Monday, January 24, 2011

Crafting Area Overhaul!

Hehehe, I totally copied and pasted this post from my crafting blog
So much for crafting today... I decided to move my crafting area! Why you might ask? Because I used to feel the need to craft in front of the TV but then realized that I actually like crafting to just music. I also got used to using a normal desktop computer that was sitting oh so nicely on our dining room table that surfing the web on my little netbook laptop just wasn't cutting it anymore. My eyes get tired! 
This is my original crafting area. I know it's impossible to actually see where I craft but I sit in between all the stuff so I just swivel back and forth to get paper/stamps etc. Directly in front of me (and Jamie in the photo) would be the TV. 
That desk to the left is where I wanted to have my new crafting area. That desk is about 10 years old already and I've been meaning to sell it but then I figured I really like the pullout keyboard tray. 
It might not look idea because the desk hutch is sorta hanging out in the middle of nowhere but for now, it'll have to do. Jamie started talking about building a wall behind it... Yah, like we don't have enough projects on the go...
I only managed to set up the computer and the biggest accomplishment of the evening? Since the desk was 10 years old, it had accumulated a lot of crap in the drawers. I mean stuff from like junior high school/high school that I've stored in there. I found super old "Best Friend" jewelry where I have the "Best" portion. I even found my old Visa receipts stapled together from 2002, sorted by month!!! I know it doesn't look very different from pictures 3 and 4, but trust me. Jamie even called me out on not going through that desk when we moved almost 4 years ago. I just hauled the entire thing over from my parents straight into the UHaul, into the basement. At one point in the night, I had to get Jamie to stand there and remind me to throw things away because I am a mega pack-rat. More sorting needs to be done tomorrow because if I don't, I have nowhere to craft!!! 

Invitation Mock-Up #2

First off, there are no pictures because who wants to ruin the surprise? I had made a sample invite a few weeks ago and found it a little too simple and it actually is the exact replica of my friend, Amber's. The reason I wanted to make that specific invite was because it is the most efficient use of card stock and printing paper. I could print 3 invites on each sheet whereas if I were to make a square invite, I could only print one invite per sheet. Definitely not cost effective. Those who have been to any of my crafting workshops know that I hate wasting paper. I save every little scrap for future use. 

Yesterday I sat down for a few hours and recreated the printed portion of our invitations so we could print portrait instead of landscape. I finally sat down today and spent 2 hours coming up with a mock-up of another style of invite. **Edit** Jamie is upset that I didn't mention that the style of the invite is his idea. I just sat down and made the invite sample. **End edit** I absolutely LOVE it! At first, I was going to just settle with the first invite because it's cost and labour efficient. I asked Jamie what he thought of it and his response was, "I'm okay with it. You're the card person." I really took that to heart because I am a paper crafter and what better time to use those paper crafting skills than for the invitations to my very own wedding?!? 

So the new invitation is way more work and uses more of everything (printing paper, card stock, glue, time) but I'm very very excited about it! Can't wait to show Jamie when he comes home and start ordering supplies once I get the okay. =) I'm glad I got something accomplished today. Off to do some non-wedding related crafting now! 

Six-seed Soda Bread

I've been following the 101Cookbooks for some time now and I love the recipes she has on there not only because the photos are gorgeous, but because her recipes are healthy! I attempted to make her version of Six-seed Soda Bread yesterday morning.
The recipe is super easy. I didn't have any spelt flour so I just used whole wheat instead. I also didn't have a lot of the seeds that she used. 
What I did have ended up being flax seed, poppy seed, black sesame seeds and some 8 grain cereal. I ended up with way too much of the seed mixture because I forgot that the seeds she uses are big compared to many of the ones I used. You can kind of see the bowl on the right there with all the leftover seeds. 
I love how easily the dough came together. My one mistake was probably not flattening the dough out enough before putting it in the oven. I used a baking stone and both Jamie and I had no idea how to tell if the bread was done or not! So we took it out at 30 minutes but the middle was still sorta raw so we ate the slice we cut and popped the rest back into the oven with the residual heat. 
The crust was surprisingly delicious! The middle, not so much for me. Probably because we under-baked it but it just tasted like flour. It was also a bit dense but that is probably because I used skim milk with vinegar instead of buttermilk. It didn't look "sour" when I used it but didn't want to add anymore vinegar. The seeds were very cheap from Superstore in the bulk section and it literally took just minutes to prep. If you've never baked bread before, give this recipe a go! 

