Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Look what I found!

I found myself browsing a flea market in Dover, Delaware this past weekend when I stumbled upon this:


Remember the Anthropologie Stormy Seas necklace?  I joined the Cult of Anthro about a year too late to buy this in stores, and I always coveted it on others.  I found similar necklaces, but always sort of wanted the original.

Now, $5 (and quite a few years) later, here we are, together at last.

Serendipitous finds like this are a big part of the reason I love flea markets!  (The other reason:  totally bizarre and quirky treasures.  See, e.g., here.)  Have you ever had something like this happen, where you found a long-awaited object second-hand?  Do tell!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Biggest Sale Haul Yet!

Have I told you all yet about how much I love the city of Baltimore?

Well, I absolutely adore it.  Baltimore is homey, quirky, and completely lives up to its nickname of "Charm City."  Baltimore has utterly charmed me thus far.  In fact, I'm hoping to start blogging more about some of the fantastic activities this city has to offer.  I believe this is a city on the rise, for sure.

I love Baltimore so much, that I bought this:


AHHHH!!!  I'm a homeowner!!

There are a bunch of reasons I decided to plunge into homeownership in Baltimore.  First, the real estate market here is pretty good for buyers.  The city has hit its stride but it hasn't quite boomed yet, so real estate generally moves relatively slowly and there are decent deals to be had.  (Plus, interest rates are still extremely low, and those low rates won't last forever.)  Second, the rental market has far outpaced the buying market; you pay substantially more in rent than you would to buy the same house.  Third, I signed a four-year commitment letter with my job, and I'm getting loan repayment assistance from my law school (given to people who take a public interest or government law job and earn below a certain threshold) that is 100% forgiven after five years...so I'm likely going to be in Baltimore for a while.  Plus, I figured if I bought a place in a neighborhood with a strong rental market, I wouldn't be forced to sell whenever I moved; I could just keep the house as an investment property and rent it out to cover my mortgage and expenses.

I started looking at houses in May, before I moved here.  I looked at about 25 houses and I actually put an offer in on this house (how freaking beautiful is that place???), but when the sellers countered for $1500 higher than my offer, I suddenly got cold feet and backed out.  I can't explain why it didn't feel right to buy that house...my parents did not seem particularly enthusiastic about pitching in for a down payment, and there were multiple buyers for the relatively-new-on-the-market house, which made me feel nervous and pressured.  And perhaps on some level I was concerned about buying before I even knew if I would like living in Baltimore.

In the end, I'm glad I didn't buy back in May.  It helped a TON to live here for a few months, get to know the neighborhoods, and get a better sense for where I like to hang out.  I realized in the time I lived in Fed Hill that I loved being close to the harbor, but wanted to be in a neighborhood with a population my own age.  (Fed Hill is fantastic but the average age there is approximately 23.)

When my Fed Hill landlords informed me that they were selling the house I'd been renting a room in and that we'd all have to leave, it seemed like as good of a time as any to resume the housing search!  I had two months before I needed to move out of my old house, so I figured I'd look at real estate for a month, and if I didn't find anything I loved I would just rent again.  I decided to focus on houses with two to three bedrooms, and at a price point that would allow me to cover at least 75% of my mortgage with rental income.  I figured a house of this size would lower my expenses and would give me room to grow if I started a family and we ended up staying in the city.  (The middle schools in the city aren't great, but the elementary school in the neighborhood I ended up buying in is pretty decent and would probably be fine (and would delay the inevitable move out to the better school districts of the suburbs).)

I looked at more than thirty houses in October.  I found a lot of very cool, great houses that seemed promising.  But the moment I walked into the house I ended up buying, I immediately felt a warm, cozy, homey feeling.  It wasn't perfect, and I wasn't blind to the things that weren't perfect about it (I would have loved an open kitchen with different finishes --- like that first house --- or a full bathroom for each bedroom (my house is a 3/2.5)), but I still loved it.  The neighborhood is awesome, the neighbors are chill, and the rental market is strong due to the proximity to Hopkins.  On the whole, it was perfect for me given my price point.  PLUS, the house had been on the market for more than 100 days,* meaning no pressure to bid high to beat out competition!  I was swooning.** 

* I'm not sure why it was on the market for so long --- although in Baltimore 100+ days on the market is not that unusual --- but I think it was because the owners accepted an offer on it after a few weeks, and three days later (without any kind of home inspection) the buyers got cold feet and pulled out.  The house was relisted and essentially became a "back on the market" house.  Often BOM houses face a stigma from new buyers that hurts their market value.

