Package Overload

Today I have three days worth of packages to review. Wouldn’t have been such a  big deal, if it wasn’t for the fact that there were eight packages today! Needless to say, I’ll be doing these in batches again.

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First off, the things I’m the most disappointed in. Out of four items here, half of them aren’t useable. Bah. These are all supposed to be ear cuffs or fake earrings.

The claw cuff ($0.23 on AliExpress, with free 30-50 day shipping, arrived in 24 days) simply doesn’t fit. Its grip is too loose to hold onto an ear, and the metal can’t be adjusted to make it work. I may be able to make it work as a charm on a necklace or something, due to the hole in it (that wasn’t obvious in the photos, but is there if you look hard enough) so it’s not a total loss, I guess.

The magnetic earrings ($0.24 on AliExpress – now $0.25, with free 30-50 day shipping, arrived in 26 days) don’t really work. The magnets for the backs – which they sent 4 of – are strong enough to hold onto each other, but the front pieces are barely magnetic at all. As shown in the picture, they’d much rather stick to each other than the fronts! I’m considering gluing one back to each front to get a better hold. They might be usable at that point… But I’m still pretty disappointed.

Thankfully, the other two cuffs ($0.15 each on AliExpress, with free 30-50 day shipping, arrived in 24 days) work just fine. They’re nothing special, but they’re exactly as pictured, and they fit perfectly with just a little adjustment. The metal doesn’t feel super cheap, but it’s not very sturdy, either. At 15 cents each, though, I definitely can’t complain.

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Now, I’m one of those people that, if I could afford it (or was brave enough to risk infection by doing it myself), would have dozens of piercings and tattoos. I briefly considered buying a few $0.50 piercing guns and doing some myself, but it’s incredibly dangerous to do so, and I’m not that stupid. (Now, my 17-year-old self, half a lifetime ago… That’s another story.)

Instead, I bought these.

The jeweled septum ring was $0.27 on AliExpress, with 30-50 day shipping, and it arrived in 32 days. The back of it does look a little cheap, but nobody sees that. It took a little work to get it on the first time, but once I figured out the trick, it was easy. I think it might be a bit too much sparkle for me, but it’s cute.

The “fake” nose rings were $0.23/pair on AliExpress, with free 20-38 day shipping, arriving in 32 days. Now, while these do sort of work for fake piercings, the listing is a bit deceptive – these are REAL nose rings, meant to be worn in an actual piercing. They’re too loose to be worn long-term if you intend to wear them as fakes. That said, they’re sort of perfect for testing out different piercing placements to see if it’s something you really want to do. (I tried them on my lip, and was surprised at how much I liked it.)

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If you haven’t noticed, I have a thing for rings – and for other things that can be worn on fingers, apparently.

The finger armor was $0.70 on AliExpress, with free 20-39 day shipping – it arrived in 25 days. Now, I’ve loved stuff like this for as long as I can remember, but never actually thought I could own one. This was listed as a men’s piece, so I assumed that it would be somewhat close to my size, as my fingers are wider than most women’s… It wasn’t. I had to do some major modification with my jewelry-making tools to make this fit. In the process, some of the patina finish rubbed off, leaving it looking a  bit uneven. That said, it’s still pretty cool – if you have the tools needed to make it fit. (It didn’t even fit my pinky finger – ack!)

The lotus ring ($0.69 on AliExpress, now $0.54, with free 20-38 day shipping, arrived in 32 days) is amazing. I’m completely in love with it. It fits like a size 7 1/2 – perfect for my pinky finger. I got the rose gold color, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. The ring feels solid, not cheap. Very nice!

The Precious Lord of the Rings “One Ring” was $0.92 on AliExpress, with free 20-38 day shipping, also arriving in 32 days. The ring fits perfectly, but it’s definitely not stainless steel – it’s too light to be steel. The engraving looks like it’s painted on, not etched in the finish… So I’m thinking I might cover this one with clear nail polish to, hopefully, protect it a bit. After I shine it up some – the finish gets pretty dull after handling it just for a minute or so. I think, in the future, I’d go for a more expensive one that’s hopefully better quality.

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These two necklaces were both ordered as gifts for specific people.

The grandmother necklace is, supposedly, identical to one I received in my first review post. Interestingly, though I only paid $0.66 (currently $0.78) on AliExpress, which was 17 cents more than the other, the quality is a million times better. On every level. It took a little while longer to get here – 31 days out of the quoted 28-45, but it’s well made, the pendant is shiny and not “rustic” looking, the heart is pretty, and the chain is decent. If I was to do it all again, I’d buy two of these, and not touch the cheaper version.

