i spy- $1 american apparel @ mardens

3 11 2009

booty shortsi reported a while ago that there was some american apparel jazz happening at mardens, but i went back this weekend, and now it’s all pretty much been marked down to crazy low. i bought 4 pairs of these very same  royal blue booty shorts for $1 each (for the burlesque). they’re not even on sale at american apparel ($24 retail). the selection at this point isn’t great, but there are lots of shorts and a smattering of skirts and leotards. all good stuff real real cheap! i f-ing love mardens.





weekend pickthrough- full puppy takedown edition.

8 08 2010

everyone, meet kazuki. finally, i have a dog to call my own, and it’s totally awesome beyond my expectations (seriously, are you looking at this dog?). but, it’s also totally tiring beyond my expectations. as it turns out, puppies can not be left alone ever, because they will chew/eat/throw up everything you own. this means that i have to get up an hour earlier than usual, i’m responsible for 2+ poop walks per day (including one that eats my lunchbreak every work day), and that i can’t ever really pay full attention to anything… because i’ve got to have one eyeball on that little guy at all times. i’m pretty sure  this is why everyone who squealed in excitement about us getting a dog, punctuated that squeal with the phrase “puppies are a lot of work”. so yes, puppies are a lot of work, and i have absolutely no regrets, but if i owe you:

an email
a graphic design project
a guest post
a blog redesign
a coffee date
or anything else that i’ve probably already forgotten about…

it’s probably because i’m passed out in a pile of shredded newspaper, or out on the streets hunting for a chew toy that simulates the mouth feel of human flesh. perhaps i could make up for my negligence with some quality puppy time?

no seriously… i said my teeth are real diamonds (kanye & new yorker cartoons. two great things that taste great together).

i scored an 8 on this crazy color acuity test, and so far no one else has even come close. it’s your job to put my in my place.

typestaches!

nike does a little recycling. (it involves big asses and lively feminist debate, you’ll love it).

i’d never even heard of such a thing before, but card skimmers are scary and could be hiding anywhere.

food and fashion don’t come in a more adorable package, let’s hear it for my new favorite local blog… sweetersalt!

i hate that supporting my beloved marden’s these days feels like supporting this jackass.

i would also like to send out a big sloppy thank you to original portland, brews & books, and portland maine daily photo for mentioning my cheap eats article (all excellent blogs absolutely worth checking out). what’s also crazy, is that not a single person has mentioned the lack of meat!





bargains are my business.

1 07 2010

my mom always liked new stuff.  and not just any new stuff, the best possible new stuff. if we were in pursuit of say… a care bear (grumpy bear to be specific), she would never just grab the first one that she saw. oh no! she would dig through every single bear on the shelf until she found the one that was perfect. no smushed faces or lopsided expressions, no flat spots or loose threads- the most perfect and pristine care bear in the whole store (possibly a second store in case the first store’s product did not meet standards). it is because of my mother that i utterly refuse to bring home any product in a crushed or dented box. even if the contents is assured to be perfectly preserved. even if i’m just going to tear the box apart the moment i get home. it’s completely irrational, but it’s all i know.

thus, when we visited our first marden’s, i distinctly remember that my mom was less than impressed. we’d heard their commercials on the radio a million times- “i should have bought it when i saw it at mardens”, but the water damaged prom dresses and the nightmare bad lighting were too much for her delicate sensibilities. if you’ve never been to a marden’s, you should know that it is the low budgetiest, discountiest, no frillsiest place you’ve ever been. generally housed in the broke down shell of a bankrupted chain store, the ultra closeout goods get tossed haphazardly onto racks and piled up in bins floating in the aisles. let’s just say that the term “visual merchandising” doesn’t exist in their vocabulary.  oh, and don’t you EVER EVER EVER go into the bathroom. please, just don’t.

anyway, flashing back to 1988, our first foray into rock bottom bargainville was not a success. i distinctly remember my mom singing “i should have left it where i saw it at marden’s” (and being 11 at the time, i of course thought this was HILAROUS). it was too much. everything was dented and imperfect, we would never go there again.

as a late in life bargain hunter, marden’s and i would grow to love each other deeply. i would come to learn that the key is tenacity. that, and a willingness to dig, dig, dig (no matter how suspect the product at hand). for every 25 polyester blend clearance rack tragedies, you might actually find something good. remember that time i found a marc jacobs prairie skirt for $6.50? if you can just get over the weird smells, expired foods, and of course the bathroom…. it’s pure magic. so you can imagine my delight when i heard that a big-ass new marden’s was moving into my backyard (if my backyard was the mall).

