hot in the city

12 05 2010

when last you saw me, i was fleeing the shopaholics boutique in shame. BIG thank you btw to everyone who called that guy a douchebag and told me that they wouldn’t shop there! your support warms my black little heart. but onward… i still had like 20 minutes to burn before my dinner date, but needed to get my scorned ass out of there immediately. it just so happens that several of my sexiest lady friends were performing some burlesque at the recent sanctuary tattoo 10th anniversary party, and i thought it would be fun to get them saucy little good luck presents of some sort (which actually didn’t end up happening, but i did try!). but where does a girl go for saucy goods in this town that doesn’t also employ jizz moppers (i’m talking to you video expo) or carry bong parts (you too treasure chest)? the answer is nomia.

tucked up on the 2nd floor above a comfortable shoe store, you likely didn’t even know it was there (unless you’re in the habit of taking poorly lit stairways into the unknown).  but you should, because nomia is a super amazing woman-owned shop with a femme-centric approach porno and sex toys.  it’s white-glove clean, flatteringly lit, and laid out like a charming local bookstore- with the exception of the fact that the only genre is erotic. sure there are strap-ons and lube displays aplenty, but it’s very private (thus it’s 2nd floor location with no easily peepable windows), has women-only hours, and just feels comfortable, safe, and like a nice place to browse for all things rubber and vibrating. plus, they know what they’re talking about. there isn’t a question out there that will make them blush, and they’ve got resources and recommendations up yaz (pun intended).

i will spare both my mom and the other people who read my blog and actually have to look me in the eyes on occasion the details of what exactly i did or didn’t buy, but it’s irrelevant anyway. after my unceremonious dismissal from shopaholics boutique, it was so amazing to walk into a store that was warm, inviting, and cared about my needs. where the person behind the counter was more than happy to engage in a conversation with me, answer my questions, and even looked online for something i had asked about but they didn’t carry. and you know, i left that store with $22 worth of stuff i didn’t actually need (although i do firmly believe that good sex is an excellent investment), feeling good about my purchases and good about myself. my previous shame and anger had been equalized by good customer service. who knew? nomia FTW.





the cold shoulder.

10 05 2010

roughly 7 months ago (when this blog was just a wee baby), i wrote a little post about my deep love for consignment shops in the portland area. well, during that short time, yet another one has cropped up in the cavity where high-end old port used to live.  the shopaholics boutique is located on the corner of exchange and fore,  and i actually noticed the coming soon sign on their door a few months ago. i even took a photo of it (which i can’t post, but we’ll get to that in a minute)! buy you’re not missing much. they use A LOT of fuschia, and have somehow involved the eiffel tower in their logo in a way that confuses me very much (paris= classy?). but my disdain for their logo aside, i thought i would finally roll in and give it a try.  shopping is shopping, not matter how stupid the name of the store. i wandered down there after work on friday, and can’t say that i wasn’t a little hesitant to go in. their website and windows seductively dangle a stock of gently used coach bags and discount seven jeans, which are two fashion priorities that i just don’t have. i got the impression that i wasn’t their chosen demographic, but i had to do it- you know, for journalism (or possibly because i wanted a less dumpy outfit for my evening plans but didn’t have time to go home and change *shame*).

once inside, it’s easy to forget that shopaholics is a consignment store. the bright and clean space is well laid out and tailored in a way that assure’s that A) you’re only seeing their best stuff (no random filler crap), and B) you’re not completely overwhelmed with choices. it’s a high end approach that i think is smart, but that also feels cold and makes me extremely uncomfortable. i’m definitely more in my element amongst the cluttered mishmashes of material objects. but for research purposes, i press on. as it turns out, it’s not entirely consignment, but a mix of very aggressively filtered consignment stuff (they even have a disclaimer on their website about how you shouldn’t be offended when they turn your shit down), and reasonably priced new goods from brands like kensie, arden b, and true religion. it definitely wasn’t what you would call dirt cheap- with prices appearing to range from $30-$70+.  but that said, their selection (though not entirely my taste), was pretty solid. if you’re looking for an interview outfit, killer jeans, or a cocktail dress and can’t afford full retail (but aren’t quite digging in your couch cushions for goodwill money), this place is definitely your best bet. i spotted at least a few items that definitely would have come home with me if they were slightly less expensive, and if the awkwardness hadn’t rolled in to bust up my shopping haze.

