Last Minute but Perfect Valentine’s Day Ideas (Even If You Have No Time And Little Money)

I love sharing my penny pinching Valentine’s Ideas with you because most significant others don’t need a significant display  EVERY Valentine’s Day, (and chances are if you happen to be someone who DOES need a significant display every year, you won’t find my humble blog interesting so I’ve already lost you….)

So here are my quick, easy, penny pinching Valentine’s Day Ideas, even if you have no time and little money!

  1.  Memory Lane:  Remember that first apartment you moved into and it was so bad that it so wasn’t funny at the time but now you can look back and think it is?  Talk about it!  Maybe you’re just starting out, and you’re in that place right now!  Maybe you can sit around and talk about how you first met, and what you REALLY thought about one another… you know, now that you are comfortably stuck with each other!  Have a conversation.  If you have to, write down moments that happened during that year so that you can keep the conversation rolling.

  2. Move Night:  It’s very typical to say, “hey wanna watch a movie?”  But you can make it easily special with a little forethought.  Head over to your Dollar Tree and get some boxes of movie candy.  Pop some popcorn.  Grab some popcorn seasoning, and spray butter at the grocery, and set it all up in the kitchen.  Remember your favorite drinks too!  Add some snuggly blankets.  Hey, you can’t get that comfortable in the public theater!

  3. DIY Truffles:  I shared a delicious easy oreo truffle ball recipe in my free holiday cookbook for all my email subscribers.  Unfortunately that door has closed and you can no longer get that cookie book. (I have another current freebie here.)  But you can google and find it pretty quickly…. plus this easy recipe found on allrecipes website.  (One of my favorite recipe sites.)  It’s seriously so cheap and easy that you’ll wonder why you ever spent tons of money on the other stuff.  Plus you can customize these with your love’s favorite toppings, and homemade always is better!  Try rolling them in matcha powder, ground nuts, international delight coffee mix, hot cocoa powder, chopped dried fruit, or any other dry topping.

  4. Chocolate and Flowers:  They are traditional and expected but perhaps for good reason.  Most drugstores and groceries will have these in ample supply, and you can get a great piece of chocolate, or a fancier version in the Aldi store for a great deal.  Remember, Aldi is a German company and Germany is known for their great chocolate!

  5.   Night Time Picnic/ Car Ride/ Stargazing:  Maybe you both are working late?  Take it on the road by packing some snacks; cheese, crackers, dried fruit, Non alcoholic sparkling grape juice, dessert with coffee/hot cocoa in a thermos, or a more elaborate meal, and take a drive to a nice location to star gaze.  If you are in a chilly (or freezing) location, either stay in the car or pack lots of scarves/ gloves/ earmuffs and blankets to get all cozy together.  Bonus to having your car….leave the heat running!  This is an unexpected, kinda spontaneous and whimsical idea, and an excuse to snuggle up!

There you have it… Some ideas that need not be overly complicated, but come straight from the heart to remind your cutie that you love them!

How to Grow Garlic Scapes

Ah… the stinking rose.  Garlic.  I thought this was a fitting post to kick off February.

My garlic started growing in the fridge so I got a thought.  And turns out it wasn’t that crazy.

I put the garlic in water, and was really surprised what happened.

Did you know that you can grow kitchen scraps?  There’s tons to try, but I don’t think any are as easy as garlic and green onions.

If you put the garlic clove in a small amount of water, with the flat end down, you’ve got roots in no time flat.  I mean really, I think it only took a few hours to start to see something happening in there.  Here’s my science experiment.

Within a few days I had these healthy looking green stalks growing.  I just added some water daily.  Now, after about a week… some of that garlic started really stinking.  So I cut those scapes and tossed the garlic cloves.  So now what do I do with my scapes?

  • Treat them just like an herb or scallions:

  • Saute in a bit of oil.

  • Chop and add to potatoes, salads, pizza, or eggs.

  • Put them on the grill.

  • Add to make a butter compound.

And those green onions!  They grow several inches in just a few days.  Eventually the onion is depleted, however you can get a lot more out of your produce this way.  Plus, maybe I don’t get out much, but I kinda liked watching this grow!

Create Energy/ Create Light

With my 2018 motto of “Create Energy/ Create Light” ringing in the back of my head, I’m seeking out stories and parables of how others create energy and light, and use it as a teaching tool for me too.

Groups are a great way to create community and share the good.  It’s solely the reason why the Nicolyndime blog and the Thrifter’s Group exists!

I’m sharing my top list of Facebook groups for cheapskates like us.  If you haven’t signed up to be on the mailing list yet, this is a perfect chance for you to catch a freebie in doing so!

It was in one of these groups where I saw a touching post about a do gooder in the Goodwill.  I asked if I could share her story here.

