Like Having a Personal Assistant

A month or so ago, I was in Marshalls and came across these lanterns. I love shopping in there this time of year because they always get in the cutest holiday goodies and you literally never know what you’ll stumble upon.

I’m not sure if these will end up in a table setting or on one of the porches for a little Christmas decorating. They may just show up in both.



These lanterns came with a battery-operated candle inside, supported by a metal carriage/support thingy that hangs from the rim. When turned on, the glow is pretty dim. You can actually see the metal showing through the deer silhouette. Plus, the bottom half of the lantern isn’t really lit at all since the faux candle is near the top of the lantern. Ummm.

For the other lantern on the right, I turned off the faux candle and added three real votive-style candles to the bottom. Big difference! I definitely prefer how the lantern looks with a real candle inside, placed along the bottom of the lantern.

At first I tried a short pillar candle and you could see it through the deer silhouette. That wasn’t working too well since the flame kind of obliterated the silhouette to the point where it was hard telling what it was. The votive candles definitely worked better because they are short and hidden from view. I guess faux votive candles could be used–if they were bright enough.

Just sharing this in case you buy a lantern with a ready built-in faux candle. You may want to place a real candle inside just to see how it looks.



Fun Idea for Wrapping a Gift When You’re Short on Ribbon

A while back I wrapped a gift for a friend and I didn’t have quite as much pink ribbon as I would have liked for the bow. I improvised by snipping a couple of blooms from one of my Limelight Hydrangeas out front. I actually liked how it looked better than just using more ribbon. So, if you find yourself running a bit short on ribbon when wrapping a gift, check to see what you have blooming in your garden. 🙂



A Visit to the Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma Outlets

Back before Halloween, I was shopping online for a red Burberry scarf. Before committing and buying the one I saw online, I decided to take a trip up to the Burberry Outlet in the North Georgia Premium Outlets in Dawsonville, Georgia. I’m not a very big fan of outlet shopping for a number of reasons, so I wasn’t too optimistic that I’d find what I wanted there, and I didn’t. While I was there, I visited a few more stores, snapping a few pics to share of some of the interesting things I did find.

Inside the Pottery Barn Outlet, I was surprised to see a fair number of the desk units/cabinets from their Bedford Office line of furniture.



They had a lot of their Christmas decorations out.





The Pottery Barn Outlet was connected to the Williams-Sonoma Outlet so I checked it out, too. Cute plates!



They had some really cute Christmas dinnerware on sale.



If I didn’t already have white pumpkin tureens, these would have been very tempting.



Lots of Thanksgiving goodies, too. I didn’t buy anything, had scarf shopping on the brain, but it was fun looking.



Amazon Prime Now

Has anyone tried Amazon’s Prime Now? I’m not sure how long Prime Now has been underway, but I got an email today that included a promotion for $10 off your first time using it. The email said if I ordered, my items would be delivered within 2 hours at no extra charge. Apparently, this is a new benefit for Prime customers.

I decided to check it out and was surprised by how many products were available. You can order from just about any category including Grocery, Electronics, Household Essentials, Home, Kitchen, Office, Toys, Books, Pet Supplies, etc…

I ordered a few groceries along with three books for my oldest grandson for Christmas. When I placed my order, it was just a few minutes before 6 PM. I was given the choice of a 6 PM to 8 PM delivery or an 8 PM to 10 PM delivery. I chose the 6 to 8 PM window but my confirmation showed it would arrive between 8 PM and 10 PM. I wasn’t surprised since it was almost 6 PM when I placed my order.

Under the “special instructions” section, I asked that the packages be left on my front porch. Shortly after 9 PM I received a text message that they had been delivered. I hurried downstairs and there they were! The driver was backing out of my driveway so they had just been left moments before.

Oh, one thing you should know, they do add on a $5 tip automatically for the driver. I didn’t mind because I didn’t have to spend my time or my gas to go shop. It’s almost like having a personal shopper or assistant at your fingertips. I could get used to this!

I absolutely love Amazon’s prime membership features. They just keep getting better and better! So my first experience with Prime Now was very good! Has anyone else tried it?


*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. Julie Williams says

    Might you have left a typo? You wrote: “Lots of Thanksgiving goodies, too. I didn’t buy anything, had scarf shopping on the brain, but it was funny looking.” Just wondering if you meant to say “funny” rather than “fun”.
    Thanks for sharing the photos of shopping! I wish I lived near such outlet stores!!! Julie W. (plz delete my reply-post–it’s just for you.)

