Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Calling all ASAs

When I first found out that Vineyard Vines does custom tote bags, I immediately knew that I simply had to have an Alpha Sigma Alpha one. I contacted them about a year or so ago about creating a custom one for us, but it turned out to be too much of a hassle for me. I was disappointed but knew that one day I would own a tote.

My preppy sorority girl dreams were answered today when I logged onto facebook and saw this:
A member of our Theta Gamma chapter at Christopher Newport University is now my personal hero. I mean how perfect is this? I literally squealed with excitement. And immediately told TLS that I would be needing $60. Yes, that's right- this beauty is priced at $35 less than the Vineyard Vines Classic Totes go for on their website. Heaven.

I cannot wait until the day when this wonder arrives in my mailbox.

I figured I cannot possibly be the only one of us out there who has been wishing and hoping for such a tote, so I am posting on here to see if any one else wants a tote as well. Email me and I will let you know about how to order from the girls.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's My Pity Party and I'll Cry if I Want to?

I will preface this by saying that as I'm typing this, I am still feeling numb and disconnected, so I apologize in advance if this post does not make much sense.

I have written on here before that I had open heart surgery when I was four. My aorta was stuck flat and I needed to have surgery to correct it. (The aorta is the first artery that pumps clean blood from your heart to the rest of your body.) Since then, I have always needed to see a cardiologist for routine checkups every 6 months to a year. In between flat out forgetting to make an appointment, and then getting laid off and losing my health insurance, it's probably been somewhere between a year and a half or two years since the last time I had actually seen my cardiologist. Not good.

Since about a month or so after I got to Germany, we've noticed that every time I get my blood pressure taken, it has always been elevated. After going to the clinic, getting a bunch of tests ordered, getting put on a Beta Blocker, and wearing a heart rate monitor for 24 hours, I was back in a cardiologist's office today. (At this point, I should probably mention that I was on said Beta Blocker for a whopping 48 hours because it ended up doing more harm than good.) My EKG looked good, heart rate was fine. My ultrasound? Not so much.

It looks like after a successful 23 year post-op run, my aorta is starting to close again. The PA who met with us went to get a consult from a doctor and when they both came in the room and told me, I just went NUMB. I can barely tell you what happened for the rest of that appointment, because from then on, it became clear that only TLS was physically capable of talking. The doctor started talking about how I will need to open my aorta either through some sort of balloon catheter thing or through surgery and I just sat there like a statue and all I could think was "now is not the time to cry, don't cry, don't cry." (The balloon will be a lot less invasive and an outpatient procedure versus full on surgery, but that freaked me out enough just the same to the point that I pretty much became mute.) Like I said, from that point on, TLS had to do most of the coherent talking. It definitely got a whole lot better when I found out that our hospital doesn't do the procedure so I would either need to find a German hospital that would do it and be covered by Tricare or go back to the States for this.

We got out of there and I just turned to him and went "I need a margarita." Little did I know that today is actually National Margarita Day. How fitting.

I got home, got in bed with my Teddy and have pretty much stayed here like that all day. Half a pack of Twizzlers and a copious amount of Thin Mints later, I still have not been able to bring myself to cry. All I feel is nothing. Just empty and numb.And very scared.

Sorry to be the Debbie Downer of the day, but I needed to get this all off my chest. Pun not intended.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Award and the Giveaway Winner *finally* announced

The lovely Desperately Seeking Seersucker gave me this fun award a while ago. I have been a horrible blogger lately, but I swear (!!!) that I am getting better at it!

