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A Poor Girl goes to the Movies: 3 Ways I Save Big Bucks

On average a person will spend $18.71 at the concessions stand at a movie theater, when purchasing a popcorn, candy and soda.

I am an avid movie-goer, I always have been, but when my constant theater trips began to burn a hole in my wallet I had to make some changes. I will never stop going to the movies, it keeps me sane.   What I do is make adjustments. I completely skip the food counter; it’s too expensive to bother with. Instead, I pack my own food.  All you need is a big bag and a need for snacking. Seriously, I’m a pro; I’ve been doing this for years. Here are my packing essentials for a movie date.

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Popcorn: I pop my own popcorn.  Not only is it incredibly over-priced it is also incredibly unhealthy. No human should ingest that much butter in one sitting- its just unnatural. Save yourself the greasy fingers and bellyache and pop your own at home!

Box of 10 popcorn bags =$7.70……..$0.77 per bag

Candy: I pack my own version of candy; raspberries and chocolate chips. Okay sure they’re not the same as Twizzlers or M&M’s but they’re damn good. I think they’re even better than candy. Do yourself a favor and try this delicious combination that you wont feel guilty about.

Fresh Raspberries: 1 container =$2.50

Bag of Chocolate Chips=1.99……$0.25 a handful

Soda: Lastly, and this is the most important, toss the soda. Mindlessly gulping a 40oz drink during a movie may sound yummy but I’d rather not drink 40oz of liquid sugar. Instead I pack my favorite seltzer. It gives you that awesome carbonation and deliciousness without all the horrible sugar and chemicals.

Pack of 12 Seltzer cans=$2.66……….$0.22 per can

Total spent: $3.74

Next time you head to the movies pack your own snacks; you’ll save $15.22 on average every time!

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Unconditional Love: What it means to me

Valentines day puts your brain on love.  Recently I’ve been thinking about what love is and what it means to me.  When I think of love, and I’m talking real love, unconditional love, I think of my parents. They have a kind of love that is so powerful its hard to explain (and they might not even see it), a love that is hard to find in this day in age when the divorce rate is over 50%. Heres the thing, more people need to know about this kind of love, about their kind of love.

When I was little my parents love was always “gross” to me, my dad would always look at my mom and then ask me and my siblings “Wow, isn’t she beautiful?”and continue by saying “I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”. My siblings and I would always roll our eyes and make gaging noises, we didn’t know how special this was.

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When I look back on my childhood, and all the time I spent living at home, I realize that they always had this joy to be around each other even today.  They were never tired of each other or bored.  It was almost funny how they acted, so in love every day and every minute.  Now, being 22, and in a long term relationship, I can see how their constant unconditional love for each other, that they showed everyday, formed me.  It taught me not only how to love someone else unconditionally but it taught me that love was a partnership.  My parents truly are each others best friends and partners and they love every second of it.

On Valentines day it is important to think about love, and to think about how powerful it really is.  Today is not about the chocolates, diamonds, or flowers it’s about the power of love.  Finding someone that you can take on the world with, and that can be your partner.  People make love look so complicated, but its not, its simple and its easy.

I am so lucky to have parents that show their unconditional love to one another and to me and my siblings.  Even though I roll my eyes every time my dad gushes about my Mom and how beautiful she is, I know just how incredibly lucky I am to have parents like that.  They have instilled in me a type of love that I think is rare, so I consider myself lucky. I love my parents so much, thanks for teaching me what true love is.

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An ode to Rick and Deb….the dream team!

Ohana Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce

Well it’s no question that where I live in Vermont is freezing this time of year.  Everything is covered in a thick layer of snow and you can’t leave the house without freezing a nose hair or two. On an average morning, 10 degrees is on the warmer side. Needless to say, I’ve been dreaming of my favorite warm weather getaway A LOT lately, Disney World.  Yes I have the heart of a 7 year old and spend most of my days dreaming of the Magic Kingdom and Mickey. No Shame.

To keep warm, and feel like I’m back at my favorite Disney parks, I made a signature Disney World Resort dessert.  Ohana Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce.  This dessert comes from the Polynesian Resort and is a crowd favorite!

Embrace your inner Disney fanatic and try out this surprisingly simple recipe. And hey, even if you don’t like Disney ( which I totally wouldn’t understand why) you’d still love this snowy day dessert.  It’s sure to warm the soul.

Supplies: (Bread Pudding)

  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 cups Challah bread

Supplies: (Banana Fosters Sauce)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup Cabot unsalted butter
  • 1cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1cup banana slices

Lets go guys!

