Buying Myself Presents

So, in case you didn’t know this about me – I have a total weakness for clever marketing tactics. It’s like I should know better, but I just can’t help myself!

My latest obsession is such an awesome product that it’s almost like the maker was spying on me when they came up with it.

It combines my love of awesome packaging, presents, surprises, a low price and oh yeah, the fact that I just popped out a baby. They’re spying on me, right??

Anyways, it’s a company called Citrus Lane and they offer specialized care packages filled with adorable products for you and your baby. When signing up you tell them your child’s age (0 – 3) and they will send you out a box each month filled with full sized products for both of you to enjoy. You don’t know what’s in the box, that’s a surprise – but based on their previous boxes it’s sure to be awesome!

Each month has a theme and March is “Dining Out with Baby” month. Since my husband and I have pretty much eaten out most meals* for the last three weeks, I anticipate this being a perfect fit for us.

I can’t wait to get my first box in the mail and I’ll be sure to fill you all in on whether it was worth it. Either way, it’s a brilliant marketing idea and I wish I would have thought of it first!

If you’re interested in signing up for Citrus Lane and experiencing it with me, click here. Also, here’s a special little code for my readers, use 20TODAY and you can save 20% off the cost of the subscription.

PS. I was not rewarded in any way for mentioning Citrus Lane on my blog. I just think it’s an awesome concept and I’m excited to try it out!

* Since Jack has been in the hospital, we’ve pretty much eaten dinner out every night. Since the NICU is closed between 6:30 – 7:30, it’s a convenient way to spend the hour. However, I never thought I would say this, but I am REALLY SICK of restaurant food!

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Good Customer Service Rocks My Socks Off

Since it’s been almost a decade since I purchased my last house, I’m suddenly being reminded of all the “fun” stuff that comes along with a home purchase.

One of those things I forgot about is the massive amount of signing* my own name. You sign your name a bunch. And when I say a bunch, I mean you sign a freaking craptastic amount of forms. Whether it’s to put in the initial contract, secure your new mortgage or actually go through the settlement for your new home, you’d better bone up on your full signature because you’ll be signing it over and over and over again.

Ok, I’m back on track from my tangent — one of the things that slipped my mind was that I’d have to call around and get quotes for homeowners insurance.

Even though we won’t be moving until the end of the month, in order to fully process our paperwork our mortgage guy needs to know that we have insurance lined up, as well as a quote for how much to include in our escrow account total.

When I did this forever ago for my townhouse, I asked around to see if anyone was happy with their insurance. A friend highly recommended Erie Insurance (offered through Patterson Insurance in Odenton, Maryland), so I switched my auto policy over to them when signing up for a homeowners insurance policy.

Unfortunately, when my husband and I got married and wanted to merge our auto insurance plans, they wouldn’t take him because he had a couple recent tickets and accidents. We switched both of our auto policies to Geico and kept the homeowners plan with Erie since Geico didn’t offer one at that time.

When we sold our townhouse, we discontinued our homeowner’s insurance plan and instead signed up for a renter’s insurance plan through Geico which gave us a multi-policy discount. Patterson Insurance was awesome about this and promptly sent me out a refund for the remaining money in my account.

Now that we’re in the market for homeowner’s insurance again, I figured I’d quote around at a couple different places. I asked my Facebook friends for their recommendations and got a few to work with. I also checked my account page on Geico to see if they offered the plan, but gave up after looking around and not finding anything.

So, I called the first company on my list – my previous company of Erie (through Patterson). The lady who I spoke to on the phone (yes, it was a REAL PERSON with no touchtone prompts!) was both super nice and super knowledgeable.  In less than 10 minutes, we went over every aspect of the new house and answered a ton of questions so that she could determine its value. She came back with a quote that was 20% less than the mortgage guy guessed it would be. She also went the extra mile to let us know that if we switched back our auto policies (which we can now do since there are no recent tickets or accidents), we could save an additional $200 each year.

Once I got off the phone with her, she emailed me the quote within 5 minutes and included the note that she’d be happy to prepare an auto quote if I send over our VIN numbers.

SOLD!

I didn’t have to yell at a computer for 15 minutes before finally speaking to a human?
There was no pressure to buy their services?
They offered full coverage at great prices?
The lady was knowledgeable about the plans and FRIENDLY?

I don’t even feel like I need to call anywhere else to get additional quotes, since I’m perfectly happy with what they’re offering!

And THAT is how you get business.

So let me do my part to pass on the positive reviews – if you’re looking to get a quote on an auto or homeowners insurance policy, take 10 minutes and call the Patterson Insurance Company.

*I accidentally mistyped that as singing my name, which sounds even more fun. And now I’m singing my name over and over in my head…

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Take This Image and Pin It

This may not come as a surprise to some of you, being that I’m a dorky visual person who keeps an “idea box” with stuff that sparks my creativity for graphic design projects. I also tend to keep magazines for way too long because I loved something about a particular page… only to find the magazine months or years later and not remember which page I liked and why.

One of my little pleasures is decorating (or re-decorating) a room for a ridiculously small budget by doing everything myself. In fact, I’m currently in the middle of a bunch of different projects for our baby’s room, which will most likely all be completed next week since I have time off from work.

I guess I should just come out and confess… I’m obsessed with Pinterest.

For anyone not familiar with the website, Pinterest is a virtual pinboard which allows you to organize and share stuff you find on the internet. Whether it is a super snazzy white ceramic owl or an inspiration room where you’re obsessed with the wall color, you can “pin” it on your very own board for future viewing.  The best part is that the original link that you found is included in the pin, so you can find it again in the future.

So right now I have boards with ideas for our baby’s room, our new house, cool maternity stuff and even a tattoo sleeve that I’m in love with. If you’re bored and want to check out my pins, click on the Pinterest link on the right hand side of this page and search for JoulesDellinger to find me.

Anyways, while tooling away on the website, I came across a framed image of “21 Suggestions for Success” by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. that really resonated with me. If you’re not familiar with his work, I wanted to share it with my fabulous Pocketful readers in case it sparks something with you too:

21 Suggestions for Success
By H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

  1. Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90% of your happiness or misery.
  2. Work at something you enjoy and that’s worthy of your time and talent.
  3. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  4. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  5. Be forgiving of yourself and others.
  6. Be generous.
  7. Have a grateful heart.
  8. Persistence, persistence, persistence.
  9. Discipline yourself to save money on even the most modest salary.
  10. Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
  11. Commit yourself to constant improvement.
  12. Commit yourself to quality.
  13. Understand that happiness is not based on possessions, power, prestige, but on relationships with people you love and respect.
  14. Be loyal.
  15. Be honest.
  16. Be a self-starter.
  17. Be decisive even if it means that you’ll sometimes be wrong.
  18. Stop blaming others. Take responsibility for every area of your life.
  19. Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.
  20. Take good care of those you love.
  21. Don’t do anything that wouldn’t make your mom proud.

I know some of them are pretty typical and you’ve heard them time and time again (and probably skim over them with your eyes half-closed). However, at this particular moment in time, I have four standout favorites: #3, #5, #11 and #13.

So on this Christmas Eve Eve, think about whether there is something on his list that you need to keep in mind. And if you happen to be that inevitable person who will be in line ahead of me tonight when I finish my holiday shopping…please, please, please take # 17 to heart!

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