DEAR TOSTITOS: THANKS FOR THE HINT

Chips are such a solid snack option. What other food is as versatile as a chip? They go with salsa. They go with queso. They go with guac. They go with meat and beans and vegetables. They go with the pool. They go with cookouts. They go with car rides. They go with lunch. They go with dinner. They can be found at home. They can be found at friends’ houses. They can be found at restaurants. They can be found in vending machines. Whenever, wherever, with whatever chips will never let you down. 

In and of themselves, chips have a fascinating variety. Textures, flavors, health content, you name it there is something for everyone. I have to admit that some of the flavors are definitely there solely for the bold, but if you’re feeling like putting your taste buds (and possibly your gag reflex) up to the test, nothing wrong with trying it out. Then there’s the option for those counting every calorie. Poppable options. Stackable options. Dippable options. Low carb options. Low fat options. Nothing but air and cardboard taste option. Whatever floats your boat.

While there are whole grocery store aisles dedicated to the wonderfulness that is the chip, my preference is the tortilla variety. Partially because it reminds me of the word turtle, which makes me think of those adorable animals. Turtles also have an interesting variety. From super tiny to the size of boulders. From young to literally dinosaurs. And also from shy to carnivore. They’re such a funny species. Can we take a moment, as well, to appreciate their shells. Mainly how they can curl up into their shells. The OG work from home life.

Where was I? Tortilla chips! Crunchy. Salty. Flavorful. Tasty. A perfect base for nachos. An awesome dipping accessory. Fantastic to eat as is. How could you possibly go wrong?! Especially with Tostitos upping their game as of late. I’m not sure who, I’m not 100% sure when, I for sure don’t know where, or why, or how. But I do know what happened. We got graced with tortilla chips flavored with just a hint of something else.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of hints. My guessing skills are subpar at best and I usually don’t like to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out something that you could just tell me in 30 seconds. Why send me down multiple rabbit holes to answer a riddle that will do nothing for me in life. So I know what’s black, white, and red all over. You don’t see me getting promoted for that. Or on scavenger hunts … do I remember where I lost my first tooth or where the city founder loved to go eat lunch? Not even in the slightest. What an unhelpful hint. I guess we’ll be stuck here on the first clue until time travel gets invented.

Despite my experience with hints that involve a mental action on my end, Tostitos has finally given me a hint that I can get behind. Some of the strange chip flavors dive right off the deep end and give you an all or nothing experiment taste wise. Our salsa sharing friends, though, decided that people should be able to get a more mild experience. A hint of lime. A hint of spicy queso. A hint of guacamole. My goodness where have these been my whole life? You get the flavor hint and put on the best tortilla chip on the grocery market. Quality on quality. Win win.

The best part of the hinted chips is that you can up your flavor profile on them. It’s a customizable experience. Unlike a barbecue chip which is a standalone item, you can mix and match your chips and dips for the ultimate feelings snack. Dip the hint of spicy queso in actual queso. Or switch it up and get the queso and salsa combo we’ve been creating since Luncahbles were invented. Put that hint of lime in some guacamole. Or some barbecue sauce to switch things up. Obviously a hint of guac gets upped big time in the mean green dipping machine, but mix some cheese or tomato based options in for a different game. 

And why stop there? Throw some more spices on there! It’s a hint so that you can customize to your liking. So what are you waiting for? Tostitos gave you the power to create. In a manner that involves no more effort than opening a bag and a can. Then kicking it however you want to enjoy in whatever fashion you choose.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT DO COUSCOUS, GLITTER, AND ARTIFICIAL TURF HAVE IN COMMON?

You know what’s super fun? When you live through a moment and then that moment just simply resides somewhere in your memory for the rest of time. Or until you lose your mind, whichever comes first. You experience it and then all traces of it leave your immediate surroundings for the rest of time. It’s the circle of life. The Lion King demonstrated this perfectly with Mufasa’s death. He lived on in spirit, but he wasn’t really there. And so should most things in life be. 

Certain things are good to have around after the fact. If you’re missing your significant other, for example, and they happened to have left some things at your place. If you eat the most amazing piece of cake and then the person who brought it leaves the leftovers for you. If you watch the best sports game ever and the after show just shows replay on replay of all the great plays. You get it? Occasionally it’s great to have some remnants leftover. Occasionally being the key word.

Regular things are ok to just dip out when their time in the spotlight has come to an end. Things such as food prep, outdoor materials, and craft supplies. And toilet paper … why does it always end up on the floor? Who is throwing it on the floor? Is it putting itself there? And why is it always in a shredded piece on the floor? Never like a full square. Just a wolverine on a rampage type shred. Also, why is it all of a sudden incredibly sticky when it’s on the floor? It will stick to anything, namely the rubber sole of your shoe. 

