The Fanciest Walgreens EVER!

6 Nov

I already knew that different Walgreens carry different stuff — sometime almost totally different stuff.  I was still not prepared for a Walgreens that looked like this:

It doesn’t even look like a Walgreens, right?  When was the last time that you’ve ever walked in to a Walgreens with a giant jewelry display endcap at the very front of the store?  Or that had like 4 aisles of clothes?  Or luggage?  Or cute wide-brimmed sun hats?

Here’s the store from the outside:

This is the store that’s right outside the Venetian and across the street from Treasure Island.  So it’s a pretty high-rent neighborhood.  If I had done this project in Vegas I think it would’ve been easier.  At least as far as my clothing and accessory needs went.     They also had a fancier looking electronic section, though they actually probably had fewer electronics.  And sushi.  They had sushi.

Right there on the middle shelf.  Sushi.  At Walgreens. I heard tell of it on the internets, but I was skeptical.  And then there it was.  I thought about trying some.  Then decided against it because I had an eight hour drive the next day.

The only thing I actually bought for myself was a pink oven mitt that has a print with the “Welcome to Fabulous  Las Vegas Nevada” sign on it.  I’m not sure how practical the oven mitt is.  It feels like it’s made out of synthetic fabric.  I’m not totally sure it won’t just melt the first time I use it. Maybe it should just be hung on the oven for pretty.


Not So Red (phew!)

29 Oct

I told my friend Zanne about a month ago that I was going to dye my hair a couple of days early in case anything should go wrong.  She laughed and said “what would make you think something would go wrong?”  And the answer was everything preceding  that moment of my life.  And indeed the hair color did go very wrong.  It was SO red, and so uneven.  The picture I posted really did not show the horrible unevenness of the color.  You would’ve thought I had just squirted it all right on top of my head and left the rest alone. There were some locks of hair that were bright red on the top and strawberry blonde on the ends and light brown at the roots. The unevenness was way worse than the color intensity. So I was freaking out today.  I was pretty calm about it Wednesday because I was sure it would fade quickly.  When it hadn’t faded by today I was pretty worried about it.  I was shampooing and scrubbing it like crazy, and then squeezing the wet hair to try to force the dye out.   Then I used some dark red-brown temporary dye and a tiny little tint brush to try to paint in some lowlights.  Then I tried a  light red-brown on the parts that weren’t as red.  And it was better, but still not good.

Then I remembered something. I remembered that I’ve been highlighting my dark, dark, mousy, dishwater blonde hair for months.  I already own toners that cancel out red/gold tones.  Thank God!  And it was in my bathroom all along. How did I not remember? Thank you, Fanci-full, for coming to the rescue once again.  Between rag rollers and Fanci-full hair color rinses, I’m becoming increasingly convinced that it’s the women over eighty who know all the good hairstyling tricks.  So it’s a nice auburn now.

Now off to Las Vegas!  Woooo!  Vegas, Baby! VEGAS!

Oh So Red

28 Oct

So I dyed my hair for my Ginger Halloween costume.  It is red.  Too red.  Yesterday I looked like a 15 year-old that dyed her hair with a mix of cherry and orange Kool Aid. That is no fault of the good people at Clairol that make Natural Instincts hair dye.  I should’ve followed the directions and done a strand test to determine the length of time necessary to get my hair the right shade.  I actually should have done two strand tests: one on highlighted hair and one on un-highlighted hair.  And I should’ve done the bottom section first and the top section last.  And I should’ve used a bowl and a tint brush and not just the applicator bottle.   And I even could have called the 1-800 helpline thing that they have all over their box and website to get some advice.  But I didn’t.  So here we are.

I know I should post a pic with the hair color to show you how red it is.  But the flash on my camera makes it look like a really nice, pretty shade of red, so y’all would just think I’m crazy.

Oh wait.  I tried my other camera and it gives a better indication of how red it is.

And I already did, for a moment, consider dying all of it a bright, dark, Christina Hendricks red.  Hmm… but I think I’d better leave that shade of red to a professional colorist to put on my head.

I have some clarifying shampoo that my hair cutter gave me last time I got a haircut.  She’s an older Hispanic lady, and she really doesn’t think my washing my hair once or twice a week with non-sulfate shampoo gets it near clean enough, so she gave me some really intense shampoo to use.  But she gives me the best haircuts ever, so I’ll keep going to her even if she scrubs my hair crazy and strips it of everything that makes it curl pretty.  My hair is in shock for like 3 days after the scrubbing.   Anyway, the clarifying shampoo will be good to get some of this dye out.  It’ll probably be perfect with one more washing.  It’s already way better today than it was yesterday.  If you can believe.

