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Blog: Pam's Pennypinching With STYLE

Pam's recounting of how her ancestrally thrifty habits have helped her in modern life in ways none of her foremothers could have imagined!


Showing 292 posts in the Better Living category for this blog.
Bargains Galore!
Thursday, November 05, 2015

Bargains all over the place....#1 I have a a deal on a local Curves, to get me to work out.  Free for 3 wqeeks, if I keep to 3 times a week, which will keep me motivated. Thge place is convenient, has lots of parking and the workout is good but not killing. Fine to start with.

#2 U have been shopping and have finished getting together the outfit for my niece's wedding way in advance of the July date.  First I found an Edwardian-type kacy hacjet ti wear iver a peach shift dress I had bought new at a thrift shop for $7.  The jacket is teh big ticket item, at $40, but it anchors the whole ensemble.  Then I already have ivory hsoes, another long time bargain, so I needed a dressy ivory bag.....which I FOUND yesterday at a thrift shop in Pasadena. 

It is an invory leather Giani Bernini bag, of ivory leather.  And I looked it up, because it is fun to do sod it would cost $50 to $60 new! But I got it for $7!!. All I halve to do is add a cord or chain so I can convert it to a shoulder bag, the way I prefer, on the loops already there. So, for under $70 I have an outfit that is alctually WORTH much more.  That tickles my fancy.  And I can wear the REAL pearls I found in a thrift shop in Michigan on a trip there, and earrings I aready have and it is DONE. VOILA!  I reallyl enjoy that procxess and I thought I would share it, as we all have occastions like weddings to dress up for, and who wants to break the bank to do it.  But as you see, it can be done the frugal way and you still look fabulous.....It's our secret.

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last rites
Saturday, October 31, 2015

There was an article in the L.A. TIMES today about artistic urns for ashes of our dead loved ones and they hd very nice ones for$300 to several thousand dollars. That reminded me of what i had done when looking to spread the ashes of my parents in the Pacific ocean.  In the end, as i was consigning the urns to the sea, I finally decided on a handmade pottery jar, a cookie jar to begin with? Which I found in a local thrift shop for less than $25.  There is a lot of handthrown pottery from the hippy era in the local thrift shops...it was perfect for the simple ceremony we had in a boat and i felt no guilt tossing it overboard. i wonder how man pots of various kinds will find their ways to the ocean at the mouth of the harbor?  Rest In peace.

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floral RX
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Got some long-stemmed roses the other day and today already hd started to droop.  So, floral rx. for this problem florists use pins or floral wire, but i cut up a drinking straw in inch long segments, slit them down the side, and then snugged them up against the bloom along the drooping stem, reinforcing it, then i positioned the stem straight. voila! Rejuvenated roses, good for another few days!

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floral RX
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Got some long-stemmed roses the other day and today already hd started to droop.  So, floral rx. for this problem florists use pins or floral wire, but i cut up a drinking straw in inch long segments, slit them down the side, and then snugged them up against the bloom along the drooping stem, reinforcing it, then i positioned the stem straight. voila! Rejuvenated roses, good for another few days!

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floral RX
Thursday, October 29, 2015

Got some long-stemmed roses the other day and today already hd started to droop.  So, floral rx. for this problem florists use pins or floral wire, but i cut up a drinking straw in inch long segments, slit them down the side, and then snugged them up against the bloom along the drooping stem, reinforcing it, then i positioned the stem straight. voila! Rejuvenated roses, good for another few days!

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Extreme Cheapskates & Me
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Checked out the TV program EXTREME CHEAPSKATES the other night. What antics! the woman who peed in a jar & put it on her compost heap & wanted her boy friend to do the same (he wouldn't) - Or the man who re-used dental floss (as well as paper towels....) It doesn'[t fit in with my philosophy.  I read Town & Country & muse at the jewels & the socialites.  My idea is to get more luxury & fun & fashion into my life on my extremely limited budget. That runs into contradiction like wearing old $.99 jeans & an old sweat shirt while at the computer at home - but having a nice cobalt vintage ultrasuede jacket to wear to a recent gathering (with an African brass necklace I bought at a farmer's swap meet for $10 - & a shawl I knitted just recently from my yarn stash. )

My confidence was boosted & from the contacts at the gathering I now am a book reviewer for the 3 TOMATOES website! (That means free BOOKS - a savings for a voracious reader!)

So I sort of understand re-using things - but one wants to do it with FLARE. And reusing dental floss or scamming samples from an ice cream vendor, thereby embarrassing his mate - just doesn't cut it.  I want to surprise my hubby with an invite to the stylish SKYBAR at the Mondrian Hotel in L.A. where I can work off some of my chic hunger (on the cheap - for the price of a drink & the parking!)

Fun. I want fun. Like the recent movie date to see THE MONUMENTS MEN (a great movie) on the gift card I won at a drawing - with a dinner of meatballs at the nice IKEA restaurant across the street. (Parking was free.) Or watching old obscure Joan Crawford movies which I recorded digitally in the middle on the night on our new digital video system installed free by Time Warner Cable (And after some work on the phone by hubby we got a free tablet from their offer, too - which I adore for my professional emails.)

Ok, my apartment in Little Armenia is rent-controlled - but we can afford a boat that way! (And the boat was used to begin with....) It's a great getaway.  A few weeks away due to crummy weather & activities has made me long for it.  There was a book years ago called CHEAP CHIC & that's what I shoot for.  And on some days like the day I wore the cobalt jacket - I do just that!

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Window shopping
Friday, February 07, 2014

It's fun to window shop on the net between tasks - I saw a Louis Vuitton wallet like mine on Tradsey.com for almost $200 - mine is slightly worn & I got it for a few dollars at a Pasadena Salvation army! Have to confess that that coated finish is killer.  Wears like iron.

Also like onekingslane.com - give you a sense of the pulse of the collectibles market - although not for any BARGAINS.  Again, I saw a pinch chrome ashtray like mine, which I bought cheap there for $100+! I  bought it because it remind3ed me of my childhood, when everyone smoked....

Can recommend thredup.com. as a thrifty place to get gently used clothes. I bought a pair of maryjane athletic shoes for $20 - when they are $100+ new & the quality was excellent.

Just saying....

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miscellany
Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Thought I would just muse on my frugalities recently....doing my "dirty" knitting which means I use multiple yarns, mostly worsted weight doubled to make tweedy effect & I switch out with coordinating color combinations.  To keep the yard on the needles when I put my knitting down , I use old plastic wine corks!  Working on one of my shawls - I have a whole collection of them - so good to wear in S. Calif. Maybe I can finish it for a meeting I have to go to this weekend....The dirty knitting is great for using up the odds & ends in a yarn stash - economical! 

Enjoying the new tablet we got thru Tame Warner cable for signing up with their bundled service.  It's so FAST.  Found an agenda type case with a zipper that hubby had picked up - he loves cases - & it just fits the tablet, with a pocket for the power cord - so voila! You can be thrifty even with computer accessories.....(for my phone, I picked up a stylus for 99 cents at the 99 CENT STORE! So frugal living goes on -

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Long Time No Blog
Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's been ages since I blogged due to tech problems on the thriftyfun side which FINALLY have been worked out! So I am BAAAACK....

And here is my tale of the purses. I don't know how purses became such a big deal. I remember only having one for everyday & a fancy one or two for dress - But big they have become a big deal- so I am presented with a thrifty challenge, as the prices have gone up considerably, too! One doesn't just have a purse, but a purse collection.  I had  a nice utilitarian and sporty canvas one - but I finally wore it out & had to go on the hunt for a deal on a purse.

Well, I found several deals - There is a thrift shop up in Ventura that seems to have good deals on purse - as they are priced under $10 - the quality varies, but I managed to get a black leather Coach bag and a Tommy Hilfinger dark blue fabric tote. (I had to add a chain to the Coach bag, as it was missing a strap - but I bought one for a few bucks at the hardware store and voila) But neither of these seemed good for every day..l.so the hunt continued -

I had also found a Ralph Lauren linen one with dark leather trim for under $10 - (I had to polish the body & put a colored marker to a scratch on the body - but when I did that it looked swell - wrong season, tho....And at another thrift shop, I found a light woven leather one for $10 - but it was a bit small in the end...

Then I found a tote at a vintage clothing store for $30 - but it turned out to be an oriental make with leather trim & still not right for every day....And I found a patent purse that goes for $100 retail at a Goodwill - nice for dressy, Spring.

In the end I decided to use one of the purses I first talked about for the winter - it's a boho patchwork, which I had to warm up to - but it is good for everyday wear.

Last but not least I just found a fairly large leather tote with shoulder straps and nice hardware for $20 (it was on sale at a charity resale store.)  The leather is light, so I plan to switch over to it when the seasons change.

So now I have my own collection of purses to add to the ones I already had - but I have a tendency to wear them out....So I have over the course of a few months spent - let's see

2 for $15, the Ralph Lauren for $7 - the woven one for $10 - and one for $30 and another for $20.  All that adds up to $89 - less than the going price for trendy/designer bags (You do enough shopping around and anything under $100 looks good, I must confess.)

So I live in trendy L.A. and have to keep up appearances - no one but you guys is going to know how little I spent on all these - and I have 2 go-to everyday leather bags Plus some dressier ones. And the hunt for bargains was fun - That's all for now - glad to be back. Talk to you later....

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Picking and Collecting
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Boy, do I enjoy the cable show AMERICAN PICKERS.  It's my kind of collecting - going into masses of seeming junk and coming out with real finds at a good price. I don't know a lot about the industrial Americana that they seem to specialize in, but it amazes me that out of a rusty pile they can pick out the ONE old rusty Harley-Davidson frame that a collector would want to mount their vintage engine on! They KNOW this stuff, and the people whose collections they are scouting KNOW their stuff, too.  Out of a whole backyard of metal parts, the original owner can tell JUST what year the part is dated and all sorts of things about where it came from (provenance). THEN the pickers find just the BUYER for that pair of 1920's gas pumps - who will then restore them and add them to HIS collection.

It proves to me that it is still possible to find little treasures in obscure corners. I tend to specialize in thrift shops. The "old lady" kinds are better - many with items from senior estates or a result of downsizing to go into a retirement home...But I have found goodies that have slipped through the cracks even at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, where most of the "good" stuff is skimmed off the top. My 19th C. hand-colored framed lithograph of a boat in full sail is one example. And my little mounted bronze head of an India girl is another. One for $15, the other for TWO. And they are both worth a lot more than that.

I started off liking modernist chrome and minimalist lines, but the things that I could afford were more classic, so I have developed into an eccentric traditionalist. And my eye has developed over the years, I am proud of that.

For some eye-training of your own, if you are interested in such things (and to discover what that Murano glass ashtray that was brought back from a 60's trip to Europe is going for now retail) - take a look at www.OneKingsLane.com on the net.  I am hooked on the vintage part of the site.  It's amazing what the little treasures (and the mid-century furniture) of our parents and grandparents are all going for. (Although these prices are not the cheap end that I can afford!)  These are the prices after someone like me has scored on a deal and then made a profit by selling it off to a dealer of some sort. (See the process on AMERICAN PICKERS from the first sale from a crammed barn to their retail prices. They give you a pretty good course in negotiating prices, too....)

