Excitement by the Spoonful: NEW Refrigerated Finds!

Happy Friday, to you! Lately, my posts have been rather lighthearted and simply informative as opposed to emotion-driven, though I have a couple topics/issues I’ve been wanting to discuss, so they are to come either over the weekend, or early next week! So for now, I’d like to indulge you in a couple new refrigerated finds I’ve recently stumbled across (disclaimer: I haven’t actually spotted these in-store as of yet, but recently noticed their announcements via social media, so I’m sure they will appearing on store shelves relatively soon!)

Yoplait 100-Calorie Apple Pie Greek Yogurt:

Yoplait Greek Apple Pie

Yum! How wonderful does this look/sound? Already a huge fan of Yoplait 100-Calorie Greek yogurt, I cannot wait to try this flavor! I can only imagine how good it will be, especially since one of my favorite fruits is the star – apples! If you’ve tried it already, please let me know how it is, I’ll be eager to hear.

Yoplait Seasonal Flavors: Light Mocha Mint & Peppermint Bark Yogurt:

Yoplait Mocha Mint and Peppermint Bark

If you follow me on Twitter (@Stylinstar53), then you might have seen my tweet last Friday after arriving home from a Target shopping trip. While shopping, I noticed and of course, purchased the Light Mocha Mint flavor! It is wonderful, I can assure you. As a 4-ounce, 60-calorie yogurt, it is the ideal snack, or addition to a breakfast and I highly recommend it to you. The other flavor, Peppermint Bark is 110-calories, per 4-ounces and also sounds tasty! This time of year, peppermint anything seems to be cropping up everywhere and that is definitely okay by me!

Chobani Simply 100-Calorie Greek Yogurt Line:

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Ahh! Have you heard?! The other day, Chobani proudly tweeted and posted they are introducing a brand new line of 100-calorie Greek yogurts! To me, this sounds absolutely wonderful and is an exciting announcement. Contrary to their traditional Greek yogurt line, the 100-calorie yogurts pack 5.3 oz compared to the usual 6 oz, which of course isn’t bad at all. PLUS, as an added bonus, the Chobani 100-calorie yogurt line is available in many of our favorite Chobani flavors: Lemon, Vanilla, Strawberry, Black Cherry, Blueberry, Peach and Pineapple! They are also naturally-sweetened with Stevia Leaf extract, for those of you who might be curious about any added chemicals.

So there you have it! Just a brief taste of some the newest refrigerated finds I’ve stumbled across!

QUESTION: Have you tried/spotted any of these new product finds? If so, what did you think? If not, which would you most like to try?

Teacup Treasures: Meet Red Rose Tea!

It’s a frigid, brisk morning here in suburban Pennsylvania! For the past several days, we, along with much of the country, have been battling streams of inclement weather and now, descending temperatures! During conditions and temperatures such as these, the only thing I can think of as a solution, is a steaming hot beverage! Of course, for those who know me best, I routinely turn to coffee, as my beverage of choice. Though, as of recently, it has started to shift, or at least, my beverage repertoire is expanding

Allow me to back up a bit. About a month or so prior, my sister invited my mom and I to attend the Philadelphia Coffee & Tea Festival one Sunday afternoon. Given we are big fans of these beverages, my mom and I jumped at the chance and were so very thankful to Hope, for inviting us to attend. The festival was graciously received by us and I found myself absolutely taken and enthralled with one tea company in particular, much to my surprise, by the name of Red Rose Tea. Though I followed them on Facebook after hearing of the release of one of their newest teas – Cinnamon Bun, I wasn’t all that familiar with them and their teas. When I first learned of Cinnamon Bun tea, I just knew I had to try it. Combining some of my all-time favorite, go-to flavors (i.e. cinnamon, hints of maple, etc), it was bound to be the ultimate tea for me. Many teas, I am not a fan of and cannot seem to get around the “earthy,” taste (my palate longs for something on the sweeter side), when I noticed the Red Rose Tea stand at the festival, I quickly scurried over.

