fateful encounter?

Sometimes the ickies come back. Not a dreadful  'rip my heart out' kind of icky like it was a few months ago. But a 'pull my hair out and why am I dealing with this drama again' kind of icky that still comes up every now and then. Maybe what my husband said is true. I have some sort of addiction to drama. And venom. In another life perhaps I was Cleopatra. Or at least hung out with her.

Yesterday the ickies were raging full on so I resorted to retail therapy. I popped into my local Rite Aid to pick up a bottle of nail polish. I was really loving a new Revlon color called Fashionista, a kind of muted navy I thought would be fun to go with the grape colored gown I'm wearing to a fancy event this weekend.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a woman standing to my right looking at makeup too. I was lost in my own thoughts still trying to decide on the nail polish. Do I really love Fashionista or was Impulsive less daring?

"Excuse me" she said. "Do you mind if I ask you something?"

I said sure and she proceeded to tell me about how she couldn't help but notice how strong my aura was and how she could sense a lot of sadness from me. She was very polite and not pushy in the way that con artists usually are. She pleaded that I let her give me a reading. I listened to her and said I found it intriguing but that I really had no money to pay her. It's OK she said. She just felt she needed to give me a reading. Her name was Fate.

I have had readings done before. Both by people playing psychic and by some that seemed to have genuine psychic abilities. I am not gifted with this sight but I am somewhat sensitive to energy. When I meet someone who is the same way I immediately feel it in my stomach. An odd kind of fluttering like tiny moths under a glass jar. Being in a shop filled with crystals does the same thing.  Suddenly I thought I felt a moth or two zooming around inside my belly.

For as long as I can remember strangers have walked up to me determined to tell me about my aura and energy. Either I'm a magnet for this type of a scam or there are people out there who truly pick something up from me and feel compelled to let me know.

So I listened to Fate tell me about my sadness and my struggle with love and truth. She didn't give specifics of course but she basically told me how my life has been the last few years. She was good. Either a good con or a good psychic or both. I even got this strange sensation like I was speaking with a therapist.

Then she told me about the curse.

A curse she said that was put on me as a child. One that's been responsible for the sadness in my relationships. She said it was the reason I've had to struggle with my marriage. This curse needed to be removed or I would never find happiness in love.

Naturally she could remove this curse for only $160.00

What a bargain!

The odd thing was that I don't normally give this sort of thing a second thought. Could she see that I had just been through a rough patch? I didn't think I gave her any clues indicating I might be open to a reading or any sort of curse removal. I was in sweats with not one bit of my usual gypsy or witchy flair.

So I listened and something about listening and talking to her was oddly comforting. I knew I would never go for the curse removal thing but I did take her card and told her I would think about it just to be polite. In the end I gave her a few dollars for the mini reading. Maybe that was all she was after anyway.

When I thought about it later I realized it was most likely another scam and now I was out a couple of bucks. Oddly enough it didn't really bother me. At the very least it was very entertaining. She was definitely more interesting than anyone else I might run into at Rite Aid. I was also fascinated by the way she was able to talk me into getting a reading and eventually parting with my cash. I had to admit she had amazing powers of persuasion and I could use a lesson or two.

Whatever it was that drew this person to me I will never know. I was emotionaly vulnerable so maybe she sensed that or maybe she just happened to get lucky with me. It sort of surprised me that I didn't feel too bad about falling for it so easily. What Fate didn't realize was that she was actually giving me more than she planned.

Whether she meant to or not this very determined Rite Aid  'psychic' pushed me out of my icky mood, made me smile and added a little bit of magic to my day. In a way it was exactly what I needed and to me that was worth a couple of dollars. Magic can sometimes pop up in the most unlikely place. Sometimes it finds you when you least expect it, be there just when you need it and it can happen in the most curious way.

As far as the curse goes, well I think I'll take my chances. I may have a few tricks up my witchy sleeves too.

I forgot about the nail polish all together. I ended up giving Fate the money I would have spent on it and even gained something silly to blog about. It wasn't such a bad deal over all but I still want a bottle of Fashionista.

Maybe I'll try Walgreens today.
Have a lovely magical weekend!

harry's back

Anyone have a spare handful of Floo Powder? You might remember me mentioning before that my son and I are huge Harry Potter fans. Poor thing has been going through withdrawal since the last film came out last summer. My 15 year old son's entire childhood was all about Hogwarts and the boy wizard, and being the magic loving mom that I am I completely indulged him of course.

Part of my son's HUGE collection. He made the Daily Prophet prop a few years ago for one of our parties.

Well Harry is in the news again this week. The Warner Bros. London Studio tour officially opens this Saturday. All the sets, props, and costumes will be available for the public to view for the first time.

I remember there being some unhappy fans across the pond when Universal opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park attraction in Orlando a few years ago. And although it's great for us over on this side, Hogwarts castle in sunny Florida seemed strange to me. But now the UK fans are getting the real thing! Although we have yet to make it to the park I think I would take the Leavesden tour over Orlando any day.

