so i’m considering coupon fraud…

28 03 2011

and  i KNOW that its wrong, but the deal is really good, and i’m feeling the strong pull of temptation.

you need to talk me out of it.

or possibly talk me into it.

so, this week the $7 extrabucks on physician’s formula (are they going out of business or something?) deal is back at CVS, and better than ever. you do only get one per household, but if you borrow your boyfriend’s CVS card, you could probably grab 2 without suspicious (not that i know anyone who does that ever).

but that’s not where the real bad feelings settle in.

last week, physician’s formula was on sale for 40% off at CVS (seriously, something is going on with them) and my friend forwarded me this link to a $5.00 coupon! now, this would have been awesome if the coupon wasn’t already out of prints. but then i clicked on the image of the coupon in the post… and there it was- completely clar and printable, just BEGGING me to print 5. so i did.

i haven’t actually used any of them yet (i managed resist the 40% off temptations last week), but the $7 extrabuck deal might be too much to resist.

when there were still prints left on the website, it did pop out in PDF format- just begging to be printed out multiple times. theoretically, i could have printed a whole bunch and just been hoarding them this whole time, right?

i still have several days to decide what to do, but i’m finding myself very torn. are fraudulent coupon assholes like me the reason that physician’s formula appears to be struggling?  is it worth a little minor  infraction for the sake of the makeup project (my freebie cosmetics hoard has become a complete OBSESSION)?

say NO to the dress: why paying the rent should be a bigger priority than feeling like a princess.

11 03 2011

behold, the classic slut bride!anybody who follows me on twitter knows that i’ve been watching A LOT Of say yes to the dress (there are 78 episodes on netflix instant!). the thing is, it’s a TERRIBLE show. like the worst possible people that you can imagine whining, and crying, and hissy fitting all over the store until some poor frazzled family member agrees to spend $11,000 on a skin tight cacophony of beads, lace, tulle, crystals and bad taste (don’t even get me started on the whore-bride trend…). this dress will invariably made by a woman named pnina tornai. this woman must be stopped. but again, that’s a conversation for another day…

i can’t seem to stop myself from watching the show, but with each subsequent viewing, i become more and more furious.

as you will learn shortly, there are actually only 2 kinds of brides that shop at kleinfeld. they are both equally revolting.  Read the rest of this entry »

the currency of villainy.

30 03 2010

first and foremost i want to thank you all for being sweet and sticking up for me today. you all made my crappy weekend infinitely less stupid. in addition, i am definitely feeling less sick, and we were able to talk the condo roof assessment down to $3750 per unit.  although if you see my insurance adjuster, please tell her to fucking return my calls!  but enough about that.

after getting that mean comment yesterday, i’ve been thinking a lot about what the future holds for me and my identity as a blogger. at this point, i feel exceptionally lucky that i’ve only ever had 2 negative comments in the 6 month life span of my little website. but as my traffic count starts to swell (swell obviously being a  relative term), so does the possibility that people aren’t going to like what i have to say. and the truth is, i’m not that nice. the person who told me i should stick to reviewing PB&Js did so because i completely eviscerated a local restaurant. and i did so unapologetically. i’m blunt and brutal and bitchy. sometimes for comic effect, and sometimes because i’m honest and i don’t care to waste time candy coating things with a protective layer of waffling and neutrality.

unfortunately, with this inability/unwillingness to play nice, i make myself a target for naysayers. as much as there are people in the universe who would shank their own grandma to avoid a conflict, there are other people out there who would shank their own grandma to start a conflict, because picking fights gets them off. the internet is the perfect place to do this because you never have to use your real name, use your real email address, or tell anyone what restaurant you work for when you’re telling someone they’re not qualified to opine about anything higher up the food chain than peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… the internet makes people ballsier and nastier than ever with absolutely no fear of repercussion.

