Some of life’s little indulgences…

Indulgence – indulging in self; satisfaction, gratification, fulfillment…

I write a lot about saving money. It means a lot to me, because since I try to be careful (frugal) with my money, it enables me to spend on things that I find to be significant. I spend my pennies (and considerably more) on things that others might not agree with, but that’s ok. As they say, we all have our own “things.”

I get my nails professionally done in a salon. My finger nails, that is. I get a gel manicure, and this lasts about three weeks before it’s clearly obvious that I need to get them redone. The gel is very strong, and it never chips. Regular manicures done there that use the standard polish are just fine, but for a long time afterwards you have to walk around like a surgeon with your hands in the air so you don’t smudge them. With gel, they are done dry in what seems like minutes. So while it does cost me about $35 every time I go (tip included) this is an indulgence for me. I rarely if ever get a pedicure, because I do those myself. I did treat myself and Amanda (my daughter in law) to one right before the wedding, because it was a fun day we had together.

I love Dunkin Donuts coffee. I would drink it every day if I could. But at over $2.00 per cup minimum, it’s too costly on a daily basis. I’ve practiced all different ways and methods at home, and what I make comes out almost as good. I save my Dunkin indulgences for times we are taking a road trip, and when Christine and I thrift store shop – stopping there is part of our routine. And if I am riding around town, doing errands and just FEEL like having one, I will get one. I don’t let it become a regular habit, but it is a nice treat every once in a while.

Two passions of mine are wrestling and hockey. I try to get to as many of these events as I can. This year, this season – I have stayed away a little more than I wanted to, but it’s been pure timing (and the potential of bad weather). I will do my regular skimping and saving all along, and this way when an event comes along, I can go. And my key to these events is – don’t be a seat snob. As long as I’m in the building, seeing it live – I’m good. I don’t need great seats. Nosebleed sections are ok with me.

I love to travel. Even if it’s not far away from home, I just like being someplace new, someplace different, someplace I haven’t been in a while. I scour different websites and try to find deals on hotel rooms. Something as simple as staying in a hotel in Connecticut the night before Jeff and I went to the Maury show. I found a nice place for a reasonable cost, and going the night before made it seem more like a getaway rather than a long day trip. Like with so many things, the key is planning and seeing what is out there so you can do more with your money.

Christine and I always have a great time when we spend the day thrifting. We have a routine, a map of sorts when we go in Jersey near her, and when we go here in the Scranton area. I never really NEED anything, it’s more the thrill of the hunt. I try not to spend a lot, and am usually on the lookout for things for others. It’s a fun day out. Like I said above, we stop for Dunkin. Halfway through, we will get lunch someplace (usually fast food with a coupon) and then end the day around 8 or so, having dinner in a diner. It’s a guilty pleasure day.

This indulgence costs nothing really. Once in a while, even if I am doing small, insignificant chores around the house (or if I feel like doing nothing at all, just relaxing – which is rare, but I digress) I will watch an entire day of trashy television, as some call it. Maybe not even trash, but more or less silly. I get a lot of laughs out of Maury. I watch Steve Wilkos too. It never ceases to amaze me and makes me laugh about all these people who come to these court shows, trying to prove cases that make absolutely no sense at all. I have even come to appreciate Dr. Phil lately, even though I used to think he was a big, pompous jerk. By 4 o’clock, I’ll switch to the local news and it will be back to reality.

Even if you think something is silly, and others don’t agree – do it. You deserve to be self-indulgent every once in a while. Don’t you think so?

Attention Cheapskates (or, Frugal People)

