Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pick of the Week

It’s pick of the week time: every Sunday I pick one great buy out of the Weekly Target ad (in the Sunday paper) and highlight it here on my blog. The inspiration for today’s pick comes from The Budget Fashionista as she compares the “high” vs. “low” versions of practically the same peep-toe pump by Franco Sarto and Merona. Well I found my own comparison with a different Merona style on sale this week at Target: at left is the Merona “Morgan” Mary Jane pump in Tan for just $24.99. Compare that with the Franco Sarto “Embrace” pump in Camel Mirage, and you’ll think you’re seeing double. Only the Franco Sarto pumps will set you back $93… almost 4 times as much as the Merona ones at Target!

Friday, August 29, 2008

New Isaac Mizrahi Fall collection hits Target stores

The Budget Fashionista has posted her take on Isaac Mizrahi’s new Fall collection (which will be his last, seeing that he’s leaving at the end of this year for Liz Claiborne). Although her depiction is accurate, we don’t share the same POV. She’s grooving on the plaid and florals, whereas I’m thinking these looks are tired and tacky. Except for his cashmere collection; Isaac always has a pretty good selection in this area (at budget-friendly prices) and this Fall is no different.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Can you say "fugly"??

Nitrolicious has posted a sneak peek at the Jonathan Saunders for Target collection. Saunders is the thirteenth GO International designer to release a limited edition capsule collection with the mass retailer, which will launch in early October. And the first word that comes to mind with this pic is definitely "fugly"! Let's hope the rest of his collection looks better than this awful frock.

Bullseye Bodegas

As reported last week by, Target will open four pop-up stores (or 'bullseye bodegas' as the retailer calls them) next month in New York in Midtown, Union Square, Soho and the East Village.

The locations—57th Street at Sixth Avenue in Midtown, Broadway near 12th Street in Union Square, Broome Street between Wooster Street and West Broadway in Soho and Bowery at 2nd Street in the East Village—will offer up goods from twenty-two of Target's collabs, encompassing clothing, accessories, housewares, makeup and more. The list of designers includes Anya Hindmarch, John Derian, Dean Harris, Jonathan Saunders and Sigerson Morrison. The pop-up stores, open September 11th - 14th, will all be shopable from 10AM to 10PM. So if you’re lucky enough to live in the Big Apple – or happen to be visiting that week – check it out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday's Rave: The Hudson Collection

Last Wednesday I raved about Target’s Natural Luxe collection, which contains similar items found at Pottery Barn. This week I’m going to continue the theme of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and highlight the Hudson collection of furniture at Target, which looks like it could have been pulled directly from the latest West Elm catalog. Only at a fraction of the cost of West Elm, of course. Really, at these great prices, why shop at West Elm, Pottery Barn, or Restoration Hardware anymore?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tuesday’s Rant: this Chefmate mini-fridge

Today’s rant is about the Chefmate mini-fridge (pictured here and on sale this week at Target) which WAS planned to be my Pick of the Week. Then I looked up the consumer reviews on, and the results were dismal.

Shame on Target for peddling sub-par merchandise that breaks after such a short time! So rather than recommend this one, I’m instead going to offer some tips (courtesy of Family Circle Magazine) on what you should look for when buying a mini-fridge. Whether you need another fridge for your college-bound freshman, for your office, or just for more storage in the garage, there are some key features to look for:

• Size: interiors can range from 1.7 to up to 6 cubic feet. If it’s going on a countertop, make sure the height is less than 20 inches. For storing under a countertop, you should be able to go as high as 30 inches.
• Freezer: pick an all-plastic interior as it’s easier to defrost.
• Shelving: make sure they’re removable and adjustable, as they’re easier to clean than wire.
• Temp control: a dial control is more convenient to set than one behind the unit.
• Door hinge: look for a reversible one for the option of changing the direction of the door opening.
And overall – for maximum energy efficiency – keep your compact fridge away from direct sunlight and heat, which can strain the cooling element.

Monday, August 25, 2008

On second thought, I take that back...

Remember how I blogged the day before last about how shopping at Target for school supplies was a "no brainer"? Yeah, well scratch that. While it might be a good place to shop for back-to-school essentials in late/July or early August (when Target first puts their BTS wares out for display) it is certainly NOT the place to shop the day before the first day of school when everything is picked over and the selection is dismal. Seriously, I had to fight another mom for the last 100 page single-subject spiral bound notebook. [And on a side note: WHY did it have to be exactly 100 pages? Wouldn't 120 or 150 pages sufficed??] And I also managed to score the LAST pack of graph paper and the ONLY 2" binder left in stock.

