Sunday, May 31, 2009

Say goodbye to the brown bag blahs!

While I haven't really been cooking proper meals since the bf and I are staying in the presence of one of the most amazing cooks I've ever met, I have been packing lunch daily for the bf and I. The bf and I have decided to make a real life change in terms of how we eat. We've both gained a significant amount of weight during law school and have decided now is the time to start losing that weight. Since it is way easier to control what you eat when you pack it yourself we've been packing lunch everyday for class. An added bonus is that this saves us a ton of money!

Since there are always plenty of leftovers, I have been coming up with combinations of these leftovers for lunch that aren't boring. Below is the recipe for the grilled chicken and couscous salad that I made for tomorrow:

Grilled Chicken and Couscous Salad: (for 2 people)
2 grilled chicken breasts cut up into small pieces (or 2 servings of the prepackaged grilled chicken)
1 cup prepared couscous (any style with any seasonings you like)
1/2 cup steamed broccoli chopped
1/2 cup grilled zuchinni sliced
1/2 cup grilled onions and mushrooms
Drizzle of basalmic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a plasticware bowl and mix well; place in the fridge. Allow to marinate overnight and you're done, it will be ready to eat for lunch the next day. I'd throw in some pretzels and some fruit to complete the meal.

Enjoy! Also, I'm sorry there are no pictures for any of my recent posts. My camera cord is MIA right now because of the move. As soon as I find it, I'll start posting pics again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finally, some thriftyness!

Since the bf and I are staying with his aunt and uncle currently, I haven't been cooking at all. BF's uncle is an amazing cook so we've been very spoiled in terms of dining lately! Which I guess is a little unfortunate for my blog since it is supposed to be about food.

I do have some thrifty thoughts of note. Today the bf, his aunt and I went to the Prime Outlets in Lake View, Wisconsin. I must admit, I love outlet malls, I think they are a goldmine in terms of finding a good deal! I found several of the aforementioned good deals today, especially at the J.Crew outlet. I love the J.Crew outlet, it's almost the same stuff you find at the store, but its always on sale and much cheaper! I got a pair of the buttery twill pants in navy as well as a green chino critter skirt with anchors and a navy Jackie cardigan, all for $66. Most of the stuff was already on sale and I got an additional 15% off with my student I.D. For those of you who don't know, J.Crew gives a 15% student discount and a 15 or 20% discounts for teachers. If you apply for one of these, let them know when you check out next time so that you can get the discount.

I also racked up at the Old Navy outlet since they had basics on sale; I got basic t-shirts for $6 a piece and a really cute pair of shorts for $6 on clearance! Every store I went in had amazing sales, so next time you want to go shopping check out your local outlet mall, you never know what you'll find.

I was also excited that there was a White House Black Market outlet as well as a Cole Haan outlet. For those of you still looking for dresses to wear to all of those summer weddings, White House Black Market had some really cute things deeply discounted. I was hoping to find a pair of basic navy pumps at Cole Haan but was unable to do so, oh well, hopefully I'll find a pair soon (I need them to wear with my new interview suit).

So that's about all for today. I have to apologize for my last couple of posts being so negative, I'm afraid it's made me seem like I really don't like my new surroundings. It's not that at all, the behavior of the two individuals I blogged about was truly appalling to me and I just felt the need to blog about it.

In other news, I really LOVE Chicago! I think it was a great decision for the bf and I to move here to start our careers! Hopefully I'll have some more thrifty finds very soon!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Update on BarBri B*+@h

I'm already here because the bf and I arrived early for class today and Blondie was "telling" her side of the story from yesterday. I think someone from the main office spoke to her about my compliant (although it was not about how she treated me, but how I saw her treating someone else). I can't believe she's unprofessional enough to have that type of conversation while students are walking in the door. What if the person she's talking about overheard her?

