The Ultimate Gift: Dual Marshalls Shopping Sprees

Sometimes I call Marshalls, the off-price discount designer wonderland, “Marshall” to give a little bit of reality to the long-term relationship we have.

This goes back to when we met (literally, met) in Boston back in 2000-whatever, and ever since, they’ve been close to my heart – especially around the holidays.

You might remember when last year they challenged me to put together killer gifts with the constantly-rotating products they stock, and I was able to create three gigantic gift baskets literally full of high end products for almost nothing. Seriously, if I received one of those things as a gift, I would be delighted. They were truly like 25 gifts in one, completely reusable basket.

This year, Marshall(s) stepped it up and gave me a challenge that I couldn’t wait to accept. I was to surprise one of my friends or family (preferably someone who didn’t typically shop at Marshalls) with a huge shopping spree – $250. This was basically a present for me, too, because who doesn’t love to give away free money?! Especially when it’s not my money. I’ll give away other people’s money any day of the week! But also it was like a present because… they let me have one, too.

Dual shopping sprees!? For me? And my super-buddy?! I had to pick carefully…

It took a total of nine seconds for me to arrive at my decision.

Anne.

Anne but Not Really - Louise Belcher

Nope, sorry. That’s wrong.

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Here we go: Anne. She’s the Ann(e) Perkins to my L(inds)lie. My little illuminated squeak toy, my asparagus-flavored water peddler, my super buddy who also suffers the daily setbacks (and let’s be real, advantages) of Chronic Bitch Face.

I chose to give this Marshalls shopping spree to my amazing friend Anne who, in the extremely-crappy-est parts of my life recently has been a little beacon of light, full of validating bitterness and overwhelmingly charming curmudgeonry. But also undying support and a crazy good smile that makes everything better, regardless of situation. I couldn’t ask for more in a person.

So I got to be all like:

When I told her that I was taking her on a gigantic shopping spree at Marshalls, I was far away so I didn’t get to see her delighted face, but I assume that it was similar to the face she made when on her birthday our friends surprised her with a homemade “Dragon On The Death Star”-themed birthday cake.

Happy Birthday, Anne Perkins! Orrr @avvalyn. Have a dragon on a Death Star!

A photo posted by Broke & Beautiful (@broke_beautiful) on

(I am friends with incredible bakers.)

Instead, I received a text message that was 75% punctuation followed by “Yes, I will carry this burden.” It was satisfying.

How We Spent Our Marshalls Shopping Spree

I met her at our neighborhood Marshalls and together, we spent a whole bunch of money on a whole bunch of really affordable stuff. Spoiler alert: there are an unhealthy amount of practical purchases because Anne is a grandma with weird, rational impulses. When she thinks of splurging, she thinks of things like dish towels, efficient and/or free furniture, or maybe extra fruit from the grocery store. Don’t get me wrong, Anne is the opposite of boring, but we are planning a regular BINGO date at the local casino on Monday nights… Needless to say, I was excited to see exactly how many warm blankets she would end up with by the end of the day and she did not disappoint.

Anne in Marshalls

SEE, THERE SHE IS.

She is about to put that gorgeous scarf into her basket and take it home with her forever. It will someday be draped over her comfy chair like this:

Scarf Pashmina

Let me cut to the chase and tell you that we spent an unbelievable amount of time in the kitchenware section. (Like, a lot-a lot.) Marshalls is always hiding incredible stuff in plain sight. Whether it’s artisan foods or hand-it-down-to-your-children cookware, they always have treasures. Here are some of the best deals I’ve ever seen on kitchen stuff, and some things we couldn’t resist picking up.

Marshalls Kitchen Section

Every kitchen gadget you could ever want is in this aisle. From garlic presses to whisks to muffin tins, and they’re brands that you’ve heard of! The prices make them seem like they’re probably damaged or old, but I swear they are new and untarnished.

They even had measuring spoons that will actually fit into your spice jars. 

Measuring Spoons at Marshalls

Hallelujah.

I ogled their sizable collection of Le Creuset bakeware, but didn’t end up taking any home with me. One of these days, I’ll give in.

