, though there definitely is a noticeable sweetness that takes some of the edge off.  Again, the label declares there are flavors of pear, grapefruit, and green apple.  I would never have picked those out if this information had not been provided to me, but now that they mention it, I can definitely pick out the green apple.  The other ones, not so sure.

Anyway, this isn’t really something I could drink all the time, but if you like your wine with a little hint of sweetness and an almost full-bodied flavor, then you will more than likely dig this.

Overall: 6.5/10.  Again, this isn’t really my cup of tea, but I enjoyed this wine a little more than I thought I would.  I don’t normally go for wines this dry, and mainly only got it because the wife wanted to try it, and I ended up liking it more than she did.  Smells a lot sweeter than it is, but really enjoyed the “sparkling” aspect.  Definitely not something I would get all the time, but certainly not bad.  Keep in mind my tastes skewer toward the sweet, so add additional points if your palate favors the dry.  Would definitely make a delicious Bellini, though.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Coco Bay Coconut Rum (Aldi)

You don't have to go to Malibu to get some decent cheap rum.
I’m all for the cheap liquors.  While I sometimes enjoy getting some heavier stuff (i.e. 80 proof and up) to get a nice buzz (or occasionally, a drunk) on, other times I just want to relax with something refreshing, just to take the edge off.  Of course, state laws prevent Aldi from selling anything above a certain ABV percentage, so while you won’t find anything that will get you nice and hammered, they do have great year ‘round options to cover those searching for a light, relaxing drink.

As you can tell from the similar colors of the bottle, Coco Bay is a knockoff of the Malibu brand of rum, which is generally in the $12-14 price range, depending on the state.  Similar to that brand, Coco Bay is 14% alcohol, yet retails for almost half the price, coming in at just $6.99 in Ohio.  That’s $3 cheaper than the next cheapest coconut rum I’ve seen, which was $9.99 on sale.  This makes it an excellent deal on paper, but how does it stack up on the most important aspect:  Taste?

I’m definitely no alcohol connoisseur, but making a drink with Coco Bay is absolutely simple:  Splash in some cranberry, tropic, pineapple juice, or perhaps a combination of all three, and you have yourself the perfect summer drink.  Since there’s not a strong level of alcohol, the drink goes down smooth, and it can be easy to forget there’s even any alcohol in the drink to begin with!  When taken straight out of the bottle, the very sweet (no doubt artificial) coconut flavor is at the forefront, as it should be, with only a slight alcohol finish toward the end.  Really, if you like the main brands, chances are you are going to love this, especially given its very inexpensive price point.  If you don’t…well this one is too similar to win you over.

Overall: 7.5/10.  Great for what it is: An inexpensive, low ABV coconut rum knockoff.  It goes down smooth and easy, and can easily be blended with just about any form of juice to make a quick, refreshing summer beverage.  Even shot straight, it’s sweet, and tastes largely of (artificially flavored) coconut, with only a slight bitter alcohol finish toward the end.  This is a must-try for those on a budget, but don’t get too addicted to it, as it’s only available throughout the summer months at select Aldi stores.

Beach Dai-Q-Ri (Aldi)

Not for fans of hard alcohol.
In case you were ever thinking about giving me a “man card”, which if you have ever read any of my other posts I don’t think that could even be an option, I have a confession to make:  I don’t drink beer.  Actually, that’s something that anyone that knows me learns pretty much right off the bat.  Most people are goaded into it at some point in their life, forcing it down simply to fit in with friends, and that time is generally referred to as “college”.  Having never gone, I never had the ‘misfortune’ of cramming large quantities of something disgusting down my throat until it starts to taste not-so-disgusting, which is referred to as an “acquired taste” (see: coffee).

Now this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy drinking, because I do.  But if I’m out with friends, you’re probably going to find me drinking something the ladies are drinking.  And that is probably as good a segue as I’m going to get as a lead-in to why I purchased this Strawberry Beach Daiquiri from Aldi.  Well, that paired up with its nicely-affordable price tag ($5.99 here in OH for a 750 mL bottle, though that price generally tends to be lower in just about every other state).  There was just something inviting about its blood-red color; the thought of strawberries dancing on my taste buds during a hot summer day as I cooled off with a refreshing, yet delightfully alcoholic beverage.

While the actual experience of tasting it didn't quite live up to the expectations I had floating around my head, it was actually somewhat close.  The strawberry syrup actually tastes within the general vicinity of a fresh batch of the real thing, though of course there's also a heavy amount of syrupy sugar added, too.  So this is probably not a drink that you should drink to get drunk off of, because there would probably be a rather large headache involved the following morning.  There’s also a somewhat bitter alcohol finish toward the end, which can be expected, though the strawberry is thankfully the flavor at the forefront.

I plowed through a bottle in a couple of days, and can’t say that I regretted either the decision to buy it, or drink it, in the least.  Well, until the heartburn kicked in, a not-so-gentle reminder that I should really learn to drink beer, because I’m getting too old to put up with the high sugar content of these super-sweet drinks.

Now of course, this is merely reviewing the product right out of the bottle.  As with most (all?) alcoholic beverages, the possibility exists of either using this as a mixer in another tropical beverage, or adding something to it, such as fresh fruit and/or sparkling water, to give it even more refreshing properties.  I will mention the ABV is at 14%, which is sadly pretty decent for an alcoholic beverage from Aldi, and given its low price point, can give you a decent buzz on a budget.

Overall: 7.5/10.  I had originally typed up this review in 2014, to a 6-point rating, but upon re-reviewing it this year, I found it to be a lot better than I did back then.  In fact, I'm on my third bottle in just as many weeks.  I deducted points last year for a fakey strawberry flavor, but I actually find it to be pretty accurate, at least as far as these kinds of drinks are concerned.  There is a slight bitter finish, courtesy of the alcohol, which can be expected, but the strawberry overwhelms it, so it's not a big deal.  Also note this review is for the product straight out of the bottle; the potential to use this as a mixer in another alcoholic concoction, or to add fresh fruit or other products to liven it up a little bit adds a whole new world of possibilities that could make it even better.