Missing the Target

I used to love to shop at Target. Each visit was like an adventure where I never knew what exciting things I would unearth. Sure, I’d get my toiletries and such, but I’d often find interesting ┬áitems to add to my cart. Sadly, that is not the case any more.

I’ve noticed a decline in Target’s quality over the past couple of years, but this season has really been obvious. Do you remember the first designer collaboration Target did? I believe it was with Isaac Mizrahi in 2002. I remember the collections well. They were well made and designed, priced reasonably, and had a quality feel to them. Matter of fact, I still own the black satin tuxedo I bought from the collection and I love it. The collaboration was a huge success and Mr. Mizrahi and Target made millions. It was short-lived (only 6 years) but had such impact that designers were drooling to team up with Target to create something special.

Remember last December’s collaboration with Neiman-Marcus? A colossal failure and a clue to Target’s future. These designer collabs have gotten splashier but the quality and design has suffered immensely. Most of the items from the N-M collection ended up on deep discount where they gathered dust until being shipped off to the nearest Goodwill. Let’s face it, Oscar de la Renta designs fabulous evening gowns, not dog bowls. And people who shop N-M most likely don’t want to buy knock-offs at Target (if they go to Target at all).

The latest disasters I’ve seen involve the Vera scarves collection (cheap polyester at ridiculous prices), anything with the name Nate Berkus, and the Feed campaign. Sadly, none of the designs are interesting (where are you Michael Graves?!) and the quality is substandard. What’s really telling is that the basic tanks and tees I used to buy at Target, I now get at Old Navy. Not only are they cheaper, but they are better looking.

Unless I want to go to Walmart (which I don’t), I’ll have to return to Target for my household basics, but I’m looking for alternatives. If I can get laundry detergent, paper towels, kitchen cleaner and such anywhere cheaper besides Walmart, I’m going to. Target, clean up your act and I’ll reconsider. In the meantime, anyone know where the nearest Costco is?!

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Chaos

I don’t like making messes. It’s weird, because as an artist, you’d think I’d be comfortable with dirt and such, but I’m not. What I hate most of all is clutter. I can let dust pile on most of the house, but I can’t stand a pile of mail or crap all over the counter tops. So it will come as no surprise to those of you who know me, that I hate moving things around in the house.

Steve loves moving furniture and is always thinking of ways we can rearrange rooms. My philosophy is that when things are in order, they should be left there. I have lightened up quite a bit since we married, but I mostly want to leave well enough alone.

It’s funny that our latest project involves messing up the house, moving furniture and creating chaos. What’s even funnier is that I’m the one who initiated it. About a month ago, I met my second cousin, Marcia, for coffee. As we talked about all the family members we’d loved and lost, she mentioned a breakfront (or hutch as I call it) that had been in her parents’ house. I remembered the piece and commented on how cool I thought it was. Since it was in storage and nobody in the family had room for it, Marcia thought it should go to us and suggested I call her younger brother Carl to see what he thought. Long story short: Carl was willing to part with it and Steve and I will pick it up tomorrow.

That leads me to the mess. Getting a new piece of furniture means moving old pieces to make room. I emptied our buffet and suggested to Steve that we move it to the corner and put our stereo equipment on it (a suggested he’d had in the past but I wasn’t willing to do at the time). Monday night we tackled the dining room and started planning. Tomorrow we pick up the hutch and will get everything put back together this weekend. What makes this story so interesting (to me anyway) is that I’ve been forced to live in a mess all week. Yes, it’s making me nuts, but I’m excited about the final outcome. I’ll be sure to post photos of the finished room, but in the meantime, you can enjoy a rare glimpse of my messy house.

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17 Reasons

Today, Steve and I celebrate 17 years of marriage. This may not come as a surprise to most of you, but at one time, some people thought we were nuts and I was jumping the gun. Well, I think things are working out! Here are 17 reasons why Steve is awesome and I love being with him:

17. He’s a tech wizard. I’ve learned so much from him through the years.

16. He likes to cook for me.

15. He’s a great friend and husband.

14. He knows how to call me out when I need it.

13. We work well together – not only on projects, but in life too.

12. He’s funny.

11. He’s cute too!

10. He’s sensitive, but not a pushover.

9. He gets along with my family. Truth be told, I’m wondering if they’d get rid of me if things didn’t work out.

8. He’s a terrific uncle to our nieces.

7. He supports me and encourages me to excel.

6. He’s a nice guy, but knows how to diplomatically tell someone (like me) to shove it.

5. He’s thoughtful. Ok, he did forget to take the trash to the curb today, but he chopped onions for dinner tonight. It’s a win-win here.