And now a brief aside -- Message to BarBri (should you ever read this post) -- I understand that most of your reps are law students and with that comes a certain attitude since some of us can be quite douche-y. However, when your representative law students present that attitude while representing your company it makes me seriously re-think giving you $3,000 of my hard earned money. I expect to be treated with respect when I shop at Wal-Mart and buy a $5 t-shirt. Similarly, I expect at least the same level of respect and professionalism when I deal with your representatives. You are getting a lot more of my money than any department store or supercenter at this point and therefore I expect this experience to be a pleasant one in terms of dealing with the customer service side of your organization.

Back to Blondie. Apparently she thinks that she was really nice and that the other girl who asked to attend the morning session "attacked" her! Seriously, I'm thinking that she doesn't realize that she's a bitch. She also said that Brunette is just "too nice." I was appalled by the way she handled the situation yesterday, I feel like if someone from the BarBri office had seen what transpired they would have been equally as embarrassed that Blondie represents their company. BarBri should also be embarrassed that she was talking about the situation while working the BarBri desk at class this morning. You never know who is going to overhear what you say, especially when your voice carries (and Blondie's does).

Even worse, I also overheard her talking about me this morning. Apparently Brunette was being "too nice" when I asked about attending another session because of the wedding. Great way to start out the day. Perhaps it's time for another call to the BarBri office.

I have to say that what I think is so absurd is that she tells people that she cannot authorize them to attend an earlier session of there are extra seats, but the main Chicago BarBri office told me that, guess what, she's got that authority.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do next Thursday when I need to attend the morning session. I know Blondie is going to hassle me but I think my plan of action is going to be to call the main office promptly at 9:00 a.m. tell them there is an extra seat and have them to authorize me, and let them speak with Blondie if she's going to hassle me.

On a happier note:
Apparently there is a production company casting for a Real Houswives of Chicago, although it is not yet affiliated with Bravo you can read about it Here. I'm hoping Bravo picks it up. Would you watch? I'm thinking about trying out, after all they do pay. Think anyone would be interested in watching an unemployed 25 year old lawyer who shops mostly at thrift stores, consignment shops, TJMaxx and Wal-Mart?

Speaking of Real Housewives, has anyone been watching the Real Housewives of New Jersey? I'm already addicted, it's like watching a trainwreck, even the bf is getting into it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Words of Wisdom

In the past week or so, I have learned some very valuable life lessons. You see, lately it seems that I've encountered several unpleasant people. I have two very good examples of this below.

For example, when the bf and I went to pick up the moving truck in Winston-Salem on Thursday, we arrived on time and were greeted by the most unpleasant, rude, unhelpful salesperson EVER! I have never encountered someone who seems to hate her job as much as this woman did and she let us know that as soon as we walked in. The bf had reserved a Budget Rent a Truck along with a car trailer online. We assumed there would be someone there to help us hook it up to the truck. We were wrong. The lady was a massive bitch and told us that she couldn't help and that we would have to hook up a car trailer to a 16 foot truck by ourselves. Did I mention that the parking lot was not wide enough to do this? Besides being completely unhelpful she also tried to send us on our way with a car trailer that was completely unsafe according the the nice folks at Budget Roadside assistance. When we told her this she got extremely defensive and starting yelling at the bf and I because we questioned her and called her out on being confrontational. Of course we called Budget to complain and are going to do this again very soon, because we feel like some sort of refund is in order for the manner in which we were treated. This woman needed to be fired, I have never in my life been treated with such disrespect! Because of the treatment we received we decided to leave the bf's car in NC for the summer because we didn't want to hassle with the car trailer anymore since we had already been at the Budget office for 4 hours.