The faux-leather cord necklace is also a gift, which set me back $0.49 on AliExpress. It took 32 days to arrive, out of the quoted 20-38. It’s a pretty necklace, and the cord, surprisingly, has no odor to it (usually, these fake leather cords stink.) I somehow thought that the leaf was ceramic, not metal, but that’s not a big deal. It’s still pretty, and I’m sure the recipient will love it.

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And, last but certainly not least, two more necklaces.

The spike necklace was $0.74 (currently $0.93) on AliExpress, with free 22-28 day shipping, arriving in 32 days. Looking at the photos, it looks like it’s a pretty imposing piece of jewelry but, unfortunately, the spikes are a LOT smaller than they appear, with the longest ones about 5cm/2″ long, and the width of the entire spiked section coming in at 9.5cm/3.75″ when laid flat. The chain is rather short, too, making it more of a choker length than anything – at least on me. I’ll probably refigure it a little so it goes a little wider on my neck, and so it doesn’t feel like it’s choking me.

Now, I won’t even try to wear the Deathly Hallows necklace ($0.43 on AliExpress, free 30-50 day shipping, arrived in 32 days) until I replace the chain. The pendant is nice, solid-feeling, and decent-looking. But, the chain looks and feels cheap, and a little bit dirty, too. I’m worried about something rubbing off on me, so I’m trying to handle it as little as possible until I get that fixed. The color is definitely off compared to the listing – this is much more yellow than the bronze that I ordered. Not bad, overall, but it could be a lot better.

The quality of this lot was definitely mixed, between good and bad, but for under $6 total, I think I came away with some nice pieces.

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In Chains

The past two days have been pretty good, package-wise. Five packages with a total of six items!

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My daughter was so excited about this that I couldn’t even keep it long enough to take a proper photo!

There aren’t a lot of cases for her phone yet – it’s a newer model, and carrier-specific, so the selection is still pretty limited. I almost didn’t even find this one, but a last-ditch search turned it up!

This phone case was $3.80 on AliExpress, with free shipping. It took 23 of the quoted 20-39 days to arrive from China, which seems to be about average.

I’m not super impressed with the quality – in the right light, you can see the  bumps where the pattern paper or whatever was glued to the rest of the case. But, my daughter is in love with it, and that’s the only thing that really matters.

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This necklace was one I ordered on a whim, and not really because I was in love with it or anything. Turns out, it’s a keeper, and going in my jewelry box immediately!

This necklace was $0.45 on AliExpress, with free shipping. It arrived from China in 28 out of the stated 20-38 days.

The chain is nice and long on this one – much more my style. I don’t even have to unhook it to get it over my head! As usual, the jump rings holding the bits together could be better, but are easily replaced with simple jewelry-making tools. The “gem” looks a bit cheap, but at less than half a dollar, I’m fine with that.

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You may notice, through my posts, that foxes pop up somewhat often. This is entirely intentional. This won’t be the last fox that shows up on this blog!

This necklace was $0.90 on AliExpress, again with free shipping. This, too, took 28 days out of 20-38, shipped from China.

I love most of this necklace. The unique chain and the moon pendant are beautiful, and the fox pendant is downright cute. However, I’ll be replacing the jump ring that the fox hangs from, as it’s a bit too big, and the fox overlaps the moon. Plus, the chain is just too short – I’ll see if I can add an extender, but I might have to replace it completely. Oh, and it arrived in a cute, sparkly gift bag, which I’ll be reusing for future gifts!

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I used to have a ring similar to this. It was made of super cheap metal, and I wound up having to coat the inside with clear nail polish within a week of getting it. It’s long since lost – and even if I found it, it would probably look disgusting from the oxidation and wear on the finish.

I had a really hard time hunting down a replacement for that ring on AliExpress, and this was the best that I could come up with. It cost $0.98 on AliExpress, with free shipping from China (it’s since gone up to $1.36.) It arrived in 26 days, out of the stated 20-39 days.

I’m not totally happy with this ring. It feels cheap, and the bit that holds the o-ring on sticks out way too far for my taste. I’m sure, if I was to wear it for any length of time, it would wind up getting knocked against all manner of things, or snagged on who knows what. That said, it serves the purpose for now, until I can find a better version somewhere.

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These two items were a bit of a headache. I’m actually rather glad when tracking isn’t available beyond China, because I like to be surprised… These were supposedly shipped via ePacket, with tracking available to my door. I did get a surprise with these – the tracking had them delivered last week – about 6 hours away from where I live! I opened a dispute, and asked the seller for a tracking number. They kept insisting that they had really mailed it, and I just had to be patient, but the tracking number thing was bothering me. They did show up, though – hours before the dispute was set to be decided by AliExpress. The seller is lucky – I had proof that either they gave me a fake tracking number (which, obviously, was the case), or that the item was sent to the wrong address.

