My friend J grew up in the South - the region of the United States where the women folk take their hair and makeup quite seriously. She also has eyelashes like a giraffe. Way back in the 90s, knowing that J would have the Correct Answer, I asked her for advice on mascara. Her immediate answer was Max Factor's 2000 Calorie. And that is what I have been buying ever since. End of story, no? No. Target, my usual purveyor of makeup does not carry Max Factor, which means I have to scurry over to the Scary Wal-Mart when I run out. I hate Scary Wal-Mart and often cannot justify navigating its Scary Aisles just for a single tube of mascara. I am then reduced to taking a gamble and trying a new mascara, which invariably turns out to be a clumpy clunker.
I am very, very picky about mascara because my eyelashes are a tangled mess without an eyelash curler and a good mascara.
Anyway. After reading all the rave reviews about the new 2000 Calorie Lash Plumper Upper Thingie (and entering every! single! giveaway even though I rarely enter giveaways but hey, what the hell is this?? Two kids napping? A free Friday afternoon?), I picked up a tube at the Scary Wal-Mart this past weekend. Truthfully? I did not notice any new lash plumping capabilities. Perhaps, while waiting on the production line, my own tube reconsidered and said "No thanks. I'm good, yo." and then skipped its turn for a squirt of the Extra Magical Lash Plumping Potion??
Still. 2000 Calorie is the same damned good product I have been using for years and I was actually relieved that Max Factor had, after all, decided not to mess around with one of my favorite makeup products. I do despise the new packaging, though. The tube is HUGE and FAT and CURVED all wonky-like which means that it does not store well now in my cup of brushes, etc. Sure, it stands on its end. Quietly waiting for me to knock it over.
Do you see what I just did there? I wrote a review (sorta.) For a product for which I paid (cash!)
You may have noticed, but I do talk a bit about products and other consumables around here. Why? I like to read reviews myself - if someone has purchased something and has had a good or bad experience with it, I do not mind hearing about it. Also, for some products, it is hard to get an opinion, which is why I wrote a smallish bit about the Kids Fly Safe seatbelt system for flying. Dude - those things were expensive at $75 a pop. But they were worth it and I felt that should be noted.
Maybe my 3 loyal readers do not want me writing about the stuff I buy. Eh. Whatever. If it fits into my personal content or the story overall, I will mention it - which is why I mentioned the mascara, as an example. Otherwise, I probably would not have written about the mascara because makeup and girly things are not my usual topics around here and it would not have fit. But truthfully? I do not mind reading others' consumer experiences as well. After all, chances are that if I read your blog, I trust your opinion.
But, I do want to be upfront and as such, have recently added a bit about this on my Multiple Personalities section:
There has been some talk surrounding this while I was out of town (which is why I am addressing all of this so late in the game. I am a sleepy sheep.) In this vein, Lindsey Ferrar of Suburban Turmoil has some great points regarding this (Part 1 and Part 2.)
In Part 1, she writes:
And my feelings as a reader of blogs are what made me decide as a blogger to start a separate review blog (and for that matter, what kept me from putting ads in between posts, as opposed to keeping them in my sidebar). I tried doing a few book reviews on this blog and they just didn't feel right, sandwiched between posts about my struggles with breastfeeding and pictures of my children.
In Part 2, she writes:
What you decide to do with your blog does affect whether or not I want to read it.
And that's what my post was about. No hidden meanings. No innuendo. Just. That.
Lindsey has some great points. I can think of 3 bloggers off the top of my head that I simply had to quit reading because I could not sift through all the reviews and sponsored posts any longer. But I bear no ill will. I could really care less. Oh sure, I really do miss one of the bloggers in question. I still periodically check her site to see if she has pared down on all the giveaways, reviews and sponsored posts. When/if she ever does, I may add her back to my feed reader because I really enjoyed reading her perspectives on family life, entertainment and current news. I just did not have the time to sift through the rest of it. That was all. No hard feelings.
But really? Overall? I could care less if folks do ads, reviews, sponsored posts, exorcisms on their blogs. I can always stop reading. Me personally? I like having a separate review site - it is a clear line of distinction for myself. If I do decide to discontinue ads, I would still keep a review site, for whenever the God of Freebies determines I am worthy (Sidenote: I never get offers. The chances of this are slim to none.)
To recap, when I mention products on Rancid Raves, I have forked over my own piece of plastic for it. If I have received something free for review, I will write about it on my review site, Queen of the Free Bees. Considering there are a total of 3 reviews over there, it is obvious how how far down on the Totem Pole of Freebies I hang.
Oh, and don't forget to pick up a tube of Max Factor's 2000 Calorie mascara. You will not regret it.