i spy- cheap shower curtains.

9 10 2011

i have had the same shower curtain since 2008 (a vintage yellow floral affair that i bought off ebay when i was attempting to set up my perfect post-divorce bachelorette pad). as with all vinyl shower curtains, it periodically gets covered in mildewy scunge and requires a good scraping. however, after 3 long years of service, it’s not quite bouncing back the way it once did. also, getting on your hands and knees and scrubbing down a vinyl shower curtain with with a bottle of formula 409 and a mr. clean magic eraser is tiresome.

honestly, i would have bought a new shower curtain years ago, but they’re too goddamn expensive. every single time i go to the store with the intention of purchasing a new shower curtain, the following internal conversation occurs:

“all these shower curtains are hideous.”

“well, i guess this one isn’t too bad…”

“$19.99? are you fucking kidding me?”

screw that.” [leaves store sans shower curtain]

at which point i unearth the magic eraser and call it good. i recently found a purple zebra shower curtain at big lots for $4, and thought i had hit the jackpot.

but today was a game changer. all the dorm room crap at target was loaded onto the endcaps at target for 75% off. including and especially, a huge pile of cute vinyl shower curtains for $2.12 each. i bought 4.  at my current rate, i won’t need another shower curtain until 2023. (there were also at least 20 left over. go! go now!).

today was a good day.

* as a bonus, i also got a super cute pair of yoga pants for $3.34. i think the 75% off section of the sleepwear/fitnesswear section is often overlooked.





i spy- schweddy balls (a tale of woe).

3 10 2011

i’m not really an ice cream person. i don’t hate it, it’s usually  just not at the top of my list when it comes to consuming mass quantities of crap food. i would much rather hit the cheez-its, or the cheez doodles, or anything else so processed and atomically  orange that it is forced for legal reasons to spell the word cheese with a Z. either that, or a stick of butter. (yes, a WHOLE STICK). i essentially only eat ice cream on birthdays or scorching summer days where i accidentally end up within a five mile radius of a DQ.

but then a few weeks ago, ben & jerry’s announced a brand new limited edition flavor called schweddy balls. i generally find ben & jerry’s to be a bit too heavy, and to have too much crap in it (too sweet is the kiss of death in my book). but something about rum flavored ice cream with malt balls and rum balls sounded like the most amazing thing i had ever heard of, and i became COMPLETELY OBSESSED with finding and ingesting it post haste.

except that they weren’t fucking around when they said limited edition. apparently only dispatched to 30% of their stores, and not available on the “flavor locator“, it became the motherfucking holy grail of ice cream. i checked every supermarket and convenience store in town. NOTHING. i put out an APB on twitter. lots of complaining about how nobody else can find it either, and an unhelpful rumor about it being spotted in bangor. essentially, NOTHING.

weeks passed, and with my new obsession came an unquenchable thirst for ice cream. every time i would to into a store and be disappointed, i would sooth my disappointment with a pint of something else: Read the rest of this entry »





i spy: it’s a trap!

6 03 2011

i saw something kind of funny today on congress street that i’d never seen before. a hilariously handwritten sign (with the word “guaranteed” papered over no fewer than 3 times due to misspelling) in the window of paul’s food center (OF COURSE) advertised that their in-store ATM would occasionally dispense $50 bills instead of $20s for certain “lucky” patrons. like a slot machine!

my initial reaction was “dude, i need some $20s RIGHT NOW”. even though i needed nothing of the sort… but the more i started to think about it the more i realized what a seductive but terrible idea it was.

at least in atlantic city, you get cheap drinks and all you can eat buffets. to me, it’s the experience that warrants the careless throwing of money into outer space.

my bank charges me $2+ every time i use an out of network ATM (which with my tiny local credit union is pretty much all of them). even in atlantic city, i have a panic attack every time i get anywhere near the $1 slots- and those have a much larger potential payoff! why on earth would i go out of my way to pay $2+ to the paul’s food center ATM, when i’m probably never gonna get that whopping $50 jackpot?

that’s how they get you!

i have to admit, it’s a pretty brilliant plan to get people to use your ATM…and i’m pretty embarrassed that i almost fell for it. if i’m ever in the area and need cash, and i’m gonna have to pay a fee no matter where i go… i’ll probably stop in at paul’s. it may not be the big cha-ching, but an extra $30 is never a bad thing.





i spy- bargains and sadness.

21 09 2010

this fucking economy. over the last 3 years, i have watched the streets of this town morph into something that i don’t recognize anymore. exchange street alone is a complete stranger with its consignment and discount shops mixed amongst the last few surviving high end stores. not that i don’t appreciate the bargains, but it feels like i notice a new STORE CLOSING! or GOING OUT OF BUSINESS! or maybe EVERYTHING MUST GO! sign pretty much every day. after having your business alive in this city for so long, i can’t even imagine what it must feel like to have to paste that sign up in your window. i assume that there’s a lot of shame and regret. a lot of wishing that they could go back and have that “it’s a wonderful life” chance to do it the right way this time… or maybe it’s just a relief to be done with it? struggling small businesses can be like large monsters in the way that they eat up time, resources, energy, and hope. whatever the case, shuttering those windows and signing over your lease to some dude who thinks he has a better idea has to be an emotionally pummeling experience. i know it breaks my heart every time, and i just shop there. well, i used to shop there.

this past week, 2 of my favorites made the casualty list.

