The Christmas cards we’ve received so far have made their way onto on our Christmas tree! I think they are wonderful additions, don’t you?
Who needs ornaments when you can adorn your Christmas tree with the beautiful Christmas cards that people have sent you? Looking forward to getting a few more and filling our tree up with holiday greetings from all over the world.
Brian got his haircut at Great Clips yesterday. I normally don’t go with him because I like to do Group Power right before Zumba on Saturday mornings. However, I was being a slacker yesterday so I decided to hangout with Brian at the hair place.
The work stations at Great Clips are divided by these colorful sails. It makes me think of sailing. Don’t know whose idea that was, but it’s pretty creative.
Brian has been going to the same Great Clips location for several years now. He loves it because they know the kind of cut he wants and he says he always gets great service. The best part is their mobile app. Brian loves it because it keeps your place in line for up to two hours. He checks in on the mobile app and then gets right in at the salon when he shows up. There could be dozens of people waiting in line, but he doesn’t have to wait. It’s pretty neat. He usually gets lots of evil looks from the people waiting to get their haircut, but it’s not his fault they didn’t use the mobile app. LOL. We love, love, love businesses that embrace technology.
Here’s today’s tip: If you’re going to get a haircut and you’re not partial to a particular salon, consider going to Great Clips. Their mobile app works great!
I know a lot of people were still doing some last minute holiday shopping yesterday and possibly even today. Not us. We bought almost everything prior to and during Black Friday. Why? Because we are weirdos with OCD who don’t like to wait until the last minute to do stuff. We like to plan, plan, plan AND well in advance.
The presents have been wrapped for almost two weeks, but last week I asked Brian to organize them into “Christmas Eve” and “Christmas Day” piles so we know what goes where at a glance. Although, we did have to separate the gifts that we had for Kevin, Kasey, Kendra and Andrew because we found out the other day that we would not be seeing them at Christmas after all. We had to create an additional “For Delivery” pile. LOL. (Had I not delivered my work presents the week prior, we would have had a “For Work” pile also.)
The gift pictured below was one of the first ones to get wrapped and gifted. There were three identically wrapped gifts in different colors for Carmen, Tiffe and Sunni. I had them ready by the first of December because they were for people at work and some like to take vacation during the holidays. I never know when they’ll take off and then I miss the opportunity to give them their present before the holidays.
I was going to put the presents under my Mardi Gras Christmas tree as part of the decorations. You know how people put fake presents under their Christmas tree? Well, I wanted to do that. Except mine would be real presents. After talking my idea over with Amy, who suggested that the presents might disappear after others figured out they were real, I decided against it. I kept the presents at home until I was able to hand them out last week.
The gift piles were actually in the living room before they finally made their way to the dining room. After I finished wrapping everything, we decided to move them to the dining room because we were tired of having to step over and navigate around them. It gets so cramped in this little townhouse. I think I’m asking Santa for a house next year. I know it might be challenging for Santa to fit a whole house in his sleigh, specially with all the other presents that he has to deliver, but he’s magical so I’m sure he’ll figure it out.
I forgot to mention the Phelpi and Feifels pile. We saw the Feifels on Christmas Day last year so we had their stuff in the “Christmas Day” pile at first. However, we weren’t sure if we would see them on Christmas Day this year so we went ahead and gave the Phelpi and the Feifels the gifts for their kiddos when we took everyone out to dinner at PCP last week.
Brian hates that I try to remember who gets what present by size and shape and gift wrapping paper and bow. I must say that it’s easy to remember until it’s time to unwrap them. With the chaos and mayhem and multitude of presents to unwrap, I start drawing blanks. Then a guessing game follows. It’s kind of fun, unless you’re Brian. In which case, you just find it frustrating. LOL. So anyway, he made me tag all of the gifts this year. He did help me make these neat embossed gift tags. It’s hard to see from this picture, but there’s a snowflake in the middle and the words “SEASONS GREETINGS” and “BRIAN AND CHING” around it.