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My mom, sister and I were immediately warmly received by a Red Rose Tea employee tending to their stand. She welcomed us and provided us with a brief overview of the company (beginning in 1890 in Canada, before settling in Little Falls, N.Y. in 1988!) and offered us the tea samples of our choice to try. Immediately spotting the coveted Cinnamon Bun Tea, I selected this flavor for my first sample. As expected, it did not disappoint and I was pleasantly taken with its comforting, naturally-sweet flavor. With a mere 15 calories per k-cup (YES, Red Rose Tea produces teas not only in traditional tea bag form, but ALSO in k-cup form, so now you can enjoy it in your Keurig and other k-cup compatible brewers!) In addition to Cinnamon Bun, I also tried several other teas (including Lemon Chiffon & Cinnamon Streusel, both of which were also incredibly satisfying and comforting)

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Upon arriving home that evening from the festival, I knew I had to reach out to Red Rose Tea to thank them for their generosity and hospitality. Though I previously wouldn’t have rendered myself a “tea” fan, per se, thanks to Red Rose Tea, I can now confirm my preferences have shifted and I can now say, I am very much so a tea fan! To further “sweeten” the deal, much to my delight, my friends at Red Rose Tea generously provided me with the opportunity to heighten my love of their teas by shipping me a box of Decaffeinated Lemon Chiffon tea, Peach Cobber tea, Spiced Chai Tea (in k-cup form), as well as my favorite, Cinnamon Bun Tea (in k-cup form). What a pleasant surprise! For the past several weeks, my family and I have been enjoying warm, comforting mugs of tea, relishing in it’s naturally-sweet and subtle flavor. What I love most about Red Rose Tea’s is their ability to satisfy my sweet tooth without any added or artificial flavors/ingredients! While I still love coffee, it is good to have an expanded palate which includes Red Rose Tea! I now feel as though I’ve not only found a family of teas I love, but also a friend, as Red Rose Tea consistently reaches out to their fans and consumers via social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, email newsletters, and a YouTube channel).

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If you’re unfamiliar with Red Rose Tea, I urge you check out their official website: http://www.redrosetea.com, to explore their various assortment of teas they offer, which include:

  • Black Tea: Red Rose Original and Decaffeinated
  • English Breakfast Decaffeinated
  • Simply Indulgent Line: Cinnamon Bun, Cinnamon Streusel (decaf), Creme Caramel, Peach Cobbler, Lemon Chiffon (decaf), Vanilla Biscotti, Spiced Chai, Sweet Mint.
  • Specialty Selections: Sunset Spice, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Irish Breakfast.
  • Loose Tea Blend
  • Accessories & Gifts: Mugs, Tea Bag squeezers, Shortbreads, Figurines, Tote bags, Travel mugs, Biscotti, blankets, etc!

Also, while perusing their website, be sure to create an E-card to send/share with your friends and families (a great feature, especially this time of year!), check out their recipes, and sign up for their e-newsletter for sampling and coupon opportunities!

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*Thanks so much to my friends @ Red Rose Tea for providing me with the opportunity to sample and enjoy a unique, distinct and tasty assortment of their perfectly-brewed and crafted teas! It’s been keeping me warm and satisfied this season!

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QUESTION: Do you enjoy tea, or are you more of a coffee-fan? If you’re a tea fan, what are some of your favorites?

All it Takes is a Click

Due to yesterday’s inclement weather, I spent much of the day home-bound, alternating between reading books, magazines and sitting on my computer, browsing social media and other favorite sites. That said, it started innocently enough as it typically does. It then transpired into sentiments leaving me in a contemplative and rather melancholy state. In saying this, you might be wondering what exactly happened.

