I read an article a few weeks back that really hit home about unanswered emails clogging up the author's inbox and the euphoria she felt when she cleared it up. You can read it here: Unanswered Emails Were the Bane of my Life by Moya Sarner at the guardian.com.
Now, I say a few weeks, but the truth is that I actually emailed myself the link so that I could write a post about it, and it promptly got lost in my own insane inbox. I found it last night while going through my own purge, and it was dated February 12th.
Last night I couldn't get to sleep. I work nights, so for obvious reasons I often have trouble sleeping on my nights off. Sometimes I (quietly) putter around the house, sometimes I read, play video games, or binge watch Netflix or whatever has piled up on my PVR. However, spring seems to actually be here, and I've been getting that cleaning itch. Since it's 2:30am, I'm not exactly going to go outside and start raking the lawn. Well, I might have, but it was raining, and still not warm enough for that.
So I decided it was time. Now, just for clarification, I had nowhere near 16,000 unread emails in my inbox. I had probably about 700 unread, and maybe another 500 read, but just sitting there waiting to be dealt with. I have a terrible habit of glancing at emails and leaving them, figuring I'll get to them eventually.
Usually I don't.
Since I was in a mood and nothing was interesting me, I decided to plunge head first into clearing up - totally - my inbox. For the next five hours I almost went blind dealing with the nightmare that had become my inbox.
I did not re-read Sarner's article prior to writing this, but I believe that she went about clearing hers in stages. I wanted to do mine all in one night, but decided to actually do it in two phases. Not really because I wanted to, but I had to. I just didn't have the time or the fortitude to do the kind of sweeping purge I had in mind all in one night.
I do feel a certain kind of lightness looking at the emptiness. However, I also now have this nagging at the back of my mind that I need to keep on top of this, need to keep it clear, need to keep checking. I think I've checked my inbox more today than all of last week, dealing with each new email as it comes. I'm going to have to find a happy balance, but will continue with my new madness for at least the foreseeable future.
So what, exactly did I do for five hours? I did it in stages. First I deleted all the old emails that I wanted to continue receiving, but had no value to me because they were outdated. Today's world runs at top speed, so I don't really need the headlines of my daily 680news.com any older than yesterday. I also closed my eyes and deleted any other weekly or dailies that I am subscribed to straight out, without even looking at them.
That was the easy part. Next, I went line by line and did one of three things, I either unsubscribed, placed it in a folder, or dealt with it. I also cleaned up all my folders and nested them under only three main ones so that I could see them at all times instead of having to scroll through the 50 or so folders I created. The hardest thing to do was deal with the ones that were left. A great many were already 'expired' - meaning that whatever I had pushed aside with the intent of going through had been pushed aside for too long. So surveys I wanted to take, reviews I wanted to write, offers I wanted to take advantage of are all gone. There's a lesson here. I need to stop procrastinating. In my real life as well as my online life.
So that's it. I have 7 emails left. One is a tax receipt I'll be using up tomorrow when I finally get around to doing our taxes, two were sent from hubby about stuff he wants me to research for him, one is a shipping notice for an item I haven't received yet, and the last three are quick ones I have promised myself I will deal with before I go to bed tonight.
What's phase two? A little simpler. I'll go through all of the emails I have in folders and delete anything older than a year, other than pictures.
And so my purge will be complete and I will feel permanently lighter.
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I’ve been spending some time perusing Groupon lately, and there are some pretty interesting things to buy and places to see listed. I haven’t used Groupon in quite a while because the last time I used it I had a bit of an issue. Not with Groupon, mind you, but with Urthbox. The short version is that I bought the deal through Groupon, but when I signed up at urthbox.com they did not honor the discount code and charged me full price. It took quite a few angry emails to get any action from them, and in the end all I received was credit to my account, not a full refund.
And so, I thought maybe I would give it another chance and do a Groupon series. I’ll buy some stuff, order some services, see some Ontario attractions, and let you know how smoothly it all goes, from start to finish.
My first real issue is occurring as I'm trying to write this post. I have always used the app, and it's one of those things where you sign up, click the 'remember me' box, and don't really give it a second thought. Right now I'm attempting to get my password reset because I'd like to log in from my laptop but don't remember my password. I have (so far, the night is young) sent seven password reset requests, both from my laptop and from the app.
A definite snag. I'm not sure where they're sending the reset email, because it's not showing up in my inbox or my spam. I even added them to my address book. Still nothing. After an hour and I lost count of how many requests, I sent Groupon a direct request. Fingers crossed.
Let's move on.