More Late Night Ice Cream!

One would guess that I might be pregnant if they didn't know me! I've been eating a lot of bad things late at night. Perhaps it's because my period is coming... Or I just subconsciously want to gain weight? Yeah. Right. I've started coming down with another little cold (it'll be my 6th bout of illness since October!) so I was too lazy to fry up some bananas. Instead, I just hacked it up straight into the container and drizzled some chocolate syrup on it. Was it as satisfying? No. Did I regret not frying the bananas? Yes. Did I still inhale the darn thing? Sadly, yes.  

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Turducken for Friendsgiving!

Jessica at work had a little gathering of friends and called it Friendsgiving. That's what it felt like yesterday at Newell & Julie's house. We had all been talking about trying this little invention called a Turducken. A chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey. Sounds deliciously disgusting doesn't it? We were planning to do this for Christmas but with all the snowstorms happening, we kept delaying cooking the monstrous bird(s). Newell ordered it from... somewhere and they de-bone all 3 birds and even throw in a bit of cranberry stuffing. It was hard pulling it out of the roasting pan because of the lack of bones. It sliced up like a dream with his electric knife and it was moist and flavorful. 
Jamie and I agreed that although it was tasty, we would rather have our birds separate. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

I have the wrong number?

I just wanted to share a quick bedtime story because it cracks me up and we all know going to bed happy means you wake up happy. 

A piece of background information for you before I tell the story. Jamie's mom, Ngoc, likes sleeping in. I don't mean sleeping in like how I sleep in till 12 but she likes to get her beauty rest till about 9:00-10:00 AM. We were at Jamie's parents for supper a few weeks ago and his parents live in Millwoods. Now I'm not being racist here but we all know there are a lot of East Indian homeowners in Millwoods. I'm not even exaggerating! The neighbors on his parents' either side are both East Indian. One day, the neighbor on their left comes a knocking and asks to borrow their phone because hers was broken. Being nice neighbors, of course Jamie's parents said yes. 

Fast forward a week. It's about 6:30 AM and Ngoc's phone rings. Worried that it may be an emergency since the call was so early, she crawls out of bed to the phone. Now I'll try to tell the story of how Ngoc told us. 

"Oooooyyyy!!! They call me and ask for Indian! They call sooooo earleee oooyyyy. Make me mad! She use the phone and all these people call my house. I get mad! I tell them I NOT INDIAN!!! I VIETNAMESE! I MAD and I say that! I NOT INDIAN!"

Cracks. Me. Up. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Ginger Soup

So what did I decide to do on a cold miserable snowy weekend? Stay indoors? Oh no no. Quite the opposite actually. I woke up Saturday and looked out the kitchen window to see beautiful snowflakes falling. Rundle Park looked gorgeous. So gorgeous that I decided to drag Jamie and Khuno out in the bitter cold to take some engagement photos! Who took the pictures you might ask? Well, we did. I'll post about what happened another day. So after coming in from the cold, I wanted some nice warm soup and recalled Arlie having some butternut carrot soup for lunch one day. 
This half a butternut squash is from January 3rd's dinner. That thing sat on our counter for probably 2 days before I threw it into the fridge for hibernation. Did I ever mention how amazing our new fridge is? It keeps produce edible for almost forever! I'm not kidding! Check out this zucchini! 
Not a word of a lie. That poor thing sat in the veggie compartment for almost 5 weeks. F-I-V-E!!! I never did eat it although I'm sure I could have if I were really hungry and craving zucchini. Now back to this soup I was making. I poked around on allrecipes and found this recipe. I didn't follow it exactly. Come to think of it, do we ever follow recipes exactly? I decided to roast everything in the oven because I think that's what Arlie said she did. 
Coat everything in a bit of canola oil (I've learned that I hate the taste of extra virgin olive oil) and roast. I put it in the oven at 350 but realized after a little while that it wasn't going to caramelize the veggies the way I wanted so I cranked it up to 425. 
I just realized how awful the picture looks. The colors are neon orange to super bad in the roasted picture. I can assure you, I am not a very good photographer but both photographs are of the same veggies. I threw all that into a pot of water and let it boil for a bit. Then Jamie blended it up with the Bamix. I asked him if a Vitamix would be able to make the soup feel like a cloud because Penny's Vitamix sure made our avocado shakes taste like clouds. We both agreed that it likely could but we can't afford a $600 blender and we were both way too lazy to strain it so grainy soup it was! Grainy and delicious!  
Now to go with our soup, we made some quinoa with peas (not very tasty this time around) and a beet salad. This is the recipe I always go back to but I never have all the ingredients. Our salad tonight consisted of only beets, onion, avocado and toasted almonds. We also needed to improvise the dressing: 
-juice of 1 lemon
-1 tbsp of dijon mustard
-a few splashes of red wine vinegar
-a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
-a few squeezes of honey
-a pinch of celery seeds