** An indicator of how well my excellent real estate agent got to know me and my taste:  We walked into my house, I immediately oozed, "Oooh, I love it..." and my agent said, "Wait until you hear how long it's been on the market and you'll love it even more."  Srsly, he was great.

The period from contract to purchase was stressful, filled with multiple unnecessary dramas and last-minute crises.  But with the help of a fantastic real estate agent and very supportive parents, we were able to get to closing on time!  I also got the maximum seller cash contribution allowed, so not only did I get a pretty decent deal, but the purchase price on record is higher than the final price I paid (because of the seller contribution), which will hopefully be good for increasing property values in the neighborhood.  Of course, the seller contribution is on record, too, but to the extent that the sale price is a more visible/accessible measure of property values than final sale price, that's gotta be good for property values.

I've already found roommates for the other two bedrooms, and my rental income will almost completely cover my mortgage payment, taxes, and insurance.  This will help me put more money away for loans/savings/home repairs!

I'm still in the process of moving in and decorating, and I have one reasonably big redesign project on the immediate horizon (a contractor is coming in to add a wall and a door to the master suite --- right now, it's not closed off at all so it lacks privacy).  I'll post photos once things get more settled!  I couldn't be happier with the place.  Sometimes I look around the house and feel so overwhelmed with love for my surroundings.  It's my HOME.


So, there you have it!  Do any homeowners read my blog?  What was your buying experience like?  Are you glad you bought?  Any tips or tricks for me?  What websites do I need to know about?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

On Lacking the Words

All:  I feel that I can't return to my regularly-scheduled programming without addressing the events of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, and I can't fully address the "Black Lives Matter" movement on social media.  So I've been stuck for a few weeks here, since telling you about my latest sale haul seems ridiculous in light of the social issues that have developed over the last month or so. 

I'm going to keep blogging, but I wanted to put at least something up here indicating that I realize fun events in Baltimore, shopping, and just going about my life sort of mean nothing compared to these more important issues.

I just want you to know that I know.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Firmoo Sale!

Hi blogosphere!  As we rev up for Black Friday, I owe Firmoo a post about their online glasses service.  They sent me a pair of glasses last month and I promised them a post, so here it is!  I'll put up a substantive post shortly; I have a BIG update for you.

In any case, onward with the quasi-shilling...("quasi" because I do actually use/like Firmoo even when they are not sending me free glasses)

A couple of years ago, Firmoo contacted me about trying their products, and I've been a loyal customer of Asian prescription glasses websites, including Firmoo, ever since.  If you haven't tried these sites, check out my 2012 post about the process of ordering from Firmoo here.  Ordering is easy, delivery is fairly speedy, and the selection of frames is pretty fantastic.  I've never tried the returns process, but the last pair of lenses I received from Firmoo appeared to have some issue with the pupillary distance and Firmoo CS was all over the problem with offers to figure out where the Rx process went wrong.  I also got my sister hooked on Firmoo and she has accessorized herself since then with tons of hipster pairs of glasses on a student budget.

Anyhoo, Firmoo is having a Black Friday sale (as my sister eagerly told me yesterday), so now might be a good time to experiment!


There appear to be a bunch of screaming deals, such as these for $10 after the discount:


Or these, $5 after the discount....

Incidentally, there seems to be a little turf war happening between the cheap online glasses retailers.  I don't have a favorite --- whoever has my favorite style at the moment will get my business.  Have you guys tried these websites?  What do you think?

 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Is it just me...

...or does Siri seem to be sucking up more lately now that other smartphones have caught up to the iPhone?


I need you to actually listen to what I'm saying more than 40% of the time. Thanks. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On Repeat: Cat Stevens by way of Sam Cooke

I stumbled upon this Cat Stevens cover of "Another Satuday Night" on Sirius last night and I can't stop listening to it!