The first Groupon I decided to get is one I’ve been eyeballing for a few days: goodfood.com. It’s a meal prep subscription box. I love cooking & I have a real soft spot for subscription boxes. There’s just something fun about getting a mystery box of goodies delivered to your door. If I had the funds, I think I’d be up to my ears in subscription boxes!
The discount looks pretty good: $69 for a $140 box. Yes, it says $150 for the regular price, but I selected that one on the website and it was listed at $140. Even at regular price, on its face, it looks like a fair trade for four family meals. So enough fresh ingredients to feed four hungry mouths. I say on its face because I haven’t seen the portion sizes yet, so I’ll have to reserve judgement. Anyone trying to eat real food knows that $140 does not go very far nowadays, so I’m curious to see what kind of bang I get for my buck. I'll do a full review on the actual box once it arrives.
After I purchased my Groupon, but before I redeemed my voucher, I visited the goodfood.com website to confirm that I am actually getting a special deal. In other words, I don’t see the point of purchasing a voucher from Groupon and taking those extra steps if all I’m getting is the standard ‘new customer’ discount available to anyone direct from the site. You do get a discount directly from the site with your first order, but it’s $30 off, so your first week costs $110 instead of $140. I paid Groupon $69, and a strange (but wonderful) thing happened. When I entered my Groupon code, I received a discount of $150! So it looks like I have a credit of $10 towards next week. Bonus. (This must be because the Groupon stated $69 for $150)
New customer discount vs Groupon discount
The goodfood.com website is easy enough to navigate. Although I do have an option to switch out 2 meals, I decided to go with what they chose for us. I also got to choose my delivery day, which is nice, and a bit unusual. Most subscription boxes show up whenever they decide, especially with fresh food. Understandable, they’re grouping orders to each location to save time and cut down in costs. Goodfood.com did, however, give me the choice, and I went with Tuesdays because if I decide to stay with them awhile I figured it made sense to account for holidays and family stuff on weekends.
As with all subscription services available at a discounted price (on any site, not just Groupon), I did have to enter my credit card information. However, the website is upfront... you’re entering your card number right above the disclaimer that clearly, in regular sized font, tells you that you are signing up for a service that will charge your card $140 every week unless you say otherwise.
So, other than the password thing, it was pretty smooth sailing. I found something I liked on their main page (within the app), I purchased it, immediately received an email, and was signed up with the service with no issues with my discount code. Now I am on my way to some yummy meals next week.
**UPDATE** Groupon customer service got back to me very quickly. Although it doesn't explain why I couldn't get a password reset through the app, it seems that I was attempting a reset with groupon.ca, while my account and purchases have been with groupon.com. (groupon.ca is for residents of Quebec) So top marks for customer service so far.
A word about navigating the Groupon app; Even when I enter a specific city in the search bar, it shows me a whole lot of attractions and events that are not all that close. For example, I live in Oshawa, and when I enter that, I am also getting fun things to do in Downtown Toronto, which is an hour drive. I can tell you right now that I am not interested in driving for two hours just to have dinner or learn to salsa. An easier way to hone in on your actual area is to use the map feature (which you can find in the upper right hand corner on the app) and only things in that specific area will show up across the bottom of your screen. Now you can just scroll through them and see what is actually available in your area.
Finally, a pet peeve for all us Canadians... pricing in USD. Wagjag is famous for it, and that is largely why I don't really even look through their offers anymore. Groupon is pretty good, most things are priced in CAD, but it is disappointing to see what you think is a great deal and then see that the price is say, US$72 for a concert in Toronto. With the current exchange rate, it isn't really a good deal anymore because it's actually costing me just over $91, and that doesn't take into account the exchange fees my credit card will charge. I wish they'd do away with that and just show pricing in the currency of the country that I'm shopping in.
So that is it for my inaugural Groupon post. I'll give you an update on how quickly my password situation is resolved, and expect a new post either Tuesday or Wednesday when I review my GoodFood box. Stay tuned to see what I buy next!
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I have spent most of my adult life steering clear of politics, my eyes often glazing over as I listened to others discuss it. It didn't even matter what kind; Canadian, American, World, it all just bored me.
That is not to say that the world of politics is boring - far from it. That world seems rife with excesses in money, sexual exploits, and especially lies. That last one is really what kept me away from it for so long, very few politicians tell the truth, or even answer a direct question. I find it maddening.
With the rise and subsequent crowning of the messiah of the 'forgotten man', I am loathe to admit that I haven't missed a day watching CNN. If I'm awake, it's on my TV, even if I'm not really paying attention. I soak this drama up the same way some people devour the exploits of the Kardashians or the Real Housewives of [insert city here].
