Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What Does?

I'm interrupting my normal happy shopping tips because quite frankly I'm just not in the mood.  Crazy since this is such a fun time to shop.  One of my favorite things to do is go out when all the stores are open till midnight.

What Does it feel like to be punched in the gut?  Over and Over and Over again??

So, ever been punched in the gut so hard you are speechless?  I haven't, but I have been told that my 29 year old husband has cancer.  I assume they feel pretty much the same.  Both suck, both make you say WTF, is this really happening to me?  I'm so sick of all this shit happening to me I really can't take it anymore.  I want the pain in my gut to go away and I want to put this whole piece of crap situation behind me and Paul.  Hopefully I won't get the 1-2 punch tomorrow when we go back for his follow up exam.  We go tomorrow to make sure everything went well with his operation and that no other problems were found in the extracted piece of colon and lymphnodes. 

What does it feel like to be punched in the stomach twice in a week?  Well that feels like finding out your high school sweetheart turned spouse has cancer the same day you find out you are finally pregnant after 7 months of trying to conceive.  First the Dr. tells you no you aren't pregnant, then they tell you to relax because of course women who relax are fertile myrtles, you even try to explain that you aren't stressed about getting pregnant, you are stressed because your husband has cancer.  The nurse cries and hugs you then leaves you.  Then after they have left you wallowing in your sorrow for 10 minutes, they come back to tell you oh never mind, my bad, you are pregnant.  Then you ball because you can't believe God loves you so much that he gave you what you had been praying for, and hoping for, for more years than you want to count.  How exciting, that we will hear our babies heart beat on my birthday, an awesome coincidence by the scheduler at the Dr.'s office.  We can tell our family the way we wanted to during Christmas, we can finally celebrate with my husbands siblings who are pregnant.  So, why did I get punched in the stomach twice?  Well because the day after your favorite drinking night of the year (our annual Christmas party), a day I didn't drink my special mimitini's because I was finally with a bambino, I miscarried.  SERIOUSLY WTF!  No baby and this isn't really that funny, but no fucking martini's either.  This precious baby, was supposed to be what got us through the first stomach punch.  Our little Noah or Addison, isn't going to happen for us anytime soon.  So now what?!

Well, what does it feel like to be punched in the stomach three times?  Well that would be getting the results of your husbands Semen Analysis that you had taken in case he needed to have chemo, and being told that it's not looking good but since you are young and conceived somehow miraculously on your own that you should try until you are ready to do IVF/ICSI, IUI isn't an option for you.  Bank Account = major panic attack, there are no coupons or guarantees for this.  Seriously?!!! WTF!! Why oh why is this shit happening?  2011 CAN NOT come soon enough.  Please God let 2011 just be a happy year of health and prosperity.  No more death, no more cancer, no more bad news. 

Please pray that tomorrow won't be the 1-2-3 4th punch.  It would be a wonderful birthday present to find out my husband is cancer free.  I can already feel the grey hairs quadrupling on my head from all this stress.  Maybe I should just go to the OB/GYN so they can tell me to relax again.  Throat punching them will feel great.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Loving my Yard Sale Finds

This is a post a meant to finish a few weeks ago, but I just now got around to getting some pics downladed

As fall sets in, yard sale season wraps up for the year in the DC area.  I used to go to yard sales all the time with my Mom when I was a kid.  I loved it, loved the bargaining and the bargains!  Until this summer it had been a really long time since I hit up any good yard sales.  Somehow though the yard sale gods were with me this summer.

It started with the mammoth of all yard sales in our neighborhood at the end of August.  Remember the $2 cashmere sweater my sister and I missed by a millisecond, and the carful of slightly used baby paraphernalia for Paul's expectant sister and the cute little bird house I originally bought for Paul's Mom that I kept for myself (haha). 

Following the neighborhood yardsale, my neighbor was so cool.  She didn't end up selling her brand new Lucky Jeans, so she brought them to my house and GAVE me her $80 brand new jeans!  I love simple acts of kindness and repayed her by a very anonymous BOO on her doorstep a few weeks later.

