Design A Budget Which Works For You

Copyright: akkamulator

Not too long ago, I went shopping at a retail home goods store with a good friend. When we approached the checkstand, my friend experienced a bit of sticker shock, because she kept adding things to her cart and hadn’t kept track of how much she was spending. When I suggested that she might want to review what she had in her cart and perhaps pare down, she responded with, “Well, it will somehow work out. I still have some room on my credit card.” We kept chatting as the sales clerk rang up my friend’s items, and she continued with, “I never know how much I have in my checking account, and I don’t keep a budget, so I always hope and pray that I make it each month.” By this time I was cringing at what my friend was saying, and I also became very concerned for her financial health.

If you are like my friend and choose to throw caution to the wind by refusing to follow a structured budget, you have signed up for a rocky financial future. You may argue that you have the same fixed expenses each month, such as mortgage/rent, cell phone, and your car payment, and that you somehow always know approximately how much you spend on groceries and fuel for your car, but if I challenged you and asked you to itemize those expenses, I would bet that there is some overspending occurring. If you are also forgetting about discretionary expenses like a regular Starbuck’s habit, or even worse, you are neglecting retirement savings or contributions to an emergency fund, then you are skating on very thin ice indeed.

You might be thinking, “But I don’t know how to make a budget!” The whole idea of sitting down and creating a budget may sound daunting, but all it entails is writing down all of your income sources for each month, then creating a separate list of all of your monthly expenses. Once you have the basic framework of your regular expenses, you can add in your occasional expenses, such as personal care items (haircuts, etc.), auto insurance, upcoming vacations, etc. so that you are aware of the need to cover them. If you really dig deep, you will probably encounter hidden expenditures you weren’t completely aware of, such as streaming movie rentals, outdoor dining, or even online subscriptions which you might have forgotten about.

Once you have determined how much money is coming in each month, and how much money must be spent on fixed and variable expenses, you can see which expenses are unnecessary or frivolous, and you can also determine what other financial goals for which you can earmark part of your income. Examples of good financial goals are the following:

  • Paying off credit card debt (make sure that you add your monthly payments into your monthly budget!)
  • Vacation plans
  • Retirement planning
  • Adding to an emergency fund

Once your budget is completed, make sure to refer to it at least once a month, and as you reach certain financial goals (especially paying off credit card debt), you can make adjustments to your budget. Funds which were previously being funneled in one direction can be redirected to another goal, such as cushioning your retirement accounts or emergency fund. I can’t stress enough how important it is to focus on eliminating any credit card debt, because nothing erodes financial security more than this type of debt. Think about it: if you are paying 19.9% APR on a credit card balance of $2,000, that means that the credit card company is making an extra $400 in a year (this is a very rough estimate, since you would be making payments each month on that original balance). The other problem is that most people will add to a credit card balance, which pushes you into deeper debt. With credit card debt, it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back, so if you have credit card debt, HELOC’s, or another high interest debt, your primary focus should always be on aggressively paying those balances down. Once you are free from credit card debt, I strongly recommend that you curtail usage of any credit cards and use cash or a debit card instead.

When you stick to your budget, you may be surprised by how much it will improve your financial picture. A budget establishes a framework which enables you to move towards financial goals you might never have thought you could ever reach. Another great thing about an effective budget is that it doesn’t have to be static, so as your goals change and you reach certain markers, you can make adjustments to further fortify your financial position.

Budget-Friendly and Creative Ways to Make Space in a Cramped Home

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I hope you all enjoy this informative and creative article written by Karen Weeks of Elderwellness.net which has some excellent storage ideas to keep your home organized and beautiful.

If you feel suffocated in your own home because there is just so much stuff everywhere, there’s no need to go out and buy a bigger house. Make the most of what you have already by cleaning out what you don’t need and using creative storage ideas to organize what you keep. This may be a bit of a time investment, but there’s no need to drain your savings. Not only will the tips below help you organize a cramped home, but they’ll help you do it on a budget. What’s more, these tips are much more affordable than purchasing a bigger home and all that entails!

