Revive, refresh, remember…

4 Dec

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It’s been two years since I released ME TARZAN–YOU JANE and I decided to celebrate it with a virtual book tour, reviving that love / passion / excitement a new book brings.  Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours graciously took over the planning, making thins so much easier for me. Thanks, Giselle!

The tour will be only for a week, between February 13 to February 17th, 2017. If you are a blogger and are interested in signing up for a stop please do so here. There are quite a few options available from reviews, guest posts, interviews or excerpts, not to mention a kindle giveaway🙂 (feel the love, right?)

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Coupons: to use or not to use them?

11 Nov

Back in the day when I lived in Romania, my homeland, I had no idea coupons existed. I had no idea stores had certain periods when they’d discount their products (like before a holiday), given customers even more incentive if they brought coupons, so their savings would be even greater. And we are not talking lower prices for the let’s say winter clothing heavily discounted once the cold season ended; we are talking sales for produce, ice cream and even shrimp.

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That was something unheard of in Romania where (during communism) grocery stores would rinse chunks of cheese and entire salami casing to wash away the mold. Bad leaves would be peeled off the lettuce head, rotten tomatoes and potatoes hidden under the good ones and poured in the customer’s bag without the option for picking only the good ones. Nothing was wasted but rather forced down the customer’s throat because there was always a shortage of supply and high demand. But let’s leave those memories where they belong—in the past—and return to present times, shall we?giphy-2

We all receive coupons in our mail. Stores ask at check out for your email address or if you want to become a member, promising better deals. Your mail box—whether the physical one or the virtual one—gets bombarded with coupons: restaurants, stores, flights, hotels, shoes, clothing, and the list goes on, but the question is: do these coupons work and how many of us really use them? And how about sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Are those really discounted prices or those are actually the real price we should pay for a blouse/pair of shoes/ TV, etc. but stores manipulate us into believing they are taking a huge cut in favor of saving us money?

Lumi, my sister has a plastic pouch labeled for all her favorite stores. I haven’t had the chance to take a photo of it but it looks similar to this one:

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You need a coupon, Lumi is the person to ask for one. She saves her coupons, cuts them out of magazines or newspapers and uses them all the time. Periodically she’ll forward me a coupon to Einstein (because she knows once a month I buy a bucket of bagels for my meeting with my author friends). Or to Barro’s Pizza, my favorite (cheap) pizzeria. Or to stores both of us like to shop at (White House Black Market or Chico’s).

I too like coupons. At any given time I have several. See this photo? These are my coupons.

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My only problem is that I forget to take them with me (maybe Lumi will gift me a pouch? For Christmas?). Or if I remember to take them, I forget to use them. Every time I try to be better at using coupons, I forget I have them or if I remember, chances are they are already expired. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts right?

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Rude people and why I don’t do concerts

5 Nov

It’s rare I go to concerts lately, in part because of how expensive tickets are, in part because I can only take so much rudeness (and stupidity) in one place at the same time. Let me explain:

Beginning of October I went to a Cyndi Lauper concert here in Phoenix. She’s one of my favorite singers and her songs timeless. Along with two friends we purchased our tickets six months in advanced and, every time we met, we inevitably talked about the upcoming concert and about the fact that “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

Little that we knew, our expectations were far from truth thanks to selfish and rude people. As soon as Cyndi Lauper walked out on the stage, the entire room stood to applaud and cheer, and of course we did the same. Eventually Cyndi alternated her songs with fun stories, and most people sat back down. Most. About three rows in front of us a couple stood and no matter how many times we all in the back asked them to sit down, our requests were ignored by the woman especially; while her husband (or friend) chose to sit now and then, she did not sit for one bit.

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I really tried hard not to let them take away from my experience but the more time passed and the more they refused to sit, the more annoyed I turned. How selfish one can be to ignore everyone around them and not care? And that was not all. Halfway through the concert when I resigned myself to seeing Cyndi sing only when she moved from one side of the stage to the other but never in the middle, the guy in front of me yelled “Sit the f*** down!” To which the woman turned and flipped us off with both hands.

Unfortunately that was not the end of rudeness; during one of the breaks from singing Cyndi used to tell us a story, a guy yelled, “Shut the f*** up, Cyndi and sing!” Loud and clear for everyone to hear it. Not even fifteen minutes later, someone else, this time a woman used similar words to everyone else’s dismay. I’m assuming Cyndi Lauper is used to that kind of behavior because she was very gracious about it, but for me it was shocking. Are we that entitled and self-centered that we can’t think of anyone other than ourselves? Is it too much to ask to conduct ourselves in public in a respectful and kind way?

And then, there was the drinking, so much so that some stumbled out of the room at the end of the concert. Don’t get me wrong, a glass of alcohol now and then, either at home or with friends, I totally agree with it. But at a concert you don’t come to get wasted only to turn around and jump behind the wheel, putting not only your own life at risk but that of others, innocent people. If drinking is what you want to do, by all means please do us all a favor and stay at home, watch TV and drink until your brain swims in alcohol. You can stand up the entire time and sing as loud as you want, do whatever you want (including flipping off whoever you want until your fingers numb in pain) and without affecting others. No one will miss you. I know I won’t.

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Winner Announcement for the Fall Carnival Giveaway Hop

29 Oct

The Fall Carnival Giveaway Hop is over. Using random.org the lucky winner taking home a $10.00 Amazon gift card is . . . Slehan. Congrats!!!!

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When the past haunts your present

22 Oct

“Why do you need two mascaras? They are identical,” I told Lumi, my sister the other day while at the mall.

“Cuz,” she said, moving to the next shelf and grabbing two bottles of shampoo. “When ones ends, I have another one handy.”

“But you can also go to the store and buy one when you run out of it, right?”

“That too, but I feel better having an extra one, for when time comes.”

I could’ve continued to argue with Lumi that buying two mascaras is a waste of money, potentially a waste of product if she’d have it stored for too long and it would dry out. Or chose to drop it, which I did because if anyone knows my sister, they also know, no one has ever won an argument with her. Like everrrrr. But I kept an eye on her and her buying habits and, at the end of the day I realized she has a problem: buying several of the same products, never just one.

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I know curiosity killed the cat (they say; I for one never seen a cat killed by that), but I had to know why, so after a day on our feet, and being 110% convinced my arms lengthen by at least a few inches because of all the bags we’ve carried, I teased Lumi, over a banana & nut blizzard, that maybe she needs help with her impulsive buying disorder.

Licking a spoonful of her ice cream, Lumi responded, “Do you remember living back home, in Romania? Do you remember the shortage on everything, the ratio food, the empty shelves and when they weren’t empty, the little that was there was of such bad quality that no one wanted it? Do you remember any of that?”

“I do, but what has that to do with the fact that you pack now like a squirrel on steroids?”

“It has everything to do with it,” Lumi said, lifting briefly her brown eyes at me, brown that when the sun shines, turns to green. “Communism scarred me. I used to tell myself if I ever have money and the possibility to live somewhere else, I will never go hungry, be cold, walk in bad shoes or wear terrible clothing. I used to tell myself I will never have nothing, but will have everything. And that to me means buy at least two of each product. It makes me feel . . . safe, covered, protected somehow.”

I laughed. “You definitely need a therapist.”

Later on when I got home, I unpacked my shopping bags and the more bags I emptied, the more I realized . . . I’m in the same boat as Lumi! I do buy at least two of the same product. I went to my closet, to my drawers, to my pantry and everywhere I looked, I found more and more proofs that I too am a shopaholic.

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And it got me thinking: am I crazy? Who in their right mind buys two of the same dress/shoes—not even in a different color, which might be an excuse, right? Why am I doing this?

Lumi’s earlier words came to mind and somehow they opened a flood of memories from my childhood back home in Romania. The constant fear of authorities, the poisoned indoctrination the Communist Party shoved down everyone’s throat but also the poverty . . . the constant hunger . . . the smothering feeling . . . the emptiness and helplessness I felt on a daily basis, with no hope things would get better.

And yet a lot has changed since then. I lived more than half my life under freedom and democracy, and for the past 13 years I made the U.S. my home, the best country ever (no offense, world!). A lot of the things I had witnessed/experienced during my life in Romania and under communism are just that, things from the past, a past I prefer not to remember too often for it mostly brings sad/bad memories. I also know that some of those things left scars and made me into the person that I am today. And I think for the most part I accept everything, except I would rather blame communism for my buying disorder (the other option would be to confess I pack like a squirrel on steroids and the image is not very appealing…).

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Fall Carnival Giveaway Hop

17 Oct

A few weeks ago during one of my monthly meetings with the Desert Muses, my local authors’ group, we decided to organize a joint giveaway posted on all our sites and ending with individual winner announcements, so don’t forget to stop by everyone else’s sites for more chances to win awesome prizes. 

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My giveaway will consist of a $10 gift card of your choosing to either Amazon or B&N. What do you have to do for a chance to win it? It’s simple: either become a follower on Twitter @CamiSkibaOR follow this blog by clicking on the button to the right called “Sign me up!” (atop all images) OR become a fan on FB and leave a comment with your link. Both, my individual winner as well as the one on the Desert Muses blog will be announced on October 29th.

Please stop by my dear friend Anne Wilson and check out her giveaway.

Enjoy hoping and good luck!

 

 

Fall Into Cash $250 Giveaway

15 Oct

I love participating in virtual giveaways because it brings so many people together and the thrill of winning totally makes it worth it. This giveaway is organized by Kathy at I‘m a Reader not a Writer and spans over a month (Oct. 15-Nov. 15) so you have plenty time to hop around and enter to win the big prize.

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Enter for your chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Code or $250 in Paypal Cash.

Thanks to this awesome group of bloggers and authors who have joined with me to bring you one fabulous prize!!

Sponsor List
I Am A Reader
Kris Bock Romantic Suspense author
Chris Eboch, children’s book author
Coupons and Freebies Mom
Simple Wyrdings
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
Krysten Lindsay Hager
Author Melissa Wright
B. Kristin McMichael
Author Dorothy Dreyer
Suzi Love
Helen Smith
Kindle and Me
Elizabeth Isaacs
Glistering: B’s Blog
Heather Gray
ACME Teen Books – Kids & YA Too!
Crystal Collier, YA Author
Eric Buffington YA Fantasy Adventure
My Life. One Story at a Time.
Fat Free Faith
Diana’s Book Reviews
Author D.E. Haggerty
Lori’s Reading Corner
LOVE. WITHOUT YOU
CoolCatMysteries

Giveaway Details

$250 in Paypal Cash or a $250 Amazon.com eGift Card

Ends 11/15/16

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use money sent via Paypal or gift codes via Amazon.com. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the authors, bloggers and publishers on the sponsor list. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

 

 

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