On The 13th Day of Blogmas: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Blogmas

Sunday night, I did not have a very productive day but I did finish a book that I really enjoyed & that’s the perfect way to spend a day 😊 A friend of mine recommended the Nevermoor series to me & I’m so glad they did! At first I was a bit hesitant because most of the reviews compared the series to Harry Potter & I’m not the biggest fan of those books. Here’s the deal, I grew up on Harry Potter & enjoyed them until they started getting really dark. I just don’t need to read about death & thinly veiled political commentary in a fantasy series that’s supposed to be suited for young adults. I can turn on the news, watch documentaries or read a history book to educate myself on those things. Anyway, Nevermoor is much more lighthearted while still being a fantastic engaging series with endearing characters.

Morrigan Crow is a cursed child who is destined for death on the Eventide of her eleventh birthday. OK admittedly it does start out a bit bleak 😉 Morrigan is blamed for all bad things that happen in Jacklefax. Her father who feels that Morrigan’s cursed status is interfering with his political career, is ready to wash his hands of her as is the rest of the family. Unfortunately, Eventide comes early & Morrigan is hurtled towards her unlucky fate.

Enter a delightful, mysterious, brilliant Jupiter North who whisks her away from the Hunt of Horse & Hound just in the knick of time. He takes Morrigan to a magical dominion, Nevermoor where he owns a delightfully preposterous hotel, the Deucalion. It’s filled with a cast of eccentric characters including a magnificat & vampire dwarf. Morrigan is delighted to feel accepted but also confused as to why Jupiter went to such great lengths to save her.

Jupiter has chosen Morrigan to try out for the Wondrous Society, a very exclusive society of highly talented individuals. Morrigan must complete a series of trials to join the society including demonstrating her knack or very special talent that sets her apart from others. The problem is, she doesn’t have any idea what her knack is & Jupiter is maddeningly evasive.

As Morrigan prepares for these trials, odd things are happening in Nevermoor like trains derailing & wunder shortages. We start to hear about the Wundersmith, a very sinister fellow who was banned from Nevermoor because of his tyrrany & abuse of his Wundersmith powers. Morrigan grows increasingly concerned about her cursed status & wonders if it has followed her to Nevermoor. The citizens of Nevermoor though, fear the return of the Wundersmith.

After a series of very bizarre trials & almost being ousted a few times, Morrigan makes it to the final challenge but still has no idea what her knack is. Only Jupiter does & it turns out that Morrigan is a Wundersmith which is not a widely celebrated thing to be…

I thought this book was just a delight & am starting the second book tonight! Obviously, there are similar themes to Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and even some Handmaid’s Tale but the story is unique enough to stand out from these. I’m fascinated by this mystical energy source & the entire world of Nevermoor. It’s zany, colorful & just good fun. Clearly, I’m a bit old for the series but I think it’s very well written & a pleasant escape.

Let me know what you’re reading & thanks for stopping by 🤍

On the 12th Day of Blogmas: Baking & Bond, James Bond

Blogmas

Happy Saturday, I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! I mentioned a few posts back that I take one weekend each year to watch James Bond films & bake Christmas goodies. Today was supposed to be the day, the Bond marathon was a success but the baking part an abject failure. In my defense, I was waiting for the butter to soften 😉 So instead of sharing the goodies I should have made, I’m sharing my Top 5 Bond films. I’m a James Bond fanatic, it started with the books in middle school & films when I was in college. I have no idea why it took me so long to watch them, probably because they weren’t cool by liberal, college female standards. I still listen to the books, there’s something wholesome & nostalgic about the old stories even though the material is a bit racy. Now, I could rank all 26 films but that seems crazy 😂

Number 5: Skyfall (2012) This is my favorite Daniel Craig adaptation by far. I thought his debut in Casino Royale fell flat considering how good the book is. Craig is not my favorite Bond, he plays the role a lot grittier & tortured than the international men of mystery from yester year but he’s an interesting Bond. This one finds M at the center of an assassination plot spearheaded by a former agent. The villain being someone on the inside rather than some over the top, super villain made this one tense & his story is so tragic. It’s all fun & games until the cyanide capsule fails.