We had to save the bows and gift tags for last because I prefer to do real bows as opposed to the stick on kind (unless I’m feeling lazy or don’t have enough time to put my fancy bows on) and I didn’t want them to get smooshed. I’m actually not sure that “smooshed” is a word, but I’m using it anyway. I take that back. I’m pretty sure “smooshed” isn’t a valid word because a red squiggly line appears underneath it each time I type it, so let’s just say I didn’t want the bows to get flattened instead. Sorry. My OCD is kicking in real bad this morning.
I put bows and tagged the last remaining presents yesterday afternoon while Brian was playing video games. Check out the finished product below.
This is the “Christmas Eve” pile.
This is the “Christmas Day” pile.
I can officially say we are ready for Christmas. How about you? ¿Estás listo para la Navidad? I had to throw some Spanish in there because I try to practice every now and then. I got to practice with my friend Rene at Suede last night. He’s a regular and is always there. I asked him, ¿Que hiciste ayer? because I’m trying to practice using the past tense. He told me that he worked yesterday until he realized he actually had the day off. LOL. I speak terrible, broken Spanish, but I guess it’s enough to get by for ordering food at restaurants. I’m glad all the Latin American people I know are patient with me as I practice.
While we were dancing last night, I wanted to keep speaking Spanish but didn’t know what else to say so I said, Este zapato es tu zapato. Rene started laughing and nodded, Si – estos son mis zapatos. Whenever Brian and I are talking, I spit out random thoughts out of nowhere. It’s nice to know that my randomness has transcended the English language. LOL.
When we sat down on the couch, Brian explained that I’m trying to practice speaking Spanish every chance I get. I encouraged Rene to keep talking to me in Spanish so I can continue practicing. He talks really fast sometimes so I frequently have to ask him to slow down. He also has this habit of asking yes or no questions and I’m not really quick at coming up with responses yet.
While the three of us were sitting there, he asked me something that one could answer with yes or no so I replied, Si. He said something else and I said, Si, again. Then he said something else and when I replied with Si again, he started laughing. He was like, “So if I asked if you would like to jump off a bridge, you’d probably say yes too?” LOL.
That reminded Brian and I of a tip we heard from the cruise director during our honeymoon cruise almost ten years ago, so we shared it with Rene. The cruise director said that it’s better to book excursions through the cruise ship as opposed to venturing out on your own because things can go wrong sometimes. He knew that people want to do their own exploring and want to go shopping for deals in town so he shared some valuable advice about how to select a cab before we arrived at our first port in Cozumel. He said, just ask them three questions and if they answer it correctly then you know it’s safe to get in the cab. You’ll likely ask, “Do you speak English?” and they’ll say yes. Then you’ll ask, “Can you take me to town?” and they’ll say yes. If you ask, “Is the sky green?” (or some other similar question which you know that the proper answer isn’t yes) and they say yes again, move on to the next cab. We all got a kick out of it because I was that cab driver last night. Fun times!
Anyway, ¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo! to all of our Latin American friends. To everyone else, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Flip and Ching
For those of you who wanted to know how to send SMS from your email, here’s how you can do it for most of the cellular carriers. If we missed any carriers, please post them in the comments.
AT&T MMS: phonenumber@MMS.att.net (for picture mail)
Boost Mobile: email@example.com
Centennial Wireless: firstname.lastname@example.org
Centennial Wireless MMS: email@example.com
Metro PCS: phonenumber@MyMetroPcs.com
Mobi PCS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sprint MMS: email@example.com
US Cellular: firstname.lastname@example.org
US Cellular MMS: email@example.com
Verizon MMS: firstname.lastname@example.org
Virgin Mobile: email@example.com
Where phonenumber represents the recipient’s 10-digit phone number.
[update] Added Cricket. Thanks, Misty! [/update]
Several weeks ago, Ultimate Electronics ran a promotion where they were giving away a limited number of $25 gift cards at the door. They advertised it in their regular insert in the Sunday paper. Now, Brian and I subscribe to the Wichita Eagle, but we actually heard about it first from our friends Cory and April. (April is the goddess of deals. If there’s a deal to be had, she probably knows about it.) Cory said there was barely a line. I think he said there were five people, counting themselves, when the doors opened. I can think of several reasons for the poor turnout: (a) Wichitans like to sleep in on Sundays and don’t read their paper until later in the day, (b) people don’t subscribe to the newspaper anymore because you can get your news online, (c) those who do subscribe and read the news tune out all the junk/inserts, or (d) they only care about the RedPlum and SmartSource coupons and discard everything else. LOL.
