Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Summer Summertime!

It's summertime! In Florida, that means an onslaught of humid days and afternoon showers. However, in spite of this not being the ideal season for Floridians, I definitely have some things to look forward to!

(1) Summer concert tours are some of the best. Back in my high school and college days, it would have been shows like Lillith Fair (I have a deep love for female singer/songwriters). The artist has to be a favorite of mine to attend the concert, since we have to arrange for childcare. Earlier this year, J and I saw John Legend. I've also been lucky to see Pink Martini and Indigo Girls.

 J and I along with our friends will be seeing Dave Matthews Band in July! Hearing DMB immediately brings me back to my high school and college days. Truth be told, I haven't listened to them a lot these days, but I am looking forward to waxing nostalgic for one night.

A few weeks later I will be seeing Sara Bareilles with my sister. I am not very familiar with her music, other than a handful of songs. But I adored her on "The Sing-Off". My sister is a huge fan. I enjoy hearing new music in a live venue. Something about not having a preconceived notion of how a song should sound makes the experience amazing.

(2) J and I are also traveling this summer! His fraternity brother is getting married in the heart of DC. We will see his college friends, eat some good food, drink some good beers and welcome his fraternity brother to the married club. I don't know if we will be able to sneak in any sight seeing, but I'd love to see the Lincoln Memorial at night!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

San Francisco

Our good friends have left us for the West Coast. While an amazing opportunity, we sure will miss them. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities around. In fact, J and I honeymooned there! Here are some of my favorite San Francisco places and spaces (in case the B's need any ideas!)

Palace of Fine Arts - I feel this place is slightly magical. Ever since I watched "So I Married An Axe Murderer" and saw Nancy Travis and Mike Myers traipsing through the park, I knew I had to visit. I've been to San Francisco four times and I never miss going to this place!

Goldilocks - This is THE Filipino bakery. There are a handful of US locations, with one being right in San Francisco. For a first timer, I'd recommend some enseymada (Filipino brioche) or mocha roll.

Jollibee - Another Filipino staple with a location in San Francisco. Jollibee is an experience. Perhaps only a "try once" kind of place. Get the Chicken Joy. Or at least watch these folks try Jollibee for the first time.

Golden Gate Park - What a treasure in San Francisco! There are so many activities available. My personal favorite activities include tea at the Japanese Tea Garden and peddling (by boat) around Stow Lake. I enjoyed looking at all the statues and watching people practice Tai Chi.

Like many big cities, San Francisco offers great events such as movies in the park and festivals. I just know they will soak it all up.

P.S. Let me know when you make it to Berkeley and see your first protest :)

P.P.S. - Miss y'all already.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Truffle makes "Sit Happen" - Part 2 of 2

We had Dave's (of Sit Happens) card on our refrigerator for almost a year before we called him. I had even friended him on Facebook. Deep down, we knew we would get to this place of desperation before calling him.

J contacted him and scheduled our free consultation. That meeting had to take place on our front porch as Truffle went nuts when Dave arrived. It didn't take long for Dave to see that we really needed his help. He quickly saw that Truffle felt he was the protector of the house. Bottom line, Truffle did not see J as the alpha dog.

In advance of their first lesson, J bought Truffle a leather collar and new leash. He also ordered a muzzle (did I mention Truffle had nipped people before?). Dave would bring us an additional collar to help Truffle focus on listening to us.

The first lesson: Jack and I were not present. Dave wanted to lessen the number of people Truffle felt he needed to protect. Dave and J worked on basic commands such as "come"and "place". "Place" is a command where Truffle was not to move until J called him. Truffle did not eat Dave, so that was a success.

J would continue his homework with Truffle twice a day, completing numerous repetitions.

The second lesson:  Dave taught J how to walk Truffle on the leash. Truffle would need to stay by J's side and not go in front of him. By the end of the lesson, Truffle had the muzzle off and Dave was able to walk him. In fact, Dave was able to come in our house and sit on the couch, while Truffle chilled on the floor.

Homework included more regular walks and practice. Lots of practice. We also blocked off the front window so Truffle could not stand and bark his head off at the neighbors. We also moved his bed away from the front window and moved to the back of the house.

