Month: December 2010

Online Shopping Highs and Woes

I started writing this post a couple weeks ago, but somehow it got lost in the shuffle. With my latest shopping woe, I’ve decided now is the perfect time to share a failure and a victory. 

I typically love Cyber Monday. I started doing the majority of my Christmas shopping about 5 years ago and loved the opportunity to take advantage of the many deals and perks that online shopping has to offer. The main perk is no crazy shoppers and no lines. While that still holds true, I have found that as Cyber Monday has blown up to mass proportions, there is a lot more frustration when trying to do my online shopping. Many sites simply were not prepared to handle the capacity. Some sites didn’t work properly and items would mysteriously disappear from my cart. If you don’t checkout fast enough your items get removed from your cart. What used to be the easy way to do my shopping is slowly becoming more of a pain in the ass.

I’ll start with the FAIL. I’ve never been a big fan of ToysRUs. I’m especially now not a fan of their website, my online shopping experience with them and now, customer service. I ordered gifts for my nephews on Cyber Monday. Nothing crazy or big or that would sell out- I was merely taking advantage of decent pricing and free shipping (to an extent… don’t publish free shipping when it’s not really free because that is super annoying). I even removed the large Step2 kitchen from my “cart” because we found it cheaper with LEGITIMATE free shipping directly from the Step2 website. Nearly 2 weeks have gone by and I have yet to even see that my items have shipped let alone be pulled from their shelves (by the way I got that huge Step2 kitchen within 4 days by buying direct from Step2). One of the gifts was to be a birthday gift for my nephew. His birthday party is tonight. I had to go to Target to buy him a new gift since ToysRUs obviously failed me. Contacting ToysRUs has proved to be impossible as well. So, I did what any socially savvy pissed off mama does. I took it to Twitter and told the world what a piece of crap ToysRUs is. As if I wasn’t crabby enough about the holidays, they made me go into the madness to buy a last minute gift because I guess timely shipping isn’t important to them. Or apologies. Or having customers in general.

I want to end on a high note, so let me talk about a huge online shopping WIN! Shutterfly is seriously one of THE BEST web companies out there. I love their website, their tools and most importantly the customer service is second to none. This post was going to be dedicated only to Shutterfly but I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to talk about both a horrific and an awesome experience. I was going to write this post to Shutterfly to get my free 50 cards for writing a blog post about them (which is just ridiculously awesome in and of itself) but I don’t even care about getting something free. I simply want to talk about how great they are. Every year, I shop around to see if there is a better way to go about doing my Christmas cards but I always come back to Shutterfly.  Uploading my pictures is easy. Dropping them into my design and customizing my cards is easy. Changing my design over and over and over again (because they are all so darn perfect) is easy. Easy. Easy. Easy. Isn’t that what all busy working moms want during the holidays? In a word. YES!! Here are a couple samples of what we were considering:

And the winner design for our 2010 Christmas Card:

I got an amazing price on these not to mention cute matching labels to go with them, also at a massive discount. There was little wait time for them to arrive- even with the standard free shipping deal I got them quickly. I have done so much with Shutterfly over the years including my son’s beautiful birth announcment:

Even going back to our wedding- we used a Holiday Shutterfly Card for our Save the Date:

I just cannot say enough about Shutterfly. I use them for all my photo gift needs- there are so many creative things you can do. Bloggers- you can rave about Shutterfly awesomeness and still get 50 free cards but today is the LAST DAY to register so HURRY!

I hope your holiday shopping brings you only happiness and good feelings!

Jingle Ball 2010: Old Lady Review

My sister-in-law and I started a tradition 4 years ago. She came across 4th row tickets to Jingle Ball and I thought, 4th row? Heck yeah! So we went, and it was so much fun. So much so that we have gone every year since.

Are we too old for Jingle Ball? Maybe. The beer line is certainly short. But you know what? Despite being surrounded by loud, shrieking and sometimes rude teenage girls we always have a blast.

Here are a couple treats from the evening:

The incredible, fantastic Sara Bareillis covering Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It):

One of the best moments of the night was courtesy of Enrique Iglesias. Besides just being smokin’ hot Enrique, he invited a couple teenagers up on stage. The first thought is that these girls were going to be some pretty little numbers that all of the girls in the audience would be jealous of. Much to everyone’s surprise, he picked two not so perfect gals to come up on stage. It was probably the moment of their lives and so fun to witness. Not every day you get a slow dance with Enrique! Lucky girl. He really is that gorgeous from the 9th row by the way.

Snow IS Fun!

Whenever I get the urge to complain about Minnesota’s snow and cold, remember what it was like to be a kid and how AWEsome we thought it was. The skating, the sledding, the skiing… it was the best.

I feel privileged at the chance to get to do it all again with my son.

Milestone #1: Sledding

Next Milestone: Skating on the pond. Mommy isn’t quite ready for that one yet!