Number 4: Moonraker (1979) But I do love a bizarre, over the top villain too 😂 When a space shuttle is stolen, Bond is sent to investigate the ultra-wealthy, eccentric Hugo Drax. From Rio to Venice, Bond is pursued by Jaws, a hulking brute of a man with jaws of steel. There’s a super cheesy intergalactic battle but 007 saves the human race in the knick of time, again. Roger Moore is a decent Bond if a little nerdy. This film has been lauded as the worst Bond film, it’s a little nutty but still a fun watch.

Number 3: Goldfinger (1964) Bond is investigating Auric Goldfinger, yet another businessman bent on world domination. He invites Bond to his horse farm for drinks…& murder. Iconic scenes include the poor girl suffocated in gold & Odd Job with his deadly hat.

Number 2: Goldeneye (1995) Hands down the only Pierce Brosnan film I can stand – the other ones are just bananas, even for Bond 😂 007 goes up against the only person who can whip his ass, 006. Bond has to take down his former ally before he uses a stolen satellite to destroy the earth. I don’t love the Brosnan era films because I believe this was the start of the prolonged sex scenes. The older films just gave cheeky hints as to what was happening, they kept it classy & fun by comparison.

Number 1: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) My favorite Bond, George Lazenby appeared in exactly one film & it’s my favorite by far. He had some big shoes to fill following Connery & did a bang up job in my opinion. Bond infiltrates the international crime syndicate SPECTRE by securing an invitation to a compound in the Alps by one Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Blofeld is executing a bio-warfare plot that would wipe out global economies. I love the isolated setting, Bond’s midnight escape on skis & nail biting car chases. I think this is the one Bond storyline where he could have been killed but he came through without any fancy gadgets 😉 This film also put an end to the ever revolving cast of Bond girls…almost…

Bond to me, is just good fun. Some of the older films haven’t perhaps aged well but I’m also applying my modern day morals & values to very different times. I think that is something to consider when watching these films – just enjoy them for what they are. Are you a Bond fan? What’s your favorite film? I’ll post my baked goods just as soon as I get around to making them ❄

On The 10th Day of Blogmas: The Blizzard of ’97

Blogmas

I am clearly having snow withdrawals because I have been watching documentaries about the Blizzard of ’49 on Colorado & Wyoming PBS. Listen, I am not asking for a Christmas blizzard but a little snow would be nice. It got me thinking about the Blizzard of ’97 & how even with all of our modern conveniences, we are still fragile in the hands of mother nature.

If you are a Minnesotan or ever lived here, I am sure that you have been regaled with tales of the Halloween Blizzard of ’91. There was a foot on the ground before the kids were back from trick or treating 🙂 There have been heavy snowfalls since I have lived here, nothing that really shut the city down but I am still waiting. Anyway, us Coloradoans have our very own tales of an October Blizzard & it was pretty epic as I recall. I grew up in the San Juan River Valley, we didn’t have mild winters – the chains went on in October & didn’t come off until April. I was in 3rd grade, we went to school in town which was 45-minutes to an hour down the mountain. There were a dozen or so of us that were called ‘the mountain kids’ because we were designated our own bus since the route was so long. Occasionally, the mountain kids would be sent home early because of winter weather but this particular day, we knew it was a bigger deal because we were loaded up before lunch. I also remember the bus driver looking stressed & no wonder, not only did she have to get us home before the roads became impassible, she had to get back down the mountain to her own home safely. I don’t know how she drove that route all of those years, she was at least 70 for my entire childhood 😛

The atmosphere before a big snow has a a feel about it. The air literally feels heavy & dense, I remember being scooted onto the bus & inching closer & closer to these huge snow clouds as we headed up the mountain. It felt like we were being squished between the dense air below us & those huge clouds above us. About halfway into the journey, we ran into a wall of snow that had been falling in earnest already & only got heavier as we gained altitude. As kids I don’t think we fully appreciated that we were travelling through white out conditions along a twisty, turny mountain road but we were feeling tense nonetheless.

