Monthly Archives: July 2013

Frugal Friday – Clothing Edition

Frugal Friday

Happy Friday everyone!

Are you cooling down with a refreshing Captain America Lemonade? I know I am!

Let’s talk clothing for a minute. You can’t wear the same thing every day which is unfortunate because clothing is expensive. This isn’t to say it’s made well, either. More and more First World clothing companies are turning to Third World manufacturing and sweatshops and are using cheap fabric and shoddy workmanship and selling it to us for ridiculously inflated prices. Need some visualization help?

Yep, it’s a parody of Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” It’s amusing. It’s catchy. It’s poignant. And remember: each consumer dollar is a vote for what we as a society deem acceptable. Buy local. Buy fair trade. Take care of what you have.

Frugal Friday – Clothing Edition

1. Recycle

Recycle clothes between households, not family members. If your kids are near the same size as a friend’s kids, swap clothes with them. The clothes will be NEW to the kids, as opposed to being hand-me-downs from an older sibling. And let’s face it, you can’t beat the price!

2. Thrift Shops

Macklemore has it right, y’all! Go get you some used clothes for a buck! It also helps the local community, since many thrift shops donate to charitable organizations. Some articles have a great pattern or color but don’t fit quite right? Or at all? No problem…

3. Find a good alterations person

For anywhere from $1-$5, a professional can take an ill-fitting garment and make it flattering! And since well-fitting clothes can make you look slimmer, richer, and better put-together, this may save you more money than you realize! Don’t like the garment as-is? There are options…

4. Refashioning

Take some scissors to that shirt! Change that skirt into a billowy blouse! It’s amazing what a little creativity can yield! Need a little inspirations? There are tons of blogs, including yours truly, that show you how it’s done!

5. Use shampoo on collar and cuff rings

Sweat. Skin. Make-up. Lotion. Medication. It can all leave a mess on your clothes and sometimes laundry detergents just won’t do. That’s because it’s body oil and what cleans body oil better than anything else? Shampoo. Because that’s what it’s designed to do! Don’t throw out that shirt! Just wash it with the right stuff.

6. Wash with cold water

Dealing with an unusual stain? Go ahead with the hot water. Do what you gotta do. But for general laundry, cold is fine! It’s causes less stress on the cloth and it won’t run your electric bill up. Brights stay bright. Darks stay dark. And it will not shrink as much. Brilliant!

7. Hand wash delicates

This is another opportunity for shampoo and cold water. Your lacies and silkies will take less of a beating in the sink and letting them air dry will keep them soft and “delicate.” You’ll replace them less often, run the washer and dryer less often, and for $7.50+ per pair that will add up sooner than you think.

8. Sew buttons once and for all

Sometimes buttons just don’t want to stay on. It happens. The thread isn’t meant to take that kind of abuse. So how do we save those unique-to-this-blouse buttons? Sew them on with… dental floss! They will never fall off again! I recommend the non-flavored kind.

9. Stock up off season

Buy what you need for the next cold-spell just as stores are selling their winter stock at rock-bottom prices in March and April. Buy swimming suits and shorts in October. Sure, next seasons styles may be a bit different, but who cares? When you’re saving 50-90% off retail, you don’t care as much. And if you can buy classic styles instead of what’s trendy, so much the better since it will never go out of style.

10. Paying retail is unacceptable, ever!

When purchasing in-store:
  • Look for coupons online first
  • Look for sales at competitors’ stores – price match?
  • Download that store’s app – it sometimes has coupons
  • Check out their list of sales, usually located at the front of the store
  • Look in the news paper for coupons
  • Start in the back of the store, where the sale items are
  • Don’t go into the regular priced area unless it’s for something specific
  • Look for flaws in the garment and ask for a discount.
  • If it’s the last one left, ask for a discount.
  • Check if a friend works there and can get your the employee price at check-out
  • Ask employees about upcoming sales
  • Be nice to the employees, they can hook you up!
When purchasing Online:
  • Shop around for the item you want
  • Check and
  • Check for businesses going out of business online – Eloquii just closed and I got 5 belts, retailing for $35 each, for $5 a piece!
  • – sure you buy in lots, but each item comes out so cheap and you can sell the rest! This actually makes YOU money!
  • will hook you up with coupons and promo codes
  • Just google “Promo codes” and the name of the store at which you’re shopping
  • Check for free shipping

Long story short, you don’t have to pay retail {almost} ever!

Thanks so much for saving with us today! Have a great weekend!

Captain America’s Lemonade

Happy Thirsty Thursday Everyone!

I hope you are getting ready for a relaxing weekend and I hope this drink helps contribute to your relaxation!

But maybe you’re like my hubby and me and between you both you hold down 6 different jobs and one or both of you have to work through the weekend again. I’m not complaining. The Good Lord has seen fit to make sure we can pay all of our bills which is a blessing many people don’t have. And if your situation is anywhere close to mine, I hope this drink helps to take the edge off in a very tasty way!