The 5-ring set was $0.35 on AliExpress (currently $0.44), and the necklace was $0.55 (currently $0.69). They’re both from the same seller, so they both arrived in 28 days out of the quoted 20-39.

I like the rings, and I’d buy them again, so long as I knew ahead of time not to trust the tracking number. They’re small, and shiny, and fit well on my knuckles, which was my intention to begin with.

The necklace, on the other hand, I’m not such a fan of. The charm looks horrible on the back, and it is finicky about how it sits, so it has to be worn on the left side, no matter which side you’d actually prefer. It’s incredibly short, too – there’s no way that I could wear this without adding a rather large extension. I’m not sure how well it would sit, either – there doesn’t seem to be a big enough difference between the two chains on the bottom. This is going in my gifts box.

Overall, though, a decent haul. My necklace collection has more than doubled in the past month, I swear!

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s mail brings.

Nature Calls

Usually, what shows up in my mailbox is pretty random, but today, the mailman decided (completely intentionally, I’m sure) to deliver two nature-themed items!

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First is one of my more recent purchases. I’ve always had a thing for crystals and stones, and I like to believe that, even if I don’t really believe that they hold some sort of power, that keeping them around can at least have a sort of placebo effect.

This stone pendant cost me $0.75 on AliExpress (which has since been increased to $2.09, though it looks like it will go down for a coming sale.) With free shipping, it arrived in 19 days – less than the 20-39 days expected.

I was a little worried when I first opened this package, as the stone didn’t feel cold to the touch like any real stone should. Apparently, though, that’s because it was in my dark-colored mailbox on a warm, sunny day, as it grew much colder sitting around indoors. There are obvious flaws on the surface of the stone, which also point toward it being real instead of a plastic knock-off.

This particular stone is called Unakite. It’s a common stone, especially in the United States, South Africa, Brazil, Zimbabwe, Switzerland, and China. If you’re into the meanings of stones and crystals, it’s supposed to help with a number of illnesses, as well as emotional healing and motivation. Again, I don’t place any weight on that, but it’s a pretty stone either way.

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Today’s second arrival – a Lord of the Rings leaf necklace – was a huge bargain – at least when I bought it.

I paid all of $0.10 for this on AliExpress, but the price has since gone up to a much more reasonable $4.99. With free shipping it took only 20 days to arrive, with shipping estimated at 20-39 days.

For what I paid, I wasn’t expecting much, but this necklace is identical to the one in the listing, straight down to the box chain, and I’d say it’s definitely worth the $4.99 they’re currently charging. There’s one spot on the back where the green enamel spilled on the silver back, but it’s nothing that anyone is going to see.

Now, this isn’t an official version – Weta Workshop charges nearly $200 for their official necklace. Comparing the two, of course the official version looks a lot better. That said, this easily stands on its own, and I’m glad I found it at such a huge discount!

All the things

So, I might have gotten a little behind on my posts. 2 shipments that I missed last week and then, today, seven packages showed up! SEVEN!

Needless to say, I’ll be doing these in groups.

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First off… My phone has been walking around, unprotected, for over a year now. I kept meaning to buy a case (and the screen protector shown previously), but it never happened. Then, I decided enough was enough, and got cheap Chinese stuff!

This case was $1.79 on AliExpress when I ordered it (it’s since gone up to $1.96.) With free shipping, it was supposed to arrive in 20-38 days, but only took 17.

It’s a decent little case. Soft but rigid silicone, it feels like. It doesn’t make the phone too bulky, and gives it a slightly nicer grip, but it does make it a little harder to reach the buttons on the side, and the pattern is printed on the outside, so you can see a shadow under it. I like it, though.

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These were for my daughter, whose earbuds are always breaking. The last pair lasted maybe a week! I figure, if she’s going to keep breaking them, might as well just get her cheap ones. And these had black & silver stars on them, as a sort of reference to Black Rock Shooter, so even if they suck, she’ll use them just to look cool.

These earbuds were $0.49 on AliExpress, with free shipping. They were expected to arrive in 20-39 days, and took 22, so well within the expected delivery window.

Now, the quality of these is about what you’d expect for a half-dollar pair of headphones. They sound a little tinny, and the soft in-ear pieces are kinda weird shaped. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t last all that long, but for the price, it’s not a big deal. And my daughter was very excited to get these, cheap or not!

