Grocery Shopping…. At the 99cents Store?

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Sunday grocery shopping at the 99 cents store??

Usually I do my grocery shopping at the local Ralph’s or Vons or Trader Joe’s… you know, what we think of as the “normal” grocery stores, right?  I had no idea how great my neighborhood 99 cents store could be! I was out and about running errands early Sunday morning and decided to check out this 99 cents store and see if it really was more than cheap cleaning supplies and paper towels.

As you can see, I found a huge bottle of soy sauce for 99 cents– or you can get the name brand version in a smaller container. Same price 99 cents.

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Two heads of lettuce, you guessed it 99 cents. I was surprised to find the produce section was clean, well stocked and good quality stuff. And, can you ever really get tired of the easy pricing???

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And, my favorites– the cleaning supplies. Lots of them!

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Bread, bagels, hamburger buns– all 99 cents.  I checked all expiration dates and looking good. No outdated food here.

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I needed a few extra Halloween goodies for my niece. Guess what? I found some cute glow in the dark necklaces to wear trick-or-treating priced 2/99 cents. Awesome!

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Moral of the story…. you can score big for under $10 grocery shopping at the 99 cents store!  Cheers!

Fall Cake Pops! Yummy!

I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. Just wanted to share with you all these really cute cake pops that are perfect for the Fall season. I think they would be great for school parties for kids, right? Happy Monday and have fun baking!! Cheers!

Brandie Sellers

I meant to post this a few weeks ago – what I’m calling my “Fall Cake Pops”. I was so excited about Fall officially arriving, I wanted to celebrate with a fun festive baked good.

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I used Red Velvet cake mix, orange and yellow candy wafers, brown ribbon, and the best part – leaf sprinkles!

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Of course, you’ll bake the cake as usual, and after it bakes and cools, break the cake into a bowl into small pieces. Add half of your frosting and mix together. Use your ice cream scoop to create the perfect size cake ball (I still managed to add more cake mix creating them too big – lesson learned). Put them in the freezer for 45 minutes (UPDATE: I’ve since learned it’s better to put them in the freezer overnight). Heat up your candy wafers according to the directions on the package. Insert sticks, roll…

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Sunday Grocery Shopping. At the 99cents Store?

20121012-205116.jpg

Sunday grocery shopping at the 99 cents store??

Usually I do my grocery shopping at the local Ralph’s or Vons or Trader Joe’s… you know, what we think of as the “normal” grocery stores, right?  I had no idea how great my neighborhood 99 cents store could be! I was out and about running errands early Sunday morning and decided to check out this 99 cents store and see if it really was more than cheap cleaning supplies and paper towels.

As you can see, I found a huge bottle of soy sauce for 99 cents– or you can get the name brand version in a smaller container. Same price 99 cents.

20121012-205132.jpg

Two heads of lettuce, you guessed it 99 cents. I was surprised to find the produce section was clean, well stocked and good quality stuff. And, can you ever really get tired of the easy pricing???

20121012-205143.jpg

And, my favorites– the cleaning supplies. Lots of them!

20121012-205202.jpg

Bread, bagels, hamburger buns– all 99 cents.  I checked all expiration dates and looking good. No outdated food here.

20121012-205221.jpg

I needed a few extra Halloween goodies for my niece. Guess what? I found some cute glow in the dark necklaces to wear trick-or-treating priced 2/99 cents. Awesome!

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Moral of the story…. you can score big for under $10 grocery shopping at the 99 cents store!  Cheers!

Make Your Own Granola for $1.50

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Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday!  I love granola with my yogurt and decided it was time to make my own simple version at home. Here’s the recipe I used:

Peanut Butter Granola

  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup oats

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with olive oil. Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave 20 seconds until peanut butter melts. Stir.  Mix cinnamon and vanilla into peanut butter and honey mixture.  Add oats and stir until coated. Spread on cookie sheet and bake 7 to 8 minutes.  Let cool until granola is crunchy.

I’m thinking this homemade granola could be sparked up a bit next time with some flax seeds, peanuts, raisins or other dried fruit.  (Whatever is on sale works for me!)

The good news- this was not a total failure.  My granola experiment turned out great! And it even tasted good– better than the store-bought version and in this case I know exactly what ingredients were used.  I’ve been making a big effort to watch my sodium and sugar intake– not to mention those other weird “ingredients” that are scary big words I can’t pronounce.

Speaking of ingredients…. I spent a whopping $0.28 on the oats and $3.99 buying a new jar of honey.  The rest of the stuff is basically pantry items normally on hand.  My estimation is that I spent approximately $1.50 on this batch of Peanut Butter Granola.  Paired with my store brand yogurt for $0.50  this makes for quite a thrifty breakfast.

