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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!


*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.



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!

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!


In the Ghetto

24 Oct

Earlier this week I went shopping at a few of the Walgreens that are in the crappier parts of town.  And there aren’t too many.  There aren’t any Walgreens in Albuquerque that I would say are in the  full-on ghetto, but there are a couple that are ghetto adjacent.  In fact, there was a Walgreens in an area that is now quite ghetto indeed, but they moved a few blocks west several years ago.  I’m guessing if I asked* they would say it was for some other reason, but I’m pretty sure it was just to be in a less ghetto neighborhood.  Because the one in the present ghetto was one of the newer, stand-alone stores.  And there are still a few old, crappy stores that are in strip malls which have not been replaced by new stores. Granted the newer one is huge, but I don’t think they moved because they needed more space.  Also it’s interesting that Walgreens are popping up like weeds in the Northeast Heights, but there’s only one Walgreens that could be described as being in the South Valley.

Anyway, I gotta say, the “transitional neighborhood” Walgreens carry the best stuff!  Like I found dried lavender for sale at one!  And they had saffron, chamomile and some other herbs too!  Crazy!  Dried herbs at Walgreens.  Who knew?  In the South Valley one they had all this crazy food.  They had coconut milk, mole, about a million (or half a dozen) different kinds of canned peppers, 4 different kinds of dried beans, hominy, and lots of other random stuff too.  I wish I’d shopped there earlier to make my food choices more interesting for the past few months.  The South Valley store wasn’t that nice though.  It actually reminded me a lot of the store that’s in the student ghetto.  It was kinda rundown, and like tiles were coming up, and the ugly fluorescent lights were all flickering or burnt out, the freezer made a lot of noise, and that sort of thing.  It was clean and everything, just rundown.  Meanwhile, I’m sure the store in Paradise Hills that’s caddy corner from the golf course was as bright and shiny and crisp as ever.  And ya know what?  I doubt that the stores in the South Valley and student ghettos generate less revenue than the stores in the nicer areas.  I really, really doubt it.  There are so few options for drug-store-type stuff near UNM.  The prices are great at the Student Health Center Pharmacy, but the selection and hours leave something to be desired.  I imagine that the Walgreens across the street from the dorms does alright.  And I’m guessing the one in the South Valley does pretty ok too.  But I don’t know for sure.  Just like I’m sure the poorly maintained roads in the crappy parts of town are used just a much as their well-maintained counterparts in the heights. I’m don’t believe that popularity has anything to do with how much upkeep is deemed to be necessary with these sorts of things.

By the way, ‘member when the Walgreens at Montgomery and Juan Tabo got all sad and worn-out looking,  how they opened a new, shiny one across the street?  Hm.


*I did ask, but the response I got from the clerks was “uhhh, that was, like, years ago.”  And I didn’t want to ask them to get their manager so I could ask him or her about it.  Mostly because I felt it would’ve made me look like a crazy person.

Kicking the Habit

4 Oct

The other day, I heard about that comedian guy who spent 5 days in the bathroom in order to kick his addiction to his blackberry and the internet*.  And it got me thinking about me and how part of this project is about kicking the shopping habit.  I think I’ve done it.  I no longer feel the need to buy more stuff.  My cluttered house is full of stuff.  I own plenty of clothes.  I own too many shoes. And after being on a buying-stuff diet for almost 5 months, I don’t feel the need to anymore. I feel really good about that.  I feel like I can totally be financially responsible and not a hyper-consumer.  Right now I really feel like I’d rather spend money on travel or spa treatments or whatever rather than stuff.  But is that any better than buying stuff?  Because then you don’t even have anything to show for it at the end of the day.

But really, I am for reals totally ok with only buying stuff I need.  I’m going to Las Vegas for Halloween, and I know if I weren’t just shopping at Walgreens I’d be spending all kinds of money on clothes and shoes to wear there.  I guess I did buy the Star Trek costume to wear there, but I would’ve bought a Halloween costume this year anyway.  I’m not buying a bunch more cocktail dresses that I may or may not even end up wearing, at least. Then again, last month was not the most lucrative at my job, so I probably would have been on a financial diet anyway.

What will happen in November though?  How hard will I fall off the wagon?  If I go on a used book and vintage clothing shopping spree, that’s not really the end of the world.  When I start shopping at the mall again will it be easy to not buy stuff?  I don’t know. Also, it’s weird to kick a habit only to make a plan to fall off the wagon.  Maybe I should try to only buy stuff I need after this is over.  Though, if a betting pool starts on when I’ll crack and buy some crap I don’t need, the smart money would be on me giving up after 12 hours  🙂


*  So that guy (Mark Malkoff) who is spending 5 days in the bathroom?   That project is messed up.  He and his wife only have one bathroom.  Why should she be so inconvenienced? I mean, I am counting on people to hook me up with a pumpkin pie or some fresh fruit or earrings every now and again, but it isn’t totally interfering with somebody else’s life.  And why the bathroom?  That’s silly.  If I was trying to kick an internet addiction, I’d go to maybe Ojo Caliente or somewhere for a week.


27 Sep

So I love Lifetime Christmas movies.  You know, those extra cheesy, schmaltzy movies they show on the Lifetime channel in December which are shown during a season they call Fa-la-la-la Lifetime.  A couple years ago I saw this great one called His & Her Christmas. It was about a pretty, 30-something columnist at a little paper in Marin County.  And something happens, and she gets real mad at the “big city” paper in San Francisco, and writes a column talking mess about the SF paper.  And ya know, I think the San Francisco paper was going to buy the Marin County paper, so I can’t imagine the Marin County people would be too upset about it.  It seems like the staff of the little paper would be like “Yeah!  Awesome!  This paper isn’t going to go out of business next month!” Because the big paper wouldn’t have any reason to buy the little paper to shut it down. Anyway, the heroine of the story gets in a verbal war with the rich, handsome columnist at the big paper, and of course, they fall in love.  At Christmastime.  I’m pretty sure there was some mistletoe kissy-face at some point in the movie.

The reason it’s so awesome, and the reason I’m mentioning it here, is that it’s a 90 minute Walgreens commercial.  It has the most blatant advertising within a film that I’ve seen since the 2 hour GMC commercial I saw that was entitled Transformers. Like, during the movie, the protagonist is going to Walgreens to pick up a toothbrush and stuff so her niece can spend the night. The niece says “We also have to get (blah de blah) for the Christmas party!” and her aunt says “Don’t worry; they’ll have everything we need at Walgreens.”   And then later there’s a scene where they’re decorating a tree and they’re surrounded by dozens of Walgreens bags holding decorations and wrapping paper and what not.  All the logos on the bags are facing camera. Walgreens was mentioned several other times too.  I don’t mention Walgreens in my day-to-day conversation nearly as much as these people, and it is the only place that I am currently shopping.

So I highly recommend His & Her Christmas if you should happen to come across it this holiday season.  I also recommend any Fa-la-la-la Lifetime programming that features one of the Huxtable kids.  I haven’t seen any that have anything to do with Walgreens, but they’re pretty good anyway.