5 Go-To Recipes Under $20

Just like Taylor, I’m back.

Needed a bit of space– blank space if you will.

So, what have I been doing? Well, I’ve been:

Trying to make sure my kid stops being so mobile, haven’t put on make up in like a month, starting lusting over the color mustard, and making my lunches at home.

Yea, that’s right. It only took me about 3 years working in the same damn mall to realize that the food is actually shit there, and maybe it’s the reason I can’t seem to lose any weight. Bitter? Yes. Truthful? Yes.

Let’s just start with the choices that the state of Pennsylvania gives you as a whole: Applebees, Longhorn, Chickies (it’s good I get it, but like..not every Friday), Grand Lux, etc. The list of chains is endless. I guess being from New York makes me spoiled– but I’ll say it again. There’s literally nothing worth writing home about in this part of PA. Sorry, boo…but when you can’t find good Italian food 10 miles in any direction from your house, you start to get a bit irritated.

So, my lovely cook husband has started to whip up some awesome “take to work friendly” lunches and dinners. My problem with making lunches at home is that my hands are so full from my purse and my coffee that I usually don’t have a free hand to carry Tupperware in and out of work. I like easy, and simple, and lazy. Here’s a list of my favs and links to their recipes:

  1. Deviled Egg Macaroni Salad
  2. Paprika Parmesan Chicken
  3. Avocado Caprese Chicken Quesadilla
  4. Coconut Chicken Strips
  5. Avocado Egg Salad

If you wanted me to give you the recipes, you really are just reaching for me to do more work. In case you were wondering, this isn’t a cooking blog. But, alas– all 5 of these have something in common: They are so easy you won’t even feel like you’re really cooking– and with a 10 month old, I don’t really have enough time to cook a 5 course meal. Mostly because I’m too busy watching him crawl into my dog’s crate and try to eat one of Marlow’s 10 thousand tennis balls. Motherhood looks good on me, right?

Pro tip: Want to use Avocado in your lunch? It’s actually a freaking process– being that avocados oxidize like, super quick. You could put lemon juice on them or just leave the pit in to try to prevent oxidation. BUT I usually just wait to cut my avocados until lunch time–which is extra, and the ladies at the food court think I’m crazy when I ask them to cut an entire avocado open…but I do what I have to, amirite?

Want another pro tip? Make sure to remember to bring your containers out of your car. I know people probably adult much better than me, and that seems like a no-brainer, but just take the piece of advice and file it under your “Alright, I’m def more sane than Kate” tab. You may need it someday when your car smells.

 

Anyway, check back later this week (if I remember) to check out some new posts!

 

Love you, mean it.

K

 

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How To: Beach with Baby

So, what’s a new mom to do?

It’s June, which  means it’s unbearable in your house, and outside. Let’s just call this the month of “let’s just go somewhere with air conditioning.” It’s also the beginning of many northerners heading to the beach or the pool to cool off. So, what’s a new mom to do? I mean, we already pack up half of our lives every time we go to the grocery store, so what the heck do you bring with you on a day outing?

I’ve gotten my bags down to a science. Sometimes, for day outings– you gotta wing it. A few essentials, but if you pack too much, you’ll end up carrying things back and forth to your car. You’ll be grumpy and tired, and have to deal with a sun-kissed toddler(s). It’s not easy, but it’s doable. Let’s break it down:

Write a checklist the day before

…and go over it with someone, if you’re really crazy. Just read it a couple times to your self, and think about your situations that you’re going to be in. Here’s what’s on my list:

  1. 4-5 diapers
  2. wipes
  3. a change of clothes
  4. a towel/blanket
  5. sunscreen for face and body
  6. pacifier or favorite toys
  7. umbrella or mini tent for some shady snoozes
  8. a mini cooler or lunchbox (I snagged mine from my husband)
    1. 2 bottles filled with water
    2. Packets of formula
    3. If your baby is starting on solids– feel free, but I would save that for when you get home.

Here’s the thing about this stuff. You aren’t going to an island with no stores– and if you are, you’re lucky because I can’t stand people. If you forget something, get it asap from a store while you’re there.

Pack Up The Night Before

Make sure that you aren’t just throwing things in a pack. Let’s get some Monica action here: Yell check after everything goes in..not. Anyway, make sure that you have a ziplock bag for your sunscreen, and some plastic bags for your diapers! While your at it, pack up your stuff as well.

