Category Archives: Deals

  • My Rover Record

    Man, my sleep continues to be all kinds of fucked up. I dunno what my deal is: I just can’t stop thinking about shit. Need to get back on that Calms Forte stuff for sure.

    I was up early this morning, bc I heard Bubble Boy moving about in the living room. Yeah, for someone who is deaf, I can always hear the doggies. Marty just has to shuffle in his bed, and I’m up. So I took Sparky out to pee. Yeah, Sparky is kinda a lot of work, bc if you just let him out back on his own, he gets all into the far corners of the yard and starts digging in the mulch. And that damn schnoodle (schauzer-poodle) fur is like felt– it picks up everything. SMH. After he peed, we came back inside. I went back to bed. Thirty minutes later, he came into the bedroom and jumped on the bed. Weird. He hardly ever comes into the bedroom. We shooed him off and then he proceeded into my bathroom and started barfing. WTF? Then he walked down the hallway and puked again. Huh? We never even deviated from his special diet!! He went outside again and then seemed mostly fine. I entered into the kitchen and holy fuck, there was urine by the kitchen door. Seriously? The day before his last day and all at once?

    I started getting worried, like maybe he’s sick? Thankfully, he was back prancing around on our walk to the park. I texted his mom to report the odd behavior. I was a little worried she’d pepper me with a ton of questions, but she just said sometimes he gets an upset tummy, pukes, and returns to normal. Ok then! The rest of the morning, he’s appeared fine. Whew! I can’t be marring my Rover record, you know? :)

    In other news, my Big Brother system is working out great with the parentals. I check in periodically to see if they are out and about. The renovations are done at the townhouse, so the house listed today. Goddamn, housing in Maryland is cheap! I’m a little concerned bc a lot of properties in that range and area seem to be bank owned or foreclosed, which kinda brings the values down. But we’ll see. We’re pretty happy with the reno work: not too expensive and more importantly, on time! Woohoo!

    I’ve been meaning to report back on the SmileDirect Club stuff. I was almost ready to do it. I still need to video the animated treatment plan, bc that shit is what nearly sold me. In the end though, I talked with my friend/esthetician G and she seriously thought I was mad. She kept asking to see my smile and my teeth… she was like, “you know, we all have our hangups, but to me, it’s completely unnecessary and like borderline ridiculous/crazy.” The thing is, I hate my smile. Not just bc my teeth are crooked, but bc my nose is too big and my lower lips expose the entire mouth full of teeth. If you study beautiful smiles (which I have), you’ll notice that only the upper teeth show and the smile doesn’t compete with other overpowering facial features. Anyway, long story short, I decided to pass for now on the aligners bc even if my teeth were straighter, I’d still be unhappy with my smile. Pretty much, I would need a face job to fix that shit.

    Of course, to compensate for the inaction with repairing my smile, I moved forward on my tatted brows. I had gotten microblading done years ago when I was in Shanghai and I loved it. My brows are super sparse (bc I’m practically hairless) so the added color and definition works wonders. For the last several months, I’d been hand drawing/enhancing that shit and honestly, I’m getting sick of the day-to-day inconsistencies with the arch and thickness and whatever. So I had done some research on local vendors months ago, and then I found a Groupon deal and, I moved on it! Last week I was all set to do it, but then as I talked to Bubbey and some friends, they all sounded really apprehensive. Like, are you sure you want to go to a Groupon lady? Even her regular price of $300 seems way cheaper than other places that typically charge $500 and up. Why is she so cheap, they asked with suspicion? So I booked the appointment and figured I would just talk to her first and assess on site.

    Well, on my way over to the appointment, I started getting all stressed in the car. What if the tattoo is fucked? What will I do for the next 1-2 years? Maybe I can cover it up with concealer, blah, blah. I was freaking myself out. Then, when I arrived at the salon, it was essentially a coworking salon space, so there were a ton of stylists and all the customers were old white women. Like grandmas!!! Oh shit!!! She emerged from her room 30 minutes late for the appointment (the previous appointment ran over), but when I saw her, she was this cute and pretty little Cambodian lady. Hey man, first impressions are legit. Her brows were kinda sharp/angled and they were filled brows not microbladed, but dang, she had a beautiful face and very pretty eyes! She was all frazzled about running behind schedule… In the end though, it all turned out fine. She said I had done an excellent job penciling my brows (!!!), so she was going to basically follow the same shape. She penciled in the area first. It looked fine. I was trying not to be too perfectionist and overly obsessive. I lied back, she spread on the numbing gel, and she got to work. It wasn’t really painful, but the pressure on the brows is intense and the scraping noise is a little unnerving. Scrape, scrape, scrape and then she does heavy wiping of the area with a damp napkin. Repeat. Not very gentle for the tender eye area but I think it’s necessary for her to distinguish where there is hair and not. Then she started explaining how there’s a lot of variability with people’s face muscles, like depending on your dominant eye and how you make expressions. I was thinking: man, beauty is already so subjective and then to throw in all these other factors: shit, this is a high stress job!!! Should she spend more time studying my face muscles? I started to worry again. Then voila, my right eye was done. She moved onto the left eye… the pressure felt stronger and the lower part of the brow felt super sensitive. And that damn scraping… fuck man, the things we do for vanity!! She said my left muscles are weaker so I was bleeding more. She applied more numbing cream.