I like to do a lot of things that cost money. And because I choose to do these things and spend money (instead of saving) I don’t consider myself cheap. I consider myself frugal. Our money goes towards traveling and experiences that will give us memories. And believe me, I have many. Because there are so many things I have done, and so many things I still want to do, I have had to adopt quite a few strategies to enable this stuff to happen for me. Below I’ve listed some tips that have helped me. Hopefully they will help you too.
1. Never, ever buy anything if it is not on sale. This goes for food, for clothing, for…whatever. I have come to the conclusion that maybe I want chicken breasts, but if they are not on sale, I will wait. If not the next week, the week after that they will be on special. I never pay full price in a store that I know every other week puts their items on a percentage off cost. Even in a thrift store, I will not buy anything unless it is the half-price color of the day.
2. You need to use coupons for everything you buy or do. Search the Sunday newspaper inserts, look online at sites like Groupon, even check the back of register receipts from grocery stores. We have been trying (yet not always succeeding) to only go out to eat at restaurants that we have coupons for.
3. Always have individual portions of leftovers in your freezer. This eliminates buying lunches at work. If you take one out before you leave in the morning, by lunchtime it is ready for a quick whirl in the microwave and there you go – homemade lunch. Better than a $5 sandwich from the cafeteria.
4. Do not overlook the “day old” or “damaged” racks at supermarkets. Especially when you notice it seems full, go and investigate. I have done very well there.
5. Shower fast and only do full loads of laundry. You can save quite a bit of water this way.
6. Keep your thermostat reasonable. This winter, we have it set low and if we are cold, we will put on a sweatshirt. Or we will curl up under a blanket on the couch to get warmer. Of course, a cat or two on top of you adds to the warmth too. I will do this now, because once summer comes and it is hot, I cannot tolerate the heat so my AC will be running harder than our heat was.
7. Buy generic brands of everything. And I mean everything. Unless you have an allergy or a particular allegiance to a certain product, there really isn’t much of a difference between name brand and store brand. I did find that I do not like store-brand Frosted Flakes, however.
8. Keep the lights on in your house to a minimum. I do like to keep one or two on when we go out. I just don’t like the look of a house being all dark, because to me that makes things look unoccupied. And I don’t want to buy trouble if I don’t have to.
9. Save all the change, all the coins you get. Everyday. Just put it in some sort of container and forget about it. After a certain time (of your choosing) you can cash it in. I am always pleasantly surprised about how much my changes comes out to be.
10. When you are at a hotel, take the amenities given to you. I do not take unused rolls of toilet paper, and if I use the shampoo I leave that behind too. But if there are unused little bottles of conditioner, hand cream, a pen, some sugars and sugar substitute – I take them home. I have a nice little supply for myself. Some of the sugars I keep in my car in case someone I’m out with needs a little extra.
11. Do not pass up anything used. Anything at all. No matter where it is or where it comes from. Our beautiful dining room table came from the curb. It was a leftover that didn’t sell at a garage sale.
12. Try to ditch the paper towel and paper napkin habit. Of course you will have a bit more laundry, but overall it makes more sense to have something you can reuse. Since it’s just Jeff and I, we only need a few napkins. A family of more than two can each have their own color. They are very reasonably priced at thrift stores. I also have a lot of kitchen towels that have seen better days that I can use as rags.
13. I won’t ever get rid of cable (or satellite). I am a television person. With the cable package we have, there is always something to watch. I am never at a loss to find a program. Search and you will find. Since you’re already paying a cable or satellite bill, it’s free entertainment (well, kind of).
14. If you belong to a gym, GO. I currently belong to a gym that is very reasonably priced at only $10 per month. Because it is that cheap, I tend to make excuses why I can’t be there. My main reason is because I hate the place, but I know I need to go. If I don’t, I really should cancel the membership.
15. Always use a lid when boiling water. Saves gas or electric, and you’re ready to cook quicker.
16. Check all of your bills to see if there are any charges that aren’t right. See if any charges can be reduced or cut out completely.
17. Buy clothes pins – not so much for laundry (unless you like to hang things) but as bag clips. You can get twenty five in a package for a dollar, compared to three or four of the colored plastic clip kind. Clothes pins work just as good keeping a bag of chips fresh.
18. Share clothes with friends. Borrow. Rotate them back and forth. My cousin and I did this as young teenagers. There is no reason this can’t be done by grown adults also.
19. When your birthday is coming up, or someone you celebrate is having a birthday – google things in your area for free birthday perks. There is a local restaurant here that if you go on your actual day, the birthday boy or girl gets an entire free meal. It’s a really great deal, and that’s why we usually celebrate just about all of our birthdays there. There are a lot of birthday deals out there, you just have to find them.
20. Wash your car yourself. Or at the very least, use one of those stations that have the pressure hoses. My car is very tiny. It’s a Chevy Spark, and I love it. It is so tiny that unless it is filthy dirty, I use a spray bottle with water and a bunch of rags to clean it.
21. Try to cure yourself before going to a doctor. This of course involves minor issues. I once had a nurse tell me if you take the correct dosage of cold medicine at the perfectly timed intervals (not missing a dose, or delaying it) and drink plenty of fluids – more than you think you even need – you will end up feeling better. If after a day or so, you are not getting better and in fact are getting worse, then it’s time to maybe see your doctor.
22. If you go to the movies (we really don’t go too much) make sure you bring a big purse. Now I’m not saying to bring something like a small suitcase – just something that can hold a bottle of water, maybe a box of movie-theater size box of candy, and maybe a ziploc bag with popcorn. That should be enough to snack on during a two-hour movie.

