Ipsy Dipsy August

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Through a friend’s referral, I was able to get my first Glambag for only $5! What can I say? I’m already in love. Not only was my Glambag valued at over $70, YES SEVENTY DOLLARS, each produce is absolutely amazing!

Any frugal fashion or beauty guru would be quick to tell you how fantastic the Ipsy Glambag is. However, no product subscription comes without a little gamble, am I right? In fact, you won’t know what products you will receive until it’s shipped. However, with Ipsy, you can easily receive five high quality, high-priced beauty products for only $10 a month! (both full-sized and large deluxe samples that are long-lasting!)

In my opinion, Ipsy is a fantastic way to not only discover new products, but also to build a collection of high quality make-up products without investing a lot of money doing so.

At first I thought – this really isn’t a very minimalist thing to do! And, in a way, it’s not. However, I don’t think that’s entirely true. I believe that having few high quality items that bring us joy and make us feel good about ourselves is a big part of what minimalism is all about. My suggestion? Well, we know these are great products, however, sometimes we simply have no interest or use for them. Instead of holding on to these products for the sake of holding on to them, consider trading or giving away with friends and family! In short: Use what you love, and let go (share) of the rest!

My favorite product in this month’s Glambag was definitely the Luseta’s Argan Oil Hair Masque. Not only does this masque keeps your hair soft and moisturizer for days at a time, it also prevents future tangling (and I have very long, very thick, easy to tangle hair!) So far, I’ve also noticed that it prevents my hair from getting oily in this hot and humid weather!

What did you gals receive in this month’s Glambag?

Happy 26th Birthday To Me!

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While journaling, I noticed a phrase repeated often, “I really need to redeem myself.” It feels like it hasn’t been “my year” for a few years now, and I really am ready to take my life back. I’m turning 26 years old tomorrow – my early 20’s are officially over. It is a good feeling to look back at all the progress made and times I faced adversity with a strong fist. It’s even a better feeling to have new and ongoing goals clearly paved along my road of life.

In celebration of a year wiser, here are 26 life lessons I’ve learned over 26 years of life:

1. You can do everything right, and still fail. If there is anything I’ve learned this year, it is that there will always be things you cannot control. It doesn’t matter how many right steps you’ve taken, it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve worked, the door may not open, you may not win.

2. Wellness is important. Your physical, mental, and emotional health make such a huge impact in other areas of your life. So, take care of you.

3. Money comes and goes, and you should enjoy your life now. However, if you are bad with money, you will suffer for it. At the same time, you can be very good with money, and STILL be poor. *So don’t be a judgemental twat!*

5. Take what everyone says with a grain of salt. Respect and trust experts (those who have dedicate their entire lives to their work.) However, the truth is – they can still be wrong. There is no one who will know what’s best for you. Only you know that. The best scientist, the best experiment, is you and your own life.

6. Too much of anything is a bad thing. Balance and moderation is key. Enjoy everything. Indulge. Don’t torture yourself. God, why would you want to do that anyhow? As far as anyone knows, we don’t get a second chance at life – make sure you enjoyed yourself.

6. You are not alone in this world.

7. You are who you spend the most time with. No one is resilient to the influences around you – in fact, you are your influences. Plain and simple. Want to be smart? Surround yourself with smart people. Want to be happy? Surround yourself with happy people.

8. You will know which friends to let go of and which friends to hold on to.

9. Some folks, like myself, are just different, unrelatable, and too weird for the mass majority of everyone else, and that’s O-K.

10. There isn’t anything you can’t write through.

11. Processed, convenience, and fast foods are bad for you. Stop being lazy and cook real food.

12. If it’s meant to be, you’ll be passionate about it. If you’re passionate, you’ll prioritize. Passionate people are busy people. They get shit done.

13. No one is perfect. We can’t always be our best 100% of the time.

14. Hard work and persistence isn’t enough. You need smarts and creativity to go the extra mile.

15. Just put yourself out there. Other people with similar interests will come to you, naturally.

16. Even the worst of the worst – you can get through. Sure, you won’t like it, but you’re human, and humans are resilient as fuck.

17. All we have is each other. You can do absolutely nothing alone. Help others, and remember we have nothing without the compassion of other human beings.

18. Your idea of success will not be the same as everyone else.

19. There is nothing more meaningful than giving yourself to others. There is nothing more useful than serving others. Personal growth and contribution. If you do anything at all with your life, do that.

20. We all worship. It doesn’t really matter what it is, at long as it makes you a better person. You may worship your God, you may worship the stars, you can worship other humans or even yourself – it doesn’t really matter. Just be a good human.

21. Removing yourself from the center of the universe could be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

22. The biggest freedom you have is your awareness. Your greatest privilege is what you know. Your access to education allows you to make informed decisions about anything and everything in your life.

