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Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year, New Deals

Here's how I spent my Saturday... Going through my coupon organizer and throwing out expired coupons. So, I'm a little OCD. Deal with it.

Yeah, I was sad to see that Starbucks ice cream one go...
Anyway, with the end of 2010, I thought it would be a good time to go through all my coupons, get rid of the expired ones and also, pull out ones to use right now before they expired. I know I talk alot about getting deals on here, and much of that has to do with my coupon system. So here we have my little pink coupon organizer:

It helps me not to look like such a coupon freak in the grocery store
I must say I'm happy to have this organizer. It is much much cuter than my old one, which was alot bigger and was grey plastic.... totally NOT cute. Fortunately I lost that one earlier in the year, and was forced to replace it with a much prettier model. Yeah, so I lost all the coupons with it too, but hey, once you start clipping again, you can easily stock up your arsenal. It just goes to show you, you can start coupon-ing from scratch very easily. All you need is an adorable little plastic folder thing-y and a Sunday newspaper. I think mine's from Walmart and it measures about 6" x 4".
Next we talk about organization.

For me, the best way to categorize was to separate the sections of the store into different tabs. I put them in the order that I shop them in my store. So I have: Produce, Refrigerator, Freezer, Bread, Pantry, Drinks, Dogs, Cleaning, Home, Toiletries, Makeup, and Eating Out. Whatever makes the most sense to you will probably end up being the most practical for your use. For comparison, my old coupon folder had less tabs, and so I had less sections, which were: cold stuff, regular groceries, personal care, and home care. I much prefer having more sections with the new method.

And lastly, coupon hints:
  • Make sure you keep up with it! There's no use in paying for a paper each week, only to have it sit on your kitchen table. By the time you get to the coupons, half of them are expired. If you are going to coupon, commit to it! Now don't tell me you don't have time all you whiners! Clip in front of the TV or in the passenger side of the car. It's FREE MONEY. If you are paying for the paper, make the time.
  • When you are cutting coupons, cut the ones you think you'll use. If you are unsure, (like hmmm do we need batteries?) cut it anyway. You never know when you are going to need a coupon for something that pops up like cold medicine, batteries, light bulbs, or tampons.
  • Always keep your coupon folder in your car! After you cut coupons, file them and stick the folder somewhere that you'll remember to bring it back to your car. I put mine in my purse.
  • Before visiting the store, go through your coupons and pull the ones you'll use. Sometimes, I'll stop in the front of the cafe of the store and just sit down for a couple of seconds to get organized. Your coupons can't help you if they are stuck in your folder at the bottom of your purse.
  • And finally, clean out that folder once in awhile. I go through mine every couple of months or while I'm sorting through it picking out the ones I want to use before my visit. I just sift out the ones that are expired or are about to expire and I know I won't use.
So to anyone who is brave enough to embark on this journey, let me know how it's going for you. Or if you are already coupon-ing, give a girl some tips!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

DRAMA - West Elm, I'm considering breaking up with you.

Earlier in the week, I was perusing one of my favorite blogs The adorable couple that runs this blog posted about scoring the CUTEST duvet for their new bedroom. Basically, I had blog envy and ordered it for myself. I mean, I had planned on re-doing my bedroom sometime this year, plus I'm obsessed with turquoise, and it had hints of green in it, which totally matched my already painted green walls (which I'm NOT going to repaint because I had them professionally done, and let's face it, divas don't like painting). Now, one little catch here was, it was backorderd till Jan 8. Okay not a big deal, I can wait 5 days for it right?
Love it!

After waiting 3 days, I got the following email from West Elm last night.
We sincerely regret that we are unable to fulfill your order. Our supply of the following has completely sold out and will not be available again within the foreseeable future.
Pressed Leaf Duvet Kg Bl Sprc
Item # 29-2348605
No longer available

Because we could not provide you with the above, we have not charged your credit card account. If you paid by check, you will receive a refund by mail within 7 to 10 business days.
We value your business as a west elm customer, and apologize for any disappointment or inconvenience this may have caused. If you would like further assistance or wish to order another item as a substitute, please call 1.888.922.4119.
west elm Customer Service
7 days a week, 4:00 am - 9:00 pm (PST)


WHAAATTTT!!! I'm pretty sure West Elm just pulled a fast one on me.
So, not to be discouraged, I called my store directly (promptly at 10am when they opened), asked them if they had the item in stock, and they did, and ordered the item to be shipped to my house (not before sharing my ordeal with the order dude the answered the phone). Therefore, the shipping charge was waived. Yay!

