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December 28th, 2022 Comments off

Christmas Day was a relaxing quiet one. We had opened the majority of our gifts the day before, but after breakfast we opened the remaining ones.

Joe got me a non-picture disc vinyl copy of Seventeen Seconds by The Cure, a paper cutter from my wish list, a phone & watch charging stand for my nightstand, and of course, the Apple Watch.

He also got me a pair of earbuds (same type, different color than the ones I got him below) because he thought they would be great with my new Apple Watch (since you can only listen to music and podcasts directly from the watch with earbuds). He totally spaced on the fact that I avoid earbuds now with my ear issues. He had forgotten about them because I haven’t been talking about my ears lately (still have tinnitus but it’s calmed down and the sensitivity in my ear is much better lately). Needless to say, those will be returned.

What’s missing is a cute t-shirt that looks like this:

The postal service said it was delivered in our mailbox on 12/12 but it never materialized. We thought maybe they put it in a neighbor’s box by mistake, since it’s a shared box with individual slots, so we were waiting to see if they would bring it over. When that didn’t happen, we went to the post office on 12/17 and filled out a form, but haven’t heard squat from them. Joe contacted the Etsy seller but they can only refund us if we can get a letter from the post office stating the package is missing. But they’re not going to do that since according to them it was delivered. Ugh! So we’re out that money now. So help me if I ever see someone in this neighborhood wearing that shirt…

I got Joe a Darth Vader print he had requested, some earbuds from his wish list, candy (two different types of Turtles so we could do a taste comparison – Turtle brand wins if you like caramel, but Fannie May does it you’re not into chocolate – and watermelon Sour Patch Kids since they stopped making the watermelon flavored Twizzlers he loved), a small Star Wars LEGO set, and two bars of Bath & Body Works soap.

Wow, seems lame when laid out, right? But the Apple Watch for me was a last minute decision. We don’t typically buy each other big gifts since we like picking out expensive things ourselves as needed. Although last year he got me a new computer monitor which I didn’t like so he uses it instead. That’s just how things go sometimes when you’ve been together almost 21 years.

We watched Die Hard & Scrooged and had planned to have a steak dinner but weren’t hungry enough after lunch (which was homemade baked mac & cheese) so we had it the following day with green bean casserole, crescent rolls, and some of the sweet potato casserole I had frozen from Thanksgiving. Dessert over the entire week has been the pistachio cake I made, although on Monday I made the pumpkin pie we originally intended to have on Thanksgiving but didn’t, so Joe had that (I don’t care for pumpkin pie).

Categories: Food, Holidays Tags:

Apple Watch

December 27th, 2022 Comments off

It probably comes as no surprise that I ended up getting an Apple Watch.

Friday (12/16) Joe came home work and told me he had gotten some American Express gift cards, and between that and finally selling the coffee table he had restored over a year ago, it would cover the watch and I should get it. He wanted to surprise me, but he knew I wasn’t sure which one I wanted (SE or Series 8), nor what color/size case.

He mentioned Target had them on sale through Saturday the 17th which put me into a bit of a panic since I needed to make a decision quickly. Needless to say, I spent the entire evening looking at options and using the Apple Store app on my phone to compare the watch case to the Amazfit Bip 3 to get an idea of how it would look on my wrist.

I finally settled on this one:

Apple Watch Series 8 GPS 41mm Silver Aluminum Case with White Sport Band – S/M

Initially, I thought I wanted a black one, but I didn’t care for the fact that the midnight case isn’t truly black, but instead a very deep blue. I briefly considered the Starlight color, but I tend to wear cool tones, so silver seemed to match better and would be more versatile with different color bands.

As for size, I felt the 45mm one was a bit too large for me and would be heavier than the watch I was currently wearing. The 41mm one is 1 gram lighter. I excitedly ordered the watch and then had to painstakingly wait until Wednesday (12/21) for UPS to deliver it.

It arrived with a nearly dead battery so the first thing I did after letting it come to room temperature was charge it. Luckily, I was aware of the absence of a power brick, so I had ordered one from Amazon which, in a stroke of perfect timing, arrived a half hour after the watch did.

