Category Archives: product review

The Vespa Investigation

A while back I blogged about possibly getting myself a scooter to get around the GTA in the pleasant months. I was hoping to get one pretty soon, especially since the TTC strike put a real kink in my plans.

However, after a little investigation into costs and logistics, I’ve decided to put off my purchase until at least the end of the summer.

This weekend I encountered a few people that asked me about scooters and the cost and stuff since they were interested too. I am by no means an expert, but here’s what I found out.

The Scooter
There are lots of brands out there to choose from! Vespa is perhaps the most popular and well-known, but other brands include Honda, Yamaha, TMC, Piaggio (Vespa), Kymco and more. After doing some research online I decided that a traditional Vespa was probably what would satisfy me the most. I didn’t want to be a brand whore, but I just couldn’t say no to the Italian styling, quality assurance and familiarity the brand presents. Though I did seriously consider the Yamaha Vino, and may still revisit it.
I spoke with a dude at the Vespa store here in T.O. and we assesed my needs. I wanted something with enough “get up and go” to take me from Toronto out to some of the surrounding cities/burbs, that could carry two people, had suitable storage and a possible top case or rack for more carrying capability.
The Vespa LX 150 in Plum fit the bill.


The Cost

Ahh, now the not-so-lovely part of the Vespa buying experience. The cost. It’s a whopper.

The list price for the LX 150 isn’t too bad. A little on the high side compared to other brands, but they can command what we marketers call prestige pricing because of the name and reputation they carry.

List Price: $5,700

And we mustn’t forget the freight, PDI and documentation costs involved in a new vehicle.

Freight: $250
PDI: $100
Documents: $75
Taxes: $796.25

That brings us to a total cost of $6,921.25 for a brand new Vespa.

One thing I will point out though, is that there is room for negotiating with this price. There is no way I would pay full price right off the bat. I would probably try for at least a grand off the list price, but I have no idea what I would actually get.

I did find out from the cute counter staff that it’s much cheaper to buy at the end of the fiscal year, for obvious reasons. Either that, or at the end of the season. I found out when their fiscal ends, but I shall keep it as my little secret so all the good bikes aren’t taken before I get there!

Additional Costs

Another thing to factor in when purchasing a scooter is that you will require an M licence, insurance and plates.

I would estimate insurance to be around $500/year. I estimate the M license process would cost around $200-300 total, and that the plates cost $20, then $42/year to renew.

This is starting to get expensive! And the testing process for the M license is time consuming. First you read the little motorcycle booklet and take a written test. Then you have a 90-day permit (M1, similar to G1) to learn how to ride your scooter sans passenger, alcohol and night-time driving. Then you take your M2 road test at some obscure location and have that license for the next 22 months, or 18 months if you take a safety course.

All the while you’re paying a premuium on your insurance because you are an inexperienced rider. What a bummer. The rates should go down after you get your full M though.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. I’d need to buy a helmet for about $150, and any accessories such as rack or top case would cost more, too.

Summary

So there is my rundown of costs and hassles involved in getting a scooter. What I have therefore decided to do, is purchase one either new or used at the end of the season/fiscal year to help save me some money. My dad will store it in the garage and I’ll go for my license, etc. next spring. I’ll then be able to ride it for the entire spring, summer and fall next year :)

If I am paying approximately $50/month in insurance and $20/month in gas, I will still be paying less than the cost of my TTC pass! And scooters are pretty good on emissions, so I don’t feel as though I am creating too much pollution. I will be able to get around when I want and go where I want and have an easy way to carry things like groceries and friends. I can also park for free in the city of Toronto. Whoopee!


So, have I convinced you to buy a scooter yet?

Product Review: Cake Milk Made Hand Creme

I’m on a roll, folks!

Here’s a review of one of the other products I was pleasantly surprised by: Milk Made Hand Creme by Cake.

I first received this as a gift from the W Network about a year ago. I had no idea what it was and had never heard of the brand before (apparently it’s some sort of upscale trendy brand?? And it’s Canadian!) but decided to give it a go.

Boy, was I surprised! This hand cream is absolutely divine. It feels creamy and very smooth, and spreads easily on your hands. It absorbs within a reasonable amount of time and doesn’t leave that gross greasy residue.

