Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Around the House: Dealing with no Coat Closet

When living in a smaller home, organization becomes of the utmost importance. Older homes like our bungalow are often missing useful organizational components found in newer homes, like a coat closet. This dilemma has been driving me CRAZY, and finally I decided to do something about it, by adding a few hooks. The hooks I chose were from Anthropologie and ran me 8 bucks a pop. If you wanna be more green, you might be able to find similar used ones at Second Chance. Unfortunately, I didn't think of this til' after mine were up :-( I also added a medium sized vintage basket ($18) from The Turnover Shop to house junk mail (sidenote: Don't you just hate junk mail!!! I'm working on a way to stop ours from coming, and will post about it soon). These tiny solutions have reduced my stress load tremendously. Awww......the little things.

“A place for everything and everything in its place." ~Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, February 20, 2014

DIY: How to Make Quick Homemade Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent is one of those things we all need to use regularly. So why not get it for cheap? In comes my 5 min. dry laundry detergent recipe....

You will need to mix together:
  • 1 cup Borax ($4)
  • 1 cup washing soda ($3.24)
  • 1 bar of grated Fels Naptha soap ($1) 
Also, feel free to add 20 drops of essential oil if you'd like yours to be scented. Shake up ingredients and store inside of a lidded container, and you're good to go. You only need 1 tbsp per load. The mixture above makes 64 loads (for ~$1.94), and you'll still have plenty of Borax and washing soda left over to make more after you run out. Happy (environmentally friendly) washing!

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”  ~Confucius

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

In The Kitchen: Broccoli Cheddar Soup Recipe

When it's cold outside I always like to warm up with a nice bowl of hot soup. An easy one to make at home is broccoli cheddar. To make a bowl you'll need to:

  • Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a small pot
  • Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion (not sweet) to pot and saute for 5 mins
  • Add 3 cups chicken broth to pot and bring to a boil
  • Add 1/2 cup of shredded carrots
  • Add 12 oz. of broccoli (frozen or fresh) seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to pot and cover for 4 mins
  • Add 8 oz of cubed Velvetta cheese and stir
  • Lastly, add 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
(serves 4)

Let things cook until soup is your desired temperature. Enjoy!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Around Town: Uncle Wiggley's

When you're starving and absolutely positively don't have it in you to cook, don't turn to fast food. Instead head on up the street to Uncle Wiggley's. This gem of a deli is located in Towson on York Road not too far from Lake Walker. They have hands down the best deli sandwiches in the B'more area, and I'm from Detroit, deli capital of the world, so my opinion counts for a lot.

They also have a large assortment of ice creams, many of which come from B'more's own Taharka Brothers (sidenote: If you don't yet know about the deliciousness of Taharka ice cream, go get some right NOW).

My favorite sandwich on the menu is the Rueben. It is mmm mmmm goooooood.

When you go in you'll notice it's super cozy with a strong community vibe. They even display artwork from local children.

Here's that yummy Reuben, complete with Baltimore's adopted potato chip....all for the lowly sum of $6. Well worth it!

P.S. They are currently hiring, if you know anyone looking for a job.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Around the House: Our Kitchen

In the time we've lived in our home I've had a love/hate relationship with our kitchen. We purchased the house newly renovated, which as a positive meant we had all new finishings, but on the negative side meant I didn't get to choose any of the finishings. This posed a dilemma in the kitchen, which was finished in a style far from my own. I personally had always dreamt of a classic white kitchen, with no beige to be seen anywhere. As you can see our kitchen is swimming in a sea of beige. Since re-renovating the kitchen was absolutely out of the question, I had to make the best of what I had, and learn to appreciate the existing kitchen.

After adding a few accessories, I've grown to like the kitchen a bit more, but I'd be lying if I said it was my favorite. Ah well, I guess we can't have everything. Since, I've started cooking more I tend to look at the room less in terms of a design statement, and more in terms of a functional space for making good meals, which brings me contentment.

Things are pretty much done in the room except I think I should add some window treatments. What do you think? I'm not sure of what kind to add, but I feel they would help ground the room and break up some of the monotony.

"When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, 'Oh yes - I already have everything that I really need."~ Dalai Lama

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Difference Between Being Cheap and Being Frugal

Frugal=Good, Cheap=Bad. Remember this and you'll save yourself some heartache, possibly a body part, plus a few bucks. The other day I got a reminder on the difference between being cheap versus frugal. I have a pair of Timberland boat shoes that I got on sale for a great price a few years ago at an outlet mall. Unfortunately, they've been worn to their maximum capacity and then some. The soles after years of use are very lopsided and the shoes are now extremely uncomfortable to walk in. They've been in this condition for a few months, but out of cheapness I kept on wearing them. I try to keep to a strict annual clothing budget and I just did not want to shell out extra dough for new boat shoes, especially when to the untrained eye my shoes looked to be in OK condition.