Captain America’s Lemonade

1 shot of Rum $0.42
1 shot of Blue Curaçao $0.34
3 oz of Squirt soda $0.07
Juice of 1 whole lemon $0.10
Pour over ice
Top with grenadine (approx 1/2 shot) $0.05
Garnish with lemon slice


Restaurant price $6+
Total SAVINGS: $5.02+




What am I Wearing Wednesday – Black tube dress

What am I Wearing Wednesday

What am I Wearing Wednesday

Happy Wednesday!

Thanks everyone for bearing with me as I make a few changes to the blog, mostly the addition of new content. As always, though, it will always be relevant to anyone who wants to live the champagne life on a beer budget. Or Diet Coke, whichever you prefer!

I’ve mentioned previously that I am a poor newlywed college student and that comes with many demands, oddly enough, on my wardrobe! I’m expected to:

  • dress “like a young professional” while I’m teaching my classes as a graduate student
  • dress for my on-campus job
  • dress casually while in class
  • dress for performances {choir dress is ugly and uniform, other choir dress is our choice but black and formal}
  • dress for other performances {something like “Sunday Best”} during the day time
  • dress for recitals {ball gowns}
  • dress for auditions and job interviews
  • dress up to meet the inlaws
  • dress up to go to church
  • dress appropriately for professional rehearsals
  • dress for dates with the Hubby!
  • casual outfits
  • dress for the gym or the pool
  • dress for girls nights

Sure, sure. Some of these are unique to my major {I don’t think pre-meds or business majors need a closet full of ball-gowns} but many of these are real needs for college students and other young wives! And how am I supposed to accommodate all these demands on a newlywed’s budget? Especially since many college towns don’t have H&M or other places to buy cheap clothes, and the options drop to almost nil when you include the Tall & Curvy Factor! Dress pants are high-waters on me! Appropriate length skirts are NOT appropriate on this body! Nice blouses aren’t supposed to show the bottom of my belly button, right? And yes, I do buy my pants online, on-sale for $30 a piece. I own two pairs of black pants. Boring. And even when I order online there is no guarantee that they’ll be tall enough, wide enough in the hips, and are rarely quality products. Not worth it!

So what’s a girl to do?

Make her own clothes!

Admittedly, this outfit is a bit simplistic but it fulfills several roles. I wore it to work on Monday. I’ve paired it with a black cardigan and worn it as my “Black Dress” to performances. I’ve worn it to teach in. And the creation is so easy it’s almost criminal! In fact, you’ve seen something similar from me once before.


Sorry that the image is so bad. My husband took with my iPhone before I downloaded the Camera+ app that makes all iPhone pictures better.

All you have to do to make one for yourself is:

  1. Get a length of fabric that wraps 1 1/2 times around your body. $5 with coupon
  2. Fold it in half “hamburger-style.”
  3. Sew together the two cut edges.
  4. Cut a length of elastic to fit around your chest, just under your underarms. $0.75
  5. Sew that length into a loop or a circle.
  6. Sew it onto the “ugly” side of the fabric, 1 inch below the top of the dress, using the zig zag stitch.
  7. Flip it right-side-out.
  8. Wear it!

Normally I’ll have step-by-step pictures, but I made this dress 6 months ago.

For this outfit I’ve paired it with a red cardigan and a belt. Had I thought about it, I’d also be wearing a necklace, but sometimes when you’re running late to work you have to forgo the final touches.

Dress: $5.75 Homemade
Cardigan: $30 from Lane Bryant {one of my last retail-price purchases}
Belt: $5 from Eloquii’s going out of business sale

Outfit total: $40.75

Thanks for joining me today!

What article of clothing have you sewn for yourself lately and how have you used it?

Museum Monday – Stained Glass Windows

Happy Monday everyone! I was NOT ready for this weekend to end. I picked up an extra shift on Saturday to help make up hours for the mandatory {but appreciated} Independence Day holiday and then hubby had to work on Sunday for the whole afternoon and evening so it didn’t feel much like a weekend at all! But it is Monday and that means…

Museum Monday

If you’ll remember back to this post, I work at a beautiful museum/library on the campus of Baylor University. We have some of the most beautiful artwork, architecture, sculptures, and literature that most of the world will never get to see. I think that is a crying shame and I would like to share with you some of what I get to see every day. Today’s focus will be on stained glass windows.

01 - Saul  02 - Rabbi

Armstrong Browning Library and Museum boasts the world’s largest collection of secular {non religious} stained glass windows. There seem to be many sacred and Christian themes throughout the windows but the subjects of the windows are of Robert Browning’s poetry, often written on the themes of the Bible, and are therefore considered secular in nature.

On a personal note, I really wish I had a better camera with which to take pictures. My iPhone is NOT doing these justice!

03 - TR1  07 - RH1  08 - RH2

These three are examples of the stained glass windows portraying various stories from Robert Browning’s poetry.

09 - RH3

The technique used to make the shading here illustrated by the woman’s face is a technique called “acid etching.” It creates a permanent painted effect.

04 - Christmas Eve  05 - Easter Day

These two stained glassed windows, named Christmas Eve and Easter Day, are two of the most beautiful but least appreciated pieces of art in the museum. They are in small alcoves between the Martin Entrance Foyer and the Hamkamer Treasure Room and Jones Research Hall, respectively.

