Friday, September 30, 2011

3in30 Challenge: Final Thoughts

I didn't do a very good job of updating you guys during my challenge.  But here's how I did:
  • Do some form of exercise 3x/week
    • DONE! 
    • I surprised myself and did pretty good here.  I may not have made it to the gym 3 times every week all month.  But I went at least twice and took the pups for a walk on the other day.  
  • Start and finish 1 book on my list
    • DONE!
    • I started reading Stealing Faces on my iPad at the beginning of the month.  I'm about 65% of the way through.  It's not super exciting.  Some days I can get into it and get really far.  But other days I'm just not interested.  So I started and finished Lauren Conrad's book, Lauren Conrad Style. I've had this on my coffee table for a few months.  I started and finished it in the past 2 weeks, reading a little each night.  It was a great book.  I loved it!
  • Stay on budget
    • Here is where things went south.  You'd think since I blog about frugal living I would knock this out of the park.  But it's not always easy, and sometimes things come up.  
    • I went a little over on our grocery budget, about $100.  I started buying healthier snacks for husband and I to keep at work.  This is hard because we don't like the same things.  So it is almost like buying double.  I also went to the produce stand every week instead of just buying my produce at Wal-Mart or wherever I went.  Usually the produce stand is cheaper, but not always.  I like to go there to get my fresh food because it is local.  
      • I also want to clarify that I don't use coupons on every thing that I buy.  I also won't say, "no, can't get it. don't have a coupon."  I just try to do my research on the best deal for an item and find a coupon.  But it doesn't always work out that way.  Sometimes I buy things on a whim.  Some weeks I don't feel like deal hunting or worrying about the extra leg work.  I'm in a hurry, and I just need to get in and out of the grocery store.  But I usually only let that happen about once a month.  But it is also so easy to let the grocery bill get away from me while not worrying about it.  $100 is a good bit to go over budget.  So I MUST do better next month and quit being lazy.
    • We also went over $60 on the auto/gas budget.  This is something I don't care too much about since it's so hard to alter it.  Husband and I commute to and from work, and we obviously have to go every day.  I also travel to some of our dental offices sometimes.  But I do get paid mileage, which goes straight to the savings account.  I do this to account for the extra maintenance on the car.  Our friends and family live out of town.  So we spend A LOT of time in the car.  I was also due for an oil change this month too.
    • Husband had to pay for his last section of his CPA exam.  This went under our Miscellaneous section.  And let me tell you, these are NOT cheap!  But he only has 1 left to pass.  He's taking it the week before we go to Vegas in November.  I'm so proud of him! 
So all in all, I got 2/3.  Which is good, right?  I'm a little upset with myself about the budget.  But it's ok, because we have a good buffer in case we overspend.  It's not like we spend outside of what we earn.  We just can't put as much in savings if we overspend.  But there's always next month to make it up.  I am DETERMINED to be under or right at budget for groceries for the month.
Do you set personal goals for the month?  If so, how'd you do? 
I'm excited, because the weather is supposed to be great.  Tonight I am going to a Yoga class with a friend.  It's called Vino & Vinyasa.  They will have a wine reception after.  I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday- Old Navy Trip

Last week I took a trip to Old Navy.  Their full priced items were buy 1, get 1 75% off.  I've been seeing a lot of cute items on their website so I figured I would take a look.  Man, I wanted so much stuff.  Their clearance items were also another 50% off.  I only had a little of my weekly allowance left.  So I knew I had to spend wisely.  I picked up this new camel blouse below, a leopard cardigan, 3 tanks, workout pants, and 2 pair of Bermuda shorts for $70 total- with tax.
I love the look of this blouse.  I think it looks way more expensive than it is.  It has a very vintage-y feel to it too.  I think it's extremely versatile.  My only issue with the outfit is that I needed some more color.  I need some red heels! 
Oh, and Victoria and I are wearing the same shirt today!     

blouse- Old Navy
pants- Express
shoes- JCP

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Mini Tukey Meatloaves

Today I'm featuring a recipe that I made over the weekend.  Husband & I both loved it!  I fused together two different recipes from skinnytaste, one of my favorite recipe blogs.  The zucchini probably sounds a little funny being thrown in there.  But it helps to bulk up the recipe, and you can't taste it at all.  I used my Tupperware Manual Chopper to shred the zucchini.  This thing is AH-MAZING!  My sister used to sell Tupperware, and she gave me a ton of great stuff for my wedding shower.  I cut the zucchini in slices and then threw it in there and manually shredded it.  Look how tiny it shredded it! 

Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes
makes 6 cupcakes

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small zucchini shredded
  • 1/4 c ketchup
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 2 tbsp minced onion
  • 1/2 c seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper
  • little Mrs. Dash Italian seasoning blend

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a muffin tin with foil liners.
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together with your hands.  Place meatloaf mixture into muffin tins filling them to the top. 

Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.
Spoon some additional ketchup & Worcestershire on top.  Put back in the oven for another 2-5 minutes. 
finished product with baked sweet potato
Let me know if you make this!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Frugal Friday- Coupon Organization

This week's Frugal Friday topic is fun for me, because I love to organize.  I am going to talk about the 2 different methods I have tried for organizing my coupons.

When I first started couponing I didn't have much of a stash.  So I used a small accordion file that I kept in my car.  I found a few from Target in the dollar bin, like the one below.  I put different categories based on sections in the grocery store on the tabs and I would just throw my cut coupons in there.  That worked for a little while, but when my collection of Q's started to grow it got a little annoying.  It was a lot to search through when I was looking for something.  Another major downside was that I would go through all of the inserts each Sunday and cut every Q I thought I might use and file it in the right category.  That didn't last very long!  But this is a great method if you are only going to use mail coupons and coupons you print online.  Plus, this can be kept in your purse when you go grocery shopping.   
On to my next method and the current method I use: the coupon binder.  This is probably the most popular method for organizing Q's because it is the easiest way to see what all you have.  At first I used a regular old 3-ring binder with baseball card sheets and dividers.  Each divider has a category written on it.  I cut the Q's and put them in a slot in the correct category.  Now I've upgraded to a nice Case-It zippered binder, pink of course.  I still have the same baseball card sheets and dividers I bought over a year ago.  I found the binder on clearance at Target for $9.  These binders are usually $20-$30!

 I mostly put internet printables and Q's I get in the mail in the binder sheets.  The only thing I do different now is I don't cut any Q's from the Sunday paper inserts.  I keep those whole in a side pocket.
Before I go grocery shopping I look through my binder and grab Q's for anything I need.  Then I go to We Use Coupon's  coupon database to look for Q's for products I don't have one for.  It will tell you the link if it's an internet printable and I print it.  Or it will give you the name and date of the insert it is in if there is one.  Then I pull out that insert cut the Q I need.  You can use their database here.  I put all of my Q's in an envelope with my grocery list on the front.  I DO NOT take the binder with me in the store, but I do keep the binder in my car.  This helps if I need to stop somewhere on the way home, or if I read about a great deal on one of the websites I follow I might go at lunch.  So I always have access to the coupons I need.  Not cutting the inserts saves a lot of time and energy.  Collin, from Hip2Save, has a great video here about setting up a coupon binder.

The categories I use are:
  • at the front I have a misc section that I put retail Q's (Old Navy, Gap, etc) or Q's for anything free so I see it right away
  • produce (really anything that can be found near produce)
  • condiments (salad dressing, bbq sauce, or anything near that section)
  • canned/packaged
  • dairy (really anything cold goes here)
  • frozen (anything that can be found in freezers)
  • grains (bread, pasta, etc)
  • breakfast/cereal
  • snacks
  • home items (cleaners, candles, etc)
  • personal care items (toothpaste, soap, etc)
  • cosmetics & hair care
  • paper (tissues, toilet paper, ziplocs, etc)
  • pet

Now here's my binder!

