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Stock Up On Adventure Passes April 29, 2009


Let’s face it. Summer vacation can be a little daunting when there isn’t enough planned to keep your band of wild monkeys entertained. It’s never to early to start slotting in trips to the beach, visit with grandma and of course, something to do on those rainy days. Kellogg’s Adventure Pass program is a partnership with the Canadian Museums Association and provides up to $10 off admission at over 500 cultural organizations across the country. So whether you want to visit Cupids Museum in Cupids, Newfoundland or West Coast Railway Park in Squamish, British Columbia, you’re going to get a deal. The pass also entitles holders to some deals beyond admission. Some heavy hitters are on the list including the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Calgary Zoo and Vancouver Aquarium.

Get the Adventure Pass in specially-marked packages of the following products.

  • Rice Krispies* cereal (525 g)
  • Crixpix* Krispies* cereal (350 g)
  • Rice Krispies* Vanilla Flavour cereal (420 g)
  • Rice Krispies* Cocoa cereal (420 g)
  • MultiGrain Krispies* cereal (385 g)
  • Froot Loops* cereal (380 g)
  • Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes* cereal (485 g)
  • Corn Pops* cereal (345 g)
  • Mini-Wheats* Original Frosted cereal (555 g)
  • Mini-Wheats* Brown Sugar Flavour cereal (555 g)
  • Mini-Wheats* Maple Flavour cereal (540 g)
  • Mini-Wheats* Strawberry Flavour cereal (540 g)
  • Mini-Wheats* Cinnamon Streusel Flavour cereal (540 g)
  • Kellogg’s Two Scoops Raisin Bran* cereal (675 g)

For all the details, visit


Vitamin Water: Suck It Up April 27, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 1:34 pm
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vw_bottles_en_caI have to admit I was a little reluctant to chug a bottle of vitaminwater when it landed on my desk. I’ve tried these vitamin-enriched drinks before and most have a nasty aftertaste that makes me feel like I’ve just licked the garage floor. But in the name of honest product testing, I followed the instructions that read: for best results, stick it in the fridge. I did just that, tested the product, then promptly went and bought half a dozen for the fridge at home. Tastes great!

Vitaminwater comes in eight varieties, each intended to, and I quote “help you shine on those gods-have-forsaken-you days, yada-yada-yada conference calls, wind sucking workouts and chasers-are-for-weenies nights”. As you can see, they’ve let the copywriters run wild over at the vitaminwater packaging plant. It doesn’t stop there. Each bottle has a creative blurb on how that particular flavour will help you cope until the sun goes down.

I’ve tried most of the flavours and they all hit a home run. If I was standing at a vending machine, dying of thirst, I would pick the vitaminwater essential in the orange flavour.

The MSRP is $2.29 for the 591ml bottle but I’ve seen it at Superstore for $1.99.


The Joe Fresh Beauty Makeover (without PhotoShop) April 25, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 10:42 am
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Ta da! Here is the result of my makeover courtesy of Joe Fresh Beauty’s travelling roadshow ( First, let me say that I did not PhotoShop either of these images, although I really, really wanted to erase about 15 years of crow’s feet. What you see if what I really look like, with and without make-up.

The Makeup

As you know, Canada’s favourite brand recently launched a line of cosmetics called Joe Fresh Beauty. There are products for face, lips and eyes as well as tons of accessories. All the make-up, and you’re gonna love this part, costs between $4 and $8. Even in these challenging economic times (I hate that phrase), you can treat yourself to a new lip colour without feeling like you’ve tucked into the family grocery budget.

The Results

There are many, many things I liked about getting make-up applied by a professional. The most critical is that she knew what she was doing, and I don’t, but I did learn a few tricks. I liked the way the lightweight liquid foundation evened out my skin tone. I need some evening out after all those years suntanning with baby oil and facing the wind in a speeding fishing boat. I also learned that it’s very important to darken and define my eyebrows. It gives a frame to my face at the top end. Adding some colour to my lips provides a frame to the bottom end of my face.

