Be careful for what you Wish

Be careful for what you Wish

You’ve heard of Wish, right? I’m usually the last person to know about the cool and happening stuff, so I’m making assumptions.

I believe the first time I’d heard of it, I gave it a glance and moved on. Nothing struck me as exciting. Then sometime later, and I couldn’t tell you what did it, I decided I needed to see what all the hub-bub was about, and I downloaded the app.

Oh, my goodness look at all this pretty stuff. And so inexpensive, too!

For signing up, they let me choose a free gift. I don’t even think I had to pay for shipping. [It’s been a hot minute, so I am not completely certain on that.] Anyway, after sometime later, after I’d already forgotten, my gift came in the mail. It was a four-piece jewelry set. The bracelet ALMOST fits, the necklace is small but I could remove the charm, and the earrings are cute. All in all, I was not disappointed.

I shopped a little more. I ordered a couple of things, they took a while to arrive (I believe everything comes from China) but still, I was satisfied.

A few months later, I put in another order. I believe that happened in early June. To be honest, something came last week, and I’m not sure I’ve even gotten everything.

[ETA: There is still one item MIA.]

Let’s talk about the things I was disappointed about:

Women Fashion Simple Ring

ring

Now, this isn’t horrible. However, I didn’t think it was all that great, either. It’s not an exact match to the photo from Wish, but it does look as cheap as you’d think.

 

8PCS Hair Styling Set Clip Bun Maker Braid Hair Ponytail Tool Hair

8 hair pieces.png

The day this arrives, I have two identical packages fall out of the envelope. I am perplexed. Why did they send me two of the exact same thing? Was there an error? Were they making up for a long shipping time?

I grab my phone to check the order history and my email. I see nothing out of the ordinary. And then it dawns on me: two packages of 4 equal a total of 8 pieces.

hardy-har-har

 

14k Rose Gold Round Cut Diamond Rope Twined Vine Ring 

ring 2

This.

This was the pièce de résistance.

This was the item I was the most excited about. The one item I wanted more than anything in my cart. The one item I’d searched over and over again to make sure there would be no difference. And then it arrived.

Sure, some other things were a bit on the disappointing side.


I mean, yeah, the items are inexpensive. And sure the shipping is slow because it has to be coming by carrier pigeon. How could it not be exactly as pictured? There are nothing but rave reviews!

The ring I received was uglier than the entire collection of 1990s bubble-gum machine jewelry I used to have.

Final Thoughts

There are some good things and some bad things. So far, everything I’ve gotten has been on the small size (with the exception of the rings). Such as the bag I bought to hold all those plastic store bags (don’t judge). It holds the bags just fine but the max capacity is like ten. And those are really compacted in there. Capture.PNG

Will I use Wish again? Probably. It’s fun. And because the shipping takes forever, it’s exciting to get random packages in the mail.

But as far as jewelry goes, they are dead to me.

 

 

Thrift Comes at a Price

Thrift Comes at a Price

I remember going into a Goodwill once as a kid. I’d only been to that store maybe one other time, and it was probably with my grandmother. That woman could pinch a penny and make it rain nickels.

It was getting close to Halloween when my mom took me with her to the store. Some element of an outfit I needed she thought she might find there. I was in elementary school. I can’t remember how old I was. Seven? Nine?

The only three things I remember about that trip:

  1. The store was dirty.
  2. It smelled weird.
  3. I saw the art teacher.

I’m not sure what my costume was. I want to say hippie, which looking back seems like an odd choice for 1980 – 1982. At any rate, I was mortified to be seen there. In hindsight, I now understand why my own children didn’t care to go, either.

Another thing I detested? Yard sales. Both my grandmother and mother could turn on a dime for a yard sale. The directions are on an index card written in white crayon? They could see it. NASCAR has nothing on those two women. They could make a U-turn on a four-lane road in the middle of morning rush hour and never lose an ash off their cigarette or spill a drop of Diet Pepsi.

It wasn’t often we stayed with my grandmother but I remember one Saturday she’d picked my brother and me up early. We’d gone with her to the chiropractor and as we were headed back to her house, she spotted a yard sale. She pulled over to the side of the road and put the car in park. Before she turned off the key, I probably groaned or whined and said, “I’ll just sit in the car.”

She looked back at me, pursed her lips in a way I knew was serious business, turned back, put the car in drive in left.

