Introducing Thrifty Third Thursdays!

January 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm (A Little Fun, A New Career, Fun Photos) (, , , , , , , )

Drum roll, please!!! Now is the time for our first ever Thrify Third Thursday! And for the first ever TTT I am offering a deal on one of our brand new products which I think will be a favorite.

I am going to offer you our Inside-Out Bag PLUS a scarf to accessorize for just $31! (plus shipping and tax). That is a $19 savings! This bag is incredible. It is reversible and you can wear it as a cross-body or shoulder bag. Talk about versatile!

This will also qualify you for the January special, an item from the Your Way collection for 1/2 off. This is already very popular for organizing the home.

When you bundle my TTT deal with the January special today I will ALSO give you 10% off the total!

Here is an example: The original price of the new Room for Two Utility Tote is $60. When you purchase my TTT deal along with this tote you will only pay $54.90 (plush shipping and tax) for all three items, a $55 savings!! That is LESS than the original cost of just the tote! This is our most expensive tote in the line so that is the most you would pay for anything in this bundle.

There are 4 prints in the Inside-Out Bag and 5 prints in the scarves (plus 10 prints in the varsity scarves).

Jump on this deal right now. Only available today! Tell your friends and when they join the group they can get this offer, too!

Shipping is available to anyone in the US.

You must going my Facebook group to take advantage of this deal today.  What’s In Your Tote Today?

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Thanksgiving 2006

November 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm (A Little Fun, Fun Photos, Memories) (, , )


As I was preparing my customary Thanksgiving dishes today I was thinking about what is probably my favorite Thanksgiving celebration.

We were oceans apart from family in a country that does not celebrate Thanksgiving (that’s right American friends, Thanksgiving is not celebrated across the pond).  We were dirt poor.  I was a supervisor at Starbucks and Josh was not working.

But we had so much to be thankful for.

We settled on 15 November as the deadline for Josh to get a job before we had to buy our tickets to move back home.

On 14 November Josh was hired!

I love sharing holidays with friends and this was special because many of our friends had heard of this crazy holiday of ours but never experienced it and the strange foods we concocted.

We squeezed 10 people into our 650 sq.ft. apartment (which actually was the most spacious we had had at that point!).  It was probably a Saturday evening since people obviously do not have the holiday off and it is just easiest to do it on the weekend.

This was actually the size of our kitchen.  Just a few inches behind us is the wall.

We had a tiny oven.  I didn’t even THINK about what a challenge it would be finding a pan for the turkey that would fit in the oven!  I think Sam came to the rescue on that one.

The refrigerator was also tiny, though not as tiny as our first one!  It was by far the most tricky time I have ever had planning a meal this big.

A living room/kitchen view.  I LOVED our doors.  Even though we didn’t have a balcony it was great to let in fresh air and it was crucial for this girl who was deeply affected by dark winters to have as many windows as possible.

The meal: Turkey (the first I had ever made), brown sugar ham, scalloped potatoes with chipotle, mashed potatoes (from scratch), gravy (from turkey drippings), Stove Top, cranberry relish, sweet potato casserole, salads, cheddar garlic biscuits (scones, not cookies!).  Imagine doing all this with just an apartment oven and a microwave!  On top of that is the challenge of actually finding the foods we need for this meal.  Pumpkin is pretty much non-existent unless you can find an American imports store and pay at least twice as much.  Turkeys are really not around until closer to Christmas.  Stove Top had to be shipped in.  Chipotle, again, imports store.  The cheddar cooks differently, the potatoes are different, everything is just…DIFFERENT!

I was pretty excited about the Bisquick (probably found at ASDA, owned by Walmart).  I was also thrilled that Stephanie sent me a care package with fall goodies including STOVE TOP!

Explaining to my Chinese friend exactly what these dishes are and how you eat them.




Countries represented that night: USA, Scotland, England, Nigeria (sort of), China, Australia, Spain.

The cook finally eats when everyone else is full.

Pudding (dessert): the most important part of the meal!  Friends were always so intrigued by pumpkin flavored desserts but when they tried the pumpkin cheesecake it was always a hit!

This memory is so fond to me because we had dear friends with us, we were able to share a special holiday with friends and other internationals, and could offer a place to go for other Americans who couldn’t be with family.

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De Dos Dias

August 27, 2012 at 9:00 am (A Little Fun, Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

We first set out for wine country.  We just wanted some wine for the apartment so we just wanted to pop in and out of a couple of places.  One red for Josh, one white for me.  We also ended up with a really excellent Port which we brought back with us.

When Stacey got off work she took us to her favorite Indian place which happened to be in San Rafael.  They have a delicious all you can eat buffet for lunch.  I particularly loved the naan and tikka masala.  I wanted to eat more but I had no room left!

When we were done eating we headed out to the city.  I had wanted to take a picture similar to one we had done on our previous trip to San Francisco.   So we went to the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square.

