Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mint Carsharing Not So Mint-y :(


I would say stay away from Mint ( I've been a Zipcar ( member since 2006, and decided to give Mint a try since they were promoting the whole "cars for as little as $2.00 an hour". Of course I knew that this was only going to be for the dinkyest (sp) of cars since I'm not in love with smartcars but I thought it would be great to have an occasional alternative to Zipcar. Anyway, I joined earlier in April and just had my first and last experience with renting a car from them. So I booked a car yesterday (Apr 27th) and everything was good.

I picked up the car today (Apr 28th) and "surprise surprise" the gas indicator is LAYING on E. Already I'm a bit pissed because with Zipcar, you have to leave at least a quarter of a tank or you could face fines. Mind you, I rented this car to make a much needed appointment that was scheduled for a few hours later - already I got the vibe that things were going downhill from here.

So, I realize that I need my membership number to get gas (if you're familiar with Zipcar, this is something they do as well). But the membership number isn't on the card. Well, Mint claims that they have an "OnStar" like system where you push this little button in the console and someone will "promptly" call you back. So, realizing that their version of the "copilot" doesn't tell me where I can find the member number, I push the button...and wait...and wait...and wait. Then I call the 800 number on the card...and get voicemail. (oh gets better)

I try again and finally get a live body who informs me that my membership number is the last four digits of my SSN. Okay, I understand that since it's a highly sensitive number, that wouldn't be printed on the card...but NOWHERE on the website does it say that either. So, there I am on my iPhone, struggling to search for some clue and I would have been S.O.L. until someone called me back.

So, now I'm driving around looking for a gas station in Manhattan, (mind you, possibly 20 minutes have gone by since I initially pushed that "Mint/OnStar-esque" service button) and someone calls me. Let's just call him "Joe". So, Joe is calling me back, on his cell phone while he's on the street...who has customer service calling you from the street? There was road noise in the background, and he was completely distracted. By this point, I already knew that I wasn't going to be relying on Mint for much of anything in the future. I thank him for the follow up and finish up the call.

Fast forward 20 min later, and I'm finally at a gas station (apparently 3pm in Manhattan is gas time because everywhere I went it was hard to find a space to pull up). So, I've got my gas...and now the car won't start...

Slightly frustrated because I'm now 40 minutes behind schedule and must now reschedule the appointment, I foolishly push the "Mint/OnStar-esque" button, assuming that surely someone will pick up now. Thankfully, I had something similar happen with Zipcar so I remembered what to do. So, now I'm back on the road and probably 20 minutes passed from when I left the gas station and I was finally well underway on the West Side Highway and guess who calls but "Joe". Joe then unceremoniously hangs up on me half way through our conversation when I complained about the poor customer service.

He then proceeds to call me on my cell (while I'm driving?!) and leaves a message. I had to make a pitstop at my home, so I check my messages and now Mint is telling me that by pushing the little Mint button in the console, I have somehow ended my reservation.

So, I call Mint and get a live body who transfers me to Joe. Once on the phone with Joe, he basically says I need to return the car so that I won't receive charges, and completely glosses over the poor customer service that I received. In fact, his response to me was "we have 6 people here manning the customer service phones so they were probably busy which is why they couldn't get to you." When I complained about the car being literally on empty, he said "oh well I don't know what you want me to do about that, it's something that we can't control" and then when I complained and compared it to Zipcar proceeded to tell me that Mint has 30,000+ members (and I highly doubt that can all be in NYC with them barely having 30 cars in Manhattan) who all said that they left Zipcar because they received poor customer service from them (Zipcar). He then proceeds to chastise me for not picking up my cell phone and not having a bluetooth piece (which by the way Mint claimed came standard with the Honda Accord that I had reserved but I don't remember seeing it anywhere so whatev I guess) so that I could complete the call.

It irked me that I couldn't reach someone when I needed them the most (while I was on the road) and when I continued to try to clarify that point, "Joe" then said "we don't need members like you". Oh, and did I forget to mention that you can't extend a reservation because you won't be able to find a reservation even when you log in?! I was forced to extend the reservation because of the time I lost in the city struggling with this car that didn't have gas and locked up at the gas station and was forced to create an entirely new reservation for the additional hours that I needed.