Jamie wanted to try some raw beets so he sliced some up and we both gagged a bit. Maybe it's because the beets are over 2 weeks old, but they were quite bitter. So he decided to make beet chips! 
All he did was throw them in the oven after I was done roasting the veggies and let the residual heat cook them. When they looked dried and shriveled, he pulled them out and sprinkled some salt. 
Don't they look appetizing? You're right, they actually weren't. But they did look pretty sitting on top of the soup! 

Sunday Pot Stickers

We had some leftover ground pork in the fridge so Jamie decided to whip up some pot stickers. The dough is super simple. Just flour and water. He just adds enough water to make a dough and kneads it till it's smooth. Then he rolls it into a long skinny log and then cuts off small bits that he forms into balls and rolls out into thin circles. I'm not really sure he knows what to season the meat with but he always mixes in some tofu. And no, not to stretch the meat. It actually helps create a smoother texture for the meat. 
To cook the little dumplings of love, heat some oil in a flat pan. Place all the dumplings in the pan to create a nice browned sear. Once you're happy with the color on the bottoms of the dumplings, add in water to cover approximately 1/3 of the dumplings and cover. The steam will cook the dumplings. Once it all evaporates, feel free to move the dumplings around to sear all sides. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to move the dumplings with the water in the pan. You'll tear the skins. We dip these babies in a sauce made from soy sauce, red vinegar (found in the Asian aisle or white vinegar is fine) and Sambal hot sauce. Slice in some julienned fresh ginger and enjoy! I can eat these suckers everyday as long as there's enough ginger. Have a great Sunday!  

Ice Cream At 11 PM??

You betcha! Good for the waistline? Absolutely not! But I was looking for a little snack and what better snack then some caramelized bananas on top of vanilla ice cream? 
It might not look super tasty but trust me. If you've never tried it, you must. Now. Tonight. I don't have any actual measurements but just throw some butter into a pan, slice in some bananas and sprinkle on some brown sugar. The key is low heat. Jamie made it once and burnt the bajeebes out of it. It tasted like butt. 
So after about 15 minutes tending to my little bananers, I cranked the heat at the end just to create a bit of crunch on the outside. Remember to cook the bananas thoroughly till they're almost transparent. 
Place the little mounds of yumminess on top of some vanilla ice cream and enjoy! I inhaled mine in approximately 2 minutes, literally. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wedding Dress Is PURCHASED!!!

So back on November 27th, I booked an appointment at Novelle Bridal for my very first day of dress shopping. Liz had mentioned that she had previously tried on this amazing dress that she thought I might like. We ended up choosing a whole bunch of dresses to try on as I'm sure every bride to be does. Well, if you've ever watched "Say Yes To The Dress", I committed a cardinal sin! They always warn soon-to-be-brides to stay within their budget and not try on dresses that are out of their price range. You're playing with fire! Plain and simple. 

