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Valentine’s Day 2016

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 27th, 2016

Here is a holiday designed for spending money-flowers, chocolates, overpriced restaurant meals rivaled only by New Year’s Eve. Let’s put a stop to this right now. Flowers will die (and quite quickly), chocolates and a heavy meal will only stand in the way of romance. After a five course meal and dessert, The Frugal Diva is not in the mood for romance. If she wants to unbutton her dress, it’s simply to get a bit of breathing space.

That’s why The Frugal Dude knows to spend Valentine’s Day dining at a great Chinese restaurant. In Los Angeles, we might head over to Monterey Park after checking out the Yelp reviews or go to the old school restaurants in Chinatown. This is also a great night to get sushi, Greek, Thai or any other ethnic group that is still not planning an over the top and over priced experience.Even better, rent a movie, prepare a meal together, and I’ll leave it to your imagination what to have for dessert.

The dreaded holiday of Valentine’s Day looms like a dark cloud on the horizon for singles. This year it falls on Sunday and before President’s Day which means an entire weekend of love, hearts, and hiding behind the curtains for the uncoupled. The Frugal Diva says come out into the sunshine and make plans to party. Get together single friends for a potluck and have each of them bring another single. You may enter with a vegetarian casserole and leave with a new relationship, friendship, or recipe. It’s better than weeping into a microwaved meal.

Let’s not restrict love just to the narrow definition of one on one. Now I’m not talking about anything kinky, though that is a personal choice. What about finding a soup kitchen, hospital, senior center, or shelter that needs volunteers? If you are looking for options, check out my post.

Now there is also self love. No, not what you are thinking. Well, maybe but that’s another personal choice. The Frugal Diva means to find a yoga class or go for a walk weather permitting, take a bubble bath, and relax with a good book. It’s okay to ignore your phone, computer, television, and all other flashing lights for an evening.

There is nothing worse than watching a co worker swoon over a dozen roses from their fiancée. What if we revert back to the classroom habit of getting everyone something? If you work in a small to mid size office, bake some brownies, after they cool arrange them by twos in a goody bag, tie off with a red ribbon, and deliver to every desk on Friday before Valentine’s Day

All these ideas have a few things in common. They involve minimal expense. They take a bit of imagination. They connect you to others or reconnect you with yourself. Isn’t that what love is all about?

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Singles Mingle Valentine’s Day

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 27th, 2016

Singles always want to hide out during the February romance fest however if you are looking for a kind heart on Valentine’s Day try out these volunteer events throughout the country.

Feed the Soul While Helping Feed the Hungry — February 13th

Date & Time: Saturday, February 13th, 2016 – Registration is from 8:00 am to 8:20 am – volunteer project starts at 8:30 am to 12:00 pm. Please bring your e-ticket and release form on the day of your service project

Address: Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is located at 1734 E. 41st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90058. Street and on-site parking is available.

Hunger doesn’t end after the holiday season, hunger happens in Los Angeles County 365 days a year. Volunteers are needed to help sort, inspect, and repackage donated food items from local food drives. Help us help those in need by donating your time to fight hunger in our community.

Check out VoluteerMatch.org for more opportunities around the country.

You get the idea, just google valentine and volunteer plus your location.

Opportunities will pop up for making this a heart warming day.

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How to Manage Without a Garage

Posted by The Frugal Diva on January 26th, 2016

Garages are quite an important part of every house. There simply has to be a place where you will keep your car and store all of that stuff your do not really use too much. But what are you supposed to do when there is no garage at your home? Building one may seem as a good option but it is a really complicated process that can take up much time and money. You can instead choose to go with some alternatives which will be much easier to build. Here are some of them you might want to consider.

Build a shed in your backyard

One of the best things you can do is build a small shed in your backyard. Simple construction and inexpensive material make building a shed a great choice. A shed can store a lot of things and it does not take up a lot of space so you will still have a place to park your car. You can do all the work by yourself and spend much less money than you would if you had opted for building a whole garage. A simple wooden construction with a single window is just perfect for this purpose. A shed can be built with a minimal set of construction technique skills and in no more than 3 days.

