Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tips for Flea Market-ing

Every bargainista knows that flea markets can be a great place to find exactly what you're looking for at a great price. You must keep in mind that you're probably getting it for a great price because it is A) used, B) stolen or C) from a country you've never heard of.  If you are okay with all of the above, then you should also know that you need to be willing to invest a lot of time to find what you want.  AND you must also come to terms that you may not find exactly what you're looking for on your first trip.  I will say this: Don't get discouraged! And never end up settling for full-price.  Give yourself some time, keep your eyes open and you will be rewarded with something fantastic at an even more fantastic price.

Also note that you should go into your flea market excursion with a SET budget.  It's very easy to convince yourself that you NEED Fern Gully on VHS, twelve Elvis 45's and a "I heart my cat" letter opener in the heat of the retail moment, but when you get home and realize how much you shelled out for a pile of useless plastic junk, you're going to be kicking yourself in the butt.  It's only fair since that is what you just did to your wallet.

My earliest memories of flea market-ing go all the way back to visiting my grandparents in Florida when I was a kid.  Every time we would visit, we would go to the flea market.  We would leave there with bags of oranges and "I [heart] Ft. Myers!" souvenirs.  Going to the flea market was always one of the highlights of our trips. You never knew what you would find! In fact, when I was in high school, I bought a simple silver band ring there and I have worn it every single day since.  It was a steal at $7. And if you factor in the CPW (cost per wear), that thing paid for itself yeaaaaarrrrssss ago.

This week, I stopped by the Raynham Flea Market with my parents.  This flea market has been in operation for over thirty-five years and is housed both inside - and out - of a huge warehouse space.  Vendors offer a wide range of goods from apparel, watches and cell phone cases to home goods, gadgets, collectibles (records, model cars) and fresh produce.  The Raynham Flea Market is open almost every Sunday of the year and admission for adults is only $1.  Some stands are run by businesses who offer specific goods (sun catchers, baby bibs, knockoff Pandora charms) and other tables are much more reminiscent of your run o' the mill yard sale.  BUT do not be so quick to dismiss these tables, as these are the places that usually hold the most valuable of treasures!

Take today for example.  I had recently potted some plants and was on the hunt for a small table for my porch to display one of said plants.  I thought I would have to hunt for weeks and most likely spend more than I wanted to (which was preferably $0.00) to find something I liked.  Then...BAM.  Serendipity jumped right in front of me at the flea market in the form of this plant stand:

I paid $5 for this wonder!  It's hard to tell from the photo, but the stand is off-white with just a few nicks in it.  I saw something similar somewhere else last week for $30!!!  Just a quick cover with some spray paint and this thing will be good as new & just perfect in our foyer! 

Click below to

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Brownies

In my constant search for things quick, easy and full of chocolate, I came up with the brain child that would ultimately become these chocolate chip cheesecake brownies.  This recipe is a hybrid of two of my favorite brownie recipes: fudge brownies and cheesecake brownies. "But Diana," you say, "I have thirty-five brownie box mixes in my cabinet that I got for free during one of my extreme couponing tirades!"

Excuse mix? You don't need no stinkin' box mix when you have this recipe in your arsenal.

I suggest you save this recipe for special occasions when you really need to impress someone.  There you will be, showing up with a plate full of these decadent brownies.  As soon as someones tastes them and you receive your "Oh, these are delicious!," compliment, you will exude major confidence when you can truthfully reply, "Thanks, I made them from scratch."

Scratch.  That one little word that  proves that you are a master in the kitchen.  Your culinary credibility just sky rocketed. Go ahead, high five yourself. And then eat one of these brownies.  You deserve it.  After all, you made them...from scratch.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Birthday Wishes

My birthday was last Friday. Here is what I wished for:

1. Stop aging. A quarter of a century is old enough.
2. That the universe would let me eat as much dessert as I please this year without any repercussions in the form of increased numbers on a scale or additional junk in the trunk.

Oh damn, said them out loud. There's always next year! Happy Birthday to all my fellow July babies!!