Example number two, this morning as the bf and I arrived at our bar review course (he's in the morning session and I'm in the afternoon so I study while he's in class and vice versa, it works out well because we only have one car now). Anyway, he and I need to go to a wedding in Ohio next Thursday and we need to leave before 1:00. My class ends at 5, so I need to attend the morning session. The BarBri rep (will call her Brunette) that I spoke with told me to call the main BarBri office and explain the situation and that they may allow me to attend the morning session because of the circumstances. However, Blondie interrupted her and told her that she was wrong that they wouldn't allow me to attend. I was personally very embarrassed for Brunette, I felt like the Blondie was a complete bitch about it and could have said what she needed to say in a much more professional tone. I did overhear her later half-heartily apologize to the other rep but in my eyes this did not make the situation any better. About 10 minutes later a girl walks in and asks if she can attend the morning session and is essentially yelled at by Blondie for simply asking to attend the morning session. Blondie told the other girl that she wasn't where she needed to be and that she would have the call the BarBri offices and get permission (which is understandable) and then wouldn't even give the other girl the number for the Chicago office. Blondie then told the other girl that Blondie needed to go to class and showed absolutely no hint of politeness to the other girl. I'm sorry, but we've all paid upwards of $3,000 to take this class and I expect the BarBri reps to be polite and helpful for that price. I would also expect the BarBri reps to be courteous to one another and not be openly bitchy to one another.

Which brings me to the lesson here, THERE IS NEVER ANY EXCUSE FOR RUDENESS! Ever! I feel like the Golden Rule has been absolutely forgotten. I mean, is it really that much harder to treat other people as you wish to be treated? I understand that we all have bad days, but when it is YOUR JOB to interact with the public I feel like you shouldn't take your bad mood out on those whom you serve. Isn't it part of your job description to at least be pleasant and show those whom you are supposed to help at least a little bit of respect?

Am I expecting too much here? How would you handle these situations?

UPDATE: I called the BarBri office and explained the situation. I spoke with a very nice man who told me that they can't authorize me to attend the morning session because it is full. I told him that there are seats available and he said that since I need to miss class a week from now that he can't authorize me to attend at this point. However, he told me to show up for the morning session on the day I need to attend that session and that the BarBri rep on site could allow me to attend on the fly. I then explained the situation that I witnessed today and he said that he would check into it and to call him next Thursday morning and that if there are seats he would authorize me to attend the morning class. Wow Blondie, you really screwed up that one didn't you? You DO have the authority to allow people to attend the morning session, you've just a major bitch on a power trip! I wish I knew your name so that my observation about you to the main BarBri office would have been more effective.

UPDATE #2: I just spoke with the bf during his class break. He just got a voicemail from Budget calling to discuss our situation. He hasn't called them back yet, but I think the very nice lady in the Roadside Assistance Office told her superiors about the lady trying to send us on our way with unsafe equipment and well that's not okay. I'm glad that Budget actually follows up on its complaints with some promptness.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Rain Boots

Mine are in storage (I think, or at least I really hope so) because I didn't realize that I would need them, it's summer after all. I think I may have been wrong. I'm sitting in the lobby area of Chicago Kent School of Law waiting for my class to begin and everyone is wearing really cute rain boots. I know that it is supposed to rain today, but it seems a little warm out to wear them (they always make my feet sweat). Am I missing something? Should I go get them out of the storage facility or should I find a cheap pair at Target and make due? I feel like I may need them.

That said, I really love my rain boots but they are an item that the bf packed in our marathon moving session. I'm not sure that he actually put them in the moving truck; I know they are not in my Jeep. I'm a little worried now, I bought them at a boutique in Winston-Salem called Monkee's and let's just say they were not cheap. Plus, they are adorable leopard print with pink trim. I wish I had a picture of them so that all of you could see what I'm talking about.

Anyway, should I dig through all of the stuff at the storage facility in search of my rain boots? Does anyone know if they are on sale at Target right now? Perhaps I should buy a pair of jelly flats that I've been eyeing or those adorable Kate Spade rubber loafers? Thoughts?

