The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Cancelled FitOrbit

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that I was trying out FitOrbit, a site that gives you access to a personal trainer for customized meal plans and workouts. The site had a 30-day trial period for those joining up on three- or six-month plans, so I figured I had nothing to lose.

Well, I ended up cancelling my FitOrbit membership after just one week. Initially I was excited about the kind of workouts and meals my trainer would come up with, especially since I had to fill out a detailed “lifestyle questionnaire” about my diet and exercise habits. But that excitement quickly faded when I received back a plan that seemed canned and impersonal. When I wrote to my trainer that the meal plan wasn’t providing me with enough calories to fuel my daily 10k runs, he answered that it was up to me to supplement the meals and snacks he suggested.

I didn’t care for that response at all. Isn’t the whole point of PAYING for a personal trainer on the site to get a meal plan tailored to MY needs? If I was able to figure this stuff out on my own, then I wouldn’t need to pay someone else to do it in the first place, would I?

After that, I decided to ask for a refund. I sent two emails to FitOrbit’s customer support address, but received no answer after 72 hours — which is absolutely unacceptable in this day and age. I then called them (using the phone number that appeared on my credit card bill) and received a full refund without hassle.

Anyway, my recommendation is to just use Spark People or MyFitnessPal or any number of other free fitness websites. Yes, it takes a little more work on your part, but at least you’ll save $60 a month.

Circle pendant necklace from Express

One of my stocking stuffers this year was this Circle Pendant necklace from Express. I don’t often wear jewelry, but when I do, I like simple, understated things. This pendant fit the bill perfectly.

It is a polished metal pendant with a double row chain and lobster claw clasp. The chain is 17″ long and has an extender that can add another 1 1/2 inches to the length.

I have tried this pendant out already, and think it looks fabulous with v-neck sweaters as well as with oxfords (with the top couple of buttons left open, of course). I think now have a new favorite accessory! I love this necklace!

Monk Season 4 DVDs

I recently purchased Monk seasons 3-8 on DVD, and am giving quick reviews of each set of discs.

Season 4 follows the same general pattern as Season 3. There are four discs containing four episodes each to make up the 16-episode season. The fourth disc also contains two bonus features: The Monk Writing Process, which shows how the writing team storyboards an episode from their headquarters in New Jersey, and a Joe Perkins Profile. Perkins was the detective consultant for the series and answered questions about crime scene/police procedures.

The entire set comes in minimal packaging and doesn’t really look like anything special. Still, I definitely recommend buying this — if only for the Writing Process bonus feature. It was in-depth (about 15 minutes long) and pretty darn fascinating. Check it out!

Bought the Paperwhite

After debating for several months about whether or not to buy the new Paperwhite, I finally went ahead and pulled the trigger as a Christmas present to myself. It was only $120, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the gold necklaces and emerald earrings I was also eyeing!

I’ve only had the Paperwhite for a day, but I really like it so far. The touchscreen is convenient, the size is just right, and the built-in backlight is awesome.

I’ll have a more comprehensive review after I use this thing for a few weeks. Hopefully nothing substantial changes between now and then.

Psych Season 2 on iTunes

I’ve become somewhat hooked on Psych in the past month or so. I watched the first season on DVDs borrowed from a friend, and then decided to download Season 2 from iTunes.

As usual, I went with the SD version of the digital files instead of HD. To me, there’s not much difference since I’m not watching on a huge screen or anything. So I figure I might as well save 10 bucks by going with standard def.

The second season consists of 16 episodes (like most USA Network shows), and cost $24.99. That price was a bit higher than expected, especially since I paid only $19.99 for Monk (a similar series). Maybe Monk is cheaper because it’s an older show and is off the air now? I don’t know.

Anyway, the downloads went through without a hitch and I love having instant access to the files from all my devices via the Apple Cloud. Good purchase all around!

The Essential Shirt from Express

I’m always looking for affordable dress shirts to wear to work (and out, if they’re suitable for the purpose), so I bought a couple of “Essential” shirts from Express.

Surprisingly enough, I haven’t shopped at Express since I was in high school. I guess I have this image of it being for younger women. And while that’s mostly true, the Essential shirt works for pretty much all ages.

This shirt is conservative enough for work, but has enough flair to wear when going out with friends too. It is a button up, but the buttons stop at the cleavage for a bit more of a trendy or casual look. There are princess seams in the front and back (which I guess is supposed to give the shirt some shape), and metal Express logo tags on each cuff.

While I really like the look and color of the shirts I bought, I felt the sizing ran a bit large. I originally purchased Medium, which is what I wear from the Gap and J.Crew, but had to exchange them for Small. After the switch, everything is A-OK. I’ll definitely be buying more of these shirts as I expand my wardrobe — especially if I can get them for the buy-one-get-one-at-50%-off deal again. Two decent quality shirts for $75 is a nice deal!

Experience with EZBloomers.com

I had to send a sympathy floral arrangement to a wake last week, so I decided to try EZBloomers.com (which I had resolved to do more than a year ago). They bill themselves as a “fee-free” flower delivery service, which basically means that the price you see on the order page is the price you pay at checkout. After having a bad experience with a different place that tacked on an additional twenty bucks at checkout, I was eager to see if EZBloomers would be any different.

The bottom line: yes, they were! Well, technically, I did pay about $5 more at checkout for sales tax, but otherwise, there were no hidden fees at all.

The whole ordering process was actually very smooth and easy. I selected a sympathy arrangement from the product page, chose the amount I wanted to spend (they have three different arrangement options ranging from “moderate” to “elegant”), and entered the usual billing/shipping info. That was it.

I immediately received an order confirmation, as well as the name of the local florist that would actually be handling the delivery. It’s a good thing too, because I had to contact the florist to change the delivery address when the family of the deceased suddenly decided to switch funeral homes. I sent an email to the local florist with the change of address notice and they responded within minutes!!! It was very impressive.

I learned that the flowers were delivered safe and sound and they looked great. I am EXTREMELY pleased with my EZBLoomers experience and will definitely use them from now on.

Trying Fit Orbit

Fit Orbit is a fitness website that matches users with personal trainers to come up with a personalized fitness program and menu plan to aid in weight loss. The site is not free, and there are different membership plans you can sign up for (weekly, 3-month, and 6-month). The longer the term of your membership, the lower the per-week fee.

While I know there are plenty of free options out there (like SparkPeople.com, for instance), I decided to give Fit Orbit a try to see if there’s anything to this “personalized” approach. Is it really personalized or is it just a canned approach that’s sold as personalized?

I signed up for a 3-month trial, which cost something like $220. That’s a lot, but there’s a 30-day no-risk guarantee (only available for the 3- and 6-month plans), so I figure I’ve got nothing to lose.

Once I get going with my trainer and see what kind of program he puts me on, I’ll be able to write a more comprehensive review of FitOrbit and tell you whether or not I think it’s worth the money.