Monday, April 25, 2011

Amazon Customer Service = Awesome.

I mentioned yesterday that I bought Gungor's "Beautiful Things" MP3 album online through Amazon.com. What I didn't mention is how awesome their customer support is.

I've never bought an MP3 album before. Or MP4 since I think that's what iTunes uses. Not even one song (although I have downloaded songs before, but they were always offered for free by the artist). I'm a fan of buying actual CDs. In physical form. That you can hold in your hands. That have booklets that you can flip through.

But Amazon had emailed me a couple times about how they were doing a sale on their MP3 albums. If you bought any with your Amazon Rewards Visa card, you could save 20% using their code MUSICOFF by April 30th (it used to be by April 20th but they extended it). I really wanted to buy Gungor's album, and their MP3 album was $5.00 compared to the CD's $8.99. With the 20% discount, it would be $4, which means it would be over 50% cheaper. Plus, as a Cloud Player user, my free 5GB would automatically be bumped up to 20GB for a year with the purchase of a MP3 album.

So I decided, fine, I will buy the MP3 album. Then I won't have to wait to hear all of Gungor's beautiful songs.

Except, like I mentioned before, I had never done this. I've never bought any "digital items" from Amazon. Only actual tangible items that would be shipped to me. When you buy items like that, you enter the discount code in the middle of checking out. After you had added all your items to your cart and decided to check out. So I clicked on the "Buy MP3 album with 1-Click" button, figuring that I would enter the code later.

WRONG.

Apparently you enter the code before you click on the buy button. Under that button (and the gift button) there's a link that says "Redeem a gift card or promotion code & view balance." You click on that first, enter the code, and then it will notify you that the code has been applied. Then you click on the buy button. Since I had failed to do this, I found that I had bought the album for the full price: $5.00.

I searched for a way to cancel the order, but since it was a digital order, I couldn't find a way. They had already given me the MP3 album in my Cloud Player. Uh oh. What to do now?

I found their Customer Service page and sent them an email, explaining my error and asking for either the 20% discount ($1) to be applied to my account or a return so that I could purchase it with the discount. The website says that they should respond within 12 hours.

They responded within THREE hours. And they refunded me the entire $5.00. I thought maybe that meant they chose the second option I offered, which would mean that they took back the MP3 album so I could buy it again. But I checked my Cloud Player--the songs were still there! I decided to give it a day.

So I went online today and checked my credit card account. The refund had been issued. I logged into Amazon and checked my Cloud Player. The songs were there (and I've been listening to them all day). HOW AWESOME IS THAT???

I don't know where I can review Amazon.com's Customer Service, so I decided to take to my blog to tell you about them. They are awesome. They just made me love Amazon.com even more, which I didn't even think was possible.

So if Amazon.com isn't already your most favourite store in the world, it should be. Because they're awesome.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! Hope everyone is rejoicing today :D Our praise team performed Gungor's "Beautiful Things" today and it was awesome. Just bought their MP3 album on Amazon :)

Beautiful Hope from YNCC on Vimeo.


Last Sunday I had my last birthday meal. Dan (who is also in second service host team with me) treated us to kimbab and ddukbokgi since it was my birthday. Thanks Dan! I really love our church's ddukbokgi. I don't know what they put in it, but it tastes awesome. Especially combined with kimbab. Perfect meal. (Although I must say, no one does ddukbokgi as well as my cousin-in-law. Hers are perfection.) That night I watched TV, on my TV, for the first time in ages. All because of USA Network's The Fall of Sam Axe. Can't wait for Burn Notice to return!

This past week was pretty chill. I did some organising (yay for being productive) and watched a LOT of TV (39 eps since I last blogged!). I'm still behind on TV though. How sad is that?

On Tuesday I had lunch with my mum at Souplantation. They had sent me a coupon for my birthday and that was the last day that I could use it. It was awesome going to Souplantation for lunch. We got there right at 11:00AM, when it opened, so everything was fresh! And clean. I stuffed myself, as usual. My mum says she can't take me to Souplantation anymore. It's sad because she used to say that when I was little, since I didn't eat a lot back then and she felt it was such a waste of monies taking me to a buffet. But now she is saying the same thing again, except this time it's because I eat too much and she doesn't approve of my stuffing my face so much. I just can't win.

