Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dash Away Interior Detailer

I don't normally review cleaning products because I don't do a whole lot of cleaning, so different products don't make much of a difference to me. But when an email about Surf City Garage's Dash Away Interior Detailer came through my inbox, I stopped in my tracks.

See, my car is dirty. Like, dirty dirty. Like, there isn't a product that can clean the inside of my car dirty. I figured that if I tried Dash Away, the very least is that I would at least be motivated to clean my car a little.

The bottle claimed that it could clean all the interior surfaces of my car, including vinyl, fabric, leather, cloth, plastic, and even car seats. My response to that was a little weird, but I kind of wanted to defeat Dash Away and prove that my car was the Dirtiest Car in the World.

I failed. Dash Away won. (Also? Please don't judge me.)

Before
After
Okay. That's a lot cleaner. But that's just a seat. What about the gross ice cream mess back by Jack's chair?

Before
After
The thing about that cup holder is that I knew I could get it clean, but that I would have to work at it. With Dash Away, I sprayed some in there, let it sit for a minute, and then it wiped off easily. Really easily.

So it got out the ice cream, but that's a known quantity. What about the sticky mystery goo on Sam's side of the car? Whereas Lysol gets ice cream out, thus far it hasn't been able to get the mystery goo out of Sam's cubby. See? Ick. What is that?

Before
After
That second photo is a little dark, but it cleaned it perfectly. Next, I moved on to a stain on the ceiling. (And don't ask me how I got a stain on the ceiling, but it was fabric, so it seemed like a good way to test out the Dash Away.

Before
After—I think I made a clean spot.
Okay. It cleaned fabric. But what about carpet?

Before—something crusty and stuck on.
After
I was just about done and then I saw the back of the driver's seat—you know the part that your kid scruffs his feet all over all day?

Before
After
Seriously. That didn't even take any elbow grease. It kind of made me embarrassed that I hadn't cleaned it before.

The only thing Dash Away couldn't easily clean were my seatbelts, which had been stuck in the gears of my minivan's sliding doors and were consequently quite stained. Other than that, my car was spotless. Well, it was after I made Sam help me vacuum it.


Seriously. I don't think my car has been this clean since the day we bought it.

You know how sometimes you try something and it's great and you like it and you'd recommend it to other people but then you forget about it and don't buy more of it? Well, this I will buy again. It's a good product. It was nice to just take a vacuum, a cloth, and the Dash Away to the car and get it super clean.



Dash Away is available at auto parts stores such as Pep Boys, NAPA, Advance Auto, and O'Reilly Auto Parts. Find a list of locations where you can buy Dash Away on the Surf City Garage website. A 24 oz. spray bottle costs $9.99.

Honesty Clause: I received a bottle of Dash Away and that now-filthy yellow cloth for review purposes.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Tassimo Home Brewing System by Bosch (and a Giveaway!)

We have a winner: Tracy from The Faerie Castle! Congratulations, Tracey!

I don't drink coffee.

Yet I was really excited to get to try out the Tassimo Home Brewing System by Bosch, whose primary purpose, let's be honest, is to make coffee. My reasons for such excitement are many-fold.

First, if you have an individual cup brewing system in your home and a coffee drinker comes over, you have coffee for them in, like, two minutes instead of having to brew a whole pot of coffee that will never get drunk.

Furthermore, I do have a husband who drinks coffee. He has very much enjoyed the convenience of being able to make a single cup of coffee.

Here's how it works: You turn on the machine, put one of Tassimo's T Discs into the coffee maker, make sure the water tank on the back has water in it, and push the brew button. Shortly thereafter, you have a cup of coffee. There is even a way to adjust the strength of the coffee at the end by adding more water. It looks intimidating at first, and my husband spent three days asking me to teach him how to use it, but after a four-minute tutorial, he was making coffee like he'd been a barista all his life.

At first I thought that the Tassimo didn't make big enough cups of coffee because it only filled our giant mugs half way, but Alex assures me that it is enough coffee.

Just look at the happy goofball.

You may remember up at the top when I said that I don't drink coffee. Happily, the Tassimo makes other hot drinks as well. You can also make tea and hot chocolate. There is a wide variety of coffee available, including specialty coffees, such as espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos.

Hot chocolate for my little guys.
Everyone demands a different marshmallow situation.

Another happy goofball.

All of this brings me to the T Discs. This is my sticking point. I wonder about the extra packaging required for single-serve coffee. I also wonder about the expense of having to buy T Discs for every cup of coffee. You do have to use the T Discs because the machine reads the bar code on the disc every time you make a drink.

Here's what I've come up with: If you compare the Tassimo to a regular at-home 10-cup coffee maker or a French press, it is more expensive and more environmentally wasteful to use the Tassimo. However, if you get your coffee at Starbucks every day, by using the Tassimo you will save a disposable cup and your coffee will be cheaper.

For instance, on the Tassimo website, you can buy 12 Starbucks discs for less than $11. You can also buy the discs on Amazon, at Target, and other retailers. You can also set up a subscription service to make sure you never run out of coffee. There are several models of the Tassimo available, ranging in price from $129.99 to $199.99.

The bottom line for me is that my family has really enjoyed having the Tassimo. My husband likes being able to go from wanting coffee to drinking coffee in less than five minutes, I've had house guests who appreciate that I can offer them coffee even though I don't drink it myself. My kids like the hot chocolate, and I'm sure I will use it to make tea for myself some day. It doesn't take up much counter space and it is extremely functional.

The kind people at Bosch are offering one of my readers their very own Tassimo Home Brewing System! To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post by midnight Eastern time on August 30. Maybe tell me what kind of beverage you would make with the Tassimo. Be sure to leave your email address or I won't be able to get in touch with you if you win. Only one entry per person and I will choose the winner from a random drawing. Good luck!!

Honesty Clause: I received a Tassimo machine at no charge along with three samples of T Discs to try out the product.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Colony

Stimey is watching The Colony on the Discovery Channel. It's a reality show about a few people trying to survive after a global disaster. It's a great premise; I just wish most of the people who want to be on reality TV weren't quite so...ridiculous. I've only watched one episode thus far. I'll be sticking around to see if the colonists become more substantial.

Updated to add: Okay. I think we knew this would happen, but I've watched another one and a half episodes and I'm hooked.