With each kid that was deposited safely in front of their home, a blast of frigid wind & snow entered the bus. We were all sitting in the middle of the bus nearest to the heat blowers but that icy chill was far reaching. There were two times that we had to pull off so that the driver could bang the ice off of the wipers but the ride was mostly uneventful. In my kid mind, it took us 5 hours to get up the mountain because it was dark out but really, it was about 2 in the afternoon by the time we got home & the sun was just obliterated by the storm system. We were the last stop on the route but we made it. Our farm was down a long dirt road & over a rickety bridge that crossed Stoner Creek (which is river size not creek size) that the bus couldn’t actually drive on but my dad was waiting at the opening of said bridge with the toboggan to pull me home. We watched as the bus driver backed across the road & started her journey back to town.

I had a bloody nose by the time we got home, I get them when I am stressed out but was fine outside of that. The blizzard raged for at least three days but I don’t recall sleeping very much. There’s a lot of things that need to happen on a farm & it’s all thrown into hyper-drive when bad weather is an added factor. The animals have to be accounted for, they have to be kept warm but putting heat sources in a barn is tricky because it eats the oxygen up & you can burn it down. Not all of the animals fit in the barn either, so they have to be contained as close as you can get them so they don’t freeze. We had to bring the ducks inside & house them in the bathroom which was the highlight of the blizzard for me. My dad headed out a few times in the tractor to help others dig out all while the snow was still dumping. At one point, the phone lines did go down but we never lost electricity which was a small wonder considering the weight of the snow on the power lines.

When it finally stopped snowing, the amount of snow was breathtaking. My dad spent hours clearing snow, helping neighbors clear snow – we lived on a county road so often had to clear the main road well before the plows arrived. At some points, there was nowhere for the snow to go & the roadways were very narrow with huge snow mounds on each side. I don’t remember how long we were out of school but I want to say it was at least a week.

When I have travelled home in my adulthood, it never ceases to amaze me remembering how isolated those few mountain farms were. To this day, there is one treacherous, narrow road in – you had to be resourceful in an emergency because outside help is scarce. We never had any major emergencies but a number of things could have gone wrong during that blizzard. The worst that happened on our farm was after the blizzard when I was in charge of returning the ducks to their pond, I slipped & fell in some goose shit & this pack of geese descended on me. We had this weird flock of geese that stayed pretty much year round, they were mean.

Have you experienced any memorable weather events in your lifetime, let me know! I hope you enjoyed, thanks for stopping by ❄

On The 9th Day of Blogmas: The LUSH Tag

Blogmas

To start, I am not a Lushie – there are two times each year that I shop at LUSH, Christmas & when I run out of Karma Kream. I am supremely annoyed that my beloved Karma Kream is being discontinued, again, when I know that it will just be brought back eventually. Anyway, I have enough for now but have yet to order any Christmas items which I was ordering today when I came upon this fun little tag & figured I would give it a whirl.

Sweet Husky

A former co-worker of mine was obsessed with LUSH & we would always stop in there when we went to the Mall of America which, used to be a lot more often than I do now. Over the years, I started to find products that I really enjoyed & find that they have the perfect gifts for just about anyone.

Sweet Husky

I don’t go to the physical stores any longer, I think they are too small & chaotic. These days, I usually place an order 1-2 times a year & mostly for Christmas goodies & gifts. I think the stores are very lovely to look at but why are they so small?!

Sweet Husky

Karma Kream! It is the perfect mix of sweet & musky plus it is a really great moisturizer for dry skin. I hope that they do bring it back at some point, I feel that this will be the second time that this product has been ‘discontinued.’

Sweet Husky

Karm & Goddess are my go to soaps but I don’t use them everyday, they are more of a treat. Unfortunately, essential oils wreak havoc on my skin if I use them continually. Karm is a bar of patchouli goodness & Goddess is a jasmine dream. Both scents are beautiful in all of the different formats.

