My newest thrifting find…

Today I hit the motherlode, as they say. My son and future daughter-in-law and I were out thrift store shopping, as Kevin’s lost quite a bit of weight and wanted some new shorts. Since he still has weight to lose, he didn’t want to spend too much. So being the thrift store junkie that I am – off we went.

Kevin was thrilled to find four pairs of khaki shorts in the size that he’s at right now. He paid less than $24 for all four, and he was so happy. They met me a little while later at the front of the store and asked me what I had bought. They smiled when I told them.

I am fifty-five years old, and though I have a decent figure and I am at a good weight (120 lbs.) I just cannot wear these booty shorts on the market today. Falling in love with flamingos since I moved to Florida, one day in WalMart I saw perfect shorts with them on – except they were in the men’s department. I slipped them over my leggings, and took them. This gave me a great idea, and a week later at some thrift store home – I don’t remember if it was Salvation Army or Goodwill – I got another pair.

Today I found four gorgeous pair – I wear a men’s small. I got a pair of green and brown tropical ones, different shades of blue, almost like an ombre shade. I got two blue plaids that will go great with all of my Lightning clothes.

And while this isn’t earth shattering, I just love when something goes my way when it comes to saving money. And also at looking good for a reasonable cost. These shorts are very becoming on me. With a pretty tank top and nice sandals, I can look good, not like a “ho” or an old fool and can stay cool (well, cooler) in the hot Florida weather. These are not the exact ones I got, but I really DO want those rubber ducky ones!

A sort-of desperate need for cheap meals…

My current financial situation is bleak, and while I know it won’t last forever, I do know that it requires thought and planning. I have a lot of things coming up in these next few months, and in order to get all these things done – it’s crunch time.

Jeff and I will be travelling back to Pennsylvania for my son Kevin’s wedding to Amanda in September. This will involve plane fare, a car rental, a hotel for the night of the wedding (before we will be staying with the kids) and who knows what else. So between now and then, we have to watch our pennies.

We usually spend Saturday and Sunday nights together, and it’s nice to go out to eat one of those nights. I have recently discovered Steak and Shake, and I love it. Jeff says I am a cheap date, because dinner there for the two of us costs less than $20. On the other night, I try to make something so we can save some dough, as they say.

The last few weeks, we have had some nice dinners. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy but we ate good, we were happy and we were together. Now of course none of this includes beer, which to me for the most part is a necessity. If needed, we could drink iced tea (which I make with tea bags from Dollar Tree) or even cold water with a lemon or whatever. But as usual, I digress…

We had spaghetti with meat sauce one night. It was one jar of sauce, one pound of ground beef fried up and included and one box of spaghetti. We are not big garlic bread eaters, but for another $1 we could have included that too. This meal (without the bread) cost $4 with plenty of leftovers.

One night we had tacos. I bought a frozen “chubb” of ground turkey with taco seasoning for $1.50, and a combo pack of six soft and six hard tacos. We had some shredded lettuce and some grated Mexican Blend Cheese, and for Jeff I diced up half an onion. There was a ton left over. I brought all this stuff with us and we heated it up in the hotel room’s microwave when we decided to get away for a night (his treat with my Expedia points).

tacos

Also recently, we have had Creamy Chicken Casserole. I used two cans of canned chicken and a bag of egg noodles. Cooked the noodles, put them back into a big pot. To that I then added the two cans of chicken, and two cans of cream of chicken soup. I had a can of carrots on hand, so I included those as well. Mixed it all up (adding milk to make a sort-of gravy) and then transferred it into a casserole dish. It was delicious and the total cost was about $5-6. And there were plenty of leftovers, too.

So, it can be done. And done pretty well, if I do say so myself. Jeff agrees.

yankees game

I Love My Bed

I do. It’s comfortable and I sleep SO good in it. This is also quoted on the waistband of two pairs of pajama pants I have. There’s nothing like snuggling down in a comfy bed after a long day.

I also love the feel of clean, crisp sheets. And ones that smell as good as they feel. For years on the days I change my sheets, I try to spray them with linen spray. I got a beautiful smelling one from Christine for Christmas. As it was starting to run out, I knew I needed to get more. But with my current financial situation, I didn’t want to spend a lot. It was then that I got an idea.

