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2.04.2016

Stuff & Things: The One Where I Break Up With Best Buy

Gather round, it's story time.



So I got a Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas.  It's what I wanted, and having had a Fitbit flex for over a year, I knew I'd be happy with it.  The one I got had a malfunction and stopped charging properly.  No big deal.  I called Best Buy to determine if I needed a receipt to exchange it for one that worked.

Well, while I was on the phone with them, I found out that the Apple Watch was on sale for $250.  Just $100 more than the Fitbit.  I was intrigued.

And as I admitted on Tuesday, I'm impulsive.  I immediately decided I just had to have the Apple Watch.  I quickly went online to see which locations had the one I wanted in stock.  Just one store, and it was a half hour away.  So what did I do?  I ordered that sucker online and opted for store pick up.  That watch was mine!

I get the confirmation email from Best Buy: your order is ready for pick up.  So I hop in the car and set off on the 30 minute journey.

I walk in.  Return the Fitbit.  And ask to pick up my order.

Imagine my surprise when...they don't have it.

But I got the confirmation email.  The clerk frantically searched about.  He found one, but it had someone else's name on it.  But I already purchased it.  You have my money.  And I'm in the store now.  No luck.  They wouldn't give me the watch.

After some further digging, he found an open box one that he could sell me for a discounted price.  Is anything wrong with it?  No, I was assured.  Okay, sold.

Luckily, I chose to set it up in my car in the parking lot.  Turns out, the watch was still paired with the original owner's phone.  And you know what?  There's no way for Apple or Best Buy or Geek Squad or any of the Geniuses in the entirety of the world who can unpair that watch except for the original owner.  Awesome.

So now, I was getting annoyed.  And unfortunately, I was leaving town the next morning for an undetermined length of time (if you're new here, read over some of my posts from early January).

The clerk, frantic to save the sale, threw out a hail Mary pass.  I'll tell you what--I'll sell you one online for the open box price, and you'll just pay the expedited shipping, making the total the same as the brand new watch.  You'll get it tomorrow.

Okay, I thought. I could live with that (remember here, folks, I'm impulsive).  He works out the sale, and I'm off.

A little while later I thought you know what?  No.  Best Buy just put me through the ringer.  This is on them, not me.  So I called up customer service to cancel my order.  I didn't want to give them my money anymore.

While cancelling the order, the rep asks Okay, so are you cancelling because this item is on back order?  


You've got to be freaking kidding me.

So yes.  I cancelled the freaking order.  Luckily, while on the phone, I happened to check my bank account.  You guys?  I had been charged for three Apple Watches.

That's over $750 for a product I never received.

And get this.

It was over a week before that money was ever put back into my account.

And that, my friends, is why I'll never shop at Best Buy ever again.  

That day didn't end in a total loss, though.  I did manage to find the watch I wanted in a Target nearby.  I called, asked the guy to put his hands on it for me.  He did.  Okay, I said, now write Joey on a post it note, and tuck that sucker away for me.  He did.  Ten minutes later, I walked out with a brand new, perfectly perfect Apple Watch.

So the moral of this story?  Target beats all, always.  Duh.



Also, in case you're keeping count, that means I purchased 4 Apple Watches in one day.
According to our bank account anyway.
My husband really loves being married to me.
Man, we need a sarcasm font.
Just kidding.
He loves me.
I think.

On another note, do any of you care for a review (like, was all this hassle even worth it in the end)?  Or care for a post on how I use it?  Let me know.

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2.03.2016

DIY Bath Bombs

DIY Bath Bombs


I've been absolutely obsessed with Lush bath bombs lately.  One of my favorite things to do is to relax in a nice scented bath and binge Netflix.  Lately, it's been something I look forward to all day.  I love climbing into bed all fresh, clean and relaxed.

I don't know if you've noticed, though.  Bath bombs are freaking expensive.  And when you're taking baths every single night (guilty over here, they've practically replaced showers all together), you're looking at about $50/week just for baths.  Unacceptable.  That's more than my coffee habit.  Whoops.

So Kim and I got to chatting.  How cool would it be if we could make our own?  Well, we did the research and put the recipe (adapted from here) to the test.  And guess what?  It's totally possible!  It'll cost you a fraction of a Lush bath bomb, give you a fun activity to do with a girlfriend, and it'll make your entire house smell heavenly.  Win win win!!

This post is in collaboration with the sweet Kim of The Vintage Modern (who turned out to be my freaking neighbor...hashtag: Charlotte really is a small town)!  Go show her some love!

DIY Bath Bomb Ingredients

DIY Bath Bombs

Yields 2 bombs
*You can easily multiply this recipe to make more bath bombs.  We just made multiple batches since we wanted to use several different oils.

