Monday, November 30, 2009

today I was a gargoyle

today I was a gargoyle
gray, guarding my home

today I was a gargoyle
mouth of wrinkled water

today I was a gargoyle
stoned, still staring in

today I was a gargoyle
imagined and displaced

today I was a gargoyle
flushed and un-wooed

today I was a gargoyle
ugly and unknown

today I was a gargoyle
awkward and alone

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sephora Beauty Insider Freebies!

If you love Sephora, you'll love this bonus! If you join Sephora Beauty Insider, you can get all sorts of freebies and discounts.  All you have to do is follow this link and sign up:;jsessionid=MO5NHMC3O5IBYCV0KRRRHOQ?bi=true

Don't forget to include your birthdate when you sign up, because you get special birthday freebies each year. I joined a few years ago and I have been getting free beauty goodies every year on my birthday, anything from free shower gel to free lip gloss!  Sephora sends you an e-mail with a coupon for your birthday freebie that you can redeem two weeks prior to or two weeks after your birthday (so, basically you have a month to redeem your coupon). What's great about this birthday gift is that it really is 100% free, and there is no purchase necessary to pick it up in the store.

Don't forget to enter promotional codes if you want more freebies with online orders. Here is a link to some current promotional codes:

Here's a printable coupon that is redeemable for a free metallic flower clutch bag filled with free samples when you spend $25 at Sephora:

Plus, Sephora offers free shipping on orders over $50 and free returns! So, have fun shopping at

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chicken Cheeks

How do you introduce synonyms or euphemisms for "buttocks" to your children?  We've used the commonly used terms: "bum," "bottom," or "butt."  But, how do you get your kids to remember "gluteus maximus" or "derriere"?

Two weeks ago, my son and I were at the library browsing through the kids' books. We spotted a great new book, Chicken Cheeks by Michael Ian Black. (This book caught my eye because my husband always says, "chicken," any time he wants to give a nonsensical response.  What he's actually doing is alluding to, and reappropriating, Bob Dylan's lyrics, "The sun's not yellow, it's chicken," from "Tombstone Blues." Nevertheless, whenever he says it, our son laughs hysterically. So when I saw this book with the word, "chicken" on it, I was reminded of my husband's goofy catch phrase and I had to add it to our stack of books to check out of the library.)

So, apparently there are a plethora of synonyms and euphemisms for "buttocks," and Chicken Cheeks cleverly explores these possibilities by pairing an animal with each new term. Each pairing is like a mnemonic device, carefully crafted from a cute rhyme and/or alliteration, making it easy for children to remember the new synonyms.  For example, the alliteration of "T" sounds in "Turkey tushy" and the rhyming "y" sounds create a memorable association or link between the words, "turkey" and "tushy."  Let's take a look at how these connections are reinforced by the ingenious illustrations from the book:
In the next example, the author simply uses a rhyme to connect the words, "Moose caboose":

My favorite pairings that the author creates are: "Duck-Billed Platypus Gluteus Maximus" and "Polar Bear Derriere." What a fantastically brilliant, not to mention poetic, way to introduce these sophisticated words to young readers!  (I only wish I had thought of this myself, because it is just too cute!)  Because this book does not contain complex sentences, the author leaves it up to the readers' imagination to figure out what is going on and even allows for a tiny subtext in the background.  (Hint: keep your eyes open and look for the ants on each page--they clearly have a plan of their own!)  You'll have hours of fun with this educational and memorable book, because what could be funnier and more entertaining for a child than a book that's all about rears?

If you'd like to see the author, Michael Ian Black, reading from Chicken Cheeks, please follow this link:

If you are interested in buying this book, here's a link to Amazon:

Friday, November 27, 2009

Free Software at Fry's Electronics

My mom and I just got  back from Fry's Electronics in Oxnard, CA, and guess what? It wasn't crowded! It wasn't a mob scene. It did not look like a hurricane had passed through it with merchandise strewn about and sifted through, even at 5:00 p.m.! I hate crowds like most people, but my mom really wanted to check out the Black Friday deals on the LED LCD big screen TVs, so I went with her after she came home from work.  

I was shocked, to say the least, because I was expecting to see a huge, manic crowd.  I was expecting to have elbows pushing me out of the way and carts running me over in each aisle.  Lines? What lines? We didn't have to wait at all! Did everyone just go shopping at the crack of dawn or what?

I was trying to be good and not go too crazy buying things that we didn't need.  I kept my blinders on (that's what I say when I try to stay focused, shop "like a man" and get straight to business, in and out of the store, lickety split, like my husband!). 