One fellow shopper -- a mother almost driven to tears -- timidly asked a Target employee when the supplies would be re-stocked. Much to her dismay, the answer was "it isn't, because we need the floor space for our Halloween stuff. !!!??!!

My recommendation? Head on over to Office Depot or Staples instead. That's what we did when we couldn't find half the stuff on our 9th grader's supply list.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pick of the Week

It’s pick of the week time: each week I pick one great buy from Target’s Weekly ad (in the Sunday newspaper) and highlight it here on my blog. Today’s pick is the Polaroid PoGo instant mobile printer for just $129.99. Now I love our digital camera, and I’m starting to take more cell phone photos, too. But lacking a printer, we really only share our pics online, and I miss printing them out to… oh, I don’t know, put them in frames or post them on the fridge or something old-fashioned like that. But with this nifty device, I can quickly print out full-bleed borderless images that are dry to the touch and ready to frame. It easily hooks up to both digital cameras and cell phones, and features automatic image quality optimization with water-resistant, tear-proof, and smudge-proof prints.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

This is kind of a no-brainer...

This article sort of amused me for its "oh, really?" moment. It seems that although many folks like to shop online, they draw the line when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Like, "duh"!

Now I love shopping online, especially at Target where you can often find free shipping deals for any orders over $50. [Target is mentioned in this article, BTW]. But I would never, EVER deny my boys the freedom to pick out their own clothes and school supplies. It's not just the better deals you get during back-to-school sales; it's the ability to give your kids a choice in what they bring (and wear) to school. With all that said: tomorrow is "our annual day" for the hubby and I to take the boys to get them haircuts and hit the mall (which yes, includes a TARGET) for everything "back-to-shool", and I can hardly wait!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Attention David Archuleta fans!

David Archuleta has officially become a signed recording artist with an album headed to a Target store near you. The seventeen year old recent American Idol runner-up has inked a record deal with 19 Recordings/Jive Records, the same label that season 7 winner David Cook is signed with.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

From Target to Saks, consumers cut spending

This article outlining the recent slump in consumer confidence caught my attention, surmising that from Target to Saks, consumers are cutting back. It states that “The increasing frugality among consumers is challenging even Target's forte in cheap chic. The discounter, whose performance has been lagging behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., reported a 7.6 percent drop in profit as its customers focused on necessities such as food and paper towels. Target offered a cautious outlook for the third quarter amid an erratic start to the back-to-school season and said it would slow its store expansion in fiscal 2009.”

I certainly haven’t stopped shopping at Target, but it got me wondering who’s shopping at the likes of Saks and Bloomingdales these days? Then I remembered this recent op/ed piece from the San Francisco Chronicle by former SF mayor Willie Brown in which he revealed the following:
Bloomingdale's - packed and nobody speaking English.
Neiman Marcus - no English.
And nobody, but nobody, was speaking English in Prada.
It's all Italian, Dutch, French, German and heavy, heavy Russian.
The Europeans are absolutely the biggest retail customers these days downtown, and they are spending like crazy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday's Rave: Natural Luxe at Target

One of my favorite things about Target is their home décor aisle. Over the years I've been able to buy many unique items to grace my walls, mantle, and shelves. And now they have a new collection called “Natural Luxe” that looks like it came straight out of the latest Pottery Barn catalog, only at a fraction of the cost. Case in point: check out this cool wrought-iron branch figurine that would be perfect as a living room accent piece or in a bedroom as a jewelry tree. Continuing on the nature theme, the Natural Luxe line also has this stylish lamp (for just under $50) which is reminicent of this driftwood one (at 6 times the price!) from from Pottery Barn. And finally, why get this branch-motif pillow sham from Pottery Barn for $45 when you can get a whole branch pillow for just $19 at Target?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday’s Rant: Go International not as advertised

On Tuesdays I usually take the opportunity to rant about something I do NOT like about Target…because although I love them to death, they certainly ain’t perfect! Now as reported yesterday, Thakoon (pictured here with one of his runway models) is rumored to be the next designer tapped by Target for a Go International collection. But here’s my question: isn’t Thakoon based in New York? And haven’t at least half the Go International designers been U.S.-based? Whatever happened to the International part? The recent Go designers have all been American: Patrick Robinson, Erin Fetheston, Rogan Gregory, Richard Chai. You have to dig back to 2005/06 to find the likes of Luella Bartley, Proenza Schouler, or Sophie Albou (Paul & Joe). Target needs to widen their reach and hire truly “international” designers for their limited-edition collections.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The rumor mill: Thakoon for Target?