My consultant was a new girl that had started at Novelle, Diana. She put the 5-6 gowns aside that we had chosen and gave me a final warning, "You do know this dress is out of your price range right?" Now my budget was $1000. I was willing to go $1500 tops if I really loved it. So I really have no idea what I was thinking trying on a gown that is $2675. I stepped into it, zipped it up and Diana came in with those magical red clamps. Perhaps it was those magical red clamps or it was just before my period but I took one look in the mirror and thought beautiful as tears started to well up. Of course I stopped my sappy self from having a full blown tear fest and told myself I'm being ridiculous because it was the first dress I had tried on! I recall half the girls that were with me were busy looking at bridesmaid dresses when I emerged from the dressing room, but that didn't matter because I was so engrossed in the amazing dress! It wasn't until Diana said, "Your friends are missing this!" that they realized I had stepped out. After trying on the rest of the dresses, I ended up going back to the first dress. The thought of getting married in the dress once again brought some tears to my eyes as I stood in on the little platform looking into the large mirror. We tried it on with a beautiful veil and I was so ready to make the purchase had it not been $2675!!! I still remember LeBao (who also watches Say Yes To The Dress!) ask me, "Sandy is this your dress?" and I managed to cut myself off at "Y......It's so expensive!" 

So after trying on what felt like a million dresses, I just couldn't get the first dress out of my mind. Deep down I totally knew that nothing would compare so I toyed with the idea of getting a replica made of it in China. I scoured Ebay and even Etsy and DHGate to find a vendor. For $200 USD, it was worth the gamble to potentially save $2475! That was until Wednesday January 12! I was poking around on the designer's website as I've religiously started doing and on their front page loaded this: 
Ahhh! I was ecstatic! *click click click* for an appointment!!! I was disappointed when I realized it was only applicable for US residents. I was so desperate for a call from one of their associates I even took a friend's address and used it. They never did call me back. Maybe the 780 area code tipped them off. I called Novelle immediately after trying to schedule an appointment in the States and asked Angel (the store owner) if they were also having 20% off that designer's gowns. She didn't even realize they were having the sale so she was going to call the States and get back to me. 

The next day I decide to call a Calgary store, Evalina Couture, to see if they have the 20% off. Unfortunately, they don't even carry the line anymore. So I get a message from Angel and give Novelle a call back. I speak to Diana and she explained to me that the prices in the US are actually about the same as Novelle even with the discount but Angel was willing to give me 15% off. I book an appointment to go in to try the dress on again and although I'm sure she's not lying, the Asian in me needed to call the US to confirm. I harass Jamie to find a state that is in the same time zone and I ended up calling Montana. 

The store did indeed have the dress I wanted only for the duration of the trunk show annual bridal event. The price tag: $3343! My jaw dropped! Take 20% off of $3343 and you end up with $2675! I guess Angel wasn't lying after all. For her to offer me an additional 15% despite the price being the same, was very gracious of her. She explained that she couldn't give me the 20% because they need to budget in shipping costs for the store. 

I am still amazed that the first dress is the one I decided to go with. If you go watch Say Yes To The Dress clips, the clip called First Dress Knock Out, you'll hear a neat stat from the sales director. Approximately 85% of brides choose one of the first 3 dresses that they try on. My best friend, Liz, ended up choosing the 3rd dress she had tried on. As for myself... Yesterday with my 2 closest friends, my brother and sister-in-law by my side, I made the big purchase!!! Wahooo!! The first gown was the knock out gown! Now we wait... and do all the other ten million things that weddings require us to do. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Make Up For Ever Amazing $400 Giveaway!!!

I've been following the Beauty Crazed blog for some time now and they have an amazing giveaway!!! Can you imagine winning all these goodies?!? It's super super simple! Just visit the Beauty Crazed blog and leave a comment saying what's your favorite MUFE product or which product you'd like to try most. I absolutely LOVE the Aqua Eyes eyeliners and use it everyday. Go! Go now! 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Wedding Planning or Crochet?

I chose crochet. My brain is getting a little bit overwhelmed with all this wedding planning business. The more poking around on the web I do, the more I want to DIY, the more I stress. So I've decided to focus on 2 things right now: the wedding dress and invitations. Instead of doing either of those two things though, I decided to learn to crochet. Penny taught me a while back but then I left it for so long, I forgot! So Jamie's mom and sister taught me how to do basic crocheting. 
I had no idea what I was going for. I just started a couple rows and figured since it was going well, I'd just continue! So about half way through I decided to make a dishcloth. 
I even finished off all the edges so it'd look more polished hehehe! I just realized that the colors look so different in the photos. The top photo is closer to the real color. 
I had no idea how to "pose" the dishcloth so Jamie told me to put it by dishes! Hahahah it looks a bit ridiculous but oh well! Jamie tried crocheting as well but he's more into knitting. I know, so manly. He's trying to make me a scarf! 
It's cabled on both sides so there's no right and wrong side. So the two of us are wasting time and doing needlecraft instead of wedding planning. Just great. 

