Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Cheater Post!

Team, as you read on Friday, I had quite the Halloween weekend planned.  Resulting of this weekend, I am now extremely tired and was shamefully unproductive the past few days in my extreme couponing venture.


I am taking today off but promise to be back tomorrow with lots of updates and maybe some Halloween pictures...if you're lucky.


Now...does anyone have any Red Bull?  For the love of Pete...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Ah! Halloween Weekend!

Ghoul-d Afternoon, readers!  See what I did there? Sorry for the punny-ness, but as many of you know, I love holiday festive-ness, and as Halloween weekend has almost arrived, I am in overdrive.


I was an epic-fail when I went on my search for paper coupons yesterday.  I got some circulars in my mail box, but they were just advertising store specials, and not offering any additional coupons. LAME!


So this Sunday should be the big extreme couponing trip, we'll see how it goes...I am very pessimistic at this point.  Woe is me dear readers...or should I say, "Poe" is me?  Get it? Because of the writer, and he was spooky, and okay...that wasn't my best work, I admit it.


In other news, my aunt "Renaissance" is my reader of the week!  While she did not guess the Jell-O color correctly (it is orange, she guessed green) she was the only guess and by default is the winner! Woot! It's apropos because she also tipped me off to Hillary's scrunchie wearing earlier in the week.  Gracias Aunt Renaissance! Can you guess the origin of your code name?


That's about it for today. Sorry this post is so weak sauce, I just don't have a lot to update on, but just you wait for Monday, Henry Higgins, I'll have updates on the extreme couponing, as well as pictures of the "Jell-O" and my Halloween costume! Get excited, that's an order!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Countdown!

Woot! I am starting to get into the Halloween spirit y'all! Last night, there were several Halloween-themed shows on, and tonight is the annual airing of one of my favorite Halloween specials, "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown".

I know this is something a semi-grown woman should be a bit past by now, but I can't help it. 

I.Love.Charlie.Brown.  

If you dress up as a member of the Peanuts (other than Pigpen, and you're a guy) for Halloween, I'll probably make out with and/or marry you.  They just make me so happy.

In middle school there were rumors we were going to do a production of "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown," and while it never came to fruition, I firmly believe that I would've made a most excellent Lucy Van Pelt, and I haven't even had my formal vocal training by then!  

I mean, amiright? Just look at that face!

As it was, it worked out fine, it allowed me to take a brief sabbatical before taking on the role of a lifetime the next year: Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker".  I was in high school for that one, a freshman, with the LEAD, unheard of!  Okay, so maybe it was double cast and I only got to do one show...but so what, who cares? My performance brought people to tears (those people may or may not be limited to my mother and aunt).

Naturally, I make time to watch every Charlie Brown holiday special each year.  Note, this is not as serious as Hocus Pocus night, because I own the Charlie Brown holiday specials (thanks to Emilia Bedilia) and thus I can watch them whenever I please, should I miss them on TV.

I'll also be preparing for my Halloween celebrations by making "Jell-O" in the FREE Kraft Brain-Shaped Jell-O Mold I got from Coupon Suzy.  As my former boss used to say, it's going to be really "festive".

On the coupon tip, I was unable to track down any paper circulars yesterday, but my friend Buster as well as Jaques and Gilly gave me some excellent tips!:
  1. Ask for the circulars from places that sell papers (i.e. Starbucks, Newsstands, 7-11, etc.)
  2. Go directly to the manufacturer, if they don't have coupons online, write to them and tell them you like their product, they'll probably send you some!
  3. Look through your building's recycling bin, people might think you're homeless, but the savings are worth it. (sidenote, I may have come up with this one myself)
Anywho, I might stop by my Starbucks tonight and pick up some of their leftover newspapers to see what they've got to offer.  Updates tomorrow, can you stand the excitement?

BONUS CONTEST: Because why not take a crazy chance? If you can guess the color of the "Jell-O" I'm making, and are not Hot Donna who already knows, you will be my "Reader of the Week" and get a shout out in tomorrow's entry.  Spooktacular! Extra bonus points may apply if you also "do a crazy dance".

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Madness Continues

Let's get the financial stuff out of the way first.  I did go onto Safeway's website yesterday and put together a list of things for which I should try to find additional coupons.  Then I started using a couple of coupon sites to look for those matching coups.  I tell you it is a lot harder than I thought.  After about 45 minutes of work, I had only found one thing that I could coupon to below $.50.


I think the real money is in paper coupons that are included with newspapers and grocery circulars.  The problem being, I live in an apartment, so I don't have easy access to these types of deals.  Therefore, my goal for today is to figure out a way to get these paper coupons without incurring an additional cost.  We'll see how that goes.


Onto more serious business.  Today is Hillary Rodham Clinton's birthday.  Wondering how old she is? Take a guess.  Okay, ready? She's 64.  Seriously! I was shocked, she looks great especially considering the stress the poor woman has endured over her life; a husband who has a thing for chubby chicks, a failed presidential bid, and being Secretary of State during one of the most volatile periods of world history.  Go on with your bad self, Hill-dawg.


While I respect this woman immensely, there is one thing that I just cannot condone; her apparent love affair with the scrunchie.




Hillary, amiga, I'm loving the long hair, but try a hair tie, they even sell clear ones now, tres tres chic!  And while we're on the subject, why are you wearing that broach so high? From a distance you look like a military official with half an honor bar.  You're better than that.