Glamour Magazine has reported that Target has signed Thakoon Panichgul to design an upcoming Go International collection. His limited-collection line is slated to hit stores in December.

Now this isn’t Thakoon’s first foray into frugal fashion. He worked with Gap on a white shirt project back in 2007, the result of which is pictured at left. Thankoon is known for bold prints and vintage-inspired yet modern designs – sort of a “sexy secretary” vibe. Hopefully he can bring some of that sophisticated yet wearable sensibility to the Go International line, which at best has been hit-or-miss for the past year.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pick of the Week

It's pick of the week time: each week I pick one great buy from Target's weekly ad (in the Sunday paper) and highlight it here on my blog. Today's pick comes from my husband, who love LOVE LOVES these Converse One Star oxfords. So much so, that he's actually asked me to get him another pair...which is rare for him, as he usually wears one pair out before getting another. Target has a whole array of colors and styles, starting at just $29.99 for both men and women's styles. And at this price, I can afford to get some cute skimmers for myself, too!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Past Go International designer calls it quits

It looks like one of Target's Go International designers from recent memory has decided to call it quits and end her clothing line. Milla Jovovich, co-creator of Jovovich-Hawk (along with friend and fellow model Carmen Hawk) told Lucky Magazine last week that the line had run its course. "It's like, When one door closes...I'm in a time of rediscovery, from my career to my personal style."

Jovovich-Hawk was started back in 2003 and sold in high-end retailers like Fred Segal... that is until this past March, when they debuted a budget-friendly line for Target. So if you happend to snap up any of Target's Jovovich-Hawk line, you might just own a piece of history, now that the line is going kaput.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New at Target: Soap Tunes

Shean Ferrell set out to develop a kid-friendly hygiene product to pitch to Target stores. Inspired by a mix of musical greeting cards, Disney songs and chats with parents of young children, Ferrell found just the product he was looking for: singing soap. And Target liked his tune.

Ferrell’s firm began selling its Soap Tunes product at Target stores nationwide last month. The hand soap plays a short song when a child presses down the pump. The tunes are meant to be educational, teaching kids the alphabet and counting skills. The soap also comes in kid-friendly scents like bubble gum, watermelon and berry.

The idea behind Soap Tunes is to help parents find a fun way to prod their children into scrubbing up, said Ferrell. “We wanted to come up with something innovative that encourages kids to wash their hands,” he said. The soap targets children up to 10 years old and retails for $4.99, about one dollar more than non-singing soap.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wednesday’s Rave: this groovy desk lamp

Today’s rave comes by way of neccessity: my group at work just moved offices, so it’s time to get used to a new space in the cube farm. And truth be told, although my new digs are near a window, it’s still a bit dark. So I wanted to get a small, unobtrusive, and most importantly CHEAP lamp to put in the corner of my cube, and this groovy little number fits the bill. I actually got the white one but I’m posting the picture of the brown one because it shows up better online. Best of all, this little beauty is just $7 (on sale this week) at Target.

Just one have to buy a special bulb for this lamp (I think it cost all of $2.14 for a 2-pack) but please be careful and ensure that the bulb stands upright and AWAY from the sides of the lampshade. Otherwise you might have a melted plastic mess on your hands!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Is Target more upscale?

The daily poll today over at The Budget Fashionista asks "Is Target more upscale than other discount retailers?" Head on over to the site to vote for yourself. So far, the results are a resounding YES, by over 85%.

The rumor mill: Alexander McQueen for Target?

Can this really be true?? WWD has leaked the news that cutting-edge couture king Alexander McQueen could be the next designer tapped to produce a Go International collection for Target:

It looks like Alexander McQueen could be the latest designer name -- and one of the most prestigious -- to link up with Target's Go International program, which showcases capsule collections by guest designers. According to industry sources, the British designer is in talks to work on a collection for the Minneapolis-based retailer. A spokeswoman for McQueen declined comment Wednesday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dorm Decor

It's DEFINITELY back-to-school time. While trolling through my local Target yesterday, I noticed at least a half a dozen dazed-and-confused teens (aka soon-to-be college freshmen) being led around the "Home Improvement" aisles by their parents, adding the essentials to their carts.

