Saturday, October 30, 2010

To All You Single People Who Need A Helping Hand

Okay-at the moment, this is very dear to me as I'll show you in a couple minutes.  Sometimes being single, which I am, can suck.  For example, when you want to know if your hair looks okay from the back or you can't see something on your back like a rash or something.  It's hard!  I know you're laughing, but truly, we've all been there where we wished there was someone around!

For the last four days or so, I've had a lot of pain behind my ear.  I figured at first maybe I was fighting something.  It's been so long I start wondering gee, maybe I should go to the walk-in.  But then I ask myself, well, what if I look like a fool?  What if it's a pimple?  I don't want to go to the doctor just for him to tell me it's a stupid pimple.

This is my trick, and I've done this before and it works.  Take a picture.  Most of us can hold a camera up and still press the button to look at our back or behind our ears.  You might have to take quite a few to get the right picture, but once you do, you can put it on your computer and get up close and this:

You probably can't tell very well, but there is no pimple, and the area at the base of the ear is slightly purple.  This means I can go to the doctor without embarrassment!  Try it, as funny as it might seem, it's worth it!

My Finds From Value Village

So I went to Value Village, the new one in Unicity (Winnipeg).  If you haven't been there, you have to go.  It almost seemed higher quality to me in the clothes department than others I have been to.  It was clean, bright, but smaller than I expected (there is a major drop department for getting rid of unwanted items).  Although I promised myself to stick to 10 bucks, I blew it.  It was worth it.

I got a new vintage sweater vest for $5 and a long sleeve Gap brown shirt for $4.  Perfect top combination for even work. 

Then I found a pair of Rockport sandles.  I have one pair of sandles by them already and originally they cost around $140.  I managed to get them for $90 and while they're only 3 years old, they look and feel like they're brand new still.  I have a problem with shoes.  I have big feet (size 10) and I tend to wear shoes out like you wouldn't believe.  I easily kill a couple pair of sandles each summer season.  I try to invest in good pairs of shoes because they do last longer and they're better for your feet.   So I couldn't resist these and knew that if I walked away from them, I'd be kicking myself.  These only cost me $10. 

So, while I did have a good plan, sometimes in the moment, you have to reconsider!

The Need to be Super Thrifty

So in about 12 hours, I'll be headed to the city to celebrate a goal that a friend of mine has met.  The girls and I are going out for supper, so between supper and gas, well, that's precious money.  I wish I could do some real shopping, but I need to be careful.  The limit I am setting for myself is an absolute maximum of 10 bucks.  I've mentioned that I want to hit the new thrift store, and I don't know if I'll find anything or not, but I can safely do about $10.  We'll see if I find anything to decorate my place place needs help...with so little money coming in, even when I was working, well, it seems a little empty.  I think it's more that I'm trying to make my home feel more like me.  Who knows.  Maybe I'll find nothing and just have a fabulous time, but it would be nice to find something that I could wear or hang on the wall...we'll see...

Friday, October 29, 2010

Too Cute Not to Share!

So, I love the magazine Do It Yourself, which is put by Better Homes and Gardens each season. In it, it has great pictures and some neat projects. I found this cute idea for a cheery design, and thought I'd share it with you.

If you'd like the actual photos that are showcased, go to this link, to download them!

So for this project all you need is a muffin tin, a can of spray paint, and pictures of flowers that are the same circle diameter as the each of the muffin cups. Spray paint your tin a lovely fresh color. Simply push your picture into the muffin cup, with a dab of glue if needed. Voila! And if you want to put this outside, simply apply a resin or you could even schlack it....

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Homemade Kahlua

So this is a recipe I found a couple years back in one of Jean Pare's cookbooks...  My family are huge fans of Kahlua, and while I tend to use it only for cooking, they love it in milk.  According to my family, this recipe tastes like the real thing.  My grandmother has recycled an actual Kahlua bottle (one she brought back from Mexico) and pours my Kahlua into it.  Her friends have never noticed the difference.

So you need:

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant coffee
  • 2 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups brandy
  • 2 vanilla beans (using one package of vanilla beans contains 2 beans), split in half
Stir the sugar, coffee granules and boiling water in a large bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cool completely ( I put mine in the fridge to speed things along).

Add brandy and vanilla beans.  Stir.  Cover.  Let stand at room temperature for about 20 days.  Strain into jar with tight fitting lid. 

Makes 6 1/4 cups.

In a glance, all the ingredients you need!

Vanilla beans split in half.  I swear this adds to the flavor.  Simply place on cutting board, and cut lengthwise.

This is the sugar and coffee together.  Notice that my bowl has a pouring spot??  Makes it so much easier to pour without spilling.  Here I'm just about ready to start pouring the boiling water in.

After you've added the water, this is what the mixture will look like.  It will seem very thick at first until the sugar has been dissolved.  Even after cooling, you may want to give it another good stir!

