Stuff You Didn’t Know You Needed from Target

I’ve been analyzing my buying habits lately, and I realized that not only do I buy a lot of stuff from Target, but I guy a LOT of stuff from their “Room Essentials” line (or “RE”) specifically. I think RE is targeted to college students and impoverished young adults living in their first apartments. What does it say about me that this matches my own aesthetic?

(By the way, I link to products in this post. I don’t derive any money or benefit from your clicks. I am WAY too lazy to set up some kind of affiliate situation with anyone.)

You Want To: Drink More Water

Everybody wants to drink more water, right? Stay hydrated, blah blah. I definitely feel better if I drink plenty of water, but I wasn’t drinking enough at work, even though there are multiple, filtered water dispensers available. So I examined my habits and I realized a couple of things: 1. I don’t like drinking out of the paper cups that are provided (too small, wasteful, and unpleasant-feeling). 2. I don’t like drinking out of a sports bottle, etc. (believe me, I’ve tried many different kinds and I found them all bleh). 3. I don’t like my water ice cold. 4. I DO like my water at about room temperature, or slightly colder. 5. I DO enjoy drinking water out of a glass.

So I bought this:

carafe and tumbler

That’s a plastic carafe that holds 1.3 liters of water and a 16-oz. tumbler which looks like glass but is actually made of indestructible acrylic. The carafe is on sale for like $8! The website only shows the tumbler in the 8-piece set, but I bought it all by its lonesome in my local store. This is a winning combination for me because I fill the carafe in the morning, it sits on my desk all day, the water stays clean thanks to the lid and it is the perfect temperature thanks to the air conditioning. And I get to drink out of a glass that has the perfect thickness to be comfortable and – bonus! – is a dark color that doesn’t show my lipstick as much.

You Want To: Have Soft Towels Without Using Dryer Sheets

Everybody wants soft towels, but when you use dryer sheets they leave a coating on the towels that makes them less absorbent. Or maybe you’re allergic to dryer sheets. Whatever. You need these:dryer-balls

Yes, you can find them everywhere, but I bought mine at Target, where they were really cheap. You throw these in with your towels in the dryer and they make them soft without using chemicals. Also great for putting in the dryer with pillows, puffy coats, or anything you want to be soft and lofty. Yes, you could use tennis balls, assuming you have clean, unused tennis balls just laying around for this purpose. Dryer balls are cheaper and you gotta love those little nubby things.

You Want To: Put Your Feet Up and Store Stuff at the Same Time

Check out this storage ottoman from Target: $16.99. That’s crazy! It’s not even one of those cheap-ass folding ones. Now, I wouldn’t stand on it, but it’s definitely sturdy enough to put my feet up on while also holding “stuff.” I bought the gray, because it matches the armchair in my office, but it comes in several colors (the turquoise is pretty). I bought this in my store last week. They had several models, including a slightly nicer/sturdier version starting around $24.99. But I’m all about that cheap so the under-twenty-bucks model came home with me.ottoman

You Want To: Reward Your Beloved Dog (i.e. Get Him to Chill Out for 15 F***ing Minutes)

Chandler loves these rawhide sticks wrapped in chicken skin. Sounds gross, but my goji berry that dog will do anything to get one. You can find these pretty much in any pet store, at various price points. I bought the big bag at Target forever, but lately they don’t seem to have them in stock, which makes me worry they’re not going to carry them anymore. I might have to start buying them somewhere else. rawhides

You Want To: Get a Good Night’s Sleep

I mean, who doesn’t, right? I don’t think I’ve really had a good night’s sleep in about 10 years. Starting from the time I was in late pregnancy until now, I’ve really only slept deeply when I was ill. My nights are a combination of weird dreams, hot flashes, tossing and turning, and my dog kicking me. Things that have helped: getting a new mattress, running my ceiling fan pretty high all night long, running a diffuser over night with doTERRA Serenity or OnGuard essential oil blends, and now this pillow.


Yes, these links are for Amazon, not Target. I couldn’t find a pillow I liked at Target, or Bed Bath & Beyond, for that matter. This pillow (which is on sale for a few bucks cheaper than I paid) is a great deal. I wish I’d bought it sooner! It’s memory foam, so it’s very firm, but it has that layer of cooling gel stuff on top. It also comes with its own zippered protector. Between that and the pillowcase, you can’t see the blue stuff, but you can definitely tell it’s there. It’s cool without needing to be refrigerated. It will warm up after a few hours, but basically I roll over and sleep on my other side and get a whole new cool section. Also, I never thought I’d like memory foam because it’s kind of unforgiving in a pillow. But my neck was hurting BAD, and I’m a side sleeper, so I gave it a try. The first night I slept on the pillow I wasn’t terribly impressed: the cool stuff was nice, but the pillow didn’t feel like some breakthrough in comfort or anything. BUT! The next morning, my neck pain was reduced more than half. I felt completely different. After a few nights my pain is gone! AMAZING. The memory foam is very supportive and keeps your spine aligned, I guess? I notice that I don’t sink down into it, which is nice because it prevents that feeling of suffocation that’s not conducive to sleeping anyway.