We really started to notice progress. Truffle looked relaxed. He would usually be "on alert", ready to attack at any time. His jumping on us behavior had subsided as well.

The third lesson: Dave brought his dogs over. The whole group went for a walk. We also worked on a routine for when the doorbell would ring. That routine included telling Truffle to go to his house (crate) and showing him we had the situation under control. We also learned how to break that line of sight if Truffle looked like he felt threatened.

We started taking walks as a family. Truffle would also just relax while in the backyard. Wheras before, he would be barking at everything and patrolling the perimeter.

Truffle in the place position.

The last lesson: J and Dave met at the beach, with lots of people around. It was a success!

Learning how to be good owners to Truffle really changed our entire family dynamic. The stress and anxiety we would feel when he wouldn't listen to us was gone. I can now call for him to "come" from the yard and he is immediately responsive. When we tell him to go to his house, he just goes in. I used to have to corner him and force him inside.

Thanks to Dave for helping our family!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Truffle makes "Sit Happen" - Part 1 of 2

Truffle is my first child, albeit of the canine persuasion. He had never through any formal puppy training. He didn't walk on a leash well at all. In fact, we had a random neighbor scold us about Truffle. While we knew that we probably should, truthfully? We were lazy. Then Jack joined out family. Luckily, Truffle loved Jack and vice versa. Truffle is very protective of him.

However, it was at that time that the tide really turned. A few weeks after we brought Jack home, Truffle stopped wanting to go outside. He would freeze at the doorway. It was so bad that J would have to carry him across the street to get him to walk and relieve himself. We took him to the vet, who recommended we put him on Reconcile (doggie prozac) and also give him doggy anxiety meds for when it would storm badly (Truffle would get major shakes and anxiety, even with the Thundershirt on). She also recommended we pair this with behavioral training and provided us the name of a guy to contact.

Well, we ignored the training recommendation, but took her up on the meds. We had a newborn. There was no time!

Did the meds help? It seemed like they did for a while. But there were side effects on the Reconcile. Especially when there was a shortage of Reconcile and we switched to generic. Truffle would get super aggressive with people he didn't like. It got so bad that we stopped having people over, other than those he did like (our families etc).

Last spring, we moved from our 2nd floor condo to a single family home, complete with a big yard. We figured Truffle would have his own space to run and wear himself out. We weaned him off his meds as well. For the first few weeks, it seemed like things were getting better.

We were wrong.

Truffle continued to not listen to us. I could yell for him to come inside and he would ignore me. He would still be aggressive to people. He even nipped at some people.

One night, after he was circling around the living room and jumping all over us. I yelled to J, "Maybe it's time we got rid of Truffle".

I could not believe it. I never thought I would say those words.

So we knew what we had to do. We needed to call the dog trainer.

To be continued...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Fiscal Friday: Planning for the year

So...just so we are clear. It isn't Friday. I am a tad I mean a wee...I'm just late with this post! Honestly, I just plain forgot! However, the time helped me as I decided on my topic for the month: planning expenses for the year. I guess this is a budget? Really, I'm working to identify those annual/semi-annual/quarterly expenses that occur. I would forget about these expenses, so when they showed up, it would feel like a setback.

So far, I've identified some of those expenses:

Annual Expenses
Car registration
Junior League dues

Semi-Annual Expenses
Home insurance
Pet wellness visits (including shots)

Quarterly Expenses
Misc Insurances

My goal this month is to identify these expenses that take me by surprise every.single.year.

Make sure to visit Christina and Katie to see what they are talking about for Fiscal Friday!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Provisional Year in Junior League

My first memory of volunteering was from junior high school. I was a candy striper  junior volunteer at our local hospital. I started in the Emergency Department, directing patients to the registration area. Until I started to see people I knew coming in and I freaked out (about seeing them hurt, not about just seeing them). After that, I floated everywhere, from the pharmacy to labor & delivery.

