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.