I swear, I’m not paid for this

After liking my E.L.F enough to blog about it, I picked up a few more buys at Target and decided to give the Translucent Matifying Powder a try.  I’ve never, ever been pleased with any other product like that because it ends up making my face look like a clown who forgot her white make up but tried her best with regular powder.

I’m hooked.  Terribly hooked.  When I got home from work I looked just like when I’d left home that morning, no shine and no cake.  I’m going to have to go all in and say, if you’re looking for a decent make up line and a decent price, try E.L.F. out.  It’s not MAC by any means, but it’s a damn lot better than Cover Girl.  The eye lid primer?  No oily crease until 8 pm.  That is more than 12 hours from when I applied it.

And in other news, I’m really thinking of starting a small garden this summer.  I’m starting to realize that I can save year round if I can grow things that I can either store or put up in some way.  Now, I’m not a canner, though I could become one if this first year goes alright, so canning foods would be out.  I’m did some quick research and found out that I can make pasta sauce easily and freeze it.
I use a lot of pasta sauce here because it’s cheap, all Jason has to do is cook noodles and it’s Kyle friendly.  I had a pretty hard time thinking of anything else I could grow and store.  Then I found The Potato Grow Bag and it’s friend The Herb Grow Bag and an idea was born.  If I can figure out where I can store potato’s I can grow them and store them for a good long while and we use a lot of potatoes here and I’ve always wanted to grow herbs.  If I get two bags I can also grow onions or green peppers.

The genius of these is Grow Bags is I can grow things on my back patio which faces south.  Because we live in an apartment I’d always figured any type of gardening would be something that just wasn’t feasible for me.   Of course, it was convenient too because I don’t actually like to garden.  But it looks like something Kyle and I can do together and it would supplement our  grocery budget.  Who knows, next year I may decide I like it well enough to grow peas and beans and start canning them.

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Ok, enough about health care…How about face care?

A while back I heard about E.L.F, Eye’s, Lip’s and Face. What caught my attention is that they are cheap.  Like most things are $1 cheap.  Surely makeup that cheap would be, well, cheap.  Think Wet’nWild.

But now I hear they have items in Target, which generally carries items they actually don’t think are an embarrassment to their higher end than Wal-Mart image.  I was in a hurry the day I saw E.L.F there so I did a quick Google search and found their website.

I figured that at about a $1 a pop that I wasn’t really out anything if the make up was trash worthy and, what the hell, it might be a good way to test out some new looks without breaking my already straining bank.  I went a little wild and ended up spending $25.  Shipping wasn’t too horrible but to keep costs down they use Fed EX Smart Ship.  Fed EX ships your package to your post office and then they deliver it to you.  A little convoluted and delayed but it’s a fairly simple way to save on paying upwards of $10 in shipping on a small order.

Yesterday when I got to work I found that my order was waiting for me.  First impression, not an ugly box or mailing envelope, they took some time and got a pretty but simple design for the bubble envelope.  Good sign right?  They did spend a little more on my first impression.

My items were in another draw string bag, again, cheap prices, well thought out customer experience.  So far so good!

I tried on of the liquid lipsticks yesterday, I’m not a big lipstick wearer because I tend to chew my lips.  But for a $1 a pop why not give it a whirl.  Not too bad.  The color isn’t overly dense so it comes off a little more like lip gloss than a lipstick and there is a odd, though not terrible, scent.  Over all I was impressed.

This morning I took the full plunge and tried out a range of cosmetics I’d purchased.  I have dark circles under my eyes and tend to get reddish in my skin, along with a zit here or there, so I tried the Corrective Concealer .  I found it hard to get the product on the brush and the coverage with fairly skimpy.  I do like that it made it easier to not over do the coverage and come out looking clownish.

With oily skin I struggle to get my make up to stay put and I’ve always wanted to try a primer so I am giving theirs a whirl.  So far, so good, but the test is in the wearing.

Lip Gloss is something I’m always trying but give up on because it’s too goopy for my tastes.  Today I’m wearing Malt Shake with a grape vanilla scent.  The coverage is actually darker than the liquid lip gloss and it’s not super goopy.  I may actually become an avid gloss wearer!
Eyeshadow is a weakness of mine, even though I never get it put on well enough to make me happy.  So color me happy with a line of $1.00 shadows.  They are smaller than department store, or even Cover Girl and they seem to be a tad powdery but a light hand in applying made up for that.  Of all the items I’ve tried out so far this is by far my favorite.

