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Halloween Fun In LA For The Kids

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 29th October 2014

Start Halloween early with free and low cost fun for the kids!

Halloween Harvest Festival at Pierce College
Returns in 2014 for its 10th year, featuring a live stage show inside of a pumpkin patch, where you pick a pumpkin after the show. The event includes a maze, a haunted trail and a haunted house.
Location: Woodland Hills
Admission: Ticketed
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: Various dates from September 26 through November 2

Dia de Los Muertos at El Pueblo (near Union Station)
A 9-day annual celebration, culminating with a 2-day festival. The event includes Aztec dancers, street performers, mariachi bands, children’s activities and more. El Pueblo is adjacent to Olvera Street where you can shop and eat lunch or dinner. There is a procession and blessings each night.
Location: Downtown L.A.
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: October 25 to November 2

Grand Park Dia de Los Muertos Concert
Bands, altars, food trucks, face-painting and more
Location: Downtown L.A.
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: November 1

Santa Monica Dia de Los Muertos
An opening procession led by Ketzaliztli dancers, a workshop to create offerings of marigold coronitas (crowns) and papel picado (perforated paper) for loved ones who have passed, self -guided tours of the cemetery that explore the history of local famous people and more.
Location: Santa Monica
Admission: Free
For Kids: All Ages
2014 Dates: November 1

Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration
Old Pasadena Halloween Celebration Trick-or-Treating (oct 31); Halloween Movie Screening of Mad Monster Party (Oct 31)
Location: Pasadena
Admission: Free
For Kids: Yes
2014 Dates: October 31

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Healthy Halloween Treats

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 27th October 2014

What a great opportunity to eat candy and go on a week long sugar high. However The Frugal Diva is going to step in and offer you some healthy options.

Check out Eat Well for great party recipes and treats that have a bit less sugar and a bit more nutrition.

Lindsay Olives has gone overboard on their Pinterest Page with cute ideas for scary snacks.

The Food Network always come through with party ideas and yummy recipes.

Have fun and post some pictures on my Facebook page in your costumes!

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Cheap Theater Tickets

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 8th October 2014

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.

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Free Days At The National Parks

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 24th September 2014

When The Frugal Dude suggested going to Yosemite, The Frugal Diva replied that it was just a bunch of trees.  I could not have been more incorrect. The magnificent vistas, the fresh air, the beautiful meadows of wild flowers, and spectacular waterfalls made me realize that there was a whole world that awaited outside of urban areas. And the other good news, it did not involve any camping. I also believed that you had to pitch a tent and gather berries for sustenance.  Many National Parks have food and accommodations that are reasonable and don’t involve building your own fire. Of course for those who enjoy sleeping in the great outdoors there are numerous camp sites.

feb_22_08-1042Just to make this more fun, these are the 2014 dates when entrance fees are waived.

January 20

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

February 15-17

Presidents Day weekend

April 19-20

opening weekend of National Park Week

August 25

National Park Service Birthday

September 27

National Public Lands Day

November 11

Veterans Day

Many of your 392 national parks NEVER charge an entrance fee. So start planning your visit!

And if you are over 62 get a Senior Pass for a one time $10 fee.  This is for a lifetime of free admissions.  The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas (children under 16 are admitted free).

If you plan to visit several national parks in one year, consider the $80 one year pass.

The Frugal Dude was right, the national parks are a fabulous vacation and we have since been to the Grand Tetons, Glacier, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon (the north and south rims), Bryce, Zion and many others.  It is a great reminder what a vast and beautiful country we live in.

Let me know your favorites!

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Los Angeles Free Museum Day

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 22nd January 2014

In a joint effort to present the arts and culture to the diverse and myriad communities in Southern California, SoCal Museums (previously the Museum Marketing Roundtable) announces the ninth annual “Museums Free-For-All” Saturday, January 25, 2014. The museums–presenting art, cultural heritage, natural history, and science–will open doors and invite visitors free of charge. This offer is for general museum admission only and may not apply to special ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply; consult individual museum websites for hours and other visitor information.

Participated museums are as follows:

Annenberg Space for Photography
Armory Center for the Arts
The Autry National Center of the American West
California African American Museum
California Science Center
Fowler Museum at UCLA
The Getty Center
The Getty Villa (Timed tickets are required. Visit http://www.getty.edu.)
Hammer Museum
Japanese American National Museum
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial (Hollywood and San Pedro)
The Museum of Contemporary Art
Museum of Latin American Art
Orange County Museum of Art
Pacific Asia Museum
The Paley Center for Media
Pasadena Museum of California Art
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Skirball Cultural Center

SoCal Museums unites the diverse museums of Southern California in joint marketing and communication efforts to increase visitation and membership in museums in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. SoCal Museums leverages the museums’ collective strengths, working together to reach current and potential museum goers.