Sweet Husky

I love baths, here’s the deal, the diverter on my faucet recently stopped working though so I have been filling the bath by running the shower. You know what sound I hate? Shower water spraying standing water. Drives me nuts. Now, how long do I let it ride without being fixed before I take that puppy off myself? Probably until my LUSH box gets here. I love all bath bombs from LUSH – Butterball & Shoot for the Stars are probably in my top though. Goddess is again, really fabulous & it makes the bathroom smell heavenly for hours. I think there has only been one bath bomb that I did not enjoy & it was because it made my skin so itchy.

Sweet Husky

Happy Hippy, not contest – it’s a light, fruity scent that is very pleasant at any time of year. Rose Jam is a winter time favorite, a lot sweeter than what I typically go for but still enjoyable. I have not used their jelly products, I’m not sure how they would last & if they would be messy.

Sweet Husky

I have used some of their skincare but honestly, was not impressed for the price. I feel as though LUSH capitalizes on the green beauty, clean beauty, etc. trend & I just don’t think some of the products were very effective. Their shampoo bars though are awesome – I have dry hair so my favorites are both softening bars. I have Honey I Washed My Hair and Jason & The Argan Oil on rotation in my shower. I’ve tried a couple of their conditioner bars but stick to Candy Rain for my dry hair.

Sweet Husky

The Full of Grace solid serum, I loved the concept & thought it sounded like it would be good for my skin but holy break outs. Also, it didn’t melt on contact like other pressed serums I have used do. It really took some tugging & pulling to get it onto my face which isn’t something I want to be putting my skin through on the regular.

Are you a LUSH fan, are all of the stores so small? I’m curious to know what they look like in other regions. I live in close proximity to 4 different locations & they are roughly the size of a modest master bedroom. Let me know what your favorite products are – thanks for stopping by 🤍

On the 8th Day of Blogmas: Scent of the Season

Blogmas

But before we get into today’s Blogmas; a story about renting in America. I rent, owning a home does not appeal to me in the slightest. I figured this out while house hunting the last year or so. Snow clearing, plowing, lawn care, having a driveway sealed, picking out new windows & all of the other delightful things that come along with homeownership just aren’t things that I am interested in. I can appreciate a beautiful home & the hard work that goes into one but it’s not for me. My apartment is my home, it’s not just another stop on the ride to somewhere else as it seems to be for most other renters. I take care of it just as I would if I did own it, the actual owners don’t. I’ve had numerous maintenance needs that I have ended up taking care of on my own or paying someone else to do it because the maintenance here is nonexistent. Recently, my shower started draining slower than normal so I dumped some Drano down it thinking my hair had just backed it up. Not the case, apparently the neighbors below me had a major clog from their washing machine that ended up causing some water main to back up & burst. First of all – what the fuck are you putting in your washing machine & how was I supposed to know?! So my building manager calls me to see if I have had any drainage issues, I tell him about the bath to which he freaks out & asks why I didn’t say anything. Because you wouldn’t have taken a look anyway. My kitchen sink dripped for months until I replaced it, I have water stains on my spare bedroom ceiling from rainwater leaking in while the roof was being replaced. The smoke alarm in my living room goes off randomly which isn’t disruptive to my life at all. All of which, I have requested maintenance for! But me not reporting a maintenance issue is such a huge problem & this sums up renting in America. All of the responsibility falls on the renter when in reality, aren’t we the customers. Shouldn’t we be the ones being made happy?! I’m over it, almost enough to start looking at houses…

Good news on that crazy Bath & Body Works order(s), their customer service was able to cancel the duplicate orders but I will have to keep the additional candles that I had added by accident because of site latency. No complaints though, it’s not like I won’t use the extra candles 😛 Which brings us to today’s topic, my current home scent picks for the holiday season! First, I have this Winter Pine candle from ULTA, that is surprisingly good for a new candle brand! It is a 3-wick soy blend that is the perfect blend of pine, spice & musk. It smells exactly like a sappy, fresh cut Christmas tree – I love it. I will say that it doesn’t burn as clean as a Bath & Body Works candle, I’ve had to skim the burnt wax off a few times to keep it burning but other than that it has been fine. Sadly, it is now out of stock but Fresh Balsam, Tree Farm & Mahogany Balsam from Bath & Body Works are all very similar scents.