Wow...that's all I can say...I've worked around people and in customer service positions all my life and I can't imagine ever saying that - especially when my complaint was founded. What if I had been in an accident and needed to contact them or the car had been stolen? It's not comforting to know that Mint calls you back when it's convenient because they only have 6 people manning the phones. And, rather than owning up to their incompetence/poor planning, they get people on the phone who yell at you for not saying "oh well these things happen". Maybe if it had just been one lone issue, (like just the gas and nothing more) I wouldn't be so pissed...but it was one thing after another.

My verdict - you get what you pay for. I see now why they offer rates as low as $2.00 per hour - because their customer service is seriously lacking. Maybe other people have had great experiences, and if so congrats to them. However, I'm no newbie to the car sharing game. I've never put a call in to Zipcar and gotten voicemail nor have I gotten a car with less than a quarter tank of gas. And I've never had a customer service rep YELL at me no matter how flustered I might be on the phone.

As I promised "Joe" I'm writing about my horrible experience in the hopes that people know about this company that's masquerading as something professional when it's clearly not. I'm not saying that Zipcar is 100% perfect because sure, there have been times where I was like "why?" However, Zipcar is an established brand with established protocols. This was my first and last attempt with Mint and I will be canceling my membership with them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Who's That Lady in the Ikea Commercials?!

A random musing before bed

I LOVE the Ikea commercials...something about that lady playing a "stream of consciousness" that validates the person's thoughts is an awesome thing. My faves:

1. Sleep in - the gym will wait

2. Slam those cabinet doors - because your boss is an idiot

Sweet dreams world!!!! ;)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What a Busy Weekend!

Wow...the weekend flew by!

Official Day 2 of my new life and I feel like I have so much to do. I put together a list of "to-do's" for this week...geeze it was a full page long! So, rather than a freak out...I compartmentalized and tried to put everything into perspective!

But on top of my new work that I'm doing, I also have my LASIK scheduled for this week and I intend to document it as best as possible on here! So, a quick recap of my LASIK saga to date:

Back in February I went for my initial evaluation to see if I was a candidate for LASIK. So, for better or worse, I have thick corneas, making me a positive candidate for LASIK. Although, I also learned that since my prescription was so high (I've been nearsighted since I was 6), instead of it only taking 30 seconds per eye, it'll take about 50 seconds per eye to get the perfect "don't need glasses" vision that I'm craving!

So, I originally went to for the evaluation, and initially I was given a quote of $5200. And I would have been all good with that price, until I found out that the actual surgery was going to be done at and it would only cost me $2800 - yeah I did a "what the what!" moment. Especially since it would be the exact same doctor performing the LASIK surgery.

So, FYI...buyer beware...always do your homework...because in my opinion, there's no reason why the Park Avenue location should be charging much less and offering financing when the 14th street location wasn't offering financing and was nearly $3000 more! :(

Although, what's also nice is that the cost of the LASIK includes any pre-evaluations, and roughly six post-op visits. Anywho...when you go for any of the evaluations, you can't wear your contacts for at least 10 days, because contacts greatly effect the shape of the eye. Likewise, since my LASIK is this upcoming Thursday (4/30/09), I haven't worn contacts for at least two weeks now just to be safe.

The actual surgery itself isn't supposed to be more than thirty minutes from start to finish. And most of that time is prep related (i.e. making sure the entire eye area is sterile etc.). Then I'm just supposed to go home, sleep and spend the rest of the day resting. I think that'll be the hardest part for me since I'm used to always being active!

So, I'll keep you guys posted on my LASIK saga! But first...I'm hitting the gym for the first time in nearly a year tomorrow morning! :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Here Comes the Sun!


It's a brand new day and it's finally sinking in that I am no longer a full time employee! I don't feel that sadness that I would normally get (or overwhelmed in some cases) that there weren't enough hours in the weekend!

Well, actually, I'm working today...I made the choice to go back to modeling, and I have a gig to do today so...I'm still employed good people - just not in the traditional way! Anywho...there's so much that I need to do now that I'm freelance...and things have been developing nicely!

I felt like someone released me from jail yesterday as I walked to the subway...I even had a spring in my step! lol. And then barely four hours after I had been unceremoniously told I could go home, I got THE in the very near future I could be a regional casting director/talent developer. It's not outside of the scope of my abilities but it's absolutely exciting too!

