It’s Not That Far: A Day Trip to NYC

It’s Not That Far: A Day Trip to NYC


Last fall, my older brother moved to Connecticut, and he regularly visits New York City on his days off. When my parents and I came north to visit him for Christmas, we decided to spend two separate days in the City, one of which was today. Brother planned the whole excursion on his own, and he didn’t let us know what we were doing.


Here are some pictures from our trek around Manhattan Island

To start, Brother led us on a self-directed scavenger hunt through Central Park. The final location was what he deemed “the perfect picnic spot.”

I ate an apple in the Big Apple.


A subway took us to Rockefeller Plaza.

Our feet carried us to St. Peter’s Cathedral…

And to many stores (where we didn’t buy anything) including American Girl Place,

the M & M Store,


and Macy’s .

We walked A LOT, and every time I asked Brother how far we were from the next stop, he would say, “Not that far.” But it’s a big city, y’all, and everything is pretty far.

We estimate that we walked about eleven miles, and every step was worth it.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Proats

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Proats


Fridays are my free days, and the best things in life are free.  On Fridays, I am always free from class, and I am usually free from work.  Pure relaxation.

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up and enjoyed a short, free run through the quaint village of Old Salem.  When I got back to school, I emptied out the storage closet on my hall and set any unclaimed furniture in the hallway with a sign that said “free.”  After lunch (which I consider free because I ate in the cafeteria), I took advantage of my free gym membership (special “thank you” to my college for providing that!) and swam at the nearby YWCA. 

Once I was back in my room, I needed some post-swim fuel.  In my mini-fridge, I had frozen strawberries which were technically free because they were left over from an RA event.  I also had a single-serve pack of chocolate protein powder (a free gift with a purchase of Quest bars) in my closet/pantry.  Some simple mixing and microwaving made a perfect (almost free) snack.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Proats


  • 1/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1 scoop (or one packet) chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup frozen strawberries + more for topping
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk or an additional 1/2 cup water (I used cashew milk because it’s what was on sale at Aldi that week)


  • Combine oatmeal and protein powder in a large microwaveable bowl.
  • While stirring, add water and milk.
  • Mix in 1/4 cup strawberries.
  • Microwave on high 1 minute.  The oats should have a thick, fudgy texture.
  • top with more strawberries, if desired.
  • Eat and enjoy!


Special thanks to Angie, Mollie, and Scarlett for hosting Fiesta Friday this week!


Refashioned Denim Dress

Refashioned Denim Dress


I love being busy.  On top of classes, I am an RA, student body president, peer tutor, choir member, “Brewin’ Den” barista, and admissions aid. I am not quite sure when I breathe or sleep, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sadly, all these responsibilities mean that I do not complete many “just for fun” projects during the school year. With foreknowledge of the coming busyness, I spent the entire week before school sewing, crafting, and cooking.  One of the last refashions I completed that week began with a denim frock that I snagged for $1 at a local outlet sale (the same monthly sale where I grabbed this last year and this the year before).  With a few snips and stitches, I had a cute new dress for fall.


First, I laid a well-fitting dress over the bulky denim frock and used chalk to outline the smaller dress.


I pinned and sewed along the chalk marks, and cut off the extra material with pinking shears.


I then repeated this process with a favorite oxford shirt so that the arms would fit.


With the addition of a belt and accessories, my dress was ready to wear!


Top Ten Tuesday: Thrifty Favorites

Top Ten Tuesday: Thrifty Favorites

As you probably know by now, I love thrift shopping.  Last time I went to a mall, I honestly left angry because there was no fun in looking at racks of the same shirt over and over and over again.  Almost all of my favorite articles of clothing have come from Goodwill, Megathrift, or another second-hand shop.  Below are my top ten favorite thrift finds.