Mostly I feel like I'm watching a train wreck in slow motion - I really cannot believe that this is actually happening. Sometimes I watch, mouth agape, in sheer disbelief of what I have just witnessed/heard/read... sometimes all three at the same time. I often can't understand how anyone with a functioning brain stem thinks that this man, and what he clearly stands for, is fit to run a lemonade stand, much less an entire country.
Now that that's out of the way, I, like so many others, feel the need to weigh in on the Trump/NLF battle raging in the US right now. Why should you listen to my opinion? Why am I qualified to even give an opinion? Well, you don't have to read this, and I'm not really qualified for anything, but my opinion is mine, and that is why I have a blog called sonjarants. I do more cooking, baking, and reviewing than actual ranting on this site, but when I feel strongly about something, I need to let it out.
I'm going to start by saying that I was initially against Colin Kaepernick not standing during the US National Anthem. I take great pride in my country (I'm actually Canadian, in case you didn't know) and often actually well up when I hear my anthem. I feel a great respect for our anthem and our flag, because they represent the men and women who fought and continue to fight (in numerous ways), and those who gave their lives so that I can say and do pretty much anything I want. In other words, something as simple as a song and a piece of cloth represents so much more than I can articulate.
I felt (what feels like 100 years ago) that anyone, anyone who doesn't respect their country's flag and anthem, no matter the reason, was in the wrong. case closed.
It was Donald Trump himself who changed my mind.
I, unlike Trump, knew why Kaepernick was kneeling, but I thought that he could maybe find a different way to call attention to it. Racial inequality and police brutality are important issues which require attention, conversation, action. I hate to admit it, but I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to it. It's going on in the States (not saying that we don't have our own racial issues here), it's involving a protest by an NFL player (I only watch football once a year), and, quite frankly, before January of this year, I didn't really keep on top of current events. I knew what was going on, knew I didn't approve, I moved on with my life.
Since this whole thing has blown up on CNN (I might have mentioned I'm slightly addicted), I've had the opportunity to learn more about it, to reflect upon the meaning behind it, and to change my view.
I realize now that by kneeling, Kaepernick isn't disrespecting those who fought for his freedoms - he is showing his outrage that those who are still suppressing him are the ones actually showing disrespect for all of those who fought and died so that he could take every advantage of them.
I hope I said that clearly enough: in the US right now, his freedoms as a human being are somehow different from mine in the eyes of the law, mainly because he is a black man and I am a white woman.
Your constitution is not mine, but I think that we all know the phrase "All men are created equal". Equal means equal. The same. Identical. Uniform. Alike. Parallel. I could go on with the synonyms, but I'm sure that anyone reading this will understand at least one of those terms. And since he, and those he is kneeling for, and many countless others are not being treated equally, two centuries after those words were penned, well, that isn't right, and should be protested.
Follow this link to hear Dale Hansen explain what's going on - he does a great job for those of you still on the fence on this issue.
President Donald J. Trump has more immediate issues that require his focus rather than picking a fight with the NFL over an issue he doesn't even understand. Like The disaster in Puerto Rico. Like DACA. Tax reform. Obamacare. Travel bans. Insane travel costs incurred by spendthrift cabinet members. Jared's emails. The Russia thing. Shall I go on? Because I could. The list seems almost endless. Perhaps right at the top I should have mentioned mending race relations or even calling Nazi white supremacists sons-of-bitches, instead of peaceful protestors.
I'm pretty sure there are numerous Americans (and people all over the world) who are just holding their breath, counting the days until this nightmare presidency is over so that they can start to finally pick up the pieces and try to heal their country.
Kaepernick was trying to do just that when he started to #TakeAKnee.
#45's sad legacy will be The Great Divider. He promised to Make America Great Again, but all he seems to be doing is tearing it apart for ratings.
This year has been a difficult one. Between my health and the switch to working night shifts, I have not really felt like me. I'm so sleepy and tired so much of the time, that sitting down and blogging actually felt much like a chore. Don't get me wrong, I love writing, I love blogging, I've actually had a blog in one form or another since long before it was cool! I was going to link to them here, but they're so sad looking that I'm a little embarrassed. I definitely have some views I feel the need to express, and I enjoy spreading my knowledge, because I am constantly learning, about pretty much anything.
Now, Blogging can be whatever you make it. It can be super easy, where you have few graphics, and you basically just write what you know or feel. This model works for many, and is often a great start when you're researching something, because these blogs are usually written by someone who knows what they're talking (or writing) about.
I probably fall into the mid range of bloggers. I have some graphics, and although I do write about things I know, things that affect me, and my personal reviews of stuff, I also post about things I had to research before putting pen to paper, so to speak. Some of my posts, such as this post on little known superfoods, this one about beautiful haunted places, and this one about the many uses for coffee took a lot of research and time to put together. Some of the posts on my blog took over a week of researching the topic and finding just the right graphics to accompany the topic.
