Category Archives: Retail Therapy

SHOPPING IN BULK. SQUEE!!

Oh, honey! That ain't gonna be big enough!

I love me some shopping in bulk.

Shopping in bulk makes me go boom. Yes, I’ve already established my first love is, and always will be, Target—my life, my passion, my love! Shopping warehouse style is not the light, bright, “cheap chic” social hour shopping experience of Tarjay. Still, something about buying in bulk puts some bounce in my butt. Something about cradling a 36 pack of individually wrapped cookies in the middle of a suburban concrete shopping jungle makes me wanna shout, “SNACKTASTIC!!!”

The warehouse club? It’s momma’s playground.

Warehouse “clubbing” (Yeah, new rules. New definition of clubbing. What? People call me ma’am now. I can’t go into a real club anymore. Come on, you know I’m more Irish pub anyway.) is pure shopping A.D.D. Or is it A.D.H.D.? Either way, it’s sensory overload in the biggest, most funtabulous way. It’s awesomeness in a box. A big, big, biggity big ass box. Everything is bigger. And better. And did I mention bigger? How do you not get sucked into paying a few bucks more than you would at a regular store to get a much larger quantity of something? This is to speak nothing of the vast range of goods and services all housed under one ginormous warehouse roof for your shopping convenience.

Leather furniture purchased in conjunction with a 200 pound drum of pretzels and a 30 pack of beer is what I call EEEE-fficient? And well? The ability to test out the sofa with beer and pretzels in sight? Now you are singing my song! Take THAT Ethan Allen!

Like Tarjay, there’s a $100 cover charge–$200 if you don’t keep your head down and your wits about you. When you walk in the door and grab two supersize boxes of diapers and a box of wipes (Sorry environment, I double pinky swear I’m so getting you back when everyone in this joint is potty trained!), you’re pretty much there. And that’s before you sample the jalapeno/artichoke/dip/spread on the new!/flatbread/toasty/bread/thingys or spy the 500 count daily mega vitamins for women–totally worth the price. (Health before wealth!) Speaking of 500 count? Give me summa those 500 count thread count sheets! (Oh, you’re dead to me Bed, Bath and Beyond, you’re so dead to me. But thanks for playing!)

 “I just know if I get some cute new workout pants it will really inspire me to get my Richard Simmons on,” I whisper out loud. “But, build me up butter cup! Is that a vat of olive oil the size a gallon of milk? A must have for a gourmet chef such as myself!”   Barefoot Contessa? You better put some shoes on woman, because I be coming for you! Fresh herbs? Bring it. I have  a year’s supply of EVOO and cumin for $14.99! And Giada, watch your back, girl–you and your beloved pancetta (I’m sorry, I mean, pannncheeet—ttaaaahh.) Yeah, me be getting some of that in bulk. So suck it!

30% off books? Should we take one more whack at the crock pot? I mean, 1,001 crock pot recipes for only $9.99–there’s gotta be something good! (Yeah….probably not..remember? Nothing good comes out of a crock pot!) 50% off cards? Oh squeeeee! Happy birthday to meeeee!

Need new tires? Have them put on while you snack on a  jumbo dog or ice cream while you shop for…face cream? Ray-Ban polarized sunglasses? Small appliances? Big appliances? And more! Oh, so much more! Deeeep breaths….deeeep breaths. Wait! I know! A yoga mat!

Every day could be a party at the warehouse club. With all the free tasty treat samples, they’re halfway to margaritaville!  Just uncork some of that wine in aisle 12 and call momma a cab! Who needs a club? Crank up the Bose in aisle 7 and we’ll get this party started. Sorry Pauly D, we’re beating up the beat without you, bro!

The worst part is, I’m so club crazy I have memberships to two different warehouse clubs. Costco I love for produce, meat, antibacterial wipes, and diaper wipes. Their frozen fish and wine is fab too, and last time the hubs got “lucky” there….no really, he did. But why do I have on dork jeans from Kohl’s today, but my husband is sporting Lucky jeans? Costco! Over the years, we’ve bought….a swingset.. a fridge.. a tv, too… oh, Costco, I’m just sooo in love with you! (But seriously? Selling fridges? That is kinda akin to a drug dealer selling you a container for your stash, no? I mean, I ended up buying so much meat, frozen fish, and drinks at Costco that we needed another fridge for the basement to store said bargains and OH, LO AND BEHOLD, crafty Costco happened to sell just the perfect one….I believe that’s called entrapment!)

