Category: Free for All

Are you CONSUMED now Caleb?

Earlier this year Caleb ranted about his desire to create products that “Consume you from the inside”, his words..not mine!! YES,  I was horrified at the thought, but as he explained I understood exactly what he meant.

Caleb Said…caleb

  • I want to sell products that people crave.
  • I want to sell products that people “need”.
  • I want to sell products that people “gotta have”.
  • I want to sell products that people tell themselves “I don’t need that”…and still buy it.
  • I want to sell products like the ones on ThisIsWhyImBroke.com.
  • I want to sell products that consume people from the inside until they have them.

My response to this ARE YOU CONSUMED NOW CALEB? It’s safe to say that you are immersed in our process of finding the best way to offer customers almost limitless variations on their product choice AND design options.

Not only that, you even had fun creating the Rice Owl Computer Science Department coffee mugs!! All in all I know that when you get the chance to create your own designs you become consumed and people like you will be consumed too!!

Rice Owls Mugs

Rice Owls Mugs

Ruler Coffee Mug

Ruler Coffee Mug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same is to be said for Narmin and I when we create designs. The Ladybug Collection and The Colorful Trellis Collection are prime examples.  Both collections were created with designs that we personally loved. Within a week of adding them to our sites the orders started flowing in. There’s a picture below of the Colorful Trellis Bedding Set that I specifically designed for my bedroom (and am consumed with), and decided to create products that people like me will  love it too!!

Colorful Trellis Bedroom Set

Colorful Trellis Bedroom Set

I’ll be waiting for your response Caleb…. Are you CONSUMED now?

D’Caribbean Curry Spot Review – Lunch at RNK

I was first introduced to D’Caribbean Curry Spot last year by Narmin and it quickly became my go to when I crave something deliciously spicy. I say I must have been West Indian in another lifetime because I truly love the food there and can also handle the hot pepper  sauce they have.

The restaurant has an assortment of authentic West Indian food with beef, chicken, goat, duck, shrimp, or veggies. Moh and Sherry (the couple that own the restaurant) are absolutely wonderful and are always willing to educate me on the different foods they have. The food is cooked by Sherry with love and Moh handles the customers.

I’ll start reviewing the food with my all time favorite food there, Doubles. They are two pieces of fried flat bread with  mashed chickpeas and spices in the inside. I usually order 3 or 4 so I can have leftovers for the next day and I always order them spicy!! YUMYUM. My next favorite is a saheena. This is fried bread with spinach in it. I love to dip in in the hot pepper sauce and tamarind sauce.

Of course this time around I had to order doubles, but I wanted to try something new. I had the Bake Saltfish which was good, but NOTHING beats doubles to me. Caleb ordered a Curry Chicken Roti Wrap and Victor ordered the Curry Beef Roti Wrap. They didn’t even have to say how scrumptious they were, the fact they finished them completely says it all!!

Tina and Ryan ordered an assortment of “appetizers” which included doubles, beef patties, and aloo pies. Those too were finger lickin good and every bite was eaten.

Everyone here at RNK loves the food from D’Caribbean Curry Spot and we have chosen them for lunch more than once. I know this won’t be the last time we eat here.

 

 

J*A*X Burgers Review – Lunch At RNK

Without a doubt I can say when it comes to burgers and fries, I am a foodie. I love trying new burgers places and have probably visited something like 15-ish burger joints and have another 5 or 6 on my list of places I want to try. So I was ecstatic review this new place, J*A*X Burgers, located not but 5 minutes from where we are located here in Pearland.

From what I was able to find online, J*A*X Burgers, Fries and Shakes was opened by Melissa & John Recio. They actually named the burger joint after their two sons Jake and Max. They are a local franchise with 8 locations throughout the suburbs of Houston. They also are set up to do onsite catering with their food truck, the “Jaxmobile”. They seem to have a fairly simple menu, made up of 28 items [including their shakes] which makes me thing that they are focused on quality over quantity.

