Sunday, September 8, 2019

Buying a Suit – Men's Warehouse vs Kohl's – My Experience

I'm getting to the age where I'm starting to have to attend more weddings and funerals and since these are formal events, I decided it was time to look into getting a new suit. I started doing some research to see what the options were. Locally, I knew of Men's Warehouse because I had to rent a suit there for a wedding a while back. I also knew of department stores such as Kohl's that have suits as well.

When I rented the suit from Men's Warehouse is was pretty expensive at over $200, especially considering you only have it for a few days. Still I decided to give them another visit to see what the options were when it comes to buying a suit.

I saw some sales advertised online for about $199 so that was about what I was looking to spend. When I got to the store, I asked the first sales person about it and they immediately said they don't have anything for around that price. I was then assigned to another sales person to show me some other options.

First thing he shows me, he says is $699! Way more than I was looking to spend. I let him know I just was something basic because I don't plan to wear the suit very often. He shows me their cheapest suits which are still about $300. I had actually gone in with intention of buying but so far the experience was not going well.

The sales person was very much the stereotypical fast talking commission hungry associate you don't want. When I let him know I didn't need the suit until a wedding next year, he pretty much ushered me out the door and said come back when you are ready to buy. That's strange, I thought I was ready to buy, but apparently not.

So I decided to look at the other options available such as Kohl's department store. I like Kohl's but in the past I have found it difficult to find the right sizes especially when it comes to formal wear such as suits. Since I knew my size would be hard to find in store, I decided to look online.

They had a good selection to choose from and the prices were much more affordable. I found several to choose from in the $100-$200 range. I ended up ordering one that came to about $135 and it came with $20 Kohl's cash so I was able to get a nice dress shirt to go along with it for free!

When the suit arrived I was pleased with the look and the quality. I tried it on and the fit was ok, but it would need some tailoring to get a perfect fit. This is actually a common procedure with suits. It is rare to just try on a suit in store and have it fit correctly. I did some measuring and decided to have the pants and sleeves shortened to the correct length.

I found a local cleaners/tailor that was able to do the alterations. The cost to shorten the jacket sleeves and the pants came to about $50. I picked it up a few days later, tried it on and the fit was exactly how I wanted.

So all together I ended up with a nice fitting suit and dress shirt for about $185. Not too bad considering the cost to rent a suit from Men's Warehouse was over $200.

If you are looking to get a new suit, I recommend first getting measured so you know your size. Then once you have your size you can order online. Once it arrives you can try it on and if you like it, you can have it tailored to get the right fit.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Pet Peeves of a Professional Grocery Shopper

As someone who works full time shopping for groceries, I end up spending a lot of time in grocery stores. Like any job there are good things about it as well as things that can be annoying or frustrating. While these are from a perspective of someone who does this for a living, anyone who does their own grocery shopping can relate. Here are some of my biggest pet peeves as a grocery shopper:

Stores that fill in the space of “out of stock” items with other items that do not belong there.
You will be looking for a certain product in the section where it is supposed to be but you cannot find it. All the shelf space is filled in so it must be there right? After not seeing it, you looking carefully at all the tags on the shelves. You find the right tag, look up and see some other product or variety that is not supposed to be there.

I'm pretty sure stores do this purposely when something is out of stock because they don't want it to look like something is out of stock. Instead of leaving it empty they will fill it in with more of the product next to it. As a shopper, I don't mind if a shelf is empty because something is out of stock, it happens. What I do mind is when I waste my time looking for something because the shelf space where it is supposed to be is filled in with something else.

Carts that are in poor condition.
Having a bad shopping cart can really ruin the shopping experience. Some stores are a lot better than others when it comes to shopping carts. The best carts are the plastic kind because they are light, tend to roll smoothly, and are easy to maneuver. The worst are old metal carts that are shaky, have wobbly wheels, don't roll straight, and are just in bad condition overall.

Sometimes I will try out 3 or 4 carts upon entering the store just to try to find one that isn't terrible. There have been times where I have been doing my own shopping and have actually cut my shopping trip short because I could not put up with pushing a noisy cart around the store anymore.

