Tag Archives: TJ Maxx

Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag…..

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more handbags! There’s nothing like the inspirational change in season to brighten a girl’s spirits. While the weather certainly won’t allow for a complete about face where our wardrobes are concerned, we can infuse a little bit of spring into our accessorizing.

I’m a bag lady from way back. When I was a kid, I would take the 22 Clark Street bus downtown and head to Water Tower with all of the money I earned babysitting. And I babysat a lot. There was never a shortage of parents looking to make a mad dash for the door in the hopes of finding a little peace and quiet (Now that I’m a parent, I totally get it. When Mary Poppins would babysit for Nick and Amanda, I always booked her for the next weekend as she was walking out the door.).  If I wasn’t scoping out all of the fabulous fashions at The Limited, I was heading upstairs to my favorite store; Le Sportsac. The bags came in all sorts of wonderful colors, shapes and sizes. One Christmas, I was so excited to buy a little Le Sportsac bag for my cousin Terri. She was a super fun teenager and I thought it would be smashing if she took it dancing. I still love Le Sportsac. One of my all time favorite tote bags (because I am a total schlep-rock) is a zebra print Le Sportsac with hot pink trim. Who’s the rock star now?   

Many ladies tend to settle for using one bag per season; your basic black or brown for fall and winter, and something a little less dreary for spring and summer.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with an awesome black and brown handbag, in fact, they’re a staple that every woman should have in her wardrobe of purses. However, variety is the spice of life! Handbags are another way to reflect your personal style. I change purses frequently (you know I believe in quantity), sometimes several times a week. I adore a well made, roomy and stylish handbag. My go to winter bags are a raspberry, quilted patent leather and a red, patent leather bucket bag. They go with everything and are so much more exciting than boring black or brown.

 The other day, I was running a few errands and took a quick detour to check out the purse department at Nordstrom’s. It was the happiest of days……


Soft and pretty is definitely a trend this upcoming season. Coach, who always makes a beautiful bag, was featuring lovely tone on tone combinations; pale pink, creamy ivory and neutral beiges. Of course, soft metallic gold and silver are a great way to transition shimmering elegance to the spring season. Their selections were, as always, lovely.


Burbery is keeping it traditionally plaid but with the wonderful addition of a white patent leather. So fresh and so clean!


 Vibrant and bold colors are a real treat! Hot pink, apple green and citrus orange just scream nice weather. I loved them especially in the slouchy bucket bag.


The iconic and elegant Kate Spade always showcases classic pieces with an irreverent and witty twist! Quilted Chanel inspired bags in Pepto-Bismol pink and finely woven straw bags embellished with beautiful, over size flowers. Absolutely to die for!


However, if a run to Nordstrom’s isn’t in your future, TJ Maxx had fabulous bags for a fraction of the price. There were great neutrals, metallic’s and bold colors; something for every occasion and budget.

More changing seasons, more handbags, more personal style…….


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Early Hockey Mornings Mean Tasty Breakfasts!

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about….more early mornings! Well, seriously, who wants to be about that? These first few weeks we’ve eased back into the school year, what with Amanda and her stress fracture limiting her hours at the gym and Nick only juggling golf and, oh what’s that other thing called again? School? Yes, that’s it. Monday morning, however, was a rude awakening….


We are a hockey family, one of the few things I have in common with Sarah Palin, though I have been know to go rogue at TJ Maxx. You see, this is how it works; the little Mite Hockey Players get the 5:50am time slot on Sunday mornings (Heaven forbid a family sleeps in on the weekend) and the High Schooler’s don’t see the ice until 9:10pm on a school night. Everyone knows that.  So, imagine our surprise last year to find that our new hockey coaches love 6am practice…on a weekday. A Monday no less!

I actually don’t have a problem with that. The way I see it is; the more you practice, the better you get. And really, what’s the difference? Morning? Noon? Night? No matter what, you have to wake up eventually, so you may as well get a move on. The beauty of the before High School practice is that your hockey player then has the remainder of the day to devote himself to his…….studies. Yay!

My poor Nick. These first few Monday mornings will be brutal; hockey practice before school at 6am, that pesky little thing known as school, then golf practices and tournaments. Yikes!  I seriously don’t know how this kid keeps his eyeballs open. I need toothpicks just thinking about it! These mornings are a total fire drill. Get hockey equipment and golf clubs in the car. Pack up the back pack (the night before, please!), bring a towel, shampoo, soap, shower shoes, under garments, shirt and tie (school uniform), belt and school shoes. He needs breakfast, lunch and a snack packed.

The old alarm clock chimes for me at 4:30am. With such a long day ahead, after I pack his lunch, the very least I can do is make Nick a great breakfast (we call that the Crown Prince Syndrome!). I suppose I could send him through the Mc Donald’s drive through, but what would be special about that? My guy likes an English muffin, egg and sausage sandwich, and who wouldn’t?