It’s been at least thirty-five years since that happened, and I have no doubts there are still tire marks on Lynhurst Drive.

As I’ve grown up and learned to stretch my pennies, I’ve come to appreciate the things a good yard/garage sale, thrift store, or online buy/sell/trading has to offer. There is a treasure of things to discover. And then of course, if you have the desire to be crafty as I do, you can do this:

cake stand and plateIt just so happened the cake stand cover fit the plate. I bought seven pieces in total, all clear glass. Two small plates, two candlesticks, a large serving plate and a vase.  Probably less than $10 in total. After a can of spray paint and tube of special glue, I had a fancy and one-of-a-kind cake stand and two raised dishes.

However, as much as I love the thrill of the thrift, I don’t care much for being the one doing the selling. Most specifically a yard/garage sale.

To me, it’s cut-and-dry:

  • Gather the things I no longer want.
  • Price them fair and reasonable given condition.
  • Display goods in an organized and orderly fashion.
  • Smile, conversate, collect monies.
  • Pack up unsold goods and distribute to appropriate outlets.

I use what I call “The Goodwill Method” for pricing. The reason is simple. I’ve never seen someone ask if they will take less for anything in the store. What is marked is what they pay or they let it sit. I’m not saying no one has ever asked, but I’ve yet to witness it.

In my thinking, I price slightly lower than what Goodwill would price. Even lower in some instances. But without fail, it feels like the entire day is answering the endless question of, “Will you take less for this?”

It annoys me to no end. I want to shout, “DO YOU SEE .25 WRITTEN? NO. I WANT THE WHOLE $2!” I’m the type of person who will go to a yard sale and pay whatever is marked. If I feel the price is too high, I leave it. No awkward back-and-forth. No disappointment. No (what feels like) confrontation.

I’m currently in the process of decluttering my house. And when I mean decluttering, I mean I have found things other people who reside here have taken out of the various donation boxes and hidden. They’ve also taken to locking things up or putting them on high shelves in hopes said items escape my scrutiny.

In an attempt to be brave, I’ve been trying my hand at selling a few things via a popular (or at least to me it is) online buy/sell/trade site. I’ve used the site before to purchase several things, and I really like it because each group is for a specific area.

So far, I’ve had great results. And I’ve had some people ask if I’d take less on a few things. This led me wondering if it is common knowledge and expected there will be negotiating when it comes to any type of private sale.

As one does when doing extensive research, I went to Facebook and took a poll.

As of this writing, here are the results:

Buy at listed price: 25%
Negotiate lower price: 75%

A couple of people had a few words to say….

The idea of telling someone I will give them less than they ask for something at a garage sale is mortifying to me. Like, it’s already $1. I’m not going to haggle to save twenty-five cents.  – Courtney

I won’t ask on anything under $3. Over that I’ll ask, worst that can happen is you pay asking price or walk away without the item. The best to happen is they get the price they REALLY want and you feel like you got a deal. – Byron

We went to the flea market today. I was fully prepared to pay sticker prices or walk away. In a couple of booths I was seriously looking at something, both women immediately offered less than asking price.

In another booth, I saw a sign that read something to the effect: “Nothing under $20 will be discounted. We work really hard to make the prices fair as well as worth our time here.” I had to give him props for being upfront about it.

If there is anything I’ve learned it’s this – if I don’t want to negotiate prices, then don’t put up anything for sale.

And I’m probably still going to pay the price marked.

Regarding Father’s Day

Regarding Father’s Day

There was a time in my life I never thought of Father’s Day beyond my own dad and grandfather.

Both have been amazing influences in my life. Of course, it took me until adulthood to fully appreciate that fact, but I suppose that’s to be expected.

Growing up during the time I did, I knew very little about strained parental relationships or households suffering from the unimaginable. Whether it was a sheltered lifestyle or willful ignorance on my part, I’ve since learned not everyone’s reality was the same as mine.

I don’t know when exactly or why it happened. However, a culmination of events have changed me and my feelings regarding a lot of holidays, but especially Father’s Day.

While the day is nothing short of a celebration for my family, I tend to find myself in a darkened place the days leading up to and shortly after the actual day.

I think about those for whom Father’s Day is a reminder of an innocence lost.

I think about those who didn’t or don’t know what it’s like to have a positive male influence in their lives.

I think about those who lost their fathers too soon, and the loss feels unbearable.

I think about those who are caring for their ageing parent not knowing how much time is left.