I didn't intend any of this. I just grew up loving my grandmother's and my godmother's old stuff. And the taste grew and grew.  Touches like that do add to a nice, tasteful home atmosphere, at prices often lower than the reproductions! Not to mention that they will retain their value - which most cheaper reproductions don't.   So it makes sense to cultivate your taste and get your eye used to finding that ONE thing in a pile of cast-offs that is of any interest. And it's thrifty, too! Something that I am proud of...

Do you like "old stuff"? 

 

 

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Picking and Collecting
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Boy, do I enjoy the cable show AMERICAN PICKERS.  It's my kind of collecting - going into masses of seeming junk and coming out with real finds at a good price. I don't know a lot about the industrial Americana that they seem to specialize in, but it amazes me that out of a rusty pile they can pick out the ONE old rusty Harley-Davidson frame that a collector would want to mount their vintage engine on! They KNOW this stuff, and the people whose collections they are scouting KNOW their stuff, too.  Out of a whole backyard of metal parts, the original owner can tell JUST what year the part is dated and all sorts of things about where it came from (provenance). THEN the pickers find just the BUYER for that pair of 1920's gas pumps - who will then restore them and add them to HIS collection.

It proves to me that it is still possible to find little treasures in obscure corners. I tend to specialize in thrift shops. The "old lady" kinds are better - many with items from senior estates or a result of downsizing to go into a retirement home...But I have found goodies that have slipped through the cracks even at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, where most of the "good" stuff is skimmed off the top. My 19th C. hand-colored framed lithograph of a boat in full sail is one example. And my little mounted bronze head of an India girl is another. One for $15, the other for TWO. And they are both worth a lot more than that.

I started off liking modernist chrome and minimalist lines, but the things that I could afford were more classic, so I have developed into an eccentric traditionalist. And my eye has developed over the years, I am proud of that.

For some eye-training of your own, if you are interested in such things (and to discover what that Murano glass ashtray that was brought back from a 60's trip to Europe is going for now retail) - take a look at www.OneKingsLane.com on the net.  I am hooked on the vintage part of the site.  It's amazing what the little treasures (and the mid-century furniture) of our parents and grandparents are all going for. (Although these prices are not the cheap end that I can afford!)  These are the prices after someone like me has scored on a deal and then made a profit by selling it off to a dealer of some sort. (See the process on AMERICAN PICKERS from the first sale from a crammed barn to their retail prices. They give you a pretty good course in negotiating prices, too....)

I didn't intend any of this. I just grew up loving my grandmother's and my godmother's old stuff. And the taste grew and grew.  Touches like that do add to a nice, tasteful home atmosphere, at prices often lower than the reproductions! Not to mention that they will retain their value - which most cheaper reproductions don't.   So it makes sense to cultivate your taste and get your eye used to finding that ONE thing in a pile of cast-offs that is of any interest. And it's thrifty, too! Something that I am proud of...

Do you like "old stuff"? 

 

 

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Bling and a Book
Thursday, February 28, 2013

I have said that I hate spending LOTS of money - but I DO like BARGAINS. And I hope I have found another one - a 4 carat blue topaz cubic zirconia ring in a stainless steel setting. Not silver, but the ring is the same color and hypoallergenic, so the metal suits me fine.  Now I looked it up and 4 carats is a pretty large stone - about the size of a small prune more or less, anyway, larger than a pea - so that is a pretty flashy cocktail ring. Got it at Beyond Retail for just over $20 with shipping.  Not bad, I think.  I mean, it's not GLASS.

My mother had a large blue topaz I think my sister got - but since cubic zirconia is practically a gem,  I am fine with this! And the silver color and the blue of the stone just fit my wardrobe.  Hmm, I have been invited out to a birthday party at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, all dressed up - and I think it would be just the time to debut the ring! Then if I am wearing a dress that I have gotten out of the closet - and I think I have one that I have only worn once - then it will still feel quite special. And that's a bargain, don't you think?

The point is to live LARGE and ENJOY things. I can do that even at my increasing old age and hope to continue to do so.  I have a lot of nice costumey jewelry, all gotten at good prices, so I could always get my investment back on them by taking them to market if I had to...

Reading a book by an author of my mother's generation, Margery Wilson, which I got out of the library after having stumbled upon another of her vintage advice books in Bart's in Ojai - for $.50! Apparently she was a silent movie ingenue with D.W. Griffith in the silent days and then transformed herself  into a 40's self-help guru and wrote at least 8 books on various aspects of charm, style, and living well as a woman. The one I stumbled upon in Bart's bargain shelf is YOU'RE AS YOUNG AS YOU ACT - which has a lot of pointers that still hold up. (She's big on posture and other aspects of physicality that she became acquainted with as an actress - very valid to this day.)

The book from the library is HOW TO LIVE BEYOND YOUR MEANS (I just loved the title and had to read it) and while it has to do with a sort of thrift, it emphasizes a positive, expansive and glorious kind of living.  She quotes from Emerson (?) - "There is hope in extravagance, there is none in routine." and then goes on to Aristippus - "Of extravagance were a fault, it would not have a place in the festivals of the gods." Now, this was written in 1945, just at the end of World War II, so this has even more meaning, being in contrast to the scrimping on the homefront that had gone on.  "So fixed is my determination to get more than I pay for that my conniving to accomplish my goal is devious and fascinating, " she says. There is nothing wrong with that, she tells us. Live life to the hilt!

I cannot agree with her more. I have always had limited means, but I must say that I am very vain of the fact that I have maximized their value through alternate routes to getting what I wanted. The ring is a case in point.  For all that I will wear it, cubic zirconia is just fine, thank you very much. The diamond versions of it (and there are a few around the big stone) are just as good as real diamonds, the price of which is help up by the diamond cartel - and you have to be a scientist to tell the difference. Is anyone going to look that closely at my ring? And again, much better quality than the cocktail ring I got at H&M, which is handsome, but I think the gem is  PLASTIC - it's black, so it looks like onyx or something - but if you scratch it, it would show....(I glammed up the setting with some metallic nail polish to "age" the metal - most inexpensive things are too darned shiny.)

And it lifts my spirits - a little extravagance to make me feel less like Cinderella in Hollywood! Diehard cheap skates may not worry about keeping up appearances - but even aging actresses, DO.

 

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More Thrift?
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I spend a lot of time home on my computer - and I do my shopping on the weekends when I can get out to my bargain outlets. This last weekend I lucked out at a thrift shop I normally don't go  to - or don't usually find anything - and snagged 3 nightgowns (one with a fancy lacy top) and two tops (one Michael Kors) and a blue cotton sweater (very versatile) and a black wrap jersey dress (which was cut peculiarly but looks great on) and a pair of patent clogs - all for $4 or so each! (Plus a pair of nylon knit black pants for $1 on the bargain rack) - I calculated that I got   about $200 worth of clothes for about $35! 

Then I went to another thrift shop and found a pair of sunglass clips in very good condition for $.50 for my husband who is always losing his. They cost $15 new now - if you can find them! and I also got a bright green visor hat for $1 - 

Then we went to the library store and I bought four paperback mysteries for $.50 each and hubby found Harry Potter books for the kids at school. We spent $8 in total for a value of four at $6 each = $24 - plus the 3 Potter books which were marked at $25 each! So we got approximately $100 worth of books for our $8 - and when I am finished with mine, I will recycle them for book credit at a local used bookstore....

I picked up my 2nd set of 2 pairs of glasses that had been on sale at Sears for 2 for $99 - Basic frames, but they fit just right and for the 4 pair I ended up getting on sale I paid $180 instead of at a minimum $70 each (with my own frames) or $280 - so I saved about $100.

We were then in the neighborhood of a Big Lots where i had gotten skin care at a bargain a week ago - and I found retinol eye cream ($7) - night cream ($7) tone corrector (a bit pricey $12) and dry shampoo at $1 each can - and then a spray of the old fragrance White Shoulders for $8 - I calculated that I had gotten at least $83 worth of product for $27. (The wouldn't buy TWO of those items in the drug store.) I looked on the internet and even at a discount perfume site the White Shoulders was ten dollars more, and then there would be shipping.

You can get a good deal on old established brands of fragrance. I love Grey Flannel for my husband, and you can practically get that at the drugstore cheaply - and while I was checking prices at the discount fragrance site and seeing if they had any more Intimate by Jean Phillippe (I had gotten a bunch at the 99 Cent Store!) - I ordered that old standby 4711 - one of the original unisex colognes - with an extra 15% off - so I am getting a big bottle for about $27 with shipping. That is a great everyday fragrance, and mixes well with other fragrances as well! And you won't be wearing anything that anyone else is wearing - not to mention not spending the extra for the celebrity who is touting the fragrance - see the price differences even on a discount perfume site online! 

This isn't farming thrift - as you don't need fragrance to feed the chickens - but I do do it out of conviction because I am trying to live  my life as an impecunious actress - that is, without much $ - Still without a car, so I took a taxi to my callback (2nd audition) and then hitched the bus home because I was close to a direct line back home - that's the advantage of living in Hollywood close to where they do the casting.  I don't really like using public transport all the time, but it is good to know that I can, in a pinch - and I carry change around in a little change purse to use for the bus - or to put in the parking meter if I have a Zipcar.

Now we have a bit of money, so we are looking for a used car. Our mechanic has ones which he has fixed up for sale, so that's where we are starting. It's good because it sort of guarantees the quality of the car - But I have been coping with taxis and the Zipcar car sharing (There is a Zipcar site within walking distance of my apartment.) The trouble is that when I GET a job I would have to rent a car - or at least book a Zipcar for a day - all a terrible hassle when just getting to a location is a job unto itself! 

Getting close - and will be filming the end of the skin care infomercial for which I just received another month's worth of skin care - Wish me luck! 

 

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More Thrift?
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I spend a lot of time home on my computer - and I do my shopping on the weekends when I can get out to my bargain outlets. This last weekend I lucked out at a thrift shop I normally don't go  to - or don't usually find anything - and snagged 3 nightgowns (one with a fancy lacy top) and two tops (one Michael Kors) and a blue cotton sweater (very versatile) and a black wrap jersey dress (which was cut peculiarly but looks great on) and a pair of patent clogs - all for $4 or so each! (Plus a pair of nylon knit black pants for $1 on the bargain rack) - I calculated that I got   about $200 worth of clothes for about $35! 

Then I went to another thrift shop and found a pair of sunglass clips in very good condition for $.50 for my husband who is always losing his. They cost $15 new now - if you can find them! and I also got a bright green visor hat for $1 - 

Then we went to the library store and I bought four paperback mysteries for $.50 each and hubby found Harry Potter books for the kids at school. We spent $8 in total for a value of four at $6 each = $24 - plus the 3 Potter books which were marked at $25 each! So we got approximately $100 worth of books for our $8 - and when I am finished with mine, I will recycle them for book credit at a local used bookstore....

