Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas clearance update

Happy New Year's Eve! Have any of you found some awesome holiday clearance deals? If so, please let me know! Here are the discounts as of today. Take these with a grain of salt because they can vary from store to store.

Hobby Lobby - 80%
CVS - 75%
Target - 70% (may go to 90% January 3 or 4)
Kmart - 50%
Walmart - 50%
Walgreens - 50%
Dollar General - 50%
Lowes - 75%
Michaels - 70-80% (but really picked over)
Shopko - 70%
Kohl's - discount varies

Tomorrow Dillard's has their biggest sale of the year. You can shop in store starting at 10 a.m. or online at 12 a.m. (So after you ring in the New Year hop online and score some deals. Just make sure you haven't drank too much champagne... shopping and booze = never a good idea! Or is it?) The discount should be an additional 50% off sale items (pink tags). Holiday is usually 75% off.

Enjoy the rest of 2013!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Bath & Body Works haul

Bath & Body Works started their semi-annual sale today. Now is the time to stock up! Do you have any coupons that expired on December 24? If so, you can use them up to three days after they expire so head in tomorrow if you haven't already. If you don't have any coupons handy, print a $10 off $40 one here.

Below is what I purchased and how much it cost me.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

After Christmas sales

I said I wouldn't be back until after the new year, but I just couldn't stay away! Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Can't believe it's over already. It always goes so fast :(

My little assistant.
This year the after Christmas deals are expected to be huge! Retailers had a lackluster season so expect good deals now. Some sales even started online today (Kohls, Target, and Amazon).

As you all know, I usually wait to do the bulk of my after holiday shopping until it's 90% off. I don't expect 90% off until sometime after New Years Day. I do plan to hit up Michaels, Bath & Body Works, and Hancock Fabric tomorrow. Here are some of the sales:

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas break... projects galore!

Today is my last day at work until January 6. Hallelujah! Bring on the two weeks vacation!

So what will I be doing on my days off (besides eating and drinking too much)? You guessed it - projects. Lots and lots of projects. I've been at Lowes and Menards constantly making sure I have all of my materials.

Since I'll be so busy making messes, I won't be blogging. I'll be back on January 6 to show you my hard work. Here is what I hope to accomplish:

Homemade edible gift

How cute are these little guys? Okay, okay. I did not make them. I'm a terrible cook, but how hard could homemade granola be? I bought these at HyVee for $4.99 each. Something a bit healthier than the usual sugary fare this time of year. We're putting them in gift baskets that will also have wine, cheeses, gift cards, etc.

If you want to make your own all you need is a ball jar, festive fabric, raffia or ribbon, and craft paper for the to/from card. Oh and candy canes if you wish! Here are some recipes for homemade granola:

Food Network
Joy of Baking
Elizabeth Rider
Amateur Gourmet

I have not tried these recipes, but they look promising. Do any of you make similar homemade gifts?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Free Friday recap

Free Friday was on December 6 and I just realized I never posted about my findings! I didn't find much this time... maybe that's why I spaced it. I did manage to bring a few useful things home though. Check them out below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Free 8x10 at Walgreens through 12/22

Use code TODAY8x10 at checkout. If you pick it up in the store this will cost you nothing. Great gift idea for those still trying to conquer their Christmas lists! This is good through December 22, 2013.

DIY barnwood shelf

We have a long boring hall off the kitchen that leads to the laundry room, office, and garage. I hung some pictures along one wall, but it just looked blah. And now I've taken them down. And now I'll need to patch and repaint. One step forward and two steps back!

I thought a long hall table might look nice... something I could set frames, candles, and plants on.  I didn't want anything too wide since we need room to walk.

My father-in-law has a bunch of old barn wood and my husband and him were able to build what I wanted. The great thing about DIY is you can make it to fit your space. I wanted it to be four feet long and no wider than ten inches.

Here is how it turned out:

Obviously it isn't a table. We decided a shelf would be best. My temperamental cat likes to knock things over. A long skinny table seemed risky!

Here is the write-up from my husband:

Free shipping day!

If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping, now is a good time to do it. Today, December 18, is free shipping day. Almost 1,000 stores are participating. Check out the list of stores and find the free shipping codes at Free Shipping Day.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Adult Christmas craft

We went to a Christmas party last Friday evening and there were some neat decorations. I thought this wine bar project looked cute and easy. There are 24 slots for wine bottles so you simply take gift tags and write a number on each one. The numbers represent the days in December leading up to Christmas (like a calendar).

Bonus points if you're able to drink each bottle on their respective day. Just kidding. Don't do that. You might not make it until Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Save money on haircuts

UPDATE: I've now been purchasing Living Social and Groupon deals for hair coloring and cuts at salons. Sometimes these deal sites have codes for an extra % off so it's actually cheaper than College of Hair Design! Plus, the stylist is more experienced and it doesn't take near as long. 

