weekend pickthrough- holiday shitstorm edition.

5 12 2010

since i’ve become an adult, i kind of hate xmas. i know that the holidays, whichever ones you choose to celebrate, are supposed to be about family, and tradition, and the spirit of giving… and all that shit that holiday specials teach us to expect (demand!). but between the divorced family, my jam packed schedule, and the specter of debt from xmas past still looming large, i tend to be kind of a bitch this time of year. which is ridiculous because the boyfriend has an unnatural enthusiasm for the holidays that fills me with deep deep dread.

anyway, i decided this year that i would do my best to embrace the season and try to muster up a few shreds of xmas spirit from my shriveled black heart. so far, not so great.

1. extended family declares “just kids” xmas. i have to buy 6 kid gifts for all my nieces… and i get JACK FUCKING SQUAT. i love my sisters, but their fertility is bankrupting me.

2. in an attempt to be festive, i purchased a large plastic light up santa clause, and my dog is fucking terrified of it.

3. i finally buckled to the boyfriend’s demands and went out in to the freezing fucking cold and mud to cut down an xmas tree. charming! judging by the rash i got when i was helping load it onto the car, and the itchy eyes i’ve been suffering since we got it home, i’m allergic.

cant’ you just smell the xmas cheer? let’s deflect from my grinch-pants with a little weekend pickthrough:

wow, what an asshole. weirdly i had an almost identical experience with a urologist once. EMOTIONALLY SCARRING!

dude, how did we ever let ecto-cooler go off the market!?

and while we’re feeling nostalgic for extinct snack foods, why not get a little misty over some 80s commercials?

merry xmas y’all! urban outfitters gives us another 25 song sampler- for free!

the perfect xmas gift! a photo of a chunk of ice, that MIGHT contain extra terrestrial life.

yep, this survey of most wanted gift cards reveals nothing that we didn’t already know about american tastes. (how quick we apparently are to forgive BP)

the intricacies the holiday tree pissing match.

the makeup project is slugging along, but i still need help! makeup bags & journals, come on down!!! (please) 3 days left to donate!





worth the trip- the black album (with a plaid b-side).

24 11 2010

i feel like it was just halloween. how exactly is it thanksgiving already? now, thanksgiving means a lot of things to me- pie, defending my vegetarianism against people who think it is a personal attack, pie, rolling my eyes at football, pie, and most of all… BLACK FRIDAY.

to many, getting up at the pre-crack of dawn in order to shiver outside in the icy icy weather in a line of other assholes who also think that this is a good idea does not seem like a privilege. i know it seems wrong on a number of levels, but i can’t stop myself. i’m not even buying any xmas presents. i’m not even trying to score big ticket items at crazy low prices. i just really love a hot bargain, and have designs on expanding my chick flick collection for less than $2 a dvd.

now traditionally, one gets the thanksgiving paper and weeds through the ads while digesting their  gravy coated food baby after dinner (sort of like half time before the pie round). but since this is the internet age, and we’re all a big fucking pack of cheaters, there are multiple websites offering up all the black friday deal fliers days before anyone has to stick their hands into a frozen turkey and pull out the “giblet sack” (and people question my vegetarianism?).

i love black-friday. net, but it really doesn’t make a fucking difference if you go there or to blackfriday.info or even blackfriday.com. the point is that i’ve been planning my black friday shopping strategy for DAYS. here is my present  ACTION PLAN: Read the rest of this entry »





actually, i’m pretty sure it is your fault.

28 10 2010

so i’ve been hearing these commercials on my morning radio show where some dude starts yelling off a list of horrible financial woes:

debt collectors knocking down your door?
up to your eyeballs in credit card debt?
thinking that bankruptcy is your only option?

but then he brings it down just a notch to let you know:

IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.

sure, people hit hard times. medical bills, lost jobs, some other things that i can’t think of right now… but the majority of people that i know who are financial wrecks (myself absolutely included) are that way because they made poor choices. it fills me with rage to hear the debt consolidation/credit counseling agencies preying on people’s need to be in denial about the reality of their financial situations. nobody wants to take responsibility for fucking up, but if you ask anyone in a 12 step program, admitting that you’re a fucking mess is the only way to make it better. so fuck you debt consolidation agency. IT IS MY FAULT- and here’s why:

1. i don’t pay attention to what i spend. i put my credit cards in the freezer over a year ago, which is a distinct improvement, but my debit card is with me all the time. i go out to eat constantly, buy crap on a whim (can you say series of 4 horse paintings?), overspend at the grocery store (i was in the whole foods for 5 minutes yesterday and still managed to spend $14). even thought i’m not creating any new debt, i’m not giving the money that i have the reverence it deserves- i just keep unceremoniously shoving it out the door.

2. which brings us to admission #2-  i don’t save enough. probably because i’m spending all my fucking money on nothing. for the most part, the really bad debt disasters happen when people are spending up to the hilt of their income and don’t have a cushion saved up for emergencies. then, the first time that shit goes really wrong, they bust out the credit cards. like i did. repeatedly. from the ages of 18-30.

