Friday, July 30, 2010

Confession of a Blogger

Recently I posted a blog about gift registries and a couple in particular (who shall continue to remain nameless) who I thought could stand to ask for some nicer appliances. Is "toaster oven" ringing any bells?

Well to my surprise, said guy not only reads my blog but guessed that he was the person I was writing about. Eek!!! I was m o r t i f i e d. I always worried that something like this could happen and that is why I try to watch what I write about, but for whatever reason I was completely caught off guard. Don't worry, we're still friends, he said it made him laugh, but how embarrassing. The conversation actually took place over gchat and went a little something like this (abbreviated to keep your attention):
Anonymous male: Hey friend
Me: Hey, there... long time no talk
Anonymous male: I know, its been too long. This summer has flown by.
Me: I know what you mean!!! I feel like I have a ton to catch you up on!
Anonymous male: I bet, I try to keep up with your blog so I have an idea of whats going on in your life. I hope thats not creepy.
Me: No way! I write it so people can stay up to speed- I'm glad to hear you're reading it.
Anonymous male: Yeah, I read it when I remember to. By the way... the blog about the couple's registry... was that about me and ------?
Me: OMG!
I am so embarrassed!
Anonymous male: No, don't be. I laughed hard when I read it.
Me: I still feel terrible.
But... I really do think you should ask for a nicer toaster oven.
It could have been worse. I could have said something much more offensive about something much more meaningful. Let's be honest, I rarely hesitate to speak my mind/offer my opinion- a characteristic I'm working on. This is not to say that I don't feel strongly about toaster ovens, because I do, but it could have been a more touchy topic.

Dear Anonymous male (you know who you are),
Thank you for letting me share my opinion about your registry and for letting me bring it up once more in this post. I'm glad you didn't take offense to my words and I'm even more glad that you are considering taking my advice. See you soon!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Christmas in July

First I want to start off by saying that I've always wanted to have a Christmas in July party, but that isn't what this blog is about.

I came home today to a box from Bed, Bath, & Beyond with a wedding gift in it!!! How awesome is that? It was totally unexpected and that made it that much better. I know people have up to a year to send a gift but we've been married nearly 10 months, which is pretty close to that, so I never saw it coming! Regardless it was a nice surprise!

Speaking of wedding gifts, we've been having to buy a lot of them lately and I love it! I just really enjoy checking out people's registries to see their plate choices, color schemes, etc. and then putting together a themed gift from it! I would much rather run through searching for items on a wedding registry than a baby registry- that's for sure!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blockbuster Express

Have you guys heard of or used the new Blockbuster Express? Well if not, it's Blockbuster's recent development to compete with RedBox. The main difference is that they have way fewer locations to rent from, but they do get some movies before RedBox does.

Anyway, last night marked my first opportunity to return a DVD to this machine on my own. I've gone with Jake before to pick them out, but he always takes them back. So in an effort to be helpful I decided to run up to return it before he got home. It started pouring when I got there and after watching the onscreen demo and selecting the "more time" option over and over again, I gave up... movie not returned. I know that may sound funny, but with the pounding rain and zero progress after several return attempts I was so frustrated I just had to walk away.

Once home, I decided to check out their website and see if there were more clear directions for returning the movie. I promise, the demo they showed depicted a case that does not resemble the actual DVD case- making it very hard to see which end goes in first, which side faces up, etc. I searched their website and even YouTube to no avail. Embarrassed, I knew I had to go back and try again. How could I actually explain to Jake that I couldn't figure out how to return it? I couldn't, so I headed back for round two. After somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes of trying I still had no success. I brought it inside to ask the clerk if there was a trick to getting it to work and he just referred me to the on-screen demo. Frustrated, I got back in my car and went home.

As soon as Jake got home I confessed my struggle, and to my surprise he told me he always has trouble with it too! What a relief! He tried taking it back himself that night and also had no luck!

Turns out the machine was actually broken... confidence restored!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Nosey Neighbor

You know how there are those people who you can feel monitoring the neighborhood from the comfort of behind their blinds? Well, that's me- I've officially become that person in our unit (or whatever you'd call it).

To provide some explanation, our apartment is right near the clubhouse which has the pool to one side and the playground to the other. All the noise begs attention, but what I've really found myself keeping an eye on are the older kids that hang out there. Some of them you can tell are there to watch their younger brother or sister, but some are there for reasons still unknown. I have my speculations of course, but this is why I have turned to keeping a keen eye from our window. It sounds awful and a little bit creepy, but I feel like their lingering is what is really shady here. Regardless of how weird my actions may be, I feel fairly certain they are up to no good (not the words of your average 24 year old, I know). Perfect example- last week there was a high school guy who was hovering over this girl from behind and he was in total c r e e p mode, I could see it in his eyes! I wanted to run outside yelling, "don't be gross, go home"... but I didn't.