My t-shirts that I bought from the vendor at the Monrovia Farmer's Market finally arrived that day. He had called me the previous Friday to tell me that he wasn't going to the farmer's market that day so he would just ship me the shirts. Yay!

My mum and I went to IKEA on Wednesday. I love IKEA. I love eating at IKEA. Although now I can tell you that you really shouldn't get anything besides the Swedish Meatball Combo. I strayed and tried the Pasta Meatball Combo. Ugh. Not good. And their prices have gotten even cheaper! It's a bit worrisome because when the meatball combo is $3.99, it makes you wonder if it's real meat. But hey, it tastes great, so my brain can just shut up. (I also went to AAA again, but I'm so tired of going there, not even going to talk about it.)

Yesterday I went to ktown with my mum and we had lunch at The Dragon Restaurant. The interior is a lot nicer than Young King, definitely, but it fails in all other aspects. Not going back there again. Then I took a nap, since I'm old like that, and at night I went out! Crystal and I went to hitRECord at the Movies with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was at the Vista Theatre, which is really nice. Although the golden head statues in the theatre are a bit over-the-top. And creepy. But it's still a really nice theatre. And spending 90 minutes with JGL and the hitRECord crew? Pretty awesome. We got to see a lot of short films and hear tiny stories. Great night. JGL even sang for us. I uploaded two videos to my YouTube account. It would have been a perfect night had we gotten to meet JGL. I had my camera ready and had also brought my (500) Days of Summer DVD for him to sign! (And I had four Sharpies in my purse). But no. It was not to be. It could have been, except for one pesky security guard. Sigh. We waited over an hour afterwards to try to catch him when he left, but we failed there too. Oh well. It was still a great night.


{hitRECord!}

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Self-Sabotage

I started reading The Ragamuffin Gospel the last time I went to the gym, but I only read a few pages. And then I stopped going to the gym. So I stopped reading. But today, I finally started reading The Ragamuffin Gospel again (although I have yet to go back to the gym. Horrible, I know). It is so nice to be reading again. I forget how much I miss it until I start reading a book again, and then I fall in love with reading all over again. (Did I just use the word "again" way too many times?)

So, no surprise here, there are a couple passages that I wanted to share with you.

In the first passage, Brennan Manning is discussing faith. Nowadays, he points out, people tend to "define faith as belief in the existence of God" (pg. 28). But this was not always the case. God's existence used to be taken for granted; instead, it was "one's relationship to God--whether one trusted in God" that defined faith (pg. 28). That makes such a difference: whether faith is believing something exists or whether faith is trust in God. He then continues...

Such is the faith described by Paul Tillich in his famous work The Shaking of the Foundations: "Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life.... It strikes us when, year after year, the longed-for perfection does not appear, when the old compulsion reign within us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: 'You are accepted. You are accepted, accepted by that which is greater than you, and the name of which you do not know. Do not ask for the name now; perhaps you will find it later. Do not try to do anything now; perhaps later you will do much. Do not seek for anything, do not perform anything, do not intend anything. Simply accept the fact that you are accepted.' If that happens to us, we experience grace."

And Grace calls out: you are not just a disillusioned old man who may die soon, a middle-aged woman stuck in a job and desperately wanting to get out, a young person feeling the fire in the belly begin to grow cold. You may be insecure, inadequate, mistaken, or potbellied. Death, panic, depression, and disillusionment may be near you. But you are not just that. You are accepted. Never confuse your perception of yourself with the mystery that you really are accepted.
(pgs. 28-29)

How does that make you feel? It boggles my mind.

A few chapters later, he asks a question.

The question which the gospel of grace puts to us is simply this: Who shall separate you from the love of Christ? What are you afraid of?

Are you afraid that your weakness could separate you from the love of Christ? It can't.

Are you afraid that your inadequacies could separate you from the love of Christ? They can't.

Are you afraid that your innate poverty could separate you from the love of Christ? It can't.

Difficult marriage, loneliness, anxiety over the children's future? They can't.

Negative self-image? It can't.

Economic hardship, racial hatred, street crime? They can't.

Rejection by loved ones or the suffering of loved ones? They can't.

Persecution by authorities, going to jail? They can't.

Nuclear war? It can't.

Mistakes, fears, uncertainties? They can't.

