Beauty Babble-Those Trigger Items


I’ve not tried an open thread for Beauty Babble, so let’s give this a shot.

What’s your trigger item?

What are the items that you will not be able to resist, those things that you know you will purchase with no hesitation?

I will never be able to resist any perfumed product with the word ‘blood orange’ in the description. I am weak around cosmetic clearances, especially if I can justify it as a ‘weird’ purchase or a ‘staple’-so nude lipsticks or mascara, basically. Weird here being outside of my comfort colors. Mascara sales in general are a problem for me, and so are Walgreen and Rite Aid’s deep discount sales. And I have maybe 25 lipsticks that are kinda sort maybe oxblood on my skin tone.

We won’t get into my sudden obsession with DS sized everything and drug store BBs.

So what’s the stuff you’ll always purchase, even if you know you shouldn’t?


All the Fun I Have At the Dollar Store


This story isn’t dollar store related.

I bought a kit to fill your own k cups. It comes with the lids and the cups and the filters, you fill the cups with whatever you want.

I use green cups when I’m at home, we like the reusable cups that are sold on commercials. They actually say ‘as seen on TV’ on the package. We’ve used them for years, and they serve our purposes well. Of course they don’t fit into the brewer at work.

But this means that I can have a steady stream of dark roast pumpkin spice cups.

And they’re a lot cheaper than prefilled cups.


I’ve fallen in love with the dollar store again.

I can’t come up with a cutesy intro about my love of cheap home supplies right now. So I’m going to just jump right into it.

1. Cleaning supplies

Windex, toilet cleaner, sponges, paper towels. All those fun things. I haven’t seen any difference in cleaning power and they’re a lot cheaper. I feel better about taking them to camp if necessary and not worry about them coming back.

The only thing I won’t get at the dollar store is dish soap-except for original blue Dawn. I use blue Dawn to wash wool and quick laundry loads in the tub. But I’m also very, very particular about my dish soap and there’s a lot of national brands I won’t use so it’s not just some dollar store dish soap hate I have going.

2. Beauty supplies

Including certain cosmetics. Our Dollar Tree gets drops of national brand cosmetics every so often-the last time I went I walked out with ELF Professional line lip stuff and Maybelline nail polish. They also carry a lot of LA Colors which is a brand I’ve blogged about before and trust. I get a lot of my cotton swabs, cotton balls, nail polish remover in a pinch, I’ve bought stuff like make up wedges and brushes for Halloween and other one time use situations.

3. Travel Toiletries

Our Dollar Tree carries a lot of national brand body care items, just in smaller packages. That actually makes it more expensive but it’s still only a buck. When I’m traveling and I want stuff that’s easier to transport, or if I’m traveling forget something, I hit the dollar store. It’s generally not the stuff that I’m used to using but it’ll get the job done until I get home.

4. Junk Food

I don’t do a lot of my food shopping at the dollar store because honestly Aldi’s is cheaper and the quality is normally higher. But Aldi’s doesn’t sell voodoo chips or coconut patties. Or whale crackers.

5. Storage Pieces

Mainly small baskets and the like. Containers to hold things like canning lids, nail polish, cotton balls, things like that. Maybe they’re not as attractive as the home stores…but they’re also a tenth of the price.

6. Gift wrap and blog props

Wrapping paper, cellophane, tissue paper, small bowls or plates. Things that will be single use or don’t really have to be awesome quality.

What’s On My Food Prepping List

what's on my food prepping list

It can be hard to figure out what you need to have in your ‘stockpile’, especially if you’re starting out from scratch.

The easiest way is start is to think about what you normally need-if you absolutely, insistently, will not eat beans, then don’t put them on your list. Remember, start prepping for mundane reasons like bad weather and economic hardship first, and worry about the zombies and SHTF later. Call me overly optimistic, but I’m fairly certain job loss is much more likely than the grid falling.

If you have as many staples as you can built up, you can supplement with fresh dairy and produce.

Then think about your space, and optimize your list in importance by what you can use and can easily store first.