I could have just used perfume, but I don’t think it would have worked as well. Maybe it would have been too heavy, and not lasted as long? I don’t know. So one day, I was in one of my favorite places – where else but Dollar Tree. Found myself in the candle aisle, and I saw what they call Liquid Potpourri. Hmmm, I thought – hey, this is a scent called Fresh Linen – coincidence, maybe. I don’t know, but that’s the scent of what I like to spray on my sheets. It was only a dollar, so I put it in my cart. After that, I went over to the aisle that has spray bottles. I picked one out, of course it had to be Lightning Blue. I came home with my new idea, not knowing if it would be ok or not. Who knew? So two days later when it was time to change the sheets, I poured some of this liquid potpourri in the spray bottle and did my sheets with it. I started slow and easy at first, not knowing if I should add some water to the bottle. No, it needed nothing. Just as is, it was fine and smelled wonderful.

The small bottle of “real” sheet spray was 4 ounces and I am sure it was costly. My just-as-good linen treatment was $2.00 for a 33.6 ounce bottle and the sprayer. I got myself a deal. I did good! I am proud…

linen sprays

Living Beneath My Means…

I moved here to sunny Florida last October. And I absolutely love it. Thankfully, while here I have been receiving Unemployment Compensation from the state of Pennsylvania. I was concerned to learn the balance in my account has run out, despite the year-anniversary of my initial claim has not yet come up on the calendar. This means the last payment posted to my account today is it – it is over. No more money coming in. So, whatever I’ve got – that’s all I’ve got.

Recently, I have started driving for Lyft. I really enjoy it – so far, all the riders I have had have been very nice. I have no complaints at all. It has been known as the perfect part-time job, in that you can set your own hours and you can work as little or as much as you want. However, at this time – I cannot afford to be laid back about this. Lyft has suddenly become my full-time job, at least until I can get a position elsewhere.

I have always tried to live beneath my means so I can afford to do the extra things I’ve wanted to do. Now this will be a necessity, so I can have money coming in to pay my bills – my half of the rent, cell phone, my car payment. It won’t be hard, in some ways. In other ways it will be hard because I’ve always felt ok about little extra purchases because I economize on other things. I know it won’t be this way forever, and eventually I will get a full-time job and things will go back to normal. I hope.

Jeff and I just went to a Yankees vs. Rays game – my first Yankees game, and my first in a dome. It was great. We had a wonderful time. Jeff is a baseball nut, so in order to fit in with the fashion sense of the day, I bought a Yankees t-shirt. It was a steal of a deal on some website, with free shipping – and it only cost $4.14. So fast forward to now, as we are planning a trip to Miami. Jeff is an oddity – he is both a Yankees AND Mets fan. We are seeing the Mets play the Marlins there. And I cannot find a Mets t-shirt anywhere, anywhere on line for a decent price. So yes, I could break down and find the nicest one for the best price – but it will still cost more than I should spend. Unless I can find a Mets t-shirt for $4.14 with free shipping, I won’t be buying one. I just can’t. Being an Islanders and Broncos fan, I have plenty of blue, orange and white in my wardrobe. I even have jewelry in these colors. This is what I will do – I want to support the team (my Dad used to work near Shea Stadium in New York City, and I saw a lot of Mets games), but at this point in my financial life, my support will have to be limited to team colors. And you know what, that is ok. It doesn’t really bother me. We will have a fun weekend away, and hopefully we will see a win. We didn’t see a Yankees win, but we did see a good game that went to thirteen innings.

Living beneath my means has never bothered me, because it’s been a choice. Now it is a necessity. I think I’m going to be ok…

US Currency is seen in this January 30,

Addiction…

Some may say I am addicted to wrestling, and to a point this is true. While it is not a physical addiction, I must confess to having two of these. And either one is not what anyone would think.

My name is Lisa, and I am addicted to…nasal spray and chap stick. See, there. I said it. These are two of the most ridiculous things to be addicted to. I have a physical need for the nasal spray. Without it, I can’t breathe. Depending on how I’m feeling (or the season/time of the year) I can use this stuff several times a day. The need for the chap stick products came about on their own, but now I am to the point that if I use one, I need the other.

I did some research online, and I am not the only person out there with these dependencies. It is actually quite the opposite – google it, and you will see. Being so dependent on these products is getting tiresome. I am starting to decide what strategies will work for me. It is frustrating to always have the spray bottle with me. The chap stick products are even worse – I need to have a normal one, one that is extra moisturizing and the medicated kind too.

