Friday, February 26, 2016

webTrina Moving Tip: TV Moving Boxes

We are about two weeks from our move date back to San Francisco.

We've hired Graebel Moving Company for our move back to San Francisco. They moved us to Bellevue from San Francisco, but it was all coordinated through my husband's company for his job up here. This time, we're hiring them on our own, so I was looking for various ways that we could save money.

One of the biggest savings comes by packing our stuff ourselves. Graebel gave us a quote that included them packing all of our stuff, and another that has us packing everything. We're going to meet them in the middle and pack some of our things (clothing, office supplies, household goods, books, etc., ) but have them pack the bulk of the kitchen and breakables. As I wrote in my last post, I drove to the Graebel warehouse in Kent, WA a couple of days ago to pick up a bunch of boxes. We'll be able to save a few hundred dollars by doing some of the packing ourselves.

Some of the boxes that they use are specialty boxes that cost more money. For example, a box for a television would cost $100 if we went through Graebel. Our representative suggested a cheaper alternative:

Home Depot sells TV moving boxes for about $20.00. They come with a foam corners and a bag.

We drove to Home Depot today and picked one up! They are really good boxes to know about. They hold most televisions up to 70 inches, but are also good for art work, mirrors, etc., The box is 39" tall, and expands up to 70". Pretty neat!

Good tip!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Moving Boxes

This morning, I borrowed Gina and her truck to help me pick up some moving boxes from the moving company that will be moving us in two weeks. They have a warehouse in Kent, WA which is about 30 min South of me. We were told that we would not be charged for any boxes that we pack before the movers come. We decided to pack our clothes, books, office stuff, etc., We'll have them pack the kitchen and any breakable.

We picked up a lot of boxes today. I wanted to be sure to get plenty, and err on the side of caution. If we don't use all of them, the moving company will just the them back after they pack us.

The nearest IKEA is in Renton, which is on the way to Kent. Gina needed to pick up a few things do we went there first. She hadn't had breakfast yet, so we went to the cafeteria where she got the $1 (!) breakfast and waffles. It was her first time eating at IKEA, so I thought it was photo worthy!

Anyhow, back to the boxes:
I'm so grateful for Gina's help and her truck!! There's no way we could have gotten these boxes home in our car.

Once we were back at our apartment, we were able to borrow the cart from the concierge and fit all the boxes on the cart in one load!! Amazing! It made bringing them up to our apartment so much easier.

Thanks for all if your help today, Gina!!

Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt Seattle Stop #1: Hello Robin

Gina just told me about Hello Kitty Hungry Hunt Seattle. In a nut shell, seven local food spots in Seattle are participating in this. Each restaurant will offer a special Hello Kitty oriented food or drink option. When you buy one (and if they haven't sold out for the day) you get an exclusive Hello Kitty collectible enamel pin.

Gina made it to Pie yesterday, and today we went to Hello Robin. Our sundae consisted of a scoop of Molly Moon ice cream covered with sprinkles and a iced-now. It also included a Hello Robin chocolate chip cookie. Mmmmmm....

Here are pictures of our sundaes, the postcard (front and back) and our Hello Kitty eating a cookie pin.

I may have to see how many of these we can cover before I move! :)

Tea with Honey

I woke up this morning with a sore throat.

When I was young, my Great Grandma used to make me mugs of hot water with honey to help me feel better.

The only time I add honey to my tea is when I'm not feeling great. I love that I'm still able to carry this memory of my Great Grandmother, even though I haven't seen her in over 30 years.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It's a Rainier Day

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it is so beautiful.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Nishino with the Gang

Mmmmm.... Best sushi in Seattle!

PS: first photo taken with my new iPhone!!! 😊

The Trials and Tribulations on new Tech

I used to be a pretty tech savvy person, and I'd like to think that I'm still reasonably so.

For good or for bad, I find myself in the situation where I keep my tech (phone/computers) for much longer than most folks. This is generally great, as the hardware is better, I'm not running out of storage, the speed hasn't slowed down, etc., Why spend lots of money on new tech if you don't need it yet.

The unfortunate side effect, however, comes when the time finally comes, and you find that you're existing technology is so old and outdated that it's problematic to restore your old files to your new tech.