Set up a carport

Even though it will not give much space to store stuff, a carport is a great choice when it comes to protecting your car from rain and snow. A carport can be built out of metal or wood, depending on the climate of the place you are living at. Do not be afraid to play with the material and customize the carport anyway you want. Do not forget to prep the ground before you actually start constructing. Level the ground if you have to and if you want you can concrete parking lot beneath the carport. You can also install a couple of shelves within the construction where you can keep some of you car maintenance equipment or anything else you would keep in the garage.

Put up shade sails

Putting up shade sails can also be a proper alternative for a garage. It is quite easy to install and can be really effective. Before you start putting it up think about the movement of the sun and find the right angle for the shade sail. You will want it to provide maximum protection for whatever you are keeping beneath it. You can park your car or store some of your stuff beneath it. If there is some space left, you can buy some outdoor furniture and make yourself a place for relaxation. Look up for shade sails online and find just the one you need. Make sure you choose a waterproof material for maximum protection.

No matter which option you choose make sure you think everything through before you actually get to work. Grab your tools and build a new place for your car and all that stuff you just do not know where to keep.

About the author

Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie onFacebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.

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Organize Your Deals

Posted by The Frugal Diva on December 29th, 2015

The Frugal Diva knows how hard it is to remember all the various discounts, coupons, and special offers that are out there. They come through the mail, on line, in newspapers and magazines. What is a diva to do?

In the email realm, open a dedicated email address just to register for online discounts.  Your own internet provider usually gives you that option or you can sign up for free at gmail or hotmail. Use this address when registering for sites that send you coupons and alert you to sales.

Quickly skim over the offers, jump on the ones you want, and be on your way.  Chico’s sends a $10 off coupon on your birthday and it can be used with another offer or on sale items.  Celebrate with new clothes that are on sale, use one of their coupons, and add in your B Day gift. Now we’re talking a real deal.  Sephora sends some free goodies your way on your B-Day. Origins has a discount birthday offer.

Your personal main email address will remain easily readable for your personal or business correspondence that needs to be answered.

Before going shopping or ordering  or eating out just type in the name of the store, restaurant, or service with the word sale or promo code. It is very likely that a deal will pop up on the first page of the google search.

For the paper coupons, there are several serious organizers for food coupons. For others, buy yourself a pretty wallet size organizer about the size of a checkbook. There are lovely ones to be found in Chinatown. They hold the millions of Bed, Bath, and Beyond discounts, restaurants specials, and other one of kind discounts. Remember to go through them and throw out expired offers.

After all being frugal is a life enhancer not a life clutterer.

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School Days

Posted by The Frugal Diva on December 28th, 2015

This is the great thing, you never have to stop learning.  At Santa Monica College you can try a new  language, improve your writing skill, or get a handle on Microsoft Excel. At Pasadena City College you can take self defense, history of Asian art, or beginning tap dance. The catalogs have many choices and different opportunities are available every semester.  And continuing education classes are given on nights and weekends.  There are also other community colleges in the LA area with preferred pricing for residents .

Imagine two or three hours a week where you can put away all your other concerns and concentrate on something interesting, interact with others, and come away with knowledge.  We are always looking for something new to do, trying to meet  people, and find networking opportunities. What could be better then a class where you have stimulating conversations, excitement over a topic, and new information.

Public libraries are also a great resource for classes and lectures.

Divas want more out of life and this is a fantastic way to get it.

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Mega Bus

Posted by The Frugal Diva on December 23rd, 2015

The wheels on the bus go round and round and you end up with a great price. Riding the bus used to be for the poor and downtrodden now with airport security, delays, less leg room all the time, it seems like this might be the best option. Megabus will take you from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in about 5 to 6 hours for as much as $24 and as little as $9 (please check prices online). If this seems like a lot of time, let’s add up the time it takes to fly.

Arrive two hours before flight for security check in

Flying time is about 1 hour and 5 minutes

Deplane and get transportation into town could take 1 hour and a half

These times reflect no delays on the ground or landing

So for 4 hours you can rush to the airport, pay for a cab or parking your car, go through security, hope your plane gets off on time, land, get a rental car or find a cab to your hotel OR for an extra hour or so you can board the bus and be dropped off in town. This is a great way to get kids home for the holidays or grab a few days of vacation.

