Thursday, December 31, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things...

Happy Early New Year, Readers! Can you believe that 2010 is almost here? I can't; where did the last decade go??

Since this time of year is full of reflection and "best of" lists, I thought I'd compose one of my own. Here's a list of my "favorite things" that I bought at Target this past year, in no particular order:

The Merona Collection - I haven't even had a chance to blog about some of my recent purchases, but I'm a real fan of this line of women's wear. I still miss Isaac Mizrahi's designs, but the Merona Collection is a close second and a great substitute.

Converse One Star - Likewise, I feel I just can't go wrong with Converse One Star. More and more items in my closet are coming from this line, both for me and my hubby.

Orla Keily for Target - This was definitely the best Target designer collaboration of 2009. My one regret was not buying more items from this line.

Assets by Sara Blakely - This line of shapewear by the founder of Spanx (only at more wallet-friendly prices) is a lifesaver, especially this time of year when we're all carrying a few extra holiday pounds.

C9 by Champion Performance Pants - And speaking of those extra pounds, one of my New Year's resolutions is to work them off in my favorite workout pants by C9.

Archer Farm's Imported Italian Pasta - Still my family's favorite brand, and now if I don't happen to use it, they notice. I plan to try their pasta sauce next (and just bought a jar of the Arrabbiata) and will let you know how we like it.

Greenroom Eco Stationery - I love the bright & colorful designs, plus the fact that everything is made from 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper and soy-based ink. Right now, in fact, I'm staring at two of their cheery notepads sitting on my desk.

Mossimo Verla Ballet Flats - I've worn these to 4 holiday parties in the past couple of weeks, and gotten compliments each and every time.

Smith & Hawken Bulb Kits - I was lucky to snag two more of these (at 50% off!) the other day, and gave the red Amaryllis to my mom and kept the Paperwhites for myself.

Lume Luxe Candles - Still my favorite fragrant candles for the money. Beautiful illumination, attractively packaged, at a wonderful price.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wednesday's Rave: this Merona flat

You know what they say: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And I believe that Merona has gone ahead and flattered a very popular style of Tory Burch shoe (the Reva) by coming out with this Rayna ballet flat. It'a crafted of faux-patent leather with a traditional round toe, decorated with a goldtone buckle. And the cushioned insole provides comfort, while the non-skid tread provides stability. Best of all, while the Tory Burch flat comes in at $195 & up, the Merona style will only set you back $29.99 (with select colors now on sale for just $20.99!). I already own the Black pair, and will be ordering the Camel color today.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Clearance Alert: Anna Sheffield for Target

Today I spied the Anna Sheffield for Target jewelry collection on sale in the store for 50% off! The key word is in-store, as Anna's collection doesn't seem to be extended to yet. Which means that I may have to head back to Target tomorrow to snag this adorable Charm Bracelet (shown) which is now marked down to just $19.99.

Tuesday's Rant: the quality of Target's Up & Up brand

Most Tuesdays I take the opportunity to rant about something I do not like about Target… because although I love ‘em to death, they ain’t perfect. Today's rant is courtesy of my BFF Kara, who's here in Sunny Cali from Washington state for the holidays. This morning she asked me "can you please rant about Target's Up & Up brand? Because I haven't had a good experience with it."

Specifically, she's dissappointed with Up & Up's dental floss... which seems like a no brainer (and hard to screw up, right?) but apparantly is of noticeable lower quality than "name" brands. Target even compares their brand to "Reach" floss, although it's nowhere near as good. Kara was also let down by Up & Up's disinfecting wipes... which are supposedly on par with "Clorox" wipes, but leave an awful residue behind.

To be honest, I'm a dedicated "name brand" shopper, so I haven't tried Up & Up products. I know, I know... I could be saving $$$ by shopping the store brands. But then again, if they aren't up to snuff, am I really saving money by using something of lesser qualtiy that I'm not happy with?