I picked up my 2nd set of 2 pairs of glasses that had been on sale at Sears for 2 for $99 - Basic frames, but they fit just right and for the 4 pair I ended up getting on sale I paid $180 instead of at a minimum $70 each (with my own frames) or $280 - so I saved about $100.

We were then in the neighborhood of a Big Lots where i had gotten skin care at a bargain a week ago - and I found retinol eye cream ($7) - night cream ($7) tone corrector (a bit pricey $12) and dry shampoo at $1 each can - and then a spray of the old fragrance White Shoulders for $8 - I calculated that I had gotten at least $83 worth of product for $27. (The wouldn't buy TWO of those items in the drug store.) I looked on the internet and even at a discount perfume site the White Shoulders was ten dollars more, and then there would be shipping.

You can get a good deal on old established brands of fragrance. I love Grey Flannel for my husband, and you can practically get that at the drugstore cheaply - and while I was checking prices at the discount fragrance site and seeing if they had any more Intimate by Jean Phillippe (I had gotten a bunch at the 99 Cent Store!) - I ordered that old standby 4711 - one of the original unisex colognes - with an extra 15% off - so I am getting a big bottle for about $27 with shipping. That is a great everyday fragrance, and mixes well with other fragrances as well! And you won't be wearing anything that anyone else is wearing - not to mention not spending the extra for the celebrity who is touting the fragrance - see the price differences even on a discount perfume site online! 

This isn't farming thrift - as you don't need fragrance to feed the chickens - but I do do it out of conviction because I am trying to live  my life as an impecunious actress - that is, without much $ - Still without a car, so I took a taxi to my callback (2nd audition) and then hitched the bus home because I was close to a direct line back home - that's the advantage of living in Hollywood close to where they do the casting.  I don't really like using public transport all the time, but it is good to know that I can, in a pinch - and I carry change around in a little change purse to use for the bus - or to put in the parking meter if I have a Zipcar.

Now we have a bit of money, so we are looking for a used car. Our mechanic has ones which he has fixed up for sale, so that's where we are starting. It's good because it sort of guarantees the quality of the car - But I have been coping with taxis and the Zipcar car sharing (There is a Zipcar site within walking distance of my apartment.) The trouble is that when I GET a job I would have to rent a car - or at least book a Zipcar for a day - all a terrible hassle when just getting to a location is a job unto itself! 

Getting close - and will be filming the end of the skin care infomercial for which I just received another month's worth of skin care - Wish me luck! 

 

 

 

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More than a Cheapskate
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thinking about thrift again- & I got a pile of books out of the library. (There is another vintage one that I ordered from the main branch, which I wait for with anticipation...) The most interesting one is THE CHEAPSKATE NEXT DOOR by Jeff Yeager.  I agree with many of his tenets that is it is better to be frugal than go with the next styles -  but it is all a little rustic for me - along the lines of keeping your own hens, slaughtering your own meat and such. I live in Hollywood, for heaven's sake. Yes, I am now using Zipcar car sharing to go to auditions, as I wait for a second car - but as an actress and performer, no matter how down home I get, I need to keep up to date on some levels.  I have to keep up certain appearances that some of his cheapskates can avoid. Sure,. my life is pretty basic, and I do spend a lot of time in front of my computer in jeans and tee shirts or sweat shirts - but I have a chance to go to an industry cocktail mixer at the famed Skybar - & I have to have something to wear THERE, too. 

Luckily, I am prepared - with my orange corduroy ruffled neck jacket (orginally from Chico's but I snagged it at a thrift shop) which makes a splash every time I wear it - Great jackets and jeans or pants can be worn almost everywhere, so I collect them.....Looking forward to it. It's hard to live so close to all the glitz and not indulge in it every once in a while! So we have the accessories, the shoes, the jewelry and so on....all acquired a way below market prices.

Last weekend I found a great jacket - another one in ORANGE - at Goodwill - $5!! It was marked at a VERY large size (22) but I don't know how anyone that size would wear it, as it fits me at a 14!! (Thriftshop clothes are very often sized wrong, so watch out for that.) Another mis-sized item was a pair of NEW Mozo open-toed sandals, built for the ages out of solid leather - a size SMALLER than I usually wear - but they FIT anyway - and even at $9 they were a steal - They still had the tag on them and retail for $70-100 new. (I looked it up.) But they needed some breaking in - The toe area was stiff and a bit tight - so I have been applying alcohol to wet it and stretch it out and wearing them around the house. I used to use shoe stretch, but then I found out that cheap cologne (90% alcohol) or plain rubbing alcohol will do. These sandals will be  perfect go-tos for the Spring and Summer.  I know, I am not supposed to age myself with sensible shoes - but one does have to mind one's feet, and I CAN'T wear more than kitten heels these days.

I agree with the Cheapskate that change is not always progress, but life around you is morphing anyway - I suppose I am a bit of a Luddite - and I found signing in to the audition today on a touchscreen device a bit of a pain - But I have to know how to do it & how to put a credit card into the parking meter. Ugh. And it's all in a day's work. Woody Allen was right, sometimes in life what matters is just showing up and in the process dealing with the Zipcar and its card - and the parking meter which won't take change - and the touchscreen sign in -   and then some loose cords and a computer crisis at home. (Luckily I got back online, as I couldn't remember how to sign in on the secondary laptop!) Is that progress? But I have to have a cell phone and do submissions online and sign in the way they want me to, whether I like it or not!  So, I just stay a step behind everybody where the technology is cheaper for being ever so slightly dated! It's a compromise the real cheapskates would have a hard time with - so I am just thrifty, I guess!

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More than a Cheapskate
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thinking about thrift again- & I got a pile of books out of the library. (There is another vintage one that I ordered from the main branch, which I wait for with anticipation...) The most interesting one is THE CHEAPSKATE NEXT DOOR by Jeff Yeager.  I agree with many of his tenets that is it is better to be frugal than go with the next styles -  but it is all a little rustic for me - along the lines of keeping your own hens, slaughtering your own meat and such. I live in Hollywood, for heaven's sake. Yes, I am now using Zipcar car sharing to go to auditions, as I wait for a second car - but as an actress and performer, no matter how down home I get, I need to keep up to date on some levels.  I have to keep up certain appearances that some of his cheapskates can avoid. Sure,. my life is pretty basic, and I do spend a lot of time in front of my computer in jeans and tee shirts or sweat shirts - but I have a chance to go to an industry cocktail mixer at the famed Skybar - & I have to have something to wear THERE, too. 

Luckily, I am prepared - with my orange corduroy ruffled neck jacket (originally from Chico's but I snagged it at a thrift shop) which makes a splash every time I wear it - Great jackets and jeans or pants can be worn almost everywhere, so I collect them.....Looking forward to it. It's hard to live so close to all the glitz and not indulge in it every once in a while! So we have the accessories, the shoes, the jewelry and so on....all acquired at way below market prices.

Last weekend I found a great light jacket - another one in ORANGE - at Goodwill - $5!! It was marked at a VERY large size (22) but I don't know how anyone that size would wear it, as it fits me at a 14!! (Thriftshop clothes are very often sized wrong, so watch out for that.) Another mis-sized item was a pair of NEW Mozo open-toed sandals, built for the ages out of solid leather - a size SMALLER than I usually wear - but they FIT anyway - and even at $9 they were a steal - They still had the tag on them and retail for $70-100 new. (I looked it up.) But they needed some breaking in - The toe area was stiff and a bit tight - so I have been applying alcohol to wet it and stretch it out and wearing them around the house. I used to use shoe stretch, but then I found out that cheap cologne (90% alcohol) or plain rubbing alcohol will do. These sandals will be  perfect go-tos for the Spring and Summer.  I know, I am not supposed to age myself with sensible shoes - but one does have to mind one's feet, and I CAN'T wear more than kitten heels these days.

I agree with the Cheapskate that change is not always progress, but life around you is morphing anyway - I suppose I am a bit of a Luddite - and I found signing in to the audition today on a touchscreen device a bit of a pain - But I have to know how to do it & how to put a credit card into the parking meter. Ugh. And it's all in a day's work. Woody Allen was right, sometimes in life what matters is just showing up and in the process dealing with the Zipcar and its card - and the parking meter which won't take change - and the touchscreen sign in -   and then some loose cords and a computer crisis at home. (Luckily I got back online, as I couldn't remember how to sign in on the secondary laptop!) Is that progress? But I have to have a cell phone and do submissions online and sign in the way they want me to, whether I like it or not!  So, I just stay a step behind everybody where the technology is cheaper for being ever so slightly dated! It's a compromise the real cheapskates would have a hard time with - so I am just thrifty, I guess!

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Thrift Burnout?
Friday, February 15, 2013

Ok, I am not a financial saint. I try to deal reasonably with my resources and makes things out of nothing - but mid-winter has set in & I am going to admit to all of you that I have spent too much time surfing on the One Kings Lane collectibles/antiques/vintage site looking at all the old and luxury goodies. There is a suppressed longing for elegance that I have been feeling lately - & I am taking it out by looking at a lot of pix of stuff on the net.....

Although I had found a bargain high-class Valentine's Day card for hubby and since I wasn't going out to get flowers, cut him some au naturel poinsettias from a bush outside (they are RED). I am going to take advantage of my outdoor flowers more.  We usually have lots roses, mostly white - and I feel bad about picking them - but them more one does the more the bushes flower....

What I really have to do is - ugh - some spring cleaning - even though it's still mid-winter and get rid of the clutter that has accumulated. I didn't mind getting a slight case of the flu - it's this malaise AFTERWARDS that's a bummer! 

So that's the news from the front. Keep the faith!

 

 

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More thrifty thoughts
Monday, February 04, 2013

Just read PEACE AND PLENTY by Sarah Ban Breathnach - the author of SIMPLE ABUNDANCE and the others in that series. It's about "Finding your Path to Financial Security" - which she wandered into after a period of millionaire living and a disastrous divorce.

I don't know that I have ever been as financially secure as Breathnach (or as she calls herself SBB for short, as I recall....) Although I have had windfalls - bits of inheritance and so on. One I used to heal myself - which I don't regret ever....funded a hiatus of a year on a lovely beach when I was really at my wits end - & paid some bills. I always tell myself that it was MUCH cheaper than going to an expensive mental health clinic! 

At that time, I splurged a bit, just to find out what it felt like, and surprisingly, I found myself spending more $ on things I would otherwise acquire frugally! And with no more enjoyment. Actually, the thrifty hunt is much more FUN.

Apparently SBB didn't concur, and tried living very high on a Downtown Abbey hog.....We all have fantasies, but they are, in the end, so hard to live with. I admire splash,  but I realize that I prefer a comfy home that is not too demanding on the inhabitants! I do like the things I have, but they were all bargains & if they disappeared somehow, I would just go & collect another set & have a good time doing it! 