Deep Freeze Festival 2011

Well it's a blizzard in Edmonton but it's finally stopped snowing. Now the bitter cold will set in. Today my best friend, Liz, found her wedding dress! I'm very excited for her and she looks simple and elegant, exactly what she wanted. I found a 2nd place dress and for $1000 less, it's a close 2nd. I do need to try on the 1st place dress again because it's been a very long time. Just as Liz figured out today, she first tried on this dress in September! After all the wedding stuff, I managed to drag Jamie and Khuno to the Deep Freeze Festival. We didn't get there till about 5 pm and so it was pretty empty from both the weather and lateness. I did manage to snap a few pictures. This first one is of the cool ice sculpting that was going on. 
Can you tell what it is? I'm sure by tomorrow all the sculptures will look amazing, especially this little dino! Definitely one of the coolest! Next picture is this neat-o chair that was carved out of snow! The picture sucks but you get the gist of it! 
Khuno had WAY too much fun. There were so many new things to explore. At one point he managed to poke his head into this tiny 2 foot wide gap in between 2 buildings and both Jamie and I go, "Ew!" and of course we both know humans must pee in that little space. That's probably what attracted Khuno there in the first place! Last couple of pics here. I stopped by the farmer's market they had going on and picked up some SWEET mittens. 
The company is called Sew Cozy Mittens and she sews these mittens out of recycled felted wool sweaters! How cool is that?!? I love the retro-ness of the designs and I also love how FAT they are! They are seriously like little oven mitts! She didn't just have retro patterns though folks. There were also some colorful ones and solid colored ones. For a mere $25, I just couldn't resist. And as she oh so nicely pointed out, my current Vancouver 2010 Olympic mittens have a huge gaping hold. I love the feel of them so much I bought a pair for Jamie! 
This pair is not nearly as nice (especially in the photo) but it was the most masculine pair there. Conveniently, they fit my hands too! And yes, Jamie and I have the same sized hands. I have long fingers and he has a longer palm so we even out to the same length. Since the mittens are so oven mitt like, it even fits Jamie's ridiculously wide palms! Sew Cozy Mittens currently does not have a table at the farmer's market but she said she is planning on setting up one. Definitely check her out or if you're just itching to buy a pair, you can email her at 
Now if you happened to click on the first mitten picture and noticed a long white pubic hair like thing on the mitten, I just wanted to clarify that it is Khuno fur. And no, our pubes are not white. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Epic Battle with Bell Mobility

Here is the tale of my epic battle with Bell Mobility. It's going to be a lengthy post so feel free to skim. Lets start at the very beginning. 

December 2, 2007
Jamie and I are roaming West Edmonton Mall and we happen to stroll into a Wireless Wave etc. Both our cell phone contracts were done and a couple friends of mine from work at the time had negotiated sweet deals because we were part of our union. The salesman was Adam. He was super smooth and sold both Jamie and I a phone. Jamie got the HTC Touch with a sweet internet data plan. It would only cost him $10 for unlimited while he was paying like $30 on Telus. I got suckered into a Motorola Rokr. The plan for me was $30 which included 200 daytime minutes, unlimited evenings/weekends starting at 6 pm, texting, voicemail, call display and all that other calling jazz. We also both decided to buy the Phone Protection Plan. It was explained to us by Adam that it costs $70 and if we don't use it within 3 years, we get our money back. Sounds like a good deal. Fast forward now...

