Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

Bath & Body Works

July 18th, 2022 Comments off

Sometimes I want to buy all of the things, which is counter to my desire to own less stuff in general. And sometimes it makes me really happy to get new stuff even though I really don’t want to be that way.

In any case, here’s what I got at Bath & Body Works today after I learned their rewards program is changing on Wednesday, July 20th. Instead of getting a free item after spending $75, you’ll now have to spend $100, and I was only $7.50 away from $75 so I wanted to snag my free item before they moved the goal post.

Therefore, last night I placed an order online for in-store pickup since the soaps were on sale for $3.25 each (and it’s a good thing I did since the sale ended yesterday). I got two White Tea & Sage and one Kitchen Lemon since both scents are neutral ones that can be used any time of the year. I also had a coupon for a free body care item $15.50 or less. Of course one of my favorite scents, Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte, was $16.50 so I couldn’t get that. Warm Vanilla Sugar will have to do, then.

I got a text this morning at 8:39 saying my order was ready for pickup. That didn’t seem right to me, so I called the store. Surprisingly, an employee picked up, but they confirmed what I already suspected – they weren’t open yet. Luckily I thought to confirm that or I’d have been pissed showing up to a closed store. I guess they prepped the pickup orders early which prompted an automated text/email. They really should add some verbiage to them saying to check to make sure the store is open first, or program the system to delay sending the notification until the store is open.

I got there at 10 am when they opened and saw that Halloween stuff just came out. After picking up my order, I refreshed my app a few times until it updated with my free item reward so I could get this cute glow-in-the-dark skulls candle holder.

Skulls Candle Holder

I’m pretty sure this is the first home d├ęcor item I’ve purchased this year. Wow, I made it an entire six months without buying a decorative item. Halloween stuff always gets me, though!

I also picked up a new wallflower scent – wicked vanilla woods – to try. I hope it’s good! I had to smell the body lotion to get an idea of the scent and sometimes the wallflowers don’t end up smelling the same. I already have two wallflowers I want to take back and exchange for a better scent once the fall ones are completely out.

Here’s my total “haul”.

I spoke to a very nice employee who helped me with the free reward situation (I wasn’t sure if it would appear immediately or whether I could use it right away) and let me know my favorite scent, Honeycrisp Apple, should be showing up in stores next month.

This place really knows how to drive demand. Every single day it seems there’s a new limited-time sale, and they restrict scent availability to certain times of the year so you can’t stock up on your favorites in a single shopping trip. If you like seasonal scents they have a guarantee you’ll be shopping there at least 3-4 times annually. Who else does this? I’m pretty sure you can get any Yankee Candle scent at any time of the year.

It’s my fault for giving them my business, though. I can’t help myself, especially when everything I get is actually free thanks to gift cards I get via Discover’s cashback bonus rewards. I have a problem.

Categories: Retail Experiences, Shopping Tags:

Craving A New Camera

June 14th, 2022 Comments off

Over the past 3-4 years I’ve rarely picked up my DSLR camera. I kinda lost my passion for photography and defaulted to using my iPhone to take photos. It actually does a great job for closeups and wide angle shots, but where if falls short is wildlife photography. You need an actual camera with a long telephoto lens for that.

With my growing interest in birding this year, I’m feeling unfulfilled with my camera equipment. My DSRL is 14 years old and my newest/largest telephoto lens is 7 years old and not the best piece of glass. I think it’s time to upgrade to something more robust. Cameras have come a long way and I’ve been drooling over the idea of having more than 9 auto-focus points. The newer Canons have an animal tracking feature that would really be helpful as well.

Here’s the problem – I don’t even know whether I should stick to DSLR or go for the newer mirrorless cameras which are quieter, but go through batteries far quicker. The shutter on my current camera scares the hummingbirds so a mirrorless camera is tempting, but I’d need to buy an adapter if I want to still make use of my current lenses. That’s assuming I stick with Canon and don’t move to an entirely different system. It also doesn’t solve the issue that I want a better telephoto lens anyway.

On top of that, there are too many choices! Canon’s site alone lists too many camera bodies and even when comparing them I’m having a hard time figuring out the differences that would matter to me. I’ve been perusing DP Review but it’s not been helping much. Information overload!

Another problem is I don’t want to spend a lot of money. The older I get, the harder it is to spend money. Which is ironic, because thanks to saving & investing, we have more money now than we did back when I was buying $1000+ cameras every few years. To get the kind of shots I crave, I’d probably have to spend $4000 between a camera body, high quality telephoto lens (the ones I’m interested in are in the $2000 range), and a better tripod. I could save money buying used, but even then I’d still be looking at $1000 or more depending on the lens.

Another drawback besides money is the big lenses are heavy! Like 4 lbs before you even add the camera. It can get annoying real quick.

I feel like I’m at an impasse here. I’d like to visit a camera shop to take a look at inventory in person, and speak to an expert who might be able to steer me in the right direction, but the local ones have very limited hours. I wish they were open on the weekends since Joe is at work during the week. One shop in particular even lets you rent cameras and lenses, and while it’s not cheap, it could potentially save me money if I were to find out I didn’t like something before investing in it.

Categories: Shopping, Tech Tags:

New Shark Cordless Vacuum

April 7th, 2022 Comments off

I’ve been wanting a cordless vacuum that could covert into a handheld vacuum for awhile now. I’m tired of using the attachment hose on our upright and having it fall and hit me. Usually it hits me in the head, but a couple of weeks ago it fell on my foot and bruised it, so that was it; I decided it was time to find something new. Our old Dustbuster’s battery hadn’t worked in years, and while we have two stickvacs that convert to handhelds, they are both corded and a pain to deal with.

