Month: March 2010

vegetarian pasta grilled pasta and olives

Top 10 Tips to Stretch Your Budget

On a limited budget? You’re not alone. Here are practical tips on how you can stretch that budget to the fullest:

vegetarian pasta grilled eggplant and olives1. Cook your meals. You can save a great deal of money by cooking your meals and preparing packed lunches or snacks you and your family can bring to work or school. Not only will it save you money, you can also assure that the meals are healthy and clean.  (Try this: Vegetarian Pasta: Grilled Eggplant and Olives)

You can also prepare dishes that can last for a week so you can cook a whole pot in advance and save the other half for the succeeding days. When it’s time to serve it, take it out a few hours before meal time to allow it to defrost and then reheat it.

Just make sure that you store them in a sealed container and place it in a freezer. Put a label on the container with a “Best Before” date so you can be sure to serve it at its best. Post a meal plan on your refrigerator door so you’ll know which dishes to serve each day.

2. Buy what’s in season. Fruits and vegetables in season are cheaper so you would want to take advantage of it. Look for different recipes that use what’s abundant in your local market so you don’t have to spend more on produce that are hard to find.

garden.It’s a great idea to grow herbs and vegetables that you often use in your cooking. You can grow them even in pots. Examples are tomatoes, lemon grass, basil, parsley, rosemary, mint, oregano, etc. Growing a garden is not just cost effective, it is also an enjoyable and relaxing hobby.

4. Put it in a jar.You don’t have to spend big bucks on bread spreads as you can make your own sweet preserves like jams and marmalade. Check your local market for fruits that are in season so you can buy in bulk for a low price. Making preserves is easy as you only need to cook the fruits in sugar in a very low heat until reduced. Afterwards, store them in sterilized jars and seal the lids tightly. Put the jars in a cool, dry place. These preserves can last for months and are delicious bread spreads and desert toppings.

5. Go with the basics. When it comes to your wardrobe, you don’t have to spend huge bucks just to stay fashionable. You can go a long way if you have the basic items of clothing. Invest on a good pair of shoes – flats, heels and boots. You can use your flats for casual events, the pair with heels for business or formal functions. A stylish pair of boots is a must for winter and fall.  You’ll also want to invest on a pair of comfortable sneakers for exercising and running errands.

For clothing, basic pieces that you want to start with are: a classic cut of slacks, a pair of jeans, a knee-length skirt, blazer and a little black dress. Go for plain and neutral colors so you can match them with anything and you can wear them frequently without being obvious.

Add colors and spice up your look with the right accessories such as bags, belts, neck tie or scarves in prints and bright hues.

6. Unsubscribe from unnecessary expenses.Check your subscriptions. Do you really need to all those magazines or do they pile up in a corner without being read?  If you need information, you can easily search the internet and print as you need it.

Are you subscribed to a more expensive cable plan when the only time you get to watch television is when you get home in the evenings? Maybe you can cancel out or subscribe to a lower plan.  Or may you’ve just been subscribed to a service for a long time that you never bothered to cancel.

7. Buy in bulk.This is obvious as wholesalers sell goods at a lesser price. Just be wise when you purchase items in bulk. Make sure the products will not expire for at least within the year. You’ll also want to keep stock only items that are important and that you use frequently. Otherwise, you may only be spending more on unnecessary things. Items such as detergents, soap bars, dish washers, dish sponges, toothbrush, toothpaste, and the like are great wholesale buys.

8. Use coupons. Don’t underestimate the value of coupons. You can find them from magazines or from online coupon sites.  Choose from a list of merchants and print out the ones you need. is a site that offers free printable coupons for  grocery items and other products and services.

*Tip: Double your savings by using coupons on items that are already on sale.
Warning: Don’t sacrifice quality for savings. Make sure that it’s something worth buying. Don’t forget to check the expiration date before you bring it home.

9. Learn DIY skills. Stretch your budget even more by learning basic skills so you don’t need to hire a handyman all the time. For instance, learning basic PC troubleshooting, sewing, or painting can cost you hundreds of dollars in a year.
10. Turn it off. Don’t take for granted what you can save from your electricity bills. Turn off lights and electrical devices when not in use. Unplug your TV and computer from the power source if you’re not going to use it for long hours.   The few cents you save from your energy consumption each day can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in a year.