Just when we were ready to leave, I had to make a pit stop at the restroom. And there, low and behold, in the back corner of the store was a section with a big red sign over it that said, "FREE."  I went over just to see what could possibly be free on Black Friday. My eyes quickly scanned all the software programs they had displayed. I ended up getting a typing tutorial software program for kids for $14.99 with a $15 rebate, and a Microsoft Office 2007 tutorial for $29.99 with a $30 rebate. I figured I could use a little brush up tutorial on Excel, Publishing, Outlook and Powerpoint, and it was free, so why not? The typing tutorial was made for kids, so it teaches typing through games.  My son loves computers already, and I had been looking for a typing program for him, so he could learn how to type properly on the keyboard. Now was the perfect time to pick up that software!

I know a lot of people are not big fans of rebates (and I used to get turned off by them too), but they do work and they are worth the effort.  Just make sure you always make a copy of the rebate form and the receipt for your own records. 

This was my lucky Black Friday indeed! With a little innocent window shopping, I got some surprising (well, almost free). I scored some great computer software and all I had to do was pay for the tax, essentially (oh, and a stamp to mail in the rebate). But still, that's a great deal! That's the thing about Fry's, they always seem to be giving away some kind of software free--just look for it!

Fry's is great for all your electronic needs:

Oh! I almost forgot the biggest bonus of all when you shop at Fry's: 
You get 30 days to try out whatever you buy and if you aren't satisfied or if the product is defective in any way, you can return it!* Talk about an amazing return policy! 

*This excludes DVDs, software and video games though. For those items, Fry's will only allow an exchange for the same item:

Software, Games, & DVDs
Computer software, video games, video gaming systems, audio CDs, VHS videos, and DVD videos are returnable only if unopened. Defective items will be exchanged for the exact same item only.

For Complete details regarding Fry's return policy, please follow this link:

Black Friday: Best Day for Discounts on Cars?

While a lot of people race off in their cars to their favorite stores to grab Black Friday deals, who would have thought to drive to a car dealership for deep discounts the day after Thanksgiving? Apparently, the car dealers know that most people are either waiting in long retail lines at shopping malls or staying at home, trying to avoid those lines! Knowing this, car dealers try to offer a deeper discount than usual on cars, making Black Friday a surprisingly good day to buy a car. Why not take advantage of this competitive day of shopping?

I knew someone who used to work at a car dealership and let me tell you, that is the best way to get real insider knowledge about what to ask the salesperson, so you look like you know what you're talking about when it comes to buying a car.  Here are some things to keep in mind when buying a car (this willl also help you get a leg up by speaking "car dealership talk"):

  1. The first thing to know as a consumer and customer is your rights. By law, if a customer requests to have a copy of the invoice papers for a vehicle, the salesperson has to give you a copy.  So, if the salesperson is being evasive with price bargaining, then just pull out that nugget of knowledge and immediately, the salesperson will know that he/she is not dealing with some amateur off the streets!  If the salesperson won't give you the papers to look at, then immediately request to see the onsite supervisor or manager.  
  2. The second thing you can say to make the salesperson's jaw drop is that you want that vehicle for $100 over invoice price (or, if you have the guts, just ask for invoice price and see what happens!).
  3. The third thing that is very important to know is that you can change your mind about the vehicle at ANY point in the buying/bargaining process, even if you have signed papers.  How is that possible? Well, in fine print, at the bottom of the sales contract, it clearly states that the customer must take "delivery" of the vehicle in order for the contract to be valid.  Now, before I obtained insider information, I did not know about--nor had I ever heard of--taking delivery of a vehicle.  All that means is that the customer must physically drive the vehicle off the car sales lot in order for the purchase to be considered legally complete.  (Notice I said, customer, not salesperson.  The customer must drive the vehicle off the sales lot). Now, why is that good to know?  Well, if you get a sudden surge of buyer's remorse as the salesperson hands you the the keys to your new vehicle, you can still change your mind and you don't have to pay a penny.  If the salesperson looks at you funny at this point, then simply tell him/her that you have not taken delivery of the vehicle, so the sale is not complete. Thus, you can actually change your mind!  Who knew?!!!  
  4. It's always a good idea to shop around.  It doesn't matter how nice the salesperson is to you or how many free cookies you get at the dealership, you can always get a better deal if you can get two dealerships to bid against each other to fight for your business.
These are all things that car dealers do not want you to know, of course, but if you keep these things in mind, you will never get lured into a spontaneous car purchase!

My husband and I employed all these tips when we bought our Honda minivan a few years ago, and because we got two dealerships from different cities to compete for our business, we were able to take control of the sale and save a lot of money.  It also never hurts to ask if certain fees can be waived, either, because that can save you even more money.  But if you don't ask, they won't do it!

If you've missed this round of Black Friday car shopping, you can always be prepared for next year!