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I actually ordered two of these eyeglass cleaners, after seeing them on a video from AliHolic, but immediately gave one to my daughter, who has been having trouble keeping her new glasses clean.

These were $0.39 each on AliExpress when I purchased them, but the price has gone up to $0.65 each (and it seems this particular seller no longer has them available.) Free shipping was supposed to take 20-39 days, and they arrived in 25.

These work ok on dust, but any oil on the lenses seems to just get spread around. Haven’t tried them with eyeglass cleaner spray, though – that might help.

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These are kinda interesting. This is matatabi, aka silvervine. It’s a vine that grows mainly in China and Japan, and has an effect on cats similar to catnip.

These 5 sticks cost me $0.76 on AliExpress (the price has increased to $0.84 as of this moment.) They were on the low side of the 22-38 days expected for shipping, arriving in 22 days.

I was curious about how my cat would respond to these sticks, and I wasn’t disappointed. He sniffed one at first, then walked away… And less than a minute later, he returned, and was rubbing against it, and chewing on it, and just loving on the poor, defenseless stick.

Now, if you do buy this, be very careful when opening the package – I accidentally cut through the resealable bag and having the open bag near my desk was starting to irritate my lungs a bit. It does have a smell, and if smells tend to get to you, make sure you either keep the bag intact, or find a Ziploc bag to keep them in.

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…and on to the jewelry! This is a selection of ear cuffs that I purchased during one of my mini buying sprees.

The two 3-ring cuffs were $0.19 each on AliExpress, with free shipping supposed to arrive in 30-50 days, and they arrived in only 20. Quality-wise, they feel a bit cheap – almost plasticky – but they look good, and slide on easy enough, with only a little bit of work required.

The silver bar cuff was $0.33 on AliExpress (currently $0.32), again with free shipping. It arrived in 20 days, right in the 20-38 day estimated range. I didn’t notice the little hole on it when I ordered it (looking at the photos on the item confirm it was my error, not the seller’s.) This is a heavier metal than the ring cuffs, which would be good – if I could manage to get it on my ear! The opening is a little small, and it doesn’t want to slide on. It’ll take a little manipulation to get it to work. This might be best if you wanted to add charms or something to it – the ring would be the perfect place to attach them.

The silver snake cuff was $0.40 on AliExpress, with free shipping. This, too, arrived in 20 days, which was at the end of the expected 12-20 days. I love this thing, but it’s too small for my ear, and the bit that goes through your ear really doesn’t work with my stretched ears, so this is going into the gift box. It’s a decently heavy metal, though, and I’m sure I’ll find someone who would love it.

The black dragon cuff was $0.32 on AliExpress, from the same seller as the snake. It came in the same package as the snake cuff, with the same delivery times. Again, I love it, but it just doesn’t work – too small, and stretched ears. I think I know who is getting this one, though!

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And, of course… More jewelry!

The Hamsa necklace and feather ear cuff both came from the same AliExpress seller, at $0.35 and $0.29 respectively (currently at $0.48 and $0.32). They were expected to take 20-38 days, and arrived in 25. I love these – the quality is a lot better than I expected at those prices. The metal is solid and not flimsy, and there aren’t any major visual flaws that I can see.

The ring was $0.90 on AliExpress, with free shipping estimated at 30-50 days, and arriving in only 25 days. It’s one of the more expensive little pieces I’ve purchased, and the quality actually shows it. I expected a cheap-looking, flimsy ring that would break when I inevitably had to resize it to make it fit. Instead, it fit my pinky finger perfectly, and actually feels sturdy enough to be worn on a semi-regular basis. Again, no major visual flaws that I can see – I’m pretty happy with this!

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And here comes the geekery – Harry Potter style!

I paid for upgraded ePacket shipping on both the $0.95 prefect badge and the $1.40 time turner keychain, as they’re gifts for someone whose birthday is at the end of the month. I didn’t get the cheapest versions available on these two, as I wanted to make sure they got here in time to be gifted – and they did, even though the time turner’s tracking number still has it caught up in customs. Both were expected to arrive in 12-20 days, and arrived in 20. Considering they were hung up in customs for quite a while, that’s really not bad.

The quality on the prefect badge is excellent. It’s larger than I expected, and the enamel and gold finish look smooth and perfect. The keychain, on the other hand, has a couple rather large glue blobs where the hourglass is attached to the metal. I might try to sand the blobs off a bit before I gift it, or I might just leave it, for risk of messing it up. The keychain part is rather solid, though, which I’m glad of – I don’t think this has any risk of falling off somewhere.