Let me get this straight:
I order a product on your website and give you my credit card number.
I agree to wait an extra 5 days before the item can be shipped because you say its on backorder.
Then, 3 DAYS LATER you send me an email telling me that the item is sold out and I will not be receiving it.... It's sold out??? Would that be before or after you sent me a confirmation email saying the item I ordered would be send out to me on 1/8?
Then, in desperation, I call my local store and Ta Da!!!! The item is indeed in stock!

My conclusion: The West Elm Store dude told me that West Elm catalog does not communicate with West Elm stores, and they are treated separately, which explains why the email I received said the item is "no longer available".  Clarification - the item is no longer available online. So it sounds to me as West Elm the company (because I'm pretty sure the catalog and the stores earnings are pooled together at the end of they year under the company called Williams Sonoma Inc) would rather terminate an order from a customer rather than pick up the phone and communicate with a store that might have that product available for the customer.
Below is my complaint to customer service.
On 1/3, I placed an order for a duvet online. The item was backordered until 1/8. However on 1/5, I received an email saying the item was no longer available so I would not be receiving the item. In an effort to purchase the item, I called my local store and luckily the duvet was in stock. It is now being shipped to me from my local store. My concern lies with the lack of communication between West Elm catalog and West Elm stores. It seems as West Elm would rather lose a customer by failing to fulfill a promised order than communicate with it's retailers in order to get fill the order. Indeed the email I received from West Elm saying my order would not be filled said the item is no longer available, which is not a true statement. It is no longer available from the catalog, but still is for sale in stores. I would like to have seen West Elm coordinate with the stores in an effort to get this item to me rather than terminating my order.

Now we wait. I will return with the results.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yeah, Sew....

I am scared. Very very scared... sort of in a I'm about to get my belly button pierced, so I'm feeling like I have to go to the bathroom every 5 seconds kind of way.
Behold the monster...

I'm not letting the swirly flower pattern fool me... I know it wants to chew off my fingers.
We have love hate relations.
In one way, I know we can be besties... like me and my Temperpedic mattress, which I love in scary ways. But in between dreaming of all the curtain panels and doggie scarves I can make, I start to have nightmares of sewing over my fingers, ruining really cute fabric that I spent a fortune on, resulting in crying sessions on the floor of my craft room (remember that scene from Julie and Julia where Julie ends up on her kitchen floor... yeah kind of like that).
So in order to prevent the above from happening, I am taking the machine by the bobbin, which I'm not even sure what it is, but heard the term used in the Joann Fabrics sewing section while I was making my purchase, so I'm pretty sure there's one of those on this machine. And I'm starting my sewing lessons soon.
Here's the light at the end of the tunnel.

Dreamy, right?

Lola told me she wanted me to make her a dog bed cover with this print, as if I needed MORE pressure?!
 Please send me positive thoughts as I conquer the monster.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Like Whoa - NYE 2010

I decided to have a little shin-dig for New Years Eve this year. Here is me by the end of the night. No need for elaboration.

It's sparkling grape juice, mom
Moving on to the good stuff... I know you are all dying to know how I decorated my house and what kind of food I made. So for my first post of 2011 (that's my first 2011 of the year!) and in the spirit of oversharring, I am including lots of pictures of my home and a little step by step for one of the dishes I made.

I am in love with these place settings from Crate and Barrel. I got them for mad discounts after Christmas.

Shiny Snowflake Balls - 75% off at Target after Christmas sale

And here we have the bar area.

