Thursday, June 30, 2011

Further cuts on Calypso...

The Calypso St. Barth Collection for Target has been on clearance in stores since June 10th. And now, the price cuts have finally made it online to, with the collection at 30% off. There seems to be a pretty good selection still left on the site, including the Petite and Plus sizes which are only available online. Grab what you can now before it's all gone because it's pretty slim pickings at my local Target stores (where the prices have already been cut to 50% off clothing and 75% off housewares!).

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Target's CEO on products, prices, and plans

In an interview with USA TODAY, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel shows it's full-speed-ahead for the chain, in contrast to the jitters at many other retailers. He's presiding over the company's record number of remodeled locations this year, the opening of smaller urban stores, plans for an expansion into Canada and an overhaul of its website, which will soon operate independently of Amazon.

Consumers can look forward to more fresh food and new higher-end clothing and houseware designers — including Missoni — offered on a limited-time-only basis. But those who rely on after-Christmas sales for their holiday decorating and sweater needs may be disappointed. He's cutting inventories to reduce the need for post-holiday markdowns.

Steinhafel, 56 (shown here) started as a "Buyer in Training" at Target in 1979. He was named president in 1999, president and CEO in May 2008, and chairman of the board in January 2009. He continues to hold all three titles.

You can read the full USA TODAY article here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Product Review: Rimmel Day 2 Night Mascara

Rimmel has been pushing their new mascara, Day 2 Night (available at Target) in all the fashion mags for months now, so I finally broke down and tried it the other day. Rimmel dubs this as a "Buildable formula that allows you to create the look you want for day or night". The "Day" formula has the the "Length" brush, which is delicate-looking with widely spaced bristles. It doesn't pick up much product and gives a more natural lash look. IMO, the "Day" look wasn't anything special, and not any better than any other brand of mascara I've tried.

The "Night" formula, on the other hand, was a complete mess! It's "Volume" brush has much denser bristles and picks up a lot (and I mean a LOT) of mascara... which is supposed to give a volumized lash look. But instead, it clumps and makes your eyelashes really stick together. It's definitely the stickiest, messiest mascara I've ever used. I definitely don't recommend this mascara to anyone; please don't waste your $$ on this like I did!

Sale Alert: Patio Furniture

While out shopping yesterday, I noticed that Target has already put most (if not all) of their patio furniture on sale for $30% off. Which I find ironic, since the first day of summer was just this past week! But I know the drill: Target needs to move out the patio stuff to make room for all the Back to School merchandise that will be hitting stores in a few weeks.

So far, the sale is in stores only (not online) and seems limited to furniture (not patio accessories or decor). Shown here is the "Bexley" collection, which is similar to the "Siesta" collection I bought last year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

New at Target: Fred Flare

While browsing my local Target the other day, I noticed something new: an aisle of Fred Flare products. Fred Flare is known for their fun, kitchy accessories and novelty items, and it looks like Target is offering a selection of their products in their back to school/off to college section.

Shown here are some cute wine name tags I saw, in addition to this fun handlebar mustache corkscrew and this adorable Pac-Man oven mitt. In all, Target probably had a couple of dozen Fred Flare items. And since they're part of a "seasonal" section, they'll probably go fast. I plan to go back this weekend and pick up a few things to save for stocking stuffers later on.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why Walmart SUCKS

This post is going to be a rant. You've been warned...

Now I'm a "Target Addict" for a reason. Love the store. Crazy for the merchandise. Customer service is pretty decent, and outside of a few rants here and there, I have little to complain about. But not so with the Bullseye's main competitor, Walmart.

I rarely shop at Walmart, and when I do, I do it online because the only thing I buy there (the Norma Kamali line) is no longer carried at my local store (REASON THEY SUCK #1). So every so often, I order a few of Norma's wonderful (and ridiculously cheap) yoga tops and athletic wear. The problem with the Kamali line, however, is that the sizing is all over the map (REASON THEY SUCK #2). Which means I have to go to the actual store to return things from time to time, as I had to today.

