No Brainer

July 28, 2015

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I’ve shared quite a few “easy diy” projects on this blog, but this one might be the easiest one yet. Seriously, it’s something you could literally do in your sleep (although I wouldn’t actually recommend trying to get it done in your sleep since you might get spray paint all over the neighbors’ car).

Mike and I knew we needed some sort of file cabinet to keep all of our IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS (read: random papers we’ve been holding onto for years that probably are useless, but we hold onto them nonetheless). When looking for a new one online, we realized that they can actually be quite expensive. So instead I started trolling craigslist and the occasional thrift store until we found this old file cabinet at B Thrifty for $7. To give it a little facelift, we then took the leftover mint green spray paint from our cat poop box project and spray painted the crap out of it!

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Before spray painting, I wiped it down with a some clorox wipes and then I took the weird handles off of them (not pictured, but imagine gross, bulky, plastic, off-white handles that actually make you gag because they are so ugly). Then I proceeded to do two coats of spray paint and let it dry for a few hours.

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We found new handles (crisp, shiny, beautiful handles) at Home Depot and put them on the freshly minted file cabinet. (See what I did there?) but unfortunately the lovely handles didn’t fit the holes allotted that well. There was a noticeable gap between the new handles and the hole where the handles are supposed to go. This is the part that probably wasn’t very easy, but Mike had a brilliant idea about how to handle this problem. We used dimes as a way to cover up the holes! DIMES! Brilliant I tell you. Don’t ask me how he drilled a hole in the dimes, because I don’t know. I assume he used a drill of some sort? Mike? Help me out here.

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Then we placed the brand new (to us) file cabinet in it’s resting spot as Mike’s bedside table and filled ‘er up with all those very important and very necessary documents.

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I’d like to give a shout out to the United States Mint for being the inspiration for, and reason why our new file cabinet is complete. Keep up the good work, fellas.

Hacking

July 14, 2015

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The diy train rolls on with another project Mike and I are very excited to share. As you can see from the photo below, we definitely needed a solution for the random stuff that had accumulated under the windows in our bedroom. This area basically became a dumping ground for “crap we don’t know what to do with.” I felt like it needed a bit of an upgrade, so we decided on putting a bookshelf there instead since most of the “crap” was our books and photo albums.

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After getting the idea from Mike’s Dad, we decided to try and take on this Ikea Hack project since we both really liked to look of it and it seemed to be the right shape for our space. We knew we wouldn’t have room for all three levels of the shelf as shown in the Ikea hackers design, but after doing some measuring we decided two levels of shelves would be perfect. Here’s how we hacked on an Ikea Hack:

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We drove out to our local Ikea and picked up two HYLLIS shelves.

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Mike assembled said shelves and then cut them in half as if he were a magician sawing a trusting young lady.

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We picked up 6 pieces of wood from Home Depot (8 ft by 4 in) and I got to work destroying them. Oh I’m sorry, I’ve been told it’s actually called “distressing” them. I got out a lot of therapeutic energy out of banging, striking, and just going to town on those boards. I used a hammer to make marks with screws, and other random stuff I found in Mike’s tool box. I highly recommend this as an enjoyable Saturday afternoon activity.

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Then it was time to spray paint the HYLLIS pieces with Oil Rubbed Bronze. Why? Because it looks so damn good.

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I then got to work staining the wood with Dark Walnut. It really brought out the depth of the distressing, even Matilda agreed.

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We set the spray-painted HYLLIS up in our desired location in the bedroom and added the wood pieces once they were fully dry. Mike added little notches in the wood for the parts that bumped up against the HYLLIS legs.

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Finally, I could take all my crap from the floor and disguise it as decorative pieces on our new shelf.

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I can’t stop staring at it! Is that weird? Sometimes I pet it and whisper to it that it’s beautiful. That is weird, I know. I don’t care. I’m in love!

Crate Expectations

July 7, 2015

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Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had an awesome 4th of July weekend, we spent the weekend with friends, eating crabs, playing corn hole and watching fireworks blast off for hours on end from all around our new DC apartment. It was terrific!

Today I’d like to share a project Mike and I completed last week. Ever since we put together my Pax system from Ikea, we noticed a little over a foot of extra, unused space between the top of the closet and the bottom of the ceiling. Since our new place is so much smaller than our old place, we knew we needed to capitalize on that extra space for storage. Storage is a hot commodity these days! So we started brainstorming what we wanted to use to store our random junk. We thought about canvas boxes or plastic bins but they seemed a little… boring. Then we finally got the idea of using crates, which we both loved.