That said, I have to admit that I'm a little freaked out. This is the first time the bf and I haven't been with his family since for the first 2 weeks we're staying with his aunt and uncle before we can move into his other aunt and uncle's apartment in the city which they don't live in during the summer. It's weird being in a place and not knowing anyone. It's been three years since I've moved somewhere not knowing anyone and I've forgotten how scary it is. I've never had a problem making friends -- I didn't know anyone when I went to college nor did I know anyone when I went to law school and everything turned out great. I'm sure this move will be the same way. However, I've definitely got a case of the first day of school butterflies!

Monday, May 25, 2009

I've been very MIA

I'm sorry for being so MIA over the last couple of weeks, but it has been a very busy/stressful time for the bf and I. We've finally moved, although we don't have a permanent place to stay yet (his family is from the Chicago area so we've been given a free place to stay while we study for the bar exam, which is absolutely amazing since finding a new apt is stressful in itself. Not having that stress while we study is definitely a blessing).

Anyway, I am now a resident of Chicago! I've very excited to explore my new city over the next few months and hopefully I'll be inspired to post some yummy new recipes that take like 15 minutes to make (because that's all of the time I'm going to have to cook).

My bar review classes start tomorrow and we arrived in the city on Friday night so we've had a good couple of days to unpack (aka move our stuff into storage) and relax with the bfs family. It has been a nice break before starting marathon studying until July!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Lots of Random Things

I'm sorry for being MIA over the last week or so, I've been busy with all of the graduation festivities and packing. I'm a little freaked out, the bf and I move on Friday and we've been packing since the families left Friday night. I'm also excited about the move but it is going to be a big change.

Since my graduation post was like 3 sentences I thought that I'd write a little bit more about it. Long story short, I definitely felt like a pompous ass with all of the stuff we had to wear. Although I have to admit the hat was really cool. The hood kind of choked me. But it was still really cool, as the bf and I were walking to the graduate waiting area we definitely got lots of fun looks from the families of the undergraduate graduates as well as the undergrads themselves. Did I mention that the vice president also spoke and received an honorary degree? He did and didn't stick his foot in his mouth which was probably a relief for many!

Moving has been an interesting experience, it is amazing how much stuff the bf and I have acquired in the last year. Thankfully, we've got awesome friends who have helped us pack for the last couple of days. Also, we were lucky to find a consignment furniture shop who will pay us cash for the furniture that we don't have room for (we're going to be moving from a 3 bedroom house into a 2 bedroom apartment).

Also, USC Emily at From the Land of Cotton has given me the One Lovely Blog Award. Thanks!

Here are the rules:

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I'm tagging everyone for this award! So congrats to all of you from me!

Monday, May 18, 2009


The BF and I graduated today!! We're one step closer to being able to be officially called Esquire!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mastering the Art of Julia Child take 1

I realize that I've been a little absent lately, but with all of the packing, etc. I really haven't had time to cook a lot. It's been a really busy week -- after spending the weekend with my mom (and the last time I'll be within driving distance of home for a good while) the bf and I got back and immediately needed to start cleaning in anticipation of our families arriving this weekend for graduation. Yes folks, the bf and I graduate from law school on Monday! We move to Chicago next Friday!

Long story short, I haven't had time to post as much this week. But I have cooked! Last night I made my first recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I made her vegetable soup (there is a more fancy French name for it but I don't feel like getting up to get the cookbook so that I can spell it). Of course I altered the recipe a bit to make it my own, but I am going to take some advice from Julia Child in how I set up my recipe so that this one is a little bit easier to follow.

Vegetable Soup compliments of Julia Child

Part One:
2 baking potatoes peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1 onion minced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon each: butter and olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large dutch oven add all of the vegetables and the olive oil. Begin to heat over med. low heat. Add 3 glasses of water (enough to cover the veggies). Raise heat to medium. Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Part Two:
1 zucchini
1/2 small bag frozen green beans
1 can white beans (drained and rinsed)
1 pinch saffron
1 slice stale bread
1/8 box spaghetti noodles
1 teaspoon of each: salt, pepper, Emeril's Essence
1 handful fresh parsley finely chopped

To the pot of boiling vegetables (and now vegetable stock) add the zucchini, green beans, white beans, saffron and spices (except the parsley). Give it a good stir and tear the bread into the soup (this will help thicken the soup). Now add the spaghetti noodles, breaking them into fourths before you add them to the pot. Stir and add the parsley. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and allow the soup to cook for another 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings.