These are some of my tips. I’m always looking for more. Have any ideas?

Handy Kitchen Hacks

This picture is a pretty accurate description of kitchens I had back in the 1980s. Brings back such memories. That being said, I am always on the lookout for tips, tricks, helpful hints – you know, hacks. These few have always served me well.
I like to make meals with meat that either needs to be marinated, or stir fried. Bottled marinades can be expensive, and I haven’t had much experience making them on my own. Not yet I haven’t, but I will try. In the meantime, you can use a regular bottle of salad dressing. It doesn’t matter what kind, either oil-based or the creamy version. I have marinated chicken overnight in honey mustard dressing, and then either bake it or fry it in a pan. Stir frying chicken tenders (or pieces of thighs, which are very flavorful) in Italian dressing makes a delicious meal. I usually have this with rice and broccoli.
If you like iced coffee, try this. If you have a pot of coffee in the morning, or whatever – and some is leftover, don’t put it down the drain. Put it in an ice cube tray. This way, the next time you want iced coffee, use these coffee cubes and your drink won’t get watered down.
You can buy flavored creamers for your coffee. Jeff loves these. If you want to do it on the cheap, as they say – or for some reason you run out of creamer and only have milk or cream, as the coffee begins to brew – add some spices to the brew basket. You can also add these to an individual cup after it’s done. I have used cinnamon, pumpkin spice seasoning, even hot chocolate mix to make a chocolate coffee drink. Adding it to the brew basket, of course you will need to use more. You’ll get a whole pot of specialty coffee this way. If it’s easier and you do individual cups, just make sure you stir really good. Tastes delicious!
The easiest and fastest way to make rice, which ends up coming out Chinese-food style is in your microwave. For example, use one cup of rice to two cups of water. You can even substitute part of the water with broth. This one cup method goes into the microwave for twelve minutes. When the time is up, the rice comes out absolutely perfect. For 3/4 of a cup, double the amounts but it goes in for nine minutes. Adjust up – last night I did 1 1/2 cups, put it in for sixteen minutes and it came out great. I have been making more rice lately because our little kitten Nik has some “stomach” issues and the rice is helping him. We think.
This next thing is more of a recommendation than an actual tip. When you spill something, especially on your stove – clean it up, or at least wipe it as soon as possible. I have waited too long on certain occasions, and when I finally do go and try to clean it, it takes too much of an effort. I try to do this all the time. If I can. If I remember.
It sounds crazy, I know – but rinse your plastic bags. You know, the ones with the zip tops. I rinse all of them and store them inside out, on top of something tall. Like the container with all the ladles, spatulas, wooden spoons. I don’t keep the thin, little sandwich type bags because they just don’t dry easily. Plus, they are much more reasonably priced. I just cannot see throwing away a decent plastic bag that only had rolls in it, with just crumbs leftover.
Keep as many plastic bags as you can store from the grocery store. Currently we have more than we need. These come in handy for many things. For those of us with pets, you know what we use them for. I always have a bag handy for people who come over and want to take things home. And sometimes I use them as an extra layer over something I’m storing in the freezer.
I haven’t done this in years, but you can reuse your coffee grounds. If you make a pot of coffee to yield eight cups, rinse your pot. In the basket add half the amount you would normally use. Press brew and your new full pot should taste just as good (or almost as good) as the first one.
All of these are boring, I know – but useful just the same.