Unfortunately, crates are kind of expensive! We noticed that the cheaper ones were pretty small, and we didn’t really want to compromise getting them for less when they wouldn’t use up all that extra space above the Pax. We knew we wanted 4 or 5 depending on how big we could find them and at $80 per crate that would end up costing us over $300. So we went back to the drawing board. After about a minute or so later it dawned on us- let’s just make them ourselves!! That’s when we ended up researching the free pallets on craigslist (the same pallets we used for the coat rack) and the beautiful above-the-pax-storage crates were born. Here’s how we did it…

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First we took apart the pallets (and by we, I mean Mike).

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Man did that take a lot of work! It sure was exhausting (for Mike).

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Then came the time to do math and measure out how big the crates could be while still fitting in our desired location. Math wasn’t my best subject so… Mike took this one for the team too.

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After cutting out each piece for the crates (I swear I helped with that part, I have no idea why we don’t have photographic evidence of it!) we had to sand down each piece so as not to get splinters when taking them on and off the Pax. Unfortunately we only own one sander so Mike was the lucky one who sanded each and every board.

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Here’s Mike putting the crates together- what a crate guy! (had to).

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Oh look I’m finally doing something! We put two holes in the front so as to add a rope handle for a little extra sumthin sumthin.

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Then I stained all the crates in a Almond Pecon wood stain color. I let Mike take a little break for this step- staining is therapeutic and good for the soul.

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After the crates dried we added the rope handles by tying a knot on each end.

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Badda bing badda boom: CRATES.

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Don’t ask me what’s in them because I never plan on bringing them down. I’ll leave that up to Mike ;)

Wedlock

June 23, 2015

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Over the weekend I had the pleasure of celebrating the marriage of some very dear friends. My friend (since middle school!) Meghan, and her husband Andrew got married on New Years Eve in 2013, but last weekend they got to party with all their closest family and friends on Meghan’s family’s home in Lexington, VA. And let me tell you, they know how to party- live bluegrass bands, a food truck with delicious cajun food, local beer and wine (not to mention home made watermelon sangria), and field games to play all day long.

Unfortunately, there was some weird storm that kept threatening to spoil everyone’s fun, but by some miracle it only rained a few times in 10 minute spurts. I called it a Wedlock miracle. I didn’t end up getting photos of what I wore to the main event (too busy celebrating!) but Colleen was nice enough to take photos of what I wore the following day. You can check out this photo that I shared on instagram for what I wore to the actual party, if you feel it!

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mmmm watermelon sangria ^^^

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easy flat sandals was all I needed for the whole weekend ^^^

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this cheesecake ^^^ was made by the same lady who made Meghan’s parent’s wedding cake back in 1983!

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Maxi dress (similar) & sun hat (similar) & sparkle sandals: Target, Fringe cross body bag: Thrifted at goodwill (similar)

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I’m so glad I was able to celebrate the love of my pals, it was definitely a happy occasion.

Four Years

June 18, 2015

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It’s been a while since I’ve shared an outfit post here #ontheblog, so I thought I’d share a special one with you. Yesterday, June 17th, was my and Mike’s 4th anniversary! It’s crazy how the years are flying by- we also celebrated 10 years together this past May (and by celebrated I mean we looked at each other and said “woah, it’s been 10 years since we started dating!”)

For this anniversary we decided to go out to dinner at a restaurant a few blocks down 14th street that I’ve been wanting to go to for a while now, Le Diplomate. The classic french atmosphere and bistro tables made me feel like we were back in Europe! Looking over the last several years being married to this guy, I can’t believe how lucky got! Judging from all the awesome years we have had together so far, I’m super excited to see what the next several years will bring!

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Dress: ASOS (similar), Leopard print heels: Rack Room (similar), Necklace: Rocksbox (similar), Clutch: Vintage from Brussels (similar), Cocktail ring: Vintage from my grandmother (similar)

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I decided it was important to get Mike’s outfit in this post too, since he’s the other half of this celebration. Doesn’t he look sharp?! ^^^

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he’s looking into the future- it looks like we have many more happy years ahead! ^^^

A little DIY

June 11, 2015

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First of all, I’d like to apologize for the last few weeks of RADIO SILENCE- we had a few technical difficulties going on here on the back-end of T&S. It appears all issues have been resolved thanks to my very diligent IT team (Mike), so fingers crossed everything is good to go! Now let’s move on to more important things: thrifty DIY projects!

Our new apartment has a lot of stairs. I know what you’re thinking, “get over yourself, Stephie. All homes/apartments/townhouses/houseboats have some stairs. You’re exaggerating.” Actually, I’m not. There is a flight of stairs to get to the front door of the row house, a flight of stairs to get up to our apartment door, and then TWO MORE flights of stairs once you’re in the apartment just to get to our living space. This is kinda hard on my quads, but I’m getting used to it. The benefit of all these stairs in the apartment is that we have a few landings where I can strategically place wall mounted coat racks and a shoe bench to make a mud room of sorts.