Cheryl was shopping at her local Goodwill with her daughter.  The two were at the jewelry counter when she overheard an elderly woman tell the cashier she forgot her wallet, and would have to come back another time to make her purchase.  The weather was bad, and Cheryl felt equally as bad that the woman may have to brave the inclement day.  She said she had been thinking about her mother so much, because her mother loved a Goodwill bargain hunt, and took the opportunity to honor her, and show her daughter a good example by offering to pay for the woman’s purchase.  She was of course so grateful, and told her she would pay it forward.  It made everyone feel good and I’m sure put so many good vibes out into the world!

Just wanted to brighten your day by sharing that beautiful story!

How to Fix a Broken Compact

You know what’s annoying?  Dropping a brand new compact that shatters!  (That wasn’t fair, I didn’t give you a chance to answer.)

You know what else is annoying……..

…………..?

I’ll tell you!  It’s an almost used up compact that still has a little more hiding in it that is so small you can’t get your brush into.

All those little bits add up, because it’s actually quite deceiving and there is actually quite a bit in there.

I had been saving two seemingly empty compacts, trying to dab the last bits out, but my powder brush was too large to make an impact.

So I finally decided to try a little trick I had seen around, and IT WORKS!

It’s so simple, it’s funny.

First use a spoon, or a makeup spatula, to carve out those little leftovers, and chop them up.  Pulverize them!  HULK SMASH!

Then combine into one container, and mix with a little rubbing alcohol.  You want to add enough so that it all incorporates together.  Smooth it out as best as possible, trying to get all the little crumbles included.  And allow to dry overnight with the lid off.

  

In the morning… I had a quarters worth of powder, all from something I was going to toss out!  Works like a charm, and I can’t tell the difference at all.

Save those little empties!

Ring in the 2018!

I always take a time out between Christmas, and when the kids go back to school.  A lot of that time is clearing up loose ends from the holidays, putting away Christmas, doing another declutter session, and prepping for the Spring portion of the dance season.  But I also take a few moments to be lazy, kind of become a hermit, think about things, and set a mood for the new year.

Next Monday, I’ll be posting a video of my last thrift haul of 2017, but in all honesty, I can’t sit here and edit a video right now when I have such other exciting things to think about!

I was driving across the causeway towards the ocean, and the sun was shining in all its vibrancy, with the clouds looking quite majestic and heavenly.  I was also admiring my new windshield (as mine spontaneously fractured while driving the Interstate, like the earth does at the time of impending doom in a cheesy action movie).  The SPF at the top was allowing me to see the way the light shone through the clouds, presenting a delicate pink around the clouds.  It wasn’t visible without that filter.

It made me think about filters, and how a filter can make things appear different.  Like if you kept dark sunglasses on throughout life, you’d see it as a dark place, devoid of the light and color around you.

Then I thought about light, and dark.  How you cannot create darkness.  Darkness is only present when light is extinguished or blocked.

Therefore in order to be the carrier of darkness, you have to be robbing light from someone else, or yourself.  There’s a lot of this in the world right now.

But when you think about it… you CAN create light…. with energy!  And there I had my theme for 2018.  Create Energy, Create Light!

In my blog, I always strive to share good things, positive thoughts, ways to make life less stressful, and more manageable, and enjoyable for you.  We will all go through trials, and I’m sure there are many more to come.  But we have the power to create light.

I’m working to create lots of exciting things in 2018 to bring you light and joy.  So welcome 2018, and as always, thanks for being a loyal reader!

 

 

Merry Christmas 2017!

Merry cluttered Christmas!  Some people call this aesthetic cluttered.  I’m a collector, so I like the cluttered look.  To each their own.  Here’s the tour!

Let’s start out with this years newest trees…..

I wanted a white Christmas Tree with colored lights this year something fierce.  I found my white tree at this great Christmas only church rummage sale that I have attended for two years in a row.  I grabbed some ornaments from around the house (don’t you just have boxes of ornaments just lying around) and then I found these cute drums from the Dollar Tree that kind of reminded me of vintage ones for some reason.  I topped it off with this  lighted star topper, from the rummage sale and bottomed it off with this crocheted skirt, also from the rummage sale.

Then, the grand mother of all trees, that I have been speaking into existence for a few years now…. MY GREAT ALUMINUM TREE FIND!!!! (How do you type out that you want that to be echoing through the rafters?)