Eat before leaving

Make sure to feed the babes before going, maybe while someone else packs up the car. It is simpler than the baby waking up mid-way through the drive and SCREAM the whole rest of the way.  On that note, put on your sunscreen before putting on bathing suits, swim shirts ride up, and no one likes a crispy baby!

Keep It Short/Don’t push going in the water

You know my kid loves a good pool, but if the baby hasn’t napped, hasn’t eaten, and is hot– guess what you’re not having? A good time. The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten was to have your baby fit into your schedule, but that doesn’t mean forget that you have a baby who does need to eat and sleep. Read the signs, and if he/she starts to cry– stop trying to get that perfect photo, and start your routine!

Take Pictures

But, as I said before– don’t push your kid. I can’t STAND seeing parents on the beach saying, “Just one more, I know you’re tired!” Like, seriously? Your kid is cooked. Just stick a fork in him, because he…is done. Wait until after their nap or after they eat to take some candids. Guess what? The beach is always going to be there– and just because you didn’t get a catalog worthy pic doesn’t mean you’re a failure as a mother.

Bathe Them

Here’s something I didn’t realize– bathing your babes after sunscreen. For those more experienced moms– sorry that I made you cringe. I really didn’t know! My mom told me once it started getting nice out. If we apply sunscreen, homeboy gets a bath when we get home. If he’s snoring hardcore, wipe him down and bathe him first thing in the morning. You don’t want to go two days without cleaning off that sweat from his/her body.

I know I’m being bossy, and my favorite thing to say to mommas is don’t listen to anyone’s advice and just do what you feel is right– but somethings, you need a couple stories/pieces of advice to help you decide what is right for you.

 

 

 

Love you, mean it.

 

K

 

 

Best Planners out There?

I must say, I’m still not a planner person.

So, we talked about stationary…a basic girl’s most used drug. However, we didn’t talk about their secret weapon: planners. Ugh, not this again…I know, I know. Planner talk means back to school– but with popular brands getting their planner options for the new year out NOW– it’s time for all of you guys to take charge and shop smart for a great planner. I’ve gone through a couple– and I must say, I’m still not a planner person.

Guys, I really try– but I can never seem to keep track of it, or keep up with it as the months go on. Let’s face it, I buy planners because they’re pretty. If you love planners, good for you– because I sure as hell can’t seem to get it together.

Even though I forget about my planners a month into buying them, I’m still on the look out for some bitchin’ ones for you all. That’s right– I’ve been doing my homework, and I must say, we have some pretty steep competition this year.

Here it is, the best of the best planners for everyone out there:

Lilly Pulitzer, kate spade, Emily Ley, Erin Condren

Let’s just talk about these guys for a hot sec, because you know I sprinted to Lilly the day the new planners were released. These are the staples of every instagram worthy post. The artistic details, and beautiful colors, and the cute sayings all make everyone forget about the most important thing: The price. These planners can run you from about $20 for smaller versions to upwards of $65-$70 for a personalized EC. I love to waste money on frivolous items, but that’s just ridiculous. If you need to have your monogram on everything, here’s a pro tip: Go on Etsy and buy your monogram on a sticker for like, $5, and stick it on your $35 Lilly planner. Sure, we all know the paper quality is good– but let’s all face the reality: You’re writing in your plans to get drunk with your one college roommate at 6 and calling your ex-boyfriend at 9. #notapologizing

Target

Sure, the paper quality isn’t like, resume paper..but it’s good enough for what it is. I walked into Target the other day to get cookies (don’t ask) and my eyes caught a huge display of adorable, gold leaf planners. Now, I like a spiral bound notebook..so I can get a bit picky, but these are fairly cheaper than the Lilly that I did end up buying. If you can do without a spiral bound– you have even cheaper picks. They can range between $7- $17 for the dupes of your favorites.

Walmart

Oh, no. No, no, no..I’m not becoming a Walmart person (not that I don’t like it- the prices are bomb, but the people sometimes aren’t) Interestingly enough, the ones that I saw at Target had a fraternal twin at Walmart. If you want a good price, you’re gonna get it here. That’s all I’ll say. I have a couple more jokes, but I’m leaving myself to be unbiased.

