Monthly Archives: June 2013

Damsel In De-mess

I must preface this post with the following:  If you are a type A personality where everything in your house has a place to call home and even your chotskies are in perfect order this post is NOT for you (but since I adore you for even starting to read my blog, please keep reading).  It is for those of us who live a cluttered and disorganized existence.  Much like my cup size, my personality is very much a B.  Possessing a type B personality is great in a lot of aspects (a cup size B, not so much…this girl has to pay for a lot of her own drinks when she goes to da club).  We type B personalities balance out work with fun, we don’t take life too seriously, and household chores…forgeddaboutit… cuts into our playtime.  However (cue Sarah McLachlan music) being a type B has a downside.  It is confusing, cluttered and exhausting at times.  Being a type B results in an office that can look like this:


(Pretty accurate dramatization of what the author’s home office really looks like)

Overwhelming right?  Well if my finances…wait don’t close out this tab yet!  I know,  the word “finances” creates instant boredom and makes you want to stop reading this and go on to more important internet happenings, so let me share an antidote with you so you will keep reading.  The word “finances” kind of sounds like “fine a*#es” so if you need to swap out one word for the other to continue reading please do (I won’t mind).  Now, where were we, oh yes, “finances” (more interesting read already).  If I were a type A personality, my desk would be orderly, no bills would be lost or forgotten and I wouldn’t be surrounded by a mountain of debt (figuratively and literally).  Coulda, woulda, shoulda.  The reality is my desk is not clean nor is it organized.  Due to my reality, I have lost bills and my mind on multiple occasions.  If I want my finances in order, it would make a whole lot of sense to keep the space where anything and everything dealing with finances goes to get sorted and paid:  My home office.  So let’s get organized!

How?  Well where does one go to seek advice/help/tips on anything in life?  The one place that is always reliable, dependable, and would never lead me astray:  Google.  So I googled and googled and after a few minutes found an article called “De-cluttered Desk Equals Happiness” on the National Women’s Holistic Institute website.  Perfect!  My desk is the definition of cluttered and anything that equals happiness has to be good…right?  What made this article even more perfect was that I was a woman who lived nationally, who has a lifestyle (albeit cluttered one) and I have holes (mainly one that gets me into trouble and one that gets me out of trouble)  That is what “holistic” means right?

Dirty jokes aside, it is time to get my desk happy and de-cluttered.  Who is with me?!

If you want to join me on this de-clutter venture here is a link to the article I mentioned:


As we enter toddlerhood we are taught the “no-nos”.   Some examples:

  • Picking your nose:  No-no.
  • Picking your nose and eating it:  Definite No-no.
  • Opening the door to strangers:  No-no.
  • Getting into a van with a stranger  who promises you candy while he his picking his nose and eating it:  YUCK…and NO-NO!

These no-nos are important.  Very important.  But what about the no-nos we are not taught as children?  The no-nos that teach us how to thrive once we outgrow toddlerhood and transition into life’s GREAT-GRANDDADDY of NO-NOS (and quite frankly life’s practical joke)…ADULTHOOD!  As a kid, why are we not shown a credit card by our parents then slapped in the face repeatedly?  Or have flashcards that show us pictures of lottery tickets and casinos with our parents screaming in our face “NO-NO”?  Why are we not taught that the worst 4 letter word we can ever let into our lives is the D word…DEBT?  If we were taught these “no-nos” in the way I just described, would we need therapy as adults?  Absolutely, BUT we would be a lot smarter with our money so we could pay for that therapy!

Well this post is about one “no-no” and one “no-no” only:   The Casino-no.  The words “sin” and “no” are even in the word.  It should be a given to stay away from these shiny buildings.  So why can’t all of us just stay say “no-no” to those bright lights and loud machines?  For me (and probably you) it is the possibility of winning a couple hundred dollars or even several thousand bucks in mere hours and that possibility is intoxicating to me (and probably you). With no clocks to remind me of the time, reality and common sense soon leave my consciousness. The machines whispering sweet nothings to me, wishing me good luck once I stick my first $20.00 in them.  The mixture of smells from cheap cologne, perfume, cigarette smoke, and desperation fill my nostrils and I am under the casino spell.  That spell makes me spend $20.00 which turns into $40.00, and before I  know it I just lost a Benjamin Franklin, and to put it frank:  self-hatred begins.  So before I go to a casino here are a few facts I have to keep in the back of my mind (and hopefully you will do the same):

Blackjack and Craps is the best bet.  Blackjack requires extreme discipline, and Craps is very complicated.  Since I lose all reasoning at any casino I have ever visited, that loss in reasoning would also result in a lack of extreme discipline and any way to grasp a complicated game like Craps.