Unfortunately, I made the horrible mistake of trying to go on my lunch hour. BIG FAIL on my part. I should have immediately left once I saw the slow, snaking line at the Customer Service desk with just ONE person working there out of 4 stations (REASON THEY SUCK #3). I decided to try and wait it out, partly because a very chatty and entertaining woman ahead of me in line was about to blow her top at how long we were waiting. But once the lone customer service clerk called for help over six times while we were there, and the phone just rang and rang (she put it on speakerphone so the 20 of us or so in line could hear) with no one picking up (REASON THEY SUCK #4) I was beginning adopt my new friend's attitude. Especially when this poor old gray-haired lady who had been at the front of the line the whole time we were there waiting for a manager (REASON THEY SUCK #5) was finally turned away for trying to return something without a receipt (REASON THEY SUCK #6). She was trying to return a playpen for her grandchild, which was found to be broken/missing pieces once she got it out of the box (REASON THEY SUCK #7) and since she had no receipt and they no longer carried it in the store, they didn't even give her store credit (REASON THEY SUCK #8) and she was out $60.

But stay with me - it gets better. There was another guy in line that was a beer delivery guy, simply delivering a shipment to the store. And he'd been waiting there over an hour because he needed a manager (not just a customer service rep.) to sign off on the invoice. They'd called for a manager repeatedly, but no one bothered to come (REASON THEY SUCK #9). And, he said this happens regularly, and that sometimes he has to wait up to TWO HOURS.

When I FINALLY got to the front of the line, the clerk - who was still in training - did not know how to properly handle an internet return. So what she basically did was start to CHARGE ME for the items I was returning vs. credit me for them. Luckily I realized what was happening BEFORE I handed her my credit card. She then LEFT THE COUNTER to look for a manager herself because without one, she could not suspend the transaction (REASON THEY SUCK #10). When she came back 5 minutes later sans manager, I finally blew my top (after wasting almost my ENTIRE lunch hour) took all my stuff back and started to storm out. Ironically, just then, the manager showed up (!!!!) and when I complained about how long we were waiting there, he simply shrugged (REASON THEY SUCK #11). A kind man in line told me to ask for his business card so I could complain to his boss (and said that he'd do the same) but when I did, the manager said "we don't carry business cards" (REASON THEY SUCK #12).

At that point, I just left the chaos; people in line were yelling at the manager (in support of me) and vowing to flood Walmart's 1-800 line with complaints. But honestly, I don't think it's even worth it. The way they treat their customers is deplorable, and it's not going to change. And a quick Google search on "Walmart sucks" proves that point, by the number of sites devoted to that sentiment.

Makeup: when in doubt, throw it out!

Sonia Kashuk has posted a helpful primer on her blog on makeup expiration dates and when an item should be replaced. I for one am guilty of holding on to my makeup for too long, so her post is a gentle reminder to do some serious "spring cleaning". Her overall mantra is "when in doubt, throw it out!", and here are her rules:

Liquid Make-up= 12 months
Wet & dry powder foundation= 24 months
Pressed powder= 36 months
Concealer= 6 months
Eye Base= 24 months
Eye Liner pencils= 36 months
Powder blush= 36 months
Lipstick= 24 months
Lip gloss= 24 months
Lip liner pencils= 36 months
Powder eye shadow= 36 months
Mascara= 6 months
Liquid eyeliner= 6 months

PS: Speaking of Sonia, her Spring Limited Edition Collection (which I blogged about back in February) is now on sale in stores for 30% off.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Target's New Coupon Policy

Target has joined the club of grocery stores laying down strict rules about what coupons it will - and will not - accept.

