Notable Purchases (Or Items Acquired)

April 13th, 2021 Comments off

Just wanna start this off by documenting the fact that I washed our thick reversible comforter this morning to prepare it for summer storage and the washing machine ate it. There are several holes and there’s really no way to repair it since those holes aren’t along the seams. I guess we’ll be donating it to the recycling event this Saturday where they can cut it up and use the fabric for other things.

I’ve washed it in the past without issues, so I don’t know what happened. The only thing that makes me feel better is that it was purchased through Groupon with points I got from our Discover cash back so it didn’t actually cost us anything. And we have a replacement comforter, although it’s not as fluffy. Oh, and it also had a little pink staining on the grey side as if it came in contact with bleach at some point even though I don’t use bleach.

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Roku

Last month Target had a Roku on sale for $25 so we decided to grab one; we wanted to watch TV in the bedroom with a remote. Bonus was that I could access my free Apple TV subscription on it; I ended up binging the entire season of The Morning Show within a short time, and we also started watching Central Park as well.

A couple of weeks ago we lost our T-Vision cable services through T-Mobile. They decided to get out of the cable tv business which was probably a good decision since they were not doing it well. There were so many things about how their services worked that annoyed me.

We had purchased their streaming device, which was similar to the Roku, and it was on the living room TV. We decided to swap the devices so we could watch Apple TV shows downstairs instead and ended up binging Ted Lasso within two days.

Ted Lasso

That show is so good! I can’t wait for subsequent seasons, although my free subscription will likely be gone by then. It was only supposed to last through last November but Apple kept extending it at no charge. I believe it’s due to expire in July.

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The following are items we bought last year that I never wrote about.

Air Fryer

I never talked about how back in October Joe’s former employer said he had earned a free gift to pick from a catalog. Nothing much stood out to us, so we ended up selecting an air fryer even though we didn’t really want another kitchen appliance to find storage space for. But we didn’t have one, so we thought it would be cool to see what everyone else was talking about.

Air Fryer

We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how often we make use of it. It’s great from re-heating leftovers like french fries, fried pickles, even small slices of pizza. We’ve made nuggets, bacon, and roasted veggies in it too. I would love to have a larger one that looks like a toaster oven one day. It also made me think – is that type really the same as a convection oven? So I googled it:

While a full-size convection oven and an air fryer both use a fan to move hot air around, an air fryer circulates the air more rapidly inside a small chamber, speeding up the cooking process. Air fryers also employ a basket to more evenly circulate hot air around the bottom of your food.

Good to know. Also, we made space on the counter for it since we use it so much.

Winter Coat

Also in October I took to Facebook for help finding a good winter coat since I’ve spent years looking for one without success:

Does anyone make a winter coat that fits the following criteria?
Lightweight, but warm (like a puffer coat)
Long enough to cover your butt
Zips up
Detachable hood
Outer pockets that zip closed
Inner pockets to hold your phone
Comes in black
I seriously can only find a mishmash of these things but none that fulfill all of my requirements.

In late November I posted an update:

In case anyone is curious, I ended up buying the Columbia Women’s Heavenly Long Hooded Jacket (in black) from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

I gave up on the idea of needing inner pockets for this type of jacket, since I realized I wouldn’t want to be unzipping it in the cold to access the pockets anyway. And even though the hood isn’t removable, it’s not oversized or heavy, so it isn’t a nuisance like it was on my old jacket.

It’s on sale now @ Columbia ($112.50 which is what I paid at Dick’s) if anyone is in the market for a nice long coat that covers your butt.

I also got a black jacket that’s a little shorter from Costco a few weeks ago for only $25. It has two inner pockets and the outside ones are lined with fleece. I am now set for many winters to come.

If anyone knows where I can donate my old coat, please share.

My only complaint after wearing the coat a few times is that it’s not a very deep/dark black and almost looks navy blue in comparison to the jacket I got from Costco which is my everyday coat. The Columbia one is very warm, though! I wore it when we visited Cosley Zoo and Lilacia Park to see the Christmas lights in December.

I also donated my old coat via Burlington Coat Factory. They have a donation box set up inside.

Sheets

Kohls had Cuddl Duds microfiber sheet sets on sale back in November so I ordered a set. Not only is it thicker than the cheapie sheets we currently had (which had holes in it), but it was soft and comfy. Plus they were so deep I was able to fit them over the thick mattress and mattress cover with ease which wasn’t possible before (we had one sheet on the cover and a different one over the mattress which looked rather junky). I liked the set so much I bought a second set later that month when they were on sale for even cheaper (first set cost $38.24 and the second set was only $26.03).

Categories: Life Tags:

Belated Easter Saturday

April 11th, 2021 Comments off

Yesterday (4/10) morning we grabbed two gift bags from Party City to put the kids’ Easter gifts in. I had them in two very old plastic baskets from when they were kids but had a feeling they wouldn’t want to deal with those. I plan on donating them, in fact.