While not essential per se, these storage ottomans can add a lot to both the form and function of that first dorm room. Creating space in cramped quarters is a must, and students can use these padded ottomans as footstools, for extra seating or even for tray dining. And the best part is that they also allow for extra storage. At left is just an example, but Target has a wide range of storage ottomans....from this faux-leather brown cube for just under $60 to this more traditional one in tan velvet to this mod round one in faux-suede for just $24.99.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Pick of the Week

It's pick of the week time: each week I pick one great buy from Target's Weekly ad (in the Sunday newspaper) and highlight it here on my blog. Now at just $3 for a 3-ring binder or $1.50 per notebook, these prices on recycled-paper back-to-school supplies can't be beat. But the real reason I'm mentioning them are for the LOL moment I had when I read about them on last week:

Target has fully embraced the whole eco-friendly totebag movement....The eco overtones continue in school supplies: recycled notebooks and pencil cases sport environmental slogans including the touchy "O.P.P. Other People's Paper." While the recycled message is clear, what is also evident is the reference to the classic, sexually-overt Naughty by Nature song. Get these notebooks before they are recalled, people.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

You say Target, I say Tar-Zhay

I found this cute article about Target's well-known French-sounding nickname, "Tar-Zhay". Here's an excerpt:

In the last decade or so, I've heard many, many people refer to the discount retailer as "Tar-Zhay," instead of the boring "Target." Where did that pronunciation come from, you ask? There are opinions all over on this one, but one strikes me the best. Target, despite its discount niche, has also become a favorite destination for fashion-savvy consumers who might otherwise shop at high-end boutiques -- except for the fact they want a good deal. The French accent is a way of poking good-natured fun at the apparent sophistication of Target's deal-seeking shoppers.

In fact, Target carries much of the same discount, commodity stuff we buy at other retailers, but markets that merchandise in a cheerful and upscale way. The shopping experience, is clean, bright, and cheerful. Just look at the gleaming floors in your local SuperTarget and the white and red colors that make it seem like a test for the senses rather than a dull retailer. Bonjour, Tar-Zhay practically flows off the tongue, as a result.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Target "pushing the envelope" to lure back shoppers

Target’s CEO Gregg Steinhafel says the national discount chain is “pushing the envelope” on fashion in apparel and home to give customers a more compelling reason to spend money on discretionary categories during the current economic downturn.

In an interview earlier this week with Minnesota Public Radio, he said Target’s mostly female consumer has been cutting back on apparel and home décor – which he described as “the extras, the special purchases” – because she currently “just has no money to really go out and splurge.” So to woo her out of the commodity aisles, Target is actively “trying to give her a reason to spend money. We’re actually pushing the fashion envelope and trying to create an environment where there is something that gets her excited about coming into apparel or coming into home. We’re pushing the fashion side of it even more aggressively.” But not at any price, he said.

To improve upon its “value perception” and drive business, Target is working “very closely” with its suppliers to avoid price increases “because we want to best serve our guests by keeping prices as low as we possibly can,” Steinhafel said. When asked about Target’s falling share price over the past several months compared to Wal-Mart’s, Steinhafel explained the differences in the two retailers’ business models.

“During tough economic business times, Wal-Mart’s business model plays a little better to individuals more focused to the basic necessities of life,” he said. “When the economic climate is more normal in nature, we can perform, and outperform Wal-Mart.”

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Target named 5th largest music retailer for 2008

According to this article from BusinessWire (which references research from The NPD Group) these are the leading music retailers for the first half of this year:

1. iTunes
2. WalMart (Walmart,, Walmart Music Downloads)
3. Best Buy (Best Buy,, Best Buy Digital Music Store)
4. Amazon (,
5. Target (Target and

It’s interesting that only one out of the five is an entertainment store, and none of them are music specific. What about Tower Records, Sam Goody, Virgin Music, and FYE? Remember them?? Apparently, they’re not where people are buying music anymore.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wednesday's Rave: just plain campy...

Today’s rave is something just plain goofy that I found on Target’s Red Hot Shop (which I blogged about a few days ago). It’s this silly Gamma-Go Campfire pillow, which made me LOL when I saw it because A) my family is about to go camping and B) it reminded me of the clever “Virtual Campfire” section of the Norton web site.

100% cotton Campfire throw pillow: $24.99, only available on

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday’s Rant: a Guest rant...

I don't have a particular rant today... and since I've already expressed my own disappointment over the new Richard Chai Go International collection, I thought I would let weigh in on it instead. I love how they sum it up as " a whole crapdom of styles".

