Sunday, December 13, 2009


I've been working on some changes for the past few weeks. My blog is "currently" being worked on by my fabulous designer. I'm not changing my "design" but I'm going to a different blogging platform. Blogger has been giving me issues since June of this year. I go back and forth with my love/hate for them, every single day. I am nervous and excited for the changes coming up!

But, as a loyal reader of Angry Julie Monday.

You are loyal, right? That's what I thought.

You NEED to subscribe!

I know many people read my blog on the Blogger Dashboard. (cough, cough, Stacey)

But how do you subscribe?

You will not miss out on any of my fabulous posts. Right now, my blog actually has a blogger address. It is just forwarded to my own domain. I can't guarantee that everything will forward, etc. properly.

Does it sound like I'm rambling? Do I make any sense? Well, The Nester, also recently switched platforms and did an entire post about subscribing. You need to check out her post which explains it better. Why should I re-do the same post all over again, when she wrote the perfect post.

But seriously, sometimes it takes me hours to do a blog post. I've had MAJOR formatting issues the past month. I scream and yell at the computer. I shake my fist at my monitor. All of this is just making me, well Angry. I can't wait for you to see all my changes. This also means that my blog may be down this week. I can't tell you exactly when. It may take a few days. Plus, I have to learn how to use it. So be patient with me!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Some Sweet Holiday Goodness

I have been super busy the past few weeks, but I do want to start some Holiday baking. I pulled out the family recipe book, and flipped through it. My aunt has the best frosted sugar cookie recipe, but there are a ton of steps. I really don't have the prep time to make those. They are soo good that my mom usually gives my aunt some money and asks her to make us a few dozen.

I do want to try some different recipes this year. I've been searching all over the interwebz for some great ideas. I wanted to share what I've found.

These are from the Pillsbury website. You just you refrigerated sugar cookies, and some other small ingredients. Very cute! I'm sure you could make all kinds of designs with the right colored frosting.

Festive Candy Cane Kiss Centered Brownie Bites

I saw these on Picky Palate the other day. They immediately made my mouth water. You can't tell from this picture, but there are Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses in the middle of these brownies. I picked up two bags of the Hershey's Kisses last night in preparation for these delightful treats. I love everything on Picky Palate's blog. Now only if I had the time to bake/cook more.

Christmas Candy Cane Cookies

I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website. The ingredients are quite simple also: sugar cookie mix, butter, an egg, and food coloring.

Oreo Cookie Snowmen

My friend, Kelly, made these. They are soo simple and there's NO BAKING involved. How cool is that? All you need is White Fudge Covered Oreos, M&M's, and some gel frosting.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our "Real Simple" Closet Makeover

I was reading my latest issue of Real Simple Magazine, about two months ago. I saw an article about re-organizing a front closet. It had before and after pictures from the makeover. I've been telling Angry Husband for awhile now, that I want to re-do our hallway coat closet. I knew that the space could be re-done and made more useful. At this point, it was a gathering place for wrapping paper, coats, our vacuum, and random junk. Isn't everyone's closet like this?

I knew that WE (Angry Husband, BFF Stacey, and me) could accomplish this project. I knew that it would not be very costly. It really wasn't complicated, but add in very busy schedules, and that's why, I'm posting the final results over a month later.

At the beginning of November, I posted my "before" photograph. This is when the project began. I started by cleaning out the closet. I took several items to the Goodwill and Salvation Army.

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Before Picture of Closet

In mid-November, I posted some sneak previews of the paint in the closet. Stacey came over for the day and painted the closet. I'm totally allergic to paint, and doing anything creative like painting. The paint color is Valspar JalapeƱo Jelly 6005-6A in semi-gloss, which is found at Lowes. We went through a gallon of paint, because the closet probably had never been painted since house was built, seriously. We took out the shelf and the bar in the closet before it was painted. We also took off the door to the closet to make it a little easier to paint.

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Closet After Shelf and Bar Were Removed, Plus Paint Added

I got an idea in my head, as usual. I decided that the closet needed some lighting. Do I know anything about electrical work? Umm, no..that's what Angry Husband is for. We went back and forth with all these complex ideas for electrical work in the closet. We ended up going with the simple route. He installed a recessed light in the closet ($15), and he tied (wired) it into the recessed lights in our hallway. You have to turn the hallway lighting on, to get the closet light to work. By doing this, we did not have to install lightswitches, etc...You like how I say, "We"!

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Recessed Light in Ceiling of Closet

I then made a few trips to Ikea, Home Depot, and Lowes for supplies for this project. I added my own touches to the original project from the magazine. I did use the Expedit shelf from Ikea. I looked around for other "similar" shelves, but this shelf was perfect for our closet size. Angry Husband cut out some of the molding in the closet to place the shelf unit firmly against the wall. He also secured it to the wall with mounting brackets provided with the unit when purchased.

