Network Extenders, Apps That Eat Up Phone Storage and Deer Repellent for Flowers

Thanks so much for all the great input and comments on yesterday’s post. I had no idea so many folks share the same struggle I do with letting go of magazines. Nice to know I’m not alone!

Several folks asked how I went through the process of discarding so many magazines. I had twice as many as you see below to go through. Well, the process started out slowly as I flipped through each magazine to see if there was anything I wanted to save. That was taking forever as you might imagine, so I changed tactics.

Basically what I did was I read the cover for the highlights, usually the best stuff is promoted on the cover. If I saw something that sounded especially good, I looked inside for that article. I did a very quick scan/flip through each magazine, then into the recycle pile it went unless I had discovered something I really wanted to read again.


There were a few times I spotted a kitchen or a bath and thought, “Oh, man…maybe I should save that.” Then I realized I’d seen a gazillion of those same kitchens and baths on Pinterest and Houzz. Whenever I get around to updating my baths, I’ll be able to find all the inspiration I need online.

The only magazine I still subscribe to in physical form (not digitally) is Birds and Blooms. I still prefer getting it via mail. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s even offered in digital form.

If you’re serious about trimming down your stack of magazines, you have to get ruthless. It’s not easy but I was just really tired of moving the stacks around from room to room, in and out of closets where they were always in the way and collecting dust.

I still have several years worth of Traditional Home and Colonial Homes magazines that I will never part with. I stopped collecting Traditional Home around the end of 2010, they were just moving too much away from the traditional, classic design that I love, but I can never part with those older issues. They are my faves.

Deer Problems

Thanks so much for all the suggestions regarding how to keep deer away from my flowers. One suggestion that was made was a product called, Liquid Fence. I checked it out and noticed that it’s Eco-Safe and won’t hurt rabbit or deer per the label. I thought I’d give it a try since it looks easy to use and isn’t too expensive.

I purchased it online here: Deer, Rabbit Repellent. I only plan to use it on that one flower bed since I don’t want the tulips I planted there to be eaten come springtime. Hopefully the violas will make a comeback, too. Thanks again for all your suggestions!


I’ve been working on a bunch of different things the last few days, so many my head is spinning. I decided to share them all in one post, Β in case you find them helpful.

Flash Sale

Before I forget, I just got an email this evening that Talbots is having a Flash sale. I love their flash sales, but unfortunately, they never last long. This one ends at midnight. You’ll find the sale here: Talbots Flash Sale.



Network Extender

I use Verizon for my mobile phone service. When I switched to them in 2013, I discovered the signal in my home was very weak. I had the tiniest, smidge of an antenna/signal bar showing on my phone, and my phone was forever dropping calls. I’d never had that problem with my previous phone company.

Verizon told me they had plans to add another antenna to my area real soon, but that’s never happened. Apparently, I’m on the edge of two different antennas, despite living in a very populated, urban area.

To help with the bad signal, they gave me something called a “Network Extender.” It’s supposed to boost the antenna signal. It had been working okay until about a month ago when I started noticing dropped calls again. When I looked at my phone, the signal was minimal again, just a hint of a bar.

I had too much going on around the holidays to deal with it, but today I drove over to the Verizon store, extender in hand. They had no idea what was going on and no way to test it, despite being advised by a supervisor to take it to the store, so they called technical support.

The tech support guy said there had been an update that added a new feature called HD Voice (I think that was it) and that it was most likely interfering with the Extender. He turned that feature off from his end and I drove home to see if it worked.

It did! So, if you are one of the unlucky Verizon customers who has to use a Network Extender in your home to get a decent signal, if it recently stopped working, turn off the HD Voice feature. Or, call tech support and have them do it. Hopefully it will help. I have signal bars again, so it appears to have worked for my problem.


Update Old Surge Protectors

The last few days I’ve been replacing a lot of my surge protectors. I was surprised to learn a few years ago that surge protectors wear out. The way it was described to me is that surge protectors are a little like sponges, they absorb electrical surges as they occur and eventually they cease to work, just like a sponge can only hold so much water. Unfortunately, you don’t always know when your surge protector has stopped working, until it’s too late.

So every few years, I replace mine. I’d rather spend a few dollars on a surge protector than lose my computer, TV, speakers, printer, etc… The surge protector below is the one I purchased for my computer, office TV, router, modem, printer, speakers, monitors and charging station. It has 4320 Joules (that’s good!) and 12 outlets, several of which pivot to hold bulky plugs. You’ll find it here: Surge Protector


Phone Storage: Why Is My Phone So Full?

Recently I noticed my cell’s phone storage was really full. I was having trouble even watching Instagram videos because the phone just didn’t have enough space to handle running them. I had deleted a bunch of photos and videos after moving them over to my computer, so I couldn’t figure out why it was still so full.