***I do not devote a lot of time to couponing, nor am I a crazy deal-seeker like you may have seen on TLC's show.  But making the conscience effort to buy ahead when on sale, research the best deal, find a coupon, and use it has made a world of difference in our grocery bill.  Even if it is just price-matching at Wal-Mart- it is totally worth the effort.  I simply buy a Sunday paper every week, take the inserts out, and throw them in the binder.  I follow Hip2Save and Totally Target on Twitter.  So I get updates throughout the day when a new coupon becomes available online to print.  I print coupons from company's Facebook pages,, and tons of other sites.  I just throw the ones I print into the binder and zip it up if I'm not using it right away.  Then once a week I go through and cut and file them.  Then I have everything nicely organized and visible for Sundays when I do my grocery shopping.   
So what do you think?  Have I persuaded anyone to shop with coupons yet?  I would be more than happy to answer any questions about it!     

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Things Thursday- The Beauty Edition

This week I've got some of my fave beauty products for you!
 1.  BirchBox-
For $10 auto-drafted out of your account each month you receive 5 deluxe beauty samples!  Sometimes I even get full size products too!  You can take surveys of the products to receive points to purchase the full-size version.  If you buy during that month you received it you get free shipping too.  All of the products come adorably wrapped in pink tissue paper with a cute note that tells you about each product.  I've gotten some really great products that I would've never been able to try before.  Each month I'm so excited to get into my box and use everything that I keep forgetting to snap a picture for you guys!  You can sign up here.  You can also cancel it at any time.

2.  Urban Decay Naked Palette
$48- This is normally more than I spend on makeup.  I am a major bargain shopper.  But about 6 months ago I found myself frustrated with all of the eyeshadows I had gotten for free at CVS and Walgreens, and I had some B-day money to spend.  <I do have one set of MAC shadows, but they are really high pigmented pinks and purples -NOT PRACTICAL  FOR EVERYDAY USE>  So I called a friend who used to work at Ulta to ask her recommendation for a good neutral palette.  I wanted something that I could take everywhere with me instead of several singles.  She quickly suggested this.  So I figured I would give it a try.  It also came with a small bottle of their famous eye primer and a brush.  I cannot begin to tell you how great this palette is, especially used with a primer.  I've always been pretty conservative with my eye makeup, but I've started to play around with all the great colors in this.  You get such a wide variety of colors, from pigmented to matte to light pink to gunmetal black!  Go take a look at Ulta's website and zoom in on the palette to see.  Since buying this in January I have used it daily and haven't made a dent in any of them.  I've also thrown away all of my other eyeshadows, because there are so many looks to create with this.

 3.  E.L.F. Comestics (Eyes, Lips, Face)
 I have been using E.L.F. products for about 3 years.  I think I first read about the company in a magazine.  Back then everything was $1 except for their makeup bags.  I used to buy stuff online all the time.  But then I started seeing some products in Big Lots, and eventually they ended up in Target too!  Which of course is the best place ever!  Now they have expanded their product selection to mineral makeup and their studio line.  Their studio brushes are AMAZING, especially for $3.  They sell most of them in Target.  Don't get me wrong, not all of the products are wonderful.  But I really like their studio blushes, waterproof eyeliner, and studio brushes.  I also hear their face primer and mineral lipstick is pretty good.  The basic essential products sell for $1.  Their mineral products sell for $3-$5.  And their studio products are mostly $3.  You seriously cannot beat that! 

What are you loving this week?!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday- Obsessed with Target

I am ob-sessed with Target.  Words can't even begin to explain my love for that red store!  I go a few times a week on my lunch break.  Part of it is the array of great products.  The other part is the great deals I score there.  Take this outfit for example.  Everything, except for my shoes and necklace, is from Target!  