The third is the pro blogger. Their blogs are gorgeous to look at, highly niched (did I just make up a word?), with all the graphics made in house (much more skilled than I am). They have email lists, ebooks available, and videos. They often have guest bloggers and contests, thousands of hits a week, and 2/3 of the page is covered in ads, not including the new generation of 'popups' which are not blocked by traditional software. Blogging is their life... truthfully, I wish I was this third kind. Had I stuck with it consistently since the beginning, I would probably be in this last category. Alas, since I am like the little doggie in the movie Up!, (squirrel!), I am here and there. I will spend some time writing, then stuff happens, and then I don't write for a while, and then I come back. Sometimes, I do things and regret it later, such as spitting this blog into three - which I will be switching back slowly and adding the posts I removed back. It's a pain in the butt, but I really want them all back here.
Truthfully, I have been looking into monetizing this blog for a few reasons. The main one, really is that I would like to have my own domain without the .weebly at the end of sonjarants. As it stands, I really don't have the extra coin in my bank account for another monthly cost. As it is, I had to cancel all of my subscription boxes (wah!! I LOVE my subscription boxes), so any extra cost is not feasible at this time. If I can get a few bucks from blogging, I can put it back into the blog.
Anyhow, I guess I'm into one of my blogging phases again, because I really want to get back into it. I have quite a few ideas floating around in my head, health posts dealing primarily with a few things I've been dealing with over the last year and have become quite knowledgeable about, life issues, and sadly I have been watching CNN, so... Trump opinions (hint: I have an extremely low opinion). I feel that once I actually post about #45 that I may finally get some comments on my blog, although not the kind I'd like.
And I'm kind of a big deal.
So... great opportunity, right? Everyone wants in on the ground floor!
I actually set up my Tumblr not too long after I set up this blog, I just really had no idea how the heck to use it (I admit as much in my first post). I decided to give it a new look-see because I have random stories and thoughts that just don't fit into 140 characters.
So follow me on all my social media - just cause sometimes I have some interesting things to say. Sometimes.
As always, thanks for visiting, you're awesome!
With my own wedding fast approaching (September 24th!!), I figured I'd give you a post about some of the most beautiful and extravagant wedding gowns I've seen. Although my budget was a little slimmer than the ladies wearing these dresses, I can still dream, right?
All gorgeous - and I don't think I even want to know exactly how much even one of these would cost.
I found all of these on Pinterest, and after about a half hour of trying to track down the original URL for the very first picture, I gave up and decided to just link them to their pin. Click on any individual picture to be taken to their Pinterest location.
Feel free to leave a comment, like, share, tweet, or find me on social media.
Judging from news reports, I am one of the few people in Southern Ontario who was actually pretty excited that Toronto is hosting the Pan Am /ParaPan Am Games this time around. I know, It's not the Olympics, but I still think it's kinda cool that something this big is going on here. We had intended to see an event, just so we can say we were there and saw something happen. The nice thing about not all the events taking place in the city of Toronto is that those of us who just cannot stand the congestion can see an event in relative peace.
So on Canada Day I received an email that they were having a 25% off sale, and I jumped at the chance and bought 4 tickets to see Canada VS Nicaragua in a preliminary baseball game at the President's Choice Pan Am Ballpark. For 2 kids (under 16) and 2 adults, I paid $80 after discounts, taxes, and fees. Not bad. But I know why tickets are so affordable. Well, two reasons, I guess. The first being that they want people to come, so if they price the tickets reasonably, there's a better chance that families like mine will go. The second has to be the sick pricing structure for pretty much everything else at the venue.
I do also have one more thing to gripe about - the organization at the venue. Going into the game, I was not impressed. Happy during. Leaving the game I was not impressed. Living in Durham, we know the route to take to get to the location of the venue, Audley & Taunton. However, I suppose they did not expect too many people to be arriving from the Durham Region, because there was only one sign, approximately ten feet from the street we would have had to turn onto, telling us that Audley was closed at Rossland. As we drove past it, I saw it very quickly, but was not able to read the whole sign. Quite frankly, even if I had seen it sooner, we would not have had time to turn on Lakeridge anyhow. So we had to drive further West, then North, then back East, following the signs to get to the ballpark. I was none too impressed with that. There should have been ample warning so we could make a decision as to where to turn North sooner.