I think about those who desperately want to be fathers and, for whatever reason, life has dealt them a very different hand.

I think about all of those people where every commercial, store signage, or social media post holds the potential to reinforce what Father’s Day means for them.

To any of you for which any of the above holds true, know someone is thinking about you.

Sending love, light, and peace:
-Heather

 

Junteenth

Junteenth

I was today years old when I learned this is an actual holiday. And frankly, I’m ashamed I didn’t know.

First, some backstory:

While watching the news this morning, the weatherperson had just talked about the temperature today and how it was going to reach a feels-like of over 100 degrees. The anchor then talks about a Junteenth festival. I didn’t think a lot about it, but Big D says, “What’s Junteenth?” I shrugged, commented something along the lines of “… a shame it’s not in October when it’s not so hot.”

A little later, I’m cooling off in my chair whilst scrolling Facebook. My friend Danielle, of Mamademics fame, had posted she was off to celebrate Junteenth.

Since we live about 400 miles from each other, I immediately went to Google to get more information because I knew I’d missed something important. (Side-note: Hey, Google. How about you have a different doodle up, today, hmm? Seriously a missed opportunity there.)

For those of you that already knew what today means, and you are shaking your head at my ignorance, thank you.
For the rest, please follow me for a very important history lesson.

 

June 19th is referred to as Junteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, according to Wikipedia. Today, it is celebrated in 45 states.

On June, 19 1865, the announcement of the abolition of enslaved African-Americans in Texas as well as other states in the southern Confederacy. You thought it was Abraham Lincoln’s doing? Yeah, me too.

I found another article in “Time.”

There is a common misconception among Americans that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with a stroke of his pen. Yet the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, did no such thing — or, at least, it didn’t do a very good job of it. Two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, announced the end of the Civil War, and read aloud a general order freeing the quarter-million slaves residing in the state. It’s likely that none of them had any idea that they had actually been freed more than two years before. It was truly a day of mass emancipation. It has become known as Juneteenth.

I found another amazing resource which goes into deeper detail of this important holiday and its history through the years.

I’m not sure whether to blame the educational system – and both college history courses – or myself for not educating myself more on the history of this country and those who occupy it.

Either way, it’s time to step-up and get to reading.

 

A new take on hashbrowns

A new take on hashbrowns

A couple weeks ago, I had posted on Instagram about a take on a low-carb recipe I was trying.

I’d taken the picture while I was cooking, and posted it after we’d eaten. Two of us had eaten, and the third was working late. I figured he’d see my post and my secret would be out. More on that later….

Let me give you some backstory on the people who reside in this house:

Big D

  • Loves all things meat, potatoes, and bread.
  • Thinks corn and peas count as vegetables.
  • Iceburg lettuce “makes for a good salad.”
  • Will also eat carrots (cooked but sparingly), sweet potatoes (only if swimming in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon), and lima beans, black beans, and green beans.
  • Onions and mushrooms are “vile weeds.”

Me

  • Vegetarian.
  • Also gluten-sensitive (but known to cave time-to-time. Garlic bread is the best.)
  • More sensitive to eggs. Avoid them at all costs.
  • Loves almost all vegetables but leary on some cooking methods. (Like collards and turnip greens. Ew. No.)
  • Loves most fruits with the exception of watermelon and honey dew. I don’t even want to be in the same room as a watermelon. I will gag. I hate it that much.
  • Iceburg lettuce is a waste of space.

Son Two

  • Loves all things meat, potatoes, and bread.
  • Thinks corn and peas count as vegetables.
  • Iceburg lettuce “makes for a good salad.”
  • Will also eat carrots (cooked but sparingly), sweet potatoes (only if swimming in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon), and lima beans, black beans, and green beans.
  • Onions and mushrooms are “vile weeds.” 
  • Has recently expanded to some onion, like on a burger.
  • Ketchup is amazing but raw tomatoes are disgusting.

 

Trying to make a dinner to satisfy all palettes is akin to a miracle. Some nights I can make one dinner, and others I’ll make a variation for myself. Sometimes it’s just two complete meals altogether.

To make things more complicated, I had decided to try a Keto diet for a month or so and see how I could do. Yeah, I know. The meat thing.