In early September, I started work on a church retreat in Vienna every Saturday morning and got to go past yard sales in a very affluent neighborhood.  This was awesome.  The first saturday I stopped at a yard sale at this beautiful reconstructed old home where the woman was a buyer for BareMinerals (my makeup of choice) and Spanx (my fat ass loves spanx).  I got close to $70 worth of brand new makeup and brushes for $3, a $30 pair of brand new Spanx for $2.  The makeup find was so amazing it was like I dreamt it!

To finish up my yardsale finds is a quick and easy DIY tip for tired light fixtures.  I was just about to leave a yardsale hands empty when I spotted out of the corner of my eye the glass lamp shades that cover the bulbs on bathroom lights and/or ceiling fans.  I knew about these little gems because the builder grade lights in our home came with terrible glass covers.  I had bought four shades for the bathrooms when we moved into the townhouse from Home Depot for $7 a piece.  Even for that price it was an awesome very fast upgrade.  The yardsale though had $4 shades for $2!!!  I've been looking to replace this ugly ceiling fan for 3 years now.  I honestly can't seem to find one I like better.  In the meanwhile my $2 upgrade helps this tired looking fan look just a wee bit better.

Before Yardsale:
 After Yardsale:

Did you find any yardsale gems this year?
Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Black Friday!

What a glorious day, one of my favorites of the whole year!  I'm almost completely done Christmas Shopping.  I just have a few small things left for Paul.

I didn't wake up super early this morning.  Paul got up at 3:45 to get something (he won't tell me what) from Hhgregg.  He was back in bed by 4:30.  I was exhausted from our hr long bootcamp session on thanksgiving at 8 am followed by a 1/2 fun run as well as all the cooking for thanksgiving.

I ended up venturing out around 8 am.  First I headed up the street to Fair Oaks to use my $20 off of $40 coupon for Lord & Taylor.  I was able to get an awesome Calvin Klein Bra for 60%.  I had purchased one a few months ago on the clearance rack for about the same price and it is AMAZING, especially if you are well endowed like me ;)
 I then headed over to borders to use my 50% off coupon.  I had two and the lady let me use them both so I was able to get two books for Christmas presents for under $15 w/tax!

After that it was over to Macy's which was a ZOO.  Totally not in anyway a good shopping experience.  I persevered however because I wanted to use my $10 off of $25 coupon.  Good thing I did because I found someone (can't mention the name) and awesome dress shirt regularly $70 for $10 and then a $60 tie for $15, with my coupon I paid $15 for both!

Then off I went to Lowes to pick up a couple $.98 poinsettias (they are so pretty) and then over to the Leesburg Outlets.

I got some amazing deals at the outlets.  Some super cute ecco shoes priced at $125 for $40.  A few years ago I'd seen something similar at Marshalls and decided not to buy them.  I kept thinking about them and when I went back not there.  I was so happy to find these b.c I was still always searching for my shoes at Marshalls!

 My favorite purchase was an amazing deal on something we waited for over 6 years for.  I can't wait to use it.  I'll have to wait until after Christmas though, b/c it was delivered to Paul to wrap and put under the tree.  Drum Roll...A Le Crueset Dutch Oven Pot for $99!  That is the cheapest I've ever seen them, I was so excited!

I also got some fun deals at the williams sonoma outlet: I'm pretty excited about this little make your own salad dressing gadget for $6.

Lots of other stores were having great deals too.  Ann Taylor outlet, Tommy Hilfiger outlet both had 40% off everything and Banana Republic had 50% off everything!

So go shop and share your deals with me!
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Daily Deal Emails

I'm not sure yet where my verdict stands on the daily deal emails.  When there is something I like for a location I can get to I'm satisfied all other times the spam in my email irritates me.  Groupon is still my all time favorite.  I've had some awesome deals from Groupon.

Todays Groupon is especially awesome, $50 gc to the nordstrom rack for $25.

Nordstrom Rack is conveniently located within walking distance to my house.  Remember when they first opened and my sister and I went?

