General-Leia Updates and Other Teas-es

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the passing of Carrie Fisher. She can be seen in her last big roll as General Leia Organa in the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. Jedi has been pulling in big bucks at the box office but has a hugely mixed reaction from Star Wars fans.  One thing is fore sure, it’s great to see Carrie Fisher in her roll of Princess Leia, now as General Leia Organa. I would have loved to know what she thought of this as her final roll.

The movie itself seems to spark love or hate reactions, and I’m feeling a little of both. Overall I really liked it and thought it was a fun movie. Lots of entertainment value there! Adam Driver goes shirtless and other stuff. There are really only a few scenes and plot twists that I have problems with. I can deal. (But I would fix those if I could.) Overall, I think it depends a little on which of the previous Star Wars movies are your favorite.  Folks who love Return of the Jedi probably really like The Last Jedi. Folks who love original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back or even The Force Awakens may have a few problems with it. But it’s going to vary based on personal tastes and expectations, so just go see it for yourself.

I saw it on opening day, December 14, at an AMC Theater where we paid extra for the Fan Event. “Fan Event” really just translated to get-to-see-the-movie-one-hour-earlier-than-other-people, get a small popcorn, and a pack of three “collectible cards.”  Plus there was a few minutes of film on the music of John Williams in Star Wars. We didn’t know exactly what to expect. The description was pretty vague.

When we purchased these “special” tickets I really pictured this as being more of a fan event. Like perhaps they would have something special going on. And at the time of purchase we knew we’d get a “concession stand offer,” but didn’t know what it would be. Previous fan events have had large popcorns and drinks included. The John Williams film was advertised as “special content.” Plus I pictured something more substantial for the collectible cards. We’re used to Magic The Gathering card packs where you might get 15 cards in a pack plus a foil, etc. So overall, this Fan Event seemed more expensive than others we’ve read about and with fewer goodies. It felt like AMC was trying to take advantage of big Star Wars fans. I’ll think twice about doing another Fan Event with AMC and will explore other theaters in general for that matter. AMC grabbed enough of our movie money for a while thankyouverymuch.

That said we enjoyed the actual theater where the fan event was held. It was a Dolby Cinema theater with laser projectors, great sound, and comfy reclining seats. I would see a movie in a Dolby Cinema showing again. That part was nice and worth a few extra bucks. The only down side of the Dolby Cinema was that we had middle-of-the-row seats, so when everybody else was reclined with their feet up, it was nearly impossible to squeeze down the row to our seats. I let the family sit while I went back out to get our popcorn. There was a break in the rows right behind us, so I just climbed over the backs of the seats. It was faster and inconvenienced fewer people.

Fast forward a bit and Christmas 2017 has come and gone. I don’t know how it manages to come and go faster each year, but it does. We had a nice Christmas split between home and visiting my mom.

I got to see Santa very briefly as he exited an elevator I was entering. He’s our favorite mall Santa and was returning from his dinner break. A few minutes later I saw that he was saying “hello” to the kids standing in line. I waved and told him how many years of photos we have of him. He was kind enough to pose for a selfie with me, but my phone died before I could take the picture. Ugh.

I searched high and low for an Etch-A-Sketch for my daughter for Christmas. Ya know, red plastic rectangle and turn the white dials to draw a picture? One dial for vertical, one for horizontal. We had these as a kid. They could be fun and frustrating. It was super easy to draw a staircase! Not so easy to draw a circle. Modern kids can see Etch-A-Sketch featured in the Will Farrell movie, Elf. My daughter is one of them. So she wanted one for Christmas. I think everybody else must have felt this way too because I could not find one anywhere. I visited no fewer than six Targets! Walmart! Craft stores! And two regular toy stores and asked many questions of employees along the way.

But it was like gremlins visited each store right before I arrived. I searched online websites to see who might have them in stock before I visited each store, yet they disappeared by the time I got there. Amazon had them for a while, but reviews were mixed, so we worried about quality and cheap knock-offs. Yet I would have purchased from Amazon if I knew it would be so hard to find them in an actual store. In the end, I was only lucky enough to find two mini-Etch-A-Sketches that we’d have by Christmas. These will have to do. One is the “World’s Smallest” and one is a little larger with a clip that allows it to be attached to backpacks, etc. My daughter liked both and appreciated  tales of the Etch-A-quest. I braved traffic, quicksand, and the darkest asphalt jungles!

