Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I Love Goodwill

I mean seriously. I really, really love it. Originally, it boiled down to love of a good deal. Let's face it, who doesn't get a warm fuzzy feeling when they land upon a really good deal? These days, that love comes at least partially from necessity: I just can't afford new clothes.

For any of you who don't know me personally, its been a rough couple of years for me, in a financial sense. I've lost two jobs (we won't go into that morass), and now work part time in a department store. Even with a great discount, sometimes its next to impossible to afford things like a new pair of jeans, which I have been needing desperately for awhile now; my last nice pair of jeans have been repaired many times and now I think are probably beyond repair. My favorite brand of jeans in the whole world are Silver Jeans. If you are familiar with them, you know Silvers don't come cheap. At $75+ a pair they are definitely out of my reach for right now.

So, off to Goodwill I went. I don't always find something that I like there, but I usually have pretty good luck. After digging through the racks, I'd found two plain Old Navy v-necks, nothing spectacular, but not too bad. I moved to the jeans, and it was one of those moments when you could hear angels singing. A pair of Silver Jeans. They didn't look like they had even been worn. I had to take a deep breath at this point, because who knew if they would even be the right size. Silver doesn't size their jeans the way other brands do, and I couldn't remember what size the pair I had at home was. These looked pretty close, so I grabbed them and a few other pairs to try on. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. But it was definitely my lucky day. Out of the three pairs I picked up, they were the only ones that fit, and they were perfect. I'm not ashamed to say I did a little happy dance in the fitting room. How good my butt looks in those jeans probably contributed to the happy dance.

So for $4, I had my coveted jeans.

Oh, yeah, and I got some books. One of my other obsessions.

So, even though I have to shop there because I just can't afford anything else, I still get that thrill from getting a good deal and am still able to dress myself the way I like. Can't complain about that.

Sorry I have been such a slacker lately. Keep your eyes open coming up soon I'll have a few recipes for green tomatoes. We have inherited tons of them. My mom is also coming for a visit (YAY!!!), and we plan on doing some cooking, so watch for that too!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, it's finally here. I'm 28. Yuck. I don't like that. Maybe I'll just be 27 again. Or 25. I plan on accomplishing very little today, and that includes a substantial post. Maybe tomorrow.

I did want to tell you all about the Fall Into Fall September Giveaway over at Singledou[b]t. There are a bunch of amazing prizes up for grabs, including a pair of rose earrings from my shop, so if you haven't already entered, head over and do so before its over. Stick around to read some, too, because Kim is awesome and has been a big help to me in growing my blog.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Good Reason to Never Drink and Bathe

So, I've been having some trouble with stress lately. To be honest, by lately, I mean the better part of my adult life and quite some time before that. I've never handled stress well and here in the past few months it been worse: I've started to grind my teeth which is leading to tension headaches, I cry at the drop of a hat and I spend a good deal of time feeling very close to small panic attacks.

Once upon a time I would have just gone to the doctor, but I haven't had health insurance for several years now, so those days are long gone. Being sick of the stress and its associated health issues, I'm on a mission to get better at dealing with my stress.

I'd decided the other night to have a long soak in the bathtub, good classical music, candles, bubble bath, a glass of wine, and a homemade sugar scrub I'd just whipped up. Sounded like heaven.

So, I got everything ready. I should probably mention that by this point I was two glasses of wine in. Normally, this would be no big deal for me, but it had been longer than usual since I'd had anything alcoholic to drink, so I was fairly tipsy, and in a HUGE hurry, apparently.

My bathwater was way too hot, but instead of just waiting for it to cool down I ran to the kitchen for a few handfuls of ice cubes and tossed them it. I finally talked myself into the water and tried to relax, sipping on my wine. I tried to lay back into the water, using a rolled up bath towel for a pillow. Bad idea. I don't know if all the alcohol decided to hit me at once (it can do that, right? ;) ) or what but I went from tipsy to drunk in a flash. My heart rate started going up and I was having a hard time catching my breath. I was uncomfortably hot.

But, of course, being now drunk instead of getting out of the bath I decided to go ahead and use my sugar scrub and shave my legs. Genius. I'm lucky I didn't lop off a leg. THEN, I finally decided it was probably a good idea to get out of the water. I ended up lying in bed trying to cool off while sending drunken text messages to Deven, who was down the street talking to a neighbor. Very mature of me.

My mother found this hysterical. And in retrospect, I do to. All in all, not the most relaxing choice in the end. I think next time I'll skip the wine. Or the bath. I'm undecided. Either way, you'll probably being hearing more about this stress relief mission.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Handy Dandy Tips: Beer Shampoo

When I mentioned this one at work everyone looked at me like I was a crazy person, but if you've never heard of this before, bear with me here.

Some background: Neither Deven nor I drink beer. Yuck. Can't stand that taste or the smell. Anyway, a few months ago, Deven got into his head that he wanted some Pabst Blue Ribbon. He insisted that he'd had it before and liked it. Long story short: he was wrong. So, we were left with a bunch of beer taking up space in our fridge. I'd been trying to come up with ways to use it up, beer bread being the most obvious, when I began seeing things online about using beer on your hair.

