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Monday, January 28, 2013

Finance Fridays


I am thrilled to introduce a segment of the blog called Finance Fridays. I will cover financial tips that have not only helped me but also those around me.

As someone in the finance industry for several years, I have learned so much that I would like to share all of it with you. There is a wide variety of self-help business books, finance gurus (such as Suze Orman), and unlicensed finance professionals handing out advice. What all this tells me is that only YOU can fix your fnance woes. And, believe me, you can do it with no sweat.

Now, my history with finance dates back to when I turned 18 - when I received my first credit card during my first week in college. Debt sounds like such an ugly word today, but it sounded great back then. I could buy now and pay later - much later.

Fast forward to the end of college, when I had several accounts in collections. I couldn't even open a bank account! Through all this time, I was working at least 25 hours a week while going to college full time during the day.

What enlightened me? A public TV station was airing a speech by Suze Orman, and it could have been for her book Young Broke and Fabulous, but I'm not sure. She was talking to the audience about steps to take to clean up debt. I sprinted to the nearest library and checked out her book, where she included a letter template to send to creditors to begin payment plans. I thought no way can I afford payments, but her book helped me make a budget and I knew I could do it. And, I did it!

I'll share more details with you so you can follow them and be financially fit.

When was your first debt experience? I'd love to find out how you handled it.

Diana

Easy BBQ Chicken Recipe

Being at home sick has its rewards, like catching up on my reading and ownership of the remote. Then, it has its pitfalls, like the need to clean and cook before my family comes home. I threw together simple ingredients into the crock pot this morning so dinner will be ready in time of their arrival.


Easy BBQ Chicken
Ingredients:
  • 3-4 lbs. chicken drumsticks or thighs 
  • 1 pkg. McCormick Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork or McCormick Slow Cookers Souther nBBQ Ribs mix
  • 1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
Instructions:
  • Place rinsed chicken sections in slow cooker.
  • Mix seasoning mix, brown sugar, vinegar and ketchup in separate bowl.
  • Pour mixture over chicken.
  • Set cooker on high for 4 hours.
I'll bake some potatoes and veggies for side dishes, and we're good to go. What is your easy chicken recipe? Please share.

Diana

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beauty Necessity

I was thrilled to find this beauty at my front door today. After watching review after review, I thought it was worth a try given issues with my skin lately. I have seen a local dermatologist, which I recommend you do as well. Beware of them selling you a specific line of treatment, which I don't buy into.

Clarisonic Mia

At $120, it is the most I have spent on a beauty product. I am not that person who gets her hair and nails done, or spends much on make-up or lotions. The Clarisonic Mia is white with my name engraved (no additional cost). It is the limited edition, probably because it is white. It comes with a small bottle of cleanser, but I will be using Cetaphil. It is cordless and comes with a charger cord. To top it off, it has a pretty storage bag that could double as a make-up bag.

I'll write a review on the product after a few tries.

I'm including this post here because it is important to have confidence. When I know I look my best, I have unstoppable confidence. Let me know if you've tried this as well.

Diana

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Homecooking

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I am a good cook in my heart, but my hands do something else. I MUST follow recipes in order to produce good food. Bless those of you who can whip up something without a recipe. I want to be you when I grow up.

My husband was out of the country for a week, living on restaurant food and room service. For the country he was working in, it was for the best. Still, he craved low-sodium homecooking. So, I have to share these winning recipes with you. Follow or adjust and let me know how it turned out. Photos encouraged.

Easy Potato Soup
Quick and easy potato soup with a kick, thanks to red pepper flakes.



Ingredients:
  • 6 to 8 red potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. butter [substitute 3 Tbsp. canola oil]
  • 2 small carrots, diced or shredded
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
  • 2 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 c. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley [substitute 1 Tbsp. parsley flakes]
  • 1 Ttbsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt [substitute 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper]
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (optional) [substitute 1/2 c. canned chicken broth, low sodium]
Instructions:
  • Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling water until tender. Strain potatoes and place them in a large bowl; set aside.
  • In same large pot, melt butter (or use canola oil) until golden brown. Add carrots and onions. Cover and cook until tender. Remove from heat.
  • Blend in flour. Stir in milk.
  • Add half of potatoes (or all potatoes and skip next step).
  • Mash rest of potatoes and add with rest of ingredients.
  • Heat until steaming hot.

Slow-cooker Short Ribs
My go-to recipe for ribs.

Ingredients:
  • 4 lbs. pork spareribs, cut into 2-rib sections
  • 1 pkg. McCormick Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork or McCormick Slow Cookers Souther BBQ Ribs mix
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar (light brown okay)
  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
Instructions:
  • Place ribs in slow cooker.
  • Mix seasoning mix, brown sugar, vinegar and ketchup in separate bowl.
  • Pour mixture over ribs.

  • Set cooker on high for 4 hours.
Diana

Friday, January 18, 2013

Garage Plans

After a few years in a decade-old home, you'd think I would have updated things like the garage and unfinished basement. Sadly, rooms most neglected are those you barely spend any time in. The garage, with two cars parked inside, leaves very little room for storage. The previous owner installed hooks in odd places, making it hard to know what goes on them. So, all that said, I am on a mission to declutter and beautify. I know, beautify is not exactly a garage term. I say, why not? It is now.

Below are my inspiration pieces. Keep in mind that I am working with as little floor space as is possible.




I'd love to read your ideas on how you beautified your garage.

Diana

Sources: Container Store, Gharexpert.com, Organizedbyl.com

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Simple organizer

After spending some time reading new blog posts by my favorite crafters, I saw several people focusing on organizing in the new year. It's about a fresh start. I enjoy cleaning and organizing on a shoestring.

I was pleasantly surprised to find these crafting & sewing organizer cases at Dollar Tree (Crafters Square brand). I purchased three. Two will be used for organizing nails, bolts, etc. I will use the other one for office items like staples, clips, rubber bands, etc.





Diana 
traditionalurbanite@gmail.com

Pantry redo

The kitchen pantry is one of those spaces that gets redone often, no matter how perfect you think it is. Fact is, it is simple and cheap to redo. I shopped at Dollar Tree and found monochromatic plastic bins.

I chose five yellow squares, four yellow ovals, and two yellow stackable trays. That is a total of $11.00.

BEFORE:




Wire shelving is my enemy. Until I purchase hard liners, I will make do the cheap way - bins. Previously, I used any tray or bin I had laying around (see spice plate and Colts bucket). But, I am on a mission... a mission to organize and beautify.



I will add labels to each bin. At least now, everything has a place. And, no one can say "I just put it anywhere because I didn't know where it goes." No excuses.

AFTER:



Please let me know your thoughts on cheap organization and storage.

Diana
traditionalurbanite@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New year goals

With the start of every year, you feel rejuvinated and anxious. This is the best time to set new, attainable goals.


Step 1: Name goals
Step 2: Set deadlines
Step 3: Strategize
Step 4: Celebrate each milestone

My blog goals for the year include:
  • Invest in professional grade camera (other than tablet and phone cameras)
  • Create crafting space in home
  • Make storage and organization a priority
  • Consider advertising
  • Commit one hour per day
What are your goals? Can I help you attain any of them?

Diana