but is it really so bad? if i want my readership to grow, is it time for me start filing off my sharp edges? criticism feels bad right now because i’m not used to it, but a lot of people have gotten very famous being the bad guy. howard stern, rush limbaugh, gargamel, destro… being hated means that people are paying attention. being hated means that people care enough to have formed an opinion. is being merely likable compelling enough to keep people visiting every day? exactly how evil do i have to be to get more people to subscribe to my RSS?

but seriously, i don’t think i’ll be amping up or amping down my level of darkness any time in the near future. i’ll never be polly people pleaser, but i also have a hard time being pointlessly mean spirited. as those cheap shots start rolling in… it will be a challenge to decide how to handle them. it is tempting to join the pissing match, be the villain, especially when being the hero seems like such a fucking snooze (sorry captain america, no thank you). in the meantime, before i start concepting possible furniture layouts for castle grayskull, i think i’ll settle quietly somewhere in the anti-hero category for a while. that way, i can still be fundamentally good, without having to be fundamentally boring or having my purity of spirit make other people uncomfortable (i’m pretty sure people probably make an effort not to swear in front of superman).

now what the hell do i do with it?

26 01 2010

perhaps you’ve heard me spout off before about how i refuse to buy anything that  i either don’t use, or that can’t be donated. the scary truth is that you can technically “donate” anything by ditching it at an unattended donation center, or camouflaging the rogue goods in with other more useful items, but i don’t play that way. my concept of donation-worthy means that the product being donated can actually be used by cause it is being donated to. for example, i’m pretty sure there isn’t a cause that exists that needs lee press on nails. thus, i don’t buy them.

anyway, blood glucose monitors had always been on my “no buy” list, but this week i’m reevaluating that stance after reading this kick ass article on couponsdealsandmore. it really made me think about all the other things on my list that might be more donate-able than i give them credit for. air fresheners? nope. box haircolor? still nope. diet pills? NEVER! make-up? maybe.

i’m a pretty low maintenance girl, and what products i do use,  i’m fiercely brand-loyal. however, there are usually tons of great drugstore deals on cosmetics every week, and every week i pass them by.  maybe it’s time to reconsider.  i did a little bit of research today, and was able to come up with a few ways that your unopened lipstick stash (be it from couponing or impulse buying) can find a good home.

1. my first call was to the preble street resource center. although they don’t list cosmetics on their in-kind donation list, they will most definitely accept them. i spoke with the (very nice and extremely helpful) head of their in-kind donations program, and she said that they don’t get a lot of that sort of thing, but that they do go over well both at the women’s shelter and teen center. that said, they don’t exactly need a dumptruck of eyeliner to show up at their doors, but unopened cosmetics included with other in-kind approved products are most certainly welcome.

2. my next stop was the southern maine branch of dress for success. a very cool program that promotes  economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire and career development, they do accept donations of unopened cosmetics.  Unfortunately at the moment (due to the small size of their current facility), they have had to put a halt  on accepting donations of any items (including cosmetics), except the following:

-women’s winter dress coats/lined raincoats in all sizes
-women’s professional clothing ONLY in sizes 16 and up
-new knee highs and trouser socks
-shoes that are new or barely worn in sizes 8 and up

they will update their website when they are able to accept more items, but in the meantime- go dig through your closet, or load up on knee-highs the next time you’re at rite aid!

3. in my googling travels, i also came across this pretty cool new jersey based organization called cosmetics for a cause. if nothing else, maybe we can send our donations in the mail?

all in all, it looks like there aren’t a ton of cosmetic donation opportunities, but maybe more than you thought (certainly more than i thought). if you can’t find an opportunity that works in your area, you can always use your good old fashioned yankee ingenuity and make one of your own. maybe there’s a local community theater that could use some new make-up, a broke friend who needs to throw a kick-ass sweet 16 party, or you could just sell it on ebay or craigslist and donate the money to whoever you like. as tim gunn would say, make it work!

although as a side note, you might want to leave the day-glo clown-whore make-up at the cvs. try to go for things that are professional, clean looking, and appropriate for all ages.

to sir with love.