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The Closet with Expedit Shelf in Place

I found a piece of melamine at Home Depot to use for the shelf. The shelf was held up and supported by pre-primed molding also found at Home Depot. The white metal clothing rod was purchased at Lowes. It was very long and Angry Husband had to cut it to size. The clothing rod was held into place with a flange set found at Lowes. After everything was in place, Angry Husband painted the molding used to hold up the melamine shelf white (not pictured).

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Closet After Melamine Shelf and Closet Rod Were Installed (Various Views)

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Closet Showing the Expedit Shelf, The Melamine Shelf, and The Clothing Rod

I wanted to place baskets on the Expedit shelves like in the original picture. I did not like the baskets that they used. I improvised and took (3) baskets from Angry Toddler's bedroom. We are in the process of re-organizing his room and toys. He had (3) perfect wicker Medium Sabrina Baskets from Pottery Barn Kids. I will do a post later showing what I placed in the baskets. I placed our coats back in the closet. I also placed my gym bag, Angry Toddler's backpack, my camera bag, and various other items on the shelves. I still haven't decided what to put on the top shelf. I think the vacuum needs to be accessible, so it also went back into the closet.

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Finished Closet with All Our Stuff (Door Removed)

After the closet was pretty much finished, I had another idea...must modify, right? I wanted to add some hooks to the inside of the closet door. I'm always looking for my purse. I don't know why I'm always looking for it. I now put my purse inside the closet, when I get home. Therefore, it also prevents Angry Toddler from digging into my purse. I got the rack (hooks) from Target.

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Closet with Door Back On, and Coat Rack on Interior of Door

I hope this step-by-step process of our closet makeover helps or inspires someone. It took awhile to get it completed. I think I made a pretty good Project Manager. I'm not very handy, but I always have great ideas. Or maybe it's just the Project ADD....

Wordless Wednesday: Disneyland Railroad

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Merry SITSmas!!!

Happy Holidays

You probably thought you were going to see the "real" Angry Family Holiday Card here. Yea, not so much. I'm so behind with all this Holiday stuff. Can you believe we have not decorated anything? No lights, no tree.... But I have done some shopping. I can always shop.

It's been an awesome year, blogging-wise. I've made so many great connections. But after doing this "blogging" for two and half years, I've realized something. You cannot do it alone. It really takes a village. Blogging is about community. I think to be somewhat successful, you need community to interact with. I've found so many great blogs, and people throughout my many communities that I participate in. I've been participating in SITS for small while now, but have made so many connections through their site.

Have you heard of SITS aka The Secret is in The Sauce?

SITS is a group of women bloggers dedicated to supporting one another by leaving comments. Lots and lots of comments. Whether you are new to blogging and looking for blogs to read, or a veteran looking to expand your readership, a mommy blogger or a single gal, SITS is for you!

Happy SITSmas To You!!!

Oh, and the photo above? Taken at Disney Family Media Day last weekend. See my review site for details of that day. Angry Toddler refused to pose with the characters.

Monday, December 07, 2009

It's a Wrap!

In the past few years, I've become quite obsessed with "wrapped" gifts. I know that it is much easier to toss a gift into the gift bag, and add some tissue paper. I just think that opening a wrapped present makes it much more special. I agree that there are some gifts that can't be wrapped due to their size, dimensions, etc. But I try and wrap every gift that I give.

I think Container Store is my favorite store to buy gift wrap. It is a little pricey, but it is truly beautiful. They have matching bows and other accessories also.

Family Fun has a great idea using a sprig of greenery and white paint to make plain wrapping paper, a decorative spark.

HGTV shows that recycled brown Kraft paper is a great anytime gift wrap. Tie with twine and embellish.

Gift boxes from Holiday theme scrapbooking papers.

I usually buy most of my wrapping paper from Sally Foster. It is a company that usually sells through the schools for fundraisers. I became addicted to Sally Foster wrap a few years ago, when a co-worker was pimping, I mean selling it for their child's school. I love the paper, because it is thick, cuts easy, and is usually reversible.

Gift Wrap and Bow Videos from the Container Store
7 Gift Wrapping tips and Tricks from Good Housekeeping
How To Create A Wired Bow from Living with Lindsay

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Christmas Cards and Family Photos

Last month, on my birthday, we took family pictures. This might be a normal "Holiday" tradition for some people, but not us. We have NEVER taken a family picture. Yea, we are awesome like that. Really, Angry Husband and I have/had no good pictures of us since our wedding, in 1998. You can do the math.