When I looked online to find a wall mounted coat rack that I liked I was unpleasantly surprised to find out that the more affordable ones are boring and the ones I love are crazy expensive. I mean, $90 for a piece of wood and some hooks? I could make that myself for less than 20 bucks…. which is EXACTLY what I did!! I quickly realized that if you go on Craigslist’s free section and search “wood” or “wood pallets” there is a plethora of wood up for grabs that will cost you zero dollars. All you have to do is show up and have a vehicle that is capable of transporting your free haul. So Mike and I did this for our coat rack project, and another project I’ll talk about on later post. Then we grabbed some hooks, Gorilla glue and some wood stain and the project was ready to take form.

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First we measured how long we wanted the coat rack to be depending on our landing space on the stairwell, then Mike cut two pieces of wood to that size (we decided on 30 inches for ours).

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Then we glued the two pieces together and let that sit for 24 hours. (I got a little ahead of myself and had already stained one of the pieces of wood, but we waited out the 24 hours to let the glue set before we stained the rest).

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The next day we stained the rest of the wood, let that sit for about an hour and then added on the hooks.

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We later realized that the area where we wanted to mount the coat rack actually has brick under the plaster so instead of being able to just use screws to mount it on the wall, we decided to use some L brackets. They didn’t have any oil rubbed bronze L brackets at the hardware store so I decided to spray paint those guys. We also spray painted the tops of the screws that came with it since they will be visible with the finished product.

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Then we mounted that sucker to the wall and we called it done.

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I love it so much!! I love how the stain took to the wood, showing off all it’s imperfections in all their glory. I also love how the oil rubbed bronze spray paint made the L shaped brackets perfectly match the already bronze hooks. With the hooks only costing us $9 total, the L brackets $4, the stain $4 and the spray paint $10, this project only set us back about $30. Now when I walk up all those flights of stairs I know I’ve got something to look forward to at the top, and that’s worth the hike!

A Happy Shoe Storage Solution

May 21, 2015

Some of you may have noticed this beauty show up on my instagram a few weeks ago- what you didn’t see is my crazy huge grin and giddiness as we brought it home. After getting my closet system from Ikea without any built-in shoe storage, I knew there was going to have to be some other way to keep all my heels, wedges and flats from being scattered around the apartment.

I decided it wouldn’t hurt to check out some of the various second hand furniture stores here in DC, even though I was pretty sure their price ranges weren’t as thrifty as I’m used to. There was one place I had walked by a few times on 14th street called Miss Pixie’s, who on their website claimed to have “reasonably priced vintage home furnishings” so I decided to check it out. Not only did I find several things I would have loved to call mine, but this yellow locker screamed out that it would be a PERFECT home for my currently homeless shoes.

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It’s 5 feet tall and has 6 levels of shelving space- also it just so happens to fit perfectly between the door to Mike’s closet and the door to the bathroom. The shoe storage stars alligned just for this magical locker to be mine.

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yes, I realize I have many shoes. I’m well aware, thanksssss.  ^^^

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This guy was not as “reasonably priced” as I’d hoped- at $225 it seemed almost too expensive to purchase. But after looking online at craigslist and ebay, most other vintage lockers were in the $100-300 range and none of them had the built in shelves like this one. Also since getting our table and chairs for $20, we figured we could splurge a little on this piece.

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I think my shoes seem quite happy to have found such a perfect little home to call their own. I’m still grinning and feeling giddy, so I know I am.

Full Bloom

May 19, 2015

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A lot of happy things have been going on in my life lately- we’re making progress on furnishing our new apartment (more details about that later this week!), I started my new job yesterday, and we celebrated some family members’ graduation over the weekend!

We had two grad parties in a row, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. This is the look I wore to the party on Sunday- a fun graphic printed dress with low wedge sandals and a faux crystal necklace from Rocksbox. It was an easy breezy look for a celebratory afternoon. Once we got back home Mike and I decided to take a stroll around our neighborhood- I’m so jealous of all our neighbors with their beautifully manicured yards and big blossoms!

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want to try Rocksbox and get pretty jewels delivered right to your door? be one of the first 3 to give me your email and I’ll send you a free month! :)

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Dress: Old Navy (similar), Wedges (similar) & Shades: Target, Clutch: Banana Republic (similar), Panama Hat: JCrew Outlet (similar)

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a little free library! such a cute idea ^^^

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One project we’ll tackle at some point will be to create our own little garden on our deck. But in the meantime I’ll just enjoy everyone else’s pretty scenery!

Poop Box Project

May 14, 2015

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Having a cat brings me a lot of joy- she’s super adorable and incredibly soft. She greets me at the door when I come home after work and promptly rolls over so I can rub her big fat belly. She chases shadows and laser pointers alike- it’s hilarity at it’s best. Having a cat in a tiny city apartment can pose some challenges, however.