The following weekend, Ultimate Electronics ran the same promotion and there was actually a line before the doors opened. We would have made it, but I didn’t want to give up my Sunday morning workout. Brian could have made it, I suppose, but he’s not as enthusiastic about deals as our friends and me. Anyway, I don’t have to survey the people in line that morning to conclude that they didn’t read about the offer from the ad in the Sunday paper, they likely heard about it from a friend. Just as Brian and I did. Word of mouth rocks. That’s a given. You can’t beat word of mouth advertising.
I’m not going to tell you that print advertising is dead because there is a time and place for it. However, if you want to reach people and get them in the door, you have to go where they are… Social media. People aren’t reading newspapers as much. They’re spending more and more of their time on Facebook. Yes, even the older generations. Shoot, my mom probably spends more time on Facebook than anyone I know. And, Facebook and Twitter posts are digital equivalents of word of mouth. (There’s many others, but these are the two big ones.)
With traditional word of mouth, I could probably tell a dozen people about your product/service/promotion before I lose my voice, but with social media I can tell about 600 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook friends how much I love/hate you without much effort. If my message gets re-posted and re-tweeted by a handful of people, the reach grows exponentially. See how powerful that is? (For more on social media, read my previous blog post about the summit I recently attended in Arizona.)
So back to Groupon and why I love, love, love it. You all know how much I love coupons and deals. With Groupon, coupons and deals go social. This is where we are headed people, just accept it. =P
Most of the time I pick up Groupons from companies that I love or already do business with (or at least am familiar with). For instance, some of the Groupons I’ve picked up in the last year are for Lucinda’s, Pink Boa, Pacific Coast Pizza, LaMars, In the Bag etc. etc. As I grew more comfortable with purchasing and using Groupons, it’s actually allowed me to try companies I’ve not heard of or done business with before. For example, I’d never been to the Kellogg Clinic (where I’m going for laser hair removal) or Fresh Spa Market prior to getting their Groupon offers.
I think the best example is probably my most recent Groupon experience, which was the catalyst for us switching dentists. Wichita Family Dental is a dental office located on the East side of Wichita. They’ve been at their current location for about a decade and yet we’d never heard of them or thought to try them. That is, of course, until their Groupon offer: take-home teeth whitening that’s regularly $230 for only $69.
I purchased the Groupon last month, but we’d been so busy that I didn’t get to use it until recently. (I had Veterans Day off so I came in on that day, remember? I’d written about it previously.) I was so impressed and had such a wonderful experience that I told Brian about it (followed by telling the rest of you about it through our blog). I told Brian, “I love, love, love Dr. Mendoza but I think we might consider switching dentists. Come with me to my follow up appointment, and you decide.” Brian went with me to my follow up appointment and was just as impressed. He doesn’t look it in the photo, but he was impressed. Trust me.
It doesn’t always work out this way. I mean, I tried Fresh Spa Market and didn’t switch. I still go to Beau Monde and Skin Essentials for facials and Serenity for massages. Groupon will get you new customers for your business, but you have to offer something that is better than your competitors in order to keep them. So why the switch to Wichita Family Dental? Let me give you our top five reasons.
- Reason #5: One-Stop Shop
They do everything from regular dental work to orthodontics to cosmetic dentistry. We wouldn’t have to be referred to another dental office. This works out great because I’m thinking of getting Invisalign next year.
- Reason #4: Hi-Tech Everything
They have very modern equipment like digital x-rays. Every dental station has a computer work station. There’s computer monitors mounted to the wall/ceiling so you can see your x-rays while you’re laying in your chair. They use really cool mouth cameras so you can see your teeth magnified on the screen. They don’t just tell you that there’s a potential issue with your tooth – they show it to you! The office is well on its way to being completely paperless (e.g. they use iPads instead of paper charts). I could go on and on and on. Of course, most people don’t really care about this stuff. However, for a couple of nerds like Brian and me, we think this stuff is awesome!
