Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Second Weight Loss Step- Switch to Good Foods

My second weight loss step was to switch out my bad foods for good ones. This one I still work on, but I am eating so much healthier. It wasn't hard and I love trying new recipes. I didn't go through my pantry and throw everything out. I know some nutritionists and diet "experts" recommend this but I don't. Instead I switched one bad food for a good one slowly. It was much easier to make small changes rather than those sweeping drastic ones. I really feel that is why so many people end up on a perpetual diet their whole life. I'm a southerner and cajun so I LOVE food! I love fried catfish, cornbread, desserts, gumbos, and more. I know how hard it is change those eating habits for life.

My first food I changed was bread. I was eating honey wheat bread, which was better than white bread, but I still needed to find a healthier bread. I had tried different types of multi-grain breads before finding my dark German wheat bread. It's very tasty with a good fiber content but low carbohydrates. I'm not a low carb diet, but I still try to eat moderate amounts. I stopped using vegetable oil and switched to olive oil. We also stopped frying foods, and we now saute, grill, or broil. The hardest switch for me was eating brown rice instead of white. I really resisted this change and didn't make it until about four months ago. I actually love how it tastes with beans. We don't eat much rice anymore. I have since discovered wild rice that I really enjoy eating. I'm still hunting for quinoa but my local store doesn't sell it. I need to go to Whole Foods soon and stock up on some items I can't get at my store.

One change I really indulge on weekly is my Fage Greek Total Yogurt. Yes I eat the full fat version, but I only eat 1/4 of a cup at a time with fresh fruit like berries. It's so delicious and creamy that it's more of a treat. I actually look forward to that snack in the middle of the day. I did switch to dark chocolate by finding a good quality chocolate that had three ingredients. The best part was I can pronounce them all, and it has 70% cocoa content. I break the bar into 12 small pieces and have one of them daily at the end of the day as a nice treat. I haven't had any chocolate or real sugar in over 30 days. I just don't crave it anymore. Losing weight doesn't have to be hard and can be quite enjoyable. Take it slowly and try new foods.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #75

Today's thrifty living tip is use cloth napkins and dish towels over paper napkins and paper towels. This will save you lots of money over your life. I still use paper towels from time to time, but a super sized pack will last me for months. I usually buy one or two of those 8 roll packs on sale at CVS yearly. I have the same pack of napkins I got on sale over two years ago. I just rarely use them. I would much rather use my cloth napkins and towels.

I buy the dish towels on clearance and stock up. I make my own napkins by cutting out the size I need and serge the edges so it doesn't ravel in the wash. These napkins will last for years. If it's a big spill then I find the dish towel will clean up the spill quicker, and I don't have to waste several paper towels. When they get to a point that I can't use them in the kitchen, then they become cleaning towels. I really try to use them up as much as I can before discarding. We all know it's better for the environment, but it's also much better for my pocket book.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shabby Apple is Oh La La

While I may have a little French heritage, I definitely felt Parisian wearing this little number. Shabby Apple is a fashionable online retail store that carries women, girl's, preteen, shoes, bags, jewelry and accessories. I have really enjoyed browsing this store, and the site is so easy to navigate. Each dress had a cute little story behind it which was entertaining to read. I also liked that you could shop by the body shape tool, and it asked you questions to determine which shape you resemble most. Then it gave you styles that would flatter your shape best. That is a great feature to help when shopping online.

I received the Oh La La dress from the Paris collection. I have to say that, not only is it a very well made dress, but very comfortable to wear. I love the red and white stripe knit top, and the skirt is a nice A-Line black skirt in a linen blend. The skirt part has two side pockets. It's a great pairing and has that great casual feel and look. I could easily make it look dressier depending on my heels. I felt pulled together and as if I was on an episode of What Not to Wear. As you can see in my pictures below, I was having a lot of fun modeling.

