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Friends and Family Offers

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Calling all shoppers, calling all shoppers! The Friends and Family events going on at Macys, The Children’s Place and Sears are coming close to an end. So if you want to take advantage of any of these deals you better act quickly. Please see below for details and exclusions at each location.

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Macys ~ Friends and Family Event offers 25% off your total purchase in certain departments and 10% in others. This offer is valid until Monday December 5, 2011. Make sure to print and bring the attached coupon or use the online code MACYSFF when making your purchase.

*Friends & Family discount applies to sale, clearance and regular prices, with exceptions listed. EXTRA 10% OFF applies to electrics, electronics, furniture, mattresses and rugs/floor coverings. EXCLUDES: Everyday Value (EDV), cosmetics, fragrances, TAG Heuer, Tempur-pedic; products offered by vendors who operate leased departments in any of our stores including: maternity, eSpot, Louis Vuitton. Not valid on: previous purchases, special orders, services, gift cards, gift wrap, jewelry trunk shows, payment on credit accounts, restaurants, gourmet foods, wine. Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer, except opening a new Macy’s account. Present Friends & Family discount card at register. Use promo code MACYSFF to redeem discount online. Only one promo code may be used per transaction. Friends & Family discount code valid online November 29 – December 5, 2011. Additional exclusions apply online, see macys.com/friends **Domestic U.S. Shipping only. Exclusions apply, for details visit macys.com †Exclusions apply, for details visit macys.com/international

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The Children’s Place ~ Friends and Family Event offers 25% off your total purchase. Make sure to print the attached coupon or use the online code FRIEND when making your purchase.

*Valid until December 4, 2011 * Exclusions ~Valid through December 4, 2011 in U.S. stores, Puerto Rico stores, Outlet stores and online @ childrensplace.com only. In-store coupon may be used toward multiple purchases; online web code is valid for three redemptions. Limit one coupon per customer. Cannot be combined with any other offer except PLACE card 5% or 10% discount, unless otherwise noted. Returns and exchanges are subject to discount taken at time of redemption. Not valid toward the purchase of gift cards or toward previously purchased merchandise. Photocopies not accepted. Coupon may not be purchased, traded or sold. To use coupon online, enter web code during the online checkout process. NOT VALID ON INTERNATIONAL ORDERS. Discount will be applied before taxes and shipping fees. Flat rate standard shipping charge of $5 on all web orders (exclusions apply, see website for details). Internet distribution strictly prohibited. Not valid in Canada stores, or online @ thechildrensplace.ca. Employees of The Children’s Place are not eligible to use this discount. Use of coupon or promotion code is acceptance of its terms. Offer may be cancelled or modified at any time. Void where prohibited.

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Sears ~Friends and Family Event is happening December 4th, 2011 from 6-9pm offering anywhere from 5%-20% off almost everything. See associates and in store flyers for more information.

~ Have fun to all my Friends and Family~

Designer Handbags at great prices!

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Designer Handbags at great prices!

For those of you who would like to save on those high dollar purses for that special someone, there are a few options out there for you.

The first option for those label lovers is COACH, that’s right The Coach Outlet is offering an additional 30% off there already reduced prices. Just print the attached e-mail and take it in to the nearest Coach Outlet to redeem your savings but you must hurry because these savings only last until December 4th, 2011.

Your second option is Macys, who is currently running their Friends and Family sale with 25% off handbags and many other items in their store. Typically, designer handbags are excluded from their savings passes and promotions but when they have their Friends and Family events they only have very limited exclusions such as their Everyday Value (EDV), cosmetics, fragrances, TAG Heuer, Tempur-pedic and products who are offered by vendors who operate leased departments (such as sunglasses, maternity, eSpot or Louis Vuitton). This pass also excludes previous purchases but that is just self explanatory. So for those of you, who are in the market for a perfect Christmas gift for that special girl, this is definitely one that will score you some points. Some of these hot designer names include but are not limited to: Dooney and Bourke, Coach, Juicy Couture and Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Guess, Nine West and Ralph Lauren. So grab them while you can and before the Friends and Family event ends on December 5th, 2011.

PS. If you really want to woo your significant other or special someone, a matching wallet would also be an over the top touch!

~Happy Hand Bagging~

Leftover Solutions!

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Here it is two days after the big Thanksgiving feast and you are tired of eating leftover turkey or ham sandwiches. What to do, oh what to do? Well I have complied some great recipes for making your leftover turkey (or ham) disappear and I don’t mean in the garbage can. Besides, who really wants to see all that wonderful hard work you slaved over a few days ago, go to waste.

Spicy Chile Casserole

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 1/2 cups milk
1 (4 ounce) can diced green chiles
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken meat
10 (6 inch) corn tortillas, cut into strips
1 (8 ounce) package sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions

In a medium sauce pan, cook onion in oil over medium heat until soft. Stir in flour. Add broth and milk; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in chilies and tomatoes.Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Place 1 cup sauce in bottom of pan. Layer half the chicken, half the tortilla strips, and 1 1/4 cups sauce. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Top casserole with shredded cheese.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 to 45 minutes.