BBLT Burger

BBLT Burger

The service at this location was outstanding, the person that answered the phone was very friendly and actually sounded like he cared about his job and getting the order right. He even offered to call me back with the total when he was unable to provide it for me immediately, which he did three minutes later. When I arrived I noticed that the location was very clean and really busy, which is always a good sign. Despite having a full dining room they had the food prepared exactly when they said they would and even offered to re-bag everything so it was easy to figure out who had what and helped me carry everything out to my car. This may seem trivial but you would be surprised how few places are willing to go the little bit extra to make sure their customers are happy.

Now, on to the most important part of the review, the food!

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Burger: Although everyone got a different burger, the one thing consistent among everyones burger was the classic egg bun and the larger than life patty. Honestly there have been few places that I have been to that serve their regular burger with a patty as thick as this one. They managed to find the line of too thick and just take a step back from it. They patty was cooked to well done and was juicy but not overwhelmingly messy. Definitely a plus in my book.

Moving on to the rest of the toppings on my burger: The blue cheese was a very nice touch, it provided a creamy and salty contrast to the tangy mayo and meaty patty. I would have to say without a doubt that the highlight of my burger was the bacon. I have never actually have bought a burger with thicker bacon than what was present on this one. A problem with bacon this thick is that it takes a while to cook it to proper crispiness, but at JAX, they took their time and did it right. I can’t say that this is the best burger that I have ever had, although it is up there, but I can say that this is without a doubt the best bacon that I have ever had from a restaurant. I will definitely be going back to enjoy another one.

Shroom Burger

Shroom Burger

I personally didn’t have a shake, but I did see that they are using Blue Bell Ice Cream which is definitely a plus.

For anyone that doesn’t know, Blue Bell is the second largest selling Ice Cream brand in the United States despite the fact that is actually only sold in the south. The Blue Bell HQ is located a couple of hours north of us in Brenham, Texas.

The only thing I was unhappy with were the french fries. Not because they were particular bad, but in comparison to the burgers they just left you wanting something more. The burgers were of such high quality it lead me to believe that such great care would have come with the fries too. But they were precut frozen fries, or at least that is how they tasted. The sweet potato fries that Danessa got were the best of all of them, and I couldn’t actually tell if they were frozen first. The one upside is that the burger was so big that I really didn’t care that the fries weren’t that good because of how completely stuffed I was from finishing the burger.

Without a doubt I would recommend that you try JAX burgers. I know that will be definitely be enjoying another one of those burgers again.

Winter Weather – Affecting shipping

Winter Storm 2Brrrrr!  We are in the south and we think that it has been cold here. However, it has not been as cold here as it is in the North and Eastern part of the United States.  We have heard daily how terrible the weather is for everyone there and how much snow they have received.  Some of them are just like we are, they do not see snow much, therefore do not have the ability to clean off the roads to make them safe for travel and they are finding themselves in a real predicament.

With this being said, it just amazes me that some people do not understand why their packages in that area are being delayed.  It is quite clear that the roads are a hazard to be on and that the safety of the delivery drivers is and should be of first concern.  It seems like people in our world today Winter Storm 3are so caught up in living in this fast paced world, that seems to be open 24/7, 365 days a year that we forget that not everything will always work as we assume it will.  Stay safe and warm.  Be thankful that we are not dealing with Mother Nature right now, in our neck of the woods that is!

Central Texas Style Bar-B-Q Review – Lunch at RNK

Here at RNK we have a staff lunch every other week, usually catered by a local restaurant in the area. We had decided to have Central Texas BBQ during our lunch a couple of weeks ago. The entire week leading up to our lunch Caleb wanted to have something else instead of Central Texas BBQ, not because he didn’t like Central Texas, but because he knew we weren’t going to repeat anytime soon and wanted to save Central Texas for a later date. Obviously, we didn’t save it, but I think that perfectly frames what Central Texas means to this city, it is an institution. I was raised in Pearland and Central Texas BBQ is one of my favorite restaurants. I couldn’t be more excited to write this review and tell the world how much this little place means to me.

