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Target and Neimans must be Crazy

30 Nov
Neiman Marcus Target Collection

Click to view the collection

I was excited when I first heard about the Neimans and Target collaboration. I was thinking that it was going to be as exciting as the Missoni collection that debuted last fall and crashed their website. The Missoni line featured their signature style but at high end Target prices. Most pieces were under $40 and looked great. Of course there was some wacky things like a $400 bike, but most things were budget friendly and totally usable.

The Neiman Marcus collection at Target will be officially available for sale Saturday, December 1, 2012. It has been hyped up a lot, even creating spots on my favorite TV show Revenge. The main marketing message is that you can get items from these exclusive Neiman designers at Target. Maybe this is great for people that don’t live within a decent area of a Neimans, but considering there’s one within 20 minutes of me, its not that much of a draw.

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I made it, so it’s my recipe

19 Nov

I swear my grandma Vi was the queen of “Almost Homemade.” I didn’t even realize that  a lot of the thing that she cooked wasn’t homemade, because she always said that it was. As the holiday’s come around, I’m really starting to miss hanging around my grandmother’s kitchen table as we “almost” make a dinner/dessert for everyone.

Her favorite dishes to pull off as homemade were cakes and pies. She would get a box cake mix. Throw in a stick of butter, an extra egg and some vanilla extract. If she was trying to make a pound cake, she’d add a box of instant pudding. Or if she put some canned icing in the microwave, it became “her” glaze.

The berry cobbler. I think I was about 12 when I remember what she actually did with this cobbler to make it “homemade.” I may have seen her do this in the past, but this was the first time I really noticed what she was doing. She bought a Marie Callender’s Berry Cobbler. She let the pie unthaw on the counter. She then carefully removed the top crust of the pie. Sliced up some butter and added some sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Put the crust back on with an egg wash. After baking, she proudly told everyone she made the pie from “scratch.”

I really miss baking with my grandmother. I know she’d be proud of me and how far I’ve come along in baking. My first time I baked cookies for Christmas, they were as hard as rocks. When I asked her what I did wrong, she promptly said, “you have to use real butter baby. That margarine just don’t work for cooking.”

When ever I find myself reaching for a box of cake mix or brownies, I make sure to add a little something to make it mine. As Grandma Vi said, “if it came out of my oven, it was homemade.”

Birthday Freebies!

30 Jul

When you’re young, you look forward to your birthday. Having a birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese or the skating rink. Even a backyard party with all your friends and family with some cake and ice cream. It seems like the mound of presents just keeps growing as every new guest comes enters. And you wait patiently until you can rip off the wrapping paper with fury. You don’t often know which gift came from whom, but at that age, who cares?

Well once you get older, you realized that you no longer get gifts from everyone. That the day you were born isn’t that important to everyone. Your birthday is just another day. Often you have to remind people that your big day is coming up.

But guess who doesn’t forget my birthday? All the stores and restaurants that I frequent! As my birthday approaches I get excited for the emails and cards from different places offering me freebies. So if you still want to feel like a kid opening up a ton of presents, be sure to sign up for these birthday clubs:

  • Cold Stone Creamery – They email you a coupon for one free small ice cream
  • Red Robin – Emails you a coupon for a free burger of your choice
  • Hungry Howies – sent an email for a free medium pizza with a $5 purchase
  • Victoria’s Secret – They send a card that varies each year. Last year I got a free lip gloss, this year $10 off any purchase
  • JC Penny – Mailed a certificate for $15 off any purchase $15 or more
  • Biggby Coffee – Mails a postcard for a free coffee of you choice
  • Boston Market – emailed a coupon for a free dessert with any individual meal purchase
  • Benihana – Join “The Chef’s Table” and receive a Benihana Birthday Dinner certificate worth $30 to use during the month of your birthday.
  • Bob’s Big Boy – Get a free hot fudge ice cream on your birthday.
  • Famous Daves BBQ – Free food coupon via email on your birthday when you join the Famous Dave’s P.I.G. Club (could be free cake, an appetizer, or some ribs!).
  • TGI Friday’s – Receive a coupon for a free appetizer to use on your birthday

Remember, for most of these offers you will need a valid email address and printer to print out the coupons. Also a lot of these coupons have just a two week time frame in which to use them. Some give you until the end of the month. I see my birthday week as a week I really don’t have to cook anymore. But It may be loaded with a lot of calories.

