$2 Mascara

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I needed a new mascara and my all time favorite is Loreal’s Double Extend Beauty Tubes.  Because it works so good, I often have the tubes all over the bathroom sink.  So I wanted a quick one to just throw on my lashes and run out the door.  I was using an e.l.f cosmetics mineral mascara that I really liked, but I didn’t have any trips to Target planned, or an order for the internet.
While at Walgreens I wanted to just check their many choices of drugstore mascara, and I was intrigued when I saw Wet n Wild’s mascara for only $1.89.  I’ll try that!
It claims to condition lashes with proteins and is enriched with acai oil.
I’ve used it twice and here’s what I think:
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For under $2 it does the job, but don’t expect to have any huge fake looking lashes.  It doesn’t lengthen, and it doesn’t add volume, but for a natural looking definition, it does the trick.  I think it’s great for everyday.
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It removes easily with my facial cleanser and water, and it stay flexible and lightweight through out the day.  No running, and no flaking.  It really DOES feel like it could condition, but that would be a long term assessment.  I give it a thumbs up!
Remember, this is not a sponsored post, and I purchased this with my own hard earned two $1 bills!  These thoughts are my honest opinion… I’d never lie to you.  🙂

 

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Easy, Affordable Valentine Dinner with Dessert for under $30

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Hey all!  If you take note of the post schedule… I’m late.  But mainly because I was asked to do this guest post on a blog, and was unsure of when the post would go live.  My post on their blog isn’t up yet, but I didn’t want my readers to miss out on my Valentine Dinner plus Dessert for under $30 idea with V-day right around the corner!
So here it is:
Sometimes simpler is better. But when relationships are new, sometimes money is no exception, and we pull out all the stops with lavish gifts and elaborate dates. Then one day you may realize it’s the simple things that should be cherished.
Eating out, especially for Valentine’s Day can be really really expensive. Not only do you have to pay for the food, but also gratuity and the cost of getting to and fro. It’s an expense that can be too much for those that are watching their bottom line, and most everyone is these days!
So, let’s cut out the middle man and make a date night in, super easy and super special! You can even get all dolled up if you want to… or not…. whatever is your fancy.
So, you know I’m going to talk about my #1 budget conscious grocery store option… Aldi. I love Aldi so much! Even the employees are nice, which makes it even easier to shop there.
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With Aldi shopping, a “surf and turf” meal plus dessert for under $30 (yes that’s for the two of you) can be on the menu for your date night in. Assuming you have a few cooking staples, your Aldi bill will be under $30. So, what’s on the menu for tonight’s dining? Tender beef filets, shrimp, mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli, sparkling water with frozen fruit as beverage, and cheesecake for dessert.
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Yes, you do have to cook this yourself, but I promise you, it’s one of the easiest meals to make, but looks so indulgent you won’t even believe it!!
Ingredients:
Exact pricing may vary by location, product type, and season.
Cattleman’s USDA Choice Bacon Wrapped Beef Chuck Tender Filet. 2 in a package for approx. $5
Sea Queen Easy Peel Raw Shrimp. Varies based on size and area approx. $5
Fresh Garlic 99 cents
Bag of potatoes. Varies by type and area, approximately $4
Broccoli $1.69
La Vie cans of sparkling flavored or original water, approx. $5
Frozen strawberries $2.09
Two pack slices of frozen cheesecake $2.09
  1. Wash and chop your broccoli. Toss with a few teaspoons of oil and add some garlic salt (optional). Place on baking sheet and roast in 400 to 425-degree oven until roasted to preferred doneness. Start this first as it can take the longest.
  2. Chop potatoes and place in large pot of salted water to cover the potatoes. Boil until soft. Drain water from potatoes when done. Heat milk and add the warm milk and butter to potatoes. Use a hand blender to whip potatoes and make them soft and fluffy. I add a little milk at a time until I get them to the consistency I like. You can also add a nice chunk of butter to melt in too. Again, start this along with your broccoli, as this can take the longest.
  3. Thaw per package directions and remove the shells and legs from the shrimp and rinse them in cold water. In a small glass dish, spray the bottom with a light coating of nonstick cooking spray or coat with oil. Lay shrimp in single layer, and add some dots of REAL butter, along with some minced fresh garlic. Place in preheated 375-degree oven, and bake until pink. They get done fast so save this for after your broccoli is done. You can keep your broccoli in the oven while the shrimp cook to keep it warm.
  4. Cook the beef filets per the directions on the back of the package. I like to use the grill pan, but you can use a skillet and/or finish them off in the oven to your preferred doneness. Make sure to let them rest before cutting.
  5. Pour your sparkling water and add frozen strawberries
  6. Be sure to take cheesecake out of freezer to thaw with ample time before consuming.