Target's focus is now on Internet coupons, Buy-one, get-one deals (aka "BOGO" deals) and mobile phone coupons. This follows similar moves by Publix and other grocery giants that are now handling a wave of aggressive couponers who devote hours each week to reducing their grocery bill to pennies on the dollar. Target's public policy now has 20 different rules regarding coupons, including:

* Target will still accept one manufacturer and one Target coupon together, but will not apply a credit or give cash back if the total exceeds the value of the item.
* Coupons from the Internet must have a scannable bar code, and Target won't accept any that don't require a purchase. For instance, if Procter & Gamble's website offers a free-item coupon for customers to try a new product, Target might not accept it alone.
* Target will only accept mobile phone coupons from their own internal service where customers sign up at, or by texting "COUPONS" to 827438 (TARGET.)
* Target won't accept any coupons that are copied, scanned, transferred, purchased, sold or altered.
* BOGO coupons cannot be combined. For example, you cannot use two BOGO coupons on two items and get both for free.
* On BOGO deals, customers can only apply one "cents-off" coupon, whether from a manufacturer or from Target.
* Manufacturer "cents-off" coupons can only be used on Target BOGO deals and Target "cents-off" coupons can only be used on manufacturer BOGO coupons

Monday, June 20, 2011

Deal of the Day: John Derian plate set

The John Derian for Target collection debuted back in the Fall of 2008 and was an instant hit – so much so that he did a follow-up collection that Christmas, and then another one last September. So you can imagine my surprise to still find a few John Derian items on… and on clearance, no less!

The best of what’s left is this adorable appetizer tray set with a charming knife/spoon/fork motif. And with the 8-plate set priced at just under $8, this is quite the deal.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

REAL Calypso on clearance...

For those of you who found the Calypso St. Barth for Target collection lacking the quality or variety of their full-priced line, then here's your chance to nab the "real" at a "deal". Calypso St. Barth is having a "Sample Sale" on their web site, and if you type the promo code SAMPLESALE at checkout, you'll get an extra 50% off the clearance price. Note that all sales are final, and sizes are limited. And even with an extra 50% off, most items are still more expensive than the Target line, although there are some bargains if you hunt for them (like this cute "Elba" skirt, which was originally $135, marked down to $29, and ends up just $14.50 with the additional discount).

I find it interesting that the collection is mostly muted, concentrating on whites, tans, beiges and blues (as shown here) with only the occasional "pop" of color like coral and turquoise. Very different from the Target line, which revolved around tropical brights.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Consumer Alert: Target Recalls Circo Booster Seats

Target, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, has announced the voluntary recall of Circo brand Child Booster Seats.

Approximately 375,000 booster seats have been recalled because the buckle can come undone unexpectedly, allowing the child to fall. The recall will include seats sold as far back as 2005. The booster seats were sold exclusively at Target stores nationwide from January 2005 to June 2009 for $13.

There has been reports of ten injuries as a result of toddlers/children falling from the seat because of the buckle unfastening unexpectedly. The injuries included bruises and bumps from the child falling forward and hitting an object or the floor. If you have a Circo Child Booster Seat, you can return it to any Target for a full refund or call Target at 1-800-440-0680.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Target's Honeymoon Essentials

As part of their "Weddings Week" feature, is featuring a daily grab bag complete with all the key items you'll need for a super-stylish honeymoon. And lo and behold, yesterday they featured a collection from Target.

Highlights include amazing sandals from the Miss Trish of Capri line, a great striped straw hat to protect you from those evil sun rays, a Calypso St. Barth cosmetic bag to keep all of your beauty products, and of course, the essential beach-ready bikini. Click here for the full slideshow, complete with prices for each item.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Returns Department...

It’s time for another installment of The Returns Department, a sporadic feature on my blog in which I share with you an impulse buy that went awry. With the Calypso St. Barth for Target collection now on sale, I'm prompted to give second thoughts to some of the Calpso items I bought back in early May that I haven't even worn yet. One of those items is this print dress in "Cerise Queen". Online, I thought the dress was more of a bright raspberry pink; in reality, it's more of a strawberry red. And even though I usually wear both pinks and reds, this dress just doesn't look good on me... and certainly isn't as flattering as it is on my friend and fellow blogger Lemondrop Marie. Therefore, this dress will be going back to my local Target store.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

And the winner is...