While trolling Facebook, I started to notice a recurrent theme: engagements, photos of people I attended high school with moving in with their significant others, babies being born, first houses being purchased and furnished, new jobs being celebrated and enjoyed, and whole host of other celebratory events. Taking this all in, the comparisons ensued, as did the negative, judgmental self-talk, transpiring into a monologue of, “That will never be me, or I’ll always be stagnant, in the same, old place.” Then, as if it weren’t already bad enough, I had to throw fire into the flame, by typing in a former (I’m not even quite sure as to what to call him, because it wasn’t ever really a boyfriend, but rather someone I “saw” for a very brief time, yet for some reason, seemed to capture a part of me I’m still not sure I completely understand) male friend’s name in. Within minutes, I was informed he was no longer living in the city of Philadelphia, but rather had relocated back to where he is originally from – Florida, working now at a different university, supporting the football team. I was speechless and taken for a spin. For so long, I’ve tried to distract myself from thinking of him and going down that path again. I try to remind myself of all the hurtful words spewed at me, the judgments, the criticisms, and how he ignored me for weeks on end. Sometimes, I’m ashamed of my behavior when I think back, of how I let him treat me that way, and still allow my mind to wander to him. At the same time, I try to remind myself that we, as humans, all have weak moments or times when we feel more vulnerable than others.

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Yesterday, I let myself fall into the comparison trap, blindsided by the “images,” I see on Facebook, not knowing what truth and reality is behind them. The people who posted the aforementioned events and occurrences are people I have not spoken to nor seen in many years. A lot of them I was never really “friends,” to begin with. They are all at different points in their lives and though I might be chronologically the same age as a lot of them, we all have encountered and experienced different situations and life events and we all do and accomplish things at different times. I try to remind myself of this when I start to feel down, self-conscious and self-critical. Just because I haven’t found the career I aspire to yet, does not mean I never will and the same goes for finding a man to fall in love with. I try to tell myself it doesn’t matter WHEN I find or experience these things, but rather, that I experience them at all. To experience love, a fulfilling career, purchasing a home to call my own, etc, is a beautiful accomplishment to be celebrated and cherished at ANY point in one’s life, no matter if they are 22, 25, 45, 65, or even 85 and beyond. There is no timeline, or “set age” anyone has to do anything. My goal is solely for my life to be one filled with meaning and true sentiment. It is not a race and certainly not a contest by any means.

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So perhaps the next time I check Facebook, I’ll look with a discerning eye, because though it might only take one click for the self-defeating internal monologue to begin, it also takes only one click to distance myself from it. I can click away and turn a new page. This my life and no one else’s.

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QUESTION: Can you relate to this “comparison trap?” Have you ever felt this way after checking your Facebook? If so, what do you do to combat these feelings?

Keeping Strength: Wise Words Demi said

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am a dedicated fan of morning talk shows and talk shows in general. From Good Morning America, to The Chew, to Katie, to Dr. Oz, the possibilities are endless. If I don’t catch it live, then my DVR awaits for me, eager to be watched either that evening, or an evening to come. A couple weeks ago, while watching Good Morning America, Demi Lovato, the nationally-renowned singer/songwriter, was announced as the guest, that particular morning. To confess, in years past, I was not the biggest Demi Lovato fan. When I looked to her, I saw her as a cheesy, manufactured, Disney popstar, however, as I came to hear of her story and truly listened to her strong, determined, powerful voice, I saw her in a different, positive and respectful light. Today, she is one of my favorite musicians and role models.

She has battled her own inner demons, family perils, among others, and still has managed to overcome it, and manages it each day. She stated while on Good Morning America, that she is often asked by her fans how she maintains her recovery from an eating disorder and addictions and finally decided to place her advice and coping mechanisms into book form. Therefore, one of her main reasons for appearing on the talk show that morning, was to introduce and disclose her brand new book entitled, “Staying Strong 365 Days a Year.” However, it is not in typical “book form.” Rather, it is a book arranged by each day. Each day is introduced with a quote from a famous/influential individual (Dr. Seuss and Maya Angelou, to name a few), in addition to Demi’s perspective for choosing the quote and a goal for the day. These goals and quotes are both inspiring and truthful. In fact, I can usually find at least something to relate to in all the goals and quotes for the day and while it might not be exact, I still empathize, appreciate it, and perhaps even share it with others who might be able to relate more closely to it.