I get my hair cut and colored at the College of Hair Design in Lincoln, NE. I go to both the downtown and south locations. It saves me major $$$! There are hair schools all over so anyone should be able to take advantage of this.

My husband and I went in last week and both got haircuts. We had a two cuts for $10 coupon (so $5 each). Now if you're nervous about a student cutting your hair, don't be. The instructors are there and check periodically to make sure the student is doing it right.

I get a trim every couple of months... sometimes with a reconstructor which really strengthens the hair. I color my hair only a couple times a year. If I get just highlights and a cut, it's usually under $30. If I get highlights and lowlights, the total is closer to $60. A reconstructor is $10. Kids can get $5 cuts every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (no coupon needed).

Since I can't pass for a kid, I always bring a coupon. You can print your own here. I was paying $100+  at the salon before switching over several years ago.

To ease your mind, here are some pics of my cut:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Befriend an alcohol sales rep

It's Friday and I have one thing on my mind - alcohol.

We get a lot of free booze. It's wonderful. Occasionally my husband and I will have a glass of wine in the evenings, but we mostly save the alcohol for entertaining.

We get it free because a good friend and family member of ours is an alcohol rep. He hosted an event a while back and these were all the extra unopened bottles that he took home. He invited us over and we were able to have our pick. Hot dog! You know I love free stuff!

This is what we took home:

Befriending an alcohol rep might sound easier said than done. So in the meantime, stop by my house and help me drink all of this! Tis the season to be merry!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Animal stories always get me

I'm switching gears today. Someone shared this on Facebook and it just made my day. Animals are the best... and humans who love and care for animals are even better! Check out this heart warming story about an orphan baby squirrel taken in by humans and their pet dogs.

Here is the link: He Was Found Freezing and Dying. Yet Somehow The Last Photo Made My Entire Year. 

Most days I'd rather hang out with animals than humans. Anyone else feel that way? I swear I'm not antisocial! I just love how animals love unconditionally. My favorite part of everyday is getting home to my pets!

Think we have enough pillows?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Scrounging up greenery and pine cones

The great thing about Christmas is that we can use items in nature to decorate! Best of all... free! I bet a lot of you have pine cones and branches in your backyard so grab a basket and a saw. With a little imagination, I'm sure you can find many uses for them.

My mother-in-law put greenery, pine cones, and red bulbs in a wood crate. Cute!

I put mine in a basket by my front door with a Hope sign. I used burlap underneath.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tomato cage Christmas tree

My mother-in-law has this cute Christmas tree in her entryway. At first glance, I never would have guessed she made it out of a tomato cage! I've seen people wrap only lights around tomato cages and put them outdoors, but I had not seen this done before.

It looks fairly simple. Flip the cage so the bottom is now the top. Tie the four top stakes together (I think a couple thick rubber bands would work). Then decorate!

She used burlap ribbon, garland, mesh ribbon, beads, lights, and ornaments. I'm sure you could keep wrapping the garland and ribbon to the bottom if you don't like the cage showing. Have some long twist ties on hand in case you need to secure the garland, etc.

Here are some other ways people have decorated their tomato cages:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christmas printables

If you missed my post on using free printables, check it out here. Hop on pinterest or google and search for "free Christmas printables" or "free holiday printables". All you need is some cardstock, a color printer, and a cute frame!

I had this frame lying around my office and am glad I finally found a use for it! The printable is from the 4 My Kiddos blog. There are different colors of it if gold isn't your thing. There are also a ton of other cute designs!

This Rudolph printable is from Fox Hollow Cottage.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Displaying Christmas cards

There is something so exciting about opening the mailbox and getting Christmas cards throughout December! It's a nice change from the usual bills and spam. Normally I hang our cards on the fridge, but this year I decided to switch it up.

Remember how I picked up a ton of free shutters from EcoStore? Their Free Friday is TODAY by the way! I've done other projects with the shutters (see here and here), but still have a few leftover.

Why not hang Christmas cards on them?

Free Friday! Free Friday!

If you live in or near Lincoln, NE you might want to stop by Free Friday at EcoStore this morning. If you're wondering what the heck that is, check my recap from the last time I went. Technically you have until 6 p.m., but it'll get more and more picked over as the day goes on.

Keep an open mind, use your imagination, and good luck :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Free outdoor Christmas trees

I have big planters all around my house which normally have spring flowers, hostas, or mums in them. Since those plants had died off, it was time to put something festive in the planters!

Since Christmas items aren't discounted majorly right now, I didn't want to spend money on fake trees. Luckily, we are surrounded by farm ground and wild trees that grow in ditches and fields. I know a lot of my readers are too! At Christmas time, my mom used to walk down to the crick with her siblings and chop down a tree when they were young so this is nothing new, but most people buy artificial or head to a tree farm nowadays.