Never Pay Full Price

In the rare case you do need to make a little investment to create the storage plan of your dreams, commit to never paying full price for anything. What’s more, there’s no need to spend hours sifting through the paper looking for discounts. Major retailers frequently offer online coupons and cash back. So if you couple a coupon code with an additional offer, you won’t break the bank while you’re organizing and beautifying your space. 

Add Function and Style with Floating Shelves

Turn all those books, knick-knacks, and houseplants you can’t let go of into creative decor with the help of floating shelves. Stack long ones on top of each other to create your very own built-in bookshelves. Or, stagger different sizes and shapes to create a unique look of your own. However you do it, it’s a great way to make use of vertical space in your home. You can save money on all different styles of floating shelves at stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond that regularly offer promotions and additional savings on your purchase. While you’re there, you can stock up on other organization staples like hampers, baskets, and shower caddies. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle 

You would be amazed at how many awesome ways you can turn what others would consider trash into creative storage solutions. A great example is the cereal box. Your neighbors might flatten them out and throw them in the bin, but to a creative visionary like yourself, an old cereal box can become drawer dividers or a handy mail station. Or, think about T-shirts. We all have extra Tees from this and that event. Instead of throwing them out, why not repurpose the fabric and turn them into cleaning rags that reduce your reliance on paper towels. 

Pack Up Unseasonal Clothes

Your grandmother had the right idea when she took a day each season to change out her wardrobe. There’s not much point in having all your sweaters and heavy coats cluttering your closet in the summer. Use vacuum bags to store your clothes, keeping them fresh and safe from bugs, dust, and moisture. However, there’s no need to invest in expensive store-bought versions; you can make your own vacuum bags for clothing with plastic garbage liners.

Embrace Multi-Function Furniture 

If you have a little room in your budget after saving so much with the above tips, add a breath of fresh air to your home decor with a piece of multi-functional furniture that looks good while providing storage. Look for ottomans, coffee tables, full-length mirrors, and even chairs that have additional storage. Fill your new furniture with chargers, knick-knacks, slippers, or anything else you have just lying around for a less cluttered look. 

Clean-up time

Once you’ve organized from top to bottom, now’s the perfect time to commit to a thorough cleaning as well. From ceiling fan blades to the baseboards, you can make your home a healthy, organized haven. Look into savings for cleaning supplies at major retailers like Target so you can stock your arsenal or take it to the next level and make your own cleaners. 

Think of the money you’ll save

All of this may sound like it’s going to cost you a lot of money, but in the end, getting your smaller house organized and decluttered is much easier — and cheaper — than finding a new home. Not only will you save money by not purchasing a bigger abode, but you’ll also save on the actual move itself. Hiring reliable professionals to handle your move costs money, which you’ll still have in the bank at the end of the day if you stay put and declutter.


A well-organized home is a happy and healthy home. You can achieve this dream for less when you embrace money-saving philosophies like “never pay full price” and “reduce, reuse, recycle.” You can also add function and style by using floating shelves and multi-function furniture. With a little extra elbow grease and some patience, your home will be tidier and more organized in no time.

Who Names Their Plants?

Image ID : 164070565
Source: 123rf.com
Copyright : Olga Ionina

On more than one occasion, friends have asked me if my plants have been christened with names.  For the most part, I have not gone to the trouble to name all of my plants, mainly because I personally feel that it is unnecessary and silly for me to do so.  I’m not knocking anyone who chooses to name all their plants, but the desire is, for the most part, absent in me.

So how do I discern between the close to 150 indoor plants which surround me at home?  I tend to use certain descriptors when I scribble my plant watering notes each week (yes, I keep track of which plants get watered in a given week), and those descriptors are pretty straight forward.  Usually, I will use the species name as a label, and if I have numerous specimens, I will write down the location of the plant. For example, I have two Hoya shepherdii, both of which are suspended over the two sinks in my master bath, so I refer to the one as “L shepherdii” and the other as “R shepherdii”.  I realize these labels aren’t exciting, but they are effective in helping me to keep track of my plants when I am watering them. 

However, there are three plants with bona fide names which I bestowed upon them, one of which was named the day I received it, one which was christened with a name about a month after it joined the plant brood, and one which earned its name after it exhibited an astonishing rate of growth.  While two of the names are quite fitting for the characteristics the two plant babies possess, one name is reflective of the species of the plant, and quite honestly reveals how lazy I was about using a lengthy German name when I could truncate it and use a fun name.