The gospel of grace calls out: Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(pg. 86)

How about all of the above, and more? I feel like I am my worst enemy. I feel like I, with my never ending thoughts, am the one thing that stands between me and God. I have the brain knowledge that that is not the case, but it's hard to get that knowledge translated to my heart. Do you know what I'm talking about? So it's comforting whenever I read that I am wrong. That despite me doing everything I can do to sabotage myself, the love Christ has for me can never be sabotaged.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Buon Compleanno!


{Birthday lunch at CPK}

I am now 26 years old! I can now say that I am in my "latter 20s." And how did I celebrate? By stuffing my face. Again and again. For free!

Last Saturday, I had lunch with Joyce at Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill. It was my first time there and I must say that it's pretty nice. She treated me *^^* Thanks Joycie! Afterwards we walked around the mall and chatted. It was really nice hanging out with her since it had been a long time since we last hung out. Later that day, I cooked. I made Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake again. Shouldn't have done that since I spent the past week racking up leftovers. Oops. I also watched Brotherhood of the Wolf. It's a good movie but it left me totally creeped out. Vincent Cassel can be really creepy when he wants to be (with the help of the amazing makeup department).

On Sunday, after runnings errands with my mum after chuch, she treated me to my birthday dinner! We went to Gale's in Pasadena since it was something I had bookmarked for a while. It was nice but somewhat disappointing. But they made up for it in the end with a complimentary crème brûlée for my birthday! Yum.

Blackberry Crème Brûlée
{Birthday Crème Brûlée}

Monday was the one day that I did not eat out. Which is good. I had a great birthday present in the form of winning SSScoop's autographed Tangled poster giveaway! Thank you SSS! And Crystal dropped by at night to give me my birthday present: Pioneer Woman's cookbook! AWESOME. It is beautiful. I love it. Thanks Crystal!

I turned 26 on Tuesday. P.Dan and Judy treated me to lunch at CPK for my birthday. It was fun and delicious and I really enjoyed it--thank you! I ordered the Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Pizza and got their Red Velvet Cake for dessert. Yum! I stuck around for a couple hours afterwards to play with Annabel, who gave me lots of birthday presents (a sweet card, a beautiful necklace, and a wonderful painting!). For dinner, I met up with Keri, Gardy and her sister Jackie. We went to Malbec in Pasadena. I am not a fan of steak, or red meat in general, but I really wanted to try this place since it sounded so good on Yelp. Man, we ate SO MUCH FOOD. We had refills of our complimentary bread, two appetizers, four entrees, and three desserts. By the end, I couldn't even stand up straight. I was way too full to be comfortable. As a result, I stayed up til 2AM since I didn't feel comfortable lying down before then. But apart from my stupidly stuffing myself beyond reason, it was a GREAT birthday. Oh, and Keri also gave me a rolling pin and an offset spatula for my birthday. I won't have to be so ghetto in the kitchen anymore. Thanks Keri!

On Wednesday, I went to all-you-can-eat-kBBQ at Road to Seoul with Fluffball and Duvien (their treat! ..because I made them ^^#). It was pretty good--this is the place I will recommend for AYCE KBBQ from now on! We ate so much meat. And dude, we stank afterwards. Thank goodness I brought a change of clothes. And sped home and Febreze'd everything. And then wore a new outfit. So I don't think I smelled like kbbq at my interview, thank goodness. It was my second interview so let's see how it goes!

Sweet Wines
{Sweet Wines}

On Thursday I met up with Jinwon and we went to Il Tiramisu Ristorante & Bar in Sherman Oaks. Dinner was delicious. I love butternut squash in pasta. And I discovered my new favourite wine! Braquetto, Stella Rosa (Piedmont). AWESOME. I felt a little bad for Jinwon because she treated me but she didn't enjoy her meal as much. I definitely had the better meal, kekeke. Afterwards we went to see The Three Sisters at the Skirball Cultural Center. It's a pretty nice place, although we didn't get to really take a look around since we were running late. Running in boots with an injured ankle = not fun. It was actually more of a reading for public radio. So there were no sets or outfits. Just microphones. And a talented sound effects guy and his team. But I still enjoyed it. It was a great cast: Sarah Zimmerman, Jennifer Westfeldt, Tessa Thompson, Jon Hamm, Josh Cooke, Reid Scott, Rebecca Mozo, Robert Pine, Josh Clark, Dan Donohue, Marc Halsey, and Pamela Dunlap. I would definitely like to come back here again.

