Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 14th, 2013
The Frugal Dude loves to tour a state or neighboring states and soak up the local culture. My initial reaction was if one isn’t going to a major metropolitan area why bother? It took awhile to convince me to even set foot in certain areas. Now The Frugal Diva likes nothing better then to explore what were once just names on a map.
Loveless Cafe Nashville
From the first breakfast at the famous Loveless Cafe to Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville was a lovely city that had restored many of its original venues including the train station and the original Grand Old Opry. Every generation thinks they invented music so it was amazing to see how rock and roll had the underpinnings of bluegrass and country garnered from Hank Williams, Jimmy Rodgers, and Johnny Cash. Museums like this give an interactive history along with the costumes, cars, and artifacts, making it a multimedia experience. Our first BBQ experience turned out to be one of the best at Jim’N Nicks. It may be part of a chain but the meats were fantastic and for the Frugal Diva there was lean and delicious smoked turkey.
Gus's Fried Chicken
Tennessee feels more like three states and we were only covering the center and western portions. The next day’s driving took us to Memphis and it’s most famous resident. Elvis was a bit before my time and I wanted to learn more about this force that pushed the boundaries of the Ed Sullivan show. The facts are amazing, he brought his first demo record to Sun studios when he was 18 and purchased Graceland four years later. In America alone, Elvis has had over 150 different albums and singles that have been certified gold, platinum or multi-platinum. Contemplating all this worked up an appetite and we headed to Gus’s World Famous Hot & Spicy Chicken in downtown. This time will power was out the window and I succumbed to the juicy and spicy fried chicken that requires walking at least a few miles to burn off the calories. It was worth it.
Chattanooga Pedestrian Bridge
Our journey looped over to Chattanooga, a beautiful city with the river bend on one side and Lookout Mountain on the other. My favorite attraction was the Aquarium with two buildings covering river and ocean inhabitants. River Journey fascinates visitors with river otters, turtles, alligators, giant catfish and thousands of freshwater wonders. Ocean Journey delights guests with penguins, sharks, butterflies and often scuba divers who interact with guests. Plan at least two hours for your visit. No city in Tennessee is complete without more BBQ. Sugar’s Ribs is a great choice since they deviate from the fried foods rule that prevails in the south. With grilled veggies and vegetarian options, they satisfy a diet that had gone a little overboard. Of course, the ribs were also great. Chattanooga has a lively downtown with a pedestrian bridge for crossing the river.
Though usually a Marriott fan, this time around the Holiday Inn Express was a frugal favorite keeping the tab to an average of under $100 per night. Many of the reservations were made at the last minute and though it was Memorial Day weekend plenty of bargains were available.
If you have time, the eastern portion includes the Smokey Mountains and that Appalachian Trail a certain governor was supposed to be hiking.
But is it cheaper to fly or drive?
There is a free online web tool called the Fly or Drive Calculator from BeFrugal.com that is used to determine the best transit method. It factors in time, money and carbon emissions to quickly help someone figure out how to travel from point A to point B.
Tags: barbeque, bargains, befrugal.com, Chattanooga, frugal diva, Memphis, Nashville, Tennessee
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 14th, 2013
Shoes have many good qualities. They are loyal. Gain a few pounds and your jeans will turn on you. However you have to gain a lot of weight to out grow your favorite pair of pumps. They wait quietly at the back of the closet until that perfect occasion when only red heels with white polka dots will do. And you can try on endless pairs without taking off your clothes.
The best place to spend countless hours looking, trying on and maybe even buying – DSW. So much more than those three letters. It’s a place to hang out and meet other people. If only they served beverages and light snacks, one could easily spend the entire day there. I don’t know whether it’s the sheer choice of all those aisles or the friendly salespeople or the unbelievable prices that make this a such a great destination.
And like everywhere else, it’s more fun if you join the club. It costs nothing and you start getting little notices. Before you know it, points start accumulating, coupons are in the mail, and you are on your way to even greater savings.
This is the type of hunting that I’m talking about. They send me a $10 coupon good for any purchase over $10, I buy a $55 pair of Anne Klein loafers (listed at $79 on the AK website), that are reduced another 50% on clearance to $27 and use the coupon – bringing the grand total to$17 dollars and change plus tax.
Tell them your birth date and they send you a $5 coupon good for that month. Hey, it may not seem like a lot but it’s more then the other stores are doing for me. DSW, a company that helps you look good without spending too much money.
And this is a great place to buy gifts items-socks, bags, slippers, and gift cards.
Tags: diva, DSW, frugal, shoes
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 13th, 2013
With online matchmaking the most popular way for people to meet these days, the Frugal Diva thought it best to make sure that readers enjoyed all the benefits and avoided the pitfalls.
Best Free Dating Sites gives good overall advice for those venturing into the world of online dating. In particular there is a post that allows you to find out about your potential blind date. Women are particularly vulnerable however men are not immune from danger so check out their dating safety tips.