December 2009
Jamie buys me a new phone for Christmas because the Rokr is absolute CRAP. And I've tried getting it fixed several times and called Bell many many times but nothing has helped. Wireless Wave finally said they need to send the phone in but they don't have any loaner phones for me to borrow and they don't know how long it'd take for the phone to be fixed because it was a software issue. The new phone is a Nokia N97 in white, which he ordered from the States because Canada doesn't carry white. I was excited but also a bit upset that he had spent $400 on a new phone when I was still stuck on contract with Bell. He was clever though and got my # onto a sim card which we stuck into my new phone. Within the first week of using it, it was already glitchy. It got to the point where we couldn't even turn it on. We called Nokia about the manufacturers warranty but they said because we purchased it across the border, the warranty is void. GAYNESS. We finally got the phone working again and I was able to live with it until about 2 months ago. It would drop every single phone call I made and say "Connection Error". My phone calls with friends became, "Just to warn you, my phone is going to disconnect so talk f....BEEP Connection Error". $*#()*@FJDKS*()#& So upsetting! Fast forward again...

December 28, 2010
We're heading over to Jamie's parents for supper and had left the house early. I knew it had been 3 years and I wanted to get our money back for the Protection Plan that we bought in 2007. There happened to be a Wireless Wave at Millwoods Town Center so we stopped in there. The salesman told us that we can only get the money back as credit to use in store and he wasn't able to authorize it because only his manager knew how. If we were to put the credit towards a new phone, however, then he could do it for us. He told us what plans were offered and the best rate was Virgin Mobile. The plan was still more than what I wanted to pay, considering Wind Mobile had an awesome deal for $40. So I decided to hold off and call Bell to negotiate a better deal. That night I get on the phone with Bell and here's our conversation. 
Bell: For service in English, please say English. 
Sandy: English... Hahah I won't go through all of that but I just hate the voice system... 
Sandy: My contract has expired and I'd like to see what data plans Bell has to offer. 
Bell: (Outsourced to India I'm sure because this person had an accent) Our cheapest data plan is $50. 
Sandy: I've been a customer with Bell for 3 years and I'm looking for a cheaper plan than that. 
Bell: There is nothing I can do for you. You'll have to talk to Cancellations. 
I get transferred to the Cancellations/Retention department. 
Bell: What are you looking for in your plan. 
Sandy: Early start unlimited evenings/weekends, texting, data. 
Bell: We have a promotion right now for $50. 
Sandy: I'm looking to pay no more than $40. 
Bell: There are no plans out there for $40 that includes data. 
Sandy: There is. Wind Mobile has one. 
Bell: Wind Mobile does not have the coverage that Bell does. They have dropped calls all the time. 
Sandy: I get dropped calls on Bell and my fiance has Wind. The coverage he gets is fine. I'm not concerned with coverage because I don't travel often. I'm concerned with the price of the plan. 
Bell: The best I can offer you is $45 for 350 daytime minutes, early unlimited evenings/weekends, unlimited texting, voicemail, call display and 500 mb of data. 
Sandy: I don't need 350 daytime minutes. Can you cut that down to 200 and lower the price? 
Bell: *Sigh of irritation* Let me put you on hold. 
Bell: I can do $40.50 a month. 
Sandy: That's with a 3 year contract on a new phone? 
Bell: Yes. Just go to any Bell store or kiosk and they will see the note on your file. 
Sandy: Perfect. Thank you. 
Bell: Have a good day CLICK. 

December 29, 2010
The next day we're heading to Jamie's relatives for supper which is close to Millwoods Town Center so we stop by again. The same salesman is working. 
Sandy: I got a better rate so I'd like to use my credit towards a new phone. He said you can see the rate plan on my file. 
Salesman: I don't actually see anything on your file. Only Bell stores can access that information. 
Sandy: So how do I use my credit if I need to go to a Bell store. 
Salesman: Hmm... You're right... Actually you the credit can only be used on accessories. 
Sandy: You said I can apply it towards a new phone. 
Salesman: Let me check... Yes you're right. You can use it for a phone but only my manager can do that and he's out of the country till early January. Oh wait, maybe the assistant manager knows how to do it. 
So we wait while the assistant manager finishes up his phone call. 
Salesman: You know what? Actually the protection plan you bought 3 years ago, it's a 3+1. It's only in the last 2 years that the plans are 2+1. 
Sandy: What do you mean 3+1? 
Salesman: Well that means your protection plan is 3+1 years, so you can't use the credit for another year. 
Sandy: No where on this contract (Yes I had the original contract, receipt and Adam's card stapled to it) does it say 3+1. The salesman told me if I don't use it within 3 years, I get my money back. 
Salesman: Well Adam is now the sales manager at the West Edmonton location so you can talk to him if you'd like. 
Sandy: Oh you can be sure I will. 

