Thrifty Thursday - Thrift AND Retail!

I think the boyf has banned me from thrift store shopping (or just shopping in general) for a while *sad face*.  I still managed to sneak a few things under his nose this week though!

The Beck's beer stein wasn't too difficult to get by him and he received it happily for his collection ;) He's a big beer guy. It was not a bribe....I swear! This is not the Beck's logo of today, so I'm thinking it may be vintage.

The opal white loaf pan will be added to my vintage pyrex collection (which I hope to share in it's awesomely vintage-y goodness soon). It had been a while since I found any pyrex and I was definitely hoping for a loaf pan so, dreams do come true, people.

Lastly, I found the oval mirror at the local SA, a store which I find to be rather more expensive than it should be. I wouldn't normally pay that much for most things at a thrift store (unless it's the right piece of pyrex), but I couldn't get away from the thought that it would look so great in my new apartment! I'm nesting, leave me alone =)

I should tell you, my bargain hunting is not limited to thrift stores. I do tend to expand my thrifty motivation to the retail store arena as well. I don't like to buy anything that's not discounted in some way and if I's probably a special occasion. Here's a couple things I got a great deal for at some retail stores.

I needed some nice lamp shades to go with a few lamps that I have, but I was getting very frustrated finding anything good looking that fit my budget and my lamps. I was looking to spend less than $10 on each shade but it seemed like they didn't exist (if you've ever shopped for lamp shades you know what I'm talking about)! I even considered making my own (which would've been the wrong decision, trust me). When I was about ready to give up, I decided to stop in at Tuesday Morning (have you been?), a discount home store I had never been to but had heard about from a couple people. And lo and behold, I found nice shades for cheap that were the right size to boot! Two were on sale for $7 each and one was $9.99! Ahh! *happy sigh*

I found the trowel for a dollar at Michael's, and with a 20% off coupon, I got it for $0.80. I had been looking for a trowel for a while for gardening but again, I didn't feel like paying 5 bucks. Has my bargain hunting gotten out of hand?


DIY Lamp Shade Re-cover

I guess I had a busy weekend! I completed a couple of DIY projects (see sunburst mirror DIY below) in addition to a bit of packing in preparation for the big move! One of the DIY projects was this lamp shade recover:

I bought some cotton fabric from Joann's (40%  off coupon in-hand! I know... I'm so frugal), and with a bit of tracing, cutting, spray adhesive, pulling and smoothing, some vintage bias tape I had lying around (from the thrift store), and hot glue I revamped an old and gross lamp shade for pretty cheap! It needs a good steaming to smooth out the wrinkles still (even though I did iron it before hand) and I plan to paint the wooden base white.

What do you think? My first lamp shade recover ever!


DIY Sunburst Mirror

Remember the embroidery hoops I bought a couple weeks ago from the thrift store?

Well, I made this:

using an embroidery hoop, a small round mirror, a few dowels, some gold paint, a hot glue gun, and a 40% off coupon for Michael's Craft Store. All for around $6-7.

Can't wait to photograph it in it's new home soooon! What do you think?


Thrifty Thursday!

Lately, I've been going through the thrift stores, keeping my eye out for items to go in my new apartment. Yesterday, I found these:

I found this cool looking lamp. I love the base, but the shade...not so much. I think I'll either buy a new one or recover this one. I might even stain the bottom wood stand a darker color. What do you think?

I also found these pieces of embroidered artwork. I just kind of giggled when I saw them because I thought they were so cute. Maybe with some reframing, they will be showcased better. I'm sure I'll find a great home for them in the apartment.

This lamp, I picked up kind of absentmindedly, I was on the phone with my dad at the time, I noticed the interesting green glass part and the price, which was $2 and I was sold. When I brought it home, I got a sideways look by the boyf, so now I'm not too sure if it's going to work out. I thought maybe I would spray paint the ugly brass white and see if that works. Do you have any suggestions?

Here's the total!


Lunch: Grilled vegetable sandwich

While driving home from a mini vacation at the beach a few months ago, my boyfriend and I stopped at a Five Guys because I was feeling very thirsty. I had been to a Five Guys before many years ago with some friends, but since I didn't eat any of the products offered on the menu, i.e. beef burgers, I kind of just wandered around the restaurant eating the peanuts out of the barrels as people glanced at me sideways. I didn't expect anything more out of this stop so, I sent the boyf in for a cup of water. 10 minutes later he emerged with not only water, but a grilled vegetable sandwich! Five Guys serves grilled vegetable sandwiches? News to me! I sat and sipped my cup of water as he ate and proclaimed his gustatory satisfaction at every bite. He really liked that sandwich. That's probably why I didn't even get a crumb of it.  But, no matter because today, I made my own!

This is one of the most flavorful sandwiches I've ever had, plus super healthy! The boyf really liked it too so it definitely measured up to the Five Guys version.