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After hearing her speak of the book, her motivations behind it, and her own personal goals, I just knew that instant I had purchase the book and so I did. Thanks to good old Amazon.com, Demi’s book sat on my doorstep the very next morning (and I didn’t even have to pay extra for advanced shipping!) Though I do occasionally forget to consult the book each day, when I do happen to remember, I’m always so thankful and hopeful. It surely does serve it’s purpose, comforts me and lets me know I am not alone, despite how I might feel. There is always someone out there who can relate and who has made it out successfully, on the other side. Sometimes, just reading Demi’s book provides me with “food for thought,” or at least an alternative perspective for thinking about situations and life, in general.

Whether you’re a Demi Lovato fan or not, or aren’t all that familiar with her, her new book, “Staying Strong 365 Days a Year,” is worth checking out. Plus, on days when you might need more comforting or inspiration than others, take it from me when I say it, turning to that particular day’s page, always seems to hold something I can relate to at that moment.

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QUESTION: What do you do or read when you are seeking inspiration or comfort?

Sweeten Up Your Morning!

Good Morning, all! Since the last few posts have been quite heavy and emotion-driven, I decided to keep today’s post a more lighthearted one, featuring one of my favorite topics: new products spotted on store shelves! However, these new finds are a little more specific, centered around my favorite meal of the day: breakfast! So without further adieu, here are some new breakfast finds (though, of course, these can be consumed at any time throughout the day, not only at breakfast time!):

New Breakfast (or anytime!) Finds:

Kellogg’s Krave S’mores Cereal:

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First off, how wonderful does this look? The official Kellogg’s website (via Kelloggs.com) states it has a “crispy graham flavored cereal outside with a smooth chocolate and marshmallowy filling inside.” All I can say is yum! This particular flavor, S’mores, proudly joins the Krave family, which boasts flavors such as: Chocolate & Double Chocolate varieties. While I’ve never tried any of the Kraves family of cereals, after noticing this particular flavor, I just might have to! No word on when it is expected to hit store shelves, but since it is already featured on Kelloggs.com, I’m assuming its arrival is imminent. Of course, if you happen to spot it and/or try it, please let me know, I’ll be eager to hear your perspective!

Silk Pure Almond Light Almond Milk:

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If you’re already a fan of almond milk, or if you’ve always been curious about trying almond milk, Silk is definitely a wonderful brand to start with! For years, I’ve been a dedicated fan of both their soy and almond milks, so it is exciting to report they have a NEW light variety of almond milk, available in both Original and Vanilla flavors! In my opinion almond milk is a great non-dairy alternative for those who either cannot have dairy milk, or would prefer to consume non-dairy alternatives. It is mild and the ideal addition to cereals, baking endeavors, or simply on its own. I’ll have to give this variety a try very soon!

Danimals Frosted Cinnamon Roll Smoothies:

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Just a disclaimer: I took this photo myself, so that’s the reason why it’s a little unclear and fuzzy! The reason for taking this photo myself, is because it is so new, I couldn’t even locate it anywhere online! It is a seasonal flavor of Dannon’s kids line of yogurts and yogurt smoothies affectionately called, “Danimals.” They offer products in traditional cups, tubes, and of course, small bottles of yogurt smoothies! I’ve had Danimals before, as an adult and actually really enjoy them. I’ve only taken a small sip of out of this Frosted Cinnamon Roll flavor, but from what I could tell, it is a good one! There are no added sugars, no juice, and are 3.5 oz, so they are the ideal size if you are looking for a satisfying, healthy sip!