Blitsy

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WEBSITE? I’m not too sure about this whole..sticker thing, but the planners are so so cute! Low to mid $20 for these newly found beauties. There are a couple that are in the high $50-$60 range as well, so you do get a variety. First off, they bombard you with coups, and have pretty nice clearance that includes Rifle Paper Co right now!

Passion Planner

Ok, so these all have similar designs on them, but different colors. I’ve never seen these before, but they are super cute and pretty competitive in price. Right now, they have a simple black, purple, blue, gold, pink, brown, and turquoise. The options are straight forward, too. Academic, undated (who does that), and dated.  What I love? The questions that are featured for goal planning. Also, check out their mission statement below:

This is why for every planner purchased, we give one away. We’re more than just a planner company—we’re a group of goal getters making a change in the world. We’re creating something more than a community, we’re creating a #Pashfam that encourages one another to graduate college, land their dream job, plan their wedding, battle depression, overcome anxiety, and achieve their dreams. And we want you to be a part of that.

So here’s to helping more people, together.

– www.passionplanner.com

Since I battled depression for most of my life so far, I felt that this is a super great way to help out, even if they are “just” a planner company.

 

 

Anywho, just know– if you like planners because they’re pretty, you aren’t alone. If you like them because you use them: more power to ya. Just remember, an empty planner doesn’t mean you have an empty life, it just means you can’t get your shit straight to write it all down. (Like me!)

Love you, mean it.

 

K

 

 

Lilly Pulitzer, Emily Ley, kate spade, Walmart. (Links attached)

Cold Turkey

Three simple rules that could break any design guru wannabe’s spirit.

Alright everybody: I called it quits. As of June 14th– I have not been into a Home Goods, Kirklands, or..any home decor store.  That’s right, everybody. This bitch is taking her own advice, and NOT even walking into a store. On July 14th I will be free to go where I used to go every Wednesday or Friday: Home. Goods. Yep, a whole month.

It all started when I realized that my credit card was out of wack– on top of that, I realized that my house was a much bigger project than I let off to others. I need to clean and organize what I already have. I could potentially be on top of my laundry and home projects instead of hiding behind aisles of tablecloths and Rae Dunn Clay pottery (sobbing so hard)

I said to myself, “Kate, no more. You can’t buy any more pineapples…you’ve welcomed enough people.” So, no more– until I go up to NY for my nephew’s baptism and get to go to the REAL GOOD Home Goods up near my parent’s house. That’s right, I have a plan. Maybe by that point, the addiction will have subsided– and I can find other things to do on my days off…but I doubt it. I think this should be a fun experience.

Here are the rules:

  1. No MONEY can be spent in a home decor store: Since I have a sick, sad addiction– I will not be going IN any place either because I know myself.
  2. I have to make do with what is already in my house– get creative and clean and purge useless items!
  3. Buy necessities and home improvement (paint, etc) items. I’m not totally cured, guys.

Three simple rules that could break any design guru wannabe’s spirit.  Let’s think of this as a social experiment. If you see me foaming at the mouth outside of a Home Goods, ignore it. I need to do this cold turkey.

I’ll provide updates as I slowly break down from deprivation.

Love you, mean it.

K

 

 

5 Websites You Need In Your Repertoire

Free shipping is yours for a mere $49..which isn’t hard to do once you find their selection of throw pillows.

We all know I created this blog to get better at saving money, and all I’ve done is help you guys save money while you laugh at my constant regression into Lilly Pulitzer shopping sprees. I’ve been clean for 12 hours at this point, and I’m feeling okay.

I’m here to give you a taste of the good life: 5 ~new~ websites for you to go spend your money at…and maybe feel good about?

The Charity Websites:

Ok, so I have two of these, and I’m not sorry. I’ve purchased from both, and I’ve never regretted it. Reason why? The profits go to something that you support. Each week, Sevenly.org chooses an organization or cause that is in need of support. From the website:

Sevenly makes a pledge of $7 per purchase in its 7-Day Campaigns and 7% for its cause-themed Collections to selected non-profits.

– sevenly.org

Under each cause, the website gives you some info about what you are donating to and how this purchase will help. Here’s what I like: They don’t lie about how much is going back to the cause. They tell you straight up that they do take some of it back in order to maintain the company, etc. If you’re still skeptical: here’s their FAQ.

On to the next: Serengentee.com

“By purchasing fabric from over 25 countries, we support artisans, their families, and ancient fabric making traditions.

