The Chronic Consumer

I buy things — all the time!

Review of Audible.com

audible-app Earlier this month, I decided to sign up for Audible.com’s free trial. During the trial, you can get a one-month membership — including one audiobook download — for free. Of course, you need a credit card to get in on this, and you have to remember to cancel otherwise you’ll be automatically billed for the lowest membership level once the trial is over. On the plus side, since Audible is owned by Amazon, your sign-in can be linked, making the process very quick and easy.

Audible has apps for both Apple and Android devices, so I got the one for my iPhone. Once I did that, I was able to browse for and select a book for the free trial. I decided to go for a very long book (I don’t really see the point of listening to short books on audio), as well as one that sounded like it would be difficult to plod through on my own. Once I found a suitable title that was more than 24hrs long, I downloaded it via the app and started listening.

The great thing about listening to books via Audible is that you can increase the speed of the narration. Sometimes readers are so slow that books take unnecessarily long to finish. But with the Audible app, you can listen at 1.25, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 X the original speed, which makes a HUGE difference. HUGE. This is akin to skimming when you’re reading on your own, and really helps make the boring parts fly right by. Also, if you come across a narrator that is reading too fast for your liking, you can slow the pace down to .5 speed. I haven’t needed to do that yet, but can imagine it being helpful for more difficult books.

So there was no problem with the app, the downloading, or the interface. Next, I wanted to test Audible’s no-question return policy, where you can return an audiobook for any reason (including the fact that you just didn’t like it) for one store credit (since all books “cost” one credit, this basically amounts to an even exchange between titles). And sure enough, the return process worked without a hitch — even on the free trial membership book (which I sincerely loathed anyway). The fine print on the return policy says Audible reserves the right to cancel your return privileges if they feel you are abusing the program or not using it in the spirit in which it was intended. Fair enough.

After listening to my second book of the free trial, which was much more to my tastes, I went ahead and decided to cancel my membership. Again, this was mostly to see how easy the process would be, and also because I had a sneaking suspicion that I would get some kind of special offer to continue on. Sure enough, before my cancellation was submitted, I was asked to join for 3 months at a reduced rate of $7.49 per month (approximately 50% off the regular Gold Membership plan of $14.95/mo.). I accepted.

So that’s where I stand now. By the time my 3 months is up, I will have received 5 full-length audiobooks (mine to keep no matter how I finish in the game) for $22.50, or $4.50 each. Not bad at all!

But this was not just some elaborate scam to score a handful of cheap audiobooks. The truth is that I love Audible and plan to upgrade to the Platinum membership (24 books per year for $229) as soon as this discounted Gold membership runs out. I listen to audiobooks all the time, and though my local public library has a pretty good selection, it doesn’t come close to what Audible offers. And Audible is MUCH cheaper than iTunes. If I ever want to purchase books outside the limit imposed by my membership, I can do so at far lower prices than I could get anywhere else. I’m sold — and I haven’t even touched on the Whispersync features that allow you to continue reading on your Kindle when you don’t want to listen anymore!

Anyway, the bottom line is that Audible is definitely worth the money for me!

Rigaud Gardenia Candle

rigaud-gardenia-candle-l I’ve been using my Rigaud Gardenia scented candle for a couple of weeks now and I love it! The candle itself comes in a hefty glass container with a hand-tied satin ribbon and silver lid/snuffer. It looks very elegant, and would make a wonderful housewarming or hostess gift for those of you that need one.

As to the scent, I think it’s perfect! I don’t know how to describe scents, so I won’t even try. But suffice to say this one is strong enough to be noticeable even in larger rooms, but not at all overpowering, even in smaller rooms. That doesn’t seem possible, and yet I’ve tried the candle in both types of spaces with great results.

Also, I believe the candle is made with eau de parfume or some kind of “upscale” ingredients (thus the $80 price tag). Because of this, the scent lingers in a room long, LONG after the candle has been extinguished. In fact, I find that I only have to light it for 15-20 minutes, and if I put the flame out but leave the lid off the candle, the scent is clearly distinguishable for at least 2 hours afterward.

Now — will I ever feel compelled to buy a Rigaud candle again? Not likely. But I’m glad I tried it at least once and am not at all disappointed with the purchase!

Dictionary.com iPhone App

dictionary.com app It may seem strange to pay for a dictionary app when almost all smartphones or tablets come with on-board dictionaries as it is. And even if you don’t have a smartphone, you can always just use Google, or a paper dictionary(!), to find what you need.

But I upgraded the free Dictionary.com app for the paid version because I wanted to take advantage of features not included with the original. For instance, I wanted to get rid of the annoying ads, and I wanted access to the Thesaurus, Origin page, Example sentences, and Grammar tips, all of which are only available in the Writer’s Toolbox.

Each upgrade cost $1.99, so I ended up spending nearly $4 on stuff that can be found for free online with just a few extra searches. But I use the dictionary and thesaurus so often that paying $4 to have everything available in one place is worth it for me.

The app is still somewhat annoying in that it urges you to purchase additional upgrades. I guess those aren’t technically “ads”, but I don’t like being pressured into spending more money when I’ve already upgraded TWICE.

Overall, though, I definitely recommend that first upgrade if you use the dictionary a lot!

Eyeing a Michael Kors Watch

michael kors watch I desperately want a new watch, and have decided to purchase a men’s model since I want an oversized (but not too oversized) look. As I was browsing around, I found these Michael Kors watches for pretty good prices, so now I’m adding the one pictured here to my Wish List.

I plan on doing my taxes this weekend, and am keeping my fingers crossed that my refund turns out to be enough to cover this purchase!

Rigaud Scented Candles

rigaud-gardenia-candle-l I have been positively obsessed with Rigaud scented candles recently! I haven’t actually bought one yet, because they’re like $80-$90, but I am definitely going to do so soon.

I don’t know where this obsession has come from, TBH. I’ve never been big on candles or aromatherapy before, but for some reason have been hearing a lot about Rigaud lately. I’ve seen the brand mentioned in magazines, heard about spas using them, etc. and I guess I just want to try one for myself so I can say I did.

Anyway, I’m leaning towards the Gardenia variety, which seems to be the “signature” scent for Rigaud. But who knows, I might just treat myself to a couple different ones!