10 Things I Love About Target

If you’re living in Vermont then you likely heard the BIG news today – no, it’s not about Ben and Jerry’s, or pot, or skiing. Are you ready…TARGET IS COMING TO VT! YAAAAAAAAAY!

That’s right, the only state in the country without a Target store is finalllly getting one. It’s been, oh I don’t know, 500 years since we’ve been asking?  Target will be going in at the University Mall sometime in 2018. It’s not going to be a large Target – I guess they are trying a new smaller model for more rural communities like ours – but hey, a Target is a Target, right? No more having to take the expensive ferry to Plattsburgh, NY to shop in one, or drive all the way to New Hampshire. Now you can take that gas and ferry money AND BUY MORE THINGS AT TARGET!

So in honor of this exciting news, here are 10 things that I love about Target.

1. Those big, red concrete balls out front. I don’t know why, but as soon as we park, I start RUNNING to those balls like I’m metal to a magnet. Weeeeee!

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2. There is almost always a Starbucks inside. Why, yes, I would love to pump myself full of caffeine to become even more excited about this shopping experience.

3. Their Carts. I’m normally a person who HATES pushing a cart. I always end up with that one that has a wonky wheel, or makes a super embarrassing high pitched squeal.  But the carts at Target…oh MAN. They are next level. They literally glide. It’s MAGIC.

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4. The store is clean, bright and well organized. Yesss to not having to shop in a complete dump just because you’re getting good deals. Wally World, I’m looking at you.

5. They have super cute home décor stuff. Unexpected, right? I’ve purchased everything from candles, to shower curtains, to an outdoor couch from Target. And none of it looked like it came from a department store.

6. It allows me to be efficient. I can pick up a new bra, cat food, stationery and a car battery, all in one swoop! Without Target, I’d have to go to four different stores to get all of those items.

7. Their cartwheel rewards program is baller good and saves you lots of money. I follow a couple couponing sites and they are always sharing the amazing deals you can get at Target. I can’t wait to sign up for Cartwheel and try myself!

8. That bargin section at the beginning of the store with seasonal items you didn’t even know you needed. The joy a $1 pack of pencils brings to my life cannot be understated. This section starts your shopping experience off right!
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9. Their employees are so friendly and helpful. Wow, people who don’t look like they want to kill themselves AND actually know where things are in the store? Unheard of.

10. Their branding. That cute dog Spot, the iconic bullseye (so simple, yet so effective) and their entertaining commercials make me want to go to Target always.

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10 Signs You Might Be An Adult

It’s recently dawned on me that I am now an adult. I’m not sure when exactly this happened.

For the longest time, after every birthday I would think to myself, “Sure, I’m __ age, but I still feel like I’m 21.” And what a terrible age to name by the way. What does it even feel like to be 21? Continuously hung over? Like you have no fucking clue what you are doing or who you are?

Nope, I don’t feel 21 anymore. I am 32 and I feel every bit 32. It’s neither bad nor good. It just is. 

How did I know I’ve grown up? I guess it was the culmination of a lot of little signs along the way. If you are suffering from any of the following like me, I’m sorry to say, you too may be an adult.

10 Signs you might be an adult

10 Signs You Might Be An Adult:

  1.  If you have noticed more than a few gray hairs, are turning to box dye to cover your roots each month, and/or if your boyfriend has started to call you his “Silver Fox” because “They aren’t GRAY, baby, they are SILVER and they are so cool!”…you might be an adult.
  2. If you file your tax return and get a refund, and you gleefully spend that money buying new, energy efficient, double glazed, noise reducing…windows…you might be an adult.
  3. If you file your tax return and don’t get a refund…you might be a [rich] adult.
  4. If you find yourself calling college students “kids,” or if you recently received an email from your college saying they are deactivating your student email address because you graduated TEN YEARS ago and you are in serious denial…you might be an adult.
  5. If you remember a time when Facebook was only for people with a .edu email address or if you remember a time when Facebook didn’t exist…you might be an adult.
  6. If you hate all current music, call it “crap,” and take pity on the current generation for not knowing what good music sounds like…you might be an adult.
  7. If you watch an award show, or flip through a magazine, and cannot name even 25% of the celebrities, or worse, you think you know a celebrity’s name but you really have backwards (Tatum Channing)…you might be an adult.
  8. If you go to a high school basketball game and wonder why there are twelve year olds running around on the court, or see someone behind the wheel you are certain just escaped from a nearby daycare and stole a car…you might be an adult.
  9. If you unknowingly start sentences with the phrase,”Back in my day…” or “Damn kids, get off my lawn!”…you might be an adult.
  10. If you creepily watch the neighborhood teenage girls toss a softball back and forth in the road, bite your nails and pray they don’t hit your car, remember the time you shattered your aunt and uncle’s window playing softball, and then at the last minute decide, “You know what, my car is probably in their way. I’ll move it for them.”…you might be an adult.

