Look, the secret is out: Nobody can really tell the difference between competing club sodas, and even individual flavors are tough for folks to identify when the brightly colored can is taken out of the equation. La Croix has been sitting pretty at the top of the sparkling-water mountain for a while, and that seems unlikely to change any time soon, if the fanatic brand loyalty of my coworkers at The Onion is any indication.
And that’s what I like about the strawberry-flavored version of Bubly, Pepsi’s attempt to horn in on the lucrative “putting bubbles in water and selling it for ridiculous prices” market. Whereas most club sodas are about shying away from the sweetness in an effort to convince people that no, this isn’t soda, so drink as much as you like, the strawberry Bubly leans just hard enough into its sweetness to give it a faint hint of candy flavoring, so it feels like a treat, as opposed to a beverage. “Cloying” is how one friend described it; if so, great, more for me. Unfortunately, I’m not alone in this assessment: Nearly every time I go to Target, the strawberry flavor is sold out. I’ve taken to scheduling my trips around restocking hours, just to ensure I get my delicious dessert water. During the day? Sure, I’ll still drink the many varieties of La Croix during office hours, but at night, when I want to get a little wild, I’ll grab my strawberry Bubly, stare intently out the window, and think, “God, what happened, I used to be fun, didn’t I?” But at least I’ll have my tasty drink to accompany those thoughts. [Alex McLevy]
Along with more than half the country, I am having trouble sleeping at night (I’ve got the under-eye circles and uneven temperament to prove it). I knock right out within minutes of lying down on my bed and pulling up the comforter, but sleeping through the night is something I haven’t done since I was in my 20s. (Ah, the things you miss when you approach middle age.) I’ve written about this in this very same space before, and how a $30 white noise machine has helped me get at least three consecutive hours of sleep a night. The culprit here isn’t anything so interesting as a guilty conscience, just your garden variety anxiety about the weather and the seemingly imminent end of all things. Oh, and the wrong pillow, if my friends on the internet and earnest salespeople at department stores throughout Chicago are to be believed.
The temporary answer to my problem came via my temporary means of distraction from the abyss, i.e., scrolling through social media feeds. I noticed someone posted a request for pillow recommendations, and their friends came through with all kinds of suggestions. Since I’m not going to start praying before bedtime, which is something many people swore by, I did the next best thing: spent an uncomfortable amount (for me, anyway) of money on a pillow that’s afforded me a little peace of mind. This Tempur-Pedic pillow costs as much as my family cellphone plan, but it’s been worth it. I’ve known for a while that I’m a side sleeper, so over the years, I’ve diligently clipped my Bed Bath & Beyond coupon to try the latest in head-cradling technology. But maybe I suffer from the same affliction as Elaine Benes, because my big noggin just flattens those things in short order. So, even though I first mentally canceled brunch for the next several months, I forked over more than $150 for the Tempur-Contour Breeze for side sleepers. It has made a world of difference: I don’t grind my teeth as much, and I wake up with less neck pain. Most important, I wake up less frequently throughout the night than I did before, despite the fact that I spent half a car payment on some bedding. [Danette Chavez]