Tag Archives: holidays

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.


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:


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.


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?



Happy birthday!

10 Sep

Raise your hand if you ever had to share your birthday with one of your sibling that’s NOT your twin. Hello???? Anyone there (I hear crickets)?

Well, I’m one of those few people. And if that wasn’t … weird enough, not only did I have to share my birthday with Lumi, my older sister but we were too poor to have two cakes. So, Mom –ever the practical in the family–made a cake for both of us. First Lumi blew out the candles. Then, Mom would remove a candle from the cake, lit them again and there it was; my turn to blow out the candles.


You could probably imagine that I didn’t enjoy very much sharing my birthday. I mean, for crying out loud: why couldn’t for once, just once be all about me? Eventually Lumi married and moved to another country and I finally was able to have my own party, my own friends celebrating me and my own cake. But something wasn’t right. Truth be told, I missed sharing my cake with Lumi. I missed her.

Fast forward to 2005. Lumi and I both live in the States, only miles away from one another. We share all holidays, raise our children together and celebrate birthdays together. And if this isn’t enough . . . we do share the same in-laws. But that’s another story for another time. 🙂

So, here and now I wish Lumi and everyone else born on September 10th all the best, loads of cake and fun. Happy birthday!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

23 Dec

Don’t laugh but I just got my tree(s) up just  . . . now.

For the first time in my life I just wasn’t in the spirit this year, and decided until the last minute there will be no decorations. The house seemed empty, of course. Then I finished wrapping all the presents. This was the last one.

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And for some reason while holding the present I thought this is it, Christmas tree goes up. Not one, not two but three. One for Chris, one for Patrick and one for myself. 

photo (12)

I guess the moral of the story is: it’s never too late. But it’s early enough I’m wishing all of you a wonderful New Year, lost of love, laughter and peace in your hearts and homes. 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop

28 Mar

Welcome to the  Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza Giveaway Hop! A big shout out to Kathy @ I’m A Reader Not A Writer and  the wonderful crew @ Read Now Sleep Later for their incredible effort to organize this blog hop.

For this hop, I’ll be giving a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner.  Open to international entries the winner will be announced here on April 6th. 

hoppy easter

Mandatory Entry: 
You must be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post.  New followers welcome!
And since Easter is close I’d like to wish all of you Happy Easter!

Christmas Books Giveaway Hop

30 Nov
Welcome to the “Christmas Books” Giveaway Hop running from December 1st to 7th with the winner announcement on December 8th.
A big round of applause for Kathy @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer  and Laurie @  Laurie Here  for organizing this fabulous blog hop.
christmas books hop



Waitress Lucy West is down on her luck at the diner. A fan of late-night television reruns, she’s always dreamed of a nineteen-fifties style happily ever after. But, in reality, she’s opted to settle. Barely scraping by on her meager salary and tired of going it alone, she figures marrying affable, yet distractible, Mitch as making the right move. Little does she know that Christmastime–and Santa–have other plans in store…

Bachelor dad William Kinkaid has his hands full with a young teenage son and a five-year-old daughter. Since losing his wife to cancer three years before, William’s worked hard to keep things as upbeat and normal for the family as possible. After his child makes a special Christmas wish, William’s stunned to awaken Christmas morning to find a beautiful blonde on the sofa. The woman can’t remember a thing, and his kid thinks Santa brought her. Can William solve the mystery about who she really is, without giving away his heart?


A childhood spent on the streets leaves Mallory Phillips longing for a normal life and a perfect Christmas. Now an elementary school nurse in Chandlerville, Georgia, Mallory’s dream to blend into the picturesque community isn’t working out. She’s once more living a loner’s existence. Then an emotionally fragile seven-year-old appears in her living room in the middle of the night, and Mallory’s isolated world is turned upside down.

This is Polly Lombard’s first Christmas without her mother, and she won’t utter a word to anyone—except Mallory. She believes Mallory holds the key to helping her father overcome his sadness. Despite Pete Lombard’s lingering grief over his wife’s death and concern for his daughter, his resistance to their mysterious neighbor crumbles as he spends more time with Mallory and falls for her amazing heart. But when her past returns to haunt her, is Mallory strong enough to keep the Lombard family in her life? And can the spirit of Christmas heal these broken souls and bring them all the joyous, loving holiday they deserve?




Growing Up Without Halloween–Growing old WITH Halloween

31 Oct

I didn’t grow up with Halloween. In fact I didn’t know Halloween existed until the 90s, after the communist regime in Romania was eradicated. Talk about how controlled and “sheltered” we were from all the “bad” (or so we were told)  influences of the western countries.

I celebrated the first Halloween after moving to the States back in 2003. We had a party with our neighbors. I didn’t wear a costume, but took my son around the neighborhood for trick-or-treating. Didn’t get into the Halloween mood until a few years ago. I just couldn’t find the fun and joy into looking like the dead, zombies or any other ugly creatures. Jumped out of my skin at any bloody hand coming out of fake graves, or malefic laughs. Have yet to visit a haunted house.

Last year I officially bought my first Halloween costume. Fits exactly my snarky personality and my Romanian roots. A witch. We had a blast with my sister’s family and my cousin’s. While the kids went trick-or-treating, we the adults danced in front of the house and scared little ones. Yeah, I admit we were that bad. Turns out I can look hideous, scare people and feel awesome about it. I guess I can call it … evolution? adaptability?

Whatever it is from my family to yours Happy Halloween!

P.S: Favorite candy? Mine is jolly rancher :/