I did some googling and discovered that the “Google Photos” app that I have and use on my phone, has a “Trash Can,” so when I was deleting photos/videos from the Gallery section of my android phone, they weren’t really being deleted but were instead ending up in the trash can.



If you have an Android phone and use the Google Photos app, you’ll find the trash can by following these steps below. It may work for IOS systems, too…not sure.

Open up the Google Photos App
Click on the 3 horizontal bars up in the top left corner
You’ll see the trash can symbol listed there.
Click on the trash can symbol to open up trash.
Click on photos to delete each one individually OR, Click on the 3 vertical dots in the top right corner of the screen to “empty trash” from there.

If you still find you’re short on space, check out the Apps you have on your phone to see if you really need them all. I deleted a few from my phone today that I virtually never use. I can always add them back later if I really need them.


Global Entry

I just applied for Global Entry and wanted to share the process with you in this post, but writing about it was turning into a full post all by itself. So I’ll share that with you very soon in case it’s helpful in your travels. I’m surprised how fast the process is going, I have my in-person interview in two weeks and I just applied on January 4th! So things are moving along quickly!

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  1. Susan, you are like a whirlwind. Busy lady.
    Thanks for all of the great info you share with us.

  2. I forgot something. Tell us about the frog bookend. I love him.

    • Thanks, Myrna! I found the Frog Prince bookends (there’s one on the other end, too) in Pier 1 several years ago. You may want to google for “Frog Prince bookends” to see if anyone still has them. It’s been several years, though. Maybe check eBay.

  3. I am a magazinaholic. I’ve tried numerous times to evict magazines from my home but unfortunately always buy more. Scary thing is some I haven’t even read yet. I just need to become ruthless as you said and stay away from the magazine areas of grocery stores and Joann’s as well.

  4. I usually give my old home magazines to the Interior Design Dept at my school. The students use them for story boards and inspirations. If others want to do the same, just contact one of the teachers at your local college and find out where to drop then off. They are appreciated!

    I just looked at an old post about Doris Day and the Films Send Me No Flowers and Lover Come Back. Love all the “old fashions”.

  5. Susan, I have stacks of magazines too, mostly the early Victoria and Mary Engelbreit. I have Traditional Home too. ‘-)
    Glad you applied for Global Entry. You’ll be happy you did if you travel internationally.

  6. Susan, I always love reading your blog! I need to go through magazines too. Where do you store the magazines you saved?

  7. Candy Schoppe says:

    Baby foot is the best!!! Foot exfoliate. Has 2 booties, all natural, starts working in 4-5 days. The first time I used it, thought it wasn’t going to work and then the “magic” began. After the peeling starts, when I get out of the shower I use a dry washcloth and slough off the peeling skin. The only thing that’s hard about it for me is that you’re not supposed to use any lotion during the activation or peeling process, and I normally use lotion and cuticle oil daily on my feet. Also, I think I read something about it ruining nail polish, so I use it as I’m starting to need a polish change on my toes. It’s amazing. I use it twice a year. I do months when I would be comfortable wearing flats/boots instead of sandalsfor a week and 1/2 after the peeling starts. I order mine from Amazon. It’s about $25.

    • Thanks, Candy! Sounds like wintertime is a good time to do it since I’m wearing socks and regular shoes right now, not sandals. I just need to find two hours to do it. I guess I need to stop working on stuff and watch a movie! lol
      That’s great advice about doing it when you need a polish update, thanks for mentioning that. Would hate to ruin a good pedicure.

      • I think it’s just an hour in the booties, but definitely sit while you’re doing it-dangerous to be walking in those things. You’re supposed to wash your feet first, I think. It’s an amazing product. I try to take really good care of my feet, but the sloughing is always incredible to me. When my friend used it the first time, she said it was the grossest, best thing ever! Be sure to give us an update!

  8. Linda C in seattle says:

    Hi Susan,
    Thanks for the tip on deleting old photos with the
    Google Photos App. I tried your method and it worked.
    I always wondered about emptying the trash can.

    Linda C in Seattle

  9. In Minnesota at our cabin we use the liquid fence weekly on our hostas and white pines. The deer absolutely hate it and unless they’re feeling particularly mean they will leave my plants alone. It’s not fool proof but if you start training the little dears early in the season it works. They also make a tablet you can bury in the ground that the plants absorb and promises to make the leaves taste like kale instead of candy. I use them too cause why not ?

  10. Good Morning, Susan
    It’s finally warming up a bit in Maryland. What crazy weather! We have used Liquid Fence. The deer here are so nervy that they walk right up on my front porch to eat my potted flowers. I will warn you – Liquid Fence smells absolutely terrible, but it has worked for us.
    My hubby gave me an Amope foot smoother for Christmas but I have not used it yet. I’ll let you know how it works.
    Have a wonderful day!

