a long overdue apology/thanks.

14 11 2011

i’m kind of an asshole.

one time, i got married (for like a year), and i didn’t even send out thank you notes to my family. and can i just say, that even though the wedding was in 2007, i still feel guilty about it ALL THE TIME. if you’re out there wilson family relatives… i’m so sorry. i burn with shame and regret.

but here i am anyway, being a jerk again.

a few weeks ago, a reader named sue contacted me about the makeup project, because she had scored some free blush she wasn’t going to use. AWESOME. except it took me a few days to answer her, and i felt like a jerk.

AND THEN, she contacted me again… and i got busy and didn’t respond. jerk +1.

AND THEN, she showed up at the swap drop off with makeup… and i wasn’t there to meet her.

AND THEN, she showed up at the swap with a beautiful bounty of makeup bags, and i finally got to say thank you, and  made a jackass out of myself. i believe my exact words were: “i so want to hug you, but i’m worried about invading your personal space”. she excused herself swiftly.

AND THEN, she emailed me again, and i decided that i wanted to thank her by writing a blog post about how awesome she is… and it took me 2 weeks to do it.

so sue… I’M SORRY! i know i’m kind of a jerkwagon, but i didn’t want to let another day go by without thanking you for your incredible gift. sorry i’m so spastic, but it is in no way a reflection on my gratefulness for your generosity. Read the rest of this entry »





worth the trip- makeup project resurrection edition.

22 09 2011

or free lipgloss, whatever you’re into.

it’s been a while since i mentioned the makeup project. and well, it’s an xmas season kind of thing, so it didn’t seem necessary to bother y’all too much about it this summer. but all the sudden, it’s cold.  halloween shit is on sale EVERYWHERE (free candy corn @ CVS this week, but vegetarians beware, there will be gelatin!), and i have friends organizing apple picking dates on facebook. the truth has become evident: WINTER IS COMING.

and with this onset of the transition into corn maze and mitten weather, it only seems appropriate that i start to refocus my efforts on my winter projects like the fall SWAPmaine clothing swap, and of course, getting the ole cosmetic hoard for the year together to see how much further i have to go before december rolls around.

i’ve actually been really good so far this year. apparently, CVS changes its cosmetics wall twice a year (which means 75% discount fiesta), but also randomly marks things down throughout the year (just keep your coupon folder handy, and scan for these little round stickers whenever you go in). needless to say, i’ve got a pretty great stash going. here’s the count as of today: Read the rest of this entry »





worth the trip- coupon coma.

19 05 2011

remember back in the day, when i used to post something coupon related almost every day? oh, and when my cabinets were puffed out with extra band aids and shampoo, and i had an overflowing box of donate items for the preble street resource center? man, those days were nice.

but then it happens- COUPON FATIGUE.

after a year or more of wringing every possible deal out of every possible store in town, a girl gets tired, or distracted, and let’s those weekend coupon fliers pile up, and even… EXPIRE.

i recently cleaned out my folders to realized that i had indeed lost almost 2 full months of coupon time. blacked out unconscious, i must have been paying full price for everything- TRAGIC. expensively tragic (the worst kind of tragic).

now at this point, the serious coupon clipping mantle has clearly been handed off to maine’s very own extreme couponer, i love to gossip, which is quite liberating (also, she’s a lot better at it). no longer do i feel the pressure to try to keep up with the rest of the coupon bitties, and have time to do other crazy shit like  throw clothing swaps and complain about “easy feet”. but this weekend as i leafed through my sunday circulars, i realized that i actually missed it.

i remember feeling so high (remember that money making vaseline lotion at shaw’s?) when i could grab something for free. like i was pulling off a tiny bank robbery or something.

i also remember having 5 unopened dove deodorants in my supply drawer. now i’m sadly chasing a single stick around my apartment… and sometimes i CAN’T FIND IT.

so this week, i decided that i’m actually gonna start trying to get back into the coupon game.  i have an empty paper box ready for preble street donations, and i feel mentally ready to be able to find my antiperspirant again.

well, it’s going to have to be a gentle re-entry, because there’s kind of shit for deals this week. and actually, i was zooming through the comments on this week’s iheartcvs.com deal rundown, and people seem grouchy that there hasn’t been anything awesome for a while. has the deal climate changed when i was away? are there still bargains to be had out there in the wild? here is what i’m stalking this week (better to start slow i suppose), let me know if i missed anything: Read the rest of this entry »





holy spring cleaning jackpot batman: an ode to free stuff.