And, by giving back 10% of our profits to a diverse range of grassroots causes, we work to improve lives in their communities.” -serengentee.com

You’ve probably seen these a bunch of places, or imitations of the same style. Basically, the founders of this company purchased fabric and patterns from various countries and communities around the world. With that, they used their t-shirt sales to give back to the community that the fabric/pattern came from. Each pattern is so beautiful and colorful. When you select the shirt you want, the information about where the fabric came from is on the page. Here’s my favorite right now.

Marley Lilly

marleylilly.com is one of those websites that you kind of miss when browsing around on the web. Not sure why, because everything is very reasonable and really cute. They even have a “monogram bloopers” on the bottom of the page that is for monograms that they made by accident and put up for sale at a discount. They even have a bridal party section! My personal faves? The 1/4 zip pullover, the baseball hats, and the earrings!

Society 6

Ok ,this place isn’t only on Ebates for a sweet 3.5% cash back, but it has just the kind of stuff that you know you shouldn’t even be looking at! Society6.com is literally the mecca for great prices on wall art, throw pillows, and mugs with smart ass comments on them. They support local artist’s work, and do a ton of collabs with artists, too.

Hayneedle

Ever go into a home goods and think…I feel like I need more? Me too. Here’s where you get it. But more…like much more. You could go crazy on here. If you want bougie for a buck, here’s where it is. Lighting, home improvements, or even just some damn silk flowers– you’re in business. Free shipping is yours for a mere $49..which isn’t hard to do once you find their selection of throw pillows. They even separate product based on styles.

I technically gave you 5 websites already– but here’s another, just for good karma.

Keep

This is sort of a mix of late 2014’s Looksy.com (where did they go?) and Wanelo. It has trending items, gift ideas, and great places to go this week for the best deals. It’s a blog, but it’s great to be in the know. There’s an app you can download so that you can be notified about sales near you, or upcoming deals. They have special deals for subscribers, such as Blue Apron discounts, etc.

 

That’s it for now, hope you go and get your browsing on. It’s okay to spend a little, as long as it’s not on a credit card!

Love you, mean it.

 

 

K

 

 

How to: Save Money While Road-Tripping

if you’re driving from Philly to NYC or anything LESS than 5 hours– you’re being selfish. You’re in the car, not the Gobi desert.

I’m not a connoisseur on traveling..like, by no stretch of the imagination. BUT, I do travel. A lot. I drive a ton, and as we ALL know– I’m not made of money. In fact, I’m made of about $100 at any given time, but I make the best of it.

So, how do I do it? TBH, I’m not entirely sure, I kind of don’t check my bank balance until my anxiety gets super high and then I log in with one eye open. I tend to take bets on where I am in my bank account– usually I’m right on the money (lol) but other times, I’m literally shocked.

No but really, I’m pretty savvy when it comes to this stuff. It’s like my bread and butter– only I seem to have a weird problem with bread lately– but seriously. Since it’s the summer, and all you people are out of school and some are out of work for the summer: I bet you one thing: You guys are gettin’ in that car and wastin’ all yo gas.

Drive Smart

This is one place that you can’t fly by the seat of your pants–not only because you’re driving, not flying– but because planning out your route to get where you need to go is essential. I have my ways to get back up to NY, and a back-up way, and a back-up to the back-up. If that’s..backed-up, I deal with the traffic and curse the day I decided to move to PA. If you don’t plan this part out, you can end up driving in circles, getting off at exits and having to repay when you find out it’s wrong, and driving right into bumper to bumper at the GW Bridge.

Fill Up The Night Before

I find this the weirdest of my rituals, but it’s a staple. No, it’s not because someone told me you “get more gas when you fill up when there isn’t any sun out.” (That’s an actual thing flying around the internet.) It’s simply because I’m not in a rush, panic, or waiting until the last minute when I absolutely need to get gas. The obvious reason is: Gas near highways is absurdly expensive. Don’t drive a quarter of the way there on what you had in your tank before you fill up just because you were super excited about getting on the road.

Don’t Drive Like an Idiot

I’m sorry, I just turned into my dad for a sec. But really, DON’T DRIVE STUPID, K? Manage your speed and stop pumping the brake (or slamming). It helps maintain the efficiency of your car. On top of that, you won’t get into a pointless accident because you were tailing someone and couldn’t brake on time.