Perhaps what is most upsetting about this most recent choice is the fact that a majority of Americans approve of it!  What is in the water, fellow patriots?!  Check out the poll on this Huffington Post article for the most recent numbers.  


My theory is that people approve of what Hillary does, regardless of its effect on our nation's corneas.  I look at it this way, Hillary has helped us so much, why not help her by jujing homegirl up a touch?  Do your part, sign the Stop the Scrunchie petition and vote "no" in the Huffington Post poll.  We owe her that much.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Full of Ennui

Oh boys and girls, I'm sorry for the relatively late post today, but this morning I was immersed in a hangover of shame.  Last night, my beloved Ravens fell to the Jacksonville Jaguars (gag me).  The game was an absolute embarrassment...and there's no one to blame but myself, and maybe Joe Flacco.


I was a bad mamajama, readers. Though I watched the game at my usual sports bar, ordered my usual beer, and my usual (albeit 1/2 price on Mondays) wings, I failed to live up to my traditional attire and was given a new and strange waiter.  This combination of factors made for some strange ju-ju and the Ravens inevitably faltered.


But rest assured readers, I will be back this Sunday in my traditional garb, with my traditional waiter, and my Ravens will celebrate their traditional win against the Cardinals.


In other news, today my goal is to go onto the Safeway website and identify sale items that I need to find matching coupons for to start preparing for the extreme couponing trip, it sounds absolutely riveting, I'm sure you're all jealous.


On a related note, I should say that I had to break on of the SIA rules to allow for the purchase of three items of clothing which put me about $20 more over my "fashion" budget on Mint.  Don't worry, it yelled at me appropriately.


Before I started the SIA, I had recently gotten rid of a lot of clothes, donated them, I should say.  From jeans, to sequined vests, to my gold lame Quinceanera dress, I gave it all back to the world.  Had I already started this blog, I could have tried to sell some of it, but whatevs, I'll get paid back with good karma.


Anyhow, this purge left me with singular items of many things such as leggings, black tank tops, etcetera, etcetera; and I began wearing the things that remained much more often.  It made it easier to get dressed in the morning, but it did a number on my clothes.  Running from happy hour to gala to art opening to red carpet, things just got worn out; thus I had to buy a couple items for replacement's sake.  I view this as a necessity and so I think it's not fully cheating.


Check back tomorrow when I'll have another post about...I don't know, something.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Writing Down Spending and Something Else

The title of today's post is vague, I know, but that's because I don't know what my next spending goal is going to be...so hopefully I'll have something figured out by the time I finish writing.


Let's begin with something easy, a recap of last week's goal: writing down everything I spend.  In order to complete last week's goal, I used a lovely site that many friends have recommended to me called Mint.com.  


Believe me when I tell you that this site is amazing, but it is slightly alarmist in its technique.  You see, Mint connects to your bank accounts and tracks your transactions, then compiles your net worth and debt to credit ratio, and lots of other stuff that will make you feel really poor.  As soon as you sign in the first time, Mint will attack you, telling you your net worth is something like negative infinity and you will never be a member of Patti Stanger's Millionaire's Club.

Mint also looks at your transactions, and creates a categorized budget for you based on how much you spend on certain things.  For example, my movies and DVDs budget is larger than my fashion budget because I prioritize movies over personal appearance.  This is why I am beating away boys with a stick.  Then Mint tells you with a giant red bar and a warning message when you have gone over your fashion budget by a whopping $12, as if you have 2 minutes to dismantle an atomic bomb.

All joking aside, the website is extremely helpful and is really showing me, in no uncertain terms, not only what I'm spending but also where I'm spending it.  This is taking the whole SIA to a new level by adding a new dimension to the spend/not spend dilemma.

Now, onto more exciting things, namely, the most excellent things that came of my weekend at home.  On Friday night, my family took me to a simply bananas restaurant in Baltimore called Woodberry Kitchen.  It was crazy good and I got an authentic Maryland crab cake with a side of potato salad!  I don't know if I've written about my love for potato salad here, but I probably should.  Team, I adore a good potato salad, I even adore a bad potato salad.  Last week, I walked through the rain to a soccer game I didn't even attend solely for potato salad.  I ordered it in a Japanese restaurant once.  Potato salad is not only my favorite food, it may be my favorite thing about America.  

The meal in its entirety looked something like this:


Plus the interior of the place was really hip to the groove, it looked something like this:
Note: I jacked these pictures from the internet, I didn't snap any of them.  Sorry!
The weekend also resulted in a few new pairs of shoes for me, as my Mom couldn't stand to see me walking around in the busted-looking red canvas travesties that I was calling footwear.  


For some reason, and completely tangentially, that sentence makes me think of this time in high school where I had to do a group project, and in order to represent the poverty of the peasant class in medieval Europe, we made one of the guys in our group wear newspapers as socks inside his Etnies.  You know, real authentic like.


Anyway, here's a picture of one of the pairs I (or rather, my Mom) bought, you know you wanted to see them you closet fashionistas:




Sparkly! The weekend concluded with the most economical trip to a McDonalds I've ever seen.  Mamma Evans had been collecting those Monopoly play pieces things and we ended up getting a full meal with burger and fries for only the price of the soda!  Way to save, Momz! I was going to take a picture of the receipt to prove it, but it's not coming out too hot on my phone.