Top Ten Favorite Pieces from A Thrift Store

1. Twenty-one embroidered tunic


2. Converse All-stars (glitter added)


3. J. Crew Rain boots


4. Merona khakis


5. Vera Bradley belt


6. Faded Glory bermuda shorts


7. Cato crossbody purse


8. Jessica Howard dress


9.  Ann Taylor houndstooth pencil skirt


10. Abercrombie and Fitch sweater


Top Ten Tuesday: Bargain Breakfast

Top Ten Tuesday: Bargain Breakfast


I sympathize.  Really, I do.  I understand that you are a poor college student, and you are starving for a cheap, filling, nutritious breakfast.  That is why I have composed a list of ten super-cheap items that can be paired in a variety of ways to assemble a wholesome breakfast for less than $1.

Top Ten Items to Build a $1 Breakfast

(prices listed are per serving)

  1. Oatmeal ($.15)
  2. Trail Mix ($.25)
  3. Multigrain Waffle ($.30)
  4. Yogurt ($.40)
  5. Fresh Fruit (varies—buy fruit in season for the cheapest prices)
  6. Granola Bar ($.30)
  7. Peanut Butter ($.15)
  8. Cereal ($.20)
  9. Eggs ($.20)
  10. Turkey Bacon ($.10)


Examples of a $1 breakfast:

  • oatmeal + peanut butter + apple = $.80
  • waffle + egg + bacon = $.60
  • yogurt + cereal = $.60
  • granola bar + banana = $.80
  • trail mix + yogurt = $.65

Although you could pair these foods in literally thousands of combinations, there are dozens of other items that you could swap into your pairings.  Sausage links, rice cakes, string cheese, toast, jelly, and bagels are also great ideas.  To save even more money, buy store-brand items and check your weekly papers for sales.

What are your frugal breakfast staples?

One Man’s Trash

One Man’s Trash

Yesterday (Wednesday), one of my favorite things happened.  Actually, a lot of my favorite things happened.  Let’s rehash:

  • It was SEVENTY degrees!!  After two weeks of snowy, rainy weather, yesterday was absolutely gorgeous! (Today is supposed to be rainy and in the low-thirties again :/ ).
  • With the warm weather, Old Salem was repopulated and bustling during my run.  I like it when there are a lot of shoppers milling around.  It means I can people-watch while I run.
  • I took pictures at Graylyn Estate (Be watching – I plan to post them later this week).
  • I went thrift shopping and found some bargains.

On my thrift trip, I decided to brave the Goodwill Outlet.  If you have never been to one of these stores, please watch this video.

Basically, the outlet store consists of extensive lines of bins full of another person’s trash (versus the Goodwill Retail center that sets the trash on shelves or hangs it from racks).  You dig through the bin, find your treasure in the trash, and pay $1.25 per pound.  The first time I walked into the outlet store, I immediately turned around and walked out; it was just too dirty and crazy for me to handle!  Thankfully, yesterday’s trip was on a weekday morning at 8:15; the store was nowhere near as hectic as in that video (the narrator is right, though; it gets crazy).

The shopping started out pretty boring with two tee shirts.  Nothing special.


My third find was a little better – a Lilly Pulitzer belt.  If I had bought this new, it would have easily cost over $40.


The real gem of the trip was my last find.  Check it out:


That’s right! A genuine Coach handbag!  I would have to guess that the original retail price was well over $200.  Now, I had to admit that it had seen better days.  It was undeniably dirty, but there was very little wear on it.  I figured that some TLC could quickly make it usable.  Simply cleaning out the pockets, washing it in cold water three times, and letting it dry made a world of difference.  I cannot wait to use it!

Oh! And I didn’t tell you how much it cost.  My entire purchase – two shirts, a belt, and the purse – came to a grand total of….

$2.14!! What a steal!

Have you ever shopped at the Goodwill Outlet?  What’s your opinion?


Covered Kaleidoscopes

Covered Kaleidoscopes


It’s no secret that I am frugal.  So when I needed a pack of kaleidoscopes, I bought the cheapest ones Amazon had to offer.  With a $1 roll of contact paper, I turned the kid-friendly animal prisms into chic, college appropriate kaleidoscopes.

Here’s the process:

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