My very favorite secondhand bookstore is closing (I can't blame it - heaven knows that I spend enough on ebooks), and all of their used books are 50% off (so, 25% of cover price). Additionally, I am trying to work down the hundreds of dollars of credit I have left. Now, my kids are the ones who made out like bandits a couple of days ago, but I did scoop up some horror (and a Joe Abercrombie). I have several of these books on my Kindle already, but I can't resist the heft of a really long book in my hand! (totally OT: Neal Stephenson's new book is $16.99 on Kindle. I.Just.Can't.)
...and I made the mistake of searching "parenting."
Lately I feel that I have been disappointing my children a lot. I'll give myself enough credit to add that they probably would not agree with that statement, but there you go. I am pretty critical. Of everyone, but most especially of myself. I guess I was looking for one of those parenting memes that would make me feel better. One of the ones that would make me laugh and realize that everyone has been there and that it will all get better. Instead, I somehow zeroed in on the picture that took me to this article. I hate even linking it, because I really don't want to give it any more reads than I have to. Let me just quote one line:
"Let us be humble enough as parents to admit it is our fault if our kids scream, disobey or throw a tantrum. It is our fault because they have gotten away with those actions one too many times."
Um, no, Mrs. Mother of Six Pint-Sized Treasures, it is not our fault. I call bull**** on you. I am so delighted for you that you have perfect children. That must be ah-mazing for you. I wouldn't know anything about it. My children are human. They are fallible. Everyone knows about my Nicholas (ADHD, OCD, Tourette's). He's a challenge. His darling meltdowns are *not* my fault. Oh, and your crack about over medicated children later down in your article...yeah, I got your dig. Thanks to medication, my son is enjoying life more in the last few months (and yes - our family is enjoying life more in the last few months) than he has in years.
Let's talk very briefly about Therese. She's 13 now. When she was about 2, we were in line at the grocery store and she saw something she wanted. I think it was princess stickers. I had never once bought Therese anything while in line at the grocery store (ironically, it's something I do all the time now - you want gum? Sure, why not?). Still, she saw the stickers and wanted them. I told her no and thought nothing of it. She had never once thrown a tantrum. Anyone who knew her will tell you that she was a preternaturally good child. For some reason on this day, though, the fates aligned and she threw a grand mal tantrum. I was so surprised that I laughed. And I kept laughing. People must have thought I was crazy, but I told them, "She never does this!" I just told her, "No," and then ignored her. Again, that tantrum was not my fault, and it did not happen because I had given in one too many times.
I have such a big problem with articles like this that make vast generalizations and seem designed to make people feel like bad parents. Some people are bad parents. The rest of us do the best we can with what we have. When we know better, we do better. I guess that's what I have to remind myself of constantly. I would implore you not to read garbage like this, but if you do, respond the same way I responded to Therese's once-upon-a-time tantrum: laugh. Treat parenting that way in general. Laugh early and laugh often. It's what your kids need more than anything, and you'll all benefit so much from the experience!
So what's a CCO? It stands for Cosmetic Company Outlet. Such things exist, you ask? Oh, yes, my friend...they do. And if you live in Houston, count yourself lucky, because the Cypress Outlet Stores are SWIMMING in them! For my purposes, though, there are only two that
obsess interest me. One has Estee Lauder brands (yes, that would be all that's awesome in the world of makeup - Clinique, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Smashbox, and more) and one has Lancome (including YSL, Urban Decay, and a few more, include many fragrances).
Why shop at a CCO? Two major reasons - bargains (about 33% off on average) and LE finds like you wouldn't believe! The best case scenario is finding those Limited Editions that have long sold out elsewhere - for 33% off, of course! Just for example, on a recent trip, I picked up the Golden bronzer from the MAC Alluring Aquatics collection for around $20. It was originally $27.50. Yes, it's a permanent product, but that packaging! It's currently on EvilBay for anywhere from $45-$60. I also recently picked up a bunch of MAC lipsticks for $11.25 (they retail for $16). All of them were from past LE collections - one of them going back to a 2010 collection.
CCOs also stock merchandise that you can get at a regular cosmetics counter. In fact, I was just about out of my Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, but checked the CCO stock on a whim. You're just never sure what they'll have. Sure enough, they had my color (2C3 - Fresco)! So I got to pay $26 instead of $37. Color me happy!
One of the neat features about a CCO is that you can get past bonuses from department store promos. So, say that Clinique had a bonus that you really liked. It's possible that the CCO will have a bin of them for sale for, say, $16. You can get the cute makeup bag and the travel size products without the minimum Clinique purchase.
Now, not everything at the CCO is a great deal. At Lancome's CCO, the fragrances are about 25% off department store prices. Yes, that's a good deal, but I often feel that with various incentives (points at Sephora and Ulta, freebies at department stores, etc.), you're probably better off getting your fragrances elsewhere. Also, my CCO has a few YSL lipsticks, but they are still $30. Given that they retail for $36, that's just not enough of a discount to beat the incentives above. (Plus, if I'm going to pay that much for a lipstick, you'd better believe it's going to be a NARS Audacious lipstick!)
I'll close this post with one last awesome CCO find I had last week. I had previously purchased Urban Decay's Ocho Loco 2 set of their 24/7 Glide-On Eyeliners for $39 when it was on clearance at Macy's, but it has long been sold out everywhere. It's original offering price of $59 made it a steal.
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I have always been a very fast reader. From the time I started reading "chapter books," it was not uncommon for me to read a couple per day. When I was in elementary school, I received special permission to exceed the limit for what students could check out from the school library at a time. I have always (and do to this day) looked at the length of a book first, favoring longer books, knowing that the longer the book, the longer I could immerse myself in the characters' lives. The average 300 or so page novel is good for an evening's entertainment, no more. Something like Stephen King's Under the Dome (awesome book with a cop-out ending) will last a week if I ration. In fact, my predilection for really long books is one reason that I embraced the Kindle pretty early on. Holding very heavy books in bed at night became more and more difficult, especially since I often read until I fall asleep. That "whap!" is painful! The Kindle Paperwhite is a dream come true for
bibliomaniacs bibilophiles like me!
I digress. My point here is to point out that without knowing it, I have spent my whole life speed reading (well, I didn't know it until I was a young teenager. That's when I saw an episode of 20/20 about speed reading wherein a man read a looong novel in the time it took someone to bake a pizza. Speed reading was explained in the segment.). When I read, my eyes don't move side to side over every single line of text. Instead, my eyes focus pretty much on the center of the page and take in the page as a whole. I'll let the infographic below explain. Very occasionally, I will realize that I missed something and have to flip back, but this only happens when I am reading a mystery and a very subtle clue was dropped. In both my undergraduate Honors classes (humanities classes, essentially) and in graduate school, we would have hundreds of pages to read per night, and I could not have read everything without reading as I do. In fact, people who read every single word simply can't get through a reading intensive graduate program. It won't happen. Plus, when you're reading academic papers, not only is it not necessary (unless you're the peer reviewing for the peer reviewed journal), but it might just turn your brain to pudding.
Without further blather on my part, I give you "The Science of Speed Reading"