- Reason #3: Location, Location, Location
Their office is conveniently located within our little comfort zone. They’re so close to our townhouse that I could actually walk there! I know we won’t live in our townhouse forever, but we really like this part of town and will likely stay in the area when we’re ready to be homeowners again.
- Reason #2: Saturday Hours
They’re open every other Saturday so Brian and I will not have to miss work for dental appointments anymore. This is really a plus for me because I hate missing work for any reason.
- And the #1 Reason for the switch: Dr. Begnoche is Hot!
I saw him the first time that I came in. That’s another thing. Everyone seems really friendly. Dr. Begnoche and Dr. Pierson actually both came by and introduced themselves (not at the same time) while I was sitting in the dental chair. Except, Dr. Pierson said his name quickly (or I wasn’t paying attention because my mind was still on Dr. Begnoche and how young and good looking he is) that all I got was Chuck. When Brian came with me to my follow up visit, Dr. Begnoche was at some training for the Galileo (their neat x-ray machine) so Brian didn’t get to meet him. I introduced Dr. Pierson to Brian as Dr. Chuck because that’s all I could remember.
Anyway, I failed to mention the good looking dentist to Brian in my original sales pitch, but he discovered first hand when he went to his dental appointment yesterday. Brian said, “I had a different dentist.” So I asked, “Which one?” He replied, “I don’t know, but he’s cute.” LOL. Dr. Begnoche doesn’t even look old enough to be out of college. He must be like Dorian Gray or something.
Oh, and it didn’t hurt that they were running an iPad promotion on new patient referrals this month. Basically, if you refer a new patient then your name gets entered in a drawing for an iPad. I figured that I would refer Brian. That’s at least one entry. So anyway, this is my word of mouth way of telling you all you should schedule a dental appointment at Wichita Family Dental and tell them that I, Cherrie Brubaker, referred you. I could use a few more raffle entries because with the kind of luck I have, one raffle entry ain’t gonna cut it.
Until next time,
I had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Customer Response Summit held at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, Arizona a couple of weeks ago. There were several great presenters, namely keynote speaker Robert Lamb (AT&T) who wrote Improving Your Bottom Line Through The Contact Center, Marianne Curran (Go Daddy), John Belanger (Yahoo!), Steve Kaay (US Auto Parts), Keith McArthur (Rogers Communications), Garry Schultz (Sonic/Roxio), John Hernandez (Cisco), Eve Mayer Orsburn (Social Media Delivered), and on and on and on…
Lessons from AT&T’s
Social Media Journey
- be responsive
- be empathetic
- map out processes ahead of time
- know and communicate the necessary commitment
- never rest
- offer a clear means of accessibility
- ask your community for ideas and feedback
- measure twice, cut once (something that Lamb mentioned several times during the presentation)
In his keynote presentation, Robert Lamb shared the potential benefits that businesses stand to gain by engaging in social media: [a] competitive advantage, [b] market with targeted demographics, [c] enhance company image and customer loyalty, and [d] increased customer satisfaction. Lamb also pointed out that only 14% of consumers trust ads, while 78% trust peer recommendations. In today’s society, our peers include our social media connections.
As someone who relies heavily on web reviews and recommendations, I can relate to this. While I wouldn’t consider strangers on a review web site as peers, I will carefully consider web reviews of a product or service I’m buying prior to pulling the trigger. We usually do this as part of our pre-purchase reconnaissance whenever we buy anything, specially electronics items like TVs, cellphones, DVD players, etc. We also did the same thing when we were looking for an apartment earlier this year. We were ready to sign a lease at this new apartment complex in Derby, Kansas (where my parents live) until we read some horrible reviews of the place at Apartmentratings.com. We looked up reviews of two other complexes that made the short list before settling on the place where we currently live. Rent is actually considerably higher here than the two other places we considered, but the rave reviews were the biggest factor in making our final decision. This proved to me how powerful customer recommendations truly are… And now with the increasing ubiquity of social media, the impact of “word of mouth” is significantly amplified. When someone complains on social media, it has a huge impact on the company brand/image — which is exactly why companies can no longer ignore social media.