Shabby Apple has so many great designs that I would love to own more of these dresses. I think what I really like the most about the designs is the nostalgic feeling many of them have. I want to do an upsweep do and put on some bright red lipstick like the 1940's. I have an upcoming wedding in October, and I will be shopping for a great black dress. I found these Georgi heels that would look fabulous with the dress I wore in this post. You can receive 10% off by joining their email mailing list which is a great offer! I hope you have as much browsing their site as I am.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

My First Weight Loss Step- No More Soft Drinks

I'm going to post my baby steps in how I have managed to lose over 75 pounds in the last 10 months. I'm doing it slowly, but for me this is a lifestyle change and not a diet. The first step I took was to quit drinking all soft drinks. I still needed my caffeine fix so I switched to regular iced tea. I don't believe in artificial sweeteners so I used regular sugar but much less of it. I would make a gallon of tea and add a 1/2 cup of sugar. That wasn't very sweet at all. I also increased my water intake. I didn't feel like I was depriving myself. The best part was I started saving money by not spending $40-50 a month on soft drinks. Making a couple of gallons a tea weekly is so much cheaper. I was spending about $5 a month on tea and sugar. I did wean myself off the sugar by decreasing how much sugar I added. Once I got used to the 1/2 cup then I cut it down to a 1/4 cup. After a couple of months I was using no sugar at all. I just squeeze a little lemon juice in it which helps. If I eat out, then I either order iced water or unsweet tea with lemon. I do occasionally drink a soft drink, but maybe like once a month to every 2-3 months. The desire to drink them often is gone. I prefer to drink herbal tea now with no caffeine on a daily basis. The best part was I lost 6 pounds in 10 days by not drinking soft drinks. That gave me great motivation to continue losing weight.

The main reason I quit drinking soft drinks was for health reasons. I was suffering from heartburn on a daily basis. I kept thinking it was the red sauces, but once I quit drinking cokes, then my heartburn went away. It was amazing! Many people will drink diet drinks since it has no calories, but it still has all those awful ingredients and colors. Most people know that coke will eat away acid on a car battery. Well imagine what those same drinks are doing to your insides? Many people drink 2-3 a day! I find it quite scary, and that just reinforced my desire to quit drinking them. It's a major step that many people feel that they can't do it. I will say not only will your body thank you, but so will your pocket book.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Get a Free Picture Canvas


Here is a great offer that I am getting and wanted to share. Canvas People is offering a free $55 Gift Certificate to redeem one free 8x10 canvas of your favorite digital picture. You do have to pay $14.95 shipping and handling but this is a great savings! You can order a frame for it as well, but I'm going to frame it myself since I already have a perfect one at home. This site is really cool. You can add special effects to the canvas. I think this is a great gift idea for anyone. Why not use a vacation picture which would make a great memory for hanging on the wall. This deal is also a great gift idea for grandparents. I'm buying one for my husband as a surprise gift so I can't get into more details just to be safe. He really doesn't read my blog but you never know. If you would like to browse or take advantage of this great deal then just click either on the picture above or click here to go to Canvas People. Enjoy this great deal.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tips for Saving Money on Engagement Rings

Planning The Ring Budget:
Establishing a long-term relationship is an achievement in itself, however, now you're thinking you want to make it permanent. Planning a life together starts with planning the budget for the ring. What are the guidelines for purchasing engagement rings? Design your own ring builders online can help you to not only determine what you can get for your money, but also helps you figure out how to make the ring special.

Budgetary Guidelines:
The conventional wisdom is that a suitor should spend at least three month's salary on an engagement ring. Now, that the recession has hit, many people may want to keep those earnings aside in the event of a layoff, but there are still ways to get what you want for less. Look at how much you want to spend on a ring, in a way that fits into your budget, and then go online to check out the possibilities.

Online Engagement Ring Builders:
One of the best kept secrets about online engagement ring builders is that you can use them to help you set a budget for your ring purchase. If you don't want to follow the conventional tradition of spending three month's income on a ring, you can simply hop online, and start to look through the many options you have to pick a ring that suits any budget. Maybe you have an idea that your beloved wants a one-carat solitaire ring. You can just pick the weight of the stone and a solitaire style setting. By playing with other stone factors like clarity and color you will find out what your low and high end budget are going to be as displayed in the ring builder. Then you can see how long it will take to save up for the big event.

Take Into Account Her Tastes:
Another thing that the ring builder allows you to do is to try out different styles that might appeal to your beloved. Maybe she wants a three-stone ring. Maybe she wants a colored diamond. You will be able to see how these choices affect the price range, and then negotiate between what she wants and what you can afford. In many ways, if you are creative enough with different metal settings, color, clarity, cut, and more, you should eventually settle on a ring that fits your budget and her tastes at the same time.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

$25 GC Celebrating TMR's Second Birthday!