Yesterday was my date with Williana. We met at Elements Café for lunch. It was good. We then headed to Carmela's for dessert and I fell in love with them even more. This time I had a scoop of Brown Sugar Vanilla Bean and a scoop of Tangelo Sorbet. Delicious! We then spent the rest of the day walking around Old Town Pasadena. In the heat and sun. So I'm still a bit red from yesterday. I then came home to find out that Tokyopop is closing their publishing division. So I guess that sinking ship has finally sunk. Goodbye Tokyopop.

So that was my week of complimentary birthday meals. Seven meals in six days. So much food. My mum says my face now looks like a full moon because I've gained so much weight. Wonderful. I need to go back to the gym but this stupid ankle just won't go back to 100%...

Anyway, today was a break from tradition. Usually when I finish one notebook of my Bible writing my mum treats me to breakfast at McD's on Saturday morning. But I guess two years of doing that was more than enough for my mum. So she requested that we just go somewhere for lunch instead. One of the parents at Kumon had recommended Capital Seafood so we went there. Meh. Monterey Park is definitely the way to go for dimsum.

I also started my Project 365, where you take a picture every single day for an entire year, on my birthday. Hopefully I remember every day. I still need to take my picture for today. But it's so hot and I feel so lethargic... Well, I hope you enjoyed my story of constantly pigging out! Hopefully I haven't gained too much weight...

Friday, April 08, 2011

Why I Can Never Leave L.A.

It's simple. I'd freeze my arse off anywhere else. Have you guys gone outside tonight? IT IS SO FRIGGIN COLD. The drama queen inside of me is telling you that I could have died from frostbite. It is April, what is going on?! I am grateful, however, that it didn't rain like it was supposed to. Whewt. So Crystal and I went back to the Farmer's Market today so I could pick up my tees and we could get the gourmet french fries. But the t-shirt vendor was not there! Turns out he was under the impression that the farmer's market was cancelled because of the rain, which is fine, except that was why I gave him my number in the first place. So he could call me if he's not coming. So I'll have to go back again next week. Ugh.

But Crystal and I still got our "gourmet french fries". I ordered the garlic parmesan fries and Crystal ordered the pizza fries. We got sundried tomato ketchup, but it wasn't very good. Disappointing. The fries were good, but because it was SO DAMN COLD, the fries became cold in what seemed like a matter of seconds. It was painful eating the fries because our fingers were exposed to the cold and started to freeze. If I feel like I'm going to freeze to death in Arcadia, in April, how would I ever survive anywhere else?

After we ate the french fries we quickly walked to Starbucks where it was warm inside, yay. I used my gift cards to get a vanilla bean frap (yes, it's cold, but I like it) and a lemon square. I also treated Crystal to a vanilla latte (warm) and a mini peanut butter cupcake. We were both happy with our purchases. Once we were all nice and warm, we again battled the cold to walk back to my car. Stupid cold air. Cannot handle. Hopefully next Friday will be much better.


{Starbucks}

On Sunday I drove down to Irvine after church. I ended up driving down later than planned because I ran into Paul at church, which was an unexpected surprise. He's visiting from Korea for a week so we ended up chatting for about an hour. Good times. Tasha took me to Jalapeno's for lunch so I could try their potato tacos. Two for under $5! Nice. I like potatoes in my tacos. Then we headed over to the discount theatre to watch Tangled. In 3D. OMG I LOVE THAT MOVIE. It is just so awesome! The characters, the story, the animation--all wonderful. LOVE. We then headed over to The Counter for dinner. It was great. I loved my burger and it is always wonderful to hang out with Tasha and have good conversation. We finished up the night back at her place watching an episode of Psych (of course) before finally heading to bed around 2AM.

The Counter Burger
{My burger at The Counter}

On Monday we watched the previous night's episode of Breakout Kings before heading to Lee's Sandwiches for lunch. I got their BBQ Pork sandwich and I am a fan. Can you believe that this is my first time to a Lee's Sandwiches? I regret not having come more often. Cheap and delicious. I then watched The Hangover at Tasha's (yes, I know, I am so behind everyone else). Good times. Finally left right around rush hour and got home at 6PM.

