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)