Here are some ways to make it extra special:

Shop your home for a special tablescape. Add an appropriate tablecloth, or even a fashionable scarf to your table.
Bring out the “good dishes” and wine goblets.
Do you have cloth napkins? Bring those out too!
Add some non-scented or complimentary scented candles. Everyone looks romantic in candlelight!
Lastly, take a cue from your elementary school days. Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half to cut out a heart. Take a minute to write down the things you love about your partner. We always enjoy hearing the specifics about what our partner loves about us, and it’s important to let them know too.
Bonus tip: Leave the dishes and the mess for tomorrow! Enjoy your night together, and don’t fall back into your old routine, at least for one night. Take this night as a time out, to enjoy time spent together!
(Photo credits: Aldi.us and morguefile)

4 Thanksgiving Ideas for the Family Gathering

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Today I’m bringing you some (hopefully) fresh ideas to entertain your family on the big turkey day.
Everyone knows that when everyone gets together, they gorge on turkey and all the sides, plus dessert…. and usually all settle in to watch football, or traditionally chit chat and gab away.  Kids tend to entertain themselves (either good or bad).
Instead of everyone doing the thing they do every year, why not add a little extra into the mix?
Here are 4 ideas to shake everything up, (just a little bit)
Recipes:  Having a potluck?  Want to try something new for next year?  Have the people that bring a dish, also bring copies of the recipe.  They can also send you or give you the recipe before hand so you can make copies and provide them for guests to take if they want to introduce the dish into other events.  One of the greatest things about recipes is that the dish is continually always known by the person you got the recipe from.  It can be a widely known recipe, but if someone you know introduced you to it, it’s THEIR recipe!  Let your recipe live on this year.  For the more tech savvy crew, you could even create a newsletter with everyone’s recipes, but make sure you have a paper friendly version for the non techie folks.
Time Capsule Craft:  This next idea comes from my love of crafting.  I know not everyone loves glitter and glue, but this simple craft is fun for the whole family.  Create a Christmas Tree ornament that will seal the moment in time.  Provide clear plastic fillable ornaments, and have guests fill them with craft supplies that you or they provide.  (Craft table potluck anyone?)  Personalize ornaments by having guests write simple memories on small sheets of paper.  Ideas to get you started are; major life events such as marriages and births, major life accomplishments like graduating, or landing a good job, and simple life events like favorite holiday movie, food, or song.  A link to directions and craft supplies can be found HERE but don’t limit yourself to just these craft supplies.  They have such cute things in craft stores these days, so take a trip to just meander.
Silly Talent Show:  Everyone has a silly talent or trick.  Can you recite the alphabet backwards, or do some magic tricks?  Have guests showcase their talents after dinner.  Let guests know ahead of time so they can prepare and aren’t put on the spot.  Kids particularly might love this activity, so let them steal the show if they want.  You might get an entire magic show, or dance recital!
The Most Important of All:  Give back.  Vow to do an act of kindness.  No act is too small.  Share your ideas and proclaim your act to everyone.  Maybe you can get together and volunteer your time.  Feed off of one another, steal each others ideas, and most importantly… follow through.  Acts of kindness are only great if they play out.
Want more ideas?  
I’ll be emailing additional ideas including a free printable PDF activity placement for all ages to my Nicolyndime Club email list subscribers only!  Want to subscribe now?
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Here ya go:

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Plus check out last year’s free printable to keep you sane!

Not Enough Vintage Halloween! An Easy Halloween Paper Craft.

There’s never enough vintage in my house.  I probably wouldn’t stop until I had a kitchen straight out of a 50’s movie set.  It’s harder to get the vintage going in other areas because, well… it’s not the 50’s anymore!
But I thought I had a LOT of vintage Halloween.  I got it all out, and had it on the floor and it sure looked like a lot.
But once I started setting up my vignettes, I realized… nope, not enough vintage.
This would have been an easy fix in PA.  I would go to the thrifts and find something vintage, or something that looked vintage.  Pat Catan’s (oh how I miss thee) would most likely have some vintage Halloween repro.  Something would have ended up in my cart.
But here in Florida land…. I scoured three thrift stores over the course of several days and all I found was this:
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Seriously!  These thrifts should have all the Halloween goodies out… but thrifting is pretty big here so my fear is it is all gone.
So what’s a gal to do when she wants to have more vintage Halloween but there’s none in sight?  You make some of your own of course!
Last night I whipped up some of these easy peasy rosettes, and an elementary school paper chain.
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To my delight, they seriously breathed some Halloween style into my kitchen.
Before:

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After:

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 I’m not done, but nice to see that some black and orange construction paper can bring in the festivities.  Soon I’ll be giving you a tour of all of the vignettes in the house, plus the story behind specific items!