I can't wait, maybe I'll get some new shoes, or some new lingerie, or some nice ties for Paul oh the possibilities!

In the past my favorite purchases have been:
  • Unlimited Bootcamp for 1 month through Custom Fitness Concepts with Tom Kalka for $45.  
    • Ultimately because of the amount of customers gained from groupon Tom ended up dropping the price of his bootcamp so now Paul and I go 8x per month for $52.  This boot camp is amazing and highly recommended if you are looking to finally get back in shape.  Thank you Groupon, if it weren't for you I'd still be wondering if I could run for more than 20 minutes straight.
  • The Grooming Lounge: $25 for $50
    • Awesome birthday present for Paul.  He went and had an awesome and affordable massage.
  • Barks and Bubbles: $40 dog wash for $10
    • This might be tied with bootcamp as my fav purchase.  Bailey had some amazing baths and blueberry facials at a price that so made it worth not having to clean the bathroom after he takes a shower.  Literally he showers, then he shakes then there is hair EVERYWHERE.  I was happy for him to do this shaking in a store just for wet dog shaking!
  • $5 Rotisserie Chicken from Chicken Out.  That was pretty awesome!  They sold something like 10k chickens!  Poor chickens, made me feel pretty bad and definitely wished I hadn't seen Food Inc b/c that was what was running through my mind when I saw that!
  • $7 off of $15 at Big Buns in Arlington.  Awesome Awesome burgers.  I split this groupon with my friend and coworker Melanie and we had a great lunch for $3.  It would have been funny if this groupon had been offered the same day as the bootcamp groupon!
Friday, November 19, 2010

Fresh Tomato Soup, Cosi Style

My coworker Humera got my hooked on Cosi Tomato Basil Soup.  I had tried a recipe a few weeks earlier from my favorite cooking friend and coworker Melanie.  When she made it, it looked and smelled awesome.  When I made it, it turned out more like liquid tomato sauce.  The second my lips hit the Cosi tomato soup, I knew I needed the recipe.  It is creamy, smooth, basily and just all around awesome. 
It was our turn for Small Group Dinner so Paul and I made my version of the cosi tomato basil soup the night before (takes about 5 min prep time, with 20 min of cooking time) and then added in a Pannini Grilled Cheese station to go with it.  We all had fun making our own sandwiches and it was another easy, affordable and fun meal. 

 Link to Grilled Cheese Station:

Cosi Soup Recipe, which I found after a short google search
Tomato Basil Soup
I doubled this and added a bottle of v8 tomato juice in order to make this for 10 people.  In the end there was close to 15-18 servings!
(4 servings)

1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (28 oz.) can of diced or crushed tomatoes, drained
2 cups half & half, cream, 2% milk or soy creamer, heated
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp white pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic until fragrant, stirring often. Add tomato paste; stir and cook for 30 seconds. Add drained tomatoes, cover and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Puree with a stick blender in the saucepan or transfer to a blender to puree. Return to saucepan and stir in heated creamer, fresh basil, sugar, garlic powder, white pepper and salt to taste.

Serve with grilled cheese or toasted bread if desired.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanks USAA, Glad You've Got My Back!

So I get this flyer in the mail yesterday from USAA.  I didn't really need the reminder that I'm getting older.  Just that morning I'd already found another gray hair on my head.  I'm really wondering who the genius is in the USAA marketing department that came up with this fantastic mailer.  I'm thinking it was probably either a 22 year old college hire or a 60 old exec who thinks its funny to mock those in their late 20's.  The only benefit to this pamphlet is the cute guy with his cute son, however I'm hoping it isn't another reminder that by 28, I should have a cute 2 year old, or have started a family as stated in the inside portion...

I think the pictures speak for themselves. 

The only Disclaimer is that USAA is truly an awesome company which I'm privledged to be a part of because of my Father in law's military service. 


