An Ode to Craigslist

Have you ever heard of the blog, Listed District? It’s where blogger Ellen Richardson, who has been profiled in Refinery29 and Urban Turf and others, lists out her favorite Craigslist finds from the D.C. area.

I have long been a proponent of Craigslist shopping and selling. In fact, in true Listed District style, I listed my vintage bar cart for sale just yesterday. She’s a beauty, no?

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I’ve wheeled more cocktails around in this cart than I care to remember. It’s been my staple party service since 2006. I’m sad to see her go, but there is no room for her in the new apartment. I’m hoping she finds a good, cocktail-loving home.

By far, my most perfect Craigslist score is my couch. I bought it for $150 when I moved into my first apartment, and it’s been with me ever since. It’s the perfect apartment size couch. Big enough to lie down on (though my feet do pop off the ends), but small enough to not overpower the room.

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It even came already covered in the adorable black and white fabric! It was the best $150 I ever spent. Hands down.

With the move this week, I’m not looking to add any new items to my ever-growing pile of stuff. However, I couldn’t help taking a quick look at CL to see what gems were lurking out there.

Check out this fun metal shelf.

I love this mirror too. Admittedly, I’m a little obsessed with mirrors. They help add some dimension to my mini Georgetown apartment. I own at least 6.

This vintage leather coffee table would be great with some leather conditioner, a new piece of hardware, and a fresh coat of  white paint. Perfect for a sunny room!

What about you? What’s your favorite Craigslist score?

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A Weekend Experiment in Hybrid Living

I have always driven old, foreign cars. I’ve gone from a gas guzzling Volvo to a glorified Honda wind-up toy. I’m currently driving a 15 year-old BMW that I bought for its automatic windows last year. Clearly, the idea of having a new car is somewhat…well…foreign to me.

So, when Ford recently reached out to offer me a new car for the week, I decided to see what a new, American car had to offer. Being the Discountess, I requested a hybrid to see what all the hubbub was about. Plus, I wanted to make that free tank of gas last all week (and last it did!)

Now, when someone offers you a spanking new (and bright blue, I might add) C-Max for the week, it’s only natural to take a road trip. So last weekend, some friends and I tested out the open roads in my new car. Meet the “boo berry,” our sweet ride.

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The purchasing budget for the weekend was $200. Our destination – the new and improved J. Crew outlet. The new location is twice the size, and therefore has twice the deals. Yes, please! We used the Sirius satellite radio to pump ourselves up for the savings.

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The new store was even bigger and better than I had imagined.

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Yet, we each managed to stick to our respective budgets (total miracle). Here’s all of our loot.

 

 

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I got a dress, two skirts, a bracelet, a silk blouse, and a pair of pants for $148.36, approximately $52 under budget. Wahoo! I decided to use that $52 of savings to buy my groceries for the week on the way home. There is a Wegman’s right before you get on to 66, so we pulled in to check it out.

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Wegman’s is like an amusement park for people who love the grocery store (and I LOVE the grocery store). You could get lost in there, seriously. Somehow, I managed to keep it in check, and I walked out with $47 worth of groceries for the week.

Weekend expenditures:
Clothes: $148.36
Groceries: $47.00
Gas: $0 (!!)

Total: $195.36. Not bad if I do say so myself.

And, the best part is that I arrived home, after putting 400+ miles on the car, with just over a quarter tank of gas. That’s some pretty awesome gas mileage. I’m not in the market for a new car now, but I will say that driving this car made a pretty convincing argument for buying a hybrid when it’s time.

Sadly, I had to say goodbye to the boo berry last week, but we’ll always have our road trip memories together…

 

Looking for a Wine Down

Last week, a friend and I were catching up over drinks. We were in search of a D.C. restaurant that offers half-price wine night. And on a Wednesday night, that’s a tough ask! I decided that I would start a handy list of half-price wine nights for all of you who want to drink in style, on the cheap.