3. even though my 2 cards are in deep freeze at the moment, they got in there in the first place because spent the first 10 years of my adult life spending beyond my means. i wanted to have grown up clothes, i wanted to buy people decent xmas presents for a change, i wanted to find out what it felt like for money to be no object. except that it is an object, a very big object with an 19% APR. too bad i don’t pay more than the minimum on my cards every month. it’s good that i’m not racking up new debt, but if i can’t control my cash flow enough to afford to make bigger payments on my credit card, then i’m never going to get out from under it.

maybe it’s because i just watched confessions of a shopaholic AND maid to order back to back, but i’m sudden feeling possessed to try to make some greater changes in my life. i’ve made progress from where i was, but i’m stalled out. i still have $13,000 worth of credit card debt, and i’d really like it to be gone by the time i’m 35 (that’s T-minus 2 years and counting). maybe i hate dave ramsey because i know that he’s right about making severe lifestyle cuts in order to cut my debt… actually, it’s probably the religious thing, but i am definitely in denial about the fact that real debt reduction does require some sacrifice. now, i’m not going to go all crazy and start making drastic lifestyle changes (eat out less? stop shopping? start buying produce at walmart?) or anything… but i am going to admit that what i’m doing now is definitely not working.

step one down… 11 more to go.

what is the one habit/addiction that you SHOULD cut out of your life for financial reasons, but just can’t seem to let go?





weekend pickthrough- surprising free stuff edition.

26 09 2010

so a while back, i got one of those really sweet amazon free magazine deals, and i got a subscription to marie claire magazine. obviously not a terribly remarkable event, but it would be the catalyst for me getting a UPS package full of crazy free stuff last week, so listen up.

so, by subscribing to their magazine, i got the “privlige” of winding up on the marie claire email list- most of which i deleted and ignored. except one.

“join the marie claire style council”

it was really unclear exactly what the job involved (and still is), but i heard the magic word “free stuff, and decided to fill out the survey. and then, congratulations! the next survey. and then one more survey after that. and then, i had to make a video. 2 minutes about how fashionable and articulate i am. i had a month to get the job done, and i had all these lofty plans about scripting and star wipes… but somehow i ended up waiting until 3 am the night before the videos were due, and did the whole thing on my laptop web cam in bad light in my sweatpants. i was an ugly, styleless, babbling mess, and i assumed that it would mark my end journey toward hot fashion magazine swag.

not so!

a few weeks after the video disaster (so humiliating that even in my general shamelessness, i refuse to put it up on you tube for the world to scrutinize), i got an email telling me that i had been selected for a telephone interview. weird. another 10 minutes of crazy babbling and manic giggles, apparently i impressed my (very patient) interviewer with my knowledge of some more obscure labels (at least that heinous fashion job i had for 2 years was good for something!). i was in! although i’m still not entirely sure what that means. all i do know is that they sent me a sweet package full of random free stuff just to say hello. fancy kitchen spray, some sorta novel, tote bag…

on an partially related note, i also go a weird email from a local marketing firm about product testing out some new flavors of baileys coffee creamer for national coffee day! although national coffee day is 9/29, and i still haven’t gotten my samples yet, so maybe they changed their mind. regardless, people are at least considering sending me free stuff, and i like it.

oh, and here’s some random weekend pickthrough stuff. i had a busy week, so it’s less than impressive, but those hipster dinosaurs make it ok.

this volcano used to have integrity (and other sentiments from hipster dinosaurs).

a big list of things that you think are true, but totally aren’t. (i’m a little crushed that george washington carver didn’t actually invent peanut butter)

i completely forgot that there were movies at the PMA, and october there are some pretty kick ass selection. mark your calendar for october 29th- damnationlad. 7 short horror films from maine directors. apparently, it’s “the way life should bleed”.

just so we all don’t have to have any embarrassing showgirls style faux pas, somebody finally made a resource to help us clueless jerks figure out how to pronounce fashion designer’s names.

kind of a gross article that involves the most hilarious star wars gag i’ve heard in a long time.

calling all single ladies! the classiest craigslist personal ad ever. (jump on this shit now before it disappears!)





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.





12 minutes, 2 am.