Budget Friendly Holiday Decorations

I was trying to do some research on decorating for holidays. It was amazing to me that no matter what I used to search, whatever term or terms – all I kept getting information on was decorating for Christmas. Now that’s all fine and good, but I do like to decorate my home for other holidays as well.
Of course, my favorite go to place for decorations is Dollar Tree. Going as soon as possible after they put the items out for a certain holiday will ensure that you will get a good choice. I went right after Christmas. Believe it or not, they had both Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s Day decorations on the shelves already. Between both holidays, I walked out of there with four bags, and I barely spent $20. I got two vases with hearts, several stems of fake flowers, little wooden decorations, 30 paper doilies (in both hearts and shamrocks – these are the perfect few I can put in our front window and have it look good – for cheap) and a few of those bead-like necklaces. You know, the ones they throw in New Orleans. They look great spread around the tray I have on our coffee table.
The stems of flowers (in red and pink, and then in green and white) are stuck inside the hard wicker wreaths we have on our outside doors. They are very simple but it shows that we celebrate these holidays here.
Another decorating idea I have had for a long time is dressing up stuffed animals. This was easier when my kids were small, but I found another way. Being the great thrift store shopper I am, I was surprised to find that stuffed animals are very reasonably priced there. Recently, the one store I go to was having a sale – three (of any size) for a dollar. I bought six of them. I got a chick, a plain teddy bear, one pastel blue and one pastel pink bunny rabbit, a St. Patrick’s Day teddy bear, and an Irish looking frog. I will continue to look for more plain types, because for the more patriotic holidays, all I will need to do to dress them is put a big red, white or blue around their necks. Even though no one will be cuddling these items, I still ran them through my washing machine on a gentle cycle. This way, they’ll get more clean if they look a slight bit dingy. And if they fall apart (even though mine never have), what did you lose? Not a whole lot of money.’
I have always said that balloons make a celebration. Now I realize that balloons don’t last forever, but they do last for a few days. If you are having a celebration, say for Valentine’s Day – balloons around the place, here and there – it makes things look festive. I usually have a package or two of balloons – if you don’t, get a few – I try to get the ten or twelve count package (in decent sizes, not those tiny ones). So in an assorted package, blow up red and white ones for Valentine’s Day. When St. Patrick’s Day rolls around, you can use all the green ones. Easter will come, and if there are purple, yellow and orange – there you go. For the patriotic holidays, you can use red, blue and white. It probably would make sense to have a few packages on hand – depending on how much you plan on decorating. We are having a small party here right after Valentine’s Day, so since our bottom floor is where everyone will be (and we only have three rooms down here) I’ll have a few in each room.
If you’re using disposable paper goods, get one package of plain, solid color plates – say, red. Do the same with the disposable cutlery – one package of your color. Cups, napkins – the same thing. And then get white plates, white napkins, clear or white cups – and arrange them, alternating the colors. Trust me, you can have a very attractive set up this way. You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your table look good.
Another tip I learned (or realized) way long ago when I was an aide in my son’s preschool classroom is that color really does matter. It can be as simple as serving a lot of things that are red for Valentine’s. Dyeing vanilla frosting green and using green sprinkles for St. Patty’s Day cupcakes. For Easter, frost your cupcakes with vanilla and put three jelly beans on top of each. Or even make a sheet cake, and go crazy with jelly beans – all over, or just in the corners. It is totally up to you.
My last tip for decorating, for parties and holidays? Take pictures. And print them out, and display them. Nothing makes you feel better than smiling about a fun time you’ve had…

Cruisin’…it’s Better in the Bahamas!

