coupon crazies.

11/23/2009

We have all seen them. The coupon crazies. They’re in front of you in line at the Target and the grocery store – every time.

Yesterday I witnessed a woman with a full cart of Target goodies… toys, household products, clothes, art supplies, etc… Up and up went the total and then, right before my eyes, she handed over a stack of coupons.

Then there I was. Staring. (Ok, so I was staring the whole time, what’s the big deal?) Watching the total plummet. Her original total was at least over $50. Post stack-o-coupons the total was $8 and change.

To be honest, it kinda pissed me off. How can she do this and I can’t? What was her trick? So, being the shy person that I am… I say, “Hi. How’d you do that!?” Her response was short. In fact, too short. “Coupons online.” Uh, okay – can you be a little more specific? (Alright, that’s where my shyness comes in – I didn’t really push her for more details.)

Let’s be honest here, folks. We all want to be a coupon crazy. One of my friends has offered to give me a coupon tutorial. I plan to take notes and study her every print and cut. And when I save almost 90%, I’ll be sure to tell you.

And, don’t worry – I’ll share my secrets.

10 things I discovered while having the flu.

11/10/2009

10. You can make your soda last longer with a Bottle Top! Six for only $10 plus s&h!

9. The Swivel Sweeper cleans up wet vegetables. Right now, it’s BOGO!

8. The Million Dollar Listing and Tabitha’s Salon Takeover are two amazing shows on Bravo.

7. Keeping hydrated when you can hardly swallow is very difficult.

6. Watching Pretty Woman for the gazillionth time reminded me of when I shopped at Cameron Clothing and asked about a particular dress in the window. The associate’s response to me was, “That wouldn’t fit you.” Maybe she thought I actually was Julia Roberts.

5. It is possible to be so sick that you actually cannot watch a minute more of TV.

4. You never know what the fridge and pantry will be stocked with after you send your husband to the grocery store a few times.

3. Not eating for four days is a great way to shed a few unwanted lbs.

2. Making a casserole just got a lot easier with the Bullet Express – 3 payments of ONLY $33.33. A $480 value, in case you were wondering. It IS the amazing 8 Minute Meal Machine!

1. Listening to my husband and child laugh and play on a gorgeous weekend while I lay in bed is almost as painful as h1n1.

clean up, lane 1.

11/04/2009

I do love Chick-fil-A, but have cut back recently. However, today the cupboards were bare and my stomach was growling. In fact, I think I heard it say, “eat more chicken.” But that could have been my imagination.

Just picked up G from school. He didn’t appear to be falling asleep in his car seat, so I thought it’d be okay to make a quick swing through the drive-thru.

I place my order and slowly drive around the turn to the first window. You can tell by the looks of the curb that many are in a rush to get to that chicken sandwich.

There is a trash can. Placed right on the turn. Just at window height. It’s like they knew that I had a can of d. coke in my cup holder taking the place of my new, fresh, bubbly, fountain d. coke that I’m about to get.

I take the can out of the cup holder and throw it into the trash can. Oh no! I totally missed the trash can. Are you kidding me? I was not a full 12″ away. The car door was even too close to the trash can for me to open it and pick the can up. (BTW, I know, I know, I should be recycling the can. Don’t judge me. Hmm… maybe this was a sign.)

I was talking to my doppelganger, A, on the phone while this was all happening. I say to A – “OMG, I’m such a jerk! What should I do?!” We decide that I just tell the lady at the window. Of course, being a Chick-fil-A employee, she was very nice and told me not to worry about it at all – she even laughed along with me. Or maybe at me.

No lessons learned here – just a funny story about me and my d. coke.

NOTE: On Thursday, November 5, receive a FREE chicken biscuit or chicken sandwich when you donate at least 3 non-perishable food items to participating Triangle area Chick-fil-A restaurants. All donated food items will benefit the Durham Rescue Mission, the Raleigh Rescue Mission, or a local food pantry.

Charles Shaw for President.

11/04/2009

We all know (unless you live under a rock) that the Trader Joe’s is now open in Raleigh. Conveniently, for me, it is right next to Costco.

I found myself getting very excited for the grande opening when I was recently behind a guy driving a red truck who was obviously a TJ’s fan. License plate cover, ‘I love Trader Joe’s,’ license plate ‘IHRTTJS,’ and bumper sticker ‘Charles Shaw for President.’ Seemed like overkill, but it made me laugh and excited to visit the new store. Maybe the driver was Joe. Or Charles.

So, I’m planning my big visit and I need your help. Here’s the thing… the last time I shopped at a TJ’s was in the late 90’s in Boston. I vaguely remember what I bought – Kiss My Face products being the main thing. I’ve heard there are delicious gourmet cheeses, cookies, dried fruits, frozen pizzas, and most importantly, great deals.

Please help make me a Trader Joe’s fanatic! What are your TJ’s recommendations?

pronounced Fa-Yeh!

10/28/2009

Fage. I love this yogurt. I was so excited to see that they are carrying the 0% fat option at Costco, although I do prefer the fat-full one for my little guy. (Costco=my favorite big box store, btw.)

Here are the (shortened) benefits, as listed on the container:

1. Greek Strained Yogurt is totally natural and free of artificial additives and preservatives.

2. It contains live active yogurt cultures, which remain active until the expiration date and offer positive health benefits.

3. It’s gluten free.

4. It can be used in cooking pasta dishes or preparing spreads, sauces, smoothies, and desserts as an alternative to cream and mayonnaise.

I love it because one serving has ~20 grams of protein. And, if you are looking for a low-fat substitute for sour cream. Look no further. In fact, many people don’t like this yogurt because they say it tastes exactly like sour cream.

So, in the words of Dr. Seuss, “You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And you may.”

confession.

