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I'm not a research geek, that's Black's area, but I've heard the phrase " retail therapy" and know that some people actually enjoy shopping. But I'm not one of them, and although I don't hate shopping, I'm definitely not a fan of online shopping. Plus, I think some things that are very difficult to shop for. Full stop. Like mascara. I wear minimal make-up but feel like I'm always in pursuit of the perfect, affordable mascara , which isn't helped by the endless magazine ads and the racks of mascara in the stores. Of course, some shopping's more of a necessary evil. For example, as a mom, groceries are never really ticked off a shopping list, so grocery shopping feels more like Groundhog Day.


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There was a time in my life that I shopped to offset boredom, but now I usually only shop when traveling or need something specific (I guess that makes me a " hunter" versus a "gatherer ") But there are three things I hate – truly hate – shopping for: jeans, bras, and cell phones.

Recently, I traveled to Nashville with my niece, and we decided to go jean shopping for her. Not only did it take getting her psyched-up to do so, but even the sales staff agreed how frustrating shopping for jeans can be – and we were at a store that specialized in a specific brand of jeans.

I am not going to get into my pet peeve about vanity sizing and the inconsistency of sizing across clothing brands and styles, or the many frustrations of bra shopping (although the linked article is amusing to read). And shopping for cell phones, and the need to keep up with technology, may explain why I still use a Blackberry Bold and a flip phone.

FULL QUESTION: I keep hearing about shortages in healthcare workers; how will that impact me?


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Great question. And, if it weren't for the fact I'm the daughter that gets "into the weeds" of finding caretakers for our almost 94-year-old mom, I probably wouldn't have even thought about it. But I can say the shortage of healthcare workers in hospitals and other health facilities is having a ripple effect as I'm personally feeling the repercussions in terms of shortages for in-home caregivers.

I know Black always plans for the future by working backward, and for a long time, we tried to get our mom to have in-home caretakers. But even though she has sight and hearing issues, she's still fiercely independent and mentally "with it" and has resisted. However, we're now at a point of it not being optional, so we're struggling to find caregivers.

So, my only words of wisdom are … recognize there are shortages of healthcare workers and, when possible, plan accordingly. Plus, it's always a good time to thank healthcare workers whenever your paths cross to let them know how important they are … to all of us.


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I am guessing you are not asking whether this is a good field in terms of employment opportunities (it is), as the shortage of healthcare workers is almost epidemic (pun intended).

It is important to acknowledge the shortages and plan accordingly. When it comes to health matters, that is not always possible. However, the need to take a proactive approach to being healthy is as critical as it has ever been, as is the importance of preventative medicine and early detection. So, make sure you take care of any annual or routine exams (many of us deferred them due to COVID-19). We may not be able to do anything about the healthcare shortages, but we can do a better job of minimizing health risks and being prepared to address them if they occur.

We thought this would be the perfect question to run on National Boss's Day.


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Oh yes, definitely! Without question, that would be Black. In fact, on more than one occasion, I've been known to refer to her as The Boss (and I'm not talking about Bruce Springsteen). It's usually me kidding around and saying something along the lines of "I'll have to check with The Boss." (Even my daughters have heard me refer to their aunt that way, and they've never questioned me, so there must be some agreement, at least in my family, about who's the boss.)

To a great extent, it may be because if you were to compare our bios, I don't think my background as a mom prepared me to be a businesswoman, although Black has tried to convince me otherwise. On the other hand, Black's bio makes it painfully obvious she's "all business" so better suited to be "the boss."


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It depends on how you define "boss." If you are referring to who owns more of the company, I hold 1% more than Red, which technically means I have more "authority". And, I will admit that as the older sister, I have more practice being bossy (especially as she has always tried to avoid conflict), but when it comes to business, I value teamwork. Red has a perspective and background very different than mine (that is an understatement!), but the key is acknowledging that – and learning from one another in order to make the best business decisions.

The bottom line is there would be no Red & Black … without Red or without Black. It is truly a partnership.

FULL QUESTION: It's not even Halloween, but is it too early to start shopping for the holidays?


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Of course not! It's never too early to start, although there's a huge difference between knowing that, planning to do it, and actually doing it. I've always considered Halloween the start of what I call the "silly season," but if you go into any store, it looks like it's already begun. Regardless, I think it's a good idea to get a jumpstart (oh my, am I using a car analogy?) on holiday shopping, but also holiday survival techniques.

These days my holiday shopping list isn't nearly as long as it used to be because my girls are older and now prefer one or two carefully selected items (although figuring those out isn't always easy) vs. lots of "stuff" to unwrap. Although I still get them a few small "fun" things. But your question reminds me of the stress that comes with leaving things to the last minute and has inspired me to try to get my holiday shopping done early.


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Except for business gifts, which I traditionally order from Zabar's on Cyber Monday, I tend to buy (and give) the gifts for the handful of people on my personal gift list during the year when I find the perfect item.

But, to answer the question, and try not to sound like Scrooge, it will be a challenge to find things this holiday season – not just the latest "it" gift, but even Thanksgiving Day turkey and fixings. Between the global shipping crisis and labor shortages, stores are already struggling to stock their shelves (virtual and brick-and-mortar), plus many items will be significantly more expensive. And, probably fewer "real deals" on Black Friday.

In other words, shop early or risk disappointment.