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christmas Tree Shops

I Big Puffy Puffy Heart the Christmas Tree Shops.  Don't let the name fool you, it has nothing to do with Christmas.  The store used to be privately owned but was bought out about 8 years ago by bed bath and beyond. 
I've gotten so much cute stuff from the CTS.  Our foyer table for $20, beautiful picture frames and framed art for under $10, great serving platters, awesome cookbooks, most of our fall and christmas decorations, cute seasonal mats for the front door around $5 a piece, paper goods for parties no more than $2 for anything, toys for Bailey, amazing gardening supplies for $3-5 a container, boxes of cards, 50 cards for $4, so I don't have to spend $4 on one card when it's someone's bday or baby shower, cute thank you cards...I could go on and on. 

Here are some pics of my CTS finds:

Paul and I first found this store when we went looking for colleges to go to up north.  We spent the weekend at cape cod and thought we were walking into one of those vacation stores that sells christmas things all year long.  Boy were we wrong! Since then, CTS has started moving its way down the east coast and into the midwest.  The unfortunate part is that they keep missing northern virginia!  They have one now in Waldorf Md, but nope not Fairfax!  My sister is lucky, she has one around the corner from her house outside of NYC.  That is always my first stop when we go to visit her. 

So if you happen to see a Christmas Tree Shops, make a b line, have some fun shopping on the cheap and let me know what you get!
Friday, October 8, 2010

Midweek Entertaining on a Budget

So if you work full time and have 10 people coming for dinner on a tues night at 7:30, what in the heck do you do?   Bust out your CROCKPOT!! 

We received this amazing crockpot as an engagment gift almost 8 years ago (yes, we have been together for along time).  We rarely used it until we were married for 2 years and I went on the nest and got some amazing recipes from the What's Cooking Forum.  One of my favorites was the crockpot salsa chicken.

As I mentioned in my last post, I hate recipes with tons of ingredients and steps.  I'm more of a what do you have and then add a dash of this and that type "chef".  This recipe is just like that.  A few simple ingredients: Chicken, Salsa, liquid (beer and chicken stock are my choices).

In case anyone was wondering we were entertaining 10 people on a tues night because we joined a church small group for the first time!  Everyone in our small group is are young married couples like us.  Paul and I are so excited to grow together in faith and life with our new friends.

Here is the "real" recipe as well as a recipe for a black bean and corn salsa and fresh Guacamole  The whole meal for the 12 of us was less then $20 and was put together in less then 10 minutes before I left for work in the morning.

Crockpot Fajitas
Chicken Breast according to how many people are coming over.  I used 6 last night
1-2 cups of good salsa based on number of breasts.  I used appx 2 cups of Jack's Salsa from Wegmans
A little bit of beer (1/2 cup maybe)
A little bit of chicken stock (1/2 cup maybe)
Salt, Pepper, Cumin and Montreal Chicken Seasoning to taste.
Cook on low for 6-10 hours (I did 10 because that is how long I was gone for at work) once the breasts are done shred them with a fork and let them sit in the liquid until served so that chicken is moist and juicy.

Serve with sides of fresh tortillas, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, grilled onions and peppers:
Here is what it looks like

Some people add a can of black beans and corn to the crock pot.  It will look like this:

I prefer making a:

Black bean and corn salad
1/2 a red onion diced
1/2 diced jalapeno
Chopped Cilantro to taste
Cumin, S&P to taste
Juice of 1 lime

Guacamole1-4 avocados depending on how many people are eating and how much you like it :)
juice of one lime
Salt to taste
Cumin to taste
1-3 tbsp of fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 finely sliced jalapeno

I make it by hand but our neighbors like to use the food processor for everything but the avocados.  They also add 1/4 of a small red onion but I'm not a fan of onion breath that last for days so I leave that out.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I should give Rachel Ray some pointers...

So anyone that knows me well knows I have a major lack of patience.  Fortunately for Paul and my friends I got a handle on my patience with people fixed a while ago.  Patience for cooking is another story.  I generally season using whatever juices, wine, beer or condiments are in my fridge and pantry and try to use a few pots and pans as possible so I don't have a lot of dishes to clean.

