Sunday, September 30, 2012

homemade skincare (for next to nothing)

lately i've been noticing that my skin has been breaking out more and reacting to the change in climate (Northern Cal to Minnesota is quite an adjustment - in many ways). Trevor suggested that i was washing my face too much but i dismissed it months ago, since he's a boy and probably doesn't know anything about skincare anyways. i try to be very careful about the products i use and of course, good skin comes from within, but nothing was working. some of you may know about my skincare routine and how obsessive i can be about it sometimes. i've written home spa posts before, which you can refer to for further resourceful ideas about natural, homemade skincare.

the finished tonic
i started going down to 1 wash a day at night, which is crucial to preventing breakouts. going to sleep with makeup on is the worst thing you can do to your skin. i'm also cutting back on sugars and trying to switch to more tea and less coffe, though as a grad student that will be hard to do.

in the mornings now i use a homemade lavender facial tonic that i whipped up in about 30 seconds. using a small glass spray bottle, a pinch of fresh lavender and filtered water, i made this super easy, all natural tonic.

Monday, September 24, 2012

betty negotiates

today i was faced with the issue of a miscalculated cell phone bill, due to a mistake made by a phone company employee a month ago. the old me would've gotten angry and started to take out my anger with customer service reps, who probably would then be unwilling to give me what i want. instead, i called, very nicely explained the situation, and firmly explained what i wanted the outcome to be. i can tell i'm a grad student on her way to becoming a full-on grown-up by doing this. turned out i had to call one more time, at which point i explained everything again, very nicely but firmly, and before i knew it i had credits on my bill and exactly the outcome i had requested. funny how being nice will get you what you want.....

to top it off, i found some AMAZING vintage boots on Etsy that i had been searching for, and finally had found my size. but the price was wrong. they were $25 more than the other pair i had looked at, so i sent a message to the seller to see if she was willing to negotiate. 3 hours later, she responded positively. i get the magical vintage boots that are the perfect size, and she still makes a decent sale to a fellow Etsy member. ta-daa!! negotiating can definitely contribute to my resourcefulness. and it feels so good to get a good deal!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

a resourceful betty emergency

yesterday i was set to attend the wedding of a dear friend of mine and her man, in the woods of central Wisconsin. i planned to wear this amazing vintage velvet long gypsy skirt, since i could layer it properly and still be warm during the outdoors ceremony. i had tried the skirt on previously and knew that it was a little short, but figured it would be perfect to wear with flat ankle boots. i was mistaken.

applying the tulle around the hem of skirt
i didn't follow one of my own rules: TRY EVERYTHING ON. i didn't try it on at Savers, and after not wearing it for months i forgot how it actually fit me. when i went to get dressed for the wedding, it was just an inch too short even to wear with ankle boots. i had a backup of these cute high-waisted black plants, but i desperately wanted to wear this skirt with the amazing vintage lace bolero jacket my friend had given me.

getting a little help from our dog Bettie White
(note the amazing vintage lace bolero)

SO, i called my mom and asked her to pick up some materials to add to the hem of the skirt for added length. she came home with a roll of black tulle, black ribbon and an iron-on adhesive material. with very little time to spare, i started to unroll the tulle, figuring i could skip the iron-on stuff and just use simple masking tape. i planned to layer the tulle 3 times over. it took me about 30 minutes to do the whole thing and when i went to put on the skirt, all the material i had painstakingly applied came right off. i went to the backup of black pants, which my mom proclaimed were 'adorable.'

i learned my lesson, and even though i was hoping that the vision of velvet gypsy skirt and lace bolero would become a reality, i'll have to go back to the crafting table. i'll look for a fabric that can add about 4 inches to the hem and i will sew it on next time, making sure to have enough time to try it on again before i wear it out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

mass transit, mass benefits

i know i have been so delinquent in the past few weeks in posting, since school has somewhat taken over my life. now that i have a schedule in place and am on top of all homework, i have a few things to share about being resourceful.

since i've been in Minneapolis i've started using public transportation again (Tahoe is not exactly great for those without cars). as an urban area its incredibly easy to get around by bus, and very soon the Light Rail will be expanded to cover more area in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. though its great to save money and energy, there are a few pitfalls to public transportation.

1. timing

in order to make it to my classes, i have to give myself a minimum of one hour to get to campus, usually more to be safe (i absolutely hate being late to class, especially as a professional-looking grad student). i actually have to take 2 buses to school which can delay things even further, especially when i'm done for the day and i just want to go home. it is, however, a great time to practice patience and remember why i'm taking the bus in the first place.

2. waiting

waiting for the bus goes hand-in-hand with timing, but i also feel like there's a decent amount of waiting while i'm on the bus. sometimes passengers need extra assistance getting on and off the bus, or maybe there's a lot of people getting on or off the bus. in addition, just waiting to get to my stop can sometimes feel like eternity. to combat this, i bring a book (unrelated to school) that can draw my attention away from the waiting. by nature i am not a patient person so i try to remember to do these things and not drive myself crazy.