Since then, I've had some really fun and interesting volunteer opportunities. I volunteered at the Chicago Children's Museum, where once I saw Dave Matthews with his kids. I helped relative caregivers shop for new school clothes for their kids (shopping + volunteering = fun). However, after having Jack, I wasn't doing much volunteering.

And I missed it. I really missed it.

Here's the thing. Yes, you are helping when you volunteer: helping an individual, family or even the community. But you feel so good afterwards. And I realized I needed that.

As I was having all these feelings, I had met some ladies from Junior League. After some research, I filled out the application, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Truthfully, I was apprehensive on my first New Member event. A few people had referred to Junior League as a grown up sorority. I was not Greek in college, so I wasn't even sure what that really meant. Basically, would I meet anyone that I connected with? Would I stick out like a sore thumb because of what I looked like (can't help but worry about that stuff)?

However, I stayed positive and I'm glad I did. From the first New Member event and forward, I have truly enjoyed all that Junior League offered! My New Member neighborhood group is fantastic. A great group of ladies with a phenomenal advisor. Our advisor planned monthly activities for us that included pottery painting, brunch, and happy hours. We attended League events together, so I always knew I would know somebody.

As a provisional member, I wasn't required to participate in DIAD (Done in a Day). However, the biggest reason I joined the League was to volunteer. I took a deep breath and started signing up, even if I didn't know anyone else volunteering. I volunteered with The Daniel Foundation, doing arts and crafts, playing games and other fun activities with a group of kids. I put my seven years of flute playing to use at the Jacksonville Symphony's Instrument Zoo. At both events, I met fellow provisionals who were not in my group plus active members. I lucked out as everyone was very friendly and welcoming.

This is not to say I'm BFF with every single person. Just like any organization, you are going to connect with some and not with others. But there are definitely people who I enjoyed getting to know and have made this such a great experience.

I'm so glad that I joined as being around others who also find value in volunteering has been amazing.

Looking forward to my first active year!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

2014 RAP Tour of Homes

One of my favorite activities is going on home tours. I feel like it is like watching HGTV, but live action! I attended the Riverside Avondale Preservation's Tour of Homes. with my mom. Coincidentally, it was also her birthday! We enjoyed peaking into some of the nicest homes in the historic district. 

I tried to limit the number of pictures, but we saw some many nice things. It was hard to narrow it down! We toured four homes total, then relaxed in the air-conditioned oasis of Biscotti's and enjoyed a relaxing lunch. These pictures are from my two favorite houses.

I think this was my favorite house. It was on a quiet cul de sac by the river. 

Front porch sitting would not be hard here!

Love this huge sink, located on the back porch

This room was my favorite. They converted the second floor porch (see first picture) into a grandkids room! Not pictured is a living room area with oversized couches and tv. Also not pictured was a stellar library with plenty of children's books and a desk area.

The next set of pictures are from the first home we toured.  I dream of having a bar cart in my home.

Shoe shelves in one of their daughter's room. The piece did not take up a lot of space. I feel like J and I have a wall where we could have something like this (for all his sneakers!) Edit: This is not from the first house we saw. This was in my fave house above!

The first home had an amazing pool house, complete with al fresco dining. 

Gas powered fire pit!

My mom had never attended a home tour before. It was fun to share it with her and celebrate her birthday!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Anniversary celebration in St. Augustine

J and I celebrated our six year wedding anniversary by taking a 30 minute drive south to St. Augustine. Even though St. Augustine is one beautiful A1A drive away, we certainly don't enjoy it as much as we should! Truthfully, neither of us have ever spent the night there. Thanks to both our  parents, we were able to enjoy a toddler and dog free evening.

While booking our accommodations, we did not realize that our anniversary fell on Easter weekend. Rooms were scarce. Many of the rooms that were available had a 2 night minimum. We lucked out though and found a room at the Bayfront Marin House. We had not stayed at a B&B since our trip to Amelia Island in 2011.

The Bayfront Marin House was lovely. The room was well appointed. The bed was up so high, I had to use a stool to get in! They had a somewhat random Jacuzzi tub right next to the bed. I suppose for honeymooners, this would be a bonus!

