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Duck Dynasty Beard Booth

We’re tremendous Duck Dynasty fans in this house. When I saw that there was a free Duck Dynasty Beard Booth app recently released, I squealed like a little yuppie girl at a Justin The Beaver concert. I couldn’t install it on my phone fast enough (available on Android and iOS) and start playing around.

You can choose from four Robertson beards. Phil, Si, Jase, and of course, Willie. The application is very simple to use. Snap your picture, zoom in as to suit your tastes, then pick a beard. The beards can be manipulated to fit your face. I was kind of sad that I couldn’t get Phil’s (my favorite!) to match up on my mug very well, but it was fun trying. You may also choose a caption from a list of the show’s more common catch phrases, but that is entirely optional.

Obviously the Duck Dynasty Beard Booth app isn’t going to increase your productivity in any way, in fact it will probably do the opposite. It certainly is fun for what it is though! Made me ‘Happy, happy, happy!’ at least for a few minutes. Considering the price (free), I’m giving it a ‘Yea!’ If you try it out, share your photos in the comment section!

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

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M&M’s White Chocolate Candy Corn

Sorry for the delay, we’ve been facing some logistical issues in getting new products to review. Hopefully that is all behind us now! Today, we’re introducing M&M’s White Chocolate Candy Corn. In a previous review, I suggested that a white chocolate M&M would probably be pretty tasty, and as it turns out, great minds think alike. Better yet, in a crowd of Halloween themed items, White Chocolate Candy Corn M&M’s are unique and original, not just the same old product dyed orange, black, and shaped like a pumpkin.

Original? Yes. Good? I enjoyed them a great deal. Aside from the color of the candy pieces, the traditional white, yellow, and orange, I really don’t taste anything that resembles the flavor of candy corn. But whatever. The white chocolate inside those sweet crunchy candy shells is deliciously rich and creamy. I suppose that the dominant flavors present in real candy corns are butter and sugar, and those are also the main ingredients of white chocolate, but we’re just splitting hairs there.

Did I immediately think of candy corn when I bit in to the first handful? No. Do I love them regardless? Yea! Grab a bag while you can, I doubt these will be around long considering their seasonal nature. With any luck though, they’ll emerge later under a different name and color scheme. Yum!

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Other M&M Reviews

Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce

I never thought that I would find another hot sauce that would be worthy of sharing shelf space with Frank’s, but I found one sitting atop the salsa bar at my favorite Mexican joint. I’ve been eating at this place for years, and never bothered to try it. Major, major fail on my part; Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce may be the best tasting condiment I’ve ever sampled.

Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce is not uncomfortably hot. No sweating, tears, or disgusting runny noses. That isn’t to say it is weak, there is no doubt that it will warm your palette. Unlike many other hot sauces, Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce isn’t hot just for the sake of being hot. It is easy to pick up the more subtle, sweeter notes present in the peppers Valentina is made from. This isn’t a typical vinegar-heavy sauce like the innumerable Louisiana-style sauces crowding the super-market shelves; Valentina Mexican Hot Sauce has a ton of character. Use it on any foods you would typically use hot sauce or barbecue sauce.

Finding Valentina may prove challenging, but you are all a creative bunch, I’m sure you can locate a bottle. Or a case. I highly doubt that you’ll be disappointed in your purchase. Big spicy ‘Yea!’

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Ribbet – The Perfect Picnik Replacement

When Google purchased Picnik, shoe horned it into Google+, then closed the site down, I was crushed. I fancied myself as an amateur photographer and used Picnik to do post/editing. I used it to great success as well; winning several hundred dollars, and having one of my images featured on a MasterCard. I’ve looked for replacements since, and I’ve found usable alternatives, but nothing that was in Picnik’s league.

Last night I found Ribbet. It is Picnik in every way, name not withstanding. According to their official blog “We have no affiliation with Picnik or Google and were not the developers on the original site. We are a completely independent software company who built on the Picnik platform which was released by Google under an open source license.” That is more than good enough for me, and I’m thrilled that development will continue on this simple to use, but incredibly powerful photo editing software.

