Fantastic Weekend!
May 3, 2009

I love when I take an otherwise dreary, rainy weekend and make it fabulous!  Friday, I relaxed after work with a good friend, a bottle of wine, a movie, and great conversation.

Saturday I started off right, with a steam and a therapeutic massage.  (I highly recommend scheduling a massage several weeks from now, then getting the pleasant surprise when the appointment rolls around!)  The weather was still pretty damp, so I put off visiting the craft fair.  (unfortunately they canceled it for weather)  But I finally put my tomato plants in the ground and planted my herbs and pepper plant in containers.

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Lemon basil and Thai Star basil in container on left, Greek Columnar basil, Italian parsley, and Dill in containers on right.  A baby pepper plant in the white container and two kinds of tomatoes in the ground!

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After cleaning off the mud, I caught up with lots of friends at a housewarming party.  Then ended the night, with the First Saturday Gallery Crawl in downtown.  Bouncing around to several art galleries, checking out the great art is always a blast.  And free!

Sunday, I joined friends for a Slow Food Hot Dog Day at the cutest hot dog weenery.  Yes, I did just use that word and it was fantastic.  The gourmet dogs were great, but the toppings were more than I could fit on one bun!  Then I spent some quality time at my favorite east side coffee shop until my next adventure.

After catching up over a glass of wine, I went with a friend to the latest ecoChic Swap!  I loved my last ecoChic adventure and once again this one did not disappoint.  I even won two of the raffle prizes, $50 gift certificate to a vintage store and gift certificate to yoga classes I can take with my ecoChic buddy!  Here is my fabulous haul!

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Yes, I did get more shoes!  I know I admit I have a shoe problem (is it really a problem?), but in all fairness, I took four pairs there and only came home with three pairs!  A pair of fabulous red boots, some purple striped wedges with ribbons that wrap around your ankles, and cutesy black patent mary jane peep toe heels!

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My final haul in addition to the shoes: Brown Gap jacket, brown striped purse, purple wallet, pink workout tank top, brown sweater dress, cute fancy tank top, Levi jeans, plaid pants, red shirt, Benetton summer top, and floral wrap blouse.  I got some great things for work and some fun clothes too!  Next one is September and is vintage only.  Time to start scouring thrift stores for vintage stuff to exchange!  After our haul, my ecoChic buddy and I had some dinner at a fun little east side Mexican restaurant.

What a fabulous way to spend my weekend.  I wish all my rainy days were this much fun!

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How many steps?
February 27, 2009

My name is Sally…and I’m a shoe-aholic.  It’s official, I think I  have a problem and need to seek out a program.  The first step is admitting you have a problem right?  I have been really good the past few years with my shoe expenditures.  Whether that was actually “being good” or the result of being a broke adult grad student, we will never know.  Regardless, I was good about purging at least a pair or two at the end of the year and not buying shoes, unless I really needed them (like new running sneakers).

But I’ve officially ended my streak.  So far, this year alone, I have purchased 11 pairs of shoes.  (and it’s only the second month!)  I know and understand that most people don’t even own 11 pairs, much less 11 new ones, but to quote Barbie…I really needed them.  (in the way that you really need that extra piece of cake – rationalizing is a beautiful thing) 

At the beginning of the year, I scored 4 pairs of shoes at the closing of the overpriced big box retailer store.  I got a great deal on them, and was in need of some new work shoes that are dressy casual and that I can wear around town.  Then, I went to the ecoChic Swap, and scored two more pairs.  And to be fair, it wasn’t like I purchased those, they were swapped or selected in the free-for-all.  Well, I happened to be at another big box mall retailer this week (don’t judge I was picking something up, not intending to shop) and not only were the shoes 70% off, but everything in the store was an additional 40% off!   I managed to walk away with another 5 pairs!  Yes, five.  They are all very cute and I know I will wear them and I wasn’t caught up in the sale frenzy.  I just couldn’t leave them behind, they were each perfect in their own way.

So, yes, I have a problem and may need to look into 12 steps for it.  First step – admitting the problem.  But I’m just worried that one of those steps involves getting rid of my shoes and I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

Happy cheap heart candy day!
February 15, 2009

That’s right, it’s one of my favorite times of year!  Cheap candy day!  It only happens three times a year, February 15, another day in the spring, and November 1.  Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Halloween are the best candy holidays.  Regardless of whether you buy into the commercialism or spiritualism of any of those holidays, you can’t deny the thrill of 50% off candy!

It was a great weekend!  After a long week, I met the girls from work at the local brewery for a brew.  Then I met my Valentine for some sushi before he had to do some late night work.  I got up early on Saturday, and got in another run.  (yay, I’m running again!)  Then I made some candy for my Valentine – chocolate covered peanut butter balls, both creamy and extra crunchy.  I also got him a really cool vintage retro robot that he opened when we got home later that evening.  He told me he had surprise plans at 3:30.  I LOVE surprises and it was wonderful!  First, he picked me up and took me to my favorite indie theater to see an old movie with Charlie Chaplin.  It was a later, talkie movie where Chaplin plays this French character, Monsieur Verdoux, not the Tramp character that brought him more fame.  I absolutely adore old movies.  And especially at the Belcourt.