Also, the conditioner that came with the hair dye is supposed to last for 5 or 6 uses.  Oh Miss Clairol, you’re so funny.  With all this hair, that little tube of conditioner will maybe last 3 for me.  Maybe.

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.

Exciting News!

20 Oct

I have been on a quest for a little over a year now.  I read Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Turin and Sanchez a little over a year ago, and I became obsessed with finding a new perfume.  Perrin was nice enough to hang out with me one afternoon when I tried on about 2 dozen fragrances.  I was really stinky by the end of the day.  I found some things that I liked.  I really liked Ralph Lauren’s Notorious.  It’s really spicy and smoky and not too sweet.  This is important because most fragrances turn super sweet on me.  I think it’s because I ingest way more sugar than I can possibly metabolize and it starts seeping through my skin*.  But Notorious is kinda heavy for everyday use.  It’s also kinda intense for going to a restaurant or a crowded theatre.  So the opportunities to wear it are few and somewhat far between.  I also got a single-note Lavender cologne by Caswell-Massey that smells great on clothes… it smells less good on my actual person.  And a single-note is a little simple for a signature fragrance.  I’ve tried a few men’s fragrances too, and I like many of them, and they don’t turn too sweet, but I don’t love them quite enough to wear everyday either.  When I was in high school and college I always wore these really soapy, aldehydic florals (Spring Rain by Crabtree and Evelyn, Amazing Grace by philosophy, Anais Anais by Cacharel) which were great.  And looking back I’m glad I was wearing something so soft and girly when every other person my age on the planet was wearing ck One.  And they were great for a 16-year-old Mandy — very sweet and soft and nice.  But those descriptors don’t really suit me much anymore.  😉   And as my friend Jacob said, “you need a few steps in between those girly perfumes and White Diamonds.”  That is very true.

So I think I found one!  It’s Amor Amor, also by Cacharel. It starts off floral and a little fruity, but it turns into a really nice musky-ish floral on me that has a little more edge than Anais Anais.  Perfect!  Oh, except for a short 10 minute period where it smells like apples and fresh sweat. Not like gross B.O. but fresh, I-just-went-on-a-15-minute-jog sweat.  But seriously, almost every fragrance that has come out in the past 4 to 5 years smells like fruit and fresh sweat on me after a little while.  And, except for Amor Amor, they all seem to retain that smell.  I tried on a bunch of perfume one day by myself last fall, and at the end of the day my arm smelled like citrus and fresh sweat, berries and fresh sweat, melon and fresh sweat, or bag of Jolly Ranchers and fresh sweat in varying patches. And they were all new-ish fragrances.  If I try on  some 1980s fragrances (Paris, Obsession, Poison, Oscar – not that I’d try them on all at the same time;  that’d be crazy) I don’t smell like sweat.   But most of the new fragrances that are marketed towards young women smell like sweat to me.  I also sometimes think the wind in Albuquerque smells like fresh sweat, too. Like if a lot of dust has been blown around?  Maybe my sweat just smells weird.  Or maybe everybody just wants to smell like sweaty Mandy  😉

And how does this relate to Walgreens?  Amor Amor is not a fragrance that Walgreens carries.  They carry three other Cacharel fragrances, but not Amor Amor.  Agggghh!   And when I go to the “Fragrances for Women” section of the Walgreen’s website, 991 items come up.  But no Amor Amor.  And the website carries all manner of fragrances, cheap to high-end – White Shoulders to  Jean Paul Gautier and 980 more in between. I’ve looked at the fragrances in the cosmetics department in different Walgreens for the past few days and haven’t seen it at one yet.  *sigh*

At least I only have to wait a few weeks to buy it.

Come back later this week for a more directly-related-to-Walgreens post.  I’ll be visiting stores in the… umm… transitional neighborhoods around town.


* Nothing I learned in all the Human Biology classes I took in college actually supports this ‘sugar seeping through skin’ theory.

Things I’m Gonna Do When I’m Done With This Project

17 Oct

1. Make French onion soup.  From scratch for reals. Like even making the beef stock from some cow bones, water, and mirepoix.

2.  Take, like, I dunno, $40 into a thrift store and just spend it all on random stuff. (I guess I haven’t kicked the stuff-buying habit completely.)

