Alternate Usage

It’s always fun when you discover that a product that you already use has an alternate use:

Image care of Crabtree & Evelyn's website

Image care of Crabtree & Evelyn’s website

A few weeks months ago I was shopping with my mom and friend/brother-in-law’s girlfriend, Andrea at the outlet mall. My mom had recently discovered Crabtree & Evelyn’s new nail polish line, and if you know Helene, you know that she loves a good bottle of nail polish. While perusing C&E’s new nail polish that day the salesman pointed out a new nail product: nail polish removing wipes. Allegedly one wipe could take the nail polish off all your fingers – and they were good for your nails unlike typical nail polish remover.

I’m a sucker for spiel and listened intently as he talked about it’s benefits and showed us their newly formulated hand lotions until several minutes later Helene stepped in and ushered us all to the check-out counter (I believe this was after Andrea and I received hand massages with that newly formulated hand lotion haha).

The spiel worked and I left having purchased the nail wipes, a bottle of nail polish and some new hand lotion (I did need the lotion for my purse, my hands were pretty dry by that point in winter). About a week later, I tested out the nail wipes while removing nail polish from my finger nails, and it definitely lived up to my expectations – one wipe took the polish off all 10 fingernails.

A few weeks later, while Mike was working on my desk (see the post The Desk that Mike Built) his hands became covered in stain. As did most of his lower arms. I came home from work to see him scrubbing in the sink – but to no avail. I intervened when I saw him bring out the steel wool. First we tried a Fresh Brown Sugar Scrub sample that I had in my bathroom drawer. That didn’t really do anything to take the stain off of his hands/arms. Then I had another idea, I grabbed one of the nail polish removing wipes and suggested that he try that instead. I figured that since it’s made to take a varnish off of your nails, maybe it would take a stain off of your skin. And it did. Though it did take two to get the job done (which I suppose is pretty good considering that Mike’s hands/arms take up considerably more space than my 10 fingernails do).

As he continued to stain, he continued to use the wipes afterwards to clean his hands/arms. And then there was one. One wipe left (the box comes with 8). While shopping at the outlet mall a few weeks later with my sister Tory I decided to stop in C&E to pick up another box of the wipes. I’m a chatty person (this probably comes as a shock) and so I told the saleswoman about how Mike had used up the box of wipes cleaning stain off of his arms as she rung up my purchase (just the wipes this time).

Apparently she thought that was just a great story and about a week ago when Tory was shopping at that outlet mall and stopped in C&E to pick up some wipes for Helene, that same saleslady (must not have recognized Tory) started telling her “a customer came in here a few weeks ago and she told me the best story about these wipes, you see her husband’s hands were covered in stain and …” Tory interjected with “Yes, I know that story – my sister told it to you a few weeks ago!”


T-minus 7 Days

Yesterday, I happened to glance down at the Days til Christmas Countdown on my phone and saw the number 7. I did a double take, not believing my eyes, and then mentally did the math in my head.

This has to be the most behind I’ve ever been in Christmas preparations. Thankfully, with the holiday rush subsided on my Etsy (I cut off pre-holiday shipping on the 10th of December) I finally am regaining the headspace to get personal stuff done again.

Last night when I got home from work I decided that the non-bill mail pile had gotten too large and it was time to sift through it. What I found was about 3 months worth of magazines yet to be read. I adore magazines, and during the simpler times in my life I would lay in bed for hours on any given weekend morning reading them. Lately, between working and my love affair with my kindle, my magazines have gone unread. Before retiring to bed last night, I checked my calendar to confirm my lack of plans and decided that there will be several hours of me time this weekend, located in bed with reading materials of the paper persuasion.

The rest of the weekend will probably be spent braving the malls, shopping for the remaining folks on our Christmas list. Perhaps the overheated stores blaring Christmas music and filled with stressed shoppers will help me get into the holiday mindset spirit.

Halloween, Christmas’ next casualty

I took this photo on Monday, October 29th. And really, it was only a matter of time before Macy’s exterior decorations went up since their interiors were already ready for the holidays a few weeks prior. I understand that Halloween might not be the most exciting holiday for adults, especially those without kids who have left their years of donning questionable costumes and bar hopping behind them – but that’s no reason to completely blow off Halloween and Thanksgiving to promote Christmas in-store.

And it’s not just Macy’s. Most of the major home-stores have already brought out their holiday lines. Nothing gets me in the Halloween spirit like a dose of Christmas cheer. Don’t the retailers know that perhaps if they withheld the Christmas decorations from us until after Thanksgiving, and flooded us with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations – telling us subtly that we had to have them, they might make even more money on us, as we’d be purchasing for three holidays instead of blowing off two holidays and still not shopping for Christmas until late November. On that note, who are these people who are shopping for Christmas decorations in October? Do they hate Thanksgiving and fun? There must be a sizable amount of them if it’s worth busting out the red and green while people are still in the mindset of orange and black.

