Monday, December 29, 2008

Lunch Tote Christmas Gift

Now that I've gifted this, I can blog about it!

One of my favorite Christmas gifts I gifted this year was a cute little lunch tote bag. It's insulated, big enough to throw a few tupperware containers and a drink in — and comes in a few fun patterns. 

In addition to functionality, the tote is a fabulous gift for its price and its cause. The $9.95 price per bag includes shipping — and a whopping half of the price goes to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. How awesome is that?

This is probably bordering on ridiculous, but I'll say it anyway. You could also talk yourself into this being a "green gift" since your recipient won't have to throw away grocery bags or paper sacks each day.

Three totes pictured above are from the Lean Cuisine web site
I must admit that pink one is rather dreadful-looking.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fabulous Candles in Decatur (and another good deal)

I heard another great tip from Jessica Shops Atlanta—the upscale candle company
PaddyWax has an outlet in Decatur! 

An 8-ounce PaddyWax candle in a glass container, for example, will run you upwards of $20 or more on the PaddyWax web site or in a nice boutique. At the outlet, however, the same candles are priced around $8.00. The shop also offers tinned candles for traveling, gift sets and pillar candles of all sizes. 

While browsing through the outlet's merchandise, I couldn't help but pick up several candles for last-minute Christmas gifts. The eight candles I bought set me back $48. Not bad for really quality merchandise.

I complimented the shop as a woman rung up my order. I asked why the outlet was located in Decatur and how the prices were so much different than in retail stores. She responded saying the factory is in Decatur, attached to the outlet actually, and that she was a corporate employee. When I mentioned that I hadn't noticed the outlet store before even though I drive by almost weekly, she said that they don't really advertise and get most of their business through word of mouth.

One downside to this deal savvy place are its hours of operation. PaddyWax is open Monday through Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm and closed on Sundays.  Another is the strong mix of scents that hit your nostrils the moment you walk through the door. Like walking through the perfume section of Macy's, you may end up with a mild headache for the next half hour. 

235 Dekalb Industrial Wy
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 378-7422

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread Sandwich - Mmmmm

I was just about to write a review of the Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread Sandwich that I just ate when I realized that this guy already did a great job with a review. Mmmm mmm mmm. 

I try to check out non-chains or local chains but sometimes it's easy and healthy to swing by Subway. I was delighted to see a little something new on the menu today and gave it a shot. Since the sandwich isn't as healthy as, say, a turkey club, I "held" the cheese. 

REVIEW: Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread

By Marvo | December 1, 2008

After trying the Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread sandwich, I have realized that all other Subway sandwiches are as boring as watching child actors who don’t get addicted to drugs grow. The simple formula of bread that’s fluffier than a Jonas Brothers’ hairstyle, meat, veggies, and condiments gave me an option when I wanted fast food, but didn’t feel like eating a burger and fries, fake Mexican food, mediocre pizza, or 11 secret herbs and spices.

But there hasn’t been anything from Subway that has blown my mind or made me dream of bouncing up and down on a bed of Subway sandwiches. It turns out I didn’t eat them because they were good, I ate them because they were better for me than most things I could get though a drive-thru window. However, the Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread sandwich is the first Subway menu item that I would want to take home, sleep with, and then cook breakfast for in the morning, although with some regret days later because of the fear of catching an SHD (Sandwich Heart Disease).

The limited-time only sandwich is supposed to consist of chicken, olives, tomatoes, Tuscan spices, melted cheese, and a creamy spinach artichoke spread in between a folded piece of flatbread, but since Subway offers enough topping options to make extremely indecisive people freak out, I chose to fill my sandwich with provolone, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers to go along with the chicken and creamy spread.

The flatbread has the characteristics of pita bread and Keira Knightley — white, soft, slightly chewy and, of course, flat. It isn’t freshly baked, like their regular breads are, but who fucking cares? Their meats aren’t slaughtered in the back and their vegetables aren’t picked from an organic greenhouse on the roof, so I think it’s okay that the flatbread isn’t fresh. I do recommend you get the flatbread toasted, which warms it up very nicely and can provides some temporary heat during these winter months if stuffed into the right clothing pockets.