Hello! We just got back on Sunday – this was my very first cruise, it was wonderful and it certainly won’t be my last! We sailed on the Carnival Pride.
I don’t know how I can even properly explain how amazing it was. First of all, the basics – the value is incredible. If you did nothing but drink lemonade, iced tea or water (which is included) you would pay nothing else. Not another cent. Every meal is included, and every snack you want between meals is also included. I enjoyed more than beer on this trip, which surprised me. But being on the ship, cruising – it was the fruity, frozen drinks and the tropical ones on the rocks that got me. They were great!
The staff, what can I say? They are so nice. Actually, they are beyond nice and in a legitimate way. Being a cruise worker, you have to enjoy people, and the staff on Carnival – they do! We’ve even become Facebook friends with some of them so we can stay in touch. Your fellow passengers – you’ll become friends with people, and it’s as easy as anything. I saw next to no one on the boat in a bad mood. Everyone was happy. Everyone was laughing. It was so nice, people smiling at each other for no reason at all.
I know I am, as they say, preaching to the choir – to those who have cruised before. For those of you who have not, please – give it a shot. I was never really into cruising per se, but my sister is – and she got the deal offered to her way back in January of last year. It ballooned from her and her son, Dan to me and Ellie, to Sean (my future brother in law) and his daughter Eowynn, my son and daughter in law (this was my wedding gift to them) and three friends of my sister. We were a good group. Despite my sister injuring her ankle and Amanda getting sick from an excursion meal, we are all going again!

Some of my happiest days…


When I think of times that I was really happy, I always remember this picture. It was at a wrestling event in Cleveland. I am not sure exactly what I was cheering for, but just my whole “being” in this shot says pure and absolute joy. I was so happy. I think it shows!

Other times I was happy of course were the days my three sons were born. That goes without saying. I have started of thinking of some of the other best days of my life. I’m going to make a list, and I just know I will leave things out. And that will be without meaning to, for sure.

I was so happy on my trip to Ireland, but there was one night there that sticks out a little more than the rest. My sister and I were having dinner in an actual authentic Irish pub, and they had live music. An Irish step dancer was performing, and the crowd was happily cheering her on. Being there, watching that and drinking Guinness in Dublin, this was one of my happiest times.

Not long ago, I was visiting Amanda and Kevin. It must have been in August, because I know it was after Jeff and I decided to move home. We found a table online in a Facebook group that was listed as free on the curbside. Knowing we could use this, soon the three of us were in the car going to get it. It was so much fun, giggling and laughing. And finding out that it was a Stanley table in really good condition was a plus! It’s in our dining room now, and every once in a while I smile at it when I remember this story.

Two years ago my son Chris turned twenty one, and his birthday present was a trip – we went to Cincinatti for the weekend to see his Broncos play the Bengals. We had a great time, and the trip came to an end. While eating breakfast off the lobby, paramedics ran in and into the elevator. Soon enough, they left. I went up to the room, and Chris was almost done getting ready so we could leave. As we were leaving the room, coming down the hall towards us and the elevator were two ambulance drivers – with a body on a stretcher. Turns out the person overdosed in the room. Now that itself is very sad, and I don’t mean to minimize it. What was funny was the fact that hotel elevators don’t seem to be the correct size for an ambulance gurney. The attendants had to move and shove and push the stretcher all sorts of ways, and as it raised and lowered, the body was slipping. Absolutely comical with these two guys and Chris and I trying to get a dead body into a hotel elevator. We giggled on and off the entire way home over the absurdity of it all.

I remember one of the happiest days of my life was May 24, 1980. That was the day the New York Islanders won their very first Stanley Cup. It was the day after my Junior Prom, and though I was scheduled to work – there was no way I was going in. So I was watching the game with my Dad, and I remember I was eating fish cakes. The game went into overtime. And seven minutes eleven seconds into that overtime, Bob Nystrom scored. I jumped off the couch, the plate that the fish cakes had been on went flying. I will never forget that feeling ever.

Michael was my son who got me into wrestling, and we have been to many events together. One time we went in the summer, and just sort of hung out in the car – not really tailgating, because we had eaten. Had some cold drinks and just sat there people watching. He and I focused on a group that had one guy who was way worse off than his friends. He was sitting in a chair, talking on his phone and sliding. Slowly, from one side to the other. We were almost taking bets between us as to what side he’d fall from. Somehow, someway he leaned forward and found a trash bag. We didn’t know what happened to the phone, but his leaning side to side was now done with a bag attached to his face. We sat there laughing and watching for so long, yet never knew what happened to him because we needed to go inside. We have wondered for years if that guy ever made it into the event.