admittedly, i should have asked first if it was ok for me to take pictures. i initially snapped a couple shots of a super hot high-waisted faux ombre skirt without incident, but when i turned to start taking photos of the store, the gentleman behind the counter coolly informed me that i needed to stop. apparently it was a privacy issue (even if i didn’t photograph any of the patrons). oops. i haltingly tried to explain that i only wanted to take pictures for my blog… but he  shot back “i know what you’re doing”- as if i was caught taking a poop in the dressing room or something. flushed with shame, i attempted recovery by telling him that i just wanted to write an article about the store, but it was not working out. i passed him my card- NO LOVE. a few more awkward questions smugly dismissed with one word answers, i thanked him and excused myself to finish browsing… and then swiftly but discretely  crab walked my way out the door as fast as humanly possible (to another much more welcoming store that i’ll talk about tomorrow in part two of this sordid saga).

sure, there are a few things that i wouldn’t have liked about the shopaholics boutique regardless of my experience, but it’s rare that i ever write off a venue so quickly, especially one that has quality shopping potential. and sure, i probably could have approached the situation with a little more savvy (ok, a lot more savvy), but my faux pas aside, i shouldn’t have left there feeling angry and ashamed. the bottom line is that it’s a nice store, and i’m sure they’ll thrive just fine without my approval. which is good, because i definitely won’t be returning.





weekend pickthrough- stale peeps edition.

2 04 2010

i won’t eat them, but i can certainly still enjoy a good peeps show.

how dare they present this as a comprehensive list of venn diagrams, when they’ve omitted the king of them all?

some interesting ideas about coupons and class. (via the portland penny pincher)

in honor of our recent visit from the POTUS, a little lesson in teabonics.

is it possible for couponing to go…TOO FAR? (outrageous!)

videoport jones may be unmasked, but he still has good things to say.

finally! a budget style magazine that is actually stylish (sorry all you, but your wal*mart pedigree REALLY SHOWS).

it is the meaning of life after all, 42 lessons from frugal bloggers.

ohmygod it’s a going out of business sale! what do i do?

finally, after much deliberation, i’ve decided not to host the gelatin yogurt giveaway. i was going to give away the robe, but then i heard about this. sorry suckas! seriously though, the company has graciously offered me another giveaway that is both environmentally responsible and entirely meat free (and not too lame according to the pcitures). details forthcoming.

p.s. look to your right. you might notice a new sidebar item over there. even though they don’t have anything to do with brokeness, they have everything to do with 207. i present for your pleasure a list of my favorite local blogs (of all varieties). did i miss any?





seeking redemption.

8 03 2010

this is bound to be a kind of schizophrenic post, as i am writing it while i’m watching the oscars. at a party. slightly drunk. as a matter of fact, it’s taken me no less than 39 minutes to write this much. but that’s okay, i don’t really have a lot to say on the subject of bottle redemption.

after collecting ground change all year, you do start to notice discarded bottles as well. they’re like dirty sticky nickels that won’t fit into your pocket. there have been moments when i’ve considered going after them… but there’s already a lot of competition in town, and there’s something about throwing my hat into that ring that just seems a little unfair. i’ll stick with the boxtops for education. if i even have the balls to do that. digging through other people’s trash is a place that i’m still a little afraid to go.

but back to the bottles. the best thing about having a big party is that everybody brings beer, drinks beer, and leaves bottles behind. score. also, copious road trips, my unquenchable thirst, and general untidiness meant that the car was also packed to the gills with empty water bottles. smaller, secondary score.