24 03 2011

despite the fact that my attempts at going dairy free are not going quite  as planned (and certainly not providing the result that i think the silk company was looking for), i am still grateful to the fine folks at bzzagent for hooking me up with the free soymilk. i love free stuff, and i am always completely shocked when companies are willing to throw it at me just because i MIGHT be willing to discuss their product online.

remember that time that time i got that full sized bottle of pantene in the mail from vocalpoint? i sent that shit to preble street, and nobody even noticed. why just last week they offered me a free pint of some sort of flavored creamer (which will hopefully go a bit better than my last unsavory creamer incident).

but back to bzzagent. after many months of not getting offered crap from them (free redbox rental- big whoop), i got the soy milk offer AND an SC johnson cleaning product offer all in one week. my silk package arrived in an envelope, just coupons and a handful of propaganda that i didn’t read (sorry silk!) (sort of). so i figured that my spring cleaning kit would also show up in booklet form.

instead, i got this: Read the rest of this entry »





the gears are turning

30 12 2010

still recovering from the very nutcracker into xmas shitstorm, but yesterday’s snowstorm provided something of a rest and regroup. well, except for the part where i had to take my dog out to pee in the insanity. as it turns out, kazuki LOVES the snow. me, not so much. but anyway, before i go ahead and do another full on rant about bad gift giving (obviously a serious pet peeve of mine) and broken polar bears… here are a few interesting bits and pieces that have floated to the surface in the last week or two:

i’ve done a lot of crazy shit this year. thus, i thought it would befit 2011 if i kicked it off with something equally nuts. on february 12th, i’ll be hurling my pale and fragile body into the icy waters of casco bay for charity. if you wanna help me out, this polar bear will give you the details (it’s a PDF, but i promise it’s safe to download!).

i went straight from the makeup project directly into nutcracker madness, and i don’t know if anyone noticed the wrap up that i did on the update page. the short version is that it was very well received. with lots of help, i managed to throw it together in less than a month (which was all kinds of incredible), but i’d love to get started RIGHT NOW for next year. nothing organized yet, just planting the seeds. so if you have an opportunity to score free makeup or other teen-friends stuff this year in your coupon travels… you know what to do.

i know, 2 donation requests in one post is kind of hardcore… but don’t say i never gave you anything:

the ikea bus is fueling up! i talked about it many moons ago, but the wheels are finally turning (pun intended). the portland daily sun even wrote an article about it (no turning back now!) come april (tentatively the 23rd), there will be approximately 50 spots on the bus (which i am assured will have the capacity for an in-flight movie). i was hoping to keep it under $25 a person round trip- but it looks like if we up it to $28-$30, we can also rent a uhaul so that people can buy big ass furniture (mattresses! couches!) and not worry. and considering that a round trip to boston on greyhound is like $40… and ours will come with snacks and even possibly in-town furniture delivery…  i still think it’s a pretty good deal. i have started an email list, so either go to the ikea bus page, or send me an email and i will add you. no commitment, just updates on progress, prices, and dates.

finally, i’m working on a super secret project with some local fashion bloggers that i think you’re all really going to like. obviously, it’s super secret, so i don’t have a lot of information to give… but hopefully soon i’ll be able to explode the details all over your face. i promise, you’re gonna love it.





shaking the bell.

29 11 2010

so a while ago when i first discovered ulta, i mentioned that i was working on a super secret makeup related project that i would eventually tell you about. well, that day has finally come.

a really really long time ago, i had scored a bunch of freebie cosmetics with extrabucks that i didn’t know what to do with, and i wrote a post about donating makeup (or trying to unsuccessfully). when i called my favorite local charity to see what their stance was on the topic, they mentioned that they didn’t have a huge call for cosmetics, but that the teen girls go nuts for it. anyway, as the xmas/generically inoffensive holiday season started to approach, i started to think a about how all the programs are like “TOYS FOR TOTS” and such. it seems that people don’t seem to get the same warm holiday fuzzies getting gifts for older kids as they do for the grade school set, and how much does that suck?  anyway, it occurred to me that i could be stockpiling my free makeup, and then assemble little kits to donate around xmas time.

well, as of today, i have a pretty good hoard, but i still have some sizable gaps. i spoke with preble street yesterday, and they have 50 girls that their teen center services, and they want the finished product by december 9th! THAT’S 2 WEEKS!! so here is the part where i ask for your help. i am aiming to put together 25 kits (apparently they have a little gift mini mall and let the kids pick out what they want). if any of you other crazy coupon ladies out there have a makeup stash that is just taking up space, or you don’t give a shit about coupons but you just want to help out… here is your chance! i am looking for donations of the following items: Read the rest of this entry »





and you smell like one too.