There’s a story here and I’m going to tell it whether you want to hear it or not.  My car has been the dickens for a while… just little crap has been breaking enough to be a huge bother… so I had a rental car.  An expensive rental car, that was the only car they had for me.  A bright yellow charger to be exact.  I went to a not so great part of town to find the spot where this tree was being holed up, in said expensive rental car.  I was a little bit uneasy and after calling the estate sale company, finally figured out where the tree was.  I went inside and asked immediately for the tree.  She said it was $200, and when I said ok, nevermind, she quickly asked me to make an offer.  I told her my offer would insult her, but walked around the store anyway trying to get a feel for the price of things.  Things in there were REALLY overpriced for the venue.  Everything was at or above antique prices.  I figured it was a loss, but told her I had $40 in cash.  She said no she was at $100.  (Ok well she’s already come down half off).  I was texting my sister.  I really didn’t want to pay $100.  After really contemplating, figuring out how to put the tree together, and talking to her a bit, she finally said she would do $75, as I was the only one interested.  (I found it hard to believe that.)  The tree was missing a stand… so after some time again, I told her if she would throw in this tree stand (that I found in the store) I’d do $75.  She also threw in some other little decorations, some of which were an electrical fire hazard so I tossed, but I was walking on air!

Here she is… isn’t she a beaut?  Seriously it was a really great deal for a 6 foot aluminum pom pom tree with this many branches.

Here is the traditional tree with a vintage toy vignette underneath it.

The next natural thing to show you is my grandma’s Christmas village, that I have added to a little bit.

  A cozy place to grab a cuppa

  This part is in my little crafty studio

  Even the bathroom got some festive new stuff at the rummage sale with these non matching but kind of matching towels that I collected together.

   And this kinda strange vignette I put together with things that were around my house.  Benefits of being a ballet dancer!  Sugar Plum Fairy/ Toy Soldier hat (that’s really from school band) vignette.

 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  I’m taking a small vacation to spend time with those that I care about.

See you in 2018!

 

Vintage Candle Re-do

This is a little pop in during this crazy holiday season to let you know that there is still some time to craft something special.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or time intensive.

Take for instance this vintage candle that sis sent me from PA.  I remember these from my grandma’s decor.  But the candle was well used.  Just a little bit of wax was on the bottom and the wick was long gone.

Luckily I had an idea.  I went to the craft store to get some wax.  I already had some wick on hand in the house, but if you don’t you can either purchase here, where I purchased mine way back… or the craft store.

But have I mentioned I’m cheap?  That wax was expensive.  So I hatched a plan, that included the Dollar Tree!

Dollar Tree sells these white candles, and I bought two to melt down.

I used my candle warmer, but this wax was so soft that you could easily scoop it out with a grapefruit spoon or a butter knife.  Be VERY CAREFUL!

If you are scooping, you can melt this down in a glass dish in the microwave or double boiler style… and it wouldn’t take long in the microwave… like 5 second increments and stir till melted.

Then all I did was pour it in and let it set up.  Secure your wick at the top with a stick, or pen.

Now my vintage candle has new life again!

By the way, you could do this with all kinds of FREE containers.  Use old glass jars from the kitchen, clean and dry them, decorate them however you want, and then use my melted wax method to make them into candles.  Use stickers, glitter, or a simple ribbon to fit any theme or style.  You can use more expensive scented candles too!  What a great last minute gift idea!

Frugal Gift Ideas for Important People

Hey, Don’t forget these people!

You know the ones that make your life easier… every day.  Don’t take them for granted!  These are the people:

Postal Worker:  They brave all conditions to bring you bills and junk.  But they also bring you good things too, and hey, don’t blame the messenger.  Postal workers must abide by certain laws in accepting gifts.  The full details are here.  Basically they cannot accept cash, or cash equivalent (that they can exchange for cash) over $20.  And the gift should fit in your mailbox.

Sanitation workers, trash collectors, recycle, etc:  Those garbage people take your heaps of smelly garbage, moldy forgotten science experiments from the back of the fridge, and other too gross to think about things.  If you can’t catch them, try to put the gift on top of the trash can clearly marked so that it is NOT trash.  Also try to do this as close to the time that they arrive so no one will steal it.  If someone does steal it… that karma is on them.

School Bus Drivers:  Every year my grandma sent me out of the house and onto my school bus with a token for the bus driver too.  Driving your kids around is an important job.

Teachers and coaches:  You might think about the school teacher, but, and I might be a little impartial to this, also think of all the other teachers in your child’s life.  The lessons that are taught in the classes your children attend, whether it is dance, karate, fencing, soccer, football, tennis, piano, music… whatever it is, are more than you can ever know right now.  I teach plies, and tendus, but I also teach young minds to critically think about problem solving, and build confidence, morals, and discipline in dance class.  We love your kids almost as much as you do.  Any small token is very much appreciated, even if it is a Christmas card with you and your child telling us thank you.

Landscaper:  I have a guy who comes every week in the summer and every other in the winter.  In Florida, with the bugs, and sun, and heat, and dog poo that I might not see to pick up in my yard… the man deserves a little recognition around the holidays!

First responders:  The police, fire, emts…. they are there when I need them, and that’s enough for me.