Central Texas Style BBQ

Central Texas Style Bar-B-Q Store Front

Central Texas Bar-B-Q has been family owned and operated for over 45 years and has become known, for now, as the best barbecue in Pearland. It is a very folksy style joint, it actually is a converted 5 room home with all kinds of unique and fun knickknacks all over the walls and tables. It gives you the feel that you are stepping into a different era in time when you walk in. Truly a product of another age and I am very thankful that it still exists!

Usually I would break up the meal into appetizers and entrée and dessert but a proper barbecue meal isn’t made up of such formalities. A proper barbecue meal is much simpler that than. A real barbecue meals includes some sort of meat, sides and usually dessert, so that is how I will go about it.

All the meats come off of a large smoker or barbecue pit and are served with a wonderful sauce. We decided to go with the chicken, which is always one of my favorites anywhere I go for BBQ. Chicken is pretty hard to screw up and usually comes out very moist and tender with a lovely smokey flavor. I believe most of the staff was surprised at how good the chicken breast was.

BBQ Chicken and Sausage

BBQ Chicken and Sausage – Central Texas Barbecue

Our second meat was sausage, I believe it was some type of beef sausage, but their menu isn’t super specific. This was my personal favorite of everything. They were juicy but not fatty, and just a wonderful flavors of smokey barbecue goodness. I could and would eat a whole serving to myself!

Last but not least was chopped beef which really just is sliced brisket broken down even more and served drenched in barbecue sauce. A lot of places that do chopped beef will end up turning out a soupy mash of what was beef and some poor quality barbecue sauce to mask how bad their beef is, but not Central Texas! The chunks of beef were clearly visible and extremely tender. You could tell that they started tasty sliced beef and only improved on it.

Our sides consisted of about as traditional sides as you can get with BBQ. We had what they called ‘New Potatoes’. We couldn’t figure out why they decided to call them that when all it really was were red potatoes cooked baked potato style then slightly mashed and covered with butter and cheese. They were absolutely delicious! We had ordered a lot of food and had leftovers of almost everything except for this. Everyone loved it.

My Plate

My Plate – Central Texas Barbecue

We also had congri, or at least what was suppose to be congri. For anyone that doesn’t know, congri is cuban rice and black beans. Unfortunately, they were out of spanish rice so we got black beans and white rice. I must say I was very disappointed by this because the white rice and black beans were very good and I can’t imagine how much better it would have been if we had the proper dish.

Our last side was baked beans, I think they were pinto beans with a sweet sauce and ham chunks. I never have been much of a fan of baked beans any where I go, sad to say that these weren’t able to change my mind. Everyone else was happy with them and I will say that they are some of the better baked beans I’ve had, they beans were firm but tender. The rich sweet sauce was good but not overwhelming and the ham chunks were a nice touch.

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding – Central Texas Barbecue

For dessert we had the quintessential dish of any good Texas barbecue, banana pudding. Now this can go anyway and is very easy to screw up with bland pudding or soggy cookies but this was one of my favorites of all time. The pudding was just sweet enough and had the freshest taste of bananas you could ask for, the vanilla cookies were crunchy and the bananas were just amazing.

Every time I eat Central Texas Bar-B-Q I am overwhelmed with joy really a comfort food from my childhood. I couldn’t recommend this place enough!

Noodles the Office Dog

Yes!!! It’s true we now have an office dog to distract us with his cuteness. Forget about personalization, forget about adding products to the site, forget about creating new designs..NOODLES IS HERE and ready to be played with.  Noodles-Red-Hoodie-2

We’ve all met Noodles when Narmin or Ryan brought him into the office to say hello, but now we have the pleasure of seeing him everyday.

As soon as he runs into the office all attention is on him. We love his camouflage hoodie, red embroidered hoodie, and whatever else he is dressed in!! Yes, I said embroidered hoodie which was made when we first opened our personalization shop.

Noodles-Camo-Hoodie-2

Noodles sitting at my desk

He loves when we feed him treats from our breakfast and lunch, but since I’ve found out that we all feed him I stopped so he won’t get too fat!!