On Tuesday I had an interview. And Keri stopped by later to drop off some homemade cinnamon buns (with frosting) and avocadoes. Thanks Keri! They were delicious :)

And on Wednesday I baked again. Baking is like a drug to me. After it's been a couple days I get the itch to bake again. And when I do bake again, it makes me so happy. Well, I'm kind of stressed out while I'm doing it, but afterwards I am happy. I love baking. And these cupcakes made me happy.

Orange-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes 5
{Orange-Vanilla Bean Cupcakes with White Chocolate}

Yesterday I had another interview. I really liked it. I hope they call me back.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Two Steps Forward...

And Three Steps Back? My ankle is getting worse now, it seems. I think it's because I keep on forgetting to treat it more nicely and then it gets pissed off at me. Sigh. And since I haven't been going to the gym, OY. I have been gaining weight. My pants are getting much tighter. And it doesn't help that I have been stuffing myself silly. Especially today.

Shrimp Wrap
{Shrimp Wrap with Fries}

In the morning I went to AAA (again, but hopefully for the last time) to report my mileage again. My annual mileage went down one more category so I will be getting a check in the mail.. someday. Yay! Then I picked up Duvien and we had lunch at Foxy's Restaurant. Stuffed myself silly with complimentary bread, clam chowder, half of a shrimp wrap, fries, a few bites of lemon cake, and most of an apple cobbler. Wow that was a lot of food. Then, after watching a couple TV eps, I picked up Crystal and we went to Carmela's for dessert first. SO GOOD. I got two scoops and loved it. I should have just stopped eating then. But no, then we went to dinner at Las Maria's. And guess who got a huge combo burrito? I did. I ate half and spent the rest of the night regretting it because I was too full. Not comfortable. We went to Monrovia's Farmers Market and I bought two graphic tees from this one vendor, but he didn't have what I wanted on hand so I have to go back next week to pick them up. Which is great because there's a gourmet french fries vendor that I want to try out. That's right, even when I'm stuffed past the point of comfort, I still notice food vendors. Sigh. But to make this night perfect, I found out my federal tax refund was deposited today! Direct deposits are AWESOME.

I had interviews on Monday and Tuesday. I think they went well. I'm not really stressing out too much because 1. I like unemployment and 2. I trust that God will place me where he wants me to be. So I'll try my best to get interviews and do well on them, but the rest is in his hands. Which is great because then I don't have to worry about it! See? Unemployment is good for me. Except there's still something bothering my subconscious since I have really stressful dreams (which I can never remember when I'm awake). Tempted to go to a therapist and get hypnotised or something because this lack of restful sleep is really getting to me...

Anyway, on Monday I received my very first wedding gift. Yes, you read that correctly. I received a wedding gift. A close family friend came over on Monday for dinner (we went to Young Dong Tofu House) and she brought me my wedding gift. I used to tell my family years ago that I was going to get married when I was 24. So a few years back, my mum's friend bought a wedding gift for me because she didn't want to be unprepared for my actual wedding. After holding on to it for a few years, she decided that it was high time to finally just give it to me. Which is great and all, except I don't even have a boyfriend. So... that was a little awkward.

Marilyn Burger
{Marilyn Burger}

On Tuesday Jinwon and I tried out Hamburger Hamlet in Pasadena. I am impressed! Nice ambience and decor and great food. I must come back here sometime for their happy hour. Afterwards we went to Regency and watched I Am Number Four. While the action and the special effects aren't bad, there are SO many plot holes. SO MANY. It boggles the mind. What's the point of basing a movie on a book if you're going to take out almost all of the information? Save your money and time and don't watch this movie. Thank goodness it was just $2 for us. Tuesday was also memorable because Amazon launched their Cloud Storage and Cloud Player! AWESOME :D

I baked on Wednesday. I love baking. And I love white chocolate. These cookies are pretty damn good.

Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies 6
{Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies}

I cooked yesterday. I made my chicken and rice dish that I hadn't made in a while. It's nice to cook every once in a while. I also finished reading a manga series. That felt good too. And I watched All-Star Superman. Not bad. I am very excited for Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. Must move to top of my Netflix queue.

Tomorrow will be running errands with my mum. And on Sunday I'm going to go down to Irvine to visit Tasha! Fun times will be had :)