Sid:  Sid is a Ferocactus emoryi, “Emory’s barrel cactus”

My dear friend Blanche was at my house when I received Sid in the mail as a freebie which arrived along with a much-coveted monkey cactus I had ordered. As soon as I saw this spiky cactus, a name just popped into my head, and I exclaimed to Blanche, “For some reason, I really feel like this little guy needs a name!”, to which Blanche responded with, “I do too, and I’m thinking of a name too! If you say the same name I’m thinking of, I’ll freak!” The name which had popped into my head was Sid Vicious, so I revealed this to Blanche, who immediately squealed and said, “That’s the EXACT name I thought of too!” Later that day, I ordered a Sex Pistols mug to house the Emory’s barrel cactus.

Fred: Monstera adansonii ‘Friedrichsthalii’

This Monstera adansonii Friedrichsthalii very quickly became “Fred” after I needed to find a way to distinguish it from my other Monstera adansonii.

Rapunzel: Senecio radicans “String of Bananas”

This Senecio radicans was quite short when I bought it in June of last year, and it struggled for about two months before I changed its hang spot to an area right near a bathroom window, and essentially let it dry out completely between waterings. From that point, this plant just took off, and got so incredibly lacy and long that I decided it deserved the name Rapunzel. The longest tendril on this plant was measured on April 23rd at 46 inches from the edge of the pot to the end, which is three inches longer than it was a month prior. This radicans has aptly earned its descriptive and accurate name.

For comparison, the plant pictured above is another Senecio radicans which I purchased in January of this year. Both the radicans which I purchased in January and Rapunzel were at the level which you see marked in yellow when I brought them into my home. I look forward to seeing Rapunzel’s sister grow as long as Rapunzel.

Since plant people are increasingly more committed to their plants, often considering them to be pets or family members, it’s no surprise that more people are naming their houseplants. I like Nicoletta Richardson’s idea of naming plants after travel destinations from her bucket list, but for me, and if I had the energy to put into naming ALL of my plants, I could definitely see myself becoming a copycat and doing the very same thing. But I’d rather stick with the assigned scientific nomenclature because it appeals strongly to my scientific nerdiness, as well as to my propensity for properly classifying and labeling things.

Great Way To Search For Rentals In Los Angeles

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Image ID : 124956041
Copyright : Andrii Yalanskyi

 

I absolutely love my current L.A. residence, and I hope that I won’t have to move for a very long time.  I know a number of people who are currently looking for places to live in Los Angeles, and I can certainly say that I don’t envy them, because the whole process of searching for a desirable new abode can be downright daunting.  Thankfully, there’s Zumper, a fantastic comprehensive site on which people can research the rental market to see what the median rent prices are, browse listings, and even schedule viewings directly through the site.

I love the fact that Zumper enables you to research median rental prices for specific regions within Los Angeles County. Recent data by Zumper shows 63% of housing units are renter-occupied in Los Angeles, California, a fact I was not aware of until I visited the site.  I discovered that the current median rental price for a 2 bedroom unit in Los Angeles is at $2,650, with an inventory of 4,087 available rentals.  However, those of you who are familiar with Los Angeles County know that it is an enormous county, and the rental prices vary dramatically depending on what part of the county you are considering.

For those of you who are flexible about where you could live in L.A., or if you just want to browse the more popular parts of the county, you can simply access popular listings here:

https://www.zumper.com/apartments-for-rent/los-angeles-ca

 

However, since I am an L.A. native, I am pretty particular about which areas I would be willing to set up my cozy home shack.  If I wanted to compare three different cities which I would consider living in, I could pull up findings like this:

Average rent for 2 bedroom rental:

  • Marina del Rey $3,244
  • Silver Lake  $2,796
  • Greater Toluca Lake $2,613

 

Based on the average rental prices for the above cities I discovered on Zumper, I could then really hone in on details by adding filters to a customized search.  For example, check out the listings for a 2 bedroom unit in Greater Toluca Lake:

https://www.zumper.com/apartments-for-rent/los-angeles-ca/greater-toluca-lake/2-beds?box=-118.36732149124146,34.13775636024786,-118.33268880844116,34.16222653116007