23. The only person you should ever change for is you.

24. Start now – where you are and with what you have.

25. Invest in the inner self, not the outer self.

26. Love and relationships are sometimes easy, but most of the time they’re work. A lot of work.

Frugal Foodie Funk

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That is what I’m calling it! It could be the heat (I’m almost positive it’s the heat), or any number of things – however, I’ve been in this frugal foodie funk for nearly a month now! And, I might need your help getting out of it!

What do I mean by this? Well, not only have I been struggling with producing and maintaining meal plans, but I’ve also been lacking an appetite to cook both our favorites as well as exciting new recipes. Until just yesterday, I’ve have almost no appetite for the last month or so.

It wasn’t until my husband whipped up this fantastic bacon cheese burger (with all the fixing, I must add) that I was able to finally reignited my love for stuffing my face. My life-long love affair with taste and smell is no secret, but you could say there has been tension in our relationship. Due to a tight budget and an indifference to meal-time, I’ve been feeling almost defeated in the kitchen.

Have you guys every experienced something like this? Perhaps it’s time to shake things up. I’d love to know what your favorite frugal foods are. What is your go-to recipe when money is tight? Any favorite websites or blogs for recipe searching and sharing?

Real Food IS Frugal Food

Fresh food, or what I like to call REAL food, really is the most cost effective way to eat. What do I mean by fresh food? Homemade, or “nearly” homemade meals. Meals that consist of mostly fresh ingredients (can and does include dry grains – rice, beans, oats, and pasta.)

Science and logic will tell us immediately that this is so.

We all know it’s better for us. It’s wholesome, and more likely to be nutritionally complete than any convenience meal. Sure, a packet of instant noodles can easy be eaten for 30 cents, but what are you really getting out of that? Not only is it a waste of money, but it is also terrible for you. A serving of oatmeal with a banana and a side of eggs is cheaper than your instant noodles or TV dinner. Same can be said about box mac n cheese, all canned foods, and most prepackaged meals or snacks.

We know this, yet, we are stuck in our ways. Why is that? There are many factors that prevent us from eating real food, even when we know it’s cheaper and better for us. Many roadblocks stand in the way: access, skill, and willpower, just to name a few. Even for me, I struggle with these roadblocks every day. I am not perfect. The act of living more frugally, healthfully, and with minimalism in mind is a on-going process. Living well is an on-going process. The real truth is this: It’s work. It’s hard work, and it’s even harder work depending on your income level, where you live, and how skilled you are in the kitchen.

My advice? Make the commitment, but don’t hold it against yourself. First and foremost, the journey should be exciting and rewarding. Life is too short to be punishing ourselves. Make small changes, build strong habits, and enjoy the journey. When things pay off, and they always do – when you feel good, when you look good, when your wallet is full, when your family smiles – celebrate.

Why You Should Stop Buying Cheap Clothes

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I’d say my absolute biggest challenges is to stop buying cheap clothes – cheap merchandise in general. Of course, most of us don’t do it out of choice (I sure don’t – I’m poor, not picky!), we do it because that’s what we can afford and that is what is available. However, we do suffer a lot in the long run by continuously buying cheaply made stuff. (Similarly has been said about convenience meals, fast food, and other “junk” that is disguised as affordable, but really isn’t. I will get more into that in another post, though.) One thing to keep in mind is that cheap stuff usually = cheap labor. Buying from Walmart, for example, isn’t helping your local economy. We support our communities a lot more by buying local, buying fresh, and buying home-made.

On top of that, buying cheap also means you produce a lot more trash = overall hurting the environment. Cheap clothing will wear and break very fast. They get throw out at quicker rates, filling our landfills faster. Majority of the time, instead of repair, we often toss it, and buy another cheap replacement.

Many have also argued that buying well-made, sturdy products saves us money in the long run, and for the most part, it does. The problem is usually the initial investment. I’d love to spend $100 on a winter coat that will last me several years. However, I do not have $100.. I still need a coat. That’s the dilemma. For most of us, it’s about finding that middle ground. For most of us, it’s about going that extra mile, and doing our homework – meeting somewhere in the middle.

I’m a work-in-progress minimalist,

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living in an incredibly materialistic-consumerist world.

Who am I? We’ll let’s see – I’m also a penniless writer, knowledge-seeking, liberal millennial.

Well, mostly. I leave the cake and video game addiction out of most conversations. 😛

So, I’ve had this blog for a little over 6 months, and in a way, I find that it is starving for a personal touch. I haven’t shared much about who I am and what I’m up to when I’m not counting the contents of my wallet.

Well friends, like most bloggers, I’m just a writer.

Writers seek to share experiences with others – both in way to connect, and as a way to serve others. I write for both. I like to think every word I put out into the world is a magnet. I’m pushing ideas out of my brain and into yours. I am attracting other like-minded individuals towards me.

What kind of stuff do I write? In the past I’ve written short-fiction, personal essays, novelettes, dramas (plays), research, critiques, literary reviews, among many other types of pieces. Currently, I have several work-in-progress projects including text-adventure/interactive fiction text-based games, radio drama, and translations.