This cream gets big points on the moisture factor: it leaves your hands supple and soft; I particularly like using it on my cuticles and areas of my hand that get the most dry. It is quite simply a pleasure to use.

So what are the major drawbacks?

The Smell: It has marshmallow extract in it, which makes it smell like some sort of super-sweet, somehow creamy vanilla marshmallow. Totally eatable. If you’re into smelling like candy and/or baked goods, then you’ll probably love this to bits. I, however, prefer a less noticeable scent. Though I must admit that I’ve gotten used to it now, and the benefits still outweigh this minor detail.

The Price: At $18 a pop for a small tube, it is definitely an indulgence. I have received 3 tubes in succession as Ad Gifts therefore never having to purchase it myself. Will I buy it again once I run out? Possibly. Though I would definitely check for sales, discounts or trades on Makeup Alley, etc. first, and avoid paying full cost if possible.

So where can you get this?

I’ve seen the line at certain Bay stores. I’ll bet its at the nicer Sears locations (Eaton Centre) as well. Oh, what the hell. Here’s a link to their locations.

Overall I think this is a great product and would recommend it to anyone who’s not afraid to splurge from time to time. I’d love to hear if anyone else has tried this product, and what they thought of it!

…I sure hope I get some more as gifts!!!

Product Review: Avon Supershock Mascara

I mentioned ages ago that I would start doing unpaid reviews on products or services that I thought needed to be reviewed… so here is the first!

I am totally in love with this new mascara by Avon.

Supershock Mascara ($9.99) is their newest mascara and comes in your basic colours (navy, brown, black & black/brown) and promises the following:

Up to 12X more volume in only one step!

– Unique microfibres expand & plump lashes for unprecedented volume
– Thickening base coat and volumizing mascara in only one step
– Flexible bristles coat and separate lashes for a precise look that’s bolder than ever
– Does not glob!


And I have to say, I’m sold! At first blush this mascara actually scared me; it comes in a giant tube which is much fatter than your average mascara tube. The wand is also super-sized. The closest comparison would be the diameter of a Bic pen. I have no idea why they made it so large, but it seems to do the trick! After the initial fright of having something that large so close to my eye, I soon saw how good a job it does at making my lashes lovely.

It goes on clean and easy, and separates my lashes without clumping or gobbing. Far superior to my previous L’Oreal mascara. The formula is easy to build up for a more dramatic look, and has minimal flaking even though it includes microfibres. I don’t know if this is the right way to describe a mascara, but I felt…comfortable putting it on.

I was really pleased with the results, my eyes seemed brighter and more open, my lashes plumper, longer and more feminine. And it’s easy to take off at the end of the day. My last mascara would cling and clump so badly to my lashes that I could hardly clean it off, and it would actually pull some of my eyelashes out with it when removed. Ugh.

This is a good mascara for women with sensitive eyes or contact-lens wearers. I have extremely sensitive eyes and have not experienced any irritation in my 2 weeks using the product.

I would recommend this mascara to anyone. For the price, results and ease of application it is definitely worth it. I’ve tried the higher-end mascaras (Clinique, Stila, MAC, Lancome, etc.) but this simple Avon innovation trumps them in all areas.

The single drawback is that it is only available through your local Avon lady. If only I could pick it up at the drugstore!

Schtickers Love!

Ok, I was browsing The Windowshoppist not long ago, and she had a post featuring a seriously cool laptop sticker from Schtickers.com.

I can’t believe I did this, but I actually bought one ($24 after shipping & conversion), and I applied it today!

I totally fell in love with the fine art schticker of Flaming June by Leighton.

Isn’t it beautiful? They had a really great selection of other designs too, that ran the gamut from trippy patterns to fine art. I’m a fine art friend, which is why I got Junie up there.

Here’s what the real thing looks like on my lappy!

Since I don’t use my laptop anywhere except on my desk, it didn’t make sense for me to stick it on like the website shows. I often keep my laptop closed when I’m not using it, so I put it on upside down so I could enjoy it closed!

It wasn’t until after I ordered that I discovered that you can actually design your own Schticker. I think next time I will do that! I like the fact that these are vinyl and reusable so they won’t harm my laptop and I can switch them out whenever I choose.

Pretty cool, huh?