The internet is a different story, it’s like a vast superstore where you can find anything at any time of year. That’s how I’m going to justify the release of my holiday card line on Etsy prior to Halloween 😉

If you enjoyed this yuletide rant, just wait for my thoughts and feelings on the extended hours of Black Friday…

Shopping 101

Over breakfast this morning Mike and I realized that we hadn’t much time left to take advantage of our 10% off deals with the places that we registered. Since he may have a busy next few weekends, we decided to head to the mall today to hit up Williams Sonoma, Macy’s and Crate & Barrel, with gift cards from the wedding/Christmas/misc. in tow.

Watching Mike try to shop just to shop was very amusing since he’s usually a man on a mission – he never just shops for recreation. So when the mission was to spend $x on un-predetermined stuff, he patiently wandered the stores and was actually disappointed when he saw that things were on sale (only my husband…). See, he’d made it his mission to completely spend the gift cards, and that was made more difficult when something didn’t cost as much (his logic was flawless).

Photo from Williams Sonoma’s website. This is a wine caddy that keeps the wine inside chilled for up to 2 hours. Not only was this piece on sale, all sale items were an additional 20% off. So they were practically giving these away at around $10!

Thankfully, we have pretty much everything that we need in the kitchen – or at least everything that we use on a regular basis, and then some. So walking through Williams Sonoma, we were purely looking for little luxuries. What we stumbled upon the wine caddy seen to the left. That barely made a dent in the dollar amount that we needed to spend, so we grabbed one and kept wandering. Unfortunately, Mike didn’t really like any of the table linens that WS sells, so that wasn’t an avenue that we could explore (you can never have enough table linens right?). He did spot some cheese tools and suggested those – but changed his mind when I reminded him that we’d received cheese tools for our wedding.

Photo from Williams Sonoma’s website. This is the milk frothier that we decided to try. Hello speedy hot chocolate – this may just change my winter breakfast routine 🙂

Photo from Williams Sonoma’s website. These were the salt and pepper mills that we decided to purchase. The automatic ones seemed excessive, and the one handed ones were too small to be practical.

While perusing the coffee paraphernalia section we found a milk frothier. I’d always wanted to try one for my hot chocolate (usually I boil the milk in a sauce pan on the stove). So we picked up one of those as well. At only $20, we still had quite a bit to spend. Thankfully, in our journey we remembered that we never registered for salt and pepper mills because they seem unreasonably expensive. Problem solved. The rest of our money went to a salt and pepper mill set (I still cannot wrap my head around how much those things cost each!)

Photo from Macy’s website. While not good for coffee, we got this beverage dispenser in a color that matched most of our existing Chirp by Lenox table linens. We figured we could use this both inside and out, and for a sale price of $25, it was a deal.

When we got to Macy’s we thought we’d look for a coffee urn for when we’re entertaining. A sales associate informed us that it was no dice – they didn’t sell those. However we did find a fun looking beverage dispenser that Mike cursed for being 50% off. We had double to spend what we had at Williams Sonoma, so the hunt continued. It wasn’t until we found ourselves in the table linens section that a light bulb went on. We have a few pieces (table runner and two different sets of cloth napkins) from Lenox’s Chirp collection, why not get more of those table linens, that would actually make sense. Wouldn’t you guess, those were on sale too at 30% off! We were able to get the spill-proof table cloth and 6 spill-proof placemats (oddly enough, while the table settings in that collection are super fragile and expensive, the linens are spill-proof and easily machine-washable).

Photo from Macy’s website. The table cloth and two-toned place mats that we purchased today to continue our collection of Lenox’s Chirp line.

Photo from Macy’s website. A two-tied cookie stand from the china portion of Lenox’s Chirp collection.

Mike was excited, he thought we’d finally reached our limit at Macys… nope, there was still more to spend. I decided that we should see if we could afford any of the actual china pieces from the Chirp collection (also on sale – we were on a roll today!) It was difficult to determine prices, but eventually we figured out that we could both afford and use the two-tiered cookie stand (perhaps for my delicious doughnuts…) The only ones left was the one on display or one in the back (we saw a note stating that on the display box) so Mike unassembled the display cookie stand with his keys and between the two of us we managed to pack it back into its box – there was much ripping of cardboard to make it fit and the extra cardboard was left behind. The sales associate at Macy’s seemed amused by our spend-the-gift cards mission and chuckled a few times at our dialogue.

In the home stretch we headed over to Crate & Barrel to look at a china hutch that we’d been eying online. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to our expectations, and neither did anything else in our budget. So it’s back to the drawing board there.

All-in-all I had a lovely day. Nothing like spending a Saturday afternoon at the mall! It’s so interesting to me how differently Mike and I perceive shopping. When I declared that that was a fantastic outing and asked him if he thought so too, Mike stated that to him today’s trip was an afternoon of errands rather than an outing. I’ll always be amused by the differences of the sexes. I thanked Mike for his positive attitude and enthusiasm while shopping, especially since wandering aimlessly through home-stores couldn’t be further from how he usually shops. Perhaps I’ll save Crate & Barrel for later this month…