View from the balcony

We did a little shopping before cocktail time. We picked up some spices, teas and saffron rice at The Spice & Tea Exchange. I wanted to bring home some datil pepper sauce as well. J remember The Pepper Palace, which has more hot sauces than any one could ever need. I found my datil pepper sauce and a couple of other items, including pickled okra.

We headed back as we didn't want to miss the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour (typical at most B&Bs) was impressive. They offered red sangria, white sangria, wine and beer. There was lemonade and sweet tea. They also offered an array of appetizers, including warn spinach dip, bruschetta, puff pastry with savory filling (cannot remember what they called them), and a relish tray with the best bread and butter pickles I've had in a while. They had a delicious looking chocolate rum bundt cake. We passed on the cake, as we were heading to dinner.

One of my favorite parts of St. Augustine is that it is very walkable. We headed to dinner, which was a little less than a mile away. With so much to see on the route, it made for a pleasurable and quick walk.

We had dinner at The Floridian, known for their local ingredient sourcing. They don't take reservations, so we gave them our contact info so we could get a text when our table was ready. It was an incredibly busy night, so we weren't seated for over an hour. However, the text messaging notification gave us a lot of freedom to walk around St. Augustine while waiting. Thank goodness, as waiting is not something I'm very good at anymore. Ha!

The Floridian was amazing. We enjoyed fried pickles, posole, and a cornbread stack with blackened mahi mahi. The decor was a hoot. I felt like I had been transported to a house in the late 60's/early 70's. But it really worked, in my opinion.

I was most excited about dessert. We headed over to Cousteau's Waffle & Milkshake Bar. After much deliberation, I settled on an Old Kentucky milkshake, which was made with butter pecan ice cream, candied pecans and bourbon whipped cream. J had a Wonut, waffle on the outside and donut on the inside.


We ended the evening in a dessert coma. After a refreshing night sleep, we enjoyed breakfast, watched a little Barclays Premier League football, and headed back to pick up Truffle and Jack.

Yay for anniversaries!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Did you have a nice weekend?

Every Monday morning, my co-workers and I will ask each other the same question:
Did you have a nice weekend?
I work in an exceedingly polite place. I usually answer this question without thinking by automatically saying “yes”. Because I feel they are just asking to be polite, much like I would.
However, I contemplated what to say in regards to this past weekend. It was such a mixed bag.
The bad:
  • J had to work around six hours on both Saturday and Sunday thus, he missed going to the zoo with us.
  • Jack did not nap on Saturday. He was obviously tired, but was in a fighting mood to stay up.
  • Jack woke up around 11 that evening, crying in his sleep every 20 or so minutes for about an hour.

The good:
  • Jack and I had fun with bubble blowing and water table splashing (until he threw a cup in my face anyways!)
  • On Saturday, we went to a friends’ house for Masters happy hour while the kids played in the backyard.
  • Drama free visit to the Zoo and good times with friends
  • We ate pimento cheese sandwiches on Masters Sunday while hanging out with friends.
  • Jack went to sleep before Game of Thrones came on. We actually got to watch GoT and Mad Men live (without falling asleep!).

Even though working on the weekend really stinks and I wish J could have been with us at the Zoo, we still had some fun.
So, to answer the question: It was a nice weekend!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Foodie Fiction

I used to be a big chick lit/romance fan. I quickly devoured the latest Jane Green or Sophie Kinsella book. I would stay up all night to finish an Emily Giffin Book. I supposed saying "used to" isn't entirely true, as I'll still order a random chick lit book every once in a while.

I also like to read cookbooks. As you know, J is the cook in the family. I mean, I can cook. I just don't LOVE it like he does. But I love to read about food.

Several years ago, I stumbled onto Amanda Hessing sorta biographical book, "Cooking for Mr. Latte:. The book detailed the story of her romance with Mr. Latte. However, Amanda Hessing is really know for being the NY Times food writer. Her book was integrated recipes of foods she tried throughout the story. Her food descriptions were lush and tantalizing.

Finally--there was a genre that combined my interest of chick lit/romance with food! Foodie Fiction!