  11. NEPA Gi a says:

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it many times – you are my “go to” gal!! Great article about the surge protector! Didn’t realize that they wear out, so I’ll be looking to replace mine that has all the good stuff plugged into it. Re the magazines, I no longer keep mine. When I read a magazine & see an idea or recipe, I grab my ipad, go to Pinterest, and do a search. Nine times out of ten, I find the exact article, I pin it, then donate my magazines to a local assisted living facility. I’m a busy 61 year old babysitting “Grammy” of 4 grandchildren, 7,5,3 & 11 months – and find I don’t have quite as much time for magazines as I used to! I’ve not renewed any of my magazines; however, I just ordered Birds & Bloom for my hubby! Good luck with the deer issue!

    • Oh, grandkids are a definite trade off for magazines! πŸ™‚ You sound very busy in a good way…wish I lived close enough to babysit my two sometimes.
      Hope your hubby loves Birds and Blooms as much as I do. I just got an issue in the mail today and can’t wait to read it. πŸ™‚

  12. Cyndi Raines says:

    Thanks for the good information. I didn’t know surge protectors can go bad!
    Now you have me curious as to “Global Entry”- sounds like a Twilight Zone update – ha!

    • lol It does sound strange! It’s just a way to show that you’re a good guy and that you don’t need to go through all the long security lines to be let back into the country. I’m not sure if it let’s you avoid them when you’re leaving the U.S. or not. I’ll have to ask at my interview in a couple of weeks.

  13. Debra Ruffing says:

    My daughters and I all read your blog. We are wondering where you store all your dishes. We recently realized that some of the tablescapes are from other homes. How can we submit to you our stuff.

    • I store them all in the kitchen cupboards, laundry room cupboards, in a china hutch on the porch and in a couple I have inside. Also, I turned a little used coat closet into dish storage, you can see it here:
      Occasionally I do post tables that readers send to me. The pictures have to be full size (not resized) well lit (not dark) and clear, not blurry. It’s good to include some overall table shots and some close ups.
      I can’t always promise I’ll be able to post them, but I will I can. It just depends on what I have planned already. You can email them to [email protected]. Please don’t send more than around 8-12, choosing the best pictures. Thanks, Debra!

  14. Gail Bell says:

    Thanks for the suggestion of how to purge those magazines. I too am attempting to rid my home of stacks and stacks and stacks of magazines, and get bogged down by trying to flip through every one. I’ll give your idea a try. Where do you take your rejects for recycling?

    • I may call around to see if anyone wants them. I don’t think the libraries around here will take them, but some folks mentioned taking them to doctor’s offices, etc. When I have things to recycle, I drive out to our county’s recycling center that’s about 35 minutes away. I usually wait until I have a lot of stuff to make it worth the drive.

  15. Waiting to hear about your Global Emtry story. We started in AUGUST in Boston. Soonest interview would be MAY! Switched to New York – mere 4 hour drive and found appointments for OCTOBER, still a while but more reasonable. Then when I tried to,schedule, each and every day was not available. Gave up when DECEMBER started. Then realized we’d be in Florida beginning JANUARY. Apontmemt scheduled for January 27 in Tampa. Still have a three hour drive but I’m positive there will be no snow lol.

    • Wow! I read some stories like that online, but they had all been written a year or two ago, so I thought the wait had probably gotten better. Guess not if you’ve had to go through all that. I was hoping that it wouldn’t be too awful here since Atlanta is normally the busiest airport in the world.There are actually two places you can go here in Atlanta, so maybe that helps.
      I read in one article that you can just go and show up in some locations and they will attempt to work you in and see you, but you might have to wait for a few hours depending on how busy they are. I wouldn’t try that though if you were driving 4 hours to get there, because they might say, no. Some folks have stopped into the office in the Atlanta airport when traveling through, and were able to be seen, but they almost missed their flight! I’ve read a lot of stories online.
      Yeah, I think you’re right, should not be any snow! πŸ™‚ Hope the Jan. 27 appointment works out! Apparently, it lasts 5 years. I hope the renewal can be done online, so you don’t have to go through that again.

      • Susan, without belaboring this, I have a friend who has had Global for 3 years. Her passport expires before the 5 year expiration. That adds a wrinkle to the whole thing.

        • I remember reading a story online where someone had that issue. They went ahead and got their Global Entry even though they knew their passport was expiring in just a few months. I can’t remember if they had to go do it again or not. I think maybe they did. Mine doesn’t expire until May 2023, so I won’t have to worry about it for while. Maybe I can time them out together. If my Global Entry expires in January 2022, maybe I can renew my passport a year early, then renew the Global Entry right afterwards. Wonder if they will let a person renew their passport early.