    She paused and gave me the mirror. I brought it up to my face. OMG, that right arch is high!! Shit. Is that arch a little high, I asked? She said she followed my pencil. Uh…. Then I sat up. Thank fucking god. Much better. Since I was lying down, my face was pulled back a little. After I sat up, much better. I mean, the arch is still quite distinct, but mostly bc she cleaned up the under brow area big time. We continued. After about 40 minutes under, all done. And then my brows started stinging like a mother fucker. Burning. The new brows are def dramatic and dark (the color will fade 20-30% in the coming weeks as the brows scab over) but I’m pleased. For freehand work, that lady’s got skillz. I go back next month to touch up the color and do any minor tweaks. What a relief it all turned out!

    It’s now been a few days and the aftercare just involves dabbing dry after washing and then applying Vaseline. I am digging the permanent makeup thing. Not that my brows took that much time in my routine, but it’s cool to just have them consistently low maintenance. Of course, the next day, what did I do? J and I took the convertible up to San Rafael, and we hung out with his sister S and her buds, eating oysters along Tomales Bay. I fucking sunburned my forehead really bad. Fucking blazing red. Been icing and putting on lotion but that shit is still red. Hope the skin calms down real soon.

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  • The Artist (Formerly Known as…)

    My sleep is all jacked up again. Every time I’m about to visit with family, my anxiety level goes up. And on top of my family woes, there are also a number of other factors that are weighing on me: Bubbey is unhappy at work again, his back is NOT getting better, I’m stressed thinking about all the oldies (my grandparents and Marty) and their increased health problems, and I am still trying to learn my real estate stuff as fast as possible… My brain just can’t seem to ramp up fast enough though. On top of that, I’m out of shape. So yeah, overall, I’m feeling overwhelmed.

    But given my experiences from last week, between visiting with S and her Camp Wonder girls and having Buddy pass away, I am trying really hard to maintain perspective and to just focus on the smaller steps.

    Yesterday, I didn’t study as much as I had wanted, but I did reach out to various contacts. Yeah, the Unabomber had a lot of people interaction yesterday. I called Virgin America again and got the remaining points redeposited. Then I called SmileDirect Club and peppered them with a gabillion questions. Wow, that customer service rep Randall is GOOD! What a relief to find someone knowledgeable, helpful, AND attentive. A goddamn unicorn these days! Yeah, I got my treatment plan last week along with an animation and Im pretty darn inpressed! They expect treatment to be only six months!! I’m so tempted but am still sitting on the decision. More on SmileDirect Club later. After that, I contacted a few computer repair/tech support vendors to inquire about home visits. Found a responsive shop, but they mostly do businesses only. Then upgraded my account and researched personal assistants for my parents. I swear to god, the sharing and/or gig economy has not made it to Frederick. Slim pickings, I tell you. I should have known, considering that even Yelp doesn’t have enough critical mass there. I found ONE dude who had “computer help” in his profile. And most other general personal assistant profiles aren’t even active, with 5-7 day response times and log ins from 3 months ago. WTF? Regardless, I reached out to that one dude, and we’ll see when he gets back to me.

    Meanwhile, I’m still hustling through my eBay store, Craigslist, NextDoor, and OfferUp sites. Trying to sell my stuff and all. Somehow the physical decluttering makes me feel better. So I got a bite for my old mattress yesterday, and the dude showed up with his friend– some chick with green hair. We were talking and then, he asked if I was an artist or musician? Say what? Haha, I could not stop smiling. I mean, I was wearing my crazy floral jeans but shiit, his comment made my fucking day. And they bought the mattress to boot (didn’t even haggle)! As soon as I got back inside, I sent a giddy text to Bubs. The simplest things crack me up. That’s the thing about first impressions though. I’m always curious about the clues we use to make our split second judgements… It’s such an interesting part of human interactions.

    Anyway, in the evening, I had someone respond to my NextDoor posting for Bubbey’s old Mac tower. I had received a few bites last week, with people making outrageous lowball offers, but this dude came by, checked everything out, and bam, sold! Maybe I’m just not as trusting, but this guy was all surprised that I had set the tower up with an old monitor and keyboard and mouse, so he could drive around in the OS. I mean, were you just going to visually inspect, buy, test it out at home, and risk having to find me again if it didn’t work as described?? And it was $375, not just chump change! Oh well, regardless, it worked out great and he even had me keep the change. Yay! The guy himself is a CAD designer, and he was getting it for his friend who’s starting grad school in video/cinematography editing. So cool to be amongst the creatives! Haha. You know me: always wishing I were cooler than I am.

    What else. My third Schoola shipment arrived yesterday. I know, it seems like I have been doing a lot of clothes shopping, and I guess that’s true, but I’m telling you, these second-hand joints are so fucking cheap! My latest lot was all wins: two button down shirts, two blouses, and a blazer for $42!! And all the goods except the blazer are Banana Republic and in excellent condition! Not that you care, but hell, you know I like to crunch the numbers: in total, I have spent $105 with Schoola for 11 items that panned out for me and 2 that panned out for my friend M! Yeah, the free shipping takes 2-3 weeks but it’s worth the wait. And I guess I could always fork over a few extra bucks to upgrade shipping. :)

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  • Budding Business

    Surprise, surprise, I’m feeling pretty good today. Marty is on the upswing again (See? Despite my earlier reservations, he made it past my bday! Who can ever know when the real end is near?), and I’m getting some decent bites on Rover. Yesterday, I met a 7-y/o corgi named Cody. I had received an inquiry from the owner last Friday night while I was at the HOPR, and of course, like a true internet junkie, I had to reply right then and there. I scored a meetup yesterday, and bam! The client booked ten days in July. Yup, first time ever getting an inquiry for a month in advance. And the lady showed up with her son. Their fam just moved from Singapore a few months ago, so we had the Asian connection going. She was super nice, and honestly, I haven’t met a cleaner dog. Cody’s coat was super luxe. The owner said she wipes him down twice a day with some lemongrass spray.