Case in point: I bought a new iPhone 6s yesterday early afternoon. I have been in front of my computer, on the phone with Apple Care ever since, and I have yet to restore my files to my new phone.

Switching from a 3.5 year old iPhone 5 to a iPhone 6s isn't really the problem here. That can be done (or should be able to be done) fairly seamlessly.

The problem here is that my trusty MacBook Pro (St. Jimmy) is well over 5 years old. It has mostly been running well, except for the last year or so it has, on several occasions, had the screen blacked out on me, randomly. Not good, I know.

So basically, I find myself in need of a new phone and a new laptop at the same time. Boo.
The iPhone won out as I find I use it more often than my laptop on a day-to-day basis. I still use my laptop quite a bit, but I don't rely on it like I used to when I had my web design business.

Yesterday, I had a GREAT experience at the Apple store trading in my iPhone 5 and purchasing a new 6s. That'll be another blog post, coming soon.

I didn't leave my house with the intention of getting a new phone, but rather to go to Verizon and then the Apple Store to see what my options were in purchasing a new phone. Because of this, I had synced my iPhone 5 to my iTunes before we left home, but I wasn't as particular about backing up as I may have been if I had known I was about to wipe out and turn in my old phone. Nonetheless, I did have a backup from yesterday morning at 11:01am on my iTunes, so when I decided to buy the new iPhone at the Apple Store, I was fairly confident that the restore would work.

When I came home, I connected my fancy-dancy new phone to my iTunes. Even before it would give me the option to restore from backup, my iTunes told me that in order to connect to this new device, I would need to update to the latest version of iTunes. I thought I had done that recently, so I checked my version of the App, and saw that it was up-to-date. Then, I went to the site and downloaded what it said was the latest version of iTunes, and saw that it, too, was what I was running.

At this point, I figured it may have something to do with my Operating System on my MacBook Pro. I hate installing new OS systems onto non-native computers, as it generally slows things down and makes problems on older applications.

I called Apple Care, and they confirmed that:
There is a newer version of iTunes that i would need to connect to my new phone, but my laptop's operating system would only allow iTunes to run an older version. This of course means that I had to upgrade to the newest OS for my Mac, which when I tried to do it the first 3 times, crashed my computer!!

After a couple of frustrating hours, we finally got the new OS (El Capitain) on my Mac, and I was also able to download the latest version of iTunes.

Now, while we were spending hours trying to figure this out, the helpful person at Apple Care helped me restore to an older backup of my phone that I had saved to iCLoud in late October, 2015. At that point, I just wanted to be able to use my phone, and figured that all my data up until Oct 2015 was a lot better than nothing at all. This enabled me to use my new phone for a while while my new OS and iTunes were being loaded on my Mac.

Finally, I had my Mac updated, and I was able to connect my new iPhone to iTunes. The first thing I told me was that I now needed to update my OS on my Phone!! That took some doing as well, as now my Mac was freaking out that it had all these new operating systems and apps on it, and it decided to crash on me a few times.

Eventually, I got my iPhone's OS up to date. By this time, by the way, it was around 7:00pm or so.... I had come home from buying my phone around 1:00.

It was finally time to connect my up-to-date phone with my now up-to-date laptop!! We hit the "restore" button from the 11:01am backup session, and it seemed to go well....

...until it crashed 5 minutes in.

Some variation of this happened for the next several hours, each time as the restore process was about 5 minutes in. Sometimes, it would give me a simple error message of "iTunes could not restore the iPhone because an error occurred" (that's helpful), sometimes, it would crash iTunes and need to restart the app, sometimes it would crash my entire computer, and need to restart. Seriously, hours....

I went to bed around 11:30, but was awoken by my cute little kitty at 2:00am. I figured it may as well check in on my computer.

Nope, still crashing.

This morning, still crashing.

Finally, I had a scheduled call from my third apple care rep at 11:00 today. He walked me through something new, which made SO much sense. He said I was having problems because I had already restored a version (from iCloud) to my phone. Instead, he had me wipe my new phone, and start the Restore from scratch.

We are about 30 minutes in on what is estimated to be a 45 minutes restore process right now. Knock on wood, but it hasn't crashed yet.....

Fingers crossed.