This is everything combined.  I like this container as many containers aren't big enough to hold the amount of liquid.  This container is from dollarama. 

  • use a container that you won't care if it permanently smells like Kahlua. 
  • Make sure the container is large enough as well.
  • Store in a dark place, away from sunlight
Now in 20 days I'll come back and show you more pictures of what to do after it's ready.  I'll also give you a great, inexpensive but super fancy way to present your Kahlua.

What to Expect In the Next Week...

I always like knowing what's in store for something I'm following, so I'll let you in on a couple of topics that will be covered...

  • homemade liquer for holidays gifts-I'm going to be sharing my trusted recipes that taste like the real thing and are a 1/4 of the cost to make than to buy
  • shrink-wrapping your windows-how to seal out the outside air so you save money

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Deal of the Century

Okay so I love a good bargain.  We all know that.  And I have a good eye.  I keep up with the trends, the designers, the fashion pages, and today it finally paid off!

I am now the proud owner of a Louis Vuitton Babylone Shoulder Bag.  It's beautiful and it's authentic!

I was shopping in my local thrift store and it caught my eye.  My first reaction?  It had to be a knock off.  First thing you do is look for real identifications and it had it all.  It had the official zipper, detailing, monograms, made in France and the biggie?  The serial number.  Guess how much I paid???  $3.  You heard me.  Fully leather, fully beautiful, fully mine!!

I've done my research, and although it seems this bag is no longer sold, for sale online sales normally start at $400 U.S. on ebay.  Pretty incredible!!  I love it, love it, love it!!!

I also got a fabulous pair of Anne Klein heals for only $2.  I love them too!  It was an unbelievable day at MCC!

Thrift Store Shopping

I know many out there are quite leary of thrift stores.  They think they're dirty, smelly, and contaminated.  I know many people who choose not to walk into one or even consider second hand things.  I think it's time people change their minds.

I love thrift stores, but it can be a lot of work to find an amazing item.  Sometimes it will take multiple trips, but when you find it, it's so worth it.

My tips when considering thrift store shopping:

1.  Make sure you have cash for smaller thrift stores that do not accept debit or credit.
2.  Know which day is the best to attend.  In the town where I live, our MCC puts out all new stuff on Monday, so when the shop opens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, you know you're going to find the best items of that week.
3.  Go to the area that interests you most.  If your passion is jewellery, head there.  Just because it's been worn, doesn't mean it can't be used again.  (now some of you are probably saying what if it has cooties???  Well, disinfect it.  Almost anything can be disinfected using vinegar, bleech, hot water, or even putting it in the freezer.) 
4.  Look for quality-thrift shopping isn't about how much you can buy for $10.  You're looking for quality.  Look for names and labels that you're familiar with and  look for the quality of workmanship.
5.  Make sure you have a place for it in your home when you buy it.  The item should bring joy and function into your life, not add to the clutter of your home.
6.  Find out what the organization does with their proceeds.  Our MCC and all MCCs across Canada are tied into one organization that are not only some of the first disaster relief officials to areas all over the world, but also are involved in many challenging projects with 3rd world countries.  The money you spend there, helps others.  So, it may be worth paying that extra few dollars for the antique hutch because you know the money is spent wisely.
7.  Look for silent auctions at your thrift stores.  You can get some amazing antique collectibles through them for a steal!

Our thrift store here in Portage la Prairie. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Grand Bubble Baths...

If you're an avid fan of a bubble bath like myself, you can go through a lot of bubbles.  And good smelling bubbles usually equal expensive money.  For the last couple of years, I came up with the best idea.  It's crazy-I had a friend laugh at me for it but I'll tell you straight out, it smells fabulous, has lasting bubbles, and is really nice on my skin.  It's also easy on the tub.  So you ask what's this product??  

It's dish soap.  To be specific, it's "Palmolive Aroma Sensations".  It's amazing and one bottle usually equals around $1.50 from Wal-Mart and one bottle will last you a long time.  Now if you're squeamish about having a dish soap bottle in your bathroom, here's a tip:  put it in a fancy bottle that's hanging around your house (one that you didn't want to throw out because it was too pretty). 

The Start of a New Blog

Life is crazy.  I'm sure it's not just me that feels that way.  Each of us has huge expectations to be our best, but sometimes that "being the best" can take its toll on us.  Life has gotten crazy expensive and honestly, a lot more greedy.  We are told that in order to be the best, we need the best.  I disagree.  After nearly losing nearly everything myself, you truly know the real meaning of life and things. 

This blog is completely dedicated to making the best of your life with what you have and what you can get within your budget.  Basically, it's about your stretching your dollar to make things a little easier on yourself. That's the "cheap" part.  The "chic" part recognizes it's about getting the best for your dollar.  And sometimes that means splurging, but splurging within healthy boundaries.  We'll talk about that in posts to come.  So, I hope you enjoy this blog and the posts to come!