Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Look for the Day

Mila Kunis in Lanvin

Mila Kunis

WHAT SHE WORE Mila Kunis hit the Berlin leg of her Friends with Benefits press tour in a satin Lanvin cocktail dress, purple pumps, a rose gold Dana Rebecca Designs necklace and quartz Ippolita drop earrings.

WHY WE LOVE IT The star kept it short and sweet in a playful pink number. She complemented the gathered mini's feminine vibe with delicate accessories.

How to Save at Target

Target Springfield, VA by j.reed on Flickr
By: Kate Parham

If you're going to shop there anyway, you might as well make the most of your dollar, right? We help you do just that in the fourth article of a five-part series outlining the best ways to save money at the nation’s leading retailers. So far, we’ve looked at
saving money at CVS, Krogerand Walgreens. Now, it’s time to learn how we can maximize our savings at Target, the second largest discount retailer in the United States, behind Walmart. Here’s what you need to know about Target before shopping:

Sales Cycle:
Target's sales cycles run Sunday through Saturday, meaning that advertised sale prices change on Sunday. However, keep in mind Target's sale prices can vary regionally and sometimes even from store-to-store within the same area.

Bonus: Top 5 Places to Find Coupons

Money Saving Tips:
While Target doesn’t have a rewards program, there are a lot of ways to get additional savings at the discount retailer. First, Target offers dozens of printable coupons online, with no printing limit. So, you can print 500 coupons for toothpaste if the deal is just that good! If you’d prefer to save your computer's paper and ink, you can even print coupons at Target stores at the Registry computers. You can also sign up to receive mobile coupons straight to your phone.

Another plus when shopping at Target is the store’s “Gift Card Promos.” Often times, when you buy a certain amount of a particular product, you will receive a $5 gift card. Combine these offers with coupons, and you can often make money on your purchases! To check whether or not a product is participating in a gift card promo, scan the product’s barcode at one of the store's red machines located at the end of aisles. The screen will show you the price and the corresponding promo.

In addition to gift card promos, Target has a
national markdown schedule. Every two weeks, items will continue to be marked down until sold out or until the discount reaches 75 percent. You can find these items at the clearance racks, typically on the end caps of aisles. And finally, Target offers a $0.05 bag credit if you bring your own bags to carry your merchandise home.

The Coupon Dictionary: Your Guide to Coupon Lingo

Coupon Policy:
Below is a summary of Target's coupon policy:

  • Target accepts the following types of coupons: Target store coupons, manufacturer coupons, Internet printable coupons and mobile coupons.
  • Target does not accept competitor coupons, but they will match competitor prices if the advertisement is local, current and the product being matched is identical.
  • Target offers price adjustments within seven days of purchase.
  • Target allows you to stack one manufacturer coupon and one store coupon per item.
  • For promotional "Buy One, Get One Free" (BOGO) sales, you may not use two coupons or promos to get two free items. Unless stated otherwise on the coupon, the use of one BOGO coupon requires that you purchase two valid items, where you pay the full price for the second item.
  • Target does not offer "overage," meaning they will never pay you to take the item out of the store. So if the coupon value exceeds the purchase price of an item, the cashier will adjust the price of the item to match the coupon amount.
  • Target does not double or triple coupons.
  • All Internet printable coupons must have a bar code and be scannable.
  • Target does offer rain checks on out-of-stock items, except gift card promotions. Target rain checks expire 45 days after issue.

Debit Plan for US

Debt plan compromise is reportedly close, which could give global markets a bounce. A default would add huge stress to already slumping markets.

A money trader works in front of a currency rate indicator showing the yen-dollar exchange rate at a money market brokerage company in Tokyo July 29, 2011. A US debt plan – or the lack of one – will be the key signal for global markets next week.
Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

LONDON – If ever there was a pivotal moment for financial markets, this could be it: The United States defaults and investors face the great unknown, or it doesn't and one of 2011's key risks is removed.
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Not that the coming week does not hold other events of note. There are central bank rate decisions and a raft of significant economic reports, for example. The euro zone crisis is also rumbling on.
But far and away the most important issue for investors is Tuesday's deadline for Washington to raise its $14.3 trillion debt limit. To investors' dismay, approval is being held up by a bitter partisan squabble between Democrats and Republicans.
Without agreement the vaunted ``triple A''-rated U.S. economy could default by not paying all its bills, at least temporarily.
After weeks of failed negotiations, U.S. lawmakers were close to a last-gasp $3 trillion deal on Sunday to raise the U.S. borrowing limit and assure financial markets that the United States will avoid a potentially catastrophic default.
For markets, however, seeing is believing and investors are not likely to rest easy until a deal is firmly in place.
The government has said Aug. 2 is the deadline to raise the debt ceiling but this date is not necessarily inviolate. The U.S. Treasury could decide it was a priority to keep paying its debt obligations, avoiding any short-term default.
In theory, however, lack of agreement could prompt turmoil on financial markets, with investors selling U.S. debt, dumping other dollar-denominated assets, running away from global risk assets and scrambling into already overcrowded safe havens.
Gold , for example, has risen close to 10 percent in July alone, hitting a series of all-time nominal highs as investors have fled the twin U.S. and euro zone debt crises. Similarly, the Swiss franc has soared against both the dollar and the euro in the month.
``We are suggesting that there could well be some more volatility. But we are not inclined to believe that volatility will last long,'' said Kevin Gardiner, managing director of research and economics at BarclaysWealth.
He said there might even be some opportunities created if assets such as U.S. equities react negatively, making them cheaper.
A default, nonetheless, would raise huge questions about the supposed sanctity of the world's largest economy, triggering immense stress on U.S. money market funds, tempting banks to stop lending to each other as in the Lehman crisis, and potentially tipping the country back into recession.
If, on the other hand, negotiators in Washington succeed in raising the debt limit, an argument can be made that a relief rally of riskier assets would be in order.