  1. Mix eggs, milk, salt, nutmeg and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Chop up Challah bread in small 2 inch pieces and bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
  3. Place toasted bread chunks into egg mixture until fully covered but not soaked.
  4. Pour entire mixture including Challah bread pieces into a greased 10 inch cake pan. (Or whatever size cake pan you have really..)
  5. Place in oven ay 375 degrees for one hour.

While that deliciousness bakes…..make the caramel sauce!

  1. Combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, and half of the heavy cream. Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the rest of the heavy cream.  Keep at a steady boil until caramel consistency.
  3. Take off heat and add banana slices and vanilla.
  4. Pour the sauce over the finished bread pudding and serve with ice cream!

Enjoy your Disney treat! Happy winter!nannerbread-3627

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Enjoying the Christmas Season While Avoiding Stress

This has to be the most conflicting time of year for me, excitement for christmas is always over shadowed by the stress of finals and work.  So much work in so little time can really cause some serious stress, and let me tell you, stress does not look good on me.  While my work is very important, my sanity is also very important to me.  Tonight, I took a break from my studies, to enjoy a good old fashioned christmas movie night, featuring cookies, hot chocolate and lots of marshmallows.  After spending a good few hours baking, laughing, and drinking hot cocoa I felt recharged and ready to take on what this week has to throw at me.  While its easy to get pulled down into stress city, make sure you take time to enjoy this season.  There is so much beauty and magic during this time of the year, it would be a real shame to miss it.

Stop stressing and enjoy the season.

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Photo by: The one and only Peter Cirilli

Christmas Crafts: Dollar Store Stockings

Finally! It’s christmas season.  It is now socially acceptable to sing christmas carols and wear ugly red sweaters.  Its the most wonderful time of year. In an effort to avoid studying for finals, I decided to make christmas crafts.  My first stop? The dollar store.  That place is a gold mine!  I picked up so many supplies for so many crafts.  The first one….Stocking!

I made these stockings for $2 each! And, it only took about 15 minutes!

Supplies:

  • Stocking of your choice ($1 each at the dollar store, go figure)
  • Glitter Glue ($1 each at the dollar store)

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Surprise your roommate like I did, and start the christmas season off right!

Cheetahlicious, am I right?

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Tips to Get Through Finals Week- Featuring Disney Characters

Don’t go crazy just yet, you got this.

Wake up to music – get your day started off right.

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Eat brain food– don’t forget to eat, feed that brain!

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Sleep!– It’s essential

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Take breaks for fun– because its fun.

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Cry– gotta relieve that stress, no shame.

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Eat chocolate – it helps with all the emotions.

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Make a list– be held accountable, also its fun to check things off.

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Create a separate work place – less distractions means more finished work.

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Kill it– It may be a crazy roller-coaster but your going to get through it, and live to tell the tale.

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Faking Fancy: Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese and Pomegranates

Thanksgiving edition:

Brussels Sprouts are sooo in, haven’t you heard?

I decided to WOW my family and make a fancy dish for Thanksgiving this year.  Then I realized I didn’t know what that was. When I was at a friends-giving a few days ago, the host made this dish.  I was so in love with how fancy it looked and how delicious it was, that I just had to make it for my family.

The recipe is as easy as it seems, and my family was so impressed. I’m finally starting to redeem myself for all those horrible dishes over the years.  Thank god.

Recipe based on this one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4  teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Cut brussels sprouts into halves
  2. Heat a skillet with olive oil and garlic, add brussels sprouts
  3. Cook until core is golden brown and leaves are tender
  4. In a separate bowl mix orange juice, olive oil and dijon mustard
  5. Put cooked brussels sprouts in a large serving bowl and drizzle mixture on top
  6. Sprinkle in goat cheese and pomegranate seeds to taste

Serve it and be fancy.

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5 Steals for Winter Shopping

I am a self diagnosed shop-aholic, I get it from my mom, and its been a difficult habit to break. Although, because I’m a broke twenty something my days of frivolous spending have to be behind me.

I had to find a way to get my shopping fix while also being able to buy groceries. Along with my love for shopping, I have a love for saving money where I can.  Here is my list of 5 steals for winter shopping (And some splurges, just for fun)!

Scarf: A winter staple, gotta keep those necks toasty!

Splurge: Coach $95

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Steal: Old Navy $12

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Jacket:  You can never go wrong with a good parka.  Stay warm in these cold months.