 

You can make your rental search as specific as you want by adding filters to the search engine such as number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, pet policy, rental type, lease term, amenities, and even adjacent neighborhoods.  When you find a listing you are interested in, you can peruse photos of the unit and property, send a message to a property manager or owner, and even schedule a tour directly through Zumper.  Who wants to gather phone numbers and contact property managers the hold fashioned way?  I sure don’t, and I simply don’t have the time to sit around and make countless phone calls.  It’s so convenient to jump on Zumper and send messages which take less than a minute to compile.

One important point I would like to make about hunting for rentals, is that it’s a good idea to do an area search for activities you enjoy, so you are sure that the area you are considering moving to can accommodate your interests.  Since I love hiking, one thing I would do if I were considering a move to Toluca Lake would be to look up hiking trails in the area.  Here’s a great resource for finding hiking trails in or near Toluca Lake:

https://tolucalake.com/2020/03/take-to-the-trails/

 

If you are looking for a great new residence in Los Angeles, make sure to check out Zumper at https://www.zumper.com/rent-research/los-angeles-ca

5 Healthy Habits Seniors Can Adopt in the New Year

Please check out this excellent article written by Karen Weeks, which covers healthy habits which seniors can adopt in 2021.

Image via Pexels

By Karen Weeks of elderwellness.net

A brand new year is ahead of us, making it the perfect time to adopt healthy habits like eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and spending time with loved ones (whether in-person or virtually). Below, Dr. Stacey Naito offers five senior-friendly habits that can be adopted in the new year — and how seniors can go about incorporating them in their lives.

1. Eat Nutritiously

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, seniors need adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D, B12, dietary fiber, healthy fats, and potassium in order to lead long and healthy lives. And fortunately, seniors can get all the nutrients they need by consuming plenty of fresh leafy greens, lean meats, beans, and healthy fats like avocados and fish. Supplementation may also be necessary if calcium, B12, B6, or vitamin D levels are low.

 

If you’re looking for some ways to eat better this year, try buying a new cookbook or two, purchasing a grocery delivery service, or visiting your local health foods store to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, healthy grains, and lean proteins. If you’re thinking of paying for a grocery delivery service, some of the best options for produce include Imperfect Foods, Misfits Market, and Farmbox.

2. Exercise Often

Like good nutrition, seniors need plenty of physical activity — including strength training activities, exercises for balance and flexibility, and aerobic activities such as walking, biking, swimming, or dancing. And fortunately, there are several things seniors can do to increase their physical activity in the year ahead:

 

  • Following along to exercise DVDs or online fitness classes.

  • Walking or biking alone or with friends (while practicing social distancing, of course).

  • Parking further away from store entrances when shopping.

  • Purchasing an elliptical machine, exercise bike, or treadmill.

  • Starting and maintaining a garden.

 

If you have a medical condition or you’re experiencing body aches or pains, a physical therapist can help you to select the best exercises for you. Plus, many physical therapists are offering virtual services amidst COVID-19.

3. Socialize With Loved Ones

Socializing is tough in the age of the coronavirus, but it isn’t impossible! With senior-friendly video chat software, online multiplayer games and apps, and safe in-person gatherings (like outdoor activities and walks with loved ones), seniors can safely spend more time with their friends and family members in the new year. Regular socialization keeps seniors physically, mentally, and emotionally well — and reduces their risk of cognitive decline and depression.

4. Keep the Mind Sharp

Speaking of cognitive decline, seniors should also make time for brain games and activities in the new year. Brain games keep the mind young and healthy, fight boredom, and improve overall mental well-being. A few brain training activities for seniors include:

 

  • Jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, and word finds.

  • Classes on cooking, foreign languages, dance, or music.

  • Arts and crafts like knitting, scrapbooking, and upcycling.

  • Reading, coloring, and drawing.

