Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is Christmas TOMORROW?!

Tomorrow is December. Can you believe it? It has been a couple of super busy months, and I have been completely behind on the blog and posting the projects I have been working on. Life sometimes gets complicated. I do have a few really exciting projects that I am just putting the final touches on, so I will share them soon. I will also be sharing some holiday projects, sites, bargains, and decor, both old and new, in the next 25 days until Christmas.

So that you don't miss out on any fun holiday posts, be sure to subscribe to the blog via the menu on the right hand side. Simply type in your e-mail, and all my posts will be delivered directly to your e-mail. Easy Peasy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Impromptu Dinner Party

Last night we had our families over for dinner, and for the first time in the 4 years we have been in our house, we decided to do dinner outside. I have always wanted to have a beautiful dinner party on our patio, but in Florida, 90% of the time, the nights are humid and buggy. But last night was a perfect night and we had many reasons to be thankful to all be together.

With an hour to set up, I first brought out our two 6' folding tables, that we got at a Black Friday deal last year for $29 each, and our 8 folding chairs that we use ALL THE TIME for various get togethers.  To round out the seating for our 11 guests, we used our wicker bench (found for free in an alley behind our house) and our desk chair with pillow.

Next, I covered the tables with two green Ralph Lauren tablecloths that I bought at HomeGoods 6 years ago for $7 each. They are used pretty much every Christmas (I now have red ones too!) and every holiday in between. Green is actually a neutral color, so they go with everything and every occasion! Don't judge me, the hostess did not have time to iron them. But in an hours time, most of the wrinkles had fallen out, and because it got dark before guests arrived, I didn't worry about it. Typically, I would iron them, or wash them and take them straight out of the dryer. Quick Tip: If in a pinch, use some Downy Wrinkle Releaser on them as they lay on the table and smooth some of the wrinkles out with your hand.

The napkins I bought on super clearance years ago too at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are a brown polished cotton, and I got all 12 for $6 (thats 50 cents each!).  The flatware is a special fun set that I bring out occasionally from Neiman Marcus. I purchased it on sale, but even at regular price it is a good deal for 12 placesettings ($105!).

The stick table runner is a few years old from Plum Party, but you can find a similar one here or here. Sicne it gets dark right around 6pm when we were having people over, I decided to light up the table with lots of candles. My husband thought it was a little too romantic for what we needed, as we were only cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, but I still loved it. I gathered all the glass Waterford and antique bowls that I never used, and several little glass candle holders and filled them with water and floating candles from IKEA, and citronella tea lights from Pier 1. The 'D' pewter napkin rings were from our wedding registry at Williams Sonoma, and match our everyday flatware, also from our registry.

As the sun was setting, we turned on the globe twinkle lights around our yard (which are up all year), and started a lovely dinner. I think it came out pretty perfect for being thrown together in an hour.

Check back this week for a few last minute tips for Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Week!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Free Clothing

You did not read the headline wrong! Sears Outlet is offering one piece of FREE clothing, including items from their LLBean line, to its Shop Your Way Rewards members every TUESDAY from now until the end of the year- no purchase necessary! To become a member, just click here, enter your e-mail address, and go shop! Or, just sign up at the Sears Outlet store near you.

Be sure that the Sears Outlet near you has clothing... for all you readers in Tampa Bay, Florida, the store at 5251 110th Avenue North (off US Highway 19) in Pinellas Park is the place to go! The offer does not apply to outerwear (like coats) or leather (belts/shoes), but to everything else. Some savvy shoppers found L.L.Bean cashmere sweaters for $99 that they got for free!

I went in yesterday (Tuesday) with my Rewards card, and walked out with a pretty jersey dress that would look super cute with boots or leggings.

 The original price:

Receipt after my Rewards card was scanned:

I know this is CRAZY to be giving away a free article of clothing, but if you look around at all the deals they have, most clothing is $4, $5, and $7 anyway, so you really should be buying more than one item! If you find two shirts for $5 each, with one free from your Rewards card, it really comes out to $2.50 a shirt, or Buy One Get One Free. I just had about 2 minutes and was testing out the program, so I didn't have time to look for anything else. But I am going back every week to get something else and look for more Christmas presents too! My husband said that he is going to do it with some co-workers who are adopting a family for the holidays, because their money will go further to buy clothing for all the family. Be sure to check out the selection in your area every TUESDAY... maybe I will see you there!

Sears and Sears Outlet did not pay me or compensate me for this review. I guess they did give me free clothes, but it is available to everyone, and I am just spreading the word!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Holiday Deals and Steals Links

It is November 4, which means that the holiday season is rapidly approaching, and so are the ideas about what to buy for all my relatives and friends for the holidays.

shopping list from Jones Design Company (click image to download)
I am a pretty thrifty person... I buy party supplies at the Dollar Store, and groceries from WalMart (with coupons!). But, when it comes to this time of year, my bank account feels the pinch... My husband is one of 5 kids, and between his  siblings and their significant others, parents, grandmothers, work colleagues, best friends, and my own family, we have a ton of people to buy for. Even if the gifts were $20 each (which they are not!), we are still looking at a couple hundred bucks of gifts. Which is also why we usually never get each other anything big.

Since most people are feeling the pinch this year more than ever, I have put together a list of websites for Deals and Steals. I can say that just in the last week, I have crossed off 5 people from my Christmas list because I got them gifts on sale or by some fabulous one-day deal. I am already feeling a little less pressured this year!

Here are some of my favorite sites for daily deals, coupons, and more!

Daily Deals and Coupons:

For One Day, One Item Steals:
Daily Deals
Daily Seals
Deal Genius

Deals Sent To Your Email Inbox:
Daily Deals
Half Off Depot
Ever Save
Mamasource by Mamapedia
Living Social

Every Tuesday:
Today Show's Jill's Steals & Deals - most of these sell out, so check them in the morning on Tuesdays.

For a List of Black Friday Ads:
A Full Cup  (click here)

For Travel Sites:
SniqueAway Tablet Hotels Groupon Getaways  For Site Specific Gifts (Wine, Fashion, Home, Etc):Invino Groupe The OutNet www.theoutnet.comSwirl by Daily Candy The Rack Habit & Main Kings Lane  And another great email subscription is to the Jones Design Company, who is providing free and adorable downloads through the Holiday Season, like the shopping list pictured above. Emily designs her own cards, invitations, and so much more. I even bought her font to use on future invitations!  I encourage you to check her out!  Disclosure: I was not paid to promote any of these websites. I just wanted to give them as reference to other thrifty shoppers like me!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Can't Believe Its November....

...but at least I ended October like a Lady.

Lady Gaga, that is.
I am sooooo not a blonde.

So it is November 1, and my mother is already asking me for my Christmas list. Here are a few things that I have lusted after for a while.

I am in love with this bag from Zara:

I have always wanted this Pet's Eye View Camera for the dog, just to see what she gets into when we are not looking, but its just a little pricey:

And this gift just seems like a no brainer for me... the Baker's Edge Brownie Pan:

This Emerald horn bracelet from Furbish:

 And this Orange Chevron Throw, also from Furbish:

And if you haven't seen Furbish Studio or Jamie's funny and awesome bog, check it out here

I'm sure there will be plenty more things on my list this year... I just have to sit down and really think about what I want. What is on your list this year???

Happy November!