Repetitive music playlist.
This might not bother other people as much, but for me, I really get tired of hearing the same songs played in the store every time I go in there. For the occasional shopper, they will not notice this, but for someone who is in the store several times a day, it is very noticeable. I pretty much have every song they play memorized at this point. I can't imagine how the employees who are in there all day put up with it. Honestly is is one of the main reasons why I would not want to work in a grocery store or any place that has a repetitive music playlist.

Garbage left in the carts.
Almost every time I enter a store and go to the carts, I will find at least one that has garbage left in it from a previous shopper. It might be a sample cup or wrapper, a store advertisement, a shopping list, a plastic bag, a coffee cup etc.

Litter is one of my biggest pet peeves in life and litter in shopping carts is no different. One of my hobbies is cleaning up litter outside and this continues to store parking lots as well as in store such as in the shopping carts. This means when I go to get a cart, I specifically look for the one that has the garbage in it. I take that cart, remove the garbage and place it in the nearest garbage can. If the customers and the store employees won't do it, somebody's gotta do it.

People who hold up the checkout process.
Everyone would like to be able to checkout quickly but that does not always happen does it? You go to the shortest line thinking it is going to be fast but then something unexpected happens. Maybe someone is trying to use a coupon on a product that it does not qualify for. Maybe they need a price check on something. Maybe there is alcohol and they have to wait until someone who is over 21 comes over to approve it. Maybe they are try to pay with a check. All these things end up holding up the line and make the checkout process long than it has to be.

Poor bagging at checkout.
Bagging is a pretty simple job but there is a lot more to it than just putting items in a bag and placing them in the cart. Baggers are supposed to be trained on the proper way to bag items, but apparently some of them did not pay attention to the training, or they just don't care.

I will place my items on the belt in a specific order to help ensure they are bagged properly. Ex: cold items together so they end up in the same bags, heavy items together, boxy items together, produce together, and light/fragile items last so they end up on top and don't get squished.

Despite this organization there will be times when I get to the car and realize everything has to be re-bagged. There will be cold items with non-cold items, fragile stuff in the same bags with heavy stuff, raw meats in the same bags as ready to eat food etc. Once I realize someone does not know how to bag, I will avoid going to their line if at all possible on future shopping trips.

I could go on and on with more pet peeves about grocery shopping but overall it is actually not that bad. For the most part I enjoy grocery shopping and as a job it can actually be fun.

What are some of your pet peeves when it comes to grocery shopping? Feel free to comment below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream Review

Recently I got inspired to try out some new foods and one that caught my interest was mochi ice cream. Mochi has a dough like consistency and is made with rice flour and sugar. With mochi ice cream, you have the traditional ice cream in the middle wrapped in the mochi.

In store I found the brand My/Mo which makes mochi ice cream in several different flavors. I decided to go with the strawberry to try it out. The price is pretty expensive. At a regular price of over $6 it comes out to over $1 per piece since there are 6 pieces in the box. I was able to get them on sale for a little over $4. For the nutrition, each piece has 110 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 12 grams of sugar.

Upon opening the box, the mochi's are in a tray separated and the top is sealed with plastic. They are coated in what looks like a powdered sugar but the powder is not sweet so it must be a flour or a corn starch. I found the powder a bit off-putting since it doesn't really help the flavor. In fact, for the rest of the pieces, I rinsed them off with water before eating them. I'm guessing they cover it in powder to keep it from sticking to things like the packaging.

The mochi material itself is soft and has a chewy gelatinous consistency. It is also sweet and kind of fun to eat. Inside, the strawberry ice cream is creamy and tastes very much like other strawberry ice creams I have tried in the past.

Overall the mochi ice cream is pretty good and makes for a nice snack or dessert. Although they are tasty, based on the price, I probably would not rush to buy them again. But if you are looking for something different to try out and you can find them in store, I would say they are worth a try especially if you can find them on sale.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Disaster Artist Book Review – The Story Behind Tommy Wiseau and The Room

After having seen “The Disaster Artist” movie as well as the movie “The Room”, I decided to pick up the book “The Disaster Artist” which was the source material for which “The Disaster Artist” movie was based on.

For those who are unfamiliar, “The Room” is a movie commonly known as the greatest bad movie of all time. It was written and produced by Tommy Wiseau who is also the lead actor in the movie.

