would you pay $400 for a slow cooker?

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Don’t get me wrong, I love slow cooking — in theory. One thing I don’t love? That if you want to develop flavor in your slow-cooked vegetables and meats, you have to pre-brown in a separate pan. Seems to defeat the one-pot idea, to me. All-Clad and Williams-Sonoma came up with a solution to my particular dilemma: the The All-Clad Deluxe Slow Cooker. Instead of a ceramic (and oh-so chippable) insert, the Deluxe has a cast aluminum non-stick coated insert, designed to start on the stovetop and finish in the slow cooker. When I first heard whispers of this mythical, Pegasus-like slow cooker, I was so excited, as I though that the insert was cast iron , not aluminum coated with nonstick. Wrong. That’s about the only way I’d even consider putting up the $400 to own it. Do you have one? Or are you like me, who will stick to her $30 programmable Crock Pot Smart Pot, and brown in a skillet before hand? — Megan B.

kinda genius: tocky alarm clock

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I’ve mentioned before my quest for the perfect alarm clock, but alas, the search continues… I’m currently coveting the tiny Tocky alarm clock, $69 by Nanda home. Tocky is the snooze abuser’s tough love: taking off from the nightstand and rolling around the room, forcing you to turn it off. I’ve tried my share of annoying alarm clocks before, but Tocky’s just as adorable as irksome — and can record voice and mp3′s to aid in the rising and the shining. And as someone who is not so gifted in this department, I’m thinking this just may stop my oversleeping. Or at least save my husband from my endless snoozing! Check out videos from ThinkGeek of Tocky in action to fully grasp the awesomeness. And good luck finding one in any other shade except black (though you can buy a two pack of skins in different colors for $10) — it seems they’re backordered almost everywhere until at least April. — Megan B.

sales that make us happy

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Room and Board is offering discounts of 15 % off at their lighting event — on iconic fixtures like Nelson pendant lamps, and this fun Tube Top Colors table lamp, a steal at $93, through 3/30.

Need a whole new set of outdoor furniture? Save 15% off select outdoor furniture purchases of $1500 or more at Crate and Barrel, like this surf collection, and alfresco grey collection (complete with its own Marimekko Sunbrella fabric — LOVE).

Design Public is deep-discounting table linens and bedding by Area, Sanford Burrows, and Unison, and offering 52% off wallpapers by Hygge and West.

Get a jump on Spring cleaning: save 20% off the Ginger Pomelo collection of cleaners at Caldrea through 3/27. Sounds like the perfect scent for the season!

throw some back, give some back: one hope wine

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When not editing Shelterrific, I like to enjoy a nice glass of wine occasionally. Ok, more than occasionally. And sometimes when I’m editing. There, I said it. So what could be better than a little philanthropy with my glass of Cab? ONEHOPE wines, a new label from winemaker scion Rob Mondavi Jr., is doing just that: donating an impressive 50% of its profits to various causes, from autism research to AIDS awareness. The wines are sourced from California grapes primarily grown in Napa and Sonoma, and are available in Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel. I was able to taste a few at a recent event, and found both the Cabernet and the Zinfandel to be very drinkable and food-friendly — and affordable at a $9.99/ bottle price point, though the website lists the prices at twice as much. It’s readily available at wine retailers everywhere (hopefully for the price I saw them at). Drink up! — Megan B.

five things we learned last week

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1) Our love of Star Wars goes beyond the movie. We’ll take it in the kitchen, too, in a villainous cookie jar. Daffodil says: “Is it wrong that I kind of want one for an objet d’art?”

2) The Zip-It is reader-approved for unclogging problem drains. JulieKP says: “I love the Zip-It. It was an impulse purchase only because I was tired of putting chemicals down my drain. I figured for three bucks how wrong could I go. Now my two Rapunzels in training can brush and dry their long hair over the sink without me yelling for them to put a towel in it.”

3) We love Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and Room & Board for couch replacements. Where else should Sarah L. look?

4) Anthropologie’s done it again in the cute kitchen accessories department, this time with these Milk Bottle Measuring Cups. Claire says: “How cute! Anthropologie has the best stuff — where in the world can you find the cutest measuring utensils but here?!”

5) The recent crisis in Japan has us all thinking about preparedness. We’re updating our home emergency kits. What’s in yours?