The ingredient that stands out, but doesn’t overpower, is the creamy spinach artichoke spread, which tastes like spinach dip and makes this sandwich so much better than all the other Subway sandwiches I’ve consumed that I want to build a time machine so that I can give younger versions of me this sandwich right before I order whatever boring Subway sandwich I decided on at the time — and so that I can bet on the Giants instead of the Patriots in the last Super Bowl. If you do decide to try this, I highly recommend that you do not add any mustard, mayonnaise, or any other extra sauce to it because the creamy spinach artichoke spread is all you need. Although, like most creamy spinach dips, which contain cheese, mayonnaise and/or sour cream, I imagine it can’t be very good for you.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread sandwich in front of me and I would like to spend some quality alone time with it.

(Nutrition Facts - 1 sandwich - 520 calories, 22 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 85 milligrams of cholesterol, 1330 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 35 grams of protein, 25% Vitamin A, 30% Vitamin C, 40% Calcium, and 20% Iron.)

Item: Subway Chicken Florentine Flatbread
Price: $4.99
Size: 7 inches
Purchased at: Subway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: It’s the best Subway sandwich I’ve ever had, thanks to the creamy spinach artichoke spread. When toasted, it can provide some temporary warmth during these cold winter months. No trans fat. Watching the train wreck lives of child actors who get addicted to drugs.
Cons: Only available for a limited time. Not the healthiest thing on the Subway menu. Creamy spinach artichoke spread can’t be very healthy. High in sodium. Flatbread isn’t freshly baked. Losing money on the Patriots in the last Super Bowl.

Topics: 8 RatingFast FoodFoodSubway | ShareThis|

The Handcrafted Christmas Tree Skirt Project

Courtney being silly with the freshly-gifted tree skirt 
(she was trying it on as a true skirt)

The office Christmas tree modeling the tree skirt 
before Courtney took it home
(click the photo to see a little more detail)

Each year my office does a Secret Santa gift swap. It's totally optional, as it's not assumed everyone feels equally excited about participating (especially because homemade gifts are encouraged and appreciated). Since I joined the agency in July, this Secret Santa office event was my first.

About a month ago, I drew the name of a talented designer/illustrator. While I don't think Courtney is high maintenance, I did realize that her background makes her more naturally inclined to scrutinize color, design, layouts, etc. I decided I would be brave and make a homemade tree skirt. I asked Dawn, our Traffic manager, what colors Courtney uses in her home. Knowing Courtney and her preferences rather well, she quickly responded with, "lots of blues and greys." She also validated my tree skirt idea.

About three weeks prior to Tuesday's swap, I took my eager little self to Hancock Fabrics to buy supplies.

Shopping list:
  • 2.5 yards of navy blue felt
  • 1.5 yards of grey felt (I found some discontinued fabric on sale)
  • 1 spool of grey yarn
  • 1 spool navy hand quilting thread*
  • 1 packet silver glitter
  • Assorted beads (silver, white, pearlescent) 
  • 1 can spray glitter
  • 1 tapestry needle
  • 1 packet standard hand sewing needles*
  • One small container of pins*
That night, I got to work cutting out the base of the tree skirt. I decided to not cut one but two large circles from the felt so that the skirt would be more durable. I planned to sew them together using the yarn and tapestry needle. 

Dan helped tremendously by developing a plan to cut out the perfect circles. We unfolded the fabric and decided on the diameter we wanted. Dan cut a string to be half the length of that diameter (which would be the radius) and plotted a point that would be the middle of the circle. We tied a sharpie to a screw driver using the string. I held the screw driver in the middle of the circle as Dan pulled the string to full tension and drew all the way around. Once I'd cut out that circle, I traced it and cut out the second circle. I can't remember off the top of my head but I would guess the circles' diameters were about four feet.

Once I aligned the circles on top of one another, I sewed around the edges using the grey yarn and the tapestry needle. 

I picked up the project a few days later. The next step was cutting out snow flakes. I folded various-sized squared of the grey felt "every which a way" and cut out little portions to make snowflakes of various shapes. The felt's thickness prevented me from doing really elaborate designs, but that was okay. 

I pinned the 11 snowflakes I'd made onto the circle, keeping in mind I would need to cut a slit through to the center for the tree. Sewing beads and sequins on the skirt was the most time consuming part of the project. On the days I worked on the project, I tried to tackle one or two full snowflakes. I not-so-systematically alternated beads with sequins. I grossly underestimated the time it would take to do the beading but was happy with the visual result. (Be warned that it took me anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours —maybe more — to bead each snowflake. But feel free to pass along suggestions as to how that could be more time efficient!) Unfortunately I don't have a photo that shows the beads in up-close detail. 

