Thursday, July 31, 2008

Random Find

My goodness the Internet can be a dangerous place! Especially when you have a love for online shopping like I do! Check out my latest find: Flower Mary Jane Pistachio shoes from MamaOm.

Could they BE any cuter? Granted, LO has absolutely nothing to wear with these adorable shoes. But I'm thinking I'd throw her in a white tee with a denim skirt just so I can pop on these babies for a splash of color! You're never too young to make a statement, ya know?

Oh, and if that wasn't enough (along with at least half a dozen other pairs of adorable shoes), they also offer matching "Mommy & Me" bikinis for beach time, pool time, or whatever. I figure this season is almost over, and there's a slight chance that next season I might be "with child," (DISCLAIMER: just a slight chance, don't read too much into that, no there's nothing to celebrate right now, and no we're not attempting a little bro or sis for LO--we're currently still in negotiations, don't ask, the end.). SO... maybe I'll just bookmark the site and head back once I find myself in a bikini-worthy body (NOTE: that may actually be "never").

Good times!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Well I am ever so happy to report that LO's first birthday party was, in my opinion, a HUGE success! We had lots of food (too much, as usual!), lots of family and friends, some really yummy cake and an all around good time! Not to mention that I have several pictures commemorating the momentous occasion. Hurray!

Now, on to the not-so-great stuff. I guess there's really only ONE THING that turned out to be a huge headache. Silly me decided, oh, I don't know, like 3 or 4 weeks ago that it would be fun to have a sort of photo slideshow playing on the TV during the party. No music per se, just lots and lots of pics of LO from birth (pre-birth, actually, since I included some ultrasound pics) to birth (no, we didn't end up with any ill-timed photos showing off a bit more of myself than I'd like--thank goodness!) and throughout her first year--including the birthday pictures and family photo we had taken a week before the party. Sounds like a good idea, huh? A nice conversation starter, if you will? Ya, well, lemme tell ya... IT WAS A HUGE PAIN!!!

Really, creating the slideshow was cake. I used my ever-so-wonderful MacBook (it's so pretty!) and a little program called FotoMagico. Luckily, I had lots of experience working with this software as I had just created slideshows for both Mother's Day and Father's Day to be presented at my church. They came out GREAT! I guess I do need to admit here that there was one teeny, tiny little difference between those presos and this one... While they were around 60-70 photos each, LO's birthday video was, oh, I dunno, like 800 photos. ((shameful look)) Tell me, serously, how is a mommy supposed to weed through pictures of her only child and choose the ones NOT to be included in a slideshow dedicated to her? So hard.

Anyway, I'm thinking it'll be easier to share the steps of horror that ultimately led to a successful (thank the Lord!) presentation by listing them below rather than writing an unbelievably long paragraph or two. So here goes:

  1. I did good. I started working on the presentation about 2 weeks before the party. How smart am I? The week before the party I was putting the finishing touches on the video. We're talking 800 photos that I had to manually adjust start/finish, zoom and rotation settings on each one. I'd estimate in all I probably spent at least 3 to 4 hours on this masterpiece.
  2. Now the fun begins. The presentation was too large to compose on my MacBook (down to less than 5GB of free space!), so I had to save it to my external HD, which is formatted like 60-40 Mac-PC (some of you may get that, others may not... just keep reading). So I saved the file and was ready to export it to a DVD that I could sling in my DVD player and call it a day. Keep in mind, this is happening the day before the party, because, really, how hard could it possibly be to export a video onto a DVD? I'm using a Mac after all, so it should happen with my eyes closed!
  3. Not so much. Houston, we have a problem! It seems as though my formerly-faithful FotoMagico has let me down--BIG TIME. See, it runs the export for about 30-40 minutes, then suddenly, on Step 3 of 4, decides to have a FATAL ERROR. In other words, no export for me!
  4. I try it again. And again. And one more time. Fatal error. Fatal error. Fatal error. I send the error log to the folks at Boinx (the people that made FotoMagico--such fun names, right?). Unfortunately our Boinx friends are located in Germany and at the time, it was like 11PM out there. No such hope of technical support for me! I had a secret hope they'd get my email while I was sleeping that night and send me a quick and easy fix the next day. I bet you already know whether or not that happened! Oh, I also tried deleting half the files (for testing purposes) to see if it'd export a smaller (i.e. 400-ish photos) file. No such luck.
  5. So insert Plan B here. We decide to buy a little cable that can connect my MacBook to the TV and just run it from there. We stop at Best Buy after dinner and pick up a Dynex Mini DVI-to-Video Adapter (NOTE: I didn't say "APPLE" Mini DVI-to-Video Adapter). We get it home. I hook it up with an S-video cable directly from my TV to my MacBook. The result? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Are you kidding me? It's supposed to "just work." Why is it not working. I'll fast-forward a bit on this one, but let's just say hubs and I tested and tried 2 different S-video cables, 1 set of composite cables, 2 different TVs, and basically had the same result. The amount of time this fast-forward eliminates from my post? Quite literally about 4 hours. That's how long hubs and I spent trying to get that durn adapter to work. Oh, and the best party? After about 2 hours of struggling, I looked up the reviews for the item on Best Buy's website. Out of 4 reviews, only 1 person said they were able to get the adapter to work. Everyone else said theirs didn't work, they tried a different one from the store, and it didn't work, either. Great, so my daughter's first birthday comes down to the fact that these "Dynex" people make stuff but don't bother to make sure it actually works before manufacturing 80 billion of them. Geniuses. (Side Note: I called Dynex since they had 24 hour support. Miss I-Barely-Speak-English-And-Can't-Pronounce-My-Own-Name's response to my issue? "Oh, it sound like you do all de troubleshooting I can have available to me to tell to you. I give you case number for if you need to call back with problem again later?" Riiiiiiight. Gee, thanks.
  6. Around this time I speak with my bestest Mac guru/guide/genius who also happens to be one of my best friends and mentors on the planet. He is such a dear and makes some phone calls for me to his other Mac friends to see if one of them happens to have an APPLE Mini-DVI to Video Adapter. I find out the next morning that he does have a friend with one and is able to get it to me as a back-up. Thank you @tgodby and @NewMacUser!!!!!
  7. Okay, so back to the story, it's 11:30 PM, and hubs has this brilliant idea (hey, it happens every now and then!). Why not split my ginormous slideshow into smaller, individual ones? Maybe then FotoMagico would be able to export them to the DVD? Hmmm... I would THINK that would work. Okay. So I create a new test file using 100 images. IT WORKS! And it only took about 25-30 minutes! Yippee! Only 7 more files to go! I stayed up 'til almost 1:00 AM exporting these smaller individual files. I then finished the rest of them the next morning.
  8. Okay, so let's just say I finally have all 7 or 8 individual files I was able to export. Now to burn my DVD. But can iDVD do what I'm wanting it to do? I must check with my bestest Mac guru/guide/genius who also happens to be one of my best friends and mentors on the planet yet again. (Note: He's been on vacation for the week or two prior to this and happened to only be in town ONE DAY -- the day I needed him the most! And he SO came through for me!). So I ask my question. His response is as I expected. "Well, no, iDVD won't be able to do that, but what will work is pulling the files into iMovie and exporting them as a single file to iDVD." (He ALWAYS has a solution for everything!). Okay. So now I've just got to pull the files into iMovie.
  9. PROBLEM #12,647: I ran out of space on my external HD! The partition formatted for Mac was full! D'oh! Could anything else possibly go wrong?! I called my buddy again and he's offered to lend me a 1 Terabyte (yes, a Terabyte) external HD. We're golden!
  10. While I wait patiently for hubs to return the original crappy cable to Best Buy, stop by my mom's to pick up a table we needed for the party, then stop by the church to get the external HD and APPLE adapter from Tim, I decided to keep looking for solutions. I decided maybe I could move some of my external HD files to my useless PC that is basically empty since I don't use it for anything anymore. If I could move those files over, I could free up the space I needed on my external HD! I powered up my ol' faithful Windows PC for the first time in about 2 months or so. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? An error message stating, "DISK BOOT FAILURE, INSERT SYSTEM DISK AND PRESS ENTER." Seriously!? Oh, ya. I couldn't make this stuff up.
  11. I then got the bright idea to move some of the files from my Mac partition to the PC partition on my external HD, freeing up enough space to accomplish what I needed to. This worked, although I'm still not sure if I somehow corrupted my lovely Mac files by putting them in a PC environment ((fingers crossed)). It only took about an hour to move the files (lots of videos of LO--they were HUGE).
  12. Whew! I've gone ahead and moved the files and can now try to export that durn slideshow file to iDVD. I call my Mac buddy for the trillionth time in 12 minutes to verify the export file settings so I wouldn't end up doing this more than once. Long story short, it would literally be about 2 hours to complete this process. Yes. And how much time before the party starts, you're wondering? Oh, about an hour and a half. Suddenly exporting to a DVD looks less and less feasible. That APPLE mini-DVI adapter was becoming less of a back-up plan and more of THE plan.
  13. Hubs finally arrives. I tell him exporting to a DVD is not gonna happen, and that all of our ducks are in a basket (??) with the hope that the APPLE adapter works. I plug in the S-video cable to the TV. I plug in the other end to the APPLE adapter. I plug in the APPLE adapter to my MacBook. I look at my TV. WHAT A GLORIOUS SIGHT!!! It's my MacBook desktop, broadcasting on my lovely TV! I cried tears of joy (literally) and launched my FotoMagico presentation. It. Looked. Beautiful. In addition, it worked like a charm! Literally plugged in the APPLE adapter and was DONE! That was it!!!!
  14. Insert HUGE sigh of relief here. I launched iTunes and selected a lovely playlist that was broadcast to my surround sound stereo via my APPLE AirPort Express, and was FINALLY able to get back to all of the little details of getting ready for my baby's first birthday party. Hallelujah!
Okay, so I guess this post doesn't actually include photos of the party or really, any details pertaining specifically to the party. But this story had to be told. And to satisfy those of you who were expecting to see some pics, here's one that's very near and dear to my heart:
Yes, friends, this is the Apple Mini-DVI to Video Adapter that saved my baby's 1st birthday party. Moral of the story? ALWAYS buy certified genuine APPLE accessories for your Mac. Just think of the trouble and time this would've saved us had we owned this little gem before LO's party.

