Monday, April 23, 2012

Little Known Facts

Now that I have moved I am even more aware of finances and how much things cost. I'm a big penny pincher, but I also love going out to eat and  looooove sitting in coffee shops to work. I have learned a few tricks in my time to pinch those pennies even farther, and now I am here to share them with you.

The Starbucks Refill

Did your mind just get blown? You can refill your beverage at Starbucks for either fifty four cents, or for free.
Here is how. As much as you love the grande frappucino with extra whip and a shot of expresso, it isn't the cheapest thing on the menu, it's also a "specialty drink". Instead opt for a Grande coffee with a shot of caramel, or my summer favorite the passion fruit shaken iced tea lemonade. All the non specialty beverages are refillable for just fifty four cents (tax included, so it may very by a few cents in your state). BUT there is more if you have a starbucks rewards card the refill is FREE. A rewards card is free, it's basically a starbucks giftcard. If you find yourself a Starbucks patron more than once a month it would behoove you to pay with a giftcard/rewards card. Your purchase is 5% off and you get free refills. Also, if you don't go to starbucks don't hesitate to ask your local coffeehouse about their refill policy. I know that CC's offers one free refill as well.

Free Auto Zone Reading

Did a light just go off on the dashboard of your car? You have no idea what's wrong? The first step you should take is driving yoru car over to AutoZone for a free on board diagnostic reading. Basically a customer service associate will ome out to your car and hook up the device. Within a minute or two you will have a free diagnostic reading on your car. Your problem might be as simple as a bulb replacement. you definitely don't want to pay a mechanic $100 an hour to tell you the same thing. Also, if your battery is drained AutoZone will recharge it for FREE. They also have a tool loan program. If you put down a deposit you can check out a tool for a day. Just bring it back and get your deposit back. It's totally worth it to sign up for their rewards program. If you know how to change your own oil they run a special for all the oil you need and a filter for $10! That's way better than $30-$40 at Jiffy Lube. If you find that you still need to go to a mechanic do a little research and find one that offers free estimates. After you get your estimate don't be afraid to call around a bit to get the best price. A little research will save you a lot of money in the long run.

E Book Loan Program/ Free Books

If you are like me and love to read you may own a kindle or a nook. Did you know you can check out library books with your E Reader as long as you have a library card? Instead of shelling out $10 or more for a book, you can check them out and return them without every leaving the comfort of your home. Also, Google has a free book downloading program with Google Play. It's mostly classic books, but sometimes classics make for the best read.

That's all the tips for now, but if you have more feel free to post below!

Love, Tina Marie

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Things I Am Looking Forward To/ Tina's Favorite Things

*** April 9th Post***

So After my last kind of downer of a post I figured I should brighten everyone's day with things I'm looking forward to/ Tina's favorite things list.

Casey's Bachelorette Weekend/ California in August! 

This is our beach retreat in Atlantic City. Fabulous times were had. 

I love hanging out with my sorority sisters. Even when we haven't seen each other in months and years we always manage to pick back up where we left off. It's amazing to have sisters all across the world (Hey Tamsin, you make Epsilon Mu and international thing!)

Pairing/ Favorite thing for this trip: 
My giant straw hat. 

If you don't have a giant straw hat you have no idea what you are missing out on. It's fashionable, you can tie a variety of ribbons around the base to fit any color scheme. It's beige so it doesn't show dirt, and it's travels amazingly well... or at least mine does. I take it along any time I plan to be out and about outside. Love it. 

Second thing I'm looking forward to: 

DC Trip/ Memorial Day in the OBX!

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time (OBX 2009)

Every Memorial Day my DC friends and I would leave the city for Memorial Day and take refuge in a huge house in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I love the beaches there, and it always made for a nice extra long weekend get away with friends. Even though I live in NOLA now I have decided to keep the OBX tradition alive (I'm the planner). This year not only will it be an awesome weekend at the beach, but it will be an awesome weekend with my friends who I haven't seen in SIX MONTHS! So excited! 

Awesome Pairing/ Thing I love: 

My lodge cast iron skillet. 
I know that this may seem like an odd pairing for a beach trip, but trust me, they go together. My friend Sarah makes the most amazing pancakes in the world. She makes them for the whole group at the beach. She bakes them on cast iron skillets in the oven. Maybe some day I'll get her to guest post and share the recipe with ya'll... Sarah? 
Till then, know that this is a great skillet for a great price, and I highly recommend. 