5. Clean and Declutter

Clutter is harmful for a number of reasons. Not only does it create tripping hazards at home, but excess clutter often triggers anxiety, concentration issues, irritability, and even depression. So, if you’ve been feeling especially negative or depressed as of late, the new year is the perfect time to freshen up your living space by cleaning, decluttering, and letting in as much fresh air as possible. Redfin shares a checklist with some ideas for cleansing your home and creating a happier and healthier living space.

New Year, New You

It’s never too late to adopt healthier habits and take steps to improve your life, and these five tips will help you to tackle everything from changing your diet to eliminating excess clutter at home. No matter your age, the start of a new year is the perfect time to reinvent yourself and improve various areas of your life.

 

Looking for more health tips and advice? Visit Dr. Stacey Naito’s blog at staceynaitoblog.com.

How Coronavirus Has Changed Our Shopping Habits

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Image ID : 143775383
Copyright : mailhamdi

Shopping habits have changed dramatically since the appearance of COVID-19 and the subsequent scramble to socially distance and protect ourselves.  Grocery stores and retail pharmacies now have plexiglass shields at the checkout stands, and there are shoe stickers on the floors as visual reminders of the six foot distance we are urged to keep from each other.

Malls are nearly empty, and many merchants haven’t even dared open their doors.  The days when you could just hop over to a local store and pick up a couple of items have been replaced with long lines of people waiting to get in, and staple items which are perpetually low in stock or completely depleted.  Let’s not forget about all that toilet paper hoarding which defined the earlier part of 2020.

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 146199996
Copyright : Ida Åkerblom

 

The new normal when it comes to consumer spending is largely confined to purchasing only the essentials, but there has also been a peculiar yet predictable surge in what can reasonably be described as online retail therapy.  Since we’ve basically been forced to become homebodies, our shopping preferences have changed to reflect this lifestyle shift.  Online streaming services have increased dramatically in popularity, as people search for shows and films to chew up some of their time at home.

Industries which have seen an uptick in their sales since the global pandemic hit include food delivery and takeout services, alcohol, exercise equipment, health supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer, and beauty and wellness products.

Some people have been compelled to stock up on bundles of essentials like pasta, toilet paper and the like, while others have fallen into the habit of purchasing unnecessary items, perhaps a long coveted item which was purchased with the attitude, life is short, might as well buy it.

The following excerpt from an article by Leanne Italie is an excellent description of the purchasing habits which many of us might find ourselves falling into as this lockdown continues:

“Shopping as therapy has been shown to reduce negative moods and boost overall happiness,” he said. “The big downside, however, is that such relief is very short-lived. That good feeling very quickly dissipates.”

Mr. Galak said some research points to “shopping while bored” as a variation with less emotional payout.

“Browsing for things that one doesn’t need fills the time and then clicking `buy now’ just naturally follows,” he said. “Consumers may find themselves on page 20 of a search result for a new pair of shoes, a place that when engaged and not bored, they would never reach.”

Jennifer Salgado, 42 of Bloomfield, N.J., is a shopper with many heads these days.

“Resourceful me has purchased: a pasta roller and drying rack, because now I’m Ina Garten; stuff to make hand sanitizer, because I’m now a chemist; and dog nail clippers that my 76-pound bulldog noped out of real fast and is now looking like Snooki from the ‘Jersey Shore,’” she said.

There’s also “luxurious me,” Ms. Salgado said, snapping up 96 macarons from a bulk-buying store, along with the Jennifer who needed 24 pounds of frozen peas.

“Most of the time, I forget what’s coming,” she said, echoing others who accepted long delivery dates out of fear. “And most of the time, I realize I never really needed these things in the first place.”

Kellie Flor-Robinson of Silver Spring, Md., just may be a combination of all of the above.

“I ordered a case of Moet,” she said. “I’m not sure that it was an accident, though — this thing has me buggy.”

 

 

Hippi CBD Teas Review


 

DISCLAIMER:  This is a sponsored post.  I was asked by the brand to provide an unbiased review of their products in exchange for free product.

I love the idea of being able to sip a mug of tea which has all the relaxing, mellow goodness of CBD.  As it turns out, Hippi CBD Tea took the time to test teas from around the globe, different types and concentrations of CBD to develop proprietary blends and formulations which are flavorful and effective.