Check out the sparkle sticks in the cork vases. I love sparkles in a weird way.
 The menu for the evening:
Dates stuffed with goat cheese
Prosciutto filled with cream cheese, mint, and green apple
Deviled eggs
Mini Quiches
Ginger Champagne cocktail

And here we have my fav dish of the night... prosciutto with cream cheese, mint, and green apples.

Start with peeling 2 green apples (doesn't have to be perfect).
A little apple skin never hurt anyone
Next cut around the core and then into thin slices.

Then mix up 12 oz of cream cheese with some chopped up mint leaves.

Using about a quarter of a lb of prosciutto (its about 24 slices cut at .75 thickness) , spread about 1 tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom of each slice. I used an icing spreader instead of a butter knife.

Then stack some apple slices on top.

Lastly roll into a scrumptious snack.

Don't forget to put it on a pretty plate... it makes it look fancy.

Happy New Year from Lauren, Lola, and Dexter!

Fabulocity - My New Living Room

Since the summertime, I've been working on re-doing my living room. Here's what I had to start with. Not overall bad pieces... It just didn't scream FABULOCITY or represent ME in any way.

In my defense, I had just moved into my very first apartment when these furnishings were selected. I was in love with them for a time, however over the years, my style just became more, shall we say - GLAMOROUS.
With that, I set out on a mission to redecorate the living room. I had a few objectives:
1) Decorate within my means. While I didn't really have a budget, per se (Fabulocity isn't really budget friendly), I did want to feel like I was getting high quality, unique items at an affordable price. So rather than giving myself a budget, I just chose to look at each item separately, only purchasing the items I loved, that had a place in the room, and for the best price possible.
2) The room will have a feminine touch... okay, so I got a little carried away on that one. It is majorly girly. But hey! I'm a girly girl, so it fits.
3) The color scheme is Tiffany blue/turquoise and terracotta orange. For those cave men out there (or women, although I highly doubt it), Tiffany blue shall be defined as the amazingly beautiful robbin's egg blue of the ever coveted Tiffany and Co. boxes.

My inspiration started here from House Beautiful:

Love Love Love
 So here is a list of the "features" I decided to copy in this room:
  • Hints of terracotta orange and Tiffany blue/turquoise
  • Velvet tufted back couch
  • Zebra print and flower print fabrics
  • Nail head detail
  • Accents of crisp white ceramic and sparkly mirror
  • Small scale furniture
In a perfect world, I would just use some of the same pieces in my room, but alas, the example I was working from was the NYC apartment of an interior designer.... I had to get creative. After lots of stalking shopping around, here were a few of my ideal selections.

Amy Butler Chandra rug in colors of rust and blue, you are so beautiful... However, even at a discount, you still are $350 for a (5x7) - which is still too small for my space

Oh Brocade Home Lace Cut Media Storage, how I love thee... Unfortunately you cost $700 with $170 shipping charge. Not even a 15% off coupon will entice me to buy you.
Crate and Barrel Dubois Mirrors... How fantastic you would look in a set of 4 over my fireplace... But not even with the highly anticipated 15% off friends and family coupon would I buy you for $320.

So after a little reminiscing and snapping to it in the real world, we move to my actual selections.

Throughout this process I learned a few tips on how to be fabulously stylish without spending a fortune, which I will share:
1) BE PATIENT. In other words - stalk the sh*t out of anything you want to buy for months, then when the price looks like it can't get any lower, pounce on it like the lioness you are.
2) DON'T SETTLE. If you don't love it, like CAN-NOT-LIVE without it, then don't buy it. nuf said.
3) HAVE A VISION. I like to search through my favorite design sites, magazines, or catalogs to find the room I want to steal ideas from, copy, borrow from.
4) BE SHOPPERTUNISTIC. Always keep your eyes open for something that fits your needs. Resist the urge to purchase items that you aren't in love with, just because you have a need to fill. Instead, buy that amazingly awesome totally glam thing-y that you can't live without (that is majorly on sale). You can find the neatest stuff in the most surprising places. Don't set out to find everything you need in one day. Take your time. Design is a process.

Coming up to a blog post near you... the big unveil of the living room. I'm trying to convince my friend Jaime to come over and take fab pictures with her awesome expensive camera. Can't wait for those...