Customer Service -the best and worst

Customer service seems to be a thing of the past; but, I’m going to give you a list of the best and the worst based on my experience.

Remember the days when you called a company and a person answered the phone? Now it’s an automated system; good luck trying to get a person on the phone at all.  The menus send you round and round, the voice recognition software doesn’t work. I end up screaming obscenities into the phone only to have it say “I didn’t get that.  Please try again.”  There was a movie a couple of years back with a group of terrorists sitting around a phone with “for nuclear missiles press 1, for automatic weapons, press 2, etc.” It was hysterical because it’s so true.

There are, however, a handful of companies with incredible customer service and I remain loyal to them.

Nordstrom – the best ever.  Nordstrom will return ANYTHING even if you don’t have a receipt.  They will work tirelessly to look up old stock numbers and find out what you paid. They will refund it to any credit card you want, not just give you store credit.  I was once in Nordstom in the shoe department and mentioned I had bought a very expensive pair of boots, wore them once and they killed my feet. He said, do you have the box? I said yes and he said bring them back. I said that was about 4 years ago! He said it didn’t matter. I got my full $245 back and subsequently returned a bunch of clothes that no longer fit and I didn’t have receipts for. The sales people could not have been more congenial and helpful. I got all my money refunded to the credit card of my choice.  Another great thing about Nordstrom’s customer service is the personal shopper. It’s free and the shoppers are amazing at finding and bringing you clothes that look perfect on you.

QVC – this shopping channel has incredible customer service!  You have a brief automated system that gets you right through to an English-speaking person just dying to help you.  I bought a tooth whitening toothbrush (it’s the bomb) but I had braces on and wasn’t able to tell if it was working. I called about the 30 day money back guarantee and said my braces wouldn’t come off during the 30 days. No problem, they extended the guarantee period for me immediately. QVC used to reimburse you for your original shipping; but, unfortunately they don’t anymore.

EVINE Live. I never heard of them before and then found out it used to be ShopNBC.  I bought some face serum and moisturizer and the serum bottle was leaking and about 1/3 of the product was gone in three days. I called their customer service number and they said they would immediately send me a new one and I didn’t have to return the one I had. SCORE.

Victoria’s Secret – always helpful, will jump through hoops to help you, and when you have too many bras (like I do) they will let you use the $10 off coupon on another product!

Lands End – This is the only company I know where an actual person answers the phone. It usually doesn’t even ring on my end before they answer. They are always helpful and will do whatever it takes to make you happy.  I do think LL Bean might still answer their phones too.

The Skin Store also has great customer service.  I had made a return but used a coupon and was confused about the return amount.   They were very helpful.  The new products I wanted to buy were ineligible for the current 20% off promotion; but, they said they had no problem honoring the discount, made a note on my account and told me to give them a call when I was ready to make the purchase.

Sephora is wonderful for may reasons.  First they give you samples of everything and returns are easy even with no receipt as they can look up your member number. People there are always willing to help; although, I was a little taken aback buy the gentleman giving me his list of faves on eye shadow primers and such.  I asked him if he wore eye shadow and he said of course. Ok, who am I to judge? He gave me great samples.

Violife answers your emails or calls you in a day or so.  I was trying to make a purchase with a 30% off deal but couldn’t get their website to work before the coupon expired.  When they called me they gave me a code to use any time for 30% off.  That’s good customer service!

Ebay and Paypal also offer great customer service and have resolved my issues. You have to hunt like hell for a phone number; but, once you get it you’re golden.

There are a couple other small companies with good customer service; but they are few and far between.

Now, the list for BAD customer service could take up a book the size of Webster’s dictionary.  The worst customer service award goes to Comcast. I have a friend who worked there for 11 years and always called it Shitcast and now I know why.  If you call, expect to be on hold for more than 30 minutes, transferred dozens of times, and ultimately hung up on.  The last call I made I was talking to someone in the Philippines!  My first call was two hours, transferred 10 times, disconnected and had to drive 40 minutes each way to the call center.  I was promised a call from a supervisor and that I would get a break on my bill for my trouble. Of course that didn’t happen.  They shipped me the wrong remote,  then shipped me the correct one and charged me for shipping the right one.  (I fought that charge and got it removed.)  The next call was because my equipment wasn’t working correctly. I was told I had the wrong equipment and an appointment was made to install another DVR.  My friend who worked there said that was wrong. Another phone call, 5 transfers and 40 minutes on hold I found out he was right; but, the tech did install the wrong box.  So, they had to reschedule the appointment and I had to wait another week.  They couldn’t modify the original appointment. Then the bill came and of course that was wrong too. Another 40 minute phone call. I figure I’ve lost about ten hours of my life to this company.

Nomorerack – non-existent customer service. In fact, the company has changed its name now, no doubt to all the complaints. My roommate and I ordered from them, got wrong merchandise, no merchandise at all, broken merchandise, etc.  Hours on the phone with them were futile. We sent things back with delivery confirmation and they claimed they never got it. It literally took months to sort it all out. STAY AWAY.