Mossimo ribbed tank- Target-$9
Merona skirt- Target clearance- $4.98
Merona cardigan- Target- $7 (on sale for $12- used $5/1 Merona item coupon)
belt- $12
shoes- JCPenney- $29
old necklace- F21- $5

There you go- an entire work outfit from head to toe for $67!!! Now all I need to add is some self tanner!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday- The HG Special Egg Mug

image source

Has everyone heard of Hugry Girl, Lisa Lillien, and seen her show on Food Network?  The Hungry Girl concept started out as a free daily email subscription for low fat and low cal recipes, swaps, snacks, new products, and ideas.  You can subscribe to her emails here.  They include some great advise and recipe ideas.  Browse around on her website too!  Now she has a cooking show that comes on Sundays at 9 on Food Network.  She's also written a few books.  I have 300 under 300 on my iPad.  
One of my favorite (and simplest) recipes she includes are called Egg Mugs.  I make them all the time in the mornings, because I love eggs!  
image source

Here's the recipe for the HG Special Egg Mug: 
PER SERVING (entire recipe): 125 calories, 2.25g fat, 772mg sodium, 3.5g carbs, 0g fiber, 2g sugars, 19.5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 3*

1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
1 oz. (about 2 slices) 98% fat-free turkey breast slices, roughly chopped
1 wedge The Laughing Cow Light French Onion cheese
Optional: dried minced onion
Lightly spray a large microwave-safe mug with nonstick spray. Add egg substitute and microwave for 1 minute.
Gently stir and add turkey. Add cheese, breaking the wedge into pieces as you add it. Microwave for 45 - 60 seconds, until set.
If you like, add a little dried minced onion. Give it a light stir, and dig in!

Did you know you can cook eggs in the microwave?  I didn't until I found this.  And they taste JUST LIKE scrambled eggs.  Husband thinks this is totally gross and won't eat this.  He doesn' t know what he is missing though.  I actually don't buy egg substitute.  I just use 2 egg whites, or 3 if I'm really hungry.  You can buy a small carton of Egg Beaters for over $2.  Or you can buy a dozen eggs for like $.79 on sale!!! 
She has a few other egg mug recipes here and here.

Let me know if you try it!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Frugal Friday- Multi-tasking Products

Instead of doing a frugal Friday about coupons or grocery shopping I am going to tell y'all about some items that have several different uses.  This is a great way to stretch your dollar since most of these products are cheaper than the real version and can be used for multiple things.
  • Monistat Anti-Chaffing Gel
    • This is a great makeup primer.  It usually costs $5-$7 at Wal-Mart, Target, and drugstores.  (They occasionally put out coupons on too.)  I can't even remember where I first read about using this as a primer.  But I figured "What the hell!  I'll try it for $7."  If you look at the ingredient list and compare it to a makeup primer, the ingredients are almost identical.  I have been using the same $7 tube for around 6 months now.  I still have half  left.  I have very sensitive skin, and I have never had an issue with this.  I also use it on my eyelids as a eyeshadow primer.  I put a small dime-size amount all over my face after my moisturizer dries.  It makes my mineral makeup go on so smoothly and last all day! 
  • Vaseline
    • I bought a travel-size jar of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly several years ago for $1 at Wal-Mart.  I still haven't made a huge dent in the little jar.  This has a ton of uses- be creative!
    • Use it as a chapstick
    • Use it as a cuticle cream or a deep moisturizer for hands and feet at night
    • I often use it as eye makeup remover.  I wash my face first.  Then if there's a little left under my eyes I dab a little bit with my finger and wipe away with a cotton ball.  Or if I smudge my eyeliner or mascara while getting ready I put a little on a Q-Tip and even out the line.
  • Hair Conditioner
    • use it as shaving cream
  • Toothpaste- any white and non-gel
    • use it as a silver polish with a toothbrush or rag
    • get crayons off walls
    • overnight zit cream
    • bug bite or bee sting ointment
  • Baby Powder
    • Great alternative to dry shampoo.  I've used baby powder in my hair for years when it gets a little greasy.  You can buy it for $1 at the Dollar Store instead of a more expensive dry shampoo.  
  • Baking Soda
    • Add a teaspoon to your shampoo bottle to help remove buildup
    • Great to sprinkle on top of your toothpaste to help whiten your teeth
Do you have any non-traditional uses for products?  I would love to know!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Katy Perry Concert