11 12 2009

riddle me this: we trust our teachers with the education and well-being of our children for the majority of their day, every day. we know that educators are hugely influential in the growth and development of our children. we know that teachers are undercompensated and overworked. we know that education is a labor of love, and that a really amazing teacher can positively change our children’s lives… in short, teachers are totally awesome- so why do we think that a $5 tchotchke  from the christmas tree shop is an appropriate way to show our thanks?

i don’t actually have any kids, but i do have a number of friends who are teachers, and i’ve seen some pretty amazingly awful things get toted home dutifully in brightly colored gift bags. seriously people, COOL IT WITH THE APPLE STUFF! (or anything that says #1 teacher or has a school bus on it for that matter).

i found this incredible article, where 2500 teachers were polled about what makes a good teacher gift, and i was a little surprising.  here is what i learned:

1. the best gifts are personal, it doesn’t even have to cost money. teachers aren’t expecting fancy swag, but they do like to know that they are recognized and appreciated. a home made card and heartfelt sentiment from you and/or your child (preferably both) will win hands down over a bargain bin sno-globe any day. however, if you can wrap your sentiment around a nice gift… well then, all the better.

2. gift cards/certificates! chances are you don’t know where your teacher likes to shop, or what he/she does on her free time- so generic bank gift cards, target, starbucks, or mall gift cards are pretty safe. a gift certificate to a  local day spa or nice local restaurant* is also appropriate. *NOTE* this does not mean APPLEBEES, it means locally owned, a little on the upscale side, and with incredible food (my beloved caiola’s would be a perfect choice). also, the amount should be enough for a full meal. for gift cards in general, if you can’t afford to give a reasonable amount- then don’t go this route. just stick with the nice card option as detailed above.

3. stuff! so you want to give a concrete “little something”, that’s fine. just stay away from the apple/teacher oriented garbage (because that is where it will inevitably wind up), and try to get something that is attractive, useful, and of good quality. a few ideas that won’t descimate your budget:

a really nice (and possibly eco-friendly) travel mug.

– an adorable novelty flash drive.

– a set of beautiful stationery or blank cards (i’m talking letter-press here not hallmark gold crown).

– a nice and sturdy reusable bag (teachers always have so much to carry!).

– or, take up a collection with the other parents, and buy one big ticket item like tickets to a pro sports game, a really kick-ass gift card, or something specifically tailored to suit your favorite teacher.

not earth shatteringly innovative,  but definitely less likely to wind up at the goodwill.

5. pitfalls! along with not buying crap, there are a couple other things to avoid in the world of classy teacher gift giving:

a gift for the classroom is not a gift for the teacher. if you want to gift the classroom with something nice, then do that separately. give the teacher something for him/her. you wouldn’t give your housekeeper windex as a holiday gift (or would you!?).

food is a slippery slope. anything low-fat, low-cal, or diet seems insulting. anything high fat or decadent is just unhealthy (and probably compounded by saturated fat laden food gifts from at least 10 other parents). aim for something in the middle. i think they’re tacky as hell, but those edible arrangements seem popular, or maybe some gorgeous foil wrapped fruit from harry & david? or if you must give sweets, let them be the best sweets available. unless they’re diabetic or allergic to chocolate, godiva is usually a no-fail situation.

at the end of the day, teacher gifts are optional, not required. if you can’t muster up anything genuinely nice or thoughtful to say to/give to your child’s teacher (let’s face it, they’re not all gems), then skip it entirely. chances are, they won’t even notice.

happy birthday baby jesus, i hope you like crap.

4 12 2009

wordpress usually has some interesting tidbits in the “freshly pressed” section of their home page. so today i’m checking it out, and i see an article entitled “10 Great Host/Hostess Gifts for the Holidays“, and i’m excited because i’m looking for good ideas for my “cheap and lazy xmas” series that i’m running this month- and hostess gifts are always tough. but i wouldn’t be writing this post unless i was either totally amazed, or horribly disappointed by the article. can you guess which one?

the list certainly wasn’t terrible- more criminally average. definitely not worthy of the title “great”, more  like “dr. obvious buys a hostess gift”. um, does anyone really need to be reminded that wine is an appropriate gift? a little zazz please!

