Monthly Archives: September 2013

Thirty Dollars Or Less: 1 street fair, 2 gals and a hell of a lot of mason jars

O to the M to the G!  Very excited to present my first post about dates for 2 under $30.00.  This post is all about celebrating a very belated birthday for my girlfriend Alexis*.


(Actual picture of Alexis*…and to all of my eligible male readers out there, she is single and ready to mingle and even more ready to kill me for just writing that)

Alexis had a birthday at the beginning of the month but for various reasons we weren’t able to connect  and celebrate it until this past Saturday.  So we did, all on a Hamilton and a Jackson y’all (in case you don’t speak white girl gansta, that means a $10.00 bill and a $20.00 bill you all).

First stop:  Lunch.  We met at Red Robin and had a great meal.  She had a petite burger and I noshed on their $3.00 classic mini wedge salad (yum) and their $5.00 pretzel bites (double yum).  She talked about a certain boy in her life, pinterest and mason jars. I talked about my cat.  We also talked about Syria (okay we didn’t, we talked more about those damn mason jars on pinterest).

Finished our meal and got the bill.  This gal was able to take her girlfriend out for her birthday (tip included) for $23.91. Alexis my girl, you are one cheap date (I mean that in the nicest way possible).  Our girl date was starting off just swell and I still had $6.00 to spare.

Next stop:  An unexpected street fair just behind Red Robin.  Neither of us knew this was going on so it was an added perk to our girl date.  Street fairs are perfect for walking off a meal at Red Robin, people watching and window shopping.


We found a cute boutique (which is French for “cute but ridiculously overpriced”) and wandered in.  What was there to greet us?  MASON JARS.  So many mason jars.  Mason jars as wine glasses, bride/groom glasses, shot glasses.  Mason jars were everywhere.  I even suggested to Alexis she should go as a mason jar for Halloween this year.  Who knew these glass containers were such a “thing”?  Pinterest knew it was a thing and so did Alexis.  This blogger wasn’t in the know and it was time to step away from the store with all the mason jars and get back to the street fair and fresh air.

Though it was a particularly  overcast day, we found some beautiful scenery to enjoy.


It did get a little chilly so Starbucks was calling our names.

Last stop:  Starbucks.  We each got a small…oops, I mean “tall” drink.  Alexis pulled out a gift card with a couple bucks on it and the total came to:  Well I can’t find my stupid Starbucks receipt but it was $2 or $3 something or other.

Regardless,  the entire date was less than $30.00.

Hope you liked this new feature on my blog and let me know what you think!

Comment below, e-mail me or tweet me @frugoal

Thanks for reading!


*Alexis may or may not (but probably is) her real name

So a funny thing happened while I was crying into my sushi…

Funny how when you shut up and listen you realize that life is giving you lessons.  My most recent life lesson came by way of words of the hurtful nature.  In the last several weeks I have been met with harsh criticism in multiple aspects of my life (e.g., acting in community theatre, singing at my Grandma’s wedding, this very blog you are reading, my awesome white girl dance moves).  This post isn’t about the “who said what”, but it is about the “how”:  how I brushed myself off and am turning these recent criticisms into an honest realization about myself.

First off, I have to thank my brother Steve.  After this story you will see why special kudos go to him.

I was in a show recently.  The play was a thriller.  My part:  the wife.  Was it my favorite acting role?  Did I invest as much time into “becoming” the character as I should have?  Was it my top priority? I can answer all of these questions with one simple word: No.  However, I did show up.  I learned my lines, I was at every rehearsal and tried to fall in love with “Myra” (my character’s name).  Alas, Myra and I just didn’t make a love connection.  My life was work and rehearsals (as anyone involved in community theatre knows).  Laundry piled up, dishes piled up, and I even missed a big family function the night before my Grandma’s wedding to be at a much needed rehearsal.  When you volunteer your time and talent for a local theatre production a LOT of sacrifices are made, but the end result is worth it.

Opening weekend came and went.  The audiences were fantastic and it was so great to be a part of a story that we were telling to these crowds.  Then came Monday.  Finally a day to just be me again.

My brother Steve and my sister-in-law Kelsey were still in town and wanted to go to a sushi place I had been telling them about.  P (who I failed to mention was also in the show and did a terrific job) was also set to meet us for dinner.  When the four of us all met up, P told me that there was a review of the show up on youtube.  My excitement turned to sadness when P told me not to watch it.  Well what do you do when someone tells you not to watch something?  Uh duh, you want to watch it.  So I did.  Damn smart phones.  I watched the youtube video review in the middle of a sushi restaurant (crowded but fairly quiet).  The review was good of the show, but it slaughtered me.  It may not have been my favorite character to play but I still invested a lot of time into being a part of this show.  Like any woman, I was pissed initially but in actuality my feelings were hurt.  Then I cried.  This restaurant was now filled with a sea full of sushi and my tears.

Steve and Kelsey laughed awkwardly and  were asking me, “Are you seriously crying in public right now?”  Yes.  Yes I was.  P had no reaction as he is used to my crazy.  Also it must be mentioned that I am not drinking this month as part of my “Fast Food Fast”.  So my crazy just got a whole lot crazier since I was crying not only in public but I was sober.

Steve (and this is where the kudos come in) said “You have guts.  You have guts to get up there in front of people like that.”

It was a quick thought that he voiced, but it calmed my crazy.  It made me realize that I do have guts.  Guts to put myself out there where it is so easy for others to sit and judge.