Most recently, I've read two books that are the epitome of "foodie fiction". Both books are by Stacey Ballis, a Chicago based author. The titles are "Out to Lunch" and "Off the Menu". Both books are set in Chicago (yay), contain smart, interesting characters, have a thread of romance, and (most importantly) features delicious food descriptions.

If anyone has any recommendations on books with similar themes, please let me know!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Fiscal Friday: Breaking up is not so hard to do

It's Fiscal Friday! Today's post the time that J went on two dates then broke up with a financial planner.

A good friend had referred us to a financial planner they had used. We have been working hard on paying down debt and starting to save. However, we had never seen a financial planner before. We figured this was as good a time as any.

I won't mention the company, but know that it was an insurance company.

Anyways, J went for a consultation. During the meeting, the planner asked him to gather our relevant information. This would be information on insurances, retirements, mortgage, and any other financial information. It was during this time I came clean about having a couple of random rollover IRAs (more on that in another post). They discussed our short and long term financial goals. One of our short term goals was to set up life insurance for J.

A second meeting was held to review the information gathered. Or so we thought. It was at this meeting that the planner (who was just doing his job) tried to sell some additional insurance to J. He also asked J if he would be willing to move his money out of our current financial institution.

The above gave J reason for pause.

Then J decided to research the company. After reading a couple of different sources, we discussed the findings. One striking item was the business model where reps are encouraged to sell whole life policies at hefty sums for large commissions.

More power to them.

But it didn't sit well with us. So J wrote a firm, but polite email to let him know to stop all actions on our behalf. After a couple of conversations, we finally parted ways.

Maybe this would have been beneficial for us. Perhaps we made a mistake. But we had to go with what felt right.

Timing is a funny thing. The following week, my Fidelity rep for my 403(b) was at my work. I made an appointment to look at my retirement accounts. He was extremely helpful on many items and provided guidance on ways that we could maximize the tax benefits of my retirement account.

Make sure to check out Katie and Christina as they share their Fiscal Friday stories!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fiscal Friday: Financial Updates!

For this month's fiscal responsibility post, I didn't have a particular topic in mind. But I do have some random financial updates that I wanted to share.

(1) My last credit card was paid off! I had this old BoA card that had debt from silly things like concert tickets, hotels, clothes that i have since donated, etc etc. It was a reminder of mindless and irresponsible spending. I had planned for it to be done by May, but knocking it out early is a bonus!

(2) Taxes. Oh taxes. We did not put good plans in place to handle our changes in our financial situation (new jobs etc). So what did that mean? A big fat amount to pay. Oy.

(3) To help not repeat #2 in 2014, I upped my retirement contributions. Nothing makes you feel like an adult that putting money away from retirement.

Any financial news in your world? Join in the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #fiscalresponsibility. Also be sure to visit Christina and Katie's blogs!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My 36th year

Tomorrow is my 36th birthday. Typically, I have not had "emotional reactions" when hitting each birthday. However, I've really been reflecting on this particular age.

I'm closer to 40 than 30.

I don't know if I'm scared or happy or anxious. But I do know I feel different.

At work, we talk about focusing only on the value-add activities.

I feel that 36 will be the year to apply that to real life.

So, let's see what you've got 36!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

You get what you give

I had a busy weekend as it was our Junior League's Whale of a Sale weekend! While in line for food at the preview party, I was chatting with a fellow provisional and a prospective member/her friend. Her friend asked us how we liked Junior League. Both of us really enjoy it. But my fellow provisional nailed it on the head when she said "You get what you put into it."

As a provisional, we have certain requirements as it pertains to meetings, classes, donation quota, and dues. Technically we aren't required to participate in the community volunteer activities. However, the big reason I joined was to volunteer. In my previous job, I had lots of opportunities for community volunteer events. When I left, I didn't realize I would miss that so much.

I participated in a couple of volunteer events over the past few months. One was at a facility for foster children. The other was at the Symphony, helping introduce children to musical instruments. I really feel those opportunities have been the best for connecting with other League members. Aside from the great feeling volunteering brings, the social interaction is an added bonus. 