Oh, and I've got another post in the works about the actual party, including actual party pictures!! So stay tuned! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Things I Want - J.Crew Edition

Okay, so I know some of you are probably somewhat anxious to hear about LO's 1st birthday party, see a few pictures, hear the drama that is my life, etc. Well... TOO BAD!!!


Seriously, I'm working on a sweet post all about the birthday party. But in the meantime, I felt like sharing a few of the items on my J.Crew wish list. This might have something to do with the fact that my J.Crew Fall Lookbook arrived a few days ago. So here goes!

Star Pleated Tee, Bright Rhubarb

Cashmere Bow V-Neck, Heather Wheat

Metallic Jardin Sheath Dress

Sherpa Hoodie, Navy

Lady Day Coat, Deep Persimmon

Matilda Dress, Classic Navy

Quincy Tote Bag, Vine Green

Favorite-Fit Watson Pant, Dark Fog

Ruffle Henley, Plum

I guess that's enough to get started with, huh? Now, if only I could win the lottery so I could actually purchase one of these items... Sigh.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Party Time!!!

Great news, everyone! LO's very 1st birthday party is over and it was, in my humble opinion, a HUGE success! We had a fantastic day, LO seemed to enjoy herself (and the cake!) and I'm pretty sure I didn't run around like a crazy person the whole time! Isn't that just fantastic?!

I plan to share some pics and a few more details about the fun (toys!) and frustrating (video. ugh.) parts of the day, but since it's 11:15 PM right now and hubs and I were up 'til almost 1AM (ugh. video.), I'm gonna call it a night and share more later.

Note to self: I am now the mother of a toddler. Yes, a toddler.

((shudder of disbelief))

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Good Graces - Updated... Again!

(See latest updates in red at the bottom...)

Most of you may remember my earlier debacle with the dresses I ordered from J.Crew. Guess I can't blame them for the fact that the dresses didn't fit all that great--I'm sure I'm somewhat to blame for that. But essentially, every item I purchased from J.Crew went back.

Earlier this month, I stopped in my local J.Crew store and fell in love with some cutsie linen-cotton cropped pants:

They were on sale for $39.99, so I was sold that very instant! They are so comfy, cute and perfect for the hot summer days here in the south. So I got a good two or three wears out of 'em when I happened to notice the stitching along the rear seam between the back pockets was starting to come undone!


I couldn't believe my wonderful, high-quality, very-first-J.Crew-purchase-that-I-was-actually-keeping had already started to come apart! Needless to say, I was just dumbfounded. To quote from J.Crew's very own website,
Quality is our highest priority. Always has been, always will be.
So, I took my broken cropped pants back to my local J.Crew store--only 2 weeks after I had purchased them in the first place, mind you--and was hoping to exchange them for an identical pair that I could only hope would hold up better than the first.

I got there to find out that the lovely cropped pants, which were on sale for $39.99, we an additional 30% off! Eureka! I was gonna get me TWO pair--I was loving the
ones in geranium!