So now that I’m hydrated, well-rested, and my towels are soft and fluffy, what other problems could I possibly have?

Completed projects and works in progress (including me)

Completed Projects and Work in Progress: Crochet

I started making myself a corner-to-corner blanket recently. I wanted another afghan to put on the bed in the winter. But I had to put that sucker into hibernation because I just realized two stark realities: 1. It’s November already. 2. I have tons of Christmas gifts to crochet. So even though the blanket was starting to look pretty good, into the hibernate corner it went.



But I’ve had some recent progress too. I finished a scarf I was making for my facialist, Karla:


It was really simple, since it’s basically two rows of alternating granny squares, worked up in Lion Unique, which is one of my all-time favorite yarns. I was really  happy to tuck it away in its gift bag, all ready to give to her in December.

Next, I started work on a scarf I decided to make for my primary healthcare provider because I LOVE HER (more on that later). But then I realized I work with this lady who’s pregnant and will be going on maternity leave soon. We all know what a pregnant lady means — an excuse to make a baby blanket! And what do you know, I had skeins of baby yarn just sitting around waiting. So I started on a pattern I’d been waiting to try. It’s taking a bit more time than I planned, but it’s working up nicely:


Hope I can finish it before her last day.

Completed Projects and Work in Progress: Non-Crochet Version

So I completed a project near the end of October when I had a laparoscopic cholecystectomy, i.e. I had my gallbladder removed. It was outpatient surgery and, to my surprise, it was the most positive healthcare experience I’ve ever had (even though it was expensive*). The surgery center I went to was SO NICE. It felt more like a spa than a hospital, but not extravagantly so. Recovery was easy-peasy. Seriously, I felt fine like two days later, once the grogginess from general anesthesia wore off.

My only complaint is numbness in my lower lip, which I discovered via Google is an uncommon-but-not-unheard-of side effect of general anesthesia, caused by nerve damage from the mask or the intubation, and usually wearing off in a few weeks. I hope so! Because right now my lower lip has the feeling you get when the novocaine is starting to wear off – somewhere between numb, tingly, and just a tiny bit painful. It’s irritating, more than anything else.

So what about the work in progress? Well…when they did my ultrasound to visualize my gallstone they also noticed that I have cysts on my spleen. What does it mean? Nobody really knows. I’m not symptomatic, my blood work all looks normal, and it’s not causing any discomfort. However, the cystic growths are large enough that they represent a serious risk of bursting and causing internal bleeding if I ever have any serious abdominal trauma (like a car accident, bad fall, or superhero costume malfunction). After getting an MRI, and discussing it with my surgeon and my provider (the one I’m making the scarf for), I’m tentatively planning to have the surgery to remove my spleen. The whole spleen??? Yeah, I know. It’s drastic, but: 1. you can live without a spleen, it just puts your immune system at slightly higher risk; 2. they can do it laparoscopically like the gall bladder surgery (and I’m hoping and praying outpatient, though probably not); and most important, 3. there are treatments to try to reduce or remove the cysts themselves, but generally those types of efforts are not successful, and most cysts end up growing back.

So that’s where I am. Luckily my last surgery was an easy recovery and I didn’t miss much work at all (day off the day of surgery and the day after, then a weekend, then telecommuting the following Monday and back in the office by the end of the week). I’m hoping the splenectomy will be a similar experience.

And while I’m off my feet – more time for crochet projects! WINNING!!!


*I had to meet my individual deductible, then pay 20% coinsurance, which as you can imagine was quite pricy. But on the positive side, it’s put me near my out-of-pocket limit for the year, so if I have my other surgery before 12/31, it’s likely most of my expenses will be covered at 100% instead of 80%. I can’t believe that calculations like this now have to figure into my healthcare decisions – it’s a rude awakening after years of HMO-style “pay your premium and everything is covered” plans. But this, alas, is the world we live in.

Ipsy Glam Bag: tried and cancelled

Monthly “box” subscriptions are all the rage now. You pay some relatively moderate fixed price, and every month you get a box of items or samples or whatever related to your interest. I used to subscribe to Birchbox, which was supposed to mostly be makeup/skincare/fragrance, or so I thought. I cancelled when they sent me laundry detergent. LAUNDRY DETERGENT! Listen, Birchbox, I don’t need you to remind me how I spend every damn weekend.