United Airlines just plain sucks.  When it was Continental it was a great airline; but then it merged.  They said they picked the name United because it was more recognizable. Gee, wonder why?  What marketing genius though naming it United and reminding everyone of 9/11 every time they get on a plane was a good idea?  Geez, and I’m overqualified because I’ve got a Masters Degree.

Get on a United flight and be prepared to get NOTHING except surly flight attendants.  I actually think it’s a requirement that you be a completely miserable person to be hired. Continental used to give you entertainment and a little sandwich. Now if the plane has any entertainment at all, you have to pay for it. Food choices are severely limited to expenses “snack boxes” which basically have nothing in them.  Make sure you bring food from home and something to occupy your time.  But it gets better.

I book airline tickets online and United’s website saves your last search, which is naturally the return flight. When I booked a flight in June it booked it backwards and I did not find out about this till I got to the airport!  They charged me $580 additional to get on the next flight.  I had to get there for a doctor’s appointment so I had no choice.  I spent two hours on the phone (40 mins. on hold) with a rep who said not only could I get a refund for these fees; but, I could cancel the ticket and fly standby on any flight for $75.  I knew this couldn’t be right.  I went to three counters in the airport before I found someone helpful – helpful enough to charge my Amex another $580 on top of the $247 I had already paid.  Of course she said you can’t fly anywhere without a ticket so the standby theory was incorrect. No shit.  She said I could file a refund form with United, which I did, only to be denied.  Not being willing to take no for an answer I took to Twitter and started an attack.  At first I got some snarky responses from someone masquerading as United.  The actual United Twitter people helped me and I got $200 refunded.  Hey, it was better than nothing but took hours of my time.  By the way, attacking Comcast on Twitter does nothing and it is IMPOSSIBLE to find a phone number for the corporate headquarters in Philadelphia.  I tried. I was a journalist for more than a decade I have damn good research skills.  I think the only option is driving to Philly and demand to see someone.

Whatever you do, NEVER EVER rent a car from SixT.  This was the most unbelievably horrible experience I think I’ve ever had.  The car I had rented – a brand new BMW – died on me.  They left me on hold for an hour then disconnected me. I called back (it was evening and I was thankfully at my hotel) and they said they’d have a tow truck there in half an hour.  Three phone calls, three disconnections, and three hours later I had no tow truck. I called AGAIN and was told it was too late and a tow truck would be there in the morning. I told them it was too late and that I had a flight early in the morning.  I returned the key to SixT and since their computers were down AGAIN (same when I picked up the car) I made them give me a hand-written receipt.  The next night I got a call telling me they were there to pick up the car and could they have the key. I told them I was in NJ and the key was with them!  Then they tried billing me for an extra day.  Fortunately American Express (a top-notch company) fought this for me and I got the entire cost of the rental refunded.  But, it wasn’t over yet!

I got a letter with a bill in excess of $300 saying I had drained the battery by leaving the lights on.  This was impossible for several reasons.  First I was only out of the car for about half an hour and you need to have the key in proximity to the car for the lights to work.  I had a local BMW mechanic review the SixT mechanic’s report and he confirmed it was a “bunch of crap.” He knew the dealership they had taken it to.  American Express ended up paying the claim but SixT still wants a $50 administrative fee. Bite me; you’ll never get it. Fortunately they haven’t pressed the issue.

American Express is amazing.  Use your Amex for everything, especially travel.  Had I known it at the time, Amex would have sent a tow truck, picked me up if I were stranded and sorted everything right then and there.  Whenever I have had a problem with a purchase, American Express has been there for me.  This is another company that will jump through hoops for you. I have five Amex cards and have been a member since 1984.

The sad fact is most companies have terrible customer service, automated menus that won’t let you speak to a human, and if you’re lucky enough to get one on the phone they don’t speak English (but their name is Dave Smith or Sally Martin) and are located in a foreign country.

Even if a store is slightly more expensive, I would rather deal with a place that has exceptional customer service. I will drive 45 minutes to the nearest Nordstrom when Macy’s is right around the corner.  I have nothing against Macy’s; but, it doesn’t hold a candle to Nordstrom, especially in the customer service department.

Please share your customer service stories with me as I know I’m leaving out some companies worth mentioning!

 

Beauty Blender – Best Thing EVER

The Beautyblender is the best thing that’s ever happened to makeup and actually it’s the best thing that’s happened to me in eons.  This little pink egg-shaped slice of heaven literally makes me want to get out of bed in the morning and I am NOT a morning person. That’s how much I love it and can’t wait to use it.beauty blender

For those makeup novices, the Beautyblender is a pink, egg-shaped sponge that you use to apply makeup. Big deal, you say? Oh it is a HUGE deal!  First of all it’s freaking adorable.  You run it under water and watch it get bigger, squeeze out the water, give it a good squeeze with a washcloth and get ready for makeup magic!  It’s $20 for one which seems insane; but, once you’ve used it you will never use a brush or those triangle thingies ever again!

I never used liquid foundation until the Beautyblender came along and now I will never look back. My foundation of choice is Too Faced Born this Way.  I don’t know if it’s the foundation that’s amazing or the Beautyblender because when I first tried this foundation it was put on me with the little pink wonder.

