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My purse is the equivalent of the kitchen table – a dumping ground for “stuff” that doesn’t have a home. As I glance over at my pile o stuff, I’m deciding whether or not to give full disclosure. This has the potential to be embarrassing, the question is if I care. We’ll see.

Inventory of my pile o stuff:
1. Vera Bradley wallet. I’m not a collector, I liked the pattern and it fits all my wallet stuff.
2. Paper key tag from the dealer when I had the oil changed. Now in garbage pile.
3. Half mini pack of Kleenex.
4. Business cards. No one uses these anymore. Potential to be a collector’s item. Ha.
5. Rubber-banded stack of coin paper rolls. We’ll get to that loose change eventually.
6. Bracelets I received as holiday gift.
7. Thumb drive
8. Receipts: dentist, hair appt, Kohl’s, Target, grocery
9. Post-it note reminder to pick up candy order, garbage pile.
10. Ponytail holder
11. Cell phone
12. 1.00 coupon for Pronamel
13. Pink toothbrush from the dentist
14. Expired Kohl’s coupon, garbage pile.
15. 2 business card holders used for coupons (see #4 above)
16. 5.00 coupon for Hotel Transylvania
17. Appt cards for dentist and hair
18. Blank notepad. I was looking for one earlier…
19. Jingle bell from Christmas train ride
20. Two sanitizing hand wipes
21. One of those springy things inside a pen
22. 42 pennies, 1 dime
23. 1 paper clip
24. Pin from holiday dress

And lastly, a small, purple, plastic piece of something. No idea what it’s for, but afraid to toss it. Everyone knows that’s exactly when you figure out what it’s for. Embarrassing list? Yeah, I’m boring. Now where did I put Bono’s phone number again?

Alienated

12yroldalien
Copyright J.C. Penney Company, Inc. and/or JCP Media Inc.

Dear Mr. Johnson,
I used to like shopping at “JCP” (I’m down with the new nomenclature) but I’m one straw short of never stepping foot in your store again.

First, let me start by saying that I couldn’t agree more that the store needed a facelift in more ways than one. I was a little hesitant about the new pricing strategy, but thought hey, now I can stroll into the store whenever I want and not have to worry whether I have a coupon, if there was a sale, etc. However, since all of these changes have taken place, here’s what I’ve found:

1. I ALWAYS look and almost always buy a dress for holiday parties there. Great selection and I’m really picky. I thought the new lower pricing would be great, but guess what? I paid less when I shopped sales and used coupons than what I would have paid for your everyday low price. Plus, I used to buy 2-3 at at time since the deals were so good. So guess where I bought my holiday dress this past year? Not at JCP. The kicker – I found one at JCP that was damaged (zipper, hem and some pulling on the material). I could have worn it once given what was wrong with it and decided to take it up to the register to see if I could get $20-$30 taken off given the damage. They offered to knock off 10%, no more. My “bought it elsewhere” dress in perfect condition cost less with a sale and coupon.

2. I have two young kids that grow out of their clothes in 6-8 months, and beat the crap out of what they wear. I always shopped end of season clearance and bought a ton of stuff. I browsed this year and found next to nothing, or the “clearance” prices were nothing close to what I used to see. I’ve only purchased two shirts, and not convinced they were worth what I paid was worth it given the time of year.

3. I love your glossy new ads, and the comparison pricing is compelling, but who are you targeting exactly? The girl in the ad above looks about 12 in my book. Not to mention, the lighting is such that her arms look like a bad photoshop job, or, you’ve resorted to hiring aliens. If you’re targeting 12 year old aliens girls, I guess you’ve hopped on that bandwagon and completely disenfranchised us gals who don’t wear a size 0. Why would I think anything you’re selling would look good on me? I am not an alien stick figure.

4. You keep changing shit. Yes, I dropped an “S” bomb. Sorry. But when I run out on my lunch hour, my time is precious. I was just in the store and an entire section that I used to shop is now shrouded in a mysterious “coming soon” curtain. Do you sell that brand anymore? Did it move? Could you post a sign and let me know? After searching for someone, anyone, who worked there, I discovered that my section is now located somewhere else, and there’s a lot less of it. Did I buy anything? Nope, I ran out of time trying to figure out where everything moved.

5. Catalog counter now closed. Ok, I don’t shop catalog but I shop Internet. Now, instead of going to the old catalog desk to pick up my Internet order, I can “conveniently” go to any register. At which point, someone has to run back to the old catalog area to pick up my order and run back to whatever register I’m at. Wouldn’t it be easier and save time for me to just go to where you keep stuff? Which brings me to why I don’t like shopping online with you either – do you have any idea how annoying it is to click on item after item only to find there are literally no sizes left. I mean, really?

Apparently your Q4 earnings reflect my sentiments above, and just this week I received (wait for it), a coupon from JCP. Save $10 off a $50 purchase. Coupon received on Wednesday, have to use by Sunday. It’s a good start, but right now I don’t want to shop in person (see #3 and #4 above), and if I shop online, see #5 above. I will say that I did like your Black Friday pricing and would plan to shop Black Friday again this year. But I’m not sure if a store, and my closet, can survive on Black Friday alone. Just sayin’.

Signed,
See you 11/29/13

Bad hair day.

Worst haircut or hair stories. Hmmm. I have several, and fortunately I believe the evidence has since been destroyed. Mostly. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The entirety of my tween years qualifies without a doubt. A deadly combination of the 80′s, super thick hair and perms. Remember those? Hours sitting in a chair getting my hair wrapped in plastic curler rods, doused in a chemical solution that burned the nose hairs and lungs. I longed for the perfectly coifed, feathered-do’s of celebs like Farrah Fawcett, and ended up with, well, a poufy mess. Add on pink tinted glasses and a girl who hadn’t had her growth spurt yet (translation, short and chubby), and well, you get the picture.