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Red Beans and Rice Recipe

If you have access to ham hocks and not shanks, you may want to make up the difference in meat (hocks have much less meat) with sausage. Just take 1/2 pound of Andouille sausage, slice, brown first before adding to the beans with the ham shanks. If you do not eat pork, you might try making this with smoked turkey sausage, in which case I would replace some of the water with chicken stock

Ingredients

1 lb dry small red beans
1 1/2 to 2 lbs meaty ham shanks
4 cups water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons of Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere’s or Zatarains) or to taste*
Tabasco sauce**
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked white rice (from about 3 cups raw rice)

*If you don’t have access to packaged seasoning, just skip it and add some thyme (fresh or dried), a bay leaf (in with the beans and shanks in step 2), and a little paprika
**We used a combo of Chipotle Tabasco sauce and regular Tabasco, could also use cayenne pepper

Place dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with cold water by a couple of inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. (You can quick soak them by putting them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them, covering them by 2 inches, then letting them soak for two hours.) Drain.

Place beans, ham shanks, garlic, chopped onion, and water in a large (8-quart) pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.

Remove ham shanks from the pot to a dish. Let cool slightly then shred the meat away from the bones. Return the meat back to the pot. Add the celery, bell peppers, Worcestershire and seasonings. Cover and cook for another hour or until the mixture gets thick. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce, salt and pepper.

Serve over rice. (Serves 8 )

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 Leftover Chicken (or Turkey) Casserole

4 qt. casserole
4 lg. potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 med. onions, sliced
1 can peas, drained
1 can mushroom soup, diluted with milk
Leftover chicken (or turkey)

In casserole, place a layer of potatoes and layer of onion slices. Sprinkle some of the peas over the layer. Next, add pieces of chicken. Continue this until casserole is 3/4 full. Pour over the layers the mushroom soup. Place in a preheated oven (350 degrees) until the potatoes are tender. Serves 4 to 6.

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving!

~Cook On~

Black Friday name change?

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Why are we calling it Black Friday? Should we now start calling it Black Thursday? Many retailers are changing their hours of operation for Thanksgiving, a time where many use to have off to spend with their families. We have gone from stores being open at 4am on Black Friday, to being open all day on Thanksgiving. This has upset many who work at these large retailers and it has taken away the family time that they very much look forward to.

Here are some things to ponder…Should we support these establishments on Thanksgiving Day? Or should we skip the shopping until it is officially Black Friday?

 Some retailers have decided to open at 12:00 am on Black Friday. Officially marking the start to one of the best shopping days of the year and I believe that these retailers have done it right.  They have considered the fact that many of their employees value the few holidays of the year that they get off to spend with family. When employers do this, it causes the employee to feel valued as well as let the consumers know that they see the demand. However, on the flip side if they keep their stores open many of the employees may retaliate and provide very poor customer service. In turn, this will causes many shoppers to think twice about going to these establishments.

I do realize however; that many frugal shoppers wait outside of retailers on Thanksgiving night to be the first to get the best deals on Black Friday. But these shoppers are being given a choice, and the stores who never close are not giving their employees a chance to voice their personal opinions.

Cons for Black Friday shopping

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Well the time has finally come, where I share the cons of Black Friday. For many of you non die hard shoppers who have never attempted Black Friday, this lovely little list will help you think twice about venturing into “our crowd”. If you can’t take the heat (the cons) get your booty back in bed! However, if you are interested in competing with all of the other Black Friday dye hard shoppers, make sure to check out my previous post on the pros of Black Friday shopping. Plus, check back as I plan to provide a list of strategies for planning your Black Friday outing.

Cons for Black Friday shopping:

1 ) Lack of sleep- Who really wants to stay awake after a turkey comma? Not many brave souls will eat a hardy Thanksgiving meal and then head to a local store where they wait in line for deals and door busters. Many people are so excited about particular door busters that they never even get a chance to eat Thanksgiving dinner, before heading out to wait in line. I have seen many people start a line outside of a particular electronic store on Wednesday night, so they are guaranteed the items that they came for. Sure this is the extreme; however, to some, what is your sleep and sanity really worth?

2 ) Cranky people- When you have hundreds to thousands of people waiting in line  for an establishment to open, you are bound to encounter some cranky people. People are running on lack of sleep, irritation and selfishness, so the chances that you will encounter some pretty moody people are very high. However, if you are grounded and positive, their moods won’t affect you.  Quite possibly you might have an effect on them.

3) Crowds and long lines- Uh, the crowds! People are sleep deprived, cranky and then to top it off there are tons of them. Who really wants to battle and quite possibly go to blows over a hot item of the year? I have seen cases where the police have been called to a large toy store because people started cutting in line and when others called them out on it, they start to fight. Absolute craziness!

4) Traffic- Let me just say, not everyone is smart enough to park at a friend’s house and carpool. Instead, most people drive solo and pack the parking lots to the extreme! The spaces at malls and shopping centers that are never taken will be taken on Black Friday. This goes for shopping carts too. If you think you are going to need a cart and you happen to show up late, good luck!