I have been so behind on posting that I totally missed my 2 year anniversary. On 5/14/10 Thrifty Momma Ramblings celebrated it's second year! This is huge news! It's such huge news that I decided to give a $25 gift card to one lucky reader! I have a list of the following stores that the winner can choose to spend their $25 gift card. This drawing will end on June 30th at midnight CST. The winner will be announced on the blog the following day.

To enter this drawing all you have to do is leave a comment about my blog. It could be about why do you like, a favorite post, or whatever that is relevant to my blog. No anonymous posters please. You don't have to have a blog but leave your name at least. I'm planning to post some really great content for this blog like more reviews and giveaway's. I will also discuss my weight loss journey as I continue down this path. I've met some really great people and am enjoying writing this blog. I can't wait to see what this year will bring. Thanks so much to all my readers. I wouldn't have much of a blog without you guys.

2 Extra Entries- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.

A list of the stores you can select your gift card from is listed below. Good luck!

1) Wal-Mart
2) Target
3) Amazon (online)
4) CVS
5) Walgreen's
6) Best Buy
7) Rite-Aid
8) Blockbuster
9) Academy
10) Michael's or Hobby Lobby

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

TMR Frugal Living Tip #74

Today's thrifty living tip is instead of using an expensive makeup primer, you can use Monistat Chafing Powder-Gel. You read this correctly Monistat. Well I will say it has nothing to do with yeast, and it's a powder made for when you chafe. I was skeptical at first as I have used MAC primer which is wonderful. I never tried Smashbox, but I know it's another very popular makeup primer. I found it at my local Wal-Mart for $6.37 plus tax, and I read that it will last for at least a year. You don't use much as in the size of a dime. Trying is believing and it really does work! I live in very humid south Louisiana and if the heat doesn't melt off your makeup then the humidity will. My makeup still looked wonderful at the end of the day especially my eye makeup. I couldn't believe how well this stuff works and for a fraction of the more expensive primers. I also have oily skin but my face doesn't look like an oil slick at the end of the day. My foundation went on flawlessly and it just feels nice. The reason it works so well is that it contains dimethicone which is the same ingredient that the other expensive makeup primers use. Some people say it can be hard to find and not found in Canada.

Tips for Saving Up for Your First Home

Today it is harder than ever to buy a house. Prices for homes have skyrocketed during the last decade making it even more difficult for young first time buyers to succeed at ultimately purchasing a place they can call home. Saving for a house is not an overnight process, and it takes a great deal of time and strategic money management. You can begin this process by speaking to a lending institution. They can help you learn all you need to know about what you can afford, interest rates, and the type of loans that are out there for you. They will be knowledgeable about important information.

One of the main components of saving up for anything, especially a house, is to cut back on luxuries. For example, if you are someone who tends to eat out for every meal then you might want to consider cooking at home for a change. If you are an avid gym-goer then taking up running, instead of paying for your membership, would be a great money saving move. Also consider cutting back on cable, learning to optimize your gas, and even raising your car insurance deductibles. Although these are some helpful money saving tips, you do not have to give up every luxury you enjoy. Just remember that the more you cut back on, the more you save, and the more you save, the closer you are to buying a home!

Now for some of you I must ask that you keep a very open mind to the next money saving suggestion. Here it is... Move back in with your parents. Even if you have to pay your parents some sort of rent to live back at home, you will be saving money. Think about the free utility, free laundry, and of course home cooking! If this advice is taken it will only put you into your very own home faster.

For such a thing like buying a house, you are allowed to take money from your 401(k). Although lenders don't view this as a debt, the money still needs to be paid with interest over a time period of years. Remember that it is best to stay with your current employer until you have fully repaid all the money because if you leave your employer you will have only 90 days to repay the money. View all your options before you take funds from your 401(k). Make sure that there is a greater benefit from taking these funds than alternatives such as a paying for mortgage insurance or a second mortgage.

Keep in mind that the road to buying a house can be a long one. Consider speaking with a lending institution and the valuable tips for cutting back on spending. Also consider the idea of possibly moving in with your parents , even though it doesn't sounds like the most desirable option. Once you have stabilized good money management you can consider options such as taking funds from your 401(k). If you take the advice given then the time it takes you to purchase a home can be exponentially decreased.

