Deals & Steals … and vodka

As I mentioned this weekend, I am a sucker for free gifts. But just as important, I love scoring a GREAT deal. It doesn’t have to be free, but wow – if it’s heavily discounted I will do a happy dance for days! This week a few deals fell into my lap that I’m pretty excited about.

I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed to Groupon and Living Social several times. It seemed every time I came across a deal I was interested in, the disposable income just wasn’t there. And when I did have a few dollars to spare? They offered me car washes and segway rides. No thanks. I embarked on my Groupon journey again last week, and Monday I was pleasantly surprised by the offer in my inbox: a $50 gift card to Nordstrom Rack for only $25. Further compounding my delight, they were offering me $10 off my first Groupon purchase. $15 for a $50 GC – how could I say no?! Things only continued looking up as I discovered Nordstrom Rack was having an additional 30% off sale on Black Friday. Hell YES!

Next up: running attire. One of the most comfortable items of clothing I run in are Nike Tempo shorts. I love ’em. What I don’t love, however, is their $28 full retail price tag. Sometimes I can score a pair at Academy for $21.99, but even still, it’s a pretty penny for a pair of lightweight shorts. Last night while I was on Twitter, a few people I follow were pretty riled up about a sale on the Tempos. Sale? Where?! I followed the link in the tweet, and was pleasantly surprised to find out the shorts were currently marked down to $15.97. And on top of that, there was 25% off clearance items PLUS free shipping! That brings the total for one pair of shorts just shy of $12. Go get a pair!! GO!!

Also, I have been toying with the idea of Bikram yoga for awhile now. I’ve heard it does wonders for your body (especially combined with running), and I’m intrigued. Caitlin told me a studio would be opening up just around the corner from us, and I knew it was time to take the plunge. They are currently advertising two introductory specials: $20 for 10 days -or- $49 for 30 days unlimited. (To compare, one month of unlimited regularly goes for $150).

Since planning my marathon training schedule has been incredibly challenging for the month of December, I’ve been resisting making the purchase on either of those packages. I simply don’t want to fork over the money if I know I won’t be able to reap the full benefits of the trial run. It will just have to wait until the new year.

That is, until I checked my email this morning. Groupon had done it again! $24 for 30 days unlimited at Pure Bikram Yoga! Even if you purchase it today, it won’t expire until the end of February. I scooped that one up immediately – 51% savings off the “special” they were already having? Yes, yes please. Don’t mind if I do! I’ll be tucking it away until January 🙂 It’s still available for purchase, so if you’re in the Austin area – go take advantage of that great deal!!

I’m hoping the money-saving trend of the week continues on to the liquor store. I need to grab a bottle of vodka to mix up a few drinks with for my Skype date Friday morning with Carly. Vodka isn’t something I’ll skimp on though – if it costs $5 more for a bottle in glass rather than plastic, I will happily pay it. Nothing good comes out of a plastic jug of cheap liquor 😉

Saturday = Shopping & Sports

Saturday I spent pretty much the entire morning submerged in One Tree Hill reruns on SoapNet. Don’t judge. I did a bit of online shopping at Victoria’s Secret. I’m a sucker for free gifts. I bought these pajamas, which came with free slippers:

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And this wrap sweater, which came with a free scarf:

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Then I realized I still had a few gift cards to Express, in addition to them having a sale on sweaters, AND a coupon. I would have preferred to continue shopping online because it meant I could spend more time in bed, but I knew I needed to try some things on. Off to the mall I went!

I chose a sweater, cardigan, scarf & tank top, in the colors shown below:

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Bf came home from work around 6, and then we headed out to a hockey game. The Dallas Stars’ affiliate team Texas Stars play literally 3 minutes from our house, so we figured it would make for a fun night out. We started with a few beers at the house

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And enjoyed a few beers at the game

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Bf ordered a couple hotdogs, but I really am not a fan of them so I set out to find an alternate option. I decided on Monster Chicken Nachos, and the ‘Monster’ part of the name was no joke:

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Pulled chicken, pico de gallo, jalapenos, black beans, and cheese. They were pretty delicious, which was surprising for sports arena food. I ate about half before I slipped into a food coma 🙂

Here’s a few photos from the rest of the evening, including an obligatory fight on the ice:

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The weekend has been really good so far, and I have a full schedule planned for today:

– Laundry & cleaning
– Finish half/full Marathon schedules
– Make grocery list for Thanksgiving menu (menu to be revealed tomorrow!)
– Meal plan & cook for the week
– Watch football 😉

Happy Sunday everyone, savor the last day of the weekend!

Weekend Recap

It’s been a pretty productive and relaxing weekend. Seems like those two couldn’t go hand in hand, right? Somehow I made it happen.

Friday night I swung by the grocery store on my way home to grab a bottle of wine and a few odds & ends for dinner.

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I whipped up Pork Chops Stuffed with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Spinach, recipe to be posted soon!

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Saturday morning I went on a hunt for a laptop bag. After three stores and a 30 minute deliberation on whether on I wanted red or black, I headed home with a cute new red tote bag from Kohl’s. My happiness faded when I attempted to put the laptop in the bag– it didn’t fit. I returned it, checked a few more stores, and arrived back home empty handed.

I tore apart my bedroom all afternoon. I filed, I recycled, I organized – it was glorious. I feel so much better now that the mess has been cleaned up!