I cut through the tree skirt (effectively its radius) to the center and cut out a small circle in the center for the tree. I sewed up the slit and its fresh circle the same way I'd handled the circumference. 

Spraying the finished skirt with the can of glitter spray really made it come together and sparkle. 

I feel goofy admitting this, but it felt like the night before the first day of school or Christmas eve as I was falling asleep Monday night. No amount of coughing or my sore throat could keep me from being excited about the next day's festivities. I hoped Courtney would enjoy her gift — and I couldn't wait to see what others made or thoughtfully bought. 

Luckily, Courtney appreciated the gift and the thought that went into it. She also mentioned that she was thinking about making a tree skirt this coming weekend because she didn't have one. Good timing! 

Total cost: approximately $30 (but some of the cost was for supplies I'll use again)
Total time: an embarrassing 25 or so hours (whoops!)

* If you do any amount of craft projects, you likely already have these items at home.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Consignment Shops in Atlanta

Do you want to know where the best consignment shops in Atlanta are — and which ones are accepting clothes for consigning? Bert Show personality Jeff Dauler's wife Jessica was on the show this morning to talk details. 

Here's her list in its entirety:

Enjoy this Consignment Shop list, courtesy of

1.     Encore Consignment Boutique
Ladies Designer Clothes, Jewelry, Purses
7732 Spalding Drive NW
Sandy Springs, GA

2.     Mallery Furs
Furs Only
$5 monthly fee, no percentage
620 Peachtree Drive NE
Atlanta GA


3.     Jack and Jill Consignment Boutique
Kids and Babies
40% Cash or Store Credit
31 N. Avondale Rd.
Avondale Estates, GA

4.     Terri’s Consign and Design Furnishings
Furniture, art, home décor, china crystal
50% over $100, 30-40% under $100
2500 Cobb Place Lane
Kennesaw, GA

5.     Designer Consigner
Upscale designer only 2
nd Hand
670 North Main street

Alpharetta GA


6.     Sweet Repeats
Babies, Kids, Maternity
321 Pharr Rd. NE
Atlanta GA

7.     B Chic
Women’s Apparel, no specifics on labels
3277 Roswell Rd NE
Atlanta GA

8.     Now  & Again Consignment Shop
56 E. Andrews Dr NW
Atlanta GA 30305

9.     Plato’s Closet
Trendy, name brand clothes, men and women
Cash for clothes, usually 25-40% of what they will resell it for
6627 Roswell Road NE
Sandy Springs, GA

10.  Tadpoles
Baby and Children’s Clothes and toys
Cash for clothes
  Marietta Street
Powder Springs, GA

11.   Alexis Suitcase Consignments Shop for Women
Women’s Upscale Clothes and Home Décor
7878 Roswell Road
Atlanta GA

12.  Once Upon A Closet
Upscale women’s clothes, designer
145 N. Marietta Pkwy, NE Suite B
Marietta, GA

13.  The Finer Consigner
Upscale women’s clothing, designer names only
11130 State Bridge
Alpharetta GA

14.  Backstreet Boutique
Exclusively designer
3140 East Shadowlawn Ave.NE
Atlanta GA 30305

15.  A Second Glance
Womens’ 2
nd Hand, not exclusively designer
4045 Five Forks Trickum Rd.
Lilburn, GA

16.  Fantastic Finds
Women’s Clothing, casual and designer
220 Sandy Springs Circle, NW
Forest Park GA

17.  Back by Popular Demand
Women’s, kids, jrs
4915 Lawrenceville Hwy; Lilburn, GA 

18.  Circles Unlimited
Women’s Upscale
1720 Defoor Pl NW
Atlanta, GA 30318

19.  Great Minds Think Alike
Men’s, Women’s and Kids – all brands
3662 Chamblee Tucker RD
Atlanta GA

20.  Hanger-Roo
Maternity and Kids Clothes
5352 Peachtree Rd.
Atlanta GA

21.  My Sisters Closet Boutique
Trendy, classic, and designer women’s and men’s clothes and jewelry
5350 Peachtree Road
Chamblee, GA