Next, are these Fresh Pine & Juniper Airwick that I found at Walmart recently. These are definitely a sharper tree scent but still pleasant & not PineSol smelling – although, I do love the scent of PineSol so I might be biased. I have not seen these ones in year prior but I hope they keep making them. My apartment smells like a tree farm now & it’s perfectly festive.

I’m not totally sure why I associate pine scents with Christmas, I think it’s the memories of wood burning in the stove in addition to the fresh tree in the living room that puts me in a holiday spirit whenever I smell it. What are your favorite holiday scents? I used to really like Champagne Toast but now it just smells like burnt plastic to me. Thanks for stopping by, I hope that you are surviving this holiday season 🎄

On The 7th Day of Blogmas: Holiday Movie Watch List

Blogmas

Have these movies all been watched at least a hundred times by most everyone on the face of the earth? Yes. Are we still going to watch them on repeat until New Years? Given the current lockdown situation, probably. Listen, I just don’t think that the cheesy, made for television holiday romps will ever compare to the classics. They’re cute but they don’t have that re-watch ability factor for me. I can watch Kevin McCallister slap aftershave on his face 50 times over & still laugh…I can only watch a hunky knight kiss Vanessa Hudgens under the mistletoe like…once. Not to mention, those feel good films make myself & most single females bitter – when am I going to be proposed to on Christmas by some time traveling hunk?! Never, the answer is never.

My inner monologue watching Hallmark movies…

I much prefer holiday comedy films over the feel good rom-coms, but everyone’s taste is different. These are just a few that I must watch each year.

Frosty Regular

Just the original for me, please – Lost in New York is pretty good but can the same preposterous thing happen two times over? Seems unlikely. I am sure that we all know the premise of this classic, Kevin makes a Christmas wish for his whole family to disappear & Father Christmas grants this wish when the family hits a flight to Paris & leaves him home alone. Kevin enjoys his newfound freedom until a couple of local burglars case his family home. It’s a classic that I think has aged very well and should not be remade.

Frosty Regular

Probably my favorite holiday movie, I love this quirky, crazy, relatable chronicle of Christmas with the Griswolds. Again, it’s a hilarious depiction of how the holidays can go so wrong but still be so much fun when the family gets together. The turkey scene especially kills me, my mom would start cooking the turkey at about 2 AM & cook that thing for hours. I still don’t know why, when I started cooking my own turkey & realized that it takes a mere few hours, I figured out why my mother’s turkey was always so dry 😛 No, sometimes it was perfect but I still don’t understand the 12-hour cook time.

Frosty Regular

This is a newer addition to my holiday rotation but it became a fast favorite – probably because it is set in 1940 which just adds to its charm. The movie chronicles Ralphie’s attempts to acquire a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. The costumes & sets are simply perfect, it’s just a delight. I’m that crazy person who will actually sit & watch this one on marathon, it’s so much fun & who can’t relate to desperately wanting something for Christmas as a kid?

Frosty Regular

Scott Calvin has stopped believing in the magic of Christmas until he inadvertently pushes Santa off his roof & finds himself having to the fill the role. My favorite parts of this one are when single dad Scott burns the holiday meal & they have to eat at a Denny’s that is fresh out of pie & when Neal receives a Weenie Whistle. It’s a fun move that touched on some very real topics, like navigating a new family dynamic during the holidays & hanging onto the true meaning of Christmas.

Frosty Regular

This one tends to end up on some worst movie lists but I think it’s delightful. Howard is a high-powered mattress salesman who forgets to secure a hot toy item for his son. This leads to a hysterical series of events as he tries to find a Turbo Man for Christmas morning. There are a lot of Minnesota landmarks in this film; Mall of America, Wabasha St. & downtown St. Paul, the Cedar bridge – it’s fun to watch.