After months of this, my feet took a serious beating. I complained of achy feet so much that the hubs took it upon himself to inspect each pair of my shoes....and sure enough, he found the culprit. Horrified that I would willingly keep putting my old Timberland's on my feet, he gave me a stern talking to. "Shoes can be replaced, feet cannot," he so wisely pointed out. So my message to you is, don't be cheap, it's just not worth it. And to my still achy feet, I sincerely apologize. Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of my battered shoes for you. The hubs immediately took them away never to be seen again. 

But on a positive note, I do have a picture of some similar shoes I found in my closet that I forgot I even had. I was going to throw them away, because one day I got the bright idea to do yard work in them, and they got super dirty. Who does yard work in suede shoes, right? Anywho, I decided to throw them in the washer, and tada they look like new!

"Being frugal does not mean being cheap! It means being economical and avoiding waste." ~Catherine Pulsifer

Friday, February 7, 2014

Worth Your Money: LL Bean Totes

Recently, I got two new navy blue L.L. Bean totes from my company Originull Networks (one in size medium and another in size extra-large pictured above). I wanted to blog about them, cause well, these things are awesome! They are affordable, classic, extremely durable, and constructed in the USA. If you treat it right, one can last you a lifetime. They provide a more sustainable and stylish alternative to plastic and paper bags. I can think of about a million and one uses for them, from weekenders, to grocery bags, to toy storage, to gardening storage, or to hold laundry. The size you'll want will depend on your needed function. I find the medium to be a good size for a light grocery trip, while large would be ideal for more substantial shopping. Extra-large is a bit overbearing for shopping usage, and would work better for laundry or storage. If interested you can purchase one here. Occasionally, they go on sale so be on the lookout.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

10 Things You Should Get at Dollar Tree

On my most recent trip to Dollar Tree I decided to take a few pictures. This way everyone can see all the great stuff the dollar store has to offer. After a long hiatus from dollar store shopping I was amazed at how much good stuff was there. So I've compiled a list of 10 things you can get at the dollar store.

#1 Party Supplies

Dollar Tree was stocked with party supplies galore. Whether you need them for a birthday party, bridal shower, baby shower, or festive holiday, they had it. Why pay all that money at Party City? I would advise though that you pick and choose the items you get for your party, because too much matchy matchy can be a little tacky and boring.

#2 Children's Books

They had plenty of children's books, both for reading, drawing, and activities. I'd say stop by before you head on a road trip with the kids to purchase them a few distractions. All the kiddie's favorite characters were present from Elmo to Dora the Explorer.

#3 Kleenex

Who doesn't need Kleenex? Nuff said.

#4 Mouth Care. From your lips to your gums, Dollar Tree's got you covered. (sidenote: Has anyone else noticed how the price of lip moisturizer has skyrocketed?)

#5 Loofas

#6 iPhone Cases

No need to spend a fortune on a new iPhone case. That's right, you can get one for a buck.

#7 Dishwashing liquid

I personally make my own dishwashing liquid from scratch (which I will tell you about some other time), but for those of you who purchase yours, they have it for a dollar.

#8 Water

You need it to live, it's good for you, get some.

#9 Travel Cups

For those on-the-go cups of tea or coffee.

 #10 Gift Bags

They had quite the assortment of gift bags, including these plain ones, and nicely decorated ones for special occasions. The decorated ones were on the caliber of the kind you'd pay $4 for at Target.

And cuz I love you like that I'm throwing in a surprise 11th item, soap! They have multi-packs of Zest, Caress, and Irish Springs for much less than you'd pay at the grocery store,  plus individual bars of my personal favorite, Yardley.

Monday, February 3, 2014

In the Kitchen: Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

Now that I'm more conscious of what I eat, I like to add new fast low calorie snacks to my diet. Here's the recipe to a strawberry salad I've been eating a lot of lately. It's easy to make, plus cheap, which is always a plus. To make it you'll need:

  • 3/4 cup of strawberries (diced and marinated in 2 tsp of sugar for at least an hour), make sure they're good and sweet after marinating, feel free to add more sugar if needed.
  • 1.5 cups of mixed greens
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette 
  • 3 tbsp goat cheese
  • sprinkle with salt and pepper