Ribbet is going to get me back in to taking photos again. Without a degree in digital design, a $1,000 camera, and the hundreds of dollars it takes to buy Photoshop and it’s upgrades, I was priced out of the hobby. Ribbet runs in a web browser for FREE, and can take a decent camera phone picture and turn it into something beautiful. That earns Ribbet an enthusiastic ‘Yea!’

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Samsung Chromebook

My old trustworthy HP G62 has been running a bit warm lately, so I began looking for its replacement. Being on a very limited budget for the forseeable future, as I’m sure many of you are, I was looking for a deal. I found one. As part of an eBay Deal of the Day promotion, I saw the Samsung Chromebook for around $160 (refurbished from Best Buy’s eBay store). I’ve kept an eye on the capabilities of these machines for quite a while, and it seemed to fit my needs, so I took a chance and hit the Buy It Now button.

First impression was that this was a solid little machine. The screen is matte so while it isn’t ‘light up the room bright,’ the lack of glare makes up for it. I have used it for hours on end with little to no eye-strain. I thought that reading on the 11 inch screen might have been an issue, but it isn’t. Even if it were, font size can easily be adjusted.

The Samsung Chromebook island style keyboard is a dream to type on, and the multi-touch capable touch pad mouse has given me no trouble whatsoever. It comes with a small but lightning fast 16gb solid state hard drive, a power sipping ARM processor, and 2gb of RAM. You can take advantage of the USB ports (2.0 and 3.0) to expand your storage, or simply insert a high-capacity memory card.

The Chrome OS is very simple to dive in to, and since I used Google’s Chrome browser on my windows machine, all of my bookmarks were already there waiting for me the first time I signed on. That was very cool and unexpected. Setup was so simple a monkey could do it.

So what’s the catch? Well, for the time being you must have a constant internet connection to be very productive. The Samsung Chromebook runs on web apps, and the number of apps that will run offline is very limited. The good news is that the number of offline apps seem to be growing at a pretty good rate. That, and in today’s world we’re rarely out of wifi range, so the immense number of quality web apps will leave you wanting for nothing from your Windows or Mac machine.

If you’re in the market for a maintenance free, light weight, fast, attractive, affordable and easy to use notebook, I would definitely recommend taking a look at the Samsung Chromebook. If you buy it new, it’s $249, and worth every penny. If you run across a deal like I did, you would be crazy not to pick one up. Easy ‘Yea!’

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Raspberry M&M’s

Did a little research, and apparently these Raspberry M&M’s have been out for quite a while, but I just started seeing them pop up in my neck of the woods. So, they may not be new to you, but they are to me, so I’m going to review them anyway.

The idea of fruit flavored M&M’s was a bit strange to me, but none the less intriguing. I’ve had some high-end chocolates that were flavored, and pretty tasty, but I wasn’t sure something in a hot pink package zipper bag would be able to compare.

Most thankfully, my doubts were erased. The raspberry flavoring was subtle, so it was not much of a departure from your standard M&M. Just a really big M&M; the Raspberry M&M variety are roughly twice the size of a regular ‘M.’

My first impression was not that I was eating a raspberry flavored product. My initial thought was ‘chocolate covered cherries.’ Just not as intense. I’ll probably be all alone in thinking that, but I enjoy my own company.

For a 1.5 ounce package, you get hit with a 210 calorie penalty. It’s worth it to give them a try. Prices will vary by location; anywhere from $0.50 to $1.00. I give them a ‘Meh.’ They’re not bad, but I’ll probably never buy them again.

Official Site

–Jeremy Hobbs

Four Loko Margarita

Four Loko’s have been a large contributing factor in the making of some horrible mistakes since the product starting lining refrigerators in convenience stores around the country a few years ago. I myself have fallen victim to this syrupy menace on more than one occasion. The entire line is comprised of super potent malt alcohol, with a heaping amount of sugar, and what I’m sure isn’t an oncologist approved mix of artificial flavors and colors. Long gone are the energy enhancing ingredients that made Four Loko even more infamous than it is currently. Our nanny-state government made them do it.

I saw the Four Loko Margarita, and in name of thoroughnosity (yeah, I made that word up) I decided to review it for the margarita series. Surprisingly, after the first two or three agonizingly sober sips, this didn’t taste dramatically different than Bud’s Lime-A-Rita. Whether that is a complement to Four Loko Margarita, or an insult to Lime-A-Rita…. well, that’s a tough call.