But BJ’s, sweet BJ’s, I love you, too. So I guess I’m all about the two timing and some might even call me a warehouse ho. (Harsh, but true. I will slut around for the best deals.) But BJ’s is closer to my house, and carries diapers, food, and drinks the kids like. It also takes coupons. They send out their own every month–good ones too for like $1 to $10 that really add up–not these piddly ass buy five and save .35 cents nonsense—BJ’s plays to win on the coupon front. They also take  manufacturer coupons (but we all know how well those coupons usually turn out for me…remember?) But seriously, last week BJ’s sent me a friendly email saying based on what I purchased last year, I saved over $1,000 on grocery items alone. Whoa. If I saved a grand, what the hell did I spend? I know they thought they were being all smarty pants sending me that, but ho’ing it up big ain’t cheap apparently! Perhaps I should re-examine the thrill of buying in bulk?

And I will say I’ve figured out the hard way a bargain ain’t a bargain unless you really need it. I’ve been “Costcoed” and “BJ’ed” before. Have you? You get home and realize it’s not really cool to have two giant bottles of salad dressing that you don’t end up loving or 4,000 of the wrong size garbage bags. So I guess the lesson is, “caveat emptor” or let the buyer beware. Or I should say, bulk buyer beware! But… as long as you know the rules going in, oh what fun you’ll have playing the game!

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Filed under Awesomeness, Mom-ness, Retail Therapy, Some things just don't fit into a neat little box. The uncategory!, Suburban Madness, Yo! It's a girl thing!

REUNITED…AND IT FEELS SO GOOD!

 

Isn’t she a thing of beauty?

Never stop believing.

 

Dreams do come true! They do. And I’m living proof. Something really big happened last week. No, huge. 

My Lands End catalog came. No, that’s not the huge…stick with me! 

I like some good Lands End garb as much as the next suburban hausfrau, but I stood in my kitchen, preparing to be underwhelmed by my typical fleece and khaki wardrobe staples. (Let’s be honest, Lands End is the steady, not the flash.) So I flipped through it, simultaneously admiring and scoffing at the carefree faces of the catalog peeps. (Please refer to a post from last week, “I want to live in a catalog. Wanna come with?)  So, my blasé tude rendered me totally unprepared for the awesomeness that waited inside. 

Lands End, I will never take you for granted again. 

Wait for it……Tretorns! 

Yes, Tretorns! 

Holy mother of cool, old school kicks. Tretorns! 

Just let it sink in a minute. 

If you’re a woman who came of age in the 70’s and/or 80’s you know just what I’m talking about whether you loved them or not. Tretorns from my girlhood are ba-ack. Dude! I NEED them ahora! Is this just my 80’s shoe geek busting out? My repressed inner pink and green prep screaming to be heard? Lands End might have unleashsed a firestorm of repressed 80’s fashion memories. 

My world has been turned upside down. Right side out! Wrong side in! Old is new! New is old! 

What? It is THAT exciting. And if you disagree you don’t know from exciting! 

So, confession time. To put this in perspective on the outside chance you don’t share in my shoe crazy, I’ve had a shoe problem since the third grade. This is when I beat my mother down (not literally…hello!) into buying me some Nike Cortez sneaks. Do you remember them? Oh, they were the bomb! They were white leather with the red swoosh and kind of a semi pointed toe. I can still hear the woman, “I can’t believe I am buying you $33 shoes right now!” 

Totally worth $33! In today's dollars maybe....

Frankly, I can’t believe it either. $33 was a lot of money then. (Back in the stone ages…. I mean, the early 80’s.) I don’t pay much more for my sneaks NOW—sometimes even less. All I can remember is her muttering that I would one day be destined for a career in sales (who knew?) because she was buying them for me and didn’t even know why. Oh! And that I better not tell my father! (If my father ever reads this… mum, I’m so sorry I busted your cover. We had a good run though, didn’t we? And no, I really don’t know who hit the garage. Seriously.) 

After the Cortez came the Tretorns. And after the Tretorns? The Adidas Gazelles— sophomore year in high school. Rumor had it you could only legally buy them in Canada (High school urban legend?). Eh, that made them all the more alluring though. My friend and I couldn’t drive so we ended up taking the commuter train into Boston after school and then the “T” to South Boston aka Southie (If you’re not from Boston, three words… Good Will Hunting.) to score our green contraband. My mother was rather unmoved by my rabid shoe needs by then, and I know I bought them with my own money I made schlepping clothes at Frugal Fannies Fashion Warehouse. The floors were concrete….I needed good footwear to pound that minimum wage pavement! 

I would totally still wear these!

