Friday, November 16, 2018

Awkward Office Small Talk

While reading an old blog that my friend, Jeni T, and I started, I found a post I wrote 8 years ago about awkward small talk in the office.  This is still a relevant topic today, so I wanted to share it with all 0 of you who are reading this. 


Yes, we all experience times when we say Hello-In-Passing (HIP) or How-Are-You (HAY) to someone that we work with.  Someone that we see often, but just do not know their name (and maybe have no desire to learn it).

But then there comes the situation when you are either forced to converse more or stand alone in awkward silence.  I don't want others to feel obligated to talk to me.  I'm quite content standing in silence waiting for my left-over burrito to heat up in the microwave.  The comment, "Oh, are you waiting for the microwave?" is not necessary.  The fact that I am exposing myself to microwave radiation, while staring at the seconds as they countdown, should definitely be a sign.

One needs to know the appropriate walking speed when faced with a "moving" encounter.  If I have to walk to a meeting and I notice someone else that I do not know that well also walking to said meeting, I will either pick up my pace or slow down as to not have to walk right next to them.  This alleviates the pressure of awkward small talk.  Here's a perfect example...I was walking to my car recently and needed to pass a gaggle of slow moving co-workers who I don't know that well and with whom I didn't want to converse.  I pretended to be looking at my phone, picked up my pace and jokingly stated, "Passing on the left" while I speed walked by them.  We all fake laughed and I kept moving.  I thought I was in the clear...I was wrong.  One woman didn't get the social cue.  She picked up her pace and was practically running next to me while saying something about the shoes she was wearing.  While I appreciate the effort...it's AWKWARD.

I think the worst is the ladies room.  I'm sorry to bring up such a topic, but why do woman think that just because Mother Nature calls at the same time that that's an invitation to talk?  If I have the need to socialize, my first thought is not, "Let me go to the bathroom."  If we don't really chat in the hallway at work or by the water cooler or in the stairwell, why on earth would you think the ladies room is the place to start?

With all that said, I believe a nice smile is appropriate, accompanied by a pleasant Hello.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Let's Blog Again

I can't believe the 1 year anniversary of PA Southern Belle is about a week away.  While I have slacked a bit the past 6 months in my posts, I'm excited to begin a new chapter with year #2.

As someone who was not a fan of writing in my younger years, blogging has given me a new creativity challenge that I've eagerly accepted.  Determining the focus of each post will most likely be my biggest hurdle...but I'm ready and armed with my overly organized brainstormed list of ideas.

My goal is to blog 3-4 days a week...starting today.  (My original goal was 5 days a week.  I wrote it down, read it, laughed at the thought, knew it wouldn't happen, and changed the goal to something a little more reasonable for me.)

Post topics will vary from fashion to home decor to recipes to items I love...including my cats.  Most likely, I'll be the only person reading these posts and that's OK with me.  I'm just proud of myself for jumping back into blogging and challenging myself.

I'll leave this post short and sweet for today.  My book club book is giving me the evil eye reminding me I have 327 pages left to read before December 6th.

Thanks for stopping by and remember to Be Kind!

  

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Never Pay Full Price


I rarely purchase anything at full-price and love the challenge of getting the best deal possible.  I'll raid the sale and clearance racks, scour the internet for deals, and ask, "Do you offer any sort of discount?"  Many restaurants, retailers and services offer discounts to teachers, students, AAA and AARP members, military, etc.  I decided to do a little research and compile a short list of discounts for you.




Teacher Discounts (with valid ID):
Ann Taylor: 15% discount on full-price items


Banana Republic: 15% off full-price purchases (In-store only) - Click here for more information.

Dress Barn: 15% off regular-priced purchases - Click here for more information. 


JCrew: 15% discount (I've also used this at the JCrew Factory store.)  Just show your valid teacher ID in the store or click here to verify your eligibility for online purchases.

Land's End: 15% discount on your purchase when you present a valid faculty or staff ID. (In-store only) - Click here for more info.

Loft: 15% off full-price purchases - just show your teacher ID.  If you want to get notified of special teacher events (they have some great ones), sign up here.

New York & Company: 15% off full-price purchases.

Sperry: 15% discount on all orders, $10 e-card after first purchase, free shipping & returns, birthday offers and so much more - Click here to join their Teacher VIP Membership for free

Tom's: 10% discount on all full-priced styles - Click here to verify eligibility.


(Remember to keep those college student ID cards as long as you can.  If you're in grad school, make sure you get a picture ID...it's worth the discounts.)


Student Discounts (with valid ID):
*Register with Student Beans, a student loyalty network, for some of the best discounts.  Once you register, you will be able to access online discount codes for hundreds of global brands.




Ted Baker: 15% student discount in-store with your valid student ID or online through Student Beans.

Hunter: 15% student discount online through Student Beans.

bebe: 25% student discount online through Student Beans.

Ann Taylor: 15% discount on full-price items.

Banana Republic: 15% off full-price purchases (In-store only) - Click here for more information.

JCrew: 15% discount (I've also used this at the JCrew Factory store.)  Just show your valid student ID in the store or click here to verify your eligibility for online purchases.

Sperry: 15% discount through ID.me.  You can also get a $10 e-card after first purchase, free shipping & returns, birthday offers and so much more - Click here to join their Student VIP Membership for free.

Tom's: 10% discount on all full-priced styles - Click here to verify eligibility.





Military Discounts
*Register with ID.me.  This site digitally stores your ID cards so that you can prove your identity to online retailers. Once you register, you will be able to access online discount codes for hundreds of global brands.




Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops: 5% discount - Click here for more information.

Home Depot: 10% discount (up to $500) for active and reserve military personnel, retired or disabled veterans and their spouses.

Lowes: 10% off eligible purchases for active military personnel and veterans.  Click here to enroll for a military discount.

Pier 1: 10% off your purchase - Click here for more details.

Pottery Barn: 15% discount on entire in-store purchase for all active and retired military personnel.

Sperry: 15% discount through ID.me.  You can also get a $10 e-card after first purchase, free shipping & returns, birthday offers and so much more - Click here to join their Military VIP Membership for free.

Tom's: 10% discount on all full-priced styles - Click here to verify eligibility.


These lists are only scratching the surface of the available discounts available out there.  Discounts are offered at book stores, restaurants, hotels, computer companies (Yes, Apple is included!), clothing stores, services, etc.

Just remember these tips:
1.  Always Ask - Don't be shy...It never hurts to ask if a certain retailer/service/location offers discounts to teachers, nurses, military, AAA members, AARP members, government officials, teachers etc.  The worst case scenario - they say no.

2.  If you purchase an item and then it goes on sale within 14 days (this is the usual time frame), you can get a price adjustment.  Simply take the receipt back to the store within 14 days and get some $$ back.  (Check the individual store for their price adjustment policy.)

3.  If you are shopping online, sign up for Ebates.  It's Free.  Click here to read all about how it works.



 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Destination Warm

It's cold...very cold.  Temperatures are in the single digits with wind chills dipping into negative numbers.  Earlier this week I needed to brave the weather and stop into my local Target.  I sprinted from the car into the store in fear that my eyeballs were going to freeze open.  Phew...I made it.  Do you know what greeted me right inside the front door?  Racks of colorful bikinis and fashionable one-piece swimwear.

Bitter sweet emotions flooded me at that moment...I was excited that bathing suit season was only a few months away, but I was also jealous of anyone planning and prepping for a tropical island getaway.

Let's think warm and sunny thoughts as we discuss the perfect vacation must-haves.

1. Sunglasses - Everyone needs a fashionable, reliable and protective pair of shades.  I was given a pair of Ray-Ban tortoise sunglasses a few years ago and I have to say that I love them.  They are not cheap...so if you are someone who always looses or breaks your glasses stick to one of these: (Click the item for more information.)

2. Sun Hat - We all know the sun is not good for our skin.  Every vacationer needs a brimmed sun hat to protect their face from harmful UV rays.  With so many options out there, you can definitely find one to pair with your favorite swimwear.  Here are a few of my picks:

3. Beach Cover-Up - I'm not one to saunter up to a beach resort bar or restaurant in just my bathing suit...a shout out to those of you that can.  I'm not saying I throw on pants and a sweater, but a cute cover-up is always one of the top items on my packing list.  Something light and comfortable is all you need.

4. Sun Dress - After basking in the sun all day, it's time for a fun and beautiful dress to wear in the evening.  After a day at the beach, I like to show off my fresh tan, or sunburn, when we grab some drinks or go to dinner.  I'm in love with this middle pick, but may need to pair it with jean shorts.



I can go on and on about items to pack...ask my husband, but since you're probably loosing interest or tired of reading, we will end here with four main items that should be at the top of your sun-seeking getaway packing list.  

What did I miss?  Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Christmas Cards

2017

Tis' the season for writing and sending out stacks upon stacks of holiday greetings to family and friends around the world.  Choosing a card, determining who is making the list this year,  printing out labels, stuffing and licking envelopes and placing the stamps on straight can be pretty stressful and time consuming for some people, but for me...I Love It!  I throw on my favorite Christmas album, "These Are Special Times" by Celine Dion, grab a glass of wine and make an evening out of it.

Back in 2008, my husband had this creative idea to build a snowman out of sand and take the picture at the proper angle so it looked life-size.  "Warmest Wishes This Holiday Season"  Done...we had our Christmas card completed in August.

As the years went by and people started anticipating our card, the pressure mounted.  Thinking of creative ideas each year is not the easiest, but it sure is fun...and the finished products are true masterpieces.

Let's take a stroll down memory lane and revisit each card over the years:


2008


2009


2010

2011


2012


2013


2014 


2015


2016


Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Get Paid to Shop Online

If you ever shop online, you need to sign up for Ebates.  


It's free and you get cash back when you make purchases.  Ebates is a website that you go to, search for the store where you're going to shop online, check out the % cash back, click the link and you're taken to your store's website.  Complete your shopping and Ebates will give you a % back by check or PayPal each quarter.  It's as simple as that.

Let's look at an example.  Maybe you want to purchase this Double-Bow Ponte Fit-and-Flare Dress from Banana Republic.
http://shopstyle.it/l/rtQ8
 

Banana Republic is offering 50% off a purchase today.  You still get that deal, but instead of going directly to the Banana Republic website, go to Ebates.  Sign in to your account.  (It's free to create one.)  When you search Banana Republic in the search box, you'll see Ebates is offering 8% cash back today.  Click "Shop Now" and you'll be taken to the Banana Republic website.


Complete your shopping like you normally would and you'll get 8% cash back on your purchase.  (If your Ebates cash back balance is under $5, that money will roll over to the next pay quarter.)

Head over to Ebates and sign up for your free account.  You'll get $10 for signing up once you make your first purchase.  The saving are constantly changing and they work with over 2000 stores.  Here are some of today's cash back offers:  (Remember these are savings on top of what the stores are offering.)

1-800 CONTACTS: 5% cash back
Kohl's: 6% cash back
Banana Republic: 8% cash back
Gap: 8% cash back
Gap Factory: 8% cash back
Old Navy: 8% cash back
ProFlowers: 26% cash back
Under Armour: 6% cash back
StubHub: 7% cash back
Neiman Marcus Last Call: 10% cash back
Groupon: 6% cash back
Splendid: 6.5% cash back
Alice + Olivia: 6% cash back

Every little bit back helps.  Happy shopping!