sadly, the verdict is: MODERATE DISAPPOINTMENT. the new scarborough marden’s is much bigger, much cleaner, and much more organized than its brethren, yet was somehow sorely lacking in the magic department. i’m hoping that a bit of the newness will fade over time. right now i can still smell the walmart in there, and it just seems too put together in a way that robs me of the joy of the dig. i mean seriously, what are all these medium sized garments doing in one place?  its looking too much like a regular store and a lot less like a smoldering pile of junk ripe for exploration.  i miss that, and have hopes that in time the disorder will be restored. that said,  i did manage to get lost in there for the better part of an hour, and did encounter many tremendous things absolutely worth exploring:

1. first off, PLACE IS FUCKING HUGE. yeah, it’s an old walmart. i doubted at first that they would be able to fill it up, but it has a really good mix of clothing, homegoods, crazy off-brand/expired foods, in addition to things like furniture & carpet (that the portland marden’s doesn’t have).

2. there’s a MOTHERFUCKING FABRIC STORE IN THERE. yeah, i sew. yeah, i have a ludicrous and ever growing stash of fabric- but i always want more. even though i barely sew anything ever, i have a demented fabric lust that knows no reason. i don’t know what fabric store went bankrupt or had a small attic fire, but that shit is nice! one would expect from a marden’s fabric stash lots of cheap and highly flammable prom satins or flannels emblazoned with losing sports teams or faded disney stars headed for rehab… but oh no! tons of nice cotton prints, rolls of high-end decorator fabrics, stacks of unusual and vintagey looking trims. heavenly, and all for about $3.99 a yard or less.

3. hey, is that FURNITURE I WOULD ACTUALLY BUY? yeah, there was some weird stuff. and yeah, there’s a lot of overstuffed nogahyde recliner action. BUT, there were also several perfectly normal and attractive couches and chairs that could have easily found their way into my apartment. well,  if there was actually any room for more couches and chairs.

4. even though there’s better stuff than a lot of the other marden’s, there’s still a HEALTHY DOSE OF HILARIOUS OFF BRANDS and merchandise from the land that time forgot. is that an entire wall of slouch socks? or maybe the novelization of the short lived tv show roswell? if you can’t find a punchline at marden’s, then you’re probably a humorless dick.

5. the shoe department for me in any store is critical, and THIS FOOTWEAR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT DISAPPOINT. in the portland store, i’m lucky to find anything this isn’t for grandmas or hookers. not a lot of range there. i don’t know how they did it (did paul lepage have to shank someone?), but there was a boatload of amazing heels from high-endier lines like coach, bcbg, and charles david. they weren’t $3/10 cheap- but the were mostly $50 or under. and they were all stunning. too bad i have no money and a swiftly developing bunion.

i love the fact that discount and thrift stores are joining the mall area, and i don’t care if it’s a sign of the bad economy. now, i haven’t completely warmed up to the new marden’s yet, but i do feel like there is potential chemistry there. let’s just say that at the end of the cocktail party, marden’s scarborough will be getting a rose. and if less scummy and more choices sounds like your idea of a dream date… i recommend heading on over. i’m pretty sure there’s enough to go around.

oh, and if the marden’s in your area has something awesome, please let me know! you know, so i can keep that information to myself and go buy all of it.

p.s. you can check out the rest of the photos of my trip on the broke207 brand flickr account.





the road to hell.

29 06 2010

is paved with crumpled shopping bags. i was doing really well on my $30 a week plan for needless weekend spending… and then this weekend descended in a haze of clearance racks and impulse buying. does anyone else ever feel like they’re possessed by the devil? come july, i’ll be making some drastic reductions in my spending (to disastrous results i’m sure), but in the meantime… let’s revel in this last summer binge with gusto.

1. target, my second home. i once vowed that i would stop sleeping in sweatpants and old t-shirts and start sleeping in sexy lingerie. i’m not doing a very good job, but two new pieces of pretty from the liberty of london collection @ $4.48 each significantly increase the odds. if someone would come over to my house and finally torch my heinous disintegrating sweatpants, then we’d really be in business.

2. we decided to go to windham for a change, and that goodwill never disappoints. found another addition to my three investigators collection (jupiter jones is gonna solve that mystery SO HARD), and some crazy plastic apple container. i don’t know why, but i’m a sucker for shit that’s shaped like fruit.

3. marden’s sweet marden’s. there’s a brand new gigantic fucking mardens that just opened up in the old walmart building in south portland. i’ll be posting a deep and dirty expose about my experience later this week, but until then… BEHOLD! hobo spanx no more (that’s control top panty hose with the legs cut off for those who aren’t yet aware of my secret shame)! $11.49 for a maidenform control shorts. sure, it feels like my organs are being crushed, but i look SO SKINNY.