22.  Tabu Boutique
New and used designer merchandise
3184 Roswell Road NW
Atlanta GA

23.  Jody’s 5thAvenue
Mens, Women’s, Housewares, casual and designer
227 Sandy Springs PI NW 532
Atlanta GA

24.  Psycho Sisters Consignment Boutique
Current mall and club trends for guys and girls
Cash for clothes or trade
5964 Roswell Rd NE
Atlanta GA

25.  Unique Consignment Boutique
Women’s Brand or designer name – no low end brands
134 Marietta Hwy.; Roswell, GA


26.  The Board of Trade Fine Consignments
Jewelry, estate pieces, antiques,
1078 Alpharetta St.
Roswell GA

27.   Red Door Consignment
Men, Women’s, Kids clothes
859 Senoia Road
Tyrone GA

Wedding and Bridesmaid resale:

2 Have & Hold New and Resale Bridal 

Hwy 34 @ Newnan Crossing East Blvd.

Newnan, GA

(770) 253-5116


            Chelsea's Closet
            2280 Oak Road
            Snellville, ga 30078-2393
            (770) 985-8522

            Bridal Sense
            6600 Roswell Rd NE
            Atlanta, GA  30328  



Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vendor Fun: VistaPrint

Boy do I love VistaPrint. Sure, you have to wade through some cheese-tastic templates, but the online printing vendor has lots of fun options for holiday cards, party invitations, business cards, promotional collateral and more.

Dan ordered our Christmas cards from VistaPrint last night. I insisted he also throw some gift labels and return address labels into our "cart" because they were too cute not to include in our order. Check out how you can jazz up your Christmas gift giving with some fun labels.

(Gift labels and return address labels are $6.24—plus shipping—for 140)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Glam Up Your Gams!

I've been on a fun legwear kick lately and thought some of you gals might enjoy these leg accessories as well. If you girls are like me and have a lot of black in your wardrobe, your daily less-than-diverse color palette might benefit from a pop of color or pattern.

These from Target are fun (Clearance $4.19)

And these are not as wacky but also fun (from Target also—$6.99)

Express' go at a funky animal print tight ($16.50 but currently "buy two, get one free")

And these from The Limited ($18.50 or "buy one, get one 50% off")

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fan Gear for Folks on Your Christmas List

As we draw nearer to the Christmas holidays, I'm sure many of us have gift shopping on the brain. 

In my opinion, and it might be because I'm a girl, I think guys can be the tougher sex to shop for. I'm well aware I'm stereotyping, but what guy doesn't love some gear from his favorite team—college or professional? I think even some gals would be thrilled to receive a memento of her alma mater or favorite NFL team. 

Sports Huts is an awesome eBay vendor for fan gear. As I type, the store has more than 6500 items listed, ranging from lunch totes and pennants to plastic tumblers and table cloths. To give you an idea, I did a search for "Packers" within the store and found 112 items including night lights, aprons, shot glasses, soft coolers, license plate holders and window decals. I find the selection particularly helpful because local stores often carry few items beyond those of local teams.

I've picked up a few gift items from here (a Dallas Cowboys ornament for Dan and a Green Bay Packers one for my father) and have been satisfied with the shipping costs and shipping times. (The general eBay rule of thumb that shipping is cheaper when you combine items also applies to shopping with Sports Huts.)

Here are just a few items: 

(Car magnet: $13.78 plus shipping)

(Football helmet ornament: $4.99 plus shipping)

(Koozies: $6.64 plus shipping)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pistachio Poundcake

I'm cheating today and posting this on both of my blogs (it's too good not to share everywhere!).

For our office's Thanksgiving "Feast," I volunteered to bring pistachio pound cake. I feel it sounds more complicated than it was, as I prepared a pound cake as directed then just added a teeny little splash (about half a teaspoon or less) of pistachio extract* and four regular drops of green food coloring into the mix. Also, this wasn't just any pound cake recipe; this was my grandmother's pound cake recipe and my very first time attempting a pound cake! I even went out and bought a flour sifter so I could execute the recipe exactly right.

Pistachio flavor included or not, I was impressed with the outcome! The pound cake crust was perfect and the overall texture and level of moistness were right on.

Without further adieu, my grandmother's sour cream pound cake recipe!


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating each egg 1 at a time. Add the vanilla and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes.