While we’re on this subject, why is the floor of every public restroom just constantly wet? My bathroom at home enjoys a dry floor 99.99% of the time. The only time it does not, is when I exit the shower. Is there a reason this doesn’t transfer to public places? Last time I checked, most public restrooms do not have public showers as well. And yet, puddles. All the time. It never dries. It’s stagnant. It is standing water and thinking about it gives me the chills. This is a crisis and I would like to know who is doing this to the restrooms of the world. It is not acceptable. It never was.

Wow, I could write an entire rant on that. I have so many more questions. But alas, that is not the journey we were destined for today. No, today we examine the crisis of cheap, tiny, circular objects found near humans all around the world. Don’t be fooled by how easy they are to acquire. It’s like a computer virus – shockingly simple to click on, but it will eff you up for a while. Days, weeks, months. It’s an all out commitment to seek out and exterminate it.

Enter the seemingly innocent physical viruses known as couscous, glitter, and artificial turf. If you’ve ever had the pleasure, nay the horror, of dealing with any of these things, you know what I’m talking about. If you have never dealt with them, well, have you never met a girl somewhere between the ages of 2-99 in your life? Because I blame the Disney princesses for the glitter issue. And the social stigma that girl and glitter must be soulmates since you can’t spell glitter without girl.

How does it not wash off? How can I clean it off all spaces, including myself, and still wake up and find it places? It’s made 50% of glue I have to believe. You barely touch it and all of a sudden it’s a part of you forever. It will show up in rooms that you never went into during your foray into the sparkly rainbow world. How? Magic? No. Demonic craft supply companies. Play with glitter, they say. It will make your life sparkly, they say. Yes, but then it won’t leave.

While glitter is probably the more well known craft curse, it is not lost on me that in recent years outdoor athletes have had to deal with an equally traumatizing experience known as artificial turf. It gets in your shoes. It gets in your bag. It somehow always ends up in your pants. It hides so nicely in a carpet. It will live under your insole for years. It’s everywhere. It is a disease. You can vacuum. You can sweep. You can shower. But it will never leave you.

And then, we have the edible portion of the post: couscous. If you’ve been keeping up to this point, you know the storyline here. It just appears. In the sink. On countertops. In the cabinets. Why? How? Make it stop. The kitchen has been scrubbed. It’s been deep cleaned. It has not seen a box of couscous in months and still … still! They pop up from time to time like the gremlins that they are. 

I don’t know who, or whom, is responsible for any of these creatures. I don’t believe they are inanimate objects. They must have some sort of advanced technology embedded deep into their tiny, miniscule little earthly bodies just to torture us. They were Siri, and Google, and Alexa before it was cool to spy on people. I bet they’ve been listening to us for years. But without a helpful counterpart which is the targeted ad.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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RANKING POPULAR HARD SELTZER BRANDS

Hard seltzers are a whole mood. Nothing says I’m here to have a good time for a long time like a hard seltzer. I mean it’s basically water after all. Just with some “natural” flavors and some sort of non-water added. Presumably alcohol, although who’s preventing someone from coming out with a hard LaCroix and scamming people. The Internet. That’s who. All the trolls and people looking to make a quick buck. Which in this case works out very well for all of us looking to get our buzz on.

Unlike beer, wine, or mixed drinks, you can drink hard seltzers all day. There’s a reason White Claw is the new unofficial Corona of the beach. Have one, have four, have a case – you can still go to dinner afterwards and feel great! In other words, it’s like drinking hard liquor without having to actually drink hard liquor. Because why do we do that to ourselves? It ends the same way every time and we never learn. Peer pressure is a true threat to the health of my liver, but still I can’t say no.

For everyone who thinks hard seltzers are for the weak, come talk to me after trying to keep up with your 7.5% IPA. Bubbles and carbs are not a good combination for efficiency in a timely manner. But this post is not about volume. It’s about quality and, like most things in life, not all hard seltzers are created equally. They are all created equally on the outside, however. I have yet to find a hard seltzer in a bottle. I have been given the option of a hard seltzer on tap, though, and I have to be real – that’s too far. A hard seltzer should come in a can, so I can take it anywhere, and be refreshing to the point where I’m not really sure if I’m drinking juice, regular seltzer, or something for adults only.