3. bus etiquette (or lack thereof)

personally, i prefer to ride the bus with headphones and keep to myself. other people want to make conversation. as politely as possible, i smile and pretend like i can't hear them, which usually i can't anyways. i certainly don't want to offend anyone but i also am not interested in talking to a stranger about nothing while i'm commuting to school. it's also important to be courteous to everyone and their space, though some people have a harder time with this. i always make room in a seat for older folks, and i politely excuse myself when i arrive at my stop and i'm sitting on the inside seat. people who often ride the bus are usually on the same page, so this hasn't really been an issue for me. just to be safe, i make sure and practice my best manners.

all in all, riding the bus and public transportation is better for my wallet and the environment, though it can sometimes be trying. when possible, i think its a great option and certainly much better than trying to commute into or through a major city, and pay an outrageous amount for parking (unless your company or firm is willing to pay and you don't mind traffic). it's a great way to save money and energy and be resourceful!!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

consignment gold at the end of the rainbow

unless you've been living under a rock and know nothing about me (or have never read this blog before), you know nothing about my obsession with used and secondhand goods. i love thrifting and vintage shopping so much i even wrote a guide for my readers and followers so you too can strike gold at your local thrift shop or vintage boutique.
silk Marc Jacobs blouse, purchased for $26
in 2008

last week i was given the privilege to pick a few things out (for back-to-school, yay!!) with my parents at my favorite consignment store EVER, Fashion Avenue. i could go into more detail about its location but that would be completely giving up the secret. there i found a sweet scoop neck Velvet brand wool-blend tunic and a light-colored and lightweight plaid button down by Free People, all together for under $60.

the lot of scores from 1 week of consignment shopping

a few days later, my dad called and said i had a store credit at Fashion Avenue as a late birthday present, so i was able to go pick out a few more things for school, when i found an adorable grey sweater dress by Free People and some J Brand black denim bootcut jeans, again for about $60. that may seem like a lot to spend on just a few items, but knowing what i do about these brands means they will last for a long time, fit me well, and can be consigned for something different if i decide i don't like them anymore.
keyhole and ribbon detail from the back of Free People sweater dress

i cannot tell you how satisfying it feels to find such amazing deals on high quality clothing. i mean i can, and i am now, but i recommend you find out for yourself. check my guide (all 3 parts) for more info and tips to making the most of your money! being resourceful will always pay off, i guarantee.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

crafting is art

in the past year, my love for my own art and creativity has grown immensely. through my creativity i find an inner calm (also found through my yoga practice) and i feel accomplished for making something new.

a taste of my workspace

though i do use some new materials like chain and leather that is harder to find in large quantities recycled, i prefer to use recycled beads, pendants, pieces and parts for my jewelry. this has become popular in the past few years as we try to be more resourceful, and it's called 'upcycling.' i've posted about upcycling before, and lately i've only collected more and more pieces to use and make new again.

100% upcycled earrings made with
hoops, glass beads and chain
i'm still listing pieces on my etsy and hope to soon show my work to a larger audience through a trunk show and networking. if i can reach even a few people and share my art, that is based on making old things new again, i will be happy. check it out and spread the word! my pieces are for anyone and everyone, but mostly for us betties everywhere.

takeout, eggs, and magic

this morning i searched the fridge for something i could use in my eggs for a healthy, filling and not-too-heavy breakfast. as you may have seen here before, i absolutely love eating eggs and leftovers for my breakfast , and it's a great way to use what you already have. being on a budget doesn't have to mean eating cereal for breakfast and ramen noodles for your other 2 meals.

2 nights ago, my parents and i got some super delish takeout from the Holy Land , a Mediterranean food mecca (pun intended) in Northeast Minneapolis. for $20, we got an appetizer plate that included hummus, baba ghanouj, falafel and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves - amazing!), a lamb pita plate with saffron rice pilaf, and a large tabouleh salad. we ate most of the food that night, but the leftovers were put to good use the next day and again this morning. i used the lamb meat with the eggs and added fresh chevre (soft goat cheese), and added the tabouleh to the same plate to have a vegetable and a little spice. it made for an incredible breakfast and kept me full for hours afterward! i like to have a bigger breakfast with lots of protein, so i stave off any snacking and hunger until i'm ready to have a small meal or lunch.

lamb and chevre scramble served with authentic
Mediterranean tabouleh
now that i live in a bigger city again, i have countless options for affordable, healthy food. i also love foods from all over the world, so the Twin Cities are perfectly fulfilling. curry goes great with eggs, as well as stir fries and rice dishes. do some research about your tastes and what's available in your city so you can get creative and be resourceful!!