A few months ago I subscribed to Ipsy. It seemed better – the products I got in my first few boxes were pretty cool, and each box came with a (usually) cute makeup bag. However, after opening my Ipsy box today, I cancelled them too. Yet ANOTHER hair conditioning product that I will never use. Yet ANOTHER generic eye liner pencil that I will never use. Yet ANOTHER lip gloss from a brand I’ve never heard of in a boring, bland color. No thanks!

About the only subscriptions I’ve been happy with are Sock Panda and Lootcrate. I heartily recommend them. In fact, I gave a year of Sock Panda to my best friend for Xmas last year, because they’re just that awesome. Subscribe here and tell them groovymarlin “at” gmail “dot” com sent you. (Figure out how to make that into a real email address. You can do it!)

If you want to subscribe to Lootcrate (recommended!), click this link to use my referral code.

Here’s some of the awesome stuff I’ve gotten in past crates:

IMG_1538 IMG_1485 IMG_1487 IMG_1490 IMG_1493

And then, I *EXPLODED*!

No, not really. But listen — some weird, unexpected stuff happened to me recently. I went to urgent care with chest pains and shortness of breath, and ended up admitted to the hospital for three days with bilateral pulmonary embolism. That’s fancy medical-speak for “several blood clots in both my lungs.”

How the hell did that happen? WHY did that happen? We’re not sure, but the doctors I’ve spoken with all suspect two things:

1. They think I have a genetic clotting disorder which will require some additional testing in the future to determine

2. I was on the birth control pill, which causes more women than I imagined to get blood clots

So I’m off the Pill for good, and taking blood thinners for the next six months, while I recover.

Being in the hospital was awful — boring, uncomfortable, impossible to get a good night’s sleep, and I missed the Bean like crazy. On the plus side, the hospital didn’t care if you used your cell phone and they had free wi-fi everywhere. So, armed with my iPhone and my iPad, I was pretty well able to amuse and entertain myself.

Happy to be home, though.

Follow-up on previous matters: congratulations to Lori, the only person to leave a comment on my Shutterfly giveaway post. She won the codes for free photo cards. I already got my cards back from Shutterfly and they look GREAT. I’m really happy I decided to do it this year – the hassle of working with a petulant model (see below) was totally worth it.

Please Don’t Think of This as Christmas Creep

I don’t like to start talking about Christmas stuff until much, much closer to Christmas. At least around Thanksgiving. I mean, I do start my Christmas shopping some time around August, but I keep mum about it! I hate Christmas Creep!!

However, here’s something you need to think about early, well before it feels comfortable, and that is photo Christmas cards. I’ve always felt kind of envious of the people who their shit together enough to plan, stage, and produce a photo; then have it imprinted on custom cards; all in time to send out before holidays. Are these people Superfamilies? Whatever. This year I have PROMISED myself to do the same, with the help of Shutterfly!

I’ve used Shutterfly before, thanks to a coupon code I got once when Veronica had her picture taken with Santa. I got a calendar printed and it was awesome! I loved looking at different, goofy pictures of her all year, and the quality of the calendar itself was really nice. This year, Shutterfly is doing a nice promotion through BlogHer, and I’m definitely going to get holiday cards. I’m on top of it, for realz! Read on to find out how you can win a coupon code for some free cards!

Of course if cards aren’t your thing, they also offer a nice series of photo books. I made one of these for the hubz for Father’s Day one year. It was beautiful, and we still enjoy paging through it. Veronica especially likes looking at the pictures of her as a baby!  Or maybe you need birthday cards, invitations, birth announcements, or any kind of photo-imprinted greeting card you can think of. Shutterfly has you covered there too. They’ll even mail the cards for you, in case you just can’t stand licking stamps. 😉

So this weekend is my big photo shoot weekend – the trouble with little kids is, they grow so fast! So even though I have adorable winter-themed photos of Veronica like the one below, it’s at least two years old and she doesn’t really look like that anymore:

Winter 4

Anyway, I’ll be trying to take that PERFECT picture this weekend. And, as it turns out, we might have actual snow (crazy!) which would make the job a little easier, I guess. Other suggestions welcome. I’m leaning towards a black and white photo on this card (ooh! artistic!).

If you would like a code good for 25 FREE cards from Shutterfly, leave a comment here. On November 6, I’ll choose three random winners (note that you must leave your email address with your comment to qualify). Thanks for reading!