Take the time to see if any of the free apps work for you or take a free trial at some of the sites that have fees so you can see what works for you.
Tags: frugal diva, online dating
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 7th, 2013
This city is just a little bit of heaven on the California coast. First time travelers to Los Angeles do the the whole Hollywood-Disneyland route however the second time around, travelers and natives know that Santa Barbara is just ninety minutes away. And when you get to this serene town of beaches, mountains, and Spanish style architecture you will be thinking “Yes, this has everything that makes California dreaming a reality.”
If you are looking for freebies download the 101 Free Things To Do In Santa Barbara and look for offers on the Santa Barbara Visitors Site. Julia Child lived in Santa Barbara and one of her favorite restaurants was La Super Rica taco stand at 622 N Milpas St Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Eat like the Queen of Cuisine for under $10.
The boutique Santa Barbara Museum of Art has suggested admission on Sundays and they rotate from classic to Asian to modern art exhibits. For $5 tour the Santa Barbara Mission or enjoy the park and outdoor vistas for free.
Day trippers, one nighters, or for a leisurely weekend, you will find Santa Barbara is an upscale town with frugal finds.
Tags: frugal diva, La Super Rica, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 6th, 2013
The vacation the Frugal Dude had been talking about since we first starting seeing each other was Mount Rushmore. It took him fifteen years to convince me and now I wished that I had acquiesced sooner. Fabulous does not even start to describe it. And frugal is the other great thing about traveling to South Dakota.
For me sitting at the computer till I get the best price for a hotel room is fun. Some like to sit at the blackjack table in Las Vegas and try to win. The Frugal Diva likes to sit and be assured that she will save after checking all the sites and then seeing what Trip Advisor thinks. It’s not a bargain if the the place is dirty, miles out of the way, or rundown. And the winner is Microtel Inn of Rapid City. At $56 and change before taxes it was an outstanding bargain. Clean and modern rooms with a free continental breakfast, free shuttle from the airport, pool for the kids, and a great location for easy access to all the attractions. We were staying in Rapid City as our base for four days of our vacation so the savings were considerable.
The other big expense for the trip was a rental car. Instead of picking up the car at the airport, I was advised by Brandon at the local Enterprise Car Rental Agency to simply get the car after we were settled in town. The price was almost half without all the fees, taxes, and add ons that come with airport pickup. Whenever possible use this approach for car rental. Not only is it cheaper, they sent a courtesy pick up and the woman gave us great local information about the area. They included a placard for parking at Mt. Rushmore which saved us another $10 since it was good for the entire visit. So the $315 that we paid for ten days of car rental was reduced to $305. My vacation was already made and I hadn’t even seen anything.
Awsome, inspiring, amazing describe Mt. Rushmore and the effort it took to blast these images out of the mountains. You can return as many times as you wish for the single $10 fee. Saturday night they do a movie about the history of the area and turn the lights on after dark. There were approximately 400 people that worked at Mount Rushmore during the carving process from October 1927 to October 1941 supervised by Gutzon Borglum. Between the films about the history of Mount Rushmore, the ranger talks, seeing the heads from every angle, and hiking the area you can easily spend a full day and return in the evening.
In a few weeks I will fill you in on Rapid City and the other great attractions in this area including the Crazy Horse Monument, the Badlands, Custer State Park, and Spearfish Canyon plus eats, shopping, and entertainment.
Tags: enterprise car rental, Mount Rushmore, south dakota, trip advisor
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 6th, 2013
So many activities, so little time. City of Presidents is the nickname for Rapid City where there are forty life size statues of former presidents on the downtown street corners. That was how the Frugal Diva learned that she and President Madison were around the same height. The Journey Museum takes you on an incredible trek through time as it tells the story of the Black Hills through interactive displays. Try on old clothes and read original letters from settlers while seeing how the geology of the area brought gold miners from all over the country.
If you watched Deadwood on HBO, it’s time to see the real town and the cemetary where all the characters were buried. Casinos are the new outlaws in the area however it still retains the feel of the Old West. Move on to Lead and tour a gold mine. These were harrowing jobs where men and later women spent eight hours underground alongside mules.
The Indians wanted to represent their hero in a monument to Crazy Horse . Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial June 3, 1948. The Memorial’s mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.
Flanked by towering limestone cliffs, this 20-mile route along US 14A, cuts through Spearfish Canyon. A forest of spruce, pine, aspen, birch and oak covers the hillsides while Spearfish Creek flows along the canyon bottom. Bridal Veil and Roughlock Falls are highlights along the route. Stay at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge and enjoy a babbling brook, hikes along the falls, and delux accomodations. We paid $80 (with a AAA discount) for a beautiful double room. Please check for current rates.
How many remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind? What a great opportunity to hike around Devil’s Tower and see if the aliens left anything behind. This 1347 acre park is covered with pine forests, woodlands, and grasslands. Deer, prairie dogs, and other wildlife are seen. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower the first national monument in 1906.