To read more about Black Friday deals:

A Fun Way to Introduce Compound Words

Anyone who knows my son knows that he is obsessed with all-things trains! Needless to say, our home is filled with all sorts of train books and, of course, trains.  Last year, we checked out this great book from the library, All Aboard Overnight: A Book of Compound Words by Betsy Maestro. Not only is this a great book for train fans, but it has a secret bonus built right in: it teaches the concept of compound words! What I love about books is that they are a fun way to teach things without formally teaching in a structured way.

All Aboard Overnight has great features:

  • All of the compound words are in bold print, so those words stand out, making them easy to point out to young readers (and vice versa, it's easier for young readers to point them out to someone else)
  • Contains "hidden" compound words in the illustrations that the readers can also point to or identify.  This offers another way to engage a child's mind to discover compound words through pictures!  
  • Introduces extensive train-related/transportation/travelling vocabulary words
So, no matter how old your child is, there are several levels of enjoyment in this book, several ways to access and teach the concept of compound words.

Now, when my son reads his other books at home, he'll stop mid-sentence and say, "Look, Mom, 'snowman' is a compound word! It's 'snow' and 'man' put together to make the word, 'snowman.'"  Almost through "reading osmosis," he just soaked up the concept of compound words, all thanks to Betsy Maestro's All Aboard Overnight, which combined his favorite things: trains and reading!  Awesome book!

If you are interested, All Aboard Overnight: A Book of Compound Words by Betsy Maestro can be purchased through the following links (but you can also check it out at your local library):

tube of toothpaste

i bought you a tube of
Tom’s of Maine all natural toothpaste,
to welcome you to my bathroom,
to brush your teeth
on those mornings
you’d wake up next to me.

i bought you that tube of
$4.95 toothpaste
so you wouldn’t have to settle
for my cheap Costco toothpaste,
squeezed from the center,
missing its twist-off cap,
leaking mangled globs
of stale sea green gel.

i bought you that tube of toothpaste
so i could buy us
another tube after that
and another
after that
and another after

but your tube of toothpaste
still sits on the corner of my sink,
tightly rolled up,
secured with its turquoise twist-off cap,
¼ full,
untouched by your hands
and mine...
for weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

blue eyeshadow

That powder blue eyeshadow glided effortlessly onto the my mom's perfect eyelid crease, highlighting her tawny brown eyes with all its 80's charm. Like many young girls, I loved watching my mom put on her makeup in the morning.  What a mystical ritual, so beautiful, so grown up!  Even though I was only five or six years old,  I wanted to paint that pretty blue eyeshadow on my own eyes and be fancy like my mom!  It wasn't the rose-colored cheek blush or the pink lipstick that captivated my attention, though, it was that blue eyeshadow.  I longed to wear it like my mom, but when she put it on me, something just wasn't right.  I looked so clownish...garish...absurd. There's something extremely grotesque about putting blue eyeshadow on a Korean eyelid.  It just looked so ghastly on me that even if I wore it on Halloween, it would still be repugnant.

What I was missing was a double eyelid, that special crease that my Caucasian mom had.  That crease allowed her eyeshadow to sit so nicely--tucked in--until her eyes blinked, and then, that blue eyeshadow peaked out, illuminating her eyes like a magic trick!  Oh, I tried so hard over the years to recreate that crease on my eyelid;  I'd swipe a skinny streak of blue eyeshadow on the top edge of my lid, but no magic!  I had no idea how to apply eyeshadow to my crease-less eyelid!  I couldn't create any sense of color gradation or even fake a sense of curvature to my flat, small eyelid to mimic the round shape of my mom's eyes.  I had to face the fact that I had Korean almond eyes.  My mom eventually admitted to me that she just didn't know how to put makeup on me.  She tried to comfort me by telling me that she could have her Japanese friend come over and try to put makeup on me.  

That makeup session never happened, though.

I pretty much gave up on wearing blue eyeshadow because it just didn't look right on me.  I simply could not figure out how to put it on without looking ridiculous.  It wasn't until high school and college, when I met other Asian girls, that I was able to experiment a little with colors and techniques that complimented my eyes.  I found that neutral earth tones like terracotta or light pink worked best for me, and it looked more natural if I just brushed it on lightly over the entire lid to give a hint of color.  

When I attended UC Berkeley, I met more Asian girls that wore eyeshadow successfully.  I had never been surrounded by so many Asians, and for me, it was a welcome experience.  I learned that some Asians even have surgery to create that ever-so-coveted upper eyelid crease, a procedure called, Asian blepharoplasty.  Now, I wouldn't go to that extreme to get an eyelid crease, but it definitely showed me that I wasn't alone in wanting to change my eyes.  

