A Quick Book Review!

Check out my post on Jenna Young’s Reading Challengers blog:






How to Send a Flat-Rate Package from Home!

So this is a strange post to write, but just in case anyone is interested, I thought I would write about the (convenient) experience!

I wish I had known about this service before, when I would stand for line for several hours waiting to send numerous packages of books when I was moving from New York back to the Chicago suburbs.

Sometimes, we don’t have oodles of time to hit the post-office.

Likewise, if you live in the middle of nowhere like I do, even small trips to the post-office can make a difference in your gas mileage.

USPS Flat-Rate boxes come in a variety of sizes and you are welcome to grab a few for FREE the next time you’re there.

These make for quick boxes when you’re sending presents to someone, or fulfilling an order you’ve sold  (perhaps on Ebay, Etsy, or Amazon.com). Anytime I have bought something from Night Owl Paper Goods it always come in a USPS small flat-rate box. This is good for them, and good for me- the shipping is always the same!

This also came in handy when I had to send my boyfriend his phone charger he left at my house 🙂

Pay, Print, and Ship!

What You’ll Need:

  •  USPS Flat Rate Box or Envelope of your choice
  • Access to a printer
  • Credit Card/Paypal account
  • Something to send!

First step:

Go to https://cns.usps.com/go

You will see a page that looks like this:

firstspotUSPS[ click photo to enlarge]

Then click on the Print a Shipping Label Now button

This will take you to a page to create an account:


Once you have logged in, make sure you keep your username and password in a place where you can remember it!

From here, you just input your address, and the address of your destination.

You will be checking the FLAT RATE option:


The next step is pick-a-box!


I have selected the small flat-rate box, and as you can see it’s $5.15 flat rate. Not a bad price if you feel like sending a friend a mini-care package!

Next you will be able to review your cart, just to make sure everything’s going to the right place!

After that, it’s billing time!

Thankfully, you can use PAYPAL!! Either paypal, or your handy credit card will do.

Next, once you have confirmed payment, you can print out your shipping label!


From here, you just print, tape your label on, and ship!

I am lucky enough that I work in an office with a USPS mail carrier who physically comes to our office to pick up mail. A small flat rate box is no problem to pick up among our other envelopes and packages!

You can also leave this in your mailbox for pick-up (put up that red flag!) or drop it off in your local blue USPS drop box. If you’re worried (as I am) about potential damage to the box, just drop it off in-person at the post office.

OR, you can schedule a pick up by following the guidelines via the USPS website.

Quite a few options to select from!

I hope this helps for your packaging needs!



How to Shop on Ebay

In between study sessions, getting violently ill, and preparing for Spring 2012’s horrendous clinical final exam, I was anxiously awaiting the Ebay auction of a J.Crew silk printed clutch.

I absolutely love Ebay. I would say that around 60-75% of my clothing is purchased resale, either through consignment/thrift stores like Crossroads Trading Company, or through online auction sites like Ebay.

Portlandia’s Put A Bird On It  song would have been appropriate for this clutch’s design, but I just loved it! The clutch was inspired by a collection of Italian silk ties for men that J.Crew was heavily promoting. The bags were advertised as being taken straight from the same material, and something about it was very appealing to me. All I could think of what was the juxtaposition of carrying this interesting print with a plain trench coat and some rain boots.

Not every purchase that catches your heart on Ebay will be mainstream fashionable, but that’s what I think Ebay is about! Those little things that make it interesting (and if you do it right, more affordable)

Put a bird on it!

So, I’ve been a fan of the company for a while, and I tend to observe their trends as they come and go.

In this case, I remembered a specific item from a specific time that I liked, and I was lucky enough to narrow down my search on Ebay to try to grab it!

So, some Ebay for beginners:

1. Do a thorough search and find what you like!

What are you hoping to score? A purse? A new dress? A signed copy of your favorite book?

Thankfully, Ebay is good at helping you narrow down by categories.  Once you type in what you’re looking for, generally your search will have suggestions.

If you see in this screen shot, I’ve typed in Banana Republic. From there, it gives suggestions for a variety of Banana Republic items. Since I’m shopping for myself, I can narrow to “Women’s Clothing” and go from there.

EBAYsearch[click on photo to enlarge]

2. Look for items that are within your price range & set your timing by “ending soonest”

If you look in the photo below, I have typed in J.Crew Dress (not pictured) and several options appeared on the screen. Sometimes folks will type out “dress pants” which will show up in your search, even if you’re looking for an actual dress.

From there, set your price range. Keep in mind that Ebay will show this price range at the highest bid at the time you set it. So, if the auction isn’t ending for another 3 days, there may be more bidders which bump the price out of your price range. Shipping cost is NOT included in this setting.

Similarly, by selecting “ending soonest” as your criterion at the top right, you are able to see which auctions are ending within a few minutes, to several days from now.

ebayTIMEandPRICE [click photo to enlarge]

3. Create a Watch List

Once you have seen some fabulous items within your price range( and when their auctions end) put them on your Ebay Watch List (see photo below).

This will help you bid strategically.

In the age of smart phones, I find it very rare that a bid that is place 6 days prior to an auction ending wins. Rather, it is smart to be vigilant and watch your item within the LAST HOUR OF AUCTION’S END.