Are you also suffering from Adult-itis? What are some of the symptoms you are experiencing? Leave them in the comments below.

 

The Illusion of Celebrity Deaths

I do not understand the phenomenon of crying and grieving over a dead celebrity.

Inappropriately grieving celebrity deaths

Let me back up. I actually do understand this phenomenon quite well, but it’s probably more accurate to say I don’t participate in it.

My senior thesis in college was on the topic of Para-Social Interaction Theory (PSI) – the theory by Horton & Wohl (1956) that said one-sided relationships can develop between an audience member and performer in the media they are consuming, creating the illusion of a face-to-face relationship. In layman’s terms, you feel like you are friends with someone in the media and they meanwhile have absolutely no idea you exist.  A tame version of PSI may be tuning in to the same nightly news cast because you feel like you know the anchor and can trust the information they provide; An extreme version of PSI is the case of Robert John Bardo who stalked actress Rebecca Schaeffer for three years and shot her to death because she had filmed a sex scene.

When I was writing my paper in 2006, the web and social media were not the robust platforms they are today. Then, you’d be lucky if a celebrity had a MySpace page, let alone a website. But now, any media personality is easily accessible—or at least gives the illusion they’re accessible – making PSI and celebrity worship more rampant than ever. Whereas you may have previously written your favorite singer a letter or an email, and prayed to god they somehow saw it, now you can directly tweet at them. Instead of relying on People Magazine to snap two blurry pics of your favorite celeb on vacation, now you can visit their Instagram and see what they’re eating, wearing, or thinking, all in real time. Websites like Perez Hilton and TV shows like TMZ and Entertainment Tonight feed into our culture’s obsession with stars, and even local media personalities feel intense pressure to keep up an online persona.

Because we have access to celebrities through so many channels, it’s easy to feel like we “know” them on some level. That’s why you watched their wedding on TV, rooted for them when they went to rehab, and why you burst into tears when they died. At best this sort of thinking is delusional, at worst it’s dangerous.

Along with putting celebrities on a pedestal, our culture gives celebrities immortality and is then crushed when they die like the rest of us mere mortals. Grieving used to be appropriate for an untimely or tragic death. John Lennon, for example, dreamed of a world without hunger, possessions or violence and then was shot to death (by a fan who no doubt was experiencing PSI). That was tragic. But now whenever anyone remotely famous dies, regardless of the fact that they were a senior citizen with cancer or punished their bodies with drugs and alcohol for decades, it’s heartbreaking, it’s sad, it’s awful. You know what? It’s LIFE.

There’s no disagreeing David Bowie was a musical genius and a pioneer who broke barriers. I have mad respect for him and his extensive career. But his death still didn’t make me cry because I didn’t know him–none of us did. As his wife Iman said, “I am married to David Jones. David Bowie and David Jones are two different people.” Maybe you’d argue that his music was the soundtrack to your life—there for all of the bad and the good times. My question back to you would be, “Why does him dying change any of that?”

And as far as Alan Rickman is concerned—yes, he had a prolific, successful movie career, but you didn’t know him either. It seems so trivial to me that people are upset over his death when they’ll be able to see Rickman’s face or hear his voice anytime they wish by simply popping in a Blu-ray or adding Harry Potter to their Netflix queue. Can you say the same about a lost friend or family member?

If you’re still reading at this point, it’s likely you think I’m cold or emotionless. But you’ll be happy to hear there is something that makes me feel sad when a celebrity dies – it’s the fan who mourns the loss for days on Facebook, but cannot be bothered to attend a blood relative’s funeral. “No, I’m not going to attend the services,” they’ll say. “We just weren’t that close.”

 

Shoes hanging from power lines

Every so often, I’ll be driving down the street and will notice a pair of shoes, tied together by their laces, dangling from the power lines.  This sight sparks a series of questions in my brain: How many attempts did this take?  Is this the reason my power went out the other night? Will someone take those down or will they fall off themselves? And let’s not forget the most perplexing question of all:  WHY did someone throw a pair of shoes onto this power line?