I started looking on Pinterest for recipe ideas for the week. We were having breakfast one night, and BD wanted our mock Cracker Barrel hashbrowns. I agreed, knowing I’d be making something else, and then found a low-carb “hashbrown” option. Of course – cauliflower.

cauliflower
Not my actual kitchen

Having experienced using this method before, I knew it would be a bit time -intensive for me. Fortunately, Birds Eye Steamfresh veggies were on sale at the store that week, so I picked up the riced cauliflower.* Not only would I’ve saving money on purchasing a fresh head, but I was saving lots of time as well.

Here is the recipe I used as inspiration.

This is roughly how I did it:

  1. Cooked the cauliflower per the package instructions.
  2. Tossed into mixing bowl and let cool slightly.
  3. Sprinkled in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and turmeric to taste.
  4. Added about a teaspoon of baking soda.
  5. Sprinkled in about a few tablespoons of Bob’s Red Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, mixing a bit more in until the consistency “felt right.”
  6. Added some Sargento Sharp Cheddar Cheese Shreds.
  7. Heated a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan.
  8. Shaped the mixture into ovals. Made six.
  9. Fried until golden and crispy.
  10. Served hot.

I thought they were really good and gave me the sense I was eating a potato hashbrown. BD liked it as well, except I must have been a little heavy-handed on the garlic. He said he’d eat them again, so I’m calling them a win in my book. Next time I’ll add a bit more baking soda and no garlic powder.

So the vote was still out on one, right? The next morning, I noticed he didn’t eat the place I left for him in the fridge. I asked him about it.

“You can’t fool me. I know those were cauliflower. I saw the bag in the freezer plus they didn’t smell good.

Oops.

 

How do you handle mealtimes in your house? Do you have picky eaters? Comment below 🙂

 

 

*This is not a sponsored post, nor have I been compensated in any way for any products mentioned here today. They happen to be a few of my favorite things.

Day in the life

Day in the life

Writing GroupsWhen you are a full-time writer/freelancer/work-at-home person, there are periods of time where you have very little human contact with the outside world.

Writers, in general, tend to be introverted. We feel safe behind a notebook or computer screen. Words can be thought about. Scratched out. Rewritten. Emails can be replied to when we’ve had time to get our thoughts together.

But, as is human nature, even introverted writers still feel the need to congregate with others who share similar interests and beliefs.

Fortunately for me, I have a small circle of like-minded women, and while we communicate with each other daily, every now and again, the planets and stars align, schedules are cleared, and the five us meet together.

Yesterday we had such a day and what we dubbed, “The All Day Mini-Retreat.”

Snacks. Beverages. Stories of triumph. Stories of rejection. But most of all, giving love, support, and encouragement to one another.

We all leave by dusk, fueled with hummus, pistachios, caffeine, and renewed determination.

Here’s how my new day post-mini retreat has gone thus far:

6:00 a.m.  YES. A new day. A whole day where no one needs me. The husband will be gone ALL DAY. 

6:30 a.m. I am dressed and the bed is made. With a fresh coffee in hand, I head to my office.

6:35 a.m. Computer is on and current short story in progress is up and ready.

6:30 a.m. Post our group chat asking who’s up and ready to work. I’m usually the one that starts the latest in the day. (Not today!)

7:00 a.m. Have to stop the timer to turn off the second alarm in the bedroom I forgot was set.

7:01 a.m. Sit back at the computer and stare at the screen because the alarm interrupted my train of thought.

7:02 a.m Think about erasing all the words I’ve already typed because they make no sense.

7:36 a.m Finish my hour of writing.

Check emails and Facebook for leads.

(And here’s where the day starts getting fuzzy)

Work on a video captioning project. The speaker in the video is Australian, and I learned quite a few new things. This takes a couple of hours to complete.

Check emails again.

Write up a post for an ad to drum up some business.

Spend twenty minutes googling when free ad-listing site started charging.

Get a text from the husband saying he was on his way home, he didn’t have to work tonight after all.

Panic and rush downstairs to straighten up kitchen and living room. Vacuum and sweep.

Realize I am starving to death and eat lunch.

12:30 p.m. Decide I need to keep writing for the day.

12:31 p.m. Stare at computer wondering why it all felt so achievable five hours ago.

12:35 p.m. Tap the keyboard hoping inspiration will pour out suddenly onto the page

12:40 p.m. Talk to another member of the group who totally sparks an idea.

12:45 p.m. Decide writing is worth it and go in search of chocolate.

 

 

Writers and other creatives: How do you stay motivated? Do you feel the pressure of wanting to be creative but also needing to be compensated? Share your stories!