I generally don't like having to cook for longer than 15-20 minutes.  I've become pretty good at it. Last night I made an awesome 20 minute mahi mahi meal and tonight's mexican entertaining meal for our first ever church small group was already whipped together in 5 minutes and done by 9 am (I'll post on that later).

Last night's dinner was Mahi Mahi with fresh steamed spinach and garlicy mashed potatoes:
No recipe and unfortunately no actual picture but this is how I did it and the pic is as similar to what mine looked like as I could find online.

How to make 20 minute Mahi dinner:
  • Placed mahi mahi filets onto the olive oiled baking pan season them with salt, pepper, montreal chicken seasoning and herbes de provence. 
  • I used the remaining tidbit of salsa 1/8 cup? (Jack's Salsa is my fav), poured in about 1/2 cup of beer, the little bit of sparkling apple cider which was left in the bottle (1/2 cup maybe) and then a splash of chicken stock.
  • Pour that over the seasoned mahi in pan and put it in the convection oven for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
  • While the mahi is baking put potatoes into the microwave to cook. 
  • In a  deep pan add some olive oil and a little bit of chicken stock and then put in the fresh spinach season it with salt, pepper and garlic and cover the pan for 3-5 minutes or until spinach has wilted.
  • Take the spinach out of the pan and place into severing bowl. 
  • Add the cooked potatoes into the pan (still has spinach juices), mashed them with potato masher (best kitchen tool ever)
  • Add a little bit of plain yogurt, a splash of milk some garlic power, and of course chicken stock salt and pepper.  Smooth together with masher or fork.
  • Plate the potatoes side them with spinached and top them with the mahi. 

Dinner done and served in 20 minutes!
Monday, October 4, 2010

Register Your Starbucks Card

Remember when I wrote about Splits and my love for Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL). 

Well this is the time of year I actually really care about Starbucks being in the world.  I could honestly go without any other type of coffee.  I don't need caffeine it unfortunately/fortunately doesn't have any effect on me at all.

Well a few months ago, Paul my all year round loving starbucks hubby surprised me with a loaded starbucks card in my wallet (he's so awesome right).  Well I finally got around to registering it because I kept hearing that after a few drinks you get free shots or free soy milk or a free drink!

Well on Saturday about a week after I registed and started using my card Starbucks sent me a little card in the mail for a free breakfast sandwich as a thank you for registering my card!  YAY!!

Here is a link to the information about registering your card.
For those of you with fancy phones, I think there is an app to see where you are with their rewards system.

Have fun and enjoy a PSL soon!
Friday, October 1, 2010

You can stand under my UMBRELLA!

So, this is a frugalicious steal I couldn't wait to share and brag about.  Last year Paul and I upgraded our original craigslist patio set with a beautiful iron set we bought with the proceeds of the sale of our old table (I made a profit on my original purchase, classic Mimi sytle).

Our old umbrella looked awesome with our smaller table and chair set.  But once we went from the 40" square wood table (link isn't the exact table, but its close) to the long iron rectangular table our nice big umbrella began to look quite small in comparision.  Over the past four years it has also faded and started to tilt quite a bit.

Our neighbors have had some blowing in the wind umbrella horror stories, but yet my faithful green 6ft clearance pottery barn umbrella never failed me.  I'm sad to put it to rest (I might sell it for $20 on craigslist), but I'm super excited to introduce our new upgrade.  A 9ft cherry red cheasapeake collection PB umbrella

I waited and waited for this umbrella to go on sale.  Last year I missed out, but this year I was determined and so I stalked the stores.  You see Pottery Barn puts it stuff on super sale and if anything is left they keep it in the inventory at full price to be put out the following spring. 