Despite his outbursts of snarky growls, running after cars or trucks that pass by, growling at office guests, pooping on the floor (on his first day in), and climbing on my desk to lick the remnants of my bowls I still love to have him here.

If I’m lucky enough he will even settle down, hop into my lap, and curl up for a nap. Stay tuned for more adventures with Noodles!!

Noodles napping in my lap

Noodles napping in my lap

Thai Cottage Review – Lunch at RNK

Every other week, here at RNK Innovations, we have a staff lunch, usually made up of local restaurants in the Pearland area. We are always trying new things, and today when we were sitting down to eat Narmin suggested that we should start blogging about what we are eating as an excuse to try as many different things as we can! Who can say no to an idea like that? So today is the inaugural entry of our “Lunch at RNK” series where we are going to blog about our experiences with local eateries. We have already started working on a list that includes some of the oldest and most established place in Pearland to up and coming restaurants.

On the menu today was something that Tina, Caleb and Ogie hadn’t tried before, Thai food! To be specific we enjoyed Thai Cottage located over by the new Pearland Town Center. Now I must admit I am quite partial to almost anything of asian origins, so I may be somewhat bias.

Lunch at RNK - Thai Cottages

Wings of Paradise – Thai Cottage

So lets start with Thai Cottage. From what I have been able to find thus far, Thai Cottage is a Houston based restaurant with locations all over the city. Most of the review that I have seen that been very positive so we were excited to try it. The service was excellent, our pick up order was ready very quickly and the staff that took the order were very friendly and helpful. Our menu today consisted of an appetizer of Wings of Paradise, which are crispy fired chicken wings in an asian style garlic glaze. I would be lying to say that I didn’t love these wings. Priced very reasonable I would probably been happy with just eating a plate of just these. The wings actually came out very crispy and the glaze was a thick and rich sauce that bathed the wings in yummy goodness.

Lunch at RNK - Thai Cottage

Pad Thai – Thai Cottage

Our entree consisted of: Pad Thai: a classic dish and a must try at almost any thai restaurant. If you were to try just one dish of thai origins, in my opinion, it must be pad thai. Although I can’t say this was the best pad thai that I ever had, that is reserved for Patu, a hole in the wall restaurant that was in Rice Village, but Thai Cottage did do a very good job reproducing this classic dish.

Yellow curry: a wonderful creamy dish consisting of a sauce made of a beautiful blend of spices and coconut milk, chicken and potatoes served over rice.

Lunch at RNK - Thai Cottage

Yellow Curry – Thai Cottage

I apologize but I must take a moment to rant and the word curry.  Besides the point that curry is an extremely overused and misunderstood word, the term was actually created by the british in their attempt to recreated the wonderful flavors that found in India by shipping back mixed and ground spices used to make a sauce. What most people call curry is actually masala, a blend of different spices usually specific to different regions of the world.

Sorry, now back to Yellow Curry from Thai Cottage. This was the favorite of Tina and Caleb and probably the best entree that we ordered. It was creamy, rich, and spicy, yet not overly hot.

The final dish that we tried was a Sweet and Sour beef, a tasty mix of veggies and beef with some pineapple thrown in to really complete it. Almost everyone enjoyed this dish except for Caleb who was unhappy with all the veggies in the dish, he prefers his entrees to contain protein and carbs only.

Overall we all enjoyed lunch and would probably do it again if we weren’t determined to try as many restaurants as can this year. In a couple weeks we will be enjoying of what has become an institution in Pearland, Central Texas Style BBQ.

Small Business Award Scam?!

award pictureAwards!  Everyone likes to be recognized for what they work hard to accomplish but at what cost.  We received a couple of emails this week to let us know that our Potty Training Concepts Website and our Potty Patty site were receiving awards from the Pearland Award Program.  Since our warehouse is located in Pearland, Texas, they had our most undivided attention, so we read on.  It sounded really legitimate until we started seeing the red flags.