The throbbing headache experienced the next morning is confirmation a plenty that one should not be drinking these things. But, if kept absolutely ice-cold, Four Loko Margarita is only half bad. Given that I was able to finish the can versus killing stubborn weeds with it as I had planned, I’m giving Four Loko Margarita an honorary ‘Meh’ for their efforts.

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Jeremy’s Margarita Series

Coke Life

Not a review, but a rather exciting preview this evening. Coca-Cola is doing a market test of a new extension of their line of colas dubbed Coke ‘Life’ in Argentina. Coke Life is going to be a mid-calorie beverage (much like Pepsi Next), but it’s signature feature is that it will be sweetened with a combination of sugar (or corn syrup in the USA), and stevia.

Stevia has been referred to as ‘unusable’ in colas by the folks at Pepsi, so I’m absolutely dying to know what Coke’s chemists have come up with. It appears that Coke Life will be marketed as an ‘all natural’ product, and will be very desirable to women, yuppies, and hipsters all the same while retaining the known and loved Coca-Cola flavor.

As an added bonus for the latter two categories of consumers, the bottle will be one hundred percent recyclable, and at least thirty percent biodegradable. This is accomplished by some convoluted process of turning veggies in to plastic; a process I’m not nearly smart enough to try to explain. But hey, if it saves a whale or two, more power to them.

I’ll have a real review out to you as soon as possible. I’m a bit worried as I’ve read stevia can cause ‘anal leakage,’ but I’ve always been willing to throw myself under the proverbial bus for my faithful readers. Coke Life will be no different. Stay tuned!!!

-Jeremy Hobbs

Zone Perfect Double Dark Chocolate

Sometimes you need a quick, easy meal to take on the road. By quick, I mean I-woke-up-so-late-I-don’t-have-time-to-brush-my-teeth-before-work kind of quick. Protein shakes and bars can take on that role extraordinarily well, often offering a substantial amount of fiber, protein, and assorted nutrients in a grab and go container.

Zone Perfect Double Dark Chocolate did this job for me on a recent outing. Typically I’m more of a shake guy, but the fiancé grabbed me one of these instead. At first bite, I was fairly impressed. The taste was definitely chocolatey, leaning more towards dark chocolate than milk chocolate, as the product name would suggest. The texture is like a very dense Rice Crispy treat.

I easily powered through three or four bites, then Zone Perfect Double Dark Chocolate bar hit my stomach. Like a brick. Or cinder block. Or one of the blocks Moses’ people used to build the pyramids. This can be taken in a positive or negative light; I felt full, but I also felt uncomfortably stuffed.

The more I tried to eat, the larger each bite felt in my mouth. By the halfway point what had started as a tasty treat started feeling like wet concrete in my mouth. Shakes have these traits as well, but they’re chuggable. There is no quick way to get one of these bars down. Because it at least started out as a tasty food stuff, I’m going to give Zone Perfect Double Dark Chocolate bar a ‘Meh.’ Should you try it, I hope you have better luck swallowing than I did.

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs

Monk Fruit In The Raw

I drink a lot of sweet iced tea. Started substituting it in the place of soda, mainly for budget reasons. Did the math one day and realized we were spending in the neighborhood of one hundred dollars a month on sparkling beverages, and that is just silly.  At the same time I didn’t want to start downing a ton of sugar, so I started trying shopping around for artificial sweeteners.

Monk Fruit In The Raw looked new and different, and I’ll try anything once. Monk Fruit is also known as ‘luo han guo’ according to the official site linked below. To cut straight to the point, I’m not a huge fan. It sweetens just enough to cut out the bitterness of the home brewed unsweetened tea, but did absolutely nothing beyond that to make my budget beverage any more enjoyable than the dollar store brand ‘pink stuff.’ I’ll keep my Sweet & Low, thanks.

I suppose Monk Fruit In The Raw might be suitable for those of you who are sensitive to the chemicals in the sweeteners that actually work. Also, hipsters will love offering their uninterested friends a ‘fair-trade coffee with soy cream and all natural lou han guo sweetener.’ Me? I fit neither of those groups, and I’m giving Monk Fruit In The Raw a ‘Meh…’

Official Site

-Jeremy Hobbs