random ramblings

Cheers! To a New Year

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

2012 is kaput and 2013 is here! A year ago, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of a fantastic year ahead. I was optimistic and just knew 2012 would be an absolutely amazing year!

…it kind of sucked.

Not all of it, of course, and in the wake of all the emotional disasters and havoc-ridden happenings I learned and grew and became a better, more developed person… Not that I needed any of that anyway; I’m flippin’ awesome and have been since ’87. … Oh, God, I turn 26 this year.

The sucky stuff definitely sucked. I’m still feeling the aftershocks and sometimes I do get frustrated with the reverb. It does seem to, in deed, diminish “over time”, however, so I anticipate it eventually fading out. The awesome stuff resonates just as powerfully and increases; I doubt I’ll ever shake that wake and I would never want to.

Long story short: On New Years Day 2012, the greatness I felt rising upon the horizon wasn’t without its traumas but to be able to dance in the ripples like a skipped stone certainly feels great.

Kate the Great! That’s how I feel about 2013. A rebirth… sort of. Not in the recovered junkie sort of way but more like a major medical discovery. I have so much more to apply to life. And if there’s one thing I’ve always known about myself and really came in handy in 2012 it’s my resilience and ability to adapt so whatever traumas 2013 may hold, I’ll come out on top. A Phoenix that will rise above the ashes every time… and hotter. I’m just as optimistic about the upcoming year as I was last year but this time, I know better than ever that anything can happen, good or bad. Regardless of which, you ride it out.

Thanks for reading! Love, GK

Here’s a peek at my amazing night with my amazing friends last night.

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Bad Bad Birchbox Ops

*title of post should be sang to the tune of

“Bad, Bad Leory Brown.”

As you may or may not be aware, I was incredibly disappointed with the October Goop-partnered Birchbox. I wrote more than one post expressing this and naturally made my way to twitter with the news:

Not long after I took to twitter, posting my own tweet and commenting on others’ tweets about this month’s Birchbox, I received this tweet and was notified that BirchboxOps was now following me.

I was so impressed! I had been so annoyed and disappointed with Birchbox and when they reached out to me, I felt better. If they were reaching out to me about my dissatisfaction, not only does it mean that their customer service is aware of how their customers and subscribers feel about the service but also that they must want to try and make it up to me somehow. I felt so guilty about the nasty email I had typed up to send them.

I figured they were going to listen to my views on the October Birchbox, apologize for the monstrosity that was the Goop-Birchbox and maybe even try to give some sort of compensation (in the form of a bottle of essie or something.) I direct messaged them my email, as they requested, and after a few hours I received my first email from a staff member at Birchbox… It was all down hill from there. Not only did they not offer any form of compensation, their copy-and-pasted responses were so apparently generic it’s insulting.

Now, I doubt that very many people will take the time to fully read the entire email conversation I’m about to share with you all nor am I naive enough to think very many people will even car. However, I have done a little copying and pasting myself and have the back and forth emails posted below.

I wanted others to see a good example of how little the Birchbox Operations staff cares about the opinions of their subscribers. So little, in fact, that I was addressed by an entirely different name. If you’re at all interested, please feel free to read the back-and-forth below.

The main mission of this post is to address potential Birchbox subscribers. So, to anyone who is considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber: all I can suggest is that you look into the other subscription cosmetic sample boxes available. I’m currently a subscriber to GlossyBox and I couldn’t have been more pleased with my first box. My first box from GlossyBox had better products, larger “samples” and is most likely worth more (monetarily speaking) than all of the Birchboxes I have received combined. Another great service is Ipsy, previously MyGlam. I will be signing up for Ipsy, this week, immediately after cancelling my Birchbox subscription. I’m only waiting on my Birchbox order (the one I purchased and posted about in yesterdays post) to ship before I cancel.

Anyway, here’s the email conversation between myself and the Birchbox Operations team members. I don’t hold anything against the actual ladies who had the task of reading and replying to my messages, I do, however, have a problem with Birchbox’s protocol of dealing with these matters. Clearly, a disappointed subscriber is at the very bottom of their priorities. Unfortunately, providing quality, deluxe samples isn’t at the top.