Here's the recipe:

Grilled vegetable sandwich
Servings: 2 (makes two sandwiches)

1/2 of a zucchini
1/2 of a long sweet red pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (any kind)
2 thick slices of a red onion
1/2 to 1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp Sriracha (optional)
2 slices of preferred cheese (I used pepper jack)
4 slices of bread
salt and pepper to taste
ketchup and mustard

1. Slice up your zucchini and red pepper, preferably into 1/2 cm thick slices. I bought the mushrooms pre-sliced and I took two slices out of a big red onion (about 1 cm in thickness). I sliced up my vegetables in rounds so that they'd be easy to place on a sandwich. By the way, use whichever vegetables you like best! These are our favorites.

2. Place all vegetables in a bowl or other dish, then add olive oil, sriracha, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up. If you've never had sriracha sauce, it's absolutely delicious but spicy. You can find it most supermarkets in the international or condiments aisle. I didn't find the spice overpowering in this dish, but then again I love my spicy food. If you're averse to spicy food, feel free to leave it out!

 3. Grill your vegetables until they are to your liking. I grilled mine on a grill pan, while stirring from time to time. I also covered it with a baking sheet for a while to help them steam a bit. Meanwhile, toast your bread slices.

I like my vegetables soft but with a teency bit of crispiness left. Look at those pretty grill marks.

4.  Now it's time to assemble the sandwiches. On a slice of toasted bread, I first layered on the vegetables, then added a slice of pepper jack cheese, a couple slices of pickles, and deli style mustard. You can of course add any other condiments you would like. The boyf likes ketchup on his. And, you're done!

I hope you enjoy! If you try it, let me know what you think!


Another hurdle crossed & balcony decor

We signed the lease to a new apartment today. YIPPEEE!!! Things are coming together and we are FINALLY settling down after years and years of moving around. We are absolutely in love with the new apartment, too, which makes everything all the more exciting. I can't wait to start decorating. The part of the apartment I'm most excited about is our balcony. Having an out door space is so invaluable, especially in the summertime when all I want to do is dine and lounge outside in the cool summer evenings. Though it's a relatively small balcony, I definitely want to make it a retreat, with comfortable outdoor furniture and lots of pretty plants to look at. I'm thinking cozy outdoor enclave a la these pics from Lonny Magazine but on a much smaller scale:

 Images from Lonny Mag

It may be a bit ambitious given my time and budget, but hopefully it'll work out! Balconies can be pretty too! Move-in date is 7/1, so I'll keep you all updated on our progress. What do you think??


Thrifty Thursday - 1st edition!

I started thrifting when I graduated from college. With student loans to pay, a measly lab technician salary, and the expensive cost of living in NYC, I had to start counting my pennies. Now that I'm a student again, life is no different! So, I continue to thrift and I've even been thrifting more, now that I don't have much income.

Today I hit up a local thrift store on the way back from my favorite farmer's market (where I got some delicious local dairy, eggs, and produce!). Here's what I found!

My mom really likes the vintage corning ware cornflower blue pattern of bake ware. She has a couple of pieces but when I saw this tray today I had to get it for her. Only $1.50!

Every time I go to the thrift store, I make a stop at the stuffed toys bin. Dog toys can be expensive so I buy a lot of my little Ginger's toys the thrifty way. Of course you have to make sure that there are no beaded eyes and other dangerous parts to the toy. Today, I found this blue little guy for 50 cents. She loves him. Look at the absolutely appropriate face he's making.

I also found these embroidery hoops

(ranging from 28 - 58 cents each) in hopes that I might pick up embroidery OR create some wall art (for my new apartment, eek!). I found some inspiration on the web.

Check it out:
Sunburst mirror from Danielle Oakley Interiors 
Floral bloom embroidery hoops from Lushlee
Left-over fabric scraps in hoops from Apartment Therapy
Embroidery hoops doily earring display from Apartment Therapy

This beer mug with a Sam Adams logo goes in our beer glass/mug collection (which I'll share later) and the frame is probably getting a make-over in either white or black. Cheap, good frames are hard to come by but this one was only 50 cents!

Last but certainly not least,  I found this piece of vintage jewelery. I have no idea how old it is, but I do believe the chain is gold plated. The pearls of course are fake. I can't wait to wear it!

Here's the grand total:


Indian crispy pan fried okra (Bhindi Masala) for dinner

I grew up on my mother's Indian cooking. Until today she remains the best cook I know and has thoroughly spoiled me and the rest of my family with her delicious food. It's so bad (but so good obviously...) that if I don't get the standard of food that I'm used to for a long period of time, I will throw an internal temper tantrum, and just because it's internal doesn't mean it's not ugly!

For dinner tonight, I made one of her very simple recipes for okra. Seeing as how I'm still on my healthy food diet, this dish was perfect as a side dish.