What You Need

4 oz. baking soda
2 oz. corn starch
1 1/2 tsp water
1 1/4 tsp coconut oil (olive oil works, too)
food coloring (optional--amount varies depending on your color preference)

How To Make Bath Bombs

What To Do

  • Combine dry ingredients in large bowl.  Whisk until it's a soft, clump-less mixture.
  • Combine wet ingredients in a glass bowl.  I recommend a large measuring cup -- the spout comes in handy.  If you're using coconut oil, you'll need to microwave it until it's in a liquid state.
  • SLOWLY pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing constantly.  If the mixture starts to fizz, you're going too quickly.  Take your time here.  This is when it came in handy to have an extra set of hands.  
  • Once mixed, test the mixture by taking a small amount in your hands and squeeze.  The mixture will still feel dry, but it should stick together.  If it doesn't stick, slowly add more water until it does.
  • Fill each half of the *bath bomb mold until slightly overflowing.  You want to pack this lightly.  Do not pack too tight.
  • Press the two halves together.  This might feel unnatural, but trust me.  This is what will "pack" your mixture down.  Immediately remove one half of the mold gently.
  • Place the bomb, mold side down, on a pan.  Allow to dry out slightly (10-15 minutes), then GENTLY remove the other half of the mold.  I found it easiest to flip the uncovered side into my palm, then gently lift the mold from the bomb.  These are very fragile, you need a gentle and light hand.
  • Let dry completely for approximately 8 hours.  I recommend just letting them sit out overnight.  Store them in a sealed ziplock baggy or container.

Tips

  • If the mixture falls apart while you're removing the mold, don't worry.  Simply toss the mixture back into the bowl and start over.
  • If the mixture cracks, you can "mold" it back together by pressing it into shape with your hands.  Just don't squeeze too hard.  That makes a mess ;) 
It was an experience for sure.  We learned some things along the way.  This recipe totally works, but it takes some strategy and patience.  There was a lot of testing and changing along the way.  You'll find your groove after your first few, promise.  

I'd recommend researching the oils before selecting which ones you want to use.  We didn't.  We went with oh this smells good! and oh! we could make that one a pretty color!  That works, sure.  But it might not be the best route to take.

What Did We Make? 


Lavender.  I'd recommend this.  It's a lovely scent, calming and relaxing.  Lavender is known for eliminating nervous tension, reliving pain, enhancing blood circulation and treating respiratory problems.  It also helps induce sleep, which worked wonderfully for me.  I had a lot of trouble finding relaxation and sleeping through everything with my dad, and I slept very soundly after using this bomb.

Lemongrass + Peppermint.  This one smelled amazing, but uh...I wouldn't recommend mixing these two oils to bathe in.  Both oils are excellent for relieving sore muscles (which was a happy accident that I used this one the night after getting back into running), but the two together made me feel like I was bathing in a cold bath (I wasn't).  You know that feeling you get from icy hot?  Yeah, it was like that.  Use these on their own, and you'll still get a great bomb.  I should have split the halves.

Eucalyptus.  This one was lovely.  We made it a beautiful blue shade (not pictured), and it smelled so nice.  Eucalyptus is good for mental exhaustion (definitely experienced some of that lately).  It's also an excellent deodorant (bonus) and acts as a decongestant.  Perfect for this time of year.

Overall, we had so much fun with this project.  I'd totally recommend giving it a try.  I ordered all the ingredients from Amazon Prime, and we've put them in a special place because we are definitely making more bath bombs here in the near future!

2.02.2016

Chasing Dreams: Get Specific About What's Stopping You

How to chase dreams

There hasn't ever been anything in my life that I wanted that I didn't somehow make happen.  Before you click out and think I'm an asshole, bear with me.

I'm a compulsive person.  I think I want a haircut?  I need it that afternoon.  I decide I want a lipstick?  I'm jumping in my car without a bra on to run to the store.  My husband has been on so many wild goose chases with me in search of lord only knows what (ask him about the great clutch adventure of 2007.  No really.  I dare you).

When I want something, I don't pass go.  I don't collect $200.  It's mine.  So let me ask you a question.

Why was I that way with practically everything else in my life, but not with what I want for my life.  I would see people accomplishing different things, and I'd think to myself that kind of stuff doesn't happen for someone like me.  What the hell is that voice?  Who is that voice?  And why couldn't it be me?

I don't know where that belief came from.  I really don't.  I'm sure a psychologist could have a field day working through some of the things I innately believe for whatever reason.  But the process of retraining my brain to believe it could be me has been...exhausting.  Eye opening.  Nauseating.

Because here's the deal.  Anything can happen for anyone.  No, really.  Anything can happen for you.  You just have to be willing to put the time in.  The work in.  The effort in.  You have to do the work.

I see these seemingly overnight successes pop up everywhere.  You see them, too.  I know you do.  And I know you ask yourself why isn't it me?  I know that because I was right there with you.