24 05 2010

my sleep schedule is all f-ed up. i slept for 12 hours last night, and now it’s almost 2 am, and i’m still not sleeping- despite needing to be at work and functional in a mere 6 hours. so i thought i’d take this last 12 minutes before the clock strikes 2 to poop out a quickie post- just to say that i did. i present to you, my weekend in spending- in 12 minutes or less (or possibly slightly more):

there was a 40% off everything sale at the gap outlet in freeport. i erroneously assumed it would be better than the old navy 30% off everything sale… what i learned is that they didn’t have much to offer in the markdown area, and everything else was near regular gap prices. despite the angel voice whispering in my ear “that’s how they get you!”, the devil voice still spent $80 on a pair of jeans, a dress, a sweater, and a pair of shorts. well, it is supposed to be 84 degrees on tuesday…

j crew on the other hand had a decent sale rack that was take an additional 30% off all markdowns. score. bought a fat concealing flowy top and and a shiny gold belt that i decided couldn’t possibly be leather… but probably is. feeling heavy vegetarian guilt, but too attached to belt to find out for sure.

wacky mac should have been free at shaw’s this week… except that i couldn’t find it anywhere. is there no wacky mac in the state of maine, or am i just looking in the wrong place?! *seethes with frustration* no major grocery deals scored this week.

i fully attempted to buy a $3.97 copy of maid in manhattan at bullmoose today, but shame was too great. me being uncool isn’t really a secret, but bullmoose always makes me wish i was hipper than i am. or at least wish that walmart carried $3.97 copies of maid in manhattan.

now that i’ve learned that dairy queen has butterscotch dip, it was another 2-DQ weekend. i’ve been to every DQ in the area at least once, and i’ve noticed that the pricing is not standard. westbrook DQ- i don’t care if you do have a brazier (your fries suck BTW), time to nudge those ice cream prices DOWN. the topsham dairy queen is making you look bad.





still life with diet food.

3 05 2010

at some point this winter, i signed up to run a 5k. at the time, it seemed like june was terribly far away and that the exercise and diet required to be able to take on such a task were no real threat to my sedentary and butter-hoovering ways. well, it’s may 3rd today, and that gives me exactly 1 month to peel my ass off the couch and get moving.  this realization crashed down on me this weekend when i received an email from the maine cancer foundation, letting me know that the race was on the 3rd, NOT the 25th as i had somehow randomly deluded myself into believing. and for emphasis, i had to break down and buy a pair of size 12 jeans (see below re: old navy binge), after my well broken in (and stretched out apparently) size 10s suffered a catastrophic crotch blowout. yep, i’m getting chunky and out of shape. yep, if i’m gonna haul this carcass 3.1 miles in 1 month, i should probably get it together.

for a little back story, i used to run all the time. 3-4 miles a few times a week in between yoga and pilates and other such fitness nonsense. i was in good shape,  really good shape. and i was a size 6. ouch. ok, those size six days may be gone forever (time to inject at least a little reality into the situation), but the point is that i know how to be fit. i know how to exercise. i know how to run. i just have to remember how to get off my ass and do it.

fortuitously, the boyfriend also seems to finally be ready to get back into the groove (we fell for each other when we started running together a few years ago), and specifically requested that we try to eat some lower calorie food this week. we even went for a little jog around mackworth island on sunday morning.  it was a rough 1.25 miles, but we didn’t have to stop, and both made it back to the car alive.  i think that’s a good sign that we both still have a little running potential hidden underneath the fat. now we just need to keep it up.

after our jog, we hit the shaw’s for some healthy food buying. goodbye pot pie… cheesy polenta casserole… biscuits and gravy… hello fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. i’m feeling inspired by the coupon goddess and her summer slim down detox. and without any real coupon pre-planning, i still ended up picking up a few sweet (marginally healthy deals) this weekend.

healthy harvest pasta is on sale for $1.49, and with the $.75/1 coupon from the 4/11 smartsource doubled, i got 2 boxes for free.

land o’ lakes cage free eggs were $2.99 this week, and i had a $.50/1 from somewhere that made them a mere $2. almost as cheap as regular eggs!

lindsay olives recloseable tubs  are currently $1.69, and with a $1/1 that i got in a recent newspaper insert, i snagged mine for $.69.

think thin bars are on sale for $1.99 (if you can call a $2 granola bar a sale…), but if you were able to snag those $.50/1 printables from a while back (now no longer available), you could have gotten them for $.99 each after doubling, which is almost reasonable! i got 3, and i’m really hoping that they’re not gross. (any thoughts?)

**UPDATE** the lovely lynn @ the portland penny pincher has alerted us to the fact that the $.50/1 think thin coupon is still active on their site!! also, it’s a PDF, so NO PRINT LIMIT!! eat up.

i also grabbed a couple of things at the super walmart…

if you haven’t signed up for kraft first taste yet, you totally need to. there’s a great $1/1 coupon off philadelphia cream cheese minis right now (philly has finally gotten into the 100 calorie game), and priced at $1.99, they’re definitely worth beta testing for $.99. did i mention that i’ll try pretty much anything once if it’s under $1?

lastly, if you were able to print all those great dvd coupons that were hanging out on coupons.com last month (no longer available), i scored a copy of  in her shoes for $3. ok, kind of a sucky movie, but i looooooooves the crappy chick flicks. and for $3 (regularly $5 with a $2/1 coupon), i can afford to give it to goodwill in a few months when i decide that i’m embarrassed about buying it.

on a related (and less shameful) note, if anyone knows where i can get cheapy copies of some like it hot and the graduate for low low prices, i still have $2/1 coupons for those burning a hole in my coupon folder.