But alas, they didn't have my size in any color, except white, which, if you know me at all, you know that I have serious issues with white bottoms (pants, shorts, capris, cropped pants, etc.--anything!) that are basically so see-through that you can see the butt pocket lining through them (translation: you'd totally be able to see panties through them). Ugh. So I couldn't get the cute white linen cropped pants, even though they had them in my size.

So I went to the register to just return the pants. Lo and behold, I was taken aback to hear that J.Crew would send the pants off to a tailor to have them repaired! What a wonderful *free* service (at least I was assuming it was free, since the pants were defective). Unfortunately, it was Friday and it would be Wednesday before they would send them out, then the following Wednesday before they'd be back--so a good 2 weeks before I'd have them back. I told the sales associate I would check online to see if they have my size available.

They didn't. Boo.

Well on Saturday when I received my J.Crew statement, there was a little insert mentioning several of the services J.Crew offers. One of them basically said they'd find whatever I was looking for for me! Yes! Just what I needed!

So, making this short story so much longer than necessary, I called the phone number, told them what I needed, got an email yesterday telling me they found the cropped pants in my size in one of their retail stores, and then today the UPS guy delivered them to me!!

What joy!!

I didn't even have to pay for shipping! So now I just need to go back to the local store to return the defective pants for a full refund.


Now, I do have to say that it would have been WONDERFUL if the sales associate at the local store that I spoke with on Friday would have mentioned this "Find it For You" program thingy so I could've had this taken care of several days earlier, but oh, well. I've got my linen-cotton cropped pants back!

I was a bit bummed with this J.Crew experience. See, when I was in the store, the pants were on sale 30% off for the day, but they didn't have my size. When I called the "Find it For Me" people the next day, they were willing to apply the 30% discount since the original item was defective, I was in the store on the day the sale was going on but they didn't have my size, etc. Yippee!

Ugh. Imagine my disappointment when I checked the receipt that accompanied my delivery today and discovered they had NOT in fact applied the discount. So now I've got to call them back and get them to refund the difference.

People. I'm telling you. I have yet to find a person or company that knows the meaning of "Customer Service" and are willing not so much to go "above and beyond" to help a customer, but literally just be able to do the bare minimum of their job requirements. And I'm not just talking about J.Crew here. Seriously. It's everywhere. No one wants to do their job but everyone wants to get paid. I feel a post specific to this topic in my near future. I just don't get it.


Latest Update:
I called J.Crew customer service to see about getting a refund for the 30% I was supposed to receive when they found my new cropped pants. I kid you not people. I was on hold for 54 minutes before I finally gave up, used hubs' phone to call my local store, and verified I could take care of it there instead. 54 minutes. No joke.

So I took the defective cropped pants to my local J.Crew store for a full refund. That process was a bit slow but eventually successful. Next I had to get the refund for the 30% I was supposed to get but didn't. My goodness folks. This woman took For. Ever. OMG. And poor LO was so ready for her nap and not at all willing to wait patiently (nor quietly!). Okay, so the woman finally finished the refund and said something about $10.80 being refunded.

I said, "I don't believe that's right. It was 30% so I believe that would have been $12."

Her response?

"Oh, I thought you said 25%. I'll see if I can run it through again for the other 5%."

Another 10 minutes goes by...

Crickets chirping...

LO wailing...

Seriously?! How is it that this J.Crew store employee didn't know that J.Crew had a 30% off sale on the J.Crew merchandise in the J.Crew store on Saturday for 30% off? Does she really even work there? Was she new? (No, because I've seen her in there before). I mean, really, now that I think about it, I could've said that I was supposed to get that additional 75% off and she probably wouldn't have batted an eye!

Gracious. I just enjoy people so much. Really I do.

Ugh. Again.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pretty Toes!

For the record, I'm not now--nor have I ever been--a foot person. I just don't like feet. They're dirty. They're typically stinky. They're just ugly. That's my opinion--it always has been and it always will be.

However, tiny little baby feet are actually quite cute! I'm not exactly sure when the transition occurs that takes cute little baby feet and turns them into dirty, stinky, ugly grown-up feet, but for the purpose of this post, that's a moot point.

"So what is the point of this post?," you may be wondering? My little one got "pretty toes" for the first time tonight! That's right! Mommy honed in on her tiny toes while she was adequately distracted in her high chair, scarfing some cookies after dinner. For the record, I'm not sure when the term "pretty toes" debuted in my family, but I'm pretty sure my niece, Doodlebug, had something to do with it. She just LOVES her pretty toes (and fingers, too!).

So to commemorate this exciting occasion, I of course took a few pictures! Check out my baby girl's pretty toes!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Picture Perfect!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we took LO for her 1-year-old pictures on Friday. She did SO great! We got several really cute pictures of her, and a few really nice family pics of the three of us. So cute! (Side note: I can FINALLY finish my wall gallery--I've been waiting for the 11x14 family pic for the center frame before I can officially consider it complete!)

I thought I'd share a couple of pics of LO with her very first cake!

LO had a little dab of the frosting and seemed to like it pretty good. The next thing we knew, she seriously acted like she was gonna throw her entire face all up in it! But alas, she didn't. :(

In the next pic, she had been enjoying her cake for several minutes when she looked up with a bit of a "are-you-sure-I'm-allowed-to-be-doing-this??" look on her face. It was too cute!!

Of course we had several other pics taken (95 more to be exact!), but I'm only sharing these few for now since I haven't distributed the print pics to all of our family and friends just yet.

I hope everyone has a great Monday!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Say, "Frosting!"

We have an appointment for LO's 1-year-old pics on Friday. I'm really looking forward to it (although I just realized I have no idea what she's going to wear)! She'll get to have some pics taken in two different outfits, plus I figure while we're there, we'll go ahead and get our very first professional family photo taken, too! Well, technically, we did have a professional family pic taken about 3 months before LO was born, but you definitely can't see her in those (you can see a LOT of me, though!).

So at the end of our photo shoot, we're gonna put a little cake in front of LO and let her go at it so we can get some great pictures of it! I had intended to wait until her birthday party for her first cake/frosting experience, but I just think it would be awesomer to have some professional ones of this big first. I took a few minutes (literally) this afternoon and made LO's very first birthday cake! I admit this is NOT at ALL my best work... but for the purpose in which it will be used (i.e. smeared all over her face and clothing), I think it'll do just fine!

I can't wait to see how these come out. The coolest thing about going to Portrait Innovations is that they always take GREAT pictures, they are VERY affordable, if you pick a big enough print package, they'll throw in a CD with ALL of the images (I think they take about 66 photos per session!) AND the best part... the pictures are printed and ready for you to take with you in about 15 minutes! It's awesome!!!

I'll let you all know how it goes. Here's hoping LO's stays on her normal schedule and has a wonderful morning nap so she'll be all smiles!!

I still can't believe she's almost ONE!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

You Gotta Keep it Regulated!