    I am so excited about picking up business on Rover. I mean, Cody’s going to be with us for another ten days, so you know what that means: I’m gonna be an emotional wreck again when it’s time for him to go home. But seriously, this side hustle is working out great! Partly, I feel like my fast response time serves me well. Often when people are already looking for care last minute, they’re blasting a ton of sitters and I’m sure getting back to them faster moves me up in the queue. Also, I think the meetups at my house are a great selling point. For one thing, they meet Marty. Old but super sweet and chill. And as soon as I tell them he’s 16, it’s all over. I mean, pretty much EVERYONE is impressed. Why? Bc I MUST take amazing care of him for him to make it this far, right? Yes, I know. I can’t take all the credit (genetics, blah, blah), but I’m just saying, these factors influence dog owner decisions… Then, they see his homemade food (set on top of a mini table even), and now they know that I’m not afraid of high maintenance. Finally, my frickin yard sells itself, man. The doggies that come over immediately hit up the backyard, and their owners also love that we aren’t apartment dwellers. Oh and being two houses down from the park is totally money. It’s a pretty sweet deal for the pooches!

    In other entrerpenuerial news, I sold the iPad. It didn’t sell for as much as I had wanted, but eBay is doing this interesting thing where if you set the initial price based on their recommendation, they will guarantee that your item sells for a certain minimum amount. If the item doesn’t sell for the guaranteed price, they’ll issue an eBay credit. Cool idea, so I tried it out. Maybe bc WWDC was yesterday but my item sold way low, and I got a $90 credit which I promptly used to score a new with tags Tacori cuff bracelet I’ve been eyeing for years. Yup. Not that you care, but shit, I gotta share the deets: Bracelet retails for $990. I saw it posted for $400 OBO, and after seeing all the other stuff for sale by that seller, I figured I would negotiate the price. Frankly, would a busy high-volume seller really care about one lowball sale if he had a gabillion other items to offload? So I went in at $300. He countered with $350. I countered with $315. Offer accepted this morning. Woot, woot! Score, baby!! Kinda a “non-delicate” style, as Bubbey said. He’s not a fan. But whatever. I’m gonna try and rock it!

    In other deal news, I’m continuing to tear it up on my Upromise account. Sometimes they’re a bit flaky with issuing the cash back, but thanks to my detailed tracking and record keeping, I will call them out on that shit. Back in January, when my dad was visiting, he asked me to research a new laptop for my brother. I recommended he buy the SurfacePro. Months later, Upromise kept giving me the runaround about my missing cash back. Little do they know, I am a tenacious mother fucker. Today, they finally emailed that I will get $65 cash back. I mean, sure, it takes multiple emails and phone calls. Some people say it’s just $65, but fuck man, that shit adds up (I have earned $800 to date), and I’m not above hustling for it.

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  • V is for Vanity

    Despite months of “I’m 40” self-proclamations, I officially turned 4-0 this week. So far, birthday week has been pretty good. I’ve gotten a few more bites on Rover (those lil’ doggies are my youth/energy elixir!!), and I was super stoked to receive my Schoola and Thredup shipments. I still can’t believe how fucking affordable used clothing (in great condition) is! I’m gonna be hard-pressed to ever pay for new clothing again. For realz.

    On Monday, I met up with K for lunch at a new Italian place (new to us, anyhow). I consumed an incredibly filling meal. I got eggplant parm but the meal also came with salad plus we had cheesy bread plus pasta. Clearly, I’m going full hog this week. Oh well. I hadn’t seen K since last month’s Best Life getaway. I’d kinda gone into unabomber mode since, so I was bummed to hear that K’s been dealing with fam health issues the last several weeks. That health shit always crops up so unexpectedly and it’s fucking scary as hell, esp when lab results never turn up anything definitive. So frustrating, but at the same time, I’m comforted to see that in such emergencies, her people are thankfully well supported and well loved. It’s not always that way, which is a sad reality for many. More on caretaking later.

    On my actual bday, I indulged in the world of free. Yup, just my style, right? I started off the day driving into San Mateo with Bubbey. We met M at her neighborhood Starbies, where I got a free chai latte. Then Bubs caught the train and M and I drove on up to Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. As part of their Good Neighbor Program, I got free admission AND a free dessert. $60 Bubbey bucks, baby. Throughout the day, M hooked me up with food, drinks, and gifts while we gabbed and chilled by the pool. When I got home, Bubs prepped a whole fondue meal. Yeah, it’s pretty damn luxurious being the queen for the day. I lived it up while I could.