The things that upset me most in the first response I got from Anastasia (as you can read) were:
  • Calling me by the wrong name; her name. -No explanation needed.
  • Explaining to me their definition of “deluxe-size samples” -I’m aware and none of the samples I received this month were “deluxe” by anyone’s definition.
  • Stating that of the products featured in the sneak peek, each subscriber would receive at least one -I didn’t receive any of the feature products.
  • Saying they will share my input with their brand partners. -So, they will use my opinion to get bigger, better samples from their “brand partner” FOR FREE and then give them away to paying subscribers, making their subscribers happy, who will obviously want to stay a subscriber, thus, making Birchbox more money yet they can’t throw me a product or two to thank me for my imput and dissatisfaction? BS.

Thanks for reading. And to those who continue reading from here, I thank you even more.

Love, GK

PS I’d love to hear any and all opinions and comments on this matter. Please feel free to contact me directly or to share your comments below (I always respond!) -Thanks again!

Sarah, Oct 19 03:08 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

Thanks for writing in. I’d love to hear your feedback on this month 😀

xGingerKate, Oct 22 11:15 am (EDT):

Good Morning, Sarah
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Thank you again for reaching out to
me about my dissatisfaction with my Birchbox for the month of October. I am
extremely upset and disappointed with the Goop partnered box I received
this month and based on the comments I’ve received on multiple blog posts I
have written about this box, others who received the same box (or similar)
are quite upset as well.

After opting to received one of the goop boxes, I checked out Facebook
posts, the sneak peek videos, etc and was thrilled at the products
featured. Unfortunately, when I saw the box I was due to receive, I came to
find that I would not be one of the lucky ones to received any of those
fabulous products. My dismal box contained:

– Lulu Organics Lavender hair powder
– Karuna Hydrating mask
– Naked Princess lip gloss
– Embryolisse 24hr Miracle Cream
– LUNA bar

Every one of these products was a one-time only sample with the
exception of the lip gloss which is absolutely tiny. When I signed up for
Birchbox, I was promised that I was to receive “premium samples” each
month. One-time use samples can be acquired from department stores or by
simply contacting companies individually; I pay for this subscription to
received more than a one-time use sample.

As it turns out, I received my very first GlossyBox on the same day I
received this month’s Birchbox. Whether I compare the two boxes as a whole
or individual products, GlossyBox was able to stand by their word and
provide me with luxe products for a little more than double my subscription
costs with you. I received 5 full size (or at least close to full size)
products from them and find that the extra $11 per month is more than worth
it (and my blog readers agree). I’ve also researched Ipsy and their boxes
(previously MyGlam) and the reviews I read on these boxes from other
bloggers leaves me impressed with their service as well.

I have been disappointed with your boxes in the past but there was
usually at least one product per box that made me feel not so stupid for
spending $10 on it. However, I don’t think I will continue my subscription
much longer after receiving this most recent box. It’s absolutely horrible. I
am promised 4 or 5 products each month and sometimes “extras” are provided
as well. Months when I receive 4 samples I can’t help but be a bit
disappointed but if the sizes of the samples are decent, the “extras” can
sometimes make up for this. This is far from the case this month. The four
minuscule samples packed and sent to me were supplemented by a LUNA bar…
thanks, but no thanks.

Not only have I read other blogger’s reviews of this month’s box but I
have also discussed with personal friends the items they received in their
box and I feel that everyone received a more worthwhile box than me and
those who received the same box as me. How can you give so many people a
box that includes a full bottle of essie amongst other products and give
others 5 one time use samples? Its not fair and it does not make any sense.

When I watched your sneak peeks and features, I was so excited at the
products featured.

– Chantecaille Brilliant Gloss
– Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
– DDF Wrinkle Resist Pore Minimizer Moisturizing Serum
– Essie Nail Polish

Where are these fabulous products? I had anticipated receiving at least a
few of these products and I expected them to be more than one-time use
samples. Your company promises “deluxe” samples and your highly hyped
partnership with goop gave me the false hope that I would be receiving a
completely amazing box this month. These skimpy samples do not reflect very
well upon Goop.com either; they couldn’t afford to provide you with decent
sized samples to pass on to your subscribers?