You put one pump (that’s MORE than enough) on the back of your hand. Then you dab the fat end of the Beauty Blender in the foundation and start dabbing and rolling it across your face. The foundation glides on seamlessly, evenly, effortlessly.  Often an entire pump is too much even when I go back to use a little more on my age spots.

Oh but we are not done!  Since it’s shaped like an egg, the Beauty Blender’s next task is concealer and corrector. I use MAC concealer and again, one pump is too much.  I put a little on the back of my hand and switch to the pointy end of the Beauty Blender which gets into every little area under my eye and into the corners. I have bad discoloration under my eyes so I also use a MAC corrector on top of the concealer. I slather it on (it comes in a twist up pen that’s a cream) willy nilly then back to the Beauty Blender which makes it all come together effortlessly!  I even use some of this magical corrector/highlighter on some other areas of my face and the Beautyblender makes it all work.

They claim you can use the Beautyblender for powders but; I haven’t been able to make that work for me yet.  I am going to experiment because I’ve seen videos of an entire face done with no brushes at all.

I have just read that the Beautyblender can be used for serums, creams, and primers which is making me ache for a white one for this purpose.  Oh, I forgot to mention they also make lime green mini ones for the eyes!  You’re supposed to be able to put eye shadow on with it but I’m not quite sure how it will work.  At this point I’m seriously thinking about adding the white one and the minis to my collection…..ok, they’re sitting in an online shopping cart waiting for me to hit “submit order.”

cleanserThe only “problem” I have is cleaning it. I tried soaking it a bowl of baby shampoo and various other methods; but, the Beautyblender Solid Cleanser works the best.  It’s also great for cleaning makeup brushes.  It’s a bit prices and doesn’t last that long; but it works.  It still takes a bit of effort to get all the makeup out of it.  I usually keep a spare tin of the solid cleanser around, especially if I find it on sale.

When the Beautyblender dries it returns to its smaller size.  You can store it to dry on top of the case in which it comes; however, I cannot be without my Beautyblender.  For $18 you can get a great travel case that is mesh with a magnetic closure and a clip on it. The best part is that it holds two of the little beauties. I always keep it in the travel case to dry after washing it.

I never thought I could be so in love with a sponge. It’s supposed to last three months and many people have said they’ve had theirs for up to a year.  I think I used mine daily for about four months.  I actually kissed it before I put it in the trash.  Now that’s a sick addiction to a sponge!

 

Makeup: necessity and new obsession

Makeup is a necessity at my age and it’s my new obsession. My husband calls makeup a luxury.  At my age it’s a necessity and I’ve gotten to the point where I won’t leave my house without foundation and concealer – at the least.

I’ve been on a hunt for the perfect makeup. I watched You Tube videos till my eyes were blurry. I literally stayed up all night watching videos on eye makeup for hooded lids.  This was after I discovered – in horror – that I HAD hooded lids!

I walked into Sephora and it was a sex shop for makeup addicts. I’m pretty sure I had a makeup orgasm. There was so much to choose from; I was in complete overwhelm.  So many brands! So many choices!  Sephora will give you samples of absolutely anything, and boy did I get samples! I am completely obsessed with all this makeup. Don’t even get me started on the brushes!

My new list includes, primer, foundation, contour, bronzer, blush, eye makeup primer, eye shadow, and brushes.

After experimenting with so many different brands these are my conclusions.

To start you MUST wear a primer. There are lots of great primers. I found this out thanks to all the Sephora samples. Too Faced makes a great one; but, Smashbox’s original is amazing. Without a doubt, Too Faced Born this way foundation is the BEST ever and I’ve used them all. Put this on with a Beauty Blender (worth the $20) and you’ll look amazing, like you have no makeup on; but, it covers everything you need covered.  It’s also  fun to use and is a really happy shade of pink.

Smashbox’s contour kit gives you a highlighter, contour powder, bronzer, and a brush. Perfect!  I admit their highlighter doesn’t seem to do much; but, I still use it. The contour and bronzer are great. The bronzer doesn’t leave you looking like George Hamilton.

When it comes to blush, I could never get it to stay on for more than an hour be it powder, cream or stain.  Milani baked blush stays on forever! The best part is you can get it dirt cheap at CVS. Urban Decay’s blush is great too but about three times the price of Milani. How do I know Urban Decay blush is great? A sample from Sephora, of course.

Setting powder is a must and Nars is the best by far. It gives you a flawless finish.  It’s $26; but, it’s worth it.

Concealer and corrector? I never thought I needed this but once my under eyes were pointed out to me I was, once again, horrified. MAC got rid of the dark circles and discoloration under my eyes with a combination of concealer followed by a color corrector. (I had tried everything from Bobbi Brown to Sephora’s brands and back again.)  It’s creamy and blends seamlessly using my little pink sponge. Sadly, Sephora doesn’t sell MAC.  You have to get it at a department store or buy it from MAC online. Attention to the under eye area is an absolute necessity for those of us that aren’t 20 anymore, trust me on this.

