Beauty on a Budget: Tips from the Duchess

We all want to look great. For those with a high profile public job, it’s even a necessity. So how do we pull this off? The Frugal Duchess has a few ideas.

Her number one bargain basement tip? Baking soda. She describes it as beauty in a box, and in the previous link provides a comprehensive list of things you can do with it to beef up your beauty routine, including hair care and tooth whitening.

Another low cost tip? Unplug from the daily grind. Stress is a leading cause of beauty problems and as Sharon describes in her article, numerous areas of your physical appearance can be affected. Skin, hair and nails are high on the list.

Got another frugal beauty tip? Sound off below.

Photo Credit: Frugal Duchess

Luxury on Tap: My Love Affair with Great Coffee

Considering it was forbidden to me growing up, and the fact it took me until nearly my senior year in college to give it a go during a particularly grueling final exam week, coffee and I have grown quite close.

I make sure I have access to the good stuff even while living life on the road as a cyber nomad. I drank so much of the stuff while working in classroom education that I had to research what to do with all the extra coffee mugs I had collected over the years.

 I’ve researched how to roast coffee myself (although I’m still trying to squeeze it in), and how to save money during business trips by shopping smart at Starbucks. It’s also one of my favorite beverages to serve during cold weather parties and get togethers. As a warm drink, it feels cozy. Also, if people are wanting to indulge in spirits there are several that fit nicely into the category of hot coffee cocktails. Hot beverages can’t be consumed as quickly and voraciously as cooler cocktails, making them a more responsible host choice. And for morning meetings or brunch gatherings? All you need to do is get yourself a catering sized coffee urn and break out the spice bar and sambuca to offer a hospitable coffee bar on the fly. Bagels, whipped cream cheese and fruit round out the offering with little to no stress for the person hosting the event.

My husband and I have also started enjoying French pressed coffee, to my great delight. Between the aromatherapy of freshly ground beans and the fuller flavor, it sets the stage for my morning meditation quite nicely. Coffee’s also an affordable way to get together with friends and host business associates, whether in your own home or in the city at a stylish spot. It’s a generally accepted form of hospitality that bridges cultural and income bracket gaps, making it a reasonable comfortable gesture to make.

Even those who don’t indulge in caffeinated beverages are usually comfortable meeting at a coffee shop and ordering something else, as “getting together for coffee” is usually more about the getting together than it is about the coffee. Do you have any thoughts on the cultural outreach aspects or daily rituals of coffee as a lifestyle element? We’d love it if you’d join in the conversation below. Recipe Pairing: Pumpkin Pie Latte

 Photo Credit: Itinerant Tightwad

Stylish Family Fun on a Budget

Let’s face it. It takes more than providing for the basics to keep a family happy and balanced. Fun is a huge part of the equation.

Looking for a few fun and affordable family activity ideas? Sharon‘s put together a list of ideas for entertaining the kids on a shoestring. As a mom of three, she’s a pro when it comes to pulling off a family event affordably. Family reunion activities are also popular during the summer. Finding yourself faced with several rainy days in a row? Try an at home puppet show or creatively preserving some family heirlooms to be handed down. Other ideas would include free admission days to things like botanical gardens, museums or a day at the beach. Got your own great idea for affordable family fun? Feel free to contribute your suggestion in the comment section below. Enjoy the rest of the summer, everybody!

Photo Credit: Ajawin

Graciously Green: Saving the Planet in Style

Like to do your ecological part, but just don’t think hemp wedding dresses are the way to go? Itinerant Tightwad and Wise Bread blogger Myscha Theriault knows you you feel. Her recent article on zero waste lunches gives a strong nod to the executives in the blogosphere who need take along solutions for their briefcase as well as their backpack. The piece shows how to set up your own kit that is streamlined enough to take to work in your business gear every day. She’s also put together a few other resources with a graciously green theme. The topics?

  • Six simple strategies for green gifting.
  • Four green gifts that keep on giving.
  • When going green is classy.
  • Buying local for a travel picnic somewhere fabulous. Think Pisa or Petra.

Another resource Myscha recommends is Sophie Uliano’s book Gorgeously Green, a thorough resource for women wanting to transition to ecologically responsible products without sacrificing style. For those involved in education, she’s also put together several articles for going green in the classroom you might want to check out. In the meantime, have a graciously green day!

Photo Credit: Itinerant Tightwad

Parenting with Panache

Pulling off parenthood with panache is no small feat. That’s why, on a recent visit to my home by Frugal Duchess Sharon Harvey Rosenberg and her family, this blogger sat up and paid attention.

 Great getaway for her entire family of five on a budget? She had it covered with two for one tickets and other money saving tips for Busch Gardens. She’s even written a helpful money saving guide to theme parks you might want to check out.

Needing to accomplish a few professional tasks on this visit, she managed to be prepared with minimal luggage and great focusing abilities. Her top tip on keeping the necessary clothing to a minimum is something she calls frugal uniforms built from items that go together. Her guest post on Girls Just Wanna Have Funds provides insight on how she was able to write a book in just one summer while juggling multiple responsibilities.

 As for how she stays fashionable instead of frumpy on a regular basis, check out the following articles from Sharon: Cheap and Easy Repairs for Wardrobe Malfunctions and Insights from a Sweater Mom. Personally, I can’t think of anyone else who can pull off running through the streets of Manhattan sporting a baseball cap with her twin set, skirt and high heels. In the pouring rain, mind you. Sharon, you’re my hero.

 Photo Credit: Frugal Duchess

Smoking Hot Tips from Our Own Smoking Hot Chef

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the fresh posts Chef James has developed over at SmokingHotChef.Com in the past month, here are a few of the highlights.

  • A great rebate on Pearl Vodka is available. Use your posh yet frugal haul for cocktails, or whip up some of vodka cream sauce to serve over pasta. (He’s graciously provided the recipe!)
  • Check out the Smoking Hot Chef’s fresh take on coq au vin. It uses white wine instead of red for a lighter overall feel, yet is still more than decadent with the addition of heavy cream served alongside of garlic mashed potatoes.
  • Looking for a sexy new appetizer suitable for summer? He’s got a great new creation using cucumbers and mixed spring greens. We also have a video clip of how to do this. Look for it in our PFN videos section for specific how-to instruction.

There’s also a recipe there that takes Alfredo to the next level. All in all it’s worth catching up, particularly for all of the foodies in the house. So head over and visit.

Photo Credit: Smoking Hot Chef

Summer Cocktail Ideas for Stylish Entertaining

Looking for some fresh ideas for the bar this season? Itinerant Tightwad and Wise Bread blogger Myscha Theriault rounded up some great suggestions for presenting the unexpected to your guests. Read more

A More Fabulous Form of Frugal

Let’s be honest. Part of living well is eating well, and groceries aren’t as affordable as they used to be. Unless you know how to shop like the pros, that is. Read more

Lessons from Life on the Road

A family displaced due to a landlord in foreclosure learns lessons on the free family entertainment value of parks, museums and libraries. Read more