The second presenter, Marianne Curran, talked about the three main areas of focus: customer service, marketing, and public relations. There is no substitute for real-time human interactions so her advice is to listen and engage, be proactive and timely, and be prompt in your responses. She also shared some of their guidelines at Go Daddy of when not to engage such as when there is nothing actionable, when the comment is simply taunting or baiting, or if legal action is threatened. In these situations, it’s best not to engage in the social media interaction.
Social Media Tools Used by Go Daddy
Social Visibility – for broadcasting messages to multiple social networks
x.co – their URL shortener
CoTweet – for managing tweets
TweetReach – to analyze reach and impact
The interesting part for me is that in visiting with the corporate communications and public affairs rep who handles everything that relates to social media in our organization, I found out that he has established similar guidelines for himself when deciding whether or not to respond to social media mentions. He has actually created a decision tree. This is something that is easy to take for granted, but is important to establish so that there is consistency in how social media interactions are handled.
Curran’s keys to embracing social media are as follows: be open to engaging, respond promptly, know when to listen and when to engage, don’t avoid complaints, and work to turn critics into “super fans.” At Go Daddy they’ve seen an increase in their fans/followers and referred orders and were able to attribute these to their social media endeavors.
Steve Kaay mostly talked about AutoMD, a “comprehensive automotive repair resource designed to empower car owners with the best way to repair their vehicles” that is owned and operated by US Auto Parts. What is brilliant about this do-it-yourself automotive repair portal is that it’s helping to grow the DIY market. Rather than stealing market share from its competitors, US Auto Parts is actually making the pie bigger by educating customers through the AutoMD web site so there’s more than enough for everyone. I think it’s great because their efforts not only benefit consumers, but also their competitors. It reminds me of the “Got Milk?” and “Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner” and “Cotton: The Fabric of Our Lives” campaigns.
Social Media Customer Care Maturity Model
Level 5: Proactive Engagement
- proactive customer care
- proactive sales
- social media business intelligence
Level 4: Social Media Customer Care
- scalable engagement process
- managed process
- work queues
- teams activity reports
Level 3: Social Media Marketing
- social media strategy
- engagement marketing
- brand dashboarding
- minimal customer care involvement
Level 2: Social Media Broadcasting
- facebook page and twitter presence
- broadcast standard marketing via social media
Level 1: Listening (or Ignoring)
- occasional reporting
- reactive/surprised by social media
John Hernandez talked about being able to achieve “proactive engagement,” or what seems to me as the holy grail of social media, where a company is able to provide proactive customer care and harness social media business intelligence. By looking at chatter on your products/services and that of your competitors, you can connect with customers and target real-time opportunities. I think those few companies who have reached Level 5 have considerable strategic advantage over their competitors.
Hernandez also spent some time talking about and demonstrating SocialMiner, Cisco’s robust, scalable social media customer care solution (which you can learn more about by clicking on the link). It looked really cool, but was also a bit pricey. Unless you already use Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise, in which case I think they throw it in for free.
John Belanger talked about the movement toward customer advocacy, which made me think of what US Auto Parts is doing with AutoMD — members of the community answering questions from other members, helping and supporting one another. He shared with us the case of Piper of Love and how Yahoo! handled the situation. Yahoo! has adopted a customer centric view where the value proposition is focused on servicing all of the customers’ (and therefore, the customers’ buy decision dictates who the vendors will collaborate with). They’re using the See : Act : Learn social support models to further their customer advocacy mission.
Keith McArthur showed us this interesting video produced by Rogers Communications. It depicts the human connections empowered by rapid changes in communications technology in Canada and around the world. McArthur shared with us the Rogers social media journey and gave us the ten commandments of engagement:
1. Make it easy for customers to do business with you.
2. Respond to all direct questions within an hour.
3. Don’t replace customer care/support.
4. Try to divert calls from care/support.
5. Take it offline, when possible.
6. Always view the customer profile and recent discussions.
7. Ask yourself, “Will my reply help or make things worse?”
8. Be human — not sales-y or PR/marketing-like.
9. Treat all customers the same, but
10. Don’t feed the trolls!
Besides the ten commandments, McArthur also stressed the importance of transparency.