Along with a lot of other holiday shopping I visited a Teavana tea store a couple of times. If you like Teavana, then know that some stores will close by December 31, so they are having clearance sales. Those stores now have EVERYTHING in the store 75% OFF!  Tea and tea ware is selling very quickly at these prices! I got a great price on some really good Oolong a few other things.

Some Teavana locations will remain open into February and possibly March. Those locations may have some sale prices, but not everything 75% off. Those locations will, however, have a much larger selection of tea and tea ware for now. So if there’s a favorite that you really want then visit a location that is scheduled to remain open longer. You should be able to call stores to find this out. If nothing else, visit the closest Teavana and ask them questions. There are some great deals in tea! But I’m still a little sad to see Teavana leaving.

That’s it for now.

May The Force Be With You … Always! And Happy Holidays!

 

 

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Good Bye Teavana

Like the death of an old but dear friend that I kept meaning to get in touch with … and then boom they’re gone. That’s kind of what I feel like. (Only a lot less personal.)

Starbucks purchased the Teavana tea chain a few years ago. A lot of Teavana fans wondered then if that was the beginning of the end. Starbucks: Teavana killer.

This past July Starbucks announced they would close all 379 retail locations of Teavana — news that flew under my radar (probably because I’d stocked up on Teavana at their last seasonal sale and didn’t need to buy more).

Two days ago I received the normal sale email from Teavana only instead of “normal” it was a EVERYTHING is 50% off because WE’RE CLOSING TEAVANA.com SALE which shocked me. But I still didn’t buy anything right then. I wasn’t sure what I needed and it was busy week. Plus the Teavana.com website was never the best — especially for sale tea because they had a pretty bad inventory system. Teas you thought were available to purchase would change to out-of-stock after you placed your order, so that you then had to hope for a timely refund.

The email claimed that Teavana.com would stay open until December 15, so I figured I had time. Then boom, yesterday, December 1st, I received another email from Teavana saying, “oh sorry, our bad, we’re closed now.”

Done. Finito.

All (or nearly all inventory) sold out in only two days! But the email suggested I visit their retail stores which were still open.

So yesterday night I visited the nearest Teavana store while my daughter was in her Friday-night dance class. Thankfully, the mall was fairly empty by that time even though it’s the holiday shopping time of year. Crowded shopping malls are so not my favorite. But there were a couple of Teavana favorites I wanted to check for, and I generally wanted to see what they had in stock on sale. Yay, sale tea! Their normal prices were always on the high side. It’s the time of year I drink a lot of tea. I’ve been filling my Teavana tea tumbler with tea every morning.

Well I visited Teavana so late in the day, that they were already out of all the brewed sample tea they usually have, so bummer. But I was happy to find our Teavana store are still open, and learned two things.

1.) Not everything is on sale at the stores. (At least not yet.)

2.) They are already sold out of some items.

I grabbed a few favorites like Jasmine Dragon Pearls and Darjeeling de Triomphe, a new Oolong, a bit of on-sale, new-to-me fruit teas that smelled excellent like Strawberry Daiquiri and Mandarin Mimosa, and an extra Teavana Perfect Tea maker along with two of the measuring spoons emblazoned with “Teavana.” I misplaced my old measuring spoon, and it makes a nice Teavana remembrance. I love my Teavana Perfect Teamaker, and now I have an extra (and prettier) one for if mine ever breaks.

Most of the teas are currently 50% off in stores except the seasonal teas like White Chocolate Peppermint which are still full price. That may change, but they usually sell quickly. A few clearance teas are 75% off. The Perfect Tea Maker was only 30% off, but that’s still pretty good.

There are many excellent places to purchase tea both in person and online. But Teavana was convenient for me, the staff was always friendly and fairly knowledgeable, and I liked that I could smell and often taste the tea in person. I’ll visit again before it’s completely gone, but I’ll miss that little tea oasis at the mall called Teavana.