I'm so excited and feeling optimistic about life-you guys have no idea how much that job felt like the 1000lb gorilla in the room. Actually, not just in the room but on my back. Anyway...time for me to greet the day! :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Am I the Only Native Midwesterner to Never Have Heard of This?!

I'm reading the "Single in the Suburbs" Blog on MSN and the author mentioned PawPaws...what the heck is a PawPaw? And I've never seen a PawPaw in my life. And FYI, I spent my entire childhood growing up in Indiana and never left til I went away for college. How could this escape me?! Lol...

Rolaids Spells Relief!


I am finally no longer one of the masses who works a traditional 9-5 and hates their job! After working a year and a half for someone who throws temper tantrums (although they're significantly older than me), I am now 100% freelance! Woohoo

And of course, I did it on such a beautiful day! I'm so excited for the future and as if on cue, all the back pain, stomach upset and general frustrations that I had been feeling for the last six months have disappeared!

Hey, I don't recommend that everyone quits their job...some people prefer the stability of a steady paycheck, and I can't blame them. But if you've ever had a dream that you wanted to pursue, then now is actually the best time for it. Despite the ridiculous economy, freelancers, and new entrepreneurs are flourishing.

So, what are my goals now that I no longer have to clock in and out or have a "time to make the donuts" mentality? Well they are as such:

-Finish editing my book, Mind Games
(and what's awesome is I no longer have to sneak in important phone calls on the way to the bathroom or on my lunch break)
-Update my modeling portfolio so I can get 100% back in the game
-Promote my clients for my own marketing company that I've started --> Big Apple Style Marketing.
-TRAVEL - because it's nice not to have to say "Mother May I" every time I want to take time off or go away!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Korean Tutor Update (한국어 산생)

Crisis averted!

My tutor is just going home for a month. He hasn't been home to see his family since like January of 2008...Although I'll probably still have to find a good tutor while he's gone though!

And with that good kids...I'm off to bed! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Neutrogena's New Make Up Line


So as many of you guys know, I'm a BzzzAgent ( and my latest assignment was to review a new mineral cosmetics line from Neutrogena. Sadly, I'm kind of doing this under the wire...but I won't tell if you don't!

Anywho...I was given a make up kit to test! Super easy since I'm a make up junky. You can usually find me at Sephora at least once a week. But don't think that I'm kind of make up snob! I'm not...I still have yet to find anything that beats my Wet 'N Wild Liquid Megaliner in black...smooth & precise every time!

The Kit:

This was a four piece kit with the following items:

-Concealer in # 15 w/SPF 20 and loose powder in the bottom

-Nourishing Eye Quad "Tea Biscuit 120/Neutrals w/SPF 15

-Nourishing Eye Liner in Brown Sugar with a smudger on the bottom and a pencil sharpener inside.

-Healthy Volumizing Mascara in Charcoal

So, I gave it a whirl tonight and decided to apply it: the make up had potential but I must say, this set without some additional extras from other make up is a no go if you are of a darker skin tone (such as I am!). After taking the time to apply it, I felt as if I hadn't put any make up on at all. :(

The concealer can appear really light and for a novice (I'm not a novice, I used to work in Sephora and I live for make up), if you apply too heavy, darker skinned users will find that it's super reflective. I only applied a bit under my eyes. It does conceal quite well though. Typically I can have what appears to be bags under my eyes but you can't see any bags which is fab!

Next up was the eye shadow quad. Overall it was farely simple to use (a plus!) and the helpful labeling on the cover and illustrations on the back makes it easy for make up-phobes to create a simple smokey eye without trying to guess what colors go where. But honestly, for my skin tone the colors didn't even do a good neutral you can see from the pics...

Kind of felt like I had raccoon eyes. Granted this is because I didn't mix in any of my other make up stash...until....

I tried to use the Brown Sugar eye liner that I got in the kit but I just couldn't. It matched my skin tone exactly - meaning that you couldn't see it at all. I traded it in for some Almay black mechanical pencil eye liner that I had.

