long weekend pickthrough- FULL REBOOT edition.

1 06 2011

you know when you have a crappy old computer, and if you keep it on without restarting it for a while, it starts to run slower and slower and slower and fills you with increasingly more and more and more rage? well, that’s where i was last week. trying to remain functional without shutting off and getting less and less effective with every passing day. like that shitty gateway laptop your grandma gave you for college graduation.

this week, i decided it was finally time to reboot. i unapologetically shut my laptop on tuesday evening, and didn’t open it up again until today. i slept. i ate. i read! i even went to yoga like a fully functional human being. it was awesome. it’s not that i didn’t do anything while i was out, i just didn’t put any pressure on myself to do anything about it other than to maintain a state of general alive-ness.  here’s what you missed: Read the rest of this entry »





i spy: $.25 socks.

13 03 2011

one of the main benefits of living in a cold state is that the winter merchandise goes on sale before it actually stops being cold. i wandered into target today in hopes up purchasing more leotard appropriate underpants for my show (aaaaaaaaaah thong!), and unearthed some pretty awesome bargains.

if you know me at all, you know that i’m constantly in pursuit of cheap tights (which are virtually impossible to find), as pretty much every pair i own gets instant runs at exactly dog height (mysterious). i do love target tights, but at $5 a pop, they’re a bit pricey for something that is essentially disposable. today, i found a big bin of discount underpants, tights, and socks in the activewear section. i bought 7 pairs of tights marked down to $1.25 each (cheaper than the $1.98 tights at goodwill!), and 3 pairs of short socks for $.25 each!

i also snagged some magic gloves (2 pairs) for for $.75 and a pair of slippers that i’d been coveting since pre-xmas for $2.25 (i knew that if i held out, they would come down!).  oh, and some weird german mascara for $2.

not exactly ground breaking news, but if you happen to be in the target area, and your underwear and/or sock drawer is looking a little scant… it could be good.  oh, and marden’s just got a big shipment of high endy underwear on sale for 70% off. badgley mischka silk g-strings say go. go now.





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.





mall recall.

23 07 2010

CALLING ALL PAST AND PRESENT MAINE MALL WORKERS & LOVERS! the marvelous alex steed (who can be found everywhere all at once, but especially here, here and here) has started a facebook fan page (well, technically it’s classified as a religious organization) for maine mall alumni! the project sprung from a combination of  his own alumni pride (you may remember him lurking around the wacky t-shirt kiosk in the early 2000s), and also being utterly aghast at the fact that the BANGOR MALL HAS 1200+ FANS, and the maine mall isn’t even breaking 800… well, alex is already campaigning hard to remedy the situation, and the alumni page is busting with excitement such as:

– musings on the odd positioning of record town & tape world in the late 80s (across the hall from each other).

angsty anti-mall rambling from bygone blogs.

relics from our beloved mall’s past life.

so yes, if you’ve ever known the mall intimately, please head on over and friend that shit up. or like it. or fan it. or whatever the hell it is that people do on facebook.  share your tender mall moments, awkwardly reconnect with old coworkers, and start your own dialog about how the mall just hasn’t been the same since porteous disappeared.

now i never worked at the mall, but i can tell you with no hesitation that i have logged A LOT of hours in its tiled corridors. well, by tapping into my deep and abiding love  for the maine mall, alex has somehow managed to get me stuck in his swiftly rolling katamari of energy and ideas. it’s Q & A time! i’ve come up with a list of questions for all the mall workers out there past and present, and it’s your job to answer them, and elaborate, and go off topic in the most entertaining way possible (part 1 of 2):

1. What never goes on sale?

2. What is the best deal you ever saw someone score?

3. Sometimes I hide things in the store that I can’t afford to pay full retail for- in hopes that they will not be found until markdown time. Is this a viable method?

now is the time to share your insider knowledge with the world. now is the time to declare your alumni status!





ode on a target endcap.

9 06 2010

target is my natural habitat- inexpensive, well lit, good merchandising… but i’ve never quite managed to score the big bargains in a way that felt worth the effort. maybe it’s because i can’t walk to the target- and thus i only go there once every couple of weeks. or maybe it’s because all the really awesome deals get cleaned out super fast at the south portland store. or maybe it’s a combination of the two. whatever it is, despite my undying  love/lust for target, i’ve never really felt successful in deal mongering there- until last weekend. i don’t now what happened, but something snapped in my little brain and i think i finally figured out what i was doing wrong. here’s the secret formula:

1. arm yourself. first off, understand that every target in the universe is different. regardless of how well you prepare yourself with careful circular study and deal website stalking, what gets reduced at one store might not be reduced at another, or be reduced to a different price, or not exist at all. clearance items are wild cards that crop up and disappear suddenly like a game of discount whack-a-mole. timing is paramount, and you wouldn’t want to accidentally stumble into an amazing deal without your arsenal (because it definitely won’t be there when you come back later). basically, if you’re headed anywhere within a 15 mile radius of a target (admit it! they have a have a strong and mysterious pull), pack your damn coupon folder. and don’t forget to hit up coupons.com & the target website to shake down the best printable action. you’ll often find target-centric coupons that can be stacked with manufacturer coupons for double your pleasure (um, i mean savings).