My list, depending on space and sales, in no particular order:

White Sugar

Black Strap Molasses (both can be used separately, and can be used together to make brown sugar)


Dried Milk

Canned milks

Shelf stable soy or almond milks

Shelf stable tofu

Beans-canned and dried

Corn-canned and frozen

Peas-frozen, if I have room

Green beans-frozen and canned

Tuna fish or salmon, canned

Tea Bags

Raw sugar, when I can find it under $1.50 a pound

Peanut butter

Oats-not in large quantity, they can go rancid, steel cut and instant. I often get these in the bulk bin

Dried fruits-in the bulk bin

Nuts-in the bulk bin

Baking supplies-baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, etc. I get these on the Christmas and Thanksgiving baking sales

Unbleached white flour

Wheat flour-in small amounts for bread

Yeast-I try to have some in the house. but I don’t stockpile it

Shelf stable stocks or stock bases

Stocks-frozen or canned

Canned fruit

Oils-olive, corn, coconut

Garbage bags

Dish soap

Dish rags

Parchment paper (eventually I’ll get some Silpats, but for now, parchment paper)

Tin foil

Plastic wrap (only a box or two, one box lasts me years)

One or two bee’s wax clothes

Paper towels-there are some really nasty tasks I still prefer paper for, like draining bacon

Cleaning rags

Vinegars-white and apple cider

Citrus cleaner-I normally make my own

Salt-table, and whatever other kinds I can find on sale

Canning supplies-have on hand if you know how to can in case you find awesome produce sales






The Thing About Secret Menus

the truth about coffee secret menus

I’ve discovered Stumbleupon, or rather, Stumbleupon discovered me so I’ve been returning the favor.

Last night I found a link describing the ‘Starbucks Secret Menu’ with all these wonderful sounding drinks-including something called the Penguin Mocha.

Being that two of my most favorite things in the world are penguins and coffee, when I made my once a week Starbucks run, I got me a penguin mocha.

Here’s the kicker though, and I do stress this with all seriousness: Starbucks DOES NOT have a secret menu. Most coffee bars DO NOT HAVE A SECRET MENU.

This is not information I have through word of mouth: I put myself through both of my degrees working as a barista. I was Starbucks trained for four years. There is no ‘secret’ to the secret menu. These are -not- drinks that baristas are trained to know.

A barista can definitely stack a drink for you that’s not on their main menu-the ‘secret’ of the secret menu is knowing what’s in the drink. Don’t even bother with the name-because even if the drink has a cutesy name, there’s a strong possibility that it’s not a consistent name from bar to bar. But, if you know the shots and ratios that go into your drink, it’s going to go a lot easier for everyone involved. Because while the Penguin Mocha is easier to say-if your barista has no idea what you’re talking about, things are going to get muddy fast.

Especially if you have new baristas-I’ve had Starbucks baristas get very confused when I’ve ordered a cafe au lait, because it’s technically a misto at ‘Bucks. Yes, I cringed a little inside. But you have to start somewhere.

The one that comes up the most often is the Captain Crunch frapp. I’ve had people insist that their location knew it by name. Okay, that’s awesome. I’m telling you that if you walked into the bar I was trained at and ordered that by name, we would have asked you what was in it. Because there was no paperwork handed down to us that listed a drink by that name.

So by all means, order a Penguin Mocha. They’re awesome. Just make sure you order a half white/half dark mocha with a raspberry shot.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

Linked to-

adorned from above

artsy fartsy

family home and life

posed perfection

snippets of inspiration


Or, How I Came to Love the Dollar Store

Every so often linking systems decide they don’t like me- my August Preservation list is here, if you were trying to reach it!

This is going to sound like a strange topic to write about if you have any sort of experience with the frugal area of the blogsphere. I mean, who doesn’t utilize their dollar store? It’s part of the frugal experience for a large number of people.

But let me into a secret. I…was afraid of dollar stores for a long time. I refused to shop at them. At all. I was anti-dollar store. And I know a lot of people who are anti-dollar store.

Then I was sucked into the monetary blackhole that is grad school and that ended my hatred of the dollar store.

These are the parts of the dollar store that I use the most, to the most effect. You’ll notice that there’s no food on the list- other than some spices like salt I don’t use food from the dollar store.

1. Housewares

As a general rule, I use the dollar store for the cutesy holiday stuff like towels with the pumpkins on. Sometimes there’s a quality difference in terms of absorbancy- but sometimes all I want is a towel with a pumpkin on and I’m not going to indulge my occasional whimsy with a $4 towel from Target if I can get it at the Dollar Tree for a whopping $1. Sometimes they have trivet packs for 2/$1.

The dollar store is also nice for more rugged pieces like coffee cups, bowls, plates, and the like- and they can be fairly attractive if you keep your eyes open. The Dollar Tree right now has some really heavy cut glass bowls that really tempted me if it wasn’t for my milk glass collection. For things like glass salad plates that run a lot more than a dollar elsewhere, it’s an option if you can’t successfully thrift something.

2. Cleaning Supplies

Listen. A toliet brush is a toliet brush is a toliet brush. You’re going to be using it to scrub your toliet. Does it matter where it comes from? If the answer is yes, then by all means, get the brush wherever you feel comfortable. I get a lot of my cleaning supplies (the stuff that it doesn’t matter where I get it) at the Dollar Tree.