The all time dinner deal for meat eaters is the Alpine Inn in Hill City. Order a perfectly prepared bacon wrapped filet mignon. baked potato, Texas toast with a starter salad of lettuce wedge and ranch dressing. Choose between the 6 oz. for $8.95 and a 9 oz. for $10.95 and pay in cash. If you would like a glass of wine, they are mostly under $6.
Custer State Park has unobstructed views of herds of buffalo, elk, wild turkeys, and burros so friendly you pet them from your car window. This is indeed where the deer and the antolope play. For those so inclined there are camp grounds as well as reasonably priced motels.
If you want a area with lots to do both indoors and outdoors, visit Mt. Rushmore and the South Dakota area. The Frugal Diva was amazed at how friendly people were and how easy it was to get around. Living in Los Angeles it’s exciting to be able to park for a nominal fee and drive across town in five minutes during rush hour.
Tags: alpine inn, crazy horse monument, custer state park, devils tower, frugal diva, south dakota
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 5th, 2013
The Frugal Diva loves culture and she loves the word free. By combining these two concepts, the divas of the world can soak up culture without getting soaked.
Most museums have a free day. It may be once a week, once a month, a late night but they believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy great works of art, science exhibits, and natural history. Check the local museum websites for venues in your area. The free day can usually be found under visitor’s information.
In Los Angeles, the California Science Center is free every day for all permanent exhibits including the space shuttle Endeavour, the Guggenheim Museum in NYC has free or pay what you wish on upcoming Saturdays, and the Philadelphia Museum has free Wednesday nights (you can even run up the steps and stand near the Rocky statue).
Since many of you will be traveling this spring or summer here is a great site for finding free museums in your city and at your destination. Museum Free Days provides a list for many cities and links to the respective website.
In the fall, tickets for over 1400 museums across the country are available through Smithsonian Free Day and can be downloaded from the site for you and a guest. They will be updating in the spring with the 2013 list. If you are in Washington, D. C. the Smithsonian Museums are our national museums and are free every day.
The world of culture is yours – however timing is everything.
Tags: diva, frugal, Getty, museums
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on May 1st, 2013
Now Divas occasionally we may have to pay for tickets however there are websites for theaters that make is easy to save on entertainment.
Goldstar has an amazing selection of tickets to theater, sporting events, wine tastings, and even some trade shows. They are in several cities so plan ahead when you are traveling. I have used this website many times and always got good seats in the promised section and they keep a record of your transactions in case you want to recommend a production. Now in every major city.
Theater tickets for a year with a subscription to Theater Extras. Good for tickets in Los Angeles and New York City.
Gift Certificates to these sites also make wonderful presents for birthdays and the upcoming holidays. You pick the amount and send it in a Holiday card. All the time avoiding traffic and parking hassles. That’s how divas do it.
Tags: cheap tickets, shows, theater
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on April 30th, 2013
The 99 Cent Chef features a world of cooking ideas with low prices as the main course. Just to make matters clear, the 99 Cent Chef is not affliated nor does he use only products and produce from the 99 Cent Stores. While the 99 Cent Store has many of his selections, Billy Vasquez heads all over to buy items that bring the basic cost of cooking way under average. An accomplished photographer, the stills show off many recipes and give you guidelines for steps along the way and what the finished product should look like.
This month is destination Cuba. Starting with a simple and yummy salad, he will continue with Cuban Baked Beans, a Cuban Sandwich and Roasted Pork. Or if you are in a more Brazilian mood, try the Moqueca Fish Stew. Amazing how he grabs a few cans, some veggies, and frozen fish transforming them into an exotic stew to serve over rice.
Learn how to cure your own salmon for a Jewish Taco that he dubbed the Loxaco. This brings the cost down and as a bonus all the ingredients are kosher. Try it, you’ll like it!
Tags: 99 cent chef, cooking, frugal diva, recipes
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Posted by The Frugal Diva on April 29th, 2013
Let’s keep all the promises that we made for Earth Day. Here are some great sites with all around tips on cleaning and caring for your home using products that are probably already in your pantry.
The Maids help you with tips for removing all kinds of stains, from blood (if someone is dripping blood on your couch you might have bigger problems then stain removal) to paint and everything in between. Here is the Frugal Diva’s best tip – don’t serve red wine to company.
Our grandmothers knew everything. Witch Hazel for cleansing your skin, honey to cure a sore throat, and baking soda for everything else. The Coupon Sherpa did the research. Check out this site for everything from cleaning a battery to tooth paste to shining chrome fixtures 55 All-Natural Uses for Baking Soda
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade and use the leftovers to clean and leave everything smelling fresh.
Let me know your favorite natural cleansers!
Tags: cleaning, frugal diva, lemons, the maids, witch hazel
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