The time turner necklace was only $0.85 on AliExpress, with an estimated free shipping time of 20-39 days – it arrived right in the middle, in 25 days. This necklace is missing the glue blobs of the keychain, but otherwise seems to be exactly the same pendant. The chain seems to be decent quality, so I think it’s great as it is. I’m also highly amused that this showed up on the same day as the other time turner. Perfect timing!

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And, finally, the last of it for today, I swear… More geekery!

The TARDIS necklace was $0.95 on AliExpress (the price has since gone down to $0.88) with free shipping. I was surprised at the weight of this pendant – it’s nice and heavy – I’m wondering if it isn’t solid metal, though there’s a panel glued in the bottom, so I’m guessing it’s just really thick metal. The green gem on top is a bit hard to see against the metal, but I’m not really complaining about it – not sure where a green gem fits in with the TARDIS. My only issue with it is the length of the chain – it’s just too short for me. Easy enough fix, though.

The Assassin’s Creed necklace was $0.54 on AliExpress when I purchased it. It’s no longer available, but the price is now listed at $1.06! Ouch! I like this, especially for the price, but there are obvious flaws with the finish – there are major bubbles on the bottom. The cord is cheap rubber, and a bit short, but I think it’s actually the perfect length for me – not so tight that I feel like I’m choking, but not so long as to get caught up in the neck of my shirt.

Overall, I’m pleased with these purchases! The grand total for all of this was only $11.48 (not including upgraded shipping) and I think it was way more fun than, say, buying lunch at McDonalds.

Can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s mail brings!

 

Tell Your World

So, it hasn’t really come up yet, but my 13-year-old daughter is a huge anime and vocaloid fan. (A vocaloid, for those without 13-year-old daughters or interests in Japanese culture, are 3d-animated characters with computer generated voices. Here’s an example.) Her favorite vocaloid, at least at the moment, is probably the most famous – Hatsune Miku.

So, of course, during one of my mini shopping sprees, I had to grab this for my daughter:

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Needless to say, she was very happy. In fact, this was her face:

 

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…I think she was wearing her Hatsune Miku shirt.

 

Of course, she loves the keychains/bag tags/whatever they are. I think she was disappointed when I said I needed to take it to get photos and write up a review, but she’ll get it back. If she’s good.

These set me back $0.84 on AliExpress, for a total of 8 tags, so not a bad price (the price has since risen to $0.88.) The free shipping was said to get it here within 20-38 days, and it arrived in only 19.

The tags themselves are printed on lightweight, matte plastic. They’re thin enough that, if you hold them up to the light, you can see the printing on the other side – though they are printed on both sides (same image on each side.) They’re about as tall as the short side of a credit card, and a little wider than a finger, so they’re not huge, but that means they could easily work as zipper pulls – though I wouldn’t put them on anything that would get a lot of wear.

The rings holding the tags together are cheap-feeling – like basic jump rings wit a little extra metal so the ends overlap. This is probably my only complaint about them, really – I’d be afraid of the rings breaking. But jump rings are easy to replace.

I’d say it was definitely worth the money – especially to make my daughter smile when she was home sick. (Again.)

Drowning in packages

Today was a pretty decent haul. 4 items from AliExpress, an order from eBay, and my Love With Food subscription box! I knew three of these six items were coming today, but it was a nice surprise to receive the rest.

So, without further ado…

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I ordered this bracelet for a friend of mine, as a bit of an inside joke. There are a few of these going around the AliExpress website – some of which say “Freedom” on the cuffs, which makes little to no sense to me, but still.

This bracelet was $0.35 on AliExpress, with free shipping. It arrived in 18 days, which is a little less than the minimum on the 20-39 days it was supposed to take.

I’m not super impressed with the quality, but it was cheap, and I can probably fix it up a bit. The cuff parts aren’t as smooth and shiny as they looked in the photo, and the jump rings holding the cuffs to the bracelet chain are really rather horribly done. That said, the chain is decent enough, at least. And adjustable, which never hurts.

Next up…

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This phone spider was more of an impulse buy. I watched a video where they reviewed these, and decided to get one, mostly for my daughter, but I wanted to see how it worked, too.

At $0.98 on AliExpress, it’s a bit more than I usually spend on a whim for cheap Chinese crap, but it seems to work alright. Like the bracelet, this arrived in 18 days, while it was stated to take 20-39 days.

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It works alright, and is sturdy enough, but it does feel a bit flimsy while, at the same time, it’s a bit tough to bend. Not as flexible as I thought it would be. I’m sure my daughter can find a use for it, though – even if for nothing better than a chair for a doll. (Not that, at age 13, she still plays with dolls – except when her cousin is here.)