we ended up taking our drippy pastic bagged bounty to the RSVP redemption center out on forest ave. this kind of classic redemption center is, as always, smelly, sticky, noisy, and horribly inconvenient.  you have to sort each  bottle by type, which means that you end up with like 10 different slips- not counting the ones for the bottles that the machine won’t take that you have to get from the cashier up front.  then you have to schlep across the way to the liquor store to  cash in your slips, which a checker has to enter in individually into the register before she gives you your $7.25.

they clynk program at hannaford’s all over maine is by far a better solution. you put your returnables into one of their special bags, drop them off at any clynk location, and they keep a running tally in your account until you’re ready to cash out. although i suppose it’s only a better solution if you don’t need cash right now,  or if you don’t mind parting with $.20 for every bag full of bottles you bring in. but it’s definitely easier, cleaner, less smelly, and a great way to keep your bottle fund growing quietly until there’s enough to make it worth withdrawing.

i’m likely to make at least a couple more bottle runs this month as we blaze through the leftover party beer, and i clean out the bottle stash at my office. but i’m going to need more than another $7.25 to make it to my $1,000 goal. unless you’re willing to spend the day scouring the streets and garbage cans for recyclable cast offs… bottle returning is definitely not the path to easy money- unless you just want to use it to buy more beer.





enter the sandwich.

1 03 2010

yes, it’s 10 pm and i still haven’t written my sandwich party post yet. yes, i slept until noon and then took a three hour nap around 8. and yes, when i finally woke up i ate half a casserole dish of cheesy artichoke dip for dinner. it’s been a weird day, and i’m not even hung over! (no seriously, i swear). the sandwich party was a balls out success, but it sucked out my life force and i’ve been completely deflated all day.

flash back to friday afternoon. after the power outage fiasco, the boyfriend picked me up at the starbucks around 4ish, and it was straight to the walmart, target, whole foods, liquor store and shaw’s for spending way too much money. arnold sandiwch thins had given me 5 $4/1 coupons, and the bread was only $2.50, so i got an extra $7.50 worth of savings out of the deal. too bad it wasn’t like an extra $150. um, parties are expensive. and for a girl like me who wants everything to be beautiful and delicious (fuck the cost!), it’s impossible to just open a couple bags of ruffles and call it good. i provided 5 varieties of sliced cheese, 4 kinds of wine, bermudan ginger beer, 42 ounces of swedish fish, and enough beer & vodka to take down a dorm full of freshman on thirsty thursday.

then, i stayed up until 3 am freaking out about the fact that i had never thrown a party before. that’s right, i completely lied to house party about my party throwing experience/ability. i’d had people over to watch movies, but always in a very non-committal way (i’m gonna watch showgirls on tuesday, show up if you want in). oh, and there was that one time i threw a wedding (oops)… but people have to come to those. the pitiful truth is that i was horribly embarrassingly unpopular in grade school. so much so that i told my parents that i didn’t like birthday parties- so i wouldn’t have to bear the humiliation of no one showing up.  even though i was lucky enough to have that unpopularity be fairly short lived (by 8th grade i was pretty much in the clear), the fear of having a loser party has stuck with me for the remainder of my life. (i told you it was pitiful!)

flash forward to yesterday morning. asleep by 3 am, up by 8:30 to clean my shit-tasticly messy apartment. in a way, it was a good way to distract myself from the party anxiety. although it also made me into a gigantic bitch, cracking the whip on my poor boyfriend all afternoon (i’m sorry baby!!). needless to say, our apartment was spotless by 7:15- just in time for three of my very amazing friends to arrive to help talk me off the ledge.  they set to work cutting up vegetables, pouring chips into bowls, and calling friends to pressure them into coming.  and they came. 20ish people actually showed up to my house for a SANDWICH PARTY. and appeared to have a good time. some notable moments:

1. i was able to serve 2 people their very first moxie.