In talking about social media ROI, Garry Schultz said you have to consider the cost/risk to your organization if you do not take any action. It’s tough to put an exact dollar amount on that. You can talk about system costs, personnel costs, cost per contact of various communications mediums, but in the end fear is the best way to get the attention of company leadership — or so says LinkedInQueen, Eve Mayer Orsburn. We all had a good chuckle about that during the panel discussion, but it’s true.
By the way, Orsburn (author of Social Media for the CEO) recommends the following update frequencies: 7 to 10 times per day for Twitter and 1 to 3 times per day for Facebook. Also, the two largest social networks require different strategies. What works for Twitter won’t necessarily work for Facebook and vice versa.
I could probably go on and on and on about all the little morsels of social media knowledge I picked up at the conference, but I think Brian is ready for bed. Probably the best part of the conference, besides listening to each speaker’s account of their social media journey, is hearing from the other conference attendees and knowing that you’re not alone. Everyone is trying to figure this social media thing out and thinking about how to proceed. Some companies are much further along than others, but we’re all in this together and we can all learn from one another’s experiences and ideas. The sessions were interactive with good participation from the audience. I think that even the speakers learned from the audience and other speakers. It was a great conference and I’m glad that I was able to attend. I think there is another summit planned for spring 2011, though the date and location have not yet been announced. I highly recommend attending.
So sorry about the long blog entry. I promise the next post will have lots of pictures. Good night all!
Until next time,
Brian says I don’t know how to relax. He’s probably right. Instead of sleeping in on Thursday, like a normal person, I ended up getting up early just as though I was still going to work that day. I packed my day with appointments out the kazoo. I’m surprised I didn’t wear myself out.
My day started out with earning the mayorship at Kellogg Clinic where I’m getting laser hair removal done. Misty and I participated in a really awesome Groupon deal where you get three hair removal sessions for only $99. The sessions are normally $150 each, so it was a HUGE savings. I ended up getting two Groupons (the maximum you could buy for yourself under this deal), thinking that I could use all six sessions on my underarms. It turns out that you have to use each Groupon on a different body part. It makes sense because then you have to buy additional sessions to get the desired results.
Misty and I are both doing underarms and bikini. We’ve used up our underarm sessions and the results have been pretty amazing. We’re both thinking that we didn’t really have to go anymore. Except, I still have a few little hairs left and I think that maybe two or three more sessions should do the trick. It’s quite expensive, though, and with our Vegas trip coming up, it might just have to wait for now.
I started my bikini laser hair removal the other day. The downside of the bikini (aside from the fact that it hurts like hell – I don’t know how Misty does it – I don’t think I could ever get used to that pain – I thought it hurt 10X more than when he did my underarms) is that it’s normally $200 a session, so there is a $50 up charge each time. This is on top of the $99 that you’ve already paid for the Groupon (I really wish I would have known this because it makes a difference for a tightwad like me). Although paying $249 for three sessions of laser hair removal that usually costs $600 still gives you almost 60% savings.
Another downside is that, while getting additional sessions on my underarms is optional, additional sessions on my bikini is pretty much guaranteed. Brian told me that his coworker’s daughter who had her laser hair removal done at the same clinic went for 15 sessions before she was done. She didn’t use any Groupons, so she actually spent $3000 on it. She’s a professional volleyball player so she’s getting a lot of mileage out of it. For me, I’m just thinking that I could save a lot of money by not going to get my bikini waxed anymore. I think I spend about $2000 a year on waxings, a fourth of that on bikini. Since I’m cheap and usually stretch out my bikini waxings to eight weeks or more, I only go about five times a year on average (unless I’m going on a trip which prompts an extra waxing visit, but then I usually get my entire body waxed at that time). I’m guessing that I’ll need at least 10 more sessions after my first three so I’m estimating a payback period of five years on this kind of investment. I think it’s a wise decision, but coming up with the money to do it is a whole other endeavor. Maybe I need to start selling some magazines or having bake sales (Brian will do the baking, otherwise it won’t be edible) or start up a collection or something. Don’t worry, I won’t pretend to have cancer or anything. LOL.