There are other things, like the day I finally was able to attend a Tampa Bay Lightning game. I couldn’t believe I was there! The day that Christine, Keith and I were at our Korean Luncheon group get together, and just KNEW we were going to win the contest. Being out with friends from the hospital and just looking at them, knowing they were (and still are) some of the best people I’ve ever known. I am forgetting to mention probably thousands of things.

What are some of the best times of your lives?

Really Cheap and Really Easy

Hahaha, that sounds like it could be the topic of a bad daytime talk show. When I say this, I am talking about food. Sometimes I want to save a lot, and sometimes I don’t want to do a lot. So these go-to’s help me out. Let me just say here that these ideas are based on meals for two people.

I know in the past I have posted a casserole recipe with these items, but if you want something very quick, and very easy start with boiling these noodles. As they are cooking and getting done, heat the soup – use TWO cans, but only half the amount of milk on the label. Put the noodles back into the pot you cooked then in after draining. Stir the soup and see that it’s a gravy consistency. Once you like how it looks, pour the soup mixture over the noodles. If you think it looks a little sparse, add a bit more milk or even water. If you want to be fancier, transfer to a serving dish. But more often than not, I will just put the pot on a hotplate and serve it that way. I can often get these cans of soup for fifty cents each, and the egg noodles seem to regularly go for eighty eight cents. There is usually enough for at least one leftover meal.

I used to make up a whole bunch of pancakes at one time, and freeze them in individual portions so breakfasts were easier. Out of a box like this I could make about 25 pancakes, give or take. I haven’t done that in a while, but will again soon. Each meal could be three pancakes, and add an egg or two on the side in whatever style you like. You probably have eggs on hand, as well as syrup. A box of breakfast sausages costs $1.00. This is an easy meal, especially when part of it is already prepared. Breakfast for dinner was always a hit with my family. And it was a hit with my budget, too.

Side note – you can also do a Breakfast for Dinner with French Toast, and the sides above. A whole loaf of white bread dipped into egg batter and maybe even some cinnamon sugar will make you quite a few meal portions. There is a store in our area that had regular, plain old white bread regularly priced at eighty eight cents, but that has now been reduced to sixty-seven cents. An even cheaper option, which is something I’m always looking for.

Each of these items cost eighty-eight cents. Spaghetti with sauce is a delicious meal. You could add some grated cheese on top. And frozen bulk sausage from the same store costs $1.50. You can fry that up and add it to the sauce for extra protein. I have also made those $1.00 a box breakfast sausages and ground them in my little food processor. This is a good, filling meal.

If you like tuna salad, you might like this. It is a recipe that is truly comfort food for me. My mother used to make it. She simply called it Tuna Fish and Noodles. She would boil a box of elbow macaroni and let cool. And this is the part I don’t remember – how she mixed it up, but she always served it in this one particular Pyrex bowl with a glass lid. Basically, it’s a box of elbows, a can or two of tuna fish, some Miracle Whip, and vinegar. She never had amounts, she just did it to taste. It was always one of my favorites. How I wish she was here today to have some with me.

So there you have it. Quick and cheap. Nutritionally balanced? No, not at all. I believe there are just some times that you need to give yourself a break and take it easy.

Life is short…

One Little Chicken

The title of this post sounds like it could be a nursery rhyme song. Financially and convenience-wise, this little guy was a success.

chicken cooked cuisine cutlery
Photo by Lukas on

I love the smell of turkey or chicken roasting in the oven. This weekend was supposed to be very cold, so I figured it would be the perfect time to make one. It would warm the house up, and besides it is just such comfort food to me. I ended up buying a roasting chicken, which only cost $5.82. With it I served mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn, gravy and cranberry sauce. It came out absolutely delicious! It was Jeff and I, and Ellie who brought a delicious
German Chocolate Cake.