Step Three:
1 can tomato paste
several leaves of fresh basil
1 handful fresh parsley
1/2 cup parmesean cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste
dash of dried oregano

As the soup cooks make this French style pesto(I'm not going to bother with the technical name). In a food processor add all of the ingredients except the olive oil. Stream in the olive oil to make a pesto like sauce.

Step Four (how to serve):
Pour the soup into bowls and top with a good spoonful of the pesto mixture.

A word of note, saffron is a very expensive spice -- a small jar at my local supermarket was $18, yikes! I honestly did not really taste the saffron in this dish, but it is an essential part of this type of vegetable soup. You could omit the saffron and just make up for it with other spices, but it make change how the soup was intended to taste.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I love my two little babies! They are really the best pets ever!

I'm sitting on my couch right now trying to get in touch with my bar review company about picking up my materials, but the best part about it is that both pets are sitting on me right now. Yes folks, both my cat and dog are sitting next to me or on my lap on the couch! I love that they are buddies! Although the dog smells like dog right now (not in a good way - I think bathtime may be in her future).

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Here's to you Mom

So in honor of Mother's Day I thought that I'd share with all of my readers photos of my mom's beautiful home. I'm doing this to say thank you Mom, you're the best Mom in the world and I really appreciate all you have taught me. While our tastes may differ I have learned so much from you in terms of home decorating, fashion and cooking (among other things, but since those three are what this blog is primarily about they are mentioned here).

In honor of you Mom, here are some of my favorite photos from your house!

This is where it all takes place at my Mom's house. This is the kitchen. I'm not crazy about the table in terms of comfort, but I have to admit it is really pretty. I also love the cabinets.

This is the family room, home to the two most comfortable pieces of furniture ever -- that couch = amazing! It is so comfortable to sit on and watch a movie. The same goes for the leather chair. As you can see, my mom's taste is much more traditional than mine, but as I get older I realize that the differences are mostly in our choice in color, not the style of furniture.

This is the master bedroom. I included a picture of it because it is my favorite room in the house. I love the muted color combination as well as the furniture.

Finally I've included a picture of the dining room. I don't really go in this room all that often, and I don't think I've ever actually eaten in here (I still prefer the kids table in the kitchen at holidays). However, it is a pretty room and one that is not currently a bit disheveled due to some renovations.

7 Things

Mara at Children of the 90's tagged me as a fellow Queen of All Things Awe-summm. I'm super pumped!

The rules are that I am supposed to list seven things that make me awe-summm and then pass the award on to seven other people who you think are fabulously awesummm.

So here it goes -

(1) I can burp like a 6 foot 7 inch dude who weighs 300 lbs

(2) As of next Monday there is only one thing standing between myself and myself becoming Katie, Esq.

(3) I have the most amazing friends

(4) I also have the coolest cat and dog in the world

(5) I can cook

(6) I can also find designer clothing in the most random places

(7) I can quote the South Park movie, A Christmas Story and The Goonies line by line (it does get kind of annoying for anyone watching with me)

And I Tag:

Amy T


Katie Lake


Angela Darling

BLC :o


Thursday, May 7, 2009

I love free stuff!

While I have yet to cook today, I did make a trip with the bf to our local used bookstore. I always check out the free shelf and was very excited to find a well loved copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by the one and only Julia Child. I can't wait to spend a portion of my afternoon looking through this book and figuring out which recipes I want to try first! I wish the cover weren't all marked up but that's what the bookstore does to signify the book is from the free shelf.