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Track Airline Prices With Yapta

Posted by The Frugal Diva on December 16th, 2015

The Frugal Divas likes to know that they are getting the best deal possible and with travel there are so many options.  However who has the time to track every price change. And once you book who even wants to think about the fares and rates.  That’s why for airline tickets and hotels  Yapta.com is a great idea.

At no cost to you, they track prices and let you decide if this is a good deal. I’m going to quote from their website since they explain it so well. “Yapta is intended to help you get a handle on fluctuating travel prices so that you know when to “buy low”. Yapta conducts daily price checks on the specific flights and hotels that you choose, and alerts you when prices drop or when they fall within your budget.”

Plus they will let you know when a price drops after you have purchased. More valuable information from their website:

“Already booked an airline ticket? Yapta can still help you save. Most U.S. airlines have “guaranteed airfare” policies that enable you to claim a travel credit if the price of your flight drops after booking it. Not many people know that the policy even exists – nor do they bother to check the price of their flight after purchasing it. Yapta will track the price of the flights you’ve already booked and – if the price drops below what you paid – it will alert you when you’re eligible for a refund or travel credit from the airline.”

This is a great service for those who are overwhelmed by the myriad of prices and restrictions out there. Bon voyage!

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Useful Cleaning Tips for Upholstery furniture

Posted by The Frugal Diva on December 2nd, 2015

Odour and cleanliness of your home mostly depends on the cleanliness of your carpets, curtains and upholstery fabrics. If you are wondering how to clean upholstery furniture effectively before decorating your home for holidays, this text is for you. Cleaning upholstery furniture, beds, armchairs, benches, sofas and chairs can be done effectively without great difficulties.

Water and baking soda

Upholstery furniture can be cleaned thoroughly if you have baking soda, warm water and water sprayer. The procedure looks like this: pour the hot water into the sprayer, spray the furniture, and sprinkle baking soda on top of it. If you put the baking soda into the sprayer it can clog. Sprayed furniture leave like that for at least 2-3 hours, or until it is completely dry. When dry, get your vacuum cleaner and vacuum it up thoroughly. You will be surprised with the result.

Water, ammonia, beer and shampoo

Furniture covered with synthetic upholstery clean with a mixture of water and ammonia (in one litre of water put 1 tablespoon of ammonia) and a solid brush. Leather furniture rub with a cloth dampened in beer and wipe it off with a dry cloth (this will give your leather nutrition and glow). Furniture upholstered with artificial leather (especially if it is in bright colours) should be washed with a hot water, a little hair shampoo and a soft sponge. Wipe all parts of the furniture with that solution, use clean cloth to remove soap and water and finally go over your artificial leather with a dry cloth.

Salt

Clean your velvet upholstery by sprinkling table salt on it and rubbing it until dust and lint are removed. After that, clean the entire surface with a brush. Places with harder stains brush a little longer to remove it as efficiently as possible. Vacuuming furniture after this process is mandatory.

Steamer

When it comes to upholstery cleaning, steamers are the best solution. You should vacuum your furniture first, make a mild solution with your dish detergent and water, wipe the entire upholstery surface with it (use the sponge) and after that go over it with your steamer. If your furniture is too moist after this process, vacuum it to pick up excess moisture. You should do this at least once a year in order to clean your furniture thoroughly and to remove all allergens. If you can’t afford a good steamer don’t worry, there is a possibility to hire a steam cleaner cheaply.

Vacuum

Vacuuming is the simplest way to maintain your upholstery furniture clean. Make sure that you vacuum your furniture at least once a month in order to remove surface dust and other dirt from it.

Stubborn stains on upholstered furniture are usually treated with special chemicals, and you should remember that after this process cleaned parts of the furniture should be immediately dried (with a hair dryer) in order to avoid ugly pale stains.

About the author

Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.

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Blinds and Shades to Complement Your Interior Decor

Posted by The Frugal Diva on November 10th, 2015

Are you looking to choose the right shades for your home but don’t know how? If so, this is just the article for you.  During any home renovation, especially when designing the interior, one of the biggest problems is choosing the right covers for your windows.

Curtains are typically the classic first choice, which are best for apartments or houses, and are great for conservative space decoration.  However, classic curtains simply do not fit into modern homes or business premises. Venetian blinds, vertical blinds, and roller shades are excellent choices for modern indoor spaces.