What a voice.  How is it possible to sound so angry, sad, and joyful simultaneously?  I think I like this song even better than the original!  What do you think?

Sunday, October 5, 2014

FYI

Just so you know...
 
This product:
 
 
...is delicious. It tastes like a delightful piƱa colada.
 
However, the color is a little bit...how shall I say...off-putting.
 
 
If you can manage to drink this without thinking about urine samples, then I highly recommend it!
 
How was everyone's weekend?
 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thank you + guest post!

Aw, guys, thanks for helping me feel the blog-love in your comments to my last post.  It was great to hear from you despite my long absence.  Sometimes I feel guilty when I go for a long time without posting, even though I know you all have busy lives and that nobody is sitting in front of their computer refreshing their internet browser until a new post appears on SJGL.  If you can be patient with the fact that I probably can't post as regularly as I used to (and that the content of my posts might be less work and outfits and more lifestyle, given some of the security concerns of my new job), then let's keep this party going. 


I want to tell you all about a few of my recent weekend activities, but in the meantime, check out this post I wrote for Corporette a few weeks back about forgiving ourselves for our dietary failures. 
My attitude towards my weight has always been that I prefer to be within a certain range, but sometimes there are just more pressing things than counting calories or maintaining my poundage.

I only read the first ten or so comments on the Corporette piece --- which I thought were spirited and represented all sides of the topic pretty well --- and then I stopped reading because I did not want to push my luck with unknown internet commenters...so if there's any serious negativity in there, don't tell me.  :-D

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

Hi everybody.  Thanks for the kind emails and messages while I've been away.  Here's a bit of an update for you:

Shortly after my last post, I was put on a trial team (my favorite type of assignment!!) for a case that was supposed to go to trial less than a month later.  As you can imagine, life got extremely hectic very quickly.  I don't like to post on the blog while on trial, because I have to assume:  1) opposing counsel is crazy and has researched everyone on our side; 2) they have found my blog; 3) every post I make during trial prep and trial is a window into how busy or not busy we are, which in turn is a window into our strategy.

The trial was grueling, but I did have a weekend or two during which I got to enjoy the city of Boston (where the trial was taking place).  Neptune's Oyster?  Holy geez, that place was incredible.  Plus, we were staying at the Ritz, so it's hard to be too miserable (even when facing down your third 20+ hour day in a row) when you can go "home" to a fluffy bed, a whirlpool bath, and free room service.

Still "trying" to lose the trial weight, but it was totally worth it.

Our trial concluded at the end of April (we won!!).  I made my way back home almost reluctantly.  Over the course of the last year or so, my six-year relationship, which had typically been very loving/functional/rewarding, had become difficult, rocky, and downright painful.  The relationship needed to end, which as you can imagine was an extremely hard and fraught decision to make after being with someone for so long and developing a shared future with that person.  I still struggle with whether this was the correct decision, and I don't really know what to do or how to act going forward, or whether to give in to the desire to try again, hoping that things might be different after the self-improvement work we have both done in the months of separation.

The closest I've ever come to posting my ex's picture on this blog.  (Incidentally, I TOTALLY recommend this bobblehead company if you are looking for an awesome gift for someone.  They were incredible to work with.)

Those of you who have ended long relationships with the person you thought was "The One*", how did you know it was time?  Did you ever try again with the same person?  How did that work out?  Was the other person able to change?  Were you?  Have you found new love since then?  How is it different?  Do you have some kind of clarity regarding whether you made the right or wrong decision in ending that previous relationship?  Basically, what do I need to hear, being in the place I am now?

*  I don't actually believe in the concept of "The One."  I don't think there is only one person who is the perfect end-all-be-all fit for us.  I think there are many people with whom any given person could have a happy and loving life.  I use "The One" here really to mean "[One of] The One[s]."