    What else. Oh, the day before my bday, Bubbey decided to sit me down to go over parental talking points for my trip out to MD next month. Are you for realz with this buzzkill topic? All this heavy and serious shit, like what’s their real plan for Taiwan? Are they really never coming back to the US for any extended period? If so, how do they want to handle offloading all their stuff here? Next, I’m supposed to express gratitude for all that they’ve done for me and offer to take care of them when the time comes. Third, I need to reassure dad that I’ll care of mom should something happen to him. I was like, wtf? I am NOT ready to have those conversations. I mean, hello, remember that massive blowup (ok, just one of many) I had with my mother??? That was just a few months ago! I’m certainly not proposing that they come live near me much less with me. Not. right. now. Then, Bubbey proceeded to comment about how they’ve done so much for me and it’s my turn to return the help. I just started bawling. I know how much they’ve done for me, but at the same time, I never asked to be born. Yes, this sounds super immature and selfish but shit, I still don’t have my crap figured out. How am I supposed to take this on? And I know I have a blessed and privileged life, but to be honest, some days, I really wish I were never born. Like, I wish my mom had aborted me. That’s not to say any ONE thing in my insular world is that horrible, but like I have shared, sometimes I just feel so out of place in this world. Like I’m saddened and overwhelmed and paralyzed by things I see and learn and know.

    I know the right answer. And in my mind, it has always been my intention to step up when my parents need me. It has never ever been a question in my mind or in my heart. But in recent months, I’ve just grown so frustrated, not just with my parents but also with seeing parent-child relationships elsewhere, like with my grandparents and my parents, with John’s family, and with other families… It can be a major royal fucking mess– bringing out the worst and/or the best in people. So to have that conversation now, like next month… I’m just not ready today. And maybe that’s the thing about Rover and Pinterest and whatever else is occupying my attention… no matter how complicated or difficult care is for elder dogs, they always accept your choices/decisions free of judgement and with gratitude. When I see the growing suspicion or distrust in parents towards their children, no matter how rarely it surfaces, it bugs the shit out of me. Like with my maternal grandmother towards my dad when he was selling her townhouse or like with my in-laws towards their kids who are trying to get instructions on what to do… I’ve heard and read that when people get old, the paranoia and distrust elevate bc that’s part of the cognitive decline. But it still just makes me feel badly (and angrily), bc I mean, do they think this is easy for the kids? To try and honor the parents’ wishes and to do right by them while also trying to keep their own lives and shit together??? It all just feels like a cruel joke. But ultimately, I know this is life. And fuck, I have it a gabillion times easier than most. So just buck up and get ‘er done.

    Back to more light-hearted matters… My next Pinterest experiment is this floral jeans + t-shirt combo. I finally found floral jeans on ThredUp. Guess jeans for only $13!!! I’m wearing them now and somehow this combo doesn’t quite look as good. Hmph! Oh well, good enough!

    Btw, I had a funny exchange the other day. My friend asked me if I’d gotten a boob job. Yup, lil’ ol me. What can I say? The power of clothes that fit and swimsuit tops with oomph! Who knew Lands End offered such magic! Regardless, a well-timed compliment just as I enter the 40s Club. Sure enough, I’m becoming vainer and vainer while the face and body get saggier and crinklier. Good times ahead, man.

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  • Falling Fast and Hard

    Last Saturday, after 11 days together, Ramona went home. No, this certainly wasn’t my first rodeo. That said, I haven’t cried about a pooch leaving in a very long while. The last time this happened, we dog sat Buddy, also for about ten or 11 days. Comparatively, Buddy was way more high maintenance due to his youth and boundless energy but still, I felt an overwhelming emptiness and sadness that took me several days to shake. And now it’s happened again with Ramona. Maybe ten days is the dangerous threshold. After that, I fall hard and fast. I dunno. I hope I’ll see Ramona again, but I’ll never really know. She was so damn soft and cute. :(

    Thankfully, on Saturday afternoon I was scheduled to meet with a new Rover client, Lily. Her human had contacted me about a month ago, seeking care for his Border terrier. Last time our plans fell through bc I had appointments mid-day, and he said she really couldn’t be left alone. Like even for a couple hours? No. Like ever. Wow.

    I was a little apprehensive, but the guy sounded like he was in a real bind. So I agreed to meet, and actually, Lily seemed fine– much better than expected. And now after spending the entire day with her, I feel like she’s not bad at all. Usually dogs with separation anxiety exhibit general neuroses, but Lily’s super mellow. He dropped her off this morning way early, like before 6am, and he came back for her at 11:30pm. She’s a smart little cookie, too. He didn’t think she’d know how to use the doggie door, and I dunno if maybe she learned in her earlier life (she’s a rescued show dog) or what, but today she watched Marty go in and out one time. The next thing I know, she’s jumping in and out of that thing all day to explore the backyard. These doggies… they are all so unique. I’m really enjoying hanging out with them during the day. I mean, it’s not all candy and roses: she did sneak a few bites of Martin’s food and then later proceeded to puke it all up on a towel, but other than that, pretty manageable. And in the future, I actually think she’ll be ok so long as Marty is home with her, bc in the afternoon I went to talk to the neighbors for ten minutes, and she didn’t freak out while I was out of sight! Lily’s dad also seems super nice. During the day, he texted to check in on her, he was clearly worried about her, and then he gave me a huge tip when he picked her up! You KNOW I’m loving my additional Bubbey bucks!

    Overall, I’m feeling re-energized by my side hustles. Earlier today, I posted Bubbey’s iPad Air 2 on Ebay. I also posted my friend K’s fancy dress. I still need to post Bubbey’s old Mac Pro and wireless earbuds. Stepping up the Ebay store!

