Monday Musings

Yep. I’m definitely going to make this a weekly thing along with a Friday food post. That way, I think, I can be more consistent and get my randomness out  in one big post and then leave the rest of my blogging for my reviews. (It’s early on in this blog’s life. Be patient with me while I figure this all out.)

Black Friday Shopping

Well, I caved… kinda. I did get some online shopping in, but then we decided to leave the house at about 6 p.m. because my mother was keeping the kiddo over the weekend and we had only ourselves to worry with. By that time, everything was of course quiet as could be. We even squeezed in a trip to Red Robin, where I finally found poutine!

Technically not poutine.
Technically not poutine.

Now, I’ve been corrected by my Canadian friends that this is technically not quite poutine (though close enough), but when you’re in the Birmingham area, you take what you can get. It had fries, gravy, and cheese, and that was enough for me to love it. The burgers… not so much. They weren’t bad, but for nearly $15, I could be eating a Hamburger Fonfon.

…and Iron Bowl Shopping

This one is more our style. We tend to wait until the Iron Bowl is on and then hit the stores since, in Alabama, they become deserted wastelands. This year, we settled on The Summit. We checked out Trader Joe’s for the first time since it’s opened. We’d never been in a Trader Joe’s before, and it soon was dubbed “Hipster Aldi.” It was the only store aside from Sephora with a line at the register, and I didn’t want that chocolate Advent calendar that badly, so we left empty handed. I did pick up some gifts at Sephora and Barnes & Noble. We also ate at Flip Burger since we were in the area and since Laura and Nadine suggested it.

Lets all just take a moment to appreciate this hamburger.
Lets all just take a moment to appreciate this hamburger.

I’ve never been there before, either, but I have a feeling we’ll be going back. They also have poutine that wasn’t really poutine, but the real star was the sweet potato tots that I had to take home to finish. I could eat these forever!

REALLY not poutine.
REALLY not poutine, but still tasty.

New Makeup (because OF COURSE I got more)

Every time I walk into a Sephora I end up changing the brand of whatever it is I went in to get. Right now it’s foundation. I’m still playing around with the tarte foundation in different situations. I really like the finish on that. I grabbed some samples of Make Up For Ever Ultra HD foundation to try as well. I also grabbed a sample of Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance in champagne. I like Urban Decay, and I’ve used it for ages, but the new formula or packaging or SOMETHING is annoying the crap out of me because it’s clumping on me. I really hate that wand applicator, too. So I figured I’d try out Too Faced’s version, which is very similar in appearance. If I like, I’ll switch. I’m eyeballing Urban Decay shadows again, and this time I’m going for the one in Sephora’s Superstars set— Lounge. Only thing is, I should be getting a holographic shadow in my next Julep box, so I’m going to wait and see how that looks, first. I’m also trying to wait until after Christmas before I really go nuts over eyeshadows in Sephora. Again.

I also got a Too Faced blush and liquid lipstick gift set, which were $36 for a set of three (making them $12 each), and an Origins mask mini trio for $10, making those a little over $3 each. I thought these would be fun to stuff in some stockings for my sisters-in-law, and I’ll probably keep the third for myself. That Fig lip color intrigues me, so I’m claiming that one.

I cleaned out my office. Only problem is… I cleaned out my office.

My office is that spot in the house where everybody dumps the crap that they don’t want to toss out but don’t have a place for, and I finally got fed up with it. We drug EVERYTHING out of there and into the living room, and the rule was that if it went back into my office, it had to have a place. If it didn’t have a place there or anywhere else, it had to go. There is now a pile next to the garbage can and a pile next to the car of stuff we’re going to toss, donate, or pawn (because I’m too impatient to sell it online or in a garage sell). I also kept two boxes in my office– one of pictures to scan and catalog and one of stuff to sell on ebay.

Problem now is that I never actually decorated this room. It’s a big blank space with a few frames on the wall, a couple of desks, and that’s it. I’m clueless when it comes to home decor, so now I’m on Pinterest trying to come up with ideas.

Shopping on Black Friday

I thought the above was hilarious, so I thought I’d share.