It's made me think of thrift and good living - SBB's book - which is curiously personal -  She says somewhere that the origin of "thrift" is thriving - with which I heartily concur - and I look around and see that I/we thrive. There is a great satisfaction in that.  I have failings that you can drive trucks through - my allergies which make me a rotten housewife, for one - but I have managed to put together a comfortable home - a haven. And when I draw back, I am proud of that.  On a middle class income, my husband and I have put together a nice middle class life.

Now,  in L.A., , or should I say Hollywood, that may seem paltry - but although we remain bohemian, we have our comforts - cable TV (On an ancient TV set) - Netflicks on a used game console, a FAX machine I got through a community exchange, a very old caller I.D. box that was given out with the service years ago and still works. - Cell phones that come with the contract & aren't too fancy - Health insurance with the Kaiser HMO down the street & insurance (Life, etc.) We have Soc. Security and a pension coming due to Hubby's years of teaching. Who knew we would be so secure? I've inherited $ from my parents' house - which goes toward retirement & a bit for a used car - I remember someone scoffing at my generic eBook reader, which was another bargain - but I retorted that no one would steal it! And I got it cheap because I wanted to see what the whole eBook thing was about. Turns out I still do better to buy bargain books, which I can then turn in to my used bookstore for credit for MORE books.

Of course, there are many more examples. I sit at our recycled MAC from Hubby's brother, which because it has nothing ON it, is quite fast....The rest of the files sit on our old hard drive - and, you know, I don't NEED them very much.....I suppose it was a kind of clutter....I am currently wearing old jeans I put elastic on the waist, so they wouldn't fall down - & a tshirt I got for $1 at the 99 Cent Store! But I am dressed like the proverbial L.A. Child, - so it doesn't matter - not for my current life or neighborhood.  And it's not like I don't have my fancy duds to put on when it DOES. ( and that runs to evening wear....)

So what is this? A meditation on having enough. On thriving - from a bit of frugality and control. Habits of control that make me say , I can't afford that (although every once in a while I find a bargain & I DO, which makes it all the more fun....)

It's a philosophy of life that I do want to share - hence my blog. Sometimes I wonder if I have anything terribly new to say on the subject. But we all have our own slants on reality. And I suppose my life as a thrifty actress in Hollywood is an unusual one. I have thrived (& recently got $150 off my back union dues because the 2 unions came together & there was an amnesty of some sort...) But I do this sort of thing on a daily basis - put the cans out for the locals to recycle - and say a prayer of gratitude that somehow I have managed to find and maintain my budget haven here in Hollywood. My father always feared that I would end up living in a cardboard box - his version of the bag lady nightmare, I suppose - but instead I have a happy marriage and a snug home, and art besides when I will....And I feel a great sense of accomplishment. There!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Latest Frugality
Sunday, February 03, 2013

Finding LOTS of cheap hardback books - now some on sale at Big Lots for 50 cents each! We bought 16 & plan to recycle them at our favorite used bookstore later....Reading Best-selling authors, which I never do & it's interesting.

ALSO at Big Lots - found powder, eye cream, night cream, eye rollers - all very CHEAP.  I forget that they have cosmetics/skin care at Big Lots. $3.50 for Dead Sea Minerals eye cream and $1.95 for an eye roller (rollers usually run @ $15....) I got $100 worth of product for $20!! Still using the product I received from the infomercial - a month to go & that's GRATIS + an honorarium.

Getting some $ from sale of the house back E. & using it to buy back some of hubby's pension time so that we will have a secure retirement income & we get Soc. Sec. $, too! 

Had the flu, so I have had a lot of time to lie around reading into my pile of books!

Sears had a sale on glasses, 2 for $100 - & I was so satisfied with my first 2 pair, that I ordered a SECOND set. Beats the $69 price I get providing MY OWN FRAMES at another place. The frame selection is limited, of course - but I like plain frames, anyway.....Hubby had been told that the sale was until April, but when we got there, they said it had just expired, but Hubby talked them into the deal anyway! 

Yet for all the savings, we don't seem to live that high on the hog. What do other folks do? We only have one income + my Soc. Sec. - but still.  I don't know if I could raise a family on a teacher's salary - & I wonder how it will be adjusting to retirement income - at least I have lots of practice! 

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Long Time No See
Friday, January 18, 2013

Took a break from the blog, but not from my habitual penny pinching. Writing on a older MAC that was recycled from a brother-in-law which at the moment is faster than our old PC - we will see....

So much content on the old hard drive!

As an actress, I got a new agent - an accomplishment - I continue taking my "Sr. Citizen" commercial acting classes around the corner from my house - cheap & great!

Got thru Xmas by buying lots of BOOKS. Yes, everyone got books this year - 2 nice hardback in recycled gift bags from thrift stores & dollar store tissue paper! A bit bulky - but I had combined my - OK, I admit it - my DOLLAR Store hardbacks - just from one obscure dollar store, somehow - & bargains from the 50% off table at Barnes & Noble & the wonderful outdoor book store in Ojai, CA - Bart's - I also confess that I READ a lot of them 1st - very carefully! - so I knew that the books were good.  

We recycled our Xmas decorations & hubby found THREE great nutcrackers at a yard sale to add to the collection & it all was quite festive. & we gpt the cards out, too - 

Then we took a family trip up N. - first to Bakersfield & then on to Sacramento - & a few days there over New Year's.  We even did a wine country trip to a small region near Placerville & stopped in 2 different Indian casinos. (Hubby''s brother likes sports bars & they watched the Packer game - I prefer to spend my $ shopping!) Also  looked in the thrift shops of suburban Bakersfield & scored some bargains - $15 for a beaded chiffon jacket - back beads on wine chiffon - wore it for New Yr's Eve - even tho we celebrated quietly.....and some things at 50% off at a St. Vincent de Paul's - 

Seems quiet since we have returned - & COLD. I have been getting a lot of wear out of my "beautiful coat" - the sparkly beige nylon car coat I have been wearing for years....Even in So. Cal, you need some winter clothes - & Sacramento was really chilly....

Warming up for MLK's birthday weekend - hope for lovely weather. How have you all been doing?

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Life Goes On
Monday, August 27, 2012

Hmm, what sort of a frugalista way can I share? I fixed a necklace by threading the end with a needle and thread and then threading the chain through the holes. (Thought I would have to take it to a jeweler....) & voila! fixed. You can do simple repairs by yourself.  It's a silver necklace I was given years ago & never wore much - now polished up, it seems just right.

For my birthday, Mm friends took me to a hidden jewel of a restaurant in E. L.A. hung with the art of the Mexican artist Tamayo.Just getting there was an adventure! 

The night before hubby & I went to the Hollywood Bowl to hear Mozart. We sat in the cheap seats, which I love, as you can stretch out! And the sound is just as good. At $23 for 2 (via phone) - the parking at $17 almost cost as much! Still a DEAL.  The Hollywood Bowl is a great place - just beautiful.  But if you go, remember that it can get chilly! 

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Giveaway! from Carmex
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

As a Carmex blogger, I have received lots of nice samples from them to try & to review.

This time, I was sent a beautiful yellow beach tote, along with samples of the current & new lip balms. I like the Lime Twist - but I LOVE the new pomegranite! (& there is a sunscreen of 15....)

What's more, I have a giveaway for YOU All!

Send me your name, email address & address by the end of August & I will send them off to Carmex & YOU will get the same package that I did!

So show your solidarity & send in those names!

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Tourist Thrift
Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just back from a week at the boat - unhappily because hubby strained his back & I tripped & bruised something around my right rib cage - ugh.  We are both in braces of one sort or other & taking ibuprofen.  Figured we would rest up here until we are up to climbing about the boat again!

Through my theatrical training I have pretty much learned to fall properly - on my haunch - & then I just scrape knees - I have been taking calcium supplements & weight-bearing exercise since I was in college & my bones, at last bone density scan, are like rocks. Thank heaven! I have had too many female relatives who have broken hips (& recovered!), had a dowager's hump & other spine problems.  So I keep my spine supple by doing my "cat" stretch exercises every morning! And continuing the calcium....

What does this have to do with thrift? The shopping that we do when we are away from home...Who would have thought that there would be such good thrift shops in the tourist town of Solvang? But there are 2 very nice ones right across the street from each other across from a big hotel away from the main drag - where we park & I get to peek in. Have found marvelous things in the past - like a spiffy bronze vinyl raincoat for ONE DOLLAR!

This time, I found a BRAND NEW pair of pale pink denim shorts -with the tag for $59 right on them! (for $4)- & a sun visor (41) , another pair of cropped denim pants ($4)  - a pair of stretch jeans to cut off for cropped jeans ($4), several nice crafty $2 headbands (with tags that said $17-18 each! on them) and a nice broad-brimmed straw hat & a felt hat for cooler weather....and a mattress cover ($5) for the mattress at the boat  (worth $30?)- I am only really buying nowadays what I really am wearing - leisure clothing....Like another pair of bright pink cropped pants for $4 - In another shop I bought fisherman's sandals for $4 - & a pink plaid visor. (Boy am I glad that bright colors are in fashion, or I would never have bought those pink cropped pants....but I do tend to be conservative....)

One wonders what I do with all these pieces - but a lot of them are on the BOAT now, as we came home packed very lightly due to our strains! I always have to pack for both hot & cool for up at the boat - as inland it gets warm and on the coast it's downright chilly - so one has to packing twice as much! And then it gets warm at home on the flats of Hollywood.  Confusing, no?.  Think of that & items lost in the WASH & one has to have variety to stay well-dressed even as to color coordination!

Oh, in Sta. Paula Goodwill, I also found a pair of vintage leather Kenneth Cole designer sandals for $4 - & a straw purse - $4?? - and a pair of grey slacks for later in the year...& a pair of white pants for now $4 -

OK - I was splurging - but I found a LOT of nice stuff & dressing fairly well around my hubby does cheer me UP.  He gets grumpy - but the nice thrift shop lady made a point of showing him the $59 label - which was more than 2X what I had paid for everything!  I do almost all of my shopping in thrift stores & bargain places nowadays & I think hubby forgets what things REALLY cost....

(Then there was a 2 for 1 sale at Rite Aid on vitamins & the total was $90!! Save one place - spend another....) But I do like to invest in our health....Not to mention all the ibuprophen we are taking!

I also recycled 4 bags of books - mostly pulp fiction - at Bart's Bookstore in Ojai - & received a $27 credit.  (They pay on the face value - not on the $1 or so I paid for each of them!) then I had $ to buy some music books for Mark's birthday -which was Sat. - & a box of their weird $.50 books from outside.  They have such an interesting mixture of books - I always find them stimulating....So it cost me practically nothing!

Do you know that you can even get hard backs for $1 at the Dollar Tree?  I also recommend their Indian pickles & relish - wonderful!

I got a very bitchy fashion no-no book at the Dollar Tree - some guy on TLC - with whom I don't always agree - it's the sleep moderne look - nothing loosely fitting.  But I think I will talk about that in another entry......See ya.