I grew up fascinated by urban legends and obeyed their every warning. I never mixed Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola; I only said “Bloody Mary” two times at slumber parties before running out of the bathroom screaming for my mother; and to this day, I refuse to flash my lights at an on-coming car who has forgotten to turn on their headlights (what? I’m not going to end up being some new gang member’s initiation murder, thank you very much.)   Urban legend told me shoes hanging from power lines symbolized the murder of a child (again, usually by a gang). Let me take this moment to remind readers I grew up and still reside in Burlington, Vermont—one of the safest, happiest, (most boring) cities in the United States. Our “top stories” are usually about cows, snow, and a lovable Moose named Pete.  We don’t have gangs in Burlington, and even if we did, they certainly don’t go around murdering children every single week. Yet, people continue to sacrifice their Nike’s.

So why the shoes?  I turned to the ‘net for some other explanations. As always, Wikipedia blew my mind and melted my face off.

  • First of all, there’s a name for this practice. It’s called “shoefiti.”
  • Apparently, some do this to advertise where the local crack house is. These shoes are then called “Crack Tennies.” Appropriate.
  • Like me, some believe it commemorates a gang-related murder, or is a way to mark “gang turf.”
  • Others “shoefiti” for a person who has passed away—they’ll need their sneaks for “walking high above the ground.”
  • Some do it for happy reasons—to celebrate the end of the school year, to tell the world about an engagement, and in Scotland, young men do it to announce they’ve lost their virginity!

Hmm. So to review, shoes hanging from power lines can mean: Crack houses, gang turf, or the loss of virginity? While these explanations make sense in other cities (scratch that, it still doesn’t make sense no matter where you live), I don’t think these really work for Vermont.

Here’s my theory on shoe throwing: Bratty kids have too much time on their hands and toss their shoes for entertainment purposes, plain and simple. As annoying as it is, I suppose it could be worse. After all, kids could be joining gangs.

Album Obsession: Favorite Music from 1989-1994

Tonight I was sitting on my couch calling out random letters, and enjoying yet another exhilarating evening of Wheel of Fortune. One of the puzzles, all about song lyrics, turned out to be Whitney Houston’s Greatest Love of All AND MAN, did that bring me back! No longer was I my pathetic, 26 year-old game show watching self. Oh no. I was reminded of the child I used to be: the lyric-memorizing, cassette-taping, singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs girl.

For the fun of it (and well, because I’m sitting at home alone on a Tuesday night), I thought I’d share with you all the 5 Albums I Was OBSESSED With 1989-1994.

1989: Hangin’ Tough–New Kids on The Block
“Oh oh oh ohhhhooo/oh oh oh oh” God, this album! It really started it all for me, man. It’s the first cassette I remember playing over, and over, and overrrr. My dad used to say, “New Kids on the Block? HA! Soon enough they’ll be Old Men on the Corner!” What a joker. Little did he know I was madly in love with Joey and had our wedding planned by the time I was 6. I had NKOTB dolls, posters, even a VHS tape of their short-lived animated tv show. I bought into them hook, line, and sinker (and when I say “I,” I mean “my parents.” What six year old do you know with disposal income?)

1992-1994: The Bodyguard Soundtrack
Whitney Houston was my childhood hero. In my eyes, she could do no wrong. She was beautiful, charismatic, and could sing the crap out of any song. Like most people, I was initially drawn to this soundtrack because of her powerful rendition of I Will Always Love You. But the more I listened to the soundtrack on my Walkman, the quicker the entire album became my favorite. It was chock full of hit-singles including I’m Every Woman, I Have Nothing, and Run to You. My personal fav was the defiant dance anthem Queen of the Night. “I got the stuff that you want!/I got the thing that you need!/I got more than enough!/To make ya drop to your knees!” I practically crapped my pants when my dance instructor said we’d cover it in class. Yep, life was good those days. As an aside, The Bodyguard was actually the first R-rated movie I ever saw. It took a lot of convincing, but after a few years of begging and hearing me devote every shower to the soundtrack, they finally allowed me to see it.

1993: Music Box–Mariah Carey
I have a very vivid memory of sitting at my grandparent’s kitchen table and being in my own little world as I examined the jacket of my newly acquired cassette tape. While they chain-smoked cigarettes and drank black coffee, I interrupted their adult conversation to say, “Isn’t she pretttttty?” and raised the jacket up into their view. I then told them all about who Mariah Carey was, why her songs were good, and why she was the best thing in my 3rd grade life. And while I had no idea what a Dreamlover was, it certainly didn’t stop me and my BFF Shelly from attempting to hit her famous high note during every single song.