I certainly hope something can be done about my huge let-down in
October. Otherwise, I don’t believe I will continue subscribing long enough
to receive my November box. However this plays out, I maintain an
obligation to keep my readers informed. I love beauty and fashion and I
love being able to review new products each month courtesy of your
subscription service. I also am proud to subscribe to what was really the
first major product subscription service in the states but now, I’m
beginning to look and feel like a fool for continuing.
Thank you for your time and consideration,

Kate [Last Name]

Ginger-Kate.com

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:04 pm (EDT):

Hi Anastasia,

Thank you for writing in, and I am so sorry that you were not satisfied with your Birchbox delivery this month!

We definitely are aware of the fact that sample impression is important, and an appropriate amount of product is the only way to make a valid decision as to whether it’s a product you would like to purchase in the future or not.

While sample sizes do vary each month, it highly depends on what the brands provide us and feel is a deluxe-size sample. Deluxe-size means the sample gives you the opportunity to try the product on multiple occasions. Based on the brand’s opinion, the samples they produce coordinate to how much of the product they feel should be used in one use, three uses, and so on. While smaller samples are by no means the standards of what we want to send our subscribers, the product is one that we want to be able to share with our customers.

We post our Favorites video each month to highlight items that our members will be receiving. Everyone will receive at least one or two of the samples featured, but not all. They are also allotted by your Beauty Profile preferences. I recommend that you update your Beauty Profile in order to receive products more suited towards your tastes.

Once again, I apologize for your disappointment and we understand your concern completely. We are constantly trying to evolve as a brand and company, for this reason, customer feedback is extremely important to us and highly encouraged! I will be sure to pass this along to our Beauty Partnership Team, so that they are aware of how this sample was received.

In the meantime, if you have any other questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give us a call at: 877.487.7272 (9am-5pmEST| M-F).

xo Anastasia

Birchbox Operations Associate

xGingerKate: Dear Birchbox Representative #3,

MY name isn’t Anastasia. From what I can tell, YOUR name is Anastasia. Your keen observation skills and ability to address me by my own name are a perfect example of the level of care Birchbox gives to their subscribers/customers.

Allow me to respond to your most recent BS: So, a small pouch of moisturizer, a pouch that can not be resealed and a small package of dry shampoo, that also can not be resealed, are considered “deluxe”, multiple-use samples according to the company that produced them and you’ll stand by that?

This is absolutely laughable; you must realize this.

In a box of four samples: 2 products are tear-open, one-time-use packets, 1 product is a face mask to be used ONCE and the final product is a minuscule tube of lip gloss. The lip gloss is the ONLY product that I will (reluctantly) agree can be used multiple times. 4 horrible samples and then you throw in a LUNA bar as an extra… YAY! Excuse me while I jump for joy.

Thank you for your response but you really just wasted more of my time corresponding with you and gave more false hope that Birchbox would take responsibility for their service and at least attempt to make a recovery. I will be canceling my subscription following the delivery of the products I recently ordered off of your site. I will be giving my $10 a month to Ipsy/MyGlam from now on in addition to my GlossyBox subscription.

I’d thank you for your service over the last 7 months but it’s been horrible.The LEAST you could do is get my name right since you’ve been billing me for more than half a year. You reached out to me as if you were willing to/looking to make this wrong a right. Clearly you just wanted another opportunity to repeat the lofty description of your “deluxe” samples. Do you have a complaint response template that you simply copy and paste in your email responses as you see fit? I am completely aware that sample sizes vary each month but a box that consists of strictly one-time-use samples IS NOT what you promise, it IS NOT what you advertise and it is certainly NOT what I signed up to pay $10 a month to receive.

Sincerely,
(Not Anastasia,)
-Kate, Ginger-Kate.com

Anastasia, Oct 24 04:54 pm (EDT):

Hi Kate,

So sorry for the typo and your disappointment in my response. I am definitely passing your feedback along so that it will be heard by our brand partners.

Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

xGingerKate:  Thank you for your prompt response and apology, Anastasia. And no, I will require no further assistance from Birchbox.

-Kate
That’s it. Nothing overly interesting or exciting. I did think that it was worth sharing though. Again, if you’re considering becoming a Birchbox subscriber, reconsider. Check out other blogger’s reviews of Birchbox, GlossyBox, Ipsy/MyGlam and the other subscription sample boxes out there. Birchbox is a let-down monthly with their skimpy samples and then on top of that, they clearly don’t care very much about resolving any issues that their customers may be experiencing.
If you read through that crap, it is very much appreciated. Sincerely, thank you.
Love, GK

New Job Jitters.