 

 

 

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Beauty via Thrift
Monday, June 04, 2012

One secret I haven't shared with you all is that quite often you can find great deals in upscale BATH PRODUCTS in thrift shops! I scored FIVE medium bottles of assorted shower gels at a SALE at a local thrift shop for (after the sale discount) @$.60 each! That's a lot of quality for $2!! You can also find deals on nice scented soaps - even sometimes shampoo and conditioner. So go look for those sorts of products in the thrift store - They are usually grouped together in one place...(Sometimes there might be makeup there, as well....and often these products have never been USED....You might find the odds and ends of a Mary Kay distributor's stash, for ex.)

ALSO, at the same sale, I scored for FIVE $5 dollars a sequin-encrusted jacket in a diamond pattern in black, gold and iridescent pearl!! It's 80's vintage - but fits great without shoulder pads (I checked).  This is the sort of item I can never resist & which I squirrel away until I find the occasion to wear it - thereby saving oodles on formal clothes, which I do have more cause to wear than the general population, perhaps, because I am an actress when I wear my other hat....Besides, it was just so Joan Rivers!! I love her style of great jackets and interesting jewelry over a plain pair of pants and a top. Watch Fashion Police!

 

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Target @ Goodwill?
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

There is a certain Goodwill I like to go to on the way up to the boat - & one of the nice things is that it carries NEW Target merchandise - heavily discounted!! The deals are especially good in clothing.

On the last visit I found a gingham pair of long shorts, a grey light jacket, and a a nice belt for @ $4 each  I also found NEW Dr. Scholl's original wooden sandals for $3.99 (They list for $40+)

I calculated that I had gotten $130 worth of clothing (list price) for @ $20! & these are new items. They are not luxury goods, & not worth $30-40 list in my opinion - but for $4 - yes....

Nor $.25 each - as some of my frugalistas relate - but pretty good anyway!

I also received a nice sample of Tricalm (for itching, etc.) through the mail, which arrived just in time, because I had an allergy outbreak! Did work. Also used cold black tea on the itching when I was desperate! Also used the cheap Benedryl I had bought on sale at Rite Aid a while ago - & the generic zyrtec I have been picking up at Dollar Tree. (I stocked up on vitamins & home remedies there.)

At the church thrift shop I picked up a very high class silk sweater for $3 - and some yarn.  I have been knitting away on my frankenstein project - but somehow the smaller needles are eating up yarn, and even though I sent hubby to the 99Cent Store for more, it was getting too costly - so I am slipping in some color into the cream yarn - with the yarn I found at the thrift shop.

I also finally finished off & sewed together the peculiar fuzzy wool shrug/bed jacket I had cobbled together - Odd, but not bad - again, recycled yarn.....

My husband had no idea how CHEAP I am - my friends turn us on to FREE concerts (another one Friday) - I get discounted tix sometimes - & my wardrobe, which is quite nice - I nickel & dime! Now I have so many nice things that I am able to upgrade what I wear at home from old crummy clothes to decent casual wear....

I also found a crazy large straw hat without a brim at another Goodwill for $3 - & a leatherette purse (I am trying to downsize from the gold satchel I have been wearing & give it a rest as my day bag.) - I thought it was real leather - but at $7, it's a fashionable style & not bad.....

Look around at your local thrift shops for new merchandise - my hubby also gets nice men's wear at another Goodwill in the Valley.....There seems to be a pattern there - so if you find that there is new merchandise in the thrift shop - there will probably be more next time, too.

If I don't write before then - Have a great Memorial Day weekend everybody!

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Unexpected Sources of Fashion
Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Guess where my latest fashion finds came from?  a rack at the 99 Cent Store!

They now carry thriftshop quality used or otherwise clothing - & amidst all the junk I did find some NICE stuff at - 99Cents each.  I found tees, knit tops (of good brands), even a polyester chiffon blouse & a pair of label brand cotton cropped pants - even a big tee for hubby.

The 99 Cent Store is an unexpected source for: underwear, cheap bras, pantyhose, sox, pants sox, scarves and so on - & has just added this feature - which is worth wading through the racks for good stuff - at prices lower than most of my area's thriftshops!

ALSO - Dollartree has cute faux straw fedoras - I got one in each color: straw, blue & a mustard brown - I was inspired in this multiple purchase by the writer Anais Nin - of all people - who had French shopping habits when young & pampered.  

So - when I find a good deal on scarves at the 99 Cent Store - I buy one in every color - I can afford it!

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Life Goes On
Saturday, March 31, 2012

Went shopping last weekend - at the Dollar Tree & the Goodwill! 

Found "straw" fedoras at the Dollar Tree - so I bought 2 - one in natural & the other a nice olive color! Later that weekend saw one, slightly better, at Chico's - and the price was $49!

Found some NEW long sleeved tees from Target at my favorite Goodwill - $30 shirts for $3.99... -

I also found 2 charming 50's (?) fashion oil sketches - sort of Renoir-esque - in lovely white frames, for $2.99 each - put them in the bathroom & hung necklaces from the frames....

Thinking about the garden, and picked up slips of geraniums to root.  And Friday, visiting a friend's garden, I picked up some ivy, and a succulent.  I am putting them in the potting soil we found up at the beach - (Someone had put it next to the trash, & I grabbed it, as I had been looking for some).

Also found cheap wine glasses at a favorite old ladies church thriftshop (I keep on breaking them!) - Plus a long flimy skirt (very much in fashion) - & a glittery "boat" sweater with anchors on it - to wear for the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and so on up at the boat.And a tee to rescue - with some slight stain I can bleach out - the style & the peach pattern were just too pretty to pass up....And the ladies were just looking at an Indian shawl & obserrving a spot & I said that I could deal with the spot & landed this lovely light wool pashima for $1!!

The outdoor solar light we had bought for $1 at the Dollartree & hubby had afixed to the boat, is still turning itself on! We also put one in the window at home.  Good deals for emergencies, I thought....

And hubby found a set of opera CDs for me at the thriftstore - which I am listening to with great pleasure right now....

I go out shopping one weekend, and the next - nada! 

Had to video an audition & put on a turquoise knit dress I hadn't worn + a 3/4-length black cotton vest & a turquoise scarf - What a lovely outfit! Also had some stills taken, hopefully to use as new headshots - California weather is so funny - you can wear heavier weights in Spring & Summer, & lighter ones whenever the sun is shining!

I had brightened up my hair myself & done my own makeup - which I received compliments on....Looking forward to seeing the pix/video.....

 

 

 

 

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Hello There
Monday, March 19, 2012

Back to the blog - forgive me, but I have had problems with allergies & rashes & on top of that a bad cold which seems to be going around- which has left me with bronchitis - arg! So I have been under the weather....

But frugality goes on!  Last week hubby & I plus some friends went out TWO nights in a row!! First we landed last minute tix to a chamber music concert in an art gallery in Beverly Hills. Strings & a marimba! Then we had managed to get tix for The Play of Daniel as presented by the L.A. Opera at the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of the Angels - We had ordered them back in February! I hadn't yet been to the newish cathedral, so that was interesting - but even though we were early and our seats were in the middle of the cathedral, I was glad that I had brought my vintage opera glasses, so I could read the captions projected up against the backdrop! (I found a silk drawstring bag that had come with some jewelry purchase which I had saved & used it for the opera glasses...That's an idea - protect items in those jewelry bags.

I had promised to GO OUT more this year - & last week was the fruit of that - & did I mention that all the tix were FREE? 

There I was wearing my thrifts hop finery - my Chico's orange jacket one night & my M. Fredric yellow jacket the next - It was nice to take my wardrobe out! (Otherwise I live in my OLD jeans & sweatshirts or t-shirts!)

TIP: Whittle down synthetic plastic corks to fit in the tops of bottle for which you can't find the tops.(I don't know, I always LOSE mine & they have to have tops or the contents will evaporate!) It's an old-fashioned solution - but it works & synthetic corks are easy to trim to size, as they don't crumble the way real corks sometimes do.

Other than that, I have been lying low, trying to get over this @#$% cold!!

 

 

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Pricey THRIFT?
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gee, I read about thrift shops across the country with items for ten cents - but up in Ventura, where I usually find bargains - the lowest price seems to be $.99!!! (OK, I did get a powdered eye shadow for $.30....but that was unusual on this trip....)

Hit the downtown Main St. Ventura thrift shops & gee - they were EXPENSIVE!!  They had boots for $75+!!! And elsewhere they had paintings (not very large or good ones) for $149???Purses for $50+!!!!  I did score some bath gel & bath salts - & a cheap necklace - but  - frankly, I was appalled at the PRICES at those thrift shops! Have they all gone NUTS? That painting might cost $149 (might, I say) - but you GO to thrift shops to get a MUCH better deal than THAT!!!

The pricers at those shops seem to have gotten on the "collectible" wagon & lost their heads! I did find a silver-plated angel candleholder for less than $2  & a long vintage silk scarf for $1- & hubby found overhead film very cheaply - but overall I found the experience terribly FRUSTRATING!!! And usually I SCORE & have such FUN!  Do they think they can get eBay prices???

We went to Dollar Tree for practical items - such as generic zyrtec & vitamins & I found more chocolate-covered coffee beans (caffeine that's easy on the stomach) - & we always buy pickles there - I DID score a copperish satin headband for my headband collection - but the lip butter (2 in a pack)  I had picked up last time was all GONE (or I would have bought some more)...All very practical....

But one does have to stock up on vitamins & I buy several of Dollar Tree's sleep formula when they are on the shelf -  as they are effective & a good deal...I also found more scar gel - which has helped me recover from the terrible rash I had around my mouth from contact dermatitis - the drug store brands are EXPENSIVE. Over the years, I found that I end up being my best dermatologist - by trial & error - And I am also trying NOT to take the generic zyrtec when not necessary, as that's the last effective allergy medication that's generic....( & therefore cheap)...But the pollen levels are VERY HIGH!

On the other hand, I do regularly spend $50 on every health food store visit (about every 6 weeks) for the nostrums I take to help my allergies....MDs sneer at homeopathic remedies - but they have WORKED for me - so if it's only the placebo effect - who CARES? My mother got me hooked on air cleaners to help when the pollen levels are high - & I even put one on the boat - which seems to be helping.....Somehow MDs don't manage to get to discussing such options & one is on one's OWN. (Oh, the air cleaners are all thrift shop babies.)

FYI hubby discovered last week from a friendly pharmacist that if he changed one of his prescriptions just SLIGHTLY, there would be only a $10 co-pay - instead of the $70 out of pocket we have been shelling out for six months or so!!!! Do you think that it occurred to ANYONE else to let us in on this???   Remember that MDs often do not factor in COST in their prescriptions!!! So if money is tight, please remember to ASK them about generics and lower-costing options (besides asking them for samples!)

Oh - we are middle class on paper - but for all of our frugality, we just squeak by.  Hubby got a scholarship for his continuing credentialing courses - but it's still several thousands of dollars out of our pockets! Does anyone consider these professional costs when calculating salaries? Of course, we DO get to deduct that $ from our taxes.....

Taxes - that's coming up, too... Will do them myself via Turbotax or a similar program for the Fed & a form for the State - (They make you PAY for online state tax filing?? and once the Fed is done, the State is EASY.) I even used the internet to get an extension last year.  Very efficient.