Nature’s Path Love Crunch Gingerbread Granola:

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As a big granola fan, when I first noticed this particular flavor of granola – Gingerbread, my interest was piqued! This sounds so wonderful and definitely seasonally-appropriate! I’ve always been a big fan and advocate for gingerbread, cinnamon and pumpkin flavors, so this granola fits the bill. While I haven’t tried it yet, it is without question on my “must-try” list! Also, the brand Nature’s Path, is one I fully support given their environmentally-friendly, organic ingredients and packaging.

Seattle’s Best Coffee in Cinnamon Sugar Cookie (Ground, bagged coffee):

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A couple weeks ago while grocery shopping with my mom, we spotted this particular flavor of Seattle’s Best Coffee: Cinnamon Sugar Cookie! Always searching for new and exciting flavored coffees, the price was right coupled with a coupon I found, so we purchased it. Unfortunately, after the first sip, I was a bit disappointed. It’s not that it was completely terrible, but there was a little too heavy on the cinnamon for my taste. Still worth a try though, if you’re interested and/or curious.

Target Brand Market Pantry Candy Cane Granola Bars:

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On Black Friday, my sister, Hope, Mom and I were perusing the aisles at Target and just so happened to spot this brand new, holiday flavor of Target Brand granola bars: Candy Cane! As a fan of candy canes, I think this sounds like a wonderful flavor for a granola bar and one I would thoroughly enjoy.

Target Brand Archer Farms Candy Cane Ground Coffee & K-Cups:

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I’m proud to report, Target has reintroduced their holiday line of coffees! Though I’ve never tried this Candy Cane flavor, I must admit, I am very intrigued and curious! I would love to try this flavor, among others, and have been waiting for a sale. Plus, if you’re a K-Cup fan, Target now supplies their seasonal coffees in this medium as well. Of course, if you prefer ground coffee, the bagged varieties are readily available!

QUESTION: Which of these products would you like to try? Or, if you’ve tried any of these products already, which ones were your favorite?

 

 

 

Solace in Pages

It is now Sunday evening and the holiday weekend is winding down. Naturally, I don’t have to inform you of this, but a part of me is indifferent about it. To say this weekend was eventful would be an understatement, but of course, eventful does not always have a positive connotation. To be honest and frank, the past several days have left me undeniably heartbroken and wracked with a kaleidoscope of emotions. At times, I became angry and resentful, while other times, I longed to step into the past and alter decisions and actions I’ve made. Most times, it was difficult to even place into words the sentiments floating through my heart and mind. While I say I was heartbroken, it is not of the romantic kind, but rather ones involving family and in particular, my father, the man who as a child and even as an adolescent, I mistakenly thought would be my hero, the one I could look to for protection and guidance, the man who would steer me in the direction towards achieving my dreams. To arrive at the realization that this is not in fact the truth is perhaps the most challenging truth to accept at all. As children, maybe we uphold beliefs that our parents are significantly different creatures from us and it is only later, as adults, we begin to realize, they are human, just as we are. Often I wonder if maybe I expected too much. As I grow older, I realize people love in a multitude of ways. More importantly though, they love in the way they can and I try to accept this, no matter how challenging it may be. Each day, I try to remind myself of this necessary truth, because holding a grudge and wishing for a different reality, I’m aware, will lead me nowhere. It will only make me harbor resentment, hurt and anger and prolong the stinging, like a scab on an old wound that someone continuously exposes to air. Healing takes time and as I’m learning, so does acceptance.

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Searching for reprieve, or at least a momentary, “escape” if you will, I opted for one of my favorite author’s newest novel entitled, “Morning Glory,” by the undeniably talented, Sarah Jio. If you’re unfamiliar with this latest novel of hers, you may have read some of her other favorites, “Blackberry Winter” and of course, “The Violets of March.” To say I am thankful and grateful for her words this weekend would be a vast understatement. Her beautiful control of words and the English language in general has captivated me so these past several days as I traveled into the fictional literary world she created. The words seem to flow with each page I turn, as I delve deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters lining the pages. Her talent is rare and one I truly cherish. For me, it is quite simple to discern whether or not an author/book and I “click.” With Sarah Jio, her books have a way of weaving mystery, romance and intrigue so profoundly, the book is difficult to put down. When I place it down, I find myself curious, wondering what the pages will leave me with next. In fact, at times, I force myself to place the book down, so that I can savor the rest later, like a forbidden treat.