Tommy is a mysterious person and probably one of the most fascinating people out there. He immigrated to the US when he was young with the dream of becoming a movie star. He pretty much started with nothing and worked hard to earn a living with his businesses.

He tried to get into Hollywood but no one would accept him or give him a chance. This led him to ultimately make the decision to make his own movie and do everything himself. The end result was a movie that was meant to be serious but because of how it turned out, it comes off as more of a comedy.

When Tommy was studying acting, he met another struggling actor named Greg Sestero. The two are very different people but somehow they become good friends and decided to make the movie “The Room”. The Disaster Artist book is written by Greg Sestero and is about the whole experience from the time he first met Tommy to the night of the actually movie premiere.

I really enjoyed reading the book. It goes into all the details and behind the scenes of how it all started and what happened along the way as they were making the movie. It goes deep into the relationship between Greg and Tommy which is a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

The best part is learning more about Tommy. He has so many quirks and a personality unlike anyone else. If you like what you have seen from Tommy from watching the movies or interviews, the book is even more of this. I laughed out loud several times while reading the book at the stories and things Tommy does and says.

Also the book explains a lot about Tommy's background such as his origin and how he made his money. (The movie cost $6 million to make which Tommy financed himself). I won't spoil the details but his story is pretty impressive considering he came to the country with nothing but a dream and ended up making a real feature length film.

Overall the book is entertaining, funny, and inspirational. If you liked the movies, you will like the book. If you find Tommy to be an interesting character and want to learn more about him, this book is for you. If you haven't seen the movies, they are great also and I recommend watching them first and then reading the book.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Burger King Impossible Whopper Review – Is it good and how does it compare?

I had heard about the “Impossible Burger” for some time and had been looking to try it out but it was always hard to find, that was until now that Burger King announced they are selling the Impossible Whopper.

Basically it is a Whopper but instead of the regular beef patty, it has the Impossible patty which is plant based so it does not contain meat. This is good news for people who don't eat meat since it gives them more options to choose from at places like Burger King.

The main ingredients of the burger are water, soy protein concentrate, coconut oil, sunflower oil, and natural flavors. Something to note, the Impossible Whopper is not supposed to be more healthy compared to the regular Whopper in fact, the nutrition stats are pretty similar, it is just supposed to be an alternative to meat while replicating the flavor.

So how does it stack up? Upon appearance, to me it looked more like a Boca Burger than a regular burger. For the taste, it was ok. Comparing it to frozen plant based burgers like Boca and Morning Star, I would say it is better than those, but not as good as a traditional beef burger. I was able to eat the whole thing and I was satisfied, but it is not something I would necessarily rush back to order again.

Since the nutrition and cost are similar, given the option I would probably go with the regular Whopper based on the taste. But if you are trying to avoid eating meat and you happen to find yourself at a Burger King restaurant, the Impossible Whopper is a good option.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Whitening adidas Boost with Sharpie Oil Based Paint Marker

If you have a pair of adidas Boost shoes such as the Ultra Boost, NMD, Pure Boost or many others, you know they are very comfortable, but you also probably know how hard it is to keep Boost material clean. It picks up dirt quickly and even if you try to clean it, it is nearly impossible to get it back to looking like new again.

After having tried countless cleaning solutions, my Boost shoes were starting to look pretty dirty around the soles after having worn them for a few years. I started to look for other options to clean them up when I read some reviews of people using a white Sharpie oil based paint pen. The results looked pretty good so I decided to give it a try.

I found the oil based paint markers at a local Hobby Lobby arts and crafts store for about $6 (for the bold tip marker). They also have medium and fine tip markers, but I went with the bold to make sure it had enough paint. (Having tried it, the medium tip would probably work just as well.) They are also available online at places like Amazon.

Getting Started:
First, I recommend doing a quick wipe down of the shoes to get off any surface dirt that may be on there before you start painting. I also recommend putting some newspaper down to cover the surface you will be working on. I taped the newspaper in place to help keep it from moving around.

Next, you will want to tape up the shoes to cover the upper material so it does not get paint on it. I used clear packaging tape because it is what I had around the house. Taping up the shoes was actually the most difficult and time consuming part of the process because it takes a lot of carefully placed tape pieces to get it just right along the edges.