So - boy am I glad that hubby & I had a nice Presidents Day weekend! We really NEEDED it! Now back to the grind!!! (Do you think Abe Lincoln was a vampire hunter?  Just asking.)

 

 

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A Frugal V Day
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hubby & I had a fairly fugal Valentine's Day - 

  • I made a card with some card stock & an envelope I had plus a graphic of an old valentine I had found in a throwaway newspaper, which I glued on.  I then wrote my own sentiment on the inside of the card with my red calligraphic pen.  It worked so well that hubby thought I had BOUGHT it!
  • Lo and behold the bag of Ghirardelli Milk & Truffle Squares arrived in a ox in the mail just on Valentine's Day! (I received them as a sample through the She Speaks program.) So I wrapped it up in some red cellophane I had saved - with some recycled ribbon.

Cost of it all = Nada!

Hubby had gotten me a card & a box of chocolates...We had mutually agreed that we wouldn't go overboard for V Day, as we both have money down on musical instruments - our presents to each other.  (But I DID buy a set of high-threadcount burgundy sheets for us from One Sale a Day on the Net.!)

We ordered takeout, and he had special juice & I had some wine & then we got ROMANTIC!  He just loves it when I put on RED lipstick....

Hope you all had lovely Valentine's Days, too - 

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Refurbishing, thriftshopping & so on
Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Back to the life of a frugalista!  Wandered around South Pasadena & window shopped in the clothing boutiques.  So many things I liked - but would never pay that much $ for - This is the land of the $15 headband (on sale)!  It was nice - but I manage to get a LOT of mileage our of my Dollar Tree ones! (Think I was wearing a thin one that afternoon....)

I DID buy a vintage rhinestone necklace - it was so pretty, I couldn't resist, even though I paid too much money for it - (more than $5 is a lot for me!) It was missing a few stones - which is why I got it relatively cheap - But yesterday I proceeded to rehab it by moving some stones from the back to the front & gluing them in - I also covered up the dark holes of missing small stones with metallic silver nail polish & then sprinkled silver glitter on the spot - It makes a nice substitute for missing stones.  Did the same where I had lifted the rhinestones from the back closure - Really fairly good camouflage!   It's a choker & I don't know WHERE I will wear it - but I will find an occasion....Just fits me - it's small, as so often happens with vintage pieces....

Had great success at the Pasadena Salvation Army - Hadn't been there in months - & we happened upon a 60% off sale on clothing.  Some of my finds:

  • a pr. of Steve Madden denim high wedges for $1.80 (new Steve Madden shoes are @ $100 & up!
  • a nice coral t-shirt - for @ $4
  • a coral jacket from Land's End - @$4
  • a pr. of knit pants in a cool pattern - @$4 (the pants + jacket + t-shirt = a nice outfit!)
  • a pr. of black pants - originally capris, but almost full length on me - with sequined stars on the outer seam of the leg.  A bit glitzy for me, but at @$4, I took a chance....
  • a vintage sewing basket with a red silk lining for @$5 - It was the padded red silk on the inside of the top that did me in....(No doubt a semi-antique which escaped the vintage annex next door....I mean, how long has it been since there have been sewing BASKETS that were WOVEN & lined in red SILK?)

Hubby got a blue nylon Columbia jacket for @$5 - & a big framed poster for his office at @$7~

That's how I spend my clothes budget! All together we spent $40! 

Remember - #1 EVEN THRIFT SHOPS HAVE SALES! and #2 thrift shops in better neighborhoods have better merchandise!

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Real Busy w/OUR TOWN
Friday, February 03, 2012

Sorry, sorry, sorry - I have been so busy that I have NOT been domestic.  I was offered a part in a distinguished production of OUR TOWN at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica, CA - directed by the reknowned David Cromer (he won a genius grant in 2010) - & I could NOT turn it down....

Great experience - did I say it starred Helen Hunt?  Boy, once again - they are ALL so miniscule - any of you out there who have any doubts - or those teenagers in anguish - please be reminded that people in show biz nowadays are TEENY!  Not an OUNCE of fat anywhere! (Not me - but then I am a character actress, no?)

One of the pleasures of the play was the opening party - & I WAS able to take out that long pink ultrasuede vest I had bought, which had just been hanging in the closet - I wore it on top of a sweater & my blue corduroys with a blue velvet scarf - & I was one of the warmer ones at that patio on a chilly Santa Monica roof restaurant!  Hubby came & enjoyed the glitz - it's nice to have a chance to wear one of my bargains & show him the overall purpose of my wardrobe! (Gee, I spent less than $20 on that vest....)

Domestic hints? I see people on the net complaining about touching up grey hair & using hair mascara - but I usually use a combination of red blonde Roux tint dabbed at my greying temples - or put on HOT strong coffee (also covers grey) -  Finally back on the computer catching up - 

Hubby's taking piles of my freebie magazines to school to distribute.  Apparently, even the kids like to look at the pictures when they come into his office & it calms them down to leaf through them.  As they are inner city kids, I am sure that they don't get to look at magazines that often....

Through my freebie sites I also always look out for freebies for school.  Just signed up for a Lego magazine today because I thought the kids would like it.  I also send for posters and other materials which hubby can bring to school....

Also looking at the pix to see if there are images I could use in my homemade Valentine....It's getting close.  There is a coupon giveaway I put up on my Facebook page (I often share deals there) - It's at pamelaruthmunro - because there are loads of "Pamela Munro"s in the USA.  Who knew?

A musical friend tipped me off to FREE tickets to see a little opera by the L.A. Opera at the Cathedral - This time I called in and actually managed to GET them. (They go very FAST.)

Oh, hubby is home from work - gotta go, see ya!

 

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Xmas Aftermath
Thursday, January 05, 2012

Whew! The holidays are over & I GOT THRU IT all! My fingerless gloves were a big hit with the younger set (along with hardbacks I had found at Dollar Tree!)  I also gave hubby books I had found heavily discounted at my favorite Barnes & Noble way before Xmas....Reading material makes such good gifts! & at the printed price, you look terribly generous!

Great success with new wrapping tricks: I stapled magazine pix of gifts to generic mall shopping bags - worked great & looked very artsy!  Also wrapped up books in magazine pages - I mean, you KNOW what they are - so just creating a gift "sleeve" is perfectly adequate - & boy, does it save person doing the wrapping - not to mention the pocketbook! Read a new interesting tip about spraying little packages wrapped in newspaper with hair spray to form a lacquered surface.  Gotta try that one.

We played Xmas music at church - I love doing that!  & we participated in neighborhood caroling - it was MUCH appreciated.  One elder gentleman said that he had caroled himself many times, but he had never realized what a pleasure it is to be caroled TO. (On that note - just showing up at someone's door at a special occasion & singing/playing to them, no matter how simply, is a great gift.  I sent my father a singing telegram across the country years ago & he was delighted to have a young actor show up at his door!)

Gonna write about thrift shops - as I had interesting experiences this year at shops I only go to when I am visiting relatives....But that's a whole OTHER story....

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It's Coming or Advent
Friday, December 09, 2011

Advent does mean "it's coming" in a sense - & I am sure that we all are scrambling about! 

I am knitting like mad, because - having not done my usual summer/fall Xmas shopping, I have decided to give everyone hand-knitted wool fingerless gloves.  I found a VERY EZ pattern free on the net & I dug up my yarn stash & needles & so on from storage.  It is messing up the living room - but I cannot really help it. I've already made half a dozen pairs, and it's 2 more weeks til Xmasin which to knit! (Hubby has NO IDEA, as usual about these things - a ball of WOOL costs $6-8 retail & I use about a ball per pair of gloves - so, the ones I have made already would cost almost $50 in retail yarn!)  Also made hubby a pair of wool slippers - my first.  None of these productions is perfect, frankly - but for that, get a machine, I say!

Decorated the apartment - & just as well, as we seem to be spending Xmas here - & going off between Xmas & New Years - trying to fit everyone in! Hubby went & got some pine boughs, so I could make my traditional holiday arrangements in vases around the apartment. Since I have never had room for more than desk top trees (I have several which I put up yearly) - I like having vases full of pine boughs, to get the piney Xmas tree experience.  And they ARE FREE at your local Xmas Tree stand - as they trim them, & they were just going to throw them AWAY! (Or you can get them for very little - hubby tipped the guy at the tree stand a few bucks - ) Then I decorate the boughs - you can even hang ornaments on them! 

I have picked up a few Xmas things on my thrift shop visits (One I know has good deals in decorative items, whereas everything else is nice, but not cheap...) But no more than $20 worth! And for an Xmas outlay that's not bad, especially when a box of VERY nice XMAS cards is included! 

But then I have never spent much in the Xmas rush - my idea of a splurge is buying a few $5 bargain Barnes & Noble books for hubby! (I always go to a certain Barnes & Noble, as they always have a better selection of bargain books...)

I do feel cozy - the wreath I snagged at a drug store sale a few years ago is on the door - & there are even little lights around what hubby calls my Xmas "altars"!  Because the trees are so small, I buy small ornaments to scale which I enjoy looking for.  I suppose it's back to my old dollhouse days, when I did the same! But Xmas brings back the child in all of us, no?

Hubby & I are playing Santa & Mrs. Claus for the 7th or so year in a row up at Channel Islands Harbor.  Hubby is a GREAT Santa Claus & I am Mrs. Claus & am generally a helpmate...(& they even pay us something!) The children are always so cute & we do enjoy it!

How are you guys holding up?  Baking cookies? Having parties?  Do tell!

 

 

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Not Perfect? Perfect!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Not Perfect? Perfect!

By now, my readers, you should realize that I adore VINTAGE & have for years, even when it was out of fashion….But my slim purse (as they used to say) never stretched to what the connoisseurs would call REAL antiques.  But it WOULD stretch to finds from the thrift shops & elsewhere – which often had small FLAWS, which would ban them from an antique store!

For example, I am now wearing a cashmere sweater – probably 60’s or 70’s vintage….Lovely versatile beige, soft & warm…but I bought it for ONE DOLLAR at an animal thrift shop (It was on the dollar rack outside)….Why?  Because there are some very small holes in it!  But I know from past experience that they are easily mended - & ALSO that flawed as it is, I am more likely to actually WEAR it than if it were perfect.  Isn’t that ironic?  But true…A $200 sweater would make me terribly nervous!

At the same time, I bought some small ethnic dolls (50’s? 60’s?) - & then found out that one of the cutest ones, a Scottish lass had NO ARMS.  Luckily, I had some small wooden pieces that I could glue in as a substitute.  So much better than a doll that looked like a victim of the clan wars….

Over the years, I have sewn slightly ripped seams on expensive dresses – fixed zippers – done all sort of gluing – touched up costume jewelry (I just covered up a flaw in a 60’s Coro pin with silver nail polish.) And I have taken stains out. (It you want to see if the stain is perhaps doable – wet your finger with saliva & touch the spot….If it smears then there is a good chance that you can wash it out….)

