Thrifty Threads Thursday: Embroidered Emerald Cardigan

I went thrifting with my friend Jacquelline last week and just fell in love with the Loft cardigan. It’s got some great detail work and at $3.99, I had to take it home with me.

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Emerald Loft Cardigan – (thrifted) – $3.99
Polka Dot Dress – H&M – $9
Belt (thrifted) – $1
Pointed Toe Black Flats – Target – $12. similar.
Outfit Total: $25.99

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Penniless Socialite for Look What I Got
Mix Match Fashion for What I Wore to Work
The Daily Tay for Blogtober#14
Thrifting Diva for Thrift Sisters Link Up

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Crockpot Apple Cider-Applesauce

Earlier this fall I went apple picking with my friend Jacquelline. We went a bit over board and ended up bringing home a crazy amount of apples. They’ve been sitting in my kitchen for a few weeks now and I’ve decided that I have to find ways to get rid of this mountain of apples.

I’ve always been a big fan of applesauce, so I tried my hand at making some in the crockpot. My parents have done it before, but this was my first experience flying solo. I created a basic recipe that turned out really flavorful. I used apple cider as  my liquid, but you could use water if you don’t have any on hand.

Ingredients
1. 10-12 peeled apples (chopped or sliced)
2. 1/2 cup of apple cider (or water if you want)
3. 1 TBSP cinnamon
4. 1/4 TSP nutmeg

Steps
1. Peel, core and chop/slice your apples. I used an apple slicer to speed up the process, but you could just roughly chop the apples.

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2. Place apples in crockpot along with apple cider (or water), cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix them up as best you can.

3. Cook apples on low for 6 hours.

4. Cool down a bit and put apples in blender. Put a towel over the top of the blender and pulse for a few seconds. I prefer my applesauce to be a bit chunky, but the texture is really up to you. Pulse for as long as you see fit. You could also use an immersion blender to do this.

All done! You could freeze this applesauce or put it in the fridge. If you put it in the fridge, it should stay good for about a week.

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AirBnB: Pinterest for the Adventurous

So guys, AirBnB is like pinterest for the adventurers. I spend entirely too much time scouring listings in the most random of places and fawning over the concept that I could maybe one day, stay there.

For those of you who don’t know what AirBnB is, let me enlighten you. Just a warning, you will most likely become obsessed, so if you have an obsessive personality like I do, stop reading.

You’re still with me? Awesome. I like your reckless nature. AirBnB is this fantastic site where people list their homes, spare bedrooms & random spaces for rent to travelers. You can choose to basically couch surf, you can rent a private room (B&B style) or you can rent an entire house/condo/apartment/boat/what have you.

Let me tell you why I’m obsessed. First of all, guys, it’s cheap. Like, real cheap. Well, I guess I can’t say that for every listing, but generally speaking the rooms (even entire houses) are cheaper than hotels. Plus, you’re actually staying in a house. Which means you’ve got a kitchen, laundry (sometimes) and actual space to spread out. A lot of times people will even include extras like bikes, kayaks, etc, with the rental. Personally, I love the idea of living like a local. When I travel, I always try to go where the local go; eat where they eat, do what they do. After all, they live there. They know whats up. How cool is it that you can actually live like a local? Forget the standard, tired hotel. I say be a little adventurous and try something different.

So, I thought it would be fun to show you guys some of my dream accommodations. Like I said, I spend hours upon hours looking at cool vacation opportunities, so I thought you guys might like to take a peek. Maybe you’ll actually get to stay in one of these amazing places soon. I hope so. Maybe you could take me with you :)

Find something you like? Sign Up through this link for a $25 credit. Guys, that’s basically a free night at some of these places.

TRAVEL JOURNALIST-CENTRE OF ATHENS (ATHENS, GREECE)
photo courtesy of AirBnB
Cost: $35 a nightgreece1 Are you seeing what I’m seeing? You can stay in this charming little apartment for $35 a night. In Athens. Someone please take me now.

