Category: Frugalista

Nailed It

Sunday, May 25th, 2014

Before heading out for yesterday’s BFF girlie day pedicure, I rifled through my nail polish collection to find the perfect color.  We like to bring our own polish, because it allows for post-pedicure touch-ups.  I wanted something bright and summery, but my polish bin was a sea of navy blues and blood reds.

I flipped through the nail salon’s selection cards,  considering a neon pink and bright orange, before selecting  OPI’s new Neon collection in Push and Pur-Pull:


Kind of funny, huh?  I had too many dark blues and reds at home, so I opted for the salon’s purple.  Go figure!  While happy with my choice, I still wanted something a little bolder…

Serendipity struck this morning when flipping through my Memorial Day Sale email notices.  Normally, I delete my Lucky Magazine daily deal, but they caught my eye with today’s subject “17 Can’t-Miss Beauty Sales To Shop This Memorial Day Weekend.”   I flipped through the deals with nothing worth clicking until I came to slide 18/18:

Whoa.  3 amazeballs bright FULL SIZE Butter London Polishes for $19?  These puppies are typically $15.00 per bottle...


And, um, this one, too:

I’ve been wanting an orange and the white will be a great base coat for bright colors.  It’s totally worth the  overwhelmingly heavy burden of adding another fantastic blue to my collection.

And, well, I couldn’t let free shipping and a 20% off code (ahem, SEVENTEEN20) go unused (SACRILEGE!), so I added this beauty:

It’s called Sozzled.   It’s GREEN.   It had to happen.

In summary, I just scored 7 full size Butter London polishes for the price of 3.

Slap me in an oversized 90’s suit and color me badass! 😉

Chop! Chop!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

In an attempt to reduce meal prep stress and wrangle the food budget, I’m FTSing,* HomeEc style.

Dan does most of the cooking while I’m tasked with grocery shopping and prep work.   The prep work is typically done during Em’s naptime.  It’s a great system with two kinks: I have a  toddler with free will and clients who don’t stop needing things during naptime.  Don’t you know that when there’s a list of 10 ingredients to chop, roast, marinate and/or pre-cook, that’s the day Em either refuses to nap or awakes early in a crappy mood with a case of koala clings, or a needlessly needy client call requires excessive attention.

I’d been making multiple trip$ to various grocery stores (Whole Foods, HEB, Costco, Trader Joe’s) throughout the week.  Grocery shopping like that (especially at Costco) can get crazy expensive all too quickly.  I’d go for two forgotten items and end up with a $60 bill.   Our monthly grocery expenditures got out of hand to the point my easy-going husband mentioned it.  Now we have a weekly budget to follow with the help of three F.T.S steps:

STEP 1:  Plan It.

Every Saturday morning, we set our weekly menu.  We typically cook 3-4 times per week, eating leftovers in between.   Take this week’s menu: Dan grilled a tri-tip for fajitas yesterday.  We’ll have fajitas tonight before chopping it up and making beef fried rice tomorrow.   It makes life so much easier, and we’re never left with a fridge-full of leftovers.

STEP 2:  Shop ONCE.

On Saturdays, I snap an iPhone pic of our grocery list.

Yeah, I’m so 2000 and late like that.  I could type a list, but why bother?   I go shopping sans kiddo.  Savvy shopping with a toddler proves oxymoronic when the focus on getting in and out quickly and avoiding tantrums leads to impulse buys.  Sure, let’s buy those freshly made tortillas we don’t need and let you shove one in your mouth, because you’re getting antsy, refuse to eat the snack I brought and won’t stop screaming “TORTILLA!”

I use coupons when available, but it’s rare when I can use them.  I typically don’t buy brand name products.  I stick to the HEB/Central Market brand salt-free, additive-free, organic items.  Those rarely go on special, and I’m not willing to buy a name brand that isn’t as healthy just to save a few cents.   But when one of our regular items goes on sale (ie: SunButter), I’ll buy an extra jar or two.

I also make a weekly trip to Trader Joe’s for strawberries.   “Just for strawberries?” you wonder.  Yep.  In SAT terms, Emme: strawberries = Lindsay Lohan: vodka.   HEB’s organic strawberries mold within 1-2 days after purchase.  Trader Joe’s organic strawberries are cheaper, taste better and last longer.

Once I make my HEB and Trader Joe’s run, that’s it.  There’s no going back until the next weekend.

STEP 3:  Stay One Prep Ahead.

Starting a couple of weeks ago, I started prepping ingredients a day ahead of time.  This avoids the potential day-of stress.  Today, I took my prep to Pinterest-level by pre-chopping a week’s worth of ingredients.   Everything on the tray was for roasting.   The kiddo is a roasted broccoli fiend, so that stash will be a part of her dinner tonight, her omelet tomorrow morning and then our fried rice dinner.