1) Coke, not Pepsi. I have heard many times that Coke is for the South, Pepsi is for the North. I don't get it. I am a Northerner but can't stand Pepsi. Coke pretty much runs through my veins. It got to the point where I was pretty much running on Coke. For New Year, I made a resolution to only drink Coke (or other sodas), no more than twice a week. So far I've stuck to it. Just so you understand how serious my Coke habit is- when I was looking at possible wedding venues, I made a point to ask each one if they serve Coke or Pepsi. Also, when I was living in the States, it drove me absolutely bonkers when I would order Coke with my sushi or Chinese order and the place would send over a can of Pepsi instead.
2) I am incredibly Type A. I like to check things. And double check them. And triple check them. I am not very confident in myself and am always scared that I'm going to make a mistake. When I submitted the order for our Save the Dates, I drove myself crazy thinking what if I had misspelled something? They came in and it turns out that I can spell both mine and my fiance's names. Shocking.
3) Tea, not coffee. Here's the thing- I love coffee, but I just hate the taste of it. I tell everyone that I take my coffee white- 3 pounds of sugar, 5 gallons of milk or creamer. Whatever room is left in the cup? Go ahead and put coffee in that. Have you ever known someone who puts 7-9 sugars in a small coffee cup? Well now you can say you have. (Seriously, when I was working, the manager of the coffee shop would only charge me 75 cents for a $1 cup of coffee.) Yes I know how bad this is. This is why I only get coffee from Starbucks or those "cappuccino" vending machines that spit out something syrupy sweet and that isn't real cappuccino at all. Even still, I drink coffee very rarely. In contrast, I imbibe tea like it's going out of style. Back in New York, I had an entire cabinet devoted to nothing but tea. All different flavors, brands, price ranges, etc. I love it (almost) all. From Fortnum & Mason and Mariage Freres to Celestial Seasonings. The only thing I don't really like is plain Lipton. Blah. Unlike coffee, I take my tea plain. I rarely put sugar in it unless it's a fruity tea that's best drank with sugar in it. And then again, not always.
4) I have a freakish love of musicals. Any time I see a musical, I always get the music stuck in my head for days. I have seen Phantom of the Opera and The Sound of Music too many times to count. I will always, always pick seeing a Broadway musical over a play. No matter how good a play is, it just bores me. Musicals thrill me. This is evidenced by the fact that I am pretty much the only person on the entire island of Manhattan who actually liked High Fidelity: the Musical.
5) I can't swim.
6) I still sleep with the teddy bear I got the day I was born.
7) I can't think of a 7th fact to put here. So sue me.

And now, for the giveaway winner. Congratulations to Kristin Schnurbusch! Please email me your address to whaleflipflops {@} gmail {.} com and I will mail you the Pencil me In Case ASAP.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cheapening the Brand

Like many of you, I seem to subscribe to an awful lot of mailing lists. Stores, Rue La La emails, Groupon and similar deals, various mailing lists, for dining in NYC, and the list goes on and on. Despite the fact that about 9 times out of 10, I never bother to actually read the emails, I have yet to unsubscribe from any of these. I always just hit delete, without remembering to unsubscribe, and then get frustrated when the next crop of emails comes in, and so forth, creating a vicious cycle in my very own inbox.

Recently, there has been some talk in the blogosphere about cheapening the brand, and I have to wonder, at what extent do the companies do it to themselves?

Everyone knows that money is tight right now for most Americans, and plenty of companies out there that are competing for the same dollar, so coupons are very common right now. Whenever I buy something online, I always make sure to check to see if the company has any current coupon codes out before checking out. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. If it's an item that I really want (or need) I'm going to buy it regardless of whether there is a coupon code or not. However, there are several companies that always seem to have multiple promotion codes going at once and send emails about them every day. For instance, I have learned never to buy anything from Lucky Brand, Banana Republic, or the Gap for full price, because they're just going to send me a 20% off coupon for it the very next day. That seems a bit counterintuive. If I'm prepared to buy a $100 dress, wouldn't the company rather sell it to me for $100 than for $80? It's almost as if to some extent, the companies are digging their own graves.

Another example of this are the semi-annual and annual Lilly Pulitzer and Vera Bradley warehouse sales. I have not attended any of the Vera Bradley sales but have gone to several of the Lilly ones. Merchandise is drastically reduced and at both of these sales, it is very common to see people buying up as much as they can in order to turn around and sell it on ebay for a profit. For both of those brands, if you do ebay searches for them right after the sales, the amount of hits and merchandise on there soars. I have seen dresses that I've bought at the Lilly store for $168 being sold for $59.

I can understand why brands would want to have these warehouse sales to get rid of past seasons' merchandise that simply did not sell well or to sell samples and recoup some of the costs that it took to make those, but what has perplexed me about both of these sales is that current merchandise is always sold at them. For example, at the June Lilly Pulitzer warehouse sale, I bought a Claire dress in Prep Green Hit the Spot for $99. That same dress was being sold across the street at the King of Prussia store for $258. Because of things like this, I have had friends tell me that they only buy Lilly or Vera at the warehouse sales or on ebay because it's just not worth it to pay full price for them.

Now I am never one to turn down a good coupon and sale is my favorite four-letter word, but I wonder if companies are inadvertently sending the wrong message to their clients. There are always going to be those loyal few who will buy many items each season, sale or not, and any brand always relies on that customer base to keep it going. But what about the rest of their customer base? What do you think? Are companies inadvertently sending the wrong message to their customers or is a plethora of sales a good thing for them in the long run?