1994: The Sign–Ace of Base
Although this technically came out in 1993, I don’t think it registered on my radar until ’94. At any rate, I completely associate this album and all of the songs on it with Shelly. We would sit upstairs in her bedroom, play Tetris on Nintendo, and listen to this ad nauseum (and by “listen” I mean “sing”). We prided ourselves on knowing all of the lyrics AND liking some of the non-singles. We’d go into school and say, “The Sign? Bah. Wheel of Fortune is a way cooler song.” (Hey, maybe THAT’S why I like the crappy tv show so much! Huh!)

1994: The Lion King Soundtrack
Can YOU feel the love tonight? Cause I can. Yep, good old Lion King. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t even seen the movie when Shells introduced me to the soundtrack. Also pretty sure she only saw the movie in the first place because it starred none other than teen heart throb Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Shelly realllly liked JTT. In fact, she’ll probably kill me for saying this, Shelly wrote JTT some fan mail and declared her love for him. Surprisingly he never wrote back! Ok, back to the music. Shelly and I LOVED this soundtrack. We would lie on her water bed and fight with each other over who would sing “the girl part” of each song. Then we’d rewind the tape and do the song over, switching parts. I swear my childhood wasn’t as boring as I’m making it seem here.

Well that was a nice little trip down memory lane! What were some of your favorite albums from the early 90’s? Do we have any in common? Leave a comment and tell me your favs.

Collecting STUFF

I’ve never been a big collector of “things.” Genetically, I suppose I should have been predisposed to have this tendency, as the majority of my relatives collect stuff. Take my Uncle Louie, for example. His favorite store was the local thrift store and there was never a deal he couldn’t refuse. He once a bought a pair of dress shoes that weren’t even his size because, “They were only 25 cents!” He then spent a couple of weeks stretching them out with his handy shoe horn. Everyday he bought stuff. Deals. Bargains. A wise fortune cookie once told me, A bargain is something you don’t need at a price you can’t refuse.  My Uncle had a heart of gold and purchased the majority of the items for others—for me, my mom, my brothers, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, one of my many cousins…For someone he loved. But though he had the absolute best intentions, sadly, most of the items he brought home never left their plastic shopping bags. Instead, they turned the staircase and most of the third floor into a sea of unidentifiable gifts.

Like I said before, I have really never been this way. In fact, I’d probably argue I’m the opposite. A purger. “Do we need this?” and “Can I shred/recycle/toss this?” are two of my favorite phrases. I almost had a heart attack when Liam’s mom dropped off a box of “his things” a few months ago. Translation: Bank statements from 1998, college and high school essays, an old RCA stereo with larger-than-life-speakers, and some VHS tapes. I wanted to rock in the fetal position thinking about how much space this would take up in our house, and when or IF he would “take care of everything.”

Just think how much I could fit in there...

There is one area of my life though that completely deviates from the norm, and that area is my purse. The bigger the purse, the more stuff I can put in it. Ladies if you feel me, put your hands up to the ceiling. I don’t know why I have so much shit in there, but I do. I like to tell myself it just means I’m prepared—when I leave the house, no matter what happens, I’ll have stuff in my purse to take on the situation. Or clutter it up so badly I can’t even find my ringing cell phone…(yes, that’s why I missed your call)

Peering into someone’s bag is like peering into their soul, man. You can really tell a lot about them by the items they carry (great short story, btw, called The Things They Carried). I now realize should I ever lose my purse or get into a horrible accident where they can’t even identify my face, I am going to be mortified when they open Old Faithful for clues. Okay, so we’ve got a wallet…yup…okay…and here’s some lipgloss…Oh, and this appears to be a bottle cap …And, weird, a grapefruit…Who is this girl?  

I’d like to now give you a run-down of the current items living in my bag:

  • A bagel
  • 2 rings
  • A necklace
  • Car keys
  • Cell phone charger
  • A Christmas ornament
  • My wallet
  • My cell phone
  • My work cell phone
  • A tampon carrying case
  • Winter gloves
  • Said grapefruit
  • An entire pack of tea biscuits
  • Mascara
  • Fast acting inhaler
  • Preventative inhaler
  • My security badge
  • Lip gloss
  • Loose change
  • Random receipts
  • Graham cracker crumbs
  • A button that reads “Proud to be Pro Choice”
  • Another button that reads “Multiple Scoregasms”

The saddest part? I didn’t think my bag was “that bad” until the other night—I went to hand the door-man my ID and a random pistachio came tumbling out of my wallet. The disgusted look on his face made me realize I might have a problem.

How did I get this way? More importantly, how do I change? The obvious answer would be to downsize my purse. But something tells me I would still cram as much crap in there as physically possible. Until I figure out a solution, I plan on doing Uncle Louie proud—I may not be able to find any of my stuff, but at least I’m surrounded by it, and I’ll take comfort in that.