1. wine is great and all… but booze is better. nothing says classy like a bottle of really good scotch.  i like johnny walker black.  for about $30 a bottle (750 ml), it will last longer than a bottle of wine, give you a better buzz, and make you look waaaay continental. although if $30 is out of your price range (or your host/ess isn’t worth it), bring beer! with all the other bottles of wine that the host/hostess will get- somebody will be really jazzed to crack into the 30 pack of PBR that you brought.

2. if you must bring a kitchen gadget, skip the william sonoma and go for something with a little more personality. i heart anything by alessi, but you could also go for some sassy refrigerator decals, or an amazing serving tray.  too much $$$? go vintage with something unexpected. you really want to go for that “holy shit that’s the awesomest thing ever”, not so much the ” i got the same one for my mom last year at bed bath & beyond”.

3. survivor style. bring some crazy foreign food with you. i tried pickled walnuts last year at xmas (sort of mushy and sour). do you know that they make kit kats in crazy flavors like ginger ale and sweet potato in japan? how about hitting the asian market for some seaweed flavored chips? or going all tophats and monocles with some caviar? i like to pick something that’s kind of gross/weird, but that people will be willing to try. hilarity ensues, i promise.

4.  games! it’s tough if you don’t know the host/hostess very well because you don’t want to give them something they already have. however, sometimes a fun group game like balderdash or apples to apples is a great way to loosen up a lame fete. want something less structured? try a really good book of party games .

5. kick ass holiday mix tape. i made my dad a mix cd  called “no more manheim steamroller please” a few years ago, and it’s still in heavy xmas rotation. holiday music doesn’t have to be grating and sing songy (or weird and new agey if you’re my dad). there is a crapload of amazing holiday music out in the world right now that doesn’t have anything to do with bing crosby (although i do love to throw a few classics into the mix). pick a playlist appropriate to the tone of the party (maybe not “oi to the world” for the office holiday party).  some suggestions: sufjan stevens put out an incredible xmas album (my favorite is “come on! let’s boogey to the elf dance!), i listen to “donna & blitzen” from badly drawn boy year round, and what party doesn’t need “yellin at the christmas tree” by billy idol?

6. some down time. maybe if your host and/hostess has spent a lot of time on the preparation/throwing of the party, it might be nice to give them something to do/watch/read when it’s all over and they finally get a chance to sit down. i can’t recommend hard enough my very favorite xmas book “holidays on ice” by david sedaris, or my all time favorite xmas movie “scrooged” (bill murray when he was still funny!),  but really any good book or movie (holiday or non) will do. sharing something that you love is pretty much always a good gift.

7. you. whether it’s taking over the bar and mixing everyone up cilantro stingers while the host is manically chopping crudite… playing master dj when the shuffle setting on the party ipod hits a deep pocket of yani… or  staying late to help clean up before the cup rings settle in permanently… if you have no money- just show up to a party and be helpful as hell. they won’t remember who bought which bottle of moderately priced wine, but they will remember what a rockstar you are.

as always, remember that it isn’t the dollar amount, it’s the thought you put into it. and also, what lame holiday parties really need isn’t more wine, it’s laughter, good conversation, and possibly a pair of helpful hands… oh, and definitely NOT more scented candles. (seriously, go put those back).

a very drugstore xmas.