So back in May (on my birthday, actually), just 3 days before we were to leave for a wedding in Ohio, I was shopping at Old Navy with LO. When I walked out to our Jeep Grand Cherokee, I happened to notice the driver's window was down.


"I know I didn't leave that window down," I thought to myself. "Somebody must have broken in!"

I immediately thought of the brand-new DVD player attached to the rear headrest that we had purchased to entertain LO on the trip to Ohio. I literally had "installed" it just before heading out to the stores, so I figured somebody really wanted that DVD player and had durn broke in our car to take it!

I immediately called hubs in a bit of a panic and explained the situation. Like the always calm hubs he is, he told me to calm down and said everything was gonna be okay.


I checked and noticed the DVD player was exactly where I left it.


So we get home from our little shopping experience, and I put LO down for a nap. I then turn to my trusty best friend, the World Wide Web.

After a little googling (yes, I believe that's a word!), I found hundreds of blogs and forums discussing this lovely little defect that apparently all Jeep owners have the joy and privilege of experiencing: the window regulator and motor in our driver's side window had failed.

I found a lovely site where some super-kind man had taken the time to write up instructions--including detailed photos--on how to fix this problem oneself.

Reminder: This happened just 3 days before we were to leave for a wedding in Ohio.

Although hubs is great with car repairs and such, he just didn't have the time to order the part (around $90) and replace it himself (estimated 2-3 hours). SO... we took it to a local “mom & pop” auto repair spot we had used in the past for a quote. This place was a little family-owned business and hubs made friends with them when the clutch went out on our Eclipse a few years ago.

When hubs hadn't heard back from them by the time we met for lunch, I suggested he give them a call to see if they had a chance to scope it out and prepare the estimate we requested. He called around 2:00 PM and they informed him it was fixed and ready to be picked up! So they didn't call with a quote, they went ahead and fixed it and provided us with a bill for $415!!

That sucked.

I happened to prefer the $90 "fix it yourself" option compared to the "pay a car payment to have someone else do it for you" option. Really, I guess in either scenario, I myself wouldn't be the one fixing it, but you get my point.

Now let's fast-forward to today. I was heading to the Jeep after spending some time at the pool with LO and one of my bestest friends. I went to put the windows up and turn on the A/C (it was HOT!) and noticed the passenger window was mysteriously slinking downwards into the door frame.

"Hmmmm..." I thought, "this can't be good."

Turns out window regulator and motor #2 had failed.

I didn't have the gall to tell hubs over IM that afternoon. I went ahead and printed out the instructions and photos for him, and presented him with the opportunity for a fun "project." I handed him the instructions and he was, well, I guess "not so excited" would be a good way to explain it.

The poor guy was outside this evening for well over an hour just taking the inside door panel off so he could shimmy something in there to keep the window up until he could get the part and fix it.


As a final note on this here post, I just have to add this little convo hubs and I had earlier:

"Hey, can you come help me for a sec?" hubs hollered from the garage door at me, as I was comfortably lounging on the couch watching "The Baby Borrowers" for whatever reason.

"Sure!" I responded as I hopped up, put my flips on and headed outside.

Hubs had most of the inside door panel off but it was still attached by two little thingiemajigs.

"Can you hold the inside door panel so it won't drop? Oh, and here's the flashlight. Can you point it there at those white things?"


Hubs then starts prying at the little white guys, trying desperately to get them to turn in whatever direction he was after so the door panel could be fully detached.

I offered a suggestion or two on how he could try it differently, which he did, and he got them off. The door panel was now completely removed.

"Thanks," he said. "I've spent 30 minutes just trying to get those things off."

"Ah. Is that all you needed?" I inquired.

"Ya, thanks!"

"Cool. Can you please let me know if there is anything else I can help with? Perhaps before fiddling with it for half an hour?"


About 10 minutes later, I'm still on the couch (I think I've got a permanent butt-print on this couch of ours) watching TV and surfing the 'net for a Bluetooth headset for my new phone.

"I need your help again," came the summon from the garage door.

"On my way!" I responded.

I walked out to the Jeep, which was parked in our driveway. It was well on the way to dusk (read: it was dark out). The external light above the garage door was on, but with the Jeep door open, and hubs working on the inside panel, he had no light to work with to see what he was doing.

"Can you just hold the flashlight here so I can see this thingy?" he asked.

I thought about it for, oh, I dunno, like .2 seconds and responded with, "Um, wouldn't it make sense to just pull the Jeep in the garage so you can see? You know, with the garage overhead lights on? That might help."

Hubs had a slight look of wonder and awe. "Huh. That's probably a good idea!"

He moved the Jeep into the garage and was able to finish up his task all while I hung out--you guessed it--on the couch!

What fun!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cookie Craving

People. I am just not feeling like my awesome self today. I don't know what it is (NO, I'm not pregnant--it's not fiscal 2009 yet!!). I'm just tired and in what would normally be the "chicken soup and sprite" state.

But no.

I'm not craving chicken soup and sprite. I'm craving cookies. That's right! Cookies. And not just any cookie. One of MY cookies. I have a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe, if I may say so myself! And apparently that's all I feel like eating.

My wonderful sweet hubs offered to run to Bi-Lo to pick me up some cookies.

I think not.

He then offered to make me some cookies.

I SO think not. Definitely appreciated his willingness to help a girl out, but really.

I somehow managed to drag my lazy self off the couch where I was resting comfortably watching Big Brother 10 (can I get a holla' from the other BB fans out there?!) and make my way into the kitchen. I've got my recipe memorized (I could literally do it with my eyes closed I've made these cookies so much!) so it really was like switching on "Auto Pilot" for a few minutes (during commercial breaks, of course).

But then my lovely yummies came out of the oven, and I almost couldn't wait to dig in.

Don't they look delish? It's literally taken years for me to perfect my recipe. You'll notice I bake them on my Pampered Chef stone--that's what I've found works the best. I take them out of the oven when they are lightly browned but still look a bit gooey because they finish baking on the stone. And I'm a fan of soft, chewy cookies--not crunchy brick-like cookies. See the perfectness of the thickness telling you how not crunchy they'll be? Mmmm... (not sure why I'm turning this into a "Cookie How-To" post, but stay with me here).

Now, these cookies are just not complete until they meet with their faithful partner:

That's right! A delicious, frosty class of 1% milk! Yum! And if you look closely, you can see an ever-so-gentle frost upon the milk glass. Ya, I placed the glass in the freezer when the cookies went in the oven so it would be nicely chilled when I was ready to satisfy my strange craving.

And of course, I was thinking about hubs--even though this was my craving AND I happen to not be feeling so great--and made sure there would be a nice stash in the fridge of his favorite part of my cookie-making:

(Please pardon the slight product placement for Elmo's fruit juice boxes... although they are LO's favorite).