How do you make the best of winter?

A Mixed Bag of Pity Party

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!

Today marks a month that I have been dealing with an ongoing sinus infection. I know it doesn’t sound like a sinus infection should be all that horrific, but let me tell you, after having one for a month, it is. Your face hurts, your head pounds, your ears pop in and out and even your teeth hurt. The exhaustion is overwhelming not to mention the fever that comes and goes and makes every ounce of your body screech in agony. Did I mention how sinusitis throws your equilibrium off? Yeah, that’s fun on an icy sidewalk. The stuff that is draining is causing a cough. A cough so annoying that you are ashamed to be at work because of what its annoyingness is doing to those around you.

I’m not contagious and getting rest does not help, so I continue on with a full day of work, annoying everyone around me with my coughing and my nose blowing. After a full day of work, and I’ll be honest, I start dreaming about my recliner, my giant snuggly blanket, the dog at my feet, a giant mug of hot tea and my remote to catch up on my DVR. I do get to enjoy these things, but not right away. Dinner needs to be made, the kiddo needs to be fed and played with, the dishes need to get done, floors swept, counter and tabletops wiped down… and my husband doesn’t let me forget that this life goes on regardless of how miserable I feel. He’s had zero pity. He’s not trying to be cruel. I think he is just as frustrated as I am with how long this infection is dragging out. I’m not sure he understands the intensity of it all and how it has drastically reduced my quality of life- how truly miserable I am. He’s making fun of me, but it isn’t funny. I actually think he thinks that I’m faking this. I cried myself to sleep last night over this lack of understanding. I don’t want him to serve me soup at my bedside or anything, but I want him to understand why I’d rather crash out on a recliner than do the dishes. Is that so much to ask?

I’m not faking here folks. 3rd trip to the doctor in a month and I HATE going to the doctor. I am on my 3rd antibiotic. It’s a strong one that will likely make me sick in other ways, but I am desperate to feel better- not just for myself, but for everyone around me. If it doesn’t work, I will be brought in for a CT scan and referred to my ENT. Like a mantra, I am telling myself over and over how this is going to be my magic antibiotic and even imagining how wonderful my life will be again once I am feeling better.

I would like to take this moment to apologize. I know it isn’t my fault, but I know that my being sick has affected so many people around me not to mention my work. I don’t enjoy feeling this way. It isn’t an excuse. It isn’t me just being lazy. I don’t wish it on anyone.

Stay healthy everyone!!!

Learning to Love Online Entertainment

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of GlideTV. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have to confess. I’m not a big fan of watching online videos. Mainly, I don’t have the patience to sit through them and wait for the punchline not to mention I quickly bore of them. My husband and 2 year old son however LOVE online videos. I have been easing into the online video world through Hulu and Netflix- we’re even changing our Netflix subscription to only having one DVD sent to our house and the rest streaming.

I came across the opportunity to check out and review What’s On. What’s On is a free online service that brings online videos into one easy place. It is a visual guide to online entertainment where users can browse a video wall of TV shows, movies, news and sports that are available across the entire web. The video wall, organized by category and genre, is much more natural for living room use than going from web site to web site scrolling through lists of available videos. You can browse by type of content, genre, free content, etc not to mention  you can get news about celebrities, new music, and information from various social media networks. It is a great tool for connecting with pop culture. You can even search the most popular videos, movies, sports and news people are watching on the web right now. “What’s On” is a great way to browse and access NetFlix streaming content other than within the NetFlix browser.

My geeky husband will attest that when you get your computer hooked up to your TV it changes the experience immensely. I have to admit… I agree with him. He just did this in his office and the video experience is so much better- bigger and much more crisp in appearance. What do I like about “What’s On”? It takes a couple elements of impatience out of the equation for me: 1) It does the searching for me for the most popular video content, 2) It puts it all in one central location taking away the need to have a million different browser tabs open.

It really is pretty cool and from a reformed online video hater, I highly encourage you to check out “What’s On” for yourself. I have a feeling this will be my next big internet addiction.

Did I mention the sweepstakes? GlideTV has a sweepstakes on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/glidetv to win a Navigator to make the “What’s On” experience even more awesome. Be sure to check it out the sweepstakes for your chance to win!

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Wordless Wednesday Thanksgiving Style

Thanksgiving this year was a little out of sorts for me. It was I believe the first time ever that I didn’t spend it with my family (at least my side of the family). It was a fun day though- I met my new brother-in-law and his daughter (and soon to be niece) for the first time. Jack got to play up a storm with all of Layla’s toys. We ate good food. It was, a happy Thanksgiving.

Even though we’re having a huge dinner, I still need a snack.

Look! I’m in a house just like Sadie’s!

Playing with my new cousin and her Zhu Zhu pet. Mommy can I have one of these?
Giving thanks is tiring. I couldn’t even eat my 2nd snack.