Eye shadow will crease unless you wear an eye shadow primer or buy eye shadow with built in primer. ELF’s eye shadow primer is only $3, works really well, and is available at CVS. The problem is it’s made in China and I was told by a forensic chemist that the Chinese factories are filthy and to never put anything on your face that’s made in China.  Urban Decay’s original eye shadow primer is also top notch and is not made in China; but, it’s also a lot more costly. Thank you Sephora for that sample.

After my all night session of You Tube videos on makeup for hooded lids, I found out shimmer is a no-no.  Upon looking at the hundreds of eye shadows I own, I discovered most were shimmer.  UGH. I found a great makeup palette in neutral shades by MUA on sale for $10 at CVS.  The only problem is it’s made in China; but, for now I’m sticking with it.

There are a million brushes and most You Tube videos showed every application required dozens of brushes.  I have it narrowed down to a few.  A kabuki brush by ELF ($6) for powder, three Pop Art brushes for eye shadow (about $2 each at CVS), a Chanel crease brush that I’ve had for years that’s perfect for blending, and the Smashbox brush that came with the contour kit.  (How I wish I could find the flat Chanel eye shadow brush I bought years ago.) Smashbox also has the best flat eyeliner brush that’s perfect for gel eye liner.  The problem is that the gels dry out really quickly.  I’ve tried liquid liners but haven’t found one as good as the gel.  I hate pencils.  Not only do you not get a thin enough line, you can’t keep the tip sharp. By the way, there’s a little trick to putting on eye liner if you have hooded lids.  Don’t follow the shape of your top lash line. Don’t go all the way to the outer corner or it makes your lids look more droopy. And on the bottom, don’t line the whole thing – just go from the outer corner about a third in.  With your shadow, make sure you go way above your natural crease with the darkest shade and blend the whole thing like crazy.  I’ve tried to “wing out” my liner; but, unless you’re a true artist, you just wind up looking crazy.

So my daily routine is: moisturizer patted on my face and eye cream under my eyes. You have to let it soak in for a bit before you go any further. Then foundation, concealer, and corrector all blended with that little incredible egg – shaped Beauty Blender sponge. (Ok, I got mine for $10.99 on Ebay.)  Don’t waste the money on their liquid cleanser, but the solid is very convenient and effective.  Invest in the mesh travel pouch; because, it dries it without creasing the sponge and it’s great for taking the Beauty Blender with you.

My next step is contouring. bronzer, and blush.

Then I highlight with Becca Moonstone powder. It’s ridiculously expensive; but, you use such a small amount for highlighting that it will last you the rest of your life.  Make sure to blend the contour, bronzer, and blush.  The moonstone goes just in a couple of spots.

After this, I pat on some Nars translucent powder with my kabuki brush then spritz my face with Bobbi Brown setting mist.  I’m not sure this part does anything but it feels good and I’m too lazy to mail it back.

Then it’s on to my eyes. Neutral color shadows are best and for hooded eyes make sure to go above your natural crease with the darkest shade.  Sometimes I’ll use a little shimmer in the middle of my lid or in the corners.  I still need a pencil brush for the corners.  That’s the next purchase.  Then eyeliner – a gel applied with the Smashbox flat eyeliner brush and finish with Rimmel waterproof mascara. I’ve tried every mascara on the market and keep going back to Rimmel.

As for my lips I’ve tried every lipstick known to man and still can’t find one that doesn’t dry out my lips. I have been using a Bobbi Brown one that matches the color of my lips so it looks very natural. I love the way other people can use bright lipsticks; but when I do, I feel like “here comes Erica’s lips!” So I stick to the neutrals.  If anyone knows of a lipstick that REALLY doesn’t dry out your lips please let me know!

I now have to get up an extra 15 minutes for this routine; but, it makes me look and feel so much better having a nearly flawless complexion that lasts all day!  And I’m so obsessed with my Beauty Blender I honestly can’t wait to use it.  It’s great for foundation, concealer, and corrector. I’ve seen videos where they’ve used it for powders too; but, I just couldn’t get it to work.  I switch to brushes for powders.

I spritz my brushes daily with ELF daily spray and then wash them once a week or so with shampoo and let them air dry.

At the end of the day when it’s time to take it off I’ll use any eye makeup remover and then a makeup remover cloth.  Invest in a Clarisonic!  It’s amazing to get rid of the remaining makeup, leaves your skin feeling great, and makes your serums and creams go on so much better.

Oh, another thing, Lierac Cleansing Water is awesome.  It’s expensive ($24 a bottle) but use some of this on a cleansing pad in the morning and you’ll be amazed at the stuff that’s accumulated during the night!  I also use it after a makeup remover cloth if I’m too lazy to get out the Clarisonic.

My husband still thinks make up is a luxury.  So one night I took it off, went downstairs and asked him if he still thought it was a luxury.  His answer, “no, you need it.”  That’s what you get after 25 years with the same man.

As for skin care – I’m still experimenting.  I just got a new brand tonight that promises miracles. I don’t have the money for surgery at the moment, so let’s see if this stuff really does the plumping and line removing it promises!