We had plenty of leftovers from the bird itself. The next day I picked it clean, and there was enough meat for two actual meals for me at home, and for Jeff to take to work. I got more meat off the bones to put in a bowl to make chicken salad. Chopping that up in my little food processor, there were two portions for salad (one regular chicken salad with grated carrots and mayonnaise, and one barbeque chicken salad). The bones were pretty bare at this point, so it was time to cover it with water to make broth. That broth cooking for a few hours made the house smell SO good. Draining it once it was done and cooled, it yielded one large and two smaller containers of broth. Looking at the carcass, there were still odd pieces of meat on it. Those pieces came off very easy, and I put them into the food processor with a little bit of broth. This remaining concoction has been feeding the outside cats of our neighborhood. They seem to love it! There are about five or six strays that I guess are feral (one has made his or her way into our basement) running around. I can’t save the cat world – five is a lot already – but it makes me feel better that even in this freezing weather, at least they are well fed. Not that I always cook for them, because I don’t. They get the same dry food mine get.

One reasonably priced chicken gave me a main meal for three people, a leftover meal for two, two portions of chicken salad, three containers of broth and home cooking for the neighborhood cats. Not bad. Not bad at all. Worth the money!


It’s the little things…

Friends and Family. Family and Friends. Besides food and shelter, what else do we really need?

Since JB’s diagnosis last week, I’m trying hard, so hard to focus on the good things that I have that are around me.

I am very happy with the Family I have. For me, that includes friends. Pretty much one and the same. We are a small circle, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love that I have such a connection with my sister and nephew over the Austin Powers Goldmember movie. We repeat quotes from it several times each and every time we get together. I love the little things I share with my kids, even as they are adults. I am happy I can walk back into MY hospital and know that I am home. Ellie and I are great friends, we are family and she is a perfect landlord. And Christine and Keith, what more can I say. I love them, and they are the closest my children will ever get to having another Aunt and Uncle. One day when my grandchildren are here, they will have an additional set of grandparents.

It’s a beautiful night when you are just laying around, you on the loveseat with one kitten, your boyfriend on the couch with the other one. The three bigger guys, around as well. As we watch television, first football then a few crime shows, it dawns on me (again) that I really do have a happy home.

It doesn’t take a whole lot to thrill me. I enjoy being in my house, typing, cleaning up, cooking, taking care of the cats…while watching television. I enjoy daytime television. Maury is my favorite, as evidenced by the fact that Jeff and I went to see him in person last month. I am happy doing a whole lot of nothing here at home.

As I’ve said before, I am very thankful for the interests I have. Hockey and wrestling, they just make me smile. I wonder what I would be doing with my time if I didn’t watch them both on television. And every night, I fall asleep watching Forensic Files. I just love that show.

Happy that I have a man in my life who smiles at me randomly, for no reason. Amazingly, he will tell me I’m pretty as I’m scooping out litter boxes. While being all mismatched – in Elf pajama pants, red and white socks, a dark blue Broncos t-shirt and a black wrestling hoodie. This is love.

There is so much more I have, but the last aspect of my life that gives me such happiness are my cats. Jeff met me a year ago as a single man. Now he lives with me and five cats, one who has cancer. Just having these boys and the little Princess in the house with us makes me smile. They do such silly things, you just can’t help but laugh. Beavis is our big Tabby, and he is probably the sweetest cat you will ever meet. Stan is our long-haired Gray. He is so silly, he puts himself in situations that only he can. JB you all know about. This is the boy who captured my heart. And the babies! They get cuter every day! Alexi is the little girl who has totally turned into a lovebug lap cat. And Nikita is growing so big, trying hard to turn into a big cat like his brothers. He stinks up the little box worse than any of them, so since he’s named after a Russian, he’s got a Russian nickname. Von-you-chee. It means smelly.

Life is good. Hope it is for all of you too…

At Home Indulgences – for a prettier you..

“Spoil yourself every once in a while. You deserve it.”

This has been a hard week for me. Very hard. In addition to not feeling well since Thanksgiving time, getting the diagnosis for JB last Monday almost destroyed me. Thankfully I believe I figured out what was wrong. Turns out it could have been a case of shingles. I started taking medicine I have for cold sores, and I have improved. Once I get a job with insurance, I will go to the doctor for a full checkup, because I really do need one.