As a child, I was painfully shy.  I wasn’t quiet, I was shy.  I wanted to say things in class and joke with classmates, but the fear of being rejected by others kept me from speaking my mind and being me. Then as my childhood turned into puberty/young adulthood the fear of not doing something started to outweigh the fear of doing it and being judged by others.  In junior high I joined the band.  In high school I joined the choir and the flag team (I don’t think it needs to be mentioned that I spent many Friday nights with my Mom).  In college I not only got into theatre and speech, but majored in them. I was finding my voice,  albeit slowly, and starting to love it.

The truth is the people I envy most in this world aren’t the rich or famous.  They aren’t the girls at the gym who have gorgeous bodies (quite frankly I admire them for it) or those that seem to have it all together.  The people I envy most are the people who wear themselves and the skin they are in so well.  Those that not only march to their own drum but rock that drum beat.  I envy the people who know who they are and not only accept it but embrace it. When I grow up I want to be one of those people.

Now in my early 30’s I am not only finding my voice but I am actually starting to love the sound of it.  At work I tell bad jokes to my co-workers and the telemarketers that call the office.  I have the ability to be deliciously awkward in social situations.  I dabble in community theatre, sing at family functions, write honestly on this blog, and try to “twerk” the best I can for a white chick.  This skin I am in is starting to feel like it was made just for me.

So what is the life lesson I learned in all of this and would like to share with you?  The reason why I feel like I am being criticized more often is because I am putting myself out there more, and that takes guts.

My parting message for you tonight is this:  Go out and share the parts of yourself (within reason) to the world that you are willing to.  People are going to criticize, judge and just be plain ol’ mean.  Let them.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and more importantly everyone is entitled to be true to themselves.  So instead of crying into your California Roll go be YOU!

Stepping off this soapbox and signing out,


Extra Bacon to Bad Beer: A Lesson in Karma

Stopped into Subway the other day (yes I know I am on a fast food fast BUT this Subway doesn’t have a drive-thru) and got 2 five dollar footlongs.  One of these sandwiches was for P who wanted extra bacon.  The Subway guy making my sandwiches informed me there would be an extra charge of a $1.50 for the bacon.  I tell him that is “no problem” even though there were, in fact, two problems: 1) P just made a $5 footlong a $6.50 footlong (which does NOT make for a catchy jingle), and 2) His love of extra bacon is going to make me a widow someday.  The Subway guy makes P’s sandwich then made mine.  He rings up the total: $10.60.  He forgot the extra bacon charge. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!  P is happy and so am I.  I know I should have said something.  My parents raised me to be honest BUT this lady just got $1.50 break.  I happily paid the $10.60 and went on my merry little way.  Then I got to thinking, which usually gets me in trouble.  Did I do the right thing?  Should I have been honest about the bacon?  Could Subway have overcharged me at some point in the past and I just got my money back now?

Then that funny little thing that some may call “karma” stepped in.  I get home and notice P dumping a full beer out in the yard (because we are classy like that).  I ask what he is doing.  He then informs me he went to drink a beer that he purchased at the gas station and it was a “bad” beer.  I ask him how much the beer was.  His answer:  $1.50.

This girl can’t catch a break.

So did I do the right thing at Subway?  What would you guys have done?

Fast Food Fast Episode I: A Kernel of Hope

A not so long time ago in a galaxy not that far away…


Episode I


Financial turmoil has engulfed this girl’s republic by way of fast food and booze.  Her and her bank balance are in dispute.

Hoping to resolve the matter with one month of deadly will power, she has decided to stop any junk food and alcohol from entering her planet.

While temptation threatens to destroy her progress, a kernel of hope is on it’s way to settle the conflict….

It has been 9 days since my fast food fast has begun.  If you don’t know the hell…errrr I mean challenge I signed up for, please click to read the previous post:

To sum up:  no junk, no booze, and no fun.  When am I supposed to feel better?  I hope soon.  I must admit I had a few french fries (though not at a fast food place) and I did have a diet pop at a bar.  Temptation is everywhere though.  Between work and being in the midst of a play, fast food (and a drink or 2) is a very tempting option.  I just want a beer…9 days without a damn beer has this gal feeling parched.  It doesn’t help that just today my brother sent me a pic of a beer with the caption “Such a refreshing beverage after a rough day”.  

As for the money saving aspect of this venture…jury is still out.

The worst part about these 9 days (TMI portion of the blog) PMS has struck.  To every woman PMS means something different.  Some women experience mild mood swings, bloating, and cramping.  Personally, PMS means two things:  1) I watch Snapped marathons and take the side of the women who offed their husbands, and 2) I WANT SALT.  Seriously PMS might as well be short for Pour More Salt.  I have poured salt on oatmeal, salt on avocado, and saturated my beer with salt (oh beer how I miss you).  These first 9 days have been rough.

There have been a few silver linings though.  I have noticed that my skin has started to clear up.  What was once a canvas for some hardcore chin acne is now starting to just be a chin.  The one upside to acne was getting carded more, but since I’m not buying booze this month I will not even miss that perk.  I also am down 3 pounds.  Not anything special, but it is something and I think that it is a pretty impressive  weight loss considering my workouts have been lacking over the last several weeks.

Today was a rough day for me.  I was questioning if the past 9 days have been worth it.  Should I stick it out for the month?  When will will my cravings subside?  Will this little experiment actually save money?  Should I just say “to hell with it” and go to McDonald’s and get a cheeseburger then go to the gas station and buy a tall boy?

As I was pondering all of these questions while eating my lunch (a mediocre salad) something happened.  A very small something happened.  Some may even call it a “sign”.  I looked down and a kernel of hope looked up at me and smiled.


Some may find this corny but I felt like this little kernel was cheering me on to keep up with this whole “healthy eating” thing and continue my fast food fast!