The winner of my latest blog giveaway - for the NP Set Lip Gloss Compact - is The Procrastinator! The Procrastinator's entry was picked by the random number generator over at Procrastinator, I've emailed you for your mailing address so I can get your prize out to you. And thanks again to everyone who entered and for reading my blog!

Monday, June 13, 2011

This just in: two more Target collabs for Fall is reporting that Target is teaming up with two more designers (albeit less well-known ones) this Fall. This time, the focus is on accessories. South African hat-maker Albertus Swanepoel, who has previously collaborated with Gap and J.Crew, will do a run of 14 women's hats for $19.99 a pop. And onetime fashion editor and Mattel product designer Dana Kellin will contribute jewelry priced at $9.99 to $49.99. Both lines will launch October 30th.

Shown here are Kellin's Willow Mix Cluster earrings (from her regular retail line) which run $176. If you're interested in checking out more of her offerings, visit The Clay Pot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Is Calypso on clearance already?

According to a tweet by The Budget Babe today, the Calypso St. Barth for Target collection is now on clearance at 30% off. That may be the case in some stores, but online the Calypso collection seems to still be full price.

The timing seems fast to me, since Calypso just debuted back on May 1st. Then again, since Calypso has struggled to sell in stores, perhaps Target felt the need to put it on sale early.

UPDATE: According to your comments - plus a quick check of one of my local Targets last night - it's true! The store I visited had women's/children's clothing & accessories at 30% off, and jewelry at 50% off.

Summer Giveaway: NP Set Lip Gloss Compact

Way back in January, I reviewed (and raved about) the NP Set Lip Gloss Compact (available at Target). And now, to celebrate the warm weather FINALLY hitting my neck of the woods, I'm giving away one (brand new/sealed in package) in the perfect summer shade of "Vanuatu" - a sheer, shimmery peach.

To win, all you have to do is leave a comment here along with your email address by Monday, June 13th. This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only, and the winner (picked at random) will be announced on Tuesday, June 14th. Good luck!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Has Tar-zhay lost its cachet?

There was an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal yesterday (which you can read online here) posing the question of whether Target has lost its cachet. Analysts say that Target has confused its shoppers by emphasizing food and low prices at the expense of its hip, cool image. Target shoppers are still stocking up on toilet paper and foodstuffs, but the stores are having a hard time enticing customers to spend money on stylish clothing and home goods—which are more profitable and make up more than 40% of annual sales. And it was precisely those apparel and decorating items — mixing mass with class — that set Target apart and allowed it to be one of the few discount chains to thrive against Walmart's relentlessly low prices.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Proenza Schouler wins CFDA award

Earlier this week, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough of the Proenza Schouler label won the coveted CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) award for "Womenswear Designer of the Year". Fans of this label may recall that they did a budget line for Target back in the Spring of 2007 (before I started writing this blog). I personally wasn't a huge fan of Proenza Schouler for Target (as shown here) but I do recall the line being well-received by critics and consumers alike.

Proenza Schouler was also part of the recent Go International dress retrospective... and if you fancy owning one, their signature "bustier dress" is still available online here on (at the bargain-basement clearance price of $15.74).

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

This just in: Josie Natori for Target

Designer Josie Natori revealed yesterday on Twitter that she will be the next designer to collaborate with Target. The Josie Natori for Target collection will hit stores October 30th, and assumingly will concentrate on sleepwear and intimates (as the designer is best known for). Stay tuned for more details as they become available!

UPDATE: According to The Cut, Natori will "design a range of undies and loungewear to be released in two installments, the first one right before the holidays (a blockbuster season for gifts of that nature) and the second one on January 1 (for Valentine's Day, supposedly). Prices for bras, panties, chemises, and other items will range from $9.99 to $34.99."

New at Target: D-Signed Sharpay Collection

D-Signed (by Disney) first introduced their TV-themed clothing line - based on the “Sonny Munroe” character played by Demi Lovato - last year at Target. Since then, they've given us the “Teddy Duncan” collection (played by Bridgit Mendler on “Good Luck Charlie”), and now they’ve unveiled a new D-Signed collection based on the “High School Musical” character "Sharpay Evans" (played by Ashley Tisdale). The clothing items in the fashion collection are based on the clothing Sharpay would wear, with clothes that according to Disney “are influenced by Sharpay’s classic, but playful, feminine styling and strong personality.”