And no, they were not the last green shoes I’ve had. I have, in my closet right now, a pair of green old school Sauconys that I bust out on St. Patty’s Day. And, other days when I just feel like going green. (Kermit was right—it ain’t easy being green—I’ve suffered some slings and arrows over my kicks! Bring it! I apologize to no one for my rainbow coalition of old school footwear!) Converse Chuck Taylors? I have me summa them. And retro New Balance? Yes, please! 

It’s safe to say, next to my family, I live for shoes. It’s the little things—life is too damn short to not embrace footwear fun. And I never pay full retail.  Don’t you wanna know how I scored some Tretorns for $16.50? (6pm.com. HOLLA! I’m all about sharing the intel but if you buy up all the size 8’s I’m coming for you! !) I knowwww…was that a little McMeanie to find out about them from Lands End and then go carousing elsewhere? Um, $38.50 in my pocket says, ha-ell no!!! 

The shoe fetish is hard to shake—but of all my best shoe memories, Tretorns were my longest running fave. And why I feel compelled to share the love. Now, I usually like to write my own stuff, but I’m not so much into the lovey dovey stuff, and couldn’t articulate it any better than Peaches & Herb…so sing with me now.(Um, maybe in private. You at work? Just hum along, lest someone misunderstand. That’s how rumors get started you know!) 

“Reunited and it feels so good.
Reunited ’cause we understood.
There’s one perfect fit,
And, sugar, this one is it.
We both are so excited 
‘Cause we’re reunited, hey, hey..”
 

Peaches & Herb must have been clairvoyant to produce this hit right when Tretorns came into favor. Coincidence? You decide. Did they sense that a random girl would one day rediscover one of her first shoe loves? This song has depth. It has meaning. It speaks to me.  

No, I do not hear voices in my head, why do you ask? 

But Tretorns, my love, um…this is awkward, but I have to wonder, where have you been the past two decades? 

Okay, no, no. I’m not going to go there. The past doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. It only matters that YOU CAME BACK! You came back for me! I don’t need to know the details of who you’ve been with or why. Bygones! 

When something so fantabulous happens, you want to sing from the rooftops, right? Well, I’m sort of afraid of heights, and honestly, we’re in the midst of a really crazy cold snap, so yeah, no. I did what any other modern day, fraidy cat, clutzy, cold hating whinybag would do…and I went on Facebook (where else?) to sing it, and to find out if others shared my undying decades long Tretorn devotion. I put out an APB on the muffintopmommy page on Facebook and hell yeah, there’s plenty of Tretorn love to go around. I knew this blog had fun readers who would totally get it! 

But wow, my question opened a Pandora’s box of 80’s pride. (And in a few cases, loathing. I cannot explain that which I do not understand. I am sad for the few Tretorn haters. I really am. They know not what they do. Some of them are my very best friends and I hold out hope they will see the light. It’s not too late!) So I have to ask…..do you share the love or don’t you? And don’t worry…this poll is totally and 100% anonymous (I think. I just figured out how to make one like thirty seconds ago, so you know, it also might not be. So watch your back just in case. I’m just sayin….this could get heated).

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Filed under Awesomeness, Friends...you got what I ne-ed, Retail Therapy, Some things just don't fit into a neat little box. The uncategory!, Suburban Madness, Things that make you go....awwww, Yo! It's a girl thing!

TARGET: MY LIFE, MY PASSION, MY LOVE!

The one place I love to visit, and visit often, is Target.

Wait, let me start over.

“Hi, my name is Muffintopmommy, and I’m addicted to Target”, or as I, and seventy bazillion others affectionately (nay, lovingly?) call it, “Tarjay”. I know that to some Target might just seem like any other big box store, but to me it’s so much more. I would go so far to say it’s a huge part of my life right now. No, I am not kidding!

Really. Stop laughing, you! Come on, did you really think I was going to say Bloomingdale’s or some fancy pants place like that?

WE DON’T EVEN HAVE BLOOMINGDALE’S IN NEW HAMPSHIRE AND EVEN IF WE DID, THEY’D LOCK THEIR DOORS IF THEY SAW MY BROOD AND ME COMING!

“Henderson, cut the lights, lock the door…I see the bourgeois coming. Quick, quick!”

Target is where I buy a lot of household stuff, sure, but it’s also where I end up socializing, and for better or worse, buying a lot of my clothes. Now, this is partly because I can rapidly toss clothing items into a moving red plastic cart while I shop on the fly with the little scamps in tow…. and partly because Target really embodies ‘cheap chic’… in my humble opinion. I like to think I really am quite the budget fashionista—please, don’t tell Stacey and Clinton. (Or better yet, do tell.  I exaggerate my talent, and could use a $5,000 wardrobe makeover and some pointers on how to disguise the muffin top, because it is becoming abundantly clear that I am just going to continue to whine about it while doing nothing to change.)