    This afternoon, I was very excited to receive my second Schoola shipment. Almost every item worked out except for a striped blazer which felt a little too boxy/stuffy/conservative. Not gonna match my side shave, you know what I mean? Tomorrow I have a dental cleaning (one of only two annual ones– now that I’m on Bubbey’s cheapie dental coverage) and then lunch with K. I’m gonna wear my fancy Schoola shoes and aim to recreate this badass look. Yeah sadly, I’m no Charlize but heck, that doesn’t not gonna stop me from trying hard to be a wannabe. I did this combo the other day when M came over for the Warriors game. The Houseboat was hotter than hell that day, so I only showcased the outfit for like five sweaty minutes. Still, it turned out okay– an easy casual outfit for a cooler day. Note to self.

    I’m starting to feel better about things. The Rover business def gets me excited and lifts my mood. Also, my parents are back in Taiwan so for now, no more daily OnStar calls. I spoke to dad yesterday and everyone in Taiwan is doing well. I’m going to aim for another trip to Asia in November.

    Real estate wise, I (finally) took my class exam last week… the open book one. I didn’t do so hot– honestly, I ran out of time and had to skip a shit ton of questions– BUT I still passed, so the class certificate is mine! Muhahaha. Now, two more class certificates to go and then the license exam. It’s too bad none of my friends are transitioning to real estate; it sure would be fun to have a study buddy. Ok time to hit the sack. I’m tired!

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  • Dapper Dabbler

    So I’ve been continuing on my Pinterest challenge. Over the holiday weekend, I attempted this concoction. I was pretty happy with it. The Chambray shirt, man. That’s a key item. I got mine for like $7 at Ross, and I’ve been looking to upgrade, but I haven’t yet found the right fit and cut. For now, this cheapie will have to do. Meanwhile, I’m not like walking around town picking up a shit ton of compliments a la my friend G either, but I feel good strutting my stuff– mostly re-styled versions of items I already own. Today, my first Schoola shipment arrived. I’m sad to say that one top was mint instead of white (the color didn’t come across accurately online), and another top looked pretty unique/funky (asymmetrical) online, but it just didn’t work. They will go back in my bag of donated items. Not a huge bummer, considering everything is like $7 each but you know me: I’m always aiming for that perfect score.

    This afternoon I am trying a navy, flowy midi skirt from my shipment. Man, midi skirts are such a bizarre length to work with, esp since my go-to skirt length is mini to above the knee. I know, years ago Stacy and Clinton insisted “No miniskirts after 35,” and for a while, I followed that rule, but now that I’m 40, fuck it: I do whatever the hell I want. Defiance with a capital D, mother fuckers! So yeah, today I’m being very experimental and pairing this midi with a black/white gingham button down shirt and strappy brown wedges. It’s an odd mix of country and 1950s. Not my usual silhouette. Then again, who cares. It’s almost 2pm and I’m pretty sure no one has seen me, except for Marty and Ramona. That said, this afternoon, I will be hitting up my hair salon. You see, last night, J tried his best to refresh my side shave using his trimmer tool. To give full context, 1) he admitted he didn’t know what the fuck he was doing and 2) the tool is not exactly a buzzer like they use at the barber shop. I mean, these days I’m a badass risk taker, so even with those caveats, I agreed to give it a try. Why not, right? So um now the side shave is uneven as fuck. Short hairs by my ear and longer hairs near the split. Pretty much a hack job. What can I do but laugh. Thankfully, no one sees the Hermit day to day. Whatever, I’ll have my stylist Mindy take that shit down to the 2 blade and then trim up the longer ends of my mullet. That part is getting kinda long and I’m not feeling the layers, so we’ll see what she can do.

    In other news, SmileClub Direct still has my molds. I’m waiting on the sample trays (for complimentary teeth whitening) and details on the full-blown treatment plan. Then again, if I get a job sooner than later, maybe I should just go with the legit dentists using a decent dental insurance. I dunno though. I still kinda want to try this remote dentistry option… I know, I’ll probably end up being one of those dumbasses who goes to get liposuction and then dies bc the doctor was a total quack using a goddamn Dyson. Fuck man, 40 is making me lose my mind!

    J had something come up tonight with his former colleagues. We did a lot of cooking over the weekend, so I’m ordering Munchery for me, another new app/service I recently tried. The meals are somewhat hit or miss, but the food is definitely on the healthier side, and the app ordering and delivery make things pretty damn easy. Plus, you know I use coupon codes every. damn. time. I will say, the Caesar salad is my fave. I know, you’d think a Caesar is pretty basic and easy and just tastes the same everywhere, but I’m telling you: there are differences. And I def crave Munchery’s. If you are curious and want to try for yourself, here’s my referral link.

    Oh, I almost forgot: J and I hit up an RV showroom in Gilroy this weekend. As you know, Bubbey went on that two-week cross-country road trip last summer with his brother-in-law. I think that trip kinda opened a can of worms, bc ever since, Bubs has been talking about getting a tricked out large shuttle/small RV so we can go national park hopping. Admittedly, I have my own romantic thoughts of living on a ranch and/or buying some land and building a container/prefab home. I’m very much intrigued by the tiny home/small living concept. That said, I feel like renting out our house and living out of an RV for an entire year is a completely different beast. For starters, neither one of us is mechanical or handy. These things require a lot of maintenance and people def break down while driving these rigs. I don’t exactly like the thought of being broken down on the side of the road (possibly a less traveled one) waiting for help. We’re not exactly survivalists who would know how to last in high heat or in the wilderness or whatever. Second, while some units are extremely luxurious, the environmental engineering side of me is pretty skeptical about the plumbing and waste management. I mean, you’re essentially lugging all your sewage around with you until you can hit a pitstop and swap it out. I dunno. It makes me think of cruise ships too. I swear some fraction of that sewage is just getting dumped straight into the oceans. Third, I’m concerned about personal safety. I mean, where are we parking this thing and who else is around? I know the Houseboat isn’t exactly top security either, but I dunno, somehow it still feels safer and more secure than a vehicle in some random lot or campground. Finally, being on the road for a year is a long time. I feel like we don’t even know how to vacation for longer than 10 days. But the thing about relationships is this: you have to at least try with encouraging and facilitating your partner’s dreams. That’s just what you do bc you want that person to be happy and you also want to continue growing together. So I’m not saying no. I’m saying I have my reservations, but I’m open to further research. The next step? He’s going to look into a rental for sometime this summer, and we’ll see how that goes. Ok, gotta run now. Time to fix my hacked hair!