Despite the whirlwind incredible trial experience at my firm, I'd been feeling a growing dissatisfaction with the work since last summer.  See, I love trials.  Trials are the driving force that pumps my lifeblood and gives my work-life meaning.  And although my firm is notoriously awesome at giving attorneys trial experience (and indeed, I was on five trial teams, saw four jury selections, and three winning verdicts in my three years + one summer at the firm), the problem with a big firm is that you are never going to be the person giving the opening and closing argument in a big trial.  And even more, the hierarchical structure of a big firm means that for your first five or six years, you don't really get close to talking in court on a paying matter.  There's something about that process, in which the work you do is just pieces of a whole that were divided up and doled out by something else, that makes you start to atrophy in some ways.  You learn a TON by watching more experienced attorneys run these trial teams, but you start to lose that ability to see the whole forest, to think ten steps ahead, and to look at the bigger picture, because your more immediate job is on the smaller scale.

I have always wanted to be an Assistant U.S. Attorney ("AUSA").  It has been my dream job since at least the ninth grade --- or whenever I learned that the job existed.  AUSAs represent the United States, prosecuting federal criminals or defending U.S. agencies when they are sued.  AUSAs get to run their own cases, try their own trials, and enjoy all of the perks of federal employment.  These jobs are notoriously difficult to get, and for the past several years, a hiring freeze has been in place that made it nearly impossible to find an open position.  In fact, many districts began hiring Special AUSAs to work FOR FREE, and PEOPLE ARE STILL TAKING THOSE JOBS.

The hiring freeze lifted in December, and around February I started throwing out a few applications to various districts in which I could see myself living.  (Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Chicago, California...I almost threw my hat in the ring for the Virgin Islands but that just seemed way too extreme of a change.)  I didn't expect to get anything, since I'm still relatively junior and I lack some of the credentials I'm told are important for a position like this.

But sure enough, in March, I got an interview in Baltimore.  Everything about the position was perfect.  The position was in the civil division --- so I would get to practice the type of civil defense law I'd come to love at my firm (for example, civil division attorneys do a lot of medical malpractice defense and employment discrimination defense) --- but civil division attorneys are permitted to take small criminal cases in addition to their civil caseload, so I would have a taste of both types of law.  (Plus, criminal cases typically involve more court time than civil cases.)  The division was small, like my old firm, and filled with incredibly friendly and non-competitive people who loved that I bake pies and play poker.  It is close to D.C., so even though I would get the fresh start I craved in a new city with a lot going on within its borders, I would be close enough to my old town (~30 miles, or 50 minutes by car) that I would not have to say goodbye to any of my friends.

After three rounds of interviews, I was offered the job after a particularly brutal day during our trial.  My tears of frustration with the case turned into tears of gratitude and happiness that I'd had such an amazing experience at my firm, without which I surely could not have made this next step so soon, and that I would soon be starting a new adventure in my dream job.

I cleared my security check at the end of July, moved to Baltimore at the beginning of August, and now I'm starting a new chapter here.  Not only am I in a new city, making new friends and exploring a new life, but I've also said goodbye to my lavish law firm salary (this job was a 60% pay cut) and all of the associated luxuries.  I'm living in a house with two other girls now.  I have a huge living space to myself (I have my own floor of the house, along with my own bedroom, living room, and bathroom), but I'm sharing a kitchen and facing the fact that I have two mid-twenty-somethings roommates at a point in my life when I figured I would be married or engaged.  Ahhh, life, how funny you can be.  Luckily, my roommates (random craigslist people) are lovely and my house is comfortable, and it's only a fifteen-minute walk to work.  It is also only a fifteen minute walk from the new casino opening up in downtown Baltimore, which makes me sad to have my lush salary no longer.

But my new job has been incredible --- pretty much everything I hoped it could be --- which at the very least makes me feel validated in the choices I have made to get me to this point.

Anyway, there's a lot to share and a lot to write about.  I haven't figured out whether I want to continue writing or not, though; again, I must assume all of my opposing counsel have found this blog now that I'm the lead counsel (!!!) opposite them.  While I have not posted anything on here that is personally embarrassing or that I would not be happy to talk about in person, I have to rethink my online presence a bit.  Out of curiosity, are there any AUSAs or trial attorneys out there amongst my readers?  Do you have any thoughts on this subject?  Are any of you my opposing counsel?  :-D

I'm sorry to have left without a word so many months back.  There were so many changes in my life all at once, and some of them I'm sure you can understand I do not want to talk about in great detail on the internet.  My domain name comes up for renewal in a few months, so I guess I will make a decision about whether to continue by then, but in the meantime:  Hello, and I hope you are all doing well!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Did you know this was a thing?