I left work a little early on Friday and stopped in at the mall to switch out my stupid phone (Droid Eris...3rd time better be the charm), so since I was already at the mall, I decided to hit up PB, I did happen to have one of their fabulous $25 off of $50 coupons afterall.  Unfortunately, all they had left for umbrellas was this floral pattern Paul would have killed me if I had bought, so I had the clerk check to see what other local stores still had some.  Reston had a few, so on Saturday I gave them a call in hopes they would have the color I wanted.  Fortunately they did and since I work in Reston on Tuesdays I had them put it away for me to pick up during lunch.  I was so happy because I think I hit the sale the week or so before the umbrella would go back to full price.  I was able to get my $150 umbrella for a BIG $25!  Yup, $25 buckaroos for a HUGE massive awesome umbrella.  When Humera my homegirl coworker and I went to pick up the umbrella, the manager rang it up and was like WOW that's an awesome price.  I wish I could show you her face when I gave her my coupon!  Humera and I were cracking up the whole way back to work.  When I asked her if it was sad a few hours later that I was thinking about an umbrella she was like no dude that is what I was just thinking about!  MAUH HAHAHA

Unforutnately my pretty new cherry red umbrella will reside in our garage until next spring.  At least I will have something to look forward to if DC gets hit by another 40 ft of snow.

So, who would like to be the first to join me under my new Umbrella?!
Friday, September 24, 2010

Bring your lunch: Built NY Lunch Bag

This is the best lunch box!  It is so stretchy, flexible and washable.  It comes in lots of designs and shapes.  Paul surprised me when he came home with one he had found on sale at Wegmans.  I had showed it to him and had told him about how I had wanted one of these for so long, but how I didn't want to spend $20 on a lunch box.  For whatever reason I had finally decided to bite the bullet and buy one at Marshalls a few years ago and changed my mind at the last minute.  If I had known that was the last time I'd see one there for more than 50% off of the retail price I never would have done that.  I was so happy when Paul splurged for me and brought me this cute little bag home.  I love that I can make all my lunches fit and then when I'm done, I can fold it up and put it in my purse for the ride home.

Well, here is the funny NON Frugalicious end to this post.  This always happens to me.  Whenever I end up giving up hope of finding a particular item on sale and finally decide to buy whatever it is that I wanted for more than I wanted to spend I end up finding it soon after for cheap.  Remember I told you about our trip to Walmart in Guilford CT?  Well lo and behold there they were, built NY lunchboxes for $8!  Normally they are $25-30, Paul found mine for $20 and my sister who originally told me about these, waited even longer than me to indulge in this beauty walked out of Walmart with one just one week after Paul splurged for me.  Ugh, FML.  Can't win them all I guess!  I'll just have to make up my losses with all the bringing my lunch to work savings.
Thursday, September 23, 2010

End of Summer Recap Pt 2 Labor Day!

Labor Day was AWESOME this year.  We got to go out of town to my sister's brand new to her lake house in Guilford CT.  First of all it was fun to get to hangout with my sister whom I never see two weekends in a row, but secondly her house was BEAUTIFUL.  I mean, if you looked up beautiful in the dictionary you would find her house.  The first pic is of Bailey, he was SO happy because he originally thought we were leaving him and then realized he was coming too!  I love my doggie, especially when he smiles this huge smile as seen below.

 After Paul, Bailey and I soaked up the beauty of her house, my sister wanted to show me around the town.  Somehow this started with a pit stop in Walmart for some food and supplies, but that's cool.  We actually found these really cute shirts!  The first one I found was perfect for her.  It was this little red tshirt with some writing that said "Trust me I'm a Dr." then a label of Dr. Pepper on the bottom.  Nothing could have been more perfect for my "20 year old looking" sister who is a Dr., but who manages to get carded more than me more often then I'd like to mention.  We then walked around the Guilford Green which has all these cute mom and pop artsy type shops, went to bishops orchard where I had my first honey crisp apple of the season.  If you haven't tried a honey crisp apple get on it!!  We also happened to be in town for the taste of Guilford, I was honestly more psyched for this than I should have been.  Taste of Reston was much better.  Taste of Guilford was kind of expensive for not a lot of food.   