But, I only wanted that eyelid crease out of childhood naivety, so my eyes could be like my mom's eyes.  After all, she was the standard of beauty, the model of femininity that I grew up admiring and emulating.   

To read more about Asian blepharoplasty:

chasing butterflies

you told me
to chase butterflies —
that that was the way
to happiness.

thank you
for telling
me that—
that feeling,
those butterflies
fluttered back
I stopped
chasing you.

if everything’s a flutter
then what does it matter
if lonely nights never pass
knowing I can’t have you back?

a thread —
or a string —
a most tenuous thing —
or like an anchor
in shallow puddles —
still —
does your confetti
memory moor
your yearnings
far from
the sky
denying the
chance to
chase butterflies?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

L.L. Bean Must Hate Me

L.L. Bean must hate me. That's what my husband thinks, anyway.

My husband grew up in Maine and he told me about the best retail return policy a shopper could imagine. He told me that he used to wear an L.L. Bean parka when he worked at a fish packing plant. Money was really tight for him, and when he realized he needed money for rent, he decided to return the parka at the nearest L.L. Bean store and use the refund to pay for his rent that month. Now, keep in mind, he did not have a receipt for the parka and the parka was drenched in fish stench, leftover sticky fish guts and random fish scales, but L.L. Bean TOOK IT BACK and gave him a refund! To this day, I am still amazed by this story because it defies the laws of retail shopping! (I don't recommend doing this, per se, but it just shows that L.L. Bean has a phenomenal return policy!!!)

So, why does L.L. Bean hate me? Well, once I heard this story, I wanted to test out the return policy and see if it really worked--I'm all about testing theories that I hear! I grabbed one of my husband's old L.L. Bean blankets that he had from 10 years ago that had moth-bitten holes in it and grass bits stuck in the fibers, and I filled out a return form and mailed it back to L.L. Bean. I filled out the form to request an exchange to see if L.L. Bean would send a new blanket to replace the old one. A few weeks later, a brand new blanket showed up on our porch!

Now, why did that new blanket show up on our porch? I didn't even have a receipt for the one I sent back to the return facility! In retail land, no receipt means no service, no returns, right? That's what I thought until I met L.L. Bean's return policy:

A few years ago, we went back to visit my husband's side of the family in Maine, and while we were there, we went to L.L. Bean. That was the first time I actually stepped foot in the store itself (up to that point, I just shopped online at L.L. Bean's website to get acquainted with their products). When I walked around the store, I noticed this sign posted near the cash registers:

Well there it was etched in wood, hanging proudly on the wall: the original statement guaranteeing all L.L. Bean products! This was the magic sign with the incredible policy that makes people feel secure about shopping at L.L. Bean. This was the magic sign that enables receipt-free returns!

Ever since that blanket showed up on our porch, I have been a loyal L.L. Bean fan. It is the ultimate worry-free shopping experience because if something doesn't fit or if something shrinks in the wash, or if you just don't like the item, you can return it to L.L. Bean, no problem! A couple years ago, I bought some Keen sandals from their shoe department and after I wore them, I realized I did not like how hot they were on my feet--they did not let my feet breathe and I always had hot feet when I wore them. So, I returned those. Now, can you imagine any shoe store that would let you test out a shoe and return it because they were uncomfortably hot on your feet? I sure can't! I also bought some Nalgene water bottles a few years ago, before the BPA content was known, and after the articles about BPA in Nalgene bottles were released, I decided to return those water bottles to L.L. Bean immediately, just to play it safe. Now don't get me wrong, even though I have returned a lot of things to L.L. Bean, I have also balanced that out with purchasing a lot of things, so they still have my business and they have definitely earned it!

Nevertheless, my husband thinks L.L. Bean must know me by name by now and must hate seeing a return box from California!

Here's a little BONUS: If you sign up free for an L.L. Bean Visa credit card, you get free shipping and you can earn L.L. Bean dollars to spend at L.L. Bean! Oh, and now they changed their policy so that L.L. Bean credit card holders receive FREE RETURN shipping too!

Here is the link to the L.L. Bean return form:

No more BPA in Nalgene bottles:

Here's the website for L.L. Bean, let the shopping begin!

as that rose

The rose from Friday night is sloughing,
unable to withstand the freeze of light.
The sun still smothers the petals of flames,
crinkled curling obscuring white,
so unexpected—fire and ice.

I wonder what
it is to be
as that rose,
Beautiful frozen fiery
yet, col-
lapse in
two days
stem standing
shedding petals
of skin,
spoiled embers;
beauty that degen-
the instant
it is—

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Online shopping could save you even more money!