Sports betting…not for this gal…next.

Slots.  Ah yes, now these are my girls!  I can totally push a button repeatedly since that is all the brain power I have when I am under the casino spell.  But wait!  The odds on these machines are the worst.  Casinos make two-thirds of their profits on slots.  These machines may be slotty, but they sure don’t put out.

So, I would love to pledge that I will never go to the casino, but that is unrealistic.  Both of my grandmas, several aunts, and my momma love the casino.  It is bonding time for us ladies and it will happen in the future.

So when I go for ladies bonding time, these are my list of casi”no-nos” (maybe you can add to them or you are a better person than I and you will avoid the casino altogether):

  1. Only bring as much cash as you are willing to lose (for me that is $40.00).
  2. Never, ever, ever, I mean never bring “debbie” (debit card).
  3. Cash out if you are ahead!

I followed this list on my last trip to the casino and ended up $20.00 ahead.  I may have had the casino stench in my hair and on my clothes, but I was minus self-hatred and up $20.00.

Frugoal Night Out: A Quiet Dinner And Quite A Show

Date night on a budget…ugh, what is it about the word “budget” that takes all of the romance, whimsy and fun out of life?  Well, in order for P and I to get out of that pesky debt we have buried ourselves in, we have to now incorporate a budget into everything now, even a night out on the town.  Gone are the days when our dates revolved around being flirty and frisky. Now our dates have to center around another F word… fiscal.  Being a grown up really sucks sometimes.

Before I begin telling you about our night in the big city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, I must preface by saying that P and I were given two “gifts of thrift” by ways of a $40.00 gift card to Angelo’s Ristorante (a quaint Italian joint) and P also acquired two free tickets through his work to Lake City Playhouse’s production of Into The Woods.  We already had a huge head start to this classy night on the town being well within budget.

Angelo’s was up first.  Small, intimate and music from The Godfather enveloping the restaurant, the atmosphere was set for a nice evening, and Angelo, well he gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse (first of many bad jokes folks).  Angelo’s has a deal where $55.00 can buy you dinner for two and a bottle of wine.  Yes please!  P and I decided to go this route, though it must be mentioned that deal comes with a more limited menu, but still plenty to choose from.  I ordered the spaghetti al pesto (best pesto I have ever had), and P ordered the penne al positano (which considering he had the meat sweats going, was also very yum).  The bottle of wine, well not sure which one we went with, but it was red and gone by the time we left the restaurant.  If you are interested in taking your date out and getting in on this deal visit

Now happily fed, we headed outside and into the woods.

Lake City Playhouse.  Small, intimate and the chatter of the audience enveloping the room, this little playhouse that could, would and did was the perfect atmosphere for a great show.  The set was very impressive and very…Steampunk?  Steampunk and Sondheim?  Odd combination at first, but twenty minutes into the show, it worked.  This won’t be a typical review.  I hate reviews.  I get why they exist because a good one will get people in seats but most reviews consist of a synopsis which then goes into the good, the bad, the spectacular and the ugly of the production, I just want this review to get you to go Into The Woods.  I hate having any preconceived ideas about a play before I even sit my derriere in my seat.  Since most of my readers are from the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area, and most of these aforementioned readers have the opportunity to see this show…my review is this…GO!  GO NOW! Well, you need to go during an actual showtime and get tickets, but then GO!  The amount of talent in my hometown is amazing.  Each performer (with the exception of one who I will write about later) sells their songs and owns that stage!  If you don’t live in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area, saddle up and ride to your local playhouse and giddy up for a great time!  Live theatre is magical and romantic.  A single space that the actors and the audience share for just one night and just one show.  The actors are feeding the audience, and the audience is feeding the actors right on back.  Okay, I will get off my soapbox now and just give you a small taste, an amuse-bouche if you will, of Lake City Playhouse’s Into The Woods:

  • The Baker (played by Andrew Ware Lewis) and Baker’s Wife (played by Emily Cleveland) know how to bake and bake they do.  However, The Baker and his bride, can’t seem to make a little Baker Junior.  Enter:  The Witch (portrayed by Abbey Crawford).  The Witch insinuates it could be The Baker who can’t seem to get a bun in his Wife’s oven. Or does the issue lie with the Baker’s Wife, perhaps being unable to get pregnant due to too many “yeast” infections?
  • The Witch and Rapunzel (Christine Mullaly).  What does one say about their storyline? Sweet, endearing, co-dependent, heartbreaking and very reminiscent of Big Edie and Little Edie in Grey Gardens.  Their mother/daughter dynamic was a highlight.
  • The direction, the set, the music, the costumes, the lighting…well…just GO and see the show already.

Though it is never good to conclude with a low note, I must get back to the one performer who was lackluster at best.  This unfortunate honor goes to that of “Milky-White” (played by The Cow).  He looks the part, I would have cast him too, but he was static and rigid.  Much props goes to the entire cast for carrying him on stage though (especially Brendan Brady who plays Jack).   All of you made “Milky-White” bearable to watch, and “Milky-White”, if you are reading this please know that it was not all a loss.  Your red eyes were hypnotic at times and in the middle of Act One, when you exited the stage backwards, it was impressive.  Anyone can appreciate a good “moo”n walk!

Into The Woods plays through June 29.

For tickets (have I mentioned yet to go see this show):

Call  (208) 667-1323 or hop online (oh you already are online, how convenient) and go to

Also it should be mentioned (since this is a blog about trying to spend less money) you can volunteer and be an usher, work concessions, or house manage and see the show for FREE. Now that is a price that is within anyone’s budget!

Frugoal Finds: The Anti-Fleece Fleece

So proud to introduce a new category to my blog called Frugoal Finds.  No applause please, you are embarrassing me. This category is intended to feature great deals and steals purchased with zeal!  The first item featured on Frugoal Finds is a saucy little number (and for all of you out there wondering, yes she is a natural redhead).


Her name:  Columbia.

Hometown:  Portland, Oregon (Sellwood Neighborhood).

Her turn ons:  Loves to snuggle and keep you warm at night.

Her turn offs:  Warm weather.

Original asking price:  $70.00

Say What?!?!

My mamma always told me retail is for suckers, and it is.

So how did I acquire Columbia, especially since I live several hundred miles away from Portland?  Enter Gina (friend/co-worker/walking buddy/hunter of bargains).  Gina was on her way to Portland for an extended weekend.  She made note of the fact that she would be visiting several outlet stores while in Portland, a Columbia Sportswear outlet being one of them.  I had an A-ha moment (not the Oprah kind, the 80’s Norwegian band kind).  “Take on me” had been in my head since lunch and my inner monologue went like this:

Gina just said she is going to a Columbia outlet store.  Shut up A-ha and your stupid, addictive song, but good golly it is catchy.  How did a band from Norway get it so right in the U.S.?  Well it is cold in Norway.  All they probably do is stay warm and write such delightful soul searching songs as “Take On Me”.  I bet they wore lots of fleeces.  I need a new fleece.  My old Columbia fleece is so worn out…wait a second.  Did Gina just say she is going to a Columbia outlet?  Did I just have an A-ha moment?

Finally back into the sanity of the real world and out of the craziness of my head, I asked Gina if she could please, please, pretty please pick up a small Columbia fleece for me, but only if she found a killer deal.  She agreed.  Since she is a hunter of bargains, she found, hunted and returned with her kill:  Columbia.

This is how she got Columbia for me at a killer deal:

  • Retail price:  $70.00
  • Outlet price:  $49.90
  • Initial markdown:  $34.99
  • Second markdown:  $29.98
  • Gina found Columbia on the 50% off rack
  • Gina spent over $100.00 on Columbia as well as other items which gave her (and me) an additional 20% off.

Final price for Columbia:  $11.99 (because Oregon has no sales tax…oh hecks yes!)

Frugoal Finds wants to thank:

  • Gina for bringing home Columbia for the low price of $11.99, because who doesn’t love a cheap ginger?
  • Everyone who didn’t snag Columbia when they had a chance.
  • And of course Norwegian 80’s sensation: A-ha!