Now that we've gotten all that out of the way, I guess it's time to face the music and pick my next challenge.  I think I'm going to try extreme couponing a shopping trip.  I don't need to stock up, but I can probably save a lot of money by spending the week collecting coupons and doing online sale searches, and then making a big trip to the social Safeway this weekend for some groceries.  As this is my first trip, let's say I want to get enough groceries for 2 weeks for under $40.  My G-mom gave me some coupons this weekend, so I'm off to a good start.


Before I sign off, let me take a minute to thank my family in B-more for treating me to such a wonderful visit, and wish my boys the Ravens good luck in their football-ing endeavors tonight!  Woot! Game time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Good morning Baltimore!

Good afternoon, that is, and really not quite yet, I don't get there until this evening.  Yes, friends, this weekend I will be partaking in one of the oldest money-saving techniques known to man: le'mooching off the parentals.  I'm headed to my beloved hometown of Baltimore to spend the weekend with the family.  I'm so excited, I mean, look at her, isn't she just a beautiful city: 



Just kidding!  I found that picture by Google-ing "Baltimore The Wire Tour".  Here's how I see my favorite city:


Gorgeous. 

Anyhow, it's going to be a jam packed weekend as I have to leave Baltimore relatively early to make it to the Civil Wars show in DC on Sunday.  Two of my favorite things in one weekend: Baltimore and The Civil Wars.  This must be what being skinny feels like.

I'm sure you're all wondering how "Hocus Pocus" day went, and let me tell you, it was absolutely splediforous.  A tour-de-force of sugar, my childhood, and 90s special effects.  I've come to expect nothing less.

In other news, if any of you missed it yesterday, I became a Twitter celebrity for about 5 minutes. I tweeted at the girls from GoFugYourself about the Stop the Scrunchie (for America) campaign and they tweeted back at me!  As did Kiersten Warren!  I was all a-flutter and could hardly come down from my social media high.

If any of you haven't yet (given the fact that there are 3 signatures on the petition and 1 tweet from the Twitter action, I'm guessing about 200 of you haven't-I'm looking at you Hot Donna and Emilia Bedilia) please, please, please take a moment to support the STS campaign.  Visit the campaign page for info on how to get involved or simply click on the links in the sidebar.

That's it for today and the week!  Tune in Monday for a summary of how I did with writing down my expenses and the announcement of my next goal!

Look out B-more (why be less?), here I come!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Saving Tips and "Hocus Pocus" Day!

Good afternoon friends!  I am so excited today!  Do you know why?  I'll tell you, it's "Hocus Pocus" day!!!!  It's the one day a year I reserve solely for myself.


What is "Hocus Pocus" day, you ask?  I'll tell you that too!  Every year, you see, ABC Family airs the classic Halloween film, "Hocus Pocus".  This is one of my all time favorite movies and really gets me into the Halloween spirit.  Thus, every year on the night ABC Family shows this cinematic masterpiece, I park myself on my couch with a blanket, some wine, and a bag of candy corn and just dive in to all the campy, dated fun.


It's one of my favorite days of the year.


But, you didn't come here to talk about my fabulous taste in movies, you want to hear some great money saving tips!  Well I've got a couple for you today you greedy little squirrels.


1. Take advantage of your Alumni Association
If you were lucky enough to go to college within the past 5 years or so, odds are you are living with your parents, working some random pays-the-bills job, and are completely broke.  Also, odds are you paid thousands and thousands of dollars to your alma mater for tuition and have seen little return on the investment.  Here's where the alumni association comes into play.  No matter where you went to school, if your university was decently large, they likely host events for alumni in all areas of the country.  These events might range from happy hours to discounted sporting events and concerts.  Take advantage of them like they took advantage of you for 4 years.


Why, just yesterday Jefe, GT and I went to an alumni association soccer game wherein we paid about $20 to eat two meals worth of free food and drink a couple beers.  It was economic, and lovely!


2. See what Facebook can offer
As it was raining decently in DC yesterday, after we stuffed ourselves full of alumni association provided food, we opted not to stay for the game itself.  Instead we met up with Smirnoff in Chinatown and got margaritas the size of our heads at Austin Grill.  Seriously these things were what they call "Texas Sized" and I call a "D.U.I. in a glass" (read:ginormous).  I didn't take a picture and I can't find one online to do them justice, so you'll just have to imagine.  Anyway, as Smirnoff had "liked" Austin Grill on Facebook before we went, we were entitled to a free appetizer AND our waiter gave us a voucher for a free app on our next visit too.  Amazing!


The point is, a lot of places do trade-offs like this when you follow them on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook.  If you know where you're going to dinner one night, it's worthwhile to look them up and see if they also do something like this.  Even if you don't find anything, just walk in and when speaking to your waiter or cashier, lowly whisper the words "Facebook" or "Twitter" like it's code.  That way, if there is something you missed, they'll give it to you, or they'll give you a discount anyway just to get the crazy person away from them.


Don't you all just love it when I drink as research for this little blog?  I know you do.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tracking Spending Update and a Bonus Movie Review

Good afternoon amigos.  A bit of a late post today, sorry about that, but it was a rather traumatic morning.  I was walking into work, minding my own business, when all of a sudden the wind picked up and rain began beating down on me from nearby trees.  I barely escaped with my life and continued down the block to the metro.  Just as I was about to cross the street the metro entrance, the wind picked up again and what felt like a boulder with a knife on it fell right onto the top of my hand.  The pain was excruciating and I looked down to see what the culprit was only to discover...