Now, I've been pretty neglectful of my hair lately. It needs to be trimmed badly, but I can't seem to talk myself out of the money for a haircut (I've been trimming my own bangs for a few months now). It's been frizzy, easily tangled and just plain unmanageable. I used this beer shampoo once and my hair came out smooth and shiny with fewer tangles. I've heard that using beer on your hair can also make it appear thicker. I haven't noticed this particular benefit yet, but maybe with further use I will. I should also mention that my shampoo didn't smell beer-y. If you use an unscented shampoo it might have some beer smell to it.

You will need:

1 1/2 cups of beer
1 cup of mild shampoo

This one is really easy. Pour your beer into a saucepan and boil it down until it makes 1/4 of a cup. Let cool. Pour the reduced beer into the shampoo and mix. Pour your shampoo into a bottle and use like you would regular shampoo. Store in the refrigerator between uses.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dining on a Dime: Stretching Your Ground Meat

I know, I know... I've been doing a ton of recipes lately. Cooking in one of the things that relaxes me and life has been a little stressful lately, so you'll just have to deal with it for awhile. ;) I'll try to have a crafting or Pinterest test up before the weekend is out.

Moving on, this is one of those simple tricks we have been using for awhile and it didn't occur to me until tonight that it would be a great tip to share with all of you.

We all know food is expensive these days, so it nice to be able to stretch what you can further. We typically buy ground turkey in bulk at Sam's and then freeze what we can't use immediately. Awhile back we were experimenting with trying different flavors with our burgers and decided to add in some finely chopped mushrooms (I typically pulse a few handfuls of button mushrooms in the food processor) in with the meat and seasoning. It's that simple. A pound of meat will usually make us two good sized and one smaller burger, but with this there is easily enough for two big and two smaller burgers (or three burgers if you want to be obvious about it.)

The results were surprisingly delicious.

The burgers came out super moist, but there wasn't a strong mushroom flavor and there was not really a texture difference from regular burgers, so this might be a good way to sneak more vegetables into food for the kiddies. You can always add more mushrooms to get more of the mushroom flavor. We have never tried this with ground beef, only because I don't usually buy it, but I'm sure it would be tasty as well.

How do you guys stretch your food further? I'd love to hear from my readers and try out some new recipes myself!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Grant Life 1,000 Follower Giveaway!!

Want to win some amazing prizes? Kelley at The Grant Life has her HUGE 1,000 follower giveaway going on right now! If you don't follow The Grant Life you definitely should, she's super sweet and always willing to help out a fledgling blogger! There are two prize packs to win, with lots of awesome prizes... you can even win one of the wooden button rings from my shop! You can enter on the Rafflecopter below!
Prize Pack One

1. Pre-Made Blogger Template - Family Darr
2. Bluebird Beaded Necklace [approx. 18-19" long] - Blue Bird Bijoux {Design}
3. 250x200 Ad Space + Essie Nail Polish - the Vintage Modern Wife
4. 3 Dozen Simple Cake Bites [Color May Vary] - The Sweet Life
5. Rainbow Happy Birthday Cupcake Toppers [Winner picks color] - Leroy Lime
6. $10 Starbucks Card - the Houtz House Party
7. Premium Ad Space - Addicted to Recipes
8. 200x200 Ad Space + Blog Planner PDF - Texas Lovebirds
9. $15 Shop Credit - Shepherd's Daughter
10. Toddler Shirt Applique [Choice of Applique] - The Chirping Moms
11. 275 x 300 Ad Space - and the call me mommy

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1. 2 Custom Subway Prints - Emily's Sanity
2. 2 Custom Loveables - the Grant life
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4. Medium Ad Space + $15 Shop Credit - Finding my way in Texas
5. Wooden Button Flower Ring - Fold-de-rol and Frippery
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dining on a Dime: Brown Sugar Pound Cake

I went back and forth on this recipe. When I first heard about it I was very excited. Then I had trouble finding a recipe I really liked. I finally settled on one I liked and made it. It's divine. The issue is its not what I would consider super cheap. Ultimately my decision was to go for it. What is life without a little indulgence? And this certainly qualifies as an indulgence. It is NOT diet food by any stretch of the imagination. It's dense and a bit rich, but not too sweet.

You will need:
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
First, preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a bundt pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. 

Beat in the eggs one at a time and add the vanilla.  Alternate mixing in the flour, baking soda, and milk until everything is incorporated. The batter will be very thick.
 Pour into your prepared pan and bake 60 to 75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before you remove from the pan.

Of course, this one didn't come out quite perfectly for me. Even though my toothpick came clean, it wasn't quite done in the middle, but that's ok. It also didn't come out of the pan quite perfectly.
Baking fail.

 But, it tastes wonderful. It's subtle, if that makes sense, but very yummy.