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Archive for November 2010

Three Malls and a Day

Posted on November 28, 2010 by under Shopping.    

Midnight Magic at Legends (Village West) is probably the craziest idea I’ve ever had. Brian was reluctant at first, but he came around. He even made this map thing for us.

This is Brilliant!!

Brian took a nap after Thanksgiving at the Brubakers because he was worried that he wouldn’t be able to stay awake. I didn’t end up napping. Brian was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to make it the entire morning. I proved him wrong, though. =P

Brian got some new gloves at Banana Republic.

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After hitting my favorite outlet stores (I picked up some new work clothes from Ann Taylor LOFT; Brian got several new outfits and a pair of fingerless gloves at Banana Republic; he also got a new reversible belt from Wilsons Leather and some new games from GameStop; some stuff from Levis, etc. etc.), we decided to re-group at IHOP rather than wait in the massive line that had formed outside Target. See, several stores opened at 10 PM on Thursday night. Other stores opened at midnight. However, Target didn’t open until 4 AM. I think everyone else had the same idea because IHOP was pretty busy that morning.

It was almost 5 AM by the time we got around to Target. No more line outside the building at this point. The only evidence of the mob previously there was the enormous amount of trash (empty coffee cups and such) that they left behind. Why can’t people pick up after themselves? Ugh. I would hate to be on clean up duty on Friday morning. Although, I think Target might have alleviated the situation by planning ahead and strategically placing some trash bins where the Black Friday shopping mob would gather. Brian said that it wouldn’t have made a difference. He is of the belief that people are slobs and inherently bad. He thinks that the shopping mob would have left their trash all over the place anyway, whether or not trash bins had been provided for them. Maybe Brian is right and people will litter anyway, but I thought my idea was a good one and worth looking into. (Are you reading this, Target?) I think even if it only cut the trash left along the curb/path in half, it would have been worthwhile.

People were already leaving with their loot as we were entering Target. I think we arrived too late because many of the “door busters” were already gone or almost gone. We picked up a few items and stood in this unbelievably long line that went all around the perimeter of the store. We stood in line for almost an hour amidst the sea of chaos. Even with all of the cash registers open, they could not keep up with the mob of shoppers. In the midst of the confusion, there somehow ended up being two checkout lines even though there was only supposed to be one very, very long one. It was complete and utter mayhem. (The almost 30 minutes that we stood in line at GameStop and the scary-looking line at Forever 21 that we ended up giving up on was nothing compared to seemingly infinite line at Target.)

Brian was totally disappointed that he didn’t get to witness any fist fights. He felt sure that he would witness a couple of people fighting over the last of something that both absolutely have to have. Despite all the craziness, our time in the line that circled the entire store (and then some) was pretty boring and uneventful. After finally reaching the end of the line and checking out, Brian actually verbalized his disappointment as we were walking to our car. No idea why anyone would want to see Black Friday fight break out, but Brian is twisted that way.

The parking lot was still pretty packed when we got outside. There was actually a car with their turn signal on that was patiently waiting for our spot. They’d been waiting at the end of the aisle even before we got in our car. As we pulled out of the parking stall, another car that had just turned into the aisle swooped in and stole the parking spot from the car that had already been waiting. We heard a couple of loud honks behind us as we drove off. “There you go,” I told Brian. “That’s the fight that you’d been waiting for all morning.” LOL.

We didn’t stay to witness the aftermath. Though, I think that might have been quite a sight. It was past 6 AM at this point and we needed to be at Country Club Plaza by 7 AM for Victoria’s Secret and Express. We didn’t stay very long at either place. For one, we were already quite broke at this point. I mostly just wanted to get that tote bag full of goodies at Victoria’s Secret, but ended up spending $100. Usually that’s only a couple of bras, but they were doing the “buy one bra and get another for 50% off” that day. So I got a couple of bras and some matching undies. (Thank you, baby.)

By 8 AM we were pretty pooped. That was almost 10 hours of nonstop shopping, which is probably a record for Brian. LOL. We decided to drive to our hotel and take a chance that they will let us check in early, even though check in technically isn’t until 3 PM. As luck would have it, they let us check in. (Thank you, Marriott. Your beds may not be “heavenly” but your customer service is A++!)

We were very relieved because we really needed to crash. Brian and I got in our room, dropped our overnight bag on the couch, closed the balcony curtains, and by 9 AM were both conked out. We didn’t wake up until 2 PM. Even then, I don’t think we were completely recovered. =P

We had a late lunch at Chick-Fil-A. (We don’t have one in Wichita — well, there’s one at WSU but it doesn’t count because it’s not a REAL one.) Actually, one of the reasons that we chose this particular hotel is its proximity to the fast food joint. LOL. Don’t know what it is about Chick-Fil-A, but Brian and I both like it a lot. We walked off our lunch at Oak Park Mall. Neither of us had ever been there before, so it was a nice adventure for us. I’ll write about Oak Park Mall next time. I’m afraid this blog post is long enough already.

So anyway, there you have it. This is the story of how Brian and I shopped three malls in less than 24 hours. And now we are completely broke. Blech. Remind me not to do that ever again. LOL.

Until next time,
Ching

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Thanksgiving 2010

Posted on November 26, 2010 by under Family.    

We had a great Thanksgiving this year at the Brubakers, as always. I’m so looking forward to coming home and eating some leftover banana-chocolate-vanilla pudding!

Here are pictures from Thanksgiving 2009 and also Thanksgiving 2008 if you are in a reminiscing kind of mood. Enjoy!

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Giving RedBox a Shot

Posted on November 26, 2010 by under Games, Movies, Sex.    

Though we’d been loyal Netflix customers for over six years now, Brian finally broke down and decided to give RedBox a try. I’d been wanting to try RedBox for a while now, but Brian was completely against the idea. He’s very guarded when it comes to giving companies his credit card information.

Anyway, he wanted to set up a “play date” with Jay the other day and figured he couple pick up Eat Pray Love for Becca and I to watch while he and Jay played God of War III. I’d already seen Eat Pray Love before (Brian and I saw it with Misty and Jessica when it first came out it theaters), but Becca hadn’t seen it yet. It wasn’t a good enough draw for Becca, though, because Jay showed up the other night sans his better half. I really didn’t want to sit through the movie again (it’s a great movie, but it’s quite depressing, specially at the beginning) so I just ended up watching Brian and Jay play video games, while munching on some edamame and sipping some of my Aveda Comforting Tea. It was pretty entertaining, actually.

After Jay left, Brian continued to play some more. After another couple of hours of it, I got pretty bored so I ended surfing to Brian’s favorite web site. That pretty much put a stop to video-game-playing for the evening. LOL.

All I can say is, this has been a pretty amazing week! 😉

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We Have the Most Awesome Friends

Posted on November 26, 2010 by under Life.    

Cory and April gave Brian this journal a couple of weeks ago, just ’cause. That was super nice of them. Brian and I have the most awesome friends in the whole, wide world! Thanks, guys!

P.S. Our families are pretty darn fantastic also. We feel totally blessed and privileged to be surrounded by such wonderful people. We have so much to be thankful for…

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Time to Embrace New Marketing Methods

Posted on November 26, 2010 by under Coupons, Health, Tips.    

This will sound like a Groupon testimonial, but it’s not meant to be. Although, I do love Groupons and am a bona fide Groupon junkie.

Several weeks ago, Ultimate Electronics ran a promotion where they were giving away a limited number of $25 gift cards at the door. They advertised it in their regular insert in the Sunday paper. Now, Brian and I subscribe to the Wichita Eagle, but we actually heard about it first from our friends Cory and April. (April is the goddess of deals. If there’s a deal to be had, she probably knows about it.) Cory said there was barely a line. I think he said there were five people, counting themselves, when the doors opened. I can think of several reasons for the poor turnout: (a) Wichitans like to sleep in on Sundays and don’t read their paper until later in the day, (b) people don’t subscribe to the newspaper anymore because you can get your news online, (c) those who do subscribe and read the news tune out all the junk/inserts, or (d) they only care about the RedPlum and SmartSource coupons and discard everything else. LOL.

The following weekend, Ultimate Electronics ran the same promotion and there was actually a line before the doors opened. We would have made it, but I didn’t want to give up my Sunday morning workout. Brian could have made it, I suppose, but he’s not as enthusiastic about deals as our friends and me. Anyway, I don’t have to survey the people in line that morning to conclude that they didn’t read about the offer from the ad in the Sunday paper, they likely heard about it from a friend. Just as Brian and I did. Word of mouth rocks. That’s a given. You can’t beat word of mouth advertising.

I’m not going to tell you that print advertising is dead because there is a time and place for it. However, if you want to reach people and get them in the door, you have to go where they are… Social media. People aren’t reading newspapers as much. They’re spending more and more of their time on Facebook. Yes, even the older generations. Shoot, my mom probably spends more time on Facebook than anyone I know. And, Facebook and Twitter posts are digital equivalents of word of mouth. (There’s many others, but these are the two big ones.)

With traditional word of mouth, I could probably tell a dozen people about your product/service/promotion before I lose my voice, but with social media I can tell about 600 Twitter followers and 800 Facebook friends how much I love/hate you without much effort. If my message gets re-posted and re-tweeted by a handful of people, the reach grows exponentially. See how powerful that is? (For more on social media, read my previous blog post about the summit I recently attended in Arizona.)

So back to Groupon and why I love, love, love it. You all know how much I love coupons and deals. With Groupon, coupons and deals go social. This is where we are headed people, just accept it. =P

Most of the time I pick up Groupons from companies that I love or already do business with (or at least am familiar with). For instance, some of the Groupons I’ve picked up in the last year are for Lucinda’s, Pink Boa, Pacific Coast Pizza, LaMars, In the Bag etc. etc. As I grew more comfortable with purchasing and using Groupons, it’s actually allowed me to try companies I’ve not heard of or done business with before. For example, I’d never been to the Kellogg Clinic (where I’m going for laser hair removal) or Fresh Spa Market prior to getting their Groupon offers.

I think the best example is probably my most recent Groupon experience, which was the catalyst for us switching dentists. Wichita Family Dental is a dental office located on the East side of Wichita. They’ve been at their current location for about a decade and yet we’d never heard of them or thought to try them. That is, of course, until their Groupon offer: take-home teeth whitening that’s regularly $230 for only $69.

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I purchased the Groupon last month, but we’d been so busy that I didn’t get to use it until recently. (I had Veterans Day off so I came in on that day, remember? I’d written about it previously.) I was so impressed and had such a wonderful experience that I told Brian about it (followed by telling the rest of you about it through our blog). I told Brian, “I love, love, love Dr. Mendoza but I think we might consider switching dentists. Come with me to my follow up appointment, and you decide.” Brian went with me to my follow up appointment and was just as impressed. He doesn’t look it in the photo, but he was impressed. Trust me.

It doesn’t always work out this way. I mean, I tried Fresh Spa Market and didn’t switch. I still go to Beau Monde and Skin Essentials for facials and Serenity for massages. Groupon will get you new customers for your business, but you have to offer something that is better than your competitors in order to keep them. So why the switch to Wichita Family Dental? Let me give you our top five reasons.

  • Reason #5: One-Stop Shop

    They do everything from regular dental work to orthodontics to cosmetic dentistry. We wouldn’t have to be referred to another dental office. This works out great because I’m thinking of getting Invisalign next year.

  • Reason #4: Hi-Tech Everything

    They have very modern equipment like digital x-rays. Every dental station has a computer work station. There’s computer monitors mounted to the wall/ceiling so you can see your x-rays while you’re laying in your chair. They use really cool mouth cameras so you can see your teeth magnified on the screen. They don’t just tell you that there’s a potential issue with your tooth – they show it to you! The office is well on its way to being completely paperless (e.g. they use iPads instead of paper charts). I could go on and on and on. Of course, most people don’t really care about this stuff. However, for a couple of nerds like Brian and me, we think this stuff is awesome!

  • Reason #3: Location, Location, Location

    Their office is conveniently located within our little comfort zone. They’re so close to our townhouse that I could actually walk there! I know we won’t live in our townhouse forever, but we really like this part of town and will likely stay in the area when we’re ready to be homeowners again.

  • Reason #2: Saturday Hours

    They’re open every other Saturday so Brian and I will not have to miss work for dental appointments anymore. This is really a plus for me because I hate missing work for any reason.

  • And the #1 Reason for the switch: Dr. Begnoche is Hot!

    I saw him the first time that I came in. That’s another thing. Everyone seems really friendly. Dr. Begnoche and Dr. Pierson actually both came by and introduced themselves (not at the same time) while I was sitting in the dental chair. Except, Dr. Pierson said his name quickly (or I wasn’t paying attention because my mind was still on Dr. Begnoche and how young and good looking he is) that all I got was Chuck. When Brian came with me to my follow up visit, Dr. Begnoche was at some training for the Galileo (their neat x-ray machine) so Brian didn’t get to meet him. I introduced Dr. Pierson to Brian as Dr. Chuck because that’s all I could remember.

    Anyway, I failed to mention the good looking dentist to Brian in my original sales pitch, but he discovered first hand when he went to his dental appointment yesterday. Brian said, “I had a different dentist.” So I asked, “Which one?” He replied, “I don’t know, but he’s cute.” LOL. Dr. Begnoche doesn’t even look old enough to be out of college. He must be like Dorian Gray or something.

Oh, and it didn’t hurt that they were running an iPad promotion on new patient referrals this month. Basically, if you refer a new patient then your name gets entered in a drawing for an iPad. I figured that I would refer Brian. That’s at least one entry. So anyway, this is my word of mouth way of telling you all you should schedule a dental appointment at Wichita Family Dental and tell them that I, Cherrie Brubaker, referred you. I could use a few more raffle entries because with the kind of luck I have, one raffle entry ain’t gonna cut it.

Until next time,
Ching

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