Sausage, Egg, and English Muffin Sandwich:

So simple!

In a ramekin:

Spray with non-stick cooking spray.


one egg

Pour in;

Splash of milk, salt and pepper

Whisk together.

Place in microwave with ramekin covered with paper towel, for 90 seconds.

Remove and set aside.

Toast, then butter, an English muffin.

On a platter, warm up a pre-cooked Jimmy Dean breakfast sausage patty, in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

Assemble; buttered English muffin, cooked egg, sausage patty and wrap in wax paper (for authenticity), and you’ve got yourself a warm and hearty breakfast sandwich. What better way to start the day then with a meal made with more love….

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If The Shoe Fits….More For Less!

As the More is More Mom®, I have been all about…..more back to school shopping. There is nothing like the smell of fresh school supplies in the morning…….

 While I never view a visit to the mall (my Mecca) as a chore, it’s nearly impossible to convince my Amanda of that. And she calls herself a self respecting teenager! When I was her age, I was forever saving up all of my babysitting money for a visit to the Century Mall, Marshall Fields on State Street, Water Tower (where they had, what I thought was the height of fashion, a Le Sport Sac Store), Old Orchard and even a ride to the Harlem Irving Plaza, otherwise known as the HIP.

 She couldn’t put it off any longer. I broke the news to Amanda that it was finally time; an afternoon of shoe shopping. To make the experience more fun (with less complaining as an added bonus), we invited our neighbors, Amanda’s pal, Rosebud, and her mom, my friend, Missy, to join us.


First stop….DSW. So many shoes and so little time! Rosebud found a darling pair of brown suede, beaded, Minnetonka moccasins; while Amanda held out for more fabulous selections at the mall.


We visited many lovely shops, but nothing holds a candle to the shoe salon at Nordstrom’s! The biggest trend we spotted this season is the flat shoe, solids and skins, bowed, buckled, bedecked, bedazzled and bejeweled.


However, the pair that caught Amanda’s eye was a brown Puma flat, with the sturdy construction of a tennis shoe. If Amanda was a Spice Girl, she would definitely be Sporty Spice.


Everything that is old is new again; the Minnetonka Moccasin, Le Sport Sac bags and Sperry Topsider’s are back and better than ever! How cute are these crocodile embossed, chocolate brown babies?

As much as we loved the beautiful selections at Nordstrom’s, we were certain we could find fantastic, fashionable footwear for less.

Target had super cute flats for $15-$20.

They are featuring black and taupe shoes bedazzled with stones of varying shapes and sizes. What sparkle!

If you are looking for a classic black flat with a bow on the toe, then you’ve been to the right place.


Color is definitely a way to separate yourself from the pack. How cute is a hot pink suede loafer?


I am always a sucker for animal skin. Target has really upped the style quotient with these zebra ballet flats.


Totally loving these gorgeous, silver, shimmery flats from Steinmart. Dress them up or dress them down. Either way you’ll be a styling and happening babe!

However, we hit the mother load at TJ Maxx and More;


Black patent leather ballet flats for 1/3 of the cost as the pair we loved at Nordstrom’s:


Brown Rocket Dog flats for $19.99!


Black patented leather UGG driving mocs, for ½ the price!


How can you possibly go wrong with a classic Ralph Lauren buckle flat? The good people at TJ Maxx were practically giving them away!


With as rainy a summer as we’ve had, you have to know that a rain boot is an absolute necessity this fall. TJ Maxx had great boots for $19.99. You can’t afford not to buy them!


The piece de resistance for us was an amazing bag. While it may not be a completely practical backpack for Amanda, we found a sling type tote bag that was out of this world. How can you possibly go wrong with a Lucky Brand Jeans tote with a brown suede bottom (you’ll never see the dirt), a super sturdy strap and buckle, in a fantastic and funky pattern of flowers and birds? It just screams groovy! The best part of all, other than its high style, is the fact that it wasn’t anymore expensive than a good Jansport backpack. Yay!! Fashions for less!

 While the first day of school might not be the most fun day ever, what could possibly be more important than looking good for the school year?


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TJ Maxx, a fabulous raspberry Cole Haan hand bag and a Nobel Peace Prize……..

Do you ever feel like you have a sixth sense? I’m not talking about anything creepy like seeing dead people, but rather having an inexplicable connection to something. Like being able to read someone’s aura, or being a clairvoyant. I have a similar such gift, only it’s my connection to things. They speak to me. Again, that would be how one comes to accumulate………MORE!