Maybe I'm just old school, and I know its summertime, but these older kids hang out there as late as 11:00pm. I mean what appeal does a playground have for someone their age? Seriously, what? And at night...

Another recent experience I had took place sometime after 10pm when I was letting Tank out. No joke, this younger guy and girl flew over the fence surrounding the pool holding their clothes and laughing/screaming. He was at least in board shorts, but she was definitely in her bra and who knows what else... thank goodness she had a towel. They ran past me and ducked into this car that had pulled up to the sidewalk, lights off. Come on, tell me that isn't weird to witness!

I'll admit I might be a little conservative and they could just be having some fun, but it's only a matter of time before I witness a half naked make out session on the playground slide, a fist fight, or a drug sale (that last one might be a bit extreme). I'll keep you posted on any other noteworthy events.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taking Liberties with a Couple’s Registry- Good or Bad?

I vote, “good”, but I have to set some conditions. Hear me out.

(Oh, and just to explain the sudden influx of wedding related blogs, I am doing some lifestyle writing for our company blog and weddings was the topic of choice! With that on the mind, it's influencing what I write here.)

Some couples are comfortable registering for higher end gifts while others try to keep the expense reasonable to low for their guests. If you’re trying to get out of a high end gift for couple A by getting them a less expensive version, please STOP yourself and just give money or a gift card in the amount you’d like to spend. This would be an example of when it is bad to take liberties with a registry.

Now, if you’re trying to upgrade couple B’s gift to something nicer than please proceed, just make sure to attach a gift receipt. It may seem strange, but there could be a legitimate reason they opted for the $39 microwave over the $100 one. Perhaps they have limited space in their apartment and couldn’t have the larger capacity microwave… who knows, but they certainly won’t be offended that you tried to offer them something nicer. Not to mention I bet they will appreciate the difference they receive back on a gift card at the store too!

This topic may seem out of the blue, but it wasn’t. I recently found myself in this dilemma, but instead of a $39 microwave, it was a $24.99 toaster from Target. Here’s what happened:

I was shopping was a bridal shower present at Target, but because I waited so long there weren’t a lot of items left that were $35 or less. I did however come across the toaster oven this couple asked for as being in stock and within my budget. When I located in the proper isle I couldn’t believe my eyes. First of all, at that price I thought I was looking for a regular toaster. I was wrong. Secondly, this was the sorriest toaster oven I had ever seen. No wonder it was only $25. That might be coming across as snobby, but that isn’t my intention or tone at all! Honestly, our toaster oven is one of the appliances my husband and I use most at home! When I saw this little guy I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I decided to move on to another store they registered at and got lucky. Apparently they only registered for their place settings and coordinating serve ware from said store and those items were online only. BUT, coincidence would have it that another bride had returned some pieces from this pattern to that store AND everything returned was under $35. I was beaming, this was perfect! I picked up 4 fruit bowls in their pattern and was on my way.

But wait just a minute- that wasn’t the end of the toaster oven dilemma… no, not for me, I was still distraught. When my husband came home I immediately recapped my shopping experience and toaster oven discovery. He of course agreed with my decision to forgo the purchase and go with the fruit bowls (we use ours every day). This was when I first considered a registry upgrade. Before this date something like this had never crossed my mind. I don’t know if being married put me into this comfortable category of feeling versed in house wares and kitchen appliances or what, but I do know that I felt strongly about them getting a nicer toaster oven. I explained to my husband that I couldn’t leave it at just not buying the little guy for them, because that ran the risk that someone else might! I insisted that we purchase them the same toaster oven we received for our wedding. I mean, we know from experience that it’s awesome and it was expensive enough that if they opted to exchange it for something else they would have a decent amount of money to play with. So there you have it. A simple enough explanation for how this topic came about and how I came to stand firm in my opinion of what to do, should you ever face the same one!

you can go with this, or you can go with...


( reread that with the KIA hamster rap commercial in mind- do you have the beat?)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wedding Season- How to Make it Through

We're knee deep in wedding season and the end seems far. I want to start off by clarifying that I am a huge fan of weddings- in fact, I would dare say I love them. I love seeing friends, eating good food (or hoping to), seeing the bride's vision and all of her efforts unveiled, and of course, I just adore watching the newlyweds! BUT (and you knew this was coming) weddings hit in waves and can truly wear on you. It's not like after you've gotten a few under your belt they get easier or less exhausting. Sure maybe navigating through Target or Macy's to grab those registry items is, but the travel, outfit selection, and money spending isn't.