I feel that it’s important to stipulate the two criteria I used to craft this list, so you understand how I determined what should and shouldn’t be included.

  1. It has to be an ALL night wine night. Half-price wine until 7 is happy hour, and in my book, it doesn’t count.
  2. Also, it has to be *somewhat* fancy. I’m not talking Citronelle (may she rest in peace), but it does have to have some ambiance. After all, if you want to go to BlackFinn, you should just drink beer. Period.

So here’s what I’ve found so far.

Sunday (for the “I don’t want my weekend to end” type person)

Clydes in Georgetown has half price wine all day.

BlackJack on 14th street has happy hour all day – food and drink specials to boot!

Monday

Veritas in Dupont Circle (they do it on Sunday as well).

Dino in Cleveland park has “wine madness” on Sundays and Mondays – 33% off all wines 50 or more.  

Chef Geoff’s  has half price all night on Mondays in both their downtown and Wesley Heights locations.

I’m making an exception to the rules to include Circa in Dupont because I love that place. They have half price wine until 9pm, so it’s a little better than your ordinary happy hour.

Peacock Cafe in Georgetown has half price all bottles all day. They continue the special with select bottles on Tuesdays as well.

Tuesday

A personal favorite – St. Arnold’s Mussel Bar – has half price wine and appetizers all night. Cleveland Park location only.

Town Hall in Glover Park is another Tuesday night option.

Wednesday

Paolo’s in Georgetown. Half price off their whole list, all night.

Cleveland Park Bar and Grill does the same thing. Check out their wine list to strategize your purchase.

Policy on 14th street has half price wine all night.

Friday and Saturday 

Bobby Van’s on New York Avenue has half price bottles on Friday and Saturday nights. SAY WHAT? No one EVER has drink specials on the weekend. This is a great find!

I could not for the life of me find anything on Thursday night. That’s not entirely surprising, but now that I found out that I can drink on the cheap at Bobby Van’s on Friday and Saturday nights, I’m thinking all bets are off!

As far as I’m concerned, this is a running list. Are there any of your favorites that I’ve missed? Let me know!

Packing a Punch at Cocktails

Last night, a friend invited me to the coolest party. The hosts have had a standing friday night cocktail hour for years. Stop by, anytime after 6:30 for cocktails and nibbles to shake off the work week. I was amazed to see people coming and going for the better part of four hours, and they were still going when I left!

Each party has a theme, and last night’s was belated summer solstice. Our host and hostess served up this refreshing (and delicious) tarragon gin lemonade for the group.

It was a beautiful drink, served it in a large punch bowl in the center of the table. Of course, I was too busy enjoying my drink to remember to take a picture, so my description will have to do. The punch bowl was a simple glass bowl like this one from Crate and Barrel.

The punch looked lovely, and the best part was that it had a HUGE ball of ice in the middle that they made with a water balloon (!). Say what? When they told me how they made it, I just had to share! All you do is fill the balloon with water, freeze it, and cut off the balloon when it’s done. Easy and very cool. You can even had food coloring to the balloon to create a colored version. My brain is going crazy with ideas! Multicolored ice for kids parties, black or purple ice for Halloween, and, it has to be said, blue balls for a bachelorette party. Ha! So fun.

The long and the short of it is that it created a fabulous centerpiece that was super creative and inexpensive. They had small sphere ice cubes for each glass too (nice touch!). You could probably make those with water balloons as well or just order these from Amazon.

This is definitely something to line up for your next outdoor barbecue or house party. Trust me, your guests will be impressed!

 

The Miracle of the Price Adjustment

I took a few days off last around last weekend as a birthday present to myself. After my 10:30 Barre3 class on friday, my friend Christina and I headed to Anthropologie to buy myself a birthday outfit (s). I got some money for my birthday, so don’t worry, it was in budget!