My husband was nice enough to chop down two trees from my grandpa's land for the planters in front of our garage.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm back! Savannah Recap

Good morning! Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving! I flew home from Savannah yesterday and am trying to get back in the swing of things. If you haven't been to Savannah, GO! Go now. I LOVED it. We had such a nice trip and thanks to their strong appreciation for the military, we were able to save a lot of money. I couldn't believe how many places offered military discounts (and big discounts at that)! Southern hospitality at its finest. Today's post will be about my trip since I haven't had time to do projects lately. Hopefully you don't mind! I promise to start back up with projects tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm off to Savannah!

Well, friends. I'm taking a break from blogging the next few days. I'm spending Thanksgiving in Savannah, GA with my brother, his fiance, and my mom. I can't wait to travel to the land of southern hospitality, home cooking, and beautiful plantations!

My husband decided to stay back for the Husker game. I'm thankful he'll be taking good care of our pets while I'm gone. Hope you all have a relaxing Thanksgiving with friends and family!

Children's Place extra 30% off

Children's Place online Black Friday has started. They are offering an extra 30% off and free shipping (no minimum!) with promo code: BLACKFRIDAY.

What time online Black Friday sales start for each retailer

Kuddos to Brad's Deals. This list is awesome. It tells you when each retailer is starting their ONLINE Black Friday sales. Sure takes the guesswork out of it. The screenshot below shows a small portion of the list. At the top are the stores you can shop right now followed by the exact times everyone else is starting their online doorbusters and special sales.

Nine West 50% off, plus extra 15% off boots

Nine West is having a great sale right now! A lot of retailers offer $19.99 or $29.99 boots on Black Friday, but I'm not a fan of them. Too cheap looking for my taste (even though I am cheap and don't like to spend much). When it comes to boots and shoes in general, I think it's better to pay a bit more for a higher quality item. It will last you longer and will probably be more comfortable.

Nine West has some nice leather boots. Get 50% off boots and booties and then an additional 15% with code NWEM5. According to Brad's Deals this is one of the best sales they've ever offered.

I really like the following boots in black. The first is originally $169 and is marked down to $84.50. It is $71.82 with the extra 15% off. The second is $179 and marked down to $89.50. The extra discount brings it to $76.07. Shipping is free!

Nine West Counter Boot
Nine West Valcaria
I'm on the hunt for a nice pair of black boots so that's why these caught my eye. There are a lot of brown and camel colors as well. Purses and accessories are on sale too!

kate spade 75% off

For all of you Kate Spade lovers out there - up to 75% off select items through Saturday, November 30th. Click here to go to the site. You may be required to submit your email and zip code.

I like the Cobble Hill Small Kori in Oyster. It would match with just about any outfit and I think it's a style that can be used for years to come. The original price is $398 and it's marked down to $149. Shipping is $5.

Or how about the Bow Valley Helena? The original price is $478 and it's marked down to $189.

Check out their shoes and accessories as well! Sure these purses are still a pretty penny even at the sale prices, but choose a timeless style that you'll use for many years. That way you get your money's worth!

Deal bloggers you should be following

Following certain bloggers is the easiest way to score awesome deals. They do this for a living and share what they find. Read their blogs, but also like them on social media. This is how I find out about all sorts of freebies and steals. It's especially helpful to follow them now when there are so many sales for Black Friday. I swear these bloggers must not sleep. They've been posting 24/7 the past week. With stores starting their Black Friday sales at different times it's impossible to keep up. Let the pros do the work for you!

For example, Walgreens offers free 8x10 prints, 4x6 prints, holiday cards, collages, etc. throughout the year. I rarely read their emails or visit their website - who has time for that? The bloggers I follow are great about posting when these freebies happen and what codes to use. Last week, I got 50 4x6 prints for free. Today I ordered a free 8x10 (use code TURKEY8x10). We also got 40 free holiday cards which I'll send out soon.

What do you think?
So here are the pros I follow:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Neiman Marcus last call extra 40% off everything, extra 60% off clearance

I just received the below email from Neiman Marcus last call. The sale runs through 11/27. If you haven't shopped in their stores or on their website before, they have designer goods for much less. I've purchased Coach loafers and a Michael Kors watch from them for a fraction of the cost.

The extra 60% off clearance is what caught my eye in this email. Check out this high quality Rachel Zoe bag that drops from $350 to $140. The same bag is at Saks Fifth Avenue right now for $247! That's a savings of $107!!

This Resin Cabochon Bracelet in teal drop from $52 to $14.50. There is also a matching statement necklace that goes from $84 to $23.50.

I don't normally spend a lot of money, but if it's a good deal on a high quality item that I can use for a long time - I will splurge. Purchase items that are classic and timeless, not trendy, when buying designer duds.