December 30, 2010
So we drive all the way from home (east) to West Edmonton Mall. I'm so ready to have a good yelling at Adam and I'm hoping he's working. Sure enough, Mr. Adam is working. Unfortunately he's busy with a customer so I deal with the other salesman. I told Jamie I was going to play the nice card first and pretend it was my first time trying to get the credit back. We all know being mean doesn't get you far. 
Sandy: We bought phone protection plans 3 years ago and we'd like to use the credit towards a new phone. 
Salesman: Yup no problem. Do you have a phone in mind. 
Sandy: Yes, the iPhone4. 
Salesman: Yup no problem. 
Sandy: I'd like to apply both credits towards one phone. 
Salesman: You can apply one or both. Whatever you'd like. 
Sandy: I negotiated a plan with Bell and you guys can't see it on my file. How do I activate the plan? 
Adam: We just add on a data plan so that we can activate your phone and you just need to call Bell afterwards and they can switch it over for you. Here, take these Tim Horton's gift cards and get yourselves some coffee. We'll get the paperwork ready for you. We're out of stock for the iPhone but can order it for you from Millwoods or you can pick it up. 
So we get our coffee and I'm telling Jamie I can't even be mad at Adam because he's so fricking slick. 
Adam: So I've called Millwoods and they have a phone ready for you. Just stop by and show them the receipt. Because you're doing a hardware upgrade, there's a one time $35 fee. 
Sandy: No one mentioned this fee. 
Adam: Well if you want, you can try calling Bell to see if they can waive it. There's nothing we can do about it in store. 
So we drive all the way from the west back to southeast Edmonton and the same dang salesman is working at Wireless Wave. 
Salesman: So did you talk to Adam? 
Sandy: Yup. 
Salesman: Was he able to do anything. 
Sandy: Yup, no questions asked. We're here to pick up a phone. 
Salesman: Oh the phone is for you? 
So later that night, I call Bell. I sit on hold for 15 minutes and talk to the representative. I tell him that when I had negotiated the plan, they said there would be nothing else to pay. He looks over my file and says there's no note on this fee being waived and I'll need to get transferred to the department that I negotiated with. So I sit on hold for another 3 minutes and he comes back to tell me the department is closed and to call back tomorrow. Until I give the "ok" for this fee, they can't switch my plan over. 

December 31, 2010 
I call Bell Mobility and sit on hold for 20 minutes. TWENTY!!! Finally get through to a representative and I have to explain the whole situation to this outsourced representative in India. After she looks through my file, she comes back to tell me she doesn't see any notes on the file and tells me I need to be transferred. So another 3 minutes on hold and she comes back to tell me the department is closed for New Years. WTF. It's 9 am!!! So I'm left with nothing else to do but call back later. 

January 3, 2011
I call Bell Mobility (starting to sound redundant yet?) and do the same routine all over again. Except this time I'm speaking to someone with no accent. Same story explained, nothing noted on my file, transferred to the department that is finally open!
Representative: How can I help you today?
: I just got a new phone a few days ago and negotiated a new plan but there's been some conflict about the hardware upgrade fee. 
Representative: What is the conflict? 
Sandy: When I was negotiating the plan, I was told that the hardware upgrade fee would be waived and there's nothing noted on my file. 
Representative: Let me take a look...Do you remember what plan you negotiated? 
Sandy: I spew out the plan. 
Representative: Yup, that's all it shows on here. Looks like you spoke with someone on the 29th and they tried to transfer you but the department was closed. 
Sandy: I was debating between getting the Samsung Galaxy or the iPhone4 and the guy said if I signed for 3 years with the iPhone4, he would waive the fee because the phone is more expensive. 
Representative: Ok. I also see here that you're still on your corporate plan. Did you want me to activate your new plan? 
Sandy: Well they didn't activate it because I had to talk to you guys about the upgrade fee. 
Representative: Let me put you on hold. 
And so he goes on to tell me how he has to do all this work to swap plans out and I'll be on hold for 5 minutes but to not hang up the phone. 3 minutes later, he comes back to make sure I'm still on the phone. 2 minutes later he comes back and tells me he'll waive the fee and the plan is good to go. Overall, Frank did a great job. He was fast, to the point and even helped me out with a few other things. 