I absolutely cannot take credit for this (my friend showed me this trick), but I am going to pass it on because it has opened my eyes to online shopping. I don't know about you, but sometimes it's hard to go shopping with a toddler or baby. Instead of trying frantically to finish my shopping, while simultaneously trying to entertain my son, I have learned that sometimes it's better to shop online once in awhile. One of my favorite stores is Target, and they have a great deal to encourage online shopping:

1. If you spend $50, you get free online shipping (that's a savings in and of itself!)

2. If you spend $50, you get $5 off your total (that's like a bonus 10% off, if you limit your purchase to $50). Now that discount is something you just can't get if you walk into the store.

Here's a great site for looking up online coupons for retailers:

If you click on it, you will see the Target coupons. You can also type in any retailer at the top search field and try to find an online coupon for whatever store you can imagine (well, almost any)! Some stores offer printable coupons and some just offer online ones. With the holidays coming up, I think it's just easier to avoid the long checkout lines, save time and money, and shop online!

It is as though

It is as though
I swallowed my cell phone.
Last I checked
I had it on manner mode.
So when it rings
it vibrates —
that must be you calling!

It is as though
I swallowed a beehive,
with thousands of
buzzing bees
flying around inside,
bumping into walls,
tickling me with their wings —
then I realize
that is you,
roaming around!

maybe it is as though
a hummingbird
flew into my stomach,
hovering in circumference,
poking me with its beak —
but that can’t be!
It’s you I feel in there,
curious arms and fluttering feet.

Boxes, Part 2

Now that I have a son, those boxes seem even more absurd and useless to me. Even though my son is only 4, he has already experienced his first racial teasing. While playing at a birthday party, a 6 or 7 year old boy came up to him and said, "Chinese," while he put his fingers in the corners of his eyes. Talk about an instant flashback to my own childhood--that happened to me all the time on the playground at school, as I'm sure it has happened to a lot of people like me. I went to a predominantly Caucasian school, where I was one of three Asian kids in my class. Kids have a universal way of teasing other kids of different ethnicities, except they always assume if you are an Asian, you must be Chinese or Japanese. No one ever teased me about being Korean, because most kids don't know about Korean, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, Laotian or other Asian cultures. As a child, I was so indignant to their teasing because they got it all wrong! Even when I corrected them and told them I was Korean, they didn't seem to care about the precision of their teasing, they just said, "That's the same thing."

Today, especially in the San Francisco Bay area and other large metropolitan areas, there are a lot of kids that come from ethnically mixed couples. Look at Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter, Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Ben Harper, Bob Marley or Barack Obama! My son, Josh, is 50% Korean, 25% Caucasian, and 25% Afro-Trinidadian. I guess at that birthday party, he looked Asian to the kids, or at least Asian enough to be called, "Chinese."

Now, this makes me wonder if Josh will be considered, "Other." Or, will society apply the "One Drop Rule," ( and pronounce him "Black/African American"?


Looking for a job in this economy is brutal. Everyone seems to know it, but everyone still seems to be chugging along trying to land a job. I, for one, am sick of filling out forms and checking boxes.

You know the boxes.

The one that asks you to check what nationality/race are you. Check a box, any box. Now, I don't know about you, but I hate this section.

I've come to the conclusion that since it is voluntary, I just don't check a box at all.

A few weeks ago, I submitted my resume to a company and a lady from human resources contacted me, requesting that I come in for stage one of their hiring process: testing. She left a polite voice message asking to speak with "Mr. Mariko," and I just laughed! Hope they weren't expecting to hire a man for this job, because they were in for a huge disappointment! Plus, my name is loaded with so many expectations: "Mariko." Sounds Japanese, right? So, I must be Japanese, right? To some people, I even look Japanese--even before they hear my name, they think I'm Japanese.


I am not Japanese. I was born in Korea. That's what I can say, I was born in Korea. I was raised in California, and to most people I appear to be some kind of "typical California girl," whatever that means (but that's what I've been told)!

When I came to California, my parents did not know what to name me, so they asked one of their friends for help. He told them that I looked like a "Mariko," and they liked the sound of that, so that's how I ended up with a Japanese name. My name has always created massive confusion and requires constant correction with pronunciation--in the end, it has always made me stand out like a sore thumb (excuse the cliche, but it's appropriate). So now, I just go by Mar. It's easier for everyone.

So back to those boxes...

One of the most short-sighted, crazy and insensitive things that anyone has said to me about those dreaded boxes actually came from the mouth of my father. Out of the blue one day, he said to me that when I was applying to colleges, he just assumed that I'd check the box next to "White/Caucasian." Now, imagine that! My own dad thought that I thought of myself as "White/Caucasian" enough to check that box on an application? At that moment, I was literally out of words--I was thrown into a really dark place and let's just say I didn't even have a flashlight or a match to light any sort of pathway out of there. I could not believe that he had the nerve to say that, and it made me realize that he did not know me at all. To call it strange would be an understatement, and to this day, I have not been able to put into words how that made me feel. I can say with absolute certainty, that I would NEVER, EVER check that box on a form!