2. stalk the endcaps. going to target with me is always an hour+ proposition (sorry boyfriend!). i generally weave my way through the clearance clothing racks (my fashion lifeline), past the $4.75 dvd shelf, and then on through beauty, eventually ending in foodstuffs. but whatever your target takedown pattern, make sure to veer off the main concourse and hit the back end of the display shelves- this is where they stow all the crap that they’re trying to get rid of (you know, the good stuff). pretty much every department in the store has  a clearance area, and they’re all worth checking out. from toys to tampons, get ready to bring on the markdowns! sure, it starts with a paltry 15% off, but over time those sexy red stickers will start piling up and piling up, and your once $5.49 facial scrub will eventually dive down to $1.36. careful now, it’s time to strike.

3. load up on gift cards. a ton of the really great target deal scenarios also result in a $5 gift card. hoard the hell out of these! you can also often get free target cards from credit card points and paid survey sites. point being, target is givin it away like a drunk chick on girls gone wild, so grab grab grab while you can can can. the only thing better than finding a great product on sale for a few pennies, is being able to pay those few pennies with zero bank account impact. $5 gift cards may not seem all that hot, but if you’re doing it right ( the coupon goddess can squeeze the bejeezus out of a target deal like no other), that $5 can last you a shockingly long time.

i still may not necessarily be able to come home with a trunk full of toilet wands like the pros, but this weekend, my target stars aligned in a way that i found very satisfying:

pantene hair spray: regular price- $3.79, marked down to $1.61. using a $1/1 from the P&G brandsaver= $.61

listerine whitening mouth rinse: regular price- $3.99, marked down to $1.98. using a $1/1 printed from coupons.com= $.98

better crocker warm delights minis (these bitches are TASTE-TEE and only have 150 calories each): regular price- $1.89, marked down to 1$1.07 with a $.75/1 coupon from coupons.com= $.32 each (i got 4)

eggo waffles: on sale for $1.75, there’s a $1/1 target printable on coupons.com that brought them down to $.75 each (i got two)

la croix sparkling water 8 packs: regular price- $2.50, there’s a sweet $1.25/1 printable on coupons.com that made them them $1.25 each (i got two)

total price tag for the goods: $5.37. not huge bragging rights, but i feel like i’m just getting warmed up. definitely putting target on the weekly circuit, i think we might have a future together.





a little round table discussion.

13 01 2010

so after my little fashion meltdown yesterday, the very lovely julie hooked me up with a totally amazing online shopping website that i’d never heard of before (i thought i’d heard of everything!). it’s called ruche, and it has an anthropologie-ish feel, while being remarkably cheaper. anyway, it set me to wondering what other awesome shopping websites are there out there that i don’t know about.  that’s where you come in. i thought it would be cool to make list to put up in my list factory section of all the best places we can think of to get nice looking clothes for not too much money. the rules are as follows:

1. no skankwear!

2. sitewide prices should on average be no higher than $100 for a dress or coat.

3. lesser known websites please! (everybody already knows about target)

just to get you started, here are a few of my favorites:

b.b.dakota

fred flare

lulus

modcloth

ruche

now GO! GO! GO!





the fury.

10 01 2010

the norovirus unleashed. well, at least i lost 4 lbs. although it’s probably temporary because now that i have my appetite back, i just ate half a box of cinnamon toast crunch. i can really blame it all on a surprise trip to shaws. as it turns out, i also got my appetite back for shopping.

this week there’s a number of pretty good deals going on:

pick 4 prepackaged veggies for $7.99. (that’s $1.99ish each for the non-math inclined). unfortunately, the only decent coupons available are the $1/2 for the fresh express (from a recent-ish newspaper- can’t remember which one)… and 4 bags of salad might be a mistake (especially if they’re already trying to unload them).

sargento shredded cheese is 2 for $4. if you use the $1/2 from the 11/15 smartsource, that’s $1.50 each for pretty good cheese.

ken’s salad dressing is 10/$10. $1/2 in this week’s smartsource = all the salad dressing you can use for $.50/ea.

but the real story is on the back page. buy $20 in participating general mills products (way more is included than is shown on the flier), and get a $5 catalina toward your next purchase. the boyfriend and i decided to stop in today to cash in on the $2.22 cereal (he finally worked his way through the backstock), and actually didn’t think we would get enough to get the cat- but the cereal was so cheap, it didn’t really matter. here’s how it went down (various coupons printed from coupons.com, redplum, & smartsource over the last few weeks- sorry no links!):

1 cocoa puffs with $.55/1 coupon doubled= $1.12

1 cocoa puffs with $.75/1 coupon doubled= $.72

1 cinnamon toast crunch with $.75/1 coupon doubled= $.72

1 original cheerios with $1/1 coupon= $1.22

1 honey nut cheerios with $.75/1 coupon doubled= $.72

5 boxes of cereal for $5.72 is pretty good, but i also had some bogo fiber one yogurt coupons (cut out of the backs of a bunch of fiber one granola bars i bought a while back)- and @ $1.99 each, it seemed like a good idea. still, before coupons it was only supposed to equal $15.08 in participating products.

LOOPHOLE!

the checker scanned all the products in before he scanned in the shaws card (the boyfriend was fumbling trying to get it out of his wallet and the checker got impatient), and the cat printed out before the shaw’s savings were taken off.  apparently the non-shaw’s-card price for the products was over $20- so we got all the products listed above, plus a newspaper ($1.75) and $3.59 gallon of skim milk for $11.43 with $5 back. that’s $6.43 bitches. a surprisingly good day.

*UPDATE* apparently (according to 2 of my more seasoned commenters- thanks , chris & winnie!),  shaw’s catalina deals are ALWAYS done on the pre-sale prices. woot!!!