4. i ditched the boyfriend in the car for a nap while i took off to the marshall’s for a while. he’s such an old man. amazing asymmetrical t-shirt for $8, and the most beautiful summer dress ever for $19.99. i’m too fat for spandex, but there was a boatload of really nice looking marc by marc jacobs swimwear if you’re in the market for that sort of thing.

5. last time i was at the gap, it was all prairie skirts and straw cowboy hats, which is probably somewhere between windpants and juicy sweatsuits on the scale of shit that i shouldn’t be wearing. mysteriously this weekend, everything was awesome and on sale. oh, and everything that was on sale was an additional 40% off. got a cute skirt and 2 pairs of mysteriously great fitting pairs of 1969 (regularly $79 a pair) for $51.

6. shaw’s was the final stop for grocery shopping, and probably the biggest retail coup of the day. WACKY MAC MOTHERFUCKER! there was and endcap fucking full of it randomly over by the raw chicken. i bought just a couple because i could, even though i didn’t have the coupon that made them free.  but the biggest score was easily the fiber one deal. on sale for buy one get one (@ $4.29 each), i had a stash of $.75/1 coupons that would double, making it $1.29 for 2 boxes $.65 a box. i got 8 boxes for $5.16 total. i even had a $5/$50 coupon which would bring the whole goddamn mess down to almost nothing. it would have been exceptionally impressive if the boyfriend could have been an adult about it, instead of just giggling like a maniac, and telling me how much i’m gonna poop.

$102.58– scandalous! anyway, appreciate it now before i cut myself off from the crazy shopping forever (or until august, whichever comes first). but if the demon possession should happen to be too strong for me… tell my family that i love them, and make sure you wrestle my dead ass into those spanx. i don’t want to be a bloated corpse.





weekend pickthrough- full moon malaise edition.

27 06 2010

i don’t know what happened to me this week. every post was like giving birth to a 20 lb. baby. so tired. so uninspired. so grouchy. yesterday, i picked not one, but three petty fights with people that i cared about (all which were swiftly resolved, but still). i’m off my game and i’m not sure how to get it back. think there’s a discount mojo bin at the new mardens?

…friday passes…saturday passes…sunday passes…

for example, i left this weekend pickthrough woefully unfinished on my computer desktop for 3 full days. in addition to that shame, i should also get some sort of ball dropping award for not getting my shit together this week and missing out on the chance to tell everyone about a couple of totally awesome events that happened this weekend:

1. the vegetarian food fest. this is especially egregious because A) it was free to get in and full of free samples of awesome cruelty-free foodables (i even scored some coupons!), & B) because i was there handing out gazpacho and kick ass vegan cookie bars on behalf of the very amazing northstar music cafe. it was wonderful, and i wish you could have been there. sorry i’m an asshole.

2. portcon! ok, not everyone is a comic book/anime/gaming/ whatever nerd- but if you are, this would have been the best (had i told you about it in time). and even if you weren’t willing to lay down the $30 for the 3-day pass, you could have at least headed out to the mall to check out the throngs of be-costumed teenagers digging for bargains at the hot topic and just generally trying to freak people out.

anyway, consider the following pickthrough items to be my most sincere apology to you for my checked out week. i am placing full blame on the simultaneous arrival of the full moon and being stricken with lady business, but you can feel free to place full blame on me for being a lazy sack.

the most ridiculous cease and desist letter ever sent (spoiler: involves unicorn meat).

this is the only logical way to prevent our children from being exposed to unsafe text books!

shit. first i feel guilty if i forget my reusable bags at home, now i need to be afraid that they’re crawling with bacteria? this is bullshit. when did we become such pussies about everything? humanity is covered in bacteria, i’ll take my chances.

thanks to my frequent trips to the sketchy east end rite aid, my photo of their hilarious back alley graffiti made it onto unseen portland!

the most absurd slide show ever compiled by the new york times.

i know that after the sandwich party i vowed i would never do another house party again, but this would be too cool. will you come over?

three words for you: gential recognition software.

kate over at a sweet disorder shows us some hot summer shit that we can actually afford (bitch is the master of polyvore).

oh, and if you see the members of incredible local act isobell vibrating intensely with glee, it’s because they’re headed to FUCKING NATEVA. and we should all be very proud. and maybe they’ll rub up against zooey deschanel for us.





the great bathrobe debacle.