Thinking back to those college applications, I checked the box for "Korean," actually (I wasn't in the "leave-it-blank" mode, yet). The box that I really wanted to check was, "Other." Or, rather, I'd like to invent a box that says, "Nothing." I'm nothing. I'm just a person. I'm a who and not a what.

Monday, November 23, 2009

(in)visible t(w)o eyes

two slits
missing lids
insist on being
my eyes—

i’m not
and my eyes
aren’t closed—

the kids
insist that
dental floss
can blind me—

why am i a What
instead of a who—

The Korean…
is not me—
that What—she—
died when
i was born—

yet eyes still
insist she
is as is—

Mobile Fix

Dear iPhone users,

If you have ever thrown your iPhone at the wall or dropped it into the toilet by mistake, then I have to say that I have the company that might be able to fix your iPhone! My stepdad threw his iPhone against the wall one day out of frustration and it was pronounced dead at the scene...or, so we thought. He gave up on it and bought a new iPhone and I asked him if I could take his old iPhone and try to get it repaired. So, my husband helped me find a company in San Francisco that specializes in mobile phone repairs, especially iPhones. This was a "Hail Mary" attempt to get this iPhone fixed and I had my doubts that it could actually be done. But alas, my husband thought it was worth a try. So, he took it to the store and they did a diagnostic exam of the phone. Not only did they come back with good news that they could fix it, but they said they would also UNLOCK the phone, so we could use the iPhone with T-mobile service (which is what we already had). Now, this was sweet news! They fixed the iPhone in one day--it was a miracle!

I highly recommend this place if you ever have mobile phone problems, especially with your iPhone. Check out their information:

Here's a photo of the resurrected phone (if you click on it, you can see it says "T-mobile"!)

Don't Throw Away Your Bed, Bath & Beyond Coupons!

I've always been a huge fan of Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBB). My mom told me that my brother was shopping for some sheets one day and he looked down at his BBB coupon and he didn't use it at the cash register when he checked out, because he thought it expired! When I found that out, I figured that a lot of people must think that--heck, I used to think the same thing and I'd rush to the store to use it up before that impending expiration date. Don't throw away your latest Bed, Bath & Beyond coupon! (You know the one, the one you always throw away because it says it expires in two weeks.)

Well, I'm here to tell you that that coupon NEVER expires!!! They don't want you to know that, of course! They WANT you to come in an use it ASAP, but really, you can use it whenever you want.

Let's repeat: Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons NEVER expire!

Oh, and the bonus? You can use more than one coupon--yup, I said more than one--per transaction! You can use a $10 off coupon, and a $5 off coupon, and a 20% off coupon all on the same transaction as long as you have three items in your cart and you meet the minimum purchase amount stipulated on the coupons (i.e., you can use as many coupons as you want, so long as you have the same number of items to buy).

I took my mom shopping to test this theory, because she did not believe me! She was a little embarrassed when I pulled out 10 coupons to use, but the cashier just took them, no problem! Our total went down so fast and we saved a lot of money that day! So now my mom knows that she can use one coupon per item and she knows not to throw away her coupons, because they don't ever expire!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Amazing one-footed rollerblading 70 year old man!

This man caught my eye, not only because he is really athletic and talented, but he is also in better shape than most people half his age! He is in his 70's and he can rollerblade down this steep hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park! It was an astonishing feat and I don't think I could weave in and out of those markers like he did on one rollerblade, let alone two rollerblades! This man is amazing!!

Anthro gems

So this has to be done. It is completely unavoidable.

I love the store Anthropologie! The best part about this store is that if you sign up (free) for an Anthro member card, you get a lot of benefits. The best benefit is that you get a 15% off coupon for your birthday! A lot of people sign up for the card, but they don't fill out the form all the way and they omit their birthday, so they don't get the coupon! The other nice benefit is that if you link your purchases to the Anthro card, you never have to worry about losing a receipt because you can always return stuff without a receipt!

On our anniversary this year, my hubby took me to the Santa Monica Anthropologie store! Well, he didn't "take" me there, so much as we ended up on a promenade mall that had one!! (He would never knowingly take me to one because he hates shopping!) Since it was a special day, he "let" me go explore the two story beauty! It was like chicken soup for the shopper's soul to wander through that store and admire all the artistic setups and displays. It doesn't matter if you walk out of that store with any purchases, it's just worth it to walk through it for fun! That store really does have a beautiful ambiance and atmosphere--it's the perfect escape, like a mini vacation!