Polaroid Giveaway at Cakies

An exciting giveaway is going on over at Cakies.
Gosh, I hope I win! I would love to have a Polaroid camera.
If you do too, then hop over Cakies and enter:)

Simag Jewelry Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who participated in the “iloveyou” Simag Jewelry giveaway.  And the winner is “the giveaway diva”.  Congratulations!  I’ll contact you soon for details!

Shop of the Week: Dot & Jim

Our Shop of the Week is a cute little shop called Dot + Jim.  I looove the history behind this shop’s name and I’m happy to introduce you all to Claire Teschel, the dear grand daughter and proud owner of the Dot + Jim.

What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name? 

Dot and Jim were my charming, lovable, cajun born and bred grandparents. They truly were two of a kind and I miss them dearly.

How old is your shop? 

Turned 2 this month. Break out the bubbly!

what a lovely website!

What inspired you to start your own home business?

Well, it began in Spring of 2008 when I was enrolled in my final Master’s Portfolio class at SCAD. As an Advertising Design major, we were encouraged to revamp our existing advertising portfolios. But I decided to go a different route.

Since my ultimate goal was (and still is) to be a stationery designer, I went ahead and launched my own line of cards and prints (dot+jim was born!). I then moved to Cleveland and began designing cards for American Greetings, while at the same time developing dot+jim more and more each day. Now I’m back in Savannah living amongst the moss and magnolias and loving every minute of it.

Dot and Jim’s Beautiful Love Story

Can you give us a peek on the creative process involved in creating your designs/collages?

I’d be happy to! Most of the time I start out with a large sheet of paper. Then I dig into my shoebox of paper scraps (literally, a shoebox) and piece bits together. Within the large scale collage, I zone in on small areas and try to create a new composition within the existing composition.

Claire’s work space

I either scan those sections in or cut them out. I take them into the computer and either add graphic elements, maybe some handwritten type, or leave as is. Some pieces actually start out as large scale collages but I end up making them into greeting cards. It just depends on what I feel fits best and where.

What was the toughest challenge you faced so far? How did you get over it?
I suppose my toughest challenge is always that dreaded creative block. All artists get it and must overcome it. When it happens, I usually like to clear my mind, maybe jump in my car and go somewhere scenic. Finding new inspiration and seeing new land (plus some sweet tunes) always help me move past the block.

the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop: 

spending time in the parks and galleries is one of my favorite things to do around savannah. i also love the beach (who doesn’t?) and taking evening walks with my goofy pup, nattie gann.

Claire Teschelowner of Dot + Jim


stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without: 
My Canon Elph, my moleskine, and a micron pen. Also one of my favorite tools: my trusty corner rounder. 🙂
your favorite shops: 
I love Nan Lawson and Michelle Maule on Etsy. They both have fabulous work and their style is quite unique. I am also a big fan of Rifle Paper Company, who I’ve most recently discovered.


your top 3 favorite picks from your shop: 
Heart of Palm is one of my favorite paint chip designs- it encompasses all that Savannah is to me.
I also fancy my Tear Drop Blue paint chip


and my Sleepytime Tea card. The last two were inspired by very special people.





My personal picks from Dot + Jim :
everlasting love ; memory lane
mellow yellow ; applesauce
southern dawn ; teatime in Savannah
rain drop ; best friend and smile
Thank you so much Claire for this lovely interview:)

Tempting Tart Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to everyone who joined the Tempting Tart Giveaway. And the winner is BusyBee67! Congratulations! I will send you an email about your prize:)


Style Love: Drooling Over Anthropologie Outfits

Have you seen Anthropologie’s spring/summer collection? I am drooling over these outfits. I couldn’t bring myself to leave their lovely website.  I love the mix ‘n matches of the florals, dots, stripes and prints together.  Everything looks so soft and comfy yet never lousy.
Via: Anthropologie
Aren’t these pretty?
If you haven’t joined the giveaways (there are 2!), there is a chance to enter.  Just click on the giveaway links found at the side of this blog. Thanks for your visit:)

The Voice of the Sea by Yvette Inufio

I do long to pack a suitcase and spend a few days by the beach… walk barefoot on a powdery white shore, watch the sunrise, and enjoy the peaceful reverberation of the sea.

The photo above is by Yvette Inufio.  Her work is featured in today’s Etsy Finds and one of these days I will be posting more of her photography.  I just love them.  But for now, I need to run so I’m leaving you with this inspiration.  Oh, and if you haven’t yet joined the giveaways, you can still enter.  The Tempting Tart giveaway ends this Sunday and the iloveyou necklace by Sigma Jewelry ends on the 29th.