Holiday Want List

2020 is almost here and there’s no better way to round out the year than with a wish list. For the FIFTH year in a row, I’m sharing my “want list”. This years list items from a few of my favorite / luxury brands across multiple categories. #treatyoself !!! And Enjoy!

LAGOS anything … jewelry $$$$

This brand is amazing. From bracelets, to necklaces, earrings and now Apple Watch bands, LAGOS screams luxury!

DRUNK ELEPHANT skincare $$

Pick anything from this popular skincare line and you can’t go wrong. Their vitamin C serum has been my go to for sometime.

UGG & Barefoot Dreams for cozy apparel $$$

I lumped these two brands together because when I think about staple pieces for the winter, they are my go to. Ugg for the boots (DUH) and actually both brands have AMAZING throws (as in blankets). Barefoot Dreams also has wonderful loungewear.

Sugar Paper holiday wrapping $

Love their designs and color combinations! There’s really nothing more to say. You can find this brand at Target

Stocking Stuffers … from Nordstrom, of course 💁🏽‍♀️ (mugs are by Anthropologie) $ to $$

And finally, SPANX leggings … who knew??! $$

Control, Alt, Google

Mountain View, CA/USA – May 21, 2018: Exterior view of a Googleplex building, the corporate headquarters complex of Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc.

There’s a popular keyboard shortcut <Control><Alt><Delete> that, generally speaking, interrupts or facilitates interrupting a function. For example, if a program on your computer hangs or crashes, you press this popular combination to force the program to close.

Today I’m coining a new term, <Control><Alt><Google>. In a nutshell, you can now tell Google to delete the data (or history) it has on / about you. In this post I want to cover three items: 1) What data is stored, 2) Why you should care about deleting it and 3) How to tell Google to delete your data.

What data does Google store (courtesy of my friends at Lifehacker)?

  • Web and app history. This includes voice and audio data from Google assistant and other apps; data collected from apps synced to your Google account; all Chrome browsing history.
  • YouTube search and watch histories
  • Google Maps history and GPS location data

Why should I care about deleting this information?

A more tangible reason is that deleting your data is helpful for up-to-date content (and ad) curation. People change, our tastes evolve, and periodically deleting your outdated content history is like giving your YouTube, Google Play, or even Google Podcast recommendations a refresh based on your current interests.

Deleting it means Google doesn’t always have enough information about you to make recommendations on what it thinks you’ll like, or where you might want to go. CNBC

How do I request Google to delete my data?

  1. Go to your Google activity dashboard.
  2. Click “Activity controls” from the left-hand sidebar.
  3. Scroll down to the data type you wish to manage, then select “Manage Activity.”
  4. On this next page, click on “Choose how long to keep” under the calendar icon.
  5. Select the auto-deletion time you wish (three or 18 months), or you can choose to delete your data manually.
  6. Click “Next” to save your changes.

Repeat the steps above for each of the types of data you want to be auto-deleted, the three noted above (Web and app history, YouTube search and watch histories and Google Maps history and GPS location data). For your Location History in particular, you’ll need to click on “Today” in the upper-left corner first, and then click on the gear icon in the lower-right corner of your screen.

Then, select “Automatically delete Location History,” and pick a time.

UPS @ CVS

Earlier this week I ordered contacts online. When I found out they were scheduled to be delivered by UPS on a day I was traveling, I immediately went online to request that UPS to hold the package (or deliver it on another day). This service usually costs $5.

To my surprise, there was another “hold” option available: Have UPS deliver my package to my local CVS for me to pick up later. Say what now??! I immediately selected that FREE option and as I am now sitting in another state, I just got a text alert that my contacts were just delivered to my local CVS (a place I pass by at least twice a day). It will be in safe hands for me to pickup anytime during CVS’ normal business hours over the next seven (7) days. This is a much better option than having my package sit outside on my front porch.

Way to go UPS and CVS! You can select one of CVS’s 12,000 stores nationwide or pickup UPS packages at Michael’s and Advance Auto Parts stores.

CNBC reports that consumers are demanding more ways to pickup and return packages, which is driving these types of corporate partnerships. A few more examples include: FedEx at Walgreens and Amazon at Kohl’s or UPS. In similar news, UPS’ drone technology will soon be used to deliver prescription drugs to CVS patients at their home. Read more here or watch below.

Common Courtesy

Common Courtesy is often a misconstrued and misunderstood term. I view common courtesy just like I view common sense… it’s not so common! #FACTS. I literally just Googled, “What is Common Courtesy?” and here is one of the first items that popped up:

In fourth grade, my son received a handout about common courtesy. All elementary schools should incorporate a lesson about common courtesy each year!