Plus, they have these things that I call, "gems," which are items marked down to $9.95 or $19.95 from anywhere between their original price range of $38-$300+! On a lucky day, you can find a gem! I found a neat little gem that day, some cute gray plaid tweed menswear-inspired cropped pants for $19.95! The tag was marked $88 and then it was slashed down to $49.95, and then it had a third markdown to $19.95! It was meant to be! I love those gems because it's a way to get gorgeous quality designer clothes (that I normally would not buy) for Target prices!

So, I'd like to say thanks to my sweetie pie husband, my real gem, for indulging me in a mini vacation at Anthropologie!

Now go take a mini vacation to Anthropologie and find your Anthro gem today! Report back to me all your findings!

Orchid or Grass

Am I an orchid,
fragile but tough
and bold enough to
crave water but once
a week?

Or am I grass,
blady but worn
and green enough to
seek weekly cuts and
water everyday?

Join The Leaping Lamp!

Check out my friend's website! If you love all things Pixar, this is the website for you! Join the group!!!

Notes toward cleaning...

Ok, so I'm not a neat freak and sometimes I get sick of cleaning, but through trial and error I have come across some products that I swear by and are must-haves for your cleaning cabinet:

1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (I was skeptical about this at first, but it really is magical and it cleans things that other cleaners will not even make a dent in! There are coupons in the paper for these, or Target makes their own brand of these, too!)

2. SOS brillo pads (These are perfect for cleaning stove hoods and gas stove grates! I tried a million other products and nothing will even come close to attacking that grease like SOS! Oh and I used it for cleaning our ceiling fan blades! Talk about SOS delivering miracle power!!!)

3. Ammonia (Gross smelling, but it works! It has become my new staple for cleaning the most stubborn dirty floors--yes, it takes some elbow grease, but it's like a mini workout and you get a clean floor in the end!)

All I can be is me, whoever that is. --Bob Dylan

Bee-bim Bop and Kimchi

Books have been a great tool for teaching Josh about anything and everything. I always try to vary his book selections to include multi-cultural references and experiences. While I didn't grew up reading books about Korean culture, I am happy that there are children's books that incorporate Korean experiences.

A few months ago, Josh and I checked out this great book, Bee-bim Bop by Linda Sue Park. He loved it. It was a fun, informative book about Korean food and getting a family together to eat bee-bim bop for dinner. There's even a recipe at the end of the book for bee-bim bop that you can make at home!

Another cute book is Babies Can't Eat Kimchi! by Nancy Patz. After reading that, Josh continues to spout out how babies can't eat kimchi because it's too spicy!

So now, even though Josh has never had kimchi or bee-bim bop (he is a very picky eater!), at least he knows that they exist. Regretfully, I did not have those words in my vocabulary or as part of my palate of dining experiences until I was an adult. At least Josh is like his Omma and loves to eat rice or bop--that's one of his main dietary staples!

Price adjust, price adjust, price adjust!!!

Have you ever bought something and then days later seen it on sale for way less? Frustrating, right? It might not bother some people, but to the budget-conscious shopper, being able to save some more dollars here and there really matter. At that moment, buyer's remorse might sink in and the buyer might regret buying it at that price, especially when the item is now on sale for way less. What do you do? You can't return the item because you already used it or you already took the tags off and washed it!

So there is something called a price adjustment. I didn't know about it until a few years ago. It's a retail secret. They don't want you to know about this, but it's a good way to save money without even realizing it!

Check your receipts. Do they discuss a price adjustment period? Most retail places indicate a 2 week range, but some places have a 30, 60 or 90 day policy.

TIP: Carry your receipts in a coupon organizer. If you happen to be at the same store within that period of time, check back on the prices of the items you previously purchased. If an item has gone down in price due to a sale, then you are eligible for a price adjustment! All you have to do is take your receipt to the customer service desk and tell them that you recently bought an item for "x" dollars and now it is on sale for less, so you would like to request a price adjustment for the new sale price. Target has a great policy and if you show them the receipt, they will credit your card on the spot! Old Navy has a great price adjustment policy too, and with today's economy, prices are always dropping! So keep your eyes open for those falling prices and you might get a few price adjustments this week, saving money you didn't even plan on saving!

Don't have a coupon organizer? I can show you how to make one...but let's save that for another day of blogging. Stay tuned...

Free Underwear and Goodies! FREE guilt-free Mommy Splurge!

Ok, so being a stay-at-home mother is so fun and rewarding, but sometimes it's hard to feel glamorous or girly, especially when I have stains and rips on virtually all my clothes! Plus, it's challenging living on one income, but it's all worth it and there are ways to sneak a few mommy budget-friendly splurges into my month. What could be more budget-friendly than something FREE?