We headed to K’s apartment, arriving at noon when we ran into her grandparents who were getting ready to go get their covid vaccinations. Her grandma asked me how I was doing since K must have mentioned some of the health issues I was going through. I was touched that she cared enough to ask. Kinda sad, though, that my husband’s ex-wife’s mother cares more than my own parents or siblings (and even some friends) when they know in even greater detail the hell I went through in 2019 and early 2020. But I digress…

E was at K’s place helping her put together some new IKEA furniture. She’s loving living alone (she broke up with her longtime boyfriend ES back in November and to make a long story short he wasn’t nearly as nice of a person he made himself out to look).

We visited inside for about an hour and a half (everyone wearing masks and the windows open for fresh air) and caught up with the kids (E ended up leaving a bit before we did since he had to work).

Luckily the kids liked all their gifts.

Easter Gifts - E

Easter Gifts - K

K remarked I must know her well in response to me warning her she was going to have a duplicate since I spotted one of the same items on her shelf when I came in (the reversible cat plush). E really liked the t-shirt we got him.

After leaving we headed over to the Chinese restaurant Brother #2 introduced us to (which incidentally is the last restaurant we ate inside before COVID). It was closed, but there was a sign on the door stating they moved to their sister restaurant which just so happened to be on the way home anyway, so I ordered a few dishes that we took home for lunch. They were just as good as I remember too!

I also updated the old location on Yelp. Someone marked it as permanently closed, but I changed it to moved so people can still find it.

Categories: Family, Food Tags:

IZZE & Comforter Update

April 11th, 2021 Comments off

I never heard back from IZZE after providing feedback about their customer service response. I recently checked their website and according to them only two stores in the entire tristate area carry the cherry lime flavor now – one in the city and one up north closer to where my friend lives.

Yesterday we stopped at Party City and I decided to check Mariano’s just in case. I truly wasn’t expecting them to have any in stock, but there was an entire row of them (about eight 4-packs) so I grabbed four. And they were still on sale for $4 instead of $5! $1 per bottle is a bit high, but I only plan on drinking one a week so it’ll last me a long time.

IZZE

I popped one in the fridge and ended up drinking it with my lunch and I have to say – it tastes better in the cans. Oh well, it’s not like I have a choice. I’m not buying a multipack of different flavors just to get 4 of the flavor I actually want.

Also I guess their website doesn’t really accurately track what they have in stock and where because it was listing my local store as being in stock when it wasn’t and now it’s not listed when it is in stock. That makes a whole lot of sense!

Shortly after returning the comforter we bought from Home Depot, Target had a white comforter on sale for even less. It’s thinner, but it’s actually white, so it worked out nicely since we don’t sleep under the comforter anyway.

Categories: Shopping Tags:

Easter Weekend

April 6th, 2021 Comments off

Spring Flower Show @ Wilder Park Conservatory

Saturday (4/3) we decided to pay a short visit to Wilder Park Conservatory for their one-week spring flower show which consisted mostly of white lilies and daffodils.

White Lily

It smelled really nice inside and we had the entire place (ahem, room) to ourselves. The building is actually quite large but the front room is for guests and the rest of the building is a greenhouse for staff only. I also learned that the Lizzardo Museum we visited many years ago moved to Oak Brook.

In any case, just being out and about made me wistful for the good old days. At least with the weather getting warmer we will have more things to do.

Since we rarely even leave the house on weekends, we maximized our trip by stopping at a few places:

» Mariano’s in Lombard to check for cherry lime IZZE – fail

» Dollar Tree in Villa Park to check for more metal carrots for the front – fail

» Sonic for an early morning soft pretzel (it tasted like half pretzel, half deep fried donut!) – success

» Speedway for a $15 Taco Bell gift card purchased with speedy points – success, and card depleted within a few days (damn you spicy potato soft taco!)

» Library to pick up holds – success – and we ended up with a huge pile now that they’ve lifted the 5 item hold limit

I also made my once a year carrot cake which came out a bit dry. I swear no matter how closely I babysit it that always happens. It always seems to take forever to make too since I make the frosting from scratch and powdered sugar got flung everywhere by the mixer despite me draping a towel over it. I may just buy a boxed mix and premade frosting next year. I like carrot cake, but not enough to go through the effort.

We had Culver’s for dinner since we were feeling lazy and didn’t want to make anything that would leave us with leftovers (as most dinners do when there’s only two people).

Sunday (4/4) morning we took Wookie to Northside Park in Wheaton for a lovely walk. Then I put her in the pet stroller and we sat in the driveway while Joe cleaned the inside of our vehicles and straightened up the garage a bit. We grabbed lunch from Taco Bell and opened all the windows to enjoy the fresh air. I noticed a lot of people in the neighborhood have company for the holiday. We opted not to do that since no one is vaccinated yet. We also opted out of a traditional Easter dinner (ham and sides) and decided to have steak instead. I grabbed some mushroom risotto from Target as well. It wasn’t great, and the steak took longer to cook than we anticipated, but overall it was still a very nice holiday.