Current Military:  Try to find a reputable organization to donate to those that are deployed or overseas, or ask around for a local military family who might need some extra cheer.  It’s hard when your spouse isn’t with you during the holidays, because they are doing a service to benefit others.  Military children, and spouses can use a little magic too.

Veterans:  They did their duty, and they deserve some extra special attention.  Again, ask around.  There are so many veterans around us, we can’t even begin to realize.  A card, a handshake, or a thank you might be all they need.

Daycare, Elder Care, Pet Care:  Anyone that cares for something you consider priceless in your absence needs to be remembered!

Hairdresser, Barber, Manicurist, and anyone else that does a personal service for you.

Neighbors that you feel close to, or would like to build a relationship with.  It’s much better to feel like a community than a street of total strangers.

These are the ideas.  Any of these ideas below would make a great gift for any of the important people above.  Make it personal by including small items for a particular person, or career.

Gallon size ziploc bag stuffed with all kinds of snacks, and trinkets.  What shall you put in?  Think lunchbox style of granola bars, trail mix, small bags of coffee, hot cocoa packets, candy canes, gummies, etc.  Keep it fun, and include a lot of variety.  Other ideas are trial size items like hand lotions, lip balms, perfumes, and tissues.  Make it personal to the recipient.  Include a Christmas card with a handwritten thank you.

Lotto ticket.  Not only are you giving the gift of thoughtfulness, but the anticipation of winning!  The only rule is that you can’t be sour if they win. (Might be a little odd to get a total stranger a lotto ticket, but you do what feels right to you!)

Homemade baked goods, candy, or fudge.  Again, this day and age it may be strange to give a complete stranger something you made.  Make sure they know you a little, or you include your info.

Jar of old fashioned hard candy, jar of mixed nuts, holiday wrapped candy like kisses placed in a glass dish.  You can get pretty glass at Dollar Tree or Thrift stores.  Tie it with a ribbon, and include a gift tag.

 

e.l.f. Haul and Reviews: Metallics and Glitter Galore

I got myself some e.l.f.  That’s a hashtag waiting to happen right there….

I wait until I need my favorite brow pencil.  Bet you can’t tell from this photo which one that is….

And because e.l.f is a super awesome company, they usually have a free shipping sale happening and I don’t have to wait long to get extra savings.  I got free shipping AND half off this order.

Here we go…

I’ve been wanting to try some of the rose gold eyeshadow techniques that I have been seeing.  In order to do that I needed some metallics, and they are all the rage now.

Take for instance these makeup transformer gels.  They are supposed to give you a pop of glitter alone or you can layer it over a powder for extra pigment.  It promises glitter and that’s what’s in it!  When I opened the package, I thought the tube was a little thin.  But a little goes a long way here.  It removed easily and left no spot welded glitter behind.  Here I got rose gold, and golden glitz.

              

Next is the eye primer transformer, matte to metal.  You can take a matte shadow and transform it right on your eyes, and before your eyes, into a metallic look.  I bought Taupe, Silver, and Gold.  I tried it on my arm alone, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it is highly pigmented.  It has a handy doe foot applicator to get precise applications.  It’s fairly non smudging and to remove I had to give a few scrubs on my arm with a baby wipe.  There was NO shimmer left behind.  Impressive.

         

And these eyeshadows…long lasting in soiree, confetti, and toast.  They have a bit of an oily texture to them, but dry when applied.  The soiree was the most pigmented.  These are also smudge proof, were easily removed, and left no shimmer behind.

     

This last photo… is my non-ringing endorsement photo (save for the blush and bronzer which was a repurchase for me.)  There’s no swatch here of that, and I didn’t mention the navy liner, which IS swatched here.  It’s a good smooth, non tugging liner… nothing else to say.

The baked eyeshadow, in pixie, is hard to apply.  I have a baked shadow metallic palette from e.l.f which is essentially the same thing.  I find that the product is hard to pick up on my brush, and then there is a lot of fall out on the face, causing you to have highlight in areas you might not want to be highlighted… like right under your eyes.  You can see here it’s barely visible.  This might make a good highlighting bronzer too.

   

And this velvet matte lipstick called vampy violet is… well… vampy.  You can tell by this photo it looked black.

And you can tell by this photo, it looked nearly black.

It’s a Halloween lip color for me personally.  I’m too pale to pull it off all year.  The application was a bit streaky for me too, less smooth than my other colors in the same product.

Conclusion:  I LOVE my metallic and glitter products, which can actually be used all over the face as a highlighter or even a lip shimmer.  I don’t love the lip color, and I’m indifferent to the baked shadow.

Here’s a look I did with MOSTLY e.l.f products including the Taupe eye primer transformer, and the soiree eyeshadow.  The photo doesn’t do the metallic shadow justice.

Get yourself some e.l.f.!!!