30 03 2010

so it’s moral dilemma week here at broke207, and for this one, i need your help.  a few weeks ago, i was offered an opportunity for my first sponsored giveaway. i would receive some sort of swag package including 2 free coupons for the product, and i would potentially write a review about the product (although they did make it clear that this was not required), and then host a giveaway where the winner would get the same swag package that i received. they would even send out the goods, making the experience for me totally free. as you can imagine, i was pretty psyched.

when i found out that the promotion was for a new variety of greek yogurt, i was both excited and relieved, because i would never host a giveaway for a product that i wouldn’t use.  finally, something not for babies or covered in meat!! things continued to get better. on saturday, i came home to a sizeable brown box that contained not just a plush white bathrobe, but also slippers and some sort of crazy loofah mitt, and some other massagey bathtime jazz. swank. and of course, two coupons for free yogurt.

here is where things really started to unravel. i hit the grocery store this sunday, and grabbed myself a couple of yogurts as was the plan. on a whim, i was curious to see how this more commercial brand stacked up to my other beloved health food store choices. ummmm… what’s that? there was an unexpected guest on the ingredient list (when i was really only expecting the standard milk & enzymes), GELATIN. first pop tarts, now greek yogurt? what the F america? can things please just not have meat in them unless they’re MEAT?

well, i wrote a nice note to the promotion company telling them that i wouldn’t be able to host the giveaway because  i could not test the product, and that i also did not feel comfortable hosting a giveaway for a product that contained meat. vegetarianism is a very personal thing for me. that said, i think people should eat what they want to eat, and i would never use this blog as an platform to try to proselytize anyone over to my meat free ways. then again, i will also edit meat products from my content. you will never see me pointing and waving at really great lunch meat coupons, talking about the great leather deals at mardens, or cooking with marshmallows. you just won’t.

therein lies the dilemma. the nice lady at the promotion company told me that i was “under no obligation to post about the product” (i think that means i can keep the robe), but that i could still host the giveaway if i so desired. so now what?

option A: keep the robe, and conduct the giveaway anyway because my meat eating readership would like it.

option B: keep the robe because i did have every intention of hosting the giveaway before the gelatin realization, but not host the giveaway because it goes against my personal beliefs.

option C: don’t host the giveaway and send the robe back because it’s not fair for me to keep it if i don’t host the giveaway.

option D: don’t host the sponsored giveaway, but give away the robe that i received (still hermetically sealed, i promise!) because i totally forgot to host a giveaway this month and it would be fun (and i would never have to mention the offending product).

fuck! maybe tomorrow i’ll post about puppies or something.





twitter deficiency.

25 02 2010

remember that time 4 months ago when i was lamenting about how i had lost 2 of my 6 twitter followers, and feeling very pitiful about the whole situation? well, things have turned around a bit. not only do i now have 120 followers (still sort of sad, but a distinct improvement), but i have also become a complete twitter whore. neither of these facts are probably of any real interest to most of you, but in my slutting it up all over the twitterverse (twittersphere? twittopolis?), i’ve learned a few things worth sharing:

1. don’t be scared. despite the fact that justin bieber has never not been a trending topic, twitter is not just for the youngins. actually, this article clearly shows that twitter is for grownups. so take that .

2. yeah sure i can use twitter to tell people that my dog’s farts smell like peanuts, or that i just got a bitchin high score on guitar hero. but more and more people are actually using twitter to send out  news stories, or start discussions, or to promote businesses, seminars, and networking groups. the point is that twitter right now is more thoughtful than you think. twitter is saying things that you want to hear (with a little bit about dog farts on the side).

3. but still, why am i bothering with this shameless twitter pimp? well, just about every coupon blog lady on the continent has one. instead of having to keep up with a roll call of bookmarks and daily website visits, or copious email subscriptions, you can give a quick scroll through their daily tweets- blatantly ignoring the ones that don’t interest you. find out what’s free, what’s on sale, what’s worth doing, what’s not worth doing… pick a topic- it’s all there (especially justin bieber). in the last frew months since i got my tweet on, i have:

1. been reminded that i needed to opt in to get a full size bottle of shampoo from vocalpoint.

2. learned that there was vegetarian broccoli cheddar soup @ a local coffee house that i had never been to.

3. had goodwill tweet me the color of the week, and marden’s let me know when the good stuff has arrived.

4. said something clever enough that my mommyblog hero (mindi cherry @ mom’s need to know) started following me! (spoiler- it involved hardcore hamster sex)

5. learned about a kick ass twitter management program called hootsuite. (thanks josh!)

6. been contacted by the reporter who would eventually interview me for the press herald.

7. found out that there was a monthly tweetup where my twitter friends materialize into real people.