I also have gotten good at fixing up all sorts of sweaters – another $1 light ribbon sweater seemed to have holes, but on closer inspection, the ribbon yarn had just stretched at pressure points in the sweater - & all I had to do was tighten the stitches there on the opposite side & voila! A very nice sweater….

I have to admit that over the years, I have come to really ENJOY my mending & transforming efforts.  So much more FUN than nervously plunking down cash I couldn’t afford! & with a nearly similar result in the end.  And who was the wiser?  Only those to whom I chose to boast about my cleverness!  Like you guys!

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Generic is Good
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Generic is Good (& Cheaper) 11/17/11

 

This AM I was reading my Wall St. Journal (a FREE subscription, by the way  = $300 for 6 months!) & I saw an article comparing the new Kindle vs. the Nook.  This interested me, because I had finally popped for a cheaper generic eReader I found online.  (It's a Delstar- & can be found online for under $50 w/shipping.)  Now - the eReaders in the paper are the $99 Kindle Touch(w/ ADS ? & $139 without) vs. the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch - $99.

Sure, these may be more sophisticated - but after a bit of a steep learning curve, I am delighted with my $45 Delstar!!  I don't know how much it contains - but I certainly know I don't need 3,000 books in mine! And it has buttons to move the pages, which works just fine.  I have been downloading FREE ebooks from sites on the net - the old obscure ones I like... (the complete works of 19th C. mystery/horror novelist WilkieCollins, anyone?) And I am enjoying it immensely.

I have even found a FREE CONVERTER for ebookformats at eHamster.com- which I have been fiddling with.  And I have found out that Barnes & Noble Nook books are in the epub format, which I can use on my Delstar w/o converting.  (& www.freestufftimes lists loads of temporarily  FREE Nook books from Amazon DAILY.)

Of course, new technology is fine & lots of fun - for those who are willing & able to PAY.  But my Delstar$45 eReaderwas frankly a SPLURGE even at 1/2 the price of a Kindle! (& it came with a cover, charger, and headphones....)  I don't NEED touch screen for this....& luckily I don't have tech snob buddies to put me down for my budget choice!

Did I say that I am thrilled that I will ALWAYS have something to READ?  (but the battery does go dead - so paper books are STILL desirable!)

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Generic is Good
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Generic is Good (& Cheaper) 11/17/11

 

This AM I was reading my Wall St. Journal (a FREE subscription, by the way  = $300 for 6 months!) & I saw an article comparing the new Kindle vs. the Nook.  This interested me, because I had finally popped for a cheaper generic eReader I found online.  (It's a Delstar- & can be found online for under $50 w/shipping.)  Now - the eReaders in the paper are the $99 Kindle Touch(w/ ADS ? & $139 without) vs. the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch - $99.

Sure, these may be more sophisticated - but after a bit of a steep learning curve, I am delighted with my $45 Delstar!!  I don't know how much it contains - but I certainly know I don't need 3,000 books in mine! And it has buttons to move the pages, which works just fine.  I have been downloading FREE ebooks from sites on the net - the old obscure ones I like... (the complete works of 19th C. mystery/horror novelist WilkieCollins, anyone?) And I am enjoying it immensely.

I have even found a FREE CONVERTER for ebookformats at eHamster.com- which I have been fiddling with.  And I have found out that Barnes & Noble Nook books are in the epub format, which I can use on my Delstar w/o converting.  (& www.freestufftimes lists loads of temporarily  FREE Nook books from Amazon DAILY.)

Of course, new technology is fine & lots of fun - for those who are willing & able to PAY.  But my Delstar$45 eReaderwas frankly a SPLURGE even at 1/2 the price of a Kindle! (& it came with a cover, charger, and headphones....)  I don't NEED touch screen for this....& luckily I don't have tech snob buddies to put me down for my budget choice!

Did I say that I am thrilled that I will ALWAYS have something to READ?  (but the battery does go dead - so paper books are STILL desirable!)

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Super Sale Surprise
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

11/15/11

I don't know what prompted me to go INTO Chico's last Sunday - just to look around, I thought - as I can hardly afford their stuff, altho I love it all.  And - glory be! There on the sale rack were dresses for $15!!! (one down from $129 - the other from $49!!) - They were so cheap - thrift store prices, that I got the 2 of them & then discovered there was ANOTHER sale going on & they were further reduced to $10 each! Wow. What a deal! Two classic dresses of good quality I can wear FOREVER.

The reminds me of when I worked near two old fancy downtown department stores - Since I could go there on my lunch hour I would look & look & look- & they would mark down things all the time & over & over - until I could actually AFFORD THEM. (I got them, of course...)  That was years ago, & I still have some of those things!

Just goes to show you that even in expensive stores, there are BARGAINS if you look very hard....(& maybe often)...Go check out that sale rack in the BACK of the store!

P.S. Hubby found $80 Sperry Topsider boat shoes for $30 at West Marine (a boating store).  Even the sales people didn't know why they had been priced so low- Since he wears shoes like that daily to his teaching job - he bought 2 pairs!  Because such deals in boat shoes are harder to find, since they have become trendier!

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Testing
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Test

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Monthly Haul & More
Friday, November 04, 2011

Out of curiosity, I have begun to keep track of the items I get as freebies in the mail and otherwise .I get LOTS of magazines free - and toothpaste, skin care, Carmex - deodorant, hand creme, eye pencil, vitamin sample, teabags from Twinings - and I also received a beautiful glass Pyrex baking dish from smiley360 - with coupons for PAM and canned tomatoes. The dish is $20 on the internet! I am eager to try it out!  It's part of a promotion.

Today UPS delivered 2 LARGE bottles of Torani coffeehouse syrups! this is part of a promotion through shespeaks.com.  I have already tried the salted caramel in my coffee - YUM! (The other is peppermint.....)

And I got my grey "Where's the BEEF" tee yesterday - nice t-shirt. I had designed one at the CAMEL site for hubby, but when it arrived, it was a bit too small - so I will inherit it.

All in all for the month of October, I calculated that I got $100 worth of freebies! (That's calculating, fyi - $1.50 for each of the sample toothpastes, etc. - because I was astounded to find that that's what they cost at the drug store! ) My favorite site is still www.freestufftimes.com - but others are catching up - Join all the membership programs you CAN!

I also nabbed some AnnaMarie Borlind skin care samples at the healthfood store - I don't know if they are aware that I frequent that particular store because they always have samples of some kind! (& I do spend an average of $50 per trip!) I liked this natural brand very much & the eye cream was particularly impressive - I think I will actually BUY some, as it's only $20 - not bad for that sort of thing....

WILL BE HAVING A GIVEAWAY OF CARMEX LOTIONS! Just email me @ pamphyila@yahoo.com with CARMEX in the title line - & I will get somebody as a winner & CARMEX will send you some (My package was $14 worth, I looked it up!)

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Misc. Stuff
Friday, October 21, 2011

I do so much every day that is frugal - so here's more of my on-going rundown on my frugality:

  • Got a FREE 26-week subscription to the Wall St. Journal for hubby (of course, I can read it, too.  I like the WSJ - but it is expensive....
  • Rec'd my first copy of Martha Stewart Living mag
  • Printed out my coupon for a reg. size hand cream at Occitane - a fancy store!
  • Keep on trying to get a free mascara at L'Oreal on Facebook - but no soap yet.. (You can enter daily).
  • Joined KMZT - classical music radio here in L.A. on AM & on the web - for points to win prizes. (I join all those things....)
  • Joined Mommytalks.com to do surveys & win $ - I got $5 for just signing up.
  • Joined the survey part of House Party.com - for more surveys....

ALSO - I dyed my slippers golden yellow using TURMERIC as a dye - washed the pink slippers & then put the powdered turmeric in the soapy water & rinsed until the water was clear.  They are now drying in the sun.  I never DID like the pink color!

And - I have been making flower arrangements using a combination of natural & fake elements.  Somehow I have been getting lots of large vases as presents - & I wanted to fill them inexpensively.  So - I found some eucalyptus-type leaves from a fallen tree - & sprayed them with heavy duty hair spray as they dried.  I did the same with a purple hydrangea a friend gave me.  They all dried out very well in our DRY climate here in L.A. I made an arrangement in the one large vase using some fake flowers I had, the dried leaves & 2 bunches of fake flowers I had bought at the Dollar Tree.  Turned out beautifully.

In addition - I picked some fallen fluffy tops of some sort of large grass plant we have around here - It was already down & partly broken off - so I didn't feel too vampirish in cutting it off.

I added it to an arrangement in another large vase, with some greenery I had, and the dried hydrangea - Then I sprayed it with heavy-duty hair spray - & in the last minute,as the hairspray was drying, I put on just a little touch of silver glitter to make the grass top look less dingy....Glitter is not normally my style - but it does look nice & the holidays ARE coming...

Did I mention that I had also brightened up some old rhinestone pins by applying glue & then silver glitter?  I also used silver nailpolish to cover the metal edges of one piece that was going grey & dull.  Nail polish is great for tiny jobs in upgrading costume jewelry - I also painted over a bird in a vintage pendant that I had with golden polish to match the gold background, as it has begun to look worn....And it's finicky - but I used black nailpolish to painted over the silver-colored spring on a cuff watch I had treated myself to at Urban Outfitters.  It makes the spring fade into the tortoiseshell color of the cuff.

Hmmm anything else?  Surely there is - but I will save if for next time, yes?  How are you all?

P.S. I WON $25 from thriftyfun for my tip on bleach spots!

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Misc. Stuff
Friday, October 21, 2011

I do so much every day that is frugal - so here's more of my on-going rundown on my frugality:

  • Got a FREE 26-week subscription to the Wall St. Journal for hubby (of course, I can read it, too.  I like the WSJ - but it is expensive....
  • Rec'd my first copy of Martha Stewart Living mag
  • Printed out my coupon for a reg. size hand cream at Occitane - a fancy store!
  • Keep on trying to get a free mascara at L'Oreal on Facebook - but no soap yet.. (You can enter daily).
  • Joined KMZT - classical music here in L.A. on AM & on the web - for points to win prizes. (I join all those things....)
  • Joined Mommytalks.com to do surveys & win $ - I got $5 for just signing up.
  • Joined the survey part of House Party.com - for more surveys....

ALSO - I dyed my slippers golden yellow using TUMERIC as a dye - washed the pink slippers & then put the powdered tumeric in the soapy water & rinsed until the awter was clear.  They are now drying in the sun.  I never DID like the pink color!

And - I have been making flower arrangements using a combination of natural & fake elements.  Somehow I have been getting lots of large vases as presents - & I wanted to fill them inexpensively.  So - I found some ecalyptus-type leaves from a fallen tree - & sprayed them with heavy duty hair spray as they dried.  I did the same with a purple hydrangea a friend gave me.  They all dried out very well in our DRY climate here in L.A. I made an arrangement in the one large vase using some fake flowers I had, the dried leaves & 2 bunches of fake flowers I had bought at the Dollar Tree.  Turned out beautifully.