The best part of the weekend was just relaxing with the fam and watching Bailey hang out with his cousin dogs Sam and Pasha.  I can't wait until my sister and I to both have kids and we can watch them run around with our dogs in this beautiful new house.  What a wonderful dream fulfilled.  Here are some pics from the weekend.  Bailey even got to go kayaking and canoeing!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of Summer Recap Pt 1

Originally I started writing this post a few weeks ago but got too busy and had to rename it from weekend recap to end of summer recap..OOPS

I'll start off with the last weekend in Aug.  What an awesome weekend!  The weather in DC was perfect!  What was even better was that my sister Ruth came into town on thursday night for a long weekend visit.  We woke up friday morning, relished in the fact that neither of us had to go to work and took off for a walk with Bailey on a glorious, sunny, cloudless and most importantly workfree day.  It was awesome.  We came back from our walk and decided to do our normal Ruthie comes to town routine and hit all her favorite fairfax shopping spots.  Our first stop was the brand spanking new Nordstrom Rack that opened the day before within walking distance to my house (yes, be jealous)!  The new store is great, super clean, organized and loaded with lots of cheap, but formerly expensive items.  The shoe section, especially for men is great.  They had loads of cole haan men shoes for $60.  The shoe section overall is also great because you no longer have all these left shoes where you have to go ask them for the right one to try on the pair.  The lingerie section is also fabulous.  I scored some great calvin klein bras for $10 (normally $50).

Saturday rolled around and my neighborhood had a community yardsale.  My sister in law Anita lucked out because 99% of the sales were baby things which her Mom, twin sister Christine and I proudly scooped up for the 2nd newest baby to be in our family.  For about $200, she got an almost new chicco travel system (next door neighbors, car seat = no accidents), an awesome electric swing and few bouncers and an activity mat.  Paul and I bought some books and a couple cute items to decorate with over the upcoming fall and winter holidays.  All in all, it was a success!  My sister and I did show up about 5 minutes too late for a beautiful $2 grey cashmere sweater.  Probably for the best though; how would we have decided who got to keep it.

I had planned for us to go to Eastern Market, a local DC landmark that we'd all never been to.  Apparently, I was the only one who wanted to go :(  Instead they wanted to go outlet shopping.  Still cool by me, but hopefully one of these days this born and raised DC girl can make it to Eastern Market!  After the outlets, our neighbors told us to hang out with them that night at the nearby Tarara winery.  They were having an 80's band at their outdoor pavilion.  I love Tarara and I love summer picnic concerts, so this was an awesome saturday night.  Sadly though, Tarara no longer carries their most popular and my personal favorite: red table wine in a pretty blue bottle.

Sunday was my Uncle's wedding.  It was held at the cabin john park in Bethesda under this HUGE sycamore tree.  What a beautiful and simple wedding.  I'm so happy for him that he was finally found such a great woman.  Perfect weather for a perfect couple on their perfect wedding day.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Frugalicious Fail

So, if you have been reading my blog  you might notice that I like poking fun at my hubby.  I think after 11 years together he expects it and is ok with it, but either way I wanted to share this little antecdote from last night.

I should start with this post having absolutely nothing to do with saving money and has everything to do with my silly husband Paul!  I should have made him write this post. 

Anyways, Paul strots in yesterday from his trip to the dry cleaner hands me the mail and kisses me hello.  Nothing strange about this welcome yet.  Then I spot behind his super wrinkle free shirts which were dry cleaned at $2 each (Fail #1), that his old khaki paint ridden shorts are hanging very neatly and pressed on a dry cleaning hanger! So I ask him whats up and he says oh the button popped off (go to the gym Paul), so I had them fix the button and DRY CLEAN MY SHORTS!  Who sends their old cotton shorts to get dry cleaned?  I really wonder what the dry cleaners thought when he brought those in.

Anyways, since he's my best friend, is the source for my funny non money saving stories and I love him more than yesterday and less than tomorrow, Paul is still mine for keeps!

Any one else with money fails feel to share?
Monday, August 16, 2010

St. Lucia Roundup

St. Lucia was awesome!  I wish we could go back.  We spent 8 days 7 nights on the beautiful island and honestly the best part about the trip was the culture.  People in DC really are not very nice comparatively.  Our taxi driver Humberg was the coolest; he took us down the Petit Piton to go to the volcano, mineral baths, botanical gardens and hot and cold waterfalls. 