New at Target: “Smarty Dish “ from Method

When Method introduced a new eco-friendly dishwasher detergent called "Smarty Dish" – sans phosphates and bleach – the primary question was "Does it really work?" Because how eco-friendly is it to be nontoxic if you've got to wash your dishes twice? (thereby wasting precious water).

Well, in a nonscientific trial run, no dishes had to be washed twice. And in fact, Smarty Dish performed even better than some of the toxic stuff tried previously. (Method's marketing brochure suggests that might happen.)
Smarty Dish will debut at Target and other Method retailers around mid-August for about $6 for a box with 20 one-use tablets. And although they kinda look like candy, eating them is not recommended.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Modern Music

Ever wonder who composes the selections in those “Lifescapes” kiosks in Target stores? You know the ones I’m talking about….the ones titled “Paris Bistro” or “Summer Seascapes” (ok, I’m making that up, but you KNOW what I mean!). His name is John Hermanson, and he’s a composer now signed to Modern Music – a creator of original music, sound design, music licensing and supervision for advertising, film, television, gaming and new media. Hermanson, of art-rock Alva Star and acoustic duo Storyhill (on Red House Records) has had his music featured on MTV, HBO and ABC including episodes of "Six Feet Under" and "Dirty Sexy Money." A multi-instrumentalist and engineer, his music is also featured in the Lifescapes kiosks in Target stores under the name John August, and he has sold more than 850,000 CDs nationwide.

And in another Target tie-in: under Target's direction, Modern Music has also helped to re-write and record two years worth of their iconic "Hello Good-buy" commercials (which I blogged about earlier this year).

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'll pass on the Chai...

After much ballyhoo and anticipation, Robert Chai’s collection for Target finally hit stores today. And my take on it is that I can skip it entirely. Much like the reader who found the "silhouettes shapeless" and the "colors garish", I too was unimpressed by the colors, cut, and quality.

Ironically, just as I entered the store and was making my way to the Chai racks, who did I spy (with two of Chai’s items, of course!) was the ever-adorable Robyn, who cuts my hair. Now let me set this up for you: Robyn is all of 24, blonde, bubbly, and probably a size 2 (if even that). So on her, this flowered satin dress in purple and black (pictured) will probably look killer. But not on me, or anyone over 30, for that matter. She was also holding this cute black zippered skirt, which will be perfect for her job at the salon since they have a uniform of “all black” there. But frankly, after inspecting the racks in detail, we agreed that she’d honed in on the only two really decent items of the bunch. The only other possible exception are these cute t-shirts that are very similar to Banana Republic’s…but I didn’t buy any because the fabric was so tissue-thin you’d have to wear a cami underneath.

Pick of the Week

It's pick of the week time: each Sunday I pick one great buy from Target's Weekly Ad and highlight it on my blog. Today's pick is yet another great t-shirt offering from Merona. I blogged about their embellished tee a couple of weeks ago, and this week they have this stylish bow-accent tee on sale for just $7.99! Seriously, I was in Banana Republic yesterday and wanted to update my wardrobe with some tops for work, but found the prices outrageous for "just tee's". I found this very similar one (only with the bow in the middle) but it only came in black AND it was $39. And this BR tee in "Montego Bay Blue" is almost an identical color match Merona's "Napoleon Blue" (shown at left). So no thanks, BR; I'd much rather get FOUR shirts for the price of one of yours.

Merona Bow Tee, available in 8 colors: on sale at Target for $7.99 this week (regularly $9.99)

Saturday, August 2, 2008


This is why I love Target: people who shop there get inspired and come up with the best ideas! Like this tip from a Target shopper all the way in Japan (?!!) who reviewed this Sami Hayek Floral Tapestry and when it didn’t work out for her, found a good use for it anyhow:

“I purchased this thinking that I could use it as a light blanket from the picture I saw online. It's very thin like a sheet. I was going to return it but then I decided to hang it up as a wall tapestry. I hung it in my bedroom and it gives the room a modern look. I also purchased the Sami Hayek gray blanket and pink sheets to offset the tapestry. I think it makes a unique set”.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The return of the Red Hot Shop!

Early on in this blog I ranted about the disappearance of Target’s online Red Hot Shop: a destination for new/cool/hip things from the Bullseye (some only available from their web site). Well guess what? It's back! And it features tons of cute gifts including these NEO Tie-Dye Recycled plastic speakers (just $14.99 a pair) and the adorable Mix Tape USB Drive I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.