Splurge: Jcrew $365

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Steal:  Jcrew Factory $166

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Boots: My closet is not complete without a solid pair of riding boots, you can wear them with almost anything.

Splurge Frye $269

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Steal Famous Footwear $60

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Statement Necklaces:  To spruce up any snowy day outfit.

Splurge: Kate Spade $148

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Steal: Forever 21 $14

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Purse: Well you need something to hold all your stuff. 

Splurge: Kate Spade $228

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Steal: TJMaxx: Kenneth Cole $35

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10 True Facts About Being a Senior in College

1. Everyone who is not a senior in college will ask : “What are your plans after graduation?”

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  2.   You need to have the “talk” about where your current relationship is going post-graduation.

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3.  Your days of sleeping in until noon because you have a night class are becoming a thing of the past.

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4.  Entry-level job applications make you feel inadequate. 3 years experience? Yeah, no.

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5.  After graduation, the next life milestone is either your wedding or your 30th birthday; whichever comes first. I can’t.

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6.  You need your mom now more than ever. Without her how will you know when its time for a dentist check-up?

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7.  College freshman are 4 years younger than you. I repeat 4 years, that’s a toddler.

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8.  Student loan payments begin even if you don’t have a job post graduation, start saving.

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9.  The thought of ‘adulting’ in a matter of months could make you lose your mind.

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10.  But, you’ve come so far. Look at you, you’re awesome.

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A Letter to My Sister on Her 20th Birthday

Dear Sissy,

Congratulations, you made it to your twenties alive, and with only a few bumps and bruises.  I am so proud of you, of everything you have accomplished, because I know it wasn’t easy.  I have watched you grow over the years and feel so lucky to have been a part of it.  As you join the twenties club I have a few words of wisdom for you.  So listen closely- I am your older, wiser, sister, after all.

  1.  Don’t stress out:  When you enter your twenties you gain a whole lot of responsibilities.  Whether it’s apartment bills, eating healthy, or finding a job, they are unavoidable, and they will be stressful.  But try not to stress, because you are capable of more than you know and you will do great things, always remember that.
  2. Be Independent: This is the time in your life that you will truly find yourself.  The only way to do this is by embracing your independence.  Go grocery shopping alone once in a while, grab a coffee on your own, find time to push your boundaries on what you can do alone, you will learn so much about yourself.  It’s always okay to date yourself, because your awesome.
  3. Be Proud:  Okay, there will be times when you doubt yourself; it will happen.  Don’t do it, be proud of everything you have accomplished.  You have done so many wonderful things up to this moment.
  4. Have Fun:  Please if you don’t remember anything else from this, remember to have fun.  I know you work hard and I know you take things seriously, but while you’re at it, have fun.  Find humor in stressful situations because life is about being happy.
  5. Be Spontaneous:  This will be the last time in your life that you will be able to do something at a drop of a hat.  These are the moments you will always remember. You know that trip you want to take? Just do it!
  6. Don’t Change:  You are so perfectly you, don’t change that.  Your twenties will challenge you, you start to find yourself, but always stay true to your heart; you know you.

Always know that I am so proud of you, and only a phone call away.  Welcome to your twenties!

Spaghetti Carbonara: A Fancy Weeknight Dinner

So at this point you already know, I only make easy recipes. Lately I’ve been trying to mix up my dinner meals. Lucky for my roommate I took a night off from rice and chicken, my go to meal. (Can you see I’m not a cook?) Instead I really challenged myself and made my favorite Italian dish. Spaghetti Carbonara! Doesn’t it just sound fancy? So from start to finish this only took me about a half hour, and for someone with a very short attention span this was perfect!  This turned out to be the perfect busy weeknight fancy dinner. ( I loosely followed Tyler Florence’s Recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Lb of dry spaghetti
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • Half a package of bacon
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Cup of grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Parsley (to make it pretty)
  • 1 cup of frozen peas

Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat

Add olive oil to cover the skillet

Chop up a half package of bacon into cubes

Dice up garlic

Add bacon and garlic to skillet

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While the bacon and garlic are cooking, boil spaghetti until al dente in a large separate pot. While the Spaghetti is boiling whisk together the eggs and parmesan cheese in a separate bowl.

Once the spaghetti is cooked to al dente and drained, pour it into the skillet with the bacon and garlic.

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Mix spaghetti into the bacon and garlic.  Add frozen peas, mix. Add egg mixture, mix.

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Mix, again.

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Now stare at how pretty it is.

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Sprinkle with chopped parsley.  Dig in.

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