Anyway, I got a bunch of cute stuff, including this, this (in grey), this and these (in gold). All on sale too. But, no sooner than I walked out of the store, the annual summer tag sale started. Christina sent me a text telling me to check if any of my clothes went on sale further, so I went in with my Anthro card in hand and did just that.

Now for those of you who don’t know about this handy little money-saving tactic, I will explain. The price adjustment allows the customer to come back in the store if an item that they buy on sale goes down in price within a reasonable time period, usually 7 – 14 days. Anthropologie’s policy is 14 days.

I was well within the time frame, and Christina was right, EVERYTHING I bought was further on sale. Score! I got $80 back on my card (which I promptly spent on this and this). BUT, the important thing is that I got more value for my money. I literally walked out of the store like I was walking on air. It was all I could do to not stop people in the street to tell them of my good fortune. It felt that good.

If you are looking to replicate this kind of experience for yourself (and I highly encourage it), here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Be patient. This process takes a little time. Every store has a different policy, and since people don’t do price adjustments very often, you have a 50/50 chance of the sales associate not knowing what they are doing. Don’t fret! That’s what managers are for, and in the end it’s totally worth it.

2. Find ways to look busy at the counter. During the process of the sales associate re-learning the price adjustment system,  you might find yourself with some extra time. I used this time to organize my purse and check my messages, but there are many other things you can do. This technique is always helpful when long line is forming because your transaction is taking so long. You can avoid all of those evil glares from waiting patrons by simply playing a move on Words with Friends. Highly useful.

3. Learn your favorite stores pricing policies and hold onto your receipts for the allotted time. If you take a moment to figure out the policies of your favorite stores, you will be ahead of the game. Just set a calendar reminder to check the company website a few days before the time period is over. Or you can download a free app, like Slice, that will track your purchases for you and send you a reminder when one of your items gets further reduced.

Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Macy’s, Piperlime, Nike, Levis, Cole Haan, Abercrombie, and The Limited all provide price adjustments within 14 days.

J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and Ann Taylor Loft provide adjustments within 7 days.

Now, go forth, and adjust!

Destination: Frederick, Maryland

Last weekend, I went with my friend Mary to pick up some furniture she bought in Frederick, Maryland. Aside from a wedding shower a million years ago, I have never really been to Frederick, and frankly never thought I wanted to. I didn’t really know what to expect, but what we found was a cute little town filled with antiques shops and boutiques.

Our first stop when getting to town was Emporium Antiques on East Patrick Street.

This place was amazing. Ah-MA-zing. It’s the kind of place where you can pick up a dining room table, vintage fascinator, a tea-pot, and dress form all at once. There was one table that was filled to brim with silver plate forks and spoons. No joke.

I could have spent HOURS in there.  Basically, it’s heaven. I did manage to make one small purchase. I have been looking for a small foot stool for my living room for a while, so when I came across this bad boy I knew it had to come home with me.

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I’m going to have it recovered eventually, but I’m going to have to wait for the next paycheck for that one. Recovering furniture is not Discountess-friendly.

Anyway, after Mary dragged me out of Emporium Antiques, we went down the street to this cute shop called Silk and Burlap. She had some adorable lemon yellow garden chairs there waiting for her, and this was waiting for me (sadly, it’s still waiting there cause I had no business spending $350 on a dress – boo). I would have been better served to pick up a more wallet friendly option at the neighboring, Chic to Chic, consignment shop, but we didn’t have time to go. That is definitely on the list for next time!

If you’re looking for a some additional info on what to see and do in Frederick, Washingtonian did a good write up last year. We had to cut our visit short since duty was calling back in DC, but I’m definitely planning another trip out this summer. Hopefully, one that will end with a meal here. (I love me some Top Chef!)

Any other stops that I should make when I head out there? Send them my way!

 

Ecstatic for eBay – My First Sale!