Small rant: I think it’s shitty of Apple to not include everything you need to actually charge the watch. Imagine buying the watch as a gift for someone and not knowing this. Here’s something you can’t use until you buy something else. It’s pretty presumptuous of them to think someone getting a watch already has the appropriate plug when they recently changed from lighting to USB-C. I owned exactly zero USB-C compatible plugs until now.

First Impressions

The silver case is even nicer looking than I pictured, as is the white sport band. White is not a color I ever really wear so I was kinda bummed I couldn’t get a black band, but I’m actually really digging the white after all.

It’s heavier than the Amazfit and hurt my arm at first. This is because the band has more heft to it. It also takes getting used to with the way it fastens and then loops back into the side of the band against your arm. Initially I really didn’t like that, but now that I’m used to how it feels it’s not bad, and the bonus is the band cannot not get caught on anything since there’s no exposed excess.

The screen quality is stunning and even though I chose the smaller case, I can see everything quite well even with my bad eyes (I need progressive lenses ASAP).


I love how easy it is to customize watch faces and switch between them on the fly. You can store a bunch of them in memory.

Watch faces are interactive & offer at least one, but usually many, Complications (Apple’s term for small interface elements that users place on the clock face). For instance, if you add a weather complication that shows the temperature, tapping on it with your finger will bring you to more detailed weather data.

Notifications are intelligent – if your iPhone is locked, notifications will only make noise/vibrate on your watch. If you’re actively using your phone, they won’t bother you on the watch since you’d see them there immediately.

You can make/answer calls from the watch.

You can control media from the watch such as Spotify, podcasts, YouTube, etc. although you cannot actually listen to that media directly from the watch’s speaker.

I can keep better track of my hydration with the water app I have installed. Spoiler alert – I never drink enough.

The Activity app helps motivate me to move around more during the day and exercise at a higher intensity in order to complete my goals.


Audible notifications on the watch all sound the same regardless of which app they come from (with the except of phone calls). I wish you could mirror the same sounds as the phone since some notifications are more time sensitive than others.

There’s no Complication for steps as Apple doesn’t think they are as important as how much overall activity you have per day. I really don’t like Apple telling me what to do. I have just gotten into step counting and don’t like I need to install a 3rd party app to see that information at a glance. Apple tracks it, but I have to click on Activity and scroll down to see my steps. That is obnoxious and the 3rd party app wasn’t syncing the data correctly, so I ended up uninstalling it.


Despite some of the frustrations I have, I really love this watch! It’s very functional, and looks great too.

Categories: Product Reviews, Shopping, Tech Tags:

Amazfit Bip 3 Smart Watch

December 20th, 2022 Comments off

About a week before Thanksgiving I was chatting with my bestie and she was telling me about the Fitbit she wanted to get her mother. At that point I realized I had been thinking how I wanted an Apple Watch.

My biggest concern, however, other than the price, was whether I could handle the size/weight of one since I never wear watches, or any jewelry for that matter. Other than the Apple store, you cannot try a watch on before purchasing it which to me is kinda crazy. I remember as a teenager going to Service Merchandise and trying on watches. I bought one that had a face that detached and went on different color bands. It was the coolest thing in my mind. But I digress…

Fast forward to November 30th and I saw through a deal site I frequent that Walmart was selling the Amazfit Bip 3 smart watch for $35 on an extended Black Friday sale (normally $50). I did a little reading up on it and in addition to the fitness stuff, learned it receives phone notifications, weather updates, etc. so I decided to order it. I figured it would be a cheap way to test whether I can handle wearing a watch after all these years.

The wait was difficult as the watch wasn’t due to be delivered until December 12th. Side note: If that delivery time frame was supposed to get me on board to keep my Walmart+ subscription after the free trial, they should think again. It got updated to the 8th but then delayed and was ultimately delivered on the 9th.

First impressions

I really like how they designed the box. Even opening it was easy and didn’t cause any damage to it. Everything was laid out inside nicely.

Amazfit BIP 3 box

Pull tab to open box

Inside the box

The battery was at 42%, so after letting it warm up to room temperature and briefly trying it on, I charged it. It took about an hour and 15 minutes to get to 100%.

It was simple to set up. There’s a QR code in the little instruction booklet which when scanned takes you to where you download the app. Then you follow the instructions in the app to pair it to the phone. You can also mess with settings and whatnot.