So anyway, after my laser hair removal, I went straight to my teeth whitening appointment at Wichita Family Dental. This was another Groupon deal. What can I say? I’m a Groupon junkie. It’s sad because every time a Groupon comes out (which is everyday except on weekends, btw, for those of you unfamiliar with it), I find myself thinking “Can I use this?” because I really, really want to get in on it. So beware. Once you get started, it’s very addictive.
Speaking of Wichita Family Dental, I was very impressed with their office. Even though they’ve been at this location (which is within walking distance from our place, btw) for about ten years, the place still looks new. The interior and exterior are clean and nice, but that’s all pretty blasé. What impressed me most is that the dental assistants used iPads for patient charts. How high tech is that?
They also had flat screen monitors at every station so that you could look at your teeth photos and x-rays while you’re laying in the chair. I’m thinking now that they might even be able to play The Office on Hulu while you’re getting a root canal or something. How cool would that be? Brian is going with me today when I return for a cleaning and follow-up appointment. This way he can check out the place himself. Only nerds like us would be impressed with this stuff. LOL.
After the dentist, I spent a couple of hours getting pampered at Beau Monde. I hadn’t had a facial in a long time so I had scheduled it last month. I had gotten a $50 gift card from my in-laws for my birthday which I was thinking I would put toward my facial initially when I thought I was going to get a cheap $30 pedicure with Darcy. She bailed on me to spend the day with her beau, though.
I was pretty much left to my own devises. I didn’t want to have to leave Beau Monde and drive elsewhere for my pedicure after my facial and I had that gift card so I decided to splurge. The $30 pedicure turned into $48 (after my 10% discount, because I’m a bargain-hunter even when I splurge; although the discount didn’t even cover gratuity because I gave her $10 – blech).
I really prefer Samantha at Beau Monde, but she only works on weekends. You can get a good deal on last minute appointments if your schedule is flexible, though. If you check the Beau Monde web site on a day when you have some free time (in my case, I was off work on Thursday), they’ll usually post appointment times for the day that have not yet been filled and offer 10% off the regular price of the service to entice people to book.
Anyway, it turns out that the tech who did my pedicure actually worked with Brian at T-Mobile back in the day. They both worked there when it was still Voicestream. What a small world! We figured this out because Brian forgot to pack a lunch that day and so he came home on his lunch break. He stopped by Beau Monde on his way back to work. Brian who is awful at both names and faces wouldn’t have known any different had she not recognized him first.
The rest of my day was spent watching The Secret. It’s actually a book that they turned into a DVD. Jay loaned me the movie to watch a few weeks ago, but Brian and I have been so busy that I didn’t have a chance to watch it until the other day. Brian didn’t seem particularly interested so I watched it by myself. The funny thing is that I’d been doing some of the stuff they mention already without realizing it. After watching the DVD, though, I realized how powerful this knowledge really is. I know it works because I have two examples just from this week alone. First, I started to get sick last weekend and I willed myself better (this is before I watched the movie and before I realized that I was already using the stuff that they teach you) and then second, when I willed better weather last night so that Brian and I could go dancing.
It was yucky and rainy and all day and it’s the kind of weather that makes you want to stay in rather than go out. I told Brian that I would wish for better weather and that it will happen. Anyway, it was still raining a little bit when we got off work and went to his parents’ house for dinner. When it was time to go home, it had stopped drizzling. By the time I got ready to go out, it was a little chilly but actually nice enough that I could have worn a dress to the club if I wanted. By the time we got out of the club, it was nice (i.e. I probably could have walked to the car without putting my jacket on). It’s amazing that you can harness the power of the universe to make things materialize or come into fruition.
You all probably think this is hokey, and some of it is; but this truly is amazing and powerful stuff. So anyway, besides getting a lot of stuff done on my day off, I actually did some learning too. Imagine that. Oh, and to top it off, I got all of our laundry done in one day. Am I awesome or what?
Ever gotten frustrated at the local supermarket because you can’t find anything? If you shop the Dillons Marketplace at Central and Rock Road or the one in Andover, have I got a treat for you! Check out these Marketplace maps!