I consider myself a generous person when it comes to gift giving- it's one of my love languages. So for me, it's hard to have weddings come along so close together because it starts to limit what I'm able to give. A lot of people say its not about the gifts, its about being part of their big day and that is true... to an extent. A lot of the weddings we are attending are for young christian couples just starting out and they have n o t h i n g. I can identify with this place of need. Nine months ago when Jake and I tied the knot, he was a student and I was the only one working (and I wasn't bringing home the was more like bacon bits). We were moving into an apartment with no furniture of our own and an assortment of plates & cups from college. We didn't own a single pan; so for us, the gifts we registered were things we really needed to get started and we genuinely appreciated each and every gift we received.

So how can one get through this season without compromising their preferred caliber of gift or checking account? Plan, plan, plan. As soon as I hear a couple has set a date it goes on my calendar! Then I scope out their registries. I try and buy the gift early enough that there is still a selection within my price range. Also, keep an eye out for coupons. The Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons never expire (pay no attention the marked expiration date) and I have had a ton of success with online coupon codes. When it comes to Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn I search high and low online for free shipping- those are dollars that could go toward the gift!

At the end of the day it isn't the couple's fault that your cousin, college roommate, and friend of the family is getting married the same month... so don't let the unrelated events affect each other. Plan ahead.

Monday, July 12, 2010

a work in progress

Tank is exactly 7 weeks old and Jake and I have been proud owners for officially one week (and a day). Despite having pets before, it has been interesting having a puppy and actually being the primary caregiver. We both have learned a lot...

First, never again will I be fooled into thinking that kids can have pets... their parents can maybe, but they can't. I remember being on the other end of this argument in middle school when I begged my mom to keep our lab puppy, Emma (originally purchased for Dani, which is an entirely different story) promising I would take care of her. My Mom tried explaining to me that I couldn't care for Emma at that age, but I was determined to prove her wrong... and in her wise way, she was determined to prove me wrong by letting me experience first hand that I was utterly clueless past playtime. Lesson learned. I mean I am almost 25 and I'm still wondering if I'm actually a qualified pet owner.

Second, I've come to find that puppy teeth are extremely dangerous and are most attracted to quick moving hands, feet, and sometimes faces. Tank in particular thinks this is the best game ever. Wrong. I think both Jake and I would go as far as to say that's the worst game ever. Our little piranha, he's a nightmare.

Third, if a puppy looks like he has to pee then he probably has to pee. Seems simple enough, but when you're taking a dog out constantly for lack of a yard it gets tiresome to keep bringing them in and out and in and out and in... you get the point. Another lesson learned after Tank peed in the apartment 5+ times this weekend. Now we know.

Fourth, Boston Terriers are gaseous... even as puppies. I thought the coast would be clear for awhile with this common breed "issue", but I was wrong (are you seeing a pattern?). Although it hasn't happened as often as Jake has blamed him, Tank does already pass gas and it is gross! How could something so sweet and small let out something so awful?

It's been an interesting week full of lessons, sleepless nights, & bites... but we survived and Tank is still adorable.

Photos courtesy of Meme Tomasulo

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tank's Arrival

Yesterday Jake and I drove to North Carolina and back to pick up Tank! We hit the road early to make it there by 3 but gave ourselves enough time before leaving to tie up any loose ends. I don't know why I was dead set on doing things like vacuuming before Tank arrived, but I was, and I did. We packed his "go bag" and excitedly started our trip.

Our original plan to stop and eat in Greensboro was altered when we realized how far it was when lunchtime hit. We stopped in Hillsborough instead, which was a decision made out of hunger... not always the best kind. I found a restaurant named "The Dog House" on the GPS, so in the spirit of our trip's purpose we agreed to try it. We had already decided beforehand that we didn't want to stop at a chain, so this seemed like an exciting choice. After I entered it into the GPS, Jake immediately got frustrated because he realized it wasn't taking us the shortest way. He complained and I offered to just forget the idea altogether (really hoping he wouldn't stop at Wendy's instead), but we kept on route. Finally Jake saw it in the distance (not where the map took us) and it was a hot dog stand. I'm not joking- it was actually more like a shack near a car dealership... which on top of everything was closed because of the holiday! It was hysterical (to us anyway)! We kept driving to another place called Bandino's. Honestly, even if the stand had been open I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have stopped, it was that s h a d y.

