Archive of ‘Reviews’ category

TinyPrints Foil Card Review

One of my favorite traditions is sending and receiving holiday cards. I managed to be on top of things this year since I hired a photographer to take family photos in the fall. Since I love reviewing all of the various card companies I end up ordering a few from here and there, so just like last year, friends & family you may receive a different card design from one another :)

I just received my TinyPrints cards that I ordered for review and unfortunately they are a bit disappointing. I’m so bummed!  I’ll be contacting customer service to see if they can resolve my problem, but in the meantime please enjoy my review!

Tiny Prints Now At the Shutterfly Site

Tiny Prints and Shutterfly are both owned by the same company, but Tiny Prints is the higher end offering from the company. Looks like they’ve changed up their product line and they are no longer offering Letterpress or Custom Foil options. They were gorgeous and so unique but very expensive. They are still offering Foil and Glitter options though, which I am happy about! They have finally merged sites so you can now find TinyPrints cards on the Shutterfly site and your order confirmations are sent by Shutterfly. However, even though they have merged, promotions are computed separately. For instance, Shutterfly has a free shipping offer right now for Shutterfly orders of $49+ but TinyPrints is offering free shipping for TinyPrints orders of $10+.

Designs

I ordered a Foil card and a standard card to review this year. Cards must be ordered in multiples of 5, with 10 being the minimum order. I wish they allowed any quantity to be specified. On the other hand, there are tons of different trim options and paper options, and you can even choose square or rectangular shaped for almost every design. I love that you can really customize the card to your preferences!

It is so easy to pick a card via the card visualizer. I love that I can see what designs work best with my image at a glance. Then it’s super easy to drag and drop my image onto the card and customize the text.

shutterfly-gentle-branches-foil-card

Quality

I’ve always been pretty happy with Tiny Prints quality, but this year the Foil Option I ordered did not meet my expectations. The design I chose was called Gentle Branches by Petite Alma. This card has some foil accents around the border in the nature illustrations and the Merry Christmas in the center of the card is also foil stamped.

Unfortunately, of the 10 cards that came, all of them suffered from missing foil “ink”. As you can see in the photos, the Merry Christmas lettering is not filled in. In addition, there are foil dots around the frame which suffer from the same problem. The dots aren’t as big of a deal because they just look like little bubbles, but the unevenness of the Merry Christmas does not look good to me. The design isn’t supposed to look distressed!

tiny prints foil card review

Tiny Prints Foil Card Review – See the foil “ink” print problem in the bottom card

In addition, the top card in my pack of 10 has a diagonal line near the top it like it was scored with a machine. I can’t tell if it was printed that way or if it is a physical mark. Either way it’s only the top card so it was not part of my image and shouldn’t be there.

Tiny Prints Foil Card Review

Tiny Prints Foil Card Review – Diagonal Line Across My Card!

 

The paper quality is nice and thick. I’m happy with the color rendition as well, though I’ll have to compare it to the other cards I ordered to truly tell if the color fidelity is true.

I’m going to contact TinyPrints to see if they can reprint these for me because the foil quality is really unsatisfactory. I’ll update the review when I get a response.

Shipping

This year, shipping was incredibly fast though it could be because I ordered early. I made my order late night on Sunday, November 12, I got notified that they were in production and shipped out on Monday, November 13, and I can see from the tracking information that the cards were tendered to UPS on Tuesday, November 14 and delivered to my mailbox via USPS on Friday, November 17. I was happy with the turnaround time this year, as sometimes the Mail Innovations (UPS + USPS partnership) can be really slow.

Overall

Pros: Lots of gorgeous designs, particularly in the premium options. Tons of options for trim and paper. The paper quality is beautiful!

Cons: Tiny Prints imprints their mark on the back of the card. Shipping starts at $4.95 for standard cards, but shipping for premium cards is $8.95. The foil did not turn out right with my cards. Let’s see if this is a one time problem and if their customer service can fix this.

Quality: The paper quality is great. The cardstock is nice and has a slight texture and sheen. As stated above, the foil has issues but let’s see if that is just a one time problem.