the north star music cafe had such a benevolent purpose! delicious local (mostly veg & vegan) foodables! flexible performance and music space for all! a few months ago, the owner ran a small fundraising campaign to help pay off some mounting business related debts, and i think we were all really hoping that was the end of it. not so. thursday afternoon, the news broke on twitter that they were shutting down for good on sunday. goodbye adorable hippie girls serving me bagels. goodbye sweet vegan reuben. goodbye people in this town trying to do something with purpose, integrity, and love. maybe i’m being overdramatic, but i’m super bummed out.

second on the list (do we need to start making a dead pool for portland businesses?), is cunningham books in longfellow square.  always carefully organized and stuffed full of beautiful and pristine picture books, this was a regular stop on my local hunt for nancy drews and 80s art and fashion books. i spied the 30% OFF STORE CLOSING sign on sunday afternoon, and the excitement over possible vintage book bargains was totally clouded with the confusion and disappointment i felt to find out that they were closing. too pricey? too far from downtown?  not enough revenue to be had selling old books? i don’t know. it’s possible that they don’t even know. sometimes you can do everything right and still fail. small business is vicious, and i wholeheartedly admire anyone who has the iron cojones to actually give it a try.

anyway, sorry this post is such a bummer. consider it your “buy local” lecture of the day. if we don’t support the businesses that we love, they will disappear. it’s fucking crazy hard out there right now, so open those wallets and go get yourself some local whatever (might i suggest some gently used he-man figures, or possibly a chocolate covered twinkie?).

have you recently lost a favored local establishment to this crap economy? tell me about it. and let me be the first to offer my profound condolences.





i spy- poop factory.

24 08 2010

never having been a dog owner before, i had no prior understanding of how much poop a 9 lb. puppy can generate. while we were preparing to bring home our little bundle of fur and teeth, we did a 2 week stint of dog sitting for the boyfriend’s parent’s evil scotty dog, but she never produced more than 2 poops a day. maybe it’s just our dog, or maybe it’s a puppy thing, but puppyface here is generating on average 4-6 piles of fun every day. needless to say, we tore through the stash of newspaper bags i had been hoarding from work in about a week. then we figured we could downgrade to plastic shopping bags, but were quick to find out (don’t ask-too horrific to recount) that they we not structurally sound, and too often came with holes already in them. so this weekend, we broke down and decided that we needed to go to the pet store and actually buy poop bags.

i’ll probably do some long winded post someday about how dogs are fucking expensive ($16 for flea drops! $20 for a bag of food! $90 vet visit!), but for today, i’m keeping the subject to poop only. doggie waste removal is an expensive proposition. we didn’t even go to the fancy pet store! we went to petco, and bought a package of 8 rolls (120 bags total) of petco brand pet waste disposal bags. $11.99!! it hurt, but we felt like we didn’t have a choice.

and then, we went to marden’s. sure, i talked shit about the new marden’s last time. and the women’s clothing still blows, and all the shoes are still made out of leather… but then i spied them from across the room- 4 packs of “bags on board” brand poop bags in fashion colors FOR $1.19 for 4 rolls. i bought 10, and have been plotting to go back and buy up the rest. that’s 600 bags for less than the price of 120! i felt a little guilty going back to the petco to return my purchase (it hadn’t even been an hour), but i gave the sad eyes to the cashier and told her that my boyfriend had given me a hard time about spending the money and not using shopping bags (sorry to throw you under the bus boyfriend!). but i’m trying to to feel too bad about it, because chances are those few rolls of bags they do have left at marden’s won’t last long, and the ones i just bought are not likely to even last a full year. petco will have my waste bag dollars soon enough, because if that dog knows anything (and it certainly isn’t how to stop biting my achilles tendons), it’s how to poop.





i spy- sneaky cheese.

20 07 2010

just a quick post (since i haven’t posted anything remotely coupon related in like 100 years) about some secret $/1 sargento cheese coupons i found at shaw’s in south portland yesterday. they’re not really secret exactly, in the sense that they’re hidden. actually, they’re right there in one of those little blinky coupon dispensers attached to the dairy case, just waiting to be plucked (ONE per customer- OH PLEASE). anyway, what’s secret about them is that they purport to be for the low sodium variety cheese only (which is bullshit because sodium is part of what makes cheese the sole reason that i will never be a vegan), but what i learned by trying to be sneaky is they’ll work for any variety of sargento cheese. ok, not exactly earth shattering news, but cheese can be super expensive and $1/1 is a rare and special thing.  i’ve seen sargento go on sale for as low as $1.50/ea., and cheese (when sealed) usually has at least a couple of months on it. coincidentally, i also saw a bunch of big boxes of frosted flakes marked down to $1.50 each in the “scratch & dent” area, because they still have olympic themed packaging (though they don’t expire until 2011).  i guess what i’m saying here is: LOAD UP (while the loading is good).





portland gets a boob job.

5 02 2010

i’ve been wondering what’s going on with the key bank building for a while.  for months and months i’ve been watching them slowly affixing some sort of panels on top those signature brown bricks that i’ve known intimately for the last 15 years. well, this week they finally peeled off the protective plastic… and it’s fucking GOLD! they made it look like iron man.

i don’t even know what to say. maybe it’s some sort of LEED certification thing (we can only hope)? or maybe it’s just some sort of tacky architectural practical joke. mystified. and moreover, concerned about how blinding it’s going to be come summer time.

have you seen it? will i get used to it in time? or will my seared retinas distract me from caring?