This brings back so many warm memories of midnight book releases, movie openings, hunting for Harry collectibles and our own yearly birthday feast for Harry. I miss doing all those things with my little wizard so it's great when we can share memories and remember a little bit of the magic again.

Any of you lucky enough to be visiting London this weekend?

mystery shopping

After my last post I realized it might be helpful to explain exactly what a mystery shopper is. I assumed it was something everyone was familiar with and I think that's what happens after working in retail for so long.

Many customer service oriented companies, particularly retail stores, restaurants and service places like auto and other repair shops, rely on honest feedback to evaluate the kind of service and performance being given by their employees. One of the best ways to do this is to have their company mystery shopped. A mystery shopper is someone who will go to these businesses, pose as a regular customer, discreetly evaluate the service and then report their experience to whoever hired them. The shopper works as an independent contractor and is paid for each evaluation completed.

The pay is very small. Anywhere from $10 to $60+ per assignment depending on each company and your experience. Most companies reimburse you for your small purchase so you might get to keep the item for free. You are almost never reimbursed for gas. It's something many women like to do as a way to supplement their income or to just get paid for doing something they enjoy. Most of us love shopping! It's rare that anyone can make a living mystery shopping but if you can work it into your normal routine and driving routes it could work for you.

It can be fun and rewarding but the down side is that there are tons of scams out there so if you're interested in becoming a mystery shopper you need to do some research. One good resource I found is Mystery Shopping Providers Association. There is a lot of info on their site.

When I worked in retail we were often given warning that we might be mystery shopped on a particular day. So naturally everyone was on their best behaviour and the department looked amazing. I don't know if it's still that way. I think it's better if the shops aren't aware of a mystery shopper coming in. That way you get a real sense of what it's like everyday and you can give a more accurate report.

I shop and eat out by myself a lot and for some reason I have been mistaken for a mystery shopper on a few occasions. I guess I'm just aware of how employees act when they think they're being mystery shopped and if I'm feeling particularly mischievous I might use that to my advantage (he-he).  So I've had service that's so over the top sometimes it's hilarious and I can go back to the same place later, act a bit more 'normal' and they wouldn't give me the time of day!

I thought about doing mystery shopping years ago but it never went anywhere. However there are so many more resources available now, even books and certifications if you're really serious (again do your homework and watch out for scams). So I might seriously give it another go. I have put in a handful of applications and we'll see what happens. I left retail over 10 years ago but once a retail girl always a retail girl I suppose.

Hope you're having a great weekend.

For all you Once Upon A Time fans don't forget the Mad Hatter episode is tonight!

i spy

Here's a question for you.

Have any of you ever worked or considered working as a mystery shopper? I know there are tons of places on the internet and sadly many of the mystery shopper sites are not legitimate. But there are real ones if you really look and I have been considering doing this.

I figured all those years of working in retail might come in handy and I think it's something I would enjoy. I know you can't really make a living doing it. But for extra cash and a bit of fun I thought it might be worth looking into.

So I thought I would see if any of you out there have tried it and if so what do you think? Would you consider becoming a mystery shopper? I'd love to know.

spring madness

Happy first day of Spring!

Are you having spring weather where you are? Everything is definitely blooming here and we are suppose to get up to nearly 70 this week but it's still chilly in the morning and I still smell smoke from a few fireplaces working at night.

I'm happy to report that I'm typing this post on my new laptop. Yay! Wow you don't know what you're missing until you upgrade to something new. What a difference! Now if I can just get that wireless printer that came with it to work. I'll leave that job for my 15 yr old I think.

I know several of you are fans of Once Upon A Time too. I'm really loving all the twists and turns from the Snow/Mary Margaret and Prince/David story and I thought their version of Little Red Riding Hood from the other week was fantastic. What a great twist in the end. But what I'm really excited about is next week's Mad Hatter episode.

Doesn't it look like fun? I hope this series stays on for a while. My son even loves watching it with me.

Speaking of Wonderland, I haven't been doing a lot of art lately but I've been playing with this Alice inspired piece now and then. It's been sitting on my table staring at me so I'll see how she turns out.

Hope you're having a great week.

puter woes

I think this old laptop of mine is on it's last leg.

I can get about 15 minutes out of it if I let it rest for about 8 hours.
I think it's time for a new one.

Have a fabulous weekend my dears!

sweet thank you and prom memories

A super quick post to give everyone a huge thank you for the sweet birthday wishes. I finally got to try the Pinkdelicious cupcake and yes it was fabulous....so was the Lemon Pucker. I had a lovely lovely day with my hubby and a wonderful evening with both him and our son. Cupcakes and ice cream cake all night.

I have cupcake pics but my computer is having major problems and I'm just stealing a few minutes before it dies again.