How about you, dear readers? Have you been dissappointed - or pleasantly surprised - by the quality of Target's Up & Up products?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Clearance Alert: Carlos Falchi for Target

For those of you who have been waiting for the Carlos Falchi for Target bag collection to go on sale, the wait is over. Most styles are now on sale on for 30% off. The bags don't seem to be on sale in stores yet, but I'm sure they will soon, as every store I've been to in the past couple of weeks still has plenty of Falchi in stock.

PS: it looks like agrees with me that this line is languishing on the store racks and - unfortunately - wasn't one of the more successful Target partnerships in recent memory.

New at Target: Bay's English Muffins

Many thanks to Lara over at the Piewacket blog for turning me on to a new Target find: Bay’s English Muffins. They are only sold at select Target stores - those that have a full grocery section, like the one I blogged about last month. And true to Lara’s word, they toast up crispy outside and soft & chewy inside… truly a yummy morning delight. My favorite way to eat them is toasted with a little butter plus homemade jam from our local farmer's market.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

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. This week, Target has tons of home organization products on sale, including Christmas decoration/wrapping storage containers. And I immediately honed in on this latched ornament box (shown, on sale this week for just $5) because this is something I could really use. Or put more precisely, I could probably use about 4-5 of these, because I have a pretty extensive ornament collection, built up over the past 20+ years. And right now, they're just in cardboard boxes, stored in the attic.... which is not the best protection for fragile ornaments.

Target also has other storage boxes, wrap & ribbon holders, and even a wreath box... which at first glance looked a storage device for Christmas lights (so you could wrap them in a circle, circumventing a tangled mess). So come to think of it, you could probably use it for that purpose as well.

Holiday storage boxes: on sale this week at Target for $4-6 each.
Please note that due to the seasonality of these items, they are only offered in store (not online) and there are no rainchecks.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And I thought Target was bad...

...for having a Valentine's Day endcap display up already today - Dec. 26th - the day after Christmas. But then I just read on The Consumerist that Walmart already put their Easter candy out a full three days ago. Heaven help us...

Target's after-Christmas sale going on now

Target's after-Christmas sale started this morning at 7am... which was just about an hour ago for me here on the West Coast. Unfortunately, this year Target didn't seem to have a special post-holiday clearance flyer as they usually do; I couldn't find it online, nor did we get one in our newspaper yesterday. But reportedly, discounts will be up to 75% off.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Target employees fired - then rehired - for buying Zhu Zhu Pets

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! Today I bring you a story that I intended to post last week, but didn't get around to it. Which turns out OK, since there's been an update since then.

Back on Dec. 18th, the Consumerist reported a story out of Buffalo, NY, that a veteran Target employee claimed that she was fired for purchasing a Zhu Zhu pet. The chain told TV station WKBW that all employees were clearly instructed in a memo not to purchase the robot hamsters before 4 A.M., which the employee denies. Flashforward to Dec. 20th, and the Consumerist updated its story that 6 more Target employees were fired for purchasing Zhu Zhu Pets at the end of their shifts. In a statement, Target claims that its policy forbidding employees from buying hot items before store opening time was made clear to employees--a claim that the seven total now-former employees denied.

But this story has a happy ending. On Monday, the Consumerist reported that the Zhu Zhu Seven had been "unfired". From The Buffalo News:

"They made the purchases at about 5 a.m. before the end of their shift but days later were told "popular items" could not be bought until the store opened at 8 a.m. — though overnight workers are normally permitted to make purchases during off hours. Then, the firings occurred Wednesday, with the store manager stating the policy regarding two-day ad items had been posted above the employee time clock, a point that was disputed by one of the workers. But Target said the policy is also in the employee handbook and exists to make sure customers have the same purchasing opportunities as its employees."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My non-review for Rodarte for Target

Hello, dear readers! You might be wondering why I haven’t officially reviewed the Rodarte for Target line, which debuted in stores 4 days ago. Well, frankly, I find the line so underwhelming that I’m not even going to bother writing about it extensively. If you’d like a detailed review, please read The Recessionista’s post from Sunday. I, meanwhile, will be saving my money in excited anticipation for the upcoming Zac Posen line.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tuesday’s Rant: Not getting your full refund

Most Tuesdays I take the opportunity to rant about something I do not like about Target… because although I love ‘em to death, they ain’t perfect. Now last week I blogged about hassles with returning online orders to Target stores. And this week I have another returns rant – a warning – about returning multiple quantities of the same item. Please be sure to check that the Sales Associate scans EACH and every item, so that you’re getting the FULL refund. Because twice in the past two weeks, this has happened to me, and I’ve almost been shortchanged at the register.