5) Limited Selection, bad deals and impulse buys – I have decided to lump all of these into one category, as they are all connected. When stores offer smoking hot deals on an item where they are only planning to offer a few (limited selection), they are setting customers up for disappointment. However, retailers are smart; they know that if they offer you something slightly more expensive with more options, then you will be driven by impulse to purchase the next best deal. When you do this; however, you may be making a big mistake as many of the impulse purchases on Black Friday have not been researched.  So the TV or electronic item you just got was actually not good at all.

I hope some of these cons have persuaded some of you potential Black Friday shoppers who were on the fence, not to go. Especially since when you don’t go, that just means there is more for me! 🙂

~Ra ha ha ha ha, I ❤ Black Friday~

5 Pros of Black Friday Shopping

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5 Pros of Black Friday Shopping

After posting Black Friday Smarts, where I included tips that help make your Black Friday shopping experience better, I figured  I should also provide some shopping Pros (today’s post) and Cons (another post coming soon) about waking up so darn early or possibly never going to sleep. Here is the list that I compiled for Pros of Black Friday shopping:

 1) Saving Money- This is obviously the ultimate and most important reason that most people, brave the stores with all the   crazy shoppers. When many people see huge price cuts on items they have been waiting for all year to get, they go nuts! So although your bank account and spouse will thank you, saving money comes at a cost. Think zzzzz’s

2) Getting the almost sold out toy or gadget that your children or spouse is drooling over- When your child or spouse says, “all I want for Christmas is…” the most sought after toy or gadget, you better get your running shoes on. Here is why, if thousands of others are after the same item, you have to increase your chance of getting the prize by putting in the time and sweat equity. Besides, nothing will replace the priceless look on their face when they open their gift on Christmas morning and unwrap what others couldn’t seem to get their hands on!

3) Great Workout-When you brave the stores on the most popular shopping day of the year, you will definitely be working off the turkey, stuffing and pies.  Shopping on Black Friday, requires mad dashes to different departments, running around like your hair is on fire, and sprinting from store to store, trying to gather all of the items on your wish list. (If that’s not a work out I don’t know what is?)

4) Spending time with your shopping buddies- This is a great way to spend time with family, friends or people you just want to hang out with. Many stores will have shoppers waiting outside their establishments quite a few hours before they open; so if you are going to get the best deals, you will be sitting alongside them in your fold out chair. This will allow you many hours to converse with your shopping buddies and did I mention to bring a deck of cards?

5) Bragging about your adventures – This is one of my favorites; you can have the best shopping experiences when you get what you went for. But you often times don’t just end up with that, you usually have some of the most interesting stories to take back home to share with others. I myself have a story / joke that goes like this… what does a preacher, college student and photographer all have in common on Black Friday?…Waiting in line at Best Buy for 6 pain staking hours in 17 degree weather for a fantastic deal on laptops 7 years ago!

Black Friday Smarts

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Black Friday Smarts!

As we approach the day after Thanksgiving “Black Friday”, it’s time to start thinking about all that goes into preparing for one of the most intense, gratifying and sleep deprived shopping days of the year.  To help you plan your shopping trip, I have compiled a list of things that you must have or have on before leaving the house.

My list:

Comfortable clothing is a must, think layers to the extreme. When you go from standing outside in the cold, to racing around a store like a maniac, you will end up naked if you are not in layers.

Good shoes, think sneakers, flat boots or whatever you can walk, jog and run in without giving yourself blisters or braking your ankle.

Cell Phone, leaving the house without this on a normal day is enough to make a person feel disconnected from the world. Leaving it at home on Black Friday is like giving up a life line. If you are shopping with buddies, then this is like going into a battle field without communication, all heck is going to break loose. In certain situations back up may be required or you may find such a good deal that you’ve decide to share it with friends who are shopping at other stores. ** Make sure to fully charge your phone before leaving the house because if you forget to do this, you are going to kick yourself!

BYOB and It’s not what you think. I am not recommending that you bring a bottle of vino; however, for some this may sound like a good idea. 🙂 I am only recommending that you bring your own personal shopping bag since getting through crowed places with a shopping cart is the pits! Many of you already have these from other stores (especially since many retailers give you money off your purchase if you bring them to bag your groceries); think IKEA bag if you plan to do a lot of shopping in a particular store. However, please keep in mind that you are going to have many people including security looking at you strangely, but if you are like me and done care…carry on. 🙂

Bring a snack, I don’t know about you but waiting in line for hours for a store to open and then bursting into an adrenalin filled atmosphere can really build an appetite.

Bring a friend, when you have hours to kill there is no better way to pass the time than with a friend or shopping buddy. Let me just give you all some advise, I have been doing the “Black Friday” shopping experience for the last 13 years and when I could not find a partner in crime, the wait seemed like it lasted for days. So do some strategic planning now and find at least two people who are willing to make the mad dash with you; because someone always ends up falling asleep and flaking at the last minute.

Bring the Ads, this one should go without saying but when you are waiting for stores to open its always nice to check, double check and triple check, to make sure you didn’t miss something or someone on your list. Plus if you carry the ads with you, you may be able to get some retailers to price match even on “Black Friday”.

~Prepared People = Happy People~

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