My favorite thing to do is have these on repeat while I wrap gifts through the night. Do I have any reason so stay up all night & wrap gifts? No, it’s not like there is anyone in the house that I need to have asleep so I can wrap gifts 😛 Also, I never wrap gifts on Christmas Eve anyway because most of them need to be in the mail well before Christmas. So usually, it’s like a random Tuesday night that I am staying up way too late wrapping gifts & watching holiday movies. What are your favorite holiday movies, let me know if any of there top your list!

On The 6th Day of Blogmas: My Favorite Vlogmas

Blogmas

Confession, I’m a vlog junkie. I love watching people just living their lives. Oh, you’re detailing your car for two hours? Fascinating. Vloggers bring me back to a more wholesome time on YouTube when it was normal people broadcasting themselves. Now YouTube seems so hyper-stylized & plagued with drama. Many of my favorite vloggers have stopped vlogging or left the platform altogether. For those who still post YouTube content, few continue to post Vlogmas which is just a bummer. Luckily for me, my favorite content creators who still post Vlogmas definitely do it the best!

Jessica Braun & Family – I’ve been watching Jessica for a long time & just adore her little family. They live in Indiana & their content is delightfully Midwestern. She posts a little bit of everything; lifestyle, grocery hauls, recipes, beauty, travel & it’s all genuinely relatable. She & her husband (Tyler) are so goofy & wholesome. I also appreciate how they include their daughter in their vlogs without over sharing. Kids on YouTube & family vlog channels mostly just weird me out. The Braun family vlogmas highlight decorating, cooking, baking & loads of other wholesome content.

Fleur De Force & Family – Fleur is another one I’ve been watching for a very long & she is the coolest. Her style, her taste in home decor – she’s a total class act. Her family lives in the English countryside in what appears to be an old manor house with at least 100 rooms. I’m sure it’s not that big but whenever she posts in a new room I’m like – what room is this?! Her house is to die for, check out her kitchen renovation 🤩 Fleur & her husband, Mike have the cutest daughter named River. Again, while she is included, it’s not seemingly invasive. Also, her name is River – just the coolest. Their vlogmas are a bit more posh, stunning trees, handmade gift wrapping, gin & tonics – I love it all. Her lockdown vlogs have been really delightful as well.

It’s been fun watching these Youtubers grow up & evolve over the years – I hope that they keep posting & sharing glimpses of their lives for a very long time. Do you have any vlogger recommendations, let me know & thanks for reading ❄

On The 5th Day of Blogmas: Dreaming of a White Christmas ❄

Blogmas

December 5th, still no snow. Growing increasingly disappointed in 2020, if that’s even imaginable. I cannot believe that we still don’t have any snow on the ground! We had 2-3 inches right before Halloween & it seemed that we were well on our way into winter. Then November hit with a series of unseasonably warm weeks, not days, weeks. Seemingly, there is no end in sight & very little precipitation in the forecast. I just knew that 2020 would find a way to ruin Christmas. I’m being a tad dramatic, perhaps.

For me, snow is an integral part of the holiday season. I could never live in a climate where snow is rare or nonexistent. I love the smell of snow, the reflection of it on a dark night, the way it sparkles against lights. The best Christmas day memories are those of sledding or ice skating after the indoor festivities had commenced. Many of these idealic days were punctuated with beautiful snow showers. I can’t remember any brown Christmases & yet that seems to be the norm now. This makes me a bit sad, I can honestly say that I’ve witnessed climate change during my lifetime. I mean, it doesn’t just cease to snow in a cold climate for simply no good reason.

The lack of cold weather & snow doesn’t just put a damper on my holiday spirit – I love cold weather sports. Snowshoeing, cross country skiing, snowboarding & ice skating are all dependent on good winter conditions & it’s not even cold enough for a coat right now.