You’re thinking “Oh, must be nice, Ms. Work at Home Mom, to have all that time.”  Ha!  It took all of 30 minutes.   As soon as Em went down, I checked my work email to make sure nothing was pressing, popped a TJ pizza in the oven and got to chopping.   By the time it was all packed and loaded into the fridge, my lunch was ready.   I switched into work mode until the kiddo awoke an hour and ten minutes later.  Not too shabby.

As if the time management benefits weren’t enough, there’s another serendipitous offshoot: it makes the fridge more user-friendly.  Our fridge is typically jam packed following Saturday’s grocery shopping run.  By chopping it all up, I can see what we have.

But the best part?  It means less time spent in the kitchen and more time focusing on what’s most important:


* FTS = Fix This Sh*T

A Spring in My Step

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

In addition to the awesome Spring weather we’re having (not so fast, Summer!), here are five simple things I currently heart…

1.  I’m very much a fan of Pantone‘s color of the year, Emerald Green.   I’m coveting the Sephora-Pantone nail polish collaboration:

2.  I snagged a pair of navy Chooka Duck Skimmers at Costco for $24.99 when they retail elsewhere for $65+.  Wahoo!  These things are so comfortable and great for chasing the kiddo through wet grass.    The bad thing?  Now I want red ones.  And yellow ones.  And, oh yeah, the green ones.  Costco only offers navy and black.  Oh well, at least I have these babies!

3.  My latest Starbucks obsession:  Venti Decaf Soy Coffee Frappucino with a pump of Sugar-Free Hazelnut syrup.  After seeing their latest Hazelnut Macchiato offering, I spontaneously opted for the hazelnut infusion.  And it was good.  So good.  Too good.  Yeah, by adding that shot I piled on more calories to the ones I shouldn’t be drinking in the first place.  I’d look up just how many, but my Starbucks app keeps shutting down.  The coffee gods are enablers like that.


4. Trader Joe’s Tulips.  They’re $4.99 for a 10-stem bunch.  That’s an awesome deal considering Whole Foods charges $9.99 for 10 stems and HEB charges $6.99 for 7 stems.  How do I know this?  Because as much as I love tulips, they do not love my window-clad house that gets full Texas sun.  I won’t spend much on flowers that I know won’t last long. I bought 3 bunches last Sunday that managed to last until the leaves started falling off yesterday.  You’ve got my fleur business, Trader Joe’s!

5.  I love me some “Nashville.” It’s the new “Dallas” (the old one, not the current bastardized version).  Even though it stars Hayden Pantytears, she does a great job playing a Taylor Swift meets Miranda Lambert pop-country princess you want to slap but end up thinking “that poor girl needs a hug.”  Whoever cast this show did an amazing job.  And while every episode contains at least one musical montage, they do a damn good job slipping in some awesome plot twists.   The last 15 minutes typically illicit a verbal response from me, be it a gasp or a cheer.


She’s Craft-ay

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

When shopping for nursery accessories, I came across these adorable animal-themed fabric drawers at Target:

I considered the frog and hippo but wished they’d had an owl.   That’s when it hit me… I could make my own!  I turned to Wiggles’ owl pillows for inspiration:

All it took was a pink Circo Collapsible Drawer, some felt and fabric glue.

And after 15 minutes of cutting and pasting followed by 3 hours of drying time…


2Pack: Lug Life 4ever

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

I bought myself a push present:  my hospital bag.

As I mentally skimmed my closet’s overnight bag selection, I realized my options sucked.  I have a beat up mini rolling carry-on or an open-top boat tote.  Neither would accommodate all the crap I need to pack for Wiggles and me.  I needed something big but not ginormous, cute but not cutesy.   I needed a Lug.

My love for Lug started in 2007 with my first purchase, an orange Puddle Jumper.  I wanted a lightweight, vintage-looking carry-on, something reminiscent of a 60’s stew bag.   It’s accompanied me on every transatlantic flight I’ve taken since then.   Two of my friends even purchased Puddle Jumpers of their own.

A couple of years ago, I played an online contest at that landed me some freebies (luggage tag, travel wallet).  I never win anything, so that was pretty cool.

It just so happened ebags had their Lug weekenders on sale for almost half-off with free shipping this past holiday weekend.  (Psst – the sale is still on-going and ends 07/14)*   My Lug Round-Trip Shuttle Bus Weekender arrived yesterday.  I’m proud to say I have zero buyer’s remorse.  All that’s left is to fill it with everything from personal toiletries and Wiggleswear to the baby book and cord blood kit.

Next on my list?  Gently breaking it to our terracotta warrior, Wang Chung, that there’s not enough room in the bag for him.


* No, I don’t get paid for all these glowing product reviews.  If only.  I’d be rich, I tell ya! RICH!  I just like sharing cool, cheap stuff I dig. 🙂