Shopping

Shopping the Souks of Marrakech, Morocco

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A hypnotic, mesmerizing and intoxicating labyrinth of metalwork, woodwork, rugs, leather, spices and more. That’s how I describe the souks in Marrakech, Morocco.

And this exotic marketplace of shops and stalls was one of my favorite places in Marrakech.

We spent a sunny afternoon perusing the colorful stalls, each with its own unique finds, and many with craftsmen in the back creating goods.

My favorite vendor was Mohamed, and I purchased three of his bags. If you go to the souks, LOOK HIM UP! You won’t be disappointed.

Shopping for leather bags in souks of Marrakech Morocco

Mohamed’s  business card

When I walked in Mohamed was in the back working on a bag, but he greeted me and let me peruse at my own speed. In a place where many of the merchants can be aggressive, this was a welcome approach.

leather bags from Marrakech Morocco

I fell in love with this yellow suede bag, so much so I bought it in gray, too. And the navy blue with fringes? Yes, please!

I walked back to my riad completely pleased with my finds (and wishing I had budgeted for more bags).

Here are tips for getting the most from your Marrakech shopping excursion:

  • Embrace the overstimulation of color, crafts and beauty. It is A LOT, and it is beautiful. The best thing is to relax, browse and then decide what you truly want/need.
  • Don’t get sucked in to the trap of buying the first thing you see, because you may see something a few stalls down that you like better.
  • If time permits, walk through and then decide what you will buy. I walked through and then purchased as I made my way back through the souks.
  • Don’t be intimidated by shop owners. Some are pretty aggressive and may try to guilt you to buy from them. Don’t give in to the pressure.
  • Haggling is a part of the culture, which can work to your advantage. Decide what you’re willing to pay, and don’t be afraid to compare pricing.

 

Enjoy!

Administrative Professionals Day Gift Ideas

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Administrative Professionals Day is April 22nd this year, and gifts are a great way to show yours just how much you appreciate their hard work all year.

This list includes gift options that are gender-neutral, as well as some based on personal interests and hobbies.

A couple of things to keep in mind as you look for a gift:

  • Stay away from items that can be seen as too personal. For instance, hygiene and beauty products (body lotions, creams, perfumes, etc.) can send the wrong message and be awkward.
  • Consider their lifestyle. While one admin may love a gift card to an Italian restaurant, one counting carbs may not.

Female and Male Administrative Professionals Gift Ideas:

 

AdminProGiftCardIdeaAmerican Express Gift Card. One of the best gifts I received as an admin was a gift card. Because I wasn’t limited to one store, I was able to get exactly what I wanted. I was at Banana Republic the next day buying slacks for work, :-). This was my first real job out of college, so trust me, BR slacks were a splurge.

Plus, there was enough left for dinner and dessert.

AdminProfessionalGiftIdeaTicketmasterCardTicketmaster gift card. Gifting an experience is one of the best things you can do and a Ticketmaster gift card means you don’t have to worry about choosing the right concert or sporting event. If you choose this option, consider an amount that pays for a pair of tickets.

If you don’t want to splurge for Ticketmaster, a Fandango card for movies  or a gift card to a fabulous local restaurant works, too. If you do movie tickets, include enough for snacks.

ScandalWineGlassfromCrateBarrelScandal Wine Glasses. Okay, so their real name is Camille and you can buy them at Crate and Barrel. If your admin is a Gladiator and can’t wait for Thursday night, aka Scandal night, they will love having the same glass as Olivia Pope.

Even better, add some gourmet popcorn and they will be set for the night.

money clip flash driveFlash drive money clip. A money clip that doubles as a flash drive?! Yes, please.

Cross pen and pencil set for giftCross pen and pencil set. This pen and pencil set is fabulous, practical and definitely makes a statement. It’s perfect for anyone that loves a good writing tool.

Tea brewer gift for tea loverTea brewer. This tea brewer is perfect for a tea lover. It’ll make it easy for them to have a fabulous cup of tea at work or at home. You can also add a gift card to a local tea shop and let them pick out tea leaves.

These are just a few ideas, but there’s a lot more on my Admin Professionals Gift Pinterest  board!

Check it out and I hope this helps you choose a great gift for your admin.

 

American Girl Store Opens in Charlotte!

americangirlcharlottereviewAmerican Girl’s Charlotte store is adding lots of “Pink and Girly” to the Queen City and South Park Mall.

It’s a shopping experience, a birthday party destination and a place to be creative… all wrapped in girl power messaging and shades of pink.

Touring the store today, I get why there’s a huge American Girl fan base. For starters, their dolls are beautiful.

They come in a number of complexions, making it easier for every child to choose a doll that reminds them of themselves. Add to that the choices in hairstyles and accessories, and you have a winning combination. They also do a great job of telling historically-based stories, based on their doll characters.

The store features historical and contemporary dolls, accessories, books featuring the dolls and more. There’s also a doll hair salon and a “Creativi-tees” boutique.

My princess was very excited about the tees boutique because she loves fashion and it will give her a chance to design a tee for herself and her doll.

The Charlotte grand opening is October 11th weekend, and American Girl anticipates 8,000 to 10,000 guests for the festivities. There will be doll giveaways, arts and crafts, and lots of girly fun. To manage the crowd, the store plans to assign numbers for entry. I suggest going early for your number and then hanging out in the mall until you’re called.

A few other things to help you plan your visit:

  • American Girl Charlotte is in the Macy’s wing of South Park Mall, so try to park there. If that area is full, near the food court is a good alternative.
  • The personal shoppers are very friendly and helpful. They can help you while you are in the store, but they can also pull your order and have it waiting for you. This is great if you know what you want.
  • If you want to add to your experience, call ahead for a reservation at the bistro.The phone number for the Charlotte store is 1-877-247-5223.

Enjoy your American Girl adventure!

Fathers Day Gift Ideas He Will Love (and actually use!)

Fathers Day Gift Ideas He Will LoveUPDATED Father’s Day Gift Ideas – May 2016

Finding Fathers Day gifts that the men in my life will not only like, but actually use was a struggle until I started focusing on what they love.

Now, I’m pretty successful in the gift-giving department.

Here are a couple ideas to get you thinking…

Fathers Day Gift For Movie Lover

If your father or the man in your life loves movies, Leonard Maltin’s 2015 Movie Guide is an AWESOME gift! Many consider it the best collection of reviews and movie information printed. It is updated periodically, never goes out of style and years from now he will still be using it as a reference.

To personalize this even more, consider finding three of the movies on Netflix and having them queued for his afternoon. Give him popcorn and he’ll be in heaven!

 fathersdaygiftsportslover

For a sports lover,  experiences are at the top of the list, so tickets to a game would go over VERY well. You can do anything from NFL tickets to your local AAA baseball team. Remember, it is the experience that makes this a great gift.

As an add-on, consider a gift certificate to his favorite sports bar.

If tickets are not an option, the gift certificate alone would make your sports fan very happy. In this case you can add a jersey or t-shirt of their favorite team. They can wear it to the bar, :-).

No matter what you choose as a gift, think about the things your special man enjoys and let that be your guide. The best gifts are not necessarily something needed, but something that shows you considered their personality. Most people just want to know they are appreciated and remembered, on holidays and every day in between.

If you have other suggestions, please share. I’d love to know what you gave that worked out well.

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your Father’s Day!

Walmart Grocery Challenge

Way to Save on Groceries

Walmart Basket Challenge

Now that school’s out my girls are spending a lot more time at home. This means I have to increase my grocery list which means I need to stick to a reasonable budget.

This week I took the Walmart Basket Challenge to see if it would work for my household.

You’ve probably seen the commercials when customers shop at their regular grocery store and then take the same list to Walmart to compare prices. This is the Basket Challenge.  

And YES, my groceries were cheaper at Walmart! Here are my receipts.

At Harris Teeter my bill totaled $101.57 and at Walmart it was $86.20… a $15.37 difference!

To make sure my shopping trip would be unbiased I made my list before I left home. Here’s the list:

Breakfast

  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Organic milk
  • Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Cinnamon raisin bread
  • Strawberries

Lunch

  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Turkey
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Baby carrots

Dinner

  • Brown rice
  • Spring salad mix
  • Frozen fish fillets
  • Veggie crumblers
  • 2 bags frozen peas
  • Stouffers lasagna
  • Lemon juice
  • Ranch dressing

Snacks

  • Mini raisin packs
  • Fruit snacks
  • Granola bars
  • Lance cheese crackers
  • Applesauce
  • 6 containers of yogurt
  • Gogurt
  • Apples
  • Apple Juice

 

I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure if Walmart would have everything that I typically buy at the grocery store, but the only thing I couldn’t find was my Dannon “fruit on the bottom” yogurt. At Walmart I purchased Yoplait instead. Also, I had to buy a larger container of applesauce at Walmart because they didn’t have the smaller size, but it was practically the SAME PRICE as the smaller container at Harris Teeter!

If you haven’t already I strongly encourage you to take the Basket Challenge. Walmart has a great selection of groceries and the prices really are good.

Oh yeah, the other thing I learned from this experiment? Shopping lists really do work. It cut down on the time I was in the store and it kept me on track.

So, I’m curious… have you taken the basket challenge? Or have you shopped for groceries at Walmart lately?

I’d love to know your experience. And if you do take the challenge PLEASE share your receipt photo on our Facebook page. Tag your posts with any of these handles – #seeforyourself, #walmartsavings, #Walmart, @Walmart on social media.

By the way, these hashtags are also a good way to see other people’s experiences, :-).

And overall, how do you save on groceries?

Disclaimer: Walmart provided me with gift cards to try this challenge, but the thoughts and tips shared in this post are entirely my own. As always, I value your trust and I WILL NOT publish anything that I don’t believe.

After Easter Discount Shopping

Here is a little from my Target “After Easter” Shopping trip — most was 50% off.

Some will go to the birthday gift storage area and of course I will save some for our reward bin!

The cookie cutters, frosting and sprinkles will be great for spring/summer events.

I love After-Holiday shopping, :-).

Valentine’s Day at Target

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This is one of the many reasons I am a self-confessed “Targetian” aka Target Addict.

I usually hate buying cards for Valentine’s Day or any other holiday.

I have memories of aisles packed with last-minute shoppers and me spending more time saying “Excuse me” than finding the right card.

This year Target has these displays throughout the store! I wasn’t even shopping for cards but I stopped because this thoughtfulness made me want to buy.

And if you’re wondering, they have chocolate displays, too…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

 

Chocolate Finds During My Marshall’s Treasure Hunt

ME TIME LUNCH BREAK

I went in looking for shoes. I came out with shoes, a handbag and the chocolate you see over there.

This is why I love Marshall’s. It’s the perfect mix of accessories for my closet, home and dessert tray.

I LOVE accessories.

A trip through Marshall’s is like a treasure hunt during my lunch. It’s a nice break from the office to stroll through pretty stuff and pick up a few things without breaking my budget, often things I didn’t even know I needed.

I mean really, how many stores can you go in and find gourmet chocolate next to really cute shoes next to fabulous handbags next to pretty kids clothes… that are discounted?!

As for these chocolate finds, I will be testing them out during Scandal on ABC this Thursday night. I’ll let you know if they were worth the splurge.