Tomorrow is the big day! I officially start my training tomorrow at the hotel.

This week I bought myself my new “uniform”. A black suit. I have to wear my hair back so I’ve been finding all sorts of cute ponytail ideas and bun ideas. I’ll be sure to share what I come up with. (Maybe even get into posting “how-to” videos! Fancy.)

I have everything that I need. I even had my car spruced up today, oil change and what not. I need new front end breaks… but that will be fix shortly. I know this opportunity is a great one and I know the commute will be more than worth it but I am so nervous about starting. I know it’s going to be awesome but I’m scared.

My roommate says the jitters are good. He says, “If you didn’t have them, it would mean you don’t give a sh*t. At least you give a sh*t.” and I guess he’s absolutely right.

...heading down a new road.

I’ll be training at the hotel for the next three days, so I have three of my favorite old posts scheduled to reblog. I hope you’ll forgive the cop-out and I also hope you’ll enjoy each of them. (They’re cute, I promise).

I also added a menu of categories to better navigate my posts. I have to go back and edit most of my old posts; the pictures and lining are all messed up and I’m kind of an OCD freak. But if you’re a new reader, please check out some of my older stuff (and, again, excuse the ones that are all over the place.)

Thanks for reading. It is always appreciated. and so are comments!!!

Dancing in the rain, alone, in the middle of the street.

Today I drove back down to the hotel in Palm Beach for take care of all my paperwork for hire. (So excited to start this new opportunity!) Leaving my town, it was beautiful and sunny, but I neared West Palm Beach it began to downpour. Heavily. It was scarey. I was on I95 trying not to slam into anyone, whilst also avoiding getting slammed into. It was absolutely ridiculous. I made it to the hotel, late, but I had called and it had been storming badly down there for some time for they weren’t surprised. I found a parking spot and grabbed a spare jacket that I had in the back seat for some sort of coverage. (I never have an umbrella when I need it.) I ran down the block, getting completely soaked. My heels were filling with water. It was horrible. But I made it! I dried off a bit (as best I could) in the ladies and then met with my managers and began filling out my paperwork.

It was still pouring when I finished and they offered to let me stay and wait out the rest of the rain. I declined politely and ran back to my car except this time, I was done. I didn’t need to preserve my skillyfully crafted look. I took of my heels and splashed down the sidewalks. Once I got to my car I opened the door and through my purse inside as well as the jacket I had used for coverage on the way in in the back seat. I tossed my heels in and on the floor and stood there. I allowed the rain to come down over me and I loved every second of it. Suddenly I was overcome with the joy of knowing I didn’t have to return to my old job and the excitement of starting this amazing new oppertunity… I was jumping up and down the puddles and did a short, but distinct, happy dance. (Kind of a jumpy butt-shake session.) I found myself completely elated and dancing in the rain, alone, in the middle of the street.

It was pouring, but bound to let up. I had made it through the storm. Survived. I was now standing at that crossroads where my life takes a different direction and who knows where it will lead.

It was one of those perfect moments. The kind that make life worth living and remind you that that’s exactly what you’re doing, living.

Sometimes in life you have to stop and take time to dance in the rain.

 

Ok… and now, real quick: I had to go take my drug test, right… in Lake Worth… ok…

The “lab” was creepy, one room and a bathroom.

I walk in. Nobody there, but the door is wide open. I read the sign, “fill out this form… blah blah blah”. So I take a clipboard and start working on that.

After a few minutes, the Doctor comes out of the bathroom, very surprised to see me and says “Can I help you?”

“I’m here for a drug screening. I’m from *the hotel*”

“Oh. Ok.” He says and then begins to spray the sh*t out of some air freshener in the bathroom. Clearly, I walked in on him dropping a deuce. Awkward.

He begins to start processing my paperwork and recieves multiple personal calls on his cellphone. Something about someone in his family taking someones car for an oil change or something. Lots of yelling though. This gives me time to properly acess this man of medicine’s attire:

Scrub pants. Ok. Obvious doctor attire.

Dirty sneakers. Ok. Kind of gross.

Tank top.

…. well not so much a tank top. To be precise, it was a sleeveless, stretched out old tshirt.

Yeah.

He barely followed proper collection protocol (I know this because I am drug screen certified in Florida thank you very much!) but whatever, it was weird and creepy… and in Lake-freaking-Worth. Gross.

 

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