Friday, November 13, 2009

More for Less

Hello, my name is Patty, I am a girl, and I like to shop. I wasn't sure how much this post would fit in with the rest of the blog, but it has to do with getting more for less so I think it will work! I am by no means a super fashionista, but I do love fashion, I love creative outfits and seeing how people express themselves with their clothing. It can be pretty hard to do this though, for throwing on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt is easy and affordable. But what I've heard a lot of people (well, mostly girls) say is that they just don't know how to dress otherwise. This may sound weird, but something that I love doing in my down time is looking at style blogs and magazines and seeing how real people dress- it usually gives me little ideas on how I can alter some of my boring pieces. But this can be expensive- you either pay rent, or have an awesome wardrobe!

So here is an idea that I like to play with every now and then, so I hope you can take this process and enhance your closet on your own!

Find an outfit or look that you really like. I found this on the internet of a real girl in NYC- I think the style is super cute, easy, and a lot of different body types can wear it.

There are a ton of shops that replicate trends, provide easy go-to pieces, and similar "knock-offs" of expensive brands. I took a quick look around at different internet shops and I found some very similar pieces at affordable prices to complete this look.

For the motorcycle jacket, Forever 21 is selling a faux leather jacket for $32.80.

I found a similar boy-friend style sweater at Target for $27.99 in a dark blue. They also have super similar shoes for $29.99.

I didn't see a dress or tunic exactly like she's wearing but this one from Wet Seal ($24.50) is super cute and pretty darn close (plus I love stripes!).

Then to top it off throw in a skinny belt ($4.80 Forever 21), a cream colored scarf ($5.49 Ebay) and a cute little necklace ($5.80 Forever 21).

So there you go! This whole outfit can be bought for $131.37, and it is super interchangeable with other items. Hmm... this is really cute. I may have to buy it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Drying herbs

I love growing herbs, drying them and storing them up for the winter. Actually, I just like growing stuff! As I look around my living room, I currently have 7 plants, 1 pot full of mint, 2 pots with 10 lettuce plants growing, a little pot with lavender, another with chamomile, also one with parsley and 4 volunteer tomato plants that grew out of my compost that I'm trying to nurture for next summer.

True, fresh herbs are best, but if it is out of season or you don't grow them yourself to dry, buy them by bulk from a natural food store for 1) it is sooooooooooo much cheaper. 2) you can buy what you only need for it tends to lose potency. The general rule is ground or powered herbs/spices have a shelf life of about 6 months, and whole dried herbs at about a year. Keep it in a sealed glass container in a cool cupboard, away from light and heat. If it loses color, or smell, compost it.

A quick way to dry your herbs rather than hanging them upside down in a cool area is to arrange them on a cookie sheet and place it in the oven. If you have an oven light, that's all the heat you will need. If not, the lowest setting on your oven (usually "warm") will suffice, but maybe every now and then turn it off so it isn't too hot.

I recently dried a large bunch of rosemary from my Mom's garden and it made my apartment smell amazing, like it was suddenly Christmas in October!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grade B Maple Syrup

Who else here was raised to believe that Mrs. Buttersworth was maple syrup, and not just a goopy brown tinted mess of high fructose corn syrup? About 5 years ago or so I tried a little bottle of organic Grade B maple syrup from the bulk section of Central Market, and I haven't looked back since! Real maple syrup has different grades that range in color, taste and nutrition. My absolute favorite is Grade B. It tastes like liquid brown sugar- it's dark, super rich and everything that maple syrup should be! I'm not just in love with it because of how great it tastes, I'm also in love with it for it's nutritional content.

Grade B maple syrup is the same syrup that is used in the Master Cleanse diet. It contains calcium, potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, B2 (Riboflavin), B5 (Pantothenic Acid), B6 (Pyridoxine), PP (Niacin, B1), Biotin, Amino and Folic Acid. The syrup is great as a sugar substitute for unlike sugar, which does not digest into your body and spikes your bloodstream, maple syrup is digestable and doesn't turn into fat or cause a rollercoaster on your blood sugar levels. Maple syrup also does not go bad if stored properly in the refridgerator.

Grade B maple syrup is a little pricey, but places like Trader Joe's and bulk sections like at Central Market make it a bit more affordable for you can buy a big jug for $15 rather than the cute little maple leaf shaped bottle for $8 at your usual grocery store.

So the next time you feel a bit of an urge to pig out on junk sugar, pour yourself a tablespoon or 2 of pure organic maple syrup and feel good that you're satisfying your craving and taking your vitamins at the same time!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Breakfast Smoothies

About a year and a half ago I did my first detox. My digestive system was a mess, I felt like garbage and wanted a good clean out without fasting for I was a full time student and needed energy and a clear mind for my studies. I used the Detox Box for it gave you a step by step guide on how to do a safe detox. It consisted of drinking organic smoothies laced with supplements, taking different vitamins, eating rice and vegetables, drinking water, juices, bentonite, psyllium, and for the first time in 15 years I introduced fish into my diet. It was hard, after a week I wanted to puke at the thought of brown rice and veggies, but it set my system straight. A friend of mine did it as well, mostly just to detox from sugar, and she liked it as well.

Since then, I have kept drinking the smoothies for breakfast every morning. It's a great way to get a serving of fruit in and additional beneficial supplements and vitamins. The detox requires that you use organic berries, and I agree that organic is important if you are going to eat these certain berries, but let's be honest. For the amount of fruit that I go through, I cannot find an affordable option. So, I "subsidize" in a way. I tell myself that all the organic and health foods that I do eat off-sets the non-organics! ( I know, I know!) CostCo is great for huge bags of frozen berries, and Seattle Super Supplements is cheaper than other stores for the supplements and usually has a great deal on at least one thing you need. Also, I usually get my flax seeds from Trader Joe's. I grind about 1/2 cup whole seeds in my coffee grinder then stick both the ground and whole seeds in the freezer. They start to lose nutrients once ground but freezing locks it in, just don't grind a big batch, keep it as fresh as possible.

Breakfast Smoothie
3 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 fresh banana
1 Tbls. flax oil
1 Tbls. fresh ground flax seeds
1-2 Tbls. Rice Protein
1/2 scoop Perfect Food*
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon**
I prefer grinding it up in my mini-Cuisinart food processor. Before grinding, add about 8 oz. filtered water. The water amount will vary by how liquidy you like it.
*I love Perfect Food- it is super potent so you don't really need to use a full scoop, unless you want to! Plus, it's not terribly cheap, so a little goes a long way. Doing the detox isn't cheap- and neither is setting yourself up for the smoothies. But it's something that I feel good about putting in my body and feel that it's worth it. The berries last a long time if you get them bulk, and the other supplements last me a couple months.
**Cinnamon has several health benefits, one being that it helps control blood sugar levels. Here's one of many little articles explaining more about the spice.

Un- what?

"Un-shit your life"- to rid your life of useless shit. This blog is a collection of hints, tips, ideas and stories that I have gathered from my family, friends, articles, the internet, rumors and life experiences. Please share your own!

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