Taped up. Starting to apply some paint at heel and forefoot. 
Preparing the Paint Marker:
The marker comes sealed in plastic so you have to cut it open to get started. Next, the instructions on the marker tell you to press the tip down, re-cap and shake. Then press it down on a surface to get the paint into the tip.

I did this but the tip was still dry and I thought it wasn't working. But the thing is you have to be a little patient. Keep the pen pointing down and keep pressing down a few times and slowly the paint should start flowing through.


Applying the Marker:
Once the paint reaches the tip you are ready to start applying it to the Boost. I started by applying it to one of the dirtier sections on the inner side. I actually didn't like how it looked at first because I felt like it changed the look of the Boost too much. I was starting to think maybe it wasn't a good idea. After a few minutes I tried to see if it would wipe off with cloth and water but it was on there pretty good. I figured it was better than the dirt so I decided to keep going.

Comparing how it looks as paint is being applied.
 At first I was using the flat side of the marker and applying the paint slowly and thoroughly, but I found that using more of the corner of the tip and kind of using more of a scribble method tended to work better especially for blending in. I went around the sides of both shoes until they were all covered.

You may want to apply a few coats depending on how dirty the shoes are. Once you are done, the paint should dry pretty quickly. I tested it out and it was dry in less than 10 minutes. Once it is dry you can remove the tape from the shoes and admire your finished product.

Results:
Interestingly, the marker was a lot neater than I expected. I thought I would be getting paint everywhere, but it turned out I did not get any paint on my hands or even on the newspaper. It's probably because the paint dries quickly and it is not liquidy enough to drip so it is easy to use without making a mess.

I was also worried that it might have a strong smell but surprisingly, the smell of the marker is very mild. The smell is almost nonexistent after it has dried.

I found one marker was plenty to paint all the Boost around the shoes. I'm not sure how much paint is left in the marker, but I will save it for later to do touch ups over time. 

The finished product!
Overall I am very pleased with the result. Up close you can tell it is painted, but from a distance, it just looks like a clean pair of shoes. If your Boost shoes are at the point where cleaning just isn't working anymore, I recommend this method to get them looking like new again.

I will update this article at a later time with the results of how well the paint hold up over time.

Update 8-14-19: 
It has been about 5 days of wear and the Boost is getting dirty again similar to how it was before the painting. Also the paint is wearing off in the high wear areas such as the heel and toe. It does not seem to be any easier to clean compared to before. Overall it still looks better than before, but it seems the paint is not a miracle solution.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Good Youtubers Who Stopped Making Videos

1. Laina
Laina is best known for her “Overly Attached Girlfriend” character which became a popular meme many years ago. Since then she has created many funny videos on her Youtube channel. Coincidentally, she just posted her final “Breaking Up with Youtube” video as an explanation for where she has been the past 2 years. In the video she explains why she decided to stop making Youtube videos.

2. Joe Goes
Joe from the Joe Goes channel is know for his series where he travels to different countries and events and interviews people in a comedic style. His videos are funny and you get to meet a lot of interesting people and see what they have to say. A couple years ago he posted a “Hiatus” video explaining that he would be not be posting videos on a regular basis and has not posted a new video since. 

3. Robbie Sherrard
Robbie Sherrard makes comedic talk to the camera style videos. The style is of someone who is just being themself but unintentionally happens to be funny. His last video was posted about 8 months ago and is actually a trailer for a series he decided to post on Vimeo. No word yet if he will get back to making videos on Youtube.

4. Whatever
Brian from the Whatever channel is known for pranks and social experiment videos. His last video was posted about 2 years ago. In one of his last videos he explains what happened to the channel and why he stopped making videos. 

5 The Wine Kone
Tony from The Wine Kone channel makes funny videos that are often random and obscure. He has been pretty inactive for a while and actually posted a video parodying this exact subject of Youtubers disappearing. No word yet on if he will get back into making videos, but don't count him out yet! 

So what are the reasons some of the best Youtubers stop making videos? Many of them move on to bigger things such as tv and film. Many of them outgrew the platform and decided it was time to move on. The changes in the way Youtube compensates creators also caused many Youtubers to stop making videos or switch to other video hosting services. Whatever their reason, we as viewers have to respect their decision when they decide it is time to hang it up.

What are some of your favorite Youtuber's who left Youtube or stopped making videos? Feel free to post them in the comments below.