In addition - I picked some fallen fluffy tops of some sort of large grass plant we have around here - It was already down & partly broken off - so I didn't feel too vampirish in cuttting it off.

I added it to an arrangement in another large vase, with some greenery I had, and the dried hydrangea - Then I sprayed it with heavy-duty hair spray - & in the last minute,as the hairspray was drying, I put on just a little touch of silver glitter to make the grass top look less dingy....Glitter is not normally my style - but it does look nice & the holidays ARE coming...

Did I mention that I had also brightened up some old rhinestone pins by applying glue & then silver glitter?  I also used silver nailpolish to cover the metal edges of one piece that was going grey & dull.  Nail polish is great for tiny jobs in upgrading costume jewelry - I also painted over a bird in a vintage pendant that I had with golden polish to match the gold background, as it has begun to look worn....And it's finicky - but I used black nailpolish to painted over the silver-colored spring on a cuff watch I had treated myself to at Urban Outfitters.  It makes the spring fade into the tortoiseshell color of the cuff.

Hmmm anything else?  Surely there is - but I will save if for next time, yes?  How are you all?

 

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Day-2-Day Stuff
Friday, October 14, 2011

Just wanted to check in on my day-2-day frugality efforts -

Rec'd a nice sample  - Dial Nutriskin.  These sample sizes are perfect for me to carry along in my purse!

Finally WON a beauty giveaway - Think I am getting eyeliner - which I don't have.

Going to FreeGretchen a lot for her giveaways!

Signed up with PG to receive samples of both Head & Shoulders & Prilosec (where, they are giving away a LOT of Prilosec!)Get yours.

Lash tint seems to be working bit by bit....

See ya!

 

 

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Cheap Bow-tay- Eyelash Tine
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Here's a recipe for eyelash tint that I am trying out.  Found it on the internet, of course -

You need 1 cup filtered water

1 tsp. olive oil (I used coconut oil)

2 cups fresh sage (or 1 cup dried)

  1. Put the water on a pan on the stove
  2. Add sage leaves, bring to a boil & simmer for 15 min. (for darker add a pinch of sage & simmer 20 min.)
  3. Remove from the heat & let cool
  4. Strain into sterile jar using cheese cloth (I used a coffee filter)
  5. Cool to room temperature
  6. Take small-necked bottle & pour in filtered water 1 tsp at a time.
  7. Add olive oil to bottle using an eye dropper
  8. Close top of bottle & shake well (You have to shake mixture before every use.)
  9. Apply conditioner to eyelashes & brows daily, using mascara brush. (I am using a Q-tip.)

Now, I have heard of using sage to darken grey hair - so it must have some tinting properties.

I am applying it (it's the 2nd day) & I do think I see a slight difference in my lashes -  MIne are long, but very blonde, so without something to darken them, they disappear.  But with all of my allergies, I prefer not to wear mascara all the time if my eyes are in a sensitive state. 

This herbal tint is not irritating AT ALL - & I have also put on some petroleum jelly to make them sleek.  This will be progressive - so I will keep you posted as to how it goes!

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Cut My Hair Myself!!!
Thursday, October 06, 2011

 Almost cut my hair today....so goes the old song from HAIR.  Well, no almost - I DID.

Altho it was more of a trim - not worth $20 for a cut & besides, then it gets too short.

So here is how I do it:

  • Make sure my hair is LONG, so there is a lot of room for minor error.
  • Cut your hair DIRTY, because it grips better.
  • Use VERY SHARP scissors.
  • I do this in front of a bathroom mirror -
  • Put some newspaper in the sink to collect cut hair.
  • I have a very basic side-parted long - what they used to call a pageboy - long bob.
  • This cut won't give you layers, but just cut the ends.
  • I pull my hair back in an oblong barrette that holds tight.
  • I pull the resulting ponytail up so I can see it in the mirror behind my head..
  • I cut straight across the flat ponytail.
  • Then check cut without the clip.  Usually I have to do this a few times & reclip it and snip more, then even it out
  • I wash the hair, & then when dry - check the cut & trim where necessary
  • I curl pieces of hair around my finger & then snip them to give shaping around the face. (This method also works for trimming bangs: bring bangs together at the front of the face, twist & trim.)

This method is NOT for the faint-hearted!!! Altho I have never had any real disasters.  But I have to feel optimistic & brave the day I do it! The trick is to use the cut in the barrette as a guide line to which you can trim the remainder of the hair.  This time, I pulled up back pieces by themselves & trimmed them, as I wanted the back to be shorter. (Cutting with the clip gives you more length in the back than the front....)

The trick, again, is to establish a GUIDELINE.  For someone else with a cut with layers, you could use the layers already established to trim from. Just keep on pulling it up & checking that the cuts are the same length - & go slowly!!!!

Luckily for us, today's fashions don't DEMAND absolutely straight edges, they was they used to!!! So a very slight unevenness is OK!!!

Have you ever trimmed your own hair???

 

 

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Today's tips
Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Signed up for Pureology's "member group" - perhaps there will be samples coming out of it! (I repeat, always join ALL insider groups!)

Stretched my perfumed dusting powder by mixing it up with some body powder - it still is perfumed enough! (I use it almost exclusively as dry shampoo.)

Got a freebie packet of coffee in the mail.

It's raining in So. Cal!  And when it rains, it POURS.  Dug out the Duck Boots I bought this summer.  Hubby thinks they are funny, but I know that they are right in fashion...Always shop for winter bargains in the summer & vice versa!  I wore the $6 woven S,. American maxi dress I bought last winter all SUMMER. (The boots go with my $1 vinyl raincoat - a summer purchase 2 years ago!) I also bought another pair of never-worn low suede booties at a yard sale over the summer - cheap....So - shop off season & do watch the styles, as they give you leeway in what to WEAR.

 

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Bk 2 Saving/blogging
Monday, October 03, 2011

It's time for us all to go back to work/school, whatever.  I am determined to post frugal tips for you guys regularly.  Heaven knows, I have new sources of savings pop up almost every day!

One of my latest freebies is a set of SEVEN (7) samples of Genifique from Lancome - It's a "youth activating concentrate" -  or sort of a serum for your skin - I received a coupon from Lancome via email & went & picked it up at a convenient Lancome counter. Nice stuff.  And knowing me, I will get more than 7 applications from those packets! I used about 1/2 of one last night under my night moisturizer, which is nice, but not too "active." 

My day moisturizer is a new formulation that I am testing out for Johnson & Johnson! Free!

The trick to getting some of these freebies is to sign up for EVERY makeup ""club" you can find. (That's how I got into the Johnson trial AND got the Lancome coupon.)  There are many of them listed at www.freestufftimes.com. AND look for anywhere you can join if you go to the cosmetics site for any samples.....

 

 

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Bad Blogger!(Get a student 2 do it)
Friday, September 30, 2011

Ok - you can get blog burnout.  I find I haven't been blogging as much as I ought to - I was just reading something about online presence & reminded myself of that -

So - some ongoing tips on how we live frugally -

My hubby is a songwriter of 12-step songs, having been a friend of Bill W. for over 25 years - & he was written an amazing collection of songs - Some of these we have performed at various 12-step gatherings around S. Calif. - And as we got further & further into this, we discovered that to go any further we needed a more professional CD sampler.

But the COST!  Much more than we can spare, especially since my husband has been unemployed for over 4 months!  Lots of time to work on the music - but no money for studio time....

THEN I saw an ad in craigslistla where a student at a local Hollywood recording school was looking for musicians to record - gratis!

We went last night & spent 4-5 hours recording.  It was a great experience for both hubby & me (I sang backup) - & we came out with some pretty good demo material - GRATIS!  Wow - the studio was state of the art & the student engineer patient, eager & helpful.  All in all a wonderful & productive evening - for parking & a tip to the kid!

I have often said that some people PAY good money to have learning experiences - but the best way is to prepare yourself & throw yourself into a real situation! Last evening was one case in point.

You can get students to do all sorts of things!   In the past I have used students for:

  1. Dental work at a dental school
  2. Cleaning at a college program for dental hygienists
  3. Hair cutting at beauty schools (I like the Vidal Sassoon Academy in Santa Monica)
  4. This recording session

I have also read about using students to do work on your car - mechanical & body work - getting student massages - and many other beauty school services.  Students learn about all sorts of useful work.  See if what you desire can be done for less - by a student!

 

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BAAACK from Vacation
Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Yes, I took a vacation from my blog here - Thriftyfun was donating $5 to the Red Cross for each tip submitted - so I just sat around & wrote tips for them as a way to do my bit.

THEN one very nice post was EATEN by the computer somehow - UGH.

But here I am again - with tales of our frugal & broke summer.  I scavenged things from all the move-out items at the end of the month at the apartment complex near our boat slip - Whew! Packing materials for my buddies with the eBay store - figurines to put in the garden (free, so if they disappear it's no great loss....) Lots of nail polish for my craft projects (I already have used the BLUE on a metallic barrette) - Little boxes for my assemblage project - a wastepaper basket - a set of nice Glenlivet glasses - some bowls for the boat - & some things which I will give to my brother for Xmas - There was also a box of dishwasher detergent & some liquid soap - Hubby made fun of me - but why not take dishwasher soap?

It looked like a lot - but it's not, really - It's nice that there is a tradition of a sorts of leaving unwanted items in the clubhouse for everyone to take.  If you are not going to drop it all off at a thrift shop, why not?  It seems such a waste to just toss perfectly good stuff!  I rescued a large tropical house plant, which is now recovering in the garden.  THAT riled me - why put that in the garbage?   I get into plant rescue to add to my plants inside & outside the house - and root succulents - which is just a matter of sticking a piece in some SOIL.

We are probably going to participate in the Boater's Swap Meet in 2 weeks & my buddy is going to go to the swap/craft faire at Hollywood High School.  A place to sell extra vintage clothes. (Have to mend some of it.)

The set up at the boat works out well for us - as there are not really any extra costs & we can go & hang out by the water in our sailboat which is our little cottage by the sea - all on the cheap!

Even working some as an actress - which helps, as we are living on unemployment for the time being - Every little bit contributes to the exchequer!

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Hacks on Instructables
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Check out instructables.com for all sorts of neat diy ideas! I am making my own tee tree oil toothpicks by just soaking regular toothpicks in water with a few drops of tee tree oil (which I have on hand,) Then leaving them to soak overnight in the frig.  Not quite as good as the ones I buy at the health food store - but soaking them in water makes regular toothpicks much softer & easier on the gums. And I am fiddling with how many drops of tea tree oil to add to the water they soak in.  DEFINITELY cheaper than $4 a box at the health food store! (& such a simple idea!)

Get what you are entitled to! We are having some repairs done to our bathroom in our apartment - fixing the faucets - painting a wall that has peeled - & I have a notion that it's because there will be an inspection of the building on Thursday! Peeling paint is considered a "habitability" issue - & they have to re-paint! (That's how we got our wood floors in the living room - there was a HOLE in the floor!) We do little things ourselves - but one advantage of living in an apartment is that THEY have to call the PLUMBER.

 

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pamphyila (Contact)
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