Monday, July 14, 2008


  • I ordered my new LG Chocolate 3 cell phone and it's supposed to arrive Tuesday! I can't wait to scope it out. I got the pretty light blue one. :)
  • I have a cold sore. I hate cold sores. I always get one a year, sometimes two. Hubs is apparently immune to them. It's not fair.
  • My sister has a Facebook page! I don't even have a Facebook page! You have to understand that this sister of mine has four kids under 12, works full-time, does a minimum of 13 loads of laundry each week, taxis kids to baseball practices, games, tournaments almost daily, teaches a Sunday School class of teenage boys, and so much more!! I never would've thought she'd have the time to create a Facebook page, but it's also funny to me because she's not the most "techie" person ever. So cool!!!
  • I know you're tired of hearing about it, but I'm quite pleased to announce that my wall gallery is finally (almost) finished!! All of the frames are hung and all of the pictures are in the right frames--with the only exception of the 11x14 family photo that hasn't been taken yet...
  • ...We're supposed to get family pics taken Tuesday along with lots of one-year-old pics of LO. Please see earlier comment pertaining to my loser cold sore. Must reschedule pics. (boo)
  • I also ordered hubs a new phone. We narrowed it down to two: one was a free LG flip phone, the other was a sweet Motorola flip that looked much like a Razr for $20. Guess what hubs chose? Ya, the free one. He's literally "upgrading" from an LG VX5100 to an LG VX5400. Did I mention he's not a "techie" person, either?
  • I'm planning to redo our guest bathroom. As if I don't have enough on my plate keeping me busy (hello, planning baby's first birthday party!). I originally painted it forever ago when I bought my house (before hubs and I met). I wanted a nice color that softly whispered, "puuuurrrplle" as you walk in. Unfortunately, the color I chose, "Purpling," pretty much slaps you upside the head when you walk in and screams "PURPLE!!!" in your face. Not really what I had in mind, but I went with it, mostly probably because I didn't want to pay for more paint nor get all up around that toilet to paint the walls a second time. Anywho, this time I want to go with a neutral shade, the same one we happen to have in our living room. It's called "Cream in My Coffee" so you can imagine it's just a nice off-whitey type color. I'm debating about accenting the bathroom with a "kiddie" theme or something more fancy for guests. Considering we have on average 2.49 guests per year, I'm leaning towards "kiddie."
  • SUCKS!!! As if you don't already know the "joy" I've experienced with this company, you'll likely get a kick out of this: I received my order today. Three weeks after I placed it. One Better Business Bureau compliant and one Financial Institution dispute later, LO's faux diamond earrings arrive in a lovely padded envelope. The kicker? The earrings posts were completely bent and flat! Classy. So even if I wanted to keep them (which I don't), I'd have to do some minor jewelry repair work (which I'm not at all qualified to do), and most likely the faux diamonds would snap off of the posts long before they found their way into LO's ears. Sigh.
  • I've established a shopping ban on myself. I've been shopping like crazy lately! With LO's impending 1st birthday, we've been buying gifts, plus her new car seat, plus other stuff. And I've been addicted to Gap and J.Crew clothing. My credit cards say so. Of course I'm forced by hubs smart enough to pay off the balance each month to avoid finance charges, so it's not a big deal. But that money has to come from somewhere, right? Ugh. We're heading to Wisconsin in September for a wedding so we've got to plan and prepare for those expenditures . I just love paying $12/gallon for gas these days! ((evil oil company CEO billionaires with their 27 mansions, 16 yachts, 13 airplanes and 4 personal submarines!))
  • What's up with Brett Favre? I've been a long-time fan of his (not really the Packers so much as Brett himself). If the man wants to play some ball, let him play! Sheesh.
  • I need to stop watching "Bringing Home Baby" on TLC. That, combined with LO turning one, appears to make me want to start thinking about baby #2. Hubs and I already agreed we'd wait. I think fiscal 2009 was our final decision. Seems far away though.
  • I started getting Women's Day magazine a week or so ago. I have no idea why. I don't remember signing up for it. Or paying for it. But they keep coming. For no reason. Wonder if I should look into it.
  • Okay, I totally almost flipped out Sunday morning. Hubs and I were on "nursery duty" during the worship service at our (mostly) awesome church! I played on the floor with LO and another little girl a few months younger. We had the bin of toys out that these kids get to play with each Sunday. You would not believe the crusty, dirty, nastiness of these toys. I think I threw up in my mouth when I looked in the little hole on the bottom of the squeaky duck toy. Needless to say, I quickly "volunteered" to take the bin for a few days to "replace some batteries" (read: get out my handy Clorox bleach and disinfect the crap (probably somewhat literally) out of those toys! For heaven's sake! Eeew!
  • I love my husband. He's so awesome it's ridiculous. He and LO are the biggest blessings in my life and I am SO grateful to be sharing this life with them. God is good!

Friday, July 11, 2008

LG x Motorola / Verizon = Headache!

I've had the same cellphone with Verizon Wireless for like 4 years. It's the LG-VX6100.

It's served me well. Until about 2 months ago when I decided it would be fun to create a ringtone of LO laughing and talking. I went through hoops that I can't even describe. The sheer pain of sharing what I put myself through over the past 2 months is still too frustrating to recall right now. Maybe later.

Anywho, let's move on. So I'm shopping for a new phone from Verizon. I'm logged in to their site and am comparing phones. I have questions, so I use the handy little "chat" feature to talk to a Customer Service Rep. I had several of these chats, and they got more frustrating and less helpful as time went on. I decided to go to the Verizon store, which, if you don't know by now, I like to do everything online if at all possible. I can get so much more information about a product or service online versus physically going to the store. Well, I did go to the Verizon store, and after waiting for my name to come up on the screen queue, I finally got my chance to speak with a knowledgeable Verizon sales rep. ((read with much sarcasm))

I basically asked the guy about the new phones, features, etc. I tried to explain that I wanted a phone that would "talk" to my MacBook, whether via USB or Bluetooth. I wanted to be able to share pics, sounds and ringtones between the two. He said I could share pics, but not sounds or ringtones.

Say whaaa?

I asked if that was specific to the most recent phone we were discussing (Motorola RAZR2) or if it applied to all of Verizon's new phones. He said it was on all of their phones.

After hearing that, hubs, LO and I walked out and I made my mind up that I'd be heading to AT&T for the new 3G iPhone.

I was still quite irritated when we got home, so looked online for an email address for Verizon's CEO. I sent an email sharing my experience and frustration with Verizon.

The next day I got a call from a nice lady at the Verizon Executive Relations department. Long story short, she worked with me, answered questions and renewed (somewhat) my faith in Verizon Wireless.

