Archive for August, 2008

Saving money on bath salts

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Yesterday I wanted a nice bath, but I was out of bath salts.  I decided to see if I could create my own.  I took one cup of sea salt (Celtic Sea Salt is by far the best as it has minerals which are absorbed into the skin),  2 tablespoons of baking soda, and 1/8th teaspoon of tea tree oil.  It made a luxurious bath which not only smelled good but made the water soft.  I soaked in it for at least 20 minutes, and when I got out I noticed that I was less stiff and a lot more relaxed.

More shopping in my closet

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Yesterday, while I was organizing my closet, I re-discovered  a beautiful white and grey and black pastel dress from Jam’s World that I had never worn, or even cut off the tags. I am sure you may have a situation like this in your closet  hanging there in full beauty and just waiting for tag removal. I had liked the colors and the material at the time, enough to pay full price for the dress – almost $200.  I had a special event to go to that evening and I had hoped that this would be the right attire.  But when I tried it on, I realised that the dress was shapeless and the dress was neither eloquent nor stylish.

Ordinarily, when I shop at major stores like Saks and Nordstroms and I arrive home to be struck with buyer’s remorse, I just return the unworn dress the next day with the tags still on and get a refund.  But I had bought this particular gem at a small shop at the beach where I personally knew the owner and knew that she was struggling to make ends meet.  It seemed the lesser of two evils to just let the dress lurk in my closet in a sea of indecision.

Once I had the dress out of the closet, I could still admire the beautiful material that had originally ensnared me into buying it.  As I remembered how my friend had told me that Jam’s World has a reputation for pricey, high-quality clothes that are good investments because they are well-made and stay in style,  I ceremoniously removed  the tags. I tried it on after I had handwashed it and found out that it still fit nicely.  I realized that the reason  I had never wore it was because although I admired the dress’s simplicity, it lacked style and gave the impression of (horrors!)  looking like something a middle-aged housewife would wear for an afternoon out with “the girls”.

As I was standing there looking at myself in the mirror I realized an easy way to update the outfit would be by adding my new wide grey belt and matching sweater.  I looked at the finished product in the morrow once more.  Voila!  An easy update that I can wear with style.

Shopping in one’s own closet

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

It all started innocently enough.  I needed additional space to fit my suitcases into my closet.  I found a sealed box of miscellaneous things  that I had nonchalantly put into my closet over a year ago with the thought, “I will find a place to put these things in a few days.”  Well, anyone knows that out of sight is out of mind.  And that’s how fourteen months later, I found three pairs of almost new shoes : one pair of black ballerina flats, a pair of suede moccasins, and a pair of clogs.  Luckily, they are all still in style and it didn’t cost me a cent!

Buy an espresso machine

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

I save a lot of money by avoiding Starbucks.  I make an espresso and then add a little vanilla ice cream to the top to sweeten it.  It is delicious and is about 90%  less expensive than the store version.  In a family of two, that is about $3,000 per year that can be saved.  Also, it is fun to give it to your guests as a dessert when you entertain!

Start riding a bicycle

Saturday, August 16th, 2008

It is fun and the added exercise will ensure you stay healthy and don’t end up with be medical and hospital bills due to a sedentary life.

The beauty of accessorizing

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

An inexpensive and easy way to update wardrobes this season is to add belts to those loose, flowing dresses you bought last season. I have noticed that a belt or scarf really can change the entire mood of the outfit. In addition, a belt enhances the feminine figure.  I used to not like to wear belts because I thought it called attention to my tummy, but a belt actually slenderizes the waist and gives it definition. And by wearing different colored scarfs and cardigans with a plain-colored dress, no one will notice that you have repeated the same outfit on different occasions.

Downsizing my clothing budget

Monday, August 11th, 2008

Usually, when I go traveling, I buy so many things while I am shopping that I can hardly get them all in my suitcase.  This trip, I only had one suitcase (so that I would not have to pay an extra fee for a 2nd one).  I had to be very judicious about any shopping I did, so I decided to just buy small accessories that they would not add much weight to my bag.

This turned out to be economical in other ways also.  I went to a thrift store and found five beautiful belts for less than $5.00 total.  They are all like new and quite good looking. And they easily fit into my suitcase with almost no weight. The best buy was one belt that was a brand-new Polo belt similar to the one that I had been eyeing in Nordstroms but I hadn’t wanted to pay $39.  That night I took my stepfather out to dinner with the money I had saved.

Something nice about the Midwest

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

This is my first trip back home to the Midwest in about 20 years.  Since I live close to the beach, the family always came to my house to visit. And I had forgotten how nice the Midwest really is.

There are just little things I noticed that have still not changed since my childhood.  I took a walk down a residential street for about 2 miles.  I noticed that this was not an affluent neighborhood and the houses were small, but there was a real pride to the neighborhood.  All of the lawns were manicured and taken care of.  There were no garbage cans or trash left on the street days after the trash man had come. People smiled to me and were helpful when I needed directions.

My stepfather is living in a small town here in the Midwest. He is still quite healthy for being 93 years old.  I think that the sanity of the town has helped him stay well and happy.

I have decided that I am going to do more to raise the quality of the environment I live in.  I had my lawn boy talk to the neighbor who never cuts his grass. and has weeds that are 18 inches tall. They made an arrangement for him to cut the grass every two weeks. Today this unruly mass was mowed, and our neighborhood already looks more civilized.

There are other things that can be done also.  It you notice drug selling going on, you can make anonymous complaints to the police department until something is done about it. If a neighbor leaves trashy junk in their driveway or yard, you can talk to them and offer to help them clean it out on the weekend.

This trip has been good for me.  No matter what the situation is, something can be done about it!

My favorite airport

Friday, August 8th, 2008

I really liked the Houston Airport because there was a place called “Panchitos” that wasn’t into gouging the customers like most airport restaurants.  For about $5.00 I got a huge plate of food which consisted of two beef and bean tostadas with salad and extra rice and beans. This is a great price, as I have easily spent $12 to $16 for an airport meal that ended up going into the garbage can because it tasted like microwaved cardboard.

It wasn’t gourmet food, or even the best Mexican food that I have ever had, but I had taken my first flight with no breakfast and due to the fact that I was now starving, it tasted great! And I know that there was no MSG in it as I didn’t get the typical MSG-hangover (headache, tiredness,dry mouth) that I always get when a restaurant slips in some MSG flavorings.

Saving money on Airfare

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

I have to buy a ticket to the Midwest. There are many airfare sites such as Orbitz and Travelocity.  I Googled for all the sites and then I checked each one individually to find the best deal.  I found a roundfare ticket which only cost me $200 which is pretty good, as I remember 20 years ago my ticket cost more than that.