I confuse people when I tell them that I don’t typically participate in Black Friday– primarily because I’m always talking about what’s on sale and where. I shop online plenty during the week and over the weekend, but my standard operating procedure for holiday weekends typically involves me leaving my house as little as possible.

Holidays are when I don’t have to get up early. Nobody is going to work, and nobody has to be driven to school. I sleep in. If I don’t have a family event to attend, I sit around in my pajamas ALL DAY because I can. Inevitably, someone will stop by and insist on me leaving, and I respond something like this.


For those of you who do venture out, though, I do have a few requests and/or tips to keep in mind.

#1: Be nice to retail employees and servers.

Retail workers make minimum wage or darn close to it. There are exceptions, but I’ve worked minimum wage in my lifetime, and it’s not a party. People are dicks to you, and there’s really no wage in the world high enough to put up with some customers. It is a soul-crushing and thankless experience. I know, I know… Go to school. Get a better job. I’ve heard it. But a lot of these people are working there because they’re in school, and the ones that aren’t… You don’t know their situation. In any case, it’s not an excuse to be a jerk. Do you really want to be that person?Don’t be that person.

Try to understand that the person helping you might be a tad flustered, but they’re likely doing their best, considering they’ve just been screamed at by the crazy lady in blinking, singing Christmas tree earrings because JC Penny doesn’t have any more $20 RC helicopters (and they’re standing in the middle of the Sephora), and by golly they are going to hold that person responsible and curse their very soul until they walk into the magical TARDIS “back” and get it for them.

So if the associate you’re dealing with seems confused for a few seconds before answering your question… It’s okay. Just be patient. He’s doing his best.

#2: Be nice to other shoppers.

You’ve seen these videos. Admit it. They terrify me. Being crushed by a crazed mob while police officers in riot gear stand by helpless to do anything is not on my list of top ten ways I want to die.

But I don’t really do well in crowds, in general. Neither does my husband or my daughter. So we do as little brick and mortar shopping as is humanly possible already. If and when we do go out, we tend to trend toward the days and hours when most people won’t be there and pick the locations that aren’t as popular. Down here, you can go during the Iron Bowl and have the store all to yourself. (THAT is fun, by the way.)

There’s something about this time of year, though, that seems to bring out the worst in people when they’re anywhere around STUFF. More than any other time of year, I’m likely to encounter someone throwing an adult tantrum, and that person is usually wearing a gaudy Christmas sweater or tinsel on her head.

Be courteous. Be patient. Don’t shove. If you see someone else grab the last Star Wars Furby, just let it go, man. Trust me, they’re living out the same nightmare you are.

#3: Be prepared.

I have a Christmas list that I started on December 26 of last year, and nothing on it has hit the ads as being on sale this weekend. The things that have hit sales that I’ve considered getting instead have been listed at better prices and have already been snatched up without me even having to put on pants.

Neither did this guy, but that’s beside the point.


There are things I see in ads that I want, but they’re not my priority right now, and I’ll probably catch them on sale another time or after Christmas when I’m loaded up on gift cards. In other words, right now it’s not worth the cost of gas, eating out, aspirin, the obligatory bottle of wine I’m going to need later that evening to help me recover… You know, those little extra expenses that come with dragging an entire family through a retail obstacle course for a few hours.

Now, if it’s something I want badly enough, I’ll grab it– usually online. I particularly like the online sales that start days ahead of Black Friday. Several started earlier this week, and I’ve even posted about a few of them. I’ve even made a couple of purchases for products that I’ve been wanting to try out and haven’t seen them go on sale before now. (And no, I don’t always buy something when I’m posting about a sale. I post about sales that generally catch my eye that I think others might be interested in.) But my deal shopping for many years now has been more of a year-round thing, and more often than not I’ll catch things on sale many times throughout the year. So if there’s a deal out there that you missed out on, take heart. You’ll probably see it again.

So here’s the plan, if you’re going out to battle…

  1. Have a list and know what you want to get.
  2. Research prices to find the best deal, and that might not be a Black Friday deal.
  3. Plan your route and stick to your list. Get in. Get your stuff. Get out.