Kim Kardashian shops for wedding cakes with Kris Humphries

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries appear in a photo posted on Kardashians official website on July 12, 2011. - Provided courtesy of

Get more: Kim Kardashian, Celeb Couples

Posted 07/31/2011 1:24 PM PT by Kristina Lopez
Kim Kardashian is putting the finishing touches on her wedding plans. The "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" star went shopping for wedding cakes with her fiancé Kris Humphries in Los Angeles on Friday, reports E! News.
The site says the two tried several flavors including chocolates, vanilla and lemon but it is not known which one the two chose. The bakery, called Hansen Cakes, has also made a wedding cake for Tori Spelling in the past.
Images of the couple's wedding invitation emerged online Friday, which confirmed the pair's wedding date as August 20.
The invitations were designed by Lehr & Black, who also designed invitations for her sister Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Heidi Klum and Seal and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, among others.
Kardashian celebrated her bachelorette party in Las Vegas on July 23 and ended up crashing Humphries' bachelor party. The 30-year-old reality star celebrated her final few weeks of single life at Tao Las Vegas with friends and sisters Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian.
Kardashian and Humphries began dating in December 2010 and the basketball player proposed in May with a $1 million, 20.5 carat engagement ring.
(Copyright ©2011 All Rights Reserved.)
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Bryant mulling offers to play in China

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant(notes) is engaged in far more substantive contract talks with teams in China than he is Turkish team Besiktas, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Besiktas coach Ergin Ataman tweeted Sunday that the team made an official offer to Bryant last week and plans to meet with Bryant’s agent in Los Angeles this week. However, a source close to Bryant said he hasn’t had conversations with the Turkish team in two weeks, and labeled Bryant’s chances of playing with Besiktas at “zero percent.”
Kobe Bryant recently returned from a three-week trip that included a stop in China.
(AP photo)
Bryant, sources said, is still listening to offers to play overseas during the NBA’s lockout, and considers China a more likely option. He has exchanged proposals with Chinese teams, and one source said it’s unlikely Bryant would accept any deal that pays him less than $1.5 million per month. Bryant would be free to rejoin the Lakers as soon as the lockout ends.
Bryant, a source close to him said, also has become irritated with Besiktas officials making public proclamations on the status of talks with him.
Bryant was in Washington over the weekend to participate in a celebrity soccer game held by Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra. He recently returned from a three-week trip in which he spent time in China as well as the Philippines where he played in two exhibition games.
Besiktas already has agreed on contract terms with New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams(notes) to play next season in Turkey until the lockout ends. Allen Iverson(notes) played for Besiktas last season, but an injury cut short his stay.
Bryant said during his recent trip to China that he would consider playing in China or Turkey during the lockout.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Shocker: Smurfs Ripped by Critics

'The Smurfs' (Photo by Columbia Pictures)
This probably isn't going to come as much of a shock: "The Smurfs" is not a critical darling.

The Hollywood Reporter's Michael Rechtshaffen gets right to the point, calling the film "numbingly generic." "For all the digitally enhanced Smurfness, the results are remarkably mirthless" and "thoroughly uninspired." The movie serves as proof, Rechtshaffen writes, that "Hollywood seems to have no intention of leaving any '80s pop culture touchstone unturned." What's next? "Where's the Beef: the Movie"?
Keith Staskiewicz of Entertainment Weekly gives the movie a D+ and writes that it has the stink of a shameless cash-grab full of recycled ideas. He calls the flick "half animated, half live action, and all careful studio calculation." Probably not the kind of pull-quote the studio execs were hoping for.
The Onion's AV Club also gives the movie a D+. Reviewer Tasha Robinson writes that kids may find the frantic action fun, "but for adults, watching 'The Smurfs' may feel a little too much like trying to wrangle an overcrowded kiddie birthday party." Most likely to enjoy the film are those "who can't get enough of characters smacking face-first into glass surfaces."
E! Online's L. Thompson rips right into the movie, calling it "the epitome of cynical studio cash grabs that it appears to be." Giving the movie a D+ (see a theme here?), Thompson does give some credit to the acting of Neil Patrick Harris and Hank Azaria. "Harris works hard to make the movie work," Thompson writes, before adding that Azaria's evil Gargamel is "a hoot."
Alonso Duralde of The Wrap is the most brutal. He calls "The Smurfs" "a film that does for children's entertainment what lead paint does for children's toys." He writes that the flick is "too moronic and cringe-worthy for adults," though kids may find Azrael the cat amusing.
Roger Moore from Tribune Newspapers is a tad more forgiving. Giving the movie two out of four stars, Moore writes that the Smurfs are "still sickeningly sweet and upbeat. But if you've got kids, it's not nearly as torturous to sit through as you might have feared." That's not faint praise considering the director of "The Smurfs" also helmed two "Scooby Doo" movies and "Beverly Hills Chihuahua."
But not everybody thinks the Smurfs deserve a swift extermination. Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the film's chief (human) star deserves a lot of credit. It's "a better movie than anyone could have possibly expected, thanks in large part to an honest effort by (Neil Patrick) Harris in a thankless role." Variety has a similar take. While critic Justin Chang by no means calls the movie a masterpiece, he does call out its "appreciable amount of heart."
If the film is a box office hit, you can probably expect more Smurfs. Apparently this is just the first film in a planned trilogy. Moviegoers, you have been warned.
Check out some clips from 'The Smurfs':

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