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What’s In My Bag?

23 Feb

This started out as a YouTube trending post, but completely ended up as a therapeutic purse-cleaning session.

Just think, if I stay this motivated, my next video upload will likely be, “Clean The Baseboards With Me!”

I Choose E-Books

18 Nov

So, today I was going to blog about yesterday’s little revelation that Herman Cain requested and received Secret Service Protection (as to not be caught off guard by Gloria slinging her pot of hot grits at him for publicly humiliating her all of these years.  LOL, no I’m kidding) but the reality is that 1) we’ve already heard and spoken ad nauseum about this feisty old coot and 2) there are about three new e-book releases that I would rather download to my Kindle, Kobo and iBook apps!

No politics today, just happy reading!

What I’m Wearing: A Little (Brooch) Goes a Long Way

9 Nov

Because I was going to be in my second full day of software conversion training today at work, I really had to contemplate how best to combine work attire that was not only appropriate for the office but also super comfortable for the duration of my all day session .  Coupling a colorful blazer with a navy Liz Claiborne braided collar top, I opted for a severely dark pair of denims and bright pumps to pull the outfit together.  The finishing touch however, was a heavily accented brooch that brought a bit of fun, pop and sparkle to an otherwise drab ensemble.

For the last few years, brooches have made a pretty massive surge back onto the fashion scene.  No longer are they merely reserved as the primary accent for your Gran’s lacy high-necked blouses, but can now be worn by even the most fashion conscious diva in an array of styles and with an assortment of clothes combinations.

Whether exquisitely set in crystal or simply crafted as a piece of costume jewelry, a vibrant brooch can take your most modest apparel to absolutely snazzy attire, with a single *clip*.

This sea foam pearl and sequin-petal brooch was purchased at Forever 21 for less than $10.

Sassy and budget friendly; sounds like a fashion win to me!

Adventures in Extreme Couponing

3 Aug

20110803-072351.jpgIf you’ve never seen the TLC series, “Extreme Couponing,” trust me when I tell you that you are missing the most incredible display of patience, frugality and the ultimate ability to stretch a dollar (I would HIGHLY recommend that these women pursue a political career and an appointment to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction…just saying).

The premise is simple; reality show cameras follow everyday savvy shoppers as they plan and strategize ways to save hundreds of dollars in trips to the store, all with the help of discount coupons. And boy, do they strategize!!!! I don’t think I’ve ever felt as inefficient as a supposed bargain shopper until I saw a woman with two shopping carts filled to capacity leave the store with a $28.37 grocery bill! Now the benefit of Couponing is definitely the huge savings that one can incur by utilizing those little squares of discounting gold, signing up for savings club programs and price matching, but Do. Not. Be. Fooled. Clipping coupons is a FULL-TIME job!

When my honey and I visited his brother last week, we stumbled his fiancé in full couponing mode. I’m talking sweat bands, scissors, three different newspapers, band-aids (paper cut prevention), and a utility Trapper Keeper with pockets, dividers and labels! When I teased her about her layout and all the effort she was exerting for a few cents savings here and there, she gave me that “oh ye of little faith” look. Escorting me to her pantry, she opened the door to reveal a plethora of soaps, lotions, deodorants, shampoos, toiletries, soups, veggies, and mountains of other non-perishable goods. Then she said two words that blew my mind: “35 bucks!”

Convinced that I too was disciplined enough to shop for my honey and 50-11 kids, I got home and immediately began sifting through periodicals and sale papers for coupons and bonus buys. Twenty minutes later when all I had to show for my efforts was $1 off a canister of Metamucil and a BOGO for Phillip’s Milk of Magnesia, I decided that clipping might not be my cup of tea. Trying my luck on the world wide web, I was pretty surprised to find several coupons that I could actually use.

Two hours and a full fridge, deep freezer and pantry later, I went back to review my shopping receipt and found that I had saved a whopping $10.98 off my grocery bill! Sure, sure. Clearly I am still a novice at this whole couponing endeavor, but let’s be real for a second. I drive an 8-cylinder vehicle, have Pack Kids in an array of athletic and extra curricular activities and a honey who has yet to find a coaches clinic that he doesn’t like. Every little bit of savings helps!!!

So tell me, how many of you coupon? Is it a religious practice for you or something you engage in every now and again. Is the effort worth the savings? What’s the most you’ve ever saved?

Fanny Pack Listening Party: Fool for You

15 Jul

 

As much as I love music, I cannot believe that I am just now introducing my listening party posts.  I guess in reality it is perhaps because I’ve not been overly moved by popular music as of late; to expend my energy (and my platform) to highlight yet another factory assembled, cookie cutter artist and his or her homogenous song.