Do you see any difference?

Maybe just a little.

It was a beautifully sunny 83 degrees when we left San Rafael, which is a mere 15 minutes from the bridge.  As we approached SF we watched (and felt!) the temperature drop.  On the bridge it was 56!.  Cold and blustery in SF!

Josh let Stacey use his ultra light backpacking jacket.  She needed four hands to fight the wind!

We could have flown her like a kite!

Josh looks like he is enjoying a warm summery day.

Josh needed help getting his jacket back on.  Like  a kite I tell you.

What a stud!

A gratuitous VW van shot for Andy.  There were PLENTY of these around!

Stacey took us to this lovely park that was plopped right down in the middle of the city.  In Buena Vista you almost forget you are in a city as you climb the steep hills, pick wild blackberries, and gaze up at the eucalyptus trees (not pictured, I know).  There is such a variety of flora in this park.

This is one of the lookout points in the park.  They say there is this big bridge and an ocean out there, but honestly I’m not sure they know what they are talking about.

The one place I REALLY wanted to try in the city was Humphry Slocombe.  Just a little before our trip I happened to pick up an ice cream recipe book from the library and guess where the shop was ?!  They had some really off the wall flavors that I wanted to try.

I could not make up my mind because what tasted best to me was just the ordinary strawberry ancho chili chocolate.  I really wanted something different so I chose pluot cardamom something or other.

Josh and Stacey both got the secret breakfast, which apparently is one of their best sellers.  It involves corn flakes and whiskey.  It really was tasty!

The Mission District reminds me a little of Pilsen, but a bit more hard core or edgy.

I really wish I would have taken pictures of some of the murals.  This was one of those places I really didn’t want to stick out like a tourist.  The picture above was taken at my hip.  😀

Once we were thoroughly chilled with our ice cream (did I mention it was 56 degrees?!) we, at least Stacey and I had to get our coffee fix at Philz.

I love this picture!  It seems like it should be in a newspaper article about Philz.  🙂

They brew your coffee up for you right there!  Fresh!  And you can mix beans, too.  Since it was evening but I knew we would be having a very late dinner and a late return I mixed decaf Ethiopian with the regular Silken Splendor.  It was quite good!  And a fun place to hang out, too.

It was finally time for dinner so Stacey took us to the place she volunteers.  Old Skool Cafe is a not for profit that gets at risk kids off the streets and trains them for jobs.  The cafe is not only a place to train the kids, but it is where they can be employed which offers them a legitimate place of employment and good reference for their resume.  I encourage you to click the link to their website and read about them.  And it is not your typical not for profit that just does what they do and expects pity and hand outs.  They really do what they do well.  The food is excellent and they offer live entertainment.  Yelp is proof that the general public really enjoys the food.

The jazzy/clubby music was superb.

And there was salsa dancing when the musicians cleared out.

We were the last customers out.

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August 9, 2012 at 12:21 am (A Little Fun, Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , , , , )

Summer is nearing an end and we have been wanting to take Stevie to a Railcats game.  So we did.

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A Walk

April 2, 2011 at 11:32 am (A Little Fun, Fun Photos) ()

I take the shuttle to and from campuses on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I have class.  We have a Watertower campus, which is right downtown, and we have a Lakeshore campus which is in the north of Chicago, in Roger’s Park.  My class is in the Lakeshore campus.  I have been wanting to walk to my train after class, rather than taking the shuttle.  I have just been waiting for better weather.  I was going to use the lakefront path and the winter winds sweeping off the lake is not fun!  So there was finally a good day with decent weather and nothing I had to rush back for.  So I walked the 8.6 miles down the path.  I took detours for pictures and including the mile I walk from my station to the shuttle in the morning, I walked a total of 10 miles that day!  With a 15# backpack!

So enough words.  Here are the pics:








There’s a story with the above building:

They advertised $888/mo mortgage, parking and storage incl. No fine print.

This was when we still had hope of buying in Chicago.

We always liked this building because all of the units have a view of the lake.

We figured it would be really tight, but if we pinched pennies we could make that kind of mortg, plus association fees.

When we looked at it we found out parking was tangent and the ‘storage’ was a 3X3X3 locker.

THEN they told us the $888 was for the first year only. Then went up to $1295.

Oh, and “The value of your property will go up because they are planning another construction right in front of this one!”

*blink* *blink*




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My Morning Walk…

February 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm (back to school, Fun Photos, Studies) ()

Chicago, 6:45am 2 weeks ago…




Chicago, 7am last week…

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Good Weekend

January 19, 2010 at 1:06 am (Fun Photos, Time Off Together) (, , )

It is so rare that Josh and I can have a day off together, let alone a weekend!

It has been so long since we have gotten to go out to eat together.  Dining out is something that I really enjoy, but we have never really had the budget to do it often.  As the budget is especially tight now it is really not even an option.  It is so hard to pass up an impromptu stop to pick up a sandwich for lunch or pizza for dinner.