But enough pre-Tank details, I know what you want to hear about! We met the family who had Tank at a steakhouse parking lot in Yadkinville, NC. Their whole family was there and Tank was right in the front seat with Amanda, the puppies' care taker. I could barely hold in my excitement. I jumped right out and went immediately over to their car. She met me pretty quickly and without hesitation handed him to me. I was in love with him instantly. I held him in his blanket and kissed his lil face. After a few minutes, Jake very excitedly asked to hold him too. I couldn't believe I had been hogging him up until that point. I didn't feel too bad though- he had been talking to the owner about shots & food... very important details to know! We got back in the car after about 30 minutes of chatting with their family and gushing over our new puppy! We forgot all about the crate and let him cuddle in my lap. Jake was looking at him so much we both worried we would crash; at one point he was trying to take a picture- while driving!!! Crazy, I know! Anyway, Tank rode all the way home without a single yelp. He was such a good boy! Now bedtime was another story, but I'll skip it and go straight to pictures. He is so cute!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Perfect Saturday

Today was great- it had the perfect balance of productivity and fun. I got some laundry done (shocker) but also went to the pool. I picked up some last minute items for Tank but only after having a good lunch at Captain Groovy's with my Mom (a place I've wanted to try for awhile). And did I already mention getting to ride and drive around in my Mom's new mini cooper??? Well, I did and it was awesome. The weather was perfect for having the top down and we just drove around from place to place in no particular hurry... my preferred way to run errands.

We are almost ready for the trip tomorrow to get the puppy, but as usual I'm going to be tying things up tomorrow up until we leave... always the procrastinator. We've got the camera charged, his crate ready for the car, I've started puppy proofing the house, and we've got his trip must-haves set aside.

Interestingly enough my excitement is keeping me from going to sleep and a puppy 101 show just came on covering all the essential initial training tips and tricks. I wanted to wake Jake up so we could watch it together, but then thought it through and quickly decided he probably wouldn't appreciate losing sleep, let alone be as interested in the show as I was.

I can't wait to share the details of the trip and Tank's transition to his new home! Hopefully I'll actually remember to pack the camera and then use it- that's the key!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Keeping it Going

Continuing to read made my 30 before 30 (more specifically, averaging a book a month) and I am taking the task seriously. I just finished The Host and really loved it. It definitely took awhile for me to get into it but once I committed to reading it while traveling recently, I could barely put it down. As a matter of fact, I bought it for the flight back from Buffalo mid-May but didn't pick it up it again once home. I finally decided to finish it this past trip so I could move on to another book (I can't stand stopping midway through to start something else) and who would have known it turn out so good!

Long story short, I'm really glad my sister suggested I might like it and that I took the time to see it through. It was an interesting concept and a complex love story (not to be confused with a romance novel in ANY way) that I would recommend.

The novel is by Stephenie Meyer, but it isn't at all like the Twilight Series so you can't start it with those expectations. The story takes place in the future, which I think is why it was hard for me to get into at first. If you like that sort of thing then its right up your alley and if you're like me, just try it and trust that it does eventually get good.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Worth the Wait

I can't believe it took me this long to post about the Eclipse premiere!!! It was AWESOME! I arrived at the theater at approximately 9:15pm with a bag of swedish fish and a big water bottle. I wanted sweet tea to keep me up, but I was concerned about having to use the ladies room all night long... which wouldn't be tolerated after the movie started. I found my friend Gillian there along with some other faithful Twihards and we began to wait.

All kinds of crazy things were happening. There were two local radio shows there: Hot 100.5 was offering photos with a Jacob cut-out and Z104 was giving away seats to their reserved theater. Neither of these appealed to me, 1. because I'm Team Edward and 2. because I already had a seat in a private theater (so take that). The lines were already formed when I arrived but we were shuffled to wait outside our specific theater around 10 until it opened at 11:30. However, the people waiting for admittance into the other theaters were waiting in a line that swept beyond the theater itself and the surrounding restaurants. Insane, I know, but totally expected.

I hung out for awhile and then got really pumped when they opened the doors to be seated. We found great seats and I immediately got into my perfect viewing position: indian style, candy out, drink in holder, sweatshirt on lap for warmth, with my phone off. The coordinators started passing out raffle tickets for the door prizes and asked trivia questions for a chance to earn more tickets. We had to raise our hands before answering to keep things fair and I definitely got a question right for an extra ticket. They had a costume contest which 5 people from our group participated in (one person had fangs) and then drew tickets for all sorts of prizes. I'm talking bags, posters, buttons... it was so fun! The only thing that would have made it better was if I won something instead of the people sitting directly beside me on BOTH sides. The girl to my left actually won 3 times! Lucky duck.

The movie started at midnight and I sat entranced until 2:15am. By the time I got home it was closer to 3 and although I was still elated from the movie, my age got the best of me and I fell right to sleep. Thank goodness I took Wednesday off, I don't know that I could have woken up on time let alone been alert.


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