I took a mini-mini road trip to Annapolis this past weekend and learned: people give crazy names to hot sauces, apparently?
 
 
 
Did you know that "Cooter" is another word for turtle? Me neither.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow Day

 
 
If you were thinking that today would be a good day to have matzo ball soup for lunch and experiment with a pork and lentil stew for dinner while working from home, you would be right.

What Jewish Girl doesn't like pork and matzo balls in the same day? What's this "kosher" thing of which you speak?

Do you guys have a snow day today? We've got what looks like six to eight inches here.
 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Zone of All Probability

Have you ever had one of those days that is so horrible --- just one bad thing after another --- that you arrive at a point when you think that nothing worse could possibly happen?  And then something worse happens?

Have you ever felt your tether to your own tragic reality break at that point, not in the sense of having a nervous breakdown or anything, but such that you no longer feel any sadness, fear, anxiety, or any other negative emotion, neither at the wreckage of the day already laid waste in front of you nor the possibility of yet another bad thing improbably finding its way into your universe?  You go from panicked and depressed to completely calm in a blink.

I have days like that periodically, and I had one of them yesterday. I felt that little "snip" in my brain when my thoughts go from "ACK THIS IS A TERRIBLE DAY" to "Of course this other terrible thing has happened, how entertaining."


Every time that happens to me, I think about this passage from A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, which just so perfectly captures that feeling:

I pull up to a light, next to a bunch of young black kids.* Maybe they’ll shoot me. I’m in the zone of all probability. I cannot be surprised. Earthquakes, locusts, poison rain would not impress me. Visits from God, unicorns, bat-people with torches and scepters–it’s all plausible. If these kids happen to be bad kids, and have guns, and want to shoot people like me, it will be me, the glass will break and the bullet will come through and I will not be surprised. With the bullet in my head, I will drive my car into a tree, and as I am waiting to be pulled from the wreck, nearly dead, I will not panic or yell. I will think only: Weird, this is exactly what I expected.

Here's to a new day.


*  ETA, in response comments expressing alarm at this passage: To be clear, this passage is a piece of literature.  In the context of the book, the passage is discussing completely crazy and improbable things happening.  As the author describes it, the likelihood of kids shooting him in the head just because they are black is crazy and improbable, and in the broader context of the book is not a statement on race (i.e., it is not a commentary that young black kids shoot white people), but is rather sort of a tongue-in-cheek jab at perceptions of race.  I encourage you to read more about the book, the author (who does an impressive amount of work with youth in under-served communities), or to read the book itself (not an affiliate link).  It is a fantastic piece of storytelling and one of my favorite books.  If you're upset (or not upset) by the passage, I encourage you to discuss it in the comments.  Hopefully folks who have actually read the book will chime in as well on either side of that spectrum.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A few nice things to start your Monday

1. Check out this cute little fox cookie jar I found at Target!
 
 
2. I went on a hike this weekend! We went to Bull Run, which is about an hour outside of DC in a town called Haymarket, Virginia. The hike was about two hours total, so not too long, but long enough to work up a good appetite for brunch!
 
Hiking OOTD. I am such a newb. Also I was wearing Kate Spade earrings because see also, newb.
 
3. My second round of foster kittens were adopted this weekend! They were pretty much the perfect cats and I was so sad to see them go...
 
KITTY SPOON, PEOPLE.
 
4. A woman at BJ's Wholesale Club almost beaned me in the head with a 20-pack of ramen noodles! My crime? I nicely asked the lady behind me to allow me to put my purchases on the conveyer belt before she did, a request that seemed necessary since she bypassed me and started loading up her own stuff on all available space. Drama be following me around lately, apparently.
 
How was your weekend?
 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Let's talk about fitness.

Alright, guys.  I have fallen off the fitness bandwagon.  My pants are tight and I am at a weight where I refuse to buy new ones because I am not going to settle in here.


