July 11, 2010

Quiche!


It can impress even the pickiest of eaters. It can utilize the random assortment of veggies and meats you have leftover from the week’s meals. It can go from a bunch of ingredients to a steaming plate of delicious comfort food in less than an hour, with little more than 5 minutes prep time. What is it?

It’s quiche!

The basic recipe looks like this…

The best part about this recipe is that it can be altered a hundred different ways, depending on what you have in your fridge. It is the best Saturday morning food you can find, served alongside some sliced fruit. It can squeeze in the nutrition that your waffles and hash browns lack. And, it serves up to six people! What more could you want?

Attributions: Background to recipe

Naked Window?

My mom called me yesterday to inform me that she had taken the Lowe’s gift cards my brother and I gave her for Mother’s Day, and gone shopping. My mother is the wonderful type of woman that will walk up and down every isle to make sure she didn’t miss a sale or clearance item. On a side note, my brother and I were always very patient and never once bothered her to hurry up. You believe that, right?

Well, when she got to the Home D├ęcor section of Lowe’s, she discovered that many of the curtains and drapes were on sale. I have done a little research, but cannot seem to find when this sale will end. But, if you are looking for something to cover up those naked windows, this is the time you need to go. I got two beautiful, double-panel drapes for a little less than $7 each. You can’t find a deal like that very often. Trust me, I live my life driving back and forth from one end of town to the other, determined to find the best pricing on whatever I am looking for. Go check it out!


Attributions: Lowe's Pic

July 10, 2010

Yes, dear...


Hello. My name is Jen, and I am a sunaholic.

What kind of –aholic are you? Do you routinely forget to floss? Do you go out to grab a sweet treat from Starbucks or Sonic a couple of times a week? We all have more than one of these sorts of vices, and they are hard to tame. Personally, I have a problem with habitually getting burned at the beach. I also have a problem with spending entirely too much money at Walgreen’s or CVS. I also have a problem with watching too much TV. This is just the beginning, like it surely is with most people. But what do these habits add up to long-term?

A friend of mine smokes. She also eats mints like they’re going out of style. She also gets too sleepy at night, sometimes, and doesn’t brush her teeth. That friend now owes $6,000 to her dentist, and is missing four back teeth. Her teeth literally starting falling out. We were at a party one night, and she came running up to me. “Jen, my tooth just crumbled in my mouth!”

“What?! Does it hurt? Are you ok?”

“No, it didn’t hurt. It just sort of fell apart. What do I do?!”

After countless trips to the dentist, 3 tooth extractions, 2 root canals, and 13 fillings, she now owes more to the dentist than she makes in 2 months salary. And this is not a made up horror story. It really did happen. This is the result of a bad habit: not taking care of your teeth.

Habits can truly make or break you. Good habits will stick with you for life, but so will bad ones. This is what I did one day: I stepped back and took a look at my life. I analyzed my day. What were things I did every day? I watch a lot of TV. And even if I’m not watching it, it’s on. I like having that noise in the background to keep me company when I’m doing housework or fiddling on the computer. Do you know how much energy a flat screen TV uses?

If you have your 50” plasma TV on for approximately 5.2 hours per day, it would cost around $60 a year in energy, according to CNet Reviews. That doesn’t sound like a lot. But, like most people, I will admit to having to TV on much more than five hours a day. I watch maybe 1-2 hours of TV, but it stays on throughout dinner, cleaning, workouts, and whatever else. It stays on for most of the time that I am home. It's on right now.

Look, this is not a lecture from your mother. This is a reality check. Be sensible. Be adult. Be strong and proactive. Most of you (I hope) are on your own at this point in your life. It is time to take responsibility for yourself as a human being. You may not be able to control the fact that you are 57% Irish, but you sure as hell can control how much sun your skin sees. You may not be able to manage your sugar intake, but you sure can manage your nightly teeth-cleaning habits.

I do not have an actual product to promote to you in order to save money. This post is all about self-awareness. You’ll be amazed to discover how effective you can be at saving money in the long run when you pay closer attention to your daily habits. You can be rich, or poor, and still make a noticeable difference in your daily intake in whatever your vice may be. Take notes on your every move on a daily basis. Break out your journal and document, preferably in numerical order, your actions of the day. Then, go back, after a week of documentation, and observe your daily money-spending habits, or the habits that will one day cost you too much money.

Now, break one.


Attributions: BeachGirl, TV, Checklist

July 06, 2010

Showtime!


Are you in the mood for the theater experience, but not so much the theater price tag? Not really convinced that surround-sound and a bowl full of Pop Secret Movie Theater Butter qualifies as a true theater experience? Once again, I have the answers to all your problems.

As many of you may already know, it seems most theaters have some sort of discounted tickets on Tuesdays, which are obviously a slow day at the theaters. Take advantage of being able to see the newest movie with the whole theater experience for about the same price as it would be to rent it from Blockbuster (yeah, I know, it still doesn’t beat the amazing deal of Red Box).

But, wait! That’s not all! With over 5,000 screens, the second largest movie theater chain in the US brings us AMC Weekday Escape. This means half-price tickets all day Monday-Thursday at all AMC Theaters (excluding opening night weekday movies). See this link for more information, and to find a theater in your area.

Or, learn more about Discount Tuesdays at Cinemark Theaters.

