Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Tragic Loss

Last night was a busy "before the holiday" kind of night. I was busy making a cheesecake, some jello salad and an appetizer. The counter was covered and dishes were everywhere. I enlisted my son's help to wrap up birthday gifts for my grandmother, whose birthday is today. He picked out the gift bags and coordinated tissue and wrapped up each item with love. Earlier in the afternoon, I wrote a blog post about Thanksgiving to be posted today and mentioned how thankful I was to have my grandmother.

During all this activity, I received a call from my mother just before 11 pm and I could immediately tell something was wrong when she said my name. The nursing home had called her to tell her to come right away. Then they called again to say my grandmother had already passed away. It seems her heart may have stopped. She passed away quickly.

About 14 months ago, she had a heart attack at home (she lived alone) and then was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. At her age (late 80's) she was not a candidate for any surgery to repair her heart. She was admitted to a nursing home when she was discharged from the hospital. In the past 14 months she had a rebirth of sorts. She made lots of friends and participated in all the activities. She made a best friend in another resident named Margaret who is a sweetheart. They played cards all the time and talked about drinking a beer together, although I don't think they ever did. Her group of friends were known as the "Lollipop Gang" at the nursing home for their routine of eating DumDum suckers during bingo each Sunday. She never wanted to miss any of the bingo games. We had photos of her smiling! It was a side of her we had not seen before. And we basked in it. The staff at the nursing home loved her and treated her wonderfully. She was determined to walk without a walker and she did. We were so happy to see her happy. There were times recently that she expressed a desire to leave and go back home, but I think she knew that would not happen as she could not live alone. I think she missed her house and neighbors.

When my paternal grandmother passed away many years ago, I had deep regret. Mostly that I had selfishly not spent enough time with her. I was younger then but that's no excuse. That pain stays with me to this day. And I learned a hard lesson from her passing. With my maternal grandmother I can honestly say that I have so many happy memories with her and she knew how much I really loved her. I have no regrets this time.

It is amazing how many tears can come out of one person. My eyes are so swollen and puffy and my head hurts. One of the things I wish I could change about myself is my depth of emotion. I am so emotional. I couldn't sleep and have been writing a eulogy in my head for hours so I thought I would get up and start typing away. When the pain is not so fresh, I will write more. I just had to get this off my chest.

Our Thanksgiving dinner is planned for 2 pm today but I don't know what we are doing yet. I think grandma would still want us to get together. I am just not sure we can handle it. I have not talked to anyone yet this morning.

When you are with your family today for Thanksgiving, hug them tight!
And give thanks that you have them. Don't have regrets for things unsaid and undone.

Love to you all.

Grandma, Mom, Me - October 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to You!

What are you thankful for?

I hope everyone can think of many things to be thankful for this year. My grandmother is celebrating her birthday on Thanksgiving Day and I know I am very thankful that she is alive and well! Also, I am happy to have a wonderful husband and son, a close knit family, my health and a good job. I realize that I am lucky and I count my blessings.

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving, however you chose to spend it. And lots of leftovers!

Gift Giving Ideas for the Holidays

If you need ideas for the holidays, please visit my etsy shop for the perfect gift!

Most items are priced under $20.

Beginning today through Cyber Monday 11/30, I will offer a free gift with each purchase.

Click here to visit my Creative Eye Studio shop! And thanks for looking!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008 - Poor Customer Service

If you go to you will see at the top of their webpage they announce that you can choose three free samples with every order. This offer and the free robe for buying perfume made me want to make a purchase.

I ordered and selected my samples. Rec'd my order and no samples. Tried to contact ulta customer service. They do not answer the phone when you call their 800 #. You die on hold and they suggest you go to their webpage. Sounded like a good idea. Went there clicked on "contact us" and the maze began. When you click the "email us" button, you don't get an email. You get a list of 50+ questions that maybe you can read through instead of emailing them. Yeah right. They make it very hard to communicate with them.

So I disregard all the roadblocks and finally send an email which is actually a thread on their page.