I also have a distinct, not-so-fond memory of my mother taking me to have my hair “done” for my brother’s wedding. The woman we went to was apparently beautician to the elderly who knew one hair style – set it and forget it. Do you see where this is going? Already at the age of being super self-concious (see above), I rolled out of the “beauty salon” in tears, sporting the hair of an 80-year old grandmother. My future sister-in-law took pity on me and was able to un-do most of it before the wedding. Fortunately, she is a hair stylist who ended up with an unplanned hair emergency that day.

As I got a little older, the perms stopped, but were replaced with curling irons and tons of hair spray. Super-high, sprayed bangs (just Google 80′s hair). I do have a picture from high school that still makes me laugh. I used to tip my head to the side and spray profusely, then immediately blow-dry to create, well, hair wings. Cool.

Looking back, it makes sense to me now why I don’t hesitate to spend a pretty penny on my hair as an adult. I have a very thick hair, and have learned over the years to find someone good, that you trust, and stick with them. Afterall, I prefer to look like my mother’s daughter, not her sister.

On the road again

Road trip tales…I’ve been on a few, memorable ones that come to mind are below. Definitely days of my youth. Two things I’ve learned – I hate driving at night, when raining, in unfamiliar territory; I like leaving at 3 or 4 in the morning. It feels like you’re on a stealth mission, sneaking out when everyone is still sleeping.

1. Random college road trip. I was going to visit my friend at SUNY Fredonia, and I ended up driving with three guys from high school that were also going to visit someone we graduated with. I have no idea how I ended up driving with them, but I do remember a hatchback, music and a boatload of Genny pounders. Also known as Screamers if you’re not familiar. 16 oz. Cheap. Beer. I was not driving.

2. Moving to Florida. Same friend I was visiting in road trip above drove with me when I moved to Florida. After driving for what seemed like forever, tired and hungry, we stopped at a place called Natural Bridge, Virginia. In our cheap little hotel room we busted out our pre-packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pasta salad (just Italian dressing on corkscrew pasta), sat on the floor and agreed it was THE best PB&J and pasta salad we had ever eaten. There was a wax museum we toured and I had visions of Vincent Price taking us hostage and turning us into permanent fixtures in the museum (House of Wax reference, classic movie) We were the only people there and it was soooo creepy. At one point we psyched each other out and ran screaming through part of the museum. Good times.

Feeling nostalgic, might need a Screamer.

Energy & Oms

Where and when have you (I) felt the most relaxed or at peace.

After a Reiki session. If you aren’t familiar with Reiki, it’s basically a form of energy healing. You lie down and the practitioner places their hands on or slightly above different areas of the body where energy is passed through the practitioner to your body, helping it to heal, physically and/or emotionally. Skeptical?

It may sound a bit hokey but the practice has been become more widely accepted in recent years and is even offered in some hospitals as a compliment to traditional medical treatment. I became involved with it about 15 years ago, took a course but never pursued it further.

Plain old meditation relaxes me too, but I never seem to have time for it. Ok, I never make time to do it. One more thing on my list to get to…But in the meantime, a hot bath, bath salts and fully charged iPod will do just fine.

And today’s prompt, top 5 songs I’d play at my funeral. Hmmmm. I’ve actually thought about this on occasion, along with the fact that I’d much prefer a large bar outing for family and friends versus the whole funeral home bit, but I digress. Let me put on my pearls and think a sec.

1. Calling All Angels – Jane Siberry
Classic tear jerking, punched in the gut, it sucks when we lose someone song. Powerful stuff, thus the “let’s skip the depressing funeral home” idea above.

2. Exitlude – The Killers
Just watch and listen. Love his voice, love this band.

3. Take Me Home – Phil Collins
Something about this song has always stuck with me. I love this more mellow version, bongos. Whatever happened to Phil Collins anyway?

4. Ramble On – Led Zeppelin
Tolkien aside, I put my own interpretative spin on this one. I didn’t die, I’m ramblin on ‘yo.

5. 40 – U2
Classic closing song on the set list, my favorite band through the years. Perfect ending.

Of course, you could have a little fun with this. Can you imagine the faces when Ring of Fire starts playing?

To be or not to be. Famous.

I was invited to participate in a writing group (yay!) which excites and terrifies me (if I’m being honest.) I want to start writing as much as possible (she said since, oh, college, at 25, 30, and onward.) So, here goes my first entry, a writing prompt to name 5 items you’d demand to have everywhere you went if you were famous enough to do so. I’m playing catch up, buy hey, I’m puttin’ it down.

5. Mashed potatoes and gravy (‘nuf said)
4. Hot Tub
3. Candles (preferably white and unscented, but I’m not picky)
2. Highest thread count sheets available
1. Unlimited music library

So, I didn’t give much thought to this list, just what came into my head, and realized that if I’m THAT famous, I could also go another route. I could hire a bunch of spin doctors and clever marketing folks who would would call me “daaahling,” create my list for me (why daaaahling, you really must have bottled water from the Hidden Springs of Kilimanjaro you know), and leak pictures of me to TMZ, smoking something questionable to keep me relevant (turns out it’s just an herbal cigarette.) But…they’d also never let me eat a mountain of carbs covered in delicious fat….

So, I think I’ll keep my fairly mundane list and joyfully sit in my hot tub, surrounded by candles and happily eating my mashed potatoes and gravy while listening to my favorite music. I will however, trade in my cozy sheets for a personal trainer who would drag my ass out of them anyway to go work off the 5,000 calories that didn’t magically melt away in the hot tub. Oh to be famous.

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