 

 

Frugal Living Tip

In my effort to constantly find frugal living habits, I try to look at everyday items in a new light.  Years ago, makeup was such a luxury and expense that most women would never dream of throwing out a lipstick tube before scooping out the last little bit.  I rarely finish a lipstick because I’m always trying out the newest pink color, but I do scoop out my chapsticks.
This got me wondering what else I could squeeze a little more out of.  I’ve often heard of cutting the toothpaste in order to get the last little bit.  My favorite eyebrow pencil, elf instant lift brow pencil, is a product I often find myself going through rather quickly.  I always panic when I get to the end of one, even though I like to have a few on hand as a back up.
So last time I got to the end, I began investigating how the packaging was put together.  I surmised that there was a little more product inside the base, much like a lipstick tube.  To my surprise, the top portion of this retractable pencil came off with minimal effort.  Look at what I found!

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As you can see there was a tiny bit more in there, and that tiny bit actually got me through another full week of use.  I encourage you to take a look at your products once you think they are used up, and see if you can get that little extra bit out.  Have any of my loyal readers discovered any ways to get more use out of a product?  Please share!

Super Simple Frugal: Make your own Dry Shampoo

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I love my Dove dry shampoo.  It’s one of the best drugstore buys I can find.  It creates some fullness in my hair, and because I only wash my hair once a week, I use it on days when I need a little refresh.
But I had found this article pinned on Pinterest from All You Magazine, and was curious.  My Dove dry shampoo does leave my hair looking a little dusted sometimes because I have brown hair.  The recipe evidently comes from the Free People Blog, and is oh so simple.  In fact people have been using cornstarch for many things for many years, from face powder, to diapers.  Why not try it in your hair?
For darker hair use 1/2 cup cocoa powder to 2 Tablespoons cornstarch.  For lighter hair, it tells you to try baking soda, but I might try a baking powder instead.
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I can only speak for the cocoa dry shampoo which works great.  Simple combine, and add to a shaker.  I put mine in a garlic salt container, and as you can see, didn’t bother to take off the label!  (Use baking soda to remove any odors from containers.  Mix with a little water and shake shake shake.  You can repeat if needed.)
This cocoa dry shampoo not only smells great, but when I missed my hair washing day when that dreaded sick bug hit, this was a lifesaver.  Hubby wanted to go out for Valentine’s Day, and I thought I could muster it.  I didn’t have time to dry my hair (or the desire) and didn’t to go out with a wet head.  This stuff worked BETTER than the Dove dry shampoo, when the Dove wasn’t cutting it!
It’s way more affordable too, and you know what’s in it.  That being said… disclaimer alert!  If you are allergic to cocoa, chocolate, or cornstarch for that matter… do NOT use!  Anything put onto the skin is also absorbed by it.

 

DIY Brown Sugar Scrub

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Today I am bringing you an easy diy to make you feel pampered just in time for Valentine’s Day.  It is an at home brown sugar scrub.  All you need are three ingredients:
  1. Plastic Container with screw top lid.
  2. Brown Sugar
  3. Oil
Start with enough brown sugar to fill your container.  I used an empty apricot scrub plastic container, but you can use whatever you like.  In a pinch a plastic ziploc baggie would also work, but not for the long term.  I do not advise using anything glass in the shower whatsoever!
Add whatever oil you would like.  I used canola oil since you aren’t going to have it on your skin long, and coconut oil will solidify below a certain temperature.  Use enough to get a paste like consistency, enough to spread it onto your skin.
Then you just mix it together.  You will want to mix it a bit before you use it in the shower or bath.  Use this to slough off any dry skin.  The oil hydrates your skin.  A word of caution however for the shower… This will make your shower slippery, so be VERY CAREFUL when you rinse it off as it can make a slipping hazard.  If you are concerned about this you can always use it in the bath.
Who says you have to spend big bucks for a quick luxurious spa escape?