23 09 2010

what day is today? it’s broke207’s birthday! what a day for a birthday, let’s all have some cake.

those of you who are also at one with the nerdness might recognize that as the birthday song from futurama. it always surprises me that “happy birthday” is out of play for the media, unless they’re willing to pay up to $30,000 for it. anyway, i don’t have that kind of cash, so the futurama version it is! because hell yeah, it’s my bloggy birthday today. or bloggiversary? or blogs day? you pick one that you like, i’m not fussy.

exactly one year ago today i started this shit, and i can’t say that i’m not more than a little bit surprised that it’s still happening.  it’s been sort of a wild ride actually. i remember the day that i got 7 pages views in one day, and i almost crapped my pants with excitement. then only a few months later, i got featured on freshly pressed and had over 3,000 pages views and 100 comments in 2 days. i also remember complaining about only having 6 twitter followers, and now i have more than 600. i am by no means “internet famous” quite yet (and that’s not really my goal anyway), but i’ve found people and support in ways and places that surprise me every single day. it’s been awesome, and i hope it continues to be awesome in the future. actually, i want it to be even more awesome.

maybe i’ll do a post someday about what i want broke207 to look like at this time next year, but for today, let’s look back and take some notes. my dad always used to make us go around in a circle at the thanksgiving table and say what we were thankful for. or at least he did until the year where my answer was “teen angst”, and then my sister said she wanted to be a stripper, and somehow the whole thing ended with us crying and throwing food at each other (true story, ask my mom). anyway, today i’m going to go around the table and list 5 things that i’m thankful for related to this here blog (brace yourself for wistful sap-fest):

1. after spending my whole previous life stressing about it and avoiding it, i learned this year that i really love writing. sort of a pleasant surprise to find something that i think i could be good at after a 33 year career of aimless wandering. it may not pay my bills, but if you told me last year that i would have articles published on part time vagabond or the flyte blog, i would have laughed in yo FACE. or possibly spit on you, depending on my mood.

2. for a long time, i thought i had met everyone worth meeting in portland. starting this blog (and tweeting my ass off) helped me unearth an untapped layer of totally kick ass people who are not just generally awesome- but are actually out there getting shit done. sorry old friends, you’ve been replaced. ok,  not really, but i’m just so fucking inspired by these new people rotating in my orbit that i want to take out a full page ad in some publication that people actually read (US weekly?) telling them how great they are. or maybe this guy can tell them.

3. i started this website with a maine readership  in mind (thus the 207), but somehow people who don’t even fucking live here have found a reason to rub up against me and show their love. it’s awesome. (i’m talking about you coupon goddess and infamous qbert).

4. somewhere underneath all the swearing and the snark and the grump, i have found some generosity hiding in there. i don’t think i knew that about myself last year. it started out with just collecting drugstore freebies to drop off at the preble street resource center every now and again, and has morphed into me actually understanding the value of volunteering, and how much you can still do to help even if you don’t have any actual money to give. from sending expired coupons to troops overseas to volunteering with at risk teens all of the sudden i’ve become the person who will someday drag her family to the soup kitchen on sunday mornings to sort cans in the food pantry. they’ll learn to love it, i swear.

5. i’m starting to figure out that it’s ok to fail, or at least to suck. i’ve learned this year that i totally blow at hosting giveaways, taking photos, being consistent, and returning comments on the day that i get them… but people still come around anyway. maybe there are ways that i could have built more followers, gotten more page views, or made things all daft punk style harder, better, faster, stronger…  if i had put my nose just a little bit closer to the gridnstone (why do you mock me grindstone?!). but maybe all of that pressure to be successful and not make mistakes would have made me blow out of this shit already. this is supposed to be what i do for fun, and it is certainly what i do for free, so i’ve adopted the morrissey method- “do you best and don’t worry“. and here i am, still here. and i’m pretty sure that it’s made me saner, happier, more creative, and more hopeful (sample that kanye).

so anyway peoples, thank you for an amazing ride (yeah, that’s overtly sexual). any suggestions for how i can make the next broke207 year even more kick ass?