I L-O-V-E Katy Perry.  I love how feminine and girly she is, all while still being sexy!  I was so excited to be able to get the 4 of us together to go to a concert.  Victoria blogged about it here.  I think her concert was perfect for a GNO.  We started off by eating dinner at a local pizza shop, Rotollo's, in the CBD in New Orleans.  We took our time eating, talking, and drinking.  Then we walked across the street to a pub to get another drink before the concert.  I thought, "We are totally classy!  Pizza & beer before a Katy Perry concert!"  The concert was great and a ton of fun.  We were there beginning to end.  Janelle Monae opened up.  She was great too.  Katy's set was all candy themed.  She interacted with the crowd a lot, which I loved.  She talked a lot about New Orleans, Mardi Gras, the Saints... It was awesome!  Now here are a few pics.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday& Bath Time

 I just couldn't pass up sharing the adorable pictures below!
sweater- Loft; skirt- Loft; necklace- Macy's; shoes- DSW

So Mocha desperately needed a bath.
Here was the husband's idea for bathing her:
She looks so pissed off in both pictures.  That little puppy is my heart!  Hope everyone has a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tasty Tuesday: Light Taco Bake

So I've neglected the blog a little since last week.  Friday I was just so exhausted from the concert (we had a great time-pics coming soon).  Yesterday I had a crazy day and I worked out at the gym late.  I've let my unhealthy and lazy habits get the best of me (and my pants) lately...  So I have GOT to get back on track. 
Speaking of eating healthier.... I was thrilled to find this recipe on Six Sisters Stuff a few weeks ago.  I tried it the same week they posted it, and it was so good! The husband really liked it too!

Light Taco Bake
I don't have the stats other than WW Points are 4 per serving
Makes 12 servings (we ate it in like 4!)

24 Tortilla Chips (+ additional for serving)
1/2 TBSP Olive Oil
1 Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb. extra lean ground beef or ground turkey
3 TBSP Taco Seasoning
1 can Black Beans, drained
1 cup Salsa
2 cups Shredded Fat-Free or Reduced-Fat Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet, heat oil and add onion and garlic - saute for about 5 minutes until soft.  Add meat and taco seasoning, cooking until meat is browned.  Add beans and salsa.  Mix well and cook to thicken.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with tortilla chips.  Gently press down the chips to break into bite-sized pieces.  Spread the meat mixture over the chips.  Top with cheese. 

Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling.

We topped ours with shredded lettuce, guacamole, and jalapenos before eating.
I will definitely be making this again!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Here are a few things I am loving this week:

1.  Katy Perry
Tonight three friends and I are going to see Katy Perry in New Orleans.  I'm so excited!  We're going to go get something to eat and hang out before the concert starts.  The bad part is I have to be at work at 8 in the morning.  I know I will get home pretty late.
2.  Suave Professionals
Has anyone else used the Suave professionals line?  I bought the dry shampoo and the extra hold hairspray.  They both smell so good!  It works really well too.  I think both totaled $5 this week at Walgreens.  I had a coupon I printed from their website for $1/2.
3.  Revlon Matte Lipstick in Really Red (006)
I read about this lipstick in September's issue of Lucky.  It said it was the best matte red lipstick for fair to medium tones.  I went on a hunt for this lipstick for 2 days!  I went to CVS- couldn't find it.  I went to Ulta- nope!  I went to 2 different Targets- not there.  Finally, I tried Walmart.  Turns out it was mixed in with the super lustrous lipstick.  There were 2 left, and on roll back for $4.97.  So it was probably at all those other places I just didn't know where to look.  I tried it last night, and it was worth the hunt.  It lasted a long time too!  I only recently started wearing lipstick.  Now I feel  naked without it. 