Alright, enough pregaming, let’s get to it! There are many, many, many … many options on the market right now, but some are better than others. Some are also better than most. 3, 2, 1 cheers! Here are the rankings of current hard seltzer brands. According to me. The Restless Professional. You may feel differently and I guess that’s fine. You do you. I’m doing me. There are definitely others, but for the sake of space, my sanity, and my health, sticking to more popular options:

  1. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Signature Flavors
  2. Press Premium Hard Seltzer
  3. Crook & Marker Spiked Seltzer
  4. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Classic Collection
  5. Truly Punch Hard Seltzer
  6. Bud Light Seltzer Retro Pack
  7. Bud Light Seltzer Remix Pack
  8. Bud Light Seltzer Holiday Pack
  9. Smirnoff Seltzer Rose Pack
  10. Natty Light Hard Seltzer
  11. Vizzy Hard Seltzer
  12. Bud Light Hard Seltzer
  13. White Claw Hard Seltzer
  14. Bud Light Lemonade Seltzer
  15. Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer
  16. Truly Hard Seltzer
  17. Jose Cuervo Tequila Seltzer
  18. Seagram’s Hard Seltzer
  19. Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer
  20. High Noon Hard Seltzer
  21. Truly Tea Hard Seltzer
  22. Truly Extra Hard Seltzer
  23. PBR Stronger Seltzer
  24. BON V!V Spiked Seltzer
  25. Wild Basin Hard Seltzer

Believe it or not, 25 only dents the currently way over-saturated seltzer market. This is my blog and I don’t feel pressure to justify, but I do think it would be fun to dive in deeper. And you can’t stop me, so here goes! Michelob and Press are clearly winners and everyone should buy them. I can, and will, drink them all day every day. Crook & Marker is a close third and very flavorful. Truly averages the bottom half of the list, but their Punch Pack is a gem. Not sure that tea is the same as water, so is it really a seltzer? Marketing says yes, but it still tastes like a Twisted Tea to me. Bud Light has found their true calling and has released several killer collections that spice up any time of year. Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo couldn’t be outdone by beer companies and make decent options as well. The rose collection is more for crisp seltzers / borderline cider fans, however.

Natty Light is the biggest surprise on this list. While I would never again subject myself to the watered down toast that is a regular Natty Light, their seltzers are surprisingly on point and their flavor combos are unique – which says a lot in the current market. Vizzy and White Claw are good, but forgettable among new competition. Seagram’s and Mike’s are known for disgustingly sweet drinks and their seltzers are no different. Still decent flavors, though, and who doesn’t love a good Mike’s Hard in the summer? Rounding it out, High Noon and BON V!V I can take a hard pass on. While their flavors sound good, the taste is nowhere near expectations. Finally, the new Truly Extra and PBR Stronger taste more like liquor than a refreshing seltzer. Though still both better than Wild Basin which tastes exactly like the name implies.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR TOILET PAPER COMPANIES: WIPE AWAY YOUR MARKETING GAMES

Marketing teams are like shopping ninjas. Out to murder your budget. Just when you think you’re going to stick to your list BAM! Sales! Bonus items! Mega rolls! Celebrity endorsements! Colorful packaging! Cute animals! Health buzzwords! Targeted ads! You name it, I can almost guarantee a marketing department has tried it. Why not, though? That is quite actually their job. To make you buy a certain product over its competitors. Or, in other words, to pay for the marketing people’s jobs. It’s a very survival of the fittest kind of career.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not immune to their stealthy skills. I would actually classify myself as a marketer’s dream purchaser. Swayed easily by packaging, deals, and special ads that clearly are a result of the Internet listening to my private life. I don’t care. Listen, I’ve ended up with some amazing products that I didn’t know I needed in my life thanks to targeted ads. In fact, I now actively start vocalizing bigger purchases weeks in advance so I can get a nice coupon. Although, if we’re being honest, it doesn’t have to be big. If I need more food I throw that out into the universe as well. Google’s fuzzy privacy laws have yet to let me down is all I’m saying.

Where was I going with this? Oh, right! Gullibility! So the other day I was in the toilet paper aisle and it dawned on me that I don’t know what a regular sized roll is. Does anyone? Every single company, let me repeat, every single company has a mega roll as their baseline product. Which, supposedly, is 4 regular rolls. And I would kindly like to call bullshit. Literally since as early back as I can remember in life, the so-called mega roll is a regularly sized roll of toilet paper. If I cut that down by 4 I would have 25% of a normal roll left. That’s it. There are no extra sheets in there. 