We get there, park in the grass, with very little direction at this point from signs or volunteers. You kinda just have to wing it and hope for the best. Did I mention the car was a 15 minute walk from the actual stadium? Well, it was. Ugh. Although it was lovely to walk in nature before we got to the event, I could have done without it, and I could have done without the weird walking path they had. There were these hard rubber sheets to walk on with deep grooves on them. Unless you're wearing thick-soled shoes (which I wasn't), they hurt your feet. Then came the gravel path, always fun to get stones in your shoes when you have a long way to walk. It's summer... people are wearing sandals and flip-flops. These two choices for something to walk on would probably be lower on my list, maybe just above 'hot coals' and 'broken glass sprinkled with salt'.
We get to the actual stadium (bottom of the second), and I was really, really underwhelmed as to the sight that greeted me. I was expecting some food, drink, and merchandise vendors. Instead, there was the ballpark to my right, I think a huge field of porta potties on the left, and a few random people selling bottled tap water or beer out of coolers. Since it was general seating, it was tough to find anything. There wasn't really anyone helping out, either. I wasn't really impressed at his point by my experience. Getting out was worse... no direction whatsoever, the only exit signs to be seen at the end of the lot, and if you're there, you already know where the exit is.
We finally did find some seats, and they turned out to be really great. We had a fantastic view of all the action, and since we were sitting in a predominantly Nicaraguan area, the players from Nicaragua were coming over and tossing balls into our area for the fans that stayed past the seventh inning.
All the doom and gloom aside, I enjoyed the game. I am definitely more interested in winter sports, however, I have to say that it's always fun when your team is winning, and after a slow start, that's exactly what Team Canada did. The crowd was great, the seating sucked, but the experience was still enjoyable. As I mentioned before - organization was poor, which is pretty sad.
Don't let my doom and gloom stop you from going to see a game or two yourself. It's a once in a lifetime thing happening right now, and you should endeavor to take part in it in some small way. It is a great thing, and we should take pride in it.
One last thing. There has been a whole lot of talk about how little everyone cares about these games. I do want to point out that although I think it's great that they're here and I'll support them, they were really doomed from the start. Here in Ontario we are way more interested in winter sports than summer ones. We're also not the rowdiest of fans on a good day. Then, you have to remember that these are North & South American games. No European countries. You want tourists and pandemonium? Host a sporting even with European countries as participants. They'll come in droves. Just sayin'.
I guess you could say I took a little social media sabbatical recently. I'd probably still be dark, but I wanted to share your chance to pay a small fortune for an absolutely stunning doll.
Marina Bychkova is a woman with immense talent when it comes to imagining, designing, and creating masterpieces. All her porcelain dolls are one of a kind and handmade - you can see her progress on Cinderella and other dolls she has created in the past by following this link to her blog.
All the pictures you see here are pulled from the auction page and my email - as you can see, she is meticulously sculpted and everything about her is absolutely perfect - you can see her actual auction here - but hurry, because the last possible time to place a bid is Saturday January 31st at 9:17pm, so just about 24 hours left. Right now she is at $65,500 USD, but if anyone out there is wondering what to get me for my birthday, Cinderella is right up my alley, wink, wink! With the exchange rate it's only about $84,000 CAD, pocket change for some, I guess.
In the meantime, check out the Enchanted Doll gallery, although I'm pretty sure there's a post about Marina's beautiful dolls in my future :)
My laptop battery died suddenly two weeks ago. I have never felt so empty! It's amazing how much I take this pretty little notebook for granted. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot you can do nowadays with tablets and such, but there is so much more I can do with this baby right here!
Hopefully you noticed that I haven't been posting any new blog entries. I say hopefully because it would really suck if I was just posting these every day and no one actually looked at them!
Although Weebly does have an app, it's not very user-friendly and it was waaay too much effort to try to do a post. Plus I keep all my info, searches and pics on my laptop, so there's that issue also.
Anyhow, it really, really sucked that I had to wait two weeks, checking the mailbox every day (sometimes twice a day) for the battery, but that is what happened and now I have so many posts it's not even funny. I'm hoping not to overwhelm, but I have received a lot of items to review and it is only fair that they receive their time in in the pages of my blog.
So brace yourselves... I have a lot to say in the next coming days!
Well... maybe just my name. The geek that lives inside of me still thinks that is totally awesome! NASA is sending a little microchip into space and they're giving all of us the opportunity to put our names there for the journey.
If you think this is just as incredible as I do, go to NASA's website here and you can read about the mission and where your name will journey (hint: not just to Mars) to. Plus, you get this cool boarding pass.
Hi! I'm Sonja and I'm glad you're here! I'm happy to share some recipes and gardening tips with you while I let you know about great (or not so great) products, services, and media I encounter.
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