Mandy Update

26 Mar

So wanna know what I’ve been up to since I finished —or maybe rather “stopped” would be the correct word—my Walgreens project? Well, the first thing I did was get really, really poor. I mean, I was kinda-sorta poor throughout the project, and then (as I mentioned earlier) I was quite poor right after it ended, but I was super-extra poor the first 6 weeks of this year. It was crazy slow at my restaurant job, and so I wasn’t working as many hours, and I kept getting colds and couldn’t work, so I was poor. BUT the good news there is that this Walgreens project was really good training for being poor! I couldn’t shop anywhere or buy anything fun; it kinda didn’t feel like anything had changed. And with all my free time with working fewer hours I actually wrote and (eventually) submitted a smutty short story to a publisher*. So… good for me, I guess.

Anyway, I got awfully tired of being so poor and I demanded that the universe cut me a damn break already. And it did. Two days after my demand I got a call about doing some freelance writing work for a cable channel that’s based in town. Honest to god. That was totally how it worked. I made a demand, and the universe gave in to it within 48 hours.

And, part of what helped get me the job was this here blog project. I’d like to think that my boss saw this blog and said to herself “What writing! What voice! And tone! And style!  I must hire her!” But I’m guessing that it was more of a situation where a project like this shows a certain amount of self motivation, stick-to-itivness, and good old fashioned gumption.** And I guess it shows the ability to pound out a couple thousand words every week; that’s probably a good thing to demonstrate for a writing job too.

So that’s the happy ending to my story. I’ll write and post the epilogue over the next couple of weeks.

OH! And I’ve been playing the most super-fun awesome facebook app/game EVER! Yeah! Check it out!

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*I just submitted it maybe a week and a half ago, so I haven’t heard anything back yet. I’m just glad I actually submitted something. I’m always writing writing writing, but I never submit anything.

**I actually applied for a job, mentioned my blog in the cover letter, and was asked about it during the interview. It’s not like somebody ran across my blog randomly and gave me a call… though that would be a better story.

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Huh?

9 Mar

I haven’t visited my blog in an awfully long time.  It’s true.  It was abandoned.  I’m like one of those turtle mothers, bringing life in to the world and then letting it fend for itself with no help. But I came by today because someone left me an amazing comment on the post about what stuff at Walgreens is locked up.  So I dropped by, and my stats aren’t bad.  It’s weird.  I worked like crazy to try to get readers for 6 months, and then I gave up, and now I’m getting readers.  So that’s awesome.

I also was wanting to do a blog post because I shopped — like really shopped — at Walgreens for the first time since November on Monday. I mean, I’ve dropped by to grab cold medicine and then ran back out again, but I actually went in needing several things and so I wandered around the whole store.  I picked up some Cinnabon flavored cream of wheat, ’cause it was just a buck.  And it was pretty gross, so I’m glad I only spent a dollar. I also bought some Easter candy, because the Easter candy is cheaper at Walgreens than at the grocery store.  Go, Walgreens! All in all, it hasn’t changed much. It’s still good ol’ Walgreens.

Anyway, I think I made the right decision by doing this project in the summer and fall.  The winter clothes are so not as good as the spring/summer clothes.   They were even selling Easter bonnets at the Walgreens!  And it’s kinda early for that.  It’s only just Ash Wednesday today.  There’s over a month until Easter.  I wonder if stores sell more Easter stuff in the years where there’s a 7 or 8 weeks between Valentine’s and Easter than in the years when there’s only 5.

So… I guess it’s worth doing all the posts I was planning to do when this ended… I was just so OVER it all by the time December came around, ya know?  More posts coming soon then, I guess.

Christmas Shopping!

9 Dec

So I really went shopping today.  It was super fun.  I don’t know how I went so long without it.  I went Christmas shopping so I wasn’t even buying stuff for me but still … SO FUN!   Like, I could think of something I wanted to buy for someone and then go to a store where they sell that thing!  Amazing!  It was much better than thinking of a thing to buy for someone, and then trying to find the closest approximation that Walgreens carries.  And way better than just wandering around Walgreens hoping something really stands out as a great gift.  And good luck with that.

I haven’t been able to go shopping before today because I’ve been super poor.  Like not just a little bit poor.  But really crazy poor. I got sick and missed a few days of work, and since I’m only working as a waitress right now, it’s kinda like living in Dickensian England.  If you have the misfortune to be ill, it reduces you to poverty quite quickly.