3.  Buy new Joshilyn Jackson novel.

4. Buy pre-1950 Nancy Drew novel.

5. Buy Adam Carolla’s book.  Or at least go to the bookstore and decide if it’s a book I need to own.

6. Buy a good Hermione wand.  I like dressing up as Hermione for Halloween, but I need a wand. And the wands they sell at the costume shops are lame, so hopefully the bookstores will be selling Hermione wands with the new Harry Potter movie coming out. And it’ll be convenient since I’m already going to be at a bookstore for the aforementioned purchases.

7.  Buy some new pants.  I need pants.  I suppose I could take care of this as a part of item #2.

8. Go to the grocery store everyday just to buy some sort of perishable produce-type foods and consume them.  And by the way, the gas station near my house sells bananas and apples individually for snacks.  Why can’t Walgreens do that?

One thing I don’t need to buy?  Egg Nog!  Because my awesome mom bought me some of that Creamland Halloween Goblin Nog this week!  Awesome!  So I’ve been drinking Mandy’s Holiday Cocktail* regularly.  By the way, my mom will be annoyed that I’ve been using the egg nog she bought me as a mixer with bourbon.


*Mandy’s Holiday Cocktail Recipe

Egg Nog



Ratios to be determined by viscosity/sweetness/drunkeness preferences at the time.  Note: beware of curdling.

I Wanna Play a New Game

14 Oct

I’m  bored and I wanna play a new game.  I’m tired of this dumb shopping only-at-Walgreens-and-writing-about-it game.  It’s boring now!  I’m so glad I only have 5 weeks left.  For the past 5 months I seriously have not been counting down the days until it’s over.  Until now.  I just want to be done.  I was totally ready to cheat this week, too.  I’m going as Ginger for Halloween and I need to dye my hair red.  I’ve been wanting to try red for awhile but I always get scared and end up dying it a “Light Copper Brown” or something.  So I need to have it RED red for Halloween if I’m gonna be Ginger.  And it is light enough to get red right now.  Anyway, I was totally ready to cheat and buy the dye at Sally’s*, but luckily Sally isn’t carrying any demi-permanent hair color that’s the right shade.  They all look too brown.  So I think I’m just gonna go with the Natural Instincts “Spiced Tea” color that they carry at the Walgreens.  I’ve liked the demi-permanent Clairol color that I bought at Sally’s before, and I’m hoping this is pretty much the same thing. It could very well be a disaster. I had a hair stylist friend a few years ago who told me to never, never, ever color my hair with color from the drug store.  She had this horror story about how her hair melted once during beauty school because of drug store hair color.  So I’m a little scared.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Seriously though I’m so ready for this to be over!

But this whole project would be boring if I quit now.  I should stick it out.


* I understand that the name of the store is Sally Beauty Supply and that Sally is the name of the store, and not the owner, so the possessive  ‘s is unnecessary.  But it’s weird to call a store by a human name. It sounds wrong.  Like, “I’m going to Fred.”  It sounds weird, right?


10 Oct

I’ve made a point over the past few months to make real food with ingredients from Walgreens.  Breakfast was the easiest.  They have eggs, bacon, and English muffins.  What more do you need?  (Answer: Hash browns–but I guess you can live without them).  I’ve also been doing pasta with either some sundried tomatoes I had, or with garlic and the fresh tomatoes and basil I was growing.  And then there was those really good BLT’s I was making a few weeks ago.  Oh, and this, like, Thai-inspired peanut sauce on pasta that I used the leftover peanuts from McDonald’s sundaes on.  Because I don’t want peanuts on my sundae, but it seems wasteful to throw perfectly good food away.  Anyway, all this real food I’ve been making?  I am so tired of all of it.  All Of It.  I’m so glad to be done in 5 weeks.

I’m really looking forward to buying good bread.  And King Arthur Flour.  And cake flour.  Oh, and good cheese.  They have a cheddar cheese at Walgreens but, well, it has a plastic-y, Velveeta quality to it.  I mean, it’s definitely cheddar cheese but it’s definitely not some kind of artisanal mammoth cheddar.

I think I’m gonna cook for myself far more often after the project is over than I did before it began.  Because it’s one thing to get to go food and to eat at work because it’s easy and it’s what I wanna do.  It’s quite another when I don’t cook because I can’t buy real groceries.  I guess “can’t” isn’t really the word, but you know what I mean.