This one is a map of the Central and Rock Road Dillons Marketplace. You can pick up a copy of this map at the store, right by the entrance. You could also click on the picture above to enlarge it, print yourself a copy and never get lost again.
By the way, there’s a store directory inside. I’m posting it here so that you can it print out as well. Now, you can’t say I haven’t helped you out. Reading my blog is useful after all. =P
Here’s a map and directory of the Dillons Marketplace in Andover so that those of you who prefer to do your grocery shopping there don’t feel left out.
I will post a map of the West side Dillons Marketplace also (as soon as I can get my grubby, little hands on it) so that the West-siders don’t feel like I’m discriminating against them. I want to help make your shopping experience easier, no matter what side of town you live in. Happy grocery shopping!
We all want to make our lingerie items last as long as possible. The best way to achieve this is by not using the washing machine and most especially not the dryer. Using the dryer is possibly the worst thing you could possibly do to a bra.
The best way to clean your bra is to handwash and linedry it as previously mentioned. But what is the proper handwashing technique?
- Fill a basin with cold water. The sink will work just as well as long as you’re not washing several lingerie items.
- Use only a small amount of detergent. A little bit goes a long way. Also, most laundry detergents are pretty harsh so it’s not recommended to use a lot. Actually, most experts recommend using special lingerie detergents which are gentler on delicate fabrics. Check out the links on the right for some detergent options. (Special lingerie detergent isn’t cheap so some people use Woolite. I guess that’s okay as long as you don’t use a lot of it. If you have to use a substitute, consider using mild shampoo or hand soap.)
- Gently submerge your bras in the cold, soapy water with the clasps undone (unless you’re worried that the clasp will snag).
- Let the bras soak for a few minutes.
- Gently rub together the parts worn closest to your underarms. Remember to be gentle so you don’t bend or re-position the underwire or damage the delicate fabric.
- Drain the sink and refill with cold water. Let the bras sit in the rinse water, swishing them around to remove the detergent.
- Drain the rinse water from the sink.
- Rinse each bra beneath cold, running water.
- Never wring bras dry, specially ones with molded cups or foam padding. You may gently blot bras between two dry towels, but be gentle so as not to flatten or warp the cups.
- Lay flat to dry or linedry.
If these steps seem cumbersome and the bra’s care label says it’s okay to machine wash, then do so but proceed with caution. (I will not be liable for any ruined undergarments.)
The manufacturers know their products best so machine wash if you must, but be sure to carefully follow the care instructions listed on the label… Keeping in mind,
- Always use the gentle cycle.
- Use a lingerie bag to protect the bras from other garments.
- Clasp the band to prevent twisting and tangling during the wash cycle.
- Never dry bras in the dryer. Even if you wash bras in the washing machine, always lay flat to dry or linedry.
Sometimes the care instructions can be confusing, specially if there are only symbols and no words. Textile Affairs has an online guide to common home laundering and dry cleaning symbols to help translate.
I hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have other tips or suggestions, please post them in the comments.
Most women know that bras in nude, white and black are essential in every wardrobe. However, there are five essential bra styles that every woman should never be without.
Everyday Bra – You’ll need a few to alternate so that you can give each bra a break. Probably best to have at least one black, one white and one nude or beige color. I like this one: Calvin Klein Women’s Seductive Comfort Customized Lift
Racerback Bra – These are great for sleeveless shirts and tank tops so that your bra straps don’t show. They’re also great under shirts and are a great substitute for when you want to give your Everyday Bra a breather. Perfect for days when you expect to be more active. The Le Mystere Women’s Y-Bra and Body by Victoria racerback bra are good ones to have.
Strapless Bra – You’ll also need a strapless bra for your strapless dresses and other special occasions. I like the ones that have convertible straps so you can wear it multiple ways like these: the Calvin Klein Bra, Seductive Comfort Customized Lift Strapless and the Victoria’s Secret BioFit 7-Way bras. I like these two as well: QT Strapless Convertible Bustier Bra and Va Bien Ultra Lift Strapless Bra.
Sexy Saturday Night Bra – Every woman needs something lacy and impractical in their lingerie wardrobe. Perfect for that special date. Here’s one I like: Le Mystere Women’s Isabella Bra.