    • lol Yes, meant fun, not funny. Although the typo is kinda funny. 🙂 Wish the outlets were a little closer, I would stop by more often, although that could be dangerous to my pocketbook, especially the Burberry outlet. They are about 45 minutes to an hour away from me

  2. Love the idea of using the hydrange blooms as part of the gift wrap, it was beautiful! I’ve used baby blankets, antique handkerchiefs and small tableclothes to wrap gifts instead of paper.

    • Thanks, Carol! Love creative wrapping like you’ve described! The wrapping becomes another gift for the lucky recipient of your wonderful gifts! 🙂

  3. Thought about the lanterns — how about a mini strand of battery operated lights!! I saw them at Christmas Tree Store and on a lark, bought a box. I think, don’t quote me, like $1.98. Now I know where I can place them☆☆ thank you ♡

  4. Chris Wells says

    If Amazon Prime Now is available in Knickerbocker, TX I am in!!!. In 20 years the UPS driver has never found us, so I ship everything to my work in town. It is amazing, your stuff in two hours!!!

    • I’m not sure where all it’s available. It may have just now reached my zip code, which may be why I got that email. Chris, one day they’ll be delivering via there drones so maybe you’ll be getting packages in Knickerbocker, TX then! 🙂

  5. It is a GOOD thing for me that those outlets are not near me….. I may not be able to afford the food to put on and in all the dishes that I see that I would feel I “need”!
    Thank you again for your wonderful posts…. it was nice to get away from the political arena and into something nice and pretty!!

    • Thanks Maggie! I was surprised by how many neat dishes I saw in PB and WS…good thing they aren’t too close to me, too! I live within 2 miles of both a PB and a WS which is dangerous enough!

  6. Linda S. in NE says

    Like you said, Amazon Prime just keeps getting better and better! You are lucky to live in a city where the program is available. I’ve often wished for a service like that, but I highly doubt it will be happening any time soon in the great state of Nebraska. To tell you the truth, I am still amazed that they can get a package to me in two days. Thanks for the “test drive”… I had not even heard of the new feature.

  7. Linda Page says

    I was the recipient of the hydrangea topped gift and I loved it. Such a cute idea. I tried to bring the hydrangea blooms home with me to keep as a memento but they were too dry after 7 days and started to crumble. I was sad. But the gift inside was wonderful and I wear it almost daily!!! Love the deer lanterns but show up more with real candles. Thanks for the shopping trip!!

  8. I’m drooling over those gorgeous Christmas plates! I’ve actually just ordered 2 sets of tartan dinner set for our Christmas Eve dinner,so I’m quite excited about it,especially for the price ( £46 for 2 sets),and each set inclues 4 tartan coasters and placemats as well. I have a feeling that you in the US have much more choice when it comes to tableware.
    The lanterns are very cute,so cute in fact that they look better without a candle inside ( not much use as a decor at night, but during day they are lovely ). In the UK, amazon’s just launched a subwebsite with handmade stuff for sellers-artisans.

  9. I was at Marshall’s in South KC and it was as beautiful as any upscale store. The pillows were just beautiful. They had some lovely white pillows with lots of sparkle. Some lovely table decorations and dinnerware. I found some 222Fifth Christmas that I may go back. The plates were only $3.99 and they had some accessories, but then I don’t always buy a lot of the accessories because I have lots of white.

    I am not a fan of Amazon, but maybe I will have to try again. My neice and I decided we enjoy the thrill of the hunt and also touching and seeing if they are really what we want.

  10. Monica McGahey says

    I don’t know if they offer Prime Now to everyone or not…after I read your post I signed into my Prime account but didn’t see any ad for Prime Now. We live about 30 minutes away from an Amazon distributing facility. Maybe they are testing the waters with you… I like your blog. I have added you to my email addresses but it puts you in my junk mail box every time so I have to go in and move you to my inbox. I don’t know how to fix that.

  11. I haven’t tried PrimeNow yet, so it was nice to read about your experience.

  12. When I am in the area, I love to go to the Dawsonville outlet mall..did not know that they had a Burberry outlet store!

  13. A fun shopping trip–thanks! Love the hydrangea with the ribbon; it was perfect with the wrapping paper. Prime Now sounds too awesome to be real, so glad you tested it.