The D-Signed Sharpay collection is currently available at Target in girls sizes 4-16.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Double-Take: Banana Republic vs. Xhilaration

It's time for another double-take, where we take one item from Tar-jay and pair it up with a similar designer piece. This time we look at two ruffled tank tops is lovely shades of sea green....only one is from Banana Republic, and will cost you almost $70, whereas the other is from Xhilaration (at Target) and is only $14.99.

Now to be fair: the BR one is pure silk, whereas the Xhilaration one is poly/rayon. But does that really justify a $55 price difference? The answer to which one is which appears in the comments section.

Go Solar

Few things are prettier in a night garden than soft pools of light illuminating trees, rocks, plants and pathways. Whether on a small terrace or in a sweeping landscape, lighting creates a welcoming and often dramatic atmosphere.

But in some cases, buried-wire electric lighting can be costly and impracticable. The answer might be to "go solar" instead. The technology of solar lighting has been refined in recent years to include new batteries that take and hold a charge bthey can stay outside in any weather, and are available in various watts and colors.

Jamie Durie
, author and host of HGTV’s The Outdoor Room, suggests three ways to use solar lighting:

“First, light your perimeter. It gives some perspective, and is a creative way to show the boundaries of your property,” Durie says. “Next, mark out your walks and pathways. Lastly, feature trees and other features with up-lighting, or even by attaching solar lights to walls and fences.”

Durie’s not a fan of “clinical” white LEDs, preferring those with amber light. "Make sure when buying solar lights that they’re all the same tone. And for areas where you want greater intensity, look for lights with more than two and preferably four LEDs in them."

Target carries a variety of solar lighting, from traditional garden stakes (like these from Smith & Hawken, shown here) to lanterns to string lights. You can check out the full selection on

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Double-Take: Elizabeth and James vs. Xhilaration

It's time for another double-take, folks: time to take a designer item and pair it up with a lookalike piece from Target. Today we have two pairs of crochet flat sandals in different colors but with striking similarities and styling. One is a pricey pair by Elizabeth and James at which were last $105 (down from $235) before they sold out. The other pair is by Xhilaration (featured in today's Target Weekly Ad) and will only set you back $20 bucks. Which one is which? The answer appears in the comments section.

Deal of the Day: Mens Merona Ultimate Tees

These Merona t-shirts are my hubby's favorites; they're super soft, hold up well, and come in a wide variety of colors. So I was thrilled to find them on sale online today for just $6 each! (regularly $8.99). Since I can't always find these in stores in my husband's size, I ordered a bunch of them from and since they qualify for Target's "free shipping over $50" offer, I was able to avoid the shipping costs, too.

Paparazzi catches Target shooting the new Missoni Campaign

Apologies for being absent the past week, readers, but I was away on business. To make up for it, I promise to post multiple posts today on a variety of topics.

As my friend The Recessionista and several other bloggers have already reported, The Cut has posted a paparazzi pic (shown here) snapped at the video shoot for the Missoni for Target ad campaign. I'm sure that Target won't be thrilled by this, since they always try to ensure the utmost secrecy for their designer collabs before they're released. For Missioni, Target held a physical preview of the goods for print editors and bloggers but absolutely forbade them from taking any pictures or writing about them in any significant detail on the Internet. In this case, it looks like the paparazzi foiled their efforts.

So what does this picture tell us? First off, it confirms that Margherita Missoni who will star in the campaign for the line. Secondly, it shows us a sixties-style sheath dress in the signature Missoni zig-zag fabric, complete with matching headband and (if you look really closely) brown suede pumps with the same zig-zag motif on the toes. She's rolling a zig-zag suitcase with coordinating floral duffel bag... and while this all looks nice on paper, I'm hoping that the actual Missoni for Target line will offer up a bit more variety and not be so matchy-matchy.