We thought he was going to just drop us off, but he ended up deciding to be our fly by the seat of his pants tour guide!  He knew everyone on the island and gave us a chance to see and feel things all the other tourists couldn't (lucky me).  He got us some awesome mangoes by having this guy climb a tree right outside of the waterfalls.  Then when I told him later that it had been the best mango I'd ever had, he said wait until you taste a pineapple from my house.  He actually came back the next day to visit and bring me the world's best pineapple (sweet and straight from the heart).  

Think hard about when was the last time some taxi driver in DC said, I'll meet you back here with a "xyz" from my yard and you didn't want to call the cops or fox 5 to investigate this psycho.  Seriously, St. Lucians are the nicest people, I'd love to bring a whole lot of them back to the DC to teach everyone how simple acts of kindness are the greatest beauty in the world.  I'm thinking my old boss from Intersections could use a good 2 months of their instruction.

Another fav was the awesomeness of the first leg of our trip being free!  As I said in an earlier post all you have to do is ask; this concept also goes for signing up for things (within reason..only legitimate places please).  One of my fav websites the Nest was giving away a trip for two to St. Lucia if you made a webpage and entered their contest.  I did, and they liked mine the most and voila 3 free nights at the windjammer hotel in a 1 bedroom luxury villa with a plunge pool!

The funniest part is those who know me well know I'm UBER competitive.  I mean so much so that when I put my name in for this contest I was thinking to myself no other bitches are winning this, I've got this.  Then I gave myself a pat on the back for a job well done on the webpage.  The Windjammer reminded me of Santorini Greece.  It is all these spanish style villas built up a huge cliff.  It was beautiful.  Our 1 bedroom villa was amazing with ocean views from the two level deck that had an infinity plunge pool that appeared as if you could touch the ocean.  The food was great and we did some snorking excursions and went on a great "booze cruise" aka a catamaran boat loaded with a bunch of newlyweds, Rum Punch and local Piton beer (very good if you ever go).

The second 1/2 of our trip we stayed at the Jalousie Plantation. We did this so we could see the southern and northern end of the island.  It was nice to have done this but if you really just want to relax, stay in one place.  Getting from one place to the other freaking sucks in St. Lucia because it cost up the wazoo for anything that uses gas and since you are on a mountainous island you can only go 30 mph around the mountain over and over again until you finally get to your destination.  Best way to travel there is by boat, although the taxi views are amazing too. 

At the Jalousie, we did a lot of eating, drinking and snorkeling (we bought a waterproof cover for our camera).  Our first dinner there the hotel was trying out this new set 4 course dinner for $75 for both of us.  It was so good and we were so stuffed.  We spent friday at a local fish fry in Anse Le Raye where Paul karaoked like the cool white boy he is, Humberg our taxi driver looked on with a grin and of course the rest of the locals loved him too.  While I recoved from our street party the next morning, I had a fresh coconut chopped for me right on the beach, that was pretty cool.  I didn't think the milk was that good, so the hotel beach waitress said it's better with local rum.  Promptly there after the red flag for service went up and I had made myself a little pina colada!  Are you guys catching a drinking trend here?  I seriously can't believe I got to live this life for a week (I should have shot my pinky out like a snot face while drinking my coconut). 

Snorkeling on the base of the Pitons was the best, we saw so much and it was so cool to get up off your beach chair and walk right over to this 3,000 ft mountain.  We even got to try scuba diving for free which was awesome.  I thought my ear drums might break at first but then I learned how to equalize and I was all set. 

All in all it was amazing.  Both hotels were great and we got a great deal (free and then a two bedroom house with plunge pool for $170 a night).  If you are in for an adventurous vacation, head to St. Lucia.  If you don't like lots of rain, don't do what we did and go during rainy season.  It would pour for 5 min and then be sunny again.  We had some rainbows and laughs because rain is really not that bad when it comes when you are on vacation, hot and happen to be sipping a pina colada and are too comfy and lazy to take the 4 steps to the ocean to cool off...

Hope you enjoyed the pics!  Any suggestions on our next trip?