Volunteering at our Whale sale was also a lot of fun! I paired up with an awesome Active member and we rocked out the credit card line. Again, it was fun to help and interact with great people. 

So, I knew I had been enjoying Junior League. But this weekend really sealed it for me!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Perfect Pants

When it comes to my work wardrobe, I'm a dresses kind of girl. They are so much easier than separates. However, I never realized that my co-workers noticed this. Until I wore pants to work during our most recent bout of cooler weather. No less than 7 co-workers remarked "Wow, you are wearing pants!".

Last fall, in a panic because I had to wear black pants to a Junior League volunteer event, I finally found a pair of pants that fit me well.  I now own 2 black pairs and a grey pair.

Why do I love these pants?

  1. Heavier material with good stretch.
  2. Ankle pants for normal people = perfect length regular pants for 5'2" me.
  3. Price point - I can't see paying J Crew prices when it comes to pants.
  4. They work both for work and weekend wear.
Great job, Target!

This is not a sponsored post. I have no clue how to even post affiliate links, so no worries if you click on the link. I won't get a thing ;)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Drive

When I was growing up, my family loved to take drives together. We would drive down the roads with the stately homes and quaint drawbridges. Sometimes, we'd end up in St. Augustine! We would always listen to the soft pop/60's/70's station. This probably explains my love of Chicago, the Carpenters, and Fleetwood Mac.

This weekend, my little family went on a Sunday drive. We had just finished a walk through a nature preserve near our home. Instead of making the turn to head back home, J drove us all over the beaches. We admired all of the beach homes, picking out our favorites. Jack "read" his books and made animal sounds at his leisure. We listened to the 90's station and had fun reminiscing and singing along. We even found a "new to us" pie shop and Greek restaurant that are now on our list of places to try.

It was low-tech. It was relaxing. It was a Sunday drive.

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Power of Influence

Influence is such a funny thing. Prior to social media, we would be influenced by traditional media like television (ie. The Rachel haircut), music, movies, and magazines. However, I find social media influence to be unintentional a lot of times. Someone may tweet about a certain product because they just happen to like the product. Another person may be a have a good deal of knowledge about a topic, so people may approach them for recommendations. 

Yes, there are sponsored posts, which can be great ways to market items. Someone may be buying a vacuum and may actually consider a product because they read about it in a sponsored post.They may not buy it, but they at least consider it (or perhaps this makes them want to avoid it--either way--they think about it!)

Anyways, because I love to survey people. I posed the question on my Twitter and IG to ask...

Thinking of the power of social media. Pl share the biggest purchase you have made based on a recommendation from someone from SM (blog etc)

Here are the answers provided. I've italicized the ones that I have purchased after I became aware though social media:


Makeup brush
Lip Gloss
Beauty Products
Naked 2 Palette
Britax Car Seat
Bumbleride Stroller
Light fixture
City Mini Double Stroller
City Select Stroller
Erin Condren Planner
Diono RXT car seat
Trader Joe's Cookie Butter
J Crew Knockoff necklace - Not sure if it is the bubble or another statement necklace
Tria Laser Hair Removal

Pretty interesting, in my opinion. I'm sure it has to do with my timeline/who I follow as many of these items are baby related. I'm sure if a fashion blogger did this survey, the answers would contain answers like a certain dress or shoes.

If you'd like to share your answer, please feel free to comment!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Fiscal Friday: Credit Karma

It'’s Fiscal Responsibility Friday! Today, I wanted to share a website that has been wonderful in supporting my quest to be fiscally responsible.
J told me about Credit Karma after seeing a feature on MSNBC about the site. Credit Karma is a website where you can monitor your credit score.  I usually check mine once every couple of months, but you can check it more frequently (once a month). Seeing my credit score is not the only benefit of this website. I also like seeing a summary of my/our credit cards and student loans. Even those credit cards that do not have a current balance are listed as long as they are still active accounts. 
**On a side note, writing out my debt (credit cards, school and at that time, my car loan) was one of the scariest things I have ever done. Seeing all your burden written out is very sobering.
Back to Credit Karma, since facing my debts head on, I like having a way that I can monitor my progress. The graph that represents the movement of my credit score is incredibly encouraging. Watching the total debt amount reduce is also a great motivator.
Here is a picture of my actual Credit Karma page (with the numbers blurred out as I’m not THAT brave yet!)