How Did I Feel?

Confident! Ready to face the day! I have this recurring nightmare that I am stopped on the street by a television crew and asked to give my opinion, on camera, on the latest political landscape. At this point I shriek like I have been bitten by a northern pike and high-tail it like a deer on opening day. With my new make-up tricks in hand, I feel like I could face that camera and not shield my eyes when the 6 o’clock news came on.

Where to Get It

Look for Joe Fresh Beauty items in the health and beauty section of Superstore and Loblaws. You won’t find it in the Joe clothing section, although you will find some great new pieces, but I digress. I’ve cruised the Joe Fresh Beauty section a few times and found the staff to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They seem just as excited about the new cosmetics as everyone else is.

My Picks

If I had to buy only three Joe Fresh Beauty items, they would be: Silk eyeshadow ($4) , Blackberry tinted lip balm ($8) and Nude cheek tint ($4).


EARTH WEEK: 360 Vodka April 23, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 8:37 am
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360_bottle_lightbackgroundOkay, you might call it a stretch to include vodka in the Earth Week collection here at Shinypackages but the fact of the matter is that food and beverages are getting greener all the time.  Just look at the stats for this premium spirit.

-Distilled using state-of-the-art equipment that’s 99% more efficient than traditional pot-still methods

– 85% recycled glass bottle

-100% recycled paper label printed with water-based inks

-Each bottle comes with a swing-top closure designed for infinite reuse (a lot of people reuse the bottle for olive oil and vinegar).

– Swing top cap can be returned in a postage-paid (recycled paper) envelope
for reuse and $1 is donated to an environmental charity for each swing
top received.

To celebrate Earth Week, try this Earth Day cocktail called the EcoTEAni

1 oz 360 Vodka

2 oz sweetened green tea

garnish with a mint sprig or lime twist

360 Vodka is available across Canada for around $42 a bottle



Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 10:19 am
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0651088c__08_08199Happy Earth Day everyone! We’re celebrating by giving away an earth-friendly prize pack today on Shinypackages courtesy of our friends at Canadian Tire. It’s everything you need to kickstart your commitment to using less energy. The prize pack includes:

Blue Planet Battery Charger
Energy Meter
Noma Photoelectric Timer
Honeywell Digital Non-Programmable Low Volt Thermostat
Blue Planet Rechargeable Batteries, AAA4 X2



EARTH WEEK: Thermos insulated shopping bag April 21, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 11:42 am
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s81010cdnHow many reusable grocery bags do you own? Any number is a good number. But if you have a handful of small, flimsy and ugly bags, it may be time for an upgrade. I haven’t seen anything more fashionable and functional than this model from Thermos.

The entire bag is insulated and leak proof. There’s also a removable, insulated bag inside that doubles as a lunch bag. It can also keep the ice-cream from perishing until you get home from the grocery store. There’s a panel on the outside that holds bottles and 1-litre milk cartons as well as a handy-dandy little cardholder pocket for your shopping list, debit card or gift cards.

TIP: Please donate those not-so-good-looking grocery bags to your nearest Value Village, school or Sally Ann.

Price: $39.99 at London Drugs and several other major retailers.


EARTH WEEK: RONA ECO lawn mower April 20, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 4:47 pm
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Remember the days before gym memberships? People didn’t need memberships because they got a workout by doing the chores—chopping wood, hauling water and mowing the lawn. So say goodbye to your elliptical machine and say hello to this manual lawn mower from RONA.

No stinky gas tank to refill and no worries about driving over your electrical cord (not that I have ever done that). That means it produces no greenhouse gases, just a little bit of sweat and heavy breathing.
Use the highest cutting level and let your lawn have a fighting chance against drought and parasites. The removable clipping basket to allow you to jump on the grasscycling bandwagon. That means you can spread the clipped over a wide area and let the nutrients return to the soil.

Earth Week Good News: The packaging made from 90% recycled material and it’s 100% recyclable.

RONA ECO lawn mower $139, cheaper than a gym membership!