It’s also most curious how a lovely 2-ply 1000 sheet roll is slightly bigger than a nice, plush mega roll (the size of FOUR regular rolls in case you’ve already forgotten). What is this nonsense? And where did the four multiplier come from? And that’s just one of the options. Then there’s the jumbo roll, which, apparently, is even bigger. The size of five regular rolls one could say. At what point did mega become the standard? It for sure wasn’t recently enough where we can still use it in marketing. Surely.

Did people in the past not wipe? How many rolls came in a regular, fits under the sink, pack? 48? Was it simply a commodity? Is that why the rolls were so tiny? I cannot comprehend how we would have survived the COVID TP crisis with mere regular sized rolls. And that’s only half of the puzzle when it comes to paper of the toilet. After you’ve blown your mind and stressed yourself out deciding if mega will even be enough for your family, then you have the soft versus strong issue. Why can it not simply be both?

I’m going to say it, I don’t understand this marketing scheme. It’s a lot like the left Twix, right Twix DEBACLE. Soft toilet paper is like a luscious paper towel and is too thick. Strong toilet paper is not as nice to the places you’re wiping. I don’t want one or the other, I want both. I need one that is both soft and strong so I can enjoy the go as my favorite modern day care bears keep wishing for me. To make matters worse, they now have ultra soft and ultra strong. Like, I either want to wipe with a blanket or an axe – there’s no in between. And what do each of those new distinctions get us? Higher prices! Because it’s shiny and new and “better”.

Can I just say that I’m over it. I feel like our marketing efforts started with good intentions, then became a competition, and have gone awry. How much softer can ultra soft possibly be than soft? At the end of the day, it’s just a piece of paper that will get used to wipe your unmentionables and then flushed into the sewer system. Think about that when a T-Rex roll comes out in a scented, plush style. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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NETFLIX IS BAE, HULU IS THE MISTRESS, AND AMAZON PRIME IS THE ONE NIGHT STAND

There’s no better time than right now to go on a binge. A television binge, that is. Because what else are you doing? Working? Please. Working out? Let’s stop lying. Eating? Maybe, but eating is to bingeing as peanut butter is to jelly. The perfect complement. So there’s no good excuse not to find the remote, turn on the big black box, and be transported into a magical new world of your choosing. In other words, streaming services are the real life version of Narnia. Mythical creatures included if that’s your cup of tea. Villains a plenty if you prefer to live a stressful and dramatic adventure. And characters who make questionable decisions regardless of what selection you make.

Where were we? My mind can’t move past the image of Mr. Tumnus and his curious mashup of human and goat. Real quick, why a goat? Why not stick with the classic centaur? If I had the choice between the speed, grace, and majesty of a horse or the stubby, awkward, bleating of a goat then my choice is very clear. Not that I have anything against goats! Goat yoga is my jam and baby goats falling over are the cutest GIFs on the planet. But … I want to run. I want my leg muscles to absolutely shimmer when I move. I want my mane to flow behind me like an ancient goddess. I want to be the horse, if that was unclear.

Now that we all know where I stand on the clearly controversial horse or goat topic, we can return to the main programming. Streaming service options. Not all streaming services are the same. Mainly since not all of them have the same selection of offerings, for one. There’s also the obvious price differences, ads versus no ads, color scheme, app performance, etc. Those are boring though and any Google search will result in hundreds of comparison articles. This is not one of those articles. I’m comparing nothing. I’m very biased and am choosing one over the others. Because it is my favorite. And this is my blog.

In case you weren’t able to pick up on it from the title, I’m a Netflix kid through and through. I like that they were first. I like that they’re color scheme is dangerous, yet intriguing. I like that they’re basically their own TV network at this point. I like that they have no ads. I like that the stand up comedy selection is better than the Gotham Comedy Club. I like that they give me the most absurd and ridiculous categories for things. I like that their suggestions are sometimes just the top 10 things streaming because that means marketing is getting their voice heard in company meetings. But most of all, I like that every single remote for a smart TV has a Netflix specific button so that my life of bingeing can be achieved easily.

This is not to say that the other companies just suck. It’s 2021, that would be a lie. We live in the golden age of technology – the competition is doing just fine. They’re just all pretty clearly in second. Well, Hulu is in second anyways. I like cheating on Netflix from time to time because as great as Netflix is, it’s timeline for getting the hot new releases of TV series and movies is sometimes slower than waiting in line at the DMV. This is where Hulu shines! They’re speedy. They’re quick. They’ve got a fresh green color scheme that calms me. All of their categories make sense. And yet, once I finish what I was watching on Hulu I’m usually like cool. I’m done and can return home. To the land of zero commercials, ever. Regardless of my subscription level. $5 per month so I don’t have to watch ads?! Wow that’s almost a pint every month and is simply not worth it.

