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Purchased at: Meijer
Price: $1.69

I’m not a big coffee drinker, but every so often, it really hits the spot. Usually, I go to Starbucks and spend an arm and a leg (or…you know…$3.50) on a caramel macchiato, because they’re delicious. Caramel, coffee, milk, and vanilla syrup. What’s not to love? Besides the price, of course.

Then I saw this at Meijer and it was like the heavens opened up. I heard organs and harps. I saw angels. Or something. 20+ caramel macchiatos, all from the comfort of my own house (+ pajamas), for $1.69? I was sold. And today, I decided to give it a shot, because I was up all night cramming for a final and speed-writing a final paper.

First off, I made the coffee a little too strong. I rarely make it at home, so this isn’t my forte. Because of this, I had to add a little more creamer than I would usually use. It smells really awesome when you mix it with the coffee – it’s that bitter coffee smell mixed with a sugary sweet caramel. If it tastes half as good as it smells, I’m all for it.

Guess what? It does! I used about a tablespoon and a half of the creamer for one regular-sized mug of coffee. It cuts the bitterness of the coffee and adds a nice silky touch. The caramel isn’t overpowering at all, and I’m not sure if there’s any vanilla here or not. Of course, it’s not the same as a caramel macchiato from Starbucks, but it’s a lot cheaper and a lot better for you (because no matter what anyone tries to tell me, I do NOT think Starbucks tastes good when made with skim milk. Go big or go home.). And it enables my laziness, because I don’t have to change out of my pajamas or go out in public to get it every morning.

It’s a good substitute and I’d buy it again.

4/5

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Purchased at: CVS
Price: $1.00 (on sale)

This Vitamin Water is a black cherry and lime flavor. Not only are those two of my favorite fruits (and fruit flavors), but Dan Ellis once Tweeted about how much he liked it. Yeah, all it took to get me to buy this was an unpaid endorsement posted on Twitter by a hockey player whose team I don’t follow. I’m easy.

This stuff smells really great when you open the bottle – light and fruity, with a definite cherry aroma. I’m not really picking up any lime, though. I wasn’t expecting the cherry to smell so strong, but it’s okay.

The cherry smell is so noticeable because this is probably about 99% cherry flavored and only 1% lime, if that. I didn’t smell any lime, and I certainly didn’t taste any, either. Like all other Vitamin Water flavors, this also tastes pretty watered down – imagine what a watered down bottle of Nyquil would taste like, and this is what you’d get.

1.5/5

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Purchased at: Walgreen’s
Price: $1.49 (+$.10 deposit)

I love summer for a few different reasons, but one of my favorite things about the season is the fact that every single soft drink company seems to roll out a new line of flavors. Most of them are variations of existing flavors, but that’s okay. I fall for the gimmick every time. When I heard that Pepsi was unveiling a new flavor, I was excited. But then I saw what it was and…to be completely honest, I thought this already existed.

How does it taste? I like it. It’s sweet and doesn’t have the aftertaste that most diet sodas have. The cherry flavor is what I noticed first, but the vanilla comes through as well. It reminds me of the Diet Pepsi Jazz that was out a few years ago (they had three flavors – caramel, berries and cream, and strawberries and cream) – specifically, the berries and cream flavor. It’s good. I loved the Jazz sodas and was pretty disappointed when I couldn’t find them anymore. I’m a diet soda addict, so this is perfect.

One of my biggest (and only) complaints about this Diet Pepsi is the fact that it wasn’t very carbonated and seemed to go flat really quickly. However, I had this in my car on a hot day (90+ degrees F) without air conditioning on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was part of the reason the carbonation kind of fizzled out.

4/5

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Purchased at: Walgreen’s
Price: $1.49 (+ $.10 deposit)
According to the bottle… DEW with a punch of tropical flavors

I’m not a big Mountain Dew fan. I don’t hate it, but if I want a soda, nine times out of ten I’m going to choose Coke (or Pepsi. I don’t have a preference). However, I do fall prey to gimmicks/new flavors/etc., so I had to pick up a bottle of this. As you all know by now, Mountain Dew is running their DEWMocracy campaign again. The Typhoon flavor sounded like the most appealing of the three flavors (the other two are lime and citrus, neither of which really do anything for me. Isn’t Mountain Dew already citrusy?). Plus, the bright pink color reminded me of one of my favorite crayons as a child – Crayola’s “shocking pink.”

One of the reasons I’m not a huge Mountain Dew fan is the carbonation. It’s not bubbly enough for me. This is the case with the new Typhoon flavor as well.
I like the flavor of this soda, though. The first flavor I really get is pineapple, which just so happens to be my favorite fruit, so I’m really digging it. I can’t really tell what other flavors are in this soda – orange, maybe? Cherry? I’m not really sure. It’s definitely fruity tasting, but the pineapple is the most dominant. It’s good. It’s refreshing. It fed my caffeine addiction. It it great? No.