It was an acorn.  


Not just any acorn, mind you, but the biggest most terrifying acorn I had ever seen.  I glanced back at my hand to survey the damage.  No broken bones it would seem, but the pointed end of the little nut had struck a deep long gash on my knuckle that was practically gushing blood.  I briefly considered calling out of work and heading to the ER, but we have an important meeting on written materials that I knew I could not miss.  I applied a tourniquet and soldiered on; once on the metro platform, I had managed to stop the bleeding and decided to snap a photo so that you readers could understand the severity of the situation.  I must warn you, the photo you're about to see is extremely graphic.  Ready? Okay, here it is:




I mean, good God, right?! And to think, squirrels deal with these weapons of nature on a daily basis!  Bad ass squirrels man, seriously.


So, in spending news, yesterday I spent some cash on a metro card, dinner, and some fro-yo, I wrote those transactions down like a boss.


Onto the main event, my review of "Moneyball".  Oh boys and girls did I ever enjoy this film.  I mean the money, and the ball, and the chubby pre-weight-loss Jonah Hill.  It was all so wonderful. The acting was stellar; Jonah Hill, Chris Pratt, Brad Pitt, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and co. all contributed to one fantastic display the craft that is acting.  What's more, Brad Pitt was funny.  I love funny Brad Pitt, he's my fave.  You can keep your "Benjamin Button", your "Legends of the Fall", your "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" Brad Pitts, I'll take funny "Burn After Reading"/"Moneyball" Brad Pitt anytime.  


Also, did you know that Brad Pitt recently said that his favorite movie to make was "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"?  You know, the one wherein he hooked up with Angelina Joskeleton behind my girl Rachel Green's back.  And he said this in public!  For all the world to hear! Ballsy Pitt, really ballsy.


My only critique was that the film was a bit long, and some of the editing made it feel slightly disjointed and choppy, but I'm being picky with this.  In my book, you can't go wrong combining baseball with statistics, because I am a dork who figured out the different ways MLB could calculate wins in a series that would be most beneficial to the Baltimore Orioles.  Yea, I did that...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Slightly Off Topic Post

Good morning fair readers!  I anticipate that this week's entries will be a bit off-the-wall as there is only so much I can say to the effect of "I spent money, I wrote it down."  So buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride...


Yesterday, I spent money on a movie ("Moneyball", look for a review in tomorrow's post), I wrote that down.


Now for something completely different.  Everyone knows that DC is not on par with, say, New York, or Milan, or even Paris (TX, that is) when it comes to fashion.  On the metro to work today, for example, I saw a woman wearing a banana clip in her hair and Teva sandals on her feet.  If you are not a 40+ year old dad with a fanny pack at a Six Flags, you should not be wearing Tevas, plain and simple.  But I get it, we have more important things to do around here than worry what we look like, things like, I don't know, running the country perhaps?  Yea, you can thank us for that while you're choosing between snake or leopard print Louboutins (go with the snake by the way, so cute!). 


The long and short of it is, people prioritize, and in DC fashion is just not a priority.  That is slowly changing however, thanks to blogs like Capitol Hill Style, the emergence of young, high end designer stores like rag & bone and Betsey Johnson in Georgetown, and the ever growing sham that is DC Fashion Week.


Given all these moving pieces, I'm willing to give DC-ites a pass on a lot of fashion-related issues.  But there is one DC fashion faux-pas that I simply cannot tolerate.  The scrunchie:


Just posting that picture here makes me dry heave.  I'm not joking.  If ever someone wants to carryout on me the most nightmarish death I can imagine, it would be being chocked by a thousand of these monstrosities, in different colors and patterns.

What prompted this outrage, you ask?  Well loyal readers, it's just inexcusable.  With so many more fashion friendly hair tie options available in these modern times, there is no reason to wear something that makes you look like Stephanie Tanner circa 1992. 



What's more, is that today on my commute to work, I saw not one but TWO women with scrunchies in their hair.  This is an epidemic, and it's happening right now; scrunchie contagion.

Now, two may seem like a low number to you but dear God, that's like saying two shots to the chest could be worse.

Guy-"Hey man, you look pretty bad, maybe we should get you to a hospital"
Friend-"Nah, it's just two shots to the chest, I'm alright, I could probably handle a few more."

How many more, readers?!  When will the madness end?!

I know that the 90s are currently experiencing a fashion renaissance.  The grunge look is permeating major retailers, and 10 year olds are walking around listening to the Nevermind on their iPod micro-nano-bitlys, you know, like Kurt Cobain intended.  But scrunchies are one trend of the 90s that I cannot in good faith allow to resurface.  That's why today I'm proud to announce the launch of my new public awareness campaign:


The goal of this campaign is simply to stop the scrunchie in its tracks, and have it erradicated from American manes by Christmas 2012.


If you see something, say something.


YOU-"Hey miss, is that a scrunchie in your hair?"
SCRUNCHIE WEARER-"Why yes it is! Thank you for noticing"
Y-"Stop it."
SW-"What?"
Y-"Stop it."


What can you do to help the cause?  I'm glad you asked readers!  There are two active petitions on the Stop the Scrunchie campaign; one general internet petition, available here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopthescrunchie/ and a Twitter petition that can be found here: http://act.ly/4cw


Act now! In solidarity y'all.

