Monday, November 28, 2016

Want to Save Money?

Does anyone else watch those shows about coupon hunters? These people search through newspapers, magazines, websites; all over, just for a little coupon that gives them half off three gallons of milk. And of course you watch it and you’re thinking ‘this is a lot of trouble for half off three gallons of milk’. But then they go to the store and they’re picking up everything, with a hundred and fifty random coupons in their pocket. Toilet rolls? Twenty percent off if you buy five. Cereal boxes? Buy twenty and you get the twenty first free. Soda bottles? Buy one case, get one free. Eventually the “coupon hunter” arrives at the checkout with their cart full of food they don’t need. Obviously the price ends up somewhere close to five hundred dollars.

But then the magic happens.
Sadly the coupons for Redbubble didn't work
The coupons are added up. Minus five dollars. Minus twenty cents. Minus three dollars. On and on, until finally they walk away with five hundred dollars’ worth of food for twenty bucks!
So what did we learn from this amazing feat?
Mainly, coupon hunting takes way too much time and is a magic quite beyond my comprehension.
So that’s why I was stunned to find out about Honey. It’s a chrome extension that automatically finds you deals online. Is this the coupon app I’ve been searching for?

I tried it out with a couple of websites.

First I went to redbubble to buy a T-Shirt. At checkout Honey offered a long list of coupons but- sadly- they were all outdated. No savings for me. My first try didn’t turn up anything.

Next was Morphe. This time I was a little bit luckier. Although the coupons were all marked as having a “low chance” of working, the first one I tried still worked. Twenty percent off! I saved a moderate 2.50. Not anything to yell from the rooftops about, but hey, I was saving.

The last store I tried was Macys.
That’s when I realized the problem when it came to Honey. Although it offered me a list of hundreds of coupons, they were all very specific. I got twenty percent off dresses, but only from a specific section that were really expensive anyway. Either they were outdated or too specific for me to use personally.
The Honey official website

Honey isn’t about to revolutionize the way we shop online or the whole “coupon business.” We’re not all going to buy three hundred dollars’ worth of items for pocket change.
But I say give Honey a shot. It’s free and you don’t lose anything by trying it. All it takes is a click of a button to see what coupons are available. If they work, great. If they don’t, well you were going to buy it full price anyway.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Black Friday, is it really worth it?

Happy belated Thanksgiving! I hope you all enjoyed the long week and ate as much food as you could handle! It was my second Thanksgiving in the US that was spent in a family setting and I absolutely loved it. I had way too much food and enjoyed every second of it!

One of the traditions that I have never really understood is Black Friday. A day where people’s inner bargain hunter comes out, and the stores are rampaged with people trying to get the best deals. Friday morning I woke up and watched the news, and the first thing I saw was that an individual had been shot outside of Macy’s in New Jersey. It was at this point that I turned to my boyfriend and asked what is so special about Black Friday? Is it worth getting in a bad mood and being trampled on for some potential good sales? In my opinion, definitely not.

I ventured out Friday afternoon to the local mall near me and was expecting madness. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the mall was as packed as it usually would be on a weekend. I found that, anything I wanted to purchase, like sneakers and winter clothing, the deals were just not that great! Admittedly this could be due to my lack of patience of going and looking through each rack to find a good piece. But, it was at this point I was made aware of cyber Monday, a day where you can search for deals all from the comfort of your bed on your laptop, a much nicer environment!

What are your thoughts on Black Friday? Did you find any good sales! If this post should be used for anything it should be to encourage all of you to get online on Monday and get shopping without any chaos!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don't Forget to Give Thanks!

I got beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lamb, rams, hot dogs, you name it!

Source: Friends
As Thanksgiving rolls around the corner, the spirit of this holiday should not be forgotten. We tend to forget the essence of this holiday and it's true importance. November 24th is not only a day where we gather, converse and have fun, it's day to GIVE THANKS.

Life can get a little crazy sometimes and we don't even realize it until we stop and look back. We work, go to school, study, hang with friends; all of those things can overwhelm and distract us. It's no ones fault, it's just how life is. It becomes harder to appreciate things when you're going through the motions and because of that we don't say thank you as much as we should.

There is so much in this life to be grateful for. Your friends, family, education, health, well being, clothes, job and so much more. The things we have, whether tangible or not impact us everyday and we are so blessed to have them.

This Thanksgiving, make it a priority to say the things you are thankful for. Unfortunately, people around the world don't have the same opportunities that we do, so its extremely important to be humble about our possessions and not boast. Not only one day of the year but everyday we should be thankful.

I hope everyone has a wonderful thanksgiving with lots of warmth, food and  love <3.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Things To Remember For Movember

                              To heck with Halloween, MOVEMBER IS HERE!

                                                              No, that's not a typo.
                                    Movember = Moustache November = No Shave November.

probably you right now. (source.)
   ...Yeah it's that month where you have an excuse to not shave your legs and grow your staches out. Unless your significant other protests. But it's not just an excuse month, there's a legitimate cause behind this annual movement, and silly me never thought to Google it. Ever. (Remember kids, always Google and fact check.) Well I did just now, just for this blog post. 
   ...I'm kidding, I knew quite some time ago. By that I mean a week ago when I got the idea for this post. 

No Shave November is for male and general cancer awareness. Over 10 million people a year are affected by cancer, and we're still a ways to go to find a cure for one, let alone for every different type. The intention of Movember is that the money you would've spent on shaving and grooming is donated for research instead. Before you say you don't spend any money on shaving anymore-a razor is what? $5-$15 bucks? That's still something, and you most definitely have at least one in your house. Not to mention, if you hair dry, use deodorant, or any other hygiene product, donating the money you would've spent on it counts.