But really, the past few weeks it was easy to forget that I was even finished with the Walgreens project because I still wasn’t able to shop anywhere!  Hopefully my economic situation will be back to its equilibrium quickly.  *sigh

I’m Free! But It’s Not Really that Exciting.

24 Nov

So I’ve already shopped at Walgreens.  I have a cold and needed OTC cold whatever and I was about to go way out of my way just to go somewhere other than Walgreens, but I realized that would be silly.  I haven’t gone crazy shopping other places.  I went to the grocery store but all I bought was some bananas (yay!), grapes,  apple cider, mulling spices, and then like milk and stuff.  I was kind of overwhelmed at the grocery store.  It was overwhelming partly because they have so much stuff, but also partly because there’s so much stuff I need!  I didn’t know where to start.  Admittedly, my cupboards aren’t normally stocked to the brim with food, so it’s normal for me to need a lot of stuff at the grocery store, but usually I’m better at narrowing it down.  I just couldn’t.  I need to relearn that skill.  I think when I go back I’m going to get some Brie and some good crackers.  That’ll be a good start.

I bought a couple of Christmas presents.  I bought a sweater for myself.  But I needed to wear it the very next day, so it’s a good thing I had it.  Oh, and I got a couple of sweaters at Savers.

So all in all, I’ve kept it pretty under control.  I didn’t totally fall off the wagon.  Hurray!

Shopping List

16 Nov

Everyone keeps asking me what’s the first thing I’m going to buy when I’m done, or what’s on my list to buy on Friday, and really, there’s not much of a list.  I’m probably going to buy a couple of Christmas presents that I found online and want to order them right away before I forget. For myself, there’s really, for reals, not much I’m dying to buy right now.  And actually I’m running low on some cleaning products and things that I could buy at Walgreens, but I’m waiting because I’m just so tired of shopping there!  I figure even little stuff like sponges and Comet cleaner will be more fun to buy at Target, at least for a little while.

Probably, the main thing I want for myself is conditioner.  As far as makeup and skincare go, I think the drugstore brands do just as well as the department store stuff.  And I’m really not usually willing to pay 25 bucks for a tube of lip gloss, so I buy at least half of my makeup at Walgreens anyway.  But hair products?  That is a whole ‘nother story.  I think there is a world of difference between drugstore hair products and salon hair products.  And Walgreens does carry a few of the salon brands in the stores, but they don’t carry the conditioner I want.  And, yeah, I could’ve ordered it online, but I’m just not really about ordering things like conditioner online.  It’s weird to me.  I can buy clothes online, or books, but conditioner?  No. Can’t do it.  So I’m dying to go buy my normal conditioner.

And bananas.  I’m looking forward to having bananas on-hand regularly again.

So that’s my list.

  1. Christmas Presents
  2. Conditioner
  3. Bananas

Well, so I say now.  I’ll probably be going crazy shopping for all kinds of stuff come Friday.

Learning My Lesson… And Applying It

13 Nov

My hair color disaster a couple weeks ago was a great example of a lesson that I’d already learned, but failed to apply in my life.  When I go to a drugstore or something and buy a box of hair dye and follow the instructions in a half-assed manner, the results are never good.  About a year and a half ago I tried to do that with a highlighting kit from Target and the results were blotchy and weird.  So, I really spent some time thinking about the hair color I wanted and how best to achieve it.  Then I went to the Sally website and store and spent a lot of time figuring out which products would work best.  And when I finally lightened my hair it turned out really nice.  It worked because I really put some time and energy and thought into it.  That was the lesson I learned: when you put thought and planning and energy into at-home hair coloring, the results can be lovely.  But I did not apply this lesson when I colored my hair recently.   I find I have to relearn similar lessons in cooking from time to time.  I get all cocky about what a good baker I am, so I get sloppy and wind up with bad results.