*I bought pistachio extract from King Arthur Flour for $6.95 plus shipping. I seriously warn you (SERIOUSLY!) to proceed with caution when using pistachio extract. It's INCREDIBLY potent. 

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dining Room Table Via Underpriced Furniture

Our weekend mission: find a functional, affordable and color appropriate dining room table for our smallish living room.

Friday night, I was eager to visit our first target store, Cost Plus World Market, only to be a little disappointed. Loved the store and the style of—wasn't head-over-heels for the dining room table I'd seen in the previous weekend's Sunday paper. The Chemia table was a little more "country" than our tastes and didn't seem terribly durable. The price was almost right (somewhere around $750) but the quality of the wood didn't feel quite right to us, and we also thought we could find a look that was more "us." 

A quick stop by American Signature Furniture yielded similar results. We headed home, empty-handed, not that we would have been able to fit a table and six chairs in the Saab. 

Saturday was mostly spent helping my younger brother move. But it was just our luck that he rented a Uhaul for the day, needing to return it mid-Sunday morning. After finishing moving him around 3 or 3:30 that afternoon, we decided to take advantage of said "free" Uhaul. 

Our destination: Underpriced Furniture*. We'd been there once before on a hunt for a book case. And a book case we found! We picked up an espresso-colored floor-to-ceiling (the same as Haverty's advertises except for without the name branded on the bottom and without the Haverty's pricetag). Our bookcase set us back a bragworthy $220. Knowing we passed by some sharp-looking dining room tables during our visit a year before, we thought the Norcross-based furniture vendor was worth a shot.

The night before, Dan and I discussed how fabric cushions can be annoying to clean—and a major pain to replace. He wasn't sold on seats without built-in cushions because they just didn't seem as comfortable. 

Underpriced had a few tables that fit our bill. We decided on an espresso/cherry-colored table with a leaf. Without its leaf, the table is your standard rectangular table. The leaf, however, goes in lengthwise, giving you a large, square-shaped table. The chairs have built-in black leather cushions, a perfectly happy medium for what Dan and I discussed. 

Since our choice table was out of stock, we went home with the floor model and all six of its available chairs. The table was on sale for $699, including four chairs (with each additional chair costing $74)—so about $847. Dan asked if we could get a little bit of a discount since we bought the floor model. The salesperson rather quickly conceded, giving us the the equivalent of one "free" chair in our final price (about $773 total). 

We enjoyed dinner with visiting family on the new table that night. I think we'll be back to grab two more chairs since the square-shaped configuration allows for 8 chairs comfortably.

LOVE our new table!

*Web site isn't all that great or accurate with what's available in the store, so I suggest you make the trek up to Interstate 85 North's Jimmy Carter exit to check out what they have in-store. 

Craig's List Haircut Update

So, this past weekend was my Craig's List haircut and hair color.

I showed up to Verrilli Hair Studio on Sunday afternoon, not sure what to expect. I was told to look out for 1151 Hammond Drive (near Perimeter Mall) then for Salon Studios on the second floor. 

A spunky, little, redheaded lady greeted me as I entered the building. She introduced herself as Mary. Walking me back to her little 1oo by 100 square feet studio, she explained the concept behind Salon Studios. An entrepreneur took a large retail space and turned it into 32 individual "mini" salons. Each unit comes standard with neutrally painted walls, a shampoo bowl, a cutting station and a chair. Tenants pay $260 a week to use the space. This is the second Salon Studios (with the other in Roswell). The setup sounds like a great way to encourage stylists* to have their own businesses without having to build their own studios.

I would be lying to you if I said that Mary's age (probably just shy of 60, judging off the year she went to cosmetology school—1969) didn't make me a little nervous at first. Sure, she was hip looking and very friendly, but did she know how to cut hair every way from the traditional to the more modern? I was, after all, looking for someone with great training and versatility. 

Mary impressed me! She mixed up containers of a lowlight (using a product called Color Sync) and a highlight (using Redken products) and foiled my head like a pro. She used natural-looking colors and appropriate ratios of highlight to lowlight. After rinsing out my hair, Mary treated me to some Redken hair glaze (a shiny gloss that should stay on my hair for about six weeks). In between bouts of shampooing, she told me how much she enjoys staying up with trends and taking hair classes. "If someone comes in and asks me to give them a faux hawk," Mary said, "I need to make sure I know how to give them a faux hawk."

