Tag Archives: christmas

Another $25 Shopping Experiment at Marshalls

I know that I just posted about T.J. Maxx in an earlier post, but to be fair, I wanted to do the same $25 buying experiment at Marshalls. Sure, they are pretty much the same company, but sometimes its not the same from one store to another.

Marshalls was super crowded on the same night that we visited the quieter T.J. Maxx. I don’t know if its because Marshalls is in a big plaza with other stores, or if people just have more of an affinity towards Marshalls, but there were probably 10 times more people inside the Marshalls just up the street on Hawthorne Blvd in Torrance.

First of all, Marshalls felt like it had a lot more things for sale and maybe other shoppers knew this as well? It was somewhat chaotic with men and women going about looking for clothes, shoes, furniture pieces, and gifts. There was a lot to look through and it took me a good 30 minutes to make any decisions on what I wanted for my $25. I picked up several different items before I got down to my final selections. I saw everything from kitchen plates, to vases, to ornaments, to cookware, and home decor.

I liked this really neat Italian coffee maker that is used on the stove top, but then I saw yoga mats for $12.99. I was in desperate need of a new yoga mat, and they had some nice ones to offer. I selected a nice blue one with a lotus print. I can’t wait to use this at my next class. My next choice was a glass wine decanter. This decanter looks like any of those fancy schmancy ones out there, works exactly the same, and cost $6.99! The decanter is going to make a terrific gift, and people will think we spent a bundle on it. The lucky gift recipient will not only get a $6.99 decanter, but it will come with a nice bottle of wine that we will gift in the wine box that we found for $2.99.

Here is a picture of our finds.


The upside of Marshalls was the better finds compared to T.J. Maxx. The downside was the long line at checkout. I still had a good time looking for these great bargains at Marshalls. I’d definitely make a trip back soon to find some more goodies.

Thanks Marshalls, you’re alright.

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What do you get for $25 at T.J. Maxx??

My mission…spend no more than $25 at T.J. Maxx. Their slogan… “Economize. Don’t Compromise.” I had the challenge to find the best things that I needed or liked from T.J. Maxx. I felt that with a slogan like that, I was sure to find at least a few things that I could definitely either 1. use on myself or 2. give to someone for Christmas. Last minute shopping the week of Christmas certainly brings its own dimension of fun, with traffic, crowded stores, and NO parking.

This particular T.J. Maxx in Torrance on Hawthorne Blvd. was not super crowded, being that it was three days before the big Santa day. It was a pleasant surprise for us, but I’m sure that the retailers are not happy to hear me say this. It was already about 10pm on a Monday night, so I’m thinking that maybe people started to thin out for the night, and rest up to prepare for another day of shopping tomorrow.

Onward to my purchases. This particular store didn’t have as many things laying around and it didn’t take too long for me to comb about. There was a sale going on for Christmas decor, and I remembered that my sister just bought a huge tree, so I picked up a pack of 30 ornaments for her 7′ fresh tree for our tree trimming party on Wednesday night. Next we found a great USC Trojans t-shirt for our biggest USC fan. The t-shirt was a bargain compared to what you’d normally pay on campus for the same exact thing. This will make a great gift. Finally, with a few bucks to spare we milled about to find something smallish, and saw batteries of all things. Everyone needs batteries! We actually bought some toys that required batteries, so this was a convenient find for the last bit of money.

Here is a picture of what we purchased with our $25

TJ Maxx

Thanks T.J. Maxx, you saved the day. We found things that were economical, and we did not compromise one bit. I’ll be back to your stores again soon.

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Update from Iams Home for the Holidays

Happy Holidays and Thanks to all of our Puppies and Worms readers and supporters! We have some great news to report to you.

Home 4 the Holidays

We just got an update on the Iams Home for the Holidays campaign. To date, over 760,000 animals have been adopted!!! That is definitely heart warming for us to hear. At this rate, the 1 million pet adoption goal will be met.

Felicity Huffman Home 4 the Holidays

We have a link to videos for you to check out. Felicity Huffman also sat for a few interviews and you can find them on that myspace site. Go check them out!!


If you are interested in your  own pet adoption this year, there is still time. Go to http://www.iamshomefortheholidays.com

One more thing, the good people with Iams are sending me some DVDs of Home for the Holidays to share with you all! It contains tips and tricks on training your own pets at home. I’ll post another blog post about that givaway soon, along with some details on whats on the DVD. If you can’t wait for the contest and want to order your own DVD for only $2.95 shipping and handling, click here: http://store.petsincredible.com/Iams_H4TH2.html

Thanks again for all of your readership and continued support!

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Gluten Free Chocolate Peppermint Trifle Recipe


My sister recently discovered she is gluten intolerant. As a result of her discovery, all my siblings have had to rethink the way we do holiday meals that include items with wheat or flour products. Desserts were a big challenge for our family gatherings because she loves sweets but could not longer indulge with the rest of us when we baked an amazing red velvet cake.

Recently, I started experimenting with some gluten free flours and recipes and have found some ready made mixes that were pretty good. As a result, this year, our Christmas dinner will include a holiday trifle that she can enjoy with the rest of us.

Here is my Gluten Free Trifle Recipe for you to enjoy:

6 candy canes crumbled up into small pieces
1 chocolate bar 10 oz or more if you like crumbled into small pieces
1 box of Gluten Free brownie mix- bake to directions – cool
1 box of Gluten Free yellow cake mix- bake to directions – cool
4 cups of cold espresso coffee
2 pints of whipping cream- whip to thick cream consistency adding a little bit of gluten free vanilla extract (can be found at Whole Foods also)
1 trifle bowl or clear bowl or clear parfait glasses

The Gluten Free cake mixes can be found at any Whole Foods market across the nation.

Line the bottom of the bowl with a layer of torn up yellow cake- drizzle this layer with espresso- cover layer with whipped cream, drizzle candy cane and chocolate over the whipped cream, add layer of brownie, add layer of whipped cream, add layer of candy cane, add layer of whipped cream and continue until your ingredients run out or until your bowl or parfait cups are full.


The difference between a traditional trifle is that if you were not making a gluten free version you could add Kahlua to your whipped cream and drizzle your yellow cake with Kahlua instead of cold coffee but because it is a gluten free recipe I wanted to make sure it was free of any gluten. Also, if you don’t like all the candy, you can add fruit instead to the layers for a healthier version of this treat. Either way, it is a great dessert that pleases most everyone.

One last thing- the longer the trifle sits in the fridge the longer it absorbs all the liquid and tastes even better. This is true mostly for a traditional recipe not a gluten free recipe.

I have found a gluten free recipe gets mushy quicker than a traditional cake recipe when you use a traditional yellow cake or an angel food cake, it stays moist longer in the fridge.



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Harry Potter Shop 75% off Sale

Do you have a child, or relative that is Harry Potter crazy? I mean that person who has read all the books 3 times each, saw all the movies 4 times each, and was every character in Harry Potter for Halloween for the last 5 years? If you know that person and need to find that person a great gift for Christmas or Hanukkah, I suggest this store because they are having a 75% off sale. I just bought a Harry Potter throw for my nephew who has everything Harry Potter for his Christmas present. I doubt he has a Harry Potter throw yet. They are offering 2 day shipping for all you last minute shoppers. Get it delivered to your loved one directly from the store.

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J Crew 20% off coupon code ends today


Also – click here if you love Black Halo, Velvet, Lily Mcneal, Rebecca Minkoff, Missoni, and more great designers. Lots of new  great holiday dresses and jackets for your upcoming parties. Take 30% off everything that is full priced at Tobi. Offer ends soon. Click the Tobi link to shop now.
Tobi Micro Bar

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Loving the Holiday Season ~ Newlywed Girl

Now that we’ve turned the corner past Halloween, I can start thinking about the best part of the year, Holiday Time! The best part about this year is the family time, cooler weather, and the days off from work! I really cherish the holidays because it brings back some really great memories of childhood. Now that all of my siblings and I are older, we have gotten past the whole materialistic gift exchange, and just really enjoy the time together with our parents and our significant others and families.

I started thinking about the Holidays today when I walked into the cheesiest decoration store. It was originally our home patio furniture store, but when we went in today for patio accessories, it had turned into a winter wonderland. There were fake trees of all sizes, ornaments, wreaths, giant Santa Claus lawn ornaments, and other over the top decorations. Here is a quick picture I took from my cell phone.

Lawn Santa

Sorry to people who like lawn decorations, but the ones they had at this store were way over the top. This particular statue was about $1200. In this economy, I really can’t see any justification for this type of figurine. I do however, look forward to my annual fresh tree purchase and recycling my old ornaments from the last few years. Maybe I’ll  even put a couple of small gifts under it for my niece.

What do you look forward to this Holiday Season? For me, ever since my sisters and I decided to forgo gift giving, I feel like I’ll enjoy the Holidays even more. No more malls, long lines, and ringing 2009 in with New Year debt. I’m looking forward to the yummy meal with my entire family.

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