What are you doing this week? I have been looking at dresses for an event we're going to at the end of the month. Being that it's also prom season I really enjoyed seeing all the sparkly, frothy and slinky prom dresses out there. So different from the ones when I went to my prom way back when.

Do you remember your prom? What's your favorite or not so favorite memory? I remember the pale lavender nail polish I got to go with the pale lavender dress for my senior prom!

I'd love to hear yours. Have a beautiful week.

a pinkdelicious day

I am a big believer in celebrating birthdays.
Every single one of them no matter how many you have had.
The more years the better.

I feel I earned every one of those years. The good and the bad are all part of my journey so I am grateful to be able to celebrate another one.

By celebrating I don't mean a big party with all the works. Some of my favorite birthdays are the quiet ones I spent by myself, just doing my favorite things and then having a nice dinner with my guys. I just feel it's really important to do something special for yourself. Little things that make you feel like a star on your big day, and I mean star like a jewel in an inky velvet sky, not the Hollywood kind of star.

This year I'm particularly excited to celebrate because well, last year wasn't exactly my favorite year. But I made it and I'm more than eager to leave that old year behind. So I started getting ready for my happy cupcake day by treating myself to pale pink baby roses, a little bit of fairy sparkle and a few other girly things (because every woman deserves to be girly on her birthday).

I love these fun Sinful colors for my nails...
Cinderella and Boom Boom...

and my favorite new scent from Bath and Body Works.
They say it's "a light pairing of soft pink petals and vanilla chiffon icing" and I think that's exactly what it is. How could I resist?

Of course I can't forget the cupcake and I finally get to try our newest cupcakery. I saved my first visit for my birthday. The last cupcakery I went to was so disappointing that I didn't even buy one. I walked away very sad. Then I found out about Icing On The Cupcake and now I'm dying to try their signature Pinkdelicious (chocolate with pink butter creme frosting). Doesn't that sound yum? I wish I could send one to all of you through my computer!

So tomorrow I'm going to be one more year older and I'm ready to make it a fun, sparkly frosted day. I'll be up bright and early and after I drop my son off at school I'm going to get what else...a pink balloon. This year I also got an extra special treat. My husband took the week off to spend my birthday week with me. After all we've been through that is especially sweet.

If you're birthday is coming up too I want you to promise yourself to celebrate.
Be proud of your journey and enjoy every delicious birthday minute.

I'll be back to tell you about that Pinkdelicious cupcake!

P.S. I always think it's so cool that my birthday falls on International Women's Day and this year I even get a full moon. Yay!

Update: It's March 8!! Just after midnight and it's officially my birthday.
Thank you so much for the early birthday wishes. It's cupcake time!

march blooms and missing lalou

The first of March. Yay! It's my birthday month. One of my favorite things about having a birthday this time of year is that everything is starting to bloom. The other day I noticed bright yellow daffodils along the side of the road as I was driving by. Although it's still been cold and wet most of the days, seeing bits of color against the gray skies really makes me smile. And with all the candy colored Easter pastels filling the shops I always feel like someone is throwing a great big sweet girly birthday party just for me.

The fruit trees in my backyard are blooming too and today I did something I haven't done in nearly 3 months. I went out there and said hello to the trees and gave the pretty pink buds a proper welcome. I have been avoiding my backyard since we lost LaLou last December. I couldn't bring myself to visit the plum tree where she loved to sit and watch the birds.

I also walked by the spot in our fence where LaLou came through to visit me. She lived in the house next door but she spent most of the day in my backyard waiting for me. When she couldn't hop over our fence anymore I took off two slats so she could get through. I just don't have the heart to put the slats back. I keep thinking she might come walking through anytime.

LaLou's plum tree has been bare all winter but as you can see it just started to bloom. So I went out there today, under cloudy skies and in the frosty air. There still isn't much sun to warm the spot where LaLou and I sat together. But the flowers are so pretty and every now and then the wind would catch a lone blossom and I'd watch it fall gently to the ground. I imagined LaLou nudging it with her cute little nose, waiting patiently for the next one to drop.

My friend Marfi made this beautiful piece for me. I will treasure it always. It has been such a comfort  to have this picture of us under our plum tree. I took it outside with me today and brought it to our spot. I thought LaLou might like that.

Thank you for letting me share this with you. You can see that Luna and I miss our beautiful gray friend very much. These furry creatures just have a way of holding on to our hearts. I know many of you feel the same way.

I still want this to be a happy post and I'm honestly very excited about Spring and my birthday month. I have been dreaming about purple pansies, blue hydrangeas, old fashioned roses and of course frosted petunias!

How about these adorable potted pansies? Can you believe they're cupcakes? The recipe is at Woman's Day. Oh I would love one of these on my very own happy cupcake day.

What are you excited about this month?

Are you seeing signs of Spring where you are?

Hope you're having a wonderful first day of March. In honor of sweet LaLou and my birthday month, Luna and I have decided that March will be

"Treat Yourself to a Cupcake Month!"

Have a beautiful day.