So at the end of this battle, what happened? 
Days spent:5
Trips to Millwoods Town Center:3
Drives to WEM:1
Tanks of gas guzzled: likely 2
Calls to Bell: 4
Lies told: 1
Fees waived: 1
Minutes of my life wasted on hold:immeasurable. 

What did I win? 
An iPhone4 that cost $28.09 (plus the $139.90 that we paid for the Phone Protection Plan 3 years ago) and a monthly plan of $40.50 which includes data that I'll need to pay for the next 3 years. 
Maybe I didn't actually win... 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sunday Dinner

We invited Jamie's family over for supper tonight because it was her last night in the city. We stopped off at Costco for a roast and came out with a $200 bill! $50 of it was for Cold FX. We had some old potatoes and an old butternut squash that we needed to use up. I have never known how to properly peel a butternut squash. I'm not even sure if you're supposed to. I ended up hacking at it and wasting a lot of flesh. That bump at the bottom is really hard to peel! If anyone has any tips, please let me know! 
I was excited to attempt Yorkshire puddings. I have tried these suckers many times and have failed over and over again. Even though I fail, I always have fun trying because all the recipes are super simple. I decided to try this recipe on allrecipes. I left everything out on the counter to warm up to room temperature. I also added a pinch of salt. I also turned the temperature down to 350F after 10 minutes and had the oven rack on the lowest rack. I was SO excited that they actually rose! 
Our oven light is broken so I had to sneak quick peeks in the oven to make sure they were cooked. Took about 25-30 minutes. I really don't actually remember. 
After dinner, we played cards Vietnamese style. =) I'm not even sure what the game is called but it's almost like a Vietnamese version of Mahjong. And if you're not sure what Mahjong is... Well... It's a Chinese thing. After a couple hours of cards, I was craving something sweet so I decided to whip up a batch of brownies! I cut the recipe in half. I just use the recipe that comes on the box of Baker's Chocolate. 
It baked in almost half the time! And we topped off the hot brownies with a bit ol' scoop of vanillie ice cream! Delish! I'm pretty sure my belly was sad and happy at the same time. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Eve Party

Jamie and I didn't have any real plans for New Year's Eve. We decided to hang out with my brother and SIL because they were going to just sit at home. We figured we can bring the dog and sit at their place with them, have a few drinks and spend the night. We brought along Khuno and some drinks and made the trek over to the other end of the city. Our supper consisted of pizza, cheesy chicken macaroni and ribs. I was totally meated out. A quiet night turned out to be quite the party as a few of their friends decided to come to the "party" house. After supper we played a game called...Ping Pong? I have no idea... Basically you split up into two teams and take turns trying to throw ping pong balls into the other team's cups. If you get the ball in, the person you were up against has to drink and the cup gets taken away. Once all cups are taken away, the losing team has to drink. 
Then we decided to play Power Hour. A very simple game. All you do is take a shot of beer every minute for an hour. I don't think I've ever lasted more than 20 minutes but this was a special occasion. I had to bail out at 34 minutes. The timer I'm holding was counting down from 60 minutes but I started it 2 minutes late. The buy out option if you were to bail out is 2 shots of vodka for girls and 3 for boys. Cynthia was smart and bought out early. I wasn't as smart. Nor was Jamie. 
Then we decided to play a game called Flippy Cup. I have no pictures of this intense game. You split off into two teams and it's a relay of drinking. You gulp your drink and "flip" your cup until it stands on the wide end. Then the next person starts. The team that finishes first wins and of course, the losing one drinks. 
Then we decided to play Kinect on the Xbox? The game where you're the controller. And lastly we busted out some good old Ride The Bus. It's a bit lengthy to describe but when Rob asked me what does "Ride the bus" mean... I told him, "You basically die a little bit if you ride the bus." He understood why after one round. 
Hopefully everyone had a Happy New Year. May your resolutions work out and you're happy and healthy this upcoming year.