This week, I made my very first eBay sale (of course, I have bought plenty before, but that’s another matter). I realize that I’m about a century late to this party, but I’ve just never done it. I consign my clothes at a local store, I sell on Craigslist, but I have never have managed to sell anything on eBay…until now.

Last week, I decided to part with my most recent bridesmaid dress acquisition. I had a great time in it, but I knew I was never going to wear it again. Thankfully, the bride chose a J. Crew dress for the wedding. If you have ever been in a wedding before, you’ve probably worn something from the J. Crew wedding collection. In fact, my dress is on the homepage right now! Anyway, I assumed there was a good chance that someone else would need it, and I was right.

No sooner than I posted it, some lucky lady in Illinois snatched it up! Easy as pie. I had already had it dry cleaned, so I easily sent it off in the 2-day window that eBay requested. Badda bing, badda boom–she got a great dress, and I have $100 burning a hole in my pocket.

This is dangerous new territory for me. I am currently considering selling anything in my apartment that isn’t nailed down. If you want to join my ranks as a late-blooming eBay sales goddess, I recommend checking out their suggested tips for selling listed on the site.  I just winged it, but I could have probably made more money if I had used some of these. Ah well, live and learn.

What about you? What has been your best eBay score or sale? I have a friend who has used it to buy furniture before. Who knew?!

Weekend Activity: Georgetown French Market

A little plug to attend one of my favorite neighborhood events this weekend, the Georgetown French Market.  It’s an outdoor sidewalk sale on Wisconsin Avenue that includes some of my favorite uber-preppy stores like, Sassanova, Urban Chic, and Sherman Pickey. You can go here to see a full list of participants.

The market is will run Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 5pm, and it’s free to attend. It is really fun, even if you can’t afford to buy anything (though the flyer touts that many items will be up to 75% off!).

Oh, and I should mention, it’s supposed to be 64 degrees and sunny on Saturday.  All in all, this is not a bad way to spend a beautiful day!

Dressing the Part

I AM actually making an effort to get over my gratuitous March spending, but April is turning out to have a lot of stumbling blocks. Something about springtime makes me want to have dinner and drinks out every night! Ugh.

While I’ve managed to keep it mostly in check, my biggest challenge is coming up in 2 weeks. I’ve been invited to be a guest at the White House Correspondents dinner. Woo hoo! I was actually lucky enough to go last year, and it was a blast. The best people watching ever – there were movie stars literally everywhere. It was totally cool and very intimidating.

To give you a sense, here’s my favorite picture from last year. It’s just me, my table mate (who was very nice), and our good buddy Reese Witherspoon. NBD. Reese was super pregnant in this picture BTW, and you can’t even tell. Totally sickening.

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Anyway, I can’t just show up to this thing in some old frock when there are people running around looking as awesome as (pregnant) Reese. But, then again, I don’t really need to be spending a zillion dollars on a new ensemble either. Hence the dilemma.

Last year, I bought a new dress, earrings, and lipstick (Note: Due to my new years resolutions, I haven’t bought a new lipstick since January. It’s KILLING me.). I also had my hair done (we all know that Reese didn’t do that herself!), and hopped an Uber to and from the event. Obviously, I ran up quite a tally.

This year, I’m attempting to do it for a fraction of the price. My goal is to get it all – new dress, hair, everything – for $150 or less. For dress, I’m looking at Rent the Runway, eBay, and other consignment stores (Current and Ella-Rue are my favorites), but haven’t found anything yet. The hair is also a challenge. Despite all of my googling, yelping, and other general research, I cannot seem to find an updo in DC for less than $80 plus tip. $80 to stick my hair in a bun. No thank you.

Obviously, I have my work cut out for me in the next two weeks. I’m not afraid to do things by myself – I just don’t want to look like I did it myself. Make sense?

What do you think – can I do it? If you have any suggestions to help my cause, please send them my way! I can use all the help I can get.

P.S. If I had unlimited funding (Read: $1,990), I would wear this. Sooo awesome.