Below is a picture of my newly redecorated (well kind of) master bedroom. The picture does not do the new bedding justice but I really love the way the navy blue and light blue pop against the white background. All I need now is a blue and white toile pillow to pull the room together!

So that's all for right now, hopefully I'll have a new recipe (modified for my thriftiness/laziness) compliments of Ms. Julia Child soon!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's been forever!

After the whole exam period, I finally got around to cooking again. I'm very excited this recipe turned out well! I call it Southwestern Tomato Cream Sauce with grilled chicken and pasta.

The recipe follows.
For the Chicken:
1 package chicken tenders
2 tablespoons steak seasoning
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup margarita mix
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a gallon size food storage bag mix the olive oil, margarita mix, steak seasoning and pepper. Mix well and add the chicken. Shake well to coat the chicken and allow to marinade until the pasta sauce is ready. Grill either on an indoor or an outdoor grill
Southwestern Tomato Cream Sauce
1 can cream style corn
1 can tomato paste
1 can evaporated milk
1 can black beans drained
1 can black olives drained
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis drained
1 onion minced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 stalks celery minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons each: salt, pepper, Emeril's essence, cumin, chili powder
1 handful fresh cilantro finely chopped
1 handful green onions finely chopped
1 tablespoon each: butter and flour
In a large dutch oven saute the onions, garlic and celery in olive oil. Add the butter, and allow to melt. Add the flour. Add the cream corn. Mix well. Add the evaporated milk. Mix well. Add the tomato paste, mix well. Add the seasonings except for the cilantro and the green onions. Again, mix well. The sauce will begin to thicken. Now add the drained olives, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Turn down heat to low and allow to come to a simmer. Add the green onions and cilantro. Add some cheddar cheese if you like (I did, but the sauce is just as good w/o the cheese) Serve with 1/2 box of pasta prepared according to package directions.

My 6 Random Things!

Needs Help at Trying to Make it All Work tagged me in the list for today with these rules:

1. Mention the person who nominated you (above).
2. List six unimportant things that make you happy
3. Tag six blogs, state the rules & notify them with a teeny comment on their blog.

So here it goes!

(1) Finding a great deal at a thrift store
(2) Fish sticks (I know, but I really love kid food)
(3) Thunderstorms (I find them so relaxing!!)
(4) Finding a good marathon on television to watch while I clean
(5) Clean, freshly ironed sheets
(6) Trying out a new recipe for the first time and getting rave reviews from those who get to sample the first batch!

And I tag:
Amy T
Katie Lake
Angela Darling

P.S. I've got a brand new recipe that I'm going to try out on the bf tonight. Look for it and pics later tonight (I just made up the recipe so I want to try it out before I post about it) Also, thanks for all of your sweet comments!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

No recipe but cute outfit!

It was storming outside so the bf and I decided to go out for Mexican instead of cooking at home for Cinco de Mayo. The food was good and I was excited to have a new outfit to wear thanks to my shopping spree in my closet at my mom's house. I'm so excited about finding the capris that I took a picture of my outfit. I actually chose to wear the Jack Rogers because it was raining out.

The first picture is of the fabric. I'm a little disappointed that the metallic sheen doesn't show up better in the photo. In real life the dusty pink of the linen is covered with a golden metallic sheen.

As you can see I decided to wear the capris with a simple black tank with ruffles on the top and black pearls. I couldn't decide on the shoes when I picked the outfit out, but I think that sandals and the ballet flats look equally good with the outfit.
What are some of your recent clothing discoveries among what you already have?

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Unfortunately this isn't a food post because I'm not sure if I'm cooking for the celebrations tonight or if we're going out to celebrate! I was thinking about doing a Mexican style bbq with Mexican spiced flank steak or london broil, homemade salsa, beans, rice, tortillas, Mexican soda and margaritas. However, the weather decided not to cooperate since its 55 and rainy out. Boo! Oh well, may make the meal anyway and say screw it to the weather. I'll post pics and recipes later if I decide to cook.