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Epic Conclusion of the First Weekly Goal

Hi readers, how are you all doing today?  Actually, don't answer that, I don't really care.  Sorry my dudes, but it's just so hard to be all teddy bears and marshmallows when it's Monday and I've not caffeinated.  You know what I mean, right?


Anyhow, let's debrief on the first weekly goal: no meals/snacks/beverages purchased away from home.  I am so proud to say that I completed this goal to a "T"!  It was a tough road though, on Friday I had to resist some delicious food/beverage temptations at Panache before the Ghost Tour.


Tangentially, speaking of the Ghost Tour, it was so fun!  I highly recommend it to any DC-ites.  Our tour guide was funny and well informed, AND she wore traditional period clothing (there's a colonial woman on the wing!!!!). There was a slight anachronism with her footwear, she chose New Balance tennis shoes, but whatever we were walking and it was dark y'all.  Don't hate!


Anyway, I think the lack of drinking socially affected my tolerance, because only 2.5 beers into last night's Ravens game (suck it Texans! woot!) I felt a little tipsy and decided to do 98% of my Christmas shopping.  You read that right readers, CHRISTMAS shopping before Halloween.  It makes sense though I think, because I'm using PayPal's "Bill Me Later" feature, which will let me pay off my gifts in installments over the next few months.  The earlier I ordered, the longer I would have to pay them off!  So I think it's kind of genius.  Some people might be getting some weird gifts though, sorry team, it was the Dogfish Head Punkin Ale doing the choosing.  Just kidding!  They'll all be great!  I hope...yikes!


To sum up this week's goal, I cooked a LOT more and found out it was easier than I thought, and I only spent $40 the entire week. Seriously, just $40!  That is crazy!  I wish I had more pictures of the things I cooked, but I'm still not in the habit of taking pictures, I promise to work on that so I'll have more fun things to show you greedy nerds in the future timez.


This week, inspired by a suggestion from Jaques and Gilly, I will be tracking absolutely everything I spend, in writing.  The goal of this is to see, under normal circumstances, where the most of my money goes and create a goal around these findings for next week.  Innovative!  Exciting!  I bet you can't wait to find out the results, right?  Yea, okay, I get it...you can go back to reading The Sartorialist now.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day Four of No Meals/Beverages Out, the Struggle Commences

Oh boys and girls I'm starting to feel it.  I haven't had a non-home-cooked meal in over 72 hours and things are getting crazy.  I'm craving high-sodium foods like french fries (which I won't even attempt to make myself) and having delusions of grandeur and buffalo wings.  Why buffalo wings, you ask? Hot Donna had them for dinner last night and they looked amazing.  

I probably wouldn't have noticed so much except that when contrasted with my dinner, there was a clear flavor deficiency on my end.  I decided to make these frozen crab cakes I got from Safeway's Waterfront Bistro collection, you see.  Now, as I am from the great state of Maryland, I have a very high bar for crab cakes, which may lead you to wonder why I purchased frozen ones in the first place.  My thinking was this: even a bad crab cake is better than 95% of everything else out there, unless it has carrots in it.  I hate when people put carrots in crab cakes, sacrilege.

Anyhow they ended up, surprisingly, being not so goodly; even though I sauteed them in olive oil and everything and they looked amazing.  It was a real wah-wah-waaaaaaaah let down moment and I went to bed wishing I could just give my good friends at Wingos a call.

Tonight my willpower will be tested again as I am going to a happy hour with delicious drinks and food and I can't partake.  Anyone have any ideas as to how I can bend the rules on this?

In other exciting new, tonight I am going on a DC ghost tour!  I flipping love a good ghost tour y'all, I hope the rain doesn't interfere.  I think that's about all for today, come back on Monday when I'll let you know how my goal fared over the weekend.  

...

That's all, really, you guys can go back to waiting in line for your stupid new iPhones now.  Seriously, people were lined up on L St. this morning to get them.  They must be joking, it's not even the 5, it's just 4s, whatever that is.  Oh, sorry, RIP Steve Jobs.

To end on a lighter note, here's a picture of one of my infamous pumpkin spice lattes in one of the greatest mugs ever: 

So adorable!  Have a great weekend team!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day Three of No Meals Afuera (Out) Wherein I Cook!

Well readers, I did it!  I successfully cooked a meal that has provided me with a good amount of leftovers AND didn't taste awful!  Hot Donna will attest to that last part.  I used this recipe from Stolen Moments Cooking with the addition a bit of browned chicken sausage.  I had to make some substitutions for spices I didn't have, but it all worked! 

I understand if you don't believe me, you skeptical hobbits, and in fact, I expected it, therefore I have....da, da, da, duuuuuummm....PICTORIAL EVIDENCE!

Here is the pumpkin sauce simmering away on my stove:

Here is that same pan after adding the pasta and delicious browned chicken sausage, oooooooooh, STEAMY!:

And last, but not least, here's the final product:

Looks delicious, no?  Now, you probably have a few questions about this photo.  First of those is probably, "Good God you urchin, is that ice?  In your red wine? How bourgeois!".  Calm down, nerds, that is actually a fine, mixed cocktail of red wine, diet coke, and a splash of grenadine otherwise known as a calimocho.  Don't be taken aback by the fancy Wikipedia page though, this drink is mostly consumed by underage punks in Spain who can't handle their booze yet.  However, it is both foreign, alcoholic, and delicious, thus I deem it appropriate for my amazingly refined palate.  If you'd like to make your own calimocho at home, I suggest using the cheapest wine possible.  The one in the above picture, for example, was made with month-old Franzia and flat Diet Coke.  Yum!