I will be tremendously disappointed if it doesn’t snow by Christmas, I didn’t think that this year could be more of a let down & here we are 😐 Do you have any snow in your neck of the woods? Let me know so I can move there 😂

On the 4th Day of Blogmas: Candle Day

Blogmas

…palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy…When I heard that Bath & Body Works was extending their Candle Day event & including an online shopping day – I didn’t pay it much mind. I never make it into the store for the big event anyway because I cannot handle crowds like that under any circumstances let alone during a pandemic. Usually, I just wait until the candles are $14.50 & I have a 20% coupon which brings the candles down to almost the same price as the candle day deal then I go to the store for a leisurely shopping experience. However, on further inspection of said coupon, this year it said that it cannot be combined with other offers or sales. What?! I get it, retailers are definitely struggling & probably less inclined to offer deals on deals on deals. So, here I am, 5 AM (I always get up at 5, I wasn’t doing it for Candle Day), going back & forth on whether or not I was going to give in & purchase some candles online. But, Stella – you just received a box of broken glass that is still sitting in your closet & your online ordering experiences have been less than 10/10.

Here’s the thing, I have a home fragrance obsession & I still needed to replace the candles that I was going to give as gifts because they are going to be the center item in these baskets I’m putting together. Now, I had considered swapping them for a bottle of wine but a couple of friends have stopped drinking during the pandemic & everyone can enjoy a candle. I decided that I was going to replace the gift candles & treat myself to one seasonal scent. Seems reasonable, right? Here’s what actually happened.

To start why is online shopping so difficult? It’s supposed to be easy, it never is unless your are shopping on Amazon which sucks because that’s why people shop so much on Amazon – myself included. I’ve never had payment issues, had an item be in stock when I check out & then received an email saying that the item was actually not in stock, they process refunds incredibly fast, replace missing items – just to name a few reasons that keep me coming back to Amazon. Obviously, being a brick & mortar retailer who also has e-commerce is different than only ever existing as an online retailer. Their logistics capabilities probably blow most other retailers out of the water. I have never heard of Amazon crashing even though they sell an average of 4,000 items per minute. Bath & Body Works goes live with Candle Day & the site almost immediately crashes. Why? Why does Amazon seemingly have access to far & away more bandwidth than any other online retailer?! It’s all the same internet, I don’t get it. So, I just knew that after 5 minutes of the website spinning & then getting the Uh-Oh screen that this was going to be a ride.

I have zero patience for online shopping, I would much rather go to a store in person & stand in line if need be. These retailers want me to wait in an online queue in the world of ones & zeros?! I don’t think so. Also, I am not very online shopping savvy – I’ve heard of shoppers using multiple computers or devices to navigate websites. I literally cannot be bothered. I decided to just leave the site & come back, when I came back it took awhile to load but it eventually did. There were a couple of scents that I wanted that were already sold out, no big deal because I was only getting one for me anyway. I’m adding to bag but had to click multiple times to actually get items to the bag, everything seemed fine otherwise, I’m so close to checking out that I can taste it. I choose PayPal because I think that’s the most secure way to check out online. The website timed out when it was sending me over to PayPal. I back up, my bag is empty, I refill it, select PayPal & this time it works. Huzzah! Back to the B&BW website, the submit order button is greyed out so I refresh the page. It’s clickable, the end is near. Processing, processing, confirmation from PayPal…processing, processing, another confirmation from PayPal….& then another. In the end, I ended up with three orders with multiples of items that I thought I was only selecting 1 each of but I’m guessing that I was adding to bag but the bag wasn’t updating…? Apparently, I have ordered almost 40 candles. I contacted B&BW immediately to let them know that they were all duplicate orders, there is no reason for them to ship 2 additional orders to me when I know they are swamped & nobody needs that many candles!! I can’t believe that the orders weren’t immediately flagged.