I really didn’t want to spend $400 on a Dyson, however. We also don’t have a spot in the house to mount it to the wall. I did a little research and people seem really happy with the Shark cordless vacuums, so I started looking at those. Some models can be just as expensive as a Dyson, but I found one in the $250 range I liked. Plus it can stand freely by detaching the handheld part and hanging it on a hook on the larger section.

We’ve racked up a pretty large cashback balance with our Discover card. We usually cash it in for restaurant cards or Bath & Body Works, but haven’t used it much lately so it had gotten into the $300 range. Even better, they give you a discount on the card. I started looking at which retailers carried the vacuum I wanted that also had gift cards available through Discover. I settled on Kohls and wouldn’t you know it, not only was the vacuum on sale for $229, but there was a one-day only 35% off coupon on Sunday, bringing the total, with tax, to $183.27. I snagged a $180 Kohl’s gift card for $162 in cashback and paid the balance of $3.27 for the vacuum, which I received two days later.

After it was fully charged (which takes 2-3 hours), I used it to vacuum the area rug in the workout room, the laminate floor in all the rooms upstairs (it gets into tight corners in handheld mode), and to suck up dead ants in the dining room (they are the bane of my existence every spring).

This morning I used it to clean up the laundry room, foyer, and guest bathroom downstairs. It is so much easier to use than the regular vacuum with hose attachment. Quicker too. Best yet, it cleans the throw rugs without trying to eat them. I love it! I’ll probably only use the big vacuum for the wall-to-wall carpeting and the Shark for everything else.

The suction is really good, and for particularly stubborn spots there’s a boost option which gives it even more powerful suction. It’s really upped my cleaning game. I keep a pretty clean house as it is, but my laziness keeps me from keeping up with the crumbs and whatnot. With the Shark I don’t mind cleaning that stuff up on the daily.

There’s 3 bars that light up on it to keep track of the battery power left and it’s still on the second one after two days of cleaning which is good. I didn’t track the actual total time I’ve used it, but it’s supposed to last up to 40 minutes on a single charge. I told my friend that my only worry is that the battery will go bad quickly and stop holding a charge (like it did in my Dustbuster) but I hope that’s not the case for a $200 vacuum because a replacement battery is $75. Only time will tell, I guess.

Right now I’m keeping it in the office closet with the attachments in a small plastic trashcan. It doesn’t weigh much so it’s easy to move it between floors, unlike the Bissell vacuum. If it wasn’t for the wall-to-wall carpeting, it would be the only vacuum we need.

Categories: Product Reviews, Shopping Tags:

New Years Day 2022

January 1st, 2022 Comments off

Despite waking up late and not wanting to do anything, we hauled our butts over to Kohl’s this morning since they are notorious for being dead on New Year’s Day. Snow was due later in the day so putting off a trip would have been unwise. I had two blankets to return and Joe returned two of my Christmas presents via their Amazon return desk (the box for the letterboard letters was too small and the tray for my Crosstrek, while very nice, actually made it harder to organize the middle console).

I wasn’t expecting to spend an hour there, but my return yielded $15 in Kohl’s Cash and Joe’s got $5, so we walked around the store looking for something worthwhile to spend the free $20 on. Let me tell you, it’s crazy how long it took to find something!

I finally found a grey Tek Gear pull-over hoodie and grabbed some Godiva chocolate near the register.

I used a 20% off coupon and was surprised that we still had to pay $1.37 since the hoodie was $14 and the chocolate was $4. Even with tax it should have been under $20, but I noticed on the receipt the cashier rang up the Kohl’s Cash before the discount. Now, I don’t know if that is how they are supposed to do it, so I wasn’t about to argue over a process I’m not familiar with. I don’t shop at Kohl’s very often, and I rarely use the Kohl’s Cash when I do. Bottom line: I got two nice things for less than $2 so I consider it a win.

We’ve spent the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing and I’m sure tomorrow will be more of the same.

Categories: Shopping Tags:

Hulu & Bath & Body Works

September 15th, 2021 Comments off

My cousin has been letting me log into her streaming services so we don’t have to subscribe to them ourselves. She insisted, by the way, I would never ask! She said no one is really using them so it made sense to share. I have discovered SO many great shows on Hulu, in particular. Who knew? We cancelled it almost a year ago now because we weren’t really watching it but now they’ve stepped up their game significantly.

Some of the shows we’ve been watching:

Black Jesus – Does the title character just think he’s the messiah or is he really? It’s never clear, but the show is funny nonetheless.

Dave – About a white guy who’s convinced he’s destined to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, but no one takes him seriously because his songs come across as comedy. Dave’s character is funny, but I love GaTa even more. That guy is intriguing and I hope he shows up in more stuff soon.

Only Murders In The Building – I was hesitant to watch this because of Martin Short, who typically plays characters I absolutely hate, but luckily he wasn’t insufferable and the who done it aspect of the show kept me intrigued.

Shrill – Starring Aidy Bryant (SNL), I feel so-so about this one. I like it enough to watch, but there’s a lot of cringe behavior too. Reminds me of how I felt about Michael Scott from The Office which makes it tough to watch sometimes.

What We Do In The Shadows – If you enjoyed the movie, you’re going to like the show even more. Nandor is my favorite, followed by Colin Robinson, the energy vampire.

As a small token of my gratitude, I sent my cousin a gift from Bath & Body Works, and luckily she tagged me on Facebook when she received it because it never told me it was delivered.

So what does she do? Send ME a gift like a week later! Funnily enough, she didn’t order the purple wallflower, so I guess they threw in a free one. I don’t care for lavender, so I’ve been putting off trying it.

Now I have to think of a way to send her something without triggering her to send me something back.

Categories: Family, Shopping, TV Tags: