Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sale at Hollister 大拍賣!

The last few days have been cold and damp in Los Angeles. My daughter needs a jacket she can wear to school (without worrying about loosing it). I bought her a ski/snowboard Burton jacket a while back, but I think it's too fancy for school. So today, I went to the mall to look for a jacket she can wear to school. I started at Gymboree, then to Crazy 8, Children's Place, and GAP. I don't think these stores stock jacket for cold weather in Los Angeles, so I didn't find anything that was thick enough for my daughter to wear on cold days like today. My daughter's favorite clothing brand is Abercombie and Fitch, but the mall I went to didn't have A&F, so I went to the Hollister store ( A&F actually owns the Hollister brand. There are so many similarities between the 2 brands that I think they are interchangeable, aside from the logo.

To my surprise, a lot of stuff at Hollister was marked down. Moreover, there was a sale on whereby everything that was marked down already is reduced further by 50%. I found several wintery jackets for $25 (regular price $125-$149). Hollister hoodies were going for $20 each. I was surprised at the size of the inventory. I guess people haven't been to the mall lately because of the recent downpours. I quickly grabbed 6 items and lined up. I waited 1/2 hour before I got to the cashier. They didn't have bags big enough to fit all 6 items. They were going to bag it one item per one small bag. I told them not to bother, I easily draped 4 jackets over my arm and carried the other 2 in bags.

Unfortunately, my daughter did not like any of the 6 jackets I brought home. I think stylistically, Hollister is still a bit old for my daughter. Once the weather clears up, I would have to return all 6 items. It's too bad that I have to return those jackets because they were really good deals. But I guess my fashion sense isn't on the same wavelength as my 10-year old daughter. She said she still likes A&F better!

UPDATE: I returned all the items I bought for my daughter. Luckily my friend gave me some of her daughters' hand-me-down jackets a few days after my shopping trip at Hollister. My daughter loves her semi-new jackets!

如果您家裏有 13歲 至 18歲的小孩, 趕快去 Hollister 買衣服 (。 Hollister 是美國青少年喜愛的名牌。 平常它的服飾價位訂得很高, 但是只要有減價就很划得來。 Hollister 現在正在打折。 折價後的產品再打五折!!! 一些原價要 $125至$149 的冬天外套只要 $25。 本來幫女兒買了六件不同樣式、顏色的外套, 只可惜她沒有一件喜歡。 再過幾天等到天氣轉晴後,再去店裏辦退貨。 真是麻煩! 女兒說她還是比較喜歡 Abercombie & Fitch 的衣服。 Abercombie & Fitch 是一家服飾上市公司(NYSE: ANF)。 其實 Hollister 的東家就是 Abercombie & Fitch。 這兩家店賣的服飾還非常類似,只是品牌標識不一樣而已。

說真的,我覺得只要衣服的品質好、價錢公道, 買名牌服飾給小孩穿是 OK 的。 最主要還是希望小朋友能融入美國人的社會。 在美國長大的小女生很辛苦、壓力也大, 就連穿的衣服也不能太奇怪! 在女兒的五年級班上, Abercombie & Fitch 的服飾就好像是女孩們的制服喔! 當我發現這學生潮流時,我就先告知女兒 Abercombie & Fitch 牌的衣服我一定會買給她的,只是不會馬上買。我會等減價再買給她。我給女兒訂的原則是上衣、褲子、裙子不能超過十元,外套、洋裝不能超過二十元。 這樣就保證不會給小孩子買到太昂貴的名牌服飾了。
白忙一場! 搞半天我女兒一件 Hollister 的夾克也不喜歡! 好在我的一位住在附近的老朋友在一星期後送了一大包她女兒穿不下的衣服給我。 其中有一伴夾克大衣我女兒好喜歡! 剛好派上用場!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Little League Tryouts 少少棒選拔賽

Now that my son is 8, with 2 years of Little League experience, he is qualified to enter the minors team in his little league. But the caveat is that he has to try out for the team. Parents received flyers for baseball camps before the winter break and because we were going on a cruise, I couldn't sign my son up for it. The boy hasn't played baseball since May, he was a bit rusty at the try out today. Both my husband and I thought our son is a borderline kid--meaning he may or may not make the minor team. He can hit and catch, but he's weak in throwing the ball. One thing going for him is that he is a fast runner between the bases. Like I said he is a borderline kid. If the try outs are for coaches to select the best players, he will make the minors if they need more players to form the teams. So we were keeping our fingers crossed.

The morning started at 9:45AM with his first winter soccer game. There were 2 other boys on the team who were also going to the baseball tryout, so we all left the soccer game early at 10:15AM. They changed into their baseball uniform, then we drove 15 minutes to the Little League field. There were many kids and families roaming the area, either watching, socializing, or practicing. They have sign in first and get a number. Unbeknownst to us, the number did not mean the order in which you will be trying out. The boys were suppose to line up near the home base when it's time for your age group to try out (10:45AM). My son was walking around and watching (I think he was nervous) and didn't know to line up. When I told him to line up, he was near the end of the line. He didn't get to try out until past noon. It was a long wait. Had I known about this system, we would not have left the soccer game early.

At the tryout, each boy gets pitched a ball to hit. He gets 3 tries. Once he hits the ball, he runs the bases. Then after 5 boys have done the hitting, they line up to catch a ground ball, then throws the ball to first base. Once the 5 boys did that, they line up again to try out pitching. Then the next 5 boys is up at bat.

While waiting for my son to finish the try out, I talked to a few moms and realized that the try out wasn't aimed at weeding out the less skilled boys. The coaches from all the teams rate each boy so they can make the teams more balanced. They are trying to avoid putting all the best players in one team.

I think my son did the best he could at the tryout. He was worried that he wouldn't make the minor team. I said he will make it, but the minor teams are harder than farm teams because the boys will be hitting balls pitched by another boy, not by a pitching machine. The chance of getting hit by a fast ball while at bat is very common.

For a boy, growing up in America, playing team sports is a major part of his life. It is where all his social life begins.

話說兒子的少少棒選拔賽,聽起來好像很隆重,可是事實上只是讓所有球隊教練有機會觀察所有小朋友打棒球的能力,好讓教練可以依照小朋友的能力平均分配球員到每個球隊。這樣每個球隊比賽時,輸贏不會差太多。 這也是我後來跟其他比較有經驗的媽媽聊天後才知道的。

兒子已經參加了兩年的少少棒,從 T-Ball隊 到 Farm隊, 今年他8歲,所以要參加 Minor隊。 在 Minor隊 發表隊員名單之前,每個希望加入 Minor隊 的小男孩都要參與年初舉辨的少少棒選拔賽。 知道兒子必需要經過選拔賽的考驗其實我和老公也蠻緊張的。 我們兒子的運動神經還算不錯,可是棒球這種東西還是平常得練習。 兒子是從五月的棒球季節結束後就沒有再碰棒球了。 寒假之前,學校發了一些有關冬令營的資訊, 其中一項就是少少棒冬令營。 很多小男生趁放寒假的時間參加少少棒冬令營,一方面在放寒假時有地方去,另一方面可以在少少棒選拔賽之前有所準備。我們利用寒假期間去玩(坐了一趟遊輪),所以無法參加任何冬令營。因此一月開學後,我們對於這少少棒選拔賽也有趨之若鶩的感覺。

今天一早九點就出門。兒子的冬季足球賽今天是第一場。同隊的有其他兩位小男生也要去參加少少棒選拔賽。 所以我們 10:15AM 就提前離開足球場,開車前往少棒棒球場。 兒子在車上換制服。到了棒球場拿了號碼就等上場。 因為這是我們第一次參加少少棒選拔賽,不知道要到本壘後面排隊。快十一點才輪到 Minor隊 的球員上陣, 可是兒子因為排在最後, 輪到他時已經中午了。早知道是用排隊上陣的方式, 我們也不用那麼早就離開足球賽了。 兒子就一邊排隊一邊看別人怎麼打。 我也在一旁跟其他家長聊天。 那時才知道這少少棒選拔賽事實上只是讓教練評估每位小朋友的能力。 基本上每位來參加這次 Minor隊 “Tryout” 的小朋友都會被分配到 Minor隊。 知道後, 我們做家長的就不用那麼緊張了,可是我並沒有把這情報告訴兒子。 我想讓他盡力的表現自己。

選拔賽一開始就每五個小孩一組。 教練投手投球讓小朋友打。 擊不中有三次機會。 打中後往一壘跑, 一直跑回本壘。 五個小朋友都跑完後,輪流在二壘後面接滾地球,接到後要丟給一壘手。 最後一項就是做投手,把球丟給在本壘的補手。 這一組的五個小孩都評估完後就歸下一組人馬。 兒子也很順利的完成這三項比賽。


Thursday, January 7, 2010


哇! 1410 坪耶! 就算只住一層也有 470 坪! 在台灣,貧富的差距真的很大! 大部份的臺灣人如果有四十坪的房子可以住就要偷笑了! 當然有錢人可以花自己辛苦賺來的錢, 不過低調一點不是比較好嗎?

One of the richest man in Taiwan, Gou Tai-Ming (, just bought the top 3 floors of a residential highrise (yet to be built) in the Tamshui area of Taiwan. Each floor is about 470 ping (or 16694.825 sq. ft.). That's almost the size of an official NHL ice skating rink. The average Taiwanese people live in apartments that are about 30 pings. It's hard to imagine the mindset of a multi-billionaire. I always thought rich people would want to be low key. It's not like Mr. Gou doesn't have beautiful homes already. This significant real estate purchase sounds like his ego speaking. To each his own.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

KOST 103.5

I have been a faithful listener to KOST 103.5 for a long time. Now, when I drive my kids to school, they also enjoy listening to Mark & Kristin's Morning Show. One drawback about listening to these radio shows is that my kids would constantly try to tell me to call-in to win whatever prizes are offered. It's hard to drive and call a radio station these days, especially in areas where radio reception is extremely bad. Over the last 10 years, it's not from my lack of trying, but I've never succeeded in winning anything from calling in. I was never at the right place at the right time.

Well, I was driving to work today and I heard someone on the radio announcing a 4-pack tickets to Disneyland offered to the 20th caller. What the heck, I will give it a try. I called KOST 3 times and I either got a busy signal or a not-in-service signal. The 4th time, the phone got connected and when someone pick up on the other end, I had to say hello several times, but no one said anything on the other end. I finally said, "am I the 20th caller?" The person on the other end said, "have you won anything from us in the last 60 days?" I said, "NO!" The person then said, "you are the 20th caller! Congratulations, you won the Disney 2for tickets!" I said, "I DID?" The person said, "YES, can I have your telephone number?" I gave him my number and he said, "can you stay on the line?" I stayed on the line and heard Kristin talk a bit and she even mentioned my name, but before I know it music was playing on the station again and the person got back on the phone and took down my address and telephone number. He said their promotional department will be in touch with me shortly about the tickets. I mentioned something about how excited my kids will be when they find out about the Disneyland tickets. Although I didn't get interviewed by Kristin, I was still very happy that I won these tickets.

On a side note, someone from the radio station called me in the afternoon and said that they don't have the tickets yet, but when they have the tickets, they will contact me again. I put this person's name and telephone number on my Outlook Agenda for the next 30 days. I will call her in 30 days if KOST doesn't contact me by then.

I told the kids at dinner that I have something great to tell them. They eagerly waited for me to sit down. But my husband spoiled the fun and said it's about the radio station. My daughter immediately guessed that I must have won something from the radio station. The kids continued to guess what I might have won. They were really excited when they found out we got Disneyland tickets.

My son wants to go to Disneyland next weekend. I had to tell him that I don't have the tickets yet and if we go, it would probably be closer to the Spring Break. At least now we will have some place fun to go to for Spring Break.

我最常聽的廣播電台是 KOST 103.5 (FM)。 我只要開車就一定會聽這電台。 現在連我的小孩也跟我一起聽。 雖然他們還是比較喜歡聽 Radio Disney, 可是 AM 的收訊不如 FM, 所以我們常聽 KOST。 小孩子大了, 當然也聽得懂廣播內客,尤其是可以得獎的活動。 例如,只要是第二十個打電話進去的聽眾就可以贏某種獎品。 今天一早開車上班,因為有點感冒,所以上班的意願不高, 可是還是得去。 在途中, 聽到 KOST 早晨節目的主持人宣佈第二十個打電話進去給她們的聽眾就可以贏四張迪士尼樂園的門票。 心血來潮就開始撥電話。 KOST 的電話號碼早就已經儲存在我的電話裏了。撥了三次電話都沒接通,本來想放棄, 可是又撥了一次。 這次電話通了....

我 "Hello"
KOST (電話是通了,可是沒人在線上。) "....."
我 "Hello"
KOST "......Hello..."
我 "我是第二十位打通電話的人嗎?"
KOST "妳在這六十天之前有在我們這電台贏過任何獎品嗎?"
我 "沒有!"
KOST "那妳就是第二十位打通電話的人!恭喜妳,妳贏了四張迪士尼樂園的門票!"
我 "真的?!?!"
KOST "是的。 請妳給我妳的連絡電話。 麻煩妳繼續留在線上。"

這是我生平第一次贏到這麼好的獎品。 回家後告訴小孩, 他們也興奮不已! 只是現在還無法敲定什麼時候去迪士尼樂園, 因為 KOST 也還沒有拿到迪士尼樂園的門票。 他們說票收到後會再通知我! 反正今年迪士尼樂園是去定了!

我認為沒有偏財運的我,在自己開工的第一天贏了這些票, 是個新年好兆頭!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Target Christmas 90% Off Clearance 聖誕節後大減價!

If you can't be at Target when it opens at 8AM the day when they markdown seasonal items to 90% off, basically, you will miss out on all the good deals. I had a feeling the 90% off markdown happened yesterday and because of my car trouble, I had blocked Target out of my mind. Since I don't have to work today, I did 3 loads of laundry, got gas, returned some stuff at Sam's Club, and then I decided to go to Target anyway knowing full well that there may not be any Christmas clearance stuff left, at 90% off.

Indeed, the 90% markdown of the Christmas items happened yesterday because by the time I got to Target at 1PM, only 1 endcap worth of Christmas items were left. Things go fast when it's only 10% of the original price. I had wanted to buy some Christmas t-shirts for my son, Christmas cards, and ribbons, but they were all gone. Here are what I ended up buying:

1. A clear plastic oval serving plate ($0.39)
2. 2 infant boys (sizes 12M & 18M) short-sleeved PJ set ($0.89). I would prefer it to be 100% cotton, but it's 100% polyester. Apparently, it's law that children's PJ cannot be 100% cotton anymore because it's a fire-hazard.
3. 1 roll of green ribbon ($0.19)
4. 1 adult-size (size XS) Christmas t-shirt ($0.99) Perfect for my daughter to wear next year.
5. $5 black legging. It's on sale (reg. $6.99), but not on clearance. It flares out at the end so it's perfect as my daughter's jazz pants. Most jazz pants in dance store would cost $20+.

Although my total Christmas clearance purchase was insignificant this year, I still managed to get $3.35 worth of Christmas clearance items. I just had to get that clearance bug out of me.

每年一月初(通常是一月三、四或五日), Target 會把聖誕節的產品減到一折。 其實聖誕節一過, Target 就會從減半價開始, 慢慢的減到一折(五折、二五折、然後一折)。 重點是我們一定要在八點開門之前趕到搶“頭香”, 要不然可能八點半以後,一折的東西就被搶購得差不多, 東西也所無己了! 昨天因為車子出點問題,而且還要送爸媽去機場, 我沒有心情去 Target 搶買聖誕節的產品。 今天剛好不用上班, 就忍不住得跑去 Target 看了一下。 一折的聖誕節產品只剩下三個小架子那麼多。 我還是找到東西可以買。 一折後的清單如下:

1. 一卷包裝用的綠色緞帶 ($0.19)
2. 二套小男孩(12M & 18M)的睡衣 ($0.89)
3. 大人(小號)聖誕圖型的T卹 ($0.99)
4. 橢圓形的透明塑膠盤 ($0.39)

我又順便買了一條黑色的 legging 褲子給女兒,做她跳爵士舞時穿的褲子(100% 綿褲)。 因為這星期特價才賣五塊錢 (平常價格是 $6.99)。 如果是到舞蹈專賣店去買爵士舞褲子, 那一條褲子最少也要賣美金二十元以上。

我對我今年 Target 聖誕節後大減價的收穫還算滿意!

Friday, January 1, 2010

新年快樂!!! Happy New Year!!!

I haven't blogged much lately. My new year's resolution is to blog more. But my real wish is to de-clutter my house and really make it nice.

I thought the stores are not open today, so I stayed home. Well, Target is open, but I can't go there everyday. I am waiting for it to markdown its Christmas merchandise to 90% off. I have a feeling the markdown will happen tomorrow morning. Hopefully, someone on the Mycoupons forum will post something about it.

January 1 has been a quiet day for me. The winter holiday is winding down to this weekend. All the visiting relatives will be gone and the kids will be back to school. Everything will be back to normal until the next holiday.

Happy New Year everyone!

今年的新年新希望是....把自己的房子整理好。 我想把囤積在家裏的東西都處理掉! 可是真的是很難割捨自己買的東西。 我曾經看過一篇教導主婦如何整理房子的指南。 基本上,任何東面只要在妳購買後兩年之內都沒有被用過,妳就應該把那東西扔了。 要我把好好的東西丟掉真的是好難喔! 以前的新年新希望都是圍繞著減肥計劃。 我也不知道什麼時候變得比較實際。 不管是減肥計劃還是整頓房子,對我來講,一樣都是高難度的願望。

今天是一月一日, 我本來以為商店都沒開, 結果發現只有我常光顧的 Trader Joe's, Costco, 及 Sam's Club 沒有開。 我本來想去 Target 逛逛, 可是想想再過一、兩天 Target 的聖誕節產品就要被減價到一折了, 到那時候再去逛 Target。

我會再向大家報告到 Target 血拼的結果。