Hippi Teas contain a water-soluble form of CBD which allows the CBD to bond to the tea leaves, then release as the tea is steeping.  In addition, the CBD which they use is about 90% bio-available, and the effects kick in after about five minutes, which is faster than oil or gummies.  These teas are THC-free, so you needn’t worry about getting high from these teas.

Each pyramid sachet contains 10 mg of CBD, which is equivalent to 25 mg of CBD oil.  A key step either during steeping, or after allowing the sachet to steep for 3 to 5 minutes, is to stir the tea to help release any CBD from the tea leaves.  Once you stir the tea, it’s ready to drink.

Mellow CBD Herbal Tea and Daydreamer CBD Black Tea

The first variety of Hippi CBD Tea I decided to try was Daydreamer.  I absolutely loved the packaging, with the VW bus and hippie colors and flowers.  I have always loved black tea for its robust flavor, and I can definitely recognize the quality of the tea leaves which are used in Daydreamer. What’s especially cool is that Daydreamer is the first Black CBD Tea on the market, and can be consumed either hot or iced.  I actually started out with a hot mug of Daydreamer, then as it cooled down, I added ice and enjoyed the iced version.  It’s just what you would expect from a high quality black tea, with the added benefits from CBD.

I had been working on many different things on my to-do list the first time I tried Daydreamer, plus had some distressing news that morning and was on edge.  In addition, I was feeling sluggish because I hadn’t slept well the previous night, so it was nice to get a bit of a pick-me-up from the 75 mg of caffeine.  My nerves were frazzled, yet I honestly did notice after a few minutes of drinking Daydreamer Tea that I felt much calmer, and was able to power through my tasks without that gnawing feeling of anxiety which threatened to throw a wrench in my busy day.  Daydreamer made that much of a difference, instilling a sense of calm while keeping my mind sharp and on task.

A couple of nights later, I tried Mellow CBD Herbal Tea, which is a lovely combination of organic burdock, organic orange peel, organic licorice, organic cinnamon, and water-soluble CBD.  Ordinarily, I avoid all things licorice, because I can’t stand the smell or taste, but this tea was so well-balanced that I didn’t even notice it.  The aroma of this tea kind of reminds me of Good Earth Organic Original Sweet & Spicy Tea, which I have always loved, but which can be a bit sweet.  Mellow CBD Herbal Tea is the perfect blend of earthy, spicy, citrusy, and sweet, delivering a delectable flavor which is incredibly soothing.

I drank Mellow about 20 minutes before bed, and for the first time in a long time, I pretty much fell asleep the instant my head hit the pillow.  And while my eyes usually pop open at 6 am (a full hour before I like to wake up), with Mellow CBD Herbal Tea on board, I didn’t wake up until 7 am.  Now that’s worth the price of admission!

Since trying both Daydreamer and Mellow, I have enjoyed incorporating them into my daily regimen.  I reach for Daydreamer on the days when my energy is low, but need to get through a hectic day.  Daydreamer has been perfect for me, especially since I developed a sensitivity to caffeine a couple of months ago. Suddenly, I wasn’t able to drink even a half cup of brewed coffee without getting severe jitters.  What’s so strange to me is that I couldn’t tolerate even 45 mg of caffeine from a half cup of brewed coffee, but I don’t get the jitters at all from the 75 mg of caffeine from Daydreamer.  Add to that the CBD to erase the edginess I can feel while juggling tasks, and I am set.

Mellow has been a game changer for me with respect to how well I sleep.  I have noticed on the nights I don’t drink the tea that I revert back to my old habit of waking up at 6 am, while the nights with Mellow on board reward me with a deep, restful sleep which envelops me until I need to wake up at 7 am.  I might need to stock up on this wonderful tea!

Since I am a fan of both teas, I strongly recommend buying the two-pack, which includes a 14 count box of Daydreamer CBD Black Tea, and a 14 count box of Mellow caffeine-free herbal tea. What’s also nice is that you save some money by purchasing the two-pack as opposed to purchasing the two separately.

One last wonderful point about Hippi CBD Teas is that its co-founder Stephen Walker served in the USMC.  Because of this, Hippi is committed to supporting U.S. military veterans, so much so that you can designate 10% of your purchase to be donated to the Semper Fi & America’s Fund.  Simply use code USMC at checkout.