Indian Crispy Pan Fried Okra (Bhindi Masala)
Servings: 2+

1 package of frozen, sliced okra (Pictsweet is my mom's favorite brand)
1 small onion thinly sliced (I used red onions)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
2-3 tbsp canola oil

1. Heat the canola oil in a saucepan or large frying pan. Add the onion and saute for a few minutes.
2. Add the dry spices to the onions. Stir-fry for a minute, then add the okra to the pan and mix together with the onions.

3. Leave the okra to cook, uncovered on medium heat until done. Stir everyonce in a while. The Okra and onions should be soft and browned and slightly crispy around the outside when finished. It may take 10+ minutes. Adjust the seasonings as necessary after tasting.

This recipe is delish and super simple as well - Enjoy!


Quilt: 13 years in the making

I made this quilt top with my mom when I was about 12 years old. Yup, about 13 years ago! Then middle school came, and high school, then college and real life and my poor quilt top sat unfinished in my closet for years and years. Now, during my "reawakening" I have decided to finally finish the darn thing! Yesterday, I basted my layers together and started hand quilting.

I'm hand quilting (in-the-ditch) because I don't have a sewing machine equipped to do any quilting (I'll share pictures of my sewing machine made for babies later) and I'm not using a hoop or a floor frame or anything either. It's a quilt that's going to be hand made and really look it =). I basted in a radiating pattern but after I finished I thought I should have basted along the seams...I'm not sure.

Any pro quilters feel free to give me advice, goodness knows I need it. This is the first quilt I've ever made and I'm a complete novice. Help?!


Healthy Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich Recipe

I recently noticed that I had put on a few in the poundage department. Although I have nothing against my new full bodied, umm...body, I felt it was mostly a result of my sitting and studying for about ten months straight with no time for thoughtful and healthful cooking. (I recently finished my master's degree in May)

So, while I have a short break this summer, I decided I would go to the gym every day and start cooking healthily. So far, I've managed to go to the gym everyday since this past Wednesday (I know...that's only 3 days in a row but man did it take some will power) plus I've been watching my calories as well as my cravings for chips. I'm a complete sucker for potato chips. They own me.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you what I had for lunch today. And though it's a bit more calorie dense than I have been eating on my diet (first diet in my life, if you can believe that) it's so totally yummy and healthy that I had to have it - an avocado egg salad sandwich!

Doesn't that look delectable? Yup, it is! Some of you may be thinking, "But wait, Aki. Aren't avocados totally fatty and calorie dense and causing fat to build up exactly where you don't want it to as we speak?" To this I would respond with fear and accusations but then I would quickly remember that even though there are a lot of calories in avocados, 91% of them from fat, these are the good kinds of fats. The ones that your body actually NEEDS - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These types of fats help lower bad cholesterol and keep your heart healthy. Furthermore, avocados have many nutrients in them so you're not eating "empty calories", which is the main cause of weight gain and obesity. So don't throw those avocados aside just because they're caloric! They're totally healthy for you and delicious on top of it. OK, enough of the blabbing, here's the recipe!

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich
Servings: 2+

2 medium sized avocados
4 hard boiled eggs
1/2 tsp of Rice Wine Vinegar
2 tsp of low fat mayonnaise (I used the kind made with olive oil which has half the fat)
1 tsp of dijon mustard
splash of lime juice (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne pepper (optional)
4 slices of bread (I used whole wheat)

1. Hard boil the 4 eggs.
2. In a medium sized bowl mix together the avocados, rice wine vinegar, mayonnaise, mustard, lime juice (optional), salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (optional).

3.  Remove the yolks from two of your hard boiled eggs and put them aside (you won't be using these). Chop up your eggs, add them to your avocado mixture, and mix it all together.

4. Next I grilled up some bread (or you can toast it in the toaster) and spread the avocado egg salad in between two slices.

Finished! An easy and healthy summer lunch recipe which is quite filling - Enjoy!


Hello and Welcome!

The longest I've ever lived in one place in my quarter century of existence (at the time of creation of this blog) lasted 8 years, from age 4 through 12.  By the time I graduated from my "blissfully-unaware-of-my-dorkiness" years in high school, I had lived in four different cities across the world.  From the time I entered college, I found myself moving to a different apartment or city every year! I even lived in Spain for about 5 months during that time. Though my nomadic existence has been interesting and exciting, I am now very ready to settle down and find a permanent home. Luckily, I finally can!

As I start my brand new career path as a medical student this fall and I find a new apartment to live in (apartment hunting in progress now!), I hope that this blog will document this nomad's journey to finally settling down and making a home. Blogging about myself and my life is a very new experience for me. Generally, I'm a very private person so bare with me while I don't share too much of my own biographical information at first.  In any case, I hope to do much decorating, thrifting, crafting, cooking and living and share it all with you!