I’m stressed, my heart hurts a little – like a tightness in my chest. I think I should lay down. Do people actually enjoy online shopping?! How is this enjoyable, shopping stresses me out anyway but there is something so intangible about online shopping that really makes me anxious. I don’t feel like I have actually successfully purchased something until it’s physically in my hands. My hope is that they see that there are multiple duplicate orders but that still doesn’t remedy the fact that I was obviously clicking around too much & adding more than one item to my bag. Everything is mostly sold out now so I guess I’m glad that I shopped early…?

I’m tired, are you an online shopper? I know that you cannot beat the convenience but gosh, it seems like such an ordeal more often than not. I would probably have been better off just hitting the store tomorrow but here we are. If the candles arrive busted, that’s it for me & online shopping.

On The 3rd Day of Blogmas: Black Friday Fail

Blogmas

You guys, I think the universe is sending me a sign that I should be saving my shekels instead of spending them on more beauty stuff that I really don’t need. Most of my Black Friday budget was spent at ULTA because they were having some great deals. I swear, they make way more money off me than they pay me 😛 Well, my order of 16 or so items arrived yesterday & 6 of those items were candles that I was giving as gifts with some other bits for my gal pals. The UPS delivery man who is such a nice guy knocked on my door & handed me the box, he said it sounded broken & boy, he was right. First of all, whoever packed the box should have picked a bigger one at the very least. All of the items were crammed to the brim of the box without a single piece of packing material. All 6 candles were on top, completely shattered. The makeup was underneath the candles & I am guessing just the sheer weight of the candles crushed them because it was a mess. One bottle of shampoo had a big slash in it & the product had completely filled the bottom of the box. I stopped examining the items because it started to get hairy digging through glass laced shampoo. The outside of the box was in perfect condition & I don’t think it was a carrier issue, the warehouse just did a terrible job of packing the box. I’m not making a fuss (aside from this long-winded rant), first because I am an employee & second because the distribution centers are probably overworked & understaffed. I did request a refund because I cannot use a single thing in that box & am pretty disappointed but like I said, taking it as a sign. Also, I have no idea what do with with this box of broken glass?! I already told customer service that I am not sending it back through the mail! Eventually, the shampoo will make the box soggy enough that it could break open & really hurt someone. I don’t want to return it at my store because then we’ll just have a box of broken glass in the damages pile. Update – customer service told me that I could just throw the products away & a refund would be issued 🙂 I still think that I will go through it & separate everything as much as possible, what a mess.

Looking at this photo, the cotton rounds did survive!

The only other item that I purchased for myself was a handbag from Foley & Corrina which was on sale but not that great of sale, I really just needed a small bag that I could carry essential items in for work. Back when the CDC was saying that COVID could live on surfaces for like 16 hours, I started using a fanny pack when I went out that I would wash constantly. Well, now that I am back at the office, my neon green fanny pack is less than chic & a little faded from all that washing. I’m not ready to go back to my big bags because I still feel like I need to wipe them down & I don’t need to be carrying one since they double as my gym bag. I wanted a small, synthetic bag that still looked nice but would be easy to clean & hold what I needed it to. This little bag checks all of those boxes & it’s pretty cute, the gold accents look like a smiley face 🙂

I’m a mid-sized gal, certainly not thin so I tend to avoid small bags because they make me feel bigger but I really cannot be bothered to care at the moment. The strap on this bag is long enough to make the perfect cross body, I can wear it over my coats too & it doesn’t look oddly small. It’s a simple bag with enough little details to make it fun.

I honestly don’t know a lot about this brand or how well this bag will wear. Most of my other bags are leather or vegan leather, this one is simply described as synthetic so I guess we’ll see. It has a nice weight to it though & very nice lining. There is a credit card pocket on the outside & one zip pocket on the inside. It holds everything that I need it to, I’ve already used disinfectant wipes on it a couple of times with no issues.

Did you snag any deals this year – let me know what you had your eye on! I really, really wanted one of those robotic vacuum things but couldn’t commit & I don’t mind vacuuming anyway, I think my cats & neighbors would prefer that I purchase one since I vacuum a lot but maybe I will get one for Christmas 😀 I hope that you are happy, healthy & just doing the best you can 🖤