I have found that my fitness preferences tend to swing around pretty drastically every six months to a year, and the things that I used to love doing no longer motivate me the same way.  I'm not going to Crossfit as regularly as I used to, and I am biking less since the weather became frigid (and since I bought a car).  I still will sometimes go for a run, but the shorter days leave me less time to do this in the daylight, when I prefer to be out.

My firm recently announced that it would give all associates $195 towards a monthly gym membership.  I could use this money for a 9 class per month Crossfit membership ($165 --- I KNOW), or I could use it to join an actual gym with a variety of (sadly, non-Crossfit) classes.  I'm leaning towards the latter for now, since I'm feeling like a need some variety in my life.  Plus, since I seem to enjoy driving around, I could drive to the gym to get my sweat on.

So help me out here:

  1. What do you guys do for exercise in the winter?  
  2. Do you belong to a gym?  If so, what do you think are the most important things I should be considering in deciding which gym to go to.
  3. If you live in DC, are there any gyms/studios that I absolutely must check out before I sign paperwork somewhere?  Where is the best place for me to spend my $195/mo?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dawwwwwww

Meet the new foster kittens!
 
 
Their names are Dust Bunny (gray female) and Caribou (orange male), but I call them Bunny and Boo.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Just waaaaay too much cuteness, am I right? These little ones are available for adoption through the Washington Humane Society! (My last two foster cats were adopted two weeks ago! The only thing that eased the pain of separation was immediately taking in two more cats :-D)
 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sponsored Post: Because I Want a Sodastream

I spare you guys most of the sponsored post requests I receive, because who wants to read that stuff?  The exceptions are as follows:
  • Cold hard cash in exchange for a post about a product or service I have either used or personally believe in (e.g, Match.com)
  • A free product I like/want/believe in and think you guys would also like/want/believe in, in exchange for a post about said product (e.g, Nice Jewish Guys calendar)
This post about SodaStream falls into the latter category.  I love seltzer water and have been drinking it daily since I discovered it a few months into Weight Watchers in 2009-2010.  It has the fizzy, stomach-filling satisfaction of soda but without the calories or artificial sweeteners.  (The more I read about artificial sweeteners and diabetes, the more leery I am of them.  See, e.g., here.)  I mostly drink plain soda water, and if I want to get fancy I add a squirt of lime.  Heaven.

I get free soda water at work, but the day will eventually come when that supply runs out and on that day, I will want the ability to carbonate my own water.  And that's where SodaStream will come in.

SodaStream wants you to know that Scarlet Johansson is now the new face of SodaStream.  Look how much she loves SodaStream!



There will be some kind of official announcement about her brand ambassadorship on Super Bowl Sunday.  In the meantime, there seems to be quite a bit of controversy surrounding her sponsorship!  The controversy is actually pretty relevant to this blog, in fact.  SodaStream is an Israeli company that operates in a disputed area of the West Bank, and critics of the company argue that the the factory is taking advantage of the limited employment opportunities in that area by operating there.  

In response to criticism about this, SodaStream said through Johansson:

"I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine," the actress said. "SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day."

Very interesting!  I had no idea that SodaStream was an Israeli company or that there was controversy surrounding their operations.  For a Jewish Girl, I admit that I have little to no patience for Israeli politics.  All I know is that I love seltzer water.

What do you guys think?
  1. Do you have a Soda Stream?
  2. Have you been converted to the cult of sparkling water yet?
  3. What do you think of this controversy?  (See, e.g., here.)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Welp, this was a disaster.

I have not checked into the blogs lately, but I can only assume that you have already heard about the enormous sale going on at Piperlime (affiliate link).


I came out of shopping retirement to buy this jacket (affiliate link), along with a bunch of other stuff, for basically $15:


Anyway, this sale was simultaneously awesome and a disaster, as all good things are.  Go check it out while the getting is good.  Plus, use eBates (referral link) to save another 2%.

And happy Friday!  Any fun weekend plans?  Mine involves lots of college friends, poker, and animals -- just not at the same time.

[Thanks @LolaNicole for the heads-up!]

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shopping Fail (AKA, The Hidden Costs of Car Ownership)

This weekend, at Target:



This weekend, at BJ's Wholesale Club:


However, I did manage to use my super free stuff-detecting skills to get a free $40 bottle of car wax and a free $25 restaurant.com gift certificate.