3 12 2009

as we continue our journey through the recesses of the internet in search of awesome stuff that can be purchased for cheap without having to go outside… i thought i’d take a little detour and talk about xmas shopping at the drugstore (because we’re there all the time anyway, and who doesn’t want to pay for their xmas gifts with extrabucks?) without it looking like “i forgot to get you a present so i picked up something crappy at the drugstore on my way over”.

first, a few THINGS TO AVOID:

boxed candy. aren’t we fat enough already? also, nothing says “i picked this up at the drugstore/supermarket/gas station” like a box of russell stover. you may as well just hand them a card that says “you don’t matter”.  if it ain’t godiva (or something equally exotic and amazing), don’t bother.

aftermarket electornics. want to experience the true look of disappointment on a child’s face? give them something that sort of looks like an ipod, but most definitely IS NOT. it’s cheap shit that is likely to embarrass your children in front of their peers. if it says CRAIG or COBY, drop it. please. (don’t even get me started on the “zone40 wireless gaming system“)

shrink wrapped bath sets in baskets. seriously, nothing makes me itchier than thinking about using cheap/overly scented bath products. plus, nobody really uses this shit. you’re basically saying “merry xmas, i got you something to take up space under your sink for the next 5 years until you have a garage sale or get the cojones to throw it out”. nobody wants these, i promise.

anything “as seen on tv”. yeah, i’m talking about you snuggie.

cautions aside, there are actually a number of perfectly thoughtful, or at least not crappy gift ideas to be had at your local rite aid, or cvs, or walgreens….

be the personal hygiene fairy. toss back the scented body lotions, and put together your own “gift set” of stuff that your friends actually use. especially your broke friends. before my couponing catharsis, i used to dread buying personal hygiene products because they drove up the price of my weekly groceries exponentially. toothpaste is expensive! poke through your friend’s bathrooms when they’re not looking, and write down the brands they use. then, put together a cute little box with a few of each item (toothpaste, soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, razors…). it may not be very sexy, but it’s thoughtful, and they’re guaranteed to use it. and isn’t that the key to giving a really good gift?

go overboard! if you know someone who really loves snickers bars… or mac & cheese… or chapstick… or whatever, nothing is as adorable as giving them a big box full of that love.  a year’s worth of gummy worms? a sack full of clean socks for your laundry-averse friends? 15 pairs of inexpensive sunglasses for someone who just keeps losing or breaking theirs? hilarious AND thoughtful. *all net*

perfume. just about every drugstore in town has a little glass case tucked into the cosmetics department filled with fancy-ass perfume. i’m not talking “bod” or “designer imposters body spray” here. i’m talking the same stuff you can get at the department store. there’s just something sweetly old fashioned about giving good perfume as a gift. be careful though, scent is a very personal choice. also- make sure that they wear perfume (and that they’re not horribly allergic to it!). in general,  it’s always safe to get someone a bottle of something they already wear (perfume is stupid expensive), and a little note about how much you love their smell.  if you want to strike out and get them something new, i always love the classics (shalimar, giorgio, chloe, halston…). for the younger set, i suggest something culturally relevant, expensive looking, and not too heavy. burberry brit and anything by gwen stefani are generally winners.

– batteries yo! know someone who is getting a wii this year? well, those wireless controllers eat batteries like nobody’s business. lately, there have been a ton of great deals on batteries all over town ($5 duracell SCR at rite aid anyone?), so why not load up on AAs and give your friend a reason to never stop playing elebits. seriously, a big block of batteries and a sweet note about how you want to come over and play (and possibly some beer) is a surprisingly good gift. also, batteries make a great garnish to any electronic gift. nothing sucks harder than having the factory included batteries crap out just moments after you get into your new toys.

gift cards. what’s great about drugstores is that they all have big ass displays with tons of gift cards to choose from. they’re not entirely innovative, but the best gifts are the ones where the receiver is getting something that they want, and a carefully chosen gift card almost always works. emphasis however on the “carefully chosen” part. mall restaurants suck. unless you know someone who genuinely really loves applebees (which might i add is completely depraved), stay away from restaurant gift cards. try also to be age appropriate. nobody under the age of 40 needs a talbots gift card. some generally safe bets are (obviously dependent on age, interests, etc.) gap, old navy, itunes, target, j. crew, l.l. bean, h&m, pottery barn, and starbucks. oh, and make sure it’s worth more than $10 you cheap bastard.

in summation, the key to good gift giving isn’t really where you shop, but being attentive to the needs, wants, interest, and lifestyle of the giftee. take your time and get it right! no matter how little or how much it costs, people will always remember a thoughtful gift, given with love.

bless me father for i have sinned.