Now, second of those questions might be, "Is that a Carter Mondale 1976 campaign button in the background?! Umm...I'm jealous!".  You know it is, readers.  I picked up that little piece of history on a visit to the Carter Library in Hotlanta.  Now, I don't know if it was actually produced for the 1976 campaign, I think it is a replica, but I mean I got it at the Carter Library, so there are definitely some authenticity points there.  Carter was one of my favorite presidents actually, despite the fact that I wasn't alive during his administration.  But human rights! And the Camp David Accords!  That was pretty bad ass, no?  And he was a peanut farmer! Peanuts, beyotches!

I have a dream that I will one day visit every presidential library in the nation.  Some say I'm crazy, so many people have tried and failed on such a journey before, but I think - nay - I KNOW it can be done.  Challenge me, readers, I dare you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yet Another Movie Review and Day Two of Operation Free Meals

Good morning all!  I assume after I told you that I was seeing a "Footloose" screening yesterday that you've been just dying to know what I thought.  Well, sit tight mes amis, we'll get to that, but first let's talk turkey, a.k.a da moneyz.


The second day of this week's goal was easy, I still had leftover stuff at home and there was a tiny bit of free food left at work to cover lunch.  Today is where things really get tricky.  I'm out of leftovers, the food at work is gone, and I'm left to fend for myself completely.  Lunch is covered thanks to Hot Donna who cooked up some delicious chicken sausage last night, and tonight for dinner I tackle the pumpkin pasta.  


It won't be easy friends, the last time I tried to cook a "creative" pasta dish like this, it was a disaster.  I made a GIANT pot of scallops and spaghetti in a white wine sauce.  It smelled delicious and was really easy to make, I thought "this is great, I'll eat for a week!".  One taste of it readers and I knew it was all for naught.  At this point I'll channel Michael Kors on Project Runway to convey the true seriousness of the situation, "It tasted like a bunch of fish got drunk on Franzia in a wheat field and then vomited on top of a giant plate of undercooked spaghetti. I'm sorry, that's just how it is."  I left it in the fridge for a few days, hoping I'd gain the courage to eat it and not waste such a massive amount of food, but it was just impossible.  It was like something they'd make people eat on "Fear Factor".


So tonight will be a test, hopefully one I'll pass.


Okay, on to the star of today's entry, the movie "Footloose".  Readers, I should tell you that I am a sucker for dance movies.  You see, despite my daily 9-5 job, my relatively calm, quiet, concrete city existence, I really consider myself to be a dancer at heart.  I was born with the music in me.  I dance at my desk, when Hot Donna is out of the apartment, while I'm waiting on the metro platform, in bars with no dance floors while people watch me uncomfortably; I dance, readers.  I tried to gain an excessive amount of weight to keep my love of the dance hidden, but it simply did not work.  My voluptuous curves only make my dancing all the more fascinating.  In the words of Amelia Bedilia quoting the seminal Broadway classic, "A Chorus Line", "I am a dancer, a dancer dances."


It was with this dancer's spirit that I entered into my experience with "Footloose" (the 2011 remake).  Things got off to a great start even before the movie began.  I answered a trivia question and got rewarded with some "Footloose" swag.  Buttons, a tote bag, posters, a cup, all for me!  I was in heaven.  Brody from the radio station WPGC led a hilarious intro to the whole evening, which included his own take on the "Family Matters" theme song, and then the lights dimmed and I waited to be dazzled.


Now, I'll admit, it's been years since I've seen the original "Footloose", and I can't quite remember if I've ever even seen it in its entirety (I know, this is shameful).  But, putting the original aside, I have to say that this year's remake was a marvel of modern film.  The lead actor was to die for, the guy playing Willard was hi-larious, and Julianne Hough wasn't all that bad.  And the dancing, readers, oh the dancing, from the rave at the drive-in to the solo warehouse performance to the spectacular choreography in the final scenes.  It gave me all the classic "Footloose" moments I remember plus a gorgeous new Boston-accented man to lust after.  I never wanted it to end, I guess you could say that "I could've danced all night".  Get it?  That's a "My Fair Lady" reference, I am a geek.


I highly recommend that you all cut loose, "Footloose", as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Movie Reviews and Day One of No Purchased Meals/Beverages

One day down, six more to go.  Yesterday it was surprisingly easy to stick to this week's goal, as there was free food at work and I had some leftover pizza from the weekend to take care of dinner. I also channeled my inner barista and made a spectacular pumpkin spice chai tea latte with real pumpkin and organic loose chai.  How Whole Foods am I right now? #whitegirlproblems


Speaking of pumpkin, Wednesday night I will be taking on the real test/point of this week's goal, cooking a legit meal.  Since you can only buy canned pumpkin in truly ginormous portions, and since my pumpkin chai/pumpkin latte recipe only calls for one or two tablespoons of it, Hot Donna and I have a lot of extra pumpkin lying around the house.  My plan is to make a pumpkin pasta dish by combining two recipes and using only things I have in the apartment already.  Pictures will be taken so that we can all judge the relative success/failure of this venture.  Peer judgement! Yay!