With some digging you can generally get brand name products at the dollar store. I get a lot of my dish soap there now, because they generally have Palmolive in stock at least every other month. There are some things that I don’t really care if they’re brand name, like the scrubbies I use on my jam pot and bleach. There are things like garbage bags that I wait until I can get a big enough box of a brand name that it beats going to Aldis for their garbage bags.

I can’t vouch for laundry supplies at all because I have to use unscented soap- and I’ve honestly never seen unscented soap at a dollar store.

3. Kitchen Supplies

I get a lot of things like plastic freezer bags at the dollar store- I like the Stor-It brand. I don’t actually use that many plastic bags but I like them for freezing produce. I get the silverware that Mid takes to work there; again if you can’t thrift silverware the dollar store generally has it.

Things like funnels and bar mops are generally a safe bet at the dollar strre; if a piece looks flimsy it probably is but you can generally get a feel looking at it if it’s worth the trouble or not. I wasn’t impressed with the first set of spatulas I got there but the one near my apartment has a line of Betty Crocker stuff that looks pretty sturdy.

4. Health and Beauty

It was the ibuprofen that really got me. The last time I went to Walgreens for ibuprofen tabs- generic, basic, every day ibuprofen- on sale they wanted $4 for 20 to 30 tabs. That’s their house brand stuff too, not Advil or the like. The next time I went to the dollar store I found out that they have bottles behind the counter for $1 for 40. Guess where I buy pain relievers now?

If you don’t have reason to be picky (I have health reasons to be picky) they sometimes have name brand dental care items, and it’s hard to beat $1 toothbrushes. I get hair brushes there sometimes if I just want something to throw into my workbag. I get a lot of aloe and after sun lotion in the summer- and occasionally they have the SPF rating I need in sunblock.

6 months ago- Sunday Legends- The Pooka

Posted to- Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways


the second of the 3 spirits

you would have thought that with this whole long, drawn-out fiber diet thing, i would have at least blogged for the end of it. but i missed it.

in my own defense, this weekend i was out of state. i had to make an appearance in rhode island for our family christmas gathering. i have gone in something like four years, i really had to go this year. it was the normal too much food, too many loud family members in too small a space, and too many awkward moments of not knowing what to say. but with my past history, this means i have another 4 years before i have to reappear…

so how did i actually do?


-i used something like 7 balls of yarn over the course of the month, including holiday wishes and 3 1/2 pairs of socks.

-i spun roughly 4 skeins of wool before my spinning mojo left me and i got sucked into the epic sock challenge.

-i didn’t finish any rolags, bumps, or braids, and i received 2 bags of alpaca fiber. my mom replaced my broken spindle.

-i bought several balls of yarn for socks and christmas presents. i didn’t buy any yarn for myself, or at least, any yarn that was intended for myself on the outset.

-mid’s mom dropped off a massive box of yarn while i was gone. while it was very nice and it will get used it does defeat the purpose of a fiber diet? BUT. the rules did state that gifts don’t count!


great fiber no buy: day 21-doing it wrong

i’m doing it wrong.

i’ve got to be.

i know that i’m not doing all that well with the whole no yarn thing. however, i really do think that if i don’t buy the yarn for the chili boy challenge, i’m just not going to get anywhere fast, and it’ll be this time next year and i’ll be talking about how mid’s angry with me for not having the socks knit.

a.c. moore had a special today where if you had the special coupon, you’d get 25% off your entire order. i had gotten a coupon saturday when we went in for something else. mid’s company had their christmas/holiday party at a local resturant last night and we got out early enough that i convinced myself to use that coupon. i thought that i did well. i got one ball of sock yarn for free, essentially. in fact, you could say that i was proud of myself. i’ll take a pair of men’s socks for $5.

until i came across a post on another blog that mentioned saving something insane like 80% off of a grocery bill using coupons. i do use coupons- that is, if i can find coupons that work for things that i actually buy (this is harder for me to do than it sounds, considering mid can’t eat a lot of things due to having a wonky tummy) or that don’t require buying more food than what i have storage room for, or room in the budget for. saving a dollar off of frozen chicken is probably a good thing if you have need and/or freezer space for 3 boxes of the stuff.

however, for the sake of honesty, i do cut corners in a lot of places in order to make room in my budget for things like sock yarn. i do most of my grocery shopping at aldi’s or other low cost grocery chains (though i avoid buying produce there, it’s just subpar in quality). even on heavy weeks i’m $10 to $20 under what a normal week would be at wegmans or another chain. we’re trying to eat out a lot less. i take the bus a lot, or walk. a lot of my current money issues are due more to the amazing imploding station wagon of 2010 and my graduate education than anything else.

we now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.