I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully my makeup obsession will not turn into a skin care obsession.

Is there a 12 step program for this stuff?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom from your haunting past

Being stuck in the past keeps you from moving forward. Now, I’ve known this concept for a long time but remain stuck in my past, reminiscing and wishing for my old life.  It’s like reading the same book over and over again and wanting a different ending. It doesn’t happen.  What happens, at least for me, is a life of sadness, frustration, depression, and withdrawal.

This morning I awoke (grateful for a day off after working non stop at a job that is not my chosen profession) anxiety stricken – homesick for my abundant life of horses, travel, and freedom!  To me, money equals freedom and I had plenty of money, didn’t have to work, rode my horses, traveled the world with my husband, and just enjoyed life.  That is until the real estate market crashed and so did my world. Since 2008 I’ve barely survived.  Many times I just wanted to die.  This morning was one of those times.

I have chanted, read Law of Attraction books, tried GG codes, astrologers, conscious creation, theta healing, casting spells, and just about anything I could think of because I had decided enough was enough! I wanted to be well, happy, and fulfilled again.  Facebook was killing me with all the photos of people I knew – all at horse shows or on vacation. That used to be ME! I want that again!  So there I was revisiting that same chapter, rereading the same book hoping for another outcome.

I know my financial situation can turn in a heartbeat but I’m not patient. I want that NOW! So my focusing on the wanting only results in more wanting.  I pretended for a long time (Neville Goddard style) that I was a millionaire again living the life I wanted.  But I was also told every manifestation happens at the appointed hour.  WTF? Do I have to be 90 for the appointed hour? The Law of Attraction says when you’re frequency lines up with what you want you get it.  No one ever really says how you match that frequency.  Abraham Hicks says just get happy. Others say it’s gratitude for what you do have so the universe will give you more things to be grateful for.

I have had some success with this. I’ve given some money to charities and received unexpected monies and refunds from companies.  My relationship with my husband has improved tremendously to where he now goes out of his way (and he’s exhausted) to suggest things to do together on Sundays.

When total money anxiety sets in I have to stop myself. I have to say that right now, in this very second all my bills are paid.  I cannot worry about the future and believe me I’m the queen of worry and planning ahead.  Funny that I actually got a Masters Degree in Planning!

I’ve reached out to my friends from the past – horsey friends and they have ignored me although I have seen they have read my messages. I take everything personally. What had I done to make them dislike me?  I spent hours crying today over the past.  Well there we go again, stuck in the past.

I forced myself out of bed, cleaned the bathroom, walked both dogs, brushed one, played some Facebook games and took to my bed saying “I am FREE” over and over and over because to me money is freedom.  So it was suggested to me that instead of focusing on money, I focus on the feeling of freedom – kind of going in the back door for manifesting money.  I really like that idea.

I have to look to the future – not be stuck in the past.  It’s hard, very hard to monitor every word and thought and not punish myself for the mistake I made that put me in this situation.

I am grateful for my home, the fact I have a job, my husband, my dogs, the money I DO have in the bank, my teeth are being fixed, I have friends who do let me ride occasionally, I have a great brother and sister, my mother has helped me, I have a car, I have a cell phone, I have clothes, I have shoes, I have a lot more than most. I have to learn what I can from the past and realize that whatever happened happened for a reaon but being stuck in the past will never move me forward to where I want to be.

This is a tough road but I’m not giving up. I know I can do this!  I just want it NOW.

Forgiveness sets you free

Forgiveness sets you free.  I really have a problem with forgiving someone who has wronged me or hurt me because to me forgiving them meant I was telling that person it was OK what they did to me. Since it was clearly not OK what they did, I was not forgiving – at all, period.

What  I realized that my lack of forgiveness was actually hurting myself.  Someone (ok it was Adrien Blackwell the amazing theta healer I’m always talking about) said holding onto the anger, hurt, resentment, etc. was like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  When I heard this light bulbs immediately went off.  The statement is spot on.

I got Adrien’s healing audio on forgiveness and it was the best money I ever spent.  When I listened to it the first time she asked who is the first person you need to forgive? The immediate answer that popped into my head was MYSELF!

I was a millionaire.  I had a Ferrari, horses, a  life of travel, wintering in Florida, and the luxury to do whatever I wanted.  Then I lost ALL of it.  People mocked me. How could you loose $3 million they would say.  My husband hounded me about it. I felt guilty and have been suffering and struggling financially since 2008 with no hope in sight and constantly having to ask my family for help.

I had a dear friend who hurt me terribly. I’d never gotten over it. I would forget it for a while but it would always come back to haunt me and leave me in tears.  Over the 25 years I’ve been with my husband, his words and actions would hurt me.  My parents, especially my mother, did unconscionable things to me.  Other friends have hurt me too.  All of this was eating a hole in my soul because forgiveness was not an option.

The first time I listened to the audio I woke up feeling sad and curled up like a cocktail shrimp and felt it was an epic fail; but, then I listened again.

I woke up feeling like I’d been poisoned. I felt toxic to the point where I knew I had to get it out of my body so I went for a massage and then treated myself to a pedicure.

