Monthly Archives: November 2013

Review of Hatching Twitter by Nicky Bilton

I am a huge admirer of the written word I all formats, but to me the hardest to write has to be the non-fiction novel. But Bilton completely nailed it with Hatching Twitter. I haven’t read a non-Fiicton novel that I liked this much since Capote’s In Cold Blood. From the opening scene with Ev throwing up in a trash can as he is about to be forced out as Twitter CEO, I was hooked. The novel then goes back in time slowly building to the opening scene, and even though I knew what was gown to happen, I was on the “edge of my seat” as he built toward the climax. I can’t imagine being behind the sciences of a technology that has truly changed the way we communicate.

It is so interesting to find out what was really going on as Twitter was being built. The dynamic between the co-founders was fascinating. It really speaks to where power of positive press can get you and illustrates to me to never really believe what I read in the media. @jack’s relationship with the media reminded me a little of the whole Man T’ai Teo thing where the media just took something at face value and really didn’t know the truth. It worked out better for Jack than Man T’ai.

I loved this book and immediately after it was over Googled exaggerated of the founders to find out where they are now – and I followed them on Twitter of course.

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Ulta – Caveat Emptor

Why I won’t shop at Ulta anymore – this is the message that I just submitted to Ulta’s Customer Service:

I had a Signature Blowout and Style in you Salon at 5267 Highway 280 Birmingham, AL 35242 on 11-15-13.  I let your Stylist upsell me from the Go Out Blow Out and Style ($36) to the Signature Blow Out and Style ($41) because he said my hair was sooo dry and whatnot. When I went to pay I was charged $55.  I did not have time to question this at the time, because I was running very late to the dinner I was supposed to attend.  However, I did go back and double check blow out prices for my store location on your site and verified the cost of $36 for a Go Out Blow Out and $41 for the Signature Blow Out (the only difference appearing to be a dollop of conditioner).  I went back to my store today, showed my receipt to your cashier to question the discrepancy.  She asked, “Did the stylist use any product whatsoever in your hair?” I said, “What do you mean, like hairspray?” And she said, “Yes, there is an additional charge for any type of product that you use.” And that my friend, is ridiculous. You do not disclose that in your descriptions of your services and one would assume that the product needed to produce the “Signature Blowout” would be included in the service.  You might as well not even have a price if that is they way that you do things. So, so misleading and not a good business practice AT ALL.  Your store is a mile from my house, however I would rather drive past Ulta to the Sephora that is 5+ miles away because at least they are upfront about their pricing.  Yes, I may not get the $3.50 off no products you really want coupons, and I may pay more at Sephora (or, not because it is hard to figure out exactly what your prices really are) but I would rather know what I was paying upfront.  I sincerely hope you will reevaluate your pricing structure. If you are truly offering good products and services, there is no need to play a shell game.

Updated 12/2/13: A very nice manager for Ulta called me today, and agreed that my complain was valid. She is refunding the $20 “upcharge” for the “spiral curls” as she said my stylist did not discuss/disclose that to me.  I guess I still don’t understand why they think there should have been an upcharge, but I appreciate the gesture. It was not, she said due to them using hairspray or additional product on my hair as the lady at the register told me when I went back to originally question the charge.  At any rate, I appreciate the follow up, and although I won’t use the salon again, I will pop in the store every now again when I need a few things.

Comfort Zone

I would venture to say that my comfort zone is very small. Tiny actually, almost miniscule. I don’t like to go anywhere new where there will be strangers without going with someone I know very well. And it takes many times of me going back to said environment (with friend in tow) before I would ever consider going by myself. I usually find one to two things at each restaurant that I go to  and I order that same dish over and over for years without fail and without tiring of it.  For a long time in church I would want to skip the first Sunday because we have to go to the front to take Communion and I was uncomfortable, thinking everyone was staring at me and judging what I had on,  my posture, pretty much everything. I HATED my wedding and the fact that everyone was looking at me. Brandon says I never looked at him the whole time. And don’t even get me started on The First Dance, where the band played the extended version of Wonderful Tonight. (It was my wedding. I should have insisted of no dance and more cake!!) In a lot of public places ballpark, waiting for a child at a birthday party, etc. I would initially rather sit and read a book that have to make small talk with people. I detest small talk, although the world of Facebook and Twitter has made that aspect of life slightly easier as I am a fairly proficient Internet Stalker and can remember things people have posted to bring up in the conversation.

With all that being said, on Tuesday I did three things outside of my comfort zone all in one day.

  1. Went to boot camp type class with Barkley at 119. Now, yes I did go with a friend, but it was still a big step because I have never done anything like that in my life and I knew that I wouldn’t be that good at it. I usually never put myself in situations where success is not a probable outcome. (And unfortunately to me success is defined as “perfection, top achiever”. Right away we had to get a partner and it had to be someone who was close to our same height. This meant I could not partner with Barkley as she is an Amazon Woman and I am a Smurf. So, I had to partner with a stranger. After 30 minutes I was ready to quit -but continued on.  In part of the circuit one person has to “flail” these super large ropes 100 times while the other people are doing their assigned exercise.  I was the last person on ropes, which meant I had to perform this task at the end of the circuit when my body was the most tired. I did not love being singled out like that at all and felt tremendous pressure that the other class people thought I was going too slow and were mad at me.  However, I made it through the class due to some wise words words from Barkley “modify” and lots of encouragement from the teacher, Barkley and Whitney. And, I am so glad that I went. I challenged myself physically in a way that I hadn’t since – well maybe ever. I felt good afterward even though I paid for it the next day.  I learned that 119 is not some super scary place and I even want to go back – but not without Barkely – yet. Baby steps.
  2. After 119 I went to the PTO meeting.  I don’t know anybody very well on the PTO and I had to go in 10 minutes late, which means I would have to interrupt and everyone would stop and look at me. But I did it and it was fine, although a little liberalish for me, but I just scribbled the things that were said that I thought were ridiculous down in my notebook and kept my mouth shut until they got to a topic I could contribute to (which wasn’t the budget, that’s for sure). Anyway, no huge life lesson here, except that I forced myself to go out of my comfort zone and perhaps I can contribute in a small way to making my child’s school a better place to be.
  3. After these adventures out in the big wide world, I came  home and started to cook. In doing so I used my brand new food processor.  This is from someone a year a go who rarely made anything more than Hamburger Helper and its equivalents. The fact that I actually purchased a food processor was fun, but the fact that I was excited about using it….WHO AM I? Actually putting it together was trial and error. I was attempting to make salsa and at one time the kitchen may have looked like the scene of a double homicide. But, I powered through, touching slimy whole tomatoes and cutting the tops of jalapenos, and chopping onions – none of which I like to eat on its own.  At the end I had some facsimile of Chili’s Salsa and although it came in a little too high on the Scoville scale, it was still edible and I opened a beer and sat back to enjoy the fruits of my efforts. I know what to do differently next time, so I hope the next time I make it, it will be even better.

So three newish things in one day, and not one of them a complete disaster. I hope to use this lesson to not be afraid to try new things that make me uncomfortable in the future. Check out what my friend Jammy Erwin has to say about being uncomfortable in his post “The Six Minute Mile.”

It is interesting to note that there are a few areas of life where all of this goes completely out the window – like my desire to be on a gameshow on television (no one would be looking at me there, right). Or that I wanted to be in school plays when I was little. Or that I will do everything I can to talk to a celebrity or have a celebrity encounter.  Weird.