But clearly such is not (nor has never been) the case when talking about Goodie-Mob-rapper-turned-soloist-turned-Gnarls-Barkley-front-man-turned-soloist again, Cee-lo Green.  Whether you are like me and can clearly recall tales of Cee-lo riding around in his Acura Legend(ary), calling out self-proclaimed G-O-Ds, or whether you are just now boarding this crazy train and have only recently been introduced to the pint sized dynamo thanks to his Unrequited Lovers anthem  Forget You, know that Green is the sort of artist that offers listeners his heart and soul and a pinch of funk with every rasp, falsetto and vibrato that he sings.

Stirring in some Melanie Fiona to his flavorful, musical gumbo, Cee-lo’s latest single from his Lady Killer’s album, “Fool For You” accurately depicts the feeling that we’ve all experienced at one time or another when that special someone had our heart on our sleeve, body on cloud nine and our nose wide open.  Its retro sound, lyrical flair and instrumental infusions makes “Fool For You” every bit a sultry R&B instant classic, well worth a listening party Fanny Pack feature.  Enjoy.

Making It Happen: Adventures in “Bucket Listing”

13 Mar

Although I can recall always having kept a spiral notebook, recording my erudite plans and expectations for the future, it wasn’t until I saw Morgan and Jack in “The Bucket List” that I decided that my safe and conservative schedules and timetables could stand a little finessing and flair.  And while there will always be a special place in my heart for fearless, 70-something , crotchety old men, my personal bucket list doesn’t throw complete caution to the wind, but does afford me the opportunity to experience and explore the vastness of this great big world:

Bucket List Phase I:  Aspirations to Achieve by Age 40

  1. Learn a second Conversational Foreign Language (preferably Italian)
  2. Take a Four-Country European Tour (England, France, Italy, Greece)
  3. Return to and complete Graduate School
  4. Winter Retreat in one of North America’s National Park Systems
  5. Explore the history of the former Ottoman Empire in an anniversary vacation with the honey (Didim, Turkey).
  6. Visit all 50 United States (currently 21 of 50)
  7. Participate in The Baltimore Running Festival; run The Baltimore Marathon
  8. Experience Carnival in Trinidad
  9. Discover my complete maternal and paternal genealogy
  10. Finish a published work

 

 

Viva Cocina Mexicana: Some Merchants Get It

4 Mar

As much as try not to be ruled by my gut, I am an unapologetic “foodie”.  That coupled with my proclivity for cost savings and penchant for online ordering and you have yourself one overzealous-coupon-carrying food enthusiast.

This was the case the other night when just for registering my customer card with Qdoba’s rewards program, I received a free drink and chips and salsa for my troubles (which I have yet to claim, as I had bigger fish tacos to fry that day).  So after coming home from an obligatorily long work day and deciding that nothing particular in my refrigerator tickled my fancy, I came to the conclusion that I had a taste for Mexican cuisine.  Short of actually serving the food to me in hearty forkfuls, Qdoba’s website did everything from allowing me to tailor-make my order to offering me a custom timeframe in which to have my meal prepared for pick-up (and did I mention the promotional discounts???).

Too good to be true, right?  Well yeah.  When my honey made the 7-minute drive to pick up our dinner, he was greeted by a locked door and dimmed restaurant lights.  After refusing to be denied (translation: he really did not want to hear my mouth), one of the store employees let him in, only to explain that the store was closed (at 9pm).  By this time, his righteous indignation had set-in and he began his tirade about having just placed and paid for an order online, and why would the store have accepted the payment and order (with a 9:20 pick-up confirmation) if the store closed at 9pm on the weekdays.  He was offered some hogwash about the online and in-store systems not always syncing properly, but upon seeing he was in the preliminary stages of a dissatisfied-customer meltdown on my behalf, a manager was called to rectify the situation.

Giving his spiel a second time, my honey asked for a refund (while calling me in the process) and prepared to take his taste buds elsewhere.  Because the business was closed and the registers were down for the night however, the manager told my honey that our money would have to be refunded the next day.  But the surprise came when, in a stroke of pure Customer Service 101 Genius, the manager not only promised to refund our money, but to comp our same order for the following day!

Are you kidding me, who does that these days?  I was totally verklempt! I mean, I didn’t even get a chance to ask for his boss’s boss our warm up my pen and notepad!

But the true shame is that I actually was surprised by this manager’s efforts to ensure that my honey left his establishment as satisfied customer. Don’t get me wrong; the guy was great and I appreciate his old school ideologies with regard to patrons, but if I’m honest, we are a so far removed from 1965, and it is seldom that I encounter a business that will do right by me (when the error is theirs) without a little arm twisting, you know?

So for as much as I fuss when businesses engage in blatant buffoonery at my expense, how could I not shout out one that went above and beyond expectations…and caused a gluttonous 3lb. weight gain in the process?

 

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