I’m actually pretty darned please with my order of “cheap” make up, I probably won’t buy the corrective concealer again but I’m pleased enough to want to try out their Mineral Brand.

I’ve also heard really great things about their brushes and brush sets.  I don’t like just rewashing mine over and over and Kyle loves to play with them like he’s doing his make up in the morning (everyone at the same time “awwwww”) so I plan on picking up more brushes from them, and at $1-$8 depending on the type and brand, I can afford to just toss them when they are dirty instead of washing them.

The DirecTV Customer Service Experience. Or how DirecTV is worse than Time Warner Cable ***UPDATE***

I have a deep, seething dislike of Time Warner Cable.  From their piss poor customer service, their special services that never worked as billed and their inability to ever get my internet right.  Needless to say Jason and I decided to make a change and when I found DirecTV’s December special we decided to jump ship, and sign a 2 year contract.

Our experience did not start off on the right foot.  I had decided, rather optimistically, on my part to have our new service installed the day of the Sherwin Christmas Party.   The window was from 12-4pm, and cocktails began at 5, dinner at 6.  Even if the installer came at 4 we still had time to be seated for dinner.

The installer, however, did not show up until quarter after 5.  At one point I called DirecTV’s customer service to be told to “look out your window, he’s there.”  He arrived 15 minutes after that phone call.  Pierre, the installer, did a great job.  Hustled and did his best to get us out as quickly as he could.

Driving to the party I had my first encounter with DirecTV’s customer service as a new customer.  I was promptly informed that the time I had signed up for was only a window and that the installer could pretty much show up when he wanted and as far as DirecTV was concerned all was good if the installation was allowed to be done.  Nope, no credit, nope, no equipment upgrade.  No, no supervisor.  At one point the rep told me I’d asked a question the wrong way to get an actual answer from her.

I, who sit on the phone and reason with medical insurance companies all day long, became so irate I handed the phone off to Jason.  He proceeded to argue another 30 minutes only to have the phone drop the call.

The following day, Saturday, I again called DirecTV.  This time the rep was very sympathetic.  I was informed that at a minimum a $50 credit should have been offered but he was going to escalate this to his supervisor who would call me back.

By Wednesday I’d received no phone call and no credit, so I called again.  I was told that it could take a week for a supervisor to call, by now I was becoming completely disgusted with how the situation was being handled.  I’d had high hopes after hearing many good things about DirecTV and how they tried to keep their customers happy.

Two weeks after the late install, no credit and no phone call.  So I called again.  This time I was informed, rather snottily, that they were an inbound call center, not an out bound call center and that supervisors don’t make phone calls.  I pressed the issue and was told rudely that a credit was on my account.  When I went online and saw it I thanked the rep and gave the cause of an actual apology up for gone.

When I’d placed the order I had mistakenly mixed up two packages, one that gave either a DVR or HD receiver and one that offered a HD/DVR receiver and chose the HD not the DVR.  As we got used to the new service Jason and I realized we really missed the DVR and that we were willing to give up the HD to get that.  The catch?  I had to pay for a new receiver.  The switch would run $100.  I figured the cost, the monthly fee and the change to our monthly bills by starting an order on the DirecTV website.  Somehow, I had ordered the new equipment, though.  When I realized what I’d done I called  to cancel the order.

The rep was helpful and told me the charge wouldn’t post because he’d canceled the order out.   I found that the information I was given over the phone wasn’t correct when the charge did hit our checking account, causing over drafts.  By this point I was aggravated and called, this time around I was told that, yes, the order was canceled and that the charge had to be credited, which takes 3-5 business days.  Really?  Fine, whatever.

I think, by now, you can see where this is going.  Yep, no credit in a week.  Now I called my bank and disputed the charge.
A month went by and DirecTV still hadn’t issued a credit, even with my bank involved.  When I called again I was told that the instillation had been canceled but not the actual equipment, 2 reps had told me everything was canceled and that I was supposed to be getting a credit.  Now  I was being told that nope, they hadn’t removed the actual equipment from my account.    I was assured, that a supervisor would be calling me back.  That was Monday and I’ve already been told that supervisors don’t make outgoing phone calls.