2. as it turns out, arnold sandwich thins are actually pretty tasty. we made horseradish cheddar grilled cheese in a panini press (thanks kat!), fluffernutters, and tiny pizzas. (and no, i promise they didn’t even pay me to say that- i wish!)

3. about 1/2 the guests got really sucked in by “logan’s run“, and stayed to watch all 2 fabulous hours.

4. despite the utter lameness of the swag (grocery lists with “arnold sandwich thins” already written on the first line?!), people mercifully still took it home.

5. a slight misunderstanding of the party concept involved one guest showing up  with 10 fast food hamburgers. which was great, because i accidentally forgot to tell people that it was BYOM (bring your own meat). sorry guys! (and thank you teddy!)

6. i was so busy workin the room and making sure everyone had a sandwich in their hand that i completely forgot to get drunk.

what i learned is that being a hostess is hard work, and after the last guests finally wandered out around 1 am, i collapsed on the couch with a searing headache (i had also forgotten to drink any water during day and had crazy dehydration). 2 advil and 2 pints of ice water later, i crawled up the stairs and collapsed for a 10 hour slumber.

i’m sort of proud that i forced myself into getting over my loser party fear, and even more so for not actually having a loser party. that said, would i recommend house party to others? most definitely not.

1. their website blew and was difficult to navigate both for me and my guests.

2. the stupid evite i sent out via their website  looked so much like spam that nobody RSVPed and i eventually had to resort to facebook. (on the upside, they did not edit out the copious amount of profanity i used both in my invite and on my party page).

3. the swag was awful, and $20 wasn’t nearly enough for decent sandwich fixins.

4. i’m convinced that some people didn’t come because they thought it was like a tupperware party and that they might be pressured into buying something.

5. 2 days after i was accepted, they started sending me nasty emails about how i hadn’t invited people to my party yet (which made me fear for my kneecaps).

6. i’m fairly certain that there’s going to be an equally scary/annoying follow-up phase where i and my guests will be harassed for feedback about the party. i may or may not choose to completely ignore this phase.

basically, unless you completely love the product, and you know your friends will too… not really worth it. now that i’ve conquered my fear, i may choose throw another party someday. but house party as an organization can GO SCREW.





void in maine.

19 02 2010

wow, i’m an even crappier coupon lady than i had originally thought! thanks to tips from the much more together portland penny pincher and money saving maine-iac, apparently the the P&G coupon rebate is VOID IN MAINE. so much for me being rewarded for my laziness! i suppose that this is what i get for not knowing dick about rebates. apparently, the very sexy olay rebates are also void in maine. and after some hardcore googling, i realzied that most rebates are also void in maine. this is both totally NOT FAIR, and also very confusing.

what frustrates me the most is that there appears to be no information about WHY all of these rebates are void in maine, they just are. why are we being shunned? does anyone know? or am i going to have to write a sternly worded letter to olympia snowe?





penance

16 01 2010

whoa. i screwed the pooch big time yesterday. what’s that about $50 worth of cocktails at the top of the east? oh, and $30 worth of green elephant dinner, and $10 for a kind of awful but kind of wonderful play (ubu roi at the apohadion- pretentious art school fuckery, but very well acted, and can you say CARDBOARD BEAR!). oops. that’s 90% of my weekly fun-money budget. it appears that my fun has run out.

i was supposed to spend the day second hand shopping around town and possibly even taking the bus out to the mall… but no. now i have no money (and am slightly hung over) (and have to deal with the shame of actually having uttered the word “pietini” 3 times in a public arena). thus, the day will be spent working off both my shame and my hangover doing household chores. i’ll be scrubbing my kitchen floor cinderella style, doing the worlds largest laundry load of towels, and finally putting those xmas decorations away.

good times.

i will also be announcing the winner of the burt’s bees giveaway in a few hours. stay tuned!