Le Creuset at Marshalls

So pretty, so new, so under $50…

These knives are made from stainless steel in Japan, and they are sharper than… something really sharp. And very beautiful, as well! There had to be eight types of knives in the collection, all different types of blades for different applications. Each of them cost under $14, so we got… some.

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If you’ve never owned one of these brilliant devices, commonly called a bench scraper, it’s an absolute short-cut creator in cooking – especially baking.

Bench Scraper from Marshalls

This bench scraper is going to last for years, and cost less than $5.

And that’s just the kitchen stuff. Crazy discount scores took place all over the store. It’s kind of hard not to throw things into your cart – especially when you see an high-class brand at a department store price, and the original price tag is still attached.

Anne has amazing style. She’s always comfortable, but she never, ever looks boring. She found the most interesting, duster-length sweater with folk-art style embroidery and a leather fastener in the front. It fit her perfectly, and she properly snapped it up as soon as she tried it on.

BCBG Sweater from Marshalls

As I’m asking her about her favorite things from her shopping spree, and which I should mention in this post. She casually mentions that the sweater she fell in love with and bought for $40 was a BCBG sweater, and it’s original price was over $320.

Anne Text

That is the perfect example of a typical designer score at Marshalls, and I’m dead serious. I can’t count the number of designer clothing I’ve bought at Marshalls over the years. I was so stoked that Anne got to experience the endorphins that flood only when you’ve gotten almost 90% off something expensive. Everyone deserves that moment (make that several moments).

Here’s a photo of something we didn’t buy.

Selfie Mirror at Marshalls

Over in the men’s section, where they keep all the good tech toys and gadgets, you’ll almost always find a great selection of headphones. I, as we know, have a little bit of a headphone collection and Anne is a multi-instrumentalist with the voice of an angel, so we couldn’t resist picking up these Skullcandy over-the-ear headphones at a true steal of $25.

They have a detachable cord so you don’t have to ever worry about bird’s-nest disasters after packing them away, and when you’re cat eats through one, just get another 1/8″ male-to-male audio cord and voila! Headphones fixed. I love the design and the quality is what I expected from Skullcandy: awesome.

Have you ever tried a Wet brush?

Marshalls Surprise-30

These are a total cult-favorite beauty item amongst hair stylists and gals with thick or curly hair. They detangle dry or wet hair. Yeah, I know – every girl is warned about how brushing your hair when it’s wet can cause breakage, but fear not – Wet brushes are designed with ultra flexible bristles and as a girl with a lot of curly hair, I was shocked at how effective it was! They come in a detangling style and a shine style, which includes some natural boar bristles guaranteed to make your hair shimmer! Anne has long, luscious, sparkling hair that never tangles, otherwise I would have made her get one, too.

Along with the Wet brush, these high-quality, natural bath & body products were also lurking in the beauty department, waiting to be found.

Marshalls Natural Beauty

I’m always impressed with the amount of natural products at Marshalls. Plenty of sulfate-free, paraben-free, organic, and even fair trade shampoos, conditioners, hair treatments and otherwise. I’m a total sucker for disposable makeup towelettes/wipes and these contain organic chamomile extract and no scary synthetics!

Oh, and since I made fun of her for it, here’s one of the blankets that Anne brought home that day.

Fleece Throw from Marshalls

If you’re telling me that blanket doesn’t look cozy, you’re lying to me – and you’re also lying to you. It’s made by Berkshire and just so happens to be the perfect accompaniment to at-home movie night.

The most important part of the day, Anne would have you know, is the fact that Anne’s cat, James Franco, received his long awaited, highly anticipated, gravely important crinkly tube tunnel.

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As you can see, James Franco is very busy and is clearly going to be happy and sleepy and cuddly soon, which is also a gift I am going to take credit for giving to Anne. You’re welcome.

I’m so stoked that Marshalls let me play Fairy Godmother with one of my closest friends who really, really deserved such a cool gift! As usual, I feel that everyone should give off-price, discount shopping a chance – especially around the holidays! You could easily get gifts for everyone in your family (both biological and chosen) for under $250. For more ideas, check out the gift baskets I made last year!

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.