Have you ordered your cards yet? What company did you use and were you happy with them? 

Holiday Card Review — Shutterfly, Paper Culture and More!

It’s that time of year again, to order holiday cards!  I wanted to try a few different services this year so I’ve started the process of ordering. So far, I’ve ordered from Shutterfly and I’m working on a Paper Culture order. Any requests for other card companies? I would love to review all of the popular ones!

While I put together my 2017 review, in the meantime, please checkout my past reviews of Holiday Cards!

Holiday Cards Review — Amazon Prints vs. Shutterfly vs. Tiny Prints

Custom Photo Holiday Card Review — Shutterfly vs. Tiny Prints

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Public Sale Has Started!

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has officially started! I have noticed that Nordstrom has been trying different things each year to change up the way the sale works. A few years ago they had a bunch of super limited quantity items, this year I didn’t see them label anything as limited quantity, although it seemed like a few things flew off the shelves within the first hours of the sale!

This year it seems like there is less of a focus on luxury items and more of a focus on the midrange price point. I noticed that some of my favorite basic items from years past are either discontinued or not part of the sale, which is a bit disappointing!

In any case, I did get a chance to shop the sale and I have a few favorites to recommend:

 

Clothing

barefoot dreams circle cardigan nsale haul

I bought the Barefoot Dreams Circle Cardigan cocoa/pearl heather which is a great neutral color. I love how cozy it is. I wish they would size these a little smaller though, because the XS/S is still a little long on my shorter frame.

zella high waisted live in leggings nsale haul

I am fairly certain that the Zella High Waist Live In Leggings are the same as in years past. I was really worried that they had changed up my perfect leggings.

caslon knit assymetric jacket nsale haul

I love clothing that has an assymetrical twist. I don’t know why but I do. This Caslon assymetric drape jacket is super cute. Apparently it did come in Petite sizing but I must have missed that.

 

vince camuto prasata bootie nsale haulA friend tipped me off on these Vince Camuto Prasata booties and I think they are so cute. They haven’t arrived yet but I’m hoping they fit well!  The description says that they are true to size or slightly narrow.

 

betsey johnson forever perfect bra nsale haul

The Betsey Johnson Forever Perfect bra fit really well. I have a small band size and I felt that this was true to size even though the description says to go up a cup size. The push up version did not fit me well.

 

A Tale of Two Retailers: My Awesome Home Depot Experience and Awful Gap Experience

Retail is not an easy job to work. While I’ve never done it myself, I can empathize with the long hours on your feet and having to deal with all manner of people day in and day out for a fairly low paying job.  I recently observed the HUGE contrast in how 2 retailers valued me as a customer.

gap-home-depot-stock

Gap Stock Price languishing in Blue, Home Depot Stock Price flying high in Red. Is it a coincidence or does great customer service have something to do with it?

Story 1 – Home Depot

We recently had some items stolen out of our garage. We had unfortunately left it open overnight and a burglar entered our garage and stole some brand new tools out of our garage. We had purchased a saw and an air compressor at Home Depot during the Black Friday weekend. My husband got a great price on their Home Depot Rigid brand of tools. He bought them in order to do some projects around the house, but as it was late November when he bought them, he did not get a chance to start using them (or even take them out of the box!) over the winter.

The day we discovered them missing, I went to our nearest Home Depot to inquire if anyone had attempted to return our items without a receipt. They said they didn’t think so, but it would be impossible to tell us since the same people don’t work the returns desk day in and out. I asked if they might be willing to sell us the same tools at the same discount. I still had the receipt and the manager took a look and agreed to do it. It was only $50 off the in store price for the saw, and $30 off the compressor. We ended up spending around $400 right then and there to replace our tools. They weren’t obligated to give us an extra discount, but if they hadn’t, we weren’t sure if we were going to spend the money to replace the tools. Instead, with great customer service, Home Depot made a sale and gained 2 loyal customers.