FLAT FOR REAL EXPERTS AT COLOSSEUM (ROME, ITALY)
photo courtesy of AirBnB
Cost: $65 a night

italyThis beautifully remodeled apartment is located within a building that dates back to the 16th century. How cool is that? For $65 a night? Plus its got that loft bed, so really, you could divide the cost 3 ways. How you get up there, I don’t know… but there has to be a way.

OFF THE GRID AND FORTY FEET UP (TILLER, OREGON)
photo courtesy of AirBnB
Cost: $125 a nightoregonNow seriously. How cool is this? Sure, it’s in the middle of nowhere, but there is something so peaceful about that. Plus, did you see the views in those pictures? I could spend a week there. Just a week though, I’d probably go crazy after that.

TROPICAL ISLAND JUNGLE RETREAT (BOCAS DEL TORO DISTRICT, PANAMA)
photo courtesy of AirBnB
Cost: $88 a night

panamaThis jungle retreat is just beautiful. There are two separate houses; one tucked back inland a bit and one right on the water. I’d opt for the one that’s RIGHT on the water. Just jump out the window into the lagoon. They even include kayaks.They have pictures of people hanging out with dolphins too. I can’t say if that actually happens, but I’m okay with that concept.

AMAZING LOFT IN RIO’S URBAN FOREST (RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL)
photo courtesy of AirBnB
Cost: $120 a nightrio

I’ve always wanted to go to Brazil. It just seems so lively and colorful and exciting. And if I could stay in a place like this, I’d be there in an instant. I love the way they’ve decorated and furnished the place, the outdoor and indoor spaces are really seamless.

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girls Night Out: Pink Dessert Wars

Last Tuesday night I attended “Pink Dessert Wars”, a local fundraiser support Breast Cancer Research. For a mere $10 we were treated to samplings of pink-themed treats created by a number of different local bakeries. My friend Sarah, who writes for a college newspaper joined me and we absolutely stuffed ourself on sweets of all sorts; cakes, cupcakes, brownies, parfaits, you name it, we inhaled it.

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I love going to these kinds of events and I try to support local shops. One of my favorite bakeries, Whipped, was there. They were located right next door to the Old Town Commercial Association (where I did my graphic design internship). Let’s just say that I became very familiar with their cookies and mini cupcakes.  Whipped offering for the night is pictured below. Raspberry cupcakes. Delicious. Although that raspberry jam/topping thing was a bit strong.

128The event was sponsored by Pioneer Sugar. They came up with some lovely centerpieces. Well done decoration committee, well done.
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My favorite dessert of the night was from Bake N’Cakes. They had a scrumptious pumpkin and maple parfait. It was a nice change from all the overly sweet treats all the other bakeries brought.13 14

Here’s a shot of me with the sugar centerpiece. Because, why not. I wore my best “cupcake” dress, because I don’t have a lot of pink in my wardrobe.

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We had a great time and I hope that they put on this event next year. I didn’t make it through all the samples, I fell into a sugar coma about halfway through. My boyfriend ended up demolishing the few samples I managed to get in my to go box. Next time, I’ll fast the entire day leading up to it and then just have sugar for dinner. Sounds like an excellent plan.

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Product Review: Travelon Packing Organizers

I’ve been thinking about getting packing organizers for awhile now. I’ve been traveling a lot recently and I needed a way to keep my things organized. I was at TJ Maxx the other day and stumbled on these TravelOn Organizers. They were priced at $14.99; which is a great deal for this sort of thing. I was a bit skeptical because they aren’t very tall. All three organizers measure 2.75 inches tall. That’s not a ton of room. But, I’m a relatively small girl and my clothes really aren’t that big. The tag said these were designed to fit inside a 21″ carry on, which intrigued me. I’ve been trying to find a way to travel with just a carry-on when necessary, but I’m notorious for overpacking. So I thought I’d give these a shot.