What can I say?  I am a savings ninja.  Except for the part where I apparently buy approximately 20 times more than what I actually need on any given shopping trip.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Online Dating, Pickup Artistry, and an offer from Match.com

This is a sponsored post.

I know very few people who have a "meh" attitude towards online dating.  In my experience, you are either pro or VERY con.

I am currently not on the market, but back in the day when I was, I maintained a free online dating account at (where else?) Jdate.com.  (Hey, I AM a Jewish Girl.)  I thought online dating was a nice way to supplement my social schedule.  Have some dates with guys met at parties, have some dates with guys met online.  Online dating for women is a pretty decent proposition, actually:  insist your dates pay for your drink or dinner, and at worst you have a funny/awkward story to tell at the end of the night.  Plus, based on what my Jdates seemed to tell me, 90% of women who date online are psychotic, so if you are normal, your dates will immediately be impressed and interested.

True story:  for a while there, I studied pick-up artistry!  This was around the time the reality show The Pickup Artist aired on VH1.  Do you remember that show?  It was about a bunch of professional pick-up artists who taught nerds how to become cool and intriguing to women.


I LOVED that show, mostly because the method advertised was so manipulative but seemed SO effective.  I wanted to learn more about it so that I would know when someone was using those methods on me, and in fact a month or two later someone tried to pick me up according to that strategy and I was able to see it coming and bust them on it!  (True caveat:  I was on a Jdate with someone else at the time the pick-up artist tried to pick me up!)

Part of pick-up artistry is a step called "demonstrating higher value" (a "DHV," for short).  In this stage, you do some kind of trick or tell some kind of story to establish that you are interesting and worth your target's time.  Here's one of the best DHVs I learned, which I still pull out from time to time whenever cocktail parties get too dull:

  • Start with some kind of story about how mind-reading isn't all that difficult, it's just about tapping into the common consciousness.  I like to cite a study I once read about in undergrad that found that people completed yesterday's crossword puzzle significantly faster than today's, and the theory behind that was that the answers to yesterday's puzzle were floating in the universe for people to access.
  • Tell your target that you think they could read your mind, too.  If you're on a date and you like the person, maybe add something about how you feel a connection to your date that you think they might be able to get in your head better than others.
  • Tell your target that you are going to write down a number.  Write down the number "7" on a piece of paper and fold it up.  Do NOT show this number to your target or let them see what you wrote.
  • Tell your target to clear their mind and after you give them the prompt just to say the very first number that comes into his/her head.  Then say to your target, "Pick the first number that you can think of between one and ten.  GO."  The key is to do this quickly so that your target goes with their first instinct.  
  • 70% of the time, people will pick 7.  You can increase their likelihood of picking seven by using hand gestures when you tell your target to pick a number between one and ten.  Imagine a number line in front of you that goes from one to ten.  When you say "one," gesture with your hand where the number one would fall, and when you say the word "ten," gesture with your hand where the number ten would fall.  When you say "GO", gesture with your hand where seven would fall.
  • After the person guesses seven, hand them the piece of paper with the number "7" written on it.  Bask in the glow of how awesome you are.
  • If the person doesn't guess seven, run.*
*  I haven't found a smooth way to recover when this trick fails.


Now get out there and pick up some people!

Onto the sponsored stuff.  Here's what Match.Com wants you to know:
  • Match.com's peak season, the site's busiest time of year, kicked off New Year's Day and spans all the way through Valentine's Day, where Match will see a 25-30% increase in registrations to the site. 


  • Why the rush to log in online in the new year?  In a recent poll, Match.com found that 51% of singles' New Year's resolutions will be to socialize more and focus on finding that special someone, making the desire to connect with someone a driving force for singles' to get online after the holidays. 

  • To get you online during prime time, Match.com is offering a 3-days free "date pass" for singles! Simply log on to claim your 3-days free offer. 

  • Who knows, you could get lucky in love like this Match.com couple— have you seen their proposal


Match.com sponsored this post.  I received monetary compensation in exchange for publishing this.  I'm totally gonna use that sweet dough to pay for the speeding ticket I think I got yesterday.  Damn traffic cameras.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...