July 03, 2010

She Sells Sea Shells...

You're walking down the beach on the first vacation you've had in God knows how long. You pick up every pretty seashell you see. There are a couple of broken conch shells, a few of those shells that look like snail shells, and maybe even a sand dollar or two. You rinse them off in the ocean and stash them in your beach bag. Once you’re up at the house (or condo, or hotel), you pull them back out of your beach bag. What the hell are you going to do with them now? You place them back in, and they stay at the bottom of your beach bag until your back home. You might even leave them in there until you are no longer able to justifiably leave the beach bag out any longer.

Well, friends, I have a little solution for you. It comes, in part, from the inspirational piece of artwork in the 1995 movie, Man of the House. Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ character searches, with his mother, to find shells to place on a fisherman’s net they have hanging in their home. Eventually, after many long walks on the beach, they complete it, and it is beautiful.

The net becomes a piece of living, ever-changing art that reminds them of the special times they had together on the beach. While it might not be as easy to nail up a fisherman’s net in your living room, you could do something like this for your front door.

I collected shells over a period of about a year, and after I had accumulated a substantial amount of shells, I took a trip to the Dollar General. There, they have wreaths made out of some sort of wood-like material for - you guessed it - a dollar. With my shells and glue gun by my side, I sat down and glued every beautiful shell I had found onto the wreath. Now, I have a beautiful piece of art to hang on my front door during the summer months (or maybe even year-round, if I feel like it).

If you don’t have a Dollar General near you, or if you can’t find a wooden wreath there, try Michael’s or Hobby Lobby. Both of those craft stores will have a Styrofoam wreath, which would be my second choice. They may have prettier wreaths, you'll just have to check. The Styrofoam would be my second choice because the shells are all different shapes and sizes, so you want something that would be ok to look at if it was visible from behind the shells. Also, before you start gluing, wrap some wire around the top of the wreath, and make a little loop, so that you have something to hang it with.

This is a simple and quick idea that can be an ongoing project over the years. Each year, after a trip to the beach, you and your family can add a few more shells. The beauty of this wreath is that the more you build on top of it, the more beautiful it looks. For years to come, you will be able to look at this piece of art and remember the peaceful walks you spent on the coast.

June 29, 2010

Not Your Mother's Olive Oil



What do you use olive oil for? I use it to toss with my vegetables before they go on the grill. I mix it with vinegar to toss with my salad. I use it while cooking noodles to keep them separated once cooked. But the one use I have for olive oil that gets the most odd looks…in the shower.

After spending too much money on each new moisturizer that popped into the market, and never getting 100% satisfaction, I tried olive oil. I had heard about it once or twice in the past, but was a little hesitant to give it a try. I didn’t want to get out of the shower smelling like a salad. And, I sure didn’t want to finish my work out and smell like a cooked vegetable. But the more research I did on it, the more I wanted to try it. Finally, I bought a cheap bottle of regular olive oil from the grocery store. After bathing myself and shaving my legs, I slathered on about a teaspoon (it goes far) of olive oil on each leg, andrubbed the remnants of it on my arms and stomach. I did, however, have to use a little extra soap to get the residue off my hands to keep myself from accidentally getting it on my face. (Note: From what I’ve read, there is no harm in getting it on your face. Actually, it’s recommended. I just don’t think my acne-prone skin could handle it just yet.) It really had a very mild smell, almost unnoticeable. I finished getting ready, and before I left the house, I gave myself a quick sniff. Nothing. I smelt neutral, and my body was as silky as it had ever been.

From that day forward, I have been an avid user of olive oil. I’ve bought myself a chic glass bottle to store it in (which came strait from the kitchen section at Marshall’s), and I use it every day. I asked my hair stylist if it would be ok to use on my (highlighted) hair, and she said it would be best to mix it with my conditioner instead of using it along. It definitely has a tendency to stick. I work out (almost) every day, and, I smell just as fine after a workout as before. Well, I’m sure I smell a little sweaty, but not any different than I did while using regular lotion. And, I’ve asked plenty of honest friends and family if they thought I smelled any different, and they all said I smelled fine…even great. If you are extra worried about the smell, I’m sure you can add some sort of lavender oil, or whatever your preference, to it to give it a more spa-like smell.

This stuff is a gold mine! It’s extraordinarily cheap, and if you ever run out of it in the kitchen, you’ve got a back up! I have not had a dry patch of skin since I started using it - not even through the dead of winter. And, I love that I can use it in the shower, while my skin is super-absorbent, and don’t have to worry about my skin for the rest of the day. Why buy expensive oil-infused lotions from those fancy organic lines when you’ve got this stuff in your kitchen cabinet?

After my research, I found that extra virgin olive oil is better for moisturizing, because the regular olive oil is made with chemical refining and filtering, while extra virgin or virgin olive oil comes from the first and second pressing of the olives. The only thing I recommend, if you are trying to keep it away from your face, is to keep in mind while you’re drying off (after your shower) not to rub your towel on your face.

Some research shows that rubbing olive oil on a sunburn can help reduce the likelihood of cancerous growth, but don’t quote me on that. It can also be used as a shaving gel. There are an unlimited about of uses for olive oil, and
here is a website describing a few more.

I hope y’all find this information helpful and fiscally responsible. Happy showering!

Photo Credits:
Olive oil
Olive branch