Then we walked around the trendy college part of town for a little while because we had a half hour before our next destination.  (hint- tune in for the next post to reveal something cool I discovered there!)  My Valentine then took me to a new tapas restaurant in town that everyone’s been raving about, and I coincidentally know the executive chef from my figure skating days.  Earlier in the week, I pointed out an article about the restaurant to him while we were hanging out.  Apparently after I left, he called and made reservations!  This place was incredible!!  I had heard great things, but it didn’t even begin to scratch the surface.  This is definitely my new favorite place for both high end and small bites.  We shared the most fantastic food and dessert!  It was definitely my best Valentine’s ever!  (and I don’t really like V-day)  My Valentine is definitely pretty great!

This morning we walked to the local bagel shop, but they were out of the awesome wraps, so we made our own. Yum!  While my Valentine went to a baby shower, I took his pup to the dog park.  That was so much fun, and cold!

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We spent nearly an hour there and he was pooped out when he got home.

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I’m still giddy from the weekend.  Now, I’m off to Bama’s for a little cable watching!

Score!
February 10, 2009

This past Sunday I attended ecoChic Swap.  This was SO much fun!  Basically, I dropped off 5 things I didn’t want anymore.  Then on Sunday I showed up, got a glass of wine, and browsed all the things that other people brought to give away.  I managed to grab a couple things I wanted, and lucked out in the dressing room when someone else couldn’t fit into or didn’t want other items that were perfect for me.  It was a lot of fun, everyone was very nice, and they had tons of sizes and styles.  And I ran into quite a few people I’ve met before there, too.  I got a lot of great stuff in exchange for my items and all for free, with a $5 donation, but I got even more during the ‘free for all’ at the end.

Here are my 5 items I exchanged for my “tickets.”  A fabulous leather jacket, a pair of Ann Taylor pants, a fun hoodie, cute wedges, and a (I think) vintage Puma jacket.

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And here are my other scores.  Even Diva Kitty approves.

score-2I walked away with an additional: pair of J. Crew pants, Ann Taylor skirt, embroidered T-shirt, J.Crew jacket/shirt, turtleneck sweater, black Kenneth Cole shirt, black and brown Puma sneakers, and a striped summer skirt (seen beneath Diva Kitty).

I definitely love Sunny’s idea to start ecoChic to save money and to be more environmentally friendly by recycling clothes!  You better believe that I’m already thinking about the next one scheduled for May 3rd!  It’s already on my calendar and I have a reminder set for pre-registration.

Frugal Sally
January 6, 2009

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Sally is taking steps for a more prosperous year (read, once again perfecting her frugal side) and wants to share her economic plan.

As I reported yesterday, I called Comcast and switched to their budget internet service.  They won’t tell you that they have a cheaper version of their internet service, but if you call and ask for it, they will gladly set you up.  It’s a slightly slower speed, but so far, I don’t notice much of a difference in my internet connection and look forward to my new bill. I also decided to save some money and put in some elbow grease.  We’ll see how long this lasts, but it’s true, Sally will no longer pay a service for home cleaning.  I really despise house cleaning, but there’s got to be a cheaper way and one that’s a little more thorough.  I also decided to extend the time between my hair cut appointments.  I acknowledge that I am probably a little bit more extravagant in this department, but I do get great entertainment with my fabulous hairdresser.  However, if I add in at least another 3-4 weeks between appointments, I’m cutting out up to the expense of 2 whole appointments a year, which is a nice little bit of change.

Here are some other tips that I actually started last year, but plan to continue.  When the weather’s good I try to walk or bike to work as often as possible.  I save on gas, help the environment, and get a little extra exercise.  I also take advantage of Free Movie Monday.  Redbox (you know, those little red kiosks outside the golden arches and inside grocery stores) will send you a text message with a code on Mondays for a free movie rental if you give them your cell phone number.  I know the movies are usually only a dollar plus tax, but hey this way I get free entertainment while my Neflix movies are in the mail from the weekend.  Besides it’s a great opportunity to try out a potentially bad movie without wasting any money.  Another obvious one is bringing my lunch to work  and trying to limit my eating out at lunch to once a week.  It also helps me eat healthier.  Finally, I have been trying to sign up for eBilling whenever possible either through my bank or through the actual company sending me a bill.  Not only am I saving a stamp (and in one case getting a discount on my loan interest rate), but I’m also helping the environment by choosing to receive bills electronically rather than in the mail.

What are your planned budget cuts this year?

P.S. many thanks to Abby Cat for the use of her lolcat image!  Please vote for her lolcat here!

What a day!
January 5, 2009

Well, the holidays are officially over (for now). The first day back to work for a full week’s grind went fairly well and proved productive. Once home, full on pasta, and entertained from Free Movie Monday, I decided to finally tackle my bills and finances. Yeah…should have gotten to that sooner. But not too many crises that couldn’t be averted. This task took longer than I planned, but I also managed to cut down on two of my monthly expenses. Note to Comcast subscribers…they don’t tell you this unless you ask, but they have a ‘discount internet’ rate that is 1 Mbps as opposed to 6 Mbps and a little bit cheaper. I’ll let you know if I notice any difference in speed, but I honestly don’t use the internet at home as much anymore.

After spending a couple hours in front of the computer, organizing finances, setting up filing, and making payments, I finally relaxed and checked some email and read blogs before bed. That’s when I noticed it…

Hooter is back!

I have an owl that lives in my favorite old tree in my backyard. I usually hear him in the summer and fall. But as I sit here, I hear the distinctive…

“Who…Who…Who!”

All is calm in Sally’s world again!