chocolate mousse filled chocolate #cupcakes with whipped raspberry frosting for tonight’s new year’s party (Taken with Instagram at Home)
edible art (Taken with Instagram at Home)
Yup. (Taken with Instagram at Peacefood Cafe)
Marcel the Shell, Part Two.
If you’re not familiar with Marcel, she(ll)’s awesome. I’d suggest you watch Part One as soon as you finish this niblet of humor above.
Oh Amazon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways . . .
It’s about that time of year where we all go crazy and think it’s necessary to buy each other things. If only Santa really did exist … on the other hand, I think Amazon.com may be working with Santa because they’re so awesome. I have to say, I think I did 85% of my shopping online last year and I plan on doing just as much if not more this year. So why is it so awesome? Let me give you a few reasons:
1. Amazon.com is the internet (duh).
There are no lines, no screaming children (unless you have those in your house already), no over-perfumed old ladies with bedazzled Christmas sweaters on, and very rarely do they run out of things.
2. The deals.
Amazon has deals every day. If you go to Amazon’s website, you can look at the top of the site and see the gold treasure box. These are daily deals that are usually better than a price you’ll find in any store. Then, for the holiday season they do Black Friday week deals. These deals are done for a window of time each day of the week of Thanksgiving, leading up to Black Friday. Last year they had insane DVD deals (because who says you can’t treat yourself on Christmas?). Also, if you can imagine, Cyber Monday is a huge event for Amazon.
3. Amazon Prime.
If you’ve been to the website, you’ve probably seen advertisements for this. If you’ve bought something from Amazon you’ve probably seen when things are “Prime Eligible”. Amazon Prime is a service that costs $79 a year and includes these benefits:
· free 2-day shipping on a majority of the items sold on Amazon.com
· upgrade to overnight shipping for $3.99/shipment
· Access to Amazon’s instant videos. Now, this is nowhere near the vast collection of videos available on Netflix, but, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you’re probably not investing in it for the videos, they’re just an added bonus.
· Kindle Lending Library. I don’t have a Kindle, so I don’t know much about this, and I know this feature is fairly new for Amazon Prime members. The lending library enables you to share books with others and also lend e-books just like you’d do from a public library.
If you’re a student, Amazon Prime is free for the first year. All you need is a “.edu” e-mail address to sign up for your first year for free. After that, Amazon may give you the discount I received, which was a renewal membership at 50% off ($39). Let’s do the math – that’s just a little more than $3 a month for awesome shipping rates, plus instant movies/TV, and Kindle lending.
4. Along the same lines as Amazon Prime is Amazon Mom. I’m not going to go into further detail since the picture below from the website does a good job of summing up its features. I will say that this service is free and is available not only to moms, but to dads, grandparents, and any other caregivers of young children. Take advantage of this!
5. Amazon Reviews.
Now, yes, most websites have customer reviews, I realize this. Amazon takes it one step further by allowing you to see when a review is actually from a person who bought that item from Amazon. Lots of times you may wonder if the review you’re reading is legit or if it’s just someone from the company just trying to promote the product. This helps authenticate reviews. Reviewers can also comment on the packaging as well as the product itself, and you are able to comment back to those reviewers and ask questions if you’d like. If you’re buying products without reading reviews, I’d highly recommend you start seeing what others are saying before you buy.
6. Amazon Wishlist
This is probably the feature I’m most excited to share with you and will likely help you out a lot with your Christmas shopping. As its name suggests, Amazon Wishlist is a way for you to create a list of things you would like to have and then share that list with others. You can create multiple lists and you can also make your lists public or private as well as e-mail them to others with ease.
If your family is like mine, shopping for birthdays and Christmas requires a list. I know, some people may have more creative family members, but making a list enables you to actually get things you want and need. Less time returning, more time enjoying.
The Wishlist profile page is customizable so that you can add your birthday, wedding date, or anniversary. You can also add a shipping address so that Amazon knows exactly where to send your gift without the person having to ask you ;-) The Wishlist also allows people, similar to a wedding registry at a store, to mark things off the list when things have been purchased so that you don’t end up with four copies of that DVD you’ve wanted.
Other features include being able to write notes attached to the item. For instance, I made notes of certain colors or styles of things, suggestions of where to find the item around town instead of online, and how much money I thought the person should spend on the item. You can also prioritize your list. If you want the Star Wars collector’s series reallllll bad for Christmas, highest on your list mark it you will. (bad Yoda impersonation, I know)
As vast as the selection of items you can purchase on Amazon is, there are still other sites that you may have items you desire to put on your list. Have no fear, my friends, I give you … the Amazon Wishlist button.
As you can see, the button is downloadable to several different browsers. All you have to do is go to whatever sites you want products from, click on the button, and Amazon will add the item to whatever Wishlist you’d like.
Even if the person doesn’t buy the item you’d like from the internet, making a list of specific items that you want will spare your poor mom the confusion when you say you want headphones and she goes to Best Buy and there are 30 pairs to pick from. Electronic Wishlists allow sharing amongst several people, provide accurate descriptions, and even pictures for those who want to shop for it locally in stores.
7. The Amazon App.
Now I know everyone doesn’t have a smart phone, but a lot of people do. Amazon offers apps for both iPhone and Android devices. It is sleek, streamlined, and functions just as well as the full site. There’s also a feature where you can take a picture of something and search for it on Amazon (think Google Goggles for shopaholics). All you have to do is take a picture of an item and Amazon will try to find that exact item as well as similar items for you to choose. For Android users, there’s also a barcode scanner built into the app for you to accurately search that way.
8. Amazon mp3 and Cloud.
I’m a Mac person; yes, I have an iPhone and a MacBook Pro, but iTunes is not always the best. Amazon mp3 often sells albums and songs for cheaper than iTunes. I also think that Amazon may secretly be ran by a group of hipsters because they always have great suggestions based on music you look at and purchase. Amazon Cloud also came out before iCloud and offers much of a similar feature: 5GB of storage where your downloaded music purchases go so you can access them from anywhere (except from your iPhone Amazon Cloud app, because it doesn’t exist, obviously). In the end, I believe Apple and Amazon can be great friends.
Well, if you’re still reading at this point, you have reached the end of my list. I bid you a Happy Thanksgiving (please enjoy it before you go get all Christmas-y), but remember Amazon does have a week of GREAT deals starting on Monday of Thanksgiving week. I bid you happy holidays and happy, stress-free shopping.
M83 (Taken with Instagram at King’s Barcade)