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Green Halloween Costume Swap

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 9th October 2013

The Green Halloween program has a great way for you to save money and resources, build community, and take steps toward a greener Halloween: costume swaps!

Green Americans in 37 states and the District of Columbia (and two provinces in Canada) have organized community events for this weekend, October 12.

Check out the more-than-150 events that are already on the schedule, and find out how the event nearest to you is organized. Some events require prior drop-off of your old costume, others offer a more direct swap, and many are combined with other events like raffles, scavenger hunts, craft fairs, or other community events.

Inspired to host your own event? There’s still time to register a Green Halloween costume swap for National Costume Swap Day here. There’s no need to spend money on a brand-new costume every year while old costumes languish in the closet. Share that old costume with somebody else, and get a great costume in return.

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4th of July Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 26th June 2013

The Fourth of July is all about red, white and blue… so why does it end up costing so much green?  From patriotic clothing to yummy picnic treats to parking fees, there are hidden expenses around every corner.  BeFrugal.com has some great ideas.

1.    Take advantage of free summer outdoor activities to have fun. Some ideas include face paint, sidewalk chalk, hula hooping, running through the sprinkler, having a water balloon toss, and tossing the ball around at your nearby neighborhood park or school field.

2.    Attend a free event. Listen for activities held at parks and attractions near you. Some cities have free concerts and many have public fireworks displays.

3.    Instead of buying new clothes with patriotic colors, shop your closet. Look for anything starred, striped or red, white & blue.

4.    Don’t give into buying unnecessary items. Often at public firework displays there are goodies for sale like food and glow-in-the-dark necklaces. Pack the kids’ favorite treats and toys instead of purchasing new stuff.

5.    To keep the costs of entertaining down, hold a pot luck meal and ask guests to bring their own beverages if you are hosting a gathering. Buy items like plastic cutlery and paper plates online to take advantage of free shipping offers plus use online promo codes and earn cash back – all on the same transaction. Also look at your nearby grocery store’s weekly ads to see the sales and prepare your coupons before going to the grocery store.

Stay safe and have a great 4th!

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Senior Savings

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 23rd June 2013

The Frugal Diva knows that getting older sucks.  Sure people say age is just a number but did you notice that no one under fifty ever says that – unless they are trying to comfort a senior citizen.  The number that really counts is how many dollars you save by embracing the discounts offers and reduced fees.  Proudly declare you want that senior fare, ticket, or meal for yourself or your parents or grandparents.

Save on restaurants with the national  AARP Restaurant Discount Center and the age for joining AARP is 50.  Flash that card proudly at Budget Rent a Car, Walgreens, Golds Gym and other vendors on the AARP Benefits List.  They even give you a discount on some  technology.

The National Parks offers the Senior pass (one time fee of $10) –  a lifetime admission and discount pass for citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are age 62 or older. The Senior pass admits the pass owner and any accompanying passengers in a private vehicle if a park has a per vehicle entrance fee. Where a per person entrance fee is charged, the Senior pass admits the pass owner, and three adults. Plus there is a 50% discount on camping and other activities.

And think about getting to that National Park with an Amtrak Senior Discount. Amtrak travelers 62 years of age and over are eligible to receive a 15% discount on the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak trains.

Ross Dress For Less gives everyone over 55 a 10% discount on Tuesdays at all their stores. You’ll find more up to date discounts and coupons at Senior Discounts. It is a membership site however you may perform preliminary searches for the over 150,000 discounts on their web site, receive their weekly e-mail newsletter and utilize many other features on their web site for free.

Thumbs up to the Laemmle Chain for embracing seniors with reduced prices everyday and extra reductions for matinees on Wednesdays. Popcorn and a drink are $4 for seniors all the time. Another great reason to take your parents or grandparents to the movies. Some theaters are more generous than others so check out your local chains.

When ordering anything don’t be shy.  Ask if there is a senior discount. At museums, hotels, amusement parks, and many other venues, the answer will often be “yes.”

Check out the Gift Card Granny for more specific regional discounts.

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Malibu For The Rest Of Us

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 19th June 2013

This is for natives and tourists.

There are many places to spend big bucks in Malibu however enjoy this beautiful town for an afternoon and spend less then $20 per person for a day vacation. The Adamson House Tour is a guided tour through the house which contains its original furnishings and is decorated with the renowned Malibu Potteries tile. Trained volunteer docents relate the history of the house, details of its architecture and furnishings, and the history of the family that lived in and created this distinctive home. And what does this all cost -$5.00 per person includes a house tour.