Why Kohl's is my favorite Black Friday store

I love Kohl's!!! I shop there year round, but especially on Black Friday. They started their online Black Friday sale last night at midnight and the deals are still going on. Every Black Friday, Kohl's lets you earn $15 in Kohl's cash for every $50 spent. This year you can redeem the Kohl's cash between December 2-11. Many of their Black Friday deals have rebates on top of the sales. For example, I just purchased this KitchenAid Classic Plus 4.5-qt. Stand Mixer and CorningWare French White 10-pc. Set for $118.44 online. Retail is $364.98 for both items! I saved $246.54!!! For comparison, the sale price at Walmart for the mixer alone is $199.

Update: I also just bought this Food Network 15-pc. Stainless Steel Cutlery Set. The original price was $179.99 and I got it for $12.51! That's a savings of $167.48.

Here is how I did it:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Building a workbench - part 3

My husband is still at it! Thank goodness he's been blogging lately because I honestly haven't gotten much done.

Here is his third and final workbench post. (Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here and here if you missed them.)

Today I’ll show you the finishing touch on the workbench.  The lighting!  For some reason our garage only has a single overhead light so a work light on this bench was a necessity.  This only took about an hour.  It should have been less, but I failed to read an important sticker that was on the light that explained something that was easily avoidable.  I won’t get into that to save myself a little bit of embarrassment.  Let’s get started.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Building a workbench - part 2

Part 1 can be found here if you missed it.

Well, I may have lied yesterday about what I’d be writing about today.  Unfortunately I didn’t get to install the shop light on my workbench last night because I failed to realize that I didn’t pick up the eye bolts that I needed to hold it to the structure.  Today’s post will be short and sweet as I show you the pegboard and outlet strip I installed last night.

Start your Black Friday shopping this weekend

I was going to wait until next week to post about Black Friday, but so many places are doing pre-Black Friday sales that I thought today was appropriate. 

Competition is extremely fierce between stores this year since Thanksgiving is later. There are less shopping days in the holiday season which means stores have started their Black Friday sales earlier than ever and have engaged in price wars.

Check out these articles:

Black Friday Comes Early as U.S. Retailers Panic Over Holiday Sales

This Year, Black Friday Basically Starts a Week Early-If Not Sooner

Early Black Friday sales let shoppers sleep in

The below article from Brad's Black Friday (my favorite Black Friday site) tells you which stores are offering Black Friday prices this weekend:

Brad's Ultimate Black Friday Strategy: How You Can Win Black Friday with Walmart, Best Buy, and Everyone Else

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Building a workbench - part 1

 Today's post is from my wonderful husband!

Greetings, readers!  I’m honored to do the first guest post on this blog!  You’re in for a mediocre treat!  Today and tomorrow I’ll show you how I built a simple workbench for the garage.  The plan was in my head throughout the build.  Building from an actual paper plan may be more your style.  Things are a little more accurate that way I suppose, but my bench turned out exactly how I pictured it with little to no mistakes.  Let’s see how I did it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make your own skinny Christmas tree

I made this Christmas tree. Yes, the tree itself using a landscaping log and greenery. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Adding shutters to a desk

If you missed my desk redo, check it out here.

The desk looked better, but still blah. Today I added shutters to the back.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Desk redo

We're working on our office this week and trying to get organized. Big task!

This wood desk was $7 at EcoStore. They had it priced at $10 and came down to $7. (Every little bit helps!)

I loved the shape and the handles. Had it been in better condition, I may have stripped and restained it. However, the wood was pretty beat up in places. I decided to paint it white.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Nebraska Crossing Outlet Experience

Holy smokes there were a lot of people at the new outlet mall today! We arrived at about 1:00 p.m. It opened at 10:00 a.m. and it sounds like it was the craziest from then until about noon. They were expecting it to get really busy late afternoon again as people started getting off work. Don't get me wrong, it was still plenty busy while we were there from 1:00-4:00. Parking was a mess. We lucked out and followed a shopper who happened to be leaving. We ended up getting great parking, but we were the exception.

Nebraska Crossing Outlets Grand Opening

I'm off to the new outlet mall, Nebraska Crossing Outlets! (Sorry work. Priorities.) Today is their grand opening.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Painting laminate floors

Just like laminate countertops, laminate floors are everywhere. If you missed my tutorial on painting countertops, check it out here.

Apparently you can paint laminate floors as well! Who knew? While I'm thankful we replaced all of our flooring with new, I kind of wish I had some old crummy laminate to try this out on. (Hint to my friends... anyone trust me enough with their floors?!)

*All of the pictures in today's post are from the respective blogs.

I found a tutorial from View Along the Way.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vinyl decals on shutter

I know Halloween is long gone, but I got a great deal on these items and thought I would put this project together so it's ready for next year.