Cheers!

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Soulscape. Discover your soul

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I’ve been finding that Encinitas is a great place to “discover your soul.”  Lots of pretty beaches and many places to meditate after a long day at the office. I’d been looking for one of those Himalayan salt lamps for quite a while and lucky me– I found one at a shop called Soulscape in Encinitas.

About these salt lamps: Himalayan Salt Lamps use a low-wattage light bulb to disburse negative ions emanating from the salt crystals. Place a Himalayan Salt Lamp in your bedroom to help clear sinuses during the night when the body is most relaxed and receptive and to help  intensify your sleep experience.  Install  one in the room where you relax — family room, living room, den–to freshen  the air and make time at home more pleasurable. Enjoy  reduced fatigue–especially during that 3 p.m. slump–by putting a Himalayan  Salt Lamp to work in your office. You’ll transform the air you breath and reduce the amount of electro-magnetic pollution you absorb from office equipment.

Yeah– I love my new salt lamp! I have it near my desk/sleeping area so it also kinda doubles as a “night-light” (bear in mind that I live in a studio apartment).  I can’t confirm that my salt lamp has made me any healthier but it has a nice glow in the evenings especially now with the days getting shorter– and oh by the way– I’m one of the few people I know who hasn’t gotten the summer cold being passed around at my office recently.  Shine on Himalayan Salt Lamp!

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From Trash to Treasure… to my living room…

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Look what I found sitting in the alley recently– this cute table!  I really felt like it had potential to become a “treasure” and couldn’t resist the urge to rescue it. Plus, I found a recipe for chalk paint and wanted to try that out. And what better way to experiment than with a free piece of furniture salvaged from the trash, right?  As you can see, my little table needed some rehab–it was nothing some sandpaper and a bit of paint couldn’t fix.

I started my project by hand-sanding the table. About 15 minutes into it I was really wishing I would have busted out the power sander (as you can imagine).  All things considered, the sanding part was pretty easy- it’s a small table.  I’d been doing a lot of research on chalk paint and wanted to try it out to see what all the hype was about. Price-wise the “real thing” is a shade on the expensive side so I decided to make my own version. Here is the recipe I used:

Chalk Paint

  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup plaster of paris
  • 1 1/2 cups satin latex paint

Combine hot water and plaster of paris. Whisk. Add to satin latex paint. Mix well.

I bought my paint at Lowe’s– I got a small-sized sample container of paint for approximately $2.50.  This paint was easy to mix up and extremely user-friendly. It coated the table well– in this case I used 2 coats of paint. Luckily it dries fast so I was able to finish the project all at once.  I had some leftover paint mixture and was pleased to find out that you can save it in an airtight container and it works just fine the next day (I saved some for touch ups).

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I distressed the edges slightly with sandpaper and I’m still thinking about putting small tiles or maybe glass on top.  I’d also like to put a sealant over it to prevent watermarks and protect the wood.  Considering this is a piece of furniture that I “rescued” from the trash it turned out pretty cute.  Part of me wants to sell this and part of me wants to keep it…..  any offers out there??!

Cheers!

Right now I’m using this as a side table by the sofa to catch my overflow of magazines and books and computers. It’s a great place to rest my ipad.

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Thrift Shopping… at the farmers market

One of my favorite summer activities is browsing thru the local farmers market. What could be better than listening to some fun music and shopping at sunset? I live in San Diego’s UTC neighborhood and have recently “discovered” we have a farmers market on Thursday nights.

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Last week I met Sandi and Hugh at the Terra Verde Foods booth.  Terra Verde Foods is a small family owned and operated specialty foods business started in 1996 as an organic farm in Fredericksburg, Texas.  Their interest in food and cooking led to the development of Terra Verde Farms’ artisan foods. Terra Verde Foods specialty foods are hand-made in small batches from recipes that have been in the family for generations or new recipes developed from scratch.  Minimal sugar is added to the products… and no artificial flavorings, preservatives or colors. You’ll remember what fresh fruits and veggies taste like!

I sampled the Tomato Basil Garlic pasta sauce with a sprinkle of Lavender Pepper. What a wonderful combination.  Pictured below you can see my purchase of the evening– pasta sauce. It was $8.75 well spent. Since I’m a one-person household right now, I asked about the best way to save leftovers.  Guess what– I’m told freezing is the way to go.

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Like I said, this Lavender Pepper was a delight. Something about eating lavender flavor seemed odd– but after a taste– ooo la la.  I can easily see myself using this sprinkled on cheese as an appetizer or as a seasoning on steak or salmon. I do tend to like a more subtle flavor which explains why I liked this so much.  (I’m already pre-planning this will be my next purchase!)