It’s a good summery soda, but I can’t imagine drinking it often. But that’s how I feel about all Mountain Dew products.

3/5

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Purchased at: Cost Plus/World Market
Price: $1.99 (yields two servings)
According to the package… Dark chocolate and caramel with subtle notes of sea salt to bring all flavors together

This isn’t your typical hot chocolate. It puts Swiss Miss to shame.

I love dark chocolate and salted caramel, so when I saw this at the store, I grabbed it without hesitation. I’m not a big hot chocolate fan, but this seemed like a winner. And it is.

This is adult hot chocolate (not THAT kind of adult, you sickos), for sure. It’s made with a dark, rich cocoa powder and isn’t overly sweet. You can smell the chocolate from across the room and it smells awesome. The caramel and sea salt aren’t as in your face as the dark chocolate, but they’re both definitely there. The package advertises them as being “subtle” and they definitely are. But this stuff is good. It’s rich. It’s creamy (and I made it with water. I can only imagine what it would be like if I used milk). It tastes like something that you would get at a fancy coffeehouse or restaurant, but it’s from a little store I found in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately, I only bought one packet. And I want more.

I could totally see serving this as a dessert. It’s that rich and decadent.

5/5

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Purchased at: McDonald’s
Price: $2.00
According to the package… there was no description available anywhere in-store, and the McDonald’s website doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of this milkshake.

I know, I know, I’ve been slacking here lately. I apologize. In my defense, I was out of town for the past few days. That’s part of the reason I bring you this latest review, actually. Mid-roadtrip, I ran into a McDonald’s and saw the sign out front advertising their newest milkshake flavor – chocolate banana.
Of course I stopped in to try one.

I think it’s important to note that I only go to McDonald’s for one of two reasons: late-night McFlurry cravings or hangover breakfasts. I haven’t actually been inside of one in two or three years, so I totally forgot about their plan to make the stores more “upscale” and sell coffeehouse-style beverages. I was expecting to get this milkshake in one of their little white, paper cups coated in wax. Nope. It’s huge! And in a plastic cup, topped with whipped cream and a cherry. And it was only two bucks. I thought it was a pretty good deal, considering milkshakes this size usually cost twice the price at ice cream shops.

It looks like a plain chocolate milkshake, so I was a little worried that I wouldn’t taste the banana at first. That’s not a problem here. Strangely, it LOOKS like chocolate, but I didn’t taste any. The fake banana flavor is overwhelming. And this is coming from someone who loves fake banana flavored things (Runts, Laffy Taffy, etc.) more than real bananas. This milkshake tastes exactly like a cold, liquid piece of banana Laffy Taffy. I was very disappointed and only drank about half of it before deciding to let it melt in my cupholder for three hours. Of course, the fake banana smell also permeated the air and hung around in my car for a few hours, until I finally stopped and threw it out.

I let everyone else I was with try it and nobody wanted more than a sip or two. We were all very disappointed, because chocolate and bananas go so well together, but this didn’t deliver.

1/5

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Purchased at: Kroger
Price: $2.99 (15.2 fl. oz. bottle)
According to the bottle… 100% natural, flavored blend of 8 not from concentrate and from concentrate juices.

I’ve always looked at these juices at the store, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to purchase them because they’re SO pricey. $2.99 for a small bottle? Surely they can’t be that good, right? Well, today I had $2.70 in bottle returns (oh, one of the many joys of living in Michigan!), so I finally decided to splurge and try one out. So technically, I only paid $.29 for this juice. I can live with that.
The Berry Boost flavor sounded most appealing to me, because I love fresh berries and bananas, both of which are in this juice drink. Apple juice and apple puree are both in here, as well. (Isn’t apple juice in EVERY juice blend ever, though?) I cracked this bottle open right after I got home from the grocery store, because I couldn’t wait any longer.

How does it taste? Well, first off, it’s thick. I don’t know why I wasn’t expecting this, since it has fruit puree in it AND it’s called a smoothie right on the label. The flavor is good, but I’m definitely picking up on the apple more than any berries, which is kind of disappointing. I’m not a big apple juice fan. It tastes fresh, though, and I do like the consistency. The flavor really, really reminds me of Gerber’s apple blueberry baby food, though (I lived off the stuff after I got my wisdom teeth taken out), and it’s only a little bit thinner than that. For $2.99, you could probably pick up about 3 or 4 jars of the baby food, but then…you’d had to purchase baby food for yourself. And that’s something nobody ever wants to do.

Overall, I do think this is really excellent juice. And it’s definitely healthy, too (500% of your RDA of Vitamin C! Fiber! Potassium! Iron!), but I still think the price is really steep and probably won’t buy it again unless it’s on sale.

3.5/5