    RV1RV2 RV3

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  • Pinterest Poseur

    I’m instituting a (yet another) new challenge. Since I’m not heading into an office place every day, I find that it’s easy to spend my hours looking schlumpy in gym clothes. And shit man, frumpiness is like a gateway drug. Once you start letting that shit slide, you quickly lose all care for style. Been there, done that.

    To combat the downward spiral towards such carelessness, I’m going to try re-creating an outfit I see on Pinterest at least three times a week. Over the weekend, I hit up Savanna Jazz club with some friends, and I tried a multi-button up shirt layering look. That’s the thing about Pinterest. I usually have the basics down, like what fit and cuts suit my body type, but it’s the added complexities (layering, pattern mixing, accessorizing) that I want to step up. I got it partially there, and then I consulted my friend and style maven G via FaceTime. Dang, that FaceTime ain’t just for lovers, folks. Thankfully, G got me another step up. The result? Red gingham shirt under a chambray shirt under my red pleather jacket. Dark skinnies on the bottom. Gold hoop earrings plus gold bangles. Red peep toe wedges. Sadly, no final photo. But this was the inspiration.

    Today, I’m attempting the bright skinnies + striped shirt combo. Again, I kinda get stumped on the jewelry and even though I have lots of bracelets, the friction and jingling on my wrists bothers me. Trying to suck up the discomfort of the jewelry and my too tight green skinny jeans (blame it on the JCC elliptical, man!) in the name of fashion. The sacrifices!

    As for makeup, I’ve been doing the CoverGirl Aquasmoothers foundation for a couple weeks now after first moisturizing the crap out of my face. The application/finish does seem to look and last better. As for the brows, they are a daily mixed bag. Sometimes it seems the arch is too extreme; other times, the thickness feels wonky. I dunno. Maybe it’ll get better with practice. The stencils used to work like magic, but something changed and now I’m freestyling that shit.

    Also, since not working makes me “play my game” super hard, I’m looking to shop more at secondhand places. It’s also the more eco-friendly thing to do. So I recently discovered Schoola, which supports the Malala Fund. I’m going to start donating my clothes to it, and I recently ordered four pieces for like $32. We’ll see how they work out.

    Ok well, time to hit the books again.

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  • Discovery Island

    I’ve been in big time product discovery mode lately. My mind’s been back in overdrive and to make matters worse, Marty’s doggie dementia recently hit new heights. Every night, he was panting excessively, scratching his bed like a maniac, and just being generally neurotic, unsettled, and jumpy. J and I were both at wit’s end. “He’s going down!! We can’t take this anymore!” we screamed. Then one night, I started researching doggie dementia again, and holy crap, I came across a forum where so many people are having the same issues! They lamented about how much joy their dogs brought to their lives and yet, they were really at the end of their tethers bc the old dogs were practically unrecognizable in behavior. There was this palpable tension of being frustrated and sleep deprived, teetering on the verge of pulling the plug but then also still wanting to honor the lifelong friendship with their pets. Ah, the heartbreak! Many things, I’d come across before: Rescue Remedy, Thundershirt, melatonin, Benadryl, and then… Apawthecary Tranquility Blend AND Hyland Calms Forte. Huh? I went to Amazon and read the reviews. Bam! Ordered. The homeopathic tincture arrived last Monday and holy Jesus Mary and Joseph: Marty has been sleeping through the night for the last seven days. As for me, I’ve been taking the Calms Forte tablets and what the what? Sleep for all!!! No waking up on the 2-3 hour OB/GYN or new parents’ cycle. Fucking miracle!!! We’re all saved. I haven’t slept this well in YEARS.

    Of course, my research did not stop there. Bc of the Muddy Waters incident, an acquaintance directed me to Norwex microfiber cleaning cloths, recommending that I use them for the new sectional… except that Norwex works with water and my sofa is water-free only (cleaning code S). Nonetheless, what’s this product she’s raving about? I investigated. Holy crap. $30 for a pair of microfiber cloths?? Can they really be that phenomenal? I was intrigued. Well, this necessitated drilling deeper, bc you know I’m a cheap bastard. Whatdya know? I came across the blog of a former Norwex rep (FYI Norwex is a direct sales/MLM-style company, like Mary Kay, Amway, JuicePlus, etc.). The rep said she absolutely loved their cloths, but they were too damn pricey. She found a cheaper alternative, called ecloths. So I ordered those just to see what all this fuss was about. The cloths arrived last week and holy cow. Every glass surface in my house is now spotless– even cleaner than with Windex + newspaper, which already was already freaking trail-blazing, in my opinion. And with just water!!! I was so excited, I couldn’t wait for Bubbey to get home that day to see the difference. Sadly, when he got home the sun had already gone down and he couldn’t really tell. But, the next morning, even Bubs was impressed. That shit is cray! You will have to see for yourself.