Cheers- and happy food shopping at the local farmers market.

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Azucar – a Cuban Style Patisserie

Have you ever found yourself in need of a sugar fix?? This was me a few weekends ago as I was strolling along Newport Avenue in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego. It was not quite warm enough for the beach and just sunny enough where I felt a strange sense of guilt sitting indoors. Of course, it was early afternoon and a coffee and a few cookies seemed like a great idea.

  • Azucar
  • 4820 Newport Avenue
  • Ocean Beach, CA 92107
  • Phone: (619) 523-2020
  • Web: www.iloveazucar.com

I saw the inviting sign for “azucar” and stopped in. Wow… what a fabulous place! I was in the market for a coffee (of course!) and a few cookies. I chose what resembled a chocolate chip cookie but what I got was sooo much better! Part cookie and part chocolate perfection it was more than I ever thought a cookie could be! I’m hooked and will gladly be back for more. As far as the coffee is concerned– all I can say is that they had vanilla sugar for the coffee. What more can a girl ask for?! (Joy!)

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Beach Sweets – Candy, Chocolates & Gifts

Need a little sugar fix? Spent the day on the beach and maybe some jelly beans are sounding kinda tasty? I know how you feel! Over the weekend I was strolling thru Ocean Beach, doing a little people-watching and found myself in need of jelly beans. I guess I was craving Easter candy a little early.

Beach Sweets

5022 Newport Avenue

San Diego, CA 92107

Phone: (619) 222-3322

Web: www.OceanBeachsweets.com

Lucky for me I found Beach Sweets on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. Family owned and operated, this local shop offers yummy chocolates, candy and gifts. Other cool stuff I found here:

  • Chocolate Dipped Bacon
  • Separate Flavors of Jelly Bellies (you can hand-pick your flavor mix!)
  • Pop Rocks
  • S’More on a Stick (no grill required)
  • Salt Water Taffy
  • Chocolates topped w/ crushed red pepper & sea salt (I’m not so sure about this one…)

Great location, friendly staff and yummy treats. It’s not all for adults– kids will adore this place. The good news is- the shop is fairly small so your little ones will be an arms grab away if you need to scoop them away from dipping into too much sugar. Have fun and don’t tell the dentist you went to Beach Sweets!!

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Pepper Spray- ideal for terminating most any situation!

 Are you tired of being scared all the time?  Personally, I took action and now carry both pepper spray and a stun gun at all times. Read on…

Another Brave Woman Fends Off Robber With Pepper Spray

It was uneventful Monday in the Hewitt, TX hair salon when a would-be robber stormed in to rob the place. There is something pathetic and even pitiful in the very idea to rob a hair salon of all places. It could be that the noticeable desperation of this act empowered a customer, a brave woman, to pull out her pepper spray and gave the attacker a good deal of face spraying. From this point on, the robbery did not progress that well.
The “robber” wore a black ski mask, so only his eyes were exposed. However, some of the spray must’ve got stuck in the mask’s fibers and breathing through it surely hurt like hell. Disoriented and in pain, he left the hair salon hastily and a Pontiac Bonneville picked him up and drove away.
The Police came a tad later to take the eyewitness accounts and report the event.

Pepper Spray FoxLabs, oc spray, 2 oz, Stream spray pattern $23.95


This unit is a 2 oz FoxLabs pepper spray unit with the stream spraying pattern. When deployed, it shoots pepper solution in a stream.  (Pepper Spray Center also has a “cone-fog” spray pattern that FoxLabs recommend for civilian use).

The stream has longer range but requires better aiming than the cone-fog one does.
Specifications:

  • 2% pepper spray (OC) Concentration
  • 5,300,000 Scoville Heat Units (Extremely hot)
  • 2 oz (56 gram) canister
  • 4″ H x 1 3/8″ Diameter
  • 18 ½ sec. bursts
  • 19 feet (5.8 meter) range.

I love hiking and going on walks so a “hidden” pepper spray is always in my possession. There are a lot of weirdos out there and I’d rather be armed with some pepper spray or a stun gun in case I happen to run into a nut job when I’m out & about. I just feel safer with a small pepper spray on the key chain and a stun gun in my pocket.

Pepper Spray Center

Phone: (800) 344- 0650

Web: www.pepperspraycenter.com

I feel really lucky that I’ve kept in touch with The Pepper Spray Center.  I like to shop (of course- I write a blog about shopping!) and it’s a good idea to keep yourself safe while shopping.  You never know who or what might be lurking in that dark corner of the mall parking structure.  I like knowing I can zap the “bad guys” with my stun gun– or spray them in the face with a quick blast of pepper spray.