Archive for December, 2013

6 of the Best After Christmas Bargains

I went shopping the day after Christmas with my mother, and came home with several things I’d been eyeing over the past year (or weeks). I know Black Friday is played up like crazy across all media outlets, but I tend to skip Black Friday and get my bargains after the Christmas holiday. I don’t like to say that you’re saving money by shopping sales, because let’s be honest. The only way to “save” is to not spend. However, it IS nicer to spend less than what you would have spent had you purchased pre-sale. I went shopping with a plan; here are the best things to buy after Christmas:


1. Holiday Decor: This one is a no-brainer. Stores need Christmas decorations off the shelves to make way for new merchandise. As a newlywed, Brandon and I entered our marriage with zero Christmas decorations. This is our second Christmas as a married couple, and I didn’t decorate because a) I refused to pay full price for decorations and b) I didn’t have decorations because I refused to pay full price. I made it my goal to stock up on holiday decorations like a wreath, pillows, an Advent Calendar, ornaments, garland, and Christmas lights. I grew up without decorating Christmas trees (!!!), so I didn’t really think I was missing out on anything by not having a tree. However, I’d like to have our house decorated next year, and by stocking up on this year’s Christmas decorations I will be able to do that.


2. Gift Wrap, etc.: I blogged here about my wrapping paper obsession, so I knew that I wanted to stock up on gift boxes, gift tags, and anything necessary to wrap gifts throughout the year. I get so annoyed when it comes time to give a gift, and I can’t find tape, wrapping paper, or gift boxes in the house! The picture above is just a snippet of my treasures. The best deals were found at Wal-Mart: tape for $0.37, 10 gift boxes for $1.25, and various types of ribbon marked down as low as $0.45.

AfterChristmas53. Bakeware: I was given a Kitchen-Aid mixer  for Christmas, so I wanted to stock up on things I would need for baking or decorating baked goods. I’ve been wanting a loaf tin, and I found two Wilton large loaf pans for $1.45! My other great find was a Nordic Ware icing pen set with 27 icing attachments. While holiday cookie cutters can only be used around Christmas time, red or cupcake liners and clear cellophane treat bags can be used at Valentine’s Day. If you prefer to use boxed cake, cookie, bread, and cupcake mixes, this is also a nice time to stock up on these items.




4. Home Decor: As a kid my mom would decorate the table based on the current season or an upcoming holiday. I’m starting from scratch, so I wanted to load up on placemats, napkin rings, and table runners if the prices were right. They were! Target and Pier 1 Imports did not disappoint!  




5. Kitchen Essentials: Big name department stores tend to offer a wide range of options for gift-giving around the holidays, so many of these items are marked down the day after Christmas. I have been wanting a fondue set for several months, and after window shopping at Macy’s several weeks ago I wanted to make sure I nabbed a fondue set if it went on sale–it did! Holiday themed Ziploc containers were marked down to $1.25 a set; I don’t care if there are candy canes and peppermints on the side! I’m using these containers to store leftovers and transport my lunch to work.

AfterChristmas86. Gift Sets: While shopping at Wal-Mart I stumbled upon numerous gift sets that were half-off their original price. My mom used to buy these gift sets, and she would use the items throughout the year as gifts for other people. This year I found an “Emergency Auto Care” gift set that had tools and jumper cables for $10. I ended up placing it in the trunk of my car. I’ve been looking for mini cast iron skillets, and found two of them for $2.50 with brownie and chocolate chip cookie mixes in the set (they are still priced at over $20 on Amazon!). I don’t plan to use the mixes*, but the cast iron skillets will be put to use! I also saw (but did not buy) recipe gift sets, hot cocoa with mug gift sets, and a variety cosmetic sets.

*EDIT: Lauren from JourneyLiving suggested that I donate the unused mixes to a local pantry or food bank. GREAT idea!

 If you have any other suggestions, feel free to let me know!

Review: Tiny Prints vs. Minted Holiday Cards


front of foil pressed card


back of foil pressed card Read more…

Husband Approved: Best Red Velvet Cake

CakeI’ve been pinning things for close to three years now, and I figured it was finally time to actually make some of the things I’ve been drooling over for the past year or so.

I decided to use the Divas Can Cook red velvet cake and cream cheese frosting recipes to make a tried and true homemade red velvet cake.



  • moist cake
  • creamy, fluffy and sweet (but not TOO sweet) frosting
  • great video instructions to follow


  • CALORIES (I’m going to try a variety of healthy alternatives the next time I make this cake)


The great thing about the Divas Can Cook website is the video tutorials that go along with most of the recipes. I’m a visual learner, so I figured that I could nail the recipe as long as I followed Monique’s recipe.

Items I used and that I recommend (affiliate links used):