On one final pumpkin-related note, I have to give a shout out to my friend Squared who recommended to me Seattle's Elysian Brewing Company and their pumpkin beer varietals.  I am always looking to sample different pumpkin ales, and I found out that this is not only one of the best in the country, but also that it's available at ChurchKey/Birch and Barley, who wants in on a taste test?


Now that I've covered all my pumpkin items for the day, let's get down to the heart of the matter, my reactions to "Ides of March" and "What's Your Number?".  I'll start with "Ides of March", I saw this on Saturday at the famous Uptown Theater, and as someone who aspires to one day work on political campaigns, it was a bit unnerving.  I say that in a good way, Ryan Gosling was creepy like that weird guy in your apartment building who always holds the door for you, and there were stellar performances by Phillip Seymour Hoffman, George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, and even, dare I say it, Evan Rachel Wood.  


You should understand how big of a compliment it is for me to praise Evan Rachel Wood.  I generally don't care for her whole deal.  I mean, the Marilyn Manson phase, the blatant ripping off of Dita Von Teese's style during said phase, the fact that she participated in the abomination that was "Across the Universe", plus she's on "True Blood" and I'm so sick of people telling me to watch True Blood.  I get it, it's okay to like "True Blood" because the characters are Southern and it's on cable so they can actually kiss and do sex and stuff, so really it's not like "Twilight", it's totally different, except for the vampires, and the love stories...and everything else.  Whatever.  As far as I'm concerned, there are three things that ERW has done right in life, "Thirteen", "The Wrestler", and now "The Ides of March".  Come to think of it, Marisa Tomei was in two of those three movies, they should work together more often.


Point of the story-"Ides of March" was a compelling political thriller with more celebrities than you can shake a stick at and more twists and turns than me pulling on my Spanx on a Saturday night.  Get ye to a theater.


Now, let's switch gears and talk "What's Your Number?".  I'll begin with saying that I cannot type the name of this film without thinking of the "Can I have your number?" sketch, thanks to my friend GT who has forever linked them in my mind.  I typically would not have chosen this movie to see on my own, but I was lured into it by promises of a shirtless Chris Evans and my social anxiety disorder...can't miss out on a group event!  


If I could make one small comment/question something, as a female, I've got something to say about a shocking new trend among shirtless men on film.  I know I've got my gays and my ladies with me now, but stay on board straight male readers, this concerns you too.  Both Dylan McDermott in "American Horror Story" and now Chris Evans in "What's Your Number?" have been shown, not only shirtless, but carrying only a towel placed delicately in front of their man parts in their respective projects.  It is quite abrupt to see, and it makes me wonder, is this a thing that happens?  When guys get out of the shower, do they just walk around their house (where their children are) or open the front door of their apartment all nude-buttocksed and twig and berries to the wind?  It's not like ladies go around gently clutching a towel only to their front sides.  It's cold! And impractical!  What's up my dudes?


Okay, back to the movie, I've basically just told you the most exciting part, you see a nearly-nude (that recalls a certain Tobais Funke's "never nude" status) Chris Evans, and brief cameos from Andy Samberg and Aziz Ansari (in voice only).  Other than that, Anna Faris is predictably funny, clumsy, and off beat...and the whole thing culminates in a giant wedding scene.  Are you surprised?  Me neither.  It's certainly not the worst romcom I've ever seen...I mean, I saw "He's Just Not That Into You"...I was just not that into it, but it certainly wasn't a Scorcese we're dealing with here.


Click on over tomorrow when I'll have some comments about "Footloose", and likely Julianne Hough's acting in particular.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shameful Post Wherein I Must Admit Some Spending Slip Ups

Happy Columbus Day y'all!  Some of you may have off today, my G-chat list would indicate as much, it's looking a little sparse.  I however, have my nose to the grindstone at work, celebrating the beginning of the centuries-long mistreatment of the American Indian the only way I know how, by blogging of course!


Well team, I promised an update post on my progress so far, and I am sorry to have to admit that this weekend did a little damage to my bank accounts.  It's not my fault, readers, it was all so tempting, the movies, the karaoke bars, the mid-level restaurant chains, the brunches...oh good lord, the brunches.  Please prepare yourself for the following stats:


Bank Account-$40.00 (payday this Friday)
Savings-$512.00 (an increase of about $6 since the last check-in)
Credit Card-$5,000.00 (a $500 increase...I know, I know)


Okay, so, I KNOW the credit card balance is bad, really bad, but allow me to explain.  There are two major purchases that contribute to this balance.  One is a trip to Boston (for which I admittedly overpaid, I don't know how KAYAK works apparently) and the other is a work expense for which I am getting reimbursed.  The weekend itself was actually okay, I stuck to the SIA pretty intensely, with the exception of a couple food/drink purchases.  All things considered, I'm only about $200 over where I was before, the above totals are misleading.


With that embarrassment out of the way, let's talk about this week, the first week of resolutions.  My goal this week which will run from today through Sunday night is to eat all of my meals from home.  No lunches or dinners out, no delivery, no exceptions regardless of the SIA rules.  This includes alcohol (GASP!); meaning no social drinking whatsoever.  I've picked a week where I shouldn't have too many temptations, I only have plans to be out 2 nights this week, and I think I can avoid dinners being involved.  Plus, as Harmony will be out of town this weekend, as well as Hot Donna, there will be no football Sunday to trip me up.  The weekend will be tricky, but dems da berries.  It's only a week, right?