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Next up is a screen protector for my smartphone. I’ve needed one of these for a couple years now, and I’m surprised that I haven’t had any major damage in that time!

This put me out $0.74 on AliExpress – not bad for something that might save me hundreds of dollars in a replacement phone. Might. It took 13 days to arrive from China, while the shipping was estimated to take 20-39 days. So far, I’m loving these shipping times! (At least on the items that have shown up.)

It installed quickly and easily (I expected to have to remove a lot more bubbles than I did – it just sorta sucked itself onto my phone’s screen!), and fit my phone perfectly. The touch screen works just fine through it, too. It does seem to give a bit of a blue tint to my screen when it’s off, but it doesn’t affect it when on, so it works! For less than a dollar, I’d purchase another if I needed it.

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This next one is a gift for my sister-in-law, who loves Wonder Woman. There are a ton of these floating around, almost all stating on their tags that they’re “Knee High Socks” when they’re nowhere near – which just adds a bit of humor to the whole thing. Whose knees are these supposed to reach?

One of my more expensive purchases, these were $1.70 on AliExpress when I purchased them, but the price has since gone up to $1.79. I paid for upgraded shipping (another $1.16) on these, as I needed them before the end of March. They were supposed to arrive in 12-20 days, and it took them 13, so nicely within the delivery timeline.

These seem to be well made, at least from the outside. There’s some fraying on the inside, where the colors meet, so I’m not expecting them to hold up too long. They’re branded “Pop Heroes” and have Trademark & Copyright information on them, but I have no idea if they’re officially licensed or not. None of that matters, really – she’ll enjoy them for as long as she can, and if they fall apart, they were cheap, and it’s not the end of the world.

Now, on to eBay…

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I’ve  been working on stretching my ears for over 3 years now, and I’m almost to where I wanted to end up. I’ve tried various methods of doing the stretches, and realized the only thing that really works for me is to wait until my ears readily accept the next size – but, that means I’m waiting 6-9 months between sizes now. My last tunnels got to the point where they were falling out, but my ears weren’t ready for the next size up, so I hunted these down. They’re essentially a half-size – between the one I was at and my goal size, which I’m not quite ready for. They’re glass, so no off-gassing of plastic in my ears, and that also means that they’re heavy enough to help the stretch along to the next size.

The short plugs were $5.99 on eBay, and the longer tapers were also $5.99 on eBay, from the same seller, so they shipped together. Plus, there was a  buy one, get one 50% off sale, so I paid $4.49 each. These shipped from the US, so they only took 4 days to arrive vs the 2-4 weeks from China.

I’m incredibly happy with these. They’re a decent weight, and the tapers fit really well (still working on the plugs, but I’ll get there.) There are a couple flaws in the glass, but nothing where they’ll hang through my ears, and that’s what really matters.

And, finally…

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My Love With Food box!

I’ve had a few subscription boxes through the years – yarn, snacks, craft kits… This has to be my favorite (and the only one I spend the money on currently.) It’s snacks without all the nasty junk that’s in most store-bought brands, which is incredibly important to me, as I have some chemical sensitivities, including artificial sweeteners.

I get the Deluxe box, which is $19.99/month (click that link and get 50% off your first box!) but they also have a smaller “Tasting” box that’s $9.99/month, or a gluten-free box that’s $24.99/month (all of which receive discounts if you order more than one month at a time.)

This month’s box included 2 bags of Wise brand sea salt popcorn, 2 packets of Monbana “Chocolat Salon de The”, a “Snack Box to Go” containing veggie chips and hummus (which might be coming on my road trip with me at the end of the month), dill pickle potato chips from Route 11 (not a fan of dill), chocolate emoji cookies, “Chewie Fruties” from Torie & Howard (I think I’ve tried these before, and they were like grown-up Starburts), natural fruit gumballs, espresso candy, 2 almond toffee bars (MINE!), Hippeas vegan white cheddar chickpea puffs, an 18 Rabbits date, pecan, & coconut bar, and a vanilla wafer waffle by Ruger.

I haven’t tried any of the snacks here, as I’m on an elimination diet at the moment, and don’t want to throw my results off, but I’m looking forward to being able to dig in and try some new things. (I may also have last month’s box to gorge on, too…)

…and that’s the last of it – for today. (Finally!) Can’t wait to see what’s in my mailbox tomorrow!

A little bird told me…

Just one package today, but I’m pretty excited about it.

I write, and a lot of my characters have things that symbolize who they are – sometimes jewelry, sometimes other things. When I first started looking at AliExpress, I actually found a few pieces that were close to what I imagined these characters wore, so of course I jumped on them!

Today’s package contained one of those pieces.

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When I saw this, I knew I had to snag one. One of my characters pretty much surrounds herself with bird-related things, including a bird skull that she wears on a cord around her neck. I realize this is more of a plague doctor mask than anything, but it still felt like it symbolized her well.

This necklace was $0.50 on AliExpress (it’s since gone up to $0.60 – their prices do tend to change from day to day.) It arrived 16 days after I ordered it – compared to the 28-45 days suggested on the listing. Not bad!

Now, the cord is a bit cheap-feeling, and shorter than I’d like it (it’s waxed cord, I believe, with a somewhat adjustable length on the clasp.) I’ll be replacing that, but I have everything I need to make a custom chain for it. The charm itself, though, is pretty solid, and definitely worth the money I spent – probably more. I love the look, and the finish, and plan to include this in my jewelry rotation.

Overall, I’m very happy, and I’m sure my character would approve, too!

 

I’m a bad kitty momma!

Two packages today, neither of which were expected this quickly! Both came via China Post, and were quicker than some of the ePacket packages. Wow!

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First off, we have Pokémon stickers! I ordered these to put in my box o’ gifts that I’m building – something we can reach into when we need a gift for someone, without having to scramble to find something. Bit of a cheat, really, but it works!

These sticker sheets were $0.14 each on AliExpress. I ordered 3, and all of them were different, which is great! The shipping was free, so I spent a total of 42 cents on these – better than getting them at the dollar store! I ordered them on February 23, so they took 15 days from the date I ordered them, though the shipping was estimated at 19-39 days.

These are likely not officially licensed, so don’t expect a lot of quality out of them. That said, they’re nice-looking, puffy stickers, and what Pokémon fan-child (or adult) wouldn’t love being able to stick Pikachu all over everything?

 

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…and this is why I should not be allowed to have pets.

 

I saw this bunny costume, and I just had to get it for my cat. It was advertised as a cat costume, with pictures of cats wearing it (albeit, the one in the ads was a much lighter pink.) There were different sizes, so I measured my poor kitty boy, and hit the shiny ‘buy’ button.

 

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This is his “I will eat you in your sleep” face.

This costume was $3.53 on AliExpress, with free shipping. I ordered it on February 25, and it arrived on March 10, so 13 days from order to arrival, via China Post. This was supposed to take 20-38 days, so very nice!

 

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“Are you done taking photos yet?”

Now, I measured my cat, and compared the measurements to the ones on the website. I’d say that, according to their own measurements, the sizes run about 2 sizes too small. This is a Medium – I’m guessing he probably would have needed an Extra Large. He’s not a fat cat at all, but he’s not little, either. I’m not super happy about the sizing, but it’s not like I intended him to wear it often. And I can always pass it on to my sister and her smaller cats.

 

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“Don’t look at me!”

Quality-wise, I’m a little disappointed. The ones in the photos had fur-like edging, while this is obviously cheap fleece. Plus, the little tail came off while it was still in the package (you can see the spot where it was glued on – badly – in the photo above.)

 

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“You’re so mean to me.”

Overall, I’m a bit disappointed in this, and may be contacting the seller, as it was smaller than described, and the quality is not the same as in the pictures. That said, if it had fit better, I probably would have looked past the quality issues, as it’s cute, and it’s fun to torment my kitty boy by dressing him up as a bunny. Even if he hates it.

 

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“Die.”

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s a Beach

So, we’re planning a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC at the end of the month. My daughter will be on spring break, and we all need a vacation, so we’re spending a weekend on the beach, just relaxing and not worrying about work or anything else. (Ok, I lie – I will have to do a little work while I’m there.)

Now, the beach means bathing suits… And my suit is nearly as old as my now-teenage daughter. The shoulder straps are broken, and have been turned into a halter neck. It’s not falling apart, and still fits, but I’ve wanted a new one for years – I just haven’t been able to justify $60-$100 for a new suit!

On a whim, I checked AliExpress. Now, while there’s a lot of awesome things on that site, the selection of plus size clothing in my size is incredibly slim. There’s a dozen copies of the same dress, a few copies of a second, half a dozen copies of a top, and one pair of leggings that may or may not fit (I’m skeptical about ‘one size’ anything.) The last thing I expected was to not only find a suit I liked, but at a decent price, in my size, and with free, relatively quick shipping… But I did!

 

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Pardon the crappy picture – I need a new camera!

I have to say, I love this. It’s a 2-piece (though the different versions of it had it listed as both a 2-piece and a 1-piece), so it fits better on my long torso. The color and pattern are perfect. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of skirt style suits, but I’ll make an exception for this one.

The suit was $18.99 on AliExpress, with free e-packet shipping, and available in sizes 58/4x-70/10x, which comes out to approximately sizes 18-30 US. It’s also available in 5 different color combinations – all in the blue/black/green range. It arrived in only 11 days from the order date, with the shipping time listed on the item description claiming 12-20 days – pretty good!

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There’s one place on one of the underarms where the elastic pokes out a little, and the color of the bottom piece doesn’t quite match, but that’s not a big deal – with the length of the top, nobody’s really going to see the bottom anyways. The fabric is on the lighter side, and it’s a bit of an awkward fit if you’re super gifted in the chest area – but, then, every swimsuit is a bit of an awkward fit if you’re bigger than normal.

Overall, I’m pleased, especially for the price!

Also, a bit of an update. I filed a dispute on the missing ukulele and, of course, the seller claimed that they accidentally shipped it to the wrong address. Right…

That said, my money is being refunded, and I managed to be civil, even though I wanted to go off on them about honesty. Unfortunately, I think that’s the end of it – there will be no disciplinary action, though I do get to leave feedback on the transaction. They requested 5 stars… Yeahno. They got 1 star, and a description of the transaction fail.

But… I’m happy with my swimsuit! Can’t wait to wear it to the beach!

 

AliExpress Fail

See that picture? That lovely ukulele? According to the tracking number given to me by an AliExpress seller, that was supposed to be in my mailbox (well, on my porch) today. And it might be on someone’s porch – if they live in California. Because that’s where the package whose tracking number I was given is being delivered today. Except, I don’t live anywhere near California.

I’m not surprised, though. This ukulele was only the third (and most expensive!) item I purchased off of AliExpress. I was contacted within a day, with the seller saying they didn’t have any in stock, and couldn’t get one in stock in time. Which wouldn’t have been such a big deal… Except they wanted me to cancel the order and say that I didn’t want it anymore – so they didn’t get in trouble for not having it in stock.

Now, I’m a business owner. If I make a mistake, I do everything that I can to fix it, and I would NEVER ask a customer to lie for me. To me, the request for me to lie about my reasons for canceling was incredibly dishonest. I contacted AliExpress, but they weren’t any help, so I requested to cancel my order – with the reason that the item was out of stock.

The seller denied my request, and said again that I needed to cancel, saying that I didn’t want the item anymore. I resubmitted the cancel request, with the out of stock reason. This went on for a week, until the order was about to expire. Then, suddenly, there was a tracking number!

I was skeptical, but hopeful. By this time, I had already ordered – and received – the same item off of Amazon, paying a few dollars more. I figured, if the AliExpress one DID show up, I could give it as a gift. No big deal.

But, it seems, the seller’s dishonesty continued to the tracking number, and I’m likely never going to receive that ukulele. It kinda sucks, but I’ll get my money back. The good news is, AliExpress doesn’t give the money to the sellers until the buyer confirms receipt of the item, so they aren’t going to profit from this.

I’ll be filing a dispute as soon as they respond to my message – likely with another false tracking number. They took down the listing, at least, before they sent the fake tracking number, so hopefully nobody else will get screwed like I did. Not from this listing, at least.

This is NOT the norm for AliExpress, though. I’ve purchased over 80 items, and this is the only seller that was dishonest so far.

Case in point… This showed up in my mailbox today:

 

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It might not have been the ukulele, but packages are always nice, even if not the ones you expected.

This one was a necklace I ordered to give my daughter. She’s been having a rough time at school, and being a sappy mom, I decided she needed something positive to maybe help cheer her up when she’s stressing out.

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This necklace was advertised as two-toned, but when I initially opened it, it looked like silver on silver. Still pretty, but not what I expected. However, when I brought it out of the dark living room into my sunlit office, the difference in color was quite apparent – hence the two pictures. (Don’t mind the cat paws. He tries to get into every picture I take!)

The necklace was $0.53 on AliExpress. Like yesterday’s, it was supposed to arrive in 22-38 days from Malaysia, but it took a little over a week, shipped from China – at least, according to the customs paper. Not bad at all!

Quality-wise, it’s on par with yesterday’s necklace, maybe a bit better because the top charm doesn’t seem so cheap. It’s not as super smooth and shiny as it looked in the ad, but it’s not bad looking, either. Honestly, I don’t mind the weathered look on the pendants – makes them look a little more casual.

Not a bad little necklace. It doesn’t make up for the missing ukulele, but it’s still nice!