Monday, April 14, 2014

Mom Blog Monday: How to Get the Most out of Your Amazon Prime Membership

In a move that is both a bit genius and gratingly irritating, Amazon will be raising the annual rate for their Prime membership from $79 to $99. 

My promotional student annual fee of $39 just run out, and I had just made the decision not to renew when I got the news. And quickly renewed before the rate was raised.

Essentially, Prime allows you free 2-day shipping on Prime items and offers features such as a free Kindle lending library and free access to hundreds of streaming videos. You have until April 17 to make the jump. I've compiled a few tips on how to get your moneys worth.

1. Use Amazon Instant Video for all of your television/movie viewing needs. Drop Hulu and Netflix. It won't give you everything you want, but the selection is decent.

2. Never go to Target ever again. Get all of your paper goods delivered with free shipping. I'm not saying this is the best environmental decision—it could turn into a lot of boxes. Oh well...recycle them?

3. Purchase a “subscription” to items you use frequently. You can save money by having these items delivered once a month or as infrequently as every six months. You can get the following items delivered: diapers, cat litter, dog food, coconut water, coffee, toothpaste and a whole bunch more.

4. Have a kindle? Be sure and take advantage of the free lending library.

6. Purchase your music on Amazon. Each month there's a selection of at least 100 mp3 downloads for $5.

5. Ditch your gym. Amazon Instant Video is full of diverse workout videos.

Anyone else getting the most out of their Amazon Prime membership? Any tips I missed?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Links for Lazy Writers Like Me: The Frequency Illusion of Celebrities Who Look Like Mattresses

I've had New York on the mind. This essay is about what to do if you're falling out of love with New York, but I'd like you to read it and apply it to your city. Because that's what I did, while sitting at my window overlooking East Lake Street.

73 Questions with Sarah Jessica Parker: more New York musings. All my friends were social-mediahhhhhing over her home, but all I could do was fret over how seamlessly and succinctly she can decide on a response to each of the 73 questions. But this is from someone who needs to qualify and justify her decision to, you know, leave her house.

I'm amazed that as a 31 year old I am still capable of constantly forming so many brand-new bad habits. I like this non-preachy flowchart about changing a habit.

You're thinking of buying a Honda Fit—all of the sudden they're everywhere. You learn a new word, then hear it five times that week. I can never remember the name of that phenomenon, so here is a link to it to help me: Baader-Meinhof.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

More Like Introjerk—How to Live in Harmony with Your Contravert

From the Archives: A discussion on introversion/extroversion based on two girls who were broke and started a cupcake company shared a job, a car, an apartment and all meals and workouts...

There was a part of me that thought—for one second—”I'm gonna make this really, really good!”

People are sometimes confused when they learn that I'm an introvert. I understand. Because the thing is, I'm not particularly shy. Sometimes I even feel really on and chatty and can seamlessly flow from funny quibble to quippish anecdote like nobody's business(*1), but afterwords I'm exhausted and then suffer a crisis over my vacillating authenticity and temperamental bravado, which is followed by a pretty dark and weird tormented internal monologue that goes something like this:


Maybe I'm an ambi-vert.

A lot of you are familiar with my present temporary roommate Kady, of A Lady Reveals Nothing, and perhaps you and I even share her in common as our most extroverted friend—or even the most extroverted human we know.

Here she is just...hanging out with strangers like it's no big deal. Like they're not going to suck all of her life force vital energy from her:

Here are some examples of Kady's manifested extroversion:
  • When she places a phone call, she doesn't chant, “please don't pick up please don't pick up” over and over under her breathe.
  • She smiles and waves at every single stranger we encounter, especially if they speak English. But non-English speakers are also invited into her charming orb of interaction.
    • The girl can talk. Someone once asked her, “Do you ever think anything you don't say?”
    (it wasn't me)
        I, on the other hand, view our carpool commute to work as a social activity. On top of that, I keep accidentally saying really mean things to her. Just two days into living and working together I said, “Man, we really need to be sure and schedule time apart.” See, I assume she needs her alone time as much as me, so this is what I meant to say:  “Kady,
          • we live together
          • we work together
          • we commute to work together
          • we work out together
          • we know the same people
          • we cook and eat together
        and I want to make sure that whenever possible I make myself scarce so you don't start hating me.” My statement was about taking preventative measures to stay friends. But after it came out of my mouth I realized it sounded a lot more like, “Gawwwd I'm sick of your face.”

        How could I ever get sick of this face?

        My intro-awkwardness spills over into other categories of everyday life. For example, I really struggle with talking on the phone. It doesn't matter who you are or how much I love you; the entire interaction gives me anxiety. I've decided a lot of it stems from having no idea how the conversation is going to end.

        AND because I over-analyze everything, and because there are no visual cues, I'm convinced you are racking your brain trying to find a polite way to get rid of me. And because I am absurdly sensitive to rejection (yeah, another shocker for those who also think I'm an extrovert), I'm trying to break up with you before you break up with me.

        I had come up with a solution in recent years to say, “I'm so sorry but I really, really have to go to the bathroom.” First off, this is never a lie, because, as Kady will attest, I always have to go to the bathroom. But I made the mistake of telling people about this conversation-exit strategy and then some of my really good friends informed me that I've used that one on them.

        The other day before Kady and I headed out for a night on the town (which for this introvert meant changing out of sweatpants and getting a drink 20 steps from our doorstep), I realized I was ready and she was preoccupied. She said, “I'm sorry; I'm chatting with three different people, but I'm wrapping it up.” I let out a deep sigh and said, “I'm so exhausted by what you just said I think I need to lie down.”

        We then chatted about the differences between her extro and my intro, and when she asked if she was annoying, I assured her that she was in no way ever doing anything wrong. But I couldn't even say that in a non-mean way. In fact, I said this:
        “You've done absolutely nothing to annoy me but I'm just so aware of your presence all the time.”
        After reading about what an introjerk I am, it's very important you know I have spent time on both sides of the “___version” fence; I've just been stuck over here on the intro side for a much longer period of time. And because my ambi-version obviously translates into my being an expert on the topic, I've accumulated some important information for both intros and  extros:

        Many extroverts at times experience guilt over their extroversion.
        • They may believe that they are perceived as obtuse, narcissistic, overbearing or even unintelligent.
        • They may fear they make others uncomfortable with their gregarious or possibly domineering nature.
        Many introverts at times experience guilt over their introversion.
        • They may believe that they are perceived as judgmental, snooty or even unintelligent.
        • They may fear they make others uncomfortable with their reserved nature.
        Do not assume an extrovert is a confident person.
        • They may be painfully insecure or suffer from extremely low self-esteem.
        • They might envy the introvert's air of mystery and apparent poise.
        Do not interpret an introvert's reticence as judgment or disdain.
        • They're probably just letting it all sink in.
        • They may be painfully insecure or suffer from extremely low self-esteem.
        • They might even envy the extrovert's apparent social ease.
        Extroverts are often jealous of introverts' personae or personalities. 

        Introverts are often jealous of extroverts' personae or personalities. 

        Introverts are not necessarily smarter than you just because they don't say stupid things.
        • I mean, they usually say a lot less, the math...
        Do not assume what you see is what you get—and all you get—when observing an extrovert.
        • There's more to every story, dummy
        And in conclusion, if you are an extrovert sharing a space or a life with an introvert who needs some alone time, know that they are not necessarily sick of you; sometimes they're just sick of not being alone.

        And if you are an introvert, remember that no matter how earnest your intentions are, it always and only sounds really mean to say, “Wow this movie looks so good! You should go see it... yourself... or right now...”

        (*1) and sometimes I apparently say “like nobody's business”