Is there anyone out there reading this who has experienced either of these first hand, or do you know anyone who has gone through this same kind of problem? I would be interested in hearing from you.

I hope to conquer this once and for all.

Quick, Easy and (somewhat) Healthy…

From time to time, I get into a food rut. That’s what I’m in right now. I feel hungry, yet have no idea what I’m in the mood for. I get tired of the same things over and over again. The other day an idea popped into my head, and yesterday I made it.

My new creation is very simple. The exact ingredients can be tailored to what you want. First I cooked white beans. I had the dry ones on hand. I had soaked them overnight, then yesterday I cooked them in the crockpot with some chicken bouillon broth. Once they were done, I mixed about 3 cups of cooked rice with them. And then I added a jar of mushrooms and a can of peas.

It’s very tasty, and I like it a lot. Though I must admit, it is somewhat bland. So just as you can change up the kind of beans (dry or canned) or the amounts of the other ingredients, feel free to season this dish how you want. I have had it for two meals so far. One time I put a little bit of honey mustard salad dressing on it, and the other time I used that red sauce from the Chinese restaurants. It’s sweet and sour sauce, I think.

So…experiment! While this meal won’t rock your world, it’s tasty and pretty easy to make. Also, it seems to freeze well…

How do you say thank you?

I sit here, with my two cats…watching my GO TO show – Forensic Files. I have just finished watching two hockey games, and my heart and soul – wrestling. From the outside looking in, others might think it boring. Routine. Not exciting and certainly not a wild and crazy, amazing night. Still, for me – I am happy. Very much so.
To my Dad, in heaven – I must say thank you. Because of this man, I have developed an interest in sports that, to this day, has made me happy, and has helped me through tough times. Honestly, without what you’ve given me – where would I be? My heart soared way back in 1980, the day after my Junior Prom – when MY JT (and make no mistake, as a fan – I DO claim him) connected with Bob Nystrom, etc. and CHANGED NEW YORK HOCKEY HISTORY – Rangers fans, aside hahahaha – can’t compare, never will be able to, but I digress – don’t care, it does not matter – whatever team, I am – we are – lucky. Given the best memories, good thoughts, happy smiles. No matter what the team,it’s all good – whatever team you LIVE AND DIE FOR if they make you …FEEL…how can that influence be diminished?
It feels like 100 plus years, but now – today…I must say,to a point – I am in LOVE with the Tampa Bay Lightning. I never, EVER thought a bunch of men or players could break through my orange and blue skin – but they did. I could not love this team more if they were the 79-80 Islanders – and that is saying a lot. It really is. When I hear Imagine Dragons on the radio, singing my song, our song – I more than feel the thunder. Lighting, feel the Thunder. That is me, that is this area. And I couldn’t be happier and more proud. I love it here, and even more – I love this team. Tears in my eyes, I want the Cup for this area.
Thank you, Dad…I love you.