After about 55 minutes, my new iPhone6s was able to be restored with my old data! All my contacts, music, and photos are now in my new phone! Yay!!!!

It took just under 24 hours, from start to finish (minus time to eat and sleep!) but it is DONE!!

Kudos to the staff at Apple Care for helping me out and getting my new phone up and running!!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Finally- a new iPhone!!

After a very frustrating customer service experience at the AT&T store (Bellevue Square) Tues evening, I was delighted and impressed with the exceptional customer service we received from Jimmy at the Apple Store (Bellevue Square) today!! Not only did he help me upgrade to an iPhone 6s, but he also helped solve an issue I've had with my Apple ID that's been a nuisance for years, AND he gave me $200 instant trade in for my iPhone 5!!

Kudos to Jimmy for restoring my faith in customer service!!

A multi-part blog post coming soon on:

- My terrible experience at AT&T when they refused to honor a gift card, and why we may switch to Verizon
- Apple Store FTW, and kudos to our guy, Jimmy!
- Oh, the joys of getting new hardware and all the problems that go into restoring all if your old files onto it. (A problem I've been working on all afternoon, and still trying to get through!)

Gina, spreading the kindness

On Wednesday, I wrote about how I was participating in glassybaby's Random Act of Kindness Day. The idea is that each person who receives it enjoys the kindness for one day before passing it on for someone else to enjoy, creating a chain of kindness.

I passed along the kindness glassybaby to Gina yesterday.

Here's what she posted about it last night:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Shaking my head...

Seeing as I live in the Seattle area, this seems like the most pointless phone alert ever.

Noe's New Star Wars Mousies

I bought Noe a couple of new toys today. How could I resist Chewbacca Mousie and Yoda Mousie?

She seems to like them!

Cheap Gas at Costco, Kirkland!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Seattle Flower and Garden Show

Gina invited me to join her at the Seattle Flower and Garden Show today. I knew we would have a fun time together, but I wasn't prepared for the many, many laughs we shared today.

I oddly didn't take any photos while we were there! Lucky for me, Gina did! She's looking for ideas for ways to landscape her property.

All the funny stories revolve around the some of the items we did, or did not buy today.

But we couldn't pass up:

The Original Garden Broom
A broom?! Really?

Believe me, it was the last thing on my mind of things I would buy today! In fact, I was sure I wouldn't buy anything today! I'm moving in three weeks, and I don't even have a yard to sweep here in Bellevue.

But, you should have seen the demo of this broom. I totally pulled "an Opus". We were both sold immediately. According to Gina, I said to her, "You should buy one" in the same breath that I said, "I'm going to get one." :)

From their website:
The key features of the Original Garden Broom:

  • New tool – Functions in-between a corn broom and a rake. Stays firm and strong even when wet. Does not disintegrate or fall apart during heavy use. Has the density to sweep fine debris.
  • Very versatile — Works on any surface, wet or dry. Great for pine needles, leaves and light snow. Clean up your decks, sidewalks, patios, lawns, garden beds, doormats, cement floors, exposed aggregate and more.
  • Durable — Long lasting, strong and made to the highest quality standard.
  • 100% environmentally friendly — uses recycled materials from the coconut tree.

When we asked the price, we were told it sold on QVC for $45, but the show price was $20. But wait, there's more! We also got the smaller, mini broom for free!! It was hilarious - we walked the rest of the show carrying our brooms. We felt like we were witches from Harry Potter. Even funnier, these brooms were clearly the hit of the show - dozens of people were carrying them around! We had several people (12-15?) ask us about the brooms.

Back to why I bought one: I actually need a new broom for our backyard in San Francisco. This broom will help me sweep up fallen wet or dry leaves from the bark, the grass, and the patio. I can also use it during Plumpacolypse. It'll be good for both the wet and dry/sticky fruit. The broom can be cleaned by rinsing it with water. I'll be able to use the small brush to clean up the spider webs along my balcony glass wall.

(also available on

But wait, there's MORE!! Apparently, I'm a sucker for trade-shows.... I also bought a tub of Hawaiian Moon Aloe Cream. It's an aloe-based cream designed to help dry skin, and various skin issues. (also available on

I've had a problem with Keratosis Pilaris for a few years now. I went to a dermatologist a few years back and learned that it's fairly common among Asians. It is a skin condition characterized by the appearance of rough, brown bumps. It often appears on the outer sides of the upper arms, which is where I have it.