The next morning I woke up feeling like a billion ton brick had been lifted from my shoulders!  I felt FREE and liberated and happy.

I thought about the dear friend who has brought me to tears for years and she didn’t matter.  I thought about the money I lost and thought, eh, I’ll get it back soon enough.  A guy whose very name would set me on edge for days actually walked into my office and it didn’t phase me one bit.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean it’s ok what they did to you; but it does set you free.

That freedom gives you the power to manifest the life you truly want by letting go of everything that’s holding you back.

Being Grateful in the Face of Adversity

My quest for a new life through the Law of Attraction (LOA) has led me to turning tragedy into gratitude. I have learned this by finally realizing what you worry about, fear, think about, you bring into your reality.

Lately I’ve been slammed with unexpected bills, sick animals, broken glasses, car trouble, and more.  My first reaction was OMG how am I going to pay for this! I can’t afford it!  What am I going to do?  My first realization was that my car is 10 years old and that I’ve been fretting about it breaking down and afraid to drive it long distances, etc.  Sure enough, I was an hour and a half away from home when not only did my fan belt shred but the entire pulley assembly was gone as well. $340 and stranded in South Jersey. This week an entire tire flew off the rim while I was driving and resulted in $800. I then realized I MANIFESTED THIS SHIT!

My wonderful theta healer Adrien Blackwell (contact her immediately, just trust me askblackwell@gmail.com) has moved mountains for me with her amazing talents and one of them was gratitude. I started to flip all my tragedies to gratitude.  I was so thankful my tire thing didn’t happen on the highway or I would have been dead.  I was grateful for AAA coming to put the spare on. I was even more grateful that my husband was off that day, came and got the car and gifted me 4 new tires!  By the way, this is not like him.

Our very expensive imported collie got very sick.  I took him to the vet today and found there were some serious problems.  I was grateful that I had a coupon for a free exam which saved me $62.  I donated to the local animal shelter while I was there. I was grateful they are able to treat him; but, we aren’t 100% sure what’s going on.  I was even more grateful that my husband put it on his credit card.

My airline debacle that cost me $900. I was furious with United Airlines and have been trying to get some of the money back but I was grateful they were able to sort it out and get me where I needed to be. I was grateful I had a credit card to put it on.  While I was out of town I gave a ministry a few bucks on a street corner and then won $5 on a $2 lottery scratch off.

I’ve been wanting new glasses for a while but they are so expensive because of my Rx and usually run me $900 a pair. Mine were heavy and killing my nose.  My dog ate them off my nightstand. I was furious. I was panicked.  The only other pair I had were two prescriptions old. I was then grateful that I had them.  I was even more grateful that I found a place that could get the exact glasses I wanted in three days for $750 and I had a credit card with that much availability. I need a second pair and they offered me $100 off lenses when I’m ready to buy them.  I realized I manifested the glasses too. It was just the bridge of events that really sucked, but I flipped it.

I have learned (the hard way) that the more grateful you are, the more you get to be grateful for. The LOA does work.  So now I am grateful for everything and when I go to sleep at night I say over and over thank you for all my blessings.

Two psychics, whom I did not solicit, told me my money worries would be over this summer. I am so grateful for the money! I have chosen to live as though it’s already arrived in my bank account.  That doesn’t mean I’ve gone on spending sprees, except what I had to buy but I just believe that I can if I want to.

I have been grateful for everything lately – even when the situation sucked.  I don’t want to work anymore and spend my days riding horses and cooking like I used to but instead I’ve chosen to be grateful for the job I have.

Practicing gratitude is just that – practice and more practice.  I have to monitor every word and thought and anything negative I have to immediately flip to positive.

No matter how dire the situation seems you can always find something to be grateful for about it if you try hard enough.

 

New Braces – More Torture

My new braces continue to torture and torment me.

You’ve all read by now (or at least you should have) my experience with the palate expander and getting my lower braces on.

I went back to the orthodontist yesterday because the wire came out of the end bracket and one of the screws got stuck on the palate expander when I tried to widen it again.  This torture device continued to rip the crap out of my mouth and tongue and cause excruciating pain to my molars from the evil hooks on the side.  The only benefit was the weight loss from not being able to eat.

My appointment was actually a week earlier than it was supposed to be and when I arrived the doctor was amazed at how much my jaw and teeth had moved.  He took the expander out and said “throw this thing away!”  What? The last time I was there he said I had another 8- 10 weeks to go. I was beyond excited.  He actually said I was “over expanded;” but, that was not a bad thing.

When he took the wire out to replace it I begged him to let me floss my teeth. OMG I was in floss heaven.  I am a flossing fanatic and flossing with braces is next to impossible.  You have to take a piece of floss with a plastic end and thread it through each tooth separately and try to floss and good luck removing the floss because it’s not only shredded to bits but it’s stuck on the brackets. Be sure to have a washcloth handy cause you’ll be drooling like a toddler. So it was pure nirvana being able to floss now that the wire was off. I was beyond happy. Who knew flossing my teeth could bring such joy?