I have to warn this is a really random post, this next section has nothing to do with food. It's my tips for having the most successful trip to a consignment shop (especially a high end consignment shop). My first word of advice is to be discriminating in what you take, most high end consignment shops can be very picky in what they decide to take, especially if it's your first time taking stuff to a particular shop (trust me, the consignment shop I go to here in NC has a quite snobby staff the first time you take stuff in). By being discriminating I mean that you should only take items that are (1) in season - this is very important; (2) higher in quality -- think Banana Republic or better, I'll explain why in a minute; and (3) in really good shape -- make sure it's clean and that you make any minor repairs. What I mean by this is take spring/summer things in spring. Also, take your more expensive items because you'll end up making more money on these things. For example, the consignment shop I use takes a 50/50 cut which means that I make $40 if a pair of my citizens jeans are sold but I would only make $6 if one of my gap t-shirts sold.

My second word of advice is to make sure your clothing looks as new as possible. The individuals who look over your stuff at the consignment shop are looking for items that look as new and expensive as possible and first impressions are important. Take the extra time to dry clean (even if its Dryel in your dryer), wash, and iron your clothing. Place dresses, jackets and suits on hangers to make sure they don't wrinkle. Clean shoes and purses as well and fold shirts, and jeans so that they stay as wrinkle free as possible. Trust me, taking the extra hour to do all of this will be worth it in the end since more of your clothing will be chosen and it will be priced a little bit higher as well.

Also, which consignment shop you choose is also important. Do some research before you take your stuff. Ask friends which shops they go to and check them out yourself. Find one that you would shop at and take your stuff there. I say this for two reasons (1) a lot of the time shops will allow you to use the money in your account as trade on items at the store that you would like to purchase and most importantly (2) if it is a store you'd shop at, odds are your stuff will sell well at this store because people with tastes similar to yours will also be shopping there.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Random weekend finds

Since I'm totally procrastinating (my car is 4 miles away at my mom's antique shop and I'm not in the mood for a workout yet) I've decided to do another post about all of my weekend finds!

First of all, I found a dress for a black tie wedding that the bf and I are attending in June. I was not aware this was a black tie affair until yesterday (thanks bf, I appreciate that) so I was planning on wearing a simple black shift dress with this amazing aqua lace jackie-o style jacket over it (the jacket is part of a 3 piece skirt suit that I bought at a thrift store for $7, its a little too much to wear together but is amazing as separates, the shell looks great with navy J.Crew cafe capris and silver pumps). I have to admit I'm a little annoyed that I had to purchase a black tie appropriate dress for this wedding since I've met the bride and groom once. Anyway, Ross (the store) saved the day. I found an amazing strapless satin and lace dress on the clearance rack that I love, although I was very tempted to buy the tackiest prom dress available and wear it just to be funny :-)

I found several other great things while at home -- I found a great navy damask top sheet to go in my master bedroom (I'm kind of in to mixing and matching bed linens right now). I'm going to pair it with an extremely pale blue bottom sheet and white linen pillowcases. I also found (1) a full bottle of contact solution (very excited b/c I'm out); (2) my passport (good thing to have); (3) a full load of items to take to the consignment shop ($ for me); (4) a box of Kate Spade stationary that I bought last year to use as thank you notes; and finally (5) a navy Ralph Lauren polo dress (I was wondering where that was, very excited to have found it again).

I also plan on raiding my mom's kitchen before I leave so that the bf and I won't have to go grocery shopping this week (sometimes thrifty = scavenger).

From my random list of finds take this advice -- stores like Ross and TJMaxx are goldmines, I don't buy formal wear or bed linens anywhere else -- you may have to dig but it's totally worth it. Also, don't forget to give your parent's home a good once over when you're there, especially if you are like me and half of your wardrobe is already there. It's like shopping for free, what's better than that?