Today we performed our Sunday morning ritual: pickup Dunkin’ Donuts and head downtown. Bf took the dog to the park, and I hit the trail for a couple easy miles. I didn’t plan on logging any high mileage, I just wanted to start breaking in the new shoes a little bit.

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I ran 2.68 miles, with my splits being 11:46, 12:34, 6:34. By the third mile I was really in the zone, and I felt it could have been a GREAT long run day. I didn’t want to push it though, since one week from today I’ll be running the Rock n Roll San Antonio 1/2 (at the same time Carly will be running the 13.1 Ft. Lauderdale race)! I can’t believe it’s almost here already!

On the way home we stopped at Best Buy and I finally was able to find a bag large enough to fit my laptop. When we got back to the house I jumped in my car and headed out to the grocery store to pick up this (totally against my Sunday football beer-only rule):

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And ingredients to whip up this:

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Turkey Chili w/ a dollop of light sour cream and topped with mango pico de gallo. Soo delicious 🙂

Now I’m watching football, doing laundry, and preparing for the new work week to begin. Bring it on – I’m ready!

Time to plan!

Yesterday I left work for my lunch break on a mission to purchase a new planner. I headed to this wonderful store:

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The Paper Place is extremely dangerous! There were two tables full of planners and journals, walls full of pens and cardstock, and spinning racks of stationery. I had spent 35 minutes in the store and I didn’t even realize it!

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After wandering around for a bit, I realized I should probably start looking for what I actually came for.

Initially, I had my heart set on Exaclair’s Exacompta Space 24 since Sarah from The SHU Box raved about it. I appreciated the limited amount of room for actual appointments (because I’m not really that important) while also having ample room for notes/lists/reminders. I usually find myself doing rough drafts of budgets and sketching grocery lists in my planner, so the more room the better. It was perfect – except when I started thinking about carrying it around. I rotate through my purse inventory fairly often, probably about every 3 weeks. While it would fit in my current bag with ease, my smaller bags just wouldn’t have room. This was a deal breaker.

Just as I was about to admit defeat and head back to work, I noticed a smaller planner on the very bottom row. The Textagenda. I believe it’s marketed towards students since the calendar runs from July to August, but this was fine by me. It meant I was able to start using it right away!

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I’m not too wild about the color, but it was my only option. Sure, I could have waited and ordered it online with a color I liked more but I’m not all about delayed satisfaction. I’m more of a Veruca Salt “I want it NOW” kind of gal. So red it is 🙂

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Even smaller appointment area, more space for notes/lists, and “priority” boxes to fill with the day’s most important items. Even better, it was nearly $10 cheaper than the Space 24! Sold!

I haven’t started writing in it yet, I’m saving it for tomorrow evening when I will start planning out my week. Today is reserved for organization of the bedroom, which is going really well actually. Back to work I go, hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

HP, it’s time you & I had a talk

In the beginning of 2008, I purchased my first laptop. I know, I know – wayyyy behind on the times. I had a pretty reliable desktop and never thought of trading it in for something more portable. Once I made that investment though, I don’t know how I went without one for so long. I didn’t have to write papers at my desk anymore – I could do it in bed!

Anyway, said laptop (an HP) has begun to get a little finicky on me. It likes to overheat sometimes and shut itself off ( how awesome), and most recently, the sound no longer works. I thought I could live without it since I have the sound turned off most of the time anyway (not a fan of the little Windows ‘dings’), but the silence is starting to drive me N U T S.

I was looking for some new music on iTunes, but I had to guess if I thought I would like the song or not since I couldn’t listen to a preview. This makes creating a race playlist pretty difficult. More importantly, I would lose my Skype time with Carly! It’s one of the few things that keeps me sane, and I don’t think it’s wise to live without our internet meetups. Youtube videos, online TV episodes, etc. If it has sound, I’m missing out on it.

Now I am faced with the horrid task of purchasing a new laptop. Don’t get me wrong, a new toy is always exciting. However, financially it’s not such a blast watching your bank account take a hit. I’m not going to purchase another HP because it’s been just over two years with this one, and I’m not impressed with the lifespan. I really do love the HP, and I’m pleased with every other aspect of it – but I can’t take the chance buying another one. It’s an expensive risk. I refuse to even speak or type the dreaded ‘D’ word, but if you know PCs/laptops, you know who I am talking about. We do NOT get along. Sony & Mac are out of my price range, so I am going to go with a Toshiba. When I bought the last one, I was on the fence between an HP and a Toshiba (clearly I chose the wrong one).

I’ve narrowed it down to these three:

Toshiba Satellite L655-S5096 ($479.99)

Toshiba Satellite A505-S6005 ($599.99)

Toshiba Satellite L655-S5101 ($499.98)

I’m leaning towards the last one since it seems to be the most “bang for your buck” deal, but it’s also one of those “in-store special order only” deals. They have it at a Staples nearby, but will they still have it on Friday when I go to purchase it? Probably not. Alternatively, Best Buy allows you to Trade-In your old laptop for a giftcard to their store. If I could get a decent amount back from my current laptop, I could justify paying a little bit extra for option #2. If Staples sells out of the one I want, and Best Buy can’t offer me as much as I’m looking for, I will go with option #1.

My brain hurts. I hate doing research for big purchases.

What kind of laptop do YOU use? If you have a Toshiba, would you recommend it?