The last time this happened, I was returning three very cute – although expensive - fabric wine gift bags. The bags were $5 each, and while they were lovely, I rationalized that I should really be buying the 99-cent paper ones instead, thereby spending under $3 vs. $15. But when I returned them, the associate only scanned two, shorting me my refund by $5. I immediately pointed this out to her, and I’m sure it was an honest mistake… although a similar situation had happened to me just the week before. So be careful, and watch each item they scan to make sure they have it right.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lume Luxe on sale at Target!

Good news! My favorite Lume Luxe candles are on sale this week at Target for just $10 each (regularly $12.99). That’s the good news… the bad news is that I’ll have to get them in store, as all the scents seem to be sold out online already except for the White Fig.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

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 I know we're all caught in the holiday madness, counting down to Christmas... and the last place you probably want to be is in a mall right now. But if you do need to pick up an extra gift for the kids, you might want to head over to Target today and check out their sale on board games. Right now, favorites like Jenga, Trouble, Battleship, and that old-standby Monopoly are on sale for just $9 each. That's their lowest price of the season. And popular party games like Taboo and Catch Phrase are also on sale this week for just $20 each.

Rodarte for Target now online...

The Rodarte for Target collection is now up and ready for ordering online... although the much talked-about skeleton sequined dress is nowhere to be seen. Unfortunately, I fear I am getting sick :-( and therefore won't be rushing out today to check out the collection in person in the store. But no matter, because from what I've seen online, the line seems very young & junior-y, too much so for my tastes.

PS: for an early review, check out's take on Rodarte's line. Looks like my assumptions were correct :-)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

If you're planning to buy this Anna Sheffield necklace...

...just a little warning: almost each and every one of them that I've seen have been damaged. I was actually thinking of buying this as a Christmas present for my teenage neice, so I was eyeing it carefully in the store... and then realized that several of the tiny black crystal stones were missing! Thinking that this may be due to "overhandling" (as the two I as looking at were out on the counter) I looked inside the locked jewelry case, and sure enough, the ones on display also had stones missing. Hoping this was an isolated incident, I went to another Target to check the necklaces there... but it was the same story there. I did manage to find ONE necklace with all the stones intact, but decided against it since this piece seems so delicate. So if you do decide to purchase this lovely piece, please inspect it first to make sure it's as perfect as this picture.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Entertaining Tips from Thomas O'Brien

Here are some surprisingly simple holiday entertaining ideas from Target's "vintage modern" design guru, Thomas O'Brien:

Make the holidays into a design season
Turn the holidays into a whole design season that you can enjoy. I start unpacking winter things around Thanksgiving. I keep adding and accumulating pieces through Christmas, and then I slowly put them away again in January. Family mementos and ornaments become a set of ingredients that you can decorate with year after year. It’s a special tradition.

Create a Christmas pantry
I set up a few areas in my house as open pantries for Christmas with winter-themed dishes, mugs, glasses and linens. You can keep stacks of tableware on your kitchen island and ready in a bar area or on a dining room table. Stock up on candlesticks and votives to dress up any dinner or informal party. Find a dedicated space and display these items as your holiday home idea.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner
The holidays aren’t about just entertaining and big parties. I use my holiday dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all season long. Just one unique set of bowls or small plates will get used over and over again, all during the season, all day long. I have favorite tumblers that I use over the holidays, decorated with reindeers and ice skaters.

Sweet things
I am not really one who keeps all that many sweets around my house, but at holiday time there are always gifts of candy, cake, cookies, fruit and other treats to share. Take these desserts out of their packages and put them out in your nicest small bowls or plates. It’s old-fashioned hospitality, and everyone loves to snack over the holidays.

Vintage modern entertaining
I always like to add in unmatched pieces of vintage glassware, silver and china over the holidays. At parties, I put out mixed sets of all kinds of glasses, which look great on a buffet or bar and also help guests identify which glass is theirs. It’s fun to set up a little retro buffet for kids, too. My goddaughter always drinks out of vintage Flintstones glasses when she comes to visit over the holidays. That connects my childhood memories to hers.

Festively Frugal X-mas gifts from Target

Target's StyleBoutique has a "festively frugal" gift guide for almost everyone on your list. I'm especially loving their gift ideas for the home (pictured), including my favorite Lume Luxe candles and this sweet little Bird Vase.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Coming soon to Target: Frédéric Fekkai

StyleList is reporting that the luxury hair care brand Frédéric Fekkai will roll out in mass drugstores (including Target) over the next year... and that Sephora immediately confirmed it will drop the line.

Fekkai's classic products - which include the Glossing, Full Volume and Technician Color lines - will reportedly become available at both Target and Walgreens. The higher-end Fekkai Advanced line will continue to sell at prestige retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

One leading analyst said that Fekkai's parent company P&G's strategy is most likely, "Do we let Sephora be angry so we lose $20 million in business but we gain a possible $50 million [in the mass market]?"

But there is also talk in the industry that Fekkai could end up like Nexxus - another prestige brand that entered the mass market in 2008 and has since suffered the commodification of a cheapened image.

Spotty details on Zac Posen for Target... has posted some spotty details on the upcoming Zac Posen for Target collection. While their tipster did offer the rundown below, she couldn't share any pictures since Target had everyone who attended their preview event sign a confidentiality agreement:

"It's amaaaazing! Zac rehashed his "best-of" prints into a sumptuous collection. It's also going to be the first time Target will be selling a GOWN. Very print-heavy with one gown, tuxedo, lots of printed separates, bathing suits, a belt or two, and a cool Michael Jackson red leather jacket! The distribution for the Zac collection will also be the largest of any such collaboration. McQueen had the largest distribution to date thus far but Zac's will be even greater. The collection was shown with both Target shoes (non-Zac) as well as Zac's runway Manolo heels."

PS: Pictured is Zac posing at the unveiling of his collection for Target Australia back in March of 2008.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tuesday's Rant: Online Returns in Store

Most Tuesdays I take the opportunity to rant about something I do not like about Target… because although I love ‘em to death, they ain’t perfect. Today’s rant is about something new I just learned in the Target return line, and I thought I'd pass the tip on to you, dear readers.

When you return something ordered online from to the store, you first need to go online to print out a receipt to return the item(s) in store. Now say you've ordered 6 items, but you only want to return 3 of them. The online process prompts you to pick all the items you want to return at once (by simply ticking off the ones to return) and adds them all to one return receipt. They will appear each as separate line items on the receipt, but all be on one page. I never used to have a problem with this, until just recently. Now, the Customer Service Rep. starts the return and can't get past one item. Frustrated, they then ask me for my Target Red Card to complete the return of the other items.

A helpful Target employee clued me in to the issue yesterday. It seems that Target has changed something in their back-end system, and while the multi-item receipt used to work, he instructed me that it's now a lot better (albeit more work) to print out one separate receipt for EACH item you want to return. Otherwise, they need to start to try to process the return, then usually give up when the system cannot find the additional items on the receipt. For some reason, they're just not registering.

Now I think this is pretty silly, and annoying, but I am glad that this guy gave me this tip. While I'm not thrilled to be printing out more receipts, I'll gladly do it if it gets me through the returns line at Target faster!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Clearance Alert: Target Limited Edition Dresses

Just in time for those holiday parties, Target has put all their Limited Edition Dresses on sale at 50% off! This sale only seems to be in-store, which is why I won't provide a link here to the collection online. But today at lunch, I picked up this Tiffany Fringe-back dress (I enlarged the photo here so you could see the detail on the back) as well as this Lorelei Jacquard strapless dress. I was in the market for a new LBD, so I grabbed both off the rack and will try them on in the comfort of my own home this evening. But heck, at just $19.99 each, I'll probably end up keeping BOTH if I like them!