I suggest using Yahoo mail. They have a great system with disposable email addresses, where you can set up to 50 different email addresses. That way I have all of these places going to one folder and email account. All of these companies will send you emails at least monthly or for other promotional items. But you can also set up email addresses for other newsletters that you get. And at anytime if you start getting too much spam, you can delete the email account, without affecting your main account or other disposable email addresses you have created. Just remember to send you coupons to an account that you will check.

It’s Almost Here…My Birthday

30 Jul

Ugh, I’m turning 30 in just one week. I’m trying to think of it in a positive manner. As Jay-Z said “30 is the new 20”. Plus I figure I start saying I’m 30 now, it won’t be so bad when the big day arrives next week.

But wouldn’t it be great if everything you’ve learned by 30, you had known when you were 20. What I’ve learned about friends, family, relationships, careers, finances would have been wonderful to know 10 years ago. I believe I would have been much better off. I think most of would have. However as one of my favorite quotes says:

“Good judgment comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgment.”  ~Rita Mae Brown

I probably would have made changes in what I’ve done with my career. I was in school for several years as I worked full time as a secretary. I wish I would have just went to school full time and finished my degree sooner. Most likely I would have progressed much further in my career by this age.

I definaltely would not have been so inpatient or unforgiving of family or friends. It’s taken these years for me to realize to stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t hold grudges, because that person may not be here tomorrow. And it’s hard to apologize once they’re gone. I’ve also learned how to let go of the toxic people in my life and to keep the positive people in my inner circle.

I can say that I wouldn’t have wasted some valuable years on relationships that really weren’t going anywhere, or with that loser guy. Now as I have watched so many of my friends getting married or having kids, I wonder if it will happen for me. But then I know people that have waited until well into their 30’s to get married or have kids, and it seems as though are some of the most stable relationships.

I know I should have invested more money in my retirement account, because there will no money left in social security when I retire. I also wish I wouldn’t have taken out so many student loans, or gotten so many credit cards when I first got to college. I only wish that in lower income school districts that they would have spent time to discuss credit and finances. It seems like the population that could use the education the most on finances, are the people that get ignored.

But every up and down has been a learning experience, and from those I have grown. Now all I can do is try to give others advice on the things I have learned. But as I talk to my teenage brothers and cousins, I often feel I’m being ignored. I guess everyone has to learn from their own mistakes. But I know I would have appreciated someone teaching me a thing or two.

Unemployment Sucks

16 Jun

Well it’s been a couple of months without a job now. I figured once I had my degree that I wouldn’t have to worry about being unemployed again. What I failed to realize that one of the first budgets cut at many companies are the marketing and communications budgets. It doesn’t help that I’m in the Metro Detroit area, an area with the highest unemployment rate in the country.

In the last few months, several public relations and marketing firms have either closed or been downsized. Because of the area being so dependent on the auto industry, so were many of the firms. When Chrysler pulled their account from BBDO, the ended up closing their Detroit and Windsor offices (almost 500 marketing professionals without jobs). Campbell Ewald recently lost their largest account, Chevrolet. So I wouldn’t be shocked to see lay-offs coming from them soon.

My first month or so was okay. It was nice to have my life back. I had been working over 50 hours a week for almost two years. But now I’m getting bored. My house has been organized. Papers have been filed. Pictures have finally been hung and scrapbooks completed. So I really don’t know what else to do with my time. I can’t do much, because I’m starting to dip into my savings, since unemployment isn’t even half of what I use to make. But I am amazed at how I’ve been able to cut expenses to live within this new budget.