Now for something completely different.  I'm sure you're all very curious whether or not I handed out any of my business cards to strangers this weekend.  The answer is, well, not exactly.  While I did place about 30 cards around the city...




...my escapades on Friday night involved a private karaoke room, so I didn't really have the opportunity to market to randos.  Yea, I said private karaoke room, but those are all the details you're going to get friends, what happens in Muzette, stays in Muzette.


I did encounter one gentleman who I considered giving a card to, but he lost his privileges pretty rapidly.  You see, after a long night of drinking and jiving, my friend Amelia Bedilia and I were in need of sustenance.  We scoured the desert of 18th St. and eventually stumbled into a McDonald's.  As I was waiting at the register to order my all white meat McNuggets, I noticed a person next to me in the most glorious purple plaid shirt I've ever seen.  He was standing in front of an abandoned register asking to speak to the manager.  Note: this is at roughly 2 AM.  "Wow," I thought, "he must have great authority, I should give him a business card, he could take me places."


When the manager came around, the man asked why he was not being served.  "Sir," the manager said, "this register has been closed for the past two hours, you'll need to wait in one of the other lines."  Purple-plaid-shirt-man was less than thrilled with this response.  "WHAT!" he shouted, "THIS IS TRULY OUTRAGEOUS!"  Clearly this man was powerful, a young Donald Trump, I unzipped my wristlet to reach for one of my cards.


Amelia Bedilia was witnessing this scene and kindly offered to let purple-plaid-shirt-man order ahead of her in one of the other lines.  "That's not the point!," he shouted, and turned back to the manager to inform him that he was a "shareholder".


A shareholder in McDonalds?!  What a rare breed!  There must be scarcely millions of those in the world!  I couldn't get my cards out quickly enough.


At this point, the manager kindly asked this man, a shareholder in a glorious shirt, to leave his establishment.  How dare he!  While I laughed at the completely ludicrous nature of this request, I mean, who did this manager think he was, right?  The purple-plaid-shirt-man mistook my exuberance as directed towards him.  Whatever could've given him that idea?!  As I reached forward to hand him the card, he threw his hands in the air and said "Enjoy your McDonald's, you fat b*tch!"


Oh readers, imagine my heartbreak.  This clearly powerful man was going to take this blog to new heights, and now he hated me.  


I don't really mind being called a b*tch in all honesty.  Usually when people use that word they're directing it to a woman they feel threatened by because she's too assertive, or she won't give them what they want, and I'm happy to be a b*tch in that sense. But when you add "fat" to it, I just can't take it.  I am the only person who has the right to call myself fat, and I do!  After all, it's the truth, I'll admit it!  But you sir, do not have that right, no matter how many shares in a low rate fast food company you have, and so...no card for you!


That night, my McNuggets tasted like self-respect and freedom.


Stay tuned for my post tomorrow, I'll update on my first day of no-meals/alcohol-out and pontificate on the two movies I saw this weekend, "Ides of March" and "What's Your Number?".
Get amped!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Countdown to First Goal Week

Well good morning friends!  Today is such a lovely day.  The office is quiet and my tasks today at work are mainly IT related (which is hilarious because my skills on computers are equitable to Brian Fellow's skills in Zoology), the weather is nice, and I'm finally checking out the food truck phenomenon know as "Farragut Fridays".


PLUS I was featured in BudgetsAreSexy.com's weekly round up!  How exciting!  Check that blog out it is both hilarious and informative.


Yesterday I managed to spend almost nothing, except for a few dollars on health grocery staples (which may or may not have included Ben and Jerry's...trust me, it may or may not have been a necessity at the time).  Oh! Plus, the business cards came for the blog! Here is a terrible picture of them, yay!:






I ordered them from VistaPrint and paid about $6 shipping and they came fast and correct.  You may ask what I plan to do with these babies.  The short answer is, I'm not sure.  This morning I put one in the "coin return" slot of a Metro card machine.  I figure on leaving one of them with every receipt I sign, in the mailboxes of my neighbors, and just generally make in rain business cards in DC.


Tonight is my friend GT's (short for Gin and Tonic) birthday and I fully intend on taking the cards to the bar with me and handing them out to strangers.  If I remember, I'll bring a camera and try to get some reaction shots, both for humor and to prove I am actually doing this.  Over the next few weeks I'll track changes in page viewz on the site and see if the cards seem to be making any significant difference.


What are your thoughts team?  Any ideas for places to distribute these or things to do with them?  Make a dress out of them, mayhaps?  Don't test me readers, I once wore a scarf as a skirt, it was both bad-ass and a terrible idea.  If it wasn't for the glory of Spanx, all of U St. would've been invited to a very public peep show that night, if you get my drift.  Come to think of it, with a little tweaking, that outfit could've worked...maybe I'll give it a shot this weekend, to the horror of my friends, I'm sure.  Anyhow, I'll try to enact as many of your suggestions as possible and take pictures to prove I am doing so...it will be hilarious!


Well, though this is a very short post, I think that's about all I've got for today.  Be sure to check my Twitter account (@ericasbailout) later today for reviews of Farragut Friday.  This weekend promises to be very exciting, my biffle Amelia Bedilia is visiting, movies are planned, adventures await, so be sure to check back Monday to see how it all shook down for me financially.  It will be a test of my strength of will and wallet.


Plus, don't forget that Monday will be the start of the first weekly goal!  I'm still accepting ideas for goals, but I might go with preparing every meal at home for a week.  What say yee?