I have a little less than a week left in the project, and I feel like I’ve learned many lessons.  I’ve learned about how easy it is to save money when I’m not buying random little things I that I don’t need for fifteen or twenty bucks a pop.  I’ve learned that if detergent or razors or toilet paper or something like that is on sale, it makes sense to go ahead and buy it whether I need it right that minute or not.  Stuff like that has an indefinite shelf life, and while I wouldn’t tie up a ton of money in things like that, it’s nice to have it around when I need it.  Because you know that stuff is never going to be on sale when I absolutely have none left and need it right away.  I learned that recreational shopping takes up a huge amount of time in my life.  I had no idea. I also learned that I don’t miss it very much when I don’t have it (except for the used book store shopping!)  I learned that I don’t really need more shoes, at least not until some that I already own get worn out and need to be replaced.    I’ve learned that the writing is easier when you work on it regularly and not sporadically. I learned that there aren’t as many places to wear a bright pink terry cloth romper as you might think (it turns out I’m not Crissy Snow).  I learned that if I eat out all the time I’ll end up adding a few pounds on (actually that one I think I’ve learned early in this life and just sometimes fail to apply).   I’ve learned that the people in my life that visit my blog regularly are often the people that I can count on to be there for me when I really need someone.

Hopefully these lessons will stick with me, and I won’t need to relearn them in order to apply them.  Unlike that lesson about needing to pay attention to things you leave under the broiler.  That lesson just does not stick with me for more than about 10 months.

Only five days left!

 

Saving Grace

11 Nov

One other thing happened in Las Vegas.  I almost fell off the wagon.  I really wanted to wear some sort of stretchy knit pant for the road and I hadn’t packed any.  I was all bloated and puffy from eating and drinking too much, and I wanted something stretchy and comfy for the ride home. I came really close to buying some pants at Ross.  And I thought about how I was so close it was silly to cheat so blatantly here at the end. And if I were going to cheat this far in it should be on something amazing, not some $10 workout pants.  And I thought about buying some pants at the Walgreens down the street, but they didn’t have any I liked.  Their pant selection most definitely leaves something to be desired.  There were two sweat suits that were ok except for the giant, ugly Las Vegas thing embroidered on them.  And it was tacky bad, not tacky kitsch and fun.  ‘Cause a giant Las Vegas logo could be fun on a velour sweat suit.  It wasn’t.  And they were overpriced. By the way, my friend Zanne thinks that the reason they have so many clothes in those two stores on the strip is because people might need a change of pants after eating the sushi that’s there.  Ha! Good times.  I’m sure it’s fine.  Pretty sure.  Not sure enough to have actually tried it.

Anyway, I really wanted those stretchy pants at Ross.  And what finally convinced me not to buy them was the threat of bed bugs.  There probably haven’t been any reports of bed bugs in any Ross ever, but I’ve heard about people getting bed bugs from clothes that they brought home from the store and didn’t wash right away.  And it’s not like I’d have been able to wash them there very easily.  Even if I’d washed them in the sink at the hotel, they wouldn’t have dried in time.  So I couldn’t buy any clothes there.  So thank you, bed bugs, for keeping me honest in this project.

And, if you were wondering, yes, I inspected the hotel room thoroughly for bed bugs.  I even brought a flashlight.  It was fine and bed bug free.

Vegas Part 2!

7 Nov

I visited two other Walgreens in Vegas.  One was further south on the strip — across from the Monte Carlo.  It was really similar to the one next to the Venetian, only older and slightly shabbier.  But like the other one on the strip it had a BUNCH of clothes.  No luggage or cute hats though.  But it did have sushi.  So 2 Walgreens that carry sushi so far.

I also visited the one on Fremont Street was just like every other store on Fremont Street.  It was mostly souvenir shot glasses and t-shirts, though it also had Tylenol and Imodium.  No sushi at the Fremont store.  It did have more pantry type foods than the stores on the strip, like pasta and rice and Stove Top stuffing.  I guess maybe there are more people that live near Fremont Street?  It’d be sad if many people lived actually at one of the really cheap hotels near there and just had a hot plate and lived off pasta from the Walgreens.  Wow.  That’s a really depressing thought.  I totally just bummed myself out. 😦

Also went to a Walgreens in Flagstaff that I think was fairly close to NAU (maybe not.  There’s no particular reason to trust my Flagstaff geography knowledge) and it was as worn and dingy as the store that’s right next to UNM.  So at least Walgreens doesn’t play favorites with its student-ghetto stores.  Louie the Lumberjack gets the same treatment as Louie the Lobo.  But weird that they’re both named Louie, right?

Finally, unrelated to Walgreens, but a tip from me to my readers: Halloween on the Las Vegas Strip was kinda lame.  Nobody was into it.  Like only 10 percent of the people there were dressed up and everybody was taking themselves very seriously. Who knew?  But Halloween on Fremont Street was AMAZING! People were in super fun, crazy costumes and it was just all one big party.  So, if you find yourself in Las Vegas on Halloween go to Fremont Street.