Monday, June 14, 2010

TMR Gets a Long Overdue Facelift

So I haven't posted in over two months. I know it's terrible, but life has really gotten in the way since last year. I finally gave my blog a long overdue face lift. I hope everyone likes it. I'm not sure if I'm happy with all the text colors but it will do for now. I'm pleased with the template design, and I find it a little whimsical. It fits with my blog perfectly I think. So let me know what you think.

I had posted an update in February about how things were going for my family. If you had read then you know that I had a lot going on between my son and myself. I am happy to post that things are so much better for both of us. He finished the 2nd grade making straight A's most of the year with only 2 B's on his report cards. He finished the year very strong and should have a much easier time in 3rd grade. I'm very hopeful and just extremely grateful we found some wonderful people to help us.

I had decided to start losing weight at the end of last August. I had tried several times in the past, but I would never stick with it. I would quit all my bad habits at once which would overwhelm me. Then I would completely quit and undo any bad habits I had stopped. I decided to try a different approach by doing it with baby steps. My first step was to quit drinking soft drinks. I thought I had acid reflux, and I was drinking alka-seltzer 3-5x a week. Some days twice a day! It was craziness and I had to stop. I switched to sweet iced tea so no caffeine withdrawls or headaches. I would make a gallon of tea and put 1/2 cup of sugar so it wasn't very sweet at all. When I got used to that, then a couple of weeks later I cut it down to a 1/4c. Then I finally got used to drinking it without any sugar. I drank more water and I lost 6 pounds in 10 days! That was amazing and 2 weeks later I noticed that I wasn't having heartburn anymore. It finally dawned on me that the soft drinks were causing my heartburn. Once I quit drinking them it magically went away! That saved me lots of money as soft drinks are expensive. Then I was able to take another step by watching my calorie intake. I made switches from honey wheat bread to dark German bread. I also quit eating white rice by switching to brown. All of these small changes made big impacts on my appetite. I started walking with my Leslie Walk-Away-The-Pounds DVD's at the end of December. I began slowly and kept challenging myself with slightly harder workouts. I was out of breath but I never quit. I also didn't berate myself if I had to modify or quit. I just told myself tomorrow you will do better and I did.

I will say that my biggest motivator came in October. I got my prescription for Zoloft and my doctor ran a blood test on me. The results came back that my sugar level was elevated (126) and my cholesterol was 190. The worst part was she wanted me to take Glucophage since I was pre-diabetic! I was shocked and refused it. I had already lost 17 pounds at that point, and was committed to losing this weight on my own. I knew I could do it and I would prove to her that I didn't need a diabetic medicine when I wasn't truly diabetic. I had talked to a good friend of mine who is a diabetic and former nurse. She was also shocked and told me no way. She advised me to get a glucose meter and just check my blood after eating to see what would trigger it. I learned a lot by talking with her and really changed my eating habits more than I had. My blood sugar level went to normal quickly and has stayed that way since. I haven't had a formal blood test but am planning one soon.

We finally got to Disney World at the end of April. I was down 65 pounds and it felt wonderful. I got to a size 16 in bottoms and XL in tops. I had prepared myself for all the walking before we went. Walking around WDW was a piece of cake. We also hit the beach in Panama City. It was a very long overdue vacation and our first family trip ever. I wasn't even worried too much about the long drive. It was fine and we saved a lot of money by driving instead of flying. We broke up the drive by spending the night in Tallahassee. My husband and son have never been outside of MS or TX so it was a great experience for them. We had a wonderful time and didn't want to leave. We can't wait for our next family trip which we hope will be next year. I'm going to wrap up this super long post soon. I am down 75 pounds as of today. I have lost 10 dress sizes and am currently wearing a LG in tops/14-16 in bottoms. I still have another 55 pounds to go but I know I will get there.

I have also started working part-time again as a merchandiser/mystery shopper/demonstrator. It's not really steady right now, but it's harder with the summer. My son is home with me so I can't really dive into it like I want. I did just pick up a great job that has wonderful hours and nice pay. Once he's back in school, then I'm sure work will pick up for me. I'm going to try really hard not to neglect this blog anymore and adding posts regularly. Thanks for letting me share. I'm not planning on leaving for long periods of time anymore. I will make this blog more of a priority again. I really enjoy having it to share my good deals, thrifty tips, and even about my family.