This may seem a bit extreme, but in our technology age where people can have access to Ebay at their fingertips, bid wars continue into the last few seconds of an online auction…

EBAYWATCH[click on photo to enlarge]

My former roommate was looking at a pair of TOMS shoes (leopard print, super cute!). And she placed her bid earlier in the evening. Unfortunately, the bid was ending around 2:00AM. I urged her to wake up right before the auction ended, just to monitor the highest bids. Thankfully, the bid she had placed was not contested.

However, there are moments when Ebay bids change within seconds. I was watching a skirt that Michelle Obama had worn several years ago.  The bidding price went from $15.00 to $40.00 within ten seconds, and my bid of $25.00 wasn’t even registered in the crossfire! Alas, sometimes this happens.

Generally speaking, I try to think of a maximum amount of money that I would like to bid on the item, and I typically place this maximum towards the end of the auction (within the last 30 seconds or so). This technique may or may not work, depending on the previous bidder’s highest bid. To learn more about what happens when you bid a certain amount, click to this Ebay article about automatic bids. This is the essential process behind what happens differently in an online auction versus what you might see at an in-person auction.

4. Check out the “Buy it Now” sales!

Sometimes, you can find a winning bid, even without an auction!

Still do your search as you normally would and see if any items are within a decent price range.

I hope this has helped you get an idea about how to get out stuff on Ebay!

Feel free to comment with any questions!



The Sunday Blues

This draft started on February 24th, a Sunday…..

Isabel Gillies talked about her mother’s concept of the “Sunday Blues” in her book Happens Every Day (or possibly the follow-up book, A Year and Six Seconds… sorry Isabel!) Her two books chronicle surviving her divorce and the rough adjustment after she moved her children back with her parents.

I found myself strangely drawn to both of her books during the year 2012, possibly foreshadowing my own experience of moving back with my parents post-graduate school. The notion of the Sunday Blues is not unfamiliar, in that I have often felt this tinge of sadness that the weekend has left. Now, when I am separated from so many of my friends (and my boyfriend!), the weekends are more frequently than not just reminders of how little I’ve done over the weekend.

However, this doesn’t mean that I can’t find things to lift up my Sunday spirits. Check out the following:


Back when I was teaching clients DBT at a community mental health center, I often used the technique of indulging in our 5 senses when we’re feeling upset. I always liked having a personal application, so I would talk about frequent trips to Sephora locations just to get a whiff of the latest scents. The following are some perfumes that always lift my mood (even if I can’t afford them yet).

See by Chloe and Prada’s Infusion d’Iris:

[image found here]

[image found here]

If perfume isn’t your thing, maybe a nice candle is a better fix. I feel like adding light is always more calming (and usually cheaper than $50+ for an ounce of scented water).

Stella Mare Candles soy candles are available at Ulta , and you can use those wonderful $3.50 coupons to make it cheaper!

[image found here]


I try not to ascribe too much emotional happiness with specific objects, but having an accessible planner certainly helps me feel put-together.


This item is from Target’s Greenroom collection. I snagged this cutie for under $6.00, check out your local Target to see if they have any!

I love that it meets my two planner criteria:

1. NO line breaks by each hour of everyday. This may work for some people, but it drives me nuts because some days will have cramped mornings, some will have cramped evenings. When planners are organized in this fashion there may not be enough space to write out the details of each meeting or appointment.

2. Both weekly and monthly planning pages. It’s nice to get an outlook on your upcoming week AND your upcoming month.

Library Books- Cookbooks!:

Sundays can mean (at least for me) a day to think about planning meals. Some books, especially if your gracious library has helped you acquire them, can make the process a lot more fun!

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

 [image found here– at the smittenkitchen.com blog!]

This book was on my Christmas wish list, but I was glad that I could spare someone the funds to take a cursory look before committing to a purchase. After this review, I will definitely purchase the book! An attempt at Whole-Lemon Bars did not turn out too well (I fault our cheap food processor), but the other recipes helped me think of veg-tastic dinners.

Cook Yourself Sexy: Easy, Delicious Recipes for the Hottest, Most Confident You by Candice Kumai

 [image found here]

Disclosure: I already own this book, but my first voyage into its content was through a library check-out.

Seriously, what did broke girls do before libraries? We know that Candice Kumai is a big favorite of mine, but her newest book ignites this hipster-trend-setting-foodie vibe in me.

Mainly, I was encouraged by Kumai’s interest in egg-based dishes, something this broke girl can really get use.


I hope this gave you some ideas about cheering up, especially with those notorious Sunday Blues (or any day of the week when you’re feeling down!).




Loving Lilac

I am no stranger to cheap nail polish, and March 1st will help me usher in this new one!

This is Wet n’ Wild’s Bite the Bullet nail polish. Yep, $1.99 folks.


Featured in the background is Stephy Miehle’s Barnes and Noble Notebook, which may not be available online, but may still be in stock at your local B &N.

Ideas Now Wiro Journal (6x 8)

And how could I forget this lovable Sharpie color, with the appropriate name of Lilac:


Sharpie Pen Style Permanent Marker - Marker Point Style: Point - Ink Color: Lilac - 1 Each


Happy March 1st!