The Malibu Lagoon Museum adjoins the Adamson House and contains a collection of artifacts, rare photographs and documents depicting the colorful history of Malibu. The museum tour takes the visitor from the early Chumash Indian era through the Spanish California culture. Here is an excellent opportunity to relive the genteel and romantic ranching days of the famed Rindge and Adamson families. Learn about dramatic episodes in Malibu’s rich history: the Malibu Railroad; the 17-year legal battle over a Malibu highway; the Malibu movie colony; the Malibu Dam, and much, much more. Admission to the Museum is free.

Take a walk through the Cross Creek Malibu Country Mart outdoor shopping center (the parking is free). Now there are a lot of upscale eateries in Malibu however there are many great choices for the Frugal Divas among us. Malibu Howdy’s Taqueria in Cross Creek village has counter service and most items on the menu are under $10 and they are fantastic. Great tacos, great salads, and great breakfasts if you get there before eleven thirty.  There is a Starbucks for those just in the mood for caffeine and a snack.

Travel about a mile and a half further up the coast and try Malibu Seafood Company (they have a free parking lot) on PCH. Counter service with most items around $10 (I had an out of this world ahi tuna burger with fries for $8.95), grilled seafood dinners around $15. They have their own parking lot. Fabulous location across the street from the beach. Go to the upper deck seating for the best ocean view.

Beautiful museum, enjoy the laid back atmosphere, walk where the stars really shop, and great food all make Malibu a fun day away for Los Angelenos in need of an ocean view and a relaxed atmosphere. A great view into SoCal living for tourists.

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How to Entertain in a Small Home

Posted by The Frugal Diva on 5th June 2013

Six Simple Tips To Make The Most Of Your Space

A guest post from Tara Wagner a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She’s fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.

If you’ve moved to a smaller space to save money, it’s easy to feel like your house is just too cramped to throw a good party—but if you love entertaining, don’t give up. Here are a few creative ways to make even a tiny home a great place for a party.

1. Hide bulky furniture in a bedroom

One way to open up your living areas is to move a few pieces of furniture out of sight of partygoers. Dragging that extra love seat or end table into your bedroom can create a lot more standing space, or make room for less-plushy furniture. If you plan on entertaining frequently, invest in a couple low-profile card tables and a dozen folding chairs—they can accommodate guests in a much tighter configuration than your everyday living room furniture.

2. Keep it cool and comfortable

A lot of guests in a small space can dial up the heat and humidity in your home. If the weather is nice and you have good screens, open up your windows. If that isn’t feasible (or isn’t cooling the place down enough), turn your A/C a few degrees cooler. To the extent possible, have your food prepared 30 minutes in advance, to allow stove and oven heat to dissipate. A light, refreshing scent like citrus or linen can also keep your home from becoming stifling.

3. Provide simple buffet fare

Trying to keep food moving for a large number of guests is a real challenge in a small kitchen. To reduce the burden on yourself and your appliances, keep your menu simple; casseroles and salads are easy to produce in bulk, as are grilled chicken and burgers. By making your meal buffet style, you won’t have to worry so much about setting out a place for every guest, leaving more of your table space to accommodate the spread. If you can move some of your preparation to an outside grill, so much the better.

4. Increase the illusion of space

Mirrors are a great way to make a room feel more open; they increase the sense of visual depth, which can help claustrophobic partygoers breathe easier. Running a line of Christmas tree lights behind your kitchen cabinets and bookshelves can make your ceilings feel higher, and create a sense of openness.

5. Move it outside

This is by far the easiest way to take the pressure off, especially this time of year. Pick a weekend with good weather, and set up your patio and yard for a barbecue. If you live somewhere cooler, schedule your party in the heat of the day over a weekend, when it’ll be the most enjoyable outside. If the weather is too hot at midday, start your party in the evening, and set up tiki torches for light.

Before the party, wipe down your patio furniture, and set up extra tables and chairs to accommodate all your guests. Be sure to clean up dog poop and clutter in the yard before guests arrive, and have plans to cover up food to keep it safe from bugs.

6. Break down tables and chairs

This is a great trick to impress your guests. Serve dinner on folding card tables with tablecloths that clean easily. When everyone has finished eating, gather up plates and silverware, then simply lift the tablecloths away for cleaning and break down the tables and chairs. With a little practice, you can transform the room before your guests know what’s happening, and voila—you have an open, comfortable mingling area where your spread used to be. If this process takes too long, your guests will feel obligated to help, but if you’re quick, it will look effortless.

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