July 27, 2014

What to send with a forever stamp

Hello, everybody! Well, my posts are becoming too scarce, but I honestly don't want to blog unless I have something to say or show you, you know. So, as it turns out, today I do have a little something I want to share; it's a post that actually took a while to take shape and it's about one of my favorite topics: snail mail! :p

I love sending things to my friends, but I realized that I was being too reckless, so to speak, with what I was mailing. The post in America is cheaper than it is in other parts of the world, but still, I became aware of the fact that I needed to buy lighter things to mail. For the past few weeks, I've been trying to send out envelopes that are no more expensive than the value of a forever stamp. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, a forever stamp is the necessary postage to mail bills, postcards or letters up to 1 ounce/28.3 grams within the United States. It's called forever stamp because even when its price does change through time, if you buy forever stamps today at 49 cents per unit (its current value), you'll still be able to use them years from now when they'll probably be pricier. There are also global forever stamps which cost $1.10 and allow you to send a postcard or light letter to recipients in foreign countries. I usually need only one global forever stamp to send 4 photos and a letter to Argentina. If you used oddly shaped envelopes or plastic ones, or if the envelope can't be bent additional charges may apply.
What to send with a forever stamp
Aside from the obvious such as regular stationery, cards and envelopes, here are some different suggestions:
1.- Fortune teller miracle fish
I found out about their existence only a few days ago at the library, when kids who attended a program were given these cute fish. They are super light and fun to play with!
2.- Die cuts
Craft punches are not the cheapest thing in the world, but they can certainly go a long way! My latest acquisition is a circle with scalloped edges; I freaking love it! You can use the die cuts for decorations or as labels. Use your craft punch on maps, magazines, old books, sticker sheets ...
Even on old packages.
3.- Foam stickers
I usually get them in the bargain section over at Target or at Michael's. Obviously, I only go to Michael's when I have a good coupon ;).
4.- Bookmarks
Well, I work at a library, so I get them for free, but Target usually has a good and inexpensive selection.
5.- Paper bags to be used as envelopes
And DIY envelopes, as well.
6.- Paper doll sets
You guys, if there's a Daiso Japan nearby, please do yourselves a favor and go. It's become my favorite place to shop for gifts and stationery. On Saturday, I bought this lovely notebook with paper dolls; it comes with a few sticker sheets to dress them up, but I actually had more fun using clothes I cut out of fashion magazines, haha.
I'm sending paper dolls and clothes to my pen-pals this week :).
7.- Decorated photos
Many of my friends from Argentina aren't on Instagram, so every now and then, I print the phone pictures I've posted there (full size) and then either write captions with a Sharpie or print them with my label maker. I've even sent a couple of these as postcards.
Other light things you can mail
The following are a little heavier than what a single forever stamp will allow you to send, but I thought I could still include them in this same post. If you ever want to send candy that's wrapped individually and that fits in a regular envelope, check out Party City; you can buy 15 pieces of candy for a dollar. In the picture below, you can also see powder juice sticks.
I usually also grab party favors; these Hello Kitty mazes are 56c each.
Crayola tissue paper found at Target.
Lastly, if you don't want to use regular packing peanuts, head over to Daiso Japan and get these adorable heart-shaped ones :p.
Hope you're all doing great!
Want to read more mail related posts?

July 01, 2014

What I'm reading

Well, hello there! How are you all? I've been a busy bee these past couple of months, and that is just fine. That doesn't mean I didn't have any spare time to relax, but truth to be told, instead of blogging and checking up on my favorite blogs, I felt more like reading, which is what this post is about.

It's been almost exactly 2 months since my first "What I'm reading" post and since then, I've read a few more books, I'm happy to say. The pile on the left in the picture above are the books I read from February till the end of May, and I have finished a few more since then. By the time I took this picture I was reading the one to the right (Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster), but I gave up on it on page 100; the information about Louis Vuitton and some of the major so-called luxury brands was interesting, but I started feeling grossed out as I kept turning pages. It was certainly not hitting the spot.