Garden Stools for Spring April 13, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 1:39 pm
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gardenstoolsI was in a Target store at the end of January. All the holiday merchandise had been sold off and in its place was a collection of home furnishing that would be equally welcomed indoors or outside. A little early to start thinking about patio furniture perhaps, but any distraction from what would become the longest winter in memory was welcomed.

Hot Spring Decor

But I digress. Among the collection was many, many garden stools in various shapes, sizes, colours and styles. It appears that the garden stool has become the ‘it’ piece of furniture this spring. I see them everywhere now from Canadian Tire to HomeSense.

Out of the Garden

Garden stools, sometimes called drum tables, are not reserved for the garden.  Need someplace to set down your glass of iced tea while lounging on the patio? A garden stool is your answer. How about a plant stand for the living room? Extra seating in the dining room? The perfect might table for your bedroom?

The garden stools pictured above are from Pier 1. The price is US$115 each.


Dyson: The Review April 10, 2009

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 12:05 pm

dc25-animaldc25-animalThe highly-anticipated arrival of my Dyson vacuum has finally come to pass. I paraded it out of my office building yesterday to the oohs and aahs from people on the street. I’m pretty sure I heard someone mutter ‘creme de la creme’.

Assembly: I’ve heard that Dysons go together so easily that you can use the instructions to start a campfire. It’s true. My 10-year-old son Clark had the thing snapped together while I was in digging through the junk drawer looking for a screwdriver (not needed). I’ll be using the instructions to start that fire at the cottage this weekend.

Usage: Can you image three people fighting over who gets to use the vacuum? The fun is in the ball that lets the unit move around like you’re driving a Harley. “Hey, look how close I can get to the doorway!” I have the DC25. With a push of the button, you can use it on hard floors including the tiles in the bathroom. You should see this thing corner around the toilet!

It Sucks: We vacuumed our two storey house and emptied the canister five times. Really, sort of disgusting if you think about it especially since the girls (Molly Maid) come to visit once a month and do a spectacular job of cleaning up the joint. The Dyson sucks up goodness-knows-what and leaves the carpets plump and cushy. There’s no comparison with any other vacuum I have owned, including Jaws, but that’s another story.

Blockages: While I was Dysoning the bathroom, I decided to make a pass over the bath mat. It’s one of those shaggy numbers. Note to new Dyson user: do not drive over shaggy bath mats! The vacuum ripped a bunch of the loops that instantly became tangled in the beater bar. That bar spins so fast that it makes my head spin. Luckily, Clark quickly came to the rescue (he read the instructions about blockages) and showed me how to take it apart (one turn of a simple locking device). As I was uncoiling the shaggy yarn, I also discovered the Dyson had captured the equivalent of a full head of my hair (sorry, icky) as well as about 40 yards of 10 lb test fishing line.

The Verdict: Bite the bullet, spend the $600 and get yourself a vacuum that won’t frustrate the hell outta you. The downside is that you might have some family arguments about who gets to do the vacuuming. Small price to pay.

Order your Dyson online at Costco also have a couple of models in stock. Take your pick from canisters or uprights. Prices range from $500 to $650.


Chocoholics Get Ready for a Big Weekend

Filed under: Consumer Goods — shinypackages @ 8:04 am
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In the name of product testing, I gave the milk chocolate version of these new treats from Nestle to my business partner John to try out with his family. He has two tween girls and as he says “I think they have special powers when it comes to chocolate. They can hear the cellophane being ripped off from two floors up.” John managed to snag one of the 10 chocolate-filled pillows in the pack. He said he didn’t particularly feel like having a chocolate at that moment (how silly) but knew he wouldn’t have a chance if he waited. The verdict? Smooth outer shell and creamy centre. Just the right combination. His only complaint? “There are only 10 in the box. There should be 20! Now I have to go out and find some more.”

Nestle Noir Mousse Delicate chocolates cost about $4 for the 100g box. You can find them at most department and drug stores. Still time to tuck a few boxes into my Easter basket.