Tuesday, January 15, 2008

FREE STUFF! AND RECIPES! Yes, I'll Stop Yelling Now.

Tip Of The Day: How to score free stuff, beauty product reviews, and a Reader’s Recipe. Yes, all in one post. Because THAT’S HOW MUCH I CARE ABOUT YOU. Sorry, yelling again.

Tip For Tomorrow: How low can you go? In which I show you, warts and all, just how frugal I can be.

Further Elucidation Of My Cheap Deal: There is a popular saying (to me, at least, seeing as how I made it up), “Sale is good, clearance is better, FREE is best.” Can we all agree on that?

However, getting your hands on free loot takes a bit of creativity. And, on occasion, doing a good deed.

I can see you cringing. “What KIND of good deed? Do I have to give blood? Does it involve pain? Or Al Gore?” No, but you should wear your grubbies, because it can get messy.

This weekend, my posse and I helped our friend Swimmer pack for her move to Wisconsin. I was also there to discuss listing her condo for sale. That doesn’t sound so painful, right? There were even snacks.

While helping pack up her life in one day, the inevitable occurred – she started sorting through her stuff to get rid of what she didn’t absolutely love/need. Some of it was trash; some of it went straight to the thrift store. But guess who got the rest? Seriously, if you need more than one guess, GO AWAY.

I got a corduroy jacket, a long-sleeve t-shirt, a flat iron for my hair, two movies (Holiday Inn and Foul Play), fuzzy slippers, yarn for my friend HaC, and candles. Larue also cleaned up, as did her daughters who were helping us pack. Sort of. Mostly they ate the snacks.

So, How To Score Free Stuff: Help a friend or family member pack. Or unpack – you can sometimes pick up furniture that won’t fit in their new home. There is always stuff in the old house they don’t want (even if it’s just pantry items), and they will give it to you. FOR FREE. Can’t beat that with a stick.

Beauty Product Review: I also got free, mostly new, toiletry items from Swimmer. Now, before you get all skeeved out, keep this in mind – she is my friend (not some stranger at a garage sale) and none of the items are the type of thing where germs could transfer. Like mascara, or deodorant, or bodily fluids. It was stuff like lotion and face wash and it was barely used. So calm down.

Speaking of calming down, Swimmer has extremely sensitive skin. Probably due to all that swimming. Anywho, she uses a ton of sensitive skin products, and I ended up with two of them.

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser: Aveeno has long been one of the two gold standard products for dermatologists (the other is Cetaphil). Aveeno’s products don’t irritate the skin, and the Ultra-Calming REALLY won’t. Plus, it isn’t drying, it rinses off easily, and the foam is fun. I love foamy products – it’s like using Redi-whip on your skin.
Aveeno is available at drug stores for around $7-8, depending on the store. It’s higher than what I normally will spend, but the product works so well, I’d actually PAY for it next time.

Eucerin Calming Crème (sense a trend here?): I’ve never bought Eucerin in the past, mainly because when I’ve used my Ma’s Original Eucerin Lotion, it made my skin feel greasy and icky. However, that lotion is NOT the Calming Crème, and this stuff RULES. It isn’t too heavy, it’s not greasy, it doesn’t smell like anything (so it won’t conflict with your perfume), and a little goes a long way – so you can lube up your whole body without worrying about running out.
It also calms post-shaved skin. In the winter, you don’t have to shave as much (or, frankly, at all if you’re single), so when you do, your skin might freak out. From shock, I guess. The Crème calms traumatized skin right down.
You can find Eucerin at most drug stores for around $12. It’s a relatively new product, so it might be harder to find than the Original. Once again, it is such a good product, I might actually pay for it.

Reader Recipe, For Under $20. The Food, I Mean. The Recipe Is Free: From El Jefe, Larue’s gourmet husband, comes this yummy recipe using my favorite food group, CHEESE.

“Here's a simple, elegant starter recipe that comes in way under $20 and let's you try one of the underappreciated classics of Italian cheese.

1 package whole mushrooms
4 oz Fontina cheese
2 slices of prosciutto
1 tbsp olive oil

Fontina is a cow’s milk cheese from the Alpine North of Italy. It's semi-soft, mild and melts well. Finely chop about 4 oz. of the cheese, discarding the rind and add a couple slices of prosciutto also finely chopped, and warm over med-low heat until the cheese melts.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, put a few drops of olive oil in each of the caps, and add the melted cheese mix. Bake for 20 min at 300, longer for larger mushrooms, less for smaller ones.

Make the recipe your own. Add some finely chopped red onion, green pepper, garlic or your own favorite herbs. I like a touch of oregano. For a crustier top, sprinkle el cheapo Parm from a green can over the top of it.”

What would be the best is if he would just make it for me. HINT.


LaRue said...

Ok, I'm taking offense here. S did a fantastic job putting hangers in bags, and G was very diligent about removing the clippings from the clear pastic sleeves. A win-win, I say.

Since I wound up with a purse I absolutely love, several books and some beading stuff, I was happy to help. And G loves her shoes.

I love Eucerin. It is the only thing that is non-scented that works for my sensitive, hivey, allergic, translucent skin. Its good stuff, Maynard.

And El Jefe is the best cook ever. I would eat these if I liked mushrooms. As it is, I just eat the stuffing.

The Cheap Chick said...

Shush. You know I love the girls, and that I mean no offense. Such a Mama Bear.

Doc said...

Since personal "downsizing" is now officially in (sometimes voluntary and sometimes not), parents downsize too. If you're looking for "fre," don't overlook that source of "free" which helped get you started in life for, say, as many as 21 years.