    Continuing on the cleaning vein, yeah, since my new sectional was all high maintenance with the whole water-free thing, I did have to use solvent. If any of you should have the misfortune of getting your upholstery soiled by a Muddy Waters, I’d recommend K2r solvent. I mean, Marty did a real number, but after multiple applications, I’m pretty happy that order got restored. Good enough, at least.

    In non-product-related news, our Phoenix trip was a blast. I had been there two years ago for a weekend with G and then before that with Bubs and our friend M for the Grand Canyon. This trip was more focused on Phoenix and Scottsdale. I gotta say: I’m not a fan of the politics there or the utter lack of Asians (Asians are less than 3% of the population!), but shit, I am a fan of cheap(er) real estate and shiit, 299 days of sunshine every year! Plus, the store/shop names are so much for creative. Like we ate at a pie shop called The Pie Hole, next door to a pizza joint called Humble Pie. Then, there was a breakfast spot called The Good Egg. And a used car lot called the Jalopy Jungle. And a mega gas station called Super Pumper. See? Creative, right? J and I found some decent grub too, well except the mediocre sushi (duh!). We hit up Bob Marley at the Tempe Improv (fantastic show!!), the Desert Botanical Garden where there’s a really beautiful integration of sculpture art + plants, and I didn’t even realize this until our last day, but Frank Lloyd Wright’s western campus for his architecture school is based in Scottsdale at Taliesin West. We did a tour, and now I’m planning to add FLW buildings to my bucket list. So cool! Turns out, he also designed a house in a Phoenix suburb for his son, and we’re gonna hit that up next time! Overall, another great quickie destination (with direct flights to SJC): truth be told, AZ might just make it onto our “places to live” list. That said, I should mention that the PHX Sky Harbor Airport is a disaster. New and beautiful but fuck, that place is run like an LAX: disorganized with lots of idle staffers doing zippo about long lines. It was an optimizer’s nightmare, and for sure, both of us nearly lost it witnessing the egregious inefficiency on our flight out. SMH. Total buzzkill to end the trip, but I guess you win some and lose some.

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  • Big Bday

    Bubs turned 40 this week. We always say that we’re so old and have been together so long, that we’ve run out of gifts to buy, so let’s just focus on experiences… and then last minute, we think of things to buy! This year, with the completion of the garage cabinets and general household organization, Bubs mentioned getting a tool chest. I enlisted the expertise of K’s beau D (a certified builder of many things) and whatdya know, he pointed me to a very affordable heavy-duty system. After a couple of hours of price checking, reading reviews, and conducting my usual overkill on product research, I was ready to buy and deliver. Goddamn, Amazon Prime’s got me spoiled! I gotta wait until mid March? Nope, not gonna work. So then, I decided to pick that shit up in store. Well, not sure if you’ve noticed, but Sears stores are few and far between. Next, check stock. The only store with stock for immediate pickup? 30 minutes away in SJ. Not terribly far but still some distance. My mistake? I foolishly thought that I could fit a set of rolling drawers + a top tool chest in a 4-door sedan. Mind you, I showed up and the guy looked at me like I was totally insane. But you know me: vgou is a persistent beotch. “Maybe if I move the passenger seat or we take it out of the box…” After a few minutes of my shenanigans, we got the top chest into the front of my car. No luck with the rolling drawers.

    Thank goodness for friends with trucks, man! After lamenting my issue, K immediately enlisted the help of D, who promptly agreed to pick up the drawers and deliver them to my house that night!! Damn, these people move fast! By 9p, we had the whole system set up in the garage! Thanks K+D!! Granted, I specifically bought the system that only required assembling the cart handle and the wheels (The Seville brand systems require like 3 hrs. of assembly!). And of course Bubs and I don’t read instructions, so we installed the wheels without first putting on the flanges. Duh. One of these days, we’ll learn. I think Bubs is pretty happy, and I’m pleased too: went through Upromise AND got both items on major sale. Hee, hee.

    So his bday has quietly been a multi-day celebration. The day before, he got his tool chest. The day of, his Timberland chukkas arrived just in time (thank goodness for Amazon free shipping/returns!). I’ve been trying to get him to like Timberland shoes for years, and he finally warmed up to them. For dinner, I bought a pricey hunk of USDA prime steak (Thanks M for treating us to Schaub’s!!) and paired that with scallops for my home version of “Surf and Turf.” The sear on the scallops wasn’t very good bc I used a nonstick instead of cast iron, but the NuWave did a pretty awesome job on the ribeye. I swear, I need to go into sales and marketing for that damn appliance. Truth be told, the flavor via NuWave is more similar to how Bubs and I both grew up eating steaks– cooked in the oven broiler or via toaster oven. Tasty, but the flavor when cooked on the open flames of a grill are better. My family freaks out about consuming any amount of char (contains cancer-causing compounds), but damn, there is nothing better than those crispy, black, flavor crystals. Now I know for next time. Grill best, NuWave second best.

    In the last week, I’ve definitely been feeling a roller-coaster of emotions, triggered by our own aging and just having a lot of solo time to overthink life, work, friendships, everything. But one thing that made me feel better about myself was just this thought that I can actually cook now. I’m not a master chef like Bubs, but fuck man, I can consistently make several tasty dishes. And sure, sometimes I use shortcuts like ready-to-eat Costco salads and straight-pour pesto sauces, but heck, my shit is not just edible, it’s tasty. And it’s decent enough that I feel fine about feeding it to other people!! I’ve come a pretty long way, so I gave myself a pat on the back for my progress… and thank fucking goodness for the NuWave and pressure cooker. Life-changing, I tell ya.