I had bought a Water Pik to aid in this flossing, which resulted in swollen and bleeding gums. Apparently it’s not the panacea it’s supposed to be.  According to the hygienist it forces the plaque under the gum line resulting in swelling, bleeding, and a multitude of other problems. Ok, another $40 down the drain.

He then asked if I was ready for my upper braces. HUH? Um, I guess so.  So as the hygienist was applying the glue and brackets the Dr. walked by and laughed and said “I can’t wait to see you with a mouth full of metal.”  I told him he sounded just like my husband.  He asked if that was a good thing and I said it depends on the day.  He asked how long I’d been married and I told him 20 years.  He said “well I guess then that’s a good thing.” Again my response was “it depends on the day.”

I left the office, giving him another $1500.  In about an hour my teeth were throbbing.  Three Motrin later, I had no relief.  I thought I was going to die.  I was starving and eating was NOT an option.

Today I had an all day meeting right by the dentist’s office so I spent last night in a hotel. This hotel was beyond scary. While looking for the lobby I saw a half naked guy who appeared drunk or on drugs staggering about.  The first room had no lock on the door and the TV didn’t work.  They switched my room to one where the light didn’t work but the lock did and so did the TV. At that point I was fine with it. Being completely tortured by my teeth I tried to distract myself with the Real Housewives of New York while praying for a quick and painless death.

This morning I stopped on the way to the meeting for coffee and a muffin. Who knew a muffin could be hard to eat?  For lunch I ordered a salad – forget about it.  I came home to some cooked salmon – flaky and soft and each bite sent my head spinning like a dreidel.

It’s back to yogurt and pudding and maybe I’ll start drinking. The upside? I should have a rocking bikini body by mid-July!  Hopefully I’ll also have perfect teeth before the end of the year.

The dentist is begging for reviews on Yelp.  I will reserve mine till the end result.

Let him sweat for a while.

United Airlines – Trip from Hell

Continental was a great Airline; then it merged with United and became a nightmare beyond belief.

First they said they kept the name United instead of Continental because it was more recognizable.  Gee, why is that?  What marketing genius thought making people think about those United Airlines 911 planes every time they board a flight was a good idea? Idiots.

Flight attendants are surly at best.  There is NO entertainment on board on 2.5 hour flights so you better bring a book or Ipad or something to entertain yourself. You can’t even get a Sky Mall catalog on board.  Food on United Airlines is limited to “snack boxes” at a whopping $8.99 for three bites of food.

Then there’s United Airlines customer service – it no longer exists.

So let me tell you my latest United Airlines experience.

Every three months I fly from Newark to West Palm Beach to see a neurologist.  I book these trips online but because the United Airlines website saves your last search, the trip got booked backwards. When I got to the airport in Newark I found out I was booked on a flight in West Palm!  I went to three “agents” and told to call an 800 number.

After 26 minutes on hold I got an agent who barely spoke English. (I have since been told directly by UNITED AIRLINES that it’s cheaper to outsource these things to India). The guy told me I could change my flight for $200 which would be refunded if I went to their website but then there would be another $393 additional charge for the change in the cost of the flight from when I booked it in April.  He then told me to cancel the ticket and for $75 I could go standby on any flight.  I asked again. “You mean I don’t ever need a ticket? I can just go to the airport any time I want and fly standby for $75?”  When he said yes I knew I was in trouble.

I approached ANOTHER gate person.  I had to get to Florida.  She charged me $586.20 on top of the $247 I had originally paid which brings the ticket up to $833.  I’m guessing I could have flown to China for that price.  I had no choice.  I handed them my Amex and waited four hours for the flight, extremely determined to reach customer service. This means I basically paid full fare for the ticket and the original ticket wasn’t used at all.

Upon landing I spoke with a gate agent who told me there is no customer service and to go to the website and fill out a feedback form or post on Twitter.

I took to Twitter like white on rice and started hounding them.  They wanted an explanation in the 26 characters Twitter gives you.  Then they started insulting me, called me trashy and asked why I was going to West Palm Beach. What business is it of theirs where I go and why?

I was then instructed to call United Airlines and request to speak to a supervisor. Again I was connected to a woman in India (after another half hour on hold) who flatly refused to let me speak to a supervisor.  After my ranting and raving she finally transferred me to the refund department. They were closed and I was disconnected.

I even went so far as to call United Airlines corporate headquarters where of course no one answered the phone.  I am ready to take this to the CEO.

Living in NJ I’m pretty much a prisoner of United Airlines if I want to fly out of Newark non-stop. Occasionally Jet Blue will have a flight.  At least Jet Blue gives you free TV and a snack.

During the flight a man passed out and they asked if an EMT was on board. I am an EMT and went to help the man who was in obvious distress and I was contemplating having them land the plane as it was a cardiac issue.  For my efforts I was given two free mini bottles of Vodka.

In retrospect each of those bottles cost me more than $400.

I will persist, so United Airlines you can insult me all you want but I’m not giving up!

 

Facebook – Lots of Reasons to Hate it

I hate Facebook for lots of reasons.  I’ve touched briefly on this in a previous post.  May times I’ve deactivated and reactivated my Facebook account; but, this time I think I’m really gone for good.  I’ve never been happier since I got rid of it.