Categories: Food, Holidays, Pets Tags:

Cherry Lime & Dunkin Hashbrowns

March 1st, 2021 Comments off

Since Joe and I are both currently unemployed, we take advantage of being able to shop early mornings during the week when many people are busy working. We don’t leave the house at all on the weekends anymore, in fact. Why go out in the hustle and bustle? We never liked that anyway, but even less so during a pandemic. The only downside is, we don’t shop as often as we used to, so by the time we get around to doing so, things are picked over, particularly holiday related items.

We went to Dollar Tree this morning for the first time in two months and many of the Easter stuff is already gone even though it’s still a month away. I really wanted fake carrots so I could string together my own banner for the fireplace mantel. I grabbed some Easter treats for the kids and did find this kneeling pad, though, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Kneeling Pad

I’ve been wanting one since last summer so I can trim our flowers in comfort but they were sold out by the time I started looking.

An employee was in the middle of stocking all the spring stuff so they had a bunch of colors besides the purple – brown, grey, and green come to mind. He had his nose hanging out of his mask, though, so I didn’t look at anything else in that section. Why do I see this more from employees than customers? A lot of employees at Mendards are guilty of this too. I ended up reporting the employee on the Dollar Tree website. Hopefully he isn’t fired, just required to follow safety guidelines.

Speaking of feedback – I just submitted some through IZZE’s website. Ever since my friend introduced me to the cherry lime, I’ve been hooked.

Cherry Lime IZZE

Unfortunately, it can only be acquired by buying a multi-flavor pack of cans. Problem is I’m not too thrilled with any of the other flavors. Mariano’s sells a 4-pack of bottles but every time I look for them they’re sold out. Interestingly enough, a 24 case of cans is listed on their feedback form, but not their product page.

So here’s what I wrote:

Does a 24 pack of just Cherry Lime IZZE really exist? I see it listed in your feedback form, but not your product page. It’s by far my favorite flavor, but I cannot find it by itself anywhere. Mariano’s is always out of stock of the 4-pack of bottles and it makes me very sad. Please tell me there’s a way to get a case of just that flavor and you’ll make my day. :) I need my Cherry Lime fix!

I’m crossing my fingers they’ll tell me it’s a new offering and I can order it off Amazon or something. Finding food and drinks I enjoy is one of the small joys left in this crazy world. Just ask my waistline haha.

Speaking of, I am addicted to Dunkin’ Donuts’ hash browns. The seasoning on them is delicious, and the past two weeks I’ve gotten an order with a free iced coffee thanks to their Monday promotion (fee medium drink with any purchase). I think it might be rosemary in the hash browns that make them stand out. Once, a few months back, I ordered a serving (which is 6 hash browns) and the woman gave me the entire batch from the oven. There had to be at least 40 in there. I was in my glory and feasted on delicious hash browns for days.

DD Hashbrowns

Unfortunately, there’s no consistency across the Dunkin locations. Some make a better tasting drink, some are consistently more expensive, some are quick, and some are clueless. I had one tell me that the standard iced coffee includes both cream and sugar on top of the flavor swirl they knew I was already getting. It was disgustingly sweet, so I think they were mistaken. In fact, I learned that the flavor swirls are already sweetened and creamy, so no milk/cream is needed either.

And since this has turned into a food review entry, I wanted to showcase these blueberry scones my friend KD loves.

Blueberry Scones

I’ve never tried them before, but I was at Mariano’s this morning in search of the cherry lime IZZE when I came across them in the bakery. Wow, are they good! Much softer than I was expecting, and full of strong blueberry flavor. I ate three and then had to stop myself. Rest in peace, thin body.


Update: Here’s the response back from IZZE.

Dear Nicole,

I’m so sorry you haven’t been able to find your favorite IZZE Sparkling Cherry Lime in your local area. The good news is that we are still making it.

With more people staying at home, we’ve seen an increased demand for many of our products. We are diligently working with our suppliers to ensure our production and inventory keeps pace with the heightened demand. And, our employees are doing all they can to keep store shelves stocked.

We’ll let the right teams know you’re looking for it, and in the meantime, you can always check our product locator to see if you can find it near you or on one of our online options. Here’s a link to get started: IZZE

We appreciate your choosing our product and I hope this information is helpful.

Didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know, and didn’t answer my question about a 24 pack of cans. Getting really tired of the non-answer answers these companies provide.

Update #2: I received an email asking me to rate how customer service helped, so I filled out the survey as such. Stay tuned for update #3!

Categories: Food, Retail Experiences, Shopping Tags: