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Free = Frenzy (Observation)

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Yesterday marked another “holiday” called National Lipstick Day. While some makeup companies offered online deals for minis or samples, MAC shared on social media the opportunity to get a free full-sized lipstick at one of their stores or a participating location that sold MAC cosmetics. What was the catch? According to Instagram and Facebook, there was no catch – no buy one get one or spend a certain threshold to get one. Simply show up and get your free lipstick while supplies last.

Curious, I woke up early and got in line at my local mall to score a free lipstick, as I like MAC’s consistency and colors for lipstick. (Not to mention they are one of the brands that doesn’t dry my lips out when I wear it.) Unsurprisingly, there was already a line that formed by the time I arrived around 9:06 AM (store opens at 10 AM). Many were starting to panic or bail by the time they saw the line but I came prepared with a book in tow to pass the time. In between reading passages of A Dance with Dragons, I checked social media to see what others were saying about this “amazing” giveaway.

Oddly, it seemed the giveaway was a little inconsistent worldwide: Australia was promised a selection of the brand’s top colors like Velvet Teddy and Ruby Woo. UK was told they needed to spend 50£ on MAC products in order to receive a free lipstick. Meanwhile some US fans had called ahead and shared online that their stores were only giving away the colors in MAC’s Colour Rocker collection, which are mostly neon or strong colors that could be limited in use or wear. In addition, many users took to Twitter to complain that they waited hours in line only to be told the free lipsticks were out, as there was only a select quantity available. Others expressed disappointment over receiving last pick of the shades remaining, such as the bright blue lipstick which many joked was Smurf blue.

Around 9:40 AM, a MAC representative came around the line to pass out tickets to mark everyone’s place in line. Rules were you needed to trade in your ticket to choose a lipstick. Simple yet effective – cut down the chances of any last minute stragglers trying to sneak into the line with their friends who came earlier. Once the store opened, I heard many of the girls leaving saying that they were among the last few who could actually choose their shade – they eventually moved to putting all of the colors in a basket, shuffling them around, and you’d have to pick one out blindly. Cue many pointing out that the offer stated you could choose your shade of lipstick. Well, you were still choosing a color but maybe not the one you wanted.

At the 2 hour mark, I made it to the front of the store and traded in my ticket. The girl ahead of me asked for something more neutral and the MAC clerk was kind enough to pull one for her. She passed me the same color before moving onto the girls behind me. All while she was holding the basket of lipsticks, the MAC clerk was giving people who didn’t get a ticket for the free lipsticks a sample of their Prep + Prime Lip Balm. Not too bad for those who got in the line too late to get a ticket – they at least got something.

From there, everyone who got a free lipstick needed to go to the register to scan out their lipstick for inventory purposes. Some color trading took place in the line – the girl ahead of me swapped for a brown lipstick when the original owner eyed the former’s taupe shade. Unfortunately some people like the girl behind me, got stuck with the colors they didn’t want like the medium blue lipstick.

While I was pleasantly surprised with my shade, I walked away from the experience with these thoughts about the giveaway. Free is a good way to draw in loyal and new customers to your brand. However, planning is necessary in order to execute the giveaway successfully with little disappointment. I feel that the brand could have selected their top sellers and thrown in a few quirkier colors for fun worldwide, instead of setting different rules for different countries. Some of the locations should have set aside more units for the giveaway – my location said they had 400 units to giveaway while others only had 30. The use of tickets to mark one’s place in line was smart as it prevented anyone from trying to cut the line. I understand they tried to expedite the line by doing a random drawing of your color but it would have be more efficient if they continued to allow people to pick their shade instead. This would reduce the amount of disappointed customers who ended up with a color they’ll never use or wear and prevent the chances of turning away potential or loyal customers who had a negative experience.

Did anyone else brave the lines for a shot at a free lipstick?

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Now or Never?

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immortālis: Latin im (not) + mortal

Music, TV, and science have searched for the fountain of youth or the secrets to immortality in reality and fiction. Too often have we dreamed of ascending to a higher spirituality or embodiment where nothing or no one could touch us as we make our path in life and in society. But then reality crashes down and reminds us with the grim fact that we are flesh, blood, and bone – all worn away by time. I’ve heard people use the term “YOLO” or similar phrases such as “live life to the fullest” throughout my life but I question if we ever heed those suggestions until it’s too late.

Why is she waxing poetic about life and using Latin to introduce a post? (I promise there’s a reason – bear with me for a bit.)

For those who have been with me on this journey, you have noticed I’m no stranger to witnessing moments where life has thrown curveballs or moments when I’ve parted ways with close friends too soon. My dad always said it is best to live your life with little to no regrets, which has been a goal that has been anything but easy to attain. It is easier for me to declare that with every encounter I’ve experienced I’ve tried to learn something from it and grow.

My late high school friend and fellow musician showed me another side of her former hometown and popular culture, all while staying true to her roots.

My co-worker lent an ear, a warm smile, and an encouraging word to those in need, revealing a strength that was selfless and admirable, even when things were difficult on her end.

My dog who beat the odds stacked against her and inspired people from all over the US to support others like her. (Now with a fund in her name that supports injured dogs requiring various surgical procedures.)

Recently, my 86 year old gran on my mother’s side was told that her time was limited. She is living alone with her small dog, coping with age-related health issues in the same house my mom was raised in. A few months prior, life threw her a curveball in the form of leukemia.

How does one react when you hear news like that? There’s no magic guide to tell you what one should feel when the stubborn woman who speaks frankly is dealing with something of this caliber. Sure you can scream into the void that nothing is going right and hate that it’s all falling apart.

What good is that going to do?

One of my favorite teachers from high school told us to deconstruct a moment to it’s most basic form and focus on each motion as it happens. Live in the moment, in short. Most of us in his class scoffed that this was an easy task to achieve – cake really. But after 10 years, I realized how difficult it truly is to do, especially in a world that values multi-tasking and getting everything done at lightning speed.

Still, I want to understand the feeling of focusing on each motion as it happens. Continue to strive to live without regrets. Finally, value the time I have with everyone.

Define Happy

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Hey, where in the world has the author been? It’s almost been two months since we last saw her!

Instead of pleading the Fifth, how about I share with you some snapshots of my life while I was away from this wonderful blogging space:

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13040838_10153589706207963_1316372428640684390_oTaken by Chrissy Ives

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Yes, multiple visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood were made during the months of April and May with good friends. Contrary to my expression in the first picture, I did try Butterbeer and thought it was interesting, but I preferred the Gillywater. 🙂

Early May was Spring Dapper Day at the Disneyland Resort and there was no shortage of Dapper Disneybounders like myself. It’s a no brainer for me to channel my favorite Lucky Rabbit.

I guess you could say that the month of April and May were spent trying to reconnect with old friends and making new memories. Many of these people I haven’t seen in almost a year and now that many of us are working, getting married, or studying graduate or doctorate degrees, we hardly have time to hang out and just have fun without the worries. These three images are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of time spent with friends and family, but I like to think that in those months, I said yes to more fun times than ever.

All right gang, how about you? Any exciting, magical events take place while I was gone?