First of all, Facebook is designed to make you feel really bad about your life.  People post the most wonderful things – their loving relationships, fabulous meals (do I really care what you’re eating?), their new horses, babies, cars, and everything else to make you feel inferior.

I was talking with a friend of mine who is a sociology professor and she said Facebook has a particularly negative effect on teens who feel really bad about themselves and their lives when they look at what their friends post.

The one good thing about Facebook is it helped me reconnect with long lost friends, but now that I have their phone numbers Facebook is a non-issue.

Facebook is scary – you’re being watched.  Try googling something – anything…try a carpet steamer. The next time you login, Facebook will pop up with a multitude of carpet steamer ads.  Facebook is also notorious for viruses and invasive spyware.  My computer guy tells me Facebook is the number one cause for most computer issues he sees.

Facebook was originally designed for the college crowd; but according to my professor friend it’s being used mostly by adults to re-connect with old buddies.  I did, however, meet some really cool people and also got annoyed by a lot of really annoying people.  There are some pretty good Facebook groups to join in order to “hang out” with like-minded people.  I miss that part of it.

I have moved on to Twitter, which I previously eschewed.  While originally intended for fans to connect with their favorite celebs, it has morphed into the best way to promote your business and get your information out there.  I’m hoping it leads to more people reading and enjoying my blog.

I looked into Instagram – Twitter for people who can’t read.  I found I actually have an account and 111 followers. I have absolutely no recollection of starting this account or how to use it.  It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

There are other social media platforms out there and I’m certain new ones will keep popping up. I’m clueless about them and will have to investigate them at some point.

I have a LinkedIn account but it’s the free version. I’ve been told that’s the best way to get connected to people in your field and get a new job. I haven’t had any success with it so far. Anyone looking for a writer/editor/publicist with more than 30 years of experience?

For now I’ll stick with Twitter which is actually user friendly once you get the hang of it.

 

 

New Braces – torture and weight loss

Today I got my new braces – the latest in torture and weight loss.  It wasn’t bad enough that I still have the palate expander (see previous post on that) which resulted in an 8 pound weight loss in three weeks, but now the braces on my lower teeth will mean nothing more than pudding or yogurt for God knows how long.

The procedure was easy – some brackets with rubber bands, a wire, a couple snips, a couple of adjustments – simple.  I was told my mouth would get callouses where the braces rub against my lips. Swell.  Oh and I was told I’d be experiencing pain in the next couple of hours.  They sent me home with a giant envelope of instructions, wax, floss threaders (not happening unless I have a whole weekend to devote to it), tiny brushes for getting in between and around the brackets, and a long list of what not to eat: basically everything.

I drove home from the orthodontist feeling like I had a mouth full of stuff, well, because I do!  I stopped at a convenience store for a soft chocolate chip cookie, broke off a small piece and attempted to eat it. Nope, not happening.

I came home to my wonderful husband making a big bowl of tuna salad as he thought it would be nice and soft for me to eat.  I was exhausted and opted for a nap.

By the time I woke up and fed my dogs it was past 6pm and I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours.  I tried a few spoonfuls of the tuna and that was good. Then the biggest mistake ever! I took out a small roll, cut it in half and attempted to make a very small sandwich.  The first bite sent me into Defcon 5 pain with my head nearly exploding.  Ok, moving on. He also bought some very soft cookies so I tried one of those. I was able to eat that with no problem; but, it got completely squished and entangled in the braces.  I tried my sonic toothbrush, water pik, rinsing my mouth, and the little tiny brushes they sent me home with to slide up under the wires.  I got most of it out but there’s still a piece in the front that I think will be there until the braces come off.  Thankfully that piece is white.  From now on I will have to carry a toothbrush, toothpaste, and the tiny brushes wherever I go. Luckily, I have a large purse.

By the way, the braces themselves are gold with a silver wire.

It’s one thing to have braces when you’re a kid because people expect kids to have braces.  It’s an entirely different animal when you’re a middle aged woman with a job.  It’s embarrassing, impossible to speak or eat, and just a general nightmare.  Can invoke the Family Leave Act for braces?

The only upside to this is the orthodontist said I’d probably be done in six months, instead of the 12-14 months he originally thought.  I told him if I’m done in half the time, shouldn’t the bill be lowered?  He didn’t appreciate that comment at all.  While he’s good at his job, warm and fuzzy he is not.

At checkout, where I had to fork over another $1500 (he’s gotten $2000 so far) and told they don’t take American Express, I again asked about the price.  My theory is six months of fewer visits, less work for him, and in my world fewer hours means less pay.  The woman in charge of the money is his wife (imagine that!) and she went to talk to him and then said if I indeed finish that early, they would adjust the price.

I have to go back in two weeks and in the meantime keep widening the palate expander. Eventually the upper braces will go on. It’s my hope that when the palate expander comes out and the upper braces go on, things will get better.

With my full gold grill I’m going to have to embrace my rapper skills and I’m a pasty white girl.