So now I'm trying to decide on a new phone. I know I like LG phones, and they have a new one--the LG Chocolate 3--releasing this Sunday. I'm quite interested in that one, but I'm also considering the Motorola RAZR2, the LG Venus and the Motorola W755.

Isn't the new Chocolate 3 pretty? It's supposed to come in both black and light blue.

Sometimes I wish I could be more like hubs. He'd walk into the store (vs. me and my online addiction), ask the sales guy what phone he could get for free (vs. my need for fun features which always means I'll be paying for my phone), and walk out the door with his new purchase (vs. me spending a combined total of no less than 12 hours online over the course of 5 weeks researching, reading user reviews, checking out Consumer Reports and downloading user manuals in order to make an "informed" decision).

Argh. Guess I'll wait and see what's up with the new Chocolate and make my decision from there.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Isn't Communication Great?

I want to find a PT daycare or Mom's Morning Out program in my area for LO to start next Fall. Yes, NEXT Fall (as in 2009). I've heard that people around here typically get their child's name on a waiting list as soon as they find out they've conceived said child. So it didn't seem strange to me at all to be planning so far in advance. I figure childcare places are used to it!

Now, I do admit that I absolutely LOVE staying home with LO every day, but I think she could use some interaction with other little ones her age so she can develop social skills n' stuff. It just seems like the right thing to do! So I figure it can't be that hard to find such a thing, right? I mean, really, we're talking finding a PT daycare or MMO program that would allow me to drop her off 1 or 2 days per week from like 8:30 until 11:30 AM. That's not asking too much (in my opinion).

Well, I quickly learned how naive this first-time parent is.

I've made calls. Most places don't offer such programs. Places that do are already full. Waiting lists are the only option I can find. And I'm on 2 of them. I think. Boo.

Fast-forward a day or two. I get an epiphany! Maybe I should contact the daycare that my niece currently attends! Surely they have PT programs and availability for NEXT Fall! I mean, that's like a whole 13 months from now! And I saw on their website that they DO have a PT program for 2-year-olds (which LO will be at that time--again, NEXT Fall, 2009). The PT program is offered 2, 3 or 5 days per week, from 8:30 - 11:30 AM. And I've heard it's a great daycare! PERFECT!

So I decided to email the Director to inquire. Pay special attention to how often I refer to FALL 2009. I certainly didn't want to confuse the poor woman and have her thinking I was interested in programs this Fall!
My name is mom2lo and I am writing to inquire about availability for 2-year-olds for the Fall 2009 school year! I stay at home with my daughter, LO, but would like to provide her with an opportunity to play, learn and interact with other children her age. My niece, Doodlebug, attends the Center and my sister has raved about the wonderful staff, creative projects and excellent care Doodlebug receives there.

Please let me know if there is availability for the Fall 2009 part-time (2 days per week) program for 2-year-olds and how/when we can apply.

Thank you in advance for your time and response!


Dear mom2lo,
Thank you for your interest in our center. How is Doodlebug doing? We can't wait till she starts back in the Fall. We are currently full for the 2 day program now but I do have room to add her to the waiting list. That list is short. If you are interested just let me know.

Please call if you have any more questions.


Hello, DirectorLady!
Thank you for the quick response! Doodlebug is doing great--I just spent time with her and her brothers at the pool yesterday. She's so much fun!

Hubs and I were talking recently and are also considering the 3-day program as well. Is that program currently full for Fall '09, too? We'd be happy to be placed on the waiting list for either (or both) programs.


Hi mom2lo,
After seeing LO's birthday she will be in the toddler room. She won't turn 2 till July of 09'. I can not add you to the waiting list for that class at this time, we have over 20 on that list. That class is an all day class. If the birthday is different let me know. They must be the age of the class they are going into by Sept. 1 of the current year. Sorry for the wrong info. If I can be of any other help let me know.


Seriously!? Did you catch all of that? How could I have possibly been more clear that I was interested in openings in the 2- and 3-day Part-Time programs for 2-year-olds in 2009?! I followed this lovely chain of emails up with a phone call yesterday. Seemed that would be the most logical way to explain my apparently-ever-so-complicated request for childcare next Fall.

This is how that call went:
"Hi, DirectoryLady! This is mom2lo--I had emailed you yesterday about PT programs..."


"I figured it would be easier to call you to discuss my questions since I didn't seem to do a very good job explaining things in my emails."

"Oh, certainly! I do apologize again for the wrong information."

"It's no problem! See, I was actually inquiring about availability for the Fall 2009 school year, you know, for next Fall. Not this year."

"Yes, well LO won't be 2 by September 1st so she would need to be in the Toddler room, which is full and has a lengthy waiting list."

"Of course, I understand that. But I want to be sure we're talking about the same thing here. I'm referring to the 2009 school year, not this year."

"This year is the 2009 school year."

"I'm sorry?"

"I can put LO on the wait list for the Toddler room if you'd like, but the 2009 list is already quite long."

"So you're saying the school years actually run a year ahead of the actual year? I would've guessed this Fall would be considered the 2008-2009 school year."

"No, this is the '09 school year. I think what you're asking for is availability in our '10 (sidenote: she referred to this as "oh-ten") school year, and we aren't taking any registrations this early for that year."

"Hmmm... okay. So If I want to get LO into the "2010" program NEXT year, what would I need to do?"

"Oh, wait a minute--next year would actually be the '09-'10 (again she said "oh-ten"--LOL!) school year. I can't add you to that waiting list after all."

"Okay, so what do I need to do?"

"You can call back in February when open enrollment begins."

"Oh, okay. Thanks!"

Riiiiight. So I don't know about you, but I didn't get a warm and fuzzy feeling about this woman. I mean, I understand she runs a daycare program consisting of probably hundreds of kids, not to mention teachers and other staff members. So I'm sure she's busy and quite possibly was somewhat distracted during our telephone conversation (and perhaps during her email responses as well). I'd like to assume this woman is actually quite competent of managing the day-to-days of a daycare. I'm going to assume she gets distracted--a lot--and maybe can't provide accurate answers to questions from parents.

And most likely, I'm gonna make hubs sleep out on a sidewalk in February to make sure he's first in line to land a spot for LO in their FALL 2009 PT daycare program. 'Cause ultimately, my sister's recommendation and my niece Doodlebug's excitement over the school pretty much trump any other worries or concerns I may have.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Actual Gift! (sort of)

As I mentioned in an earlier post, LO and I were shopping at Kohl's last week where I happened to run into my new frames (which I adore!). Also on that trip, I found the most adorable Sterling Silver Stud Earrings Set for LO!