10/21/2009

Alright, I have a confession to make. I do have a huge interest in customer service and sharing my experiences with you. However, I am also a mom of a wild child. I guess this is a semi-official mommy blog. So, in addition to my product reviews and my experiences out and about (good and bad) – I will throw in a few personal mom stories here and there.

As for writing something now… Well, it’s nap time which is very precious mommy time, so I’m getting back to work!

dump. dump. dump.

10/13/2009

As of last week, I am going to try and cook at least 5 meals a week. Yes, you read that right – 5 meals a week. As you may recall, I started this blog after I saw Julie and Julia. I’m not going to attempt what Julie did, but rather, attempt to make anything.

Being a busy mom of a toddler, I want something simple, healthy, and quick to prepare. But, I do want it to be delicious and if I can impress my husband – that wouldn’t hurt, either.

Since I share with you customer service experiences and product reviews, I figured throwing a recipe or two out there may be helpful, too. Especially to my other mom friends.

This is a super easy recipe and quick:

1lb tilapia (or whatever white fish is on special)
9oz baby spinach
1 jar (roughly 1 cup) salsa – drained
4oz crumbled feta cheese
garlic (I use ~ 1/2T of minced garlic)
olive oil (I use ~2-3T, but can’t be sure – I just eyeball it.)
1 box rice pilaf (Prepare according to box directions.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat olive oil and garlic in a 12″ fry pan.

When oil is hot, saute all the baby spinach.

Pour in the drained salsa and mix. (Honestly, I can never seem to ‘drain’ the salsa – so I think it’s fine not drained. And, more than 1 cup will work, too.)

Scoop 1/2 the spinach/salsa mix into a casserole dish.

Lay the fish on top of the spinach/salsa mix.

Scoop the remaining spinach/salsa mix on top of the fish.

Sprinkle the feta cheese all over the top. You can use as much or as little as you would like.

Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Serve over the prepared rice pilaf. Serves 4.

Enjoy!!!

Note: I will title all of my recipe posts as ‘dump. dump. dump.’ in honor of my mother who always says every recipe she makes is as easy as “dump. dump. dump!”

How she makes it look so easy – I’ll never know. Maybe in time.

the way car buying should be?

10/06/2009

I was reminded of this particular incident today. (Don’t recall what triggered it, but regardless…)

A few years ago, my husband and I were going to sell our car. So, for kicks, we brought it to CarMax (in Raleigh) to see what we could get for it.

All was going smoothly. We give them the keys and wait while they look over the car, take it for a spin, and then decide what low-ball, offensive number they will unveil to us.

We wait in a small, non-descript office with a computer, 3 chairs, and a salesman. (Usually I would say ‘salesperson,’ but in this case, salesman seems appropriate.)

He begins to try and sell us on the CarMax ‘way.’ Now, don’t get me wrong, it is a genius concept for those who just want to buy a used car and pay the price. (No pun intended.)

However, isn’t the idea that there is no pressure and no negotiating? Well, this guy was lecturing us on the reasons why going to a regular dealership and buying a new car is a horrible idea. Basically, pressuring was his sales style.

Being someone who likes to give my opinion, I explain to him that I’ve never owned a new car and am excited to get one. I explain politely that I have bought at CarMax and was pleased in the past, but was excited for the thrill of a new car. The smell, the odometer reading less than 10, no scratches, the sound of your feet on the plastic wrap on the carpet, peeling off the film that protects the stereo… Well, you get my point and I thought he did, too. Apparently not.

The conversation came to an immediate halt after this:

Him: “Here at CarMax, you don’t have to deal with pushy sales people and you never have to negotiate.”

Me: “I actually really like to negotiate.”

Him: “Well, women are not good negotiators.”

True story.

I will not recommend, nor re-visit a CarMax. Ever.

relax.

10/03/2009

fatboytheoriginal
D’s birthday was a few weeks ago and what do you get for someone who has just about everything? A Fatboy, of course.

This obviously was something that I really wanted, too. Win-win.

This is one of the most comfortable, oversized, bean bag chair on the market. If you are looking for something for your media room/living room/play room – this is a perfect addition. It comes in a ton of fun colors.

And after a breakfast at Cracker Barrel, what else could be better than a sleeping baby, the Carolina game on the flat screen, and some serious relaxing on the Fatboy?

the girl in the black cardigan.

10/01/2009

Finally. I did it! I introduced myself to the manager at the Caribou. Her name is Diane and she’s a riot. I said, “I’m Heather, by the way, I come here a lot and thought I’d introduce myself.” She said, “I know. It’s nice to meet you.” “I know,” she says!? So, maybe people are noticing that I wear the same black cardigan everyday.

Many of my readers know that I spend at least 3 days a week (or more) at the Caribou and I’ve been doing this for almost a year. This will come as a shock, but I don’t really drink coffee – I just love the space and the music. They have great unsweet iced tea and delicious dark chocolate graham crackers.

The service here is always tip-top. The drinks are always good and if you are unhappy with your decision – they’ll make you something else. I’ve seen this happen a few times. So, this morning I ordered my regular, but they were out. Diane said she would brew some unsweet tea for me. I told her that I would come back to get it.

Well, what seemed like 5 or 10 minutes really was more like a half-hour. No drink. I realized I was getting thirsty and decided to go up and get my tea. Remember, I told Diane I would come back to get it.

She was shocked that nobody brought it over to me. So, she quickly fixed it for me and apologized a few times. I kept saying it really was not a big deal. She then gave me 2 coupons for a free drink – any kind, any size.

That was above and beyond.

NOTE: For the month of October, when you buy Amy’s blend coffee, tea, or merchandise 10% of the sale price will go to Susan G. Komen For the Cure. Click here to read Amy’s story.

Now, what high-calorie, delicious, frothy drink will I enjoy absolutely free?