I am also very passionate about access to high-quality education, unbiased journalism, and building a informed society. I think our power is in what we know. Without this, we cannot make informed decisions in our day-to-day lives, ultimately, preventing us from improving our quality of life. We are not truly free until we’re given the necessary tools to think for ourselves.

Becoming detached from material possessions, and being a mindful spender, is equally about my family’s economic survival as well as a revolutionary act. More stuff = less money. More stuff = more trash. More stuff = more poor working conditions. More stuff = less space. More stuff = more cleaning. More stuff = more stress. That’s my spin on minimalism. What’s yours?

Learning for Free — smear

Learning is wonderful, right? We can all agree on that? I sure hope so! But you know what isn’t wonderful? The cost of learning these days. College is expensive, and even small classes can be. Not to mention, if you’re doing it online you have to be weary of scams. I know for someone on […]

via Learning for Free — smear

Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken — anotherfoodieblogger

I am astounded I am about to make my FOURTH trip over the Santiam (mountain) Pass in Oregon tomorrow for the month of July. Let’s see, I’ve been over it to do a grueling hike to Blue Pool with friends from Ohio just after the 4th of July. I’ve visiting friends (solo) at the coast […]

via Fire-Roasted Tomatillo Sauce on Grilled Chicken — anotherfoodieblogger

 

Doesn’t this just look amazing?! Thanks for sharing @anotherfoodieblogger

Pokémon Go has taken over NYC (and quite frankly it’s f*ckin’ amazing)!

I know for a lot of those who grew up both watching and playing Pokémon, this is literally a dream come true. I watched it periodically as a child (in the mornings before school), but I haven’t played any of the games. Still, I find Pokemon Go to be one of the all-time best mobile games out there right now. Here is why I think so!

It’ll keep you fit! Many pokémon can only be obtained by hatching eggs. In order to hack eggs, you must walk a certain amount of kilometers. I love the fact that it encourages us to go out into our communities and be active. I’ve got to say, I’ve walked more miles in the last 2 weeks than I have in years! I haven’t got this much sunshine and wind in my hair for a long time! And, honestly, I feel fabulous because I’m out there getting a lot of exercise! Bring a sun hat, apply that sun screen, and get on your way! (Don’t forget to stay hydrated too!!)

It’s a highly rewarding and educational activity (for absolutely no monetary investment at all) because of poke stops. This speaks directly to my frugal heart! Yes, there is a huge advantage for those living in metro areas. But, for the most part, each poke stop has something interesting to teach us about the neighborhood you’re in. Many of the stops in Washington Heights feature iconic murals with striking and empowering messages. I think it’s absolutely genius that an app can direct youth to a mural that quotes Martin Luther King Jr., and educate me on the slogan “Know Your Rights”. New York City is filled with century-old historical buildings – including fire houses and churches we often take for granted walking to and from the train station.

This game brings us together. It gets New Yorker’s out and about, talking to each other, and getting excited about something so lighthearted. With the heightened political and social tensions over recent months, this change of scenery has done wonders for New Yorker’s. The city parks are packed with smiling faces – they’re bustling with chatter. That isn’t normal, I can assure you!

And, heck, it’s fun for both the die-hard Pokemon fans as well as the regular Joe! What more could you ask for?

Buy Local, New York!

I’ve said this time and time again, yes – I know, but I really can’t stress this enough – buy local! One of the greatest benefits of living in a highly diverse metropolitan city is being able to shop an extensive amount of local businesses spanned across many “Little” cities or ethnic enclaves such as Little Italy and China Town. There are tons of mom and pop shops in almost every neighborhood in NYC. My home, Washingtonian Heights, is its own Little Dominican Republic with many Latin American specialty shops and restaurants.

These small shops rely on their neighboring residents to keep them in business, and in many ways, they often offer very competitive prices and cater specifically to their residents – sometimes better than what you can find in chain stores within the neighborhood. Just last week, I found a tub of yogurt shoved in the back of a fridge inside a small shop priced for $1.59. I could find the same product in our neighborhood Bravo Supermarkets for $3.69. The only thing I recommend is to always check expiration dates! If you’re willing to take your time to dig, you can find some really affordable pantry items, as well as frozen and refrigerated goods. Many of these shops will often have your basic grocery needs such as milk, bread, and eggs for cheaper than your neighborhood supermarket.

Just a few days ago, I discovered a small local chain, “Deals and Discounts” that offers department store merchandise for very cheap. Though not a mom and pop, definitely check it out! They have many of your name brand products, as well as generic (which, I must add, is most of the time, just as good! I always recommend to try the generic – you’ll be surprised that a lot the time, it’s not very different from the name brand stuff.) They had basic apparel for the family, seasonal + household products, and some edible goods – your usual convenience store set up. Check them out here: http://www.deeii.com/locations.htm They may have a store in your neighborhood!

Skip the chain stores today and discover your new favorite mom and pop shop, 99 cent store, bodega, or local market!

Got a favorite local business you’d like to share? Leave their information in the comments below!

Happy shopping,
Jocelyn