Admitting herself that she's borderline obsessive, Mary trimmed my hair with great precision. She told me that my previous haircut had very unblended layers and looked chopping. She stopped multiple times throughout the process to check the evenness of the pieces on the left and right sides of my part. All along the way, Mary told me how much she loves cutting hair and feels like she enjoys it as much as her clients do. Not ever wanting to send someone home "unfinished," she blew my hair dry and completed my "do" with a ceramic flat iron. 

And just as I was told via e-mail, my total was a fantastic $96 (I tipped $25 on top of that). This price included a 20% discount, as explained in the Craig's List ad, so the services (partial lowlight, highlight, cut and style) will be $120 total moving forward. I think I'll be back!

Verrilli Hair Studio

*A few of the stations are occupied by non-hair stylists. I saw an organic makeup, bath products and candles vendor as well as a little shop that does manicures and pedicures.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Great CNN Article

CNN published a helpful article today titled "Five Ways to Stay Fabulous on a Budget."

Check it out here

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Camera Arrived!

Just in time for a quick weekend trip to visit the inlaws, our new camera arrived! It's exactly what I ordered and arrived in a mere two days. Thank you, Buy Dig, for not giving me the runaround.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fingers Crossed (Great and Affordable Stylist?)

I've been struggling a little to find the ideal hair stylist. "Ideal" for me would be defined by flexible hours, reasonable commute, affordable prices, beyond satisfactory work and reliability.

I was a regular at Van Michael's New Talents group for more than a year but was becoming less impressed with my hair color gal as she became more "experienced" and her rates went up. (My standard "order" (color-wise) is partial highlights and lowlights.) I'm still a technical blonde—but I was starting to feel like I had "roots" just a few weeks after coming in. The color job alone there was running me $100 (plus tip), which isn't bad, but I felt I could do better in the quality department. I've used a friend of mine's sister before, who did an excellent job, but she isn't always available and hasn't decided until recently if she's going to stay in metro Atlanta. 

Haircuts, I've been oddly less picky about. I haven't had a serious haircut in years, as I've stuck to trims. But someone talented enough to do both haircuts and color would be a great bonus.

The other night, I was browsing Craig's List and decided to look for hair services. It would be great to find someone looking for clients that fit my idea of a great stylist. I found the following listing:

20% off cut and color / highlights! (Dunwoody / Sandy Springs)

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-11-04, 11:34AM EST

That's only $80 for a cut and color, and $88-112 for highlights! I have over 30 years experience. I am a master stylist and color specialist. If you're looking for an excellent hair stylist, look no further! You will love your hair! 

No hidden surprises, that price includes shampoo, conditioner, blow dry, flat iron and curls. 

Call Mary at (770) 361-3557 to schedule a consultation at my private studio conveniently located near the perimeter mall!

I e-mailed Mary about her pricing after this discounted initial run. After all, I thought it would be unfair to her if I used her for the inexpensive services once but never returned due to a high price hike—especially if she's trying to build her clientele. Her son responded, saying it would be about $96 for my first time having a cut and partial highlights/lowlights, then $120 moving forward. I think this is a really competitive price. 

I gave Mary a call on my way home from work. She sounds eager to please and thrilled to be given a chance. My appointment is next Sunday at noon. Maybe this will be a flop—or maybe I will have found someone I can recommend to my friends. 

Spoke Too Soon (and Almost Was Scammed!)

(photo from Cnet)

Okay, I'll admit it. I spoke too soon about TECHON Digital. 

When I made my order and filled out my customer profile, I accidentally mixed up the "a" and "i" in gmail when I typed in my e-mail address. Despite it being frustrating to not be able to "edit my e-mail address" on TECHON's user information page, I didn't think this was a big deal. I did, however, e-mail the customer support e-mail address to ask them to change my e-mail address in their records. I didn't get a response. 

I will also be the first to admit that I sometimes will be tolerable of nuisances if it means I'm getting a really great deal (examples: a poorly organized web site or physical store, bad customer service, etc.). 

Yesterday, while standing in line at the post office, I got a call from a TECHON representative, saying they'd been trying to e-mail me to confirm my order. I said I would be happy to confirm it over the phone—and mentioned that I tried to correct my e-mail address online but their site didn't have the functionality allowing me to do so. The rep tried to upsell me a few different things, including a lifetime battery, but I declined. Then the call was dropped (I believe on their end, not mine).

