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Practicing Gratitude

November 27, 2013
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It’s been a hell of a year, as it always seems to be. I’ve made an extra effort to practice gratitude this year, and here are some highlights from my gratitude journal because that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right?

In no particular order: Danny D., my health, Mama Thomas, anniversary trip to Cabo, The OutCast Agency and all of my amazing coworkers, my girls and their babies, Buzzfeed, my soulmate, my iPhone (duh), TED Talks for inspiration and to ground me, family and my nephew-to-be, DRC Euro Trip 2013 (even with the hospital stay), sparkling wine, platinum hair, Nashville (mostly Deacon), and San Francisco.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Sweet-And-Spicy Thanksgiving

November 25, 2013
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It’s not too late to contribute to the Thanksgiving meal. You can bring the often-forgotten cranberry sauce by spending just a few bucks and about 15 minutes. No joke.

When everyone is asking for this recipe on their tryptophan high, you can thank me and Martha for this amazingly delicious Sweet-And-Spicy Cranberry Sauce.

Ingredients
3/4 pound fresh or frozen cranberries (I prefer fresh)
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste

Directions
In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, brown sugar, cloves and 1/3 cup water to a rapid simmer over medium heat. Cook until berries burst and mixture becomes syrupy, 10 minutes. Stir in cayenne and lime zest and juice. Season with salt. Serve at room temperature. Make up to 3 days in advance and refrigerate.

Nutritional Information
(based on 8 servings) 65 calories; 0 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 g protein; 17 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber

A lesson in playing hard to get

November 22, 2013
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Yup. I finally caved and re-joined the gym. The combination of it being too dark in the mornings to do my dorky power walking and the lack of motivation to do kickboxing videos while my husband awkwardly looked on were my main motivators. Oh. And I guess the fact that I need to get healthy.

What I learned in the process of checking out gyms is that I’m not good at playing hard to get. I am too transparent for that. I want what I want, when I want it. I don’t have time to negotiate, or wait and come back later to make you think that I am no longer interested. I barely have time to go to the gym.

So I did some research, made some calls, and then some appointments. At World Gym, I took the tour, signed up for a free 3 day pass, went every day for the duration and then paid the registration fee, the monthly fee and some other annual fee to join. This all happened within a week’s time.

The mister on the other hand did not do research, did not make calls or appointments, took the tour, signed up for a free 3 day pass, didn’t go once and two days after I joined he got a call from the sales person who offered to waive the registration fee and annual fee, a savings of about $100.

Unbelievable. Right? After just two days?

I guess patience really is a virtue. And playing hard to get will sometimes pay off.

Ack.

Necklace Obsession

October 30, 2013
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I admit it. I have a problem. But who could pass up this H&M necklace?!? My latest find (for $9.95!) will be perfect for the holidays, the best time of year.

F is for Frugal Friday

October 4, 2013
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Broken Social Scene, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2011

I always like to go in to the weekend with something fun or new planned. I also like to go in to the weekend with a frugal mindset; since I often spend more in these 2 days than in the 5 days of the work week combined (times 2!).

So in the spirit of the Alphabet Project, wanted to share some of my favorite Frugal Friday flashbacks (say that 10 times fast!):

The one where I came up with “Frugal Friday (from before we lived in SF!)
The one when we moved to San Francisco
The one with the dryer balls

With those memories in mind,  here are a few things to do this weekend, for general fun times, without spending all your monies. For those in San Francisco, I will be at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, but thanks to the reminder from FunCheapSF newsletter, I am also considering a stop at one of my favorite museums thanks to B of A Free Museum Weekend too. Decisions, decisions.

It’s Friday. Be frugal.

If you are catching up, we are using the alphabet to guide us through ways to save money, time, etc. Catch up on the Alphabet Project here.

Beauty All Star: Sea Salt Spray

October 1, 2013
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In developing our latest budget, we realized that I spend A LOT of money each month on personal maintenance. A girl’s gotta look good, right?

From hair appointments (going platinum is expensive!) to makeup to wax appointments to skin care, that stuff really, really, adds up. Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing, but I know I am not alone.

Ever since, I have been trying to find ways to save on my daily use beauty products (’cause let’s be honest I am not going without root dyes or waxing).

One of the great things about platinum hair is that you don’t have to wash it every day, as a matter of fact, you shouldn’t. It’s amazing! It doesn’t get greasy for 4 or 5 days (TMI??), but it does lose some of its body. About two years ago my amazing hairstylist got me addicted to sea salt sprays. The spray adds texture and volume to any hair type. If you are not using one yet, you should start now. It really helps get that oh-so-desirable beach waves look, and for me, helps to add texture to hair that hasn’t been washed for a few days.

Of course as a first time sea salt spray user, I went with the expensive salon brand when I first got addicted to this product. But after the budget refresh a few months back (more on how that is going coming soon), I started looking for alternatives.

Thanks to a super awesome friend, I found out about John Masters Organics Sea Mist. While it’s a bit saltier than the more expensive brand, it works the same and adds the amazing smell of lavender to your locks. Coming in at $15, it is half the price of the salon brand, and because it is saltier, you only need a couple of sprays, i.e, it lasts longer.  You can order it online, or get it at Whole Foods, that is what I do.

How do you save on your must-have beauty products?

Tourist in my own city: Cable Car Edition

September 25, 2013
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It may be fall everywhere else but it’s summer in San Francisco. A season when sun-starved locals gather in the city’s parks, and when we also get a short break from tourists before the holidays begin. For me this means it’s time to explore this amazing city that we live in.

As if I wasn’t already intrigued enough by San Francisco cable cars (don’t call them trolleys, trams or trains!), I recently learned that the San Francisco cable car system is the last one in existence. Mind blown. Now I realize what makes the cable cars so unique, and more importantly, understand why the tourists line up by the hundreds for a ride. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my fair share of cable car rides, so a trip to the San Francisco Cable Car Museum was the only natural next step.

This museum is where it’s at. It’s not just a museum it is the actual powerhouse for the cable car system complete with things like sheaves, winding machinery, extra cable and a gift shop! No joke.  You’ll spend no more than an hour learning everything there is to possibly know about cable cars while watching the actual pulleys that the cable cars are running on. And did I mention it’s FREE? But if you had as much fun as I did when you visit, a small donation wouldn’t hurt.

If you aren’t convinced yet, some fun facts:

– Cables move at 9.5 MPH all day long (seems slow, right?)
4 separate cables move in a continuous loop, all go through the museum/powerhouse
26 cable cars operate at one time; there are 40 total in the fleet
– It takes 6 hours to change the cable, which they do in the middle of the night (obvs)

Here’s a sneak peek of the sheaves in action:

 

 

Any other off-the-beaten path sights we should check out before the holidays hit?