My appearance has really suffered recently. I mean, I am clean and neat. But even if I do try, try to get ready to go out – meaning I do my hair, put on nice clothes, use makeup – something is missing. Things with JB seem to have stabilized, well…at least my reaction to his illness has. It’s time for me to do a few things that I always try to do on a semi-regular basis to keep my looks in check.

I am on a budget, and I like to save money. You all know that. I do some things, some treatments that are not costly, but they do make me feel better. From what I can tell, they seem effective as well. I plan on doing all of these things this week. Maybe I can finally climb out of the “poor look” funk.

I like having pretty feet. There is nothing worse to me than a gnarled-up foot, with bad nails and dry skin. One indulgent thing I do is get my fingernails done, but my feet – I take care of them myself. The most important thing to do when you do your own pedicure is to get the old polish off. Sometimes that can be a challenge, and it can take a while. I use rubber gloves so the polish remover won’t mess up my fingers. Once this done, I soak my feet in a bucket of some sort that has toasty, warm water (with soap gel or lotion in it). It is very soothing. As soon as the water starts to cool, I take my feet out and dry them. This is the time that I will trim them if they need, and file them accordingly. I refill the bucket with more warm water (plain), and soak them for just a short while. Then I remove my feet, and rub them in all the way up my calves with some sort of lotion. I usually use whatever scent I am in the mood for. There is no need to use special foot cream, unless you want to. I relax with my feet like this again, past the time when the water cools. Dry my feet, and repeat with more clear water. At this time, you can apply polish. What I usually do though is rub my feet in with a great deal of the lotion, and put on those puffy and fluffy socks. Most of the time I will do polish the next day. I have done all crazy combinations of colors.

I am not happy with my hair. I need to get some sort of a new style. What I am happy about with it is the condition. I have managed to keep split ends under control, and in general it is very healthy. Even though, every once in a while I feel like a scarecrow with straw for hair. When that happens, I do a deep condition. Not surprisingly with me, this doesn’t have to cost a lot. I have a lot of products, both for regular conditioning, for a three-minute condition, and very long (deep) conditioning. For the most part, I used these products the same way. First, I wash my hair and rinse it very well. At this point, I comb my hair back and apply whatever product I’ve decided to use. I comb or brush it through, and just wait. Depending on what I’m doing, it could be ten minutes or an hour. Usually at this time, I do a facial of some sort too. Then when it’s time for both to be over, I take a relaxing shower and always feel better after this.

The facial I wrote about above is nothing fancy, but it feels indulgent nonetheless. I will tweeze my eyebrows, and then take off my makeup if I have any on. I will use all the proper products for each part of my face. During regular skin care, I get lazy and may use cocoa butter or cold cream and will forget the specialty items. I get my face really clean, and then I will use toner. I will rinse the toner off, and then just apply whatever cream I feel like using. All over my face – from my forehead down to my neck. Time-wise I do the same thing as with my fair – ten minutes or an hour. It just depends. My skin always looks better after this, and my makeup seems to make me look better after one of these treatments.

Chattering Teeth
I take care of my teeth every day, like most of us out there. Currently I am having issues with a Dental Organization that shall remain nameless. Nevertheless I still need to keep up with good care, and extra care. Once a week, usually on a Sunday night I spend a greater deal of time on them. I have a few different toothbrushes, and I change them back and forth. I also soak them in antiseptic mouthwash just to extra clean them. First thing I do is floss, floss, floss. Because of the certain dental troubles I am having, this is very important. I won’t do it hard, until they bleed. It needs to be done thoroughly. After this is done, I will rinse with either that blue Mouth Treatment liquid, or with regular green mouthwash. Rinsing with water, I then put enough toothpaste on my brush. It’s important to use the right kind of toothpaste for your teeth and the issues you are having. There are many kinds on the market. Sensitive, extra whitening, etc. I will brush hard but again, not enough to bleed. I’ll give them a good rinse with water, and then maybe with a swish of those mouthwashes. If I’m in the mood, somewhere during this I will use the whitening one too, though I question if they are really effective.

So there you have it. My self-care treatments, procedures…whatever you want to call them. Anyone out there have anything else they do that I can try, too?