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds are a symbol of modern and new. They are a very elegant solution for modern residential or commercial spaces. Unlike classic curtains or roller shades, they are either made from a special kind of plastic, aluminum, or fine wood. Therefore, their life span is much longer. In addition, maintaining this type of blinds is very easy because all you need to keep them clean is a damp cloth for dusting.

Besides being easier to maintain compared to conventional curtains, they are gradually becoming a “must have” in modern indoor spaces. Modern designed apartments are often difficult to imagine without the Venetian blinds in places where curtains were previously. Venetian blinds are also practical because of the possibility to adjust how much external light you want into your home.

They also come in different colors and sizes, so you do not have to worry about fitting them in with your interior decor.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds are an elegant solution for every home or office space. They come in several different colors to easily fit into any existing décor or atmosphere.  These blinds consist of a series of vertical strips of equal length which may, if necessary, gather or disseminate in order to let more or less light inside. Vertical blinds are increasingly popular because of their elegance that enhances the appearance of modern apartments and offices.

Fabric Shades

Shades are similar to external shutters, but they are installed inside the room and they are not made of wood or aluminum as classic shutters, but of hard fabrics. Fabric shades are a practical choice for rooms where you need to, almost completely, prevent the entry of all external light.

Right Color

The first thing you have to do is determine exactly what you want to highlight in the room.  After doing this, select the corresponding color for your window covers. The color of the blinds is very important and it must be in accordance with the color of the furniture in the room that it is intended for; whether it is a bedroom, living room, or nursery. The best way to choose the right cover for your windows is to check for wholesale blinds online before buying, there you can see what is offered, which should help you more with your choice.

Length

The length of the blinds is just as important as the color. Slightly longer blinds will visually lengthen your windows and make the room look higher (and those that reach to the floor will make the room look more elegant and classical). Short blinds or shades make the room look more modern and informal.

Be sure that quality and modern blinds will make your space look much nicer, which will have a positive effect on your mood and the quality of your life.

About the author

Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.

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Some Outstanding DIY Backyard Ideas

Posted by The Frugal Diva on November 3rd, 2015

Some Outstanding DIY Backyard Ideas

Owning a house usually means that you have a spacious backyard as well and you should do what you can to maximize the potential of this space. In order to have a more functional backyard, make some cheap and handy decorations that look nice and serve a specific purpose.

Outdoor Bench

This project combines creativity, purposefulness and low price. Making a DIY outdoor bench will literally take you no more than an hour, yet its effects will be felt for years to come. All you need are some pieces of wood, a couple of long nails, a proper hammer and, if you are in an extra crafty mood, a bucket of paint. This bench will provide a comfortable place to rest and you can also store some gardening tools underneath it. The options are limitless and it is all up to your creativity.

A Rope Swing

There is nothing better for your children than to spend time in the open – and the best thing you can have in your backyard is a rope swing. This cost-effective piece is not just a source of joy and entertainment, but also a great way for your kids to channel energy. So, instead of allowing them spend endless hours in front of the TV or, on the other hand, letting them run around an unsecure playground, create a safe area equipped with a rope swing. This project will not take too much of your time or money, and it can be done rather easily.

Garden Pathways

If you have a garage or a garden in your backyard, you need a proper way of accessing it. So, unless you want to step right onto the grass and dirt, you should build a DIY pathway. There are various options to try and you can use gravel, stones, wood, mulch or even pallets as a basis. Most people choose concrete, but seem to forget that taking care of the pathway is just as important as planning and constructing it properly. That is why you should protect it against the rain and changes in temperature by applying a coat of concrete sealer. This way, your pathway will last longer and be the best possible addition to your backyard.

Seating Areas

Your backyard can also be a great place for a morning coffee, a family lunch or an afternoon tea. Proper garden furniture – a bench, a couple of chairs and a coffee table will suffice – will ensure you have picnics in your backyard every single day. You can even take some old pieces of furniture, clean them properly with DIY cleaning supplies and they will work just fine. Decorate this area with hanging jar lanterns, protect it against the rain and you are good to go!

The Benefits

These DIY projects will turn your backyard into a more enjoyable area and give you a chance to make the most of your property. They will inspire you to spend more time outside, which is good for your health, and also make your backyard nicer and cozier.

About the author

Marie Nieves is a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography interested in interior and exterior design and regular author on Smooth Decorator. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.

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