All you have to do is sign up at VS Pink Nation and they will send you coupons for free underwear or lotion or totes...the goodies are totally free, no catch involved! It's awesome and it's a little way to have a shopping day without spending a penny! Plus, if you give them your e-mail address at the register, they will send you even more freebies. Just read the fine print on the coupons. Usually, there is no catch, no obligation to purchase anything! Follow the link below and sign up to start getting your coupons:

Mayonnaise jar and ketchup bottle fun!

Don't throw away your next empty jar of mayonnaise or your ketchup bottle--yes, they can be recycled, but before they hit the recycle bin, let's put them to use! Now, I can't take credit for the first one, but I am going to share with you. My friend brought an empty ketchup bottle to the park sandbox and turned it into a sand toy! Instantly all the kids were drawn to it and everyone wanted a turn to play with it. That small hole on the top keeps toddlers' attention because it's so small and requires a bit of patience to get enough sand inside to fill up the bottle! Kids can use their little hands to fill it up or use a shovel or cup. You can add more fun to it and use a funnel to fill it up, too. Plus, it's great for developing motor skills since they can also practice turning the cap to tighten it. The best fun comes when they can slowly dump out the sand, mimicking the slow ketchup that used to occupy that space.

My son Josh, like many kids, loves to play with water. Water will occupy his attention for hours. No joke. In the midst of creating new water toys for him, I stumbled on an empty mayonnaise jar (the plastic kind and the glass kind, though now I just use the plastic one) and let him use that to fill up with water. I gathered small cups with holes in the bottom (you know that kind, the bath toy cups that stack up and have various holes in the bottom) and placed them in the rim of the jar, so they rested nicely. Then when he adds water, the water comes out in 1-3 streams (kind of like a funnel-effect) to fill up the jar! Since the jar is clear, he also enjoys watching the water dribble or stream in!

I also began using his old baby sippie cups as sand toys and water toys instead of tossing them in the recycle bin. Hey, if he can get another round of use out of them, why not?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Avocado Motto

My mom's avocado motto: when in doubt, eat an avocado!
My mom loves, and I mean LOVES avocados!!! They were always in the kitchen arsenal of food and I had to learn how to cut that crazy, slippery green thing at a very early age (I think I was in kindergarten!). We ate them in salads all the time, but mostly we ate them in her famous guacamole! I always said I was raised on chips, salsa and guacamole. To this day, I can still eat guacamole every day and I love, love, love it!

Omma Omma Omma

Omma. Omma. Omma. I called my new mom, omma, because I did not know English at the time, I suppose. I was only about 2 1/2 years old when I was brought over to California from Korea with my sister. But now that I think about it, I might have been calling out for or asking for my omma in Korea, or I might have been confused where my omma was. All this time I just assumed I was calling my new mom, omma, because someone told me to call her mom. But maybe I was just looking for my omma.

I remember loving the kids' book, Are You My Mother? And now my son, Josh, loves that book too! It never occurred to me the significance of being so fond of that book as a child, and now when I read that book with Josh, it makes me think of that book on a whole other level, almost allegorical or mythical. There are some ironic twangs, if you will, in that book though, and they would only resonate that way from an adoptee's point of view, I think. When each animal is asked if it is the bird's mother, each animal says, "no." There is a bittersweet moment when the bird asks, "Are you my mother?" to the cow, the cow says, "No. How can I be your mother? I am a cow." Now why does that feel strange or matter-of-fact? Well, to the average reader, it won't have any other level of meaning, except the surface literal meaning. Well, the cow is saying that a cow cannot possibly be a bird's mother, because they are biologically different animals. Makes sense, right? Logically, yes. However, if that "logic" is applied to humans, then how could a Caucasian woman be the mother of a Korean girl? The answer is: she can't possibly be her mother. And that is the scrutiny that I have endured throughout my life. That kind of pairing out in public automatically receives stares and confused looks. A waitress once thought my mom and I were out to lunch because she was tutoring me in English. I had to be her student learning English because what other reason would I have to be sitting with her in a restaurant?

It's always strange to me when people don't think little kids remember things as toddlers and babies, because I remember some Korean words from when I was 2 years old. Now that I am an Omma and I have a son, I know just how much little minds really know! I remember Josh at 2 years old and I think to myself, gosh, this was how old I was when I came to America and I was thrown into this culture and just expected to blend in and adapt. I can't imagine throwing Josh into another country and expecting him to pick up the language and culture so seamlessly, let alone telling him to call someone else "Mommy." Josh is 4 now and he remembers quite a bit from when he was 2 years old. What happens then is that memories get pushed back and new memories take "precedence" in the brain, so it seems like little kids don't remember their childhood, when in fact, everything is in their dendrites--it's just a matter of accessing them (kind of like trying to recover data files from a hard drive that has crashed)!