        • That was a good tip. I would hate to waste that money. Both my hubby & I scheduled appointments online around the holidays in Houston for the $100 Global Entry card. Good thing we had newer passports valid for many years. It was super easy and I’ve already used the TSA clearance twice.

  16. Margaret Benton says:

    I’d love to hear your global entry story too. We applied during the holidays, figuring we would have plenty of time before we leave for Italy at the end of April. We can’t get appointments at San Francisco until the end of June!

    • Wow, that is quite the wait! You may want to keep checking because I read where one person kept checking back and some new appointments opened up. Maybe folks canceled or got their Global Entry somewhere else and then canceled. I would definitely check often to see if new dates open up.

  17. Hi Susan, I’ve been mixing up a concoction for several years now I saw on the Dr. Oz show. Grind up 2 regular aspirin (I use my mortar and pestle), then mix in your favorite hand or body lotion. Apply liberally to feet, wrap feet in plastic wrap, slip socks over the whole thing. Wait 30-60 minutes. Dead, dry skin vanishes. It is magic! The salicylic acid in the aspirin does the trick. My diabetic husband has extremely dry feet and this treatment makes them look like he just had a pedicure. Bottle of aspirin is 97 cents, so this mixture costs about a penny!

  18. Linda Page says:

    Are you on Joy Juice (???) today and had too many ideas running through your head and couldn’t decide on just one??? You are a whirling dervish!! Glad you got your extender working again. I know that is a real headache for you. Glad it was an easy fix. Love easy fixes!! I hope the Deer stuff works. I am letting all of my subscriptions expire except Southern Living and Southern Lady. Can’t give up those.

    • lol That’s my life! I always have 10 things going on at once! I miss my Southern Living. I’ve never taken Southern Lady but it’s a beautiful magazine.

  19. We’ve tried the “Deer Off” repellent…we’ve got some really hardy stock here I guess…they just devour everything. Maybe a dog…. πŸ™‚ franki

    • lol Well, I hope this works. I’m waiting for it to quit raining so I can spray it. I wish I could feed the deer, but it’s not safe for them, they have to eat “woody browse” this time of year. Oh, and apparently Violas!

  20. Haven’t read yesterday’s post yet but will when I finish here. I too am a magazine connoisseur/collector/hoarder. That said, I have recently done several purges and have kept a few Architectural Digests, many, many issues of The Artist Magazine and a few Martha Stewart, Country Living and Coastal Living. I also have a complete set (charter subscriber) of Home Companion, Mary Englebreit’s magazine, with which I cannot seem to part. They simply cannot go to the recycle bin. I need to find them a good home. haha! To further prevent the clutter, I no longer subscribe to the paper issues of any except BHG and Southern Living.

    • I love Home Campanion. I never subscribed but love the few issues I had. It’s a good thing I never subscribed to Coastal Living, I know I’d have trouble parting with those! Martha Stewart, I took for a while, too. So many good ones!

  21. I thought I was the only person with a “magazine” problem. My husband thinks I need some “help”. I’ve never heard anyone speak of it before. I, too will be purging. I have OLD issues of Colonial Homes and Country Living. So many interesting articles and great pictures, so little time!

  22. grammy goodwill says:

    Thank you for the photo information. I deleted a picture yesterday that I didn’t mean to. With your instructions, I was able to go into Trash and Restore it. I didn’t know about that feature.


    I dont miss a word…love love your artlcles, fun entertaining, inrormativeand more!
    Please subscribe TO MY DAUGHTER.

  24. Susan, your surge protection update is timely. I returned from snowed/iced in Atlanta to find our TV and receiver were shot. Whenever I plug into a surge protector, I tape the original receipt & a snippit of the packaging which states the amount of coverage if the product fails.
    Three times in the last 8 years I’ve been able to recover expenses from repair and/or replacement to the tune of several thousand dollars. Also, the companies send new protectors because you mail the old ones to the lab. APC & Belkin surge protectors are terrific about warranties. Monster not so great.

  25. Hi Susan,

    1. I predict you’ll soon be purchasing more containers of the liquid fence, just because of how many plantings you have. It definitely works on my plants, but I have to be very aggressive about re-applying it periodically, especially after it rains. Pay close attention to any wind direction before spraying. As noted, this stuff smells terrible and eco-friendliness notwithstanding, you may not wish to get it on your skin or clothing.

    2. By far, the best benefit of Global Entry (for me) is that once you get it, you automatically get TSA Precheck at all US airports that offer that service. (I fly domestically more often than internationally.) Global Entry facilitates your entry back into the United States; it has not ever helped me clear customs in other countries more quickly. After I got Global Entry, I got an email from some UK entity offering the opportunity to apply (for a fee) to a similar program there. However, I declined since I don’t travel there that often.

    Thanks for all the useful information you provide!

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