05.1 - Easter Day Words

Here is a close-up of the words on the stained glass window entitled Easter Day. The words are Robert Browning’s own and speak to those who are patient enough to read them in a profound way.

06 - Sunrise

Another beautiful stained glass window, this time in the Foyer of Meditation, whose beauty my iPhone cannot do justice. Dr. Armstrong believed that sunrise and sunset were the most contemplative times of the day and always wanted this room to have that same feeling. He designed these windows go from a dark  yellow at the bottom, through a variety of pale yellows, and end with frosty white glass at the top. These particular windows are incredibly difficult to photograph, even for the most experienced photographer.

11 - PPleft  10 - PPcenter  12 - PPright

These three stained glass windows were the first “Browning Windows” on Baylor’s campus and were originally displayed in the Browning Room in Carroll Library. From left to right, they depict “The Guardian-Angel,” “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” and “How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix” and are from Haskins Studios, Rochester, New York, 1924. The windows were moved from Carroll Library to Armstrong-Browning Library in 1951.

15 - L1 14 - L1 13 - L1

These final three are part of a collection of six on our bottom floor. They are the newest in our collection, created by the Willet Stained Glass Studios, Philadelphia, celebrating Italy and Italian locations that were special to Robert, Elizabeth, and Pen Browning.

Creation within a newlywed’s apartment – Step 1 AGAIN

Sunday! A time for rest and reflection. Right?

I hope I’m not the only one like this but rest and reflection absolutely cannot come until I’ve done something productive. Unfortunately today’s productivity comes as a repeat {sort of} of a previous post. As you can imagine, I am not pleased with that.

When my family and friends were in town for our reunion, we dragged the smoker out of the closet we had previously stuffed it into and grilled up a brisket and wings and jalapeno poppers. It’s been two weeks and the smoker has been shoved in my office with all the boxes that were packed in with it laying all over the floor making the room completely unusable for me. Do you see my poor, lonely little sewing machine in the background there behind all those boxes? Yep, I haven’t sewed a stitch in over 3 weeks! But my office was not unusable for Hubby who took advantage of my refusal to enter that room by eating in there while working online. I chose to take the picture before cleaning up his wrappers and boxes so that while I’m working at making our home its best, you can see it at its worst.


There is still some cleaning up to do but I wanted to share with you our closet before and after.


If you compare the final product of the closet in the last post to the final product of the closet in this one, I think you’ll notice a huge improvement!

I hope everyone’s having a wonderful Sunday and we’ll see you tomorrow for Museum Monday!

Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness

Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness

Our dear friend Amanda over at Growing Up With Madison thought Kathryn Tall & Strong was awesome enough to receive this award. Thank you! Kathryn Tall & Strong is just a little blog right now, only about 6 weeks old, but it gives me great encouragement to have such a fantastic and successful blogger think so highly of my work! You can’t see me right now {because it’s the internet} but I am blushing!
In order to accept my award there are some rules of course. So here goes:

Display Award Logo – ✓

Link back to the person who nominated you – ✓

Share 10 things about myself – Hahaha! ✓

Nominate up to 10 other bloggers – ✓

Well here goes the 10 epically awesome things about myself:

  1. As of today I have been married 385 days OR 1 year and 20 days OR 55 weeks!
  2. I was a vegetarian for 7 years and a vegan for 9 months. It was Beer-Can Chicken that finally broke my lifestyle.
  3. I’ve been bitten by a wild Copperhead Snake on my left foot and spent 6 hours in the ER.
  4. My favorite color is purple. As a child I thought colors had personalities. Blue (male) and Purple (female) were married {ironic since these became our wedding colors} but Red (female) kept flirting with Blue so I was always mad at Red. Green and Yellow were an item as well.
  5. I didn’t have a Maid of Honor at my wedding but a Man of Honor, and had a Ring Maiden {Wagner anyone?} instead of a Ring-bearer and Flower girl.
  6. I am studying to be an opera singer and am currently classified as a Lyric Mezzo-Soprano. Verdi is my consistent-favorite composer and Mechem is my flavor of the moment favorite composer.
  7. I’m 6 feet tall and wear size 13 shoes. Maybe this is why I find it more comfortable to make my own clothes?
  8. I love public speaking. It baffles me that this is the world’s #1 fear while #2 is death.
  9. I enjoy writing research papers! Being a graduate student is great because I’m always writing at least one!
  10. I am terrified of decorating my home! Really, I’m scared of making any sort of decorative decision at all. I’m hoping this blog will force me to make my home beautiful {so I can post about it} and face my fear of commitment to style.

Now my nominees for the Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness are:


I Still Love You

Naughty Shorts

Sew Much Ado

This Mama Makes Stuff

Life Gets Real So We Should Too

Joyful Thrifty Home

Live Creating Yourself

The Fun, Cheap, or Free Queen

Bee Tree Studios

These are just 10 of my absolute favorite blogs! Each has something different to offer and I love them all! Check them out for yourself!