Don’t Snack Up your Trip

I take my driving seriously. For anyone who has taken a long drive with me knows, we can stop for snacks once and maybe the bathroom if you’re lucky. Listen, snacks and driving are a great combo– but if you’re driving from Philly to NYC or anything LESS than 5 hours– you’re being selfish. You’re in the car, not the Gobi desert. 9 times out of 10, you ate before you got in the car. You’re not going to starve. (Exception: Coffee– it just tastes better if you don’t make it 🙂 )

If you are going on a long trek, pack those snacks. Not only do you not waste needed money, but you are probably going to make better dietary decisions if you already have food. We all know Chic-Fil-A and Cinnabon are super nutritious for your 21-day fix, but let’s get real…packing a portioned out snack is easy and already in your car…unless you forget your food like I do.

Get An EZPass

Stop being an old-fashioned “I prefer cash” kind of person. Cash is king in two places: Construction on your house (great discount) and restaurants. Other than that, I don’t carry cash..partially because I’m terrified I’m going to get mugged. So, here’s the deal. EZPass (or what ever your part of the country calls in..Sunpass, etc) has a discounted rate when you go through a toll, you aren’t always waiting in long lines of cars (unless some idiot texting and driving gets in an EZPass lane and actually just has coins) AND it can be replenished as much or as little as you use it. Just don’t get carried away and volunteer to drive your friends places just because you have a simple out of your hair way to pay for tolls. It can get expensive.

Moral of my long-winded story: driving and budgeting while driving is important. Vacas are fun, and necessary– but it doesn’t mean you have to go all out and go broke, too.

 

 

Love you, mean it.

K

Wanna Save Money?

I wouldn’t call myself exactly…broke AF– but we’re scraping by…so I wanted to close that gap by trying out a couple of ideas that you always see on the internet– and see if they work: Guess what? They don’t.

I wouldn’t call myself exactly…broke AF– but we’re scraping by…so I wanted to close that gap by trying out a couple of ideas that you always see on the internet– and see if they work: Guess what? They don’t..and NO you can’t make $5,000 by doing surveys because you will literally kill yourself from frustration 10 minutes in.

So, I figured out that I should take out my daily spending money per paycheck in cash and leave the rest in my bank account– untouched. WHALE– that kind of worked– but if I didn’t want to spend my spending money because of something I just …needed…to buy, I would just swipe my debit card. SO, that didn’t work too well, but I did figure out that I am deathly afraid to be without a credit card for fear I’ll get kidnapped from work and need to pay for my way home after I escape. So glad I watch so much Person of Interest.

Anywho– here’s what I found works if you are looking for some extra cash, and you have no dignity– like me!

Stop Having Friends

Yea- I said it, but you were thinking it. Friends are super expensive. Weddings, Bar nights, dinners out– sure, you end up sitting home alone every night wondering what to do with the decor of your house– but at least you have your money. (Loljk)

For real though–

Poshmark

Yea, that’s right. Put your crap up for sale. No, not your crappy crap– but your clothes and accessories that you don’t need. And by that I mean– if you didn’t wear it this past season, and it doesn’t fit you…and you forgot about it– SELL it. It makes you feel good!Don’t just sell your clothes, sell your baby’s unworn clothes, or your husband’s clothes that he doesn’t like!

Granted, Poshmark takes out a portion of your profit– but you know what, the app is super user-friendly, and after a couple great reviews– you can shop their wholesale and really turn a profit! However, I haven’t tried that yet, because I’m not too big on the whole…risk your own money for a 50% chance of a reward. Knowing me, I’ll end up with 5 duplicate graphic tees that say “Barre so hard” and no one to sell them to.

Be A Guinea Pig

This too…you read that right. Look up research groups or research study groups. Guess what? If they’re willing to pay me $60 to taste their off brand peanut butter cup…I’m in, and you should be too. Check out local college unions or libraries to see if there are advertisments. They need people, and honey– we’re people!

Stop Buying

Guess what else worked? Not shopping at Nordstrom’s. Or Lilly, or francescas, or etsy…The easiest way to see money in your bank account is not to waste it away on something frivolous. You worked hard for your money– stop wasting it. (Says the girl who was on a mission to buy a new dress for a wedding today)

Well, we can’t all be perfect all at the same time.

Love you, mean it.

K