The Michael Kors Jacket Nightmare

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Image ID : 102290706
Copyright : Jonathan Weisswarm

On March 5th, when I was waiting to board the plane which would take me from LAX to Haneda, Tokyo, I walked by a Michael Kors store and saw a nice ivory puffer jacket on display.  I took it off the hanger and tried it on, and instantly loved it.  My reasoning was that since it was a puffer jacket, it would be incredibly warm and would keep me snuggly and comfortable while I was in Sapporo.  I promptly decided to purchase it, and decided to wear it out of the store.  The sales associate asked me to take it off so that she could scan the tag, whereupon another associate cut the tags off before I could stop her.  Though I was upset, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to return the item.

About 30 minutes after I purchased the jacket, I placed it in my carry on bag, deciding that I should wait until I arrived in Japan to wear my new jacket.  Then I put the jacket to the test, not in chilly and snowy Sapporo, but in Sendai, which was far more moderate in temperature, with highs in the mid-40’s.  Well, I ended up freezing in that darling jacket, and because I purchased the jacket for warmth and not to make a fashion statement, I tucked the jacket away in my luggage and vowed to return it once I was back home in the states.

I returned to Los Angeles on March 19th, and learned that the area was on full lockdown, with retail stores closed.  So began the ongoing contact with MichaelKors.com, engaging the chat function, calling local stores, and emailing them regularly, each time inquiring when they thought stores might reopen.  This was a major headache for me to deal with, but since I was in possession of a $213 jacket which conferred almost no protection against the cold, I persisted.  I was told that return windows were being extended as a result of the lockdown, and I didn’t need to worry about the return window closing on me.

Then on June 29th, I called a local MK store, and not only did someone answer the phone, but she also stated that the store was indeed open to the public. I rushed over to the store the next day, but as I was walking towards the store, I got a funny feeling in my gut that something was about to go very wrong.   I walked into the store, explained my situation, and as soon as I mentioned that I had purchased the jacket at the Michael Kors store at LAX, the salesperson grimaced and said, “Oh, I don’t think we can process the return here.  You see, the store you went to isn’t owned by Michael Kors, it’s owned by Hudson Group”.

The salesperson tried to enter the SKU, but the number was not accepted by the register, and he told me that I had to contact the phone number on the purchase receipt.  By this time, I was fuming, frantically dialing the numbers as I exited the store, cursing under my breath the entire time.  I called the number, only to be told that wasn’t the proper number, and that I had to call yet another number.

Little did I know that the second phone call would connect me to the bossiest, bitchiest, rudest woman I have encountered in years.  She was VERY nasty to me and kept interrupting me as I told her the situation.  It took everything in me to remain calm as I spoke with this witch.  She explained that Michael Kors was franchised, yadda yadda yadda…but all I cared about was, would they allow me to return the item?  Finally, she stated that the Hudson Group would issue a return, provided I sent numerous specific images of the jacket, a pic of the receipt, and proof that I had been in Japan from March 5th through March 19th.

I sent all the information over, then heard absolutely nothing.  So I re-sent the emails from a different email address, thinking maybe there was an issue with the email server.  Still nothing.  I called her once again, and she got nasty with me, stating that she hadn’t received my emails, and why was I wasting her time?  Then she provided a different email address when I implored her to do so, and I re-sent all emails from two different email servers once more.

Once again, I heard nothing.  So I sent the Hudson representative another email yesterday, marked urgent, which asked her to please get in contact with me if she received that particular email.  She called me today, stating that she had only received the one email, then started yelling at me, stating that I hadn’t followed directions, that I was wasting her time, and that she didn’t have to help me at all.  When I tried asking her to check her spam folder, she interrupted me, started yelling again, and HUNG UP ON ME.

I re-sent all the emails yet again, from both email servers, this time with hands shaking in rage.  Imagine my surprise when she responded and said that she received all my emails, FINALLY!

This battle isn’t over yet, though.  Tomorrow I will mail the jacket to her office, at my expense, and wait to see if a refund is actually granted.  This woman should NOT be in customer service.

UPDATE 8/10/2020:  I finally received a refund several days ago!