Well I'm off to finish up a few things before leaving work early for the concert today!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wardrobe Wednesday: New Blouse

I went to Loft yesterday with hopes of finding a cute new blouse for fall during their $35 blouse event.  I had it paired down to 2 options.  Then I saw this beauty on the sale rack for $25 after an extra 30% off sale and 10% for using my Loft card.  I fell in love.  I think it's great for the fall and very versatile for work on the weekend! 
blouse- Loft; belt- Target; pants- Loft; shoes- Shoe Dept.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3in30 Challenge

I decided to participate in a new challenge for the month to keep it interesting around here.  I can't even remember how I found this blog, but I thought this challenge sounded interesting.  Basically, the challenge is to create 3 small goals for yourself every month.  You link up each week to tell your progress and keep yourself accountable.  
My goals for the month of September are below:  

  1. Do some form of exercise 3x/week
    1. This could be anything from going to a group class, walking on the treadmill, or walking the puppies
  2. Start and finish at least 1 book on my list
    1. I have several books in my library on kindle and on my Pinterest board I want to read
  3. Stay on budget
    1. I need to try extra hard to stay on budget in EVERY category.  This will be an ongoing goal each month

Long Weekend Recap & OOTD

So we're back to our normal scheduling now that the 21 Day Challenge is over.  Except for today, because I'm thrown off by the long weekend!  I had so much fun doing the challenge, and I found a lot of new blogs! 
This weekend was very relaxing.  We spent most of it inside watching the rain from Tropical Storm Lee.  We got most of the bad weather Saturday.  There were high winds, lots of rain, and plenty of tornado watches.  Luckily we didn't lose power.  I got a little worried that we were going to get some water in our house.  We are in a flood zone.  When I woke up Saturday morning our ditches were flowing into the driveway and yard.  It freaked me out, because I knew we had a whole weekend ahead of us of rain.  But luckily it didn't get much worse.
 Saturday night we couldn't take the boredom anymore.  We got out of the house to watch the first LSU game of the season.  We went to a little sports bar/restaurant in BR with a few other couples, including Victoria!
Sunday we got out of the house for a little while and went to the mall.  Monday we watched movies and I caught up on reading.  And now here I am, back at work!
This week's weather is going to be amazing!  I was able to wear this chambray shirt for the first time in a while, since it's not 100 degrees! 
shirt- Ann Taylor factory store; pants- NY&Co; shoes- Nine West

I'm excited for the short work week.  And I'm going to see Katy Perry in NOLA Thursday night with 3 other girlfriends. I can't wait!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 19- Adorn your Head

I was a little worried about today's prompt, because I didn't have very many work-appropriate options.  I had to go with a headband.  I had a really cute fedora, but obviously I couldn't wear a hat to work. 
I went with a very casual, comfortable outfit today.  It is the Friday before a holiday, rainy outside, and I'll be going to a few offices to deliver payroll checks.  So I wanted to be comfortable.
shirt- random boutique; flower- from belt from Ashley; headband- F21; pants- Target; shoes- Nine West via Plato's Closet

Last weekend I took several bags of clothes to Plato's Closet.  Instead of taking the cash I exchanged it for 2 brand new pairs of flats.  One being the nude Steve Madden's here, and the other pair is these new green Nine West flats.  Then they gave me $2 back.  I took that $2 to CC's (an amazing coffee only in Louisiana) and got coffee.  I went home with 2 new pairs of shoes and a caffeine buzz for free!  Can't beat that!
Now I'm gearing up for the crazy amounts of rain we are supposed to get from this tropical depression this weekend.  Hopefully it won't be too bad where we live.  It definitely ruins our Labor Day plans of going tubing with a few other couples.
What are your plans?  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Day 18- Statement Jewelery

Today's prompt is to wear a piece of statement jewelry.  I really only had one piece, the necklace from Loft that I chose.  I agree with Kayla, I had to force myself to wear it.  I am still not totally convinced about it though.  Maybe I should've went a different route and worn it with jeans and a tee.  But I had to go to work today, and I hadn't worn my remix item a third time yet.      
necklace- Loft; dress- Target (remix item); shoes- Target

Mocha was sleeping on top of a blanket underneath a pillow when I got up this morning.  You can see the top of her on the couch.

I found this necklace on clearance for $8 at Loft a few months ago, and this is the first time I am wearing it. 
Hope everyone has a great day!