Category Archives: Review


Review: 3 DIY photo magnet methods

Photo magnets are a wildly popular gift, and my sister had mentioned last year that she wanted more photo magnets of the boys, especially since Elliott didn’t have a presence on her refrigerator yet. So this year, I did some exhaustive research into how best to make photo magnets to make a nice Christmas gift.

Why make? Well, the previous photo magnets we had given her were part of the photo package we got from the Michael and Chris’ preschool class picture session. And over time, I didn’t like how the photo started to peel away from the magnet. And if you look at the most common way you can purchase customized photo magnets online, they all look like this — thin photo paper pasted onto magnets that will eventually peel off.

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Third baby, third hospital

This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a good month now. I feel like I can write from a more solid point-of-view now that Elliott is officially a month old this week, and will be five weeks old on Monday. He just had his month-old visit, and the pediatrician said he’s doing great — Elliott is on the cusp of 6 pounds, gaining at a rate of more than an ounce a day. Plus, he’s already turning his head and raising it, so he’s got that neck strength going on. As for sleeping, he’s doing better than I would have predicted — he goes down without too much protest at about 11 p.m. or midnight, and I generally have to wake up to feed him at 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Speaking as a third-time mom, that’s pretty damn good four weeks in, y’all.

elliott sleeping

What I am writing about specifically is how my birthing and hospital experience went this third go-round. And it’s definitely a mixed review.

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Last-ditch effort to save a MacBook Pro from liquid damage

I have a MacBook Pro. Correction — had a MacBook Pro. It is still hard to believe I don’t have it. I feel a little lost without a laptop, having had one for nearly the past 10 years.

It feels a little poetic that, not only have I documented the buying of a MacBook Pro, I will also document the saying of goodbye to that MacBook Pro. Poetic in a kind of tragic way.

Let me start from the beginning….of the end. In August, all of a sudden, my laptop just stopped working. The battery, like many Apple laptop batteries, had stopped holding a full charge long ago, but all of a sudden it just drained and the whole laptop went dark and unresponsive. First thing we tried was buying a new battery.


Obviously, that didn’t work out well. After cracking it open, the Genius Bar told us unequivocally that the logic board had liquid damage and there was corrosion. Since it was not covered under warranty (we’d bought it in early 2009) nor Apple Care, Apple repair would have cost $1,300, including the replacement of the logic board and other connectors that were damaged. So I got a referral from a trusted friend to a Mac specialist, who brought it to an Apple repair shop called Dino Computers in Pasadena, who came to the same conclusion — logic board corrosion.

I was still not ready to give up on the laptop. I found a service by the Mac Geniuses that touted a no-risk MacBook Pro liquid repair service — they offered free shipping and a flat $299 fee for what they called was a “proprietary restoration process.” But Trinity and I had misgivings about sending the laptop (which at that point was a very expensive paperweight, but one we were loathe to send to complete strangers) to Texas, plus we were also leery of paying a $299 fee, after the $50 inspection by my friend’s Mac specialist and the $50 we paid to Dino Computers.

Finally, in November or so, after much research, I decided to try and take the laptop apart myself and wash the logic board, following tutorials from Believe me, I didn’t want to do it — I would much rather have a professional do it, but I had to do everything I could to save the laptop, and every other professional I’d consulted told me to just buy a new one. So, I figured, if I was successful — great! I’d saved myself $300 and having to buy a new laptop. If not — no skin off my back, everyone said the laptop was dead anyway.

IMG_1811First, I needed a few tools, just to be able to remove the hard drive and put it in an enclosure. I needed the T6 screwdriver to remove the hard drive, and I bought the screwdriver kit with multiple bits for the Phillips #00 at Fry’s Electronics. If you’re buying a hard drive enclosure for a MacBook Pro, make sure you get a SATA hard drive enclosure, because regular ones won’t fit. Yes, I made that mistake.

Here’s what I did, in gallery mode:

(I do want to note that I was inspired to use tupperware to hold the screws at each step by Eric of MacTechLA. When he came to my office to fix my phone in September, I was probably openly staring as he used a ice tray to hold the screws and various small parts as he replaced my screen. It was very low tech and quite ingenious.)

Long story short, the effort did not work, I’m sorry to report. It’s not to say that attempting this yourself will never work — it could be that the corrosion was on the logic board too long (it did die in August, and I didn’t crack the laptop open till December) and/or the corrosion on the connector was too damaging. I don’t know; I’m no electronics expert. Either way, I was left with 1. a non-working MacBook Pro and 2. a brand new, never used MacBook Pro battery that I could no longer return to the Apple store, even for credit, because I’d bought it in August and finally came to the conclusion that I could no longer use it in December.

On Twitter, my cousin had suggested selling my poor laptop off to — totally sounded like a scam, but they quoted me $189 for my MacBook. I told them I’d be keeping my hard drive, so that took $39 off the quote, leaving me with $150. It took about a week for my laptop to arrive in their facility in New York, but as soon as it did, they sent me $150 via PayPal. I was very happy about getting the money, until I remembered that it meant my laptop was truly dead and buried. Sad face.

There was still the issue of the battery. Initially, I tried to sell it on Craigslist for $80, but some joker beat me to it, selling their brand new MacBook battery for $40! So I had to do the same. I finally got a kid out of the South Bay to come out to my work in Studio City to pick up the battery and give me $40 for it. He hasn’t contacted me since, so the battery is apparently working out for him.

So that’s it. It was an ignominious end to a laptop that saw me through the birth of two boys, my gallbladder surgery and a couple of really great vacations. I hope you will be able to learn from my sad example. Also good to note: I got the full quote from Cash4Macbooks because the laptop’s shell had been protected with a Speck case pretty much the entire time I had it. It’s a good investment for future resale value. (Mine is used, but I’ll sell it to you for $10, if you’re interested.)

Announcing Michael

One thing I think I was most excited to do when it came to having a new baby was sending out birth announcements. Is that crazy? Maybe so, but I didn’t have a traditional wedding, didn’t have a bridal shower and I have a thing for paper products like custom invitations. Besides, with a face like Michael’s, who wouldn’t want to send a card to the world?

I’m pretty sure most everyone who should have a card has gotten one, so check it out after the jump.

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Up & Up hard to find

Even before the big swine flu scare, I would wipe down my work keyboard, desk, phone and mouse every day before logging in. So, that made me a big fan of Wet Ones, rather than those household disinfectant wipes by Clorox or whatever. Those household wipes leave weird threads everywhere, and I wouldn’t use those on my hands or face, thus I use the Wet Ones.

It gets pricey though. So when I was wandering Target recently, I ran into disinfectant face and hand wipes with this Up & Up label, which I realized later was Target’s relabeled generic brand. They were nearly $2 cheaper than the Wet Ones I usually get so I tried them out….and I love them. Seriously. I think they last longer and they smell really good.

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