I have a prescription cream that I use on it, but frankly, it's really pricey, and since I generally wear long sleeves during the winter months, I haven't used it in a while so I could not go through it so fast.

This cream is pricey (although I got the 9 oz jar, usually $60 for $40, plus they threw in two .75oz travel sized jars), but it's cheaper than the prescription cream. I figured it was worth trying. Plus, it's 100% guaranteed. (I know, I know...)

Dick is never going to let me go to a trade-show event again.

But, the real question is what we didn't buy today!

The most tempting and amazing thing that we saw at the Flower and Garden Show today: Sugar Bears!

I had never seen/heard of a Sugar Bear until today. They are a species of of small and tree dwelling marsupials. Apparently, they have become popular pets in the US for the last decade or so.

They are small, pocket pets. The guy at the booth for the company Sugar Bears literally had a sugar bear in each of the five pockets in his pants and shirt!

Sugar Bears are not rodents, even though, to me, they look a lot like a chipmunk. Unlike the pet rats that I used to have, Sugar Bears average life spans are 12 to 15 years!

Anyhow, this company was there selling baby, 6-week old Sugar Bears, and had many adult-sized ones (not much larger than the babies) there to show and play with. The idea, like any pet, is the younger you can start bonding with them, as soon as they are ready to leave their Mother, the better.

No, I didn't buy one, but I admit, I was smitten. I'm pretty sure Dick and Noe would not appreciate me coming home with a Sugar Bear. Also, it occurred to me that ferrets are illegal to own in California, and I inquired about the Sugar Bear. Turns out, there are two states in The US where Sugar Bears are illegal: California and Hawaii. Of course.

Gina is still contemplating getting one. She was going to do a bunch of research on them (and the company) tonight. I would love it if she had a little Sugar Bear as part of her menagerie!!

Happy Random Act of Kindness Day!!

Happy Random Acts of Kindness Day!!

I was selected by glassybaby to start one of twenty chains of kindness!!

They sent me a lovely kit yesterday which included a beautiful "kindness" glassybaby, a box of votive candles, and a tracker.

The idea is that each person who receives it enjoys the kindness for one day before passing it on for someone else to enjoy, creating a chain of kindness.

Today, the kindness glassybaby is lit in Downtown Bellevue. Who knows where it will end up tomorrow!!

You can follow the chain of kindness at #alittlekindness.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Now prepping for our road trip!!

In preparation of our big drive back to San Francisco, I bought a large, collapsible pet crate for Noe. It's about twice the size of her normal carrier, and I thought it would be good for her to have a little more space on the road trip home.

We won't be leaving for another 3+ weeks, but I thought it would be good to have it in our apartment for her to get accustomed to before we leave.

We took it out of the box, popped it open, and Noe walked right in and checked it out!! I take that as a good sign! (Fingers crossed!)

Ladies Who Lunch

We were "those people" today!!

Paula and Nicole had today off from work, so we four girls went out for a Girl's Afternoon together!!

We had lunch at The Barking Frog in Woodinville. We all shared an order of beignets and Mac and Cheese. On top of that, Gina and Nicole had breakfast entrees and Paula and I each had an amazing crab Cobb salad. Yum!!

As if that wasn't enough decadence for the day, we drove to Metropolitan Market after and picked up "The Cookie". We went back to Gina's house to visit the baby chicks and ate our cookies. :)

I'm really going to miss our gang here on the Eastside.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Dessert

Tonight I baked the Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cake that Gina gave out at her Favorite Things party last November.

I had it in my freezer, and thought tonight would be the perfect night to enjoy it.

Hot Cakes is a local company/storefront in Seattle, but we can also buy these in the freezer section of Whole Foods.

I know they are available in select grocery stores around the country. If you find them, I'd recommend giving them a try.

BTW: the Hot Cakes Molten Cakes have an entire Theo Chocolate Bar in them! Oh, my!! This would explain why I can never eat more than half of one. Soooo yummy!!

Thanks, Gina!!