The Pact
by Jodi Picoult

I decided to pick up Jodi Picoult's The Pact, which I had read before but never made it to the end. I only skipped the first chapter since I remembered the story and characters quite well. I'm glad I finally read everything single bit of the story, but I highly doubt I'll read one of her books ever again; there's no time for that when there are so many other books in my to-read list! Man, the story was sad and dragged in a way that wasn't enjoyable. The only aspect that I sort of liked was the present/future dynamics; other than that, I have nothing left to say, it was a totally forgettable book to me.

The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion

I'm so glad I followed Katrin's advice and checked this one out from my library! In the beginning I found Don Tillman a bit too obnoxious, but he quickly grew on me. He reminded me of an older version of Sheldon Cooper (I can't compare him to anybody else). I truly enjoyed the story and look forward to reading other titles by the author.

The Introvert Advantage - How to Thrive in an Extrovert World
by Marti Olsen Laney

Back to non-fiction. I was undecided whether to buy this one or Quiet, which is a very popular book about the topic. What leaned me towards choosing The Introvert Advantage in the end was the fact that it includes explanations about what chemical processes take place in the brain of an introvert and those involved in an extrovert's brain, which was what I really wanted to know. I read a lot of reviews on Good Reads, a lot of which I feel are not fair at all, but I knew I had to follow my gut and got it anyway. Some people accuse Mrs. Laney of being condescending, but I beg to disagree. It might be because of the fact that English is not my native language, but I just found it easy-to-read and not condescending. Chapter 3 was my absolute favorite and I'm sure I'll be coming back to it in the future. I absolutely recommend it to the introverts out there ;).

The Tipping Point
by Malcolm Gladwell

Another wonderful book I think everybody should read. It simply explains how an idea spreads the same way an epidemic breaks out. The examples are clear and varied; I suppose this book is a must-read to those who study marketing, but not necessarily exclusive to them. I now understand what word of mouth really is and I'm pretty sure I'll be able to put some of the information into practice.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves
by Lynne Truss

If you studied English and/or English translation chances are you have read this book in college. I came across a brand new looking copy in the book sale at the library I work at and couldn't help buying it. I read it for a second time and found it just as funny. Oh, I forgot to mention it's about punctuation, haha. If you're a writer or just a person who freaks out every time an apostrophe is misused, you'll love Eats, Shoot & Leaves.

The Moaning of Life
by Karl Pilkington

You guys. If you're familiar with Ricky Gervais' Show (his podcast) and some of his latest shows, you sure know who Karl Pilkington is and how hilarious he is indeed. He made laugh hard on An Idiot Abroad and I totally loved him as Dougie in Derek; he even does a cameo in the final episode of Extras. The show The Moaning of Life is not available on Netflix yet and if it never is, I'm sure I'll end up getting the DVDs, but for now, I'm happy going through Karl's written rants on marriage, kids and whatnot. 

And while we're at it, let me recommend another show by another member of Ricky Gervais' crew, Stephen Merchant. I honestly think he doesn't add much in the podcast or in An Idiot Abroad, but if you liked him in Extras, you definitely need to check out Hello Ladies. Sadly, there won't be a second season :(, but the material that's out there is really good, Stephen Merchant at its best.  

Everything is Connected
by Keri Smith

Well, I guess this is a bonus, since it's not an actual book, but a compilation of hands-on postcards. It's my very first Keri Smith experience (for a lack of a better word) and I'm thrilled. I can't wait to share the progress made, but I guess it's going to take some time since it also involves other people. I'm terrible at drawing so her other materials intimidated quite a bit, I think Everything is Connected was the best choice for someone like me who likes collaging, is bad at drawing and loves snail mail. More to come on this in the near future :).

So what are you, guys, currently reading?

Anything you can recommend?

Do you ever read reviews on Good Reads or do you try not to be biased by them?

Hope all is great on your end! ;D