Ending Number Fourteen

This is being posted late, as I was writing this as I flew home to Florida after attending my fourteenth Wrestlemania. As usual, it was a trip that had drama. Some good, some bad but all fun. It’s always been one of best times of the year.
I flew to New Jersey so I could fly with Christine to New Orleans. We have always traveled together, and me having relocated to Florida – I didn’t want that to change. The trip started with a BANG as Spirit Airlines didn’t have my reservation. Now the jury is still out on who’s fault this was, but the bottom line was I had to spend $350+ to get to Jersey in time. Six hours later than we had planned, but I made it there. We got next to no sleep as our flight left Philadelphia International VERY early. But once you’re up, you stop at Wawa for coffee and you realize you are on your way, you wake up fast!
We arrived in NOLA on a good flight with no issues. Taking an Uber from the airport (it was a Mercedes Benz with one of the nicest drivers we have ever had), the Cubby we rented was wonderful. Our host/owner was Cecile, and she was just the sweetest woman. Our rental was close to all of the fun things NOLA has to offer. Despite being there for Wrestlemania 30 in 2014, Cecile was able to point out new things for us to do. In our residential friendly rental neighborhood there was a great place we had breakfast at a few times. Called Horn’s, it was both delicious and reasonably priced. Going to Bourbon Street at night was a challenge. This time more than last, the crowd seemed very young and very inexperienced with their drinking. And trust me, I am a very tolerant person so for me to say it was bad – it really was. Staying on Decatur Street near Cafe DuMonde (with their famous beignets and cafe au lait) was a better choice for us. The locals were very nice to us. They made us “Universians” feel at home and very welcomed. We took a swamp boat tour with a great guide who even offered us the opportunity to hold a baby aligator (we declined).
The wrestling (which should be at the forefront on these trips but sometimes ends up taking a back seat) left quite a bit to be desired. The Hall of Fame Ceremony at the Smoothie King Center was long, boring and way too drawn out – coupled with the absolute abuse at the entrance gates for those who didn’t have the correct size purse or bag. Rules are rules, but they didn’t need to be as rude as they were. Wrestlemania itself lacked excitement. It really did. After attending so many of these in the past, you know which one is good and which one isn’t. This one wasn’t.
The Raw after Wrestlemania was good. In past years, it was great. And none of this is really meant to be a knock on the industry, or in any way a clue that we won’t be going anymore. We will. Without a doubt. In fact, we have hotel rooms booked for next year in New York.
A highlight of our trip – we missed one of our favorites at the Fan Axxess section. We were sad, but what can you do? Leaving the gift shop at the airport on our way home, there was a man in an Elias shirt. I looked at him, smiled and said “yes, walk with Elias.” He smiled back and said “I better walk with him, he’s my son.” We ended up taking to him and his wife (and his sister and niece came over) for a while. What a highlight! Such a nice family! They were kind, friendly and oh so proud of their Elias (real name Jeffrey). We left NOLA with big smiles on our faces.
Was this trip perfect? No, not really. Was it good and are we glad we went? Yes, absolutely. We had fun, the food was good, I was with my best friend, and I was also with my people – the Universe. Here’s to you, WWE, New York, New Jersey and Met Life Stadium – see you in April!
eliasfamily

Yes, you CAN be fashionable shopping at a thrift store!

It is widely known that I will buy any and all things at a thrift store – I’m a big second hand, previously owned item lover. I especially love getting a fashion bargain. I think a precursor to this “idea” is a show that was on a few years ago. It was called “The Look for Less.” Elizabeth Hasselback was the host. She showed designer-type outfits, and then showed how these same type of items can be found for a lower cost. Usually she went to off-price stores – stores like Marshall’s and Ross Dress for Less (both stores that I also enjoy shopping for bargains at). I have taken this to a different level in copying and duplicating outfits I see on tv, in magazines and in mall store windows by recreating the outfits I like at thrift stores.
thrift sign
What I usually do when I am in search of an idea, an outfit – is to get it all set up in my mind. For the purpose of this post, my idea was as follows – jeans, a sweater, boots, a bag, and a few accessories. This would not be hard to copy at all. Of course, it will not be exact, and that’s not what we want. We want close. We want it to look like this.
outfit
Jeans – thrift stores are filled with jeans, and many of them are in nearly brand new condition. Since the distressed style is in fashion (and some even have holes and rips), your choices are unlimited! Lately, my stores of choice have been Goodwill and Salvation Army. These stores for the most part have set prices for jeans, and you should be able to pick a pair up for an average cost of $5.
The underneath top could be up to you – a thin tunic, a lightweight top or even a lightweight sweater. Again, at the stores I go to you could find a top like this for $5 as well. In my case, in trying to copy this outfit I would more than likely choose something lightweight (since it has a sweater/jacket as well).
Sand_Dollar_Thrift_Store_Clothing
The sweater in the picture could even be considered a jacket of some sort, which could increase the cost a little bit. I still don’t think it would end up costing much more than $8 or $9.
Boots can be had at thrift stores at any time of the year. They really can be (even in warm weather climates). Tall boots go for $10 or so, but if you wanted to change the outfit up a bit, you could even go with booties which aren’t much more than $5 usually.
Shoes at Thrift Store
The accessories in the picture could be fun picking out. Oftentimes things like belts can be had for as little as $1 or $2. If you don’t have any jewelry to match, have no fear. Accessories like these can also be found for very reasonable costs. Being a purse/handbag kind of girl, I am sure I already own one I could use. But I will never turndown a cute bag that could complete the outfit more to the way I would like it to be.
So, give or take – for well under $30 you could copy an outfit like this one. Brand new or even in off price stores, it would be a much higher cost. For sure. And for someone like me who hates paying full price for anything (even while thrifting) I would take my time duplicating this during the days when the stores have “half price days”, increasing my savings even more.
See – you really CAN dress well for less!