So when we got gift cards from Josh’s staff we were really thrilled.  Josh loves seafood.  I don’t.  When I actually had more time I would try to make salmon for him once in a while.  When we go out to eat he likes to order it since he doesn’t get it much at home.  So he really likes Red Lobster for some affordable, half-way decent tasting seafood.  Fortunately for me they have exactly one non-seafood dish.  And even more fortunately, I really like it!  And they have great biscuits (and an amazing margarita, but we were there for lunch and didn’t really want to spend extra).  So we really enjoyed using his Red Lobster gift card on Saturday.  And the bill (not including tip) came out to just pennies away from the gift card amount.

I had a free drink from Starbucks leftover from my birthday, so I enjoyed a Venti no whip raspberry mocha.  MMM!!

We went to lighthouse place and used a Master Card gift card we received from a friend to purchase clothing items we have had on our list for a while at Lighthouse Place.  It was painful to pass up so many awesome deals right now!  I have never really been a Gap girl, but if you need some things head over to the outlet.  Josh got jeans for $8 (he never finds jeans he likes!) and I got a hoodie to wear on my midnights for $5.  We still have money left on the gift card!  We might have to stick with using it for necessities rather than splurges.

Saturdays are usually Josh and Stevie’s ‘bro time’ but I wanted to hang out with them this time, too.  We took Stevie out to get ice cream when he got back from work and we enjoyed playing his Wii together and having popcorn.

Sunday we thought it was such a nice day.  The sun was actually shining and the temps rose to just above freezing!  So we drove up to the beach for a romantic walk on the snow.  🙂  Sadly there was a heavy fog on the shore so it was not as scenic and quit a bit cooler, but it was still enjoyable.  There were actually a few other couples there with the same idea!

It was really hard to capture the shelf ice with my camera phone.  It looks deceptively safe, but there was about 50 feet of shelf ice.  Usually in the winter the water pushes the ice against the shore making some really beautiful ice burg-like formations along the beach, which is what we were hoping for.

We were wondering what sort of death might actually be safe…

Sadly, our beach water is not always the best for swimming in.  During the summer one can often find dark red water spewing from this tunnel into the lake.

We had a pizza in the freezer so when we got home we heated that up and watched a library moving until I had to go in for my midnight.

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From the Phone, Pt 4

January 7, 2010 at 4:29 pm (Fun Photos) (, , , , )

A bit more recently…

Apple picking with Chris and Julie.  We also picked raspberries.  They we SOOOO yummy!

The day after opening day…

we took Stevie to a place called Egg On Your Face and Deli In Your Belly for breakfast.  It is kind of hard to see the chocolate chip pancake mustache in this lighting.

And he treated us to a movie.  This is also where he works.

To see Avatar.  In 3-D.  In the Imax.

Stevie is normally afraid of heights and doesn’t normally work in the Imax, but for Josh he will do anything.  🙂

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From the Phone, Pt 3

January 6, 2010 at 6:25 am (Fun Photos)


During such an incredibly challenging part of our lives, we really appreciated the rare occassions when we could get out and try to forget.

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From the Phone, Pt 2

January 5, 2010 at 6:19 am (Fun Photos) ()

OE dance for our clients.  These dances are such a blast.  They have so much fun and it is so easy to just let loose.

Josh dancing with one of my girls.  She is quite the flirt!

Stevie is not a client (yet!) but it is so much fun to bring him to our dances.

Josh, hamming it up for a hula hoop contest.  He won.

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From the Phone

January 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm (Fun Photos) (, , , )

I only recently took the time to figure out how to get my photos from my phone onto the minidisk in the phone.  Here are a few:

Fourth of July fireworks at a friends’.  This is only about a third of what they had!  They even had something they rigged up which they fondly referred to as ‘the canon’.  It was the most impressive private show of fireworks I had ever seen!

Shows you how long I have had these photos on my phone.  This is before we moved to the new house, summer 2008.  Stevie is waiting for his date for a wedding.  AWW!!

This also is summer 2008.  We had torential rains on 2 separate occassions and lots of flooding.  post 1, post 2, post 3.  Unfortunately Josh worked in fire and flood restoration and I didn’t see him for about 2 months.  Anyways, one way I was able to spend more time with him was to walk him to work in the mornings.  After one of the rains when our road was finally passable on foot we saw this wee guy crossing the street.  I had never seen one of these around here, or ever!  When I tried to get a close up shot he got his pincers up ready for attack. 

My bunns!  This was shortly after I got them.  Poor Lady Grey didn’t make it to the new house.  😦

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December 16, 2009 at 1:46 am (Fun Photos) ()

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Close Up

December 7, 2009 at 10:04 pm (Fun Photos) ()

I love taking close-ups.  These were taken last summer at our agency picnic.  The second one is while Josh and Stevie were in a bouncy castle.

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