March 29, 2012

Fantastically Free!

Like any good bargain shopper, I enjoy a good sale.  But scoring an item on sale is nothing compared to obtaining that item for FREE!  That's right folks, I have some serious bargain shopper bragging to do.  Welcome to the first edition of "Fantastically Free!"...

Remember the new sucker friend and the 3rd-one-was-a-charm bench we purchased?  We bought them during a Kohl's Cash week -- which means that you get Kohl's Cash back equivalent to a percentage of the price paid for your purchases that you have to use during a designated time period.


Well, we sure put the cold hard green printed Kohl's Cash we received to use...

I'd been eyeing this piece of wall art for months, so naturally this was the first item I thought of to use the Kohl's Cash on.  Lucky for me, Shep liked it too so we got it!


The tricky thing about this frame is that it didn't come with any hanging hardware, so we need to figure out how exactly to get it up on the wall.  It's a wood composite-like material so we should be able to attach hanging hardware to it; we just need to be careful not to split the wood.  Once we figure out how to hang it, we plan to put it above our fireplace.

The second item is one that Shep picked out.  He said that our apartment is too neutral and needs more color, so we got this:


It's colorful alright!  Right now we're using it as a decorative dust collector accent piece on our fireplace, but one day we might actually put flowers in it!

And that, my blogland friends, is our first edition of "Fantastically Free"!  Fantastic + free = happy me.  :)

March 7, 2012

Vacation Idea Fail

Those of you that know me know that I looooove vacations.  I am always dreaming about our next potential vacation.  While I don't know for sure where our travels will next take us, I will tell you what our next vacation WON'T be...

A Titanic Anniversary Cruise?!?!

Am I the only person that thinks this is a terrible idea???  My immediate reaction was:  facepalm

To each his own.  I guess I'm just too superstitious to ever go on a cruise ship voyage to commemorate the anniversary of... a cruise ship sinking and causing 1500 people to die.

March 5, 2012

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe

Catch a storage-solution-for-our-entryway by the toe...  Hmmm, the lyrics don't quite have the same ring but you get the point!  ;)

Since moving in, we've been trying to figure out how to best wrangle our belongings in the entry area.  Hall table?  Coat hooks?  Bench?  We luckily have a functional and spacious coat closet (finally! - our previous apartment hall closet was not deep enough to hang anything in!) but it's jam-packed with coats, scarves, hats, gloves & the like and the doors, while pretty, are not easy to open and close which means we avoid doing so.  ;)  The problem is, the entryway space is pretty tight, so we had to be strategic about which solution to choose.

Option 1
While on a recent trip to a Home Decorators Collection Grand Opening in Vauxhall, NJ, we decided to get a bench for our entryway so we'd have somewhere to sit while putting shoes on/off, cubbies to store our shoes out of sight (and out of the way to prevent tripping) and a convenient place to drop our keys/purse/gloves/briefcase/whatever in lieu of a table.  So after finishing our delicious hot apple cider (thanks Home Decorators Collection grand opening!) we bought ourselves this little guy:

Martha Stewart Living™ Storage Bench
Option 2
After getting Bench #1 home, we found a different bench online that Shep liked better.  It was pricier and didn't come with a cushion, but looked like it was made of nicer-looking materials (real wood perhaps?!) and appeared from the description to hold more shoes.  So, we ordered it:

Winsome® Walnut Finish Storage Hall Bench with Storage
Unfortunately, a few weeks after ordering it I received an email that the bench was back-ordered, and wouldn't ship for several weeks.  We weren't in a huge rush (illustrated by the fact that bench #1 was still in the box we bought it in), so we figured we'd just wait out the backorder.

Option 3
While I was out being a rebel on SuperBowl Sunday, a little sale fairy steered me in the direction of a sign stating that this bench was seriously discounted:

SONOMA life + style® Storage Bench
One of Kohl's famous 50% off sales AND I would get an additional 20% off from the Kohl's charge application I was planning to submit?!  That was enough of an incentive to call the hubby to discuss a revised plan of attack.  After looking up some reviews and measuring the space for the bench out at home on Shep's part, while I anxiously paced the sales floor of Kohl's holding on to a Dyson box on the other end of the phone, we decided to go for it.  So, we bought our third (and final!) bench and decided to return the other two.

Since we've already assembled lucky #3, this particular search has officially ended!  ;)  One more item crossed off the "to get" list... we're making progress!

March 4, 2012

Splurge AND Save?!

Things in life don't always fit solely into one category -- black or white, on or off, positive or negative, pro or con, or even splurge or save!  Many things can fall into multiple categories: splurge AND save.  Like the newest addition to our household...


our Dyson!  We've been debating whether or not to bite the bullet and get one of these bad boys for years.  Literally.  In early January, I sent Shep an email about Dysons being on sale at Macy's, and he responded with the following:

We've been debating to get a Dyson since 2009.   I have the emails to prove it!  Can't we please just get one?  Please?

After a quick search of my emails, I realized he was right.  After literally 3 years of researching, flip-flopping, and buying 2 smaller vacuums that we were less than thrilled with, we decided to bite the bullet and buy a Dyson.  But which one???  There are so many models, all with stellar reviews -- but which one was THE  BEST?  This simple question is what derailed our plans so many times before.  But this time I was serious, and I wasn't going to let my indecision win out yet again.  I spent a couple (more) hours reading reviews on Dyson's website, Amazon, and individual retailer's websites, and decided that an "animal" model would be a great match for the ridiculous amount of hair I shed on a daily basis.  ;)

Now on to the save...

Once I decided which model to purchase, I quickly did a search to see which retailer/website was offering the most competitive deal.  In typical anti-competitive style, the listed sale price was the same everywhere I looked.  (Probably mandated by Dyson, no doubt.)  But I didn't give up there.  Earlier in the week, I'd gone to Kohl's, where I saw a sign advertising 20% off everything in the store in exchange for applying for a Kohl's card.  Sure that "everything" would exclude super-fancy-pants Dysons, I checked with a cashier and was shocked (in a good way!) to learn that the additional 20% did in fact apply to everything in the store - including the vacuums!  In addition, they were offering $10 Kohl's cash for every $50 spent!   Never underestimate the power of coupons and other special offers!  In this case, they helped us save over $100 and scored us over $100 in free Kohl's merchandise!

That combination did the trick - we figured there wouldn't be a better opportunity to save on this purchase, so the time seemed right to take the plunge.  And boy are we glad we did!  Vacuuming (once a former favorite hobby) is now fun again!  But more than fun, it actually accomplishes something!  It gets rid of dirt and dust instead of just blowing it around the apartment.  Go figure!  ;)  Seriously though, to see the amount of dirt this thing gets up is incredible.  Our living room area rug looks good as new again after one no-nonsense vacuum from our new favorite purple friend.  And my long web-like (as Shep lovingly refers to it) hair is no challenge at all for this thing.  We are both 100% satisfied with our long-awaited purchase (and we crossed something off our to-do list that's been 3+ years in the making!) which is the best news of all.  ;)