I’ve applied for several jobs, each week I spend hours filling out these long resumes online. So far I’ve only had a couple of interviews and have yet to find a job. The market is so saturated right now. There are people with far more experience than me and willing to take less money right now. So it leaves people like me, just past entry-level, with not a lot of options.

So now I’m trying to decide if I should leave the Detroit area. It’s been the only place I’ve known for all of my life. But I may find more luck somewhere else. But once you’re unemployed, it’s hard to look out-of-state. It takes money and resources that I really don’t have since my savings is starting to go to paying bills.

Or do I take a job that’s not in my field. It has taken me so long to get my degree and I truly enjoy public relations and marketing, but I may not find anything in that area. A few people can find me some clerical jobs, but I thought once I had a degree I wouldn’t be taking phone messages for other people any more. It seems like this would be a delay in my career goals, but at least I won’t be dependent on unemployment and I would be making more money.

Online Dating Ass #1

15 Jun

Starting talking to a pretty decent guy online. For the first couple of weeks we spoke on the phone for hours and sent several text messages everyday. Everything seemed like it was going to be great. When we first started talking, he said he had to go out-of-town for about two weeks. So that delayed our first meeting.

A few days after he came back, he called me and wanted to meet up like right then. Unfortunately, I already had plans and told him that I usually needed more notice. Plus, my profile clearly states that I’m a busy person.

The text messages started coming less frequently, and he completely stopped calling. When I asked what was going on he said he was out-of-town again and busy with work. I was cool with it. I had my own things to take care of in my life.

Unexpectedly a couple of weeks later, on a Sunday afternoon, he sent a text saying lets meet at a downtown bar. Well once again, I already had plans. He then said that I was the one procrastinating on wanting to meet. I told him the ball was in his court since he was always of town or busy with work. When I asked if we could meet during the next week, he said he was leaving town on Wednesday. I suggested Monday or Tuesday before he left, but he said he was going to be busy with work.

We didn’t have communication after that. On Friday, I sent a text to say hi. His reply was “dude don’t text me no more”.  I mean seriously!?!? I’m positive I didn’t do anything, except not be available at the drop of a dime when he wanted. So, if he didn’t like that, then he shouldn’t have answered my profile that stated “busy, independent and spends a lot of time with family and friends”.

I’ve learned that I’m not changing myself for any man. I am looking for someone who will accept me for the person that I am. Don’t expect me to be available for you when ever you want.

No Daddy Issues

15 Jun

I’ll be 30 soon and already feel much older. I’ve usually dated older men, usually because I have more in common with them. The most I’ve gone dating a guy that was 14 years my senior (see My First Online Relationship for details). So I already know what it’s like. What I can’t understand about online dating is all the guys that are 45 and older asking me to go out.

I actually plainly stated on my profile that I wasn’t looking for anyone over 39. Since I know I want a family one day, I don’t really want to waste my time on older guys that have kids my age. I’ve had guys 50 plus asking me out. Sorry, but that is older than my dad! My dad and I are really close and I have no daddy issues.

So I’ve taken the route of not even answering these guys. I don’t feel that I’m being rude, because it’s clearly stated on my profile. I’d prefer to meet a guy my age. But there honestly doesn’t seem to be that many good ones out there that are single, have a job and straight. Doesn’t seem like my standards are that high!

I’ll be 30 soon and already feel much older. I’ve usually dated older men, usually because I have more in common with them. The most I’ve gone dating a guy that was 14 years my senior (please see My First Online Date for details on that relationship). So I already know what it’s like. What I can’t understand about online dating is all the guys that are 45 and older asking me to go out.

I actually plainly stated on my profile that I wasn’t looking for anyone over 39. Since I know I want a family one day, I don’t really want to waste my time on older guys that have kids my age. I’ve had guys 50 plus asking me out. Sorry, but that is older than my dad! My dad and I are really close and I have no daddy issues.

So I’ve taken the route of not even answering these guys. I don’t feel that I’m being rude, because it’s clearly stated on my profile. I’d prefer to meet a guy my age. But there honestly doesn’t seem to be that many good ones out there that are single, have a job and straight. Doesn’t seem like my standards are that high!