Now that I’ve been wearing it daily for 12 days, I’ll break down the pros and cons:


» Lightweight (33gm) & comfortable despite the large 44mm case

» Exceptional battery life. I haven’t had to charge it since the initial charge & the battery is currently at 30%

» Seems to track steps accurately, although it lags behind and doesn’t do it in real time

» Can buy 3rd party bands to customize the look of your watch

» Price is very good for an introductory smart watch, especially for someone who doesn’t need all the bells and whistles


» Doesn’t seem to track sleep accurately; thinks any time I’m in bed I’m also asleep

» Doesn’t render notifications accurately so sometimes they’re missing pertinent info

» Watch face isn’t interactive, only informative

» You can only have two watch faces stored in the watch at a time, and one of those is a default that cannot be deleted. So basically you cannot easily switch watch faces as it’s a multi-step process in the app where you have to delete the face, then download and install the one you want

» Current weather often stops displaying until you go into the app to re-sync the watch; otherwise it just shows you the predicted high & low for the day

» Allows you to control what’s playing on your phone (such as music or podcasts) but lacks the 15 second skip ahead feature for podcasts (which I use frequently to skip over ads)


Instead of satiating my desire for an Apple Watch, owning this watch has only increased it. Not that it was a total failure – it made me realize I could handle wearing a watch all day (although I do take it off when showering & at night for a break since the sleep tracking sucks anyway).

Categories: Product Reviews, Tech Tags:

New Association & Fire Alarm Inspection

December 19th, 2022 Comments off

Sometime back in October my payment to our association was rejected by the bank with a notice that the PO BOX had been closed. And this was how I learned that we had a new association (that no one ever told us about). Luckily I have a few neighbors’ contact info and was able to get the whole welcome packet digitally from one of them. Apparently it was mailed to everyone, but I spoke to other neighbors who didn’t get the info either. Trying to get an email response or accurate information from this new association didn’t go well either. Very aggravating!

Eventually they created a website and suddenly seemed to magically now have my email address (which was always on my account) in order to send notices and whatnot. One of those was about upcoming fire alarm inspections. The way in which they laid out the information caused confusion, though. Had it not been for the two people on our board who showed up at my house to discuss voting for new board members, I would have thought the inspection for our unit was on a Wednesday, not Friday. I’m guessing the same confusion happened to the neighbors on either side of us too since neither were home the day they showed up. That sucks, because they will be charged for the inspectors to come back out.

I spoke to the guys who did the inspection and was told that our system really needs replacing but it would be very difficult to do so. Who knows what that means for the future. They were required under their contract to replace two heat detectors in each building and chose our unit for both, so they replaced the one in the laundry room and the other in the garage. Not sure why they didn’t replace one in another unit, though. Kinda seems unfair we got two (of the four in our unit) replaced, but whatever. I’m just happy that is over, for this year at least. They choose the dates and you have to be home or you get fined. It’s really shitty, if you ask me.

Categories: House & Home Tags:

Master Bedroom Window

December 6th, 2022 Comments off

Over the past few months I’ve noticed the master bedroom has been draftier than usual and it seemed like I could hear the wind whipping around at night more. Plus I could hear the relentless beeping from the big post office across the street. I chalked it up to the fact that our windows aren’t that insulated and asked Joe if he could install a window insulation kit since it’s been so cold in there lately.

Sunday was the day and in order to do it we had to remove the blinds first. So glad we did as that’s when we discovered that the glass had slipped, leaving a small gap where all the air can come in.

Everything makes much more sense now!

Unfortunately Joe couldn’t get the glass to budge no matter what he did and he was worried he’d break it if he used too much force so he put some insulation foam in the gap and caulked the hell out of it to temporarily seal it.

The windows are 30 years old so we decided we’ll be replacing them next year. It sucks, because it isn’t going to be cheap, but I’m really looking forward to having windows that are easier to open. Plus I’ve wanted a new patio door for years.

I’m going to start doing some research so we choose a company carefully. I also plan on speaking to our neighbors to the west as they had all their windows and patio door replaced last year and they look nice.

Categories: House & Home Tags: