Sunday, February 28, 2010

Double-take: Louboutin vs. Mossimo

From today's San Francisco Chronicle:

"Talk about a can't-go-wrong classic: A pair of nude pumps is right up there with crisp white shirts and perfect-fitting jeans when it comes to wardrobe staples. With a 4-inch heel and rounded toe, the shape creates a visual effect of longer legs (especially when worn in a shade that's closest to your skin color). The neutral effect of a lighter shoe helps give almost any outfit a more springtime feel, works as well with pants as it does with skirts (thanks to the low-cut vamp that shows just the right hint of "toe cleavage"). Christian Louboutin is known for making several versions of this popular style, all with his trademark red sole and scorching price tags (Decollete pump, $595 at The Mossimo version at Target (shown here) has a remarkably similar appeal, same heel height and treads much more lightly on the wallet - definitely something to kick up one's heels about."

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. When I saw this in the paper this morning, it made me laugh out loud, so it just had to be my pick: selected "As Seen on TV" items are $9.99 (the regular price) but when you buy 1, you also get 1 FREE! This offer seems to be limited to the three items shown: the Debbie Meyer Green Bags, the Strap Perfect, and the Smooth Away hair removal system. Regular readers of this blog will know I'm already a fan of the Green Bags, so perhaps I'll pick up some more and check out the the Smooth Away for free while I'm at it.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is Target planning to collaborate with Miss Trish again?

Savvy reader Guardian of Gimcracks wrote in to ask me the following question:

"Is Target doing a 2010 line for Miss Trish of Capri? I noticed a pair of her shoes in the following Frualista Finds article in the green section."

How very observant of her! Yes, that DOES seem to be a pair of Miss Trish for Target sandals - a design I haven't seen before. While I haven't heard that she'll be doing another line for Target, this picture could either be A) foreshadowing of news to come, or B) simply a prototype pair (that was never mass-produced) used for the photo shoot.

The lovely pink dress (featured in the Party Perfect Pinks section) is also MIA on the Target web site and nowhere to be found ... although the yellow/white striped trench (in the Radiantly Right Yellows section) is by Merona for just under $40.

Even MORE Jean Paul Gaultier for Target...

Wow, Target is REALLY pushing the Jean Paul Gaultier for Target collection! For the second time this week, they've posted a "JPG sneak peek" on the StyleBoutique section of their web site. This time, they're showing the designer's initial sketches for the line, including this one inspired by "Hollywood Glam". With all this hype, I really hope Jean Paul's line delivers!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Back to the Future

Love it or hate it, fashion's ongoing love affair with all things '80s is hard to avoid. While your personal flashbacks from that era may involve big hair and too much makeup, the current take on the trend is much more subtle.

To pull it off with style, think small, and incorporate touches like these into your Spring wardrobe:

* Gently faded to perfection, Merona's denim jacket adds a bit of rebel cool to everything from a close-fitting little-black-dress to a pair of relaxed weekend chinos ($24.99 at

* A little bit Blade Runner, a little bit David Bowie, these sleek black Mossimo "Valera" peep-toe pumps combine an '80s-retro silhouette with futuristic pleather (on sale for $20.98 at

* Nothing says "Material Girl" like oversize shades, and this pink-tinted pair from Mossimo (shown) offer a rosy outlook even on overcast days ($17 at Target stores).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More info on Jean Paul Gaultier for Target...

Target's StyleBoutique has posted a new video preview of their upcoming Jean Paul Gaultier for Target collection, which debuts on March 7th. In addition to a short bio of the designer, there's also a quiz to find out "which muse are you?" based on the influences JP had for his line, including Punk, Hollywood Glam, Ingénue, Hip Hop, and Rock 'n' Roll.

One item of note: Target has now listed the specific stores where the Gaultier line will be available. The Jean Paul Gaultier for Target collection will only be available in 250 stores nationwide, so if it isn't coming to a store near you, you can always order it online. I found it interesting that the store down the street from my office (in Silicon Valley) will not be carrying this designer line. The city where I work is full of teenagers and young adults, so this surprised me, because in the past the Go International collections always were an early sellout at this particular store.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wednesday's Rave: this Wet 'n' Wild lip gloss

I am always on the lookout for a great new lip gloss. So when I found this Wet ‘n’ Wild Diamond Brilliance Lip Gloss in “A Girl’s Best Friend” on the shelf at Target – with its pretty “diamond capped” case – I was smitten. First off, I love this color! It’s a perfect peach, and I was really surprised at how pigmented it was, as I was expecting it to be more sheer. It has a nice glossy finish, isn't sticky, doesn’t “taste odd” (like some glosses) and also lasts for awhile. (Not all day, mind you, but long enough). It’s even moisturizing on your lips. And at less than $3 a tube, you can’t beat the price. Seriously, glosses ten times more expensive aren’t as good as this one! The only downside is that my local Target seemed to be clearing them out, as there were only a few left, and just in this color. And likewise, only had one color left in stock. So if you see this gloss at Target, nab it now before it’s gone!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday's Rant: Target’s in-store coupons

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 Target’s puzzling in-store coupon strategy. With increased frequency, I have noticed that at the register, my Target receipt is accompanied by a coupon. The coupons are based on past purchases, so if I’ve bought Brawny paper towels in the past, I’m sure to get either a coupon for the same Brawny product OR for a similar product from Target’s in-house Up&Up brand.

The coupons aren’t the problem; I don’t mind them at all. What I do mind is this: the other day I used a coupon for $1 off 12 cans of Fancy Feast cat food. That was great, especially since Fancy Feast was also on sale at the time. So at the register, I get a coupon for 60-CENTS off my next purchase of 18 cans. ????? Did Target think I’d be fooled by this? Why reward my purchase with a lesser-amount coupon that you have to buy MORE of the product in order to redeem? Is there some sort of consumer behavior analytics going on here?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

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 last night I went to a housewarming party, and it was clear that now that my friend is in a much larger pad, she needs to round out her furniture selection. Which is why I'll suggest to her my pick of the week: the Avington Furniture Collection at Target, which is on sale this week for 10-25% off. The first thing she said to me when I came in was "as you can see, I need an entryway table"... so I'll suggest this one to her, on sale for $199.99. She also needs a new coffee table, and this one (shown at left) is on sale for just $99 (as is the side table, on sale for only $69). And if she needs more room for books or knick-knacks, she can also add the bookshelf for $99.

PS: I may not have to tip my friend off about this sale, because she's also a Target fan and may already be savvy to it. Case in point: when she was giving me the grand tour, I complimented her on this gorgeous table lamp in her bedroom. She smiled and said she got it at "Tar-jey".

Friday, February 19, 2010

More preview pics of Liberty of London for Target

Target has posted new preview pics on their web site of the upcoming Liberty of London line, including swatches of 5 of the patterns that you can actually download as wallpapers for your computer desktop or mobile device. Target also has a Facebook fan page where there's a quiz you can take (under the "Liberty" tab) to match you to the Liberty print that best suits your personality.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shaun White gets the Gold

Snowboarding superstar Shaun White - who has his own clothing line at the Bullseye called Sean White 4 Target - won a gold medal last night in the men's snowboarding halfpipe final at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. This was the 23-year old's first medal in Vancouver, but the second time he's won the gold; he got top prize in the same event in the 2006 Winter Olympics in in Torino, Italy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday's Rave: these Anna Sheffield earrings

Exactly one month ago today I alerted you all to the super-clearance going on in-store on the Anna Sheffield for Target jewelry collection. During the sale I was able to snap up these long silver beauties for a song: marked down to just $7.48! (regularly $29.99). They've become my new go-to accessory when I need to add some "bling" to an otherwise blah outfit; look closely (near the end of each earring) and you'll see a couple of tiny embedded crystals. And unlike some dangles, they're super-light on the ears.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New DwellStudio Designs at Target

DwellStudio has debuted its latest collection of designer bedding for Target. According to CasaSugar, "The brand has stuck to its signature bold, large-scale prints in muted gray and brown tones with splashes of yellow, turquoise, and green" although this time "embellishments are more prevalent with rosettes, outline quilting, and running stitches taking stage on a range of throw pillows."

I did notice (as did CasaSugar) that they're still pushing the pale yellow/gray and light turquoise/brown color palettes that have been around for several seasons now. But the Moroccan-inspired bedding sets - like this Mandala style and this Suzanni set - as well as this frosty blue Bird in Vine (shown) are welcome updates to the DwellStudio collection. You can view the entire DwellStudio for Target bedding collection here.

Target's "Name this Collection" contest

Kudos to reader Jennifer who tipped me off to a new contest from Target. It's called "Name this Collection", and if your proposed name gets picked by Target, you can win a $500 gift card. Details are available here, but in a nutshell: just view the intriguing (yet disparate) collection of items, give them a name, then head on over to Twitter and Tweet your entry to Target.

The contest is running for 3 weeks (this week, next week, and the first week of March) with a different collection to name each week. And with the selection of items, there are sure to be some creative entries! This week's collection includes:

• Cocktail Shaker
• Dyson Animal Vacuum
• Gorilla Tape
• Zebra-print Stool
• Modern Stacking Chairs
• Mossimo Black Patent Valonia Pumps
• Penn Tennis Balls

Monday, February 15, 2010

New at Target: Chiarakruza Maternity

Target has a new arrival in the maternity department. It's called Chiarakruza, and since I hadn't heard of this brand before, I decided to do some digging to see what I could find out.

Founded in 2000, Chiarakruza bills itself as "the go-to brand of Hollywood's hottest pregnant celebrities", counting Halle Berry, Jennifer Garner, Gwen Stefani, Angelina Jolie, and Katie Holmes among their fans. Indeed, their tagline is "refuse to be less than fabuless", which is shown by their designs, like this bright violet tunic top for just $24.99.

Founder Stephanie Boye creates designs that make pregnant women feel beautiful and sexy without compromising their comfort. You can check out Chiarakruza's collection for Target on their web site or in stores now.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

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's pick is the Dyson Vacuum... or to be more precise, ALL of them, because the entire selection of Dysons is on sale this week at Target for 20% off. Which - knowing how expensive Dysons are - is a pretty significant savings!

We got our Dyson shortly after moving into our current home, which was almost 6 years ago. Ours is the earlier generation of the DC14 (shown here) and I have to say, it still works like a charm. If you're in the market for a Dyson, I encourage you to look up all the reviews on and comparison shop. It looks like there's pros and cons to each model, and overall, "The Dyson Animal" (model DC25) seems to be the highest rated with 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coming soon: Liberty of London for Target

As I reported back in December, Liberty of London will be designing a capsule collection for Target this Spring. And now the launch date is a mere month away! From Target's web site:

"The collection hits Target (and only Target) March 14 and can be found throughout the store, so you can bring these fresh, modern, sophisticated prints not just to your spring fashion, but your stationery, your linens, your cups and saucers—even your garden tools. And we couldn't be more thrilled, because if anything's big for spring, it's going bold and modern and colorful."

Click here to check out Target's cheery new commercial for the line; I haven't seen it air on television yet, but I'm sure it'll be broadcast soon.

Friday, February 12, 2010

In anticipation of JPG for Target...

In anticipation of Jean Paul Gaultier's upcoming line for Target (debuting on March 7th) has posted their top 6 picks from the collection. Among the top 6: this tan trench, which is probably the most "classic" of the looks shown. And since tan is supposed to be this Spring's "top neutral" (according to the fashion blog YouLookFab) watch for this trench to be an instant sellout.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Breaking news: Alexander McQueen found dead

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen - who just one year ago debuted a capsule collection for Target - has been found dead in his London home. He was only 40 years old. You can read the details here on Yahoo. From their obit: "His clothes were sexy and distinctive, dramatic and different, perfect for red-carpet presentations and late night rock gatherings". His collection for Target followed a similar vein, like this sleeveless black harness dress and edgy bikini.

While I didn't personally care for his Target collection, his couture line had many A-list celebrity fans, including Sandra Bullock and Cameron Diaz, who both wore his creations on the red carpet. And more recently, Lady Gaga made waves when she wore McQueen's Spring 2010 lobster-claw shoes in her "Bad Romance" music video. RIP, Alexander; the fashion world will miss you.

Review: Giada's Farfalle and Vegetable Marinara Sauce

As I blogged about several weeks ago, cooking personality Giada de Laurentiis has launched a new line of bakeware, cookware, kitchen accessories and food specialties at Target. Last night, we tried two of her pantry basics: her Farfalle (or bowtie) pasta and her Vegetable Marinara sauce (in a similar jar to the one shown).

Now I hate to say it, but I wasn't impressed. The sauce was pretty bland and tasteless, and the pasta cooked up uneven. The middle of the bowtie is "pinched" and therefore thicker, so despite boiling the pasta for the full 10 minutes, the middle was still hard/chewy whereas the sides were almost overdone.

To that end: I'll be sticking with my favorite Archer Farm's Arrabbiata Sauce and Imported Italian Pasta instead.

Consumer Alert: Lead found in Valentine's Day Bears

The California attorney general is asking Target Corp. to pull its Valentine's Day "Message Bears" from store shelves over concerns about lead in the toys.

In a letter sent Monday, Attorney General Jerry Brown said testing of the holiday items revealed lead levels that violate federal law.

The products were identified as a pink stuffed bear with "XOXO" across its chest (shown at left) and a brown stuffed bear with "I Love U" across its chest, with the word "love" represented by a heart.

Brown's letter says an investigator for the Center for Environmental Health, a nonprofit watchdog group, bought the toys at stores in California.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday's Rant: limits on Target's Great Save items

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 goes back a couple of weeks, but I haven't had a chance to write about it until now. In the Great Save section at the Target near my office, they posted a sign over the soft drinks stating "purchases limited to a maximum of 10 packs" (and I believe the soda was in 24-packs). Huh??? Isn't the whole POINT of the Great Save to buy in bulk? Who cares if they sell out? Wouldn't that be desirable on Target's part? Costco doesn't have this sort of policy, at least not that I'm aware of. And I thought that the whole intention of the Great Save was for Target to copy the bulk-club model without the membership fees? I just don't get it...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Target rep. responds to my email...

Dear Readers:

In addition to the response from Target's CEO, I also got the following response (above) from someone named "Julie B." with the email address of "". I am pasting the text in italics below, because I cannot get the graphic large enough to be legible on screen:

Thank you for contacting Target Corporation. Mr. Steinhafel has received your e-mail and has asked me to respond on his behalf.

As part of an annual process, we review our store operations and assess our structure to ensure Target continues to improve both guest service and productivity.

- This year, overall changes are minimal, affecting less than 5 percent of our hourly store team member base.
- Most of the hourly team member positions affected will see only shifts in title or responsibility, and none of these team members will see a change in their current pay, the number of hours they work or their eligibility for benefits as a result of these adjustments.
- These adjustments are a result of changes in sales volume and workload, advancements in technology and the emergence of new products and services important to our guests.

Thanks for writing.
Julie B.

This sounds like more of a "canned", corporate response, although I do appreciate them getting back to me and not simply ignoring my comments. Only time will tell, however, whether customer service and the overall shopping experience at Target will suffer because of these cost-cutting measures.

My yearly trek to Walmart...

About 1-2 times a year, I like to check out my local Walmart, just to make sure I'm not "missing" anything. My latest trip was this past Saturday morning, and it went far to reinforce my belief that Target is far superior to Walmart.

This particular Walmart happens to be - ironically enough - right across the street from a Target store. Both have been there for over a decade, but I'm fairly certain that the Target store was there first, as Target developed properties in my part of the Bay Area before Walmart did.

I found that Walmart hasn't changed much since my last visit: it was crowded (as usual) and the customer service line was long. Curiously, there was no "greeter" this time; I wondered if that person was just on a break, or if Walmart has eliminated this position?

The store was also messy, as usual. I don't know if all Walmart stores are like this, but the ones in California that I have visited all seem to have a dirty, chaotic feel to them, with the store floor packed to gills with merchandise.

Speaking of which: they were really pushing the Miley Cyrus line at this particular store. So much so that I counted - no lie - 8 racks of Miley t-shirts marked down to $3 (from $5). And by "racks", I mean a 4-arm rack, each of which had 20 per arm... so there were easily over 600 shirts sitting there, not budging despite the clearance price.

But what really bummed me out most was that this particular store had devoted the floor space to the Miley Cyrus line at the sacrifice of the wonderful Norma Kamali line. I scanned the floor and soon realized that they no longer carried NK (which they had in the past, as I'd seen it there as recent as 8 months ago) and had replaced it with all the Miley crap. I checked in with The Recessionista, and she confirmed that only select Walmart stores carry the NK line. However, it seemed like it had sold well at that store in the past, so why Walmart decided to drop it from this patricular outpost I have no idea.

That was it: I wasn't going to battle the lines to save a few cents on paper towels, laundry detergent or cat food. I happily crossed the street to Target to buy my essentials in a much cleaner, more well-organized environment, where it's fun to just "browse" and you don't have to feel you have to "get in/get out" in record time.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

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's pick is a selection of wines from Ménage à Trois. Our favorite is their California White Table Wine (shown) which is a good, basic everyday white to pair with fish, chicken, or other light fare. BevMo describes this varietal as "a smooth and aromatic wine; appealing for its floral notes and easiness on the palate." And this week, it's on sale at Target for just $7.99 a bottle (regularly $9.99).

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Wecome to TargetTown, USA

Have you ever wondered what it would look like if Target took over the world? Or to start, three US metropolitan areas? Then feast your eyes on this project developed by Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design for the recent International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam. It's a mashup of urban planning and big box development all in one, or as Sherman explains, "a way for big box retailers to strategically locate themselves in urban infill areas." To note: this was a purely independent project and Target had nothing to do with it, meaning there was no corporate sponsorship.

The project is described as an exploration into "how Target’s well-developed brand may be strategically deployed towards the incubation of communities that, while privately sponsored, are at the same time inclusive and heterogeneous. .....Each is keyed to a strategic selection of its merchandise that locates surprising ties that bind otherwise separate demographic groups: TargetGreen (all things eco and "green"); TargetPlay (recreation, play, gaming, etc.) and TargetTown (workplaces, post office/convenience store, gyms, residential, etc.)"

Plus, all three proposed sites offer an experience that their current geographic location currently lack: Town sits at the edge of the ex-urban edge in Tracy, CA; Green in an existing suburban power center parched but always sunny Phoenix; and Play (shown above) on an urban infill site in open-space starved Brooklyn."

For more pictures and detailed landscape plans, visit RackedLA; all images via Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design with Greg Kochanowski.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Target's CEO responds to my email...

Dear Readers:

After yesterday's post, not only did I call Target, but I also emailed Target's CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, to complain about the Bullseye's move to demote 8,000 employees. [His email address has been pusblished on The Consumerist blog numerous times, in case you're wondering how I got it.] Pictured above is the response allegedly from Gregg himself. And below is the email that I wrote to him this morning:

"I am a loyal Target customer for over 12 years, and I am extremely distressed by the news that you are demoting over 8,000 employees to part-time status in order to get out of paying their medical benefits.

Shame on you, Target! Not only will the effected employees suffer, but all of us (your Target guests) will as well. No more Team Leads = diminished (if any) customer service. You are on the road of RiteAid, Circuit City, and all the other retailers who have tried this approach and now are bankrupt. It's not just about low prices, Gregg; it's about the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE, which you are killing!"

So what do you think, folks? Is this a genuine reply from Gregg, or just a canned response from Target's PR machine? And does a one-sentence rebuttal really cut it, or should I just be glad that they bothered to respond at all?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Target shafts 8,000 employees

Call this "Tuesday's Rant on a Thursday", dear readers. I've been away on vacation, and just got back to hear some HORRIBLE Target news...

According to The Consumerist, 8,000 full-time specialists and team leaders are going to be demoted to part-time as part of "cost cutting measures" by the Bullseye (in order to not have to pay them medical benefits). Here is part of an email sent to The Consumerist by a Target store Manager named Michael:

"Target has just eliminated the Specialist and Team Lead positions at its stores. Basically the departments are no longer going to be run by competent people anymore, just whoever can get the job done the cheapest. This means downgrading 8,000 full time employees to part-time status. I was informed of that today I was one of those people. The people they are letting go are the top performers and have been there the longest. We are the only people who know where things are."

You can read more of Michael's email here. Circuit City apparantly followed a similar model... and, well, look where it got them. This is a terrible move on Target's part, IMO, and if you're so inclined, I welcome you to call them to complain. One Consumerist reader left the following customer service number in the comments section:

"I just personally got off the phone with the customer comment line 1-800-440-0680 ...I told them in a very matter of fact way about what i spend in their store on a regular basis and that I would find another place that treats their employees better and how wrong it was to do this to people that know what they are doing just so they don't have to pay benefits. After they realized where this was going I was ushered off the phone call pretty quickly [and was told] we will pass this information on to the correct people. I encourage you all to take 10 minutes out of your day and call this number. Let them know this is not okay to do their employees."

I just tried this number, and it's real. It's menu-driven, so you have to dial 1 for English, then I believe 2 or 3 for Customer Service issues, and then after that I got impatient and dialed "0" for operator and it said it was going to connect me to a live person. At that point I hung up because I want to collect my thoughts first before I express my displeasure over this issue. Because not only is this unfair to the employees who get demoted, it's also unfair to us (the customers) in that there will be fewer "seasoned" Target workers out there to help store guests, answer questions, resolve issues, etc. etc. So basically, dear readers, we're all going to suffer for this.