One time I was wandering the aisles at TJ Maxx and More (the name just says it all!), when out of the corner of my eye, something caught my attention. Fascinated, unable to look away, I slowly, and curiously, approached this most interesting, and beautiful object. I gazed at it, took it all in, and what I saw in it was…… potential. It held no practical purpose, but often we enjoy and appreciate beauty for its own sake, not because it holds any particular function or use. We get pleasure from admiring beauty; beautiful things, beautiful artwork, beautiful people. What I saw was a striking, red, Asian bust that stood a foot and a half tall. She was proud and impressive, lovely and resplendent in her jewels. I loved her, but felt that as a practical person (HA, HA, HA), I didn’t have a “need” for her, so I forced myself to walk away. As I continued to browse through the rows, and rows, of merchandise, all with their own stories to tell, I kept thinking about that red bust. I was obsessed with her. She tormented me, and beckoned that I come back to rescue her. It seemed cruel to ignore her plea’s to be saved, and as a humanitarian, with my heart racing, I ran back to find her, wrought with worry that someone else might have taken my beautiful treasure. As I turned the corner, relieved, there she sat, waiting for……. me. I swooped her up, carefully placing her in my cart and brought her home. She has become a familiar friend and we have shared many wonderful stories together. Sometimes she sits on my Dining Room table, keeping a watchful eye over all that enter our home. She has helped me celebrate many parties as the Goddess of Volunteering and the Tiki Princess. She has a beauty that is all her own, my beautiful Buddha. Nick reminds me, “What is it with you and the Buddha’s? You know we’re catholic right?” Our love knows no bounds.

Recently, on another such excursion to TJ Maxx and More (because that really is the very best place to find MORE), I stumbled upon a treasure of another sort. I really do love everything and am an equal opportunity hoarder, which is why I obsessively shop for steals and deals. It is the thrill of the hunt, and discovering the potential of all these wonderful things that excite me so! As a total bag lady I love purses, but not just any old ordinary purse, they have to be really good. By good I am suggesting that the purse needs to be made by a fine craftsman, be an outrageous color or have fantastic hardware, or be made of animal skin. Meow…….On this particular day the sheen of a raspberry patent leather caught my attention. Upon inspection I discovered that it was a Cole Haan handbag. Bliss! These bags retail for hundreds of dollars, but I unearthed one at a bargain. Oh, happiest of days. While I certainly should be more mindful, this was an opportunity not to be missed!

Fast forward another month or so, and you’ll find that I have been cruising the aisles of yet another TJ Maxx to discover, out of the corner of my eye, my Cole Haan handbag, but this time it is sporting a new red clearance sticker! Happy days are here again! Now my good deal had been transformed from a caterpillar, to the butterfly of super, extra, bargains! Proudly I take my bag to the register and make my purchase.

I race home, dig through my messy pile of disorganized receipts, and jump for joy when I actually lay my hands on the one I need. I zipity zip back to TJ Maxx to return the first bag, only to discover that it has been over 30 days since my initial purchase and will be issued a store credit rather than what I prefer, which is a refund on my credit card. Ugh! Think. Think. Think. Savvy and experienced shopper that I am………I have a plan.

1. Race back home, snag newly reduced priced fabulous Cole Haan bag, with receipt which is less than 30 days old.
2. Return bag for refund on my credit card.
3. Purchase newly reduced/returned bag using…….store credit
4. Have an additional $60.00 store credit for More fun nonsense at TJ Maxx and More!
5. Realize if I spent as much time focusing on solving real problems as I do on silly, self imposed, made up problems, then I could find a cure for cancer (if I were a scientist) or remedy the epidemic of world-wide hunger (I am a mother that reminds her pals to eat what’s on their plates, because there are starving children in Africa, so I could totally do that) and win a Nobel Peace Prize! Take that TJ Maxx and your 30 day return policy!

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Do you know why the Grinch Stole Christmas? He was traumatized by shopping at the Abercrombie store.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas……. every where you go…..especially at the Abercrombie store. I am the More is More Mom®, so I totally get how it works; more crowds, more lines, more waiting, more noise, more merchandise……more fun! I was at my most favorite place in the entire world, The Mall, and I was happily making my list, and checking it twice as I approached, what is Mecca for the tweens and teens….the Abercrombie store (which is the same way I feel about a good TJ Maxx and More!). I sensed that I was getting closer, even with my head down, furiously texting messages of the utmost importance as I made my way through the throngs of busy shoppers (you know, I am a very important person), when my animal instincts made me acutely aware that I had narrowed in on my prey. Well, really it wasn’t all that difficult, because the Abercrombie store is overwhelming with its powerful, hypnotic scent, even from outside the store, and down the promenade. I am drawn inside, like a moth to a flame (or me to a double discount sale or a bottle of Pino Grigio), with the promise of what they are selling; ridiculously over priced merchandise, which is so incredibly small in scale and as paper thin as a scalloped potato, that I am required to purchase three shirts to do the job, and provide the proper coverage, of one (the need for layering is absolutely genius marketing), just so my daughter enjoys an appropriate amount of clothing to cover up her body, as you see, I am not raising a hoochie mama!

I entered the store, already under the toxic influence of the cologne that they are very clearly pumping in through the air vents like they do oxygen in Vegas (baby). I was so taken by the over powering scent that I barely noticed that I had been lured in to another dimension, that is so dark that I could scarcely see my own hand in front of my face, much less the merchandise. I know that those brilliant Abercrombie people keep the lights so dimly lit with the intention that the customers (adults) can’t possibly see the price tags; otherwise you would find them as they ran screaming from the cave like a bat out of Hell (that’s Abercrombie Hell). I felt my way through the store, as my eyes adjusted to my new surroundings, and I unearthed some items that might have been of interest to “Santa.” When I couldn’t find the size I was searching for (small, a size I have never personally worn in my entire life. It is sooooo fun to make purchases for someone else!), I decided it was my mission to hunt down some assistance. Surely, they must have had one of these drawstring waisted, jacket style, dealy-wigs in a super small size. But, alas when I finally located help between the dark, the smell and the noise (which even I found to be at an irresponsible and offensive decibel level, and I adore irresponsible and offensive), I had to tap the young man on the shoulder as he could not detect my presence through his senses of sight, hearing or smell (as I smell of Givenchy, not Abercrombie) and he greeted me with a, “Hey. What’s up?” What’s up?!? What did you think was up you dope? I would have liked some customer service……

He nodded as if he understood what I was looking for, but I couldn’t be certain. I had a feeling he was accustomed to not understanding what was said to him, but agreeing to it anyway. Ah, to be so beautiful. It seemed that he was gone for only a moment and when I asked him if he had found my items, and he replied that “someone” was looking for them upstairs in the storage room. Yeah, right. I was sure the other Abercrombie beautiful people were doing exactly what my children do when asked to look for, or do something; pretend they did it. I skulked around the store until I found the magical “employees only” door, and simply discovered that there weren’t any more small sized, drawstring waisted, jacket style, dealy-wigs in any color. Humph. I supposed it was time to make do with what I had (not that my pals needed any more clothes, but Santa must bring something!).

I gathered up my purchases and headed for the only register open in the entire store, that coincidentally only had one worker manning it. Hello Mr. Abercrombie, it was Christmas. You know, the busiest season for shopping the entire year. Well the little girl behind the counter was as cute as a button, but not too terribly efficient (I shop a lot and could certainly have taught her a thing or two that she apparently did not learn in her Abercrombie training sessions. I believe that there they learn to pout, pose and stare off in to the distance, therefore averting the gaze of customers in need of assistance). A line began to form as she picked up each item, one by one, scanned them and put them on the counter behind her. More efficiency…PLEASE. Why didn’t she scan, remove the sensor and fold each item as she had them in her hand? Seriously, I am a big believer in touching an item once, be it the groceries, the mail or the laundry. She could have sped up the process immeasurably had she been paying any attention at all, but I suppose she thought, “For minimum wage…why bother?” I’d tell you why to bother right here and now, but my opinions on a job well done will have to wait for another day.

While the little girl at the register was taking an absolute eternity to complete my transaction (15 minutes for 7 items seemed a tad excessive. We’re talking clothing here, not explosives), the line began to grow, and two more Abercrombie associates stepped behind the counter. The next woman in line behind me asked if someone could ring her up, and the new cute little girl behind that counter said that no, she couldn’t, that the first cute little girl would have to. So, efficiency expert, and irritated shopper that I was, I suggested that perhaps she could help the register girl fold, and box up my gifts. To which she replied, “No, that’s not my job.” Confused, I inquired, “Then, what is your job?” I kid you not, with a straight face, as if she actually believed the nonsense that was coming out of her mouth, she said, “I am in charge of walking around and making sure the customers are happy.” Dumbfounded, with my mouth wide open catching flies, I pointed out, “I am a customer, and I am not happy.” She looked at me as though I were speaking a foreign language and had three heads. I followed up with, “What is your name?” She answered me in such a perky manner, as if we were girlfriends talking about going to a concert, rather than a customer turning psychotic, “Keeley.” “Keeley”, I said, “may I please speak with your manager?” With out missing a beat she told me, “I am the manager.” Oh. My. God. She had to be kidding! Where were the grown ups? Seriously, what grown up in charge of anything is named Keeley? What are these Abercrombie people thinking permitting the inmates to run the asylum?

What recourse did I possibly have? I informed them, in a huff of irritation and self importance that I was going to name names and blog about them and their poor customer service on my blog page! Ha! The other grown ups in line high-fived me as I stormed off with my purchases. I sure showed them. I bought $200.00 worth of merchandise. So who’s the winner now? Oh……. I guess that would be those smart marketing people at Abercrombie. Curses! Foiled again…….

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