Please note that I am not a financial professional and this post is merely to share my personal experience with Credit Karma. This is not a sponsored post. I am just a happy user of the site!
Make sure to visit my friends Katie and Christina as they will be sharing their thoughts on fiscal responsibility. Join in the conversation by using the hashtag #fiscalresponsibility on Twitter!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Coach: A Positive Customer Service experience

I am so pleased to be able to share the positive customer service experience that I recently had with Coach. Note that this is not a sponsored post! I imagine the only way that Coach will know I wrote about this is if they google themselves.

Last Mother's Day, J gave me the below City Tote:

It was perfect for schlepping my stuff to work! 

While on a business trip, one of the handles detached from the bag. Since it was the beginning of my trip and I did not have a spare bag, I made do. Thanks to the staff at the Marriott, I used electrical tape to reattach the handle. It worked beautifully, albeit it was definitely unsightly.

Coach has a program where they will make repairs on any of their products. You do have to pay a $20 shipping and handling fee. You include a form, found here, where you detail the nature of your repair.

I kept forgetting to send my bag in. But finally, I sent it for repair about two weeks ago. 

Today, I received the following letter from Coach:

I really feel that sending me a new bag was an example of excellent customer service. The repair did not look especially complicated. However, I suspect that the residue from the electrical tape was hard to remove. Even though I'm the one who put the electrical tape on it, they still felt that it was the right thing to do to send me a new bag.

Coach may not be the hippest bag brand in blogland (ahem Kate Spade Beau bag, Celine, Prada etc). However, I have a new found respect for them and will continue to shop them in the future.

And by the way, J got an email that I have a delivered from Coach set for tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The resolution I'll end up breaking

Inspired by C's post on getting real, I'm sharing the resolution that I know I'll end up breaking.

I wrote about judgment back in March 2013. I'm really trying not to judge, especially on social media. The two topics that I'm most judgmental on are spending habits and lemmings.  If someone wants to spend their money on numerous "Fill in the blank" brand, so be it. Someone else's debt isn't my debt. Truthfully, I'm probably jealous! If someone wants to kiss a big blogger's rear end, so be it! If they want to wear army pants and flip flops like Cady Heron, it doesn't hurt anyone.

But if I am honest with myself, I know I'll still do it. And hate myself right afterwards.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fiscal Friday: The Look for Less!

For my first #fiscalresponsibility post for 2014, I decided to cover one of my favorite topics: finding the Look for Less. On an aside, did you ever watch "The Look for Less" on Style Network? I loved Elizabeth Hasselbeck on that show (much more so than her current roles). She would take runway styles and do inspired looks using items from the local mall.

I put together a Polyvore of two of my favorite "Look for Less" finds!

Look for Less: Shirtdress

The Look for Less I

As I continue the journey of #fiscalresponsibility, I will continue to see more cost effective ways to wear the styles I like. Please share some of your favorite finds with me!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Better Daughter

My dad turned 75 this past Sunday. Something about his birthday and recent circumstances have me reflecting on my role as a daughter. Being a daughter was the first role I ever had. Since then, I've become a sister, friend, wife, aunt, and mother. But daughter...that's where it all started.

I have not always been a "good" daughter. In fact, I'd say I spent a large percentage of the first 27 years of my life not being a good daughter. I broke curfew. I didn't listen to my parents. When I lived away from home, I didn't call when I said I would. In fact, there was one weekend in college where I partied the whole time and ignored an answering machine full of messages from my parents. I did not value the time I spent with my parents.

Then my dad got sick. Suddenly, all the time I thought I had to be a good daughter was slipping away.  I realized how lucky I was that I could see my parents whenever I wanted. That they were
 there to say "Hello, I love you." I found myself wanting to find things that would make them happy.  I realized that being present and engaged with them was what mattered most.

I know that our time is not forever. But at least I have it.