There, I said it. I feel better now.

Please note for your shopping pleasure that Target really knows its audience. “A” for effort Target marketers—no doubt a team of savvy moms—you thought of everything. Frazzled mommies on the go rejoice that the big red shopping carts that restrain your crew can easily navigate their family changing rooms. Take that Bloomies!

Every time I hit Targ I run into other moms I know and end up yukking it up by the laundry detergent or seasonal items. I’m not going to lie to you, staying home with three kids four and under can make for long days, especially when those frosty New England winters hit, and I so look forward to my impromptu social hour. Don’t even tell me you didn’t know Targ was an informal social club? (Are you lying? Admit it— you’re right there with me.) They don’t advertise it in the Sunday flyer but it’s a well known fact among moms. You might have your water cooler, we have our aisle seven!

Target having everything I could possibly need under one roof is both a blessing and a curse. It’s fantastic because I only have to take the kids out of the car seat ONCE to do a million errands. What’s more flipping annoying than taking three kids, none of whom can buckle themselves yet, in and out of car seats on multiple errands? You might as well go have a tooth pulled then do that. (Although wait, I just remembered– that’s my vacation!)

Really, the only downside to my love affair with Targ (I like to abbreviate words. So fun. Go ahead and try it. Be a rebel. I dare you.) is that it is absolutely a threat to my household finances. But if posed with the choice, heat, light or Targ, I gotta admit, I’d have to think about it long and hard…..

Okay, I decided.

Who needs light when you can just go to Targ and enjoy all the lovely, fluorescent bright lights you want for as long as you want?! Lighting at home is so glorified anyway. So twentieth century. Laura Ingalls didn’t need light, so neither do I!

It is just so terribly easy to become derailed in Targ. I swear the orangey red décor riles you up into a spending frenzy or there’s some kind of secret old school subliminal messages in play. All I know is I might go in there for toilet paper and soap, a minor and necessary expenditure, and then come out with new wine glasses, some shorts, a frame, a book, bathing suits for the kids, tortilla chips, stationery, a purse and—oh, don’t forget the undies at the check out—seven pair for $6.99 with the fancy cursive writing on the band—sing with me now, “I’m bringing sexy back. Yeah!” 

But the kicker? I’ll get all that and then forget the toilet paper and soap that I went there in there for in the first place.

Oy.

I’m pretty careful with the household budget but in Tarjay I end up like a kid in a candy store and since most things are reasonably priced, I figure what’s the harm—til I get to the register and realize, omg, all this piddly stuff really adds up and did I really just spend that? If I get out under $100 bucks, it’s a good day. (My friend’s sister jokes that there’s a $100 cover charge at Target. I swear no truer words have been spoken.) I have no idea why each and every time I shop at Target what I spend astounds me. You’d think I’d learn some defense or something, or, gasp, just not shop there. But the fact is I don’t want to stop. I can’t stop!!!!

HELLPPP MEEEE!!!

I think I need an intervention.

It’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who suffers from Targ-diction. I’m not going down alone. As a joke, I started a Target group on Facebook. (What? I do too have a life!) Are you really surprised I’d be into Facebook?  I’ve already revealed that I’m a thirtysomething mom of three boys four and under, who has a serious muffin top problem and looks forward to socializing at a big box store. Should it surprise you some of my biggest socializing now occurs online? It’s not sad. It’s not!

But I’m digressing again (Adult onset ADD? I keep meaning to look into that…but then… I interrupt myself again and forget.). Just for kicks, I decided to see if I were the only loser, I mean, mom, who shared these sentiments about Target. I figured it would be a fun social experiment of sorts. Here’s the group’s description as I wrote on FB, and you can check for yourself, it’s 100% real and serves no actual purpose as evidenced by the fact that I put it under, “just for fun/totally random”:

MOM’S ADDICTED TO TARGET—ADMITTING IT IS THE FIRST STEP!!!

For all you moms out there who hit Target at least once a week…..if you go in with the intention of buying a ‘few’ things, and come out with at least $50 worth of ‘stuff’…..if you bump into at least a few other moms you know every time you go and love the little impromptu social hour by the cleaning products….if you can’t stay away from the pull, the glow, the allure of the orangey-red decor of Targhhhay….if you passionately tick off a laundry list of why Target is infinitely better than it’s dingy, unhip, uncool and no fun rival Wal-Mart, this group is for you! Target addicts unite! Admitting it is the first step to recovery….although, none of us probably want to recover…where would we go on weekday mornings then???