4. He’s not afraid to watch a romantic comedy with me, but he also loves a good action flick. Well-rounded.

3. He’s a good communicator. I know I can always talk to him about anything.

2. He’s willing to take chances and encourage me to do the same when I want to play it safe.

1. He loves me just the way I am and that’s enough for me!

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Off The Grid

I’m going off the grid for a little while. Don’t feel much like writing or sharing. All’s well, I just want a little privacy. See you soon!

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The Music (Wo)man

Growing up, our house was always full of music, whether it was playing LPs on the stereo or listening to my dad strum the guitar. With all that music, it’s no wonder I developed a love for it. I originally started playing the piano when I was 6, but didn’t have the dedication for practicing so my parents decided not to waste money on lessons until I was older. I played the violin for a couple of years before convincing my mom I was ready for the piano again. This time I loved it.

I played piano for several years before I started singing more seriously and taking voice lessons. The time and effort paid off as I was offered a small scholarship to Drury University to sing. After my senior year of high school, I left piano behind and devoted the next four years to singing. I have so many fond memories of my musical years at college.

Fast forward to now. Most of the singing I do is in the car and I haven’t touched a piano in a decade or more. Last fall I was visiting my dad and played a little on their keyboard, but I haven’t sat down and played a real song in ages. Just that little exposure last year made me realize how much I miss creating music.

I’ve been talking to my dad about buying a keyboard since we don’t have room for a full-size piano, but I keep dragging my feet. I’ve been micromanaging the purchasing process telling myself I shouldn’t spend the money on an instrument because I’m not even sure if I can play any more. Besides, I’m sure I’m not any good. I relayed my thoughts to my dad and he had this bit of wisdom for me: “A musical instrument is as good as a therapist.” Wow. I never thought of it that way, but he’s right. I remember sitting down at the piano for hours just to relax and challenge my brain. It was so therapeutic.

I’m still searching for a keyboard and have a couple of leads. One friend has a used one I’m hoping is affordable, otherwise, I’ll save my money for a new one. In the meantime, you can see me driving around town singing in my car!

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Break Time

Has it really been more than a month since I posted? Yes, it has and quite frankly I needed the break. December is always a whirlwind of activity both personally and professionally. It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who wait until the last possible minute to shop then want something custom made. I’m just glad to have the work.

From a business standpoint, December was great with a fantastic show and lots of special orders. My new steel line has sold well and I’m happy to report I have nothing in my inventory! Time to get to work.

The holidays were busy, stressful, fun, exciting and relaxing all at the same time. While I enjoyed time with the family, I’m happy to be back to my normal routine. I’ve had plenty of celebrating for a while.

I have several blog posts stewing in my head and I hope to get them out soon. Happy New Year, everyone!

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Word Weary

A couple of months ago, a friend emailed me to discuss words she was tired of hearing or reading. Turns out she had spent most of the weekend watching HGTV and had heard “repurpose,” “pop,” “open concept,” “hip” and the like too many times. This started us on a string of emails and texts regarding words and phrases that have had their time. Here are a few we’ve decided should be retired:

Cougar – when referring to an older woman who is attracted to younger men, or is on the prowl.

Diva.

________ Central – as in anyplace where there is an overabundance of something.

Ultimate or supreme anything.

Upcycling.

Steampunk.

Literally.

Women who refer to their close friends as “bitches” and “hos.”

Then there’s the vast list of words that are mashups of two words or names. Today I was reading the Wall Street Journal and was irritated when I saw the words “swacket” (for sweater jacket) and “shacket” (for shirt jacket). Have we just become so lazy as a society that we can’t actually spell out people’s names or items any more? Mashups I’m tired of seeing are: Lob (long bob), Shootie (shoe bootie), Jorts (jean shorts)and Jeggings (jean leggings. Don’t even get me started on celebrity name mashups such as ScarJo for Scarlett Johanssen.

Somehow I feel I’m not alone here. Thoughts? If you want to talk to me or Steve, just refer to us as “Stammy” or Tameve.”

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