I was shopping for new little stud earrings as a gift for her first birthday, but of course the impatient Mommy that I am couldn't wait that long! I hooked her up with the little red studs for the 4th of July, then put her in the faux diamonds to coordinate with her dress for church Sunday morning. They're really cute and the quality definitely looks to be very good. I haven't seen a stone fall out yet ((knocking on wood))!

As a random coincidence, I received an email last night around 9:00 PM from--get! The email was informing me that my order had shipped! LOL! I guess filing a dispute with the Better Business Bureau and my Financial Institution was all it took to "magically" ship the order I placed well over 2 weeks ago!


At least LO will have a plethora of choices when it comes to her bling!

Speaking of which, I'm now on a mission to find a cutsie jewelry box for my girl. I've searched online (ya, not very much in stores--I'm not at that point yet!) but all I can find are little jewelry boxes that have ballerina slippers, kittens or bows painted all over them! I don't mind a little twirling ballerina in there dancing along when the music box is opened, but I'd prefer to have something other than slippers plastered all over it. Anybody ever seen such a thing?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wall Portrait Gallery? ... Check!

Imagine my exuberant joy to finally proclaim...

The wall portrait gallery (layout) is FINISHED!!

Ya, you weren't actually expecting me to say it's completely DONE, were you? Ha! I still have to physically put the right pictures in the right frames, but I am so very pleased to say that all of the frames are on the wall and...


It's the exact "organized randomness" I was going for but wasn't able to visualize on paper. I just love everything about it and can't wait to see it once I've put all of LO's pictures in the frames.

So without further ado, here it is!
(As always, click the image for a larger preview)

So what do you think? Do you all approve? Do you think my obsessive compulsive behavior paid off? ;)

Picture of Progress

I am so pleased to FINALLY announce that I have made a bit of progress on my wall gallery!

I know! It's just unbelievable, right!?

Seriously! It feels so good to have finally decided on the layout of the gallery--AND to even have the first frame up on the wall! Check it out!!

Yes, I still have quite a bit more work to do, but now the end is in sight! I really love the layout hubs and I finalized over the weekend. I can't wait to see it when it's finished and covered with pics of our little one! She's so hilarious, too--she points to all of the other pictures of herself throughout the house and tries to say her name! This child is gonna be so vain pictures of herself hung on almost every inch of every wall in our house! LOL!

Of course I'm so excited to finish this project and post pictures of the COMPLETED wall gallery! Hopefully that will be within the next week or so.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Lash Envy

Lyndsy over at Yellow Brick Blog posted last week about her search for a new mascara that not only lengthened, but also made her lashes fuller. I was so pleased to read that post because I, too, have been searching for the same thing! You can imagine my joy when Lyndsy shared her find: Prescriptives 'Lash Envy' Mascara. I immediately put a trip to Dillard's on my "To Do" list so I could give this mascara a try.

LO and I finally made it to the mall last Tuesday. Of course I picked up my new mascara and was all too excited to give it a whirl. (Side note: LO got quite an interesting complement from the Lancome lady: "What perfect eyebrows she has!" Ya, my girl's got the eyebrows covered. Lucky thing.).

So on Wednesday I was finally able to debut my new lashes. For your viewing pleasure (not really), I have "before and after" shots of my lovely little lashes so you can see just how well the Lash Envy mascara worked for me. Without further ado:

Before (pay special attention to my non-existent lower lashes):

After (WOW!):

The "After" picture really doesn't do this lovely mascara justice. I couldn't figure out the right angle to take the photo so it would show how well the top lashes looked after applying the mascara. (Note to all: Staring at super-enlarged photos of your face in iPhoto doesn't do much for one's self-esteem. Why didn't anyone tell me how HUGE my pores are?!)

To summarize, I was envious of my own lashes after using this new mascara! It went on so easy and smooth, didn't leave any crazy clumpy marks on my lashes or the area around my eyes, and it stayed on great! My favorite thing about this mascara was how easy it was to remove when I washed my face with my Lancome Gel Clarte Clarifying Cleanser. It didn't leave the not-so-lovely dark mascara goo under the eye. So I didn't have to use a separate eye makeup remover, which was nice!

At only $19.50, Prescriptives 'Lash Envy' is a mascara that you should most definitely add to your makeup bag!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Organized Randomness (Part II)

If you were to look up the term "glutton for punishment" in your favorite dictionary, you would most certainly find a picture of yours truly. Ya, I seem to have a way of taking a simple task and turning it into the fiasco of the century.

To what am I referring? You guessed it! My durn wall photo collage thingy!

Let's pick up where I last left off...
  1. You remember I was frustrated that my 4x6 pictures looked tiny and that the frames I purchased didn't come in 11x14, right? Of course you did! Well, LO and I stopped by Kohl's on Thursday to scope out their jewelry (thanks for the suggestion to actually shop IN stores rather than online, Kristen! I'll post on LO's new jewelry soon!) and while we were there, we wandered back to the Home Decor area to scope out their collection of frames. What a great idea. (read with sarcasm)

  2. Almost $200 later, we were returning home with a new collection of wall frames, ranging from 11x14 to 5x7. PERFECT!

  3. So of course now I needed to make new wall templates to match the specs of my new frames. That took all evening. Once I had them finished, I put them up on the wall to start debating the layout.

  4. Surprisingly enough, I didn't hate the layout! But of course it DID need a few tweaks. Here's what I had:

  5. After much pondering, I decided to add two individual 5x7 frames to the mix. Here's how that looked:

  6. Now I need to order additional prints of the pictures I want to use in the sizes that I need them in. I love using Shutterfly for this, but I've also found it's quite convenient to order prints directly from iPhoto (I Love My MacBook!!!). While iPhoto prints tend to be less expensive than Shutterfly, my experience has been that Shutterfly prints and ships a few days quicker than iPhoto. Plus I want to use a matte finish and iPhoto only allows glossy. So I'm going to order my prints today and start finalizing my wall template to the point where I can mark drill holes, etc. Should be fun!
I guess this means there will be an "Organized Randomness (Part III)" -- which really isn't surprising considering this project has turned into a crazy fiasco! :)

'Til next time!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, America!