Here is the chain. It's not so much about the samples, it's that they tell me I am one of thousands of orders and they don't have time to ship them out. That's after they suggest that maybe I never added them to my cart. That's funny, they were listing on my packing list!!

Customer 11/21/2008 09:38 AM
I received my order today. Order #A105365160. Everything looks great, but I did not receive my 3 free samples. Can you send those to me?

Kim Ries

Auto-Response 11/21/2008 09:38 AM

Response (Christine B.) 11/21/2008 04:26 PM
Novenber 21, 2008

Dear Kim,

Unless you had added the 3 samples to your shopping bag, we are unable to send out any samples due to number of orders coming in at this time of the year. I do apologize, but if you did not add them to the original order we are unable to send any out. This is coming from the Director of Shipping.


Guest Services


Customer 11/22/2008 04:43 PM
I did add these items to my bag. They show up on my packing list. It seems you should be able to see them on my order. I did not receive them and would like them to be shipped. That was one of the reasons I placed my order. Thank you.

Kim Ries

Response (Christine B.) 11/22/2008 05:38 PM
November 22, 2008

Dear Ulta Guest,

I sent an email to the shipping department asking to ship out the samples that are shown on your order. The shhipping director apologized that the items were not placed in your order. Unfortuantely, because we are receving thousands of orders. He stated that we are unable to ask to send out samples to guests.

Unfortuantely, I am not able to send out those samples at this time.

Guest Services


Customer 11/24/2008 08:37 AM
It seems very misleading to have on your website that you can choose three free samples. And then you don't send them. It was Ulta's mistake and you are not doing what you said you would do. That's bad business. I don't really care that you have thousands of orders. In fact, if you treat customers this way, I would think that your "thousands of orders" will be dwindling.

You can advise your shipping director that I will take my business elsewhere in the future. Your customer service is very lacking. And I plan to post this to my blog and let everyone know.


Response (Christine B.) - 11/24/2008 12:43 PM
November 24, 2008

Dear Ulta Guest,

I do apologize; however, these are the corporate rules coming from the
Shipping Director. I cannot override his decision, especially since they are
free items. I do apologize, but I am following the corporate rules.


Guest Services

Obviously those in charge (namely the "shipping director") don't care much about keeping their customers happy.

Long story short, I'll be taking my business to Sephora in the future!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Retreat Gardens in Nassau

Two weekends ago my job took me on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas. When I told people it was for work and reminded them I would be working, I didn't get much sympathy. We did manage to have some fun too and ate and drank quite a bit in the process! I brought home 7 of those mini rum cakes from Tortuga rum. (they are gifts mostly!) I made the horrendous mistake of stepping on the scale when I returned home. Talk about sticker shock. I will be adding sweatpants to my Christmas list I am afraid. And so close to the best food holiday of the year - Thanksgiving. ay yi yi!

While in Nassau, we went to a place called the Retreat Gardens which is a national park. They have a great collection of palms and lots of other tropical plants that we don't see here in Kentucky. I wish I knew the names of these to identify them, but thought I'd share a few of them with you. I just love nature photography.

The conch shells were for sale for $5.00 right at the water's edge in Nassau.

You can see the rest of my photos at my flickr page. Click here.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cool Find in Phoenix

Continuing in the theme of "I try not to buy jewelry from stores since I make jewelry...blah blah blah," I broke my rule again. I have decided it is quite okay to buy something that is out of my range. Lampwork glass is out of my range. It's harder than it looks.

A couple weeks ago, I found this necklace in a giftshop at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Hotel in Scottsdale, AZ. I saw it the first day and thought about it for 24 hours, then went back to buy it the next day. Figured I would regret it if I didn't buy it. I love colors of the glass and the wire wrap. Isn't it cool?

The colorful card that came with it says it was created by Eye Candy by Chelsea. I googled and found her site. Check it out. She is based in Prescott, AZ. Cool stuff.

I just love this necklace. Very original.