8. been informed that the review i wrote got posted on the counter at peanut butter jelly time.

ok, so i meant for there to be 10 points, but it’s late and i just ran out of big love, so i’m going to bed. but i think my message is still clear. twitter is about connecting. whether it’s with deals, or locals, or just people who have something good to say… it has the potential to save you time, and money, and give you a reason to think or laugh. it’s everything interesting that the day has to offer, all rolled up into bite size (140 character) chunks. and you can keep the dog fart level as high or as low as you want.  come on, you’re missing it!!!

for my fellow twit-hos, who’s your favorite follow? (and how can i be following you?)





95%

18 01 2010

so i spent most of yesterday zooming through the biddeford/saco/arundel neighborhood in search of something amazing, and i have to say it was all a little lackluster. we hit the goodwill, antiques usa, arundel antiques, some store on main street whose name i can’t remember, and a few other assorted locations. and there was nothing.

which actually lead to a really interesting conversation with the boyfriend about how i feel most content when i allow myself to shop (to be open to the possibility of buying), but still come home with nothing. it’s all the joy of shopping and feeling like you can have things, without any of the financial guilt of actually buying them. it’s the perfect balance really.

however, a brief sidetrack to the biddeford marden’s would bring my total from zero to one. a big sign outside of the building (a truly broke down old bradlees) stated that they were having an inventory clearance sale, and that all clothing was 50% off the marden’s price. woot! or not woot… it was a sea of polyester turtlenecks as far as the eye could see… with a smattering of be-glittered skankwear for color. dismal! i could see this from the minute i walked in the door- but knowing well that there are often tiny hidden pockets of goodness within the very very bad- i dug. through everything. twice.

and i was rewarded! nestled in between a row of XXL acrylic cardigans and some truly sensible rayon work skirts, were 3 marc by marc jacobs corduroy prairie skirts marked down from $128 to $12.99 (with that additional 50% off to boot) . they didn’t exactly have my size (10), but i didn’t care so i grabbed the 12 and decided that i could either make it work or sell it on consignment or ebay. (if anyone out there is a 2 or a 6 and in the biddeford area, there’s still 2 left!).

the skirt is from god knows how many seasons ago, and who knows how it ever found its way to mardens… but it’s still cute, winter appropriate, and very well made. and even if it really doesn’t work out…  for $6.50, i can definitely afford to make the mistake.





post-weekend pickthrough- barfs edition

10 01 2010

on account of the barfing, i didn’t get a chance to do the weekend pickthrough on friday like i’m supposed to- so i present you with this slightly abbreviated and slighly delayed version:

don’t get sick! seasonal flu clinics are in action in portland maine, and they’re free for the uninsured (or practically uninsured). $10 for everyone else.

annie’s mac and cheese for cheap cheap cheap!

so being sick is really boring. after the first day of writhing in pain was over, two days of weakness and lethargy ensued. i watched like 6 movies, and played this for HOURS AND HOURS. it’s kind of amazing. better than brain age, and you don’t need a nintendo ds. so good that i might just pay the $6.70 a month to keep my lobes in shape.

my shaw’s deal is looking a little wilted in comparison. i must make her my coupon sensei!

i love trash tv, and conveyor belt of love is my new favorite show. too bad that it’s not actually on the regular tv schedule yet. check out the clips, and guess which one of the dudes is actually a transgender performance artist- brilliance!

get ready for snow at rock bottom prices. (plus it’s really good exercise).





slumming it.

13 10 2009

beef jerkymy mother always used to joke “i should have left it, where i saw it, at marden’s” after perusing a rack of water damaged prom gowns on the one and only time i ever remember entering into the store as a child. i’ll admit, there isn’t a whole high class ambiance in the wire bins full of tube socks and beef jerky (including conspicuously placed definitions of “best if used by”).  it’s dirty, poorly lit, disorganized, and weird. it’s also home to the single most terrifying ladies room i’ve ever been in. REGARDLESS, i love that place. every time the economy (or a fire or flood) takes down a department store or high end boutique- marden’s is there to pick up the grubby little pieces. after a particularly grisly trip to the fabric store (columbus day coupon bonanza!), i thought i would stop in for a bit and peruse the new merchandise. excitingly enough, i found- at 66% off: trina turk, nanette lepore, citizens of humanity… and all pretty good stuff too. also, this amazing pair of $600 guiseppe zanotti platforms (why do i not wear leather!?) for $99.  killer, but still pretty pricey. my plan is always to wait a few weeks and keep checking in (the key with marden’s is to STALK, STALK, STALK), and hope that at least a couple of the pieces i have my greedy eyes on go down a few more percent (and they always do). in the meantime- $13 calvin klein bras (nice ones), a smattering of french connection, and tons of american apparel shorty shorts and tanks for under $5.