Yes, you read that right. Fourth graders are being taught about the concept of common courtesy. Because I literally just had this conversion with a grown person (as ridiculous as that is…), I thought I would blog about it. Here is what fourth graders are being taught (emphasis mine):

  1. Show respect for others. When appropriate, say please, thank you and excuse me. After you receive a gift, make sure you write a thank you note or follow up with a phone call, email or text message. Do not use the word “shut up” – it is offensive!
  2. Always apologize when you do something wrong. When you physically or emotionally hurt someone apologize even if it’s an accident. If you make a mistake, try to make amends whenever possible. This starts with being self-aware and honest about your actions, regardless of your intentions.
  3. When someone is having a conversation, do not interrupt. If you must interrupt a conversation, make sure you are polite and say, “Excuse me, I’m sorry to interrupt but…”
  4. When you change your plans, let others know. Honor your word. If you commit to plans, make sure you show up. If something comes up (which it always does), make sure you contact others immediately. Why is this so difficult? When you don’t have the basic foresight to do this I call it #selfish #inconsiderate #nohometraining
  5. Respect the needs of others in public. Do not talk obnoxiously or loudly in public. Be aware of your surroundings and the people in the vicinity; use your cell phone in a private place. Always be respectful towards the people that serve you.
  6. Never embarrass another person. It is NOT polite to embarrass someone. In fact, it’s rude and mean and only serves to portray you as a bully. If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything. I read something great  in a book one time – You have the right to remain silent!
  7. When refusing an invitation, be kind and honest. We cannot attend every function so sometimes you will need to politely decline an invitation. Remember it’s okay to decline an invitation but it’s wrong to lie to someone. #priorities
  8. Respect your elders. Always be polite to adults and treat them with respect. Go out of your way to help elderly people, e.g., hold the door open. Consider having a conversation with them – that may put a smile on their face.
  9. Use good table manners. I’m not implying you should put a napkin on your lap or keep your elbows off the table every time you eat. You should however, chew with your mouth shut and never speak with food in your mouth – that’s gross! Do not use your fingers unless, of course, it’s finger food. Use your napkin not your shirt and don’t lick your fingers.
  10. Respect other people’s property. Treat other people’s possessions like they were your own. If you lose or ruin something that belongs to someone else, fix or replace it. How about we also add put things back where you found them!

If fourth graders are being taught these basic concepts / principles, what excuses do adults have?? NONE. ZILCH. ZERO.

One thing I can say is that regardless of whether or not people show common courtesy to you, never let it alter your behavior or standards.

Give what you expect but also demand what you deserve! ~Bri Alys

A Random Wednesday Morning

It’s a random Wednesday morning. I am sitting in the concierge lounge of a Marriott Hotel in Detroit, Michigan. On this morning I had a random thought … spend less.

To be honest it’s not so random. Before I left Atlanta, my garage looked like a warehouse (from all the shipments I have received this week). So much so that hubby had to “organize” all the boxes. Additionally, I analyzed my last Amex statement by category (by hand) last night to see where my money went and how many times I made purchases in each category. As an example, I have two (2) charges for gas, totaling $76.93 (not so bad). By stark contrast, I had thirty one (yes, 31) charges at Target totaling $1,771.37 with $428.11 in returns, bringing the total to $1,343,26. Yes, I know that when you order stuff online they sometimes will charge you multiple times for a single order (depending on where your items are shipping from). Also, most of those expenses are Christmas Decorating (mostly one-time in a new house); but, in my humble opinion that’s still WAAAYYY too much! 🤦🏽‍♀️

Side note: Not to go off of a tangent; but, I do use my American Express card for everything. I also pay it off every month so interest is not a concern.

So my general goal is to spend less. PeriodT! It’s way too easy for me to click a button and order something from Amazon and Target. That will stop. If I can just get a couple of categories under control my monthly financial analysis (that I often do not do) would look so much different! I have three (3) goals:

  1. Limit Target/Amazon purchases to one time a week (maximum). Ideally I should be able to get by with one or two times a month; but, baby steps… Fridays are the only day I will shop in Target. I am ditching Amazon for a while. I also deleted both apps from my phone.
  2. Spend $0 on paper and planning supplies. I have enough paper. I don’t need anymore.
  3. Actually pay attention to what I am being charged at the checkout counter (in any store) and review my bill! I cannot tell you how many times I walk out of a store with a basket full of goodies and have no idea what I paid. #smh

We Don’t Buy Things with Money, We Buy Them with Hours from our Life. read this

So that’s it for me! When is the last time you analyzed your spending? For me, it’s super easy because I put all my charges on one card. As we go into the holiday/shopping season (when I tend to view so many buying guides online), I highly encourage you to do a similar exercise on your most used account (if you have more than one). When you do so, set realistic goals for yourself. Your eyes will truly be opened for the better and your wallet/bank account will thank you!