I’m proud to say, we are 63 members strong! And? We’re a geographically diverse group, having members from coast to coast, and even from Canada making us…an “international” group (That’s what I’m talking about; I like to foster international relations.) and  proving the Target addiction knows no boundaries, and targets (no pun intended) any mom, anywhere. Consider yourself forewarned!

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COME ON. I’M WAY TOO YOUNG FOR A HEARING AID, RIGHT? RIGHT!!

I thought cardiac arrest had my number the other day. My four year old rushed up to me with his Transformer and shouted, “Mommy, Megatron can fly!” but what I heard was, “Mommy, let’s get drunk and high!” DEAR GOD! I was about to call that preschool and ask who he’d been cavorting with on the playground. (Was it YOUR kid? It was YOUR kid wasn’t it?!)

I did not sign up for this! I mean, I know at some point you need to address these issues with your kids, but for the love of all things holy, I hoped we’d at least make it through middle school first. Or elementary school. Or, you know, preschool?

I asked him three times to repeat himself. And three times I seriously thought he said “Let’s get drunk and high!” Panic set in. I ticked down the list of potential temporary hearing impairment causes….. Nope, I hadn’t been drinking. (It was a week day at like noon. Come on, give me some credit.) And yup, I’d had my daily coffee iv. Hungry? Um, no. (Come on, we all know I don’t miss a meal.) So if the whole hearing malfunction wasn’t alcohol induced or the result of caffeine or food withdrawal, then what was it? At four, the kid isn’t going to be winning any linguistics awards but I understand him 99% of the time so I couldn’t blame him either.

Ugh oh.

I shudder to say it—even think it. Could I possibly be losing some hearing? I am way too young for that! I joke I’m turning grey and begrudgingly confess I’m closer to 40 than 30, but that’s still way too young to be rocking the hearing aid with the silver foxes down at Bingo. (Although, I might as well confess. I really think I could get into Bingo…there’s yelling and gambling and probably some swearing. Throw in some beers and I’m ALL in!) Gert, you need an extra? Call me. I’m in the book.

And…maybe I’m not too young to be falling apart. Last year I succumbed to glasses. I’d been having a rough time driving at night and strained way too much to read street signs. I’d blamed the small New Englandy signs and dark roads for too long. I had to take action. But glasses? Turns out not so traumatic. Glasses are fun now. Funky! Stylish! Hip! An optical fashion genius (I’m not sure if that’s her exact title but it should be) helped me choose some fly (maybe I am old enough to be deaf if I’m still using fly as an adjective…) brown Burberry frames that were face flattering. (Read: didn’t make my round face look more dough girl…we went less dough girl…more glam girl. Glam girl, good. Dough girl, bad.) Gracias eyeball insurance!

I felt giddy when I picked them up. I’m not gonna lie, I preened in Lenscrafters and skipped out of there like a girl who just got smooched for the first time.  I drove home, modeled them for my hubs, went all Good Will Hunting and screeched that I felt, “wicked smaht”! When I wear them I feel studious, professorial even. It’s a good look I wear with pride at the grocery store and the preschool pick up line. I can sense the cashiers and other moms are trying to hide how impressed they really are. (They pair nicely with the rest of my ensemble from Tarjay and my Lands End Suburban nerd shoes.)

But my hearing? Unless Burberry makes a sassy match to the glasses for my lobes, um, I don’t think so. Just….no. Nooo.

It’s good to know I’m not alone in the resistance. See, the stubborn streak runs in the family. For years my dad has been struggling with his hearing. He’ll put his hand to his ear, we’ll shout, he still won’t hear us, and then he’ll bark, “You don’t enunciate!” or “The acoustics in this room are terrible!” (Apparently, they’re terrible in every room. In every house. In every city. In every state.)

But he’s an older guy, he’s actually pretty stylish (I mean fly) and you can appreciate him not wanting to put some clunky, uncomfy plastic thing on his ear if he’s not really hearing impaired. (Plus? Then he’d have no excuse to yell and what fun would that be?) When we suggested a hearing aid and he growled they’re for “old farts”, well, who could argue? (Did I mention he’s over 80?) So I’ll continue to scream at my dad and admire how spiffy he looks (cuz I’ll have my fancy pants glasses on—how better to see him with) in his button downs, cords and loafers, his white hair just so. And I won’t bust his chops anymore to get that hearing aid, now that I’ve had my own brush with the terrible acoustics in my home. (I regret ever doubting you, dad!)

When all is said and done, you just can’t fight DNA and dad knows best on this one. We ain’t going down without a fight! You all better just start enunciating!

P.S. I meant to mention in the post that my memory is starting to fail as well (so many possible reasons why!). But then….I forgot.

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