26 10 2009

woman in confessionit has been roughly 22 years since my last confession.

yesterday, i snapped at the cashier at the super walmart when she forgot to scan my coupons and then i had to go wait in line at the customer service desk for 15 minutes to get my discount. it sucked, but there’s no excuse for not keeping it classy. if you’re out there cashier lady- i’m sorry for being a giant bitch!

today, when i went to cvs to buy my deodorant haul, 2 of my $2/1 coupons wouldn’t scan in (as i would later verify, because you’re only allowed to use one per purchase), and i let them put them in manually- even though i knew it probably wasn’t as honest as it could have been.  they’re going to charity, but i still feel like kind of a jerk.

at rite aid, my kotex coupon refused to scan (even though it was the right product of the right size) and i held up the line while 2 cashiers tried to figure out what was going wrong. i’m sure i wasted more than $1 of everyone’s time before i finally got my $1.

the burden of stuff.

25 10 2009

DSCN2162i think i’ve mentioned before that i’m a “stuff” person. i love stuff, and i’m likely to continue amassing various bits and pieces forever. however, i have a number of ways that i keep myself from becoming a featured contestant on the hoarders:

1. don’t! as discussed in the “stay classy” area, i never buy things that i don’t use or can’t donate. when i first started cvs-ing, i bought everything that would net me a profit. i finally threw away the “slim shots” that i got for free 6 months ago, because there just wasn’t a place for them in my life. and nobody else wanted them. i think they give a lot of stuff away because they’re trying to get rid of it. i won’t let their burden be my burden!

2. never too much to give. i never set a limit on the number of things that i purchase to donate. i have a rubbermaid bin in my hall closet that i bring down to the preble street resource center whenever it gets full. that way, it only ever takes up a predetermined amount of space in my life.  

DSCN21653. enough is enough. even if it’s completely free, and i use it, if there isn’t room in my bathroom/pantry/hall closet for it, then it doesn’t come home. products go stale and go bad and get funny. if i already have a year’s worth of deodorant, then i can wait. chances are, it will be on super-sale again very soon. unless a product that i love is being discontinued, then my stockpile is only allowed to grow within the confines of my 4 walls.

4. purge! donate, recycle, have a garage sale, give to friends or family, put on the street corner and see how long it takes someone to pick it up… if you don’t love it, don’t need it, and can’t use it- GET RID OF IT!

DSCN21635. organize what you have. this guy takes it a little too far, but if you can see what you have- then you know what you need, what you have room for, and what you need to put the brakes on. 

6. curate. not everything has to be out all the time. if you have too much stuff happening on your shelves, walls, cupboards… you can’t see anything. you can’t appreciate anything. you can’t breathe. if you’re careful about what you take in (says the constant flea marketer), and keep your finds within the parameters of a few well groomed collections, i’m pretty sure that life is a little less difficult (and everyone who visits can get a boner for your beautiful, perfectly manicured stuff).

free cookies & juice!

19 10 2009

kokoron-chan-blood-mascot-japanwell, there’s sort of a trade off… if you’ve ever wandered over to my “stay classy” area, then you know that i’m all up into donation. that said, as much as i’m sure we’d all like to be billionaire philanthropists, we’re all clipping coupons for a reason. thus, in comes blood donation! we all have blood (i hope), and generally speaking, more than we need. unfortunately, the red cross does not. even though blood can safely be used/store for 42 days, they generally don’t have more than a 3 or 4 day supply going at a time. this is where you come in!

i donated blood for the first time in february of this year. i’ll admit it, i don’t love needles, and i was very scared- but i survived and lived to donate again (last week). yes, it hurts a bit, but it definitely gets easier each time.

i don’t think you can write it off on your taxes, but it sure is a nice thing to do, and as promised above- free cookies & juice (and sometimes pizza… i also saw some raisins there, but who wants that shit?) when you’re done.