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I purchased two identical sets and did a trial run on packing at home. Here’s what I found. I was able to fit 4 pairs of pants in the “large” bag (14.25″x8.25″x2.75″). They were all “skinny” jeans and the organizer was pretty stuffed.

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In the medium size (10.25″x8.25″x2.75″) I fit a dress and two cardigans. I probably could have fit another shirt or a tank top because I had a little bit of extra room. In the small bag (10.5″x6″x2.75″) I was able to fit 3 shirts. Again, I probably could have squeezed another one in there if I really tried.

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I like that the bags are incredibly lightweight. This is ideal when traveling, especially with how strict the airlines are becoming. The fabric is water, stain and tear resistant. I also like that they have handles on the edge and that the tops are mesh so it’s easy to see what’s inside. I am a bit worried about the zipper quality, they feel a bit flimsy. I would also prefer to have two zippers on my organizers, but that’s not that big of a deal.

I have to say, I was really surprised with how much I could fit in these organizers. I was also able to fit all three organizers and my laptop in my Ebags Kalya Townsquare Bag – which fits within “personal item” category on most airplanes. It was tight, but it worked. So I’m reasonably certain they will fit in any carryon bag you’ve got.

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I would recommend these organizers for short trips. I was able to get a lot of items in mine, but I also didn’t pack any underwear, bras or socks. If you are going to be gone for more than a couple of days, I’d suggest picking up an extra set. Like I said, all 3 organizers fit in my bag, which is the size of a large laptop bag. If you are packing a regular carryon, you could probably fit both sets or close to it.

You can get these organizers on Amazon. They don’t have these exact colors, but you can find the same color scheme in the “neutrals”. They also have a “brights” set that contains a blue, pink and green.

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Apps That I Love: Finance, Money-Saving & Budgeting

I’m a bit of an App Hoader. I use my iPhone everyday for a number of different reasons. I have games, budgeting apps, travel apps, organization apps and more. Here are my absolute favorite money related apps.

AppsMoney

Gas Buddy

I use Gas Buddy every time I go to get gas. It gives an up to date price per gallon for all the gas stations in your area. While I normally try to stick with speedway (speedy rewards!), if I can get a significantly better deal somewhere else, I’ll switch.

Mint.com

Do you use mint.com? It’s a personal finance/budgeting website. It pulls all your spending habits and sorts them into different expense categories. You can also create budgets that pull right up on your phone so you can keep track of what you’re spending on the go.

Credit Karma

I use this app to keep track of my credit score. It’s completely free to use and doesn’t use a “hard-pull” on your credit, so it doesn’t affect your score at all. I use this in conjunction with my mobile banking app to keep tabs on my accounts & finances.

Checkout 51 / Ibotta

These are both coupon apps. With Checkout 51 you can find a lot of coupons for fresh foods, which are usually hard to find. For most items you can buy any brand, which is great. Ibotta has more products, but will only work in the stores they have listed. However, MOST stores are there. Both of these apps are simple to use, you simply take a picture of your receipt and upload it. You select the items you purchased from the list and are refunded the money into your account.

What apps do you use to keep track of your finances or to save money?

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High Five For Friday: Plane Tickets & Cupcakes

High Five for Friday is hosted by Lauren Elizabeth

1. I made it to the finals of the PS Print Holiday Card Contest
Yesterday they announced the finalists for the PS Print Holiday Card Design Contest… and I made it. If you’d like to vote for me, you can here.

2. We actually bought our tickets to Phoenix
I’ll be spending this Christmas with my boyfriends family in Arizona. I’ve never been to Arizona and I’ve never met any of his family. We met last September in East Lansing, where I live and he’s attending Law School. I cannot even express how nervous I am about not only meeting his family, but staying with them for almost a month. But, we took the plunge. We bought the tickets. Plus, we got an amazing deal. Less than $300 roundtrip. As nervous as I am, I am still excited to go and happy that we got the tickets. I’m all about planning and I’ve been watching the airfare prices climb and it’s been killing me. Continue reading

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