Story 2 – The Gap

We had received a gift for my son’s birthday that wasn’t the right size, so we took it to the Gap to exchange it. Unfortunately, they didn’t have that same item and I couldn’t find anything else for him, so I ended up just picking out 2 t-shirts for my daughter. Well, after taking them home, she decided she didn’t like 1 of the t-shirts… so I had to go back to the Gap again.

On my second trip, I brought back the 1 shirt she didn’t like, and the associate started the return. Because I had made the original purchase with the returned gift and my credit card, only part of the shirt’s refund would go back to my credit card, and part would go back to a PAPER merchandise credit. (I don’t want to derail this, but it’s 2017… why are they still bothering to use paper and not just refund to a gift card?!)

Here is where this story gets a little silly. The total refund amount was $20.48. The amount going back to my card was $20.29. The amount they wanted to put on the paper merchandise certificate was 19 cents.

I’ve gotten these merchandise certificates before from the Gap and it is just a pain to use. They can only be used in store (not online) and they put my name on the certificate so that only I can use it. Well, for 19 cents, I thought “Surely, they will just cash it out”. Unfortunately, I WAS WRONG!

First, the associate was very condescending and told me that “the system won’t let me do it” and she at first, refused to ask her manager. I didn’t want to make a huge fuss over 19 cents, but I was really annoyed with her treatment of me, so I asked for her manager to come talk to me. When the manager finally arrived, I explained that our state law was that gift certificates under $5 had to be cashed out. The manager said that there was no way for her to cash it out (Hello… you can open the register?) and that because it was a merchandise certificate and not a gift card, she “couldn’t” do it.

This has basically told me 1 thing: Gap values me as a customer, at less than 19 cents.

I was already thinking how I hardly shop at the Gap anymore, and poor customer service is a big reason why. Blaming the computer system is a poor excuse by the Gap employees.  To boot, I re-read the relevant state statutes and while I am not a lawyer, my read is that merchandise certificates/store credits should be covered under this statute and I should have been entitled to having it redeemed for cash.

gap merchandise credit voucher

Gap Values Me As A Customer At Less Than 19 cents

 

How To Keep Your Digital Photos Safe

Soon after my daughter was born, we booked a newborn shoot which yielded some amazing photos that I will cherish forever. I also took massive amounts of photos of my new little one with my own camera. I wanted to make sure that these photos would be safe and protected from various threats and disasters. Hard drive failure is one of the most common things to happen to a computer. I also worried that someone may break into my home and steal my computer.

Cloud Backup for Photos

To mitigate these threats, I started looking into a cloud based backup service. I wanted to find a solution which was:

  1. Affordable
  2. Dependable
  3. Secure
  4. Provided automated backups
  5. Provided an easy way to retrieve data

The solution I found that met all of my criteria was CrashPlan!  I love the service so much I’ve recommended it lots of times to friends and family

CrashPlan Best Cloud Backup For PhotosCrashPlan offers a free and paid version of their service. The free service will backup to other computers, and to the CrashPlan servers, but files will only remain there for 30 days.  The paid service will back up your data from 1-10 computers (1 computer is an Individual account, 2-10 requires a Family account) to CrashPlan in the cloud. Backups stay on their servers as long as you have an active subscription, and they will also keep multiple versions if the file has changed.

To get started, you download the CrashPlan desktop client and start configuring it. After that, it starts the process of uploading your data to their servers. The application will monitor your hard drive for new files and changed files and upload to the CrashPlan servers (labeled below as CrashPlan Central). It is also nice to see how much data will be uploaded and how long it will take. I also receive an email on a weekly basis telling me how many files/how much data has changed.

CrashPlanClient

CrashPlan encrypts your data before uploading, so even if their servers are attacked, your data won’t be exposed. You can restore your data via any browser or the CrashPlan desktop client.

An Individual account is very affordable, at only $59.99 per year. This really gives me peace of mind that my photos and data are safe.

Multiple friends recommended Dropbox. While I do love Dropbox, it didn’t meet all of my criteria. Dropbox Pro only provides up to 1TB of storage and is $9.99/month (or $99/year). I have a massive collection of photos and video that I wanted backed up, so Dropbox was out.

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