I think that is about all of the procrastinating I can do today, I gotta go get my car.

Not all of my thrifty ideas are my own

Just like my last post was based on a new feature in Harper's Bazaar, I also got this idea from a magazine, but I don't remember which one.

I have to admit that the bf has made me a bit of a coffee snob, we buy the massive bag of french roast beans at Costco and grind the beans ourselves. We are also considering getting rid of the coffee maker and replacing it with a French Press (this will probably not happen soon, we like the automatic timer feature on our coffee maker too much). Anyway, my mom and stepdad do not share this snobbery (is that even a word?) and I'm still at home. My mom is not a coffee drinker and my stepdad drinks good ole Folgers, which brings me to the point of this post.

We all know that making our own coffee in lieu of buying it at our local coffee shop can save a huge amount of money and time in the morning (automatic timers are amazing). This is something the bf and I do. Also, another cost saving option is to add a bit of cinnamon to a cheaper ground coffee. It makes the taste much richer, just make sure you don't add more than 1/2 a teaspoon or else it will overpower the coffee. This is what I do with the Folgers at my moms and I promise you that even the bf agrees that it makes the coffee taste a bit higher in quality.

If you're not a straight coffee drinker (I'm a milk and splenda girl myself), you can still have that Starbucks coffee drink at home. Invest in a flavored syrup and add it to your coffee with some milk (or just buy the flavored nondairy creamer that you like) and top your drink with some whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder or shaved chocolate. While this may not taste exactly like your favorite Starbucks mocha, the money you save will more than make up for the lack of authenticity.

A random side note -- I'm very excited that Samantha Brown's Passport to Europe is in Salzburg, Austria today. Salzburg is one of my absolute favorite cities -- I've been in both winter and summer and it is just as beautiful and magical no matter what time of year you visit!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Thoughts of Note

Since I'm at my Mom's this weekend for my birthday (yesterday) and a wedding (today) this is going to be a really short post b/c her computer is a piece of crap [i.e. there are no fun pics on this post and I'll be lucky to get 2 paragraphs].

I did discover something amazing that totally fits in my thrifty girl lifestyle. I went shopping in my closet. I have to admit this was not an original idea, Harpers Bazaar has introduced this feature in light of the recession. Anyway, I've been eyeing all of the metallic linen stuff at j.crew this season but have been afraid to buy it because I've heard such negative things about it. Never fear, as soon as I got home on Thursday I went to hang my dress for the wedding up and what did I find? The metallic linen capris that I bought in France when I was in high school. I actually wore them my first year in law school, but they were returned home in a cleaning out of my closet (more on that in a minute) only to be rediscovered two years later. I have to say these capris feel very of the moment and I can't wait to wear them again very soon! My lesson in thriftyness here is clear -- next time you want to go shopping, why not check out your own closet first? You never know what you may find.

I realize that not everyone has the luxury of still having a fairly large walk in closet at their parent's home that can be used as storage but I highly recommend that you become more selective when you clean out your closet. For example, when I clean out my closet I have three piles of stuff that I want to get rid of -- pile (1) is consignment shop clothing (stuff that is more expensive and current that I know I can make money on); pile (2) is yard sale/goodwill clothing that is not nice enough for the consignment shop; finally, pile (3) is my take to mom's pile. The take to mom's pile is stuff that I'm not exactly in love with to wear currently but that is classic enough to keep because it will likely come back into style. I admit this is usually a small pile but it is a small pile of clothing that I really do love and don't want to part with. This pile can be altered into a put into storage pile -- there is absolutely nothing wrong with storing these items in a plastic tub underneath a bed or in an attic or basement (provided the tub is very well sealed as to prevent damage).

So there it is, my thrifty birthday gift to myself! Also thank you Katie Lake for making my birthday awesome! I had too much fun with you last night.

I promise a food post as soon as I get back to NC! Happy Saturday!