Next up was the volumizing mascara...possibly if I wasn't already a fan of Fiberwig, I would have found this impressive. It did plump somewhat...but if you're familiar with Fiberwig and its abilities...this isn't really competitive.

And finally I cheated and used an illuminizer/bronzer combo that I bought from Sephora...because using just the Neutrogena (even with the Almay black eye liner) made me feel washed out. :(

The final verdict - The Eyeshadow Quad and the Volumizing Mascara are the best bets out of this line (specifically for the neutral palette). If you're not afraid of make up - the Quad is good for any skin tone, but you'll need to work it to make it pop. The Volumizing Mascara provides some decent results...but you won't get dramatic results unless you apply falsies before putting on the Mascara.

The Brown Sugar Eye Liner and the Concealer are too light for darker tones - I recommend them for olive tones or lighter...I think it would have a better effect.

Mom Kicks Kids Out of Car & Gets Arrested


No, she shouldn't have driven off but come on, if kids are being OD ridiculous...they deserve a lil tough love. I still remember when I was three and I was fighting with my sister (who was six at the time) in the backseat of the car. My mom told us to stop and in a fit of anger I said "I hate you". Okay, something that many kids say at some point or another...but my mom definitely attempted to drive and reach in the back to smack the stupid out of me at the same time. Suffice it to say that when I got home, I got the smacks I deserved. 

Anywho, the point is...let's stop rewarding bratty behavior. The mom works her butt off as a partner in a law firm to keep a $2 Million home over her kids heads. The least they can do is behave. By NY State making her the bad guy here...she's never going to be able to discipline her kids and now there'll be two more irritatingly bratty Westchester-ish type girls on the NYC scene. 

Your thoughts anyone?

But in Other News, My Boots Are the Hotness!

That's right, they're the hottness! :) I ordered them last week when I was in a "let's go shopping to cure the blues" moment. 

Oddly enough, they were cheaper on the actual Dollhouse website than at DSW - who knew. Anyway, they're actually brown (although they look black in this pic). I couldn't wait to put them on! :)

Boo I Think My Korean Tutor Is Leaving!

So bummed! Just got a text earlier today from my Korean tutor. So, he's been having issues with the TOEFL exam and might go back to South Korea. My thoughts? Nooooo! For the first time today I finally understood what the Korean lady was saying to the other Korean cashier at the bodega near my job!

She was ringing me up and said to the woman next to her "칠삼구 (chir-sam-goo)" which translates to "seven-three-nine" (incidently, my lunch came to $7.39). So, now that things are finally becoming clear for me...I can't have my tutor move back to South Korea.


And yes, I am taking Korean and the "why" is a funny story. So, last year I was going to Japan for vacation. I tried to learn Japanese by finding a Japanese tutor. But, all my Japanese tutors would flake after setting up the appointment. So, randomly, I got an email from my current Korean tutor saying that he couldn't teach me Japanese but he could teach me either Chinese or Korean; my choice. After meeting him I found out that he was from South Korea but had lived in China for three years. Well, his Korean was clearly better than his Chinese (by his own admission) and I opted to learn Korean instead.

So, that's the whole sordid I'm still bummed because I have no real desire to post another ad on CL and sift through a series of odd emails to find that needle in the haystack again. :-/

Fish Eye Pics!

So, my really good friend @skizm13 (for you twitter heads like me --> @bigapplestyle) sent me a link to a really awesome looking pic! Panoramic fish eye lens pics!

Check it out - click post title for the links. As seen on Gizmodo!

Looking at the pics makes me miss Japan...I def need to get back there. :)

Murphy's Law is a Bi-otch! :(


I always feel like the first post is so crucial! What should I say? What should I do? Lol...anywho...welcome to my world.

It seriously sucks though that I went through the time to flatiron my hair to make a "How to flatiron your hair" video on Youtube...only to realize that it's going to be rainy all day tomorrow in NYC. Click the post title if you really want to see it. :-/ Wish I had looked at the forecast before I spent 30 minutes doing my hair tonight. :-/ Arghhh...Murphy's law I guess.

In other news lol...I have finally picked up the art of crocheting. :) Yes, I know, terribly exciting but every other time I've taken the trouble to try to learn it I failed miserably. Part of it is probably because most tutorials are made for righties...and I'm a lefty. :)

Later ppl! :)