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  • Picking Pennies

    My first few days of freedom have been pretty darn good. Nothing super dramatic or exciting like jet setting to exotic islands or lounging on the beach in the South Pacific, but I’ve definitely been enjoying that feeling of having time. It’s so weird but whenever I’m working, I just get into this crazy zone where I dunno, so many aspects of my life just fall to the wayside. Now, it’s so refreshing to NOT be all about work all the damn time! I’m only a few days in, and although my quality of sleep has not yet improved (Marty is digging frantically in his bed again at night– it sounds like someone is scratching to get out of a coffin!), just being able to sleep in definitely gives my body some needed rest the morning after.

    This week, my main focus has been tackling home organization. Our garage cabinets from Bay Area Home and Window got installed while my dad was here earlier this month, and I followed the suggestion of the professional home organizer to get uniform storage containers: big clear bins from Costco and then small and large clear shoe boxes from The Container Store (TCS). In the past, I really hated that overpriced yuppie store, but as it turns out, if you buy the shoe boxes in cases, it’s actually more affordable. That and well, I guess Bubs and I are yuppies now. Lately, John has been saying over and over that he needs to start living his “best life” now, and part of that means he wants his home to be nice. Admittedly, I definitely run on the cheap/low standards end for “nice”– maybe I never outgrew my college makeshift furniture mode– but I am trying to get on board with Bubbey. So, TCS is having their big elfa closet sale right now. Last weekend, we went into the store with our closet measurements and met with the designer. She was really fast and responsive, so we’re going to give this elfa thing a try in our bedroom closets. Of course, I had to go about a very specific way of purchasing, to maximize my Bubbey Bucks.

    You see, I learned about Upromise two years ago from that job networking group in Sunnyvale. Basically, it’s a program where you earn cash back for online purchases by going through a referral website rather than going directly to the store website. Sure, the money takes a while to deposit into your account, and some transactions (like via mobile tablet or phone) don’t get logged at all (buggy). My friend K tried Upromise a few months ago and HATED it. She prefers Ebates, which processes the transactions almost immediately. But Upromise has higher cash back percentages, so you know that’s where I go! Recently, I earned $150 back from T-mobile for activating two new devices; plus, I scored some decent bucks with 5% back on hotel bookings (for my work and John’s work) and other larger ticket items like car tires. The day-to-day stuff doesn’t earn that much but still, at 5-10% cash back (like for TCS or for clothing stores), it adds up. So far, I’ve earned over $400! LMK if you’re interested, and I can hook you up with a referral, and then we both score $20!

    In other news, I ran a gabillion errands the other day: seriously, I am amazed how much more I can get done when no one else is at the fucking stores. I went to the regular supermarket, the vet office, Costco, then the gas station. Incidentally, I decided to empty out the contents of my cute car trash bin. Well I had forgotten that I was weighing the bin down with a ton of pennies to keep it from tipping over. So all of those damn pennies went rattling through the gas station garbage bin. And yes, I tried to re-collect them. Now before you start judging me, let me share a story about my father.

    He called me the other day to ask if Dulles Airport is open 24/7. The reason? He doesn’t want to inconvenience his friend who is giving him a ride to the airport. Dad’s flight is at 6 am, so his plan is to have his friend drop him off at Dulles at 10p (a reasonable hour). Then, he will just sleep at the airport until his flight that morning. Uh, dad, why don’t you just take a cab or a SuperShuttle? You can take SuperShuttle from your friend’s house (about 30 min to the airport compared 60 min to his home), and it’s $30. “No, this is fine.” When I told Bubbey my story about the pennies, he warned me about nipping that shit in the bud, bc I am very well on that path to being my father sleeping at the airport for seven hours. The fruit don’t fall far from the tree.

    What else. So yeah, I have been organizing my shit big time. Damn, even just packing up my office crap and bringing that home… I had a ton of junk. With the elfa closet makeover, I am going through my clothes and purses and bags… purging and making more room. I also started deep cleaning the house. Fuck man, I busted out my vacuum attachments for the first time ever. Sucked up all the damn crud that fell between the couch cushions and along the baseboards. Jesus Christ, John and I are fucking slobs!!

    I’ve been pretty productive these last few days. John has been telling me to chill the fuck out and not be so goddamn task oriented. I can’t help myself though. Today I sat in on a webinar about an online web development boot camp. Right now, the following career possibilities are on the table: web dev/UX/product management, real estate, project management (PMP certification), Salesforce certification, freelance social media/digital comm work. I’m not gonna lie, but I fantasize about running my own gig with flex hours and lots of remote work. Those options seem to allow for that…

    I’m currently reading a book recommended by my student intern. It’s called Undecided, and it’s basically about women on this unending search for career fulfillment, partly bc they have too much choice these days (compared to the previous generation). I’m early in the book, so it’s too soon to tell…

    Tomorrow I’m getting back on the yoga bandwagon. Sure, I started that hip hop class last Monday, but it’s only 4 classes total, and given how fucking sore I am after the first class, I have a long ways to go before I get back to my old days of glory. So yup, I bought a few Groupons and it’s back to sweating my brains out. After all, the big 4-0 is like that heat coming around the corner!! Get busy livin’ or get busy dying!!

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