I finally convinced Angry Husband to take photos. I made the arrangements. I planned out the outfits. And told me where to be and when. He's THAT busy, so he actually had to meet us at the location. And of course, he was more than cooperative, because JJ aka The BlahBlahBlahger, was taking our pictures. Angry Husband likes JJ, she's a lot nicer than me. I won't tell him that she cooks and stuff like that, he might leave me for her.

JJ, aka Jen is a photographer. Did you know that? Oh, yea, she's quite good too. She's been taking my fabulous profile photographs for a few months now. She has her very own photography business, Jen Johnson Photography. She was great with the Angry Family, and took tons of pictures. I am in awe of her patience. My family gives me anxiety, but she rolled with it. Even when, Angry Toddler almost jumped in the lake.

So at the very top, you get one little sneak peak. I will post some more later. I will post the actual picture that we selected for our cards closer to Christmas. I have friends and family who follow the blog. I don't want to spoil it for them. Plus, I spent a buttload of money for FABULOUS cards.

Friday, December 04, 2009

O' Christmas Tree

I'm sitting here thinking, we "really" need to get the Christmas stuff down from the attic. I've been thinking about it all week, actually. Angry Husband was out of town all week for work related training. There is no way I could reach anything. Plus, Angry Toddler was home sick most of the week.

We have a fake Christmas tree, why? Because I'm allergic to Christmas trees. I never had a real tree, as a child. Damn asthma. I always wanted a tree. Angry Husband and I tried to get real trees for a few years. Well, hello snot mess. I was coughing and sneezing, but I sucked it up and dealt with it. I know better, but these are the things that you do for your "real tree loving" husband. A few years ago, we got a fabulous fake one at Target, on sale, the day after Christmas, for cheap cheap cheap...

In 2007, Angry Toddler was 19 months old. He was walking, climbing, you name it. This was the start of a very wild stage. We knew that he would be total chaos around the Christmas tree. We decided to not put up the tree. We had regrets and put it up Christmas Eve right after "Santa" left. Angry Toddler was shocked when he came out in the morning. We are lazy, hence, no ornaments. It was midnight. This is what you get at midnight.

In 2008, we decorated the tree, and Angry Toddler did not mess with it. We have the most random collection of ornaments. Most of them are from my childhood. It was always a tradition for my grandmother to buy me an ornament every year for my birthday in November. The rest of the ornaments were randomly bought throughout the years. I see all these awesome trees, and it get sad. This tree really looks pathetic. It has no theme, it's random. What you see is what you get?

I wish I was more creative. It seems that we always get super busy and put off the Christmas decorating. It doesn't help that Angry Husband works in retail, and this is the busy season for him.

Do you want to come and decorate my tree this year?
Just come and get it from my rafters in the garage.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

We've Been Cloned

Approximately, a week and a half ago, I got an e-mail from Chase. We have our mortgage and a small bank account with them. The e-mail stated that my balance was negative -$110.07. How was that possible? We hadn't written a check from that account for over a month. We barely use the account.

I immediately logged into their online system, which was a total pain because I had not logged in since their full merger with Washington Mutual. I guess that I needed to create another account. So I had to hunt for my account number, verify it, etc. I look on their website and see that there was a charge, the day before, for $149.31 to Dual Action Cleanse. Yea um, not our charge.

So I immediately call the bank's telephone number listed on the back of my ATM/debit Card number to report that fraud has occurred involving our account. I went through the phone tree from HELL to finally get to someone. I finally spoke to a representative. It was very very hard to hear the person on the other end of the phone. I explained that the $149.31 charge on our account was not ours. I also told her that my husband and I both had our cards in our possession. The representative tells me that I need to call the company "Dual Action Cleanse" and get them to refund the charge, explain that I did not make it, etc. I said, "ummm okay, and then what". She tells me to call them (Chase) back to let them know that I called "Dual Action Cleanse" to report this. That's it. I did not get a "as Chase, we are going to cancel your debit card number, re-issue new cards, assign this to an investigator, etc"....NOTHING! I could hear crickets in the background..I said, "Ok, I will call them." She had given me their telephone number. She actually assumed that I would have the number, which, I can't understand why she would even think that.

So I call "Dual Action Cleanse" and speak with one of their representatives. I tell them that our debit card was used to make a purchase that was fraudulent. I gave the last four digits of both of our debit card numbers. He found the transaction and advised me that it had been made over the telephone. He confirmed the debit card number belonged to Angry Husband. He actually read out the entire card number and the expiration date. I confirmed that yes, that is our correct card info. I then asked him if they had the card security code, the three digit number from the back of the card. He told me that they did not require that for purchases. He also informed me that the product was already shipped out, and gave me the purchaser information.