But the reality of it all is, if you're willing and able to do the work, you can do whatever you want.

I've hinted that I have some big projects coming soon.  And over the weekend I met some friends for lunch who asked the ever constant so what have you been up to question.  And as I sat in that booth explaining my vision, my plans, my projects, I could practically feel my heart exploding.

Congratulations! my friend said.
Don't congratulate me yet.  It could all totally flop.

And that's the truth.  All this effort.  All this work.  And it could really be all for nothing.  But maybe it's not about that.  Maybe it's about the process.  Maybe it's about the work, what I'm actually doing.  The fact is, I want to do these things.  And if they fall short, then so be it.  I can live my entire life wanting to do these things, wishing I could do these things, or I can just do them.

I'm almost 30 years old.  My life looks nothing like I thought it would when I dreamt this world up as an innocent teenager. But the dream isn't over yet, people.

The dream's not over.
So get after it.
What's stopping you?
1.28.2016

Stuff & Things 1/28


>> I am the most vocal sick person on the planet.  I can deal with most sickness, but when it's a sore throat, you'll hear about it.  And you'll hear about it until it's gone.  I cannot handle a sore throat.  So basically, I want to scratch my throat out at this moment.  So there's that.

>> I finished Parenthood on Saturday.  It was hard to watch, but I think it was cathartic in a way.  The finale isn't even what did me in--that, I could handle.  But there's an episode titled How Did We Get Here, and it was basically like watching a video replay of the last three weeks of my life.  In fact, I kept things pretty together through the whole experience, but I had one major breakdown after a family meeting on how we'll handle the inevitable.  I just broke down into my oldest sister asking how did we get here?  So yeah.  I commend the writers of that show.  They were pretty on point.

>> I'm in such a cold medicine fog that while driving the kids to bible study Wednesday night, a place I take them literally every single week, one of the kids looked out the window and asked wait, isn't this the way to baseball?  Yes, yes it was.  Whoops.

>> I went to Luna's Living Kitchen for the first time on Saturday.  I get the appeal if you're into the whole vegan lifestyle.  But hot chocolate should have chocolate in it.  I paid $9 for the worst beverage I've ever put to my lips.  The food smelled really good though, so maybe I'll give it another shot.  I'd skip the hot chocolate though.

>> I worked extended hours on Monday and Tuesday due to snow days (which weren't really snow days for the city--really just for the schools), so today is my Friday.  I'm unreasonably excited to spend the whole day in a coffee shop tomorrow working my butt off on some big projects.  I know.  I get a "day off" and spend it working.  That's my life, people.

I hope you all have had an easier go of a week than I have.  Tell me what your favorite part of your week has been?  Mine was Sunday--J and I took advantage of restaurant week and had an early date night at Chima.  We stopped at Amelies on our way home for coffee and desserts, then watched the game.  It was a perfect evening.


1.27.2016

Get Undone Faster: Simple MIcellar Water vs Garnier Fructis Micellar Water

micellar water


I don't know about you, but when I walk through the door at the end of the day...I'm done.  Spent.  The idea of doing anything else seems out of the question.

I'm at the age when taking care of my skin isn't really an option anymore.  But if you knew how often I have an internal battle with myself trying to convince myself to get off the couch, wash my face and brush my teeth just so I can collapse into bed, you'd judge me.  Hard.

So when micellar waters started taking the US markets by storm, I was totally intrigued.  Skeptical, but intrigued.  I mean, I'm totally down for anything that can get me into bed quicker.

So I picked up the Simple Micellar Water right when it hit stores back in early 2015.  I wanted to love it.  I wanted it to be the answer to my prayers.  It wasn't.  It took entirely too much effort.  Washing my face with as standard cleanser would have been quicker.  It took entirely too much product, and far too many of my coveted cotton rounds to do the job.  And it broke me out.  Fail.

But when I saw the Garnier Micellar Water hit the shelves about a month ago, I thought maybe just maybe it would be better.  You all know how I feel about the Garnier HydroRecharge Shampoo & Conditioner line, so I thought it might be worth a shot.  Garnier has stepped up their game recently.

Uhm, you guys?  Yes.  Yes yes yes yes.  First of all, I'm in love with the packaging.  Not important, no.  But we're girls.  We like that stuff.  The product itself is exactly what I've been looking for.  It removes all of my makeup without harsh rubbing, and it even removes some waterproof makeup (I put that to the test the week of my father's funeral).  It's incredibly gentle on my sensitive skin.  It leaves my skin clean and refreshed without ever leaving it dry or tight.

I found mine at Rite Aid, but it's now available at places like Target, Walmart, and other standard drug stores.  If you've been looking for the quickest way to get undone in the evenings, you have to give it a shot.