  14. Carol Taylor says

    Does the PB outlet have good prices compared to their stores? Trying to decide if it would be a fun trip from Wilmington, NC.

  15. bobbi duncan says

    I always enjoy your shopping trips–you find the best stuff, and kindly pass them along to your readers (thank you!). I really love the lime hydrangeas as part of the gift–matches the green in the gift wrap so nicely, and makes for a more interesting package…great idea! Susan, I have a totally unrelated question for you. What type of finish do you have on your wood floors (oil-based or water-born varnish)? We have oil-based, site-finished floors that I want to refinish in the next few years, but don’t like the long period of off-gassing from the oil-based varnishes with our allergies. If you have water-born, I’d like to know how well the finish holds up in well-used rooms. How often do they require a light sanding with new finish to keep them looking new? I keep reading that oil is best, but I know water-born has come a long way since it’s inception. Would really appreciate the help.

    • Thanks, Bobbi! I have the polyurethane type that is oil-based and it does reek when they are first installed. The worse part is just during the first 24 hours. I only noticed it a little after that for the first week or so. I’m not sure how well water-born finishes hold up so do some research on that before you go that route. I always go with a satin finish since it doesn’t show scratches like a high gloss finish will.
      I can tell you this: try to have it done in the spring or summer. My floors dried super fast when I had hardwoods installed in the guest room and the smell wasn’t near as bad as when I did the office. I asked the guys why and they said that it takes floors much longer to dry during the winter months or colder months than during the summer. So have your floors done in the summer if you can.

  16. I shop Amazon SMILE. Smile gives % of purchase price on just about everything, except kindle to charities. . If you have a favorite charity, please see if it has a smile account; they get$ and it costs you nothing extra. If they aren’t on smile, contact your organizations fund raiser and have them sign up for free. After you put smile on your Amazon(prime) , your purchases automatically go onto smile

  17. Marlene Stephenson says

    Thanks for all this great stuff, it is so hard to keep my mind on gifts for my family when there is so many nice things out there for me. I haven’t used that benefit from prime but now i will look into it.

  18. Sabrina Holmes says

    Susan, I am loving Bill Bryson! Thank you so much for introducing him
    to me. I have started with The Road to Little Dribbling.

  19. I tried to email you a picture of the light set but it said your mailbox is full. Oh well..drat

    • Blue, I’ll check my email now. You’re the second person mentioning that, not sure why it keeps saying that it’s full. I need to call my host company and find out why it’s saying that. Thanks for letting me know!

  20. Hi Susan, I love Amazon Prime, thanks for the info and review on Prime Now!

    P.S. I went to last week’s Tablescape Thursday to look at the links and they’re are Met Monday’s links instead.

    • Mary, thanks for letting me know, I must have copied over the wrong code when I changed it out last night. I just fixed it so hopefully it’s correct now.

  21. My daughter signed up for Prime two years ago. Being a student she was able to get a discounted rate. We have loved it so much that now that she has graduated, we will continue to use Prime. Just the cost of shipping alone would pay back the Prime fee.

  22. I like those lanterns! I’ve had bad luck with the tea lights that come with some of these things. I have a lantern that came with one and while it lasted forever the light was so dim it was useless. I like the idea of using some of the LED string lights- they are so versatile. My son uses Amazon Prime but we haven’t jumped on board. Where I live there are no close Amazon warehouses so I’d never be able to take advantage of their delivery service. I love going to the PB and WS outlets. Ours is about 180 miles away but it’s on the way to visit our family so I get to visit every so often.

  23. I sure enjoyed your virtual shopping trip! They have some lovely things at WS and PB, but I don’t get there very often.

    Your lanterns are adorable! Here is another lighting idea for them… I have enjoyed these votive candles from amazon. They have a built-in timer, so they all come on at the same time each day. When they finally get too dim, I just buy replacement batteries and they’re like new again.

  24. As I live in Canada Susan and reside not too far from the Canadian/U.S.A. border, I am just contented that Amazon offers the option of shipping to an U.S.A. address which allows for free delivery and the clearance of items through Customs myself. In other words, it eliminates the sometimes high processing fee of a broker … . The lanterns are so pretty and with appreciation as to illuminating them. Thank you for the tour of the outlets as well. -Brenda-

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