Final thing I'm looking forward to: 

My own place to live! 

I've been sharing a house, but I've decided to get a place all my own. I'm super excited about this. 

Thing I love/ Awesome Pairing: 

Pinterest! I've been able to keep track of a lot of my awesome decorating ideas on my pinterest boards. 
You can follow me too!

So now it's time to go on pinterest and waste 3-4 hours. :)


Tina Marie

It's Not All Sunshine and Lollipops

As all of you know I recently moved to New Orleans.
I have had a great time here so far, and I think I've done a good job chronicling it.

From Mardi Gras...

To the Indians...

To oyster shucking...

Most of my experiences here have been good ones, but not all have been. 
I was inspired by my friend Kennedy to write about my living in New Orleans, and the transition I went/ am going through. It isn't all good. A lot of it is very stressful. The whole moving thing in general is stressful, and throw 1500 miles in there, and you become a big old ball of stress. Not to mention that I didn't have a place to live when I moved here. I was lucky enough to have good friends who put up with me for 7 weeks before I moved out. However, I'm the kind of person who HATES to inconvenience people. It was really hard to know that I was putting them out for that time. On top of these obvious stress inducers there were also the little things that I had to adjust to. The traffic/ commute time. In Virginia it took me 15 minutes to get anywhere I wanted to go. I rarely went into DC unless it was for work, and even then I either took the metro in, or timed it so I wasn't driving in traffic. My good friend Tamsin lived "far" and it took me 20 minutes to get to her house (which was still less that 10 miles away from my house). In NOLA a 20 minute commute anywhere is standard. Going along with the car troubles, is the fact that no one in NOLA walks. Sure, there are tons of runners, but people here run for exercise. In DC I walked as a way of commuting. Everything I wanted was a 1.5mile or less walk away; the move theater, the metro station, bars, restaurants, grocery stores, friend's houses, etc etc. It's weird to be so reliant on my car, and also a little scary knowing that should anything happen to my car I wouldn't be able to do anything until I got a new one. 
Another thing that was hard was changing food that I ate. I always thought I would LOVE moving back south and getting my fill of fried foods. What I didn't realize it that while living in DC/VA I changed my eating habits. I tried many more foods (yay Korean BBQ and Mongolian!) which I can't get in NOLA. Also, I ate a lot more fruits and vegetables, and fried foods became more of a treat than a staple in my diet. The first month I lived here everything tasted like it was over salted. 

I don't want ya'll to think I'm unhappy after this post. I'm still just working out the kinks of living here and changing everything about my life. I just want to be real, and maybe a source for anyone else looking to move. 


Tina Marie

Stay Tuned In...

This weekend I learned that all my recent blog posts haven't been published.
This totally sucks. I have been pre-writing my posts, but apparently they have been dissappearing.
I also learned that most of you need a facebook shout out when I write a new post, otherwise you won't read it.

So, stay tuned in the next day or two as I attempt to recover my posts and publish them.

Until then, here is a picture of my day:

PJ's Coffee on Maple.


Tina Marie

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Internet Dating, Part Two

Last week I talked about my foray into internet dating. Imagine my surprise when a guy emailed me with coherent, full sentences! He had a job, he liked to read, he had a degree, and overall, he seemed to have his shit together.

I decided to dive in and meet him.

I knew from him picture that he was ethnic, of some sort. When I met him, I found out that he is originally from India. I was sort of thrown by this information, but decided to roll with it.
We started out chatting, and while ordering, I found out he is a vegetarian. After our food came I decided to ask him about this. I have lots of friends who eat special diets for one reason or another. For some it's gluten intolerance, for some it's healthy lifestyle choices, and for some it's keeping kosher/ for religious reasons. He informed me that he is a Brahmin, and therefore wasn't allowed to eat meat.

For those who are unfamiliar with the Hindu caste system, Brahmins are the top caste. They are the most educated, and the wealthiest caste.

This brings about the question: Why are you on a date with me?

I know I'm awesome, but there are several things I am not:

It's really rare for people to marry out of thier caste.

I actually had a very enjoyable evening, but I felt like sparks weren't there. We ended the night with a hug and a goodbye.

So, for you other internet daters out there.

Do you go on dates for the sake of dating, even though you know it isn't ever going to go anywhere?

Tina Marie