And then there was Amazon Prime who is … trying. If you are made of money, and would like to rent absolutely everything, then this is the service for you. If you aren’t on the ‘Included with Prime’ section, though, there is a zero percent chance that what you’ve chosen will be free. This service is really only good for the other s, shipping. 

Since there is a newcomer on the scene, I’d rank Disney Plus somewhere between Netflix and Hulu. It does come with a pretty great NSFW slang slogan so I guess there’s that. It also features pretty much everything Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. So there’s also that. And as an adult, there are times when I want nothing more than a feel-good Disney show or movie. Sometimes. Other times I want something rated above PG-13 and that’s where I once again land back in my trusted lover’s arms.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR TWIX: NOBODY CARES, STOP MAKING US PICK SIDES

We all know commercials. The ones that inconveniently interrupt your binge-watching session so that someone can profit. Is it the TV provider? I certainly hope not! My bill is high enough so if you’re getting commercial revenue in addition I would like a discount. In actuality, I think it’s mainly for the shows, or movies, or reality stars, or puppy bowl participants, to make money. Which, ok, on one hand this strategy makes sense. You spend millions of dollars per episode and that has to come from somewhere! I’ve never owned a million dollars and would happily work for a few hundred, so if it’s a payroll problem hit me up. On the other hand, though, we live in a modern age. An age where promotional consideration is everything. So, why can your promotional products not pay for what I’m watching? Apple is doing just fine, they can bankroll your movie if you opt for the iPhone look over Samsungs. 

Maybe I don’t know enough about how the screen world works. I will admit, these could be both accurate and incorrect assumptions at the same time. What a fun paradigm that is! Hypothetically, if you’re both wrong and right, are you actually wrong? Is right even a thing? Is it possible that two wrongs don’t make a right, but one wrong can? I have a million questions for the philosophers behind morals now. I believe I’ve found the loophole to life! Wasn’t where I thought this was going just a paragraph before, but wow! I’ve shocked myself and that doesn’t happen often.

Life lessons aside, commercials are a part of life. They mostly suck. Some commercials are absolute gold, though, and worthy of my time. The Snickers feed the world Super Bowl spot, for example. Progressive’s parental life coach is also on that list along with another premium insurance one – that, of course, would be GEICO’s “well, the squirrels are back in the attic. Your father says it’s personal this time” ad. When that first came out, I simply thought the tagline was excellent. Since then, however, my parents have become obsessed with the squirrels in their backyard. This is a true story. They drink coffee and watch the squirrels. If you’re in a conversation with one of them, and they see a squirrel in their peripheral, they’re no longer listening to you. It’s an experience. I’m sure it will be a whole post very soon.

I’ve just spent a lot of space, and mental energy, very off topic. Let’s circle back! The majority of commercials that grace our television, computer, phone, tablet, treadmill, bike, watch, etc. screens have no business being there. Limu Emu being one. What even is happening with the emu? Where did Doug find Limu Emu? How long have they been partners? How is the emu contributing to insurance, in any way? Yellow, why yellow? Why a car from the 60s? That was 60 years ago now, is the company doing that bad where they can’t afford a new model for their best agents to drive around in? I’ll stop hating on Liberty Mutual there. 

The ones that irk me the most, though, are the infamous Twix commercials. Twix used to be normal. I used to buy Twix candy. And then, someone, somewhere, on their team decided that division was the best way forward. Literally. Right vs. left. Left vs. right. I’ll just say what we’re all thinking: it’s the same thing! No differences exist. When you package all as right, you’re now lying to customers. Because, some of them have to be left. And vice versa. If you’re going to compete, against yourself might I point out, at least have some differences. Make one side caramel and one side peanut butter. One side milk chocolate and one side dark chocolate. One side a rectangle and one side a circle. Anything! 

Because it’s confusing to open a pack of Twix thinking there’s two different pieces of candy (since they’re different and you have to choose according to their marketing team) and finding out they’re simply the same. One is on the right and the other is on the left. If you flip the package 180 degrees, then the right is now left and left is now right. What even – I definitely have questions, but also I would just like it to stop. There’s enough separation in the world without Twix throwing their two cents into that pile. Was anyone buying into this scheme? How has it lasted so long? Moral of the post is, I rarely eat Twix anymore because it’s now a stressful experience. Like taking an AP English exam where all the multiple choice answers are based on your opinion and interpretation of the passage. Another day, another time.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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