When we were apartment hunting one of the big questions I would always ask Mike is, “but where will we put Matilda’s cat box?” otherwise known as the litter box, and more commonly called the POOP BOX. If there wasn’t a very good space to hide her feline throne, I was less likely to be interested in the apartment. When we decided to live here in our place in Columbia Heights, that was one thing I was definitely worried about. There’s only two closets in this place- one is just for clothes and the other houses our washer/dryer & hot water heater with no extra room for much else.

That’s when I started researching alternative options. After looking on Pinterest, Etsy, Amazon, Target, and craigslist, I found the Perfect Solution: This guy! How cute! A mid-century looking cabinet that hides the cat box with an adorable little cut-out for said cat to do her business. This piece seemed too good to be true- until I noticed the price. For almost $500 this option was out of our budget. Mike assured me would could make one ourselves for a fraction of the cost- and luckily he kept to his word! This is how we (Mike) did it….

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We found two of these old 1960s-1970s speaker boxes at B Thrifty after a trip out to Ikea for $13 total. Mike popped open the back and top using his super manly muscles and we took a quick peek inside before ripping everything out of it.

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Then we removed the lattice work from the front and spray painted it mint green (my fave!) to add a pop of color.

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We added hinges to the top so that we can easily access it when needed (i.e., too stinky and in need of cleaning).

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We used the inside piece from the speaker box to use as a template to make our hole on the side and Mike gots-to-hand-sawing.

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And just like that we had a perfect, kitty-sized hole.

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See, I did help! I’m sanding down the hole so as to prevent any kitty splinters.

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We spray painted the box a nice crisp white, and once it was dry we put the freshly minted lattice piece back in.

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Matilda might be looking in the other direction but we know that deep down inside, she is super happy about her new poop box.

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We placed it inside next to the TV, making sure to leave enough room on the side where the hole is so she can get in easily. She’s already used it a few times, so we’re hoping she likes it as much as we do!

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Deal of the Century

May 6, 2015

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Time for another apartment update! This is one for the ages! I cannot stop talking about it! Exclamation points!!! Ok, let’s go back to the beginning of this update specifically: table hunting. I knew I wanted a table that would be expandable- our living space in our new apartment isn’t the biggest so it made sense to have a table that is rather small when closed (seat 4 comfortably) but then can expand to be a good bit larger (seat 6-8 comfortably) when I want to have people over. I scoured online discount stores, thrift shops, craigslist and krrb for the last several weeks. Either I found tables that were just ok, or they were perfect yet CRAZY expensive. Then one night before bed I was taking another look at the latest craigslist ads. That’s when I found the holy grail of craigslist posts- it didn’t say it was mid-century/vintage/had great lines or any of those key words I normally look for. It just said “this table is up for grabs, won’t fit in my new place” price: $20. TWENTY DOLLARS. For the same amount of money I spend on a decent bottle of wine, this awesome table could be mine.

I emailed the craigslist poster within seconds, trying not to make too many typos with my shaking hands, asking for more details about the piece- I asked for the dimensions when it’s closed up and when it’s expanded, and more importantly, if it’s still available. When she wrote me back about an hour later she said that it was still available (hallelujah!) but she didn’t actually think it was expandable. Hmmmm. It sure looked expandable to me, so we set up a time to check it out the following evening.

The next night Mike and I walked over to her place to take a look at this probably-is-expandable-but-maybe-not table. The girl selling it only lived about 5 blocks away from us here in Columbia Heights- how convenient! Once we got there she showed us the table and said that she really didn’t think it was expandable but we could take a look and see. I lifted up the top leaf and sure enough it was definitely expandable- on both sides! I clapped in excitement at this discovery (which Mike later said probably wasn’t the best thing to do when you’re trying to keep a straight face) and then she offered for us to take the chairs that go with it, no extra charge! A-maz-ing.

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the table definitely needs some love- there are stains and discolorations on the top leaf, including a mark left by some sort of plastic bag (see below) but we plan on sanding this baby down and re-staining it. 

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this chair also needs some good lovin’ since some of the seat’s strings are broken. we’re not exactly sure how to fix this but i’m hoping it’s something our good friend google can help us with.

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after bringing these guys home I found this sticker on the bottom of one of the chairs which says “Furniture Makers Danish Control” so I searched the web for what similar pieces go for. I was pretty shocked at what I found- similar tables are going for $1150 and these same chairs are being sold for $155 each! DEAL OF THE CENTURY.

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this table expands to almost 7 feet long! I could barely get the whole thing in frame to take a photo ^^^

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I’m quite pleased with this craigslist score. How can you go wrong getting exactly what you want for only $20, saving approximately $1,440? The answer is: you can’t go wrong. This was the unicorn of deals, and I plan to brag about it for many years to come. So if you ever come over for dinner, just be prepared to hear this story again.