I called back. The representative to answer the phone could have cared less about my dropped call and said he couldn't help me without my order number. I vowed to call back when I was in front of my computer, which ended up being this morning since their customer service office closed before I made it home yesterday.

The representative who took my call this morning picked up the phone with a rather perturbed-sounding, "Yeah?" I explained my situation (again), only to have him respond that the camera I wanted was out of stock. I thought this was odd, since it sounded like it was in stock yesterday. I mentioned this aloud as well.

I picked out a similar camera and inquired about it. The "gentleman" tried to upsell me with batteries and a nice carrying case. I declined. Then he told me that the camera was out of stock, but I could buy the battery and carrying case but get the camera elsewhere. This was becoming annoying. 

From there, I looked through the online inventory a little more to see if they had any similar cameras in stock. I asked about two different ones, including the exact camera I misplaced/lost/whatever during our travels. When those searches yielded zilch results, I asked, "do you have ANY other cameras in that price range?"

"No, we don't have any cameras in that price range," was the dude's response.

Forget it, TECHON Digital. Seriously?

So, I navigated my way over to Buy Dig and found the same camera we had pre-Italy trip (except in blue, you know, to mix things up a little). That set me/us back $162 but included free shipping. I received a prompt confirmation e-mail... and I'm crossing my fingers this round of camera shopping works out a little better for us. 

UPDATE. Dan e-mailed me the following, so I filed a Better Business Bureau complaint: "Couldn’t add a comment on your page without logging in but here it is - Report them.  A number of others have... "

Also, this link has a slew of other consumers complaining about the company. Several others found that when they declined the fancy battery or add-ons that their cameras were mysteriously "not in stock." Scam! I can't believe they almost got me!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Camera Ordered!

So, tonight we ordered a new camera to replace the one eaten by Air India.

I did some comparison shopping online and found that the 8MP Canon Powersho SD1100 ELPH camera we had before was $164 on Amazon and $199 on Target. Dan put a good deal of research into choosing that camera, and we enjoyed it for two months or so and during our honeymoon. While looking for a replacement, I found the camera also on TECHON Digital for even less—$139 plus shipping. 

While browsing, I saw that a few other similarly-priced cameras had a few more options (a slightly better zoom and a better preview screen as examples). I'm no pro photographer, but these seemed like fine enough things to buy for just 10 more dollars. I'll pick up an inexpensive case at Target.

So, we purchased this Canon Powershot SD870 digital ELPH camera (also 8MP) for $149 (goes for $216 on Amazon). If you're looking for an electronic for yourself or someone else, I suggest you check out this site. The camera prices seem they would be hard to beat.

Also, I'm not sure how long they'll be running the special for, but Target is offering a Lexar 4GB SD memory card for just $22.99, down from the usual price of $39.99. I used one of our Target gift cards to snag that.

Our new plan is for Dan to eventually get a camera as well so we can both take photographs on trips... and likely not lose both cameras. Also, I've made a very important "note to self" to leave my name, phone number and address in the camera case. 

I look forward to posting my final positive reviews after it arrives!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two of My Loves in One

Halloween (love it) meets Goodwill (love it).

Agency: The Miller Group, Los Angeles

Executive Creative Director: Renee Miller

Creative Director: Greg Collins

Art Director: Shin Kawase

Copywriter: Greg Collins

Illustrator: Andy Mueller

Thanks to Steve at my office for sharing this amazing feat of illustration and design.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fashionable (and Affordable!) Cold Weather Accessory

When my wonderful girlfriend Kate came over for dinner Tuesday night, she had on the chocolate brown pashmina I gifted her with earlier this month. The lightweight cashmere/wool blend scarf was part of my thank you to her for serving as one of my bridesmaids.

 Knowing I couldn't possibly (and shouldn't) pick one color for all eight girls, I chose different solid colors and patterns that I felt complemented their personalities. Because a lot of Kate's wardrobe is natural or neutral colors, I thought the brown would be perfect. So, I was pleased to see her wearing it the other night.