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Books have always captivated and cushioned me. They keep me company when I would otherwise be lonely. Though to some they may simply be binding and words on a page, to me, they are a work of talent, creativity and a world outside of my own. When reading books, it’s as though I am transported away from my troubles and for as long as I am reading, I am safe and anesthetized from the pain and disappointment living within my everyday, conscious life. 

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So today, I’m here just to say how very thankful I am for the talents of fellow writers, such as Sarah Jio, who share their craft and mastery of the written word with each of us and who inspire me each and every day to keep going and not to settle until I find my true calling.

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Friday of a Different Color

Happy Holiday week to you! Wherever you are, I hope this morning finds you well, safe and out of the inclement weather. I’m told that by Thanksgiving, the weather around here should be pretty clear, with the exception of frigid temperatures! As long as we’re clear of rain, I’ll be content. Since I’ve been young, I’ve always looked forward to the day after Thanksgiving, affectionately referred to as, “Black Friday.” When I was a child, I was unsure as to what “Black Friday,” actually entailed, wondering if the “black” meant it was something to be mourned or sad about. However, as I grew older and began to notice “Black Friday” appearing in ads, stores, and people referring to it with excitement and anticipation, it became my understanding that it was something to be celebrated, or at least, enjoyed in some way. 

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For me, it’s not even about the shopping (well, okay, maybe a little, but not as much as it used to be, since finances are tight) Rather, it is about spending time with my sister and mom, taking to the stores as though we are on a mission, hoping to maneuver our way through the crowds while enjoying lots of laughs and jokes. Perusing around the stores can be stressful at times, especially if there are people who enter the stores already feeling frustrated and defeated, but for me, it’s amusing just to watch the excitement ensuing, the people taking their time to inspect clothing and other items, hoping to select the ideal gift for their loved ones.

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There are several preceding Black Friday instances I look to with a fondness and a smile. Sometimes, I can’t help but laugh when I think of a few in particular and I’m sure my sister, Hope, would agree with me on this. From standing outside in frigid temperatures to receive the miniscule “diamond” ring a local jewelry store distributed to the first several customers, to seeing Target with a line wrapping around the store, the things we see and experience on Black Friday are in a class of its own. However, I look to this year with a heavy heart, sadness and regret. For the first time, as I’m sure many of you are aware, a significant number of stores will be opening on Thanksgiving Day, causing many sales/promotions at 6-7am on Black Friday to be a thing of the past.

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My sister, Hope and I in the very jewelry store that Black Friday, in 2009! It makes me smile to see this photo.

The other night, my mom and I were discussing this, as she made very valid points I wholeheartedly agree with. She stated, Thanksgiving Day was always the holiday where people barely thought of shopping. Shopping and retail was reserved for the following day. It was even nice to not have the chance shop in a store on Thanksgiving. It was almost as though people were forced to reflect, or at least focus on other important things in their lives. Sure, online shopping would be an option, but it might not be something that would keep retail employees from being with their families during a holiday to celebrate family, friends and togetherness. It makes me sad when I think of Black Friday becoming a thing of the past, because I do have fond memories attached to it. Again, to me, it’s not about the shopping, but more so the thrill of the experience and being with my sister and mom, as we explore, navigate the stores, and spend time enjoying each others’ company.

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To those of you who might be working on Thanksgiving, I thank you for dedicating your time, support and presence to customers and to the economy. For me, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, will be the shopping day I partake in, a tradition as it always has been, in true “Black” form.

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