  The minimum donation on is $25, while on it's $20, but there are other ways you can donate/volunteer (you cheap-o.) For those of you who don't really shave, like me, you can pretend every month is No Shave November and contribute to (any) charity anyway. Try Amazon Smile so 1% of everything you buy goes to a charity of your choice, use this site for a list of reputable charities, and try here for a list of volunteer work in your area. But with every cause and holiday, I believe that there shouldn't be just one month or day to commemorate it. It should be something you do anyway, if you really care about it. And you should! But alas, we do have our priorities. Whether you're a fellow cheap-o or legitimately trying to make ends meet, try to cut back on something you would've otherwise spent on. A measly dollar is worth more than none. 
                                That being said, any fellow hairy ladies, please unite with me. 
       Flaunt those furry follicles! BE PROUD. BE PROUD I SAY! (Original pic here.)

Fall Foliage

This weekend was very exciting for me as my Mom came to visit from England.  The last time I had seen her was in December last year when I went back for the holidays so it was so nice to see her again. She has been to New York City before when I lived there three years ago, but never to the Hudson Valley (where I currently live.)

This weekend we took the opportunity to go and see the Fall Foliage in prime time. The colors of the leaves were absolutely beautiful and some of the views we experienced were amazing!!

View from the Walkway Over the Hudson

We went on a journey to Poughkeepsie to visit Franklin Roosevelt’s house and then walk along the Walkway Over the Hudson. Roosevelt’s house was very pretty, and walking the grounds was a great experience. The views from his place were remarkable. As you looked over from his house he captioned the view the “millionaire's view.”  For anyone who has not done this before, I highly recommend making a trip in the next couple of weeks and making the most of the foliage and the beautiful weather. I took as many pictures as I could to try and capture its beauty but it was much better in person.

The Walkway Over the Hudson is something I also highly recommend. You are allowed to take your dogs and bikes and walk. When walking you can enjoy views of the Hudson River.

Next week we are venturing into New York City for her last weekend here, so I am sure I will be able to recommend many more fun activities!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

My Seaweed Salad Saga

With midterms coming up, I don’t have much time to cook. I barely have enough time to eat. However, that was not always the case for me. 
Seaweed has always intrigued me. It’s a weed- a soggy, gross looking weed floating on the top of the ocean. Yet, it is served in the high-end restaurants, and it finds its way into $20 rolls of sushi.
I was about to cook for one of my friends for the first time. Knowing that she’s a foodie, I wanted to cook something that will impress her, so I went straight for the kill. I was going to cook a wakame seaweed salad. I figured that if it works for all the celebrity chefs, it works for me.
I set out to buy the perfect wakame seaweed. There was a selection of three. It was displayed in a creased hard plastic bag. I could feel the seaweed thru the bag. It was rough to the touch and gnarly looking, but hey! It’s hip! In the cookbook’s picture, the cooked seaweed looked to be around the size of shredded coleslaw. I, therefore, selected the seaweed that looked to be that size, rather than the very thin ones that were around the size of angel hair pasta.
Image: Steven Depolo, Flicker 

I brought the seaweed home and got right to the task. I boiled it in some water, and violated the motto “a pot that is watched over doesn’t boil.” I watched it intently. To my horror, I watched the precious seaweed expand a bit. Then it expanded a bit more, and a bit more. It swelled to be four times its original size. It was now the size of a thick ribbon. There goes my perfect looking salad! I was determined to make the best of it. I lifted the lid to inspect it, but I was immediately thrown off balance by a very unpleasant smell. It smelled like the ocean on its worst day, when all of its fish have died, and all of its water has disappeared. However, I was still not ready to give up.
I diligently mixed the soy sauce and the sesame oil and tossed it with the unfortunate sea creature’s grass. I took out my best plates. There was a knock on the door. All I was able to do at that point was to put the salad on a plate and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top. I stared at the plate in silence.
I served the salad with some chopsticks and tried not to cringe as I set the plate down. I sat down and tasted it cautiously. It was surprisingly good. As for my friend- she said she loved it. Whether she sincerely liked it or not, I learned something new that day!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The $30,000 Serum

Imagine this. You work for a pharmaceutical company in Manhattan. One morning as you come into your office, the CEO of the company approaches you. She is carrying a strange looking box, around the size of a football. It has exotic engravings along the side and it glows with a mysterious aura. The CEO hands you the box. She explains that the box is holding a vial containing a special serum that is worth $30,000. It needs to be walked very carefully to a warehouse located 2 miles downtown. It must be handled with care and the messenger has to be extremely careful to ensure the safety of the package. She feels that you are the most responsible person in your workplace and has therefore decided to entrust you. At the completion of your trip, the CEO promises to give you a substantial raise.

There is a catch. The serum is highly unstable. If something causes the box to fall from your hands and onto the ground, a reaction is very likely to occur. The serum can cause an explosion that can easily wound or even kill the people around you. Obviously, you are quite taken aback. You quietly protest and try to explain to the CEO that perhaps you are not the right person for this. Despite your resistance, the CEO is very persuasive. She convinces you to take the package. You resign to defeat and embark on your journey.

I would like to hope that you will handle this box with the utmost care. You have been trusted to ensure that nobody gets hurt and you are completely responsible for the safety of the people around you. If you don’t focus and accidentally mess up, you will be responsible for the damage caused. Is this really any different than driving a car?

Each day we drive our cars, $30,000 machines that can cause irreversible damage to the people around us. We play with our radios, text on our phones, and literally eat meals behind the wheel. How do we ignore the fact that thousands of people die each year because of this carelessness? How do we allow ourselves to repeatedly engage in these activities knowing that the potential outcome can very easily be a terrible reality?

Drive safe my friends!