Archive for November, 2010
Push that project off until tomorrow – Cyber Monday is more than a gimmick. The occasion invented a few years ago to extend the Black Friday shopping rush even when consumers went back to work after the holiday weekend is proving its muscle this year. Visit www.cybermonday.com for an overview of deals everywhere from Toys ‘R Us to Lands End. And, simply go to your inbox. If you’ve ever given a retailer your info – purposely or inadvertently – you’re likely to have some offers waiting for you today and many will be legit. Free shipping continues to be the default offer, but some get much better: 20% off from American Eagle, 35% off from Kitsel, $10 off $25 from Origins, $50 off gifts from one of my favorite modern design sites, Chiasso – plus free shipping from all. Happy cyber shopping!
I’ve often rationalized, it’s probably for the best that I haven’t won a new home or a free cruise, because as wonderful as it would be gifted something huge and unexpected, I’m not inclined to jumping up and down or to public displays of crying. Neither is Angela Reeves of Minnetonka, but she tells me she surprised herself by “shedding a few tears” when she found out she was in the audience of the final “Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things” show (well, the first of two final shows, anyway.) Reeves and her husband Fred weren’t the only Minnesotans there – Faith’s Lodge founder Susan Lacek was in the lucky audience as well – my pal Jason DeRusha had the scoop: click here.
Angela called in to Shop Girls on Saturday to tell us about her surreal experience on the show. (Listen here). After writing Oprah about her husband, Fred Reeves, founder of Street Therapy Interactive to help troubled teens, the two were invited to the show – with just a week’s notice. “I just wanted to see Oprah. It’s her last year,” Angela said. Okay, there was this little idea in the back of her head – given the time of year, and the bits of confetti she saw fall on a chair on stage before the show, but then a producer said the show wouldn’t air until next summer, and anyway, who would dare think it..until…it happened! “People were hugging and high fiving and a couple of people did fall on the floor,” Angela said. My husband didn’t understand the concept of what we were going to receive.” And receive they have – the 53-inch flat screen TV arrived over the weekend. Some smaller items, like books and cookware, guests lined up for and took with them after the show. For bigger ticket items, or ones that required sizing, coupons were given out that could be redeemed online. Oh, and Oprah did pay the taxes on everyone’s gifts. “She was so funny, so down to earth,” Angela said. “It was amazing.”
Want the opposite of waiting in line in the dead of night for 30 percent off a coffee maker at a big box store? Smart & Chic Beauty Lounge opens Black Friday in Northeast Minneapolis, 20 University Ave. N.E. (across from Surdyk’s). Smart & Chic will offer all the finishing touches: hair styling, blowouts, extensions, makeup application and lessons, eyelash extensions and manicures. Perfect for bachelorette parties, or a night on the town with friends. (Book appointments online.) The Smart & Chic (literally) boutique will feature hip lines like Malin + Goetz, Jouer Cosmetics, Tokyo Milk and Np2 Nail Polish. Plus, hair pieces and accessories by local designer Bethany Lorelle, Nelle Handbags and others.
Founder Julie Swenson is building on what she started closer to the river, in the Cooper neighborhood. She and her team have been a go-to for weddings and special events for years, but the new space is sure to make them a destination and make us prettier. Now that’s smart!
Eileen Fisher opens its first stand-alone store in the Twin Cities today at the Galleria in Edina. And if you haven’t shopped the better women’s brand in a while, you might be surprised: Long associated with flowing styles and easy fits, the holiday collection includes fitted styles, luxe scarves and the must have of the season: sequins.
I hear shoppers are having trouble getting their hands on Denkosekka, one of the hot new toys mentioned in the St. Paul Pioneer Press article I wrote last week. Timetoplaymag.com assures me Toys ‘R Us stores will have the magnetic yo-yo “battle” game in stock in early December, but it’s so new that many locations have yet to receive their shipment. Hang tight, or order online now at Amazon.com.
And while we’re on the subject of toys, the toy coupons that Target sent out several weeks ago expire Nov. 24, so don’t wait until Black Friday! Target launches a four-day sale on Sunday (Nov. 21) featuring many toys, games and videos that will not be on sale Black Friday.
But not that Denkosekka.
The Twin Cities first dedicated eyelash bar, Jett Makeup, celebrates its grand opening Thursday evening with free makeup and lash applications from 6 to 9 p.m. Take advantage! I’m still figuring out the whole false eyelash process. Jett owner Amy Presson offered these tips and insights:
- For a night on the town, try a simple strip lash. Prices start at $20.
- For more lasting false eyelashes, there’s silk or mink, which can be worn, taken off and reapplied 20 to 25 times. (Presson says Madonna and J. Lo like these for the red carpet.) They cost $120 to $195, which includes reapplication. (It takes just a few minutes).
- You don’t need mascara with false eyelashes. You can wear eyeliner, but probably won’t need that either.
- Then there’s semi-permanent lashes. They are applied, about 100 per eye, to natural lashes with professional grade adhesive and shed gradually. Monthly fills are recommended.
- Avoid oil-based makeup removers when wearing false eyelashes of any kind. Try a water-based formula with a Q-tip.
Writing this week about the many indie holiday shopping events coming up in the Twin Cities (see listings here). So many places to soak up the season without battling the throngs at the mall, and so many ways to support local artisans and independent companies making cool, often one-of-a-kind, edgy items. Many will be on display this weekend at the MNfashion Holiday Bazaar. Like, um, these, from Maybe You Should Die:
You won’t see them pictured in the St. Paul Pioneer Press this Sunday…but know that it’s not just pretty jewelry at these crafty events.
Microsoft’s biggest mistake is trying to go head to head with Apple at the malls. Plopped between, say, Ann Taylor and Gymboree, the new Microsoft Store would simply dazzle – it’s modern, flashy and incredibly interactive. But across the corridor from Apple at Mall of America (first floor, south side), comparisons are inevitable.
Standing in the middle of the extremely loud new Microsoft store, the sixth nationwide, I felt a bit like I’d landed at a frat party where the hosts need to be noticed to feel validated. People jumping around, too noisy to connect. I looked across at Apple – the cool campus coffee house filled with intriguing people who make you want to linger and do great things. Apple was also busy, but much calmer. Geniuses in blue, some with mohawks and piercings, waited at the door and hovered over sleek white and black machines, enlightening customers.
I had trouble figuring out who worked at Microsoft. The ones in green? Blue? Red – no wait, that guy was just a shopper. There’s just a lot going on. A lot. Which is a criticism, in comparison to the elegantly simple Apple. But compared instead to Best Buy, or the electronics department of Target or Wal-Mart, the new Microsoft store is a rock star. Phones are projected on super-sized wall screens. Xbox gaming stations are sprinkled throughout the store. Products are neatly grouped, making it easy to zero in on small laptops, phones, electronic readers or other devices. (For product pros and cons, read my colleague Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s blog.) There’s a service bar (not quite Genius, but looks helpful).
For the person who wants an overview of the latest in technology, presented by knowledgeable staff, the new Microsoft store is the place to go. And should you realize, midway, that you’re more the coffee bar type, Microsoft has once again made it easy to get there instead.