In the email, it read “The Pearland Award Program has chosen Potty Training Concepts for the 2013 Pearland Awards in the Toys classification.” and if you examine the award closely, it is recognizing Potty Training Concepts for its “Toys”, really?  I didn’t know that is what we specialized in, go figure.    Upon further inspection, we noticed that the phone number was a 1-888 number.  Why if the city of Pearland was honoring us with this award would it have a 1-888 number.  Hmmm?!  Then we decided to do some research on the web to find out all about the awards program that we could.  The email stated that we could display our award on our sites and have one sent to our office as well so that we could display it proudly.  All we had to do was give them a call.   Upon reading the information we found during our research, had we called they would have asked us for money to pay for the award.  Not happening!

You decide, is it a scam?  (http://www.theoriginalsource.com/us-local-business-association-award-or-scam.html)  Would you pay for your award?

We at Potty Training Concepts have found an article from the BBB that you might want to read and it includes some really great tips.

*Learn everything you can about who is giving the award.  If it is coming from a mystery company, chances are it simply wants your money.

*If you didn’t apply for an award or the group cannot tell you how you were nominated, chances are the award is not legitimate.

*Most legitimate awards do not come with costs for the recipient.  If there is a cost, scrutinize it even more closely.

*Ask specific questions about how your company or organization was chosen for an award and find out how many similar awards are given each year.

*Check BBB reliability reports at www.bbb.org or by calling 800-356-1007.

 

 

Bamboo vs. Cotton

Bamboo-Waterproof-Training-Pants_600x600We recently added a new training pant to our site.  These 2 in 1 waterproof training pants are made out of a bamboo fabric.  I had a customer who asked me this week what I could tell her about bamboo vs. cotton.

 

 

This is what I learned in my research of the two:

bamboo-stalksBamboo : *Soft and comfortable,  it is softer than cotton, more like the texture of a silk or cashmere.

*It absorbs moisture quickly and wicks it away faster than cotton.

*It dries in about half the time of cotton.

*Keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

*It has a unique anti-bacterial fiber quality that makes it anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and odor resistant plus this fiber does not fade as quickly as cotton.

 

cottonCotton  : * It is a natural fiber as well.

*It is the most common used natural fabric throughout the world.

*It is a very strong and durable fabric, very comfortable to wear.

*It absorbs moisture well keeping you cool in the summer.

“I Want to Sell Products that Consume You from the Inside”

This is a rant, you have been warned.

After having a discussion with Narmin about whether we should pursue the “personalized wrapping paper” market I really got to thinking about why am I not happy with the products we sell here at RNK. She tried to convince me that a special present for a special event deserves special wrapping paper….but I just don’t get it. I obviously don’t understand why you would pay extra for a product that it’s entire purpose is to obscure the present from the recipient, be ripped off it, and then be thrown away. WHY WOULD YOU SPEND MONEY ON MANUFACTURED TRASH?

To me this is like saying we are going to sell “Enemy Toilet Paper”, it’s just like regular toilet paper except each square is adorned with the face of your enemy.

  • Is it a novel idea?: Yes
  • Would people buy it?: Yes (people bought Windows ME, right?)
  • Is it a GOOD idea: Probably not

So this lead me to my current view on products (as seen in the title), I want to sell products that consume you from the inside out. You may be thinking, what the heck does that even mean? (I think Danessa thought it was some sort of satanic reference when I first told her) But here’s what this view on products boils down to.

  • I want to sell products that people crave
  • I want to sell products that people “need”
  • I want to sell products that people “gotta have”
  • I want to sell products that people tell themselves “I don’t need that”…and still buy it
  • I want to sell products like the ones on ThisIsWhyImBroke.com
  • I want to sell products that consume people from the inside until they have them

I just don’t know that people will ever crave wrapping paper. It goes into the trash, and it’s not even theirs to throw away (I know I sound self centered, but that’s how retail consumers are). Maybe I’m wrong, and I hope you comment below if you think I am. But I think that this company needs to make more products that people can go crazy over….and personalized wrapping paper just ain’t it.