I then went through the phone tree from HELL again. I speak with a representative and tell them my entire story all over again. She basically asks, "did you get the vendor to refund your card?" I say, yes, and that they "said" they were refunding the charges. She was ready to end the call right there. I said, hold on, I have more questions to ask. This is what I asked, #1 Are you going to send us new debit cards, #2 Is this claim going to an investigator, #3 why did this charge even go through, and give my account a negative balance? I do not have overdraft protection. This should have never happened especially with a debit card transaction. The representative told me that #1. it was Angry Husband's debit card account. They needed his permission to close account. We had a to do a conference call with him to cancel it. She also cancelled mine. #2. She "claimed" this there was a notion of case, etc under my account number. #3. She said, if the charge was made, it would go through. What the hell? I say, why would a debit card charge go through if it put the account negative? That makes no sense. I do not have overdraft. She said, they put it through. I tell her, with my credit union, if I have a $5 balance, and I make a $20 charge with my debit card, the card DECLINES! She really had nothing to say, and basically says, if the refund doesn't go through on your account, in a couple of days, call us back.

Every day, for four more days, I get the e-mail from Chase..."The account balance at the end of 11/24/2009 was $-110.07, which is less than the minimum balance in your Alerts settings." Why am I getting this e-mail? I have my account set-up to e-mail me if my balance goes below $25. Smart, I know. It's for fraud protection, and umm "husband debit card-not telling your wife you used it-abuse". I will have to say that I give Chase a thumbs up for this. Cause I get those e-mails as soon as it goes below $25 like clockwork. I've ran into the bank at least once and deposited a few dollars.

So I call Chase again. I go through the phone tree from HELL. I'm pretty pissed by now. You see, it (phone tree) keeps asking for my debit card number to verify my account. Well if you read already, I had to beg for my debit card to be cancelled and re-issued with another number, so I don't have a valid debit card number. I kept hitting "0" to get an operator. I finally get through. I begin to tell the representative that I filed a claim, and that it still has not been resolved. I have deposits to make into the bank account, and there is STILL a negative balance. Initially, she tells me that she could not find my claim. I start screaming, basically...about jumping through hoops, making calls, etc. She then says, "oh, I found it under your husband's name." She then asks me if I called the vendor, "Dual Action Cleanse" to get my refund. I advised her that I called last week, and obviously they did not resolve the issue. I said, it is no longer my responsibility. That is why you have investigators, and that Chase needs to remove these charges from my account. It was an unauthorized charge that should have never gone through. I continued to say, this is not my issue, it is fraud, why am I being victimized? I've done everything Chase has asked me to do. PLEASE remove these charges. There was a pause, and then I ranted some more about laws, protection etc. She then says that she is removing the charges. THANK YOU!

Why am I getting so pissed off? Because every representative or employee that I have spoken with at Chase, seems to be outsourced. I can tell that the caller is in another country. I can barely understand what they are saying. They have no clue what I'm trying to explain. They do not understand my words of "cloning account numbers, credit card protection, fraud, law enforcement, criminals, etc." I've gone through phone trees, spending ten to fifteen minutes at a time, and then the call drops. She finally got the charges removed, but I was not done.

I requested to speak to a Supervisor. The representative asked why? I told her that this entire situation is ridiculous. I get the Supervisor on the phone. Supervisor basically tells me that the charges have been removed, and what are my other issues, in her broken accent. I explain that I have been dealing with this for almost a week. Once again, she HAD NO CLUE, and had nothing to offer. She basically said, I hope you find our service satisfactory and thank you for banking with Chase. Was I talking to a robot? I got a letter a few days later saying that my account has been credited.

I haven't had time to go to my local branch and speak with them about this. Seriously, with Thanksgiving, work, etc...I have no time. I checked the mail yesterday and we received another letter from Chase. This letter stated that they were providing temporary credit to our account. "Further research is required to resolve your dispute". Seriously, how long is this going to go on. I've done everything that I can. Every time that I try and talk to someone, I get hung up on, or I can't understand them.

Since I've been working on this post, I've found the following resources:

Credit, ATM and Debit Cards: What to do if they are lost or stolen

Crooks Who Use Your ATM Card as a Passport To Your Account

Crooks Have Your Card and You Don't Even Know It

Skimming and Scamming: How To Protect Yourself Against Debit Card Fraud

JPMorgan Chase to Increase India Outsourcing 25%

While this is a personal rant, it is also a warning. This could happen to you. For me, it was $149.31, but for you could it could be more than that, thousands. What would you do if your debit card number was cloned? Would you even know? Do you check your bank regularly? Do you have warning alerts set? Do you get text messages with your balance?

I still do not know how Angry Husband's debit card number was obtained either. We hold our mortgage through Chase. I wish I could change that also.

Wordless Wednesday: Holidays at Main St. USA

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