 What is my point? I was reminded to post something about the eBay vendor I used for the scarves. The seller's user ID is epashion — and he/she currently has just over 500 scarves up for bidding. They're very reasonably priced, not to mention there's a great variety of colors and patterns available. I highly recommend these for birthday, Christmas, whatever gifts — and keep in mind that shipping is less when you combine items. Stock up for yourself or friends!

Link to eBay here. Search sellers for "epashion."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Facial Bargain

After nine days honeymooning in Europe with no washcloth to use to exfoliate my face (we were only provided with bath towels at our lodging locations), my complexion has not fared well. I should also admit that an Italian diet of gelato, meat, pasta, bread and oils likely didn't help either.

So not long after our arrival back in the states at 2am today, I decided a facial was in order. I've only had two in my life, the last being about three weeks before Dan and I tied the knot. Remembering that a popular little Indian-run salon I frequent for eyebrow threading had affordable facials, I called up Natural Identity in Decatur. They had an opening for 4:30.

I enjoyed one hour's worth of facial, arm and chest massage as well as your typical masks, steaming, extractions, toners and moisturizers (not necessarily in that order). My technician used most all the same tools and creams one finds at a fancy spa, though this experience was sans the pushy product selling, cushy facility and robe (I think the pared-down room and wrap-around towel did the job just fine though). 

Some people get facials for the relaxation element. To me, that's part of it but only a small piece. I'd rather feel that my skin is clean and free of gunk in my pores.  Don't get me wrong though, my technician used great massage techniques and gave solid skin advice—the atmosphere just wasn't that of a Spa Sydell or Natural Beauty. I felt better about the clean pores aspect following my Natural Identity experience than I did with my posh $120* Intercontinental Hotel Spa experience from just six weeks earlier—this time for a banging $40.

While I was in the shop, I had my eyebrows threaded ($4) and didn't miss the expensive valet parking of the Intercontinental ($15). 

Natural Identity Beauty Architects
1707 Church Street #C3
Decatur, GA 30033
(404) 292-6230

*Note: I wouldn't have usually gone for this expensive pampering. I happened to have a $120 Intercontinental gift certificate given to me over a year ago. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Lipstick that Stays Put

The Mission: find a lipstick that won't wear off within 30 minutes that also didn't break the wedding budget.

Solution: Maybelline Superstay Gloss.

I'm usually more of a Chapstick gal than I am a lipstick maven, so I was a little handicapped when I began my hunt. I wasn't impressed with staying power of the Loreal Infallible lip color I'd picked up about a month and a half ago—but since I did like the color, I brought the tube with me to Target for color comparison purposes.

I tested this "superstay" gloss for about a week leading up to our wedding this past Saturday. I officially marked it with my stamp of approval and wore it on the big day, maybe applying only three or four times (just for good measure) across a seven hour period.

And at about $8 at Target (less at some other retailers), it didn't set our wedding budget back too much at all!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Forgive me for not blogging much on this new blog. Until our wedding has wrapped (that will be this weekend) and we return from our honeymoon, I probably won't be posting much here.

I will, however, be putting up little snippets on my original blog about wedding stuff. Check them if you'd like!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I think more of us ought to have this mentality.

Buying secondhand is one of the ultimate forms of sustainability.

Or is this just shopping justification?

Green with Envy

I am already well aware that many of my posts will mention Ross (Dress for Less), as I am a regular customer. Ross not only carries some great finds at low prices, but also has a conveniently located store near our house. (Okay, maybe TOO conveniently located).

E-mailing a friend earlier, I mentioned that my clothes have me in an especially good mood today. My funky, satin green jacket (complete with gold zippers and grommets) is a great companion to some boring dark blue jeans and black boots. The tag on the jacket reads, "Sele," not a brand I'm familiar with; regardless, I was pleased to see the $69.00 manufacturer's tag juxtaposed with the $11.99 Ross tag. I'm sure this piece will look horrible and tacky to me come next season, but it's fun for now.

The jacket's gold zippers talked me into wearing a wild piece of costume jewelry I found on Ebay recently. It's a Trifari rhinestone pendant on a simple gold snake chain.

If you enjoy vintage costume pieces, I highly recommend you check out the offerings of Maggie's Vintage Attic (seller ID "maggie2you"). At any given time, she has between 30 and 50 listings (some single pieces, some lots) of fabulous and fun costume jewelry. Maggie's prices are fair and her shipping is quick and priced well. This item set me back $6.95 plus $2.50 shipping.