Enjoy your 3-day weekend,
spend time with your family and friends
and be thankful for the freedom we have
in our blessed country of America!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Organized Randomness (Part I)

One of my biggest "To Do's" before LO's birthday party in just under 4 weeks is to create a wall gallery on the one and only empty wall in our home. Now, the one thing you'll learn about me through this process is that I have a little disorder sometimes referred to as "OCD." I'm a tad obsessive-compulsive. Just a bit. So here's how I've approached this little project of mine:
  1. First of all, I needed to find the perfect frames. We have dark cherry, almost espresso, furniture in our living room, accented by brushed nickel fixtures. I wanted to find matching frames that were available in several different sizes, layouts, etc. So far, THIS has been the most difficult part of the project! I didn't think it would be that bad, but I spent several hours looking online for the frames, then made several trips to local stores. Sheesh! I wasn't sure I'd ever find what I was looking for! But I finally found some frames that would work at Garden Ridge. They came in sizes from 4x6 through 8x10, included mats in each frame, and even had some frames that held 2 5x7s and 3 4x6s. I liked the variety, so I bought a bunch of them as well as 2 1-foot shelves and a 2-foot and 3-foot shelf. Here are some pics of the frame style I chose:

  2. So now I need to determine my canvas size. How much wall do I want to cover with pics? I decide to go with a 90" by 40" area.
  3. Next, I find the center point of the wall using the couch and end tables as the starting and ending points.
  4. After marking the center point, I determine the outside edges, followed by the top and bottom.
  5. Then I marked the area using painters tape so I could visualize where the gallery will appear. Here's what I've been staring at for the past week or so. Lovely, isn't it?

  6. Being the Internet searching queen that I am, I spent another hour or so trying to find software that can aid in the design of a wall gallery. You know, something where you can define your working space, then drag and drop mirrors, frames, shelves of various sizes and colors and other wall decor items into the space. Then you can click on the individual items and drag them exactly where you want them. So you'd end up with the perfect template for your wall gallery, no? What a great idea! Unfortunately I found nothing that came close to such a thing. Boo.
  7. Being the OCD spokesperson that I am, I then turned to my MacBook and fired up Photoshop. I created a PSD that contained individual layers for each of the frames and shelves I purchased. That way, I could drag them around, albeit not so easily, in order to visualize my gallery. It was quite tedious, but it resulted in a good starting point for my design. Click for a larger preview--and don't laugh at my picture names! They make sense to me! :)

  8. Okay, so the next thing I tried really didn't work out so well. I had a roll of brown paper and I cut out templates of each of my frames. The problem was the paper kept rolling up on itself. I tried taping down each corner of the paper, but after a few hours, the templates started curling up and falling off the wall. I removed them all and left just my lovely blue tape outline marks up for over a week while I worked on other pressing projects. Whew!
  9. Today I finally was inspired to attack the wall gallery again. This time, I used lovely mint green printer paper to create templates for each of the frames and shelves I purchased. These have been MUCH easier to work with! But the layout still isn't looking quite right (see #10 below).

  10. So my latest problem is that I cannot apply my template very well to the wall itself. See, it looks great in Photoshop! But once I start hanging the templates on the wall, I get all crazy. See, I want the pictures to look like they were randomly placed on the wall within the confines of my work space. BUT, I also need there to be some organization such as even spacing between the frames. Too much to ask for? I'm starting to think so! I'm really wishing they made 11x14 frames in the style I chose, not only because they would take up more space on the wall, but also because the pictures would be much easier to see from across the room. I've actually decided to limit the 4x6 photos as much as possible because I think they're too hard to see unless you stand 2 inches from the wall. Not exactly what I expect from potential house guests!
So I'm going to take yet another break from the wall, hopefully get a good night of sleep, and start working on it again tomorrow. I'll share Part II of this saga on Friday.

Oh the joy!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Almost a Gift... Almost.

In my exuberance of the pending celebration of LO's first birthday, I've been shopping for gifts for her from hubs and I. Of course we did order her pink gingham bean bag, which I'm totally stoked about. Another gift idea I came up with is earrings. She's still wearing the silver studs from when her ears were pierced when she was 8 months old. And I'm tired of looking at them. Obviously she couldn't care less (or as hubs would say, "could care less"--this is always followed by my correcting him for the zillionth and laughing a bit).

So I purchased some cutsie sterling silver earrings for her from Claire's in the mall a few weeks ago. Let me just say that changing earrings on an 11-month-old is not for the timid or lighthearted. It takes skill. Mad skill. Skill I learned quickly that I was lacking. I followed her around and tried to remove the stud earrings without interrupting her activities. Accomplished. No tears. Nice. Unfortunately, putting the new ones in was much more intrusive. It involved me holding her down, grabbing her head so she couldn't move it and somehow finagling the new earrings in.

Fast-forward less than 24 hours. One of the little faux rubies in the earring was gone. Yep! Just gone. I checked out one of the other pairs of earrings I had purchased (that she hasn't worn yet) only to find they, too, were missing one of the little faux gemstones. Seriously!? Ya. I couldn't believe it. So I had the joy of removing her new cute little red heart earrings and putting the studs back in (see note above regarding putting earrings in an 11-month-old's ears).

Okay, so now I'm finally getting to the point of this post. I looked everywhere online to find a cute pair of faux diamond earrings, preferably bezel-set, that were of decent quality and would totally match any and every outfit I put her in, thus eliminating the need to swap out earrings often, at least not until I get tired of looking at them.

So last Tuesday I placed an order for little 1/4 carat Round Brilliant Rhodium Silver Cubic Zirconia Stud Earrings from a merchant called--get this--"" Okay, so obviously the name should have been enough to prevent me from ordering a thing from them. But no, I went ahead with it.

Aren't they cute?

Sign #2: I tried to use the "Chat Now" online applet and was told representatives were not available at that time. Sounds legitimate, right? I mean, I think it was like 10PM when I tried it, so I moved on.

Next I contacted them to ask when/if the cute bezel-set earrings, which were shown as "Out of Stock," would be back in stock. No response. You'd think I'd learn from all of this, right? Not so much.

Apparently they have this "Make an Offer" option where you can request to purchase an item at a lower price. I tried it. I thought it would be nice to save a dollar or two on a pair of $9.82 earrings (cheapskate, right?). Well, surprisingly enough, I received no response.

As if all the signs weren't glaring at me, last Tuesday I went ahead and placed an order for the earrings at the $9.82 listed price. I'm obviously a glutton for punishment, right?

Okay, fast-forward again a week later. I've checked my online order status. It's "pending." It's been pending for a week now. I emailed the company 3 times through their website. No response. I called them today during their stated business hours, only to get a recording telling me they were closed and restated their hours (which, again, I was calling between). Nice.

Then I had an epiphany. Check the Better Business Bureau! I did. And guess what I found?

Did you guess?

Um, riiight... On a scale of "AAA" (best) to "F" (worst), guess what rating received from the Better Business Bureau? A big. Fat. F. Lucky me!!

Turns out that out of 26 BBB complaints against this merchant, 23 of them went unanswered. Lovely. I went ahead and filed a complaint with the BBB, but also contacted my financial institution to dispute the transaction, which, of course had already been charged to my account several days ago. Isn't that just peachy?!

So now I'm back to the drawing board. I want to find some cute silver, faux diamond or other earrings that are small enough for a 1-year-old, high enough quality that they won't fall apart in 24 hours or less, and are neutral enough to match pretty much any outfit.

Any ideas?