Today my bank resolved the dispute, in my favor, refunding the over draft fees but DirecTV hasn’t done anything except offer piss poor customer service from the start.  Over and over their reps give bad information, over and over they make promises they have no power to control.  My bill is paid faithfully each month, in return we enjoy the service we pay for but I laugh when I see the friends and family promotion commercials.  I would have to hate my friends and family to suggest they sign up, and get into a contract with, a company who can’t find their head with both hands.

In fact, the general feeling I’m getting from them is “Too bad, so sad, you’re in a contract.  Kiss it.”  So, as a consumer stuck in a contract for almost 2 more years, I have little power except this.  Do not sign up with DirecTV.  They don’t care, their customer service reps are poorly trained.  They don’t take responsibility for their errors, they will string you along until it’s too late for you to change your mind then hang you out to dry.

****UPDATE***

This is another post, but because Google seems to be landing people only on this one, I wanted to update here as well

Right after I posted a link to my blog on Twitter and included @DIRECTV in the tweet, I received a response.  Currently a lovely lady named Rita is emailing with me in regards to my ongoing issues.  The email I received from her also included a note from another CSR that clearly pointed out that so far my experiences with DirecTV had soured me on the company.

So, while I’m not all that proud of basically having throw what amounts to a temper tantrum, it seems like I might have the attention of people who might actually want to see me have a good experience.

And because I try and be as fair of a person as I am able, to not follow up and point out that I’m currently working with them and so far that experience has been a somewhat positive one, and point out that DirecTV seems to take customer issues seriously, well, that would be wrong.

I’ll keep you posted.

Saving ahead of the game, or Epic woot!

Thanks to Facebook I was clued into a huge clearance sale at Target yesterday, so I mosied on over and picked some 3T things up for Kyle for next year.  I’m telling you that nothing makes me feel happier than picking up 4 turtle necks for him for $8.  Of course I was a little sad at the selection for me, but then I always am, not being under a size 12 means my selection of things is limited at any store that isn’t geared for the cushy set.

I was also clued into a neat makeup trick.  Monostat Anti-Chafing cream is almost chemically the same as a certain make up primer.  Lemme see, I need a primer thanks to skin that didn’t get the memo it’s over 30 and spending $21 on it makes me feel ill.  The cream is $7.00 and covered by my Flex Spend and, bonus, I can use it for those times I need it for what it was intended for.  Yeah, that’s sort of an easy substitute.  You just need to remember to make sure you give the cream about 15 minutes to dry before you put your make up on.  It works great under my mineral base.

So far I’m still searching for new deals to be had and new uses for old things, so if you have any, let me know!

I’m finally fashionable!

In the way back, long long ago time of the 1990’s I was in High School ,where your life revolves around being cool and in style,  pin-straight-no curl-no wave hair was the thing thanks in part to Friends (which was the super cool show to watch in the far ago time.)

My sister has this wonderfully thick straight shiny hair.  Hair that you see and you think “wow man, that is some pretty hair.”  I envied her because she just washed with whatever shampoo she had on hand, let it air dry and without fail it was picture perfect.

Over in my room I was struggling to fit into the mold our peers cast for us.  See my hair is super thick and wavy.  If I ever dared let it air dry the frizz could be seen from space.  Straightening it was a nightmare of two products, special shampoo, hair dryers with special attachments, curling irons and hot irons.  Much to my dismay there would still be kinks in the back and frizz in the front.  In the end I simply put it into a pony tail or braided it still wet and went about my day dreaming of that one thing that could make my hair look like my sisters while envying the straight hair of my friends.

There was no taming the beast on my head.  My mom would constantly tell me she wished she had my hair, hair I inherited from my now bald father, so thick! so wavy! so full of body!  Her girlfriend who is a hair stylist has hair similar to mine and overheard mom one day.  She simply looked at my mom and flat-out told her that no one should wish for our hard to manage and extremely difficult to cut hair.  Mom didn’t believe her.

Times, they are a’changing.  Messy, wavy out of control hair is the in thing!  My stars, am I finally fashionable?  I am!  I am!!  Women all over the us are using two products, braids, hair dyers with attachments and pins to do what come naturally to me.  There are hair products galore that women use to get what I got but that I use just to keep the frizzies down.

For once women look at me and wish they could do what takes me 5 minutes tops in the morning.  I’m free from the pressure to chop my hair short in trying to make it easier for me to wrestle it into straight lines.  No more warming up curling irons and flat irons.  No more burns!  It may have taken nearly 15 years but I finally have the hair of the in crowd.