UPDATE: Well, I bought, I tried....and unfortunately, I'll be returning both dresses :-(
The fringe one ran too big, and although the back detailing is cool, the front is a bit too plain for my liking. And the strapless one (in the same size) ran too small, especially in the bust. So if can find a style in these dresses that you like AND that fits, this is still a great buy. But alas, not for me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nature-inspired themes at Target

Target's Home Decor department has two new nature-oriented collections, just in time for the holiday season. First Frost features dishes and servingware iced with silver and snowy glitter. And Birchwood Chalet (the more extensive of the two collections) features trees made of real twiggy bits, reindeer figures, and cardinal snow globes. Unfortunately, this darling deer is sold out online, but check for it in store (as I know I saw one the other day). This Cinnamon Stick candle is also sold out online, but I found it at my local Target today (and yes, I bought one!).

Early Review: the Rodarte Peach Dress

One of the editors at attended Target's Pop-up Shop in NYC this weekend and picked up the much-buzzed about peach "silk" Rodarte dress. The dress looks even more lovely and vintage-y than anticipated, with lots of antique detailing. You can check out Racked's pictorial and full review here.

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 Riedel Vivant glassware, which is on sale this week for 25% off. Now Riedel's budget-friendly collection for Target is already a bargain, but on sale it's a real deal. Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of Riedel, and that we used to have a small set of the full-priced Riedel wine glasses that we received as a wedding gift. But one by one, they broke, and we've been slowly replacing them with Riedel Vivant. And even if you aren't in the market for new wine glasses, this Vivant Decanter - on sale for just $19.99 - would make an excellent Christmas present for the wine aficionando on your list.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Good news for Curly Girls

Attention owners of curly-locks! The popular Curls organic hair care line will launch 5 products at Target early next year.

The Curls organic hair care collection has been transforming curly girls hair for the past seven years and is now launching in 220 Target Stores in the U.S. According to the company, it is rolling out five "budget friendly" products based on the formulas of its bestsellers but tweaked to meet the budget of Target customers.

The offerings will include items such as a sulfate-free cleanser, cream styler and more. Prices will range from $7.99-$11.99. Curls for Target will be available online on early 2010 and in stores March 2010.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best Designer Collabs for 2009

Fabsugar has posted a list of the top 5 high/low designer collaborations for 2009, and two on the list are from Target: the Erickson Beamon jewelry collection, and the Anna Sui clothing line. I can't say I agree with their picks, as I wasn't a fan of the Erickson Beamon baubles. And as far as clothing goes, I think that Thakoon had a much more wearable line (although come to think about it, his line debuted at the very end of 2008 vs. this calendar year). I did buy the Anna Sui for Target leather jacket, but that was about it. And I notice many of the Anna pieces - like this hideous dress and puffer vest combo that looks like it's straight out of 1974 - is still on the racks, lingering at 75% off.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More stocking-stuffer ideas...

More stocking-stuffer ideas, dear readers! In the Health & Beauty section at Target, you should see an endcap filled with budget-beauty items from Pixi, NP Set, and other luxe brands, all at $9.99 and under. Offerings include this Mini-Mascara and Eye-Shadow Quad from NP Set, and this Pixi Softly Smokey Eye Palette (shown).

Sunday, December 6, 2009

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 this week has a whole lot of Christmas stuff on sale, including some great deals on toys. But I'm honing in on the fact that all Converse One Star shoes (that means Men's, Women's, and Kid's) are on sale for 20% off. So I'll be picking up my hubby's favorite casual shoes - the Converse One Star Skate style - for just $27.99 this week.

Alas, our eldest won't wear these anymore. At 15 (going on 16) he thinks he's now "too cool" for Converse. True story: yesterday we had to take him to a special skate shop for this exclusive brand of shoes that we couldn't even find on It's called The Hundreds (out of LA) and wait 'til you see how plain these shoes are! I told my husband "I don't get it....these look just like Converse, except they're all black and there's no star." He laughed and agreed. Luckily, the shoes were on sale for 40%-off, so while they weren't quite as cheap as Converse, they weren't the full $64.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Umbra stocking stuffers

Looking for fun & unique stocking stuffers this Christmas? Then head for the Umbra Loft endcap at your local Target. They have a variety of fun & hip items under $5, like this cute little aluminum carrying case attached to an elastic cord - perfect for carrying all your essential possessions where ever you go. They also have a larger (sans cord) that you can use as a business card holder.

I also saw in-store an adorable post-it note clock, a plastic jewelry tree (actually in the shape of a tree!) mini-picture frames (similar to these) and wall-flower decor like these (only in a smaller set of 5 vs. 21). Apologies for composing this list from memory, but Target does't seem to have these smaller Umbra items offered on their web site.

Rodarte for Target look-book has posted the full look-book for the Rodarte for Target line on their site, featuring "Shelly Duvall-lookalike Jamie Bochert" (shown). They dub the collection "all very 90s, down to the big white Kurt Cobain glasses."

Racked also gives more details on the NYC Target pop-up shop opening next week (which I blogged about the other day) that will be "hosted" by Rachel Bilson.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Liberty of London for Target to launch in Spring

Waaaaayy back in August, I blogged about the rumor that Liberty of London would be designing a capsule collection for Target., ElleUK and StyleList were all buzzing about it, speculating that their line for Target would debut next Spring and that "colorful, flower-print dresses and accessories are pretty much a given". And now, my friend The Recessionista has confirmed the news as TRUE!

According to her post, Target is partnering with Liberty of London – known for their bold florals and exuberant prints – for both a home collection and a fashion line launching on March 14, 2010. The fashion line will feature apparel and accessories for men, women and children while the home collection will include home décor, storage and organization, and garden.

Target To-Go Shops

If you're lucky enough to live in (or near) NYC, Wash. D.C. or San Francisco, you can check out the "Target To-Go Shops" popping up in these 3 cities next week. From Dec. 11 to Dec. 13 (10 am - 8 pm) these pop-up shops will be operating next to the High Line in New York City's Meatpacking District, in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown and in San Francisco's Mint Plaza.

According to the StyleList blog, each location will stock a collection of the hottest gifts -- 50 in total -- pre-wrapped. All you have to do is order an item by its number, pay for it, and voila! -- your holiday shopping is done.

While the offerings include everything from a Wii Fit bundle to the hottest toys, fashionistas will definitely be interested in the selection of Rodarte for Target items (which won't be available in regular Target stores until Dec. 20th).

The Rodarte items for sale at the pop-up shops will include the sequin ribcage dress for $49.99 and a vintage-inspired slip dress for $39.99 (both shown at left) and box belts for $12.99 each. Other fashion and beauty items offerings include a Merona cashmere scarf for $24.99 and a Burt's Bees polka dot manicure set for $19.99.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday’s Rave: Method’s White Tea Body Wash

I am not really a “fragrance person”. Most scents are too strong for me to wear, so I limit my perfumes/colognes to just a scant few, and most of the time I never wear them, opting for lighter body lotions or body washes instead. So you can imagine my delight several months ago when I first came upon Method’s Body Wash in White Tea at Target. The bottle had me at “hello”; the unique raised-checkerboard design immediately caught my eye. And once I tried it, I was hooked. The creamy texture is skin-friendly and super moisturizing, with natural antioxidants like vitamin A & E. Best of all, the scent is light and clean, yet lingers on your skin oh-